Archive for April 8th, 2011

April 8, 2011

4/7 – Change.org – Georgia Agriculture Industry Warns: Anti-Immigrant Bills Are Bad for Business | Change.org News

Georgia Agriculture Industry Warns: Anti-Immigrant Bills Are Bad for Business | Change.org News.

by Gabriela Garcia · April 07, 2011

The Georgia legislature is currently considering two anti-immigrant bills, HB-87 and SB-40, both modeled after Arizona’s SB 1070. Arizona’s law faces a bevy of lawsuits, many focused on the fact that it requires law enforcement to establish “reasonable suspicion” to ask someone for immigration papers (a.k.a. racial profiling). But even though the law is caught up in federal court, and therefore the most controversial components have not been implemented, it has still had many unwanted effects on the state.

Last month, the New York Times reports, “Arizona lawmakers rejected new anti-immigration measures… in what was widely seen as capitulation to pressure from business executives and an admission that the state’s tough stance had resulted in a chilling of the normally robust tourism and convention industry.” A letter from 60 business leaders detailed economic “setbacks,” including estimated $15-$150 million tourism losses according to the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In Georgia, a group of farmers and business leaders are also urging their state legislature to consider the same economic damage that would occur in that state if it were to pass copy-cat bills. The letter is signed by 270 representatives of the agriculture industry including “Zippy Duvall, president of the Georgia Farm Bureau; Bryan Tolar, president of the Georgia Agribusiness Council; and Mary Kay Woodworth, executive director of the Georgia Urban Ag Council.”

And in case there were any doubts that Georgia’s bills are utilizing the same failed “attrition” concept as Arizona’s (in other words, treat immigrants so inhumanely they are driven out of the state), the man behind SB 1070, Arizona Senator Russell Pearce himself, has endorsed them. You might recall Pearce as the same man who once forwarded an anti-Semitic email from the neo-Nazi National Alliance to his supporters, and who takes issue with people criticizing his use of the slur “wetback,” among many other things.

Tell Georgia lawmakers to stand with business leaders and human rights advocates rather than anti-immigrant reactionaries by rejecting Arizona copy-cat bills.

Photo Credit: Chris Fannin

April 8, 2011

4/7 – ALLVOICES – National boycott of Georgia impending

National boycott of Georgia impending.

National boycott of Georgia impending

Atlanta : GA : USA | Apr 07, 2011
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boycott pending in Georgia
Protesters denounce proposed anti-immigrant legislation in Georgia. Photo provided by Southerners on New Ground.

 

A network of national organizations has notified Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal today “of efforts underway to organize a national boycott of Georgia, in the event that Georgia’s Arizona copycat legislation — HB 87 and SB 40 — should become law.” These groups were instrumental in coordinating the 2009 Arizona boycott, after that state passed controversial anti-immigrant legislation.

“We are currently prepared to contact all conventions, organizations, companies, cities, counties, and states that participated in the Arizona boycott to advise them of the current status of Georgia’s legislation and tell them to be ready to change plans, divest, and/or issue travel alerts to avoid the state of Georgia,” said B. Loewe, a spokesperson for the network, which includes the National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON) and the Turning the Tide campaign.

Various organizations and community members of Georgia, including the SomosGeorgia/WeAreGeorgia campaign, notified them of the efforts by Georgia’s Republicans to drive immigrants out of the state, said Loewe. Should the bills pass and Governor Deal does veto them, NDLON and Turning the Tide will be ready when the Georgia groups indicate their support for a boycott, according to information the groups provided to the press.

Georgia State Senator Vincent Fort said he and others will indeed give just such a go-ahead: “If House Bill 87 passes and the Governor refuses to veto it, we, in Georgia, will call for a boycott. These laws have devastating effects on families, students, workers, and entire communities. People of good conscience will find other places for their vacations and conventions until this state gets back on the right side of history.”

The National Lesbian and Gay Task Force also supports the boycott proposal. In a letter to Governor Deal and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, it stressed that “should the State of Georgia follow Arizona down a regrettable path to codifying anti-immigrant bias in its laws, we would be forced to reconsider our choice of venue and host city for the 2013 Creating Change Conference.” Their 2010 conference generated approximately $4 million in revenue for the City of Dallas, Texas.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people living in Georgia will be disproportionately affected by increased ‘identity’ policing, it said.

