News on Immigration Around the Nation: Sept. 5, 2007


Deportations, Children in Jail, Immigrants Ignored in Springfield, and…Robots?!

►Juan and Alex Gonzalez were arrested along with their family in Florida. However, the Columbian born students were some of the best in their class and one had a near perfect score on his SAT. The brother’s friends took the issue to Washington D.C. and were even featured in Newsweek. The Gonzalez brothers and their friends have been trying to get the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) passed

which would allow better access for undocumented students to enter college and would provide a legal path for persons who never had that access in the past. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) along with Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) tried to introduce legislation in the past but the legislation failed.
►A ten year old according to The Toronto Star is responsible in reforming US immigration in detention facilities. Kevin Yourdkhani called it a “very bad place for children and babies” in the same paper. Yourdkhani along with his mother were put in a detention center in the United States which drew attention to children being held in the same prisons as their parents. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued and reached a settlement with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) which allows children to move more freely in the prisons. The federal government also agreed to improve the conditions at the prison.
►The Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) issued a statement in which Democratic State of Illinois senators Tony Muñoz and Martin Sandoval “rancorous isolation” led to Senate Democrat caucus losing support for HB 1100: The Roadway Safety and Mandatory Insurance Act. In the same statement, the ICIRR three major programs that the organization advocated for also did not do so well. The New Americans Initiative which helps legal residents apply for citizenship has been cut $400,000 and the We Want to Lean English Initiative increased the number of English classes in Illinois but has yet to be funded. The ICIRR recommended on August 13 that the budget be vetoed. On August 23, Governor Rod Blogojevich signed the budget into law.
►The federal government has said that it would start enforcing immigration law which has some farmers across the nation worried.  A lot of workers on farms are undocumented and in a strange twist, KPBS a PBS affiliate in San Diego, Calif. is reporting that a new “agrorobot” might be created to pick fruit as a result of the lack of workers in the field. Vision Robotics, a company based out of San Diego, is working on a pair of robots that would pick fruit from trees. Should the robots go into work, the CEO of Vision Robotics told WIRED magazine that one robot would spot all the fruit and the other would pick all the fruit. Orange growers have given almost a million dollars to the project according to WIRED and they estimate that it will take another five million to get to the finished product.

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