Cuentos Inmigrantes: January 18, 2011
Cuentos Inmigrantes is a weekly collection of immigration news and views from there to here and back
John Ross, prolific journalist, poet, and activist died Monday in the village of Tepizo, in the western state of Michoacan, Mexico where he lived on and off for the past 50 years in between his stays in San Francisco. As Frank Bardake detailed in his homage to Ross in Counterpunch, he “wrote the very best accounts in English (no one is even a close second) of the tumultuous adventures of Mexican politics.” He was a national award winning author of ten books, including the gritty “El Monstruo: True Tales of Dread & Redemption in Mexico City.” He was among the first journalists to report on the indigenous Mexican Zapatista uprising and wrote extensively about their movement. Ross was 72, was a victim of liver cancer. You can read more of his work and learn more about him on his unfinished webpage.
State Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) has introduced a bill to give undocumented students access to financial aid. He’s reviving another bill that passed the state Senate and Assembly but was vetoed three times by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Cedillo is hoping he’ll have better luck with new Governor Jerry Brown.
A California lawmaker has been appointed as chair of the Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. Rep. Elton Gallegly, who represents most of Ventura and inland Santa Barbara counties, was a surprise appointment. Congressional watchers expected Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) to get the appointment, who instead, was named vice chairman. While Gallegly has been a quiet legislator, his record is worth noting, and at least one muckracker is interested in looking into his background and donations into his campaign. Gallegly has a history of trying to change the 14th amendment since his first introduction of the bill in 1991.
Allison Benavides lost her mother, Ruth Mejia, and sister, Ivonne Benavides, in an East Oakland house fire December 30. Guillermo Reyna-Flores, who tried to rescue them, also died. Allison’s father, Nelson Benavides, was in custody of immigration officials when the fire occurred. He is scheduled to be deported back to El Salvador after the funeral services. So the question is: what will happen to Allison? No word from immigration officials as of yet, but according to Sylvia Soublet, media relations officer for the Alameda County Social Services Agency, the agency is looking into several placement options for the girl including family, relatives and non-biologically related relatives such as godparents. “A final decision has not been made on where she will be placed but we are taking into consideration all available options,” said Soublet.
A group of Republican state legislators is meeting to discuss reinterpreting the 14th Amendment, which states that all persons born in the U.S. automatically become citizens of both the country and the states where they live. The group of legislators is looking to essentially dismantle the amendment and the birthright of U.S. citizenship for children of undocumented immigrant parents. The Chair of the House Immigration Subcommittee, Congressman Steve King (R-IA) has also introduced a bill to end constitutional citizenship.