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Immigration lawsuit revives DREAM Act debate
Gaby Pacheco, 25, right, and other immigration advocates attempted to leave a petition for President Obama earlier this year.
August 24th, 2012
06:35 PM ET

Immigration lawsuit revives DREAM Act debate

By Tom Cohen, CNN

Washington (CNN) - Gaby Pacheco calls herself an aspiring U.S. citizen who is compiling the paperwork and trying to get the $465 needed to apply for a two-year reprieve from getting deported.

James D. Doebler says his superiors at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are threatening to suspend him for putting an arrested illegal immigrant into the hearing process that could lead to deportation.

The two are on opposite sides of a lawsuit filed this week by Doebler and nine other ICE agents that challenges a new Obama administration policy intended to remove the threat of deportation faced by young illegal immigrants who arrived in America as children and have good student or military records.

Doebler and his fellow complainants argue the new policy on immigration law enforcement exceeds the administration's authority and puts ICE agents in the position of facing disciplinary action for doing their jobs.

"They're in a position now that's just untenable," argued Roy Beck of NumbersUSA, an advocacy group for more restrictive immigration that is bankrolling the lawsuit.

The goal of the lawsuit is to force a court ruling on whether the new administration policy is legal, Beck told CNN on Friday. If so, then the ICE agents are protected; and if not, the case would halt what the former journalist called a harmful influx of illegal workers at a time when young Americans are struggling to find jobs.

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Filed under: Immigration • Politics • Where we live
Opinion: First lady sets an example after Wisconsin shooting
Michelle Obama met Thursday with victims and surviving family members of the shootings at a Wisconsin Sikh temple.
August 24th, 2012
02:30 PM ET

Opinion: First lady sets an example after Wisconsin shooting

Editor's note: Valarie Kaur is the founding director of Groundswell, an initiative at Auburn Seminary that combines storytelling and advocacy to mobilize faith communities in social action. Her documentary "Divided We Fall" examines hate crimes against Sikh Americans after September 11. Kaur studied religion and law at Stanford University, Harvard Divinity School and Yale Law School, where she now directs the Yale Visual Law Project. Follow her on Twitter: @valariekaur.

By Valarie Kaur, Special to CNN

I have spent the past two weeks documenting the aftermath of what could be one of the deadliest racially motivated mass shootings in recent U.S. history. Through a camera lens, I’ve witnessed courage in the face of profound grief: families in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, mourning the dead, praying through tears and rebuilding their community in the Sikh spirit of chardi kala, a rising resilience even in darkness. But when family members walked out of a private meeting with first lady Michelle Obama on Thursday afternoon, I saw something entirely new in their faces.

For the first time, I saw them smile.

The first lady met privately with the families at Oak Creek High School, a few blocks from the Sikh gurdwara (house of worship) where a gunman opened fire August 5, killing six people and hospitalizing three more. The visit was more than symbolic; it was exemplary.

First lady meets with victims of Sikh temple shooting

Obama did not arrive with prepared speeches or prescriptions. Rather, she drew close to Sikh American families and listened to what is at stake: their ability to live, work and worship without fear. For Sikh Americans who have felt somewhat abandoned when the national attention dissipated a few days after the tragedy – and disappointed that President Obama did not immediately come to Oak Creek – the meeting has generated a wellspring of hope and healing. FULL POST

Opinion: Is Paul Ryan an immigration pragmatist?
Rep. Paul Ryan, campaigning last week in Florida, has complicated views on immigration, Ruben Navarrette Jr. says.
August 24th, 2012
11:45 AM ET

Opinion: Is Paul Ryan an immigration pragmatist?

Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter: @rubennavarrette.

By Ruben Navarrette Jr., CNN Contributor

San Diego (CNN) - Immigration groups, Obama surrogates, the media and the Democratic Party have a message for Latino voters, who some say could swing the election because they are heavily represented in four battleground states - Colorado, Nevada, Florida and New Mexico.

Here's the message: Vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan is anti-Latino, and his immigration views are simplistic, intolerant and punitive.

Really? Someone should tell that to the anti-immigrant group NumbersUSA, which advocates not only an end to illegal immigration (and there is nothing wrong with that) but also a dramatic reduction in legal immigration to pre-1965 levels (there is a lot wrong with that). It is the views of groups such as this - which sadly have a lot of influence on the Republican Party - that can genuinely be called simplistic, intolerant and punitive.