Supporters of the boycott say that Georgia has historically thrived, in part, because it’s a state with more minority-owned businesses –and some of the largest of them– in the Southern U.S. These businesses in particular could stand to suffer economically if immigrant communities and people of color are driven out of the state, say the group.

Boycott could cost Georgia millions

A recent New York Times report indicates that, less than six months after passage of the controversial SB 1070, Arizona had lost $45 million in convention revenue. It stands to lose upwards of $750 million overall. Paulina Hernandez, co-Director of Southerners on New Ground said: “A boycott will undoubtedly hurt the state of Georgia, as it did the state of Arizona, and our Governor will be squarely to blame if he does not do the right thing and commit to vetoing these anti-immigrant bills.”

Georgia Representative Virgil Fludd (D-66) commented on the economic impact of multiple pieces of legislation pending in the legislature: “The current tax proposal we will be voting on next week has a fiscal note of $200 million–creating a massive hole in the state’s budget. Should an anti-immigrant Arizona style law pass, and a boycott ensue, the economic impact will simply be devastating. Georgia has always been known as a business friendly state and HB 87 is not business friendly. We cannot afford this.”

Members of the faith-based and nonprofit communities have also opposed HB 87. Provisions of this legislation create new, significant criminal and civil liabilities, they say. Such liabilities will negatively influence the work of communities of faith across Georgia who provide critical physical and spiritual support to some of the most vulnerable.

April 8, 2011

4/8 – Campus Progress – Seven Undocumented Youth Protest, Risk Deportation in Georgia – Campus Progress

Seven Undocumented Youth Protest, Risk Deportation in Georgia – Campus Progress.

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Tuesday seven* undocumented youth were arrested in an act of civil disobedience in Atlanta during a protest. The students oppose a change proposed by the Georgia Board of Regents who want to ban on undocumented students from the state’s top five public colleges and universities. All seven students are currently in jail and are scheduled to appear in court today. They all risk of deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Georgia voters recently voted down a ban of undocumented students in all colleges and universities in the state, but the regents, who have governing authority of public colleges, approved a measure banning undocumented students from the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Georgia College & State University, and the Medical College of Georgia that will go into effect in the fall.

The protest targeted the administration of Georgia State, demanding that the university “refuse the ban” and continue to allow undocumented immigrants—who already pay out-of-state tuition in Georgia—to enroll there.

The seven students outed themselves as undocumented then entered the Georgia State admissions office to deliver a letter demanding the university not follow the Board of Regent’s directive. After a march through campus to the state capitol, the seven students sat down to block traffic around a large banner that read, “We Will No Longer Remain in the Shadows.”

A number of civil rights movement veterans supported the undocumented students’ cause, including Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who compared the students’ actions to his own record of civil disobedience against Jim Crow in the South. “I got arrested … 40 times. I was beaten, left bloody, but I didn’t give up. And you must not give up.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Georgia Board of Regents spokesperson John Millsaps, who said that the point of the legislation was to ensure that qualified Georgia residents would not lose access to the state’s public universities due to enrollment of undocumented students.

Georgina Perez, who was one of the eight who came out as undocumented, called this argument out in a statement posted on TheDreamIsComing.com Tuesday.

“This policy, like many other enacted and proposed laws, have nothing to do with the rule of law. Rather, it is clear they are about hate, racism, and the creation of second class of citizens, which is morally wrong and politically influenced,” she said in the statement.

Perez, like the other undocumented students who were arrested, posted an emotional video on YouTube explaining why she was willing to be arrested. In the clip, she calls her parents’ decision to immigrate to the United States without documents “heroic.”

(Stories from the other six undocumented students can be found on The Dream Is Coming’s YouTube page.)

