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  1. Bloggings: The Republican war on minority voting rights parallels the Republican war on minority immigrants. By Roger Algase

    The Washington Post, in a September 15 article, details the way in which Republican legislatures in Florida and a number of other states are attempting to roll back voting rights which had led to the large turnout of minority and less affluent voters that helped to elect Barack Obama as president in 2008. These Republican measures include restricting early voting, reversing laws that had made it easier for ex-felons to vote, and, most insidious of all, requiring photo ID's in order to vote. The ID requirement is especially burdensome for elderly and lower income voters, including many minorities.
    The Republican excuse is that these measures, which have rightly been compared to the Southern poll tax requirements meant to keep African-American voters away from the polls during the segregation era, are necessary to prevent "voter fraud". What voter fraud? Proven instances of voter fraud have been only slightly more common than confirmed UFO sightings.
    The only possible reason for these attempts to keep less affluent and minority voters away from the polls is to gain power for the Republicans as the party of upper class and upper middle class whites. The Republicans' attempt to keep minority US citizens away from the polls is part and parcel of their attempt to keep minority non-US citizens away from America and to expel those who are already here. This is not to mention the Republicans' threat to take away 14th Amendment birthright US citizenship from tens of millions of children born in the US to Latino and other minority parents.
    The Republican war on minority voters, which, of course, is by definition directed against US citizens, is only one of the many pieces of evidence showing that the GOP's war on immigrants is part of its larger strategy of using racial politics to achieve the long standing goal of creating a "permanent Republican majority", i.e. putting an end to America's nearly 250 year old experiment with something known as democracy.
    The Republicans, so far, have been all too successful in their attempt to divide minorities and the less affluent and pit them against each other, based on citizenship, or what the Roman writer Seneca 2000 years ago  called condicio nascendi -  the accident of birth. But the savage Republican attack against immigrants (which Obama and the Democrats have responded to with all the force and power of a jellyfish) is only part of a larger strategy. Minorities and the less well off, whether immigrants or American citizens, are all in the same boat. If the Republicans take over the Senate and the White House next year, that boat will be named the Titanic.
  2. Will E-Verify Be Sunk By Repulicans?

    by , 09-16-2011 at 04:43 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    When I watched yesterday's markup hearing for Lamar Smith's E-Verify bill, most members of the Immigration Subcommittee spoke according to script - except one. California conservative Republican Congressman Dan Lungren gave a very pragmatic assessment of where the GOP is going. Passing E-Verify would be a national disaster for the agriculture sector and the agricultural workers bill proposed by Congressman Smith to help allay fears is not going to be enough.
    From Huffington Post:

    At a Thursday markup of the bill, which would mandate the use of an electronic screening system called E-Verify, one Republican Judiciary Committee member worried aloud that it would hurt agriculture businesses and drive workers underground. Democrats, who by and large oppose the bill, have been airing the same complaints for months, and are now forming an unlikely coalition with conservatives and Tea Partiers who oppose parts of the bill.
    "I just can't abide with what we're doing to my state in terms of the temporary need for temporary workers," Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) said. "It would devastate agriculture. ... If we do not recognize the demonstrated need for foreign workers, and I'm talking about temporary foreign workers in the agriculture field, we're kidding ourselves."
    Tea Party groups, including Take Back Washington, Tea Party Nation and Liberty Coalition, bought a full-page ad in Politico on Thursday criticizing the mandatory E-Verify bill. They also sent an open letter to members of Congress asking them to oppose the bill to avoid disastrous consequences for American citizens.
    "Punishing businesses and telling citizens they can't work is no way to stop illegal immigration...or fix the economy," the ad reads.

    It's definitely too early to say if we're reaching a turning point on the politics of immigration reform, but when enough of the GOP starts thinking along these lines, we might be able to craft a compromise.
  3. Bachmann Seeking Arpaio Endorsement

    by , 09-15-2011 at 12:50 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    This is a pretty easy way to figure out where the Tea Party fave stands on immigration. At this point, Perry, Romney and Huntsman are the only sane candidates in the GOP when it comes to immigration. Luckily, Bachmann's crazy train looks to be stalling out.
  4. Rights of undocumented and illegal immigrants in the work place

