Immigration


Trying to get back into the groove of blogging about immigration and this one seemed like a good place to start!

Now really, who thinks they’d get away with this in the age of the internet. Please! A little more creativity from our racists would be nice. I mean the Swiss came up with all sorts of visually interesting ways to disgust us:

The White Sheep/ Black Sheep poster is probably the most famous:

And the poster for their campaign to ban minarets (which they won) turned quite a few heads last year:

And now , everyone’s favourite French racist, Jean-Marie Le Pen of the far-right National Front,  has tooootally ripped them off! Laaaaame!


They’ve imitated the minaret-rockets, and the angry-looking, burkha-clad woman, but they’ve added an extra nice touch, and have made their propaganda nation-specific by including the Algerian flag in the background.

The poster equates the Algerian flag, which incorporates traditional Islamic star and crescent, with violence and “l’islamisme” or extremist Islam.

The newest stats I could find show that there were 691,361 in 2006, the largest immigrant group listed.

The Independent reports that the Algerian government, and anti-racism activists are none too pleased with this:

“We have officially protested,” said the Algerian Foreign Minister, Mourad Medelci. “It is up to the French state to take the necessary measures when foreign countries’ symbols are dragged through the mud.”

Kahled Lasbeur, lawyer for the Movement against Racism, warned of “riots, demonstrations and blood-letting” if the posters are not banned.

Ironically, yet unsurprisingly, as right-wingers tend not to understand international solidarity, “The Swiss advertising agency that devised the original poster said it planned to sue Mr Le Pen’s party, the National Front, for plagiarism.” Perfect.

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Luuuuuuv this one!

This is the kind of journalism I’d love to be involved in. Bold, not afraid to take a stand, hands-on type story telling.Instead of continuing to bicker over unreliable and often unavailable statistics about the impact of immigration, which everyone’s twists to their own argument, they’re going out and just directly asking the question: Well, what if the immigrants did leave? Would the unemployed suddenly find themselves perfectly contented?

In the UK, BBC1 has produced a show called “The Day The Immigrants Left” (not to be confused with the horrible psuedo-comedy-with-a-message “A Day Without a Mexican“) in which journalist Evan Davis will follow a set of jobless Britons in an area heavy hit by unemployment as they are offered the jobs of various immigrants against whom people typically rail during such economic hard times.

The jobs span agricultural, construction and even an Indian restaurant.

From the Guardian, on Feb 12:

Wisbech, near Peterborough, was chosen by the programme’s makers, the independent production company Leopard Films, because of the large number of immigrants who live in the area, many of them from central and eastern Europe. It has also suffered from a big rise in unemployment over the past year.

“Of course immigration is a topic that arouses complex emotions and unwanted tensions,” said Davis, the BBC’s former economics editor and a presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Today. “But that is why broadcasters should tackle it and not avoid it. This programme is an attempt to get beyond the abstract arguments one hears for or against immigration, and to illustrate why it occurs and what it means in human terms.”

The programme was filmed over a three-month period in the spring and summer of last year. Producers sought volunteers with a broad range of views to take part, and put them in jobs that were typically filled by the town’s immigrant population. Davis will also look at how the town’s public services are performing, including its schools.

Well, it seems the program’s under way, and one Independent writer (and immigrant herself) Yasmin Alibhai-Brown weighs in. This is priceless:

Half the British workers either failed to show up or turned up late on the first day. Thereafter, the tasks proved to be beyond the endurance of most of them. I sympathised with them initially – especially with Terry and Paul, mates who used to repair water mains, and Terry’s wife who wept as she described how she feared they could lose their home. Paul, a single father, was learning maths from his 11-year-old daughter. It didn’t seem fair, their suffering.

I wanted them to do well but couldn’t stand the self-pity and anti-migrant bitterness. Paul refused to call his co-worker by his Portuguese name, he wouldn’t respect a “foreign” supervisor. In the end they did shape up thanks to a feisty, young female English manager who didn’t put up with their rubbish.

A resentful builder also started off badly but came right. But most of the rest failed miserably even with kind bosses. A chef at the Indian restaurant given the job of taking orders didn’t survive a single morning. The owner graciously invited him to have a meal before leaving. The youngest lads were the most useless. My English husband couldn’t bear to see what the working classes had become – his own class in fact.

Wow. What a surprise! And what a great project! Way to make people reexamine their complaints and xenophobic ranting. “They’re taking your jobs? Really? Ok, well here, have them back then. Oh, not so much eh?”

I really wish I could find the video to this somewhere, does anyone know if there’s a way to access BBC programming online?

Ran across this little vid on the Independent’s site about how Spain is taking a harder stance on immigration.