Undocumented youth have not spent much time nursing their wounds from the failure of the DREAM Act in the Senate last year. “Coming Out of the Shadows” rallies, in which DREAMers proclaim their undocumented status to the world, have spread under the banner of “undocumented, unafraid, and unapologetic.” So many have come out as undocumented that Southern California Public Radio reporter Leslie Berestein Rojas recently posed the question of whether coming out as undocumented is the new coming out as gay or lesbian.

DREAMers say they are fighting for the right to exist in this country, but they aren’t doing just that. These undocumented students are nothing if not smart activists: In staging dramatic civil disobedience actions in states like Georgia that have enacted anti-immigrant measures, they are taking a page from the playbook of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and bringing their fight for equality to states where denials of basic human dignity are starkest.

Georgia, with its ban on undocumented students, is such a place. South Carolina and Colorado have also enacted bans on all undocumented students, and they should expect to see similar actions in the future. Undocumented students have proven that they aren’t afraid of whatever consequences they could face, including deportation, as a result of agitating for legalization.

Gina Perez, the one of the DREAMers who was arrested in Tuesday’s action, summed it up in her video message.

“We’re not going to be silent, we’re not going to be in the shadows, we’re not going to let this happen any longer,” she says. “We’re going to step up and fight for our community.”

UPDATE: In a statement released early Thursday morning, immigrant youth organizers indicated that all seven students were released Wednesday. In a joint statement, the students said, “As soon as we got here they came in, asked us personal questions like where we were born and our birthdays. We were honest with them, we told them we were undocumented.” ICE chose not to involve itself in the case, despite the students’ openness about their undocumented status.

ICE’s decision not to pursue deportation or other measures against the students seems to confirm what many undocumented organizers have claimed for some time: that it is actually safer for young people to come out of the shadows, proclaim their lack of legal status openly, and join with local and national organizing for immigration reform. Deportations under the Obama adminsitration are at higher levels than under President Bush, but immigration authorities seem to hesitate to deport people who are plugged into immigrant organizing, undoubtedly fearing the significant public pressure organizers have shown they are capable of mobilizing.

*This article orginally said there were eight undocumented students. Although there were originally eight students involved, only seven were arrested. We regret the error.

Micah Uetricht is a staff writer with Campus Progress.

April 8, 2011

4/7 – National Gay & Lesbian Task Force – Task Force opposes discriminatory immigration bills in Georgia « National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Blog

Task Force opposes discriminatory immigration bills in Georgia « National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Blog.

Task Force opposes discriminatory immigration bills in Georgia

April 7, 2011
by taskforceblog

While thousands protest anti-immigration legislation and seven undocumented students have been arrested protesting the bills working their way through the Georgia Legislature, Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey sent a letter to Gov. Nathan Deal urging him to stop the discriminatory bills from becoming law.

The trio of legislative proposals would criminalize and harm residents of Georgia by infringing on civil liberties, launching racial profiling campaigns, and instigating harassment of persons who are suspected of residing in the United States without immigration documentation. These proposals would usher in an era of social exclusion and ostracism of more than 450,000 of your residents, the vast majority of whom seek to make a better life for themselves and their families.

The Task Force produces and sponsors the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change every year and Atlanta is currently the planned location for Creating Change 2013. However, if these discriminatory bills become law, the Task Force will be forced to reconsider the location for its conference which in 2010 generated approximately $4 million in revenue for the City of Dallas, according to the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau during our 2010 Creating Change conference in Dallas, Texas.

Call or e-mail Gov. Nathan Deal and urge him to put a stop to these discriminatory bills.
Call:  404. 656.1776
E-mail: http://gov.georgia.gov/00/gov/contact_us/0,2657,165937316_166563415,00.html

The full text of the letter is below:

April 6, 2011

Honorable Nathan Deal
The Office of the Governor State of Georgia
203 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Dear Governor Deal,

I write to urge that you do all in your power to ensure that House Bill 87, Senate Bill 40, and Senate Bill 104 not become laws, either separately or wholly, in the state of Georgia.

