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Institute for Public Accuracy
APRIL 28, 2005
1:00 PM
CONTACT: Institute for Public Accuracy  
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020
David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Major issues on Immigration: "Real ID" Legislation from the Shadows' Contrast Mexico-U.S. with European Community, The "Jobs No American Wants" Myth, Inside the Minutemen Project

WASHINGTON -- April 28 --

JUDITH GOLUB, via Julia Hendrix,,, Congress is expected to soon pass a piece of legislation known as the Real ID Act. Golub is senior director of advocacy and public affairs for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She said today: "Real ID is an example of the legislative process gone wrong -- both procedurally and substantively. It's been tacked on to an emergency supplemental bill to help our soldiers and the tsunami victims, with no debate or discussion and behind closed doors in conference negotiations that exclude Democrats. This ill-conceived measure will dramatically and negatively impact many people, and will not enhance our security. For these reasons, more than 600 organizations from across the political spectrum oppose this bad idea." Detailed information on the legislation is available at the above web pages.

COLLEEN KELLY, TALAT HAMDANI,, Kelly and Hamdani are members of September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. Hamdani is a Pakistani-American living in Queens, New York. Her son, Salman, was a New York City police cadet who disappeared on
9/11 and was wrongfully accused of participating in the attacks. When his body was identified at the WTC months later, it was believed that he had gone to the scene to provide help. Hamdani has since been active in immigrant issues arising from the 9/11 attacks. The group is working with organizations including the United States Catholic Conference, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the National Conference of State Legislators in scrutinizing "Real ID."

ROBERTO RODRIGUEZ, Co-writer with Patrisia Gonzales of the weekly syndicated "Column of the Americas," Rodriguez contrasts U.S. immigration policy toward Mexico with policy in Europe as it economically integrates: "There, workers from member nations of the European Community can work in any other member nation -- without a loss of rights, citizenship or humanity. Here, with a trilateral agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico, the government pretends that 'illegal aliens' are sneaking in to take peoples' jobs. The truth is, big business and government have always been in cahoots. The existence of 'illegal aliens' means exploitable non-unionized labor ... forced to live in fear and in shadows -- always with the threat of economic and sexual exploitation and deportation."

GORDON LAFER, Lafer is a professor of labor studies at the University of Oregon. He spent the past semester as a visiting professor of Migration Studies at the University Latina in Mexico. Lafer said today: "According to corporate lobbyists, the critical challenge facing the country is how to keep business going 'when no Americans can be found to fill the jobs.' Are we really supposed to believe that, with 8 million unemployed in the U.S., there are millions of construction and hospital jobs going begging? For U.S. workers, the problem with undocumented immigrants is not their presence, but their legal status. In one industry after another, an increase in undocumented workers has meant a decrease in wages. Because they live with the knowledge that their employer can deport them with a single phone call, these workers accept conditions that few citizens would put up with. The truth is that our nation's problem is exactly the opposite of that pitched by employer associations -- not a shortage of workers, but a shortage of decently-paying jobs. Unfortunately the Bush 'guest worker' proposal simply offers a stamp of 'legality' to current practices, without changing anything in the dynamics that are destroying American jobs."

CHRIS STROHM,, A reporter for Government Executive magazine covering national security issues, Strohm has just returned to D.C. from five days of interviewing members of the Minuteman Project in Arizona. He said today: "My interviews reveal a deep-seeded, reactionary, paranoid and anti-government philosophy among Minutemen organizers and volunteers. Their politics are a complex mix of right and left leanings, even if they are not aware of it. They are for strong U.S. labor unions. They feel the political class is corrupt. They are against the war in Iraq. They voted for Bush but now feel he has sold them out. They despise groups like the ACLU. They call employers who hire illegal immigrants 'criminals' and 'the ugly side of capitalism.' Many of them exaggerate the impact of illegal immigration to make it the scapegoat for almost every problem in American society, including traffic gridlock." Strohm added: "They were becoming increasing confused and frustrated at what they perceive as the demise of the 'American dream.' Then they found a face to blame for problems in American society: illegal immigrants. So they went to the border to plant their U.S. flags in the ground and take a stand against something tangible."


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