Diversity Headlines

Who Will Lose Under Obama's Executive Action?

Colorlines - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:50
Who Will Lose Under Obama's Executive Action?

Under President Obama's historic executive action announced Thursday, Maru Mora Villalpando, a Washington State-based undocumented immigrant activist with the #Not1More campaign, could win a three-year reprieve from the threat of deportation. But Villalpando, who talked to Colorlines while attending a gathering of other undocumented and immigrant rights activists Thursday night, said "As Obama was speaking, we kept bringing up names of people we know who will not qualify."

They include Ramon Mendoza, a father and undocumented immigrant who led a 56-day hunger strike inside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash., this spring. He has a DUI on his record, Villalpando said, which under the terms set out by the White House, will make him ineligible for protection from deportation. Cipriano Rios, who also went on a hunger strike while in detention, is a father, but of DACA kids--undocumented youth who were given short-term work permits and deportation relief by Obama two years ago. Rios has no U.S. citizen children so he will not qualify. And Miguel Armenta, Villalpando said, has "been detained six months, he is gay, HIV positive, and he doesn't have children. He won't benefit from deferred action."

"I can go on and on with names," Villalpando said. As large and as historic as Obama's second executive action is, with the potential to offer nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants short-term work permits and a shield from deportation, it's also limited in scope. The terms are stringent: It will apply only to those who have been in the U.S. for five years or more; those who came to the country as young teens; and parents of U.S. citizen children and green-card holders. People with various criminal violations on their records will be barred from relief. 

Immediately after the announcement, organizers and advocates tallied up who won't qualify for relief, identified broad classes of people who will continue to be criminalized under the updated enforcement regime--and named a people's win. Those who will lose out include:

Parents of DACA Youth + Seasonal Workers + LGBT Immigrants + Domestic Violence Victims

Excluding the parents of DACA youth "is a huge example of family separation," said Catherine Tactaquin, executive director of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. "Not to include parents [of DACA recipients] in this pool is actually kind of mean. You will have families who, on one hand, have children who are DACA recipients and have some reprieve, but on the other hand, their parents won't."

The rub here is that in the years following Obama's first deferred action to benefit undocumented youth, it was their parents who stood at the forefront of national organizing. They did so even as the Obama administration steadily racked up 2 million deportations. "After all the work they put in," said Families for Freedom executive director Abraham Paulos, "it is unjust."

Seasonal agricultural workers and others who work so-called "low-skilled" jobs who don't have ties to U.S. citizen children will also be excluded, noted Sandra Sanchez, director of the Iowa Immigrant Voice campaign for the American Friends Service Committee. And many women who've escaped violent spouses aren't eligible for visas covered by the Violence Against Women Act. "They are going to be left behind," Sanchez said.

Black Immigrants + People With Felonies

When Obama announced that the U.S. would put a stronger emphasis on deporting "felons, not families ... Gang members, not a mother who's working hard to provide for her kids," activists who advocate for black and criminalized immigrants raised serious concerns about that rhetoric and the policy it'll inform.

"People with felonies have families too," said Paulos, whose organization Families for Freedom advocates for families who've been separated by criminal deportation."That's a false binary [Obama] is setting up," said Tia Oso, the Arizona organizer for the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Oso pointed out that because blacks in the U.S. are already targeted by the War on Drugs and racial and ethnic profiling by police, partnerships between law enforcement and immigration authorities mean that black immigrants are in detention and criminal deportation proceedingsat a rate five times their actual presence in the U.S. undocumented community.

Paulos pointed out the irony of what he calls "explicitly anti-black policy":"President Obama--the son of an African from Kenya, who is part of a mixed-status family [that had] an undocumented aunty and [has] an uncle with a conviction, says, 'If you're a criminal -- you'll be deported.'"

