Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Drug war, crime: Top concerns in Mexico; But Pew survey may raise eyebrows, too

As the death toll rises in Mexico's drug war, the major results of a new survey mirror what border residents would surmise. Fewer than half (45%) of Mexicans say their government is making progress in its campaign against drug cartels, according to the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project. A respectable portion-- 29%--say the government is losing ground and 25% say things are about the same as they have been in the past.

Actually, border residents might find that last 25% surprising.

El Paso is seen in the distance from the dirt streets of  an impoverished Juarez neighborhood
The Pew says that an overwhelming majority of Mexicans (83%) continues to endorse the use of the Mexican army to fight drug traffickers, virtually unchanged in recent years. Advocates for human rights in Juarez would not endorse that approach, however. They have consistently called for a retraction of military forces that occupy the city. 

Pew further alleges that many Mexicans welcome U.S. help in training Mexican police and military personnel and providing money and weapons to Mexican police and military forces. But this writer notes that other Mexicans on the El Paso/Juarez border allege military oppression. Neighborhood shake downs comprised of house-to-house looting and targeted oppression of human rights advocates by military forces destabilize society. Further, when the US gives weapons to Mexican military forces, an unknown percentage of U.S. arms lands in the hands of the TCOs (transnational criminal organizations) when individuals defect from the military to cartels, taking their weaponry with them.

Pew says that Mexicans broadly oppose the deployment of U.S. troops to combat drug traffickers in Mexico (38% support and 57% oppose). However, they say, more Mexicans now support this strategy than did so in 2010, when only about a quarter favored the deployment of U.S. troops in their country and two-thirds opposed it.

When asked who is most to blame for the drug violence in their country, more now say both Mexico and the U.S. are to blame than did so in recent surveys. About six-in-ten (61%) Mexicans blame both nations; 51% held this view in 2009 and 2010. Currently, 18% say the U.S. is mostly to blame and about the same percentage (16%) blame Mexico; a year ago, nearly twice as many said the U.S. was mostly to blame as named Mexico (27% vs. 14%).

In brief, the survey of Mexico, conducted between March 22 and April 7, also reports findings on other topics:

U.S. Image
: The image of the U.S. is somewhat improved since the passage of Arizona's controversial immigration bill in April 2010. But it's far more negative than before the law passed.  

Views of Life in the United States: Fewer than half (44%) of Mexicans now say people from their country who move to the U.S. have a better life than those who stay in Mexico.  

Problems Facing the Country: 
Mexicans most frequently name crime (80%) and cartel-related violence (77%) as very big problems. Roughly seven-in-ten (71%) mention illegal drugs. Most (69%) also cite economic problems. Slightly smaller numbers place corruption (65%) and terrorism (62%) in this category. Just half say people leaving the country for jobs elsewhere is a major issue.

For more information:  "Crime and Drug Cartels Top Concerns in Mexico," on the Pew Research Center's Pew Global Attitudes Project website.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Licensed undocumented immigrants and uninsured drivers: Necessarily connected?

When undocumented immigrants can obtain driver’s licenses, does the number of uninsured drivers increase? Allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses or requiring lawful residency identification has but an “insignificant impact” on the percentage of uninsured drivers in New Mexico, according to a study by New Mexico State University J. Tim Query, an associate professor of finance and business law, who tested the question both ways.

New Mexico, along with Utah and Washington, allows immigrants to apply for a driver’s license without proving their legal residence in the state. But if New Mexico’s Gov. Susanna Martinez has her way, the state will stop issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. In fact, the lawmakers will consider the issue at a special session this fall.
Photo credit: Mali on Flickr. Some rights reserved.
Query’s investigation shows that New Mexico ranks second among the 50 states in uninsured drivers, coming in at 25.7 percent. Washington grabs 11th place at 16.1 percent. But, only seven states have a lower percentage of uninsured motorists than does Utah. Even with its estimated 8.2 percent rate of uninsured drivers, Utah comes in well below the national average of 13.8 percent.

Query found that “states with loose requirements for a state-issued driver’s license did not have uniformly lower percentages of uninsured motorists,” according to a post in the Grassroots Press.

