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“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers
“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.
“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
“Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.” —Walter Cronkite
“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“Activist groups like Project Censored . . . are helping to build the media democracy movement. We have to challenge the powers that be and rebuild media from the bottom up.” —Amy Goodman
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
“Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union

21. New Immigration Plan Favors Business Over People

Sources: Interhemispheric Resource Center IRC, November 16, 2004, Washington Free Press, Nov/Dec, 2004, Title: How U.S. Corporations Won the Debate Over Immigration, Author: David Bacon;;, November 11, 2004, Title: “Migrants No More,” Author: Maggie Jones;

Faculty Evaluator: Francisco Vazquez, Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Joseph F. Davis

A bi-partisan effort from the Federal government is emerging to close the borders with Mexico by increasing barriers that keep “illegal” immigrants from traveling to and from Mexico, and in turn creating a guest worker program with specific time limits for residency. Reminiscent of the defunct bracero program, the status of “guest worker” has reappeared as the preferred name for Mexican nationals working in this country.

The leading organization behind the guest worker legislation is The Essential Worker Immigration Coalition (EWIC), which was organized in 1999, while Bill Clinton was still president. The group quickly grew to include 36 of the country’s most powerful employer associations, headed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores-including Wal Mart (which was sanctioned for employing undocumented workers last year)-belongs, as do the American Health Care Association, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the National Council of Chain Restaurants, the National Restaurant Association, and the National Retail Federation. Each of these associations represents employers who depend on a workforce almost entirely without benefits and working at (or below) minimum wage.

Edward Kennedy, Democrat, and John McCain, Republican, are promoting a bi-partisan bill that would create the designation of “guest worker” for a three year period. About half a million workers would be eligible for the status if they are sponsored by American businesses and pay five hundred dollars. The over ten million undocumented workers residing in the United States who are not sponsored by businesses would be encouraged to come forward and pay a two-thousand-dollar fine to receive the new status. The guest worker category can be renewed after three years, or businesses could sponsor workers for green cards.

The proposed legislation does not address the growing problem of undocumented workers residing in the United States. Because of the nature of the work being offered under this program, most guest workers will be left with little more than minimum wage employment. There are no benefits or health care offered under the new program. The two-thousand-dollar price tag for uninvited potential guest workers means that most of the more than ten million undocumented workers will be unwilling to come forth. Historically, millions of Mexican laborers would return to Mexico during off-seasons to visit family. Today, with tighter border restrictions and the cost of paying a labor smuggler up to $300, few people return to Mexico, resulting in permanent under-class poverty communities spread out throughout the country.

There has been no serious discussion on Capitol Hill on realistically dealing with the undocumented worker situation in this country because U.S. corporations will continue to benefit from cheap labor sources from outside and inside the borders of the United States.

The official bracero program, negotiated in 1942 between the U.S. and Mexican governments was ended in 1964. Ernesto Galarza, a labor organizer, former diplomat and early hero of the Chicano movement, was its greatest opponent in Washington. But Cesar Chavez was also an early voice calling for abolition. Chavez later said he could never have organized the United Farm Workers until growers could no longer hire braceros during strikes. In fact, the great five-year grape strike in which the UFW was born began the year after the bracero program ended. According to the UFW’s Mark Grossman, “Chavez believed agribusiness’ chief farm labor strategy for decades was maintaining a surplus labor supply to keep wages and benefits depressed, and fight unionization.”

The organization of veterans of the bracero program, with chapters in both the U.S. and Mexico, was even more critical. “We’re totally opposed to the institution of new guest worker programs,” explained Ventura Gutierrez, head of the Union Sin Fronteras. “People who lived through the old program know the abuse they will cause.” One former bracero, Manual Herrera, told the Associated Press’s Julianna Barbassa, “they rented us, got our work, then sent us back when they had no more use for us.” Thousands of former braceros are still trying to collect money deducted from their pay during the 1940s and 1950s.

