Is there any foreign policy issue that George Bush doesn't respond to with troops? Now we're going to put them along the border with Mexico, a country that has no aggressive intentions toward the United States. But that's only part of the problem with Bush's new immigration policy announced May 15, according to the Ohio Immigrant Network (RIO), an alliance of several Latino immigrant groups.
"President Bush talked about America's 'welcoming tradition,' but his proposal contradicts that tradition," says Sylvia Castellanos, a spokeswoman for RIO. "His proposal showed some progress in recognizing that any immigration reform must legalize many immigrants, but he would punish many long-time resident workers and penalize employers."
Castellanos is member of the Coalition for Immigrant Rights and Dignity (CODEDI), the Cincinnati affiliate of RIO. (Visit www.codedi.org for more information.)
The Ohio Immigrant Network sees several flaws in Bush's proposal: It will legalize only some of the 12 million undocumented workers in the country and only after penalizing them with fines and making them jump a series of legal hurdles. The proposed temporary guest worker program would form a permanent underclass in the United States — people with no rights and no path to citizenship. The proposal doesn't speak to the broader issue of U.S. foreign and economic policies and the issues of poverty that drive Latin Americans to the United States to seek work.
"We need a proposal that legalizes all of the immigrants who are here now, provides them with a work permit and offers them a path to citizenship," says Wilfredo Pacheco of RIO. "Bush should drop the guest work program, which is a program for temporary slave labor or a rotating labor pool for American sweatshops in factories and fields. Nor do we need troops on the border of our closest neighbor and most important economic and social partner."
President Bush is scheduled to speak Friday at Northern Kentucky University, and several groups have expressed an interest in protesting. But planning hasn't exactly been easy. Three days before the event, no one could say when Bush will speak. A call to the university president's office May 16 found that it didn't expect to find out until Wednesday. A spokesman for NKU later said the speech is tentatively set for 3:40 p.m. Friday.
ECOS, a student environmental organization, is among the groups hoping to represent opposition to the Bush regime.
"ECOS will be holding a demonstration to call attention to Bush's destructive environmental policies," says ECOS organizer Anthony DiBello. "We would like to invite everyone interested in voicing their opposition to the Bush administration's irresponsible management of our natural areas, energy policy, pollution regulation, air and water standards, etc. to please join us at the NKU campus on May 19."
Unable to pinpoint a time, ECOS will rely on an e-mail alert to supporters about the time and place for their protest.
War and Other Toxins
The war in Iraq has by now killed so many American invaders that it's hard to find ways to illustrate the loss. The Eyes Wide Open exhibit is one way, featuring 24 pairs of combat boots, each representing 100 dead U.S. soldiers, intended to illuminate the human cost of war. The exhibit will be on display June 9-10 during the 23rd Annual MUSE Spring Concert, "The Great Peace March," at New Thought Unity Center in Clifton. Cindy Sheehan, AKA the Peace Mom, speaks prior to the June 9 concert at 7 p.m. Muslim Mothers Against Violence leads a teach-in prior to the June 10 concert at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door and available online at www.musechoir.org or by calling 513-221-1118.
The Cincinnati Chapter of Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) picketed the Sherwin Williams paint store in Silverton on May 16. ACORN has been protesting at the company's stores across the country, demanding they help pay to remove lead-based paint from houses. The group says it tried for two months but failed to get a meeting with company officials.
"The Sherwin Williams logo has the words 'Cover the Earth' on it," says ACORN member James Moreland. "In the apartments and neighborhoods for low-income people in this area, the windows and doors are covered with lead dust, which poisons our children. ACORN wants to meet with Sherwin-Williams to discuss how to get this lead paint away from children."
About 400,000 children are diagnosed with lead poisoning each year, according to ACORN.
Sherwin Williams ceased selling lead paint for interior residential use in 1955 and for exterior residential use in 1973. But class action lawsuits across the country have accused it of liability for subsequent lead poisoning.
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