Monday, March 31, 2008

Wearing antiwar T-shirt gets 80 year old arrested

you can purchase this T-shirt at

Democracy Now informs us that an 80 year old clergyman was arrested at a mall in Long Island wearing an antiwar T-shirt. He was asked to turn it inside out and when he refused he was arrested. That just seems so strange to me.

It's bad enough that people get ejected from events and arrested for doing this when someone from the presidential administration is speaking - but at the mall?

As long as Bush is president, maybe we all should think twice about what we wear to a protest march, on a plane, to a speech or most any other public event.

just a few more months for his administration to end - 10 to be exact- hope we make it ok.

p.s. be sure not to wear an anti-war T-shirt to the Smith Haven Mall in Long Island.
March 31, 2008

80-Year-Old Deacon Arrested at Mall for Antiwar T-Shirt

In Long Island, New York, an eighty-year-old church deacon was removed from a shopping mall Saturday and arrested after he refused to remove a t-shirt protesting the Iraq war. Deacon Don Zirkel was handing out antiwar pamphlets when he was approached by security guards at the Smith Haven Mall. The guards placed him under citizen’s arrest after he refused orders to turn his t-shirt inside out. When the local police arrived they charged him with criminal trespassing and resisting arrest.

for link to DN headlines click the title of this post


Yes, we do get screwed... we really do.

A Dream Deferred has officially launched its blog and initiative from Brave New Foundation. Dont forget to check out the video embedded

Immigrant Children Get Screwed When It Is Time to Go to College

By Leighton Woodhouse, Brave New Foundation. Posted March 29, 2008.

The video to the right is a special Brave New Foundation video that makes the case for the DREAM Act, which would enable states to grant in-state tuition to hardworking immigrant students, making higher education (and eventually citizenship) a real possibility.

This year, the presidential election will not hinge on the emotionally divisive issue of immigration.

That's good news for foreign-born residents of the United States. It's good news for everyone who believes that a moral society takes care of its most vulnerable members, forcing no one into the shadows. If the nativist wing of the Republican Party had seen its electoral goals realized, we would have witnessed a Republican primary dominated by a tragic debate about how best to expel the 12 million undocumented immigrants living in America, whether by deporting as many as possible, or by making legal conditions so inhospitable that they leave of their own volition. That debate would have trickled out into the general election, with Republican... (More)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Returning home to Houston

After a two week trip to Mexico I returned to Houston yesterday, landing at Bush Airport. The flight had been a little difficult, the man next to me kept shoving his elbow past the armrest. He seemed oblivious to what he was doing, but I didn't say anything - (probably should have). Maybe it was an omen for what was to come. He and his wife jumped up (they were in the seats closer to the window, I had the aisle seat) and basically shoved me back out of the way so they could rush out of the plane. I told myself to be calm, maybe different people have different definitions of body space. I thought the couple was from Mexico, because they spoke no English and had trouble with the customs form. But it turned out they were Americans - they stood in line at for U.S. Citizens and Residents just like I did.

It was an interesting day. A couple behind me who were speaking only Spanish were approached by one of the ICE employees (a woman who looked like she was in her 70s, I'm wondering if ICE if hiring retired people to work at the airport) - the man asked her if he was in the wrong place, she said well, she hadn't thought about it because she was thinking he was a diplomat. He wasn't - but they were so far out of place she let them stay in the U.S. line.

I approached the counter when called and was faced by an officer named Ramos. He was nice and didn't ask any rude questions. But he kept typing something on his keyboard. I asked him if the strip on my passport didn't work anymore and he said no. He was correcting some information - Later I wondered if it was because my passport shows me with brown hair and now it's gray.

Anyway, I then picked up my suitcase and was walking through the agricultural customs section. I have never in my life had a problem doing this when I have flown. As a teenager and college student I and my friends were regularly searched when crossing back into the U.S. in a car at the Laredo international bridge. But that was so long ago it hardly crosses my mind anymore, plus like I said, it was when we crossed in a car.

All of a sudden, after the officer standing at the counter said I was ok and could leave, a young ICE officer with an Italian sounding name that starts with an "L" came out and pointed to me. I thought it was strange since I have never seen anyone get pulled out of that line.

He was very nice and formal, even apologized for taking my time and asked if I was on a schedule, I said no, but I was worried about my husband being worried while he waited on the other side. He asked if I went to Mexico on vacation or business. I said the first week was a vacation with my husband, then he returned and I had to go to Cuernavaca to do some interviews - so the officer then said "you went on business" (I had said vacation on my customs form). He asked me how many times I had traveled internationally the last year. I couldn't remember exactly and said 4-5, but it turned out to only be 3 (guess it felt like a lot because all the trips were taken since Dec. 07)

He went through my carry-on and saw my digital SLR - he said "nice camera" and asked me if was a Canon Rebel.. I said no, it's a Nikkon, and the university purchased it - he can check the silver tag on the side - that says State of Texas property. He said he didn't need to look at it. He looked through my book bag and saw I had a Mac laptop - he said "I see you use a mac, I think they are great. Have you seen the new one?" I said yes - the Mac Book Air - that it's really cool... its the laptop that is so slim and weighs hardly anything. He said no that's not it, its so small and you can type anything on it, check your email etc, but is still a laptop.

Then he asked me if I knew what the "Brazos de Dios" was. I said sure, I just published a book on Texas that has a chapter on the Brazos River. He didn't seem to hear me and went on about how La Salle came to Texas. He started to talk about Wharton County - I said I know the place - my kid's paternal grandparents are from there - (don't think he heard this either). He said "I'm from Wharton County, my family has lived on the same land for 6 generations, since back to the Civil War."

He got to my larger suitcase, (which was also a carry one but I had checked it in) and said "this is the one." He took everything out, including the books and then put things back in, asking me to zip it up. He never checked the little box I bought in Morelia that was wrapped in tissue paper and sealed with scotch tape. I'm not really sure what he was looking for.

