President Obama says he wants ‘immigration reform done this year,’ but says he can’t stop deportations of non-criminal immigrants

February 4, 2014

ObamaNY Daily News, 2/2/14

“After almost two million deportations, President Obama’s enforcement machine has caused untold damage and suffering for families in New York and beyond,” Valdés added. “He signaled his willingness to advance an agenda with his executive powers, and we call on him to immediately suspend deportations and keep immigrant families together.” Yet although Obama in his speech asserted his willingness to use his executive powers on a number of issues, and even announced an Executive Order to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10 per hour during his address, halting the deportation of non-criminal immigrants was not one of them.

The President’s inaction — his callousness, some would say — on this painful issue has cost him dearly in terms of support from Latino voters, 71% of whom voted to re-elect him. According to a Gallup poll, Obama’s approval rating among Latinos is in free fall, plummeting 23 points, from 75% in December 2012 to 52% in November 2013. Such a drop in support is only natural and is bound to get worse as long as Obama keeps up his cruel policy of massive deportations.

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The rise of Mexico: America needs to look again at its increasingly important neighbour

November 23, 2012

The Economist, 11/24/2012

NEXT week the leaders of North America’s two most populous countries are due to meet for a neighbourly chat in Washington, DC. The re-elected Barack Obama and Mexico’s president-elect, Enrique Peña Nieto, have plenty to talk about: Mexico is changing in ways that will profoundly affect its big northern neighbour, and unless America rethinks its outdated picture of life across the border, both countries risk forgoing the benefits promised by Mexico’s rise.

The White House does not spend much time looking south. During six hours of televised campaign debates this year, neither Mr Obama nor his vice-president mentioned Mexico directly. That is extraordinary. One in ten Mexican citizens lives in the United States. Include their American-born descendants and you have about 33m people (or around a tenth of America’s population). And Mexico itself is more than the bloody appendix of American imaginations. In terms of GDP it ranks just ahead of South Korea. In 2011 the Mexican economy grew faster than Brazil’s—and will do so again in 2012.

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Pew Hispanic Center: Net Migration from Mexico Falls to Zero—and Perhaps Less

April 24, 2012

A news story covering the release of this report by Pew Hispanic Center was featured on NPR. The story “Immigration from Mexico to the U.S. comes to a standstill” can be read here.

Pew Hispanic Center, 4/24/12

The largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States has come to a standstill. After four decades that brought 12 million current immigrants—more than half of whom came illegally—the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped—and may have reversed, according to a new analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center of multiple government data sets from both countries.

The standstill appears to be the result of many factors, including the weakened U.S. job and housing construction markets, heightened border enforcement, a rise in deportations, the growing dangers associated with illegal border crossings, the long-term decline in Mexico’s birth rates and changing economic conditions in Mexico.

The report is based on the Center’s analysis of data from five different Mexican government sources and four U.S. government sources.

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The California Taco Trail: ‘How Mexican Food Conquered America’

April 23, 2012

NPR, 4/23/12

For 50 years, the taco has been a staple of American life. It’s in school lunches and Michelin-star restaurants. It even helped launch the food truck craze. So how did the taco come to loom so large in American bellies?

In Gustavo Arellano‘s new book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, he explains our love of all things folded into a tortilla. I recently joined him for a 150-mile tour of Southern California’s taco trail, visiting cultural touchstones in the evolution of the Mexican snack in America. Here’s our tour.

Stop One: Cielito Lindo Food Stand, Olvera Street, Los Angeles: Since the 1930s, this tiny stand — located in the heart of historic L.A. — has been famous for its rolled, fried taquitos, covered in avocado sauce. Arellano thinks of the food stand as a Plymouth Rock of tacos, one place where the Mexican staple met a broader American audience.

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Home again in Mexico: Illegal immigration hits net zero

April 8, 2012

CSR Monitor, 4/8/12

At this time of year in this tiny rural outpost that sits on a mountainside in Guanajuato State, most able-bodied men are gone. They’re off plucking and cutting chicken in processing plants in Georgia or pruning the backyards of Seattle.

But this year, Pedro Laguna and his wife, Silvia Arellano, are clearing rocks from their yard to prepare a field for corn. They’ve returned home to Tamaula, Mexico, with their four young children, after 20 years in the United States working illegally. Pedro’s cousin Jorge Laguna and his brothers are planting garbanzo beans in the plot behind their father’s home. Their next-door neighbor Gregorio Zambrano is also home: One recent morning he badgered a visiting social worker for funds to start a honey-production enterprise.

Since the Monitor last visited here in 2007, a major demographic shift has transformed this dusty village of 230. Migrants have come home, and with them have come other important changes. In 2007, there was no running water, no high school, no paved roads.

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Shelve Secure Communities

August 12, 2011

The Los Angeles Times, 8/12/11

Lawmakers in California, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York have sought for several months to withdraw from Secure Communities, a supposedly voluntary federal fingerprint-sharing program designed to identify and deport dangerous immigrants. The Obama administration is now trying to make the states’ opposition moot — a tactic that may provide the legal basis for expanding Secure Communities but does nothing to improve the program’s damaged credibility.

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Record year for immigration-related legislation

August 10, 2011

CNN, 8/10/11

If it seems that debates over immigration bills have spread from border states to across the country, that’s because they have.

In the first half of 2011, legislatures in all 50 states and Puerto Rico have introduced a record number of bills or resolutions relating to immigrants or refugees, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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