HOW IMMIGRATION HAS AFFECTED THE UNITED STATES/MEXICO RELATIONSHIP: MSNBC TALKS TO THE AMBASSADOR OF MEXICO, ARTURO SARUKHAN CASAMITJANA

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CLICK HERE TO SEE THE MSNBC INTERVIEW WITH ARTURO SARUKHAN CASAMITJANA AMBASSADOR OF MEXICO

Arturo Sarukhan, Mexican Ambassador to the U.S., makes remarks with President Barack Obama during a Cinco de Mayo celebration in the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington, Monday, May 4, 2009. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan talks about the affiliation between the U.S. and Mexico as Cinco De Mayo approaches.

SOURCE: AP/Danny Johnston

>>> at home and among our neighbors in mexico . president obama addressed the holiday and the bonds between our two countries on thursday.
>> the united states and mexico have lived intersecting and overlapping histories. our two countries share the ties of history and familia and commerce and culture and values and today, we are more united than ever. in friendship and in common purpose.
>> ambassador arturo sarukhan serves as mexico ambassador to the united states . thank you very much. happy cinco de mayo a day in advance. one of the things you said in your speech yesterday about cinco de mayo was that immigration reform is the unfinished business between our two countries. and you talked about the fact that there are 11 million people living in the shadows. i talked earlier to hilda solis, the labor secretary about this but the argument you get from democrats, from the white house is that oh, it’s the republicans on the hill. the argument you get from the republicans is that the white house won’t negotiate. what is your perspective looking at us?

photo source by FlickrU.S. Secretary of LaborHilda Solis testifies at a hearing about Strengthening the Economy and Improving the Lives of American Workers on February 3, 2010.

>> well, look, this is probably the most important single issue in the u.s.- mexico bilateral relationship. nothing will have a more profound impact on the future prosperity, well-being and security of north america of mexico and the united states than getting immigration right. but it is a very toxic and very polar rising issue more so in an election. and more so when so many americans are hurting and out of a job. these issues are very tough to handle and there are people on both sides of the aisle that i think are fully committed to getting this done. the challenge is timing. and the equation, how you put this together so combined all the different groups that have a specific interest in getting immigration done, but that need to come together and agree to big single holistic deal.

photo source: AP

>> immigration, illegal immigration is down. is that because of border security or is that because more jobs are available and the economy has improved so much in mexico ?
>> this is probably the most important story that is happening today on the u.s.- mexico border which americans are not focusing on. there’s a dramatic drop from undocumented immigration from 2006 to 2011 , we’ve seen a 60% drop in documented immigration. there has just been a report issued by the pew hispanic institute that states what a lot of us had already been seeing that net migration from mexico is zero if not negative. that means that more people are going back than people actually coming across the border. it’s a mix of reasons. certainly a softer u.s. economy especially in the construction sector which has traditionally been a magnet for undocumented labor has to do with it. greater operational control of the border. something a lot of people don’t want to focus on but which is a reality. the pernicious and very troubling musclealing in of organized crime into human trafficking on the border and the impact that has on the well-being and security of migrants. i think the most important reason is that over 15 years, as a result of sustained sound macro economic policies in mexico , one of the largest free trade agreement networks that any country has on the face of the earth by generating export-related job creation and by what is probably by world bank bench marks the most successful extreme poverty aleviation program on the face of the earth. these things combined with a profound shift in the demographics of mexico is expanding the middle classes , is creating better jobs. and is locking in or anchoring people who may be a year ago, two years ago would have decided to cross the border. they’re staying home.

About twice as many Mexicans returned home in the five years previous to the 2010 census than had done so in the five years before the 2000 census. Read Story: Pew Research Center

>> we’re anticipating of course, in june premium court decision on immigration. and the indications from the oral arguments and it’s always difficult to guess, are that the court may uphold some of the more extreme measures . how will that be viewed south of the border ?

