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Race & Ethnicity

Race & Ethnicity

One Year Later, Arizona Law Keeps Families from Getting Public Benefits

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One year after it became law, a measure created to fight alleged fraud committed by undocumented immigrants applying for public benefits, is hurting those who actually qualify for the services.

Valeria Fernández, New America Media

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One year after it became law, a measure created to fight alleged fraud committed by undocumented immigrants applying for public benefits, is hurting those who actually qualify for the services.

HB 2008 went into effect on Nov. 24, 2009, requiring state agencies, cities and government employees in Arizona to report to immigration authorities anyone they considered to be in the country illegally. Under the law, government workers could face up to four months in jail if they fail to report someone.

Unlike SB 1070, another controversial law aimed at making undocumented immigrants subject to incarceration, there was no public debate on HB 2008. It was approved quietly as part of budget negotiations by conservative Republicans including Rep. Senator Russell Pearce, and signed by Gov. Jan Brewer.

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Racism Is Hardly a Thing of the Past

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  • Is Jim Crow back? Are African Americans, particularly African American men, once more suffering systematic discrimination on the basis of race -- a discrimination that locks them out of equal rights and basic citizenship?
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  • Listen to the hard logic offered by Michelle Alexander, a law professor and author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness.
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Rev. Jesse Jackson, Huffington Post

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Mr. Fish

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Is Jim Crow back? Are African Americans, particularly African American men, once more suffering systematic discrimination on the basis of race -- a discrimination that locks them out of equal rights and basic citizenship?

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The question is incendiary -- and seems unreal. This is the post-racial America, where an African American can be elected president. Overt expression of racism is no longer socially acceptable. So, how could anyone allege the revival of Jim Crow laws, the laws that locked blacks into a permanent underclass under segregation?

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Listen to the hard logic offered by Michelle Alexander, a law professor and author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness. Professor Alexander makes the following points:
• More African Americans are under correctional control today -- in prison or jail, on probation or parole -- than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.
• More black men were disenfranchised in 2004 than in 1870, the year the 15th Amendment was ratified, prohibiting laws that explicitly deny the right to vote on the basis of race.
• More than half of working-age African-American men in major urban areas -- according to one report, as much as 80 percent in Chicago -- have criminal records and are thus subject to legalized discrimination.

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Arizona Legalizes Racial Profiling


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Arizona's new immigration legislation - requiring law enforcement officers to stop everyone whom they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is an undocumented immigrant and arrest them if they fail to produce their papers - demeans us all by effectively legalizing racial profiling.

Marjorie Cohn, Jurist

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The conservative “states’ rights” mantra sweeping our country has led to one of the most egregious wrongs in recent U.S. history. New legislation in Arizona requires law enforcement officers to stop everyone whom they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is an undocumented immigrant and arrest them if they fail to produce their papers. What constitutes “reasonable suspicion”? When asked what an undocumented person looks like, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who signed SB 1070 into law last week, said, “I don’t know what an undocumented person looks like.” The bill does not prohibit police from relying on race or ethnicity in deciding who to stop. It is unlikely that officers will detain Irish or German immigrants to check their documents. This law unconstitutionally criminalizes “walking while brown” in Arizona.

Former Arizona attorney general Grant Woods explained to Brewer that SB 1070 would vest too much discretion in the state police and lead to racial profiling and expensive legal fees for the state. But the governor evidently succumbed to racist pressure as she faces a reelection campaign. Woods said, “[Brewer] really felt that the majority of Arizonans fall on the side of, ‘Let’s solve the problem and not worry about the Constitution.’” The polls Brewer apparently relied on, however, employed questionable methodology and were conducted before heavy media coverage of the controversial legislation. No Democrats and all but one Republican Arizona legislator voted for SB 1070.

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Revelations of Extreme 'Slave-Like' Working Conditions and Billions in Wage Theft Drive Nationwide Protests

As much as $19 billion is stolen from American workers annually in unpaid overtime and minimum wage violations and through the human trafficking of legal immigrant workers.

Art Levine,  In These Times

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Activists in more than 30 cities, organized by Interfaith Worker Justice and backed by labor groups, are staging a National Day of Action Against Wage Theft on November 18. "As the crisis for working families in the economy has deepened, so too has the crisis of wage theft," says Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) Executive Director Kim Bobo, perhaps the country's leading reformer addressing the ongoing scandal.

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As much as $19 billion is stolen from American workers annually in unpaid overtime and minimum wage violations and, in some cases, through the human trafficking of legal immigrant workers. The latest case to come to light involves alleged horrendous conditions for immigrant workers reportedly hoodwinked in Mexico by a food services contractor for the New York State Fair and kept in near-slavery conditions of $2 an hour.

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GOP Rep. Gohmert (R-TX) Doubles Down on Immigration Wacky Conspiracy Theories

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  • Rep. Louie Gohmert’s (R-TX) influence extends beyond his Texas office; he is also a member of the Immigration Reform Caucus (IRC).
    Rep. Gohmert Goes Beyond Immigrant Bashing

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MJ OlahafaImagine 2050

It was only a few months ago that Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) enlightened us on his elaborate ‘terror babies’ theory, in a fear mongering scheme to change the 14th Amendment. According to his theory, terrorist organizations are sending pregnant women into the U.S. so their children will have American citizenship. Then, after receiving training overseas, these children will come back 20 or 30 years later to, in his words, “blow us up.”

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Far-fetched? Yes. Downright irresponsible? Certainly. But that’s not where it ends.

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Louie Gohmert’s influence extends beyond his Texas office; he is also a member of the Immigration Reform Caucus (IRC). Founded in May 1999 by former Rep. Tom Tancredo, IRC members have introduced some of the most punitive anti-immigration legislation in U.S. history and played a key role in scuttling recent immigration reforms.

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