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Beyond Borders

A blog about immigration in the New York region

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Jim Russell, Nita Lowey’s GOP challenger, wrote anti-integration essay


Politico reported Monday on an essay by Congresswoman Nita Lowey’s Republican challenger, Jim Russell, warning against interracial marriage and racial integration, among other things. The back issue from Occidental Quarterly is linked to the post.

Russell, who lives in Hawthorne, has been a leading activist in Westchester against immigration reform proposals and in favor of enforcement. He has identified himself as being with Westchester-Rockland Citizens for Immigration Control, and made immigration the central issue in his long-shot campaign against Democrat Lowey.

The 18-page piece gives “biological” arguments against integration and embraces eugenics. Among the comments:

While liberals and universalists constantly yammer about ‘bringing us all together’, and how ‘diversity is our strength,’ it may be suggested that the biological function of human language and culture is just the opposite, that is, to keep discrete groups apart. … For culture in human societies to accomplish that which instinct accomplishes in non-human societies, it must establish a sense of group identity so that the individual knows whom to act altruistically toward and whom to mate with.

It has been demonstrated that finches raised by foster parents of a different species of finch will later exhibit a lifelong sexual attraction toward the alien species. One wonders how a child’s sexual imprinting mechanism is affected by forcible racial integration and near continual exposure to media stimuli promoting interracial contact.

In the midst of this onslaught against our youth, parents need to be reminded that they have a natural obligation, as essential as providing food and shelter, to instill in their children an acceptance of appropriate ethnic boundaries for socialization and for marriage.

Posted by Leah Rae on Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 at 10:58 am |

NYCLU raises alarm on schools asking immigration status


The New York State Education Department is making clear to school districts that they cannot seek documentation of immigration status as a prerequisite to enrolling a child in school. The New York Civil Liberties Union wrote to the state in July, saying that a survey of all 694 school districts found that at least 139 were asking, directly or indirectly, for proof of a parent or child’s status.

The organization wrote to Commissioner David Steiner:

Asking for such documentation is at best irrelevant to proving eligibility to attend school in a particular district, and at worst a deliberate attempt to prevent undocumented children from enrolling in school.

Undocumented children have the same right to a free public education as other children. State guidelines recommend proper ways to determine a child’s age and residency, saying schools “should avoid asking questions related to immigration status or that might reveal a child’s immigration status, such as asking for a Social Security number.”

Among the 139 districts where the NYCLU identified problems were these Westchester County districts:

Eastchester, Tarrytowns, Somers, Rye City, Rye Neck, Pelham, Mamaroneck, Hastings, Harrison, Elmsford, Dobbs Ferry, Croton-Harmon, Bronxville and Blind Brook.

The NYCLU analysis and the state guidance are linked on this site. The state regs are also here.

ADDED: Noreen O’Donnell reports on the response of local districts in this Journal News article.

Posted by Leah Rae on Tuesday, August 31st, 2010 at 1:21 pm |

Farm workers and labor rights — a perennial issue


At your local farmer’s market, the discussion is more likely about tomato varieties than farm workers’ rights. But such labor issues have returned to Albany, as sure as the harvest. The New York Senate again defeated a labor-rights bill this month. Journal News reporter Diana Costello follows up today with reaction from growers and worker advocates.

The bill would have provided rights that farm workers are excluded from: time-and-a-half overtime pay and one day of rest a week. New York farmers say the measure would be too costly, particularly because they operate at narrower margins than the rest of the nation. Growers also say their labor needs are different because of the demands of the harvest.

Workers at Stuart’s Farm in Somers (photographed) travel from Jamaica on H2A visas for seasonal laborers. Such workers would not have been subject to the bill. But those visas are the subject of another clash, this one between the U.S. and Jamaica. Workers were not being admitted because of objections that Jamaica took a cut of workers’ paychecks, according to the NY Daily News. Facing labor shortages, farmers sought help from Sen. Charles Schumer. Here’s the story and the update.

(Photo: Xavier Mascareñas/The Journal News)

Posted by Leah Rae on Tuesday, August 31st, 2010 at 11:48 am |


Report: 72 massacre victims in Mexico were migrants


Seventy-two massacre victims found dead in Mexico were migrants who were extorted by gunmen on their way to Texas, according to a witness. Read the NY Times story here. The victims, 58 men and 14 women were reportedly from Central and South America. A drug cartel is suspected, reports AP.

The Los Angeles Times has this story about another deadly aspect of migration over the border. Even though illegal immigration appears to be down this year overall, the number of deaths of people trying to cross the desert could set a record, the paper reports.

Earlier this month, the Phoenix New Times had a harrowing story looking into the violent world of human smuggling. It starts here.

Posted by Leah Rae on Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 at 6:50 pm |

DOJ may sue Arizona sheriff over civil rights probe


More news from Arizona: The Justice Department may sue Sheriff Joe Arpaio for not cooperating with a civil rights investigation on his treatment of Hispanics, reports the Washington Post.

At the state level, Arizona is appealing the ruling that has kept it from implementing parts of its immigration-enforcement law.

