Entries by Marcelo Ballvé

Marcelo Ballvé

Is Sarah Palin softer on immigration than her conservative base?

By Marcelo Ballvé, Nov 24, 2009 11:12 AM

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With seemingly everyone enthused, bewildered, or angrily hyperventilating about Sarah Palin “Going Rogue” across the country peddling her new hardcover, I decided to do just a bit of research about Palin’s position on the issue I spend a great deal of time thinking about: immigration. I came across a post at Vdare, an extreme conservative webzine that advocates for a total moratorium on immigration, and saw they had parsed recent Palin media appearances for a clue on her position.

Marcelo Ballvé

A Year Since the Hate Killing of Ecuadorean Immigrant on Long Island

By Marcelo Ballvé, Nov 9, 2009 11:27 AM

Long Island Wins, a multimedia hub of pro-immigrant organizing in Long Island, has put together a video series in honor of Marcelo Lucero, the Ecuadorean immigrant killed by a gang of teenagers who routinely engaged in a cruel sport they termed “beaner jumping.”

Lucero was killed Nov. 8, 2008 near the train station in Patchogue, a seaside town in Suffolk County on eastern Long Island. His death focused attention on the anti-immigrant rhetoric popular with some eastern Long Island politicians. Activists accuse local politicians of fanning anti-immigrant sentiment for political gain.

Marcelo Ballvé

For Republicans, The Future Is Still Cao

By Marcelo Ballvé, Nov 9, 2009 11:21 AM

Rep. Joseph Cao, a Vietnamese-American who represents a New Orleans-area congressional district, is being called a Judas by fellow Republicans after he broke with them to vote for the Democrats’ health care bill.

But as Amanda Terkel at Think Progress notes, Cao was motivated by dollars-and-sense concerns in a troubled district still grappling with the aftereffects of Hurricane Katrina and a paucity of health care options. Rep. Cao, 42, said from the outset after his upset election win last year that he would put aside questions of race (his district is heavily African-American) and partisanship (his district is historically Democratic) in order to deliver constituents solution-oriented services, programs and policy.

Marcelo Ballvé

Election Results May Boost Immigration Reform Efforts in Congress

By Marcelo Ballvé, Nov 4, 2009 10:09 AM

Viewed through the lens of the immigration issue, the overall results of yesterday’s elections might be called a mixed bag. Republican gubernatorial candidates who promised more hardline immigration stances won races in Virginia and New Jersey.

But two vacant seats in the U.S. House of Representatives (in New York’s 23rd district and California’s 10th district) were picked up by Democrats. As I explain below, these pick-ups should make it just a bit easier for House Democrats to marshal the votes needed to advance on comprehensive immigration reform, which they have promised to do before the end of this year.

Marcelo Ballvé

Immigration at Issue in NY-23, Virginia, New Jersey Elections

By Marcelo Ballvé, Nov 3, 2009 10:38 AM

Today’s elections, many of them in eastern seaboard states, are the first big political test for the Obama administration. While most pundits focus on whether or not Republican candidates will surge on a voter backlash against Obama policies, there’s another trend to watch: the surprising prominence of immigration politics.

Marcelo Ballvé

Republican Senators Want Census to Identify 'Illegal Aliens'

By Marcelo Ballvé, Oct 9, 2009 9:53 AM

Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, is demanding the 2010 Census ask about immigration status in order to “prevent states from counting” those who entered the country illegally.

Sen. Vitter announced today he had introduced an amendment to an appropriations bill that funds the Census Bureau and other government departments. If passed, Vitter’s amendment would require the U.S. Census to always ask about respondents’ citizenship and immigration status.

Marcelo Ballvé

Philadelphia Immigrant Advocates Organize to Stop Julio Maldonado's Deportation

By Marcelo Ballvé, Oct 9, 2009 9:42 AM

Editor’s note: David Bennion, an immigration attorney in Philadelphia, writes to New America Media about a deportation case that has mobilized immigrant rights advocates and bloggers.

Julio Maldonado found himself on the wrong side of town in northeast Philadelphia in 1996, when he and his cousin were victims of a racially motivated attack.

Then he found himself on the wrong side of the criminal justice and immigration systems, which perversely punished the victims while letting the aggressors go free. Now he stands on the brink of deportation to a country, Peru, that he left as a toddler.

Marcelo Ballvé

Has Bill O'Reilly Warmed up to Immigration Reform?

By Marcelo Ballvé, Oct 7, 2009 10:01 AM

Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but judging from a recent interview, it seems Bill O’Reilly has tamped down his onetime strident views on immigration reform, an issue the White House has promised to focus on late this year and in 2010.

Marcelo Ballvé

Senators' pushback a good omen for immigration reform?

By Marcelo Ballvé, Oct 5, 2009 12:08 PM

Last week, Washington D.C. groups reported on pieces of favorable news for the cause of comprehensive immigration reform, First, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a Chicago Democrat, said he would draft the outline of an immigration overhaul by Oct. 13, and introduce it soon after.

