HEADLINES: Immigration

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The Associated Press Deputy Managing Editor for Standards and Production, Tom Kent, wrote a response to undocumented journalist Jose Antonio Vargas’ push to eliminate the term “illegal immigrant” from its stylebook. Like the New York Times, the AP has decided that the term is not offensive and will continue to condone usage of it, though Kent did write that different terms are needed and appropriate in describing different scenarios. In response to claims that the term is dehumanizing, Kent wrote, “we don’t read the term this way. We refer routinely to illegal miners, illegal vendors and so forth.” Kent did, however, condone the use of the term “temporary resident status” to describe those receiving DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) referrals.   Immigration activists were disappointed by this announcement, and Univision, ABC’s Spanish-speaking counterpart, once again led the attack against the “i-word,” writing a strongly worded rebuttal. In response to Kent’s claim that “illegal” is just another adjective with many uses, Univision writes, “A news archive search for ‘illegal immigrant’ and ‘AP’ during the past year found more than 3,000 entries  — the max limit for search results. A search for ‘AP’ with ‘illegal logger’ returned 69 entries, with ‘illegal miner’ returned nine entries, and with ‘illegal vendor’ returned two entries.” [AP] [ABC/Univision]

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a city ID program recently that would allow LA to “become the largest city in the country to offer municipal identification cards to undocumented immigrants, with the goal of allowing them to open bank accounts and gain access to other services.” Los Angeles is following in the footsteps of several cities, including San Francisco and Oakland, who have enacted such programs in the last five years. This ID program will greatly impact the financial well-being of many hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers who currently carry around large sums of money, putting themselves at great risk. Los Angeles has one of the largest undocumented immigrant populations in America. When questioned by opponents of the program, Ed Reyes, LA City Councilman, said, “some say this is a federal issue and not our problem. Well, I’m sorry, I beg to differ. This card allows people who have been living in the shadows to be out in the light of day.” [NYTimes]

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing Lee Baca, Los Angeles County Sherriff, on behalf of claimants who were allegedly denied their rights to bail after being picked up by the police on minor offenses.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) denies that the “Sheriff’s Department has denied bail to anyone because of ICE holds.” Among the plaintiffs of the case is British filmmaker Duncan Roy, who says that he was detained for over three months without a chance to post bail, despite the fact that he was actually in the country legally at the time. Jennie Pasquerella, an ACLU attorney involved in the lawsuit, said, “the principle of bail is something so fundamental, that you shouldn’t be held until you’re found guilty.” [LATimes]

The latest polls find that question 4 on the Maryland ballot, the Maryland DREAM Act, should pass by almost 25 percent. If polling proves accurate, then Maryland will become the first state to pass such legislation through a ballot measure, as the other 13 states with similar acts have passed them through the judicial system or the legislature. According to the poll, “sharp racial and educational divides also underlie voters’ views on the matter. White voters divide roughly evenly on the subject, while non-whites favor it by a huge margin – 75 percent to 19 percent. More than 7 in 10 voters with postgraduate degrees say they would vote yes, including a majority who say they feel strongly about it.” The Maryland DREAM Act would allow undocumented Maryland students to qualify for in-state tuition, though certain stipulations do apply. Students must have completed 3 years and graduated from a Maryland high school, and their families must have been paying federal and state income taxes during that period. [Washington Post] Read more about LIRS’ Maryland DREAM Act campaign.

County sheriff elections rarely receive national press, but the race between Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and retired Phoenix police chief Sgt. Paul Penzone is a glaring exception. Arpaio, “who became a national icon” in the immigration debate “during the past decade, has raised as much as 80% of his campaign’s $8 million from out-of-state donors.” Immigration activists have been fighting hard to get out the vote against Arpaio, as “since (ousted Arizona Senate President ) Russell Pearce is now gone, Joe is really kind of the face of that whole movement.” Polls, however, have continued to show Arpaio with small but steady lead.  [USA Today]


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