Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Republicans Are Commodifying Immigrants at the Expense of US Students

A House tax bill could push thousands of US graduate students out of careers in science and technology, weakening the US edge in those fields. Are Republicans hoping to replace them with immigrant scientists and tech workers already educated by their countries of origin?

Photo: Michele Piacquadio / Getty Images
By David L. Wilson, Truthout
November 29, 2017
One of the many outrages in the tax bill passed by the House of Representatives on November 16 is the elimination or reduction of tax breaks for many college and graduate school students. Probably the most drastic measure is one that could affect approximately 145,000 grad students now working as low-paid research or teaching assistants. These students might see their federal tax payments rise to as much as $10,000 a year, enough to force many of them to drop out of school. About 60 percent of the students are in the fields known collectively as STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math.

What is especially striking about this measure is that the same Republican politicians that pushed it through the House claim they want to "make America great again."[...]

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Upside Down World Has Relaunched; Now Let’s Help It Expand

Dear former Update subscribers and others interested in Latin America,

In August we asked you to help in the relaunch of UpsideDown World, an indispensable source for news from the Latin American grassroots. The relaunch has been successful, and now Upside Down World is looking for ways to continue and expand its coverage. The site is seeking monthly subscribers, as described below. Please join us in supporting this important effort.

Update Editors

Since launching in 2003, Upside Down World has received no funding or support from any government or corporation; our reporting is free of state or corporate influence, allowing us to share analyses and follow stories without constraint. So we depend on you, our readership, to sustain and expand this grassroots media outlet. Your monthly subscription will help provide fair compensation for everyone’s work at Upside Down World—the only way to guarantee quality on-the-ground reporting, analyses, and translations.

To support Upside Down World, go here:
(If you don’t get the subscription page immediately, click on “Overview.”)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Movement and the Money

What’s behind the recent rise in wages for undocumented workers? It could be immigrants’ rights activism.
Graffiti on the Mexican side of the wall. Photo: Jonathan McIntosh/Flickr
David L. Wilson, Jacobin
October 16, 2017
Last Sunday, Trump’s White House released a list of immigration demands that Democrats must meet if they want to renew the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. The demands, if met, would mean more criminalization, more surveillance, and more fear for undocumented immigrants.

Republicans justify this punitive approach by insisting that immigrants are “taking our jobs,” driving down wages for citizens and making the economic situation more desperate for all.

But a look back at a decade of data shows that if Republicans’ goal is to bolster wages, they’re going about it all wrong.[...]

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Protect the Dreamers, but Don't Fall for an E-Verify "Compromise"

Liberal commentators have written favorably about the program in the past.... But E-Verify isn't really any better than Trump's "big beautiful wall."

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
October 12, 2017
E-Verify is back on the political agenda.

For years, politicians have wanted to force all of the country's 7.7 million private employers to check new hires against this online system -- which compares employees' documents with government databases in order to catch immigrants without work authorization -- but so far, the efforts to impose a universal E-Verify requirement have failed. Now the idea has been given new life by a tentative agreement that President Trump and Democratic leaders made on September 13 to promote legislation protecting the immigrants previously covered by President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).[...]

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Janet Napolitano touts E-Verify Self in  2011. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Why do we still have employer sanctions?

The AFL-CIO was one of the main supporters of employer sanctions back in 1986. It only took 13 years for the labor federation to learn its lesson: in February 2000 it officially called for the elimination of the policy.

By David L. Wilson, MR Online
September 13, 2017
It’s now more than three decades since Congress created employer sanctions, a feature of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act that imposes fines on employers who hire undocumented workers. The measure’s proponents said the sanctions would slow unauthorized immigration by removing the “job magnet” thought to be drawing migrants to the United States. The House Education and Labor Committee wrote at the time that by reducing the number of undocumented workers the measure would limit “the depressing effect on working conditions caused by their employment.”

If that was the goal, employer sanctions have been a spectacular failure.[…]

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Please help relaunch Upside Down World, a vital independent news source on Latin America

Dear former Update subscribers and others interested in Latin America,

As you may know, Upside Down World's website was hacked last year, and the news source has been mostly on hiatus since then. If you think it's important to maintain news sites like UDW and NACLA that provide timely information on Latin America in English, we urge you to contribute to help the relaunch described in the letter below.

Thanks, Update Editors
Rights Action (
August 28, 2017

“If the world is upside down the way it is now,
wouldn’t we have to turn it over to get it to stand up straight?”
- Eduardo Galeano

Latin America’s right wing is resurgent again. The region’s Pink Tide of left-wing governments is receding. Social movements are contesting power, while resisting being co-opted by it. Land and environmental defenders are being hunted all across Latin America while particularly in Mexico the killing fields are being watered with the blood of journalists. Resource conflicts, corruption, exploitation, repression and systemic impunity continue ...

Upside Down World ( is relaunching in mid- September after a short hiatus to reclaim our position as a leading outlet for the latest news on developments in Latin America and analysis to help make sense of it.

We need your support to make this happen
Please help us reach our $5,000 goal
To donate: see below

Upside Down World receives no funding or support from any government, corporation, or major foundation; our reporting is free of state or corporate influence, allowing us to share analyses and follow stories without constraint.

