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CambioWe as Americans know when a person is arrested and jailed in our country he or she has the right to a lawyer regardless of ability to pay.

Here’s the thing, though. People –including American citizens — who are jailed on immigration violations DO NOT have those same rights.

An immigration lawyer sure would have been helpful in the case of North Carolinian Mark Lyttle, a mentally ill native of Rowan County who was deported TWICE to Mexico in 2008. And there’s this doozy, where a man (finally determined to be a U.S. citizen by birthright) whose father is a U.S. citizen was deported at least four times based on a non-existent passage in the Mexican constitution.

Yes. As crazy as it sounds, American citizens get jailed and deported. Regularly.

According to immigration lawyer Kara Hartzler’s 2008 testimony in front of the U.S. House of Representative’s Subcommittee on Immigration, her Arizona non-profit sees between 40 and 50 cases per month of people in immigration detention who have potentially valid claims to U.S. citizenship.

“These individuals will commonly be detained for weeks, months, and even years while attempting to prove their citizenship. While some are ultimately successful, others often abandon their cases in the face of what can feel like indefinite detention,” Hartzler states.

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On the heels of the legislature overriding his vetoes to an immigration bill and a bill that would drug test welfare recipients, Gov. Pat McCrory appeared before State Board of Education members to address the legislature’s actions and reveal his education policy agenda in the wake of the long legislative session.

After speaking of his disagreement with this morning’s overrides of his vetoes and his intention not to enforce drug testing welfare recipients until the legislature funds that mandate, McCrory turned his attention to education.

Once again, McCrory pointed to the high cost of the Medicaid program as the reason why teachers did not receive a raise this year.

McCrory admonished lawmakers for inserting education policy into the budget bill, and called for action right now with regard to higher pay for current master’s degree-seeking teachers.

“I asked my budget director if we can find revenue for teachers already in master’s degree programs to get the salary supplement. He said yes,” said McCrory. Read More

A group of Asian American “DREAM Riders” from California, Illinois and Virginia will be traveling across the country in the next 2 weeks in a “national effort to build a unified Asian American voice for comprehensive immigration reform.”

They will be stopping tonight at 630pm in Charlotte at The Asian Library for a community forum “What’s ‘Asians’ got to do with it?” to address how immigration reform impacts the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. The forum is hosted by the Southeast Asian Coalition, United 4 the Dream, and the Latin American Coalition.

More information about the “DREAM Riders” tour across America here: http://krcla.org/en/Dream

Dream-riders-charlotte-poster

 

In case you missed it over the weekend, Raleigh’s News & Observer had an encouraging story in the Sunday edition. This is the summary from the good folks at Uniting NC:

Today’s N&O includes a great story about Uniting NC’s most recent volunteer day.

Last Saturday we continued our series of service events  bringing together immigrants and non-immigrants to give back to their community. And again we had lots of great volunteers looking to lend a hand. This time we had over 30 volunteers from 10 different countries.

We sometimes hear cynics tell us that people are coming to the U.S. looking for handouts. They emphasize costs without considering contributions. But have they ever met the people they’re talking about? Read More

Immigrant rightsThe following post comes to us from Hector Vaca, Charlotte Director of the progressive advocacy group, Action NC:

“Now hear this!  A People’s platform opposing HB 786, the RECLAIM NC Act

In the last few weeks, I’ve worked with community leaders and members of our organization, Action NC, and various partner groups around the state, to hold community forums in Spanish about House Bill 786, the “RECLAIM NC” Act, being considered now in the state legislature. In the forums, our organizations and lawyers shared information about exactly what is included in each section of the bill.  But the main goal of the workshops was to hear from immigrant communities directly THEIR thoughts and opinions on the bill. Participants had a variety of ways to express their views about these issues, including group discussion, Q&A and interactive activities like voting on various provisions as harmful or beneficial.

By now, forums have happened all over the state, from Hendersonville to Burgaw, from Charlotte to Durham, from Greenville to Siler City, from Raleigh to Raeford, and other towns, too. There have been at least 18 workshops in all. The sizes of forums ranged from 15 participants to 120 or more. More than 750 immigrant community members have participated in total.  This is no small accomplishment, and it means, to us at Action NC, that the immigrant community is discussing the bill in some detail, and here’s what they are saying: Read More