I told him I was a professor at UH. He asked me what I taught. He seemed to get a little more serious after that. I asked him how they chose who they would search. He said it was random, that he walked out and just picked me.

I was more relaxed for a second until I remembered the guy who was coming from Europe to teach at Notre Dame and they didn't let him in the country.

As I left I reminded him about my book on Texas and said that he might find it interesting - or - that he might not like it since it has stuff on slavery. I don't remember what he said after that, but I was finally able to leave the airport.

Regardless of his courtesy, it was a strange and tense experience. Since this had never happened to me before, I couldn't help that it had something to do with this blog or my work with DREAMERS. My phones at home click so much my family has always wondered if we are one of the millions being listened to by DHS.

In his very polite double speak I heard the young officer say that his family had been in the U.S. over a century and a half -- was that a way of saying that long term residency makes you a better American? or was he insinuating he was more American than myself because I have a Spanish surname?

In a way, the statement about the land owned since the civil war felt to me like rubbing salt in a wound. Even though I was born in Houston and am a 7th generation Texas (hey, my mother's family came in 1750 to what is now south Texas and my great great grandfather was a Spanish Speaking confederate soldier! - no kidding) - I felt he was talking to all the DREAMERS, former DREAMERS or other recent immigrants that he confronts. That 6 generation thing was important for him.

When I got home my husband asked me why didn't I tell the guy about my family being here so long. I said I didn't think he would hear me anyway. Besides, I come from one of those mixed families -- my Dad was born in Mexico.

I also didn't tell him about my chapter on the Brazos River. He called the river, "Brazos de Dios" (arms of God), I titled the chapter "River of the Demonic."

He told me "welcome home" when I was walking away.

Maybe I should wear a "Daughter of the Confederacy" sign next time I fly internationally.


We work all the time

photos by M.T. Hernandez

While in the city of Morelia, Michoacan during Easter Week I took a picture of an attractive young woman who was selling folkloric religious articles outside Morelia's Cathedral. She was standing under the bright sun, wearing a blue Superman t-shirt - holding a brightly colored umbrella.

When I asked her about taking the photo, I mentioned that if she gave me her email address I would send it to her. She replied: " I don't have an email address, we work all the time and don't do things like use computers."

A few days later in a taxi from a bus station in Mexico City to a hotel on Avenida Juarez I was speaking to the driver who was very talkative. We began a discussion on immigration, he told me he had relatives in most major U.S. cities. I told him about the movie "Under the Same Moon" (La Misma Luna), an interesting story about how a boy walked to LA to find his mother - I said maybe he could try to see it sometime. He smiled and responded: "we work seven days a week, eighteen hours a day - just to be able to survive." - he never told me he would see the movie or not, but his statement about work was another way of telling me that something like going to a movie was a luxury he didn't have.

Flying back home I thought a lot about the taxi driver and the woman at the cathedral. How different are the lives of those in the U.S. and those in Mexico. Here in America, writing on a computer or going to a movie theater are givens.

This is when I remember that 80% of Mexican citizens live below poverty level.

PWC Virginia Police Chief makes his own decisions about meeting with Mexican Consul

Police Chief Charlie T. Deane, Prince William County Virginia

The police chief of Prince William County Virginia has let everyone know that he is not in agreement with the virulent anti-immigrationists in his county.

His actions remind us that there are always a few people who are rational and reasonable about immigration policy in places like PWC Virignia.

Police Chief to Brief Board on Immigrant Policy
Meeting Comes After He Declined to Follow Chairman's Request Not to Meet With Mexican Consul

By Kristen Mack
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 30, 2008; PW01

Police Chief Charlie T. Deane's appearance before the Board of County Supervisors on Tuesday could get heated, following a dust-up last week with Chairman Corey A. Stewart.

Deane is scheduled to give the board an update on the first month of police enforcement of laws directed at detaining illegal immigrants. But his briefing comes after Stewart (R-At Large) tried to prevent Deane from having an informational community meeting with Mexican Consul General Enrique Escorza.

Deane had the meeting Thursday over Stewart's objections, saying that the board had directed him to reach out to the community as police officers begin checking the citizenship status of criminal suspects they believe may be in the country illegally. He said the meeting was one of many he has had to clear up misinformation and to quell fears about the scope of the county's illegal immigration policies.

An advance copy of the chief's Tuesday presentation on the first month of enforcement was light on details. Deane was unavailable for comment Friday.

"He will have specific numbers on Tuesday," Assistant County Executive Susan L. Roltsch said. "He prefers to save that discussion for the board."

Several board members have come to Deane's defense since Stewart's questioning of the chief last week over the meeting with the Mexican consul.

Supervisor Maureen S. Caddigan (R-Dumfries) said Deane has the support of a majority of the board.

"Our chief is doing what we asked him to do. He's communicating with the people and keeping us out of a lawsuit," Caddigan said. "Stewart does not have the authority he thinks he has as chairman. He needs to concur with the board before sending out directives."

Stewart acknowledged he does not have the authority to issue a directive on his own...

for link to complete WP article click the title of this post

Friday, March 28, 2008

An open letter to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times

It is reprehensible that you, as the most important newspaper media outlets in the country have not been informing the American people about the S.A.V.E. ACT (HB 4088) - that is currently being discussed in Congress.

There is no legitimate excuse for keeping this information a secret. Is your concern that if you publicize this, the nation will react with numerous protest marches (again)? Are you not wanting to receive the thousands of emails and phone calls from irate Americans who want all undocumented immigrants sent back to their home countries? Or are you worried about more death threats like the ones you received when you covered the congressional discussion on immigration last summer (2007)?

