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Human Rights & Civil Liberties

Human Rights & Civil Liberties

Misconceptions Behind the Immigrant Scare

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  • A major independent study shows that the actual number of illegal immigrants in America is declining, sharply.
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  • A brief history of immigration
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  • Stop the Militarization of the DREAM Act!
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Scott Horton, Harper's

America, we are told by breathless voices on the political right, faces a horrible crisis from illegal immigrants, particularly from Mexico. These histrionics recently helped drive Arizona legislators and Governor Jan Brewer to enact SB 1070, under which the state’s law enforcement officers are authorized to stop anyone they suspect of being “foreign” and demand to see their documentation. But how sound are the premises of the fear campaign that drives this movement? As the New York Times reports, a major independent study shows that the actual number of illegal immigrants in America is declining, sharply:

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The number of illegal immigrants in the United States, after peaking at 12 million in 2007, fell to about 11.1 million in 2009, the first clear decline in two decades, according to a report published Wednesday by the Pew Hispanic Center. The reduction came primarily from decreases among illegal immigrants from Latin American countries other than Mexico, the report found. The number of Mexicans living in the United States without legal immigration status did not change significantly from 2007 to 2009. Some seven million Mexicans make up about 60 percent of all illegal immigrants, still by far the largest national group, the Pew Center said.

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A brief history of immigration, Frances Symes, Congress.org

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  • Fights over immigration law have been going on in the U.S. since the 1790s.
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  • Democrats unveil immigration proposal
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Stop the Militarization of the DREAM Act! Comite Anti-Militarizacion (CAMI), in Change.org
Comite Anti-Militarizacion (CAMI) supports higher education for all students both documented and undocumented; however, we denounce the military component of the DREAM Act. Unfortunately, this deadly component is strategically excluded from the debate by many Democrats and organizations who support the DREAM Act.

A step backwards on privacy

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  • The Obama administration is proposing its own changes to Electronic Communications Privacy Act ECPA aimed at weakening—not strengthening—your personal on-line privacy.
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  • The administration's plan would allow government officials to obtain more of your personal information using warrantless National Security Letters, without going to court and without any suspicion of wrongdoing.
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Anthony D. Romero, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Will Shapira

Tens of thousands of supporters added their names to the ACLU's Protect Our Privacy Petition—calling on Congress to update and strengthen the decades-old Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA).

But now, the Obama administration is proposing its own changes to ECPA aimed at weakening—not strengthening—your personal privacy.
ECPA is one of the few laws that can protect our privacy online, but the administration's proposal would warp this crucial law—expanding the government's power to collect Americans' email and internet use records in national security investigations.

That's a huge step in the wrong direction for personal privacy even as we're trying hard to advance our privacy protections.

Sign our petition and demand changes that strengthen, rather than weaken, our personal privacy.

The administration's plan would do exactly the opposite by allowing government officials to obtain more of your personal information using warrantless National Security Letters, without going to court and without any suspicion of wrongdoing.

That means more secret requests for your personal information—and more gag orders to stop companies from disclosing what they were forced to turn over.

Congress has already held hearings on updating ECPA, and the issue will soon come up again.  We must make sure that any changes to our laws come down on the side of protecting privacy.

Add your name to the petition and tell Congress to strengthen our privacy laws.

We can't sit back and let our privacy protections be replaced by new privacy invasions.  Please raise your voice today.

Thanks for speaking out.

Inside Top Secret America

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A major investigation reveals the extent of America's vast and heavily privatized military-corporate-intelligence establishment.

Lindsay Beyerstein, AlterNet

The brick warehouse is not just a warehouse. Drive through the gate and around back, and there, hidden away, is someone's personal security detail: a fleet of black SUVs that have been armored up to withstand explosions and gunfire.

In July, the Washington Post published the Top Secret America project -- a sweeping portrait of America’s heavily privatized military-corporate-intelligence establishment. Lead reporter Dana Priest calls it the “vast and hidden apparatus of the war on terror.”

Priest, who has won two Pulitzer Prizes, described the project as the most challenging investigation of her career. She teamed up with national security journalist William Arkin and a team of about 20 Post staffers to create an “alternative geography” of a hidden world that has exploded since the attacks of 9/11. At last count, the official U.S. intelligence budget stood at $75 billion -- more than two and a half times what it was on September 10, 2001.

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AZ GOP utility commission candidate wants to cut off all utility services to homes with undocumented immigrants.

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  • One Arizona politician has made a vow to make illegal immigrants powerless — literally.
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  • Guidelines for Fixing Our Broken Immigration System
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  • Obama: Immigration plan 'cannot pass without Republican votes'
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Sean Alfano, NY Daily News | NY

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

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Immigrants say the pledge of allegiance at a rally for comprehensive immigration reform in Oklahoma City. Immigrants say the pledge of allegiance at a rally for comprehensive immigration reform in Oklahoma City. (AP)

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Today (July 1), President Obama delivered a speech at American University making the case for comprehensive immigration reform that secures the border, overhauls our broken legal entry system, and provides a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who work hard and play by the rules. The New York Daily News reports that Republican Barry Wong, a candidate for the Arizona Corporation Commission, which regulates the state’s public utilities, has a different solution for our broken immigration system. Wong wants his state’s government to first check the immigration status of all Arizona utility customers and then cut off all utility services to any customers who are undocumented — including electricity and water:

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One Arizona politician has made a vow to make illegal immigrants powerless — literally. Republican Barry Wong, a candidate for the Arizona Corporation Commission, an elected body that decides public utility issues, says he would require the utilities to check the immigration status of customers, he told the Arizona Republic.

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Obama: Immigration plan 'cannot pass without Republican votes', USA Today
President Obama today (July 1) called for a "practical, common sense" immigration system that will help the U.S. economy and maintain America's immigrant tradition -- and he put the pressure on Republicans to get it through Congress.

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Principles for Immigration Reform, Marshall Fitz , Angela Maria Kelley, Center for American Progress

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  • Our broken immigration system undermines core national interests and must be reformed. The public demands it. Our security requires it. Global competitiveness and economic reality compel it. Our identity as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws depends on it.
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  • Read the full report (pdf)
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  • Download the executive summary (pdf)
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Summary: Immigration Reform: Week of August 29

3 New Items including:

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  • Migrants turn to the sea to enter US illegally,
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  • Anti-Latino Hate Crimes Seen From Baltimore to Arizona
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

David Fitzsimmons

Working the Line, Luis Alberto Urrea, Orion Magazine
The hidden life of the U.S. Border Patrol

Migrants turn to the sea to enter US illegally, Elliot Spagat, Associated Press, in Jacksonville Florida Times-Union | FL
In growing numbers, migrants are gambling their lives at sea as land crossings become even more arduous and likely to end in arrest

Anti-Latino Hate Crimes Seen From Baltimore to Arizona, Larry Keller, SPLC's Hate Watch
In today's overheated immigration climate, it’s a good bet more Hispanics will be beaten, even killed, as the debate — if it can be called that — rages on.

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