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News about the EJ movement, environmental issues and relevant political devlopments

Obama proposes new rule for immigrant families

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 04/05/2012 - 2:00pm
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Illegal immigrants who are immediate relatives of citizens could stay in the U.S. while applying for permanent residency. The goal is to reduce a family's time apart.



WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is proposing to make it easier for illegal immigrants who are immediate family members of American citizens to apply for permanent residency, a move that could affect as many as 1 million of the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally.

The new rule, which the Department of Homeland Security will post for public comment Monday, would reduce the time illegal immigrants are separated from their American families while seeking legal status, immigration officials said. Currently, such immigrants must leave the country to apply for a legal visa, often leading to long stints away as they await resolution of their applications.

The proposal is the latest move by the administration to use its executive powers to revise immigration procedures without changing the law. It reflects an effort by President Obama to improve his standing among those Latino voters who feel he has not met his 2008 campaign promise to pursue comprehensive immigration reform.

emailaddress: 
brian.bennett@latimes.com

You Got a Problem? Well, Now You Do

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 04/05/2012 - 1:50pm
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Trayvon Martin had it coming, or so we will soon be led to believe. The surely unattractive details of his short life as a black man in America will tumble forward—his troubles in school, the weed baggie that got him suspended, the altercation in which police and George Zimmerman claim he was the aggressor. He was a maladjusted, Negro man-child, so ferocious he could kill an armed man with his bare hands. He had to die.

Yesterday, local law enforcement offered a preview of this old, familiar narrative when someone leaked Zimmerman’s account of the night to the Orlando Sentinel. According to the Sentinel, Zimmerman had given up his hunt of Martin and was returning to his SUV when the 17-year-old caught him by surprise. Do you have a problem, Martin is said to have asked, before answering for himself, “Well, you do now.” He reportedly began pummelling Zimmerman, leading the armed man to shoot and kill.

Sadly, it’s necessary to point out that there isn’t an imaginable scenario in which an armed man can shoot an unarmed child to death and it be okay. But set that obvious fact to the side. Trayvon Martin did in fact have it coming. He was born black and male in the United States and was thus marked for death. The cruelness of our economy and of our criminal justice system isn’t reserved for men or for black people. But there is a particularly gendered and particularly racist way in which black men are set upon in this country, most acutely those who don’t have the resources to push back. And it has a very long, still relevant history.

Get Onboard: It's Time To Stop Hating The Bus

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 04/05/2012 - 1:43pm
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Everyone loves to hate riding the bus — passengers complain about cleanliness, overcrowding, timeliness and inefficiency. In a piece for Salon.com, writer Will Doig argues that disliking the bus is "practically an American pastime," but buses are key to improving mass transit. Doig thinks that rather than spending money on expensive new systems like light rail or streetcars, cities should focus on making buses better.

"I think when people say that they don't like the bus," he tells NPR's Neal Conan, "what they're really saying is that they like the train better than the bus. And there are a lot of really good reasons for that."

Doig (who admits he took the subway to the studio for this interview) says the appeals of trains — design, reliability, comfort and frequency — could easily be incorporated into bus systems. And some cities are already doing that by aiming to employ bus rapid transit, or BRT.

The biggest and most effective approach is removing the bus from traffic. "If you can give it its own lane that's physically separated from cars so that even people who want to drive in the bus lane are unable to, that's the key, and you'll be zipping through the city in no time," says Doig.

Doig explains why buses have an image problem and the things cities around the world are doing to improve bus transit.

Race, Gender, and Occupy

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 03/21/2012 - 11:13am
Source: 

A version of this article originally appeared on the Al Jazeera website
http://louisianajusticeinstitute.blogspot.com/2012/03/race-gender-and-occupy-by-sweta-vohra.html


At a recent panel discussion on the Occupy movement, a left-leaning professor from New York University speculated that identity politics - the prioritizing of issues of race and gender in movements for justice - could be a plot funded by the CIA to undermine activism. While most commentators do not go this far, the idea that activists who focus on these issues are "undermining the struggle" has a long history within progressive organizing. And in Occupy Wall Street encampments around the country these debates have often exploded into public view.

Mayor says youth could see lower Muni cost Read more at the San Francisco Examiner

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 03/16/2012 - 11:49am
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The movement to make Muni free for San Francisco youth is gaining traction.

According to an activist group, proposals to be advanced at an April 3 hearing before the Municipal Transportation Agency’s board will include a reduced monthly pass cost of $5, free Muni for low-income youth and free Muni for all youth.

SF Muni should give students a free ride

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 03/16/2012 - 11:45am
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Letting students ride Muni for free is an appealing idea that City Hall is all but certain to adopt. Eliminating fares makes it easier for kids to get to school, cuts the bills for parents and helps reduce traffic congestion in San Francisco.

But the idea means a fare-box hit of $4 million to $7.9 million for the under-funded transit system facing a $23 million deficit. The money factor is giving the Metropolitan Transportation Agency, which runs Muni, pause while it searches for the right mix of funds and rules for the program.

Thousands of Kids Lost From Parents In U.S. Deportation System

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 02/29/2012 - 10:00pm
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Clara’s eldest kid was 6 years old and her youngest just a year old when it happened. Josefina’s baby was 9 months. All three children were ripped from their mothers and sent to live in foster homes with strangers. Clara and Josefina, sisters in their early 30s who lived together in a small northern New Mexico town, had done nothing to harm their children or to elicit the attention of the child welfare department. Yet one morning last year, their family was shattered when federal immigration authorities detained both sisters. Clara and Josefina were deported four months later. For a year, they had no contact with their children.

The sun was rising on a late summer morning in Farmington. Clara (all parents’ names in this story have been changed) was asleep inside the trailer that she shared with the children and Josefina, who was finishing a night shift at the local restaurant where both sisters worked. Clara says she was jolted awake by the sound of banging and yelling. A group of uniformed officers, some marked with ICE, for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and others DEA, for Drug Enforcement Administration, burst through the door.

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