Immigration artivism: Jose Antonio Vargas at La Peña tonight

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Cultural activist and self-outing journo Jose Antonio Vargas will be at La Peña tonight Tue/26.

When it comes to activist journalists (as it often does in these parts), they don't get much more relevant than Jose Antonio Vargas. The anniversary of the 31-year old Filipino's revelation that he is an illegal immigrant -- in the New York Times Magazine, after earning a Pulitzer for his team's reporting on the Virginia Tech shooting no less – may have shook President Obama granting administrative relief to DREAM Act-eligible youngsters. Head to La Peña Cultural Center today (Tue/26) to hear him reimagine our country's dialogue on immigration rights.

Did you know that our President coordinates policy decisions with media coverage? Ha! But in this case we're fine with the media blitz. To honor Vargas' self-outing essay, one year later Time Magazine has put illegal immigrant identity -- and the mugs of Vargas and others -- on its cover. It's part of an editorial package that examines a question that shouldn't be that hard to answer, but is: what is an American?

In the midst of this media blitz, Vargas and his Define American project alight upon the East Bay's radical cultural center, along with Time illustrator Julio Salgado, whose sharp illustrations have become associated with the DREAM Act. Salgado's work as a queer, openly undocumented American has helped shift the conversation on the subject of who belongs in this country.

The two will be talking about how important cultural organizing is in the drive for immigration reform as part of La Peña's Immigrant Voices Festival celebrating 37 years of the center in action. The festival is being planned by a core group of young volunteers -- some of whose parents founded the center -- called La Peña's Second Generation. 

If you can't make it to the event this afternoon, at least follow Vargas on Twitter, where you'll encounter gems like the one below:  

“ARTivism: We Are American”

Tue/26 6-9pm, $5 suggested donation

La Peña Cultural Center

3015 Shattuck, Berk.

(510) 849-2568

www.lapena.org

Comments

We know that the only immigration reform that Obama and the Congress will pass is one that is of, by and for the corporations that own them all.

There is no black and white "all immigration is always good" or "all immigration is always bad" to this.

What we've got for the foreseeable future is a strict immigration regime with a few carve outs. It is the nature of those carve-outs that is the debate. Everyone wants their friends to be in the carve out.

I'm not supporting any immigration reform until the issue of H1-B visas for south Asian tech workers is raised. Unlike Latino immigration, H1-B is designed intentionally to drive down tech wages in the US by forcing us to compete with waves and waves of tech graduates desperately seeking an exit from abject poverty that is largely and rarely not the making of American foreign policy.

See UC Davis CS professor Norm Matloff's H1-B page:

http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/h1b.html

Posted by marcos on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 7:48 am

FYI Marcos, I work in the industry and know for a fact that H1B tech workers in the US actually do make competetive wages. It's required by law and proof has to be shown that the worker makes at minimum what the average is (the average is given to us by the Department of Labor.) It's all market rate.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 27, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

cannot simply get another job - their visa is tied to that employer.

When I went from H1 to green card, I got a 50% raise. Funny huh?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 27, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

Bringing in new workers where there are existing Americans willing to do the work drives down wages irrespective of the vulnerability of those H1-B workers as any first year economics student would know.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 27, 2012 @ 1:23 pm

US employer hire locally?

What drives down US wages is the simple fact that Americans are overpaid for what they produce. The only solutions to that are either a decline in US wages, a devaluation of the dollar, outsourcing or immigration.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 27, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

ILLEGAL ALIENS ARE NOT JUST FROM MEXICO, BUT ARRIVE HERE ON INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS POSING AS TOURISTS.

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court released their opinion Yesterday that the federal government has the sole power to enforce the laws against illegal immigration, striking down three key provisions of Arizona's first-in-the nation crackdown on illegal aliens squatting there and stealing our children’s education, American family health care and a cornucopia of welfare payments and programs. ONLY THE TEA PARTY CAN SAVE US NOW. THE TEA PARTY IS EVERY WALK OF LIFE, EVERY RACE, & EVERY RELIGION THAT HAVE HAD IT WITH THE TWO POLITICAL PARTIES. ID YOU DON’T WANT A SOCIALIST FUTURE, EVERY AMERICAN WHO HAS NEVER VOTED—SHOULD VOTE. NON-CITIZENS WILL VOTE TO SAVE OBAMA.

