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A June 3 report by the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) shows the Republican party's losses among all voters under 30 in 2012 were only slightly less devastating than the GOP's loss with Latino voters. While 71 percent of Latino voters supported re-electing President Obama last fall, 60 percent of all voters under 30 voted for Obama as well, according to the 95 page report, entitled Grand Old Party for A Brand New Generation.
The entire report can be accessed by going to the Huffington Post's June 3 summary: College Republicans Report Finds Young Voters Hold Many Positions Opposite of Party and clicking the link to the full CRNC report at the end of the Huffpost's summary, which can be accessed at:
A reading of the CRNC report shows that the Republicans are out of touch with, if not openly hostile to, younger voters on such a great variety of issues that the title of the report might more accurately have been: "Grand Old Party against A Brand New Generation". One of these issues, without any question, is immigration, covered on pages 55-60 of the CRNC report.
At the outset, the immigration section of the report states: "The issue of the Republican Party's challenges with the youth vote and the party's challenges with non-white voters are inseparable."
This should come as no surprise, since the report goes on to note that "the Millennial generation is significantly less likely to be white than are older cohorts."
While the report points out that immigration is not near the top of the list of issues of interest to under-30 voters in general, with only 11 percent naming immigration reform as one of their top two or three priorities in a March, 2013 CRNC survey, that does not mean that this issue is unimportant to the GOP's future. The report states:
"Nonetheless, the immigration debate may set up a 'gateway issue'. For voters who are undecided but have a connection to communities affected by immigration policy, the issue can certainly turn voters away. As one of our focus group participants in San Diego framed it, 'For a lot of people that I know that are in the middle and could go either way, I think immigration is the issue for them. They are like, "I would vote for them, but I have family that wants to come here." So I think if [the Republicans] were more open and not to any extreme - nobody should be at one extreme or the other - but if it was moderate and came to a compromise, then things would change.'"
The above is not to say that the CRNC report identifies young voters as overwhelmingly in favor of immigration reform. In its survey, the CRNC found that 35 per cent of respondents favored a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, while 30 percent supported "enforcement first".
Granted, many college students tend to reflect the views of their families or people they grew up with. I found this to be the case myself more than 50 years ago when I was the head of a small (liberal) political group at Harvard College, and the hot issue facing America was not immigration, but "integration" (i.e. abolishing the Southern racial segregation laws).
Nor is it any coincidence that some of the same Southern states which oppressed and persecuted African-Americans in the 1950's are leading the way in their hostility to immigrants of color today. The fact that they are now doing this under the banner of the Republican party, rather than the Democrats, as in the past, should also be a great cause for concern for the GOP in this new millennium.
Congressional Republicans who are trying to block CIR at any cost, or at least push it as far to the right as possible, should think more carefully about their party's future and support moderation and compromise, as the CRNC report recommends, instead of following the road of extremism based on a racist past.
Reuters' Richard Cowan has a good article explaining how lots of local interests are accounted for in the immigration bill in the hope of bringing on support from fence sitters in the Senate.
Jose Pablo Martinez, a U.S. citizen, filed a Complaint under the Immigration Reform and Control Act alleging Superior Linen (Superior) fired him because of his citizenship status and national origin and in retaliation for complaints he made about the company preferring unauthorized workers. Martinez's allegations of discrimination on the basis of national origin were dismissed*because IRCA's prohibition of national origin discrimination does not apply in cases where the employer has more than 15 employees; rather, such an allegation must be brought under Title VII.**Superior has more than*15 employees.Superior stated Martinez was terminated because of his poor job performance, for advising fellow workers to slow down production to gain more work hours, and*for refusing to clock in and out for lunch. Martinez states he was terminated because of his citizenship status and for his reporting violations of*IRCA*and OSHA rules.*Martinez asserts four undocumented workers were kept after his termination. Martinez denied Superior's allegations.**OCAHO found two of the four employees cited by Martinez were not similarly situated.* As for the other two employees, there was no indication that either engaged in conduct of comparable seriousness to Martinez's own conduct. In order to establish an inference of discrimination based on disparate treatment of similarly situated individuals, the employee must show that the potential comparators are similarly situated in all material respects.Concerning*his retaliation allegation, OCAHO assumed Martinez met his initial burden*to prove a prima facie, which OCAHO descrided as "so minimal-the degree of proof*.... does not even need to rise to the level of a preponderance of the evidence."*However, Superior then met its burden of production by proffering two reasons for his discharge: poor performance and failure to follow company rules, which shifted the burden of production back to Martinez to demonstrate a factual issue as to legitimacy of Superior's explanation of his termination.OCAHO found Martinez provided no evidence that would permit a reasonable factfinder to believe that the reasons Superior Linen gave for firing him were false, or the true reason was discrimination on the basis of his U.S. citizenship status or retaliation for protected*conduct.* Therefore, OCAHO granted Superior's Motion for Summary Judgment.*This case is one of the rare OCAHO decisions which does not involve ICE's*allegations that a*company violated IRCA by hiring and employing undocumented workers or committing substantive violations in the preparation of I-9 forms.* Instead, it began at the Office of Special Counsel for Unfair Immigration-Related Employment Practices (OSC).***
Updated 09-10-2013 at 08:12 AM by BBuchanan
[Blogger's Note: Our guest blogger today is Careen Shannon, who is Of Counsel at Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP and an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. This is an updated and condensed version of an article Careen wrote for the online magazine Salon.com. Careen Shannon and Austin Fragomen blog about immigration issues at Fragomen on Immigration.]
