Tina K. Russell

October 6, 2008

The transsexual’s story, by Alison Bracken

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Tina Russell @ 4:30 pm

There’s no way I can give this story any context better than the story itself. Please read it (I’ve quoted the whole thing). Be warned, though… it’s harrowing.

The transsexual’s story, by Alison Bracken
“I left in 1999 and went illegally first to Mexico and then to the US. I was in the closet when I left and the economic situation was bad. I was begging for food in Mexico. Eventually I ended up in Dallas, homeless and living in the Salvation Army’s shelter. Then I met another transsexual. She helped me get some work selling myself on the corner. Then I began going to nightclubs and picking up men and going to their apartment to have sex with them for money. I saw everyone else with cars and TVs, I wanted that and pretty soon I had it.

“Then I met a Mexican guy in a bar and we got an apartment together and he became my boyfriend. He had a wife and kids he was supporting in Mexico too. He sold cocaine. He started giving me $20 packages of coke to sell. One night, these undercover police came into the bar where I was working and asked me to get them some cocaine. I got them a little. Then they came back the next week and asked for an ounce. So I called my boyfriend and next thing you know, I’ve been busted for delivery of a controlled substance even though I only made a phone call. I spent two and a half years in jail. I took every class you can do, learnt English. I had a German boyfriend.

“When I got released, I couldn’t believe it when they sent me back to Honduras. My family didn’t want to know me. They don’t accept my sexuality. I got a job selling beauty products but it didn’t earn much. No one else will give a transsexual a job. So I’m back on the streets again. I earn $5 for a blow job, $10 for sex in a car and $20 for going to a motel. I always tell customers I’m a transsexual, otherwise they might get violent. It’s very homophobic here, so it’s dangerous. I’m saving up for my sex change operation. I’ve spoke to a surgeon and he’ll do it for $3,500. He’s never done it before; no one in Honduras has. I’d be the first. It costs about $15,000 in the US. I’ll probably go back there to work as a prostitute and then come back here to get my surgery. I think about it every day. It’s all I want from life.”

July 14, 2008

People of the cloth, people of the bracelet

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Tina Russell @ 11:06 pm

This is from an article on a priest whose predominently Hispanic church became a haven for families caught up in the Agriprocessors immigration raids in Postville, Iowa.

On Religion – Immigrants Find Solace After Storm of Arrests – NYTimes.com
Already, members of the church staff and a Spanish teacher from a nearby college were tallying the names of the detained workers. Father Ouderkirk conducted his own version of a census in this predominantly Hispanic parish. Gone were all but two members of the choir he had assembled over the years. Gone were all but one of the eight altar servers. Gone were the husbands from the weddings he had performed, and gone were the fathers of the children he had baptized.

As for the mothers, many of them also worked at Agriprocessors and had been arrested. In a putative show of compassion, federal authorities released them after putting an electronic homing device on each woman’s ankle to monitor her whereabouts. These mothers were, in the new lexicon of Postville, “las personas con brazalete,” the people with a bracelet.

During his earlier tenure at parishes in North Texas and Marshalltown, Iowa, Father Ouderkirk had experienced immigration raids twice before, but never on this scale. By the second day, he had moved back into his bedroom in the rectory.

“It’s like God saying, ‘I gave you a little practice,’ because this is the worst,” Father Ouderkirk said in an interview late last month at St. Bridget’s. “This has happened after 10 years of stable living. These people were in school. They were achieving. It has ripped the heart out of the community and out of the parish. Probably every child I baptized has been affected. To see them stunned is beyond belief.”

It seems stupid, to me, to be focusing our law enforcement efforts on people that remind me so much of our ancestors, the early settlers, working hard and chasing the American dream. (I’ve mentioned before that my lineage traces back to the Mayflower; we didn’t exactly have green cards, either.) Whatever crafty means they employed to come here and stay, I hardly think heavy-handed deport-’em-all tactics are warranted, especially given how such brutal efforts have ripped hard-working families apart.

America is a nation of immigrants. Deal.

