Aswini Anburajan

Aswini Anburajan is a writer for Feet in 2 Worlds, an ethnic media reporting project supported by the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School.

Recent Articles

Deporting the Lowest-Level Offenders

Newly released records show how often immigration officials deport people for minor offenses.

Gilberto Vazquez Ovalles, 34, of Mexico, was at a police roadblock in north Georgia for driving without a license. (AP Photo/Kate Brumback)
Until May 2009, Jose Reyes was a small-business owner, a father, and a 19-year legal resident of the United States. But on May 13, 2009, Reyes ran afoul of the police, who arrested him after an argument with a man who had rear-ended his car. Charges against Reyes were dropped three days later, but Reyes wasn't free. "I asked the police, 'If the charges are dropped, why aren't you letting me go?'" he says. The answer was that the arrest triggered deportation proceedings because Reyes had been convicted of marijuana possession 14 years before, long before the post-September 11 anti-immigration crackdown. In the years between Reyes' conviction and second arrest, of course, the system changed. Detentions or arrests by local police now automatically trigger immigration holds. Policies like the Criminal Alien Program and Secure Communities gave local and federal officials powers to work together as they never had before. These policies were meant to target undocumented immigrants or...

A Higher-Education Bubble?

Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal, is famous for predicting bubbles, first the Nasdaq crash in 2000 and next, the housing bubble in 2008. Now he argues that the next inflated market in the United States that's about to burst is education. In an interview with TechCrunch he argues: “A true bubble is when something is overvalued and intensely believed,” he says. “Education may be the only thing people still believe in in the United States. To question education is really dangerous. It is the absolute taboo. It’s like telling the world there’s no Santa Claus.” For Thiel, the promise of a Harvard education doesn't hold the return that the belief in pursuing it provides. To prove this, he's launching a social experiment, looking for 20 kids under 20, giving them $100,000 and mentoring them to start their own businesses. Well and good in proving that a college education does not a successful entrepreneur make. But Thiel's very experiment proves that access to limited networks and money can...

All Grown Up

TNR 's the Avenue blog has a strong post on how states and municipalities are taking their economic growth into their own hands. Bruce Katz, head of Brooking's Metro program, said at the conference: “It strikes me that what we’re really describing here is the maturing of cities and metros, public and private [actors], civic players, university people, who are not waiting any more. They’re basically grown-up. We still have a system that’s almost the parent-child federal republic. Yet now the children are beginning to say `Wait a second, you know, if we really do drive the economy, what if we acted like it, and what if we started trying to steer, inform, reform policy.’” This argument has far-reaching implications not just in the area of economic revitalization but also domestic policy as states pass their own versions of gay-marriage bills and immigration reform. While this is great on some level, we're creating a patchwork nation filled with different social values and regulations...

Meg Whitman: An Object Lesson for 2012

The Los Angeles Times has a piece on Meg Whitman changing her tune regarding immigration. Saying in an interview a few days back: The immigration rhetoric the Republican Party uses is not helpful." What's more, she said Tuesday at a George W. Bush Institute conference, "we as a party are going to have to make some changes, how we think about immigration, and how we talk about immigration. Whitman provides an object lesson in terms of how a changing stance on the immigration issue can have a huge impact in the presidential election, where Republicans will have to move from the far right of the primaries to a right of center stance in the general election. But immigration could be the one issue where backpedaling has no chance of succeeding. And I argue, could be a tipping point in the upcoming election. In her gubenatorial race, Whitman went far right on the immigration issue during her own primaries, allowing former California Gov. Pete Wilson to endorse her in an ad where he claimed...

Gay Penguins Banned From Public Bookshelves

Well, Tapped readers, it looks like I just found my summer reading list. The American Library Association published its annual list of most banned books around the world and No. 1 is And Tango Makes Three . It's a true story about two male penguins adopting an egg, hatching it, and co-parenting. In writing about why the book was banned most frequently the ALA writes: The book has appeared on the ALA’s Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books for the past five years and returns to the number one slot after a brief stay at the number two position in 2009. There have been dozens of attempts to remove And Tango Makes Threefrom school and public library shelves. Those seeking to remove the book have described it as "unsuited for age group," and cited "religious viewpoint" and "homosexuality" as reasons for challenging the book. The top 10 list ranges from Brave New World by Aldus Huxley to Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. While I have no real objection to those demanding that brooding...

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