No Longer Illegal, But Still An AlienBy Careen Shannon
When I lived in Japan in the early 1980s, they called me a gaijin: literally, an outside (gai) person (jin). While adults in the small town in which I initially resided generally satisfied themselves with staring at me wordlessly as I passed by, small children would often feign fear and yell “gaijin!” and then run away from me, screaming. I moved to Tokyo just when the film E.T. was released in Japan—which teenaged boys took as license to yell “E.T.!” when they saw me on the street. They tended to say it with a certain swaggering bravado, as if they were so above calling me gaijin like their country bumpkin cousins had done. But the implication in their clever pop culture association made my position in society clear, if it hadn’t been already: I wasn’t just a foreigner, an outsider. I was an alien. I might as well have been from outer space.
As Angelo has already reported here, and as I wrote recently in an article on Salon.com entitled “Stop Calling People Aliens,” the use of the word “illegal” to describe non-citizens who are present in the United States without authorization is finally beginning to die a well-deserved death, at least in the mainstream press. The announcement by the Associated Press in April that it would no longer use the word “illegal” to describe a person, only a status or an action, was quickly followed by a number of other major newspapers, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Denver Post.
Despite this trend, the term “alien” remains not only in popular use, but also in the federal statute that regulates immigration to the United States, the Immigration and Nationality Act, which defines “alien” as “any person not a citizen or national of the United States.” The text of the comprehensive immigration reform bill recently approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee does nothing to upset this long-standing practice. Like the Japanese word gaijin, the word “alien” serves to exclude those upon whom it is bestowed. While it is true that Black’s Law Dictionary defines “alien” rather dispassionately as “[a] person who resides within the borders of a country but is not a citizen or subject of that country,” the colloquial use of the term is closer to its “regular” dictionary definition: “strange” or “repugnant” or “in science fiction, a being in or from outer space and not native to the Earth; extraterrestrial.”
Some may say that calling immigrants “aliens” doesn’t really matter, especially when the word is embodied in our law as a term of art. But I think it does matter, and I am not alone in this belief. When I was called “E.T.” in Japan many years ago, I could laugh it off because I knew that I would be returning to the United States once my graduate fellowship was complete. The epithet did not have any long-lasting impact on how I perceived myself as a human being. For immigrants to the United States, however, whether they are here without authorization or have immigrated through statutorily sanctioned channels, the lingering after-effects of the designation are undoubtedly harder to shake off.
As Professor Kevin R. Johnson, Dean of the University of California at Davis School of Law, has put it, “[t]he concept of the alien has … subtle social consequences…. [I]t helps to reinforce and strengthen nativist sentiment toward members of new immigrant groups, which in turn influences U.S. responses to immigration and human rights issues.” Keith Cunningham-Parmeter, an Associate Professor of Law at Willamette University College of Law, wrote a fascinating article for the Fordham Law Review in 2011 called “Alien Language: Immigration Metaphors and The Jurisprudence of Otherness.” In it, he applied research in cognitive linguistics to critically evaluate the metaphoric constructions of immigrants in U.S. law. He found that the three conceptual immigration metaphors that dominate legal texts—immigrants are aliens, immigration is a flood, and immigration is an invasion—influence not only judicial outcomes, but also social discourse and the broader debate over immigration reform.
