WBEZ | comprehensive immigration reform http://www.wbez.org/tags/comprehensive-immigration-reform Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Immigrant organizers lobby local governments on national immigration bill http://www.wbez.org/news/immigration/immigrant-organizers-lobby-local-governments-national-immigration-bill-107071 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/P1000766fixed.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago immigrant organizers are leading a national fight to preserve the so-called Diversity Visa program, and they&rsquo;re starting at Chicago&rsquo;s City Hall.</p><p>Alderman William Burns (4th) will introduce a non-binding resolution Wednesday to support keeping the endangered Diversity Visa program as part of the U.S. immigration system. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/non-latino-groups-say-immigration-bill-undercuts-their-communities-106703">The program is slated for elimination</a> under the proposed immigration bill currently being debated in Congress.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s really important that Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform,&rdquo; said Burns, &ldquo;but that we keep in elements of our current immigration system that have been helpful to making sure that we have diversity in the pool of people that immigrate to the United States.&rdquo;</p><p>The Diversity Visa program issues 55,000 visas each year to countries that have sent few immigrants to the U.S. In recent years. It has accounted for half of all African immigration to the U.S. Burns crafted the resolution with the help of the United African Organization, based in Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s all about relationships,&rdquo; said Alie Kabba, Executive Director of the United African Organization, &ldquo;and if we can generate the kind of support we already have here in the City Council, that will translate to support with the Congressional delegation, given the fact that we are all in this together.&rdquo;</p><p>Kabba said he has corralled about 20 African organizations across the U.S. to come together as a network for the first time. The groups are focusing their energies on fighting the elimination of the Diversity Visa program. He said the resolution in Chicago will be the first to address this issue at the city level, and he expects organizations to replicate the effort in their respective locales.</p><p>Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus <a href="http://cbc.fudge.house.gov/cbc-statement-on-senate-comprehensive-immigration-reform-legislation/">have also voiced concern</a> about the elimination of Diversity Visas under the immigration bill.</p><p>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a>.</p></p> Wed, 08 May 2013 08:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/immigration/immigrant-organizers-lobby-local-governments-national-immigration-bill-107071 Non-Latino groups say immigration bill undercuts their communities http://www.wbez.org/news/non-latino-groups-say-immigration-bill-undercuts-their-communities-106703 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Immigration_130417_oy.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Wednesday&rsquo;s unveiling of a comprehensive immigration reform bill confirmed many fears of immigrant groups that largely seek permanent status in the U.S. through existing immigrant visa programs.</p><p>The 844-page <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/686529-immigration-border-security-economic-opportunity.html">Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013</a> was crafted by the so-called &ldquo;Gang of Eight,&rdquo; a bipartisan group of senators. While many Asian and African community leaders in Chicago said they had yet to read the document thoroughly, they were aware of key changes in the document because of a conversation they had with Sen Dick Durbin (D-IL) last week, in advance of the bill&rsquo;s release.</p><p>&ldquo;I have to be happy there is a bill, and I think that this is a beginning and a start of something where we do need to really fight very hard for our families,&rdquo; said Tuyet Le, Executive Director of the Asian American Institute.</p><p>Le said she&rsquo;s concerned that the elimination of family reunification visas for siblings and married adult children will particularly hurt Asian-Americans. &ldquo;I think we rely on our family network for social support,&rdquo; she said, <a href="http://capac-chu.house.gov/immigration2013">mentioning that nearly half the people stuck in a backlog for family reunification visas are from Asian countries</a>.</p><p>The bill also eliminates the diversity program, which awards 55,000 visas to immigrants from countries that are underrepresented in the U.S. In recent years, <a href="http://www.travel.state.gov/pdf/FY12AnnualReport-TableVII.pdf">Africans comprised between 30 and 50 percent of those visa recipients</a>. &ldquo;This program was one of the only few options that Africans have to come to the US as immigrants,&rdquo; explained Alie Kabba, Executive Director of the United African Organization.</p><p>&ldquo;The elimination of the diversity program is reversing the clock in terms of African migration to the US,&rdquo; said Kabba, &ldquo;and it also undermines one of the seminal achievements of the Civil Rights movement, which was the democratization of the US immigration system to ensure that there was indeed a diverse stream of immigrants coming to the US.