>> look, this is an issue that as you can well imagine has garnered a lot of attention in mexico . i think that mexico in the past and we continue to say it, i think that we fully agree to the fact that any country has the right to establish whatever immigration policy it deems fit, but we do believe also that that’s a responsibility of the federal government . and we think that some of these laws, arizona, and a lot of people have forgotten alabama, may be one of the worst pieces of legislation out there and are poisoning the well spring of values of bonds that connect these two countries. it is a very big challenge.

El embajador de México en EU, Arturo Sarukhan, dijo que Centroamérica es “víctima” del éxito de la lucha antinarco (EFE Archivo).

>> let me ask you finally about the violence because as a member of the committee to protect journalists i have to tell you, there’s terrible concern for reporters and photographers in veracruz state murdered only this week. what can we do about what’s happening? it seems to be the targeting by these criminals of reporters and photographers.
>> first of all, we have to do anything in our power to defend journalists who are doing their job and a lot of them do become the target of organized crime that is either seeking to silence them or to ensure that the stories don’t come out. we have to find ways to protect these journalists more importantly we have to build mechanisms in which we can investigate and prosecute a swiftly and as quickly as possible because a society where a free press is muzzled because of intimidation or fear senior a society that’s in trouble.
>> arturo, sarakhan, thank you very much for joining us today.

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IS LUCHA LIBRE USING IMMIGRATION TO ATTRACT US FANS?

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Defiantly waving an Arizona state flag, the self-described American patriot leaps into an octagon-shaped ring amid blaring music and loud boos from an overwhelmingly Latino audience, who hold aloft signs in Spanish supporting his masked Mexican opponents.

“My name is RJ Brewer and I’m from Phoenix, Arizona,” the wrestler proclaims in a video of a recent match provided by the promoter. Taunts from inside the arena get louder.

He proceeds to rail against Mexican beer and to demand that people speak English. Then he points to the message painted on the backside of his red trunks: “SB1070” — a reference to Arizona’s controversial immigration law. The crowd, some wearing masks of their favorite Mexican wrestlers, shrieks ever louder. He then brags that his “mother,” Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, is helping “save” America by pushing policies that limit immigration (he’s not really her son).

When his masked opponent in a red cape appears, the crowd erupts into cheers.

This undated image provided by Lucha Libre USA shows the anti-immigrant styled "RJ Brewer" entering a wrestling ring to the boos of the primarily Latino crowd. As more promotions of Lucha Libre, aka, Mexican-style wrestling, expands into U.S. and targets growing Mexican immigrant and Mexican American markets, they are beginning to adopt more political tones and tap into strong sentiments just as U.S. wrestling promoters did in the 1980s and 1990s on the subject of race and the Cold War. Photo: AP / AP

Lucha libre — or “free wrestling” in Spanish — is a brand of Mexican wrestling that dates to the 1930s. The sport came north to the United States, along with Mexican immigrants, and over the years spawned clubs in some larger U.S. cities with large Latino communities.

One lucha libre promotion is leading the charge away from the slapstick and simple storylines with a tour in U.S. cities with sizable Latino populations, including events in Reno, Nev., and San Jose, Calif., this week. It’s using the recent events in Arizona as a backdrop while pitting popular masked Mexican wrestlers against American “bad guys.”

“It’s something that we’ve been building in our TV shows and we’ve gotten a lot of positive reaction to it,” said Steve Ship, CEO of Lucha Libre USA, which this week is launching a “Masked Warriors” tour that will also stop in Phoenix, Los Angeles and Houston. “So we are bringing it right to our audience.”

SB1070, signed by Gov. Brewer in 2010, requires all immigrants in Arizona to obtain or carry immigration registration papers and requires police, while enforcing other laws, to question people’s immigration status if there is a reasonable suspicion they’re in the country illegally. The law is being challenged by the federal government and has sparked protests and boycotts against Arizona by Latino advocates around the country.

On shows that have aired on Spanish-language stations and MTV2, RJ Brewer — whose real name is John Stagikas and works as a real estate agent in Massachusetts — advocates for deportations and calls on Americans to support laws that target illegal immigrants.

“This is different than any other program I’ve been involved with because usually I have to work really hard to get the audience to hate me,” Stagikas said in an interview with The Associated Press. “With this, I just walk in with the Arizona flag and the audience boos before I even say a word.”

Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Lucha-libre-using-immigration-to-attract-US-fans-3446194.php#ixzz1r3bDYMee

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WHAT IS THE SUPREME COURT GOING TO DO ON THE QUESTION OF OBAMA’S SIGNATURE HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL LAW?

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is keeping quiet what the Supreme Court is going to do on the question of whether President Barack Obama’s signature health care overhaul law is constitutional. Sotomayor was the featured speaker Monday night at a lecture hosted by the University of the District of Columbia.

The court recently heard arguments on the health care law and is expected to make a decision before the end of June. But Sotomayor made no comment on the widely followed case.

The justice used most of her conversation with Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, to explain how the Supreme Court works and how she decided to become a lawyer and a prosecutor.

Sotomayor was born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican parents and received her B.A. from Princeton before earning her law degree at Yale. She worked as an assistant district attorney in New York before going into going into private practice in 1984.

President George H. W. Bush nominated Sotomayor to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in 1991 and she was confirmed in 1992. President Obama nominated Sotomayor for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace retired Justice David Souter and her appointment was confirmed in 2009.

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday July 15, 2009, before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) Original Filename: Sotomayor_Senate_WCAP118.jpg

Sotomayor also said she’s a fan of Jeremy Lin, whose NBA career with the New York Knicks has spawned “Linsanity.” Sotomayor, a New York native, says “New York loves him” but decried some of the racist comments the Asian-American basketball player has faced as “ugly.”

“It’s a sad statement people that people still say those words,” said Sotomayor, who is Hispanic.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press

Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2012/04/03/sotomayor-keeps-quiet-health-care-decision/#ixzz1r3ETuGmE

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THE MYTH OF THE UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS: THEY DO PAY TAXES AND HERE’S WHAT THEY PAID EACH STATE IN 2010

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

 

It’s a myth that illegal immigrants don’t pay taxes, says Dulce Guerroro, a self-confessed illegal immigrant living in Mableton, Georgia.

Guerrero’s whole family is undocumented, except for her 13-year old younger brother, who was born in the U.S. and is a U.S. citizen. She says that they all work and pay taxes through their Internal Revenue System (IRS) issued Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs).

“People always, always point out that we don’t pay taxes, which is a complete lie,” Guerrero told Business Insider.

“We have a government issued tax ID number. So the government knows very well who we are. They know very well where we live and they have all of our information. I am sure if they ever wanted to pick us up, since they have our tax ID number, they have our information. We pay taxes just like everyone else.” 

Business Insider has interviewed four illegal immigrants in the past few weeks and all have said they have filed and paid taxes through an ITIN. However, the IRS is prohibited by law to share any information regarding the tax payers with other governmental agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security. “The internal revenue code really does not differentiate between legal or illegal status,” IRS representative Patricia Kirk told Fox News.

According to the Associated Press, in 2006 the then IRS Commissioner, Mark Everson, agreed with Guerrero when he told Congress that “the ITIN program is bringing taxpayers into the system.” Furthermore, having ITIN enables immigrants to contribute to the U.S. economy by enabling them to open bank accounts, obtain mortgages and establish a record of residency and taxpaying.

Social Security Administration (SSA) has also taken a positive outlook on immigration in the past. “Overall, any type of immigration is a net positive to Social Security. The more people working and paying into the system, the better,” Mark Hinkle, Deputy Press Officer at SSA told the AP in 2008. “It does help the system remain solvent.”

While the IRS does not have an estimate of how many illegal immigrants pay income tax, it has been issuing ITINs to foreigners without a Social Security number since 1996. Everson told Congress “many illegal aliens, utilizing ITINs, have been reporting tax liability to the tune of almost $50 billion from 1996 to 2003.”

Hinkle told the AP that the Social Security and Medicare taxes from mismatched W2s for the same period was $41.4 billion, adding up to about $90 billion in federal taxes during the eight-year period.

These numbers are fairly similar to those that Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy came up with when calculating taxes paid by undocumented immigrants. Their final figure was $11.2 billion in 2010. Check out the breakdown of this figure by state:

 

 

Read more: BUSINESS INSIDER

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DID MISSISSIPPI VOTE FOR A CRACKDOWN ON UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS?