For example, according to Insurance Research Council’s (IRC) figures, Arizona saw its uninsured motorists rate drop from 17.8 percent in 2007 to 11.9 percent in 2009– a full year before its tough immigration law went into effect. Meanwhile, California’s uninsured drivers rate fell from 18.1 percent in 2007 to 15 percent in 2009. The IRC provided no reason for the drop in both states.

However, Query discovered that two factors that did increase the uninsured driver rate: the actual number of undocumented immigrants and unemployment. And he points to other studies that find the uninsured driver rate drops
  • when mandatory insurance laws are enforced more strictly and 
  • when poverty rates are lower. 
“While the fraction of unauthorized immigrants matters, the lawful residency requirement has a negligible impact on the percentage on uninsured motorists, based on the results of our study,” Querty said.

For more information: NMSU study looks at link between driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants and uninsured motorists

Thursday, August 25, 2011

California DREAM Act AB 131 clears legislative hurdle!

A key state Senate committee approved today a bill that would give college students, who are undocumented immigrants, access to public financial aid. The future looks hopeful for the bill’s proponents in this five-year long struggle. Making it out of committee cleared a huge hurdle to the bill’s passage.

AB 131, the second of a two-bill package known as the “California Dream Act,” would let undocumented students who qualify for reduced in-state tuition apply for, what the Los Angeles Times says is “an estimated $38 million in Cal Grants, community college fee waivers and other public financial aid.” 

Photo credit: Jobs with Justice via Flickr
The bill now goes to legislators, who are expected to affirm it. Then it needs the executive signature.
Last month Governor Jerry Brown signed its companion bill that let undocumented students apply for $88 million in private aid. His signature is again needed, and, while not guaranteed, is still likely for this more-controversial bill of the legislative pair. Unlike the prior bill, this one allows the students access to taxpayer-funded sources, making it a more politically risky endorsement.

The financial assistance will open up the possibility of a college degree, and the potentially brighter future that allows, for California undocumented immigrant students. Bill’s opponents begrudge offering any financial assistance to undocumented students during a period of economic recession.

Don't miss this coverage of California DREAMers:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

You [yes, YOU!] can help California farm workers demand justice on 13-day pilgrimage to Sacramento

California farm workers began a 167-mile pilgrimage to Sacramento to seek better salaries, enhanced working conditions and the right to overtime pay. No matter where you live, you can participate.

"The Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Now" march set out yesterday to proceed up the Central Valley, with stops in Merced, Turlock, Modesto, Manteca, Stockton, Galt among other California sites. By the time the march culminates at the State Capitol on September 4, during Labor Day Weekend, thousands of farm laborers and their supporters are expected to be part of it.

Photo credit: UFW
The pilgrims want Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act next time it reaches his desk.  On June 28, the governor vetoed SB 104, the act's legislative title, which would have made it easier for farm workers to join unions, the first step to higher wages and improved working conditions.

A modified SB 104 is set for reintroduction in the Legislature. The main difference: The bill will contain a "sunset" provision, meaning its mandates would expire on January 1, 2015, when Gov. Brown's current term ends. A companion bill will soon be before the Legislature. It calls for overtime regulations to be extended to farm workers.

While most employees receive overtime pay for toiling more than eight hours a day, farm workers have been excluded from overtime-pay rules since 1938, when Congress passed the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.  Agribusiness interests who opposed OT pay for farm laborers heavily lobbied Congress at the time. Domestic workers also are excluded from receiving overtime.

On average, the pilgrims will march 12.8 miles a day, in a walk sponsored by the United Farm Workers.

Can't attend? You can help sponsor the march:
To do a march of this size will cost close to $250,000--even with cutting corners as much as possible by housing marchers at supporters' houses along the route. Between meals, water & ice alone we are talking about $31 per marcher per day or $403 per marcher for 13 days or $20,150 just for the full time marchers. Farm workers from up and down the state will want to join in on the weekends when they can get off work. On the last day we will need to rent buses for the thousands of workers who plan to attend.
To contribute, click HERE FOR A SECURE SITE.

Can't contribute? Then, sign the petition...and share it.

Have a twitter account? Please participate in our twitter petition to Gov Brown by retweeting the following message:
.@JerryBrownGov I'm joining #UFW on 200-mile Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Now march RT TO JOIN VIRTUALLY #labor
Support the California farm workers!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ciudadano Informado blog features Border Explorer today

With great pleasure and pardonable pride, I'm happy to share with you that Ciudadano Informado, a blog that specializes in providing information related to immigration, is featuring the Border Explorer blog in a post on their site today. They kindly sought my answers in an interview about my life and my blog. So--head over there and get the inside scoop on Billie Greenwood today.