This trio of legislative proposals will criminalize and harm residents of Georgia by infringing on civil liberties, launching racial profiling campaigns, and instigating harassment of persons who are suspected of residing in the United States without immigration documentation. These proposals, should they become the law in your state, will not improve your economic climate, will not improve education or health care delivery, and will not create jobs. Indeed, your state will usher in an era of social exclusion and ostracism of more than 450,000 of your residents, the vast majority of whom seek to make a better life for themselves and their families.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force stood with other advocacy organizations in strong opposition to Arizona’s draconian and inhumane anti-immigration law, enacted there just one year ago. Our organization joined a coalition of groups that not only publicly opposed the Arizona law, but also joined a boycott against the state of Arizona until that law is repealed, overturned by the courts, or superseded by comprehensive federal immigration reform.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force produces and sponsors The National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, annual training and strategy forum for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political movement. Our 2010 Creating Change Conference, held in Dallas, Texas, generated approximately $4 million in revenue for the City of Dallas, according to the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau. We currently plan to produce The 25th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change at the Hilton Atlanta, January 23 – 27, 2013. However, should the State of Georgia follow Arizona down a regrettable path to codifying anti-immigrant bias in its laws, we would be forced to reconsider our choice of venue and host city for the 2013 Creating Change Conference.

Following enactment of the Arizona anti-immigrant law, a June 2010 survey conducted by Harris Interactive, a global market research and consulting firm, found that 63% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans who had seen, read or heard about the Arizona law expressed strong opposition to it. Further, 43% reported they would be less likely to travel to Arizona for leisure; 36% said they would be lesslikely to travel to Arizona for convention gatherings; and 32% said they would be less likely to travel there for business purposes.

You may ask why an organization that works to ensure full legal equality and social acceptance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people would take an interest in immigration law and policy. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has long recognized that immigrant communities and cultures are inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We believe that all people, irrespective of their sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, race, color, class, creed and religion, age and ability deserve fair and just treatment from all entities of government, including the State of Georgia.

Please know that I am available to discuss this matter with you and to provide you with a deeper sense of our commitment to fair and just treatment for immigrants, their children, and their families.

Best regards,

Rea Carey
Executive Director

April 8, 2011

4/7 – Feet in 2 Worlds – Immigration News Roundup From Georgia and Texas | Feet in 2 Worlds · Immigration news · Immigration reform · Immigrant communities

Immigration News Roundup From Georgia and Texas | Feet in 2 Worlds · Immigration news · Immigration reform · Immigrant communities.

 

ugeorgia

(Photo: hyku/flickr)

Undocumented Youth Arrested at Protests for DREAM Act in Georgia

By Fi2W blogger Aswini Anburajan

From The American Prospect

It’s worth noting a Georgia protest where seven undocumented youth got arrested Wednesday for sitting in the middle of a busy intersection to protest a rule that bans undocumented students from attending Georgia universities. This is the latest in a series of escalating protests in response to the DREAM Act, and we’ll have to see what happens with these youth.

Should they be threatened with deportation, it’ll raise the furor of the Latino community, and without a doubt, place the White House in the middle of the immigration fray once again.

Read the whole post at The American Prospect.

Texas Excludes Low Income Latinos from Census

From The Media Consortium’s Weekly Diaspora.

As Claudio Rowe reports at Equal Voice Newspaper / New America Media, officials in Hidalgo County, Texas, are planning to sue the federal government for failing to count as many as 300,000 Texas residents living along the U.S.-Mexico border. The residents, most of whom live in unincorporated subdivisions called colonias, are predominately U.S.-born Latinos (65 percent). Though community organizers spent months preparing families to participate in the census, the federal government failed to mail census forms to 95 percent of colonia residents—allegedly deeming them “hard to count.” The omission could lose the state tens of millions of dollars in social services funding over the next decade.

Texas welcomes wealthy Mexican immigrants, rejects working class undocumented

At the Texas Observer, Melissa Del Bosque notes that, while U.S. immigration policy has grown increasingly hostile towards Mexican immigrants in general, the government has been remarkably accommodating toward wealthy Mexican immigrants. She reports that Texas border cities are doing everything they can to encourage Mexican investment in the state, even brokering deals with the federal government to expedite visas for wealthy investors eager to flee Mexico’s security crisis

Read more at The Media Consortium’s Weekly Diaspora.

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