&rdquo;</p><p>Kabba said his organization will fight to make sure that the principles behind the diversity visa program are incorporated into a new merit-based point system in the new bill. Under that system, those seeking citizenship can accrue points based on a range of factors, including their English language proficiency, their level of education, whether they specialize in high-demand professional fields, and civic involvement. Points will also be given for people in the family reunification categories that would be eliminated, namely siblings of U.S. citizens and adult children of citizens. The bill currently awards some points for people who come from countries that have few immigrants in the U.S.</p><p>&ldquo;The whole configuration of the immigration system should be fair and should be humane, and it should not be just using immigrants as a tool for economic development,&rdquo; said Jerry Clarito, Executive Director of the the Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment. Clarito said the fundamental problem with the bill is that it shifts away from a family-based immigration system to one based on U.S. industry needs.</p><p>&ldquo;The immigration system should be really fair and humane. It&rsquo;s not about just skills,&rdquo; said Clarito. &ldquo;Otherwise, we are creating an elitist form of immigration, and this is really dangerous because it will trickle down to even the value-formation inside America, that they only value people with high skills. And we know in reality that&rsquo;s not the case.&rdquo;</p><p>The bill is expected to provoke extended debate before it comes to a vote.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her at <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 17 Apr 2013 18:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/non-latino-groups-say-immigration-bill-undercuts-their-communities-106703 County starts freeing inmates wanted by ICE http://www.wbez.org/story/county-starts-freeing-inmates-wanted-ice-91808 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-09/Cook county jail Ted S. Warren-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A new Cook County ordinance that touches the hot-button issue of immigration is allowing inmates out of the county’s jail and making waves in other parts of the country.</p><p>The ordinance, approved Wednesday by the County Board, halts compliance with Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests that certain inmates stay in jail up to two business days beyond what their criminal cases require. The requests, known as detainers, give ICE time to pick up the inmates for possible deportation.</p><p>Sheriff Tom Dart’s office says by Friday afternoon the jail had freed 11 jail inmates named in ICE detainers.</p><p>ICE took custody of 721 Cook County inmates on detainers this year and 1,665 last year, according to Dart’s office. “I guess that’s it,” spokesman Steve Patterson says.</p><p>The ordinance requires the jail to free such inmates unless the federal government agrees in advance to pay for the extended confinement. ICE says the feds don’t reimburse any local jurisdiction in the country for those costs.</p><p>“It’s like a godsend,” says Carlos Torres, 29, of North Lawndale.</p><div class="inset"><p><span style="color: rgb(165, 42, 42);"><span style="font-size: 24px;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">‘You have many localities and state legislatures trying to do immigration policy. We’re not best equipped to do this.</span></em></span></span><span style="color: rgb(165, 42, 42);"><span style="font-size: 24px;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">’</span></em></span></span></p></div><p>Torres says Chicago police last month arrested his father after finding narcotics in a car in which he was a passenger. Torres says his father, a Mexico native, has an expired green card and that his U.S. record includes a burglary conviction. “So that would make him more likely to get deported,” Torres says.</p><p>ICE found out Torres’s father was in the jail and put a detainer on him. But the ordinance gives the inmate a better chance of walking free after a court appearance Tuesday. “I’m relieved,” Torres says.</p><p>Jesús García, D-Chicago, and other commissioners who backed the measure say detainers violate inmates’ due-process rights and erode community trust in local cops.</p><p>“You have many localities and state legislatures trying to do immigration policy,” García says. “We’re not best equipped to do this.”</p><p>García says local governments are stuck with the job until Congress overhauls the nation’s immigration laws.</p><p>Those localities have some cover from a federal court ruling in Indiana this summer. The ruling says compliance with ICE detainers is voluntary.</p><p>Still, a few Cook County commissioners have qualms about ignoring them. “Under this ordinance, gang bangers and people involved in drug dealing, sex trafficking and criminal sexual assault will be released back into our communities,” Timothy Schneider, R-Bartlett, said during Wednesday’s County Board meeting. “This is clearly our Willie Horton moment.”</p><p>A Massachusetts prison released Horton, a convicted felon, as part of a weekend furlough program in 1986. He did not return and committed violent crimes that came back to haunt Gov. Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential campaign.</p><p>ICE sounds a similar alarm. “ICE has not sought to compel compliance through legal proceedings [but] jurisdictions that ignore detainers bear the risk of possible public safety risks,” the agency said in a statement about the Cook County vote.</p><p>Asked whether ICE will take the county to court to compel compliance, the agency did not answer.</p><p>The ordinance, meanwhile, is reverberating beyond the county. “For a long time we felt like we were in this alone,” says Juniper Downs, lead deputy counsel for Santa Clara County, California. “Cook County’s bold policy may affect the direction of the policy we develop.”</p><p>At least three other counties — Taos and San Miguel, both in New Mexico, and San Francisco in California — have limited the sorts of inmates they’re holding on ICE detainers. None has gone as far as Cook County, which is ignoring the detainers altogether.