Socialist Spain Takes “Right Wing” Stance on Immigration

Nothing really new or strange here. Europe in general is moving right, as is most of the “rich” world. Especially when the economy has troubles, its normal to see immigration rules tightened.

What I thought was interesting about this was the first interviewee’s comment about the policeman who took him in one night. He says the cop told him that they had a quota for the number of people they all had to pick up for being “sin papeles.”  Man. What assholes. Ok, not the cop, he’s just doing what he’s been told to do, but the whole system that would set up quotas like that is sick.

Also makes me realize once again how unfairly lucky I am to be a white American chick, unlikely to be stopped on the street and asked for my papers (though it did happen once, and I almost vomited with panic).

Also cool in the vid – they do an interview with someone from CEAR – the Spanish NGO that helps refugees with whom I did a training program and was going to volunteer for before my papers went to crap and I ended up in the hospital with gall stones. Boo. One more thing I wish I’d done in Spain.

Stumbled across a blog post in the online part of Publico, a Spanish paper, that very concisely reminded us that if we’re sincere about solidarity with places like Haiti in times of crisis, and we really want to help, we can’t also whine about immigration and insist on closing borders.

Says “El Gran Wyoming” (and no, I have no idea why that’s his name):

With the earthquake in Haiti, the wave of solidarity and understanding that the Spanish have towards the underprivilaged has been unleashed. We unite before great tragedies. All citizens, no matter their ideology or religious beliefs, demonstrate their indignation at the poverty in which these people live. It has not occurred to any politician to step to the podium to say “you’ve made your bed, now lie in it.” No, that would give itself away as cruelty, and the electorate won’t go there. Nevertheless, here, because of the proximity of the regional and municipal elections, a witch hunt for immigrants is brewing. The president of the PIMEC [an association of small business owners in Catalunya] links immigration to citizen’s security; the People’s Party [conservatives] via Alberto Fernandez Diaz, is asking for a immigrant commerce inspection plan; Trillo wants to reform the law to avoid repeat offenders who are immigrants; Esperanza Aguirre is supporting the town couselour of Torrejon in limiting municipal registration of immigrants; Alicia Sanchez Camacho – candidate for the PP in Catalunya – is basing her campaign on unemployment, security and immigration and claims that this can make the PPC the governing party. Her slogan “We can’t all fit”. It’s open season: being xenophoic isn’t a sin, it’s self defense. The subtext is: they take our jobs and our bread. The damage they’re doing with these xenophobic propositions is terrible who knows if it’s irreversible.

Dear sirs/mesdames of the center, constitutionalists, and Catholics: those whom you are pointing your fingers at as though they were usurping delinquents are the same people trying to get out from under the rocks in Haiti. They are the same. Don’t build your power on top of mountains of the starved-to-death. [emphasis mine]

Amen.

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[via votersthink.org, via crooksandliars.com]

There’s a lot that could be said in response to this segments content, but that’s not actually why I posted it. What interests me is the presentation.

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In the wake of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, both the U.S. and France have announced that they will stop deportations of Haitians that are residing illegally in their countries.

Well, it’s the least they could do, I guess. Some people, though, are pushing (and have been for years) to give Haitians “Temporary Protected Status” which is granted to “certain immigrants in the United States who cannot safely return to their countries because of armed conflicts, natural disasters or other emergencies.” (via the Village Voice) TPS would give recipients a visa to work for 18 months and is often renewable.  People have been pushing for this for years, because the country has  been in such a state for so long that everyday life there counts as pretty much disastrous, and it would be cruel to send anyone back who managed to make it out.

From Newsweek:

In Miami today, a variety of groups, including South Florida’s congressional delegation, immigrant advocacy organizations, and the Catholic Church, held press conferences calling on the administration to act. “If they don’t grant TPS in this situation, they have effectively repealed TPS,” says Randy McGrorty of Catholic Charities Legal Services. “This is exactly what TPS was designed for.”

You can go here to send your elected representatives a letter urging them to grant TPS to all Haitians residing in the US.

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[Meant to post this a few days ago, then it got lost in the drafts pile 🙂 ]

Ah yes, right on time, the anti-immigrant hysteria is flaring up after the underpants bomber incident.

Congressman J. Gresham Barret, from South Carolina’s 3rd District, has decided to reintroduce legislation that deport, and bar entry of, all nationals from countries marked “State Sponsors of Terror”. Oh, but of course, he’s going to throw in Yemen too, because, this poorly crafted legislation doesn’t include Yemen, but in light of recent events, we’ve got to get all those new Yemeni-haters on board too.

The inclusion of Yemen is quite telling, actually,  because it’s a blatant admission that terrorists can come from places that aren’t “State Sponsors of Terrorism,” which is just one tiny reason why the idea of this law is stooooooopid to begin with.

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