LGBT Youth + People Convicted of Low-Level Crimes

Research shows that LGBT youth experience homelessness at a disproportionate rate. So cutting off young LGBT immigrants with records of "low-level survival crimes," such as prostitution and others connected to homelessness, will disproportionately affect LGBT immigrants, especially transgender immigrants, said Harper Jean Tobin, policy director at the National Center for Transgender Equality. "Basing relief on parental relationships," and limiting benefits to those who haven't landed in the criminal justice system will exclude most of the estimated 267,000 LGBT undocumented immigrants in the U.S., Tobin said 

What's more, when Obama describes "felons," he leaves out pertinent details, advocates say. The U.S. has designated "illegal entry"--entering the country without papers or authorization--a misdemeanor but made "illegal re-entry"--crossing back in the U.S. after a prior deportation--a federal felony offense. In the last decade, prosecutions for illegal re-entry have skyrocketed some 300 percent, and, as prosecutions have increased, the proportion of those who have no or only a minor criminal record has also ballooned. It turns out that those who risk criminal prosecution, incarceration and deportation are usually people who crossed back into the U.S. to reunite with children and loved ones. 

Border Communities

On Thursday night Obama touted his record of beefing up the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border without noting that many Border Patrol agents who have abused migrants and killed those who live along the border aren't held accountable for their actions. "To say we're going to double up our efforts on enforcement is really insensitive to what the impact has been," said National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights' Tactaquin.

Obama's ongoing emphasis on border enforcement and enforcement across the U.S. also ignores the evidence that "what has affected the level of migration has been things like the improved economy in Mexico or increased violence in Central America," Tactaquin adds. "It's not had to do with levels of border enforcement."

The People's Win

For immigrant rights activists who have fought against the enforcement program Secure Communities, its elimination is a victory. But, #Not1More's Villalpando and others raised concerns that the program which will take its place, "Priority Enforcement Program," (PDF) is just the same deportation dragnet by another name.

Still, the executive action itself, "is the undocumented people's victory," said Villalpando. "The reason he did it is because of all the pressure undocumented communities built up to this point, so we must thank the people who went on hunger strike and even the people who got deported."

"We have at least 5 million reasons to celebrate," said AFSC's Sanchez. "But we have just as many--another 5 or 6 million reasons to keep working." To Iowa Immigrant Voice's Sanchez, the real win was that the president "finally stood up to respond to the people's will."

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Marissa Alexander Pleads Guilty

Colorlines - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:50
Marissa Alexander Pleads Guilty

Marissa Alexander today accepted a deal in which she pled guilty to three counts of aggravated assault in exchange for a three-year sentence, reportedly including time already served. She had previously faced up to 60 years in prison for firing a gun at--and missing--her estranged husband who had a history of domestic violence. Alexander made national headlines after unsuccessfully invoking Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law, a key part of George Zimmerman's successful defense in the murder of Trayvon Martin.

(h/t First Coast News)

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Filipino Pride Surges Anew: The Fire is Back, Pacquiao Fans Say

New America Media - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:41
MANILA, Philippines–For nearly an hour, survivors of Super Typhoon “Yolanda” in Tacloban City forgot their problems as Filipino pride surged anew across the nation and the world.In the Astrodome, a facility that served as their temporary shelter, some 2,000 people... Inquirer http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Ferguson's 'Lost Voices' Speak [VIDEO]

Colorlines - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:24

Langston Hughes once wrote, "Looks like what drives me crazy don't have no effect on you. But I'm gonna keep on at it 'til it drives you crazy, too." That poem could serve as a mission statement for the Ferguson-based, youth-led organization Lost Voices. The ad hoc group came together in response to the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown. Its members didn't know each other before the August 9 killing. They united after seeing one another almost daily on the front lines of protests.

Almost every day Lost Voices members hold a 7 p.m. demonstration and sleep outside in protest. They do traditional community work such as voter registration and public speaking. But they're also experts at using social media to spread on-the-ground news, share strong messages and connect people. Some have endured tear gas and bullets. Some have lost their jobs. But like many grassroots groups, Lost Voices does its work unfunded. They count on support from their community and beyond.

Here, Lost Voices members Cheyenne Green, Dasha Jones, Melissa McKinnies and Meldon Moffitt talk about the Darren Wilson grand jury, police accountability--and how they sometimes feel like they can't breathe.

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Who Will Lose Under Obama’s Executive Action?

