Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I don't know who is going to step up and take responsibility for this, but Americans need to realize that what's occurring in Guantanamo has nothing to do with justice, and it sacrifices the principles we're supposedly trying to preserve, further endangering our nation by breeding international contempt and hatred. If we condemn other nations for acts of torture and allow their victims to seek refuge here, we are saying torture does not have a place in those societies. Why are we allowing it in ours?
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I think this raises interesting questions about immigration control and policy in the United States. The mayor, Lou Barletta, (who now plans to run for congress) passed the bill because it was his duty to protect the (legal) residents of his town. He also mentioned that the officials in Washington weren't doing their jobs in this area. Should towns and cities be able to control the illegal immigrant population as they wish? Is it important for the safety of each municipality? Or should it be federally regulated? Hazleton's story suggests that towns want more control over their own populations, however unconstitutional it may seem.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Monday, April 07, 2008
Other issues addressed by the Senate Judiciary Committee in relation to DHS's practices included the current waiting list for naturalizations, meaning that many citizens-to-be who have paid their taxes and are productive members of society will not be able to vote in the 2008 Presidential Election.
Should DHS be concentrating on the Real ID Act when there are naturalization orders to process? Is the Department perhaps lending too much importance to the Act in light of Post-9/11 sentiment? Or should matters of national security actually be the focus of the Department of Homeland Security?
With that context, I chose to post this article for the following section. The author writes, "US President George W Bush is facing calls to boycott the Games' opening. "It would be clearly inappropriate for you to attend the Olympic Games in China, given the increasingly repressive nature of that country's government," a group of 15 US politicians wrote in a letter to Mr Bush on Tuesday.Mr Bush has said he plans to attend the ceremony but Germany's Angela Merkel says she will not. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has not ruled out a boycott." This passage of the article stood out to me for several reasons. If the issue is China's human rights abuses, what substantive effect could a boycott of the Opening Ceremonies achieve? I don't personally believe there are any. The argument, I believe, would therefore be that heads of state should boycott for symbolic reasons, which leads me to several questions. How useful is a symbolic act? I don't think many would argue that President Bush boycotting the ceremonies would effect the human rights policies of a sovereign nation, but at the same time, what does it say to and about our nation if our President attends when other heads of state (perhaps more enlightened?) are not? Does it matter? Should it matter? Are we afraid to draw attention to our own human rights controversies? Is our president ignoring international protests? Do human rights controversies of the host country even have a role in the discussion of the Olympic Games at all?
Friday, April 04, 2008
Vazquez's victim was a Jamaican mother of two who had been living in the United States illegally for 12 years. Vazquez was responsible for transporting this women to a transitional detention facility as she waited to be deported back to Jamaica. Once the victim filed a complaint ICE authorities granted her parole. Right now Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC) is helping the victim obtain a visa which could lead to her obtaining legal residency.
The thing which disturbs me the most about this story is the ideal that an ICE official would take advantage of a women who had already been through a major ordeal. The victim already had to deal with deportation and being separated from her children, then for a ICE official to take advantage of her sexually is completely inhumane. Just because this women was not a legal citizen does not make it right for her to be abused while in the custody of ICE. When hearing about incidents such as this it reinforces the ideal that our immigration system is failing once again.
What can we do as citizens to change the mistreatment of detainees at the hands of ICE?
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
I have always found immigration policy to be a something of a Catch-22. If we open up immigration policy it is argued, with fair reason, that we open the flood gates for individuals we do not want walking the streets of our country. In today's terms this is a matter of homeland security and an obstacle for potential terrorist threats. Another aspect of this perspective argues that immigrants will rob hard working Americans of their jobs, undercutting the working class. Pragmatically, the current obsequious immigration gauntlet unnecessary. This article, really a blog, identifies many of the compromises and changes that can and should be made to contemporary immigration policy.
The suggestions in this article focus on the H1-B visa program, which allows for skilled workers to come to the US and work. However, only 65,000 of these visa's are granted annually. Proposed legislation recommends that we increase the annual number of H1-B visa grants to 115,000. A statistic given in the article states that, "(A Duke University study has found that 25% of American technology start-ups were founded by foreign-born entrepreneurs from 1995 to 2005; in addition, 26% of technology start-ups founded by immigrants had CEO’s, presidents, founders or lead researchers from India.)" Through H1-B visa's we can achieve increased economic efficiency and prosperity for all Americans, a point few people would rationally dispute.
This argument can then be shaped in an economic frame. There has been economic growth in many sectors directly correlated and attributed to individuals who immigrated to this country. As these numbers increase, the number of laborers needed to supply the demand of increased wealth and population must also increase. It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle of economic growth for all socioeconomic classes.