The immigrant advocates also pounced on a New York Times report that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency is preparing for a huge influx of visa applications, which would come if a proposal like Rep. Gutierrez’s passes Congress.

“This is welcome news, wrote Mahwish Khan, at the blog of America’s Voice, a pro-reform lobbying group. “Kudos to the administration for preparing to do the right thing. Now it’s time to get the ball rolling on real immigration reform.”

Marcelo Ballvé

Census worker's death blamed on 'open borders,' pedophilia, and horrorcore rap

By Marcelo Ballvé, Oct 5, 2009 11:59 AM

 Right wing commentators have floated wild hypotheses on why Bill Sparkman, a 51-year-old Census worker, might have been killed in rural Kentucky.

Sparkman, a cancer survivor, was found dead, hanging from a tree, but with his feet touching the ground, on Sept 12. His hands were bound with duct tape and he had the word “Fed” scrawled on his chest.

Investigators aren’t yet saying what the circumstances behind Sparkman’s death were—officially, his death has not yet even been declared a murder.

The leading theory on the left is that it had something to do with anti-government sentiment or militias.

Both sides agree it could have had something to do with drugs.

Marcelo Ballvé

Locals Parse Death of Kentucky Census Worker

By Marcelo Ballvé, Sep 28, 2009 2:12 PM

Kentucky bloggers are still trying to make sense of the death of Bill Sparkman, the 51-year-old Census worker found dead in rural Kentucky, hanging from a tree with the word “fed” scrawled on his chest.

Investigators are still trying to determine how and why Sparkman was killed, and if the motives had anything to do with anti-government sentiment. In any case, the Census Bureau has suspended activity in Clay County, where Sparkman’s body was found.

Online, locals discussed possible motives for the crime—in part to fend off stereotypes of Appalachia already informing coverage of the killing.

Marcelo Ballvé

A Census Martyr in Kentucky?

By Marcelo Ballvé, Sep 28, 2009 10:19 AM

It’s beginning to look like Bill Sparkman’s a martyr of the 2010 Census effort.

The website Talking Points Memo confirmed that the 2010 Census worker and teacher found dead in eastern Kentucky had the word “fed” scrawled on his chest. The local coroner says it looks like the word was written in felt tip marker.

What’s certain is that in our politically polarized moment, the Census count is no longer simply a routine exercise in democracy. It’s now part of the larger debate about government’s role in American life. Whatever the real circumstances behind Sparkman’s death, it’s generating a wide-ranging conversation about anti-government sentiment.

Marcelo Ballvé

New York Governor Blasts Long Island Leader on Hate Crimes

By Marcelo Ballvé, Sep 23, 2009 10:33 AM

Editor's note: NAM New York correspondent Marcelo Ballvé continues his commentary on the political and social impact of the wave of hate crimes against immigrants in New York.

Usually, New York politicians are loathe to criticize members of their own party. But not Gov. David Paterson, at least not when immigrant rights are at issue. According to today’s El Diario La Prensa, Paterson reportedly lashed out this weekend at a prominent fellow New York Democrat, Steve Levy, for failing to adequately address the hateful anti-immigrant climate in Suffolk County, Long Island, where Levy serves as the top elected official.

Marcelo Ballvé

Advocates Confront Wave of Hate Crimes in New York Area

By Marcelo Ballvé, Sep 15, 2009 10:24 AM

Editor's note: NAM New York correspondent Marcelo Ballvé reports on the rising tide of hate crimes aimed at immigrants in the New York area.  Last year, Ballvé covered the stabbing death of Ecuadorean New Yorker Marcelo Lucero, the anti-immigrant rhetoric that may have contributed to a culture of fear for immigrants, and the Latino media's response to the crime.

A rash of violent hate crimes in the New York area has put Latino immigrants and their advocates on edge.

It’s a worrying trend, advocates say, considering less than a year has passed since the separate hate killings of two Ecuadorean immigrant men in Brooklyn and Long Island late last year.

“We’re facing down a wave of hate right now,” says Juan Cáceres, of the Centro de la Comunidad Mexicana, or Mexican Community Center in Manhattan. “There are people out there that will seize on any cheap excuse to attack immigrants.”

Marcelo Ballvé

The Many Lessons of District 9

By Marcelo Ballvé, Sep 1, 2009 1:23 PM

Editor's note: Longtime NAM New York correspondent Marcelo Ballvé offers up a thoughtful interpretation of District 9, now playing in a theater near you.  It's more than just a South African allegory, critiques Ballvé, but rather an exploration of difference, otherness, the military-industrial complex, and the modern ghetto that is its casualty.

More than just an allegory about apartheid, I see District 9, the South African alien movie, as a deep meditation on difference. Aside from the many explosions, spurts of alien blood and stereotyped Nigerian arms dealers, it’s surprisingly thought-provoking.