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Lawmakers introduced Federal legislation Wednesday that would help stop select Indonesian immigrants from being deported, Reuters reported. The Indonesian Family Refugee Protection Act’s purpose is to aid a group of Indonesian immigrants in New Jersey as well as smaller groups in New York and New Hampshire, who, despite a special agreement with immigration officials to work legally, have received deportation letters.

Most are Indonesian Christians who fled the country in the late 1990s because of religious persecution, according to Reuters. When they came to the U.S. they were allowed to get Social Security cards and work legally. But in 2003, following 9/11, a special government program which required foreign-born adult males from a group of mostly Muslim countries (Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country in the world) to register with the government. When these Christian Indonesians registered, however, the Reuters article said, and started the process of applying for permanent status, they were told it was too late to apply for asylum because it has to be done within one year of arrival. Starting in 2006, the government began deporting these Indonesians.

Read more here.

After recently reading a book about men who faced deportation because of this same government registration program, ”We Are All Suspects Now,” I found the topic of the article particularly interesting. The article paralleled that book in many ways. For example, both discussed how these immigrants registered in “good faith” because they thought if they followed the rules they would be okay.

-Cristabelle Tumola

Attorney Gen. Luther Strange

Photo: AP

The AP recently obtained a letter from Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange to state legislators urging a rewrite of the controversial immigration law. Specifically, he recommended that the legislature repeal two parts of the law: the section that criminalizes failing to carry registration documents while unauthorized, and the section requiring schools to collect information on the immigration status of students. The initial report from the wire service described the content of the letter. Later reports on Politico and CNN also included business groups’ criticisms of the law, in particular fallout from the Mercedez-Benz incident.
— Marianna Nash

Joaquin Luna

A lot has been reported about the suicide of Joaquin Luna.

It’s a fact that he was undocumented and he shot himself  the day after Thanksgiving.

Supporters of the DREAM Act have highlighted him as a symbol of what happens when a youth loses hope.

His family believes his undocumented status contributed to his death.

The San Antonio Express-News reported that he did not mention the DREAM Act in his lengthy suicide note.

The story is evenly reported and leaves one to draw an independent conclusion.

The reasons for Luna’s death may be layered.

But other students who are undocumented have attempted suicide or gone through with it.

I reported on this for my Chicanisima blog.

Many undocumented students do lose hope for the future. This is a topic that merits further reoporting.

– Teresa Puente

Posted by Rebecca Ellis:

A New York City Council meeting is coming up on Dec. 13 to address the use of private detention centers to hold immigrants while waiting for their federal hearings. Councilman Daniel Dromm is leading the investigation and has already filed a petition with the Department of Justice.
For more information, read the article in the Wall Street Journal:

A recent Colorlines story addressed a new campaign to get The Charlotte Observer to stop using the word “illegal” to refer to unauthorized or undocumented immigrants. The article gave readers a deep understanding of the controversy. What it did not do was address the other news outlets that use the word “illegal” – many of which have wider audiences and greater prestige than the Observer.

 

– Marianna Nash

 

From the San Jose Mercury News "For decades the nation has endlessly debated how to solve the problem
of illegal immigration. One side calls for aggressive enforcement of  existing laws. The other side  calls for "comprehensive immigration reform." But while the debate rages, millions of American       children are left with the real possibility that their undocumented parents will be detected and     deported.
For the past year, a Mercury News reporter and photojournalist followed a San Mateo family on their emotional journey through the  U.S. immigration system. Both parents came here as illegal immigrants, but all six of their children are American citizens."
I like this series because it is a complete package. There is a mini doc and a narrative piece. I    also like how it weaves in opposing voices with audio sidebars. It also makes great use of graphics. This is a strong multimedia package.

http://www.mercurynews.com/torn-apart

1) Texas governor and floundering GOP presidential candidate, Rick Perry, debunked on Tuesday the idea of offering amnesty to the estimated 11 million illegal aliens in the US. “Well, one of the things we’re not going to do is support amnesty. There’s not anybody that’s going to be — I don’t care whether you’ve been here 25 days or 25 years — there’s not going to be amnesty involved in the program,” Perry said on Fox’s Greta Van Susteren.

Perry’s claims were apparently aimed at surging GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.  Gingrich recently asked for a compassionate application of immigration laws and a form of amnesty for people with ties in the community. It would have been interesting to get a quote from the Gingrich camp, and it would have been interesting to get a quote from Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.  Sen. Rubio recently urged Republicans to tone down their rhetoric on immigration reform in they wish as a party to garner Hispanic support for the upcoming 2012 presidential election. Sen. Rubio is considered a VP candidate. Moreover, I am wondering how Perry’s views are playing back at Texas, where he has a strong Hispanic population and where he came under fire for granting illegal aliens college tuition breaks. Summary by Luis Perez

More information can be found at:http://bit.ly/vjhlO4

2) Former speaker of the House and GOP presidential candidate is being leveled for proposing amnesty and a compassionate approach the illegal immigration problem in the US. Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-California, who is the GOP chairman for the Illegal Immigration Caucus, called into question Gingrich’s idea and said that the speaker’s proposal is akin to “drilling a hole in the bottom of a sinking boat to let the water out.”

The story captures the explosive nature of the topic and it reflects, in varying degrees, the sentiment among most Republican circles on immigration. The story also quotes a US Congressman from Iowa who questions Gingrich’s understanding of the problem. The story is well written and incisive. It would have been interesting to get a quote or response from the Gingrich camp in this story; it seemed a tad one sided.

More information could be obtained on The Hill:http://bit.ly/rS7L4O