A quick look at the history and etymology of the word “alien” in English is instructive. The word “alien” is thought to have entered the English language sometime between 1300 and 1350 from the Latin. The Latin word ali?nus derived from the earlier alius, meaning “other” or “else.” So an “alien” is, essentially, someone who comes from somewhere else. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) cites the first legal usage as dating from 1522, in a law enacted under the reign of Henry VIII. Fast forward to early American jurisprudence, and the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power “[t]o establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” The Naturalization Act of 1790—the first American law touching at all on the subject of immigration—provided the first such set of rules, allowing Congress to naturalize “any Alien being a free White person,” so long as such person met certain residence requirements, established that he or she was a person of good moral character, and took an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of the United States. And thus was the word “alien” enshrined in U.S. immigration law.
What does outer space have to do with any of this? As it turns out, the use of the word “alien” to refer to creatures from outer space is much more recent than one might imagine. The earliest uses of “alien” as a noun to refer to extraterrestrials date from the early twentieth century. In 1935, Earl Binder wrote of a “Robot Alien” in the pulp science fiction magazine, Wonder Stories. In 1931, Nat Schachner & Arthur Leo Zagat wrote about “ten-foot tall aliens” in Venus Mines. And in 1912, Edgar Rice Burroughs (best known for his Tarzan stories) had a Martian character in A Princess of Mars call earthling John Carter “an alien.” This means that we had already been calling foreigners aliens for centuries before we started using the word to refer to extraterrestrials.
The surprising conclusion this leads to is that it’s not that we think foreigners resemble Martians, it’s that we think Martians resemble foreigners. Put another way: it is not the case that, the first time we saw a foreigner, he reminded us of an imaginary space creature. Rather, when we in the English-speaking world first conceived of the possibility (or at least first started writing about the notion) that there might be Martians (green skin and all that), the only image we could bring to mind was of a foreigner—and therefore the only word we could think of using was one that we already used to describe odd, strange, foreign beings. The fact that we appear to have named extraterrestrials after foreigners, rather than the other way around, reveals both the fear and the nativism at the heart of the immigration debate, and we ignore this at our peril.
Dismissing objections to calling immigrants “aliens” as political correctness run amok misses the point. The fact is that language has power. Changes in how language is used can lead to changes in how power is wielded. For example, nowadays, it is socially unacceptable for a white man to call a black man “boy,” but for years this was accepted practice in polite society—and, it is now commonly understood, not only reflected white society’s racism, but served to perpetuate the oppression of African-American men. Calling a grown woman a “girl” has a similarly belittling effect, and the fact that the practice has not yet been universally repudiated tells us something important about the continued inequality of women in American society.
As Professor Catherine MacKinnon of the University of Michigan Law School has written, “Social inequality is substantially created and enforced—that is, done—through words and images.” Referring to immigrants as “aliens,” when “alien” is commonly understood to be derogatory (whether because it means foreign, or strange, or brings images of extraterrestrial space creatures to mind), not only reflects immigrants’ place in American society, but in a very real way it enforces it. And be honest, now: which of the following is closer to what comes to mind when you hear the term “illegal alien” or “undocumented alien”—a German graduate student who has overstayed her visa, or a Mexican laborer who has illegally crossed our southern border? I think it’s a safe bet that, whatever your political persuasion, you were more likely to think of the Mexican.
In her seminal book, Language and Woman’s Place, linguist Robin Lakoff declared that “[l]inguistic imbalances are worthy of study because they bring into sharper focus real-world imbalances and inequities. They are clues that some external situation needs changing….” While she was specifically discussing terms she considered demeaning to women, her point is equally relevant to terms that are demeaning to immigrants. Lakoff has also said that “linguistic and social change go hand in hand: one cannot, purely by changing language use, change social status.” It is, however, sometimes difficult to tease out what is cause and what is effect. Does social change create language change, or does language change create social change?
My article in Salon generated a lot of comments, most of which were unpleasant and aggressive, to put it mildly. One person even went to the trouble to track down my email address, and sent me a lovely piece of hate mail. This all just proves the point that the term “alien” is loaded with prejudice. While changing the language won’t eliminate the prejudice, sometimes the best thing one can do is to shine a light on a problem. The responses to my article certainly indicate that I hit a nerve.
According to Lakoff, “[A]t best, language change influences changes in attitudes slowly and indirectly, and these changes in attitudes will not be reflected in social change unless society is receptive already.” As a member of a community of lawyers, scholars, advocates and others who work with, and care deeply about the plight of, immigrants in this country, I feel that we have a duty to do what we can to make society receptive already. So let’s stop calling non-citizens aliens. Let’s just call them people.
Updated 07-16-2013 at 02:20 PM by APaparelli
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