Emanating from a the field of immigration law out of Fayetteville, Arkansas, Ciudadano Informado dawned on the blogosphere this year and very quickly became a solid member of my blogroll. I appreciate the solid info they offer as well as their pro-migrant values.

I give them my hearty endorsement and recommend that anyone who is interested in U.S. immigration issues include Ciudadano Informado in their regular blog reading.

Fortunately, several of the blog's authors are also available on Twitter. Find the blog's official voice at this account: Ciudadano Inform on Twitter.

Thanks, friends at Ciudadano Informado, for your energy, your work, and for your friendship.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Homeland Security's new guidelines: Focus on deporting the dangerous

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would put guidelines in place across all immigration agencies to ensure that its enforcement priorities are focused on removing persons who are most dangerous to the country.

In a letter to Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and other senators who had requested that DHS consider deferring the removal of all DREAM Act eligible students, DHS announced that it would not categorically defer removal. However, it said that persons who were not high priority targets for removal would have the opportunity to request prosecutorial discretion on a case by case basis. Low priority cases include
  • persons who are not criminals and have been in the country since childhood, 
  • have strong community ties, 
  • are veterans or relatives of persons in the armed services, 
  • are caregivers, 
  • have serious health issues, 
  • are victims of crime or otherwise have a strong basis for remaining in the United States. 
DHS announced the creation of a joint committee with the Department of Justice that will review nearly 300,000 cases currently in removal proceedings and determine which cases are low priority and can be administratively closed. In addition, agency-wide guidance will be issued to ICE, USCIS and CBP officers to ensure that they appropriately exercise discretion when determining whether a low priority case should be referred to immigration court.

SOURCE: American Immigration Council

Sunday, August 14, 2011

4 ways the U.S. can help the war in Mexico

A U.S. citizen I know has lived in Juarez for over a decade. The drug war broke out during that time, turning the city already known for violence into the most dangerous place on earth, the Murder City. Nevertheless, my friend—whom I will not name—has remained. 

Edifice in Juarez manifests extensive gang graffiti.
In the face of extreme violence and death, many of us wonder: how can the U.S. help make things better in Mexico? She concluded a recent message with a succinct, four-point proposal, of sorts, that seems to address that question. Her comment bears repeating, and so I quote:

“What is needed:
  • · change NAFTA, 
  • · Stop Merida plan, 
  • · legalize the drugs and 
  • · stop the gun flow from USA into Mexico.” 

What do you think?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New lawsuit challenges Homeland Security on immigration detention

Immigrant advocates filed a federal class action lawsuit on Thursday this week against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for unlawfully detaining immigrants and U.S. citizens that were identified through local law enforcement agencies. The Heartland Alliance's National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is leveling the legal challenge.

The lawsuit questions the constitutionality of DHS’s use of immigration detainers. Detainers instruct police to continue to detain individuals after the local police’s authority has expired, until DHS officers arrive to take the individuals into custody. Among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit is a U.S. citizen who has been held on an immigration detainer since March 2011, after his arrest in Rockford, Illinois. As a U.S. citizen, he can't be deported from the United States.

“DHS detainers deprive thousands of men and women of basic constitutional due process rights,” said NIJC Executive Director Mary Meg McCarthy. “This expansive use of detainers harms U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, families, and communities, and betrays American ideals of fairness and justice.”

The detainers violate the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, according to NIJC, because DHS:
  • fails to establish probable cause before issuing the detainers, 
  • does not notify individuals that detainers have been issued against them, and 
  • provides no means by which individuals can challenge their extended detention. 
DHS’s use of detainers also violates the 10th Amendment because it requires state and local governments to implement federal law.

The Obama administration have utilized retainers heavily in immigration enforcement. They allow DHS to greatly increase deportations while passing the cost on to local law enforcement agencies. Under the Secure Communities program, when local police make an arrest, they are required to send fingerprint information to a federal immigration database. That frequently triggers detainer requests.

