The state of Arizona started a wave of anti-immigration laws which have been replicated by four (4) states to date. In response to the enactment of these laws, many organizations and individuals have taken decisive action to indicate that there is no place in a free nation for “show me your papers” laws. The ACLU and other national advocacy organizations remind us that that these anti-immigration laws[i] — already signed in Arizona, Utah, Indiana, Georgia and Alabama[ii] — pose a grave threat to our civil liberties.
It is the ACLU’s assertion that these “show me your papers” laws which were passed in Arizona, Utah, Indiana, Georgia and Alabama intrude on the federal government’s immigration authority and institutionalize racial profiling and discrimination in states and localities throughout the nation — in direct violation of the Constitution’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. As a result, the ACLU has brought class action suits to halt this wave of anti-immigration laws and is urging the Department of Justice to take immediate action to challenge these laws in court.
In July of this year, I wrote about Alabama’s anti-immigration law because it was termed the strictest anti-immigrant law in the nation. There is great opposition to the law not only within that state but also across our nation. Alabama’s anti-immigration law, HB56, took effect in September of 2011. Before the law could go into effect, the American Civil Liberties Union, along with the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Immigration Law Center, the Asian American Justice Center and the Asian Law Caucus filed a class action lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Alabama’s anti-immigrant law (HB56)[iii]. After the suit was filed in this case a press release was sent out by the ACLU which read:
“Alabama has brazenly enacted this law despite the clear writing on the wall: Federal courts have stopped each and every one of these discriminatory laws from going into effect,” said Cecilia Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “Local Alabama communities and people across the country are shocked and dismayed by the state’s effort to erode our civil rights and fundamental American values.”
Many community leaders oppose the anti-immigration law for a range of reasons. “This legislation not only violates our values as a community but will also create astronomical costs at a time when our state can least afford it,” said Shay Farley, Legal Director, Alabama Appleseed. “If these legislators have their way, millions of taxpayer dollars will be squandered and our already underwater state economy will take another serious hit.”
In response to the class action suit brought by the ACLU against the State of Alabama, on September 28, 2011, a federal court judge issued a ruling in that case. Here are comments from the ACLU on the court’s ruling in that case, as they appear in the press release, “While the court has blocked some extremely problematic provisions from going into effect, thereby allowing Alabamians to continue engaging in everyday activities such as seeking employment and giving rides to neighbors, we are deeply concerned by the decision to allow some unconstitutional provisions to stand,” said Andre Segura, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “Laws that require police to demand ‘papers’ from people who they suspect appear undocumented encourage racial profiling, threaten public safety, undermine American values and have no place in our society.”
With that said, the ACLU is continuing the fight to halt the wave of racial profiling laws via filing law suits and other advocacy efforts. Currently, it is requesting that the Obama administration do its part to stop the anti-immigrant activists from putting these laws on the books. To assist in this effort to get Justice Department involvement in this issue, the ACLU is asking each of us to, Tell Attorney General Holder: There is no place in our country for “show me your papers” laws. Toward that goal the ACLU prepared a petition which appears on its website. Please join me in signing and circulating the petition entitled “No place in America for “show me your papers” laws!”.
For further information about anti-immigration laws, visit the website(s) for the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, the National Immigration Law Center, the National Immigration Forum, or the Asian American Justice Center.
Source(s): ACLU website. ACLU Press Releases. ACLU Press Release September 28, 2011. Alabama Coalition for Immigration Justice Press Release, National Immigration Forum, Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLU, the National Immigration Law Center, the Asian American Justice Center, “Anti-immigration law march in Birmingham draws a crowd and keeps commenters divided, too”, The Birmingham News, June 26, 2011, “Report: Anti-Immigration Law Cost Millions, Jamilah King, COLORLINES, Thursday, January 27, 2011, Huffington Post, and America’s Voice on Line, “Alabama anti-immigration law facing court challenge”, Tom Baxter, Southern Political Report, July 8, 2011, “HB 56: Alabama May Pass Nation’s Harshest Anti-Immigrant Law”, Nsenga Burton, the Root, June 9, 2011.
Photo Credit Microsoft Clip Art
[i] .Alabama is the fifth state to pass anti-immigration law. Some opponents of the law have deemedAlabama’s anti-immigration law to be the most comprehensive/extreme in the nation. To date, the anti-immigration laws have not been fully implemented due to legal challenges by a coalition of national advocacy organizations. The coalition members include: the ACLU, the National Immigration Law Center, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Asian Law Caucus, the Asian American Justice Center, Latino Justice PRLDEF, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.
[ii] It has been reported that the Alabama anti-immigration bill (HB 56) replicates some portions ofArizona’s anti-immigration law. As it was written,Alabama’s anti-immigration law:
- Allows local law enforcement to demand papers from and detain those they believe are in the country illegally.