I understand the need for homeland security to protect our country from terrorist threats. However, this should not have a dramatic an effect on the immigration policy. Any immigrant, whether a factory worker or an executive, should be allowed a fair chance to come to this country. If they have proven to be a productive members of society in their home country, why not allow them a chance to contribute to ours.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
This video made by the ACLU shows a detention center used for political asylum seekers and their children in Hutto, Texas. Perhaps just as interesting as the video are some of the viewer comments:
"Not only does the inhumane treatment of innocent families and children in Hutto break an American tradition of protecting individuals from political oppression, it breaks an internationally accepted human rights standard of providing children access to medical and education needs to. This issue is not about immigration. Its about protecting the qualities that make America unique - A belief in human rights." -RichardParker72
"Are these people legal or illegal immigrants? Knowing that they were illegally trying to obtain entry the parents subjected their children to the possibility of Hutto. We, as a nation, can not be parent to all, cannot be responsible for the worlds suffering, and cannot be expected to alleviate it through indiscriminate open borders." Ssing45
What do you think? Should we be detaining children who come to the U.S. with their family members? Is there an alternative?
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
I think that this idea is interesting. I do not know however, how effect this plan will be in rural areas. I believe that if people want to be a member of a gang or involved in criminal activity they will be involved no matter where they live. I propose that officials provide refugees with education about the culture they are about to be submersed in and encourage safe communities and community involvement for refugee families no matter if they live in a city or rural area.
What do you think?
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I just wanted to bring your attention to a blog that the F&M soccer team has on their Grassroots soccer trip to Cape Town, South Africa, particularly, the shanty town of Khayelitsha.
The student athletes are there to help educate and fight HIV/AIDS. Check out their blog!
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Chinese citizens are also challenging the domestic human rights record of the Chinese government. A social activist was recently arrested for distributing a petition titled "We Don't Want the Olympic Games, We Want Human Rights." This "crime" could carry a penalty of up to five years imprisonment for Mr. Wang.
Do you think a country with a record of human rights violations should be allowed to host the Olympic games? Are the games an appropriate platform to campaign for political change and human rights?
Monday, March 10, 2008
A United Nations human rights expert, Jorge A. Bustamante has criticized the United States government for the "mandatory detention of illegal immigrants", claiming that the "overuse of immigration detention in the US violates the spirit of international laws and conventions, and in many cases, also violates the actual letter of those instruments".
Do you agree?
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Saturday, March 01, 2008
After reading this article and thinking about all we have learned about the asylum process my question for everyone is: Do you think it's fair for children to have to go through asylum process all alone?
I personally disagree with what the
Friday, February 29, 2008
This article raised some questions for me about the relevance of art and the responsibilities of artists when it comes to issues like AIDS, war and human rights all over the world. There has been a long standing tradition of using literature, art and music to speak out against injustices, and popular artists have a large audience to make their claims to. The question, I guess, is how much do you think the arts have an impact on society and global issues? Is there a responsibility among artists to address issues going on in the world today? How much change can they actually create?
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Ethnic tensions between Serbs in Serbia and Albanians in Kosovo have flared throughout a series of wars in the 1990s and the ethnic cleansing propagated by Slobodon Milosevic. Although Kosovo officially remained a part of Serbia, it has been administered by the United Nations since 1999 because of these wars and tensions. Does Kosovo have a legitimate claim to independence? Should the United States have acknowledged the state before the U.N. passed a resolution? Do you think this act will have implications for other nations with relatively strong separatists movements such as Cameroon?
Monday, February 18, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
I was somewhat hesistant to post this article and raise questions of cultural relativism versus basic human rights in regards to Iran. I didn't want this to come off as a cliche Clash of Civilizations blog post in which an American University Student critizes the Iranian justice system for being archane and immoral, especially not as the post above Dr. D's regarding Waterboarding. But then, the fact that this article would be juxtaposed next to Dr.D's on waterboarding made me decide specifically to post it. (How) Can we condemn inhumane treatment of criminals, when we torture suspects? Is it not frightening that an article about punishment that would make one CRINGE when its about a foreign government, makes one QUESTION when its about their own government?
Thursday, February 07, 2008
We should all agree that there is a certain moral responsibility for helping refugees. My question to everyone else: Because of the U.S. involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, does the United States bear a greater moral responsibility to accept these refugees than refugees from other countries? If so, what implications does this have, if any, on asylum policy?
So, is this torture? If you don't think so, what don't you try it?
So let's get to the facts. The White House has admitted and defended the CIA's use of waterboarding as an interrogation technique.
Let's remember, that the U.S signed the Convention Against Torture (CAT), and that almost every legal authority views waterboarding as torture and a crime.
So where does that leave us as Americans? Where does this leave our government? Are we okay with the fact that the U.S. government (or more specifically the CIA) is torturing in our name? How does this effect our credibility elsewhere? How does it effect our perceptions of ourselves?