It is clear that one of the best ways to get an unethical bill passed is to keep it secret. You still have a chance to redeem yourself. Congress goes back into session in a few days - there is still time to send out your reporters. Just remember, if you let the S.A.V.E. ACT happen, you could get arrested for giving your babysitter a ride home.

Marie Theresa Hernandez

More on the Secret S.A.V.E. ACT

Congress goes back into session in three days -

Concerned about the lack of media coverage of the S.A.V.E. ACT - the pending immigration bill that would make U.S. citizens vulnerable to prison sentences if they gave an undocumented person a ride in their car --

I looked up the S.A.V.E. ACT and HB 4088 in Lexus Nexus* - under newspapers, blogs, newscasts and web publications - using the last month as a time-line. The small article below from a newswire service is the only thing I found. Interesting that Lexus Nexus didn't mention "The Road to Dystopia" published in the NYT on March 13, 2008. See our post from that date: "The Frightening Thought of HB 4088"



States News Service
March 12, 2008

The following information was released by the office of Virginia Rep. Thelma Drake:

U.S. Representative Thelma Drake (R-Va.) today filed a discharge petition aimed at bringing the Secure America with Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act to the House floor for a vote. Once 218 Members sign the discharge petition, the bill will be brought directly to the floor for a vote. The SAVE Act is a bipartisan bill that will secure America's borders by adding 8,000 new Border Patrol agents and utilizing new technology and infrastructure at the border. The SAVE Act also makes the E-Verify system mandatory for employers to ensure that new workers are compliant with U.S. immigration laws and enhances interior enforcement by increasing the investigative abilities of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Finally, the SAVE Act calls for DHS, in consultation with the heads of other Federal agencies, as well as state, local and tribal governments, to create one national strategy to secure our nation's borders. The SAVE Act has strong bipartisan support; the bill has over 140 co-sponsors, including 93 Republicans and 48 Democrats.

"I call on all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in supporting a vote on the SAVE Act," said Rep. Drake. "The SAVE Act is a bipartisan bill that offers concrete solutions to stop the flow of illegal aliens through our borders. It is time for Congress to put aside partisan politics and start addressing the national security problems posed by our porous borders."
accessed March 28, 2008

* Lexus Nexus, which focuses on media coverage is a search engine used by academics and university students.

Europe's First Immigrants?

Fossil find could be Europe's first humans

· Find fills gap in knowledge of long march out of Africa
· Possible ancestor of our species and Neanderthals

The Guardian - London
March 27, 2008
James Randerson
, science correspondent

A fossilised jawbone and teeth found in a cave in northern Spain may have belonged to one of the first human ancestors to set foot in western Europe. The hominid has been identified as Homo antecessor, or pioneer man, a possible ancestor of both our own species and Neanderthals. The fossils date from between 1.1m and 1.2m years ago.

The find helps fill another gap in our understanding of the long march early humans made out of Africa. Stone tools and animal bones found with the hominid jaw also paint a vivid picture of the life of early cave-dwelling Europeans.

"The timing of the earliest human occupation of Europe has been controversial for many years," said Professor Chris Stringer, an expert in early humans at the Natural History Museum in London, who was not involved directly in the research. "[This find] suggests that southern Europe began to be colonised from western Asia not long after humans had emerged from Africa - something which many of us would have doubted even five years ago."

The fossils were discovered in the Sima del Elefante cave in Atapuerca in north-western Spain. Along with the hominid remains the research team found 32 rock fragments that were either stone tools or flakes produced by making the tools, suggesting that the hominids used the cave as a workshop among other things. There were numerous animal bones from a variety of species including rats, ferrets, bison, foxes, bears and big cats.

José Bermúdez de Castro at the National Research Centre on Human Evolution in Burgos, a member of the team that uncovered the fossils, said the early humans occupied a lush, warm, green paradise with plentiful water and lots of prey. The animal bones found suggest that humans at the site were eating meat. "We have evidence of cut marks on bones," he said. And in one case the jaw of a cow was broken to get at the succulent marrow inside. The find is detailed in Nature.

The hominid jawbone itself is probably from a female because it is small. Although the jaw fragment is not much to go on, from previous fossils the researchers can guess that the cave people would have been around 1.7 metres high (5ft 7in), with a brain three-quarters the size of ours.

Although the same species has been found at sites close to Sima del Elefante, the team are convinced this find is considerably older. They used three dating techniques to pin-point its age. These are based on past changes in the Earth's magnetic field, the known ages of other mammal species found with the jaw fragment and a new method that uses radioactive decay in sediments.

Not everyone is sure the fossil is H antecessor. The doubt stems from the fact that other finds of the species have not included jawbones for direct comparison.


The question of when early humans made it into Europe is controversial. A large fossil collection from Dmanisi, Georgia, is dated to around 1.7m years ago. These are probably Homo erectus, a human species found mainly further east in Asia. Previously the oldest European fossils with convincing dates were from Gran Dolina, close to the new find in Atapuerca, Spain, and from Ceprano in Italy. These are around half the age of the new find.

for link to Guardian article click the title of this post

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Secret S.A.V.E. ACT: Why isn't the LA City Council Press Release in the LA Times?

There is continuing silence from the media on HB4088 - the S.A.V.E. ACT. There is no mention of the LA City Council's press release on March 26 announcing their resolution against the S.A.V.E. ACT.

I recently saw a headline that said immigration wasn't being mentioned in the presidential campaigns these days. Maybe its not because the media seems to think that HB4088 doesn't exist - This is very convenient - if there is little said about it in the media there will be fewer people aware of it coming... and fewer people to protest against it.

Remember when they passed the Patriot Act? That went under our noses also, and look how it has affected our lives.

From our friends in CA - No to SAVE Act


Overwhelming Majority!

The Los Angeles City Council Resoundingly Votes for a Resolution Against the SAVE Act.

