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U.S. Muslims hope for better days, but one report indicates these could still be far off

Photo by sadaqah/Flickr (Creative Commons)

In recent days, since the announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden, Muslims around the country have expressed hope that the pall of suspicion they have lived under since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 will dissipate. But that day is a long way off, a new report alleges.

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and New York University School of Law's Center for Human Rights and Global Justice has released a briefing paper alleging that since 9/11, Muslims continue to be targets of discriminatory immigration practices via the recently discontinued National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), the naturalization process, the immigrant detention system and racial profiling at U.S. borders. An excerpt:

The charges brought against Muslim immigrants are almost always ordinary immigration violations. Unlike ordinary immigration proceedings, however, the government often insinuates the immigrant’s involvement in some sort of terrorist activity, without providing either the basis or the evidence for its allegations. The low evidentiary standards of the immigration system permit the government to make these accusations without proof, which they would not be able to do in a criminal trial.


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In the news this morning: Cinco de Mayo, Secure Communities, 'sanctuary cities' bill, more

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Illinois Drops Secure Communities as Fierce Opposition Mounts in Massachussetts, Other States - Fox News Latino Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has announced his intention to drop out of the federal Secure Communities immigration enforcement program. A pending California bill would make it voluntary here.

Cinco de Mayo: Six fun facts about the Fifth of May - What is Cinco de Mayo about? - Christian Science Monitor No, it is not Mexican independence day. Cinco de Mayo marks an outnumbered Mexican army’s victory over an invading French army on May 5, 1862, in Puebla, east of Mexico City.

TX Teacher Suspended After Telling Muslim Student 'I Bet You're Grieving' - Talking Points Memo The male teacher taunted a 9th-grade girl, who is Muslim, over the death of Osama bin Laden, referring to him as her "uncle."


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Will 'Patch Latino' have success with Spanish speakers?

Latinos may still be on the losing end of the long-reported “digital divide,” less likely to have Internet access than non-Latino whites. But those who do have access will be getting their own version of Patch Network.

The AOL network of hyper-local news sites announced yesterday that "Patch Latino" is expected to launch in Southern California by the end of this year. From a post on Patch's Echo Park site:

While embodying the traditional Patch model of local news, community and information, the sites will also offer dedicated coverage of topics of special interest to the Latino population. All editorial content on the sites will be in Spanish.

It will be an interesting experiment. According to  Pew Hispanic Center report released earlier this year, Latinos lag behind both white and black Americans in Internet access. They are less likely to have a home broadband connection or a cell phone than non-Latino whites. They also lag behind black Americans in home broadband access, according to the report. More than three-fourths (77 percent) of white Americans went online in 2010, compared with 65 percent of Latinos and 66 percent of black Americans.


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Working on Workers’ Day: The street vendors of the May Day march

Last Sunday's May 1 immigration march, the sixth since hundreds of thousands marched in Los Angeles and elsewhere on May 1, 2006 in support of hoped-for immigration reforms, was small in comparison to those of recent years. Some marchers still expressed optimism about a possible overhaul of the nation's immigration system; others vented over the lack of one. At one point police estimated the crowd at about 4,000 people, a far cry from five years ago.

But the small crowd this May 1, which in some countries is celebrated as International Workers' Day, didn't deter the immigrant street vendors who showed up to do what generations of immigrants have come to the United States to do, which is to make money.

They stationed themselves to the sides of the march hawking ice cream, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, fresh fruit, American flags, hats, shaved-ice raspados and bottled water to sun-parched marchers. A hot dog vendor named Lupe explained how she'd turned to street vending after being dismissed from her clothing factory job for lack of papers. "I'm here working, but I'm also supporting the march," she said.


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Immigration and the bin Laden effect: More on the changes since 9/11

Photo by The Pope/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A post on Monday outlined a few of the direct and indirect ways in which the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks orchestrated by Osama bin Laden changed the nation's immigration landscape. Legislative reaction to the attacks propelled legal and policy changes that led to tightened borders and beefed up immigration enforcement as national security took center stage. Among these changes was the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in early 2003.

In the days since, there have been other takes on immigration and the bin Laden effect. Today in a post in ColorLines, Seth Freed Wessler wrote about DHS's National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, or NSEERS, a program whose recent end has been applauded by Muslim groups:

Muslims in the U.S. became the most ominous threat, by policy. The Department of Homeland Security created the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), commonly called “Special Registration,” which functioned as a deportation net specifically for Muslims. As Colorlines’ Channing Kennedy wrote in April:

Initiated in September 2002, NSEERS functioned like Arizona’s SB 1070, with working-class Muslims as the target. Its first phase required all non-citizen male residents, ages 16 to 65, from a list of “suspect” nations, to register at INS offices. Thousands of families went out of their way to comply with the law, thinking it would be part of the government-sponsored pathways to citizenship that they were already participating in. Instead, in July 2003, the Washington Post reported it as the deportation of “the largest number of visitors from Middle Eastern and other Muslim countries in U.S. history—more than 13,000 of the nearly 83,000 men older than 16 who complied with the registration program by various deadlines between last September and April.”

Last week, the federal government officially ended the NSEERS program.


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