Frustrated, angry with the Republicans and Democrats, then join the TEA PARTY organization. The growing numbers of millions of Americans are joining this party, spreading its wings away from the Republican enclave. Both political parties are corrupt and all incumbents need to be replaced, which is happening now. We can no longer afford to support the rest of the world, or the 20 million plus illegal aliens living in the United States that has brought their poverty with them. HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS ARE BEING SIPHONED FROM STATES AND THE TAXPAYERS POCKETS.

We must back the Mitt Romney, even though he has his issues but prolong the replacement of every single Democrat, Liberal or Republican that is tearing America apart. IT is the Time of the PEOPLE’S PARTY. It is the time for the TEA PARTY, which is complimented by man/women; African, White, Hispanic, Asian and other racial Americans. The TEA PARTY is a wealth of different religions, faiths, gay and every other walk of life. Remember a large Majority who votes for President Obama for a second term, non citizens or American citizens are the ones who spend their day watching TV, selling drugs, living off the rest of us like parasites.

The exception is the sick and true non-functioning human beings, so spend a minute and understand the growing divide in America. If you are frustrated with feeding the rest of the world, unable to get a decent job, the controversial immigration debate that is a theft of your taxes, the rules and regulations forced on Americans that halt large energy companies from extracting oil, natural gas and coal; that we could not only lower the costs of our transport, but sell residual amounts to friendly foreign countries.

By replacing President Obama administration, plus replacing the Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and the Ho House of Representative and seating in ‘THE PEOPLE’S Constitutional TEA PARTY, we can win America back Millions more will be encouraged to come here, bringing their poverty, criminals and children stealing their futures. WE ARE LOSING OUR COUNTRY, OUR LIBERTIES AND OUR U.S. CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.

In Arizona that was the epicenter of the Illegal Immigration invaders, where the courts have declared that every taxpayer through unfunded mandates must pay for public services for every illegal alien who slips by the border guards. If you are a taxpayer then you should investigate the websites of NumbersUSA, Judicial Watch, Federation of Immigration Reform (FAIR) Center for Immigration studies (CIS), THE DARK SIDE OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION (Crimes committed by illegal aliens.
DON’T STICK YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND. JOIN YOUR LOCAL TEA PARTY. FOR AS WE SEE ARIZONA, ALABAMA, GEORGIA, SOUTH CAROLINA OR ANY OTHER STATE BEING HUNTED DOWN, THREATENED AND INTIMIDATED BY A JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AND MARXISTS, SOCIALISTS IN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION.

Don’t forget that illegal aliens and their legal families want to keep Obama in power, so they can keep collecting taxpayer dollars, the $4.2 billion annually that goes to the children of illegal aliens, not even living in the United States. The $2 Billion dollars a month sucked dry in the Sanctuary city of Los Angeles, going to illegal nationals.

IF YOU HAVE NEVER VOTED BEFORE, REGISTER AND BE READY. REMEMBER, IF YOU THINK ILLEGAL ALIENS OR OTHER NON CITIZENS DO NOT VOTE. THEN THE LAUGH WILL BE ON US ALL, IN NOVEMBER. THE LIBERALS ARE SAYING THE REPUBLICANS ARE TRYING TO ‘SUPPRESS MINORITY VOTING’ BUT THEY ARE NOT SAYING IS THAT ILLEGAL ALIENS ARE VOTING IN EVERY ELECTION, WITH NO TRUE OFFICIAL RESTRICTIONS.

We need Sheriff Joe Arpio, for a TEA PARTY leader candidate as a Senator or House Representative. We need strong, aggressive people in Congress, especially following Constitutional law.

CNN Television and the rest of the Liberal channels always show the huge reinforced fences that run along the most populated areas of the Southern border. In truth the rest of hundreds of miles of the border region is nothing but a few strands of rusty barbed wire, which an elephant could slide through. THE LIBERAL PRESS ARE MISLEADING THE PUBLIC ON THE REAL FENCE ON HOW MANY MILES ARE COVERED.