With a view, as the Mayan-based Zapatista movement in southern Mexico says, “from below and to the left,” we are a community of writers, photojournalists, activists, translators, and editors who, through empowering and educational investigations and reporting, aim to flip the world upside down … or right side up.

Your donation will help us pay for on the ground reporting, analysis and translations of Latin American journalists. Returning long-time editor Cyril Mychalejko, along with the addition of new editor Heather Gies and translations editor Nancy PiƱeiro, will coordinate our expanded team of contributors from across the region to dig up the stories and analysis you won’t find in the corporate or state media.

Since founder Ben Dangl first launched the website in 2003, our work has been read by thousands of people around the world each week, has been translated widely, used in countless classrooms and activist circles, and often breaks stories long before they appear (if at all) in major news outlets. For over a decade, UDW has been one of the leading outlets in English covering the rise and challenges of Latin America’s new left, the victories and defeats of the region’s vibrant social movements, and the webs of imperialism and power shaping hemispheric relations.

We need your help to continue this crucial work at a momentous time in Latin America and the wider world. Don’t let the right wing and corporate media steal the narrative! By funding Upside Down World, you are empowering radical journalism at its finest. Please lend a hand to help UDW expand its critical work.

We would be glad to answer any questions or concerns you might have.  We thank you in advance for helping make Upside Down World’s relaunch possible.

Ben, Cyril, Heather, Nancy and the rest of the UDW team.

Cyril Mychalejko

To donate to Upside Down World
Paypal: Specify, when making donation (donate) that your funds are for Upside Down World

Full Paypal link:

Send a check: Make check out to "Upside DownWorld/PJC" and send it to:

The Peace and Justice Center
60 Lake Street, 1C, Burlington Waterfront
Burlington, Vermont, 05401

Monday, August 21, 2017

Renegotiating NAFTA Will Only Serve the Rich -- Just Like It Always Has

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
Monday, August 21, 2017
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect at midnight on January  1,1994. That night, thousands of Indigenous Mayans rose up in arms in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, seizing at least five towns and declaring NAFTA a "death certificate" for people like themselves. This was just the beginning of Mexico's troubles in a year that brought countless protests, hotly disputed elections and the assassinations of two of the then-ruling party's leaders. 1994 ended with a sudden devaluation of the peso, the start of an economic collapse from which the country didn't recover fully for years.

NAFTA is back in the news this month: On August 16, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met with his counterparts from Canada and Mexico, the other two NAFTA nations, to open talks on renegotiating the pact.

While it's true that NAFTA was just one of the many problems Mexico had in the 1990s, we have to wonder, given the renewed focus on the trade accord, why US mainstream media have carried so little discussion of the events that accompanied NAFTA's rollout in Mexico.[…]

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Are liberals having second thoughts about immigration?

For Democratic politicians and pundits this resistance to Trump might at first have seemed like a good thing, but Beinart’s article and the reaction to it suggest that liberals are starting to have second thoughts.
Anti-Trump Protesters in New York. Photo: Marty Goodma
By David L. Wilson, MRonline
July 3, 2017
On June 20 The Atlantic posted an article by Peter Beinart claiming that the Democrats had “lost their way on immigration.”

Beinart is a respected liberal centrist—of the sort that supported the 2003 Iraq invasion until it started going bad—so the article created a stir among opinion makers. Rightwingers at Breitbart and National Review gloated. Liberals took Beinart’s thesis to heart: Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum endorsed the article, and Thomas Edsall quoted it in the New York Times. A Chicago Tribune columnist cited it as an “important essay.”

It’s true that Beinart makes some good points.[…]

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Friday, March 3, 2017

What Do ICE Raids Mean for the Rest of Us?

By David L. Wilson, MR Online
March 2, 2017 

The national sweeps by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in the second week of February drew a great deal of media attention. Some of the coverage was devoted to analyzing whether the arrests of about 680 immigrants marked the start of a massive deportation campaign by the Trump administration. Some focused on the impact the raids had on the immigrants themselves and on their families, which often include U.S. citizens and green card holders. But there wasn’t much discussion about the impact of the raids on other working people—on citizens without immigrant friends or relatives.

For example, how much did these raids cost taxpayers?[...]

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Labor Organizing in 2017: Looking Beyond Trump's Lies on Jobs

If we think of manufacturing as a source of good jobs now, it's only because working people made it that way -- angry, militant working people who united to fight the bosses and the politicians.

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
January 22, 2017

Donald Trump's well-publicized deal with the Carrier Corporation last fall was "wildly popular" with US voters, according to Politico. A survey by Politico/Morning Consult on December 1 and 2, 2016, found 60 percent of respondents viewing Trump more favorably because of the November 30 agreement, which the real estate mogul claimed would save 1,100 jobs that the air-conditioner manufacturer had been planning to move from Indiana to a facility in Mexico.

As so often is the case, reality didn't match up with the president's assertions. The actual number of jobs saved turned out to be more like 730, and the deal involved a $7 million tax break for Carrier, a brand of United Technologies Corporation. Chuck Jones, the president of the Steelworkers local at the affected plant, told The Washington Post that Trump "lied his ass off." More recent claims that Trump has already started saving US jobs are equally questionable. But Trump's duplicity is nothing new; there's a more important problem with the popularity of Trump's Carrier deal. The focus on trade and offshored jobs is distracting us from the main issue: the jobs we still have.[...]

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