New America Media - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 10:54
 Under President Obama’s historic executive action announced Thursday, Maru Mora Villalpando, a Washington State-based undocumented immigrant activist with the #Not1More campaign, could win a three-year reprieve from the threat of deportation. But Villalpando, who talked to Colorlines while attending a... Colorlines http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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UC Regents Approve Steep Tuition Hikes

New America Media - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 10:42
 ON Thursday, Nov. 20, administrators of the University of California approved tuition increases of as much as 5 percent over the next five years, despite protests from both undergraduate students and faculty, and open criticism from California governor Jerry Brown... Asian Journal http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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"Saturday Night Live" to Bill Cosby: 'Pull Up Your Damn Pants'

Colorlines - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 10:26

More women have come forward with shocking stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual predation, and even one of his former handlers has detailed his role in the whole mess. It was just a matter of time before "Saturday Night Live" took aim at the embattled comic. In a somewhat crude segment, Michael Che draws on Cosby's own moralizing and admonishes the 77-year-old to "pull your damn pants up!"

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ICYMI: Giuliani and Dyson Debate 'Black on Black Crime'

Colorlines - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 10:17

Emotions over so-called black on black crime continue to run high. In a testy "Meet the Press" segment yesterday about Ferguson, NBC's Chuck Todd couldn't get a word in edgewise after former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani bemoaned the lack of attention paid to "black on black violence" by Todd, perhaps other media and show guest Michael Eric Dyson. A third guest, lawyer Anthony Gray who represents Michael Brown's family, looked on. After highlighting cities around the country with disproportionately white police departments, Todd asks Giuliani, "How do you make a police force that looks like the community they serve?" Giuliani answers initially but quickly changes the subject to "black on black crime," a popular subject among both blacks and whites, that The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates has long pushed back against

Giuliani argues that black-on-black crime explains high white police presence. Watch above for Dyson's response. 

(h/t Meet The Press)

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Youths Take to Social Media to Grieve Marion Barry, Decry Negative Coverage

New America Media - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 10:10
 Some are the children of D.C. employees who got their good government jobs after then-Mayor Marion Barry opened opportunities for blacks.Others had their first work experience in his summer jobs program. Many grew up seeing him move around the city... Desmond R. Barnes http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Obama Lays Out Family-Focused Immigration Plan

New America Media - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 10:03
 President Obama, addressed the nation from the White House Thursday, unveiling executive action he is taking that would allow as many as 5 million immigrants in the country without authorization to come out of the shadows and “to play by... EGP news http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Evidence Reviewed by Ferguson Grand Jury May Not Be Released

New America Media - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 09:59
 It looks like evidence used by the Ferguson, Mo., grand jury to decide whether to criminally charge Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown may not be made public, according to a St. Louis County... The Root http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Hagel Steps Down, RIP Marion Berry, Remember Tamir Rice

Colorlines - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 07:49
Hagel Steps Down, RIP Marion Berry, Remember Tamir Rice

This is what I'm reading up on now:

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Diabetes and Falls Prevention: Researchers Work with Seniors

New America Media - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 01:00
 Photo: Grace Quezon exercises at Old Dominion University's Student Recreation Center, a program to help diabetic patients reduce their risk of falling as they age. (Stephen M. Katz/The Virginian-Pilot)NORFOLK, Va.--Diane Newlon is using weights and rubberized exercise bands at Old... Elizabeth Simpson http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Going Like 60--Thoughts for Women on the Triumph, Tragedy of Aging

New America Media - Sun, 11/23/2014 - 00:15
 Photo: From “Look at Me: Images of Women & Aging,” University of Sheffiled.WASHINGTON, D.C. — What a stimulating way for me to turn 60, while pondering what it means to age in the company of 4,000 knowledgeable sources earlier this month... Barbara Peters Smith http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Goodbye, Secure Communities. Hello, Priority Enforcement Program

Colorlines - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 09:21
Goodbye, Secure Communities. Hello, Priority Enforcement Program

The controversial Secure Communities (S-Comm) program is coming to an end under Obama's executive action on immigration. A new program called the Priority Enforcement Program, or PEP-Comm for short, will take its place. But will it be much better?

In his announcement Thursday, and then nearly verbatim in Las Vegas Friday, Obama stressed new targets for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS): "Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who's working hard to provide for her kids," the president said. "We'll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day."

Those dichotomies raise concerns for some. "I was thinking about how certain communities are over-policed à la Ferguson," says Angela Chan, policy director and senior staff attorney at the Asian Law Caucus. "This juxtaposition forgets the reality that some communities are over-policed and over-criminalized."