So why does NumbersUSA list Ryan's "career grade" in Congress as a "C"? Ryan's grade puts him in the bottom 10% of all current Republican members of Congress, according to Roy Beck, the group's founder and CEO.

The nicest thing that Beck could find to say about Ryan after the congressman from Wisconsin joined the GOP ticket was that Ryan "doesn't seem to have put a lot of thought into immigration policy and doesn't seem to have deep ideological reasons for his poor immigration record."

Wow. That's a ringing endorsement, isn't it? If someone like Beck thinks you have a "poor" record on immigration, it means you have both a heart and a brain.

Read Ruben Navarette Jr.'s full column

The Blaxican: a man and his food truck
August 24th, 2012
09:20 AM ET

The Blaxican: a man and his food truck


By Gavin Godfrey, CNN

(CNN) – Last year William Turner lost his job with a religious non-profit organization. That was the impetus for him to pursue a longheld dream: owning his own restaurant. Turner's research led him to the creation of his food truck (and alter ego), The Blaxican, which serves up what he calls, "Mexican soul food."

Turner says he's aware that some people have strong reactions to his name and concept.

[2:33] "We live in a politically incorrect or correct society where we're so  hypersensitive that even if we're not offended by something we think we should be offended by something. The Blaxican, it evokes an emotion, especially here in the south where race relationships for years have always been a hot-button for our society."

The son of a cook, Turner says that soul food is universal and in every culture there is cuisine that comes from the struggle to survive.

Read the full post 

Ten ICE agents file suit against policies on illegal immigrant removals
ICE agents filed suit against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICE Director John Morton.
August 23rd, 2012
09:08 PM ET

Ten ICE agents file suit against policies on illegal immigrant removals

By Carol Cratty, CNN

Washington (CNN) - A group of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents filed suit Thursday against new policy directives on removing illegal immigrants.

The plaintiffs say obeying new administration priorities on what types of illegal immigrants should get priority for deportation could place agents in violation of federal law.

The agents filed suit in Dallas against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICE Director John Morton.

The suit cites recent policy decisions to allow young people brought to the U.S. before the age of 16 who meet certain criteria to apply for a two-year relief period in which they couldn't be deported. The complaint also objects to the policy of prosecutorial discretion in which ICE agents are supposed to focus their attention on dangerous criminals who are illegal immigrants.

Undocumented immigrants line up for relief from deportation

In a nutshell, the agents - one of whom is the president of the ICE Agents and Officers Union - do not want to obey the new policies and do not want to face any disciplinary actions or lawsuits if they continue to arrest any type of immigrant who is in the United States illegally.

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Filed under: History • Immigration • Where we live
TSA behavior detection officers will be retrained after profiling complaints
TSA officers staff a checkpoint at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.
August 23rd, 2012
03:30 PM ET

TSA behavior detection officers will be retrained after profiling complaints

By the CNN Wire Staff

Washington (CNN) - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is retraining some workers after allegations of racial profiling by officers assigned to look for people behaving suspiciously, a spokesman said.

The classes come after agents at Boston's Logan International Airport said fellow employees in the agency's behavior detection program were targeting minorities for questioning based on their race or ethnicity.

Some Boston officers have complained to the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.

ACLU attorney Sarah Wunsch, who has spoken with 10 officers accusing their colleagues of racial profiling, told CNN that officers were targeting racial and ethnic groups - including Mexicans, African-Americans and Brazilians - for secondary screening.

The claims, first reported in The New York Times earlier this month, prompted the TSA to open an internal investigation.

Now behavior detection officers nationwide will take an "online learning center refresher course to reinforce that racial/ethnic profiling will not be tolerated," TSA spokesman David Castelveter said.

TSA says it focuses on security, not good looks

A class called Combating Racial/Ethnic/Religious Profiling is being provided to behavior detection officers and managers at Boston and Detroit airports, where similar intensive programs are in place.

Classroom training includes a four-hour session where problems created by profiling will be discussed.

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Filed under: Black in America • How we look • Race • Where we live
August 23rd, 2012
12:30 PM ET

Paralympics sailor: 'My disability is a gift'

By Sheena McKenzie, for CNN

London, England (CNN) - Not many people would see quadriplegia as a gift. But then, not many people are Paul Callahan.

As a 21-year-old Harvard University student, Paul's life was full of possibility. An undergraduate studying business at one of the best universities in the world, there was a lot to look forward to for the young man from Massachusetts.