June 10, 2008

On racism

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Tina Russell @ 10:06 am

States Take New Tack on Illegal Immigration – Series – NYTimes.com
Three months after the local police inspected more than a dozen businesses searching for illegal immigrants using stolen Social Security numbers, this community in the Florida Panhandle has become more law-abiding, emptier and whiter.

Sheriff Wendell Hall of Santa Rosa County, who led the effort, said the arrests were for violations of state identity theft laws. But he also seemed proud to have found a way around rules allowing only the federal government to enforce immigration laws. In his office, the sheriff displayed a framed editorial cartoon that showed Daniel Boone admiring his arrest of at least 27 illegal workers.

His approach is increasingly common. Last month, 260 illegal immigrants in Iowa were sentenced to five months in prison for violations of federal identity theft laws.

At the same time, in the last year, local police departments from coast to coast have rounded up hundreds of immigrants for nonviolent, often minor, crimes, like fishing without a license in Georgia, with the end result being deportation.

In the immigrant community, fears now cloud the most basic routines. Many Hispanics said they avoided being seen or heard speaking Spanish in Wal-Mart, even if they live here legally. Others detailed their habit of meticulously checking their cars’ headlights, blinkers and registration to avoid being pulled over.

This is absolutely sick. There’s no question that crossing over the border into the States without a visa or passport is a crime. What I’m not sure of is when this became the worst crime in the world, a crime so bad that we can subvert every one of our laws, and our entire system of justice, to combat this. These are, generally, people who come here, work hard, and chase the American dream, and we treat them like dirt for it. Everyone involved in this should be deeply ashamed for how they’re tarnishing this country’s name.

(Might I remind you that this country was founded by illegal immigrants? Anyway…)

Oh, and, incidentally, identity theft panic is being used in Oregon, at least, to push zero-tolerance foreign worker laws. So, be wary when somebody asks you to sign a petition to help “identity theft victims.”

April 2, 2008

Banging my head against the border wall

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Tina Russell @ 12:02 am

Visa Application Period Opens for Highly Skilled Workers – New York Times

The H-1B lottery, to give skilled foreign workers a shot at success in America, is starting up again, and so is the regularly scheduled xenophobia.

But a number of lawmakers, led by Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, and Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, say foreign companies have used the program to import workers who compete against Americans and lower wage rates. The senators oppose increasing the number of H-1B visas without closing loopholes in the program.

Goddamn those foreign workers who want a fair wage on even terms when they move to the Land of Opportunity! How grossly unfair!

The three companies — Infosys Technologies and Wipro Limited of Bangalore, and Satyam Computer Services of Hyderabad — accounted for more than 8,500 of the H-1B visas that received preliminary approval in 2007, figures show.

“They are H-1B brokers,” Mr. Durbin said. “For a fee, they are moving these engineers to the United States for three or six years, training them and then moving them back to India to work for companies that compete with America.”

YAAAAAAGGHH!!!! Okay, this makes me angry. (…as if you didn’t know…) Why should we be mad about the spreading of American knowledge around the world? That sounds like great stuff to me. (more…)

March 27, 2008

On the effects of xenophobia

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Tina Russell @ 8:18 am

A Foolish Immigration Purge – New York Times

Leave it to the Bush administration to throw thousands of law-abiding American workers and companies off a cliff in perilous economic times.

That would be the effect of its decision to press ahead with a bad idea: to force businesses to fire employees whose names don’t match the Social Security database. The purge is part of a campaign — along with scattershot workplace raids and the partial border fence — to make a show of tackling the broken immigration system.

The Social Security Administration was set up to administer benefits, not to enforce immigration laws. There are many illegal immigrants who use fake IDs, but the sheer abundance of errors — the result of name changes, misspellings and other mix-ups — preclude their use for an immigration crackdown. Native-born workers will pay the price for these mistakes, but the foreign born also will suffer, because they are especially at risk of errors from inconsistent spellings, mistranslations and other language issues.

And us transsexuals will be at risk… we could get fired for “no match” letters arising from inconsistent or outdated documentation. Since there’s no federal law against discrimination for gender identity, it’s even more of a risk. We need to stop this misguided plan before it starts.

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