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Law enforcement can create a map or timeline of a person’s whereabouts by accessing data from license-plate scanners, toll-bridge crossings and mobile phone carriers and, without much trouble, access records on your power consumption, purchasing habits and even snail mail.
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Tonight, All Things Considered and the Center for Investigative Reporting start a four-part series on your digital trail and how it can be used against you. Find out what can be tracked and who may be tracking it.

Tonight, President Obama took action to extend much needed and long overdue relief to millions of people and families currently living in fear of deportation due to our nation’s broken immigration system. This is a bold step forward that will help strengthen our country and creates a path to the American dream.

We’re grateful to see the President address the need to keep families together — but the fight continues. Access to health care is central to improving quality of life, and we will continue to fight to ensure all people in this country — regardless of immigration status — can access the care they need.

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“To Kill a Sparrow” (by CIR

“To Kill a Sparrow” is a short film revealing the plight of woman in Afghanistan who are imprisoned for so-called “moral crimes”: running away from forced marriages or domestic abuse, or falling in love and marrying against a father’s wishes. “Sparrow” tells the story of Soheila and her lover Niaz, who are sentenced to prison for daring to live together as a couple. Soheila is defying her father’s order to marry a much older man. If Soheila persists in refusing to submit to the arranged marriage, her father and brother say they will kill her “even if she moves to America.”

House Republican Immigration Principles

These are the House Republican Immigration Principles released today.

I’m happy that House Republicans are talking about Immigration again, but creating a permanent second class of citizens is unacceptable.

What’s your opinion?

PREAMBLE

Our nation’s immigration system is broken and our laws are not being enforced. Washington’s failure to fix them is hurting our economy and jeopardizing our national security. The overriding purpose of our immigration system is to promote and further America’s national interests and that is not the case today. The serious problems in our immigration system must be solved, and we are committed to working in a bipartisan manner to solve them. But they cannot be solved with a single, massive piece of legislation that few have read and even fewer understand, and therefore, we will not go to a conference with the Senate’s immigration bill. The problems in our immigration system must be solved through a step-by-step, common-sense approach that starts with securing our country’s borders, enforcing our laws, and implementing robust enforcement measures. These are the principals guiding us in that effort.

Border Security and Interior Enforcement Must Come First

It is the fundamental duty of any government to secure its borders, and the United States is failing in this mission. We must secure our borders now and verify that they are secure. In addition, we must ensure now that when immigration reform is enacted, there will be a zero tolerance policy for those who cross the border illegally or overstay their visas in the future. Faced with a consistent pattern of administrations of both parties only selectively enforcing our nation’s immigration laws, we must enact reform that ensures that a President cannot unilaterally stop immigration enforcement.

Implement Entry-Exit Visa Tracking System

A fully functioning Entry-Exit system has been mandated by eight separate statutes over the last 17 years. At least three of these laws call for this system to be biometric, using technology to verify identity and prevent fraud. We must implement this system so we can identify and track down visitors who abuse our laws.

Employment Verification and Workplace Enforcement

In the 21st century it is unacceptable that the majority of employees have their work eligibility verified through a paper based system wrought with fraud. It is past time for this country to fully implement a workable electronic employment verification system.

Reforms to the Legal Immigration System

For far too long, the United States has emphasized extended family members and pure luck over employment-based immigration. This is inconsistent with nearly every other developed country. Every year thousands of foreign nationals pursue degrees at America’s colleges and universities, particularly in high skilled fields. Many of them want to use their expertise in U.S. industries that will spur economic growth and create jobs for Americans. When visas aren’t available, we end up exporting this labor and ingenuity to other countries. Visa and green card allocations need to reflect the needs of employers and the desire for these exceptional individuals to help grow our economy.

The goal of any temporary worker program should be to address the economic needs of the country and to strengthen our national security by allowing for realistic, enforceable, usable, legal paths for entry into the United States. Of particular concern are the needs of the agricultural industry, among others. It is imperative that these temporary workers are able to meet the economic needs of the country and do not displace or disadvantage American workers.

Youth

One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents. It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children through no fault of their own, those who know no other place as home. For those who meet certain eligibility standards, and serve honorably in our military or attain a college degree, we will do just that.

Individuals Living Outside the Rule of Law

Our national and economic security depend on requiring people who are living and working here illegally to come forward and get right with the law. There will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws – that would be unfair to those immigrants who have played by the rules and harmful to promoting the rule of law. Rather, these persons could live legally and without fear in the U.S., but only if they were willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits). Criminal aliens, gang members, and sex offenders and those who do not meet the above requirements will not be eligible for this program. Finally, none of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented to fulfill our promise to the American people that from here on, our immigration laws will indeed be enforced.