</p></p> Fri, 09 Sep 2011 23:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/county-starts-freeing-inmates-wanted-ice-91808 U.S. bishops reject candidate tied to Chicago sex abuse http://www.wbez.org/story/news/us-bishops-reject-candidate-tied-chicago-sex-abuse <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//Kicanas2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Catholic bishops have chosen a New York prelate to lead their organization for the next three years. The move is an unexpected defeat for an Arizona bishop under fire for his links to an imprisoned Chicago child molester.<br /><br />At a meeting Tuesday in Baltimore, the bishops elected New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, a St. Louis native, as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Dolan&rsquo;s victory is the first time in decades the nation&rsquo;s bishops have passed over a sitting vice president for their top post.<br /><br />That vice president, Tuscon Bishop Gerald Kicanas, once served as rector of a Chicago archdiocese seminary in northwest suburban Mundelein. In that post, Kicanas heard about three instances of alleged sexual misconduct by a student named Daniel McCormack.<br /><br />The nature of those incidents is murky. An archdiocese-commissioned report describes one as &ldquo;sexual abuse of a minor&rdquo; and says they occurred when McCormack attended a nearby seminary college&mdash;before he arrived in Mundelein.<br /><br />Kicanas approved McCormack&rsquo;s 1994 ordination. As a Chicago priest, McCormack sexually abused more than a dozen boys. Cardinal Francis George had started receiving allegations about the abuse by September 2005 but didn&rsquo;t pull McCormack out of the ministry until Chicago police arrested the priest in January 2006. The roles of Kicanas and George, the outgoing USCCB president, were the subject of a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/undefined/sex-abuse-lurks-behind-catholic-election">WBEZ report</a> last month.<br /><br />The National Catholic Register last week pressed Kicanas for his reactions to the report. A written response from the bishop said revelations about the three alleged sexual-misconduct incidents led to a church evaluation of McCormack. He said the evaluation sought &ldquo;to determine if he could live a celibate life and if there was any concern about his affective maturity.&rdquo;<br /><br />The evaluation found that McCormack&rsquo;s alleged misconduct was &ldquo;experimental and developmental,&rdquo; Kicanas added. &ldquo;I would never defend endorsing McCormack&rsquo;s ordination if I had had any knowledge or concern that he might be a danger to anyone.&rdquo;<br /><br />On Sunday morning some victims of priest sexual abuse led a Chicago protest against Kicanas, warning that it would be a mistake for U.S. bishops to elect him. Some conservative Catholic bloggers, meanwhile, seized on the controversy and cited additional reasons to oppose Kicanas. They said he wouldn&rsquo;t uphold many Catholic teachings strictly enough.<br /><br />Kicanas, 69, has pushed for dialogue between the church&rsquo;s liberal and conservative wings. In Arizona, the bishop has spoken against abortion and gay marriage but hasn&rsquo;t denied communion to politicians who favor abortion rights. On immigration, Kicanas has sided against a tough new Arizona law and pushed for a federal overhaul that would include a legalization of undocumented residents. Kicanas promoted &ldquo;comprehensive immigration reform&rdquo; as recently as Friday, when he gave the keynote speech at a church conference in Hammond, Indiana, just southeast of Chicago.<br /><br />Dolan, 60, appeals to many Catholic conservatives as a more aggressive defender of church orthodoxy. Last year, he signed a statement that united leading evangelicals and Catholics against abortion and gay marriage.<br /><br />The Vatican installed Dolan as New York archbishop last year. He had spent almost seven years as archbishop of Milwaukee.<br /><br />In Baltimore, where the bishops are holding their annual fall meeting, Dolan beat Kicanas in the third round of voting, 128-111. Dolan will replace Cardinal George as president this week. In another win for conservatives, the bishops elected Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz to take Kicanas&rsquo; place as their vice president.<br /><br />An expert on the U.S. bishops says it&rsquo;s hard to know whether the latest McCormack flare-up shifted votes against the Tuscon bishop. &ldquo;Clearly Kicanas was being attacked and accused of making bad decisions when he was rector of the seminary,&rdquo; says Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. &ldquo;On the other hand, Dolan has also been criticized by victims of sexual abuse.&rdquo;<br /><br />In August, according to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Dolan &ldquo;quietly, recklessly and deceptively&rdquo; let a priest resign from his Harlem parish without mentioning that &ldquo;at least nine men&rdquo; had accused the priest of sexually abusing them as children.<br /><br />But a SNAP statement applauds Tuesday&rsquo;s defeat of Kicanas: &ldquo;We can hope that his shocking defeat will help deter future clergy sex crimes and coverups by the Catholic hierarchy.&rdquo;<br /><br />The USCCB has no formal authority over bishops but helps them promote Catholic teachings and coordinate positions on national issues such as marriage, immigration and health care. The organization has also formed policies to protect children from sexually abusive priests and other adults.</p></p> Tue, 16 Nov 2010 21:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/us-bishops-reject-candidate-tied-chicago-sex-abuse