Like PEP-Com, its predecessor created a path to deportation. The program--which began in 2008 under George W. Bush and escalated under by Obama--required local jails and prisons to hand over the fingerprints of anyone being processed to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), including people who hadn't yet had their day in court. If ICE deemed the person a threat it would issue them a so-called detainer, a 48-hour hold in a local jail or prison. Although detainers were supposed to last up to two days, many were extended by weeks or months at a time. And although S-Comm was created to catch undocumented immigrants, it often swept up U.S. citizens, even those who hadn't been convicted of a crime. Some local agencies and entire states refused to cooperate with S-Comm because the detainers weren't warrants issued by a judge. Rather, they were the result of decisions made by a federal agency plagued with problems.

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) led the charge to end S-Comm and explicitly demanded its end in the days leading up to the president's announcement. In some ways, it seems like NDLON has won.

In a November 14 memo [PDF], Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson conceded that the program essentially failed:

The Secure Communities program, as we know it, will be discontinued.

The goal of Secure Communities was to more effectively identify and facilitate the removal of criminal aliens in the custody of state and local law enforcement agencies. But the reality is the program has attracted a great deal of criticism, is widely misunderstood, and is embroiled in litigation; its very name has become a symbol for general hostility toward the enforcement of our immigration laws. Governors, mayors, and state and local law enforcement officials around the country have increasingly refused to cooperate with the program, and many have issued executive orders or signed laws prohibiting such cooperation. A number of federal courts have rejected the authority of state and local law enforcement agencies to detain immigrants pursuant to federal detainers issued under the current Secure Communities program.

Under the president's new program, most people who haven't been convicted of crimes won't be issued a detainer--although undocumented immigrants who are suspected of terrorism may be targeted. In addition, PEP-Comm will ensnare people found crossing the border, gang members, those convicted of felonies, people who've been convicted of three misdemeanors, and those who have one "significant misdemeanor" on their record. Significant misdemeanors include domestic violence, burglary and drug-selling. Instead of issuing a detainer, Johnson's memo instructs local and state agencies to notify ICE that the person is question will soon be released.

But the Asian Law Caucus' Chan finds what she calls alarming similarities between S-Comm and PEP-Comm--particularly when it comes to local and state agencies doing the work of what should be federal enforcement. "The bones of the program are the same. Under S-Comm, fingerprints are transmitted to Immigration and Customs Enforcement by local police. Under PEP-Comm, the same thing will happen."

Chan adds that any entanglement with local law enforcement is a threat to public safety because it invites police to select people for deportation instead of protecting their welfare.

Time will also tell whether agents honor the directives of Johnson's PEP-Comm memo. 

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Women’s Safety Schemes Go Mobile in India

New America Media - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 01:00
NEW DELHI - It was 9:45 pm when 23-year-old Manira Chaudhury, a final-year Master’s student in New Delhi, who was traveling home in a rickshaw, pressed a button on her smart phone that sent out emergency alerts to two of... Sujoy Dhar http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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“Who Will Care for Us?”: Many Immigrant Elders Lack Health Care Access

New America Media - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 00:50
Photo: The India Community Center in Milpitas, Calif., hosts a free medical clinic with volunteer doctors providing basic care. (Courtesy: India Community Center)Part 2FREMONT, Calif.--While immigration-reform advocates welcomed President Obama’s executive actions this week and some provisions of Obamacare are... Sunita Sohrabji http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Kristina Wong: Asian Vaginas Have the Power to End Racism (NSFW)

Colorlines - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 14:21
 Asian Vaginas Have the Power to End Racism (NSFW)

Tired of white guys who say, "I'm not racist! I've dated an Asian/Latina/Black woman before!"? This video from comedian Kristina Wong shows why he may be onto something. Warning: this video is NSFW--and NSFFWCSTSSPAV (Not Safe for Folks Who Can't Stand to See Stuffed Penises and Vaginas).

Or not.

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A New Image of Black Fatherhood [PHOTOS]

Colorlines - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 14:20
A New Image of Black Fatherhood [PHOTOS]

This photo essay is part of Life Cycles of Inequity: A Colorlines Series on Black Men. In this installment, we explore and challenge the notion that black families face a crisis of fatherhood. The installment includes a dispatch from Baltimore, in which four dads challenge the easy assumption that all children of unwed mothers have absent fathers. 