Money that was supposedly held in trust to ensure they completed work contracts, but never turned over to them. Bush’s proposal contains a similar provision. “If we accept, then our grandsons and great-grandsons will go through what we went through,” ex-bracero Florentino Lararios told Barbassa. U.S. labor opposition focused on the lack of a real amnesty. Eliseo Medina, executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union, and one of the AFL-CIO’s key policy makers on immigration, said, “Bush tells immigrants you have no right to earn citizenship, but tells corporations you have the right to exploit workers, both American and immigrant….” This proposal allows hard-working, tax-paying immigrants to become a legitimate part of our economy, but it keeps them from fully participating in our democracy-making immigrants a permanent sub-class of our society.

Update by David Bacon: “How Corporations Won the Debate over Immigration” broke a story of national importance-how the largest U.S. corporations, dependent on a steady supply of immigrant workers, got the President and Congress to introduce legislation giving them a vastly expanded guest worker program. This program, like the old “bracero” program of the 1940s and ‘50s, used a system of contract labor to exploit immigrant workers and deny them their rights, while creating an oversupply of labor to drive down wages for all workers, immigrant and non-immigrant alike.

The story was originally published in the fall of 2004. By the spring of 2005, corporate pressure for expanded guestworker programs had grown so strong that even bipartisan proposals for immigration reform included them. The word in Washington DC is now that no immigration reform is worth discussing unless corporate America gets what it wants. In mid-May, a new bill was introduced by Senators Edward Kennedy and John McCain, which includes a program even larger than that proposed by Bush.

The President’s program calls for 300,000 people to be given temporary visas for three years, renewable for another three. The Kennedy/McCain bill calls for 400,000 temporary visas. In addition, the bill calls for requiring the 9 million currently undocumented immigrants in the U.S. to enroll as guestworkers for six years to qualify for making application for a green card, and to pay a $2000 fine. Increased enforcement of employer sanctions, the law that makes it a federal crime for an undocumented worker to hold a job, would be used to force people into the program by making it even more risky to try to work without becoming a guest worker.

Despite these draconian provisions, the bill won the sponsorship of many Democrats, and almost no Republicans. In the meantime, Texas Senator Cornyn annouunced his intention to introduce an even more conservative bill in mid-July. The Cornyn bill is regarded as the legislative embodiment of the President’s program. It is a straight temporary worker bill, with no provisions for legalization.

No matter whether sponsored by Democrats or Republicans, the corporate lobby for temporary workers has legislation which corresponds to its program.

In the meantime, however, a much more liberal bill has been introduced by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Instead of increasing job competition and pitting one group of low-wage workers against another, the bill tries to balance the needs of all low-wage workers. African-American and other minority communities suffering high unemployment would receive job training and creation programs. The bill would set up a legalization program for undocumented immigrants based on their residency, rather than employment status. It has provisions to strengthen protection for the rights of immigrant workers, ends discrimination against immigrants from countries like Haiti and Liberia, and has no guest worker program.

Republicans and many Democrats have derided the Jackson Lee bill as incompatible with the atmosphere in Congress, which seeks both to reward corporations and increase punitive measures against immigrants, especially the undocumented. But a rising tide of protest in immigrant communities and other communities of color around the country has criticized the growing wave of anti-immigrant legislation, and is callling for a movement to defend their rights instead.

Generally, the story of corporate sponsorship of the guest worker proposals has been ignored by the mainstream media. Reports on the Kennedy-McCain and Bush proposals have treated them as “pro-immigrant” because they would allow workers to cross the border legally. They’ve ignored the actual conditions for immigrants under current guest worker programs, as well as the money and influence trail leading back from these proposals to the corporate lobby, the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition. They have also ignored the Jackson-Lee bill, even though it presents the unprecedented political situation in which the country’s most progressive immigration legislation is being proposed by African-American Congress members.

Readers who want more information about the overall situation of immigrants and legislation which affects them can contact the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, at 510-465-1984, More information on pending immigration legislation and the Jackson Lee bill is available from Nolan Rappaport, minority counsel to the House Immigration Subcommittee, 202-225-2329.

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