Was juggling Spanish bureaucracy and a visit from the parents (including trip to San Sebastian to sit on the beach, but it rained almost the whole time, booo!) the last couple of weeks, but am back, settling into a new (frighteningly reduced) class schedule, and should have plenty of time, while I’m not busy earning any money, to blog! Yay!

Here’s a couple of items from my good old standby, Alternet, that I ran across today:

On the myth that Comprehensive Immigration Reform is “Amnesty”, Joshua Holland tells us:

Looking at a range of opinion data, political scientist Ruy Teixeira observed that when pollsters ask, “with no further specifications, whether we should make it easier for illegal immigrants to become legal workers, you get a negative response. … And you get an even more negative response on whether we should make it easier for illegal immigrants to become citizens.” But, added Teixeira, “that initial reaction turns around if it sounds like helping illegal immigrants to get legal worker status or to become citizens isn’t a free lunch for those who broke the law.” Teixeira found that in poll after poll, around 70 percent of Americans opposed offering amnesty, with many strongly opposing it.

But there was no amnesty offered in the comprehensive reform bills of 2005 and 2007. Amnesty was a central tenet of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, signed into law by Ronald Reagan; it simply legalized undocumented immigrants who underwent a health check and could prove they’d been residing in the country since before Jan. 1, 1982. If they were healthy and fulfilled that simple requirement (and paid a modest administrative fee), bingo, they were “legal.”

Wow. Learn something new everyday. I’m sittin’ here readin’ that thinkin’ “Man I wish the immigration process I’m going through right now was more like Ronald Reagan’s” and that totally twists my brain.

And on mobilizing the immigrant vote, Jackie Mahendra tells us:

The message has never been clearer: Become a citizen and vote… before it’s too late.

As dramatic as it sounds, the message resonates with immigrants throughout Chicago and beyond. Communities across the country feel that they are under attack by TV and radio pundits, anti-immigrant ordinances, and a crescendo of deportation-only enforcement policy that is being heralded by recognized hate groups and local officials alike as the easy fix for a severely broken immigration system. Immigrant communities are feeling the strain more and more- and more and more, they are responding. They are organizing themselves to become citizens, registering those who already are citizens, and turning out the immigrant vote.

In Chicago, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and its partners in the State are gearing up to register 20,000 new American citizens and mobilize 60,000 immigrant voters to the polls in November. Groups in the audience from Colorado to Mississippi were getting ready to go back home and do the same.

The stakes are high, the new aggressive deportation and jailing stance is really dangerous, it cannot be hailed as the solution to any immigration problem. Let’s hope these folks get out on election day!

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