DHS issued about 271,000 immigration detainers in fiscal year 2009 and more than 201,000 detainers through the first 11 months of fiscal year 2010. The Obama administration has already deported over a million people.

"Stop InSecure Communities," designed by Alfredo Burgos with color added by Ernesto Yerena [Credit: NDLON]
NIJC filed the class action lawsuit on behalf of two specific individuals who are suffering or will suffer violations to their constitutional rights as a result of the DHS detainers. The lead plaintiffs are:

• Jose Jimenez Moreno, a 34-year-old U.S. citizen who is detained in Winnebago County, Illinois. He was arrested on March 21 in Rockford, Illinois. Without ever interviewing or speaking to him, DHS issued an immigration detainer against Mr. Jimenez the following day. DHS still never has contacted Jimenez. As a U.S. citizen, he cannot be deported.

• Maria Jose Lopez is a lawful permanent resident who is detained at a federal correctional institution in Tallahassee, Florida, and has been subject to an immigration detainer since February 1 this year. The conviction that led to Ms. Lopez’s incarceration is not grounds for deportation under U.S. immigration law. DHS has still not contacted her. Lopez, who came to the United States when she was four years old, is today  the primary caregiver to her three U.S.-citizen children. Because of the immigration detainer, Ms. Lopez can't be placed in a halfway house or receive other benefits that would help her care for her children as she serves her sentence.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Vampire bat bite claims life of teen aged farmworker

The Center for Disease Control today announced that a 19 year old farmworker died from human rabies, contracted from the bite of a vampire bat. His is the first death from a vampire bat recorded in the United States. The worker sustained the bat bite in Mexico in July 2010 and developed symptoms in the United States while working as a field laborer on a sugar cane plantation in Lousiana. He died August 21, 2010; however, the CDC only today disclosed the case.

This death of a teen-aged agricultural worker is another opportunity to remember that farm work is literally one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States.
from the National Center for Farmworker Health:

While farmworkers face workplace hazards similar to those found in other industrial settings, such as working with heavy machinery and hard physical labor, they also face unique occupational hazards including pesticide exposure, skin disorders, infectious diseases, lung problems, hearing and vision disorders, and strained muscles and bones. Lack of access to quality medical care makes these risks even greater for the three million migrant and seasonal farmworkers who work in the fields every year.

Hanna Kendall (center) and Jade Garza (right) were killed in a Monsanto corn field last month.
(Photo contributed to the Quad City Times.)
While the bat bite did not occur on the plantation, two Illinois 14 year old girls died in a corn field while detasseling for Monsanto last month. The teens were shocked electrically from contact with a center pivot irrigation system.

Because of an exception in the federal child labor law, children can work for hire in agriculture at far younger ages, for far longer hours, and in far more hazardous conditions than other working children. Most are Hispanic and poor; many start working at ages 11 or 12.

While the Twilight Saga of vampires and love enthralls contemporary teens and the young-at-heart, there is another shadowy tale of danger that is all-too-real for a different segment of North America: the agriculture work of child and teen laborers. And now the bite of a vampire bat has felled one of them.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Flash Flood takes out 40' of Arizona Border Wall

Arizona Daily Star photo illustration: Original story HERE

Rainwater rushing through a wash took out 40 feet of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Southwest Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Bad engineering is partially responsible.
According to the Arizona Daily Star:
The design does not allow for the free flow of water in natural washes intersecting the border, [Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Superintendent Lee Baiza] said. In washes, the fence has grate openings at the bottom that are 6 inches high and 24 inches wide with 1-by-3-inch bars."The fence acts as a dam and forms a gradual waterfall," Baiza said. "It starts to pile up on the bottom as the grass, the leaves, the limbs start plugging up. The water starts backing up and going higher. The higher it gets, the more force it has behind it."
Matt Clark, Southwest representative for Defenders of Wildlife, says that the washout shows that Homeland Security ignored expert advice in order to push the border-fencing agenda. Pipe Organ officials had warned them of the design problem.

A further problem, according to Clark as quoted in the Arizona Daily Star, is that the wall interferes with the natural environment: "Flooding is a very visual and physical reminder that walls block ecosystem processes. There are major costs both fiscally and environmentally to building walls across watersheds."