Then a freak accident changed everything. Paul slipped on a wet floor, breaking his neck and rendering him paralyzed from the chest down. He retained the use of his arms, but not his hands.

Callahan spent the next five years traveling to rehabilitation centers across the United States in search of a way to walk again. When a doctor finally suggested it was time to concentrate on living instead of walking, Paul did exactly that.

Almost 30 years later, the 55-year-old father of two is now set to represent the United States in sailing at the Paralympics.

"It's an evolutionary process where you transition from one life to the other," Paul told CNN.

"I never gave up moving forward. You can define that as walking or being a contributing member of society. At 26 I chose the latter."

Read the full story

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Filed under: Disabilities • Sports • What we think
August 23rd, 2012
09:52 AM ET

Opinion: Raped, pregnant and ordeal not over

Editor's note: Shauna R. Prewitt is a lawyer in Chicago. She is the author of "Giving Birth to a 'Rapist's Child': A Discussion and Analysis of the Limited Legal Protections Afforded to Women Who Become Mothers Through Rape," written for the Georgetown Law Journal.

By Shauna Prewitt, Special to CNN

Chicago, Illinois (CNN) - When I was in law school, my criminal law professor introduced us to the crime of rape by reading us a quote from Lord Chief Justice Sir Matthew Hale, a 17th-century English jurist: "In a rape case it is the victim, not the defendant, who is on trial."

It was not merely a history lesson. I had lived it.

While a student in my final year of college, at age 21, I was raped. I have dissected that moment - the horrifying moment that I became a "victim" - from every possible angle. I have poked and prodded, examined and re-examined. Regrettably, I have even suspected myself in a desperate, ultimately futile attempt to understand how I became a victim.

But blaming myself was neither my idea nor my first inclination. I thought such 17th-century notions were long dead. I was wrong. People who did not even know me were quick to comment or speculate on my rape. What were you wearing? Did you scream loudly? Did this occur in public?

'Legitimate rape' reaction, from the Congo to black crickets

As my history lesson said, I found myself on trial, facing the most fierce judge and jury: ignorance.

Eight years after my rape, I find myself on trial against ignorance again. Rep. Todd Akin's recent comments that "legitimate rape" rarely results in pregnancy not only flout scientific fact but, for me, cut deeper. Akin has de-legitimized my rape.

Read Shauna R. Prewitt's full column

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Filed under: Gender • Health • What we think • Women
Judge weighs Arizona immigration law after opponents present new evidence
Protesters shout slogans during a protest against Arizona's immigration law outside of the U.S. Supreme Court in April.
August 22nd, 2012
11:00 PM ET

Judge weighs Arizona immigration law after opponents present new evidence

By Catherine E. Shoichet and Mariano Castillo, CNN

(CNN) - A federal judge is once again weighing arguments over the "show me your papers" provision in Arizona's controversial immigration law.

The provision was the only one of four major parts of the law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in June.

But opponents argued in U.S. District Court on Tuesday that new evidence shows that a federal judge should block enforcement of the provision.

"It is infected with racial discrimination," attorney Karen Tumlin of the National Immigration Law Center said outside the courthouse Tuesday, according to CNN affiliate KPHO.

Court issues split decision on state laws

Attorney John Bouma, representing Arizona, argued that the law does not discriminate.

"You just can't say that Latinos are going to be primarily impacted and that's discriminatory," he told CNN.

Read the full story

The middle class falls further behind
August 22nd, 2012
06:00 PM ET

The middle class falls further behind

By Aaron Smith @CNNMoney

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - The middle class is struggling to survive and shrinking before our eyes, the Pew Research Center reported on Wednesday.

"America's middle class has endured its worst decade in modern history," the Pew Research Center said in its report. "It has shrunk in size, fallen backward in income and wealth, and shed some - but by no means all - of its characteristic faith in the future."

Of the 2,500 people Pew surveyed, 85% of those who identify themselves as middle class say it is more difficult now than it was a decade ago to maintain their standard of living. The report also found that the middle class is a much smaller part of the population than it used to be, while the poor and rich extremes of society are expanding.

The biggest issue facing the middle class is that their wealth is deteriorating, said economist Richard Fry, who co-authored the report. The housing crisis eroded much of the middle class' net worth, creating a "lost decade" in terms of economic well-being for this group.

"For middle-income households, a lot of wealth was in their home, so the housing bust really impacted their nest eggs," he said. "Middle-income families are the only ones whose nest eggs have plummeted."

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Filed under: Economy • History • How we live • Who we are
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