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Joining a nationwide trend, Mississippi House members voted for a bill Thursday that seeks to crack down on undocumented immigrants.

The bill, which passed with a 70-47 vote, calls for police to check the immigration status of people they arrest.

Leaders stripped more controversial provisions before the vote on House Bill 488. Next, the Republican-controlled state Senate is expected to pass it, and the governor has expressed support for the measure.

After initially failing, opponents of the bill were able on a second attempt to strip a provision requiring schools to count undocumented immigrants, saying it would violate federal law.

House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Andy Gipson, a Braxton Republican, denied opponents’ claims that the measure was racist or immoral, saying it was about enforcing the law. Gipson said he tried to craft a bill that would survive court challenges and allow charity toward migrants.

“It’s about the rule of law,” he told House members. “We want to say you’re welcome here, we just want you to follow the proper procedures, the proper protocols.”

Opponents warned families would be shattered by deportations and that the bill would reinforce outsiders’ stereotypes of Mississippi.

“If we pass this bill, it will set Mississippi back 60 years,” said Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes, D-Gulfport. “Let us show America we are not the narrow-minded people they say we are.”

No Republicans opposed the bill, while 10 mostly white and rural Democrats voted for it. They crossed party lines despite an appeal from House Agriculture Chairman Preston Sullivan, D-Okolona, a rural white Democrat who warned the bill would hurt farmers.

A provision that allowed law enforcement officers to ask about a person’s immigration status in a traffic stop was removed. That means someone would have to be arrested for another offense before inquiries could be made.

“If they’re stopped, that in itself will not trigger this bill,” Gipson said. “It would require an arrest to be made. If they are found to be unlawful, then they would be deported.”

Among earlier changes was the removal of a clause that said people could be arrested for not carrying identification, a clause that had led opponents to nickname the measure the “papers, please” bill. That portion, like several others removed in committee last month, have been blocked by courts in Arizona, Alabama and elsewhere.

During the debate that ran from late Wednesday into Thursday, Gipson also removed a provision that could have allowed municipal utilities to refuse power, water, sewer and other services to undocumented immigrants. Such a provision was also recently blocked by a federal court in Alabama.

Gipson said he was balancing the need to write a law that will survive court scrutiny versus the desire to remove undocumented immigrants.

“I have tried to bring the best possible product to the body for a vote,” he said.

The changes did little to mollify critics, who continued to question whether the bill was needed. Opponents emphasize that Mississippi doesn’t need to summon any ghosts of its racist past.

Opponents in the House debate zeroed in on the possibility that parents could be arrested, leaving behind children who are U.S. citizens. Those who have fought the Alabama and Arizona measures have highlighted such problems.

“Your bill has nothing in it to show any kind of compassion or any kind of consideration for the children who are left behind,” said Rep. Kelvin Buck, D-Holly Springs.

Gipson admitted that “some separations” were a possibility.

Mississippi has a relatively small undocumented population, although it appears to have grown in recent years. The Pew Hispanic Center estimated that in 2010, the state had about 45,000 undocumented immigrants out of nearly 3 million total residents.

The bill is supported by Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican who has been campaigning against illegal immigration since his days as state auditor.

Proponents say the state spends more money providing services to immigrants than it reaps in taxes, and claim that undocumented immigrants, if they leave, will vacate jobs that unemployed citizens can take. They say the bill is about legal compliance and that they welcome legal immigrants.

Gipson denied any racist intent, saying he had helped start a Hispanic ministry at a church nearly 20 years ago.

“I have been accused of being a racist,” he said. “I reject that.”

Gipson earlier added an amendment that allows any church or religious organization to minister to “immediate basic and human needs.”

He told a questioner Wednesday that a soup kitchen could feed an undocumented immigrant every day and not run afoul of the proposed bill. But Gipson said that, “if the question is `Can they harbor these people?’ the answer is `No.”‘

The bill now goes to the Senate, which has not advanced its own immigration bill.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

Photo: jimmywayne @ Flickr

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