- Makes it a crime for undocumented immigrants to hold a job in Alabama, and make it a crime for any immigrant in the state to be caught without documentation proving status.
- Makes it illegal to sign a contract with undocumented immigrants, to knowingly rent property to them, to knowingly hire them for jobs.
- Requires businesses to use E-Verify, the government database of names, to check employees’ legal status.
- Mandates that parents report the immigration status of their children to public schools to assist the schools to: maintain legal status records on all their students; and document the costs of educating undocumented children.
[iii] The decision in this case came down at the end of September of this year.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). In recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, this blog post seeks to: raise awareness about the prevalence of this pressing public health issue; delineate steps you can take to support a victim of domestic violence; and provide you with a course of action to help eradicate domestic violence.
For far too many women violence and danger are their constant companions. Despite concerted efforts to eradicate domestic violence, data indicates that intimate partner violence continues to pose a clear and present danger to the health and well-being of countless persons. Social science research indicates that one (1) in four (4) women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. [i] Indigent women are more vulnerable.
On average, more than three (3) women a day are murdered by their intimate partners in our country [ii]. Annually, women experience an estimated two (2) million women injuries resulting from an abusive relationship.[iii] Women who are between the ages of 20-24 years old are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.[iv] Research indicates that most incidents of domestic violence are not reported to the police. [v] The dearth of safe, decent, affordable housing causes many poor women to confront the unenviable choice of homelessness or remaining in a home plagued by violence and turmoil resulting from domestic violence.
If someone you know is being abused, the National Domestic Violence Hotline recommends that you do the following:
Listen to the victim. Tell the victim, “I believe you.”
Acknowledge the abuse and that the behavior is inappropriate. Tell the victim, “No one deserves to be abused.”
Respect the victim’s choices. Tell the victim, “It’s important for you to make decisions that are best for you.”
Be supportive—if the victim wants to file a police report and/or a restraining order offer to accompany them. Tell the victim, “You are NOT alone.”
Provide encouragement to the victim that might be feeling hopeless. Tell the victim, “The National Domestic Violence Hotline is anonymous and confidential and provides information and referrals. The telephone number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233. You could call them for help.”
Domestic violence thrives on apathy and ignorance. It can be eradicated with an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, here is a list of additional ways that you can help eradicate domestic: share domestic violence resources with a victim of abuse; volunteer at a domestic violence agency; speak out against domestic violence; donate money and/or items to your local domestic violence organization; donate your old cell telephone and its accessories via Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine; and encourage your community to support domestic violence services as well as hold perpetrators accountable for their illegal behavior.
[i] Tjaden, Patricia & Thoennes, Nancy, National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 1993, “Extent, Nature and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey,” (2000).
[ii] U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the United States, December 2006.
[iii] CDC. Adverse Health Conditions & Health Risk: Behaviors Associated with Intimate Partner Violence. 2008. Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, February 8, 2008.
[iv] U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the United States, December 2006.
[v] Frieze, I.H., Browne, A. (1989). Violence in Marriage. In L.E. Ohlin & M.H. Tonry (eds.) Family Violence, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Sources: Listed above including but not limited to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Cancer still attacks 10,000,000 people per year worldwide. Annually, 1.3 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer and nearly 555,000 people will die in our nation this year alone. According to the CDC, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women.
In 2006 (the most recent year numbers are available)—
• 191,410 women were diagnosed with breast cancer.*†
• 40,820 women died from breast cancer.*†
If you are concerned about developing breast cancer, or if you know someone who has been diagnosed with the disease, one way to deal with your concerns is to gather as much information as is available. For more information, you can visit the websites for: American Cancer Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , and the National Cancer Institute.
†Source: U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2006 Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2010. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/uscs.
*Note: Incidence counts cover about 96% of the U.S. population and death counts cover 100% of the U.S. population. Use caution in comparing incidence and death counts.Photo Credit Microsoft Clip
Cancer Among Women
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, aside from skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), an estimated 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed among women in the United States this year. An estimated 40,170 women are expected to die from the disease in 2009 alone. Today, there are about 2.5 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States.
Note: The numbers in parentheses are the rates per 100,000 women of all races and Hispanic origins combined in the United States.
The Three Most Common Cancers Among Women
Breast cancer (119.3)
- First among women of all races and Hispanic origin populations.
Lung cancer (55.0)
- Second among white, black, and American Indian/Alaska
- Third among Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic women.
Colorectal cancer (41.1)
- Second among Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic women.
- Third among white, black, and American Indian/Alaska
Leading Causes of Cancer Death Among Women
Lung cancer (40.2)
- First among white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and
American Indian/Alaska Native women.
- Second among Hispanic women.
Breast cancer (23.4)
- First among Hispanic women.
- Second among white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and
American Indian/Alaska Native women.