For Immediate Release: March 26, 2008 Contact: Anike Tourse, 213.353.1339,

310.622.3637 cell,

Los Angeles – The City Council voted on a resolution opposing the Save America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act (HR 4088) sponsored by Representatives Shuler (D-NC) and Tancredo (R-CO). Angelica Salas, Executive Director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), issued the following statement in response:

“The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles is both proud and pleased to stand with such community organizations as AJC, MALDEF, ADL, Progressive Jewish Alliance, Catholic Charities, NAKASEC, ACLU, Southern California and Hermandad Mexicana Latin-Americana in applauding the LA City Council’s resounding opposition to the SAVE Act. Passage of the SAVE Act would continue to waste millions of tax payer dollars on enforcement, detention and deportation programs that have been tried for the last twenty years and failed to end undocumented immigration.

The city council recognizes that enactment of this legislation would likely lead to chaotic and uneven implementation and expand raids in immigrant communities. All across America, and as a result of ICE’s raids and deportations, abandoned U.S citizen children live in fear as their parents have been taken away from them. Immigrant workers who are the backbone of many sectors of our U.S. economy, including Los Angeles, are being hunted down for the act of working to feed their families. Employers have been forced to divert their attentions from increasing productivity and competing commercially, to hap-hazard contingency plans of what they will do should their business fall apart because of an ICE worksite raid or other employment verification scheme. Thank goodness that Los Angeles council members understand that the SAVE Act attempts to massively expand a broken, faulty, computer employment verification system to fix our broken immigration laws and that it just won’t work. The SAVE Act will single-handedly devastate businesses, workers, and families.

We remember that in 2006, Rep. Sensenbrenner and others tried to pass this type of legislation and these actions failed! Now in 2008 Representative Schuler and Bilbray are trying again, and they will fail as well. Thank you to the Los Angeles city council for knowing better and for moving decisively to stop this attack on immigrant families and our fragile economy.”


UK students discuss new immigration bill

Ain't no POWER,

like the POWER of the YOUTH,

Cause the POWER of the YOUTH won't STOP

...Say WHAT!!

(this picture was taken by me at the "Keep the Families United March and Rally in Washington DC., 06/07 -- YOUTH CHANGING A NATION-supporting the DREAM Act)

Today will be my last post for a while. When life is coming to an end we need to take advantage of time...

USI conference warns against new immigration Bill

By Steven Carroll

The Irish Times (Dublin), March 26, 2008

The basic human rights of non- EU citizens living in Ireland could be violated if the Government pushes ahead with the strict new legislation it has proposed on immigration, student leaders have said.
The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) annual congress yesterday heard that the proposed immigration legislation, which was published last month and is before the Oireachtas, would make it easier for the Government to detain and deport illegal immigrants.
The USI said it opposes the Bill because it 'infringes on the human rights of immigrants'. They also voted to oppose the introduction of identity cards for non-EU citizens.
Students also argued that people seeking asylum would be placed in unnecessary legal limbo for long periods while the state considered their application.
USI president Hamidreza Khodabakhshi said intercultural dialogue was a major theme for its congress because it encompassed two major concerns for students - combating racism and advancing co-operation throughout the EU.
'USI support the thrust of the Government's intercultural approach, but we will tell ministers that parts of the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill are unjust,' Mr Khodabakhshi said.
'This Bill would allow immigration officers to detain asylum seekers indefinitely - possibly for several months or longer - while an asylum application is being prepared.
'Asylum seekers should have their cases processed and fairly adjudicated within a reasonably short space of time, fixed by law.'
Speaking on proposals for identity cards for non-EU citizens living here, USI equality officer Ryan Griffin said: 'Civil liberties which were fought for and won by Irish people over generations are seriously imperilled by this shocking proposal to increase State surveillance capacity.
'In countries where identity cards were introduced, they started as being exclusive to immigrants - only to create a society where the Government has the power to spy on law-abiding individuals.'
The annual USI conference, which continues until tomorrow in Bettystown, Co Meath, is being attended by student representatives and delegates from third-level institutions across the country.
Environmental issues, minimum wage, the Lisbon Treaty and the availability of the morning-after pill are all subjects up for discussion.
A number of political figures are due to take part, including Ruairí Quinn (Labour), Senator Déirdre de Búrca (Greens), Kieran Allen of the People Before Profit Alliance and Eoin Ó Brúin of Sinn Féin.
The Press Association (U.K.), March 25, 2008
Clck on the title of the blog to view original article.

The GOP is taking a dive when it's already going under

"GOP100 - Deconstructing Dumbo" by Thomas Fuchs. This interesting digital image is from a book of illustrations that can be purchased at *

The NYT story below lists so many crisis in the GOP it makes you wonder why the party is pushing so hard for the S.A.V.E. ACT. Maybe they think they can at least grab those voters that think - fraud, embezzlement - and 29 Representatives making a quick escape - is ok.

This statement I am quoting is so interesting in that it has been kept mostly a secret - just like the legislation for HB4088 --

"National Republican Congressional Committee recently discovered, during an internal audit, accounting fraud so extensive that it had to call in the F.B.I., which is now investigating embezzlement by the committee’s former treasurer."

Be sure to read the last line of the NYT quote below - If the GOP is getting letters stuffed with feces - can you imagine how many more people will hate them if they pass HB 4088?
March 30, 2008
Cover Story

A Case of the Blues

This article will appear in this Sunday's Times Magazine.

The Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole is 58 years old, but he has never been famous before, and after this year, he will most likely never be famous again. Even this kind of fame, brief and slight, is uncomfortable on him. Cole is a party man, a lifelong Republican consultant, campaign worker and politician whose career, like that of a typical European Social Democrat, has recognized only a fluid and fungible line between political operative and elected official. It sometimes seems an accident he’s in Congress at all. He is tall and slightly formal, and slightly awkward; people who meet him casually describe him as cordial or gentlemanly. The Republican Party, in its current uncertainty, might have chosen an ideologue to fill Cole’s post or, as is its habit, a money man. Its choice of Cole, an operative, was the establishment insisting that its own learned habits were enough to save itself. “Right now, with where we are,” Ken Mehlman, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, told me, “Tom Cole is the perfect leader.”

