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I. Scope of Portal

 

sanctuary movement paradeThis immigration portal presents the origins of current American immigration policy and the harm done to immigrants and their families, as well as to cities, states, and the national economy by the current U.S. immigration policy.  It uses as examples estimates of the cost of the nation's current deportation policy on the state of Minnesota and for one suburb.  The immigration portal emphasizes the importance of human rights as the foundation for immigration policy. 

In the process of researching the causes and costs of the current U.S immigration policy, it became apparent that several other policy issues are very important.  These include the importance of early childhood education for children under stress; the impact of industrialized agriculture, not only on destroying the financial viability of community farming in Mexico and parts of Africa and family farms in the U.S., but also on greatly increasing greenhouse gas emissions and the pollution of rivers, streams, and lakes in the U.S.  This points to the need for human rights to be a central consideration in all public policy issues including climate and environmental policy, trade policy, health, education, labor, and prison policies.  The United  States has fallen behind in support of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights Conventions.   

 

II. Video Introduction to U.S. Immigration Law and its Consequences

 

"Immigrant America:  The High Cost of Deporting Immigrants"

 

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This first section of the Immigration Portal is a video which introduces many topics covered in subsequent sections.  It relates the experiences of a Guatemalan father who was deported along with those of his wife and their five children who continued to live in Utah.  The story could just as well have been about any other of the hundreds of thousands of families of Mexican, African, Asian, or Middle Eastern background that have been separated as a result of the draconian immigration law of 1996. 

This video produced by Roy Germano,1 Professor in the International Relations Department at New York University, goes beyond describing the deportation ordeal of an unauthorized father from Guatemala, who owned a house framing business, and his family.  It also introduces the 1996 "Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act" and reveals its failure to respect the human rights of unauthorized immigrants.  It explains some of the impacts of deportation on the wider community including the loss of jobs in immigrant owned businesses, the loss of taxes paid by immigrants, and the need for taxpayers to supplement the financial needs of deportees' families who have become impoverished without the income of their breadwinner.  Subsequent sections of this immigrant portal will explore these topics from the perspectives of demographers, economists, tax reporters, and researchers analyzing the effect of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activites in communities across the country.  Watch the video.

 

Reference

1. VICE News.  "Immigrant America:  The High Cost of Deporting Parents."   March 29, 2014.
https://news.vice.com/video/immigrant-america-the-high-cost-of-deporting-parents

 

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In June 2012, Think Again MN launched a history series that examines politics and policy-making in Minnesota during the last century from the immediate post World War II years up through the 1990s. That era witnessed fierce legislative battles at the State Capitol but it was also a time of shared values that cut across partisan lines. 

Read about it here

MN's Leading Election System

MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon

 

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Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at http://mnvotes.org

Oregon's Automatic Voter Registration

How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016


In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

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