Colorectal cancer (14.5)
- Third among women of all races and Hispanic origin
Source: U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2006 Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer
Photocredit: Microsoft Clip Art
Our criminal justice system is flawed as most recently demonstrated in the Troy Davis case. Because of the life or death consequences in states where the death penalty is permissible under the law, the criminal justice system must be flawless or there is a possibility that an innocent person could be executed. When justice is administered by humans, it susceptible to error. Under the afore-referenced circumstances, the death penalty must be eradicated nationwide. With an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action, we can eradicate the death nationally as well as internationally.
As Troy Davis wrote in a letter when he was facing execution in 2008 :” … no matter what happens in the days, weeks to come, this Movement to end the death penalty, to seek true justice, to expose a system that fails to protect the innocent must be accelerated. There are so many more Troy Davis’. This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country.” Amnesty International and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have been seeking to do just that. Specifically, these organizations have been quite successful in raising awareness about the problems with criminal justice system and the need to end the death penalty. The number of persons supporting their work is growing as demonstrated in the case of Troy Davis, a former death penalty inmate in Georgia’s penal system. The petition seeking clemency in the Troy Davis case was signed by almost one million persons. NAACP and Amnesty International have experienced steady progress in this important undertaking to end the death penalty. However, the Troy Davis case reminds us that more work needs to be done to end the death penalty.
Like Laura Moye, Director of the Death Penalty Campaign, at Amnesty International, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) President and CEO, Ben Jealous, recent wrote in an open letter about the important work being undertaken to abolish the death penalty in the United States and the need for it to be continued. Both letters highlight the problematic outcome in the Troy Davis case—specifically, these documents delineate how the justice system failed to obtain a just outcome and as a result Troy Davis lost his life on Wednesday, September 21, 2011.
Ben Jealous wrote in his recent letter to NAACP’s membership that, “…Current Chatham County District Attorney Larry Chisolm acknowledged that if it were up to him today, he would not try this as a death penalty case (i.e. Troy Davis). Yet, when he could have acted to stop the execution, he refused to do so. The Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles, designed specifically to ensure that executions never happen amidst so much doubt, allowed it to happen anyway.
Justices on the Georgia State Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court — men and women who know that our justice system is degraded when we allow someone to be executed even when the former warden [Dr. Allen Ault, retired Director of the Georgia Department of Corrections and former Warden of the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison] of the very prison the inmate is in says there is too much doubt to proceed — cleared the way for the execution to be carried out anyway. These failures are the result of a system that gives the power of life and death, God-like powers, to humans who are as prone to error and susceptible to bias as any of us. Human nature won’t change, so the system must. This must never happen again.”
“I [Ben Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP] promised Troy that no matter what happened we would keep fighting until the death penalty is abolished. That is the only way we can possibly guarantee our government will never make such a tragic and irrevocable mistake again. Until that day, we are all Troy Davis. And in the name of Troy Anthony Davis, we must all carry on the fight.”
“In the past two years, the NAACP and our allies have abolished the death penalty in three states. When we succeed in abolishing it in ten more, we will be in a position to ask the Supreme Court to abolish it entirely. In the meantime, there are effective strategies we can use, in even the most conservative states, to diminish its use greatly. In the months ahead, we will convene teach-ins around the country and implement an aggressive state-by-state agenda to end capital punishment for good. We will host a national summit in Georgia to launch this next wave of activism.”
“As Troy Davis — a fellow NAACP activist — said so many times, “This movement began before I was born … it must continue and grow stronger … until we abolish the death penalty once and for all. Together, we can ensure that Troy’s death was not in vain and this will never happen again.” Toward that goal, the NAACP’s President and CEO along with Laura Moye, Director of Amnesty’s Death Penalty Campaign encourage each of us to pledge to work to eradicate the death penalty. Jealous’ letter ends with “Help us all carry out Troy Davis’ mission.”
With that said, here are three (3) important things you can do RIGHT NOW to advance the fight to stop the death penalty:
1) Sign the pledge (NAACP and/or Amnesty International) and join the movement to eradicate death penalty.
2) Contact your local Amnesty International State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinators (pdf). Ask about the death penalty in your state and how you can get involved locally.
3) Reach out to other death penalty organizations operating in your state/country. Find out more information.
Amnesty International Pledge: “Not in my name” <http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/site/c.6oJCLQPAJiJUG/b.7741827/k.62FF/Not_in_my_Name_Pledge/apps/ka/ct/contactus.asp?c=6oJCLQPAJiJUG&b=7741827&en=dmIPI6PPJcIYLgOSLbKULiM9LvL9KmN4LtI9LqNaIAK>
Sources: NAACP. Amnesty International. “The Killing of Troy Davis”, NATION OF CHANGE/OPED, Wednesday, September 21, 2011.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art