My work in immigrants’ rights

If there’s one important thing about civil liberties, it’s getting people to stand up for the rights of those who can’t protect their own rights. If there’s one thing I want to do this year, it’s inspire activists of all backgrounds to stand up for immigrants’ rights.

I’ve never seen a man at a women’s rights seminar. I’ve never met a straight person who was in the LGBTA. I don’t know a lot of white supporters of affirmative action, and I don’t know nearly enough non-immigrants who are involved in immigrants’ rights work.

Let’s change that.

This year, let’s bring non-traditional activists into immigration advocacy. Let’s remind every non-immigration civil rights group that repealing the 14th Amendment just to keep immigrants’ children from becoming citizens will hurt everyone in the nation and make it nearly impossible to sue the government for equal protection under the law.

Let’s tell businesses how the laws to fine them for hiring undocumented immigrants will cause them an unnecessary administrative burden.

Let’s tell taxpayers that it’s not the job of the federal government to mandate that local law enforcement enforce federal immigration laws and find their own way to pay for it.

Let’s educate the public about what’s really going on, and lead people in the community to stand behind each other. Immigrants’ rights are human rights, and the civil liberties of all people need to be protected whether the Department of Homeland Security likes it or not.

When it comes to political issues, immigration is as controversial as they come. It was in 1850 and will be in 2050. As long as we have media and community members ranting and raving about immigration, let’s give them some real information. Let’s fill them in on the facts and encourage them to stop spreading unsubstantiated myths about immigrants. Let’s start a public discourse.

Let’s give them something to talk about.


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The AP’s Irresponsible Style

As a journalist, I have followed the Associated Press’ Stylebook because it provides me a clear-cut basis for how to abbreviate things, what to capitalize, and what words to use.

Until now.

It says that illegal immigrant is preferred to illegal alien and undocumented worker. That’s just not right.

Elie Wiesel said it best: That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal?”

A human being cannot be illegal.

Furthermore, the cardinal rule of journalism is that if you didn’t see it, it didn’t happen. If you can’t find proof, it’s not true. If you need to fill these gaps but can’t, it’s time to quote people. But you damn well make sure they’re not full of shit either.

Even if a person could be illegal, a journalist would have to prove that the person broke the law; so if a journalist wanted to call someone an illegal immigrant, the journalist would have to find proof of a person’s name, proof of what law they might be breaking, and proof that they actually broke the law.

Good luck with that.

Good luck finding an immigrant who was given her constitutional right to due process.

There’s a lot of mistreatment of immigrants in our country and in the world, so let’s start by taking back this term. Let’s call people what they are: people. Let’s call immigrants what they are: immigrants. Let’s call immigrants who lack immigration documents what they are: undocumented.

Let’s call that section of the AP Stylebook what it is: Bullshit.

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Americans are not stupid.

Maybe you are, but I’m not.

The US constitution was written when a bunch of guys went away for the weekend to write stuff down. Their model of three branches of government and a bicameral legislature has since been used internationally as a basis for how to draft a strong constitution.

We are home to some of the best public and private universities in the world, and people come from all over the world to study there.

The literacy rate in the United States is tied with those of Finland, Denmark, The United Kingdom, Belgium, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Germany, France, Switzerland, and other countries that are much more respected.

This isn't true either.

According to 2007 statistics, the average math scores for elementary school kids in the US out-rank other developed countries like Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Australia. So do their science scores.

In terms of education, the US is ranked higher than 12 of the G20 world economies.

Global Education Rankings says that out of 13 countries, the US is number 4 in accessible higher education.

The US ranked seventh in a report on countries who lead the world in technology.

When Americans are calling other Americans dumb, that’s just an example of our hostile culture and the culture’s penchant for making other people look stupid. When Europeans call Americans dumb, that’s just mean.

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So much for Sanity

Regarding the midterm elections

Nobody died for my right to vote. They died because of unethical draft policies that forced people of poorer classes into uniform during wartime, while the richer classes could afford to attend college. Struggled, sure. People also struggled for my right to have an abortion, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to run out and make sure I get one just because I can.

You have a right not to vote just as much as you have a right to vote. Yes, I think it’s better for our country if you vote in every election and treat even the smallest elections as the most important events of our time, but if you don’t want to, that’s the right choice for you. And I have to respect that.

People struggled for our right to be a douchebag, and we shouldn’t abuse that privelege either.