Cole is a year into his term as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the group charged with managing the party’s simultaneous campaigns for 435 seats in Congress, and this role has made him responsible for rebuilding the Republican Party from the ground up, and for mounting a defense of the political map...

Going into the 2008 elections, Cole faces a daunting list of challenges. To date, 29 of his party’s representatives in Congress have retired, an unusually large number, leaving open politically marginal seats that incumbents might have held but which will be more difficult for challengers to defend — Deborah Pryce’s seat in Columbus, Ohio; Mike Ferguson’s in central New Jersey; Heather Wilson’s around Albuquerque; Thomas M. Reynolds’s in Buffalo. Reynolds, Cole’s predecessor at the N.R.C.C., just narrowly held his seat in 2006. Rick Renzi, a Republican congressman from Arizona, was indicted last month on federal corruption charges, putting what was another safe Republican seat in play. These vacancies mean that in a year when, by historical standards, his party would be expected to win back seats, Cole will have to defend many more seats than he will be able to attack (only six Democratic incumbents have announced they are leaving office). His committee has approximately $5 million on hand, roughly one-eighth the amount of cash on hand as its Democratic counterpart, which at latest count had $38 million.

...the National Republican Congressional Committee recently discovered, during an internal audit, accounting fraud so extensive that it had to call in the F.B.I., which is now investigating embezzlement by the committee’s former treasurer. Many conservative activists have become so dissatisfied with the party’s heresies, particularly on immigration and government spending, that as Cole’s staff took over, the committee’s fund-raising pleas were being ignored and, on at least one occasion, returned in an envelope stuffed with feces....

for link to complete NYT article click the title of this post

* dreamacttexas is not making money from posting Fuchs' website. We don't know Jim Fuchs, but just thought we'd do a favor for a guy who makes cool images.

The Church & the Green Card Soldiers

A conversation on religion with Jon Meacham and Sally Quinn

Catholic Church and Immigration

In Mexico City this past week, I've thought over and over how it seems I'm just visiting Los Angeles-adjacent, with it's shared love of mini-marts and the same soft night breeze. Because of that familiarity, I've thought more than I usually do about how vital immigration from Latin America has been to religious identity in the United States. When I read the AP story on Sunday, which described how more than 100 foreign-born U.S. soldiers were granted citizenship only after giving their lives for this country, I felt frustrated with how ridiculous this was.

What jumped out at me in the story were the words of Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, who oversaw one of these services and lobbied President Bush to change the policy, who took a stand on the issue. Mahony is the rare church leader who has agitated consistently for greater rights for illegal immigrants in the U.S.

Jose Gutierrez, who died in 2003, was killed by friendly fire in the opening hours of the invasion of Iraq. Cardinal Mahony oversaw Gutierrez's service and wrote an open letter to President Bush in April of 2003 and urged the president to grant immediate citizenship to all immigrants who sign up for military service in wartime.

"There is something terribly wrong with our immigration policies if it takes death on the battlefield in order to earn citizenship," he wrote in the letter. "They should not have to wait until they are brought home in a casket."

In the article we learn that "Gutierrez's citizenship certificate -- dated to his death on March 21, 2003 -- was presented during a memorial service in Lomita, Calif., to Nora Mosquera, who took in the orphaned teen after he had trekked through Central America, hopping freight trains through Mexico before illegally sneaking into the U.S."

And that "tens of thousands of foreign-born members in the U.S. armed forces. Many have been naturalized, but more than 20,000 are not U.S. citizens. "Green card soldiers," they are often called, and early in the war, Bush signed an executive order making them eligible to apply for citizenship as soon as they enlist. Previously, legal residents in the military had to wait three years. Since Bush's order, nearly 37,000 soldiers have been naturalized. And 109 who lost their lives have been granted posthumous citizenship."

Mahony's letter was followed by his statement in 2006 that he would organize a campaign of civil disobedience if illegal immigration became a felony. I thought Mahony's stance a brave and smart one and a larger recognition of the significant portion of immigrants from Latin America who make up the American Catholic Church and keep it alive and vital.

It is exciting to think that Mahony may be a trailblazer for both the American Catholic Church and its Anglo congregations in focusing his energy and aid on the rights of these vital parishioners. If Church leadership advocated as decisively for immigrant rights as it has in it's fight against abortion, a reasonable solution seems possible.

Virginia's Dreamy Robot

Arizonas' NPR News Station- KJZZ 91.5 presented this story on 3/25/08.

Carl Hayden High School Robotics Team shines again......

If you remember this team of four students from Arizona beat out MIT four years ago in a robotics competition, what was so special about this team was that undocumented students were part of this amazing project.

Two of those young men are now helping the all-Latina-girl competing with a new project in Los Angeles...

Also in this piece they mention future plans from Salma Hayak's Production Company of a movie about the robotics team and in dedication to a North High School student named Virginia that was recently deported.

Listen to the archives by clicking on the title of this post.
Photo Credit Marcos Najera.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Saving the U.S. from the S.A.V.E. Act - part IV

As I look at this bill more closely, I am amazed that we (as Americans) have been so complacent about it. Is this the kind of country we want?

check out the 2 following clauses from the Subtitle E - Other Border Security Initiatives:

(iii) transports or moves that individual in the United States, in furtherance of their unlawful presence;

(ii) if the offense involved the transit of the defendant's spouse, child, sibling, parent, grandparent, or niece or nephew, and the offense is not described in any of clauses (iii) through (vii), be fined under title 18, United States Code or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both;

What this means is if you give a ride to an undocumented person or their family member you can be fined and/or imprisoned for up to one year


Subtitle E--Other Border Security Initiatives


(a) Checks Against Terrorist Watchlist- The Department of Homeland Security shall check against all available terrorist watchlists those alien smugglers and smuggled individuals who are interdicted at the land, air, and sea borders of the United States.