    Recently we have been getting calls from undocumented immigrants suffering from abuse by their employers. Some US employers think that just because a person has no status, that person has no rights. Well they are wrong! The main focus of this article is the rights of undocumented and illegal immigrants in work place.
    Contrary to widespread misconception, illegal and undocumented aliens in California are protected from unfair and illegal practices in the work place. Attorney Habib Hasbini from our office specializes in representing and advocating the legal rights of undocumented immigrants and illegal aliens in work place.
    The issue of undocumented immigrants and illegal aliens in the work place has been on the rise recently. Various cases in California have been developing and evolving that provide protection for undocumented immigrants and illegal aliens in the work place and establish their right to sue for damages for harassment, discrimination, and establish their right to be compensated for overtime wages and breaks.
    California State prides itself on its liberal policies as well as the protections it affords employees against harassment and discrimination regardless of immigration status and insures a discrimination-free environment for all workers regardless of immigration status. Under California Law, undocumented aliens and illegal workers are entitled to all protections allowed under the law including damages resulting from discrimination and harassment in the work place, back pay, emotional distress, and punitive damages. Murillo v. Rite Stuff Foods, Inc. (1998) 65 Cal. App. 4th 833.
    In an effort to avoid the Hoffman ruling (denying back pay to undocumented immigrants), California Labor Code section 1171.5 was passed to assure undocumented immigrants and illegal aliens all protections allowed under State law. Labor Code section 1171.5 provides, in pertinent part, as follows: all protections, rights, and remedies available under state law, except any reinstatement remedy prohibited by federal law, are available to all individuals regardless of immigration status who have applied for employment, or who are or who have been employed, in this state. Further, Labor Code section 1171.5 provides that for purposes of enforcing state labor and employment laws, a person's immigration status is irrelevant to the issue of liability, and in proceedings or discovery undertaken to enforce those state laws no inquiry shall be permitted into a person's immigration status.
    California precedent further assured undocumented immigrants and illegal aliens protection from discrimination and harassment in the work place. The employment discrimination statutes apply to undocumented alien employees notwithstanding the illegality of employing them. Murillo v. Rite Stuff Foods, Inc. (1998) 65 Cal. App. 4th 833. In a civil action under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, Cal. Gov't Code § 12900 et seq., an injured employee is entitled to all relief generally available in non-contractual actions, including punitive damages. Id. Employment discrimination, particularly that involving sexual harassment, can cause emotional distress and that such distress is compensable under traditional theories of tort law. Id. Compensable emotional distress runs the full gamut of intangible mental suffering, including fright, nervousness, grief, anxiety, worry, mortification, shock, humiliation, indignity, embarrassment, apprehension, terror or ordeal. Id.
    Further, Hernandez v. Paicius (2003) 109 Cal. App. 4th 452 allowed undocumented immigrants and illegal aliens to seek damages for unpaid overtime wages, minimum wages, and meal and rest periods violations.
    Further, Farmers Bros. Coffee v. WCAB (2005) 133 Cal. App. 4th 533 allowed
    undocumented immigrants and illegal aliens to be covered under workers' compensation state laws. Thus, if an illegal alien or undocumented immigrant incurs a work-related injury, he or she will be entitled to file a workers' compensation claim against the employer and get the necessary treatment.
    If you feel you were subject to discrimination or harassment in the work place, or denied wages including overtime, minimum wages, and meal and rest breaks, or if you feel you were wrongfully terminated, please do not hesitate to contact us. We assure you competent, zealous, and excellent representation in a court of law.
  5. CBS Special About Refugees and Faith-Based Organizations

    CBS News has announced a new interfaith religion special, "Refugee Resettlement: Faith Communities Making a Difference," to be aired on Sunday, September 25, 2011.
    And that's the way it is...
    The special will focus on Church World Service("CWS"), which has helped over 500,000 refugees resettle in the U.S. since its founding in 1946.  The special features interviews with Erol Kekic, Director of Immigration and Refugee Program for CWS, as well as Vincent Cochetel, Regional Representative for The UN High Commissioner for Refugees.  The program also includes interviews with volunteers from interfaith co-sponsorship teams (where a Muslim and a Christian are paired to assist a refugee), as well as refugees from Eritrea and Somalia, "who are adjusting with the help of their new friends, many of whom are now like family."

    Given the hateful propaganda against Muslims in the U.S. these days, I am particularly interested in the interfaith partnerships.  This seems like a great way to bring people together while accomplishing important work.  The initiative is sponsored by the Minnesota Counsel of Churches and is called the Taking Root program.  Here is an excerpt from the Taking Root website:
    Imagine you are a refugee fleeing persecution, arriving in Minnesota knowing no one. You are greeted at the airport and helped in your first months by a team of Muslim and Christian volunteers working together. In your homeland you only knew people of your own religious tradition, or your experience with other religions was one of distrust and persecution. But here your interfaith sponsors help you find a home, a job and make a successful transition to self-sufficiency. Gradually you build a new life of hope, safety, peacefulness and connection. This unique team of volunteers has also given you a gift that may have been unimaginable to you - an experience of interfaith cooperation.
    The CBS documentary will help spread the word about interfaith cooperation and about refugee resettlement.  It sounds like a win-win.
    Originally posted on the Asylumist:
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