So let’s stop screaming at each other, stop making them feel ashamed, and lighten up. Our country is beautiful, our fellow citizens are far smarter than we give each other credit for, and misplaced anger isn’t going to bring back the Democrat’s majority in the House.

Not that I ever liked Nancy Pelosi anyway.


Things that really were different this time

Because of a recent Supreme Court ruling, corporations were allowed for the first time to funnel money directly into campaigns.

Fewer people voted because they didn’t know as much about the candidates.

More people voted for Boehner because they love Boners.

The pendulum swung back from 2006 when we voted for anyone but the Republicans.

Democrats got gang-Teabagged.

The first black president wasn’t running.

Nobody got the Colbert Bump because Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t let congresspeople go on The Colbert Report.

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I need a donation.

I thought beggars would disappear when I left the third world. Turns out there are more here, only they dress better.

They,  too, will try to make you feel guilty for not donating “just a coin.” They, too, think that if you’re walking down the streets of the city, or perusing the streets of the Internet, you must have money to donate to their cause.

But here’s the thing.

I care about Haiti, and I care about breast cancer. I think St. Jude’s is a great place for cancerous children to be treated, and I think it’s great that the Make A Wish foundation helps them out.  I wish there were no earthquakes so the peopple of Southern Chile wouldn’t have lost their homes. I love how Jon Stewart cares about autism education, and how Stephen Colbert auctioned a signed Declaration of Independence for charity. My heart aches for people with degenerative diseases like MS and Alzeheimers, and I hope today’s scientists can find a cure.

But I’m tired of being yelled at from across the room every time I walk through the Student Union because people want the cash in my pockets. I’m tired of not being able to watch a movie in my room because strangers knock on the door nightly and won’t go away until I empty my pockets of change. And I’m tired of signing onto Facebook just to see even more donation inquiries.

So here’s MY cause: Peace, Quiet, and Freedom from your Solicitations.  Because if I had the money to donate to earthquake victims and flood victims and people with diseases, I would. And if I spent all of my money for living expenses trying to save the homeless population of New York, I would be homeless, too.

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Dear Buenos Aires:

I have red hair, blue eyes, pale skin and freckles. I also speak fluent Spanish.

I once had a professor come into my International Relations class to describe a trip. I asked the price, in Spanish. He told me the price and said, “But you have to be able to speak Spanish. Do you speak Spanish?” Claro que si, boludo de mierda.

I once called a safe taxi only to have him drive around in circles until the price had doubled, and drop me off a block away from my not-so-safe destination and insist he didn’t have change for a 50-peso bill. Yo tampoco pelotudo. I sat there for five minutes. Suddenly, he had change.

I once lived in a house where the man couldn’t get his own beer, where I was laughed at for saying I was a feminist, where it was okay for them to generalize the world, but it wasn’t okay to suggest that Buenos Aires was anything less than perfect. Machistas.

I once punched an Argentine guy for saying: “Blow me.”

Some people here like to speak English to practice. No hard feelings; I respond in Spanish, though.

Some people here like to get annoyed and try to use smaller words in Spanish. I still respond in Spanish.

Some people here think all Americans are rich capitalist pigs, when the truth is we’re mostly middle-class and actually help the poor with our social programs and decent public schools.

Some people here have this redhead fantasy and think I came here to fulfill it.

Some people here are racist, sexist and disingenous. 

Some people here are fantasitc.

Some people.

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Why the World Cup kicks the Super Bowl´s Ass

1. Commercials don´t interrupt the whole fucking game. Sure, a lot of these guys make less than a kindergarten teacher, but at least Bud Light doesn´t chime in every 3 minutes to try to convince you that their beer doesn´t suck. (It still does.)

2. The men don´t wear mattresses on their shoulders. Tougher, manlier, and all-around hotter. Rawwwwr. And the sweat makes their uniforms stick to their chests…

3. No cheerleaders. It turns out women can do more than make sandwiches stand on the sidelines spelling the word “Go”.

4.  The way choosing a side makes you sound kind of racist. Remember that time [insert country here] lost the war? Don´t feel afraid to remind them if they beat your country.

5. The excitement of wondering if Diego Maradona is going to collapse from a cocaine overdose again. No worries, Fidel´s on his speed-dial.

6. They´ll use any part of their body to stop the ball. Scoring a goal with your head, fuckin´ right!

7. The players actually run. If you waddle and weigh 400 lbs, get off the fucking pitch. That means you, Maradona.

8. It lasts a whole month long. That´s what she said.

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