OUR COUNTRY IS BEING OVERPOPULATED IN THE NAME OF VOTES AND GREED. WE SHOULDN’T FORGET THAT OBAMA’S GOONS OUTSOURCED WEAPONS TO NARCOTERRORISTS TO MEXICO KILLING U.S BORDER AGENT & MEXICAN CITIZENS.

It is of the paramount importance that we must be imposed at once, so no more foreign invaders are encouraged to break the immigration ‘Rule of Law’. ‘THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT’ (E-VERIFY) must be passed and advanced, so illegal aliens can no longer steal jobs from the millions of Americans unemployed. The ‘BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP ACT (H.R.140) must be compulsory so babies smuggled into America, so that parents cannot take benefit from welfare, once the child become an immediate citizen. Half a million pregnant women enter the United States looking for handouts annually, for their children.

Let your Senator or Congressman/Women know how you will vote, by giving your name to the politician’s aides and that you want them to sponsor E-Verify and the Birthright Citizenship bills. Citizen voters should phone Congress at the central Switchboard at 202-224-3121. FORCE YOUR CONGRESSMAN/WOMAN TO fulfill their obligation to the oath of office and stop pandering to the businesses that use cheap labor. Use the power of your VOTE to demand they sponsor these to policies or we are destined to become like Europe, overwhelmed by the poverty of other countries.

NO COPYRIGHT. DELIVER TO YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY

Posted by Dave Francis on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

Hello, crazy. How are you?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 27, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

Our immigration policy isn't racist because many illegals are from Ireland, Russia and other white countries.

So texas might look out for Hispanics but Boston looks out for Irish and NYC looks out for Russians.

He's also right that, for all our border controls, many illegals come here on tourist visa's and simply don't leave.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 27, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

"illegal immigrant"

I find that language very offensive no matter who uses it or when.

That's hate language and the same language used by the haters of undocumented/unregistered immigrants and migrant workers. What is it doing on this so-called "progressive" site from one of its writers? Since when did "progressives" start using the hate language of the right-wing?

I didn't think I would ever read that hate language from any writer on the BG's site and yet that's the language Caitlin Donohue used twice. Undocumented was used only once.

This is the first instance of seeing that hate language on this site since the BG was sold to The Examiner. A sign of things to come?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

someone to enter or stay in this coutnry without a valid visa or passport. So while there is some beef with the generic term "illegals" to describe these lawbreakers, not even far elft extremists go as far as to suggest that they are not acting illegally.

So try and get the law changed if you think that has the necessary public support, but playing euphemistic games with words actually undermines your credibility.

Hate language? Give me a break.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 27, 2012 @ 11:13 am

No human being is illegal, but human beings break the law all the time.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 27, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

describe those who have no respect for the right of this country to have a say who lives here.

It's not clear why an illegal immigrant would be any less illegal than, say, a sheriff who beats his "legal" wife.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 27, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

From colorlines dot com

Drop the i word:

A harmful slur
"Illegals" is a racially charged slur used to dehumanize and discriminate against immigrants and people of color regardless of migratory status. The i-word is shorthand for "illegal alien," "illegal immigrant" and other harmful terms.

Fighting for Racial Justice
The Applied Research Center (ARC) and its daily news site, Colorlines.com, are presenting the Drop The I-Word campaign to eradicate the slur "illegals" from everyday use and public discourse. As a racial justice think tank and home for media and activism on those issues, ARC's mission is to popularize racial justice and prepare people to fight for it.

A growing movement
The campaign is made up of individuals and communities from across the country that demand respect and reject the i-word as a designation of our neighbors, children, families and ourselves.

We call on media outlets and elected officials to uphold reason, due process and responsible speech by dropping the i-word.

Due Process, accuracy and dignity
Pervasive systems like media and government normalize their use and make it easier to deny people basic human rights through our written and unwritten rules. Use of the i-word ignores the fact that our laws are unjustly applied. Immigrants without documents are regularly hired as cheap, exploited labor. No one else who benefits from the set up, including the employers who recruit and hire these migrants, is labeled this way. No one should ever be labeled this way. No human being is illegal.

Sign the Pledge
You can sign the pledge to drop the i-word and ask media to do the same here.

Contact Us
For more information on the campaign please contact us at droptheiword@colorlines.com.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 27, 2012 @ 2:06 pm