(b) Strengthening Prosecution and Punishment of Alien Smugglers- Section 274(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1324(a)) is amended--

(1) by amending the subsection heading to read as follows: `Smuggling of Unlawful and Terrorist Aliens- ';

(2) by redesignating clause (iv) of paragraph (1)(B) as clause (vii);

(3) in paragraph (1), by striking `(1)(A)' and all that follows through clause (iii) of subparagraph (B) and inserting the following:

`(1)(A) Whoever, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an individual is an alien who lacks lawful authority to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowingly--

`(i) brings that individual to the United States in any manner whatsoever regardless of any future official action which may be taken with respect to such alien;

`(ii) recruits, encourages, or induces that individual to come to, enter, or reside in the United States;

`(iii) transports or moves that individual in the United States, in furtherance of their unlawful presence; or

`(iv) harbors, conceals, or shields from detection the individual in any place in the United States, including any building or any means of transportation, or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished as provided in subparagraph (C).

`(B) Whoever, knowing that an individual is an alien, brings that individual to the United States in any manner whatsoever at a place other than a designated port of entry or place other than as designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security, regardless of whether such alien has received prior official authorization to come to, enter, or reside in the United States and regardless of any future official action which may be taken with respect to such alien, or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished as provided in subparagraph (C).

`(C) A violator of this paragraph shall, for each alien in respect to whom such a violation occurs--

`(i) unless the offense is otherwise described in another clause of this subparagraph, be fined under title 18, United States Code or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both;

`(ii) if the offense involved the transit of the defendant's spouse, child, sibling, parent, grandparent, or niece or nephew, and the offense is not described in any of clauses (iii) through (vii), be fined under title 18, United States Code or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both;

`(iii) if the offense is a violation of paragraphs (1)(A)(ii), (iii), or (iv), or paragraph (1)(B), and was committed for the purpose of profit, commercial advantage, or private financial gain, be fined under title 18, United States Code or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both;

`(iv) if the offense is a violation of paragraph (1)(A)(i) and was committed for the purpose of profit, commercial advantage, or private financial gain, or if the offense was committed with the intent or reason to believe that the individual unlawfully brought into the United States will commit an offense against the United States or any State that is punishable by imprisonment for more than 1 year, be fined under title 18, United States Code, and imprisoned, in the case of a first or second violation, not less than 3 nor more than 10 years, and for any other violation, not less than 5 nor more than 15 years; and

`(v) if the offense results in serious bodily injury (as defined in section 1365 of title 18, United States Code) or places in jeopardy the life of any person, be fined under title 18, United States Code or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both;

`(vi) if the offense involved an individual who the defendant knew was engaged in or intended to engage in terrorist activity (as defined in section 212(a)(3)(B)), be fined under title 18, United States Code or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both; and';

(4) in the clause (vii) so redesignated by paragraph (2) of this subsection (which now becomes clause (vii) of the new subparagraph (C))--

(A) by striking `in the case' and all that follows through `(v) resulting' and inserting `if the offense results'; and

(B) by inserting `and if the offense involves kidnapping, an attempt to kidnap, the conduct required for aggravated sexual abuse (as defined in section 2241 without regard to where it takes place), or an attempt to commit such abuse, or an attempt to kill, be fined under such title or imprisoned for any term of years or life, or both' after `or both'; and

(5) by striking existing subparagraph (C) of paragraph (1) (without affecting the new subparagraph (C) added by the amendments made by this Act) and all that follows through paragraph (2) and inserting the following:

`(2)(A) There is extraterritorial jurisdiction over the offenses described in paragraph (1).

`(B) In a prosecution for a violation of, or an attempt or conspiracy to violate subsection (a)(1)(A)(i), (a)(1)(A)(ii), or (a)(1)(B), that occurs on the high seas, no defense based on necessity can be raised unless the defendant--

`(i) as soon as practicable, reported to the Coast Guard the circumstances of the necessity, and if a rescue is claimed, the name, description, registry number, and location of the vessel engaging in the rescue; and

`(ii) did not bring, attempt to bring, or in any manner intentionally facilitate the entry of any alien into the land territory of the United States without lawful authority, unless exigent circumstances existed that placed the life of that alien in danger, in which case the reporting requirement set forth in clause (i) of this subparagraph is satisfied by notifying the Coast Guard as soon as practicable after delivering the alien to emergency medical or law enforcement personnel ashore.

`(C) It is a defense to a violation of, or an attempt or conspiracy to violate, clause (iii) or (iv) of subsection (a)(1)(A) for a religious denomination having a bona fide nonprofit, religious organization in the United States, or the agents or officer of such denomination or organization, to encourage, invite, call, allow, or enable an alien who is present in the United States to perform the vocation of a minister or missionary for the denomination or organization in the United States as a volunteer who is not compensated as an employee, notwithstanding the provision of room, board, travel, medical assistance, and other basic living expenses, provided the minister or missionary has been a member of the denomination for at least one year.

`(D) For purposes of this paragraph and paragraph (1)--

`(i) the term `United States' means the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and any other territory or possession of the United States; and

`(ii) the term `lawful authority' means permission, authorization, or waiver that is expressly provided for in the immigration laws of the United States or the regulations prescribed under those laws and does not include any such authority secured by fraud or otherwise obtained in violation of law or authority that has been sought but not approved.'.

for link to the Thomas Congressional Record click the title of this post

Saving the U.S. from the S.A.V.E. Act - part III

Statistics that influenced recommendations for the S.A.V.E. ACT came from the data provided by the 2006 Federal Court Management Statistics which are issued by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.