The fence costs $7.5 Million per mile to build, according to an Army Core of Engineer estimate. Total costs in some areas can run over a whopping $16 Million per mile. [For more detailed info see No Border Wall blog.] The fence should last about 20 years, and it'll cost $6.5 Billion to keep it up during that time.

Unsatisfied with that expenditure, the state of Arizona is currently collecting private money from across the nation to build their own state wall along the border.

However, according to former Arizona Attorney General, Terry Goddard, the border wall is counter-productive to fighting crime. Walls can't stop transnational criminal operations (TCOs). The border wall, therefore, does not promote U.S. security. "It is a fraud.," he baldly states.

You can't fool Mother Nature. She seems to think the wall is ineffective, too.

--My little protest music video on the U.S.-Mexico border wall.--

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

One great way to promote understanding of the U.S.-Mexico border

As part of its commitment of service to the U.S.-Mexico border, Annunciation House, a volunteer-run homeless shelter that has offered hospitality in El Paso for over 30 years, also operates a Border Awareness Experience (BAE) program. That program hosts student groups from across the nation, allowing them to live in one of the shelter facilities for a week. BAE participants learn about the Juarez/El Paso community, the border, and immigration from a variety of perspectives through hands-on experiences. The experiential approach is transformative, promoting the participants' improved understanding of issues that affect, not only the border, but the nation.
A new opportunity invites you to support border education. A newly-appointed BAE coordinator, a young woman who has already contributed two years of full-time volunteer leadership at Annunciation House, now looks forward to her third year of service in this new role. She is building a Borderlands Library to augment the BAE program. The lending library will allow both participants and the volunteer staff at Annunciation House greater access to excellent borderland publications that are not otherwise readily available. 

In a related proposal, the program director is also offering to host movie nights that will screen relevant videos to interested participants for viewing and discussion. 
Here's where you can step in to promote border education. Visit the extensive wishlist of books and DVDs that would be great additions to this nascent library. Take a look, and if you are so inclined, go ahead and contribute a copy of one of the books/DVDs on the list. It's easy and quick to do.

The wishlist items can be arranged by both priority and price, facilitating the process of discovering the gift you'd like to contribute. Of course, the program is also very open to receive any other books/DVDs/resources you'd like to offer. Used books are also fine, particularly if they are in good condition. 
Again, the link to the Amazon wishlist:
Your contribution to Annunciation House at  is also always welcome, too.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

ICE reverses on S-Comm, Calls program "mandatory"

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) indicated its intent to unilaterally nullify its contracts and mutual agreements with over 40 state partners, according to shocking news issued late Friday afternoon. The agency under the Obama administration is arguing that state participation in the controversial Secure Communities [informally termed "S-Comm"] program is actually mandatory, not voluntary. [See copy of letter obtained by the LA Times.]

The Secure Communities program, currently under investigation by the Office of the Inspector General, had already received intense criticism. In S-Comm, the fingerprints of anyone booked by local law enforcement are sent to ICE to check against its immigration databases for potential deportation. But governors of various states have protested the program, calling it ineffective in removing serious criminals and noting that it also handicaps local law enforcement by compromising the immigrant community's trust of local law enforcement.

This latest announcement released a cacophony of protest from human rights groups, immigration advocates and lawyers. National Day Laborer Organizing Network indicates that ICE's move throws their already discredited deportation program into further disarray and confusion, as the "rogue agency" ignores governors and courts, not to mention the democratic process itself.

Chris Newman, Legal Director of NDLON immediately issued an intense critique in a statement Friday, subtitled "DHS Cannot Rule by Decree."

"Today’s announcement confirms ICE’s status as a rogue agency. The level of deception involved in S-Comm so far has been alarming , but this moves things to another level. A contract is a contract—but apparently not when it comes to ICE.

A federal judge already found that DHS and ICE went out of their way to mislead the public about Secure Communities. Today’s announcement shows that ICE also systematically misled the states, engaging in protracted negotiations--at substantial cost to the American public--for what it now claims are sham contracts.

All the deception in the world can’t hide the fact that the S-Comm is horrible policy. By entangling local police in immigration enforcement, S-Comm is criminalizing immigrants and leading to the Arizonification of the country. Ultimately, the announcement today only puts into further question the legal basis for the program. ICE can no longer be trusted to police itself."