In June of 2013 I started photographing black men and their children and created The Fatherhood Project, the online home for photos that capture them in ordinary moments. A single dad helping his daughter with math homework during a break at work. A dad teaching his daughter how to walk as they wait to see a doctor. A father and son chilling on a stoop.

Why photograph black men and their children? What's extraordinary about these subjects? 

For starters, black men taking care of our children is, on some level, revolutionary--and a form of resistance to the legacies of laws and other tools used to hinder our ability to parent. During the trans-Atlantic slave trade, for example, fathers were routinely separated from their children as family members were sold. And currently, disproportionately and consistently high incarceration and unemployment rates for black men have made it difficult, if not impossible for many to parent. There's also the disproportionately high rate of homicide among black men, whether by people in their own communities or at the hands of the state. My own father was murdered by a cop a couple of weeks before my 15th birthday.

As New York Times writer Brent Staples asked in a tweet this past Fathers' Day: "Imagine yourself jailed on a low-level Rockefeller-era drug charge. Now a felon: denied a job, housing and the vote. How would you 'Father'"

And yet, even in neighborhoods like my Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, home, beset with problems such as disinvestment and militaristic policing, you see black men parenting or at least making earnest efforts to do so. Some are parenting children who aren't biologically related to them, too. You see them walking their children to school or picking them up; teaching a son or daughter the fundamentals of basketball on an outdoor court; or simply enjoying a morning breeze on the stoop with an infant son. Ordinary moments that crush white media narratives and stereotypes about black fathers.

I find something extraordinary in the ordinary moments captured in these photos, some of which I'm honored to share with Colorlines for its Life Cycles of Inequity series. I hope you will too.

You can explore Marcus Franklin's full photo series on his Tumblr, "The Fatherhood Project." 



Kent prepares to embrace his daughter, Kennedy, who had recently turned 1 when I took this photo, as he encourages her to walk in the waiting area of the doctor's office. Kennedy was about to get a routine checkup. Black dads are just as involved--and often more involved--with their children's daily activities as fathers from other racial groups, a Centers for Disease Control study released in 2013 found.


Giovanni tries to get 9-month-old Ethan to laugh as they sit on their Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, stoop, enjoying a warm Sunday morning days before Giovanni and his wife planned to take Ethan to Giovanni's native Cameroon.


Patrice helps his daughter Tiffiny, 12, with math homework during a break at his IT job. Patrice has been raising Tiffiny alone since her mother passed when his daughter was 6. According to the Pew Research Center, "Black fathers are the most likely to be heads of single father households--29 percent are."


stic.man of dead prez brings his son to the stage to play during a concert on Fathers' Day in 2013 at Von King Park in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.


Father and daughter waiting for a bus.


Early photos like this one inspired me to keep photographing black men and their children and to create The Fatherhood Project to showcase the photos. Despite structural systems of inequality such as disproportionately high incarceration, unemployment and poverty rates in neighborhoods such as Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, there are men making earnest efforts to be there for their children.


Darryl, his fiancée, Linda, and their daughter Ava, 3, talk. Although Ava isn't biologically related to Darryl, he considers her his daughter.


In the nearly three decades since a cop murdered my dad, ending our imperfect relationship, memories of our times together have grown hazy. But the image of me as an afroed toddler straddling one of his legs, leaning back against him, his left arm around me, is one that remains sharp, thanks to this photo. The photo is a record of sorts that, in that moment, he was there. And so are the other photos in this series.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

How to Watch President Obama's Immigration Announcement

Colorlines - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 14:12
How to Watch President Obama's Immigration Announcement

President Obama will be making a big statement on immigration Thursday night from the White House's East Room. On Friday he will be going to Del Sol High School in Las Vegas to rally support. But major English language networks won't be airing the announcement--CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox will all air their scheduled programming. 

If you're online, you can tune in to White House Live at 8 p.m. Eastern. If you've got cable, don't worry, because MSNBC, CNN and Fox News will be airing the announcement. And, if you speak Spanish, you can tune in to Univision--which is postponing the Latin Grammys (Calle 13--who's up for nine awards--will be performing, so you might want to stay tuned to Univision afterward!).

President Obama took to Facebook Wednesday to confirm his schedule:

// Post by The White House.

It's likely that the President's move will potentially benefit nearly five million people on a temporary basis, without a pathway to citizenship. The president will also be seeking to expand security on the southern border. 

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