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

A Surprising Leader in the Immigration Movement

In the power vacuum created by a lack of federal immigration law, states are going one of two ways: Arizona, Georgia, Tennessee, and others are focusing on stricter enforcement of immigration law while New York, Maryland, and California have carved out a path for undocumented children to receive a college education. In the midst of all this legislation, a surprising leader has emerged as a model for "moderate" immigration reform: Utah. I wrote last month about how Utah had worried about the national reaction to Arizona's tough anti-immigration bill SB 1070, and thus passed a softer immigration bill. That bill had the support of the Church of Latter Day Saints, which is expanding rapidly in South and Central America. Now, "The Utah Compact" provides a set of guiding principles for what the debate on immigration should look like: Families should not be separated and federal enforcement should focus on those who engage in criminal activities -- not violations of civil code. The Compact...

Romney's Health-Care Record: Does It Help or Hurt?

First Read points out that Mitt Romney announced his candidacy for the presidency yesterday and it was a day before the fifth anniversary of the passage of healthcare reform in Massachusetts. The guys at First Read write: Yet it may be fitting that Romney jumped into the presidential waters so close to that anniversary, because Massachusetts’ law will define his primary candidacy. He either figures out how to navigate and wins the nomination, or the issue kills his chances. It may be that simple. Could it really be that simple? The fact is that seniors in the Republican Party rely on Medicare, and no matter how much they might favor Paul Ryan's budget, the idea that cuts to entitlement programs could hurt their individual care may make them horseshy of radical changes. In addition, Romney can point to the fact that health reform in Massachusetts has worked, and in a general, it puts him on more of a level playing field with Obama in regards to creating affordable health-care options...

Where Are the Protesters?

The Chicago Tribune reported today that gas is going up to $5 a gallon in Chicago. Nationally, gas prices have increased by 19 cents over the past three weeks. Conventional wisdom would argue that because there's conflict in the Middle East -- in particular, Libya -- we'll have higher oil prices. But given that supply has not been disrupted, one must point to another culprit: speculation. An article on Bnet.com quotes the following statistic regarding oil speculation: Mohsin Khan of the Peterson Institute for International Economics estimates that three years ago, speculation pushed up oil prices by nearly $70 a barrel. Now that linkage between Wall Street and prices at the pump is more alarming than ever: Speculation on oil futures is at a record high. As Chilton said in another presentation, since June 2008 the number of energy contracts held by such investors has risen 64 percent. The Dodd-Frank bill was supposed to curb this level of speculation, but ink hasn't touched the paper,...

A Window Into Immigration Courts

The Associated Press has a series out this week on the nation's immigration courts, filled with lots of color and lots of descriptions of the red tape and bureaucracy that goes along with being an immigrant fighting for residency. It's worth a read for the sheer absurdity that goes along with administering immigration law in the United States -- a system that seems to depend as much on individual jurisprudence handed out by judges as it does on systematic rules and regulations that can decide if an individual is allowed to stay in the United States. According to the AP, there's a backlog of almost 300,000 cases currently in the system, and while the federal government has tried to hire more lawyers, the sheer number of people attempting to stay have overwhelmed the system. Notable stories include a Latino man who's fighting deportation after being in the United States since he was 2, a Cameroonian woman who was raped and beaten in her home country and took years to win asylum, and all...

A Peter King Redux

Peter King 's mis-advised mantle on holding religious hearings that question the faith of Islam and those who practice it has been picked up by New York state Sen. Greg Balls. In a hearing on what should ostensibly be about New York's emergency preparedness 10 years after 9/11, Ball will be discussing Sharia law. I spoke with Udi Ofer , advocacy director for the New York Civil Liberties Union on Balls' hearing. Ofer points out that the first part of Balls' discussion is serious and on-target, focusing on the Indian Point nuclear plan miles from New York City. "He’s going to spend 50 minutes on the Indian Point nuclear power plant and spend 30 minutes talking about Sharia law and the threat it poses to New Yorkers," Ofer told me. "Spending 50 on Indian Point nuclear plant and 30 on Sharia law, its going to conflate religious practice with terrorism. It's misguided and discriminatory and has no place here," he said. Unfortunately, Balls is one of many politicians that conflate the...

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