PITTSBURG — Week after week before Tax Day, they arrived at H&R Block with bundles of paperwork bound by elastic bands.
They lived nearby. They worked nearby. They just happened to be illegal immigrants.
"You have some really hardworking folks who are just trying to buy into that American dream," said Rene Steele, who works at the Buchanan Road branch of the national tax preparing company. "I try to take a neutral stance and say, you know, they're paying taxes. Everybody's trying to contribute."
Among the Californians who filed their tax returns before Wednesday's deadline were an untold number of undocumented immigrants. No one knows for sure how many of the state's estimated 2.7 million illegal immigrants participate in the civic duty.
I Married an Illegal Immigrant: A First-Hand Account of How Screwed Up This Country's Rules for Foreigners Are
The one argument in the immigration debate with absolutely no merit is that the system is fine.
Immigration is an issue that always spurs heated debates. There are some decent arguments floating around, some kooky ones and one that reveals that the person making it is utterly clueless about the issue. That argument, in a nutshell, is that the system's fine.
Budget shortfalls have prompted cities to raise revenue by jailing undocumented immigrants.
Washington Governor Chris Gregoire is proposing the early release of some inmates to help balance his state's budget. Meanwhile, cities in Los Angeles County are relying on the arrest and detention of immigrants to keep their coffers full. Los Angeles communities are increasingly seeking federal revenue to house larger numbers of arrested immigrants. With the state and federal government's renewed attention on immigration detention, Los Angeles county cities have never had difficulty keeping their beds full.
Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported that analysts across the country have been worried that the economic crisis has fueled an increase in hate groups and racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric. With its large immigrant population and current economic woes, California is in the belly of the beast. Yet, while many restrictionists and anti-immigrant groups are exploiting the recession and using immigrants as scapegoats, an undeniable truth lies beneath their feeble facts: California’s immigrants and their children climb up the socioeconomic ladder over time and most Californians have economically benefited as a result.
NEW YORK -- In 2007, the mayor of Morristown, New Jersey tried to enroll local police officers in a federal program that delegates immigration enforcement duties to local and state police.
Dozens of law enforcement agencies nationwide already had joined the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program. Called 287(g) for a section of the 1996 immigration law that created it, the program is touted as a partnership between federal and local law enforcement to crack down on dangerous transnational crimes, like drug trafficking and human smuggling.
For more than five years, U.S. immigration authorities have touted the success of a national program aimed at arresting and deporting dangerous criminals and fugitives.
In frequent early morning raids at homes in Los Angeles and around the country, federal fugitive teams have sought out immigrants with criminal records or outstanding deportation orders.
“Parade of Injustice” video on Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s public humiliation and transfer of immigrants in his custody to a tent jail or concentration camp. Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County Arizona continues his human rights violations. This video shows disturbing images of Americas worst sheriff and modern day Bull Connor abusing his power. Arpaio paraded 200 shackled individuals suspected of being in this country undocumented as a form of transportation from one jail to another. The inmates new place of captivity is "tent city".
Editor’s Note: The recent death of an immigrant in a detention center, and a flurry of upcoming reports about conditions in detention center will likely make detention reform one of the first immigration issues the Obama administration will have to contend with writes NAM contributor Roberto Lovato.
Guantanamo Bay isn’t the only prison crisis that President Barack Obama will have to deal with. There’s another crisis growing - in the many immigration detention centers carpeting the interior of the country. Long ignored by policymakers because they make up the politically lethal combination of immigration and prison reform, calls for major restructuring of the immigration detention system may soon become unavoidable. The death of German immigrant Guido Newbrough in a Virginia detention center has pushed the issue to the front burner, helped along by incessant calls for change from advocates like Gil Velazquez.
LAUREL, Miss. - The work has always been stupefying and hard. Hour after hour standing on the line, soldering or welding or drilling in screws until tears join streaming sweat and hands cramp in pain.
Even in today's nightmare economy, most people wouldn't want this daily grind that steals the soul in 12-hour shifts paying as little as $280 a week, before taxes.
But such labor prospers here in mostly rural Jones County, home to Laurel, where the area's biggest employer, Howard Industries, maintains a sprawling factory that builds electrical transformers and other big equipment behind a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire.
Assembly lines like these offer tenuous lifelines to those desperate enough to toil on them. And sometimes, competition for these jobs pits have-nots against have-nots.
America has long been the envy of the rest of the world, and for good reason. Over the past century, the United States has harnessed its economic, scientific, cultural and educational resources to produce remarkable achievements in every field of human endeavor. But with nations like China and India emerging as major powers, many argue that U.S. dominance will soon be eclipsed, and what is known as the American Century will soon be over. Our fate is far from sealed, though. Whether America surmounts its challenges or slides to the middle of the pack will likely depend on its fastest-growing segment: the Latino community.