# Immigration Reform

Steve King: #1 in the Immigration Hall of Shame

This week, it’s the 104th anniversary of Ellis Island’s one-day peak – the day when more immigrants were welcomed than any other in American history. On April 17, 1907, 11,747 immigrants became Americans – and that was just at Ellis Island.

Today, 104 years later, America is stuck in the mud with a broken immigration system. Americans want reform that unites families, promotes fair employment practices, and restores America’s place as a nation that welcomes those seeking freedom from persecution and a better way of life.

This week, Immigrants' List -– a bipartisan political action committee dedicated to electing pro-immigration lawmakers – unveiled the 2011 inductees into the Immigration Hall of Shame. Sadly, Iowa Congressman Steve King is #1 on the list.

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Reaction to the new Arizona immigration law

Arizona’s Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed a law yesterday that makes it “a state crime to be in the country illegally” and “requires local law enforcement to determine an individual’s immigration status if an officer suspects that person is in the country illegally.” Civil rights groups are already preparing federal lawsuits, and President Barack Obama called the bill “misguided”, adding, “I’ve instructed members of my admininstration to closely monitor the situation and examine the civil rights and other implications of this legislation.”

The American Civil Liberties Union explained why we should be outraged about this law:

The law creates new immigration crimes and penalties inconsistent with those in federal law, asserts sweeping authority to detain and transport persons suspected of violating civil immigration laws and prohibits speech and other expressive activity by persons seeking work. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Arizona strongly condemn the governor’s decision to sign the unconstitutional law and are dismayed by her disregard for the serious damage it could cause to civil liberties and public safety in the state.[…]

The new law, which will not go into effect for more than 90 days, requires police agencies across Arizona to investigate the immigration status of every person they come across whom they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is in the country unlawfully. To avoid arrest, citizens and immigrants will effectively have to carry their “papers” at all times. The law also makes it a state crime for immigrants to willfully fail to register with the Department of Homeland Security and carry registration documents. It further curtails the free speech rights of day laborers and encourages unchecked information sharing between government agencies.

Naturally, conservatives who claim to be for small government love the expansion of police powers in Arizona.

Representative Raul Grijalva, one of the leaders of the House Progressive Caucus, closed his Arizona offices yesterday following threatening phone calls. Grijalva also “called on businesses and groups looking for convention and meeting locations to boycott Arizona.” Already yesterday the American Immigration Lawyers Association canceled plans to hold the group’s fall national convention in Scottsdale. A petition has been created to urge California’s state pension fund to “divest from all Arizona companies” and sell all Arizona real estate.

The law may never be enforced, depending on what happens with the federal lawsuits, but some people are predicting it will boost support for Democrats among Latino voters.

Share any relevant thoughts in this thread. For comic relief, I recommend reading the official statement from Arizona Hispanic Republicans. After criticizing the (Republican) state legislators who spearheaded the bill and the (Republican) governor who signed the bill, they say they are “ultimately holding President Obama accountable,” because “Obama promised Hispanics that he would pass immigration reform within 90 days of his Presidency.  Had Obama carried out his promises to Hispanics last year, the Hispanic community would not be experiencing the crisis we are experiencing right now.” That’s quite a creative way to misdirect blame.

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Weekend open thread and events coming up during the next ten days

This thread is for anything on your mind this weekend. After the jump I’ve posted details about lots of upcoming events in early February.

If you want to watch Senator Chuck Grassley do the “Friday Happy Dance” on WHO-TV, head on over to Dave Price’s blog.

The Polk County Democrats need more submissions of original recipes for the “Liberally Seasoned” cookbook they are compiling. By February 6, send polkdems AT gmail.com a word document including your full name and precinct, a paragraph about the dish, and a picture of the dish or yourself if possible. Categories: salads, appetizers, main dishes, vegetarian, desserts and drinks. They plan to have the cookbook ready by the Polk County Convention on March 12. For questions, call 515-285-1800.

DAWN’s List, which works to elect Democratic pro-choice women in Iowa, is seeking nominations for awards that will be given in five categories. Details are below, and nominations are due by the end of the day on February 1.

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A few links on the anniversary of the Postville raid

One year after federal immigration agents raided the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa, arresting nearly 400 immigrants, prayer vigils are planned in Postville and in at least 50 other cities across the country:

“Postville will one day be remembered as a dark chapter in U.S. history that served as a catalyst for reforming our nation’s immigration system into something we can take pride in again,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, a nonpartisan, pro-immigrant advocacy group in Washington.


Ever since the raid, pro-immigration groups, including the Catholic church and other religious and political lobbies, have used it to illustrate what they argue is the basic unfairness of punishing illegal immigrants seeking a better life.

To make their point, today they are staging a prayer vigil, news conferences, a blessing for the town and a symbolic march to the Agriprocessors plant.

“We are working hard to raise the national consciousness about the devastation of this raid,” said Sister Mary McCauley. “We are calling for complete immigration reform and an end to the raids. … We can never be proud of what happened here.”

I’M for Iowa sent out an e-mail yesterday about the vigils:

People are asked to gather at St. Bridget’s Church at 4:00 p.m. for a prayer vigil followed by a march to the Agriprocessors plant where the raid took place. Text for the prayer vigil is available for adaptation for local use.

If you aren’t able to travel to Postville, there may be a vigil in your home town, since May 12th has been declared a nationwide day of remembrance to promote awareness of the devastating effects of raids such as this. In Des Moines, Catholic Charities’ Social Justice Consortium will hold an interfaith prayer service at 3:30 at St. Ambrose Church. Contact Sol Varisco at svarisco@dmdiocese.org.

More links are after the jump.

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Events coming up this week

Please let me know about other events this week in the comments, or by e-mail (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com).

Tuesday, March 25:

One Iowa is holding a Des Moines Area March CORE Team Meeting at 7:00 PM (details after the jump)

Thursday, March 27:

Iowa Interfaith Power and Light candlelight vigil a Nollen Plaza in Des Moines at 7:30 pm (more details after the jump)

Friday, March 28:

Ed Fallon is holding a town hall meeting to talk about immigration reform: 10:00 AM at Fallon for Congress, 2715 Cottage Grove Ave., Des Moines.

Time TBA

Screening of the film “Renewal” about the faith-based movement concerned about the environment, food and drink, and discussion

Dowling Catholic High School, Des Moines

Check out www.renewalproject.net for more information about this great film.

Saturday, March 29th:

9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Times flexible and subject to change depending on attendees – please RSVP!)

Dowling Catholic High School, Des Moines

As Iowa Interfaith Power & Light moves forward, we’re planning to train new volunteers in giving presentations about faith, the environment, global warming, and creation care, in helping support Iowa Interfaith Power & Light’s efforts, in doing Cool Congregations trainings, and many other ways you can work with IIP&L. (more details and RSVP number after the jump)

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