As we know, after the Gonzalez debacle, the U.S. Judicial system is only semi-functional (at best) - what type of competency can we expect in these matters? There is also doubt behind the validity of the information since the Bush Administration is not known for it's accuracy.


(a) Findings- Based on the recommendations made by the 2007 Judicial Conference and the statistical data provided by the 2006 Federal Court Management Statistics (issued by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts), the Congress finds the following:

(1) Federal courts along the southwest border of the United States have a greater percentage of their criminal caseload affected by immigration cases than other Federal courts.

(2) The percentage of criminal immigration cases in most southwest border district courts totals more than 49 percent of the total criminal caseloads of those districts.

(3) The current number of judges authorized for those courts is inadequate to handle the current caseload.

(4) Such an increase in the caseload of criminal immigration filings requires a corresponding increase in the number of Federal judgeships.

(5) The 2007 Judicial Conference recommended the addition of judgeships to meet this growing burden.

(6) The Congress should authorize the additional district court judges necessary to carry out the 2007 recommendations of the Judicial Conference for district courts in which the criminal immigration filings represented more than 49 percent of all criminal filings for the 12-month period ending September 30, 2006.

for link to Thomas Congressional Report click the title of this post

Saving the U.S. from the S.A.V.E. Act - part II

In this section of the bill, there is a request for 8,000 additional immigration detention beds -

There is also a recommendation that ICE "contract private facilities" for efficiency and reduced liability.

The request for more detention beds is confusing since it seemed like the U.S. wanted undocumented immigrants to leave the U.S. - but having more detention facilities would keep people here.



(a) In General- The Secretary of Homeland Security shall make arrangements for the availability of 8,000 additional beds for detaining aliens taken into custody by immigration officials.

(b) Implementation- Efforts shall be made to--

(1) contract private facilities whenever possible to promote efficient use and to limit the Federal Government's maintenance of and liability for additional infrastructure;

(2) utilize State and local facilities for the provision of additional beds; and

(3) utilize BRAC facilities or active duty facilities.

(c) Construction- The Department of Homeland Security shall construct facilities as necessary to meet the remainder of the 8,000 new beds to be provided.

(d) Family Detention Facility- To further meet the special needs of detained families, the Department of Homeland Security shall retain or construct a family detention facility, similar to the T. Don Hutto Family Residential Facility, offering no less than 500 beds.

(e) Responsibilities- The Secretary of Homeland Security shall be responsible for providing humane conditions, health care and nutrition, psychological services, and education for minors.

(f) Authorization- All funds necessary to accomplish the directives within this section are authorized to be appropriated.

for link to the Thomas Congressional Report click the title of this post

Saving the U.S. from the S.A.V.E. Act - part I

There is still very little information out on HB 4088 the impending immigration bill - As mentioned before it would be an arbitrary law - that appears draconian in every way. Today I checked the NYT, and the Washington Post - there was nothing published on the bill. In order to make HB4088 - the S.A.V.E. act less secret - I will be posting information from the Thomas Congressional Report.

from the S.A.V.E. ACT:


    (a) In General- The Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall develop strategies to inform the public of changes in immigration policies created by provisions in this legislation.
    (b) Notification of Changes to Employment Verification Process- The Secretary of Labor shall employ, at his or her discretion, a combination of print, television, internet, and radio media to notify employers of changes to the employment verification process. These multilingual media campaigns should be targeted toward non-citizen communities and those most likely to employ non-citizens. Announcements should encourage compliance with new legislation and should explain penalties for noncompliance with provisions within this Act.
    (c) Multilingual Media Campaign- The Secretary of Homeland Security shall also develop a multilingual media campaign explaining the extent of this legislation, the timelines therein, and the penalties for noncompliance with this Act. Announcements should be targeted toward undocumented aliens and should emphasize--
      (1) provisions in this Act that enhance border security and interior enforcement;
      (2) the benefits of voluntary removal of undocumented aliens;
      (3) punishment for apprehension and forced removal of undocumented aliens; and
      (4) legal methods of reentering the United States, including temporary work visas.
    (d) Cooperation With Other Governments- The Secretary of Homeland Security shall make all reasonable attempts to cooperate with the Governments of Mexico and the countries of Central America in implementing a media campaign that raises awareness of the issues in paragraph (2).

for link to Library of Congress/Thomas web page click the title of this post

Immigration laws split mixed-legal-status families

OVERLAND PARK, KAN. -- When Kecia Sales and Juan Marquez were married,they were like scores of other couples: very much in love with plans tolive together for the rest of their lives.

But it wasn't to be.After their December 2004 marriage, he told her he had been livingillegally in the U.S. since 1999. After leaving Mexico, Marquez hadmade his way to her hometown of Kansas City, Kan., where they met andmarried, and she took his name.

They became one of an estimated 2 million mixed families, where atleast one member is a citizen or lawfully living in the country and theother isn't. The vast majority of those families, according to the PewHispanic Center, involve an illegal parent and legal children — yetanother shade of this country's ongoing immigration conundrum.

That he's among 12 million illegal immigrants didn't change Sales' lovefor Marquez. They lived in her hometown and both worked to make endsmeet."It didn't bother me," she said. "It doesn't make him any worse of aperson."But Marquez, 26, and his wife, 40, finally decided he should return toMexico and begin the long, uphill fight to re-enter the countrylegally.

Broad effectsMarquez's decision came as Kansas and some 40 other states try to passlegislation this year dealing with illegal immigrants because Congresshas failed to act. It's a move Hispanic advocates say affects more thanillegal immigrants."It impacts also documented immigrants because families tend to be of amixed status. Hurting one individual hurts the entire family. Itcreates an unwelcoming atmosphere to all immigrants, whether legal ornot," said David Ferreira of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

El Centro Inc., a Hispanic advocacy group in the Kansas City area, saidits 2006 survey showed 63 percent of Hispanics questioned said theylived in some type of mixed family status.

