Sunday, December 10, 2006

Immigration in the News

The 109th Congress ended yesterday with barely a rustle. It's also the holiday season, so there has been little news on the immigration front. Still here are a few of the top stories circulating the nation:

Texas Governor Rick Perry pushes guest worker program and I.D.s
Mr. Perry, entering his second term as the Republican governor of Texas, is now emphasizing
federal officials should work toward providing I-D cards for immigrant workers that will allow them to freely cross the border. This plan would emphasize the "rule of law," and not reward those who break the law. This is a significant change for Mr. Perry, who is now more vocal about immigration than he was during his campaign. He said he would, "rather know who it is that crosses our border legally to work than not know who it is that crosses our border illegally to work."

Mr. Perry sounds like a seasoned Texan, meaning he's had to deal with immigration and undocumented border crossings long enough to have become a realist about the issue and how to address it.

Century Foundation Study: No Federal Action is Forcing States to Act
...and over-react. This study was widely cited last week, although the findings are less that earth-shaking. The rapid growth of immigrant communities in new destinations (those outside the U.S. Mexico borderlands) has forced state and local governments to tackle immigration problems, especially since the federal government has done nothing signficant to address the issues.
The study analyzed immigration politics in North Carolina, Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, and Minnesota. You can find the full study at

Immigrant Voices
This article from Friday's Washington Post highlights an exchange program at Georgetown Day School with Annandale High (in Northern Virginia).
These emissaries from the
Annandale High School Hispanic Leadership Club faced a crowd they feared would be intimidating -- a few hundred students from the prestigious Georgetown Day School in Northwest Washington. Students at the private school have been studying immigration, and the Annandale teenagers are living it. So they came together for a town hall meeting in Georgetown Day's bright atrium.

Georgetown Day students listened as Carlos told of how his mother was pregnant with him when his parents slipped across the U.S.-Mexico border by jumping fences and hiding in sewers. Silvina Orellana, 16, said that her father was deported to her native Argentina and that she hopes he can come back someday. Before long, the teenagers were chatting freely about stereotypes, homecoming games and college plans.

The article goes on to explain that, once the students started chatting, they found they had a lot in common, and in some instances, promised to stay in touch. Bringing these students together was a simple plan that did much to further understanding about immigrants and their lives here in the U.S. Other school districts would do well to follow Georgetown Day's example.

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