Posted by Leah Rae on Tuesday, August 17th, 2010 at 11:15 pm |

Port Chester attorney points to non-citizen population in districting debate


In an opinion piece on LoHud.com, one of the attorneys in Port Chester’s voting rights case revives questions about the effect of including non-U.S. citizens in the population count for districting purposes.

This argument came up during the DOJ’s lawsuit in Port Chester when the village was fighting a switch from at-large voting to single-member districts for trustees. Aldo Vitagliano (at left), who wrote the opinion piece, and attorney Anthony Piscionere argued that the presence of so many non-citizens in Port Chester would skew the voting power of people in various districts, violating the “one person, one vote” principle. An organization called the Project on Fair Representation argued this point also.

At the time, one of the plaintiff’s lawyers in the case told me that such an argument was extremist nonsense — “a fairy tale.”

The village was ordered to change its trustee election system after it was deemed unfair to Hispanics, in violation of the Voting Rights Act. As it turned out, the village was not forced to create districts, switching instead to the unusual cumulative voting method as the remedy to its voting rights violation.

Posted by Leah Rae on Monday, August 9th, 2010 at 4:11 pm |


It’s ‘independence season’ in Port Chester’s Latino community


It’s still Independence Day season in Port Chester, given the various Latin American countries celebrating independence from Spain. For the fourth year, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is incorporating the festivities into its “Cultural Fridays” series, intended to showcase the different nationalities in the congregation.

Peruvians celebrated their day recently with a traditional “scissor dance” (photographed at Port Chester Fest, left) and a salute to Luis Marino, the village’s first Hispanic trustee and a native of Peru. Next up, Friday, are the Bolivians, gathering on their actual independence day, Aug. 6. Ecuadorians are celebrating at the church Aug. 13, Dominicans Aug. 20, Mexicans Aug. 27, and Central Americans on Sept. 3. The festivities start at 7 p.m. The Bolivian event will start with a Mass and be held outdoors in the church parking lot.

Father Hilario Albert began the Friday events with the hope of mingling the various groups, but that remains a challenge. “It has still been very, very slow-moving,” he said this week. “People come to their own, and they forget about the other.”

Posted by Leah Rae on Thursday, August 5th, 2010 at 2:45 pm |

Legal battle looms over Arizona immigration law


USA Today has a detailed story today about the coming legal battle over Arizona’s enforcement law. The governor has created a legal defense fund, as lawsuits try to stop the law from taking effect July 29. One advocate for the law says the “alien side” has many more attorneys than the defenders of the law.

Meanwhile the rhetoric is still flying after the fact-checking of Gov. Jan Brewer’s claims about beheadings in the desert and about most illegal immigrants being drug mules.

A coalition of groups opposed to the law are due in court Thursday in their effort to stop implementation. A federal judge will here from both sides. The court motion is available here in PDF form. To read the law itself, click here.

Posted by Leah Rae on Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 at 3:08 pm |

In spy case, FBI arrests El Diario columnist in Yonkers


The 10 people arrested and accused of being “deep cover” Russian spies include a Peruvian-born El Diario/La Prensa columnist and her husband, who live in Yonkers. AP has this story about the FBI investigation and the alleged spy activity.

Vicky Palaez worked for El Diario for more than 20 years, according to the Feet in 2 Worlds blog.

Posted by Leah Rae on Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 at 3:50 pm |


Paladino vows to ‘send state police’ in immigration enforcement


Carl Paladino, the Buffalo developer running for governor, was asked about immigration during an interview today with the Journal News Editorial Board. His web site says he opposes any “political solution aimed to absorb illegal immigrants into the fabric of America. These people took advantage of the United States; they broke our laws and many jumped on New York’s Medicaid and social welfare systems the day they arrived.”

A video of the interview can be seen here. Immigration comes up 41 minutes in.

He brought up immigration while talking about Indian casinos. (Indian casinos came up in response to a question he apparently misheard about the Indian Point nuclear power plant.)

You can’t be a resident of the state of New York if you’re not legal. So if you’re not legal, you go. That’s it. I’ll send state police and I’ll encourage all the local police departments to go out and we will also ensure that they not receive any benefits. We’re going to require proof of identification, proof of citizenship or a green card, and if they don’t have it, they’re gone. It’s going to lower the population of New York City for a while.

He was asked about a vow to put illegal immigrants on a bus to detention centers.

Generally if you’re an illegal immigrant, go and get yourself legal, or we don’t want you in our borders. We don’t want you in this state. Leave. Go someplace else.

I could almost hear immigration lawyers raising a favorite follow-up question of theirs: How do you make illegal immigrants “get legal” without a new legalization program?

Paladino, who lost the Republican nomination to former Rep. Rick Lazio, is gathering petition signatures in an effort to receive a place on the Sept. 14 primary ballot. He’s also running on the Reform Party line.

Posted by Leah Rae on Monday, June 28th, 2010 at 6:21 pm |

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Reporters from The Journal News track the latest developments in immigration. Beyond Borders explores the news, the cultures and controversies.
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