HEADLINES: Immigration

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Alabama’s Attorney General, Luther Strange, has suggested throwing out parts of the state’s recent immigration law hailed as the country’s toughest after challenges by the federal government and strong protests by human rights and business groups. A letter written by Strange sent last week proposed changes would make the law “easier to defend in court” and “remove burdens on law-abiding citizens.” This comes as the attorney general defends the law against a federal court challenge filed by about 30 organizations and individuals. The state Legislature passed the law to scare off illegal immigrants and open up jobs in a state suffering from more than 9 percent unemployment. Some immigrants then fled the state, and some employers found they couldn’t find people to fill the jobs they left behind. Officials discussed the possibility of using prison inmates to fill labor shortages. [Associated Press]

More than 5,000 letters were sent to the nation’s political leaders, asking them to stop a wave of deportations that is tearing immigrant families apart. On Thursday, dozens of children brought the letters to President Barack Obama and Congress as part of the “A Wish for the Holidays” campaign, organized by the coalition We Belong Together. Letters were hand delivered to the offices of 54 members of Congress, including 27 members who are supporters of immigrant rights to thank them and encourage them to do more. Other letters went to lawmakers — including Rep. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Rep. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) — whose views they hoped to change. Between January and June 2011, the U.S. deported more than 46,000 parents of U.S. citizen children. As a result of Immigration and Customs Enforcement detentions and deportations, more than 5,000 children are in foster care around the country, according to a study, “Shattered Families,” by the Applied Research Center. [Huffington Post]

On Monday, a new definition of “anchor baby” was posted on the American Heritage Dictionary’s website which treated the term similarly to how the dictionary treats a wide range of other slurs. The term was among some 10,000 new words and phrases in the fifth edition of the dictionary, published in November. Last Friday morning, Mary Giovagnoli, the director of the Immigration Policy Center, posted an angry item on the center’s blog, saying the dictionary “masks the poisonous and derogatory nature of the term, a term which demeans both parent and child.” Her item soared into the blogosphere. [NYTimes] Read more about what other words matter in the immigration debate.


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