ICE calls S-Comm, a program intended to deport serious criminals, "highly successful." And indeed, the Obama administration deported 77,000 immigrants convicted of crimes, including some 28,000 convicted of serious offenses [murder, rape and sexual abuse of children] through S-Comm. But that is but a tiny fraction of the record-breaking 1 million people deported under this administration. By DHS’s own figures, 895,000 deportees lacked a criminal record.

Looking at those numbers leads immigrant advocates --like the Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance--not only to question how effective S-Comm actually is, but also to wonder at the actual intent of the Obama administration with respect to immigration.
Obama's "Secure Communities" Program has Deported More Immigrants than Eisenhower's "Operation Wetback."  
IMAGE CREDIT: Alfredo Burgos "Albur" & NDLON 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mexico's changed immigration signals it's time to change U.S. immigration policy

Mexican migration to and from the United States changes across the years. As migration patterns change over time, so too must U.S. immigration policies. While Mexican immigration has caused turmoil in our nation in recent years, some new facts are clear:

FACT: Fewer Mexicans are migrating to the United States.
FACT: Fewer Mexican immigrants in the United States are returning home. 
FACT: Immigrants from Mexico are parents to a new generation of Mexican Americans who are U.S. citizens.

These facts, courtesy of new reports last month from the Pew Hispanic Center and the RAND Corporation illustrate the state of immigration today.  Although this data deals with Mexican immigrants as a whole and not just the unauthorized, it's a useful indicator of what is taking place in the unauthorized population. 

FACT: More than half (55 percent) of Mexican immigrants in the United States are unauthorized.
FACT: Roughly three-fifths (59 percent) of all unauthorized immigrants are from Mexico.

The data reveals an emerging new reality: 
  • fewer immigrants are coming, 
  • fewer are leaving, and 
  • a majority of the unauthorized population has been here for a decade or longer. 

These trends suggest that our immigration policies must transition away from the current efforts to drive out unauthorized immigrants with deep roots in this country.  We need a more nuanced set of policies that help immigrants who are already living here and contributing to the U.S. economy to more fully integrate into U.S. society.

The Immigration Policy Center has a new fact sheet the delves into what Mexican immigration. Check out Mexican Migration Patterns Signal a New Immigration Reality so you can help others with immigration facts, not figures from bygone years.

Source: Immigration Policy Center

Monday, August 1, 2011

Poll: Americans want a different debt deal

What do Americans want for the U.S. budget? An online poll showed nine out of ten respondents want to spare Social Security and other human service programs from cuts; raise taxes for corporations and wealthy individuals; invest $1.7 billion in infrastructure and job creation; and cut Pentagon spending $2.3 trillion over ten years, says the New Priorities Network. The debt deal currently on the table in Washington is not a match.

The non-scientific Federal Budget Preference Poll on the New Priorities website asks respondents to choose among three alternative budgets for the coming fiscal year: 
  • the Ryan (GOP) budget passed by the US House this spring, 
  • President Obama's budget, and 
  • the People's Budget drafted by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, of which Rep. Raul Grijalva is co-chair. 

The budgets contain a wide range of deficit reduction targets, from $1.6 trillion in the Ryan budget to $4.7 trillion in the CPC's. 14,706 people had responded as of 9 am Friday July 22, and 93.24% chose the People's Budget, 5.19% Obama's, and 1.57% Ryan's. The poll is still open.

"The New Priorities poll confirms what pollsters at the University of Maryland and the McClatchy-Marist poll are telling us," said Michael Eisenscher, poll director for the New Priorities Network. "Americans don't want to cut Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare. They want more jobs and services. And they want to pay for those by raising taxes on corporations, letting Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy expire, and really cutting the Pentagon, whose budget doubled over the last ten years."

Chuck Kaufman, chair of the Tucson New Priorities Network coalition said, "How can politicians be seriously discussing cuts to Social Security and Medicare when they are ready to approve the largest Pentagon budget since World War II and continue to throw our tax dollars away in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Libya."

Tucson activist Paul Teitelbaum, who maintains the local coalition's webpage said, "Let's close the over 1,000 US military bases and facilities around the world before we talk about any US domestic spending cuts. I'll take jobs in the US over more than 200 US military-owned golf courses in Europe any day."

Source: New Priorities Network

This is not the final outcome - Please write to Congress NOW so the end result will protect people, not endanger them.