What’s your opinion?

Smoke and Mirrors at the DNC: How Repetition and Pandering Was Used to Cover Up for Disastrous Policy

Barack Obama’s speech tonight proved what many had suspected: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA, was a contrived and cynical move meant to cover up for the broken promise of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, CIR, and for Obama’s more than 1.2 million deportations.

President Obama insisted for years an Executive Order that would provide relief to the millions of unauthorized workers and their families was out of his hands.

But somehow he was able to find a way to take out his presidential pen just in time for the election. Of course.

The ploy seems to have worked on many observing the Democratic National Convention. By repeatedly using the term “DREAMers,” Democrats got many to confuse DACA with the DREAM Act, legislation Obama failed to pass and one which fell very short of his promise to enact CIR his first year in office.

Aside from the several mentions of “DREAMers,” was this line from President Obama during his speech:

“You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here…will no longer be deported from the only country she’s ever called home.”

This type of pandering may appeal to some, but let’s not forget he’s overseen the highest number of deportations of any president in US history, most targeting non-criminal offenders; he’s allowed ICE Jails run by the private prison industry to flourish under his administration; and, his policies have criminalized a hard working community the United States depends on, our community.

For those who need a refresher course on how Obama’s policies have been a nightmare for Mexican communities throughout the United States, watch Frontline’s “Lost in Detention.”

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We’re proud of President Obama for his bold action on immigration relief — and we continue to join advocates across the country in calling on the Administration and Congress to work together for comprehensive reform, including access to health care for all people. It’s good policy — and it’s the right thing to do.

Planned Parenthood provides quality, affordable health care to all people, regardless of immigration status. All people deserve health care, no matter who they are or where they live — and we will continue to fight until that’s a reality. 

The Senate immigration blueprint tells undocumented immigrants to go back to the end of the line, and wait until everyone already in line has received a green card. Well, that would take 115 years under current laws without changing current visa allocations. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Read more here.

La Gran Marcha: 8 years Later

8 years ago, more than half a million protesters marched in downtown Los Angeles in opposition of H.R. 4437: The Border Protection, Anti-terrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, also known as the “Sensenbrenner Bill.”

March 25, 2006 was a special day. The largest march in U.S. history! But much has changed since then, and we can learn a lot from the many marches our community saw between 2005-2007. Lesson number one: Keep it grassroots.

Although many of these megamarchas were used as publicity stunts by Spanish-language radio DJs like El Pistolero in Chicago and El Piolín in Los Angeles, for the most part they were organized from the bottom up. The most recent marches have lacked that same spirit of genuine indignation toward the government, with many being outright corporate bought and sold.

Another matter is that under Obama, the activist community has been much more complacent than with Bush Jr. With Obama’s deportation record, we should be packing the streets again, but instead it seems many of us are busy taking selfies on Instagram.

For there to be a Comprehensive Immigration Reform that doesn’t sell out our community, we need to organize again at the community level, then take it to the streets as we did on March 25, 2006. However, this time let’s wear red and black! (Wearing white as a symbol of peace and non-violence was an apologetic gesture that was never understood by the general population.)

Image credit: Bob Chamberlin, AP

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How long is the immigration ‘line’? As long as 24 years.

Both President Obama and the Senate’s Gang of Eight agree: If undocumented immigrants want to get legal status, they’ll have to “get in the back of the line” of those who’ve already gone through legal channels to immigrate to this country. But what is this line? And exactly how long is it?

There’s no one line. There are many lines with wait times that vary wildly depending on the type of green card that a prospective immigrant is applying for, the number of visas available and his or her country of origin: For those applying for work visas because of their “extraordinary ability,” including high-ranking professors and international business executives, there is virtually no wait time. By contrast, a brother or sister of a U.S. citizen from the Philippines applying for a family-sponsored visas may have been waiting 24 years, as those visas have been oversubscribed, according to the State Department’s latest figures.

“There are so many different lines. It’s very hard for people to understand that there are so many different categories and that each wait time is different,” says Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Immigration Policy Council.  As of November, there were 4.3 million people  on the wait list for family-based visas and 113,058 waiting for employment-based visas — nearly 4.5 million in the overall backlog. (There are also about 41,000 “diversity” visas allocated to those from countries with low admission rates.)

Check out the infographic on the page!! 

Back of the line? means 17+ years for my sister after I’ve petitioned for her, now let’s add the 22 years she’s already been here. Citizenship in 39 years after 1st arriving to the US. Also note that for some people ‘the line’ is as long as 24 years and they have already been here 20+ years.