Why Juan Marquez came to the United States is a familiar tale. Hewanted a better life for himself and his family, which includes twoyounger brothers, his mother and disabled father back in Hidalgo state.

"They have no money for food. My parents don't work," he said. "Iwanted to do whatever I have to do to put food on the table for myfamily."He said each week he sent $100 to his family back in Mexico — apractice known as "remittances," which the Inter-American DevelopmentBank says accounted for some $23 billion sent to Mexico in 2006.

The couple talked about the decision for him to return to Mexico in theoffice of their immigration attorney, Mira Mdivani, shortly beforeMarquez left last month.

"You don't feel safe in the streets. You don't feel safe anywherebecause of a lot of things going on right now," he said. "The policepull you over for no reason."I want to be free, to go wherever I want to go and not be scared. Inthe long run, it will be worth it. We can have a better life and wewon't be scared anymore," Marquez said.When he was in the U.S., he worked at construction jobs, doingeverything from picking up trash to cleaning sewers and provided abouttwo-thirds of the household income.

Kecia Marquez said she worried daily that her husband would be arrestedat work by immigration agents, so much so that she called him three orfour times a day to check on him.Her worries continue about whether he will be allowed back in theUnited States."It's stressful, very stressful, because I don't know if he's comingback. It's just that I'm sure we're doing the right thing. This is myhome, and I want it to be here with my husband," she said as bothteared up.

Waiver request deniedMdivani said because Juan Marquez entered the country illegally andstayed more than a year, the law bars him from coming back for 10years, unless the government approves a waiver request from his wife.

She said the waiver request was denied March 13 by the U.S. Consulatein Juarez, Mexico, but it agreed to give Kecia Marquez 30 days tosubmit new evidence of hardship. Then it could take up to a year for adecision about whether he can return.

"The law is extremely unforgiving," Mdivani said. "But I think Keciahas a compelling case. She takes care of a disabled sister and uncle.She won't have the opportunity for any kind of decent job there and shewill lose the house."She also won't be getting much sympathy from those pushing tougherimmigration legislation."I have compassion for them, but I'm also concerned about Kansascitizens. I'm responsible to the citizens to protect them," saidRepublican state Sen. Peggy Palmer, who is pushing this year forstronger laws to discourage illegal immigration in Kansas.

Possible move to MexicoKecia Marquez has her own feelings about what legislators are trying todo."It's making it hard for everyone. It's like we're being punished justbecause my husband is Hispanic," she said.Not so, says Kris Kobach, state GOP chairman, who helped draft thelegislation."It's a reflection of the fact that we're a nation that respects therule of law," he said. "There are millions of people waiting patientlyin line to get in and we shouldn't forget they are playing by the ruleswhen talking about those coming here illegally."If she can't get the waiver approved, Kecia Marquez says she will moveto Mexico."That's what I'll have to do. That's my husband. I have to go where hegoes," she said. "I love him, I can't forget about him."

Brought to you by the Houston Chronicle

Family torn by immigration laws

Family torn by immigration laws
by By Deborah Young
Sunday March 23, 2008, 7:16 AM

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Indika Senanayaka was alone with his infant sonBrian in his Concord townhouse -- as he is most nights -- when he gotthe call from Sri Lanka during the pre-dawn hours Wednesday.His sister's application to visit was denied for a second time by theU.S. Embassy in Colombo.The decision by the American official, apparently rendered after avery brief interview, means the only family Senanayaka has in thiscountry can fit in the crook of his elbow, searches for him when hegets hungry, and has a shock of straight black hair just like his mother. Senanayaka's wife, Tai Ling Feng, 36, a Taiwan-born American citizen,died of mysterious liver failure two and a half weeks after giving birth."I'm by myself at night time and I think about her. We did everythingtogether; every single thing," Senanayaka, 34, said, recounting theirfirst smiles at each other when she walked into the restaurant wherehe works, and detailing the sweet path of their uniquely American lovestory. His words briefly lifted the grief from his face until hereached the part about the final days with her, dying, in the hospitalbed.For now, while Senanayaka is at work managing two Subway stores inEltingville and West Brighton, an extended family of friends,co-workers and in-laws helps care for Brian -- something he had hopedhis sister could do before embassy officials rebuffed her, claimingshe might never return to her poor, war-torn country in the Indian Ocean."Last night, I was thinking I don't know what to do. My mother wascrying, saying I should go back," Senanayaka said in a quiet voice ashe played with the two wedding rings on his finger, his and hiswife's. "This is my country. I have friends here; I work; I pay taxes;I bought a house. I came here with nothing and I can be an example topeople. I am not getting angry, it's a decision I have to make."Thousands of Staten Island immigrants make such wrenching choices,weighing the intensity of the connection they feel with their adoptedcountry against the love and comforts of family they left behind.And many of them, frustrated and dispirited over ever-changingimmigration regulations, appeal to congressional representatives for help.More than 1,000 requests for immigration assistance a year come to theoffice Rep. Vito Fossella (R-Staten Island Brooklyn), which has afull-time liaison dedicated to shepherding people through the process,according to his staff.On file are hundreds of pleas from Islanders wondering if they willever have the legal right to leave and return to this country -- anadopted homeland which has also become something of a cage for them,keeping them from seeing aging mothers, fathers and other familymembers in their homelands.And there are baffling predicaments: Take the Albanian family arrestedand jailed on immigration charges last month. Their 24-year-old,Americanized daughter now faces deportation to a place where she isnot literate in the language and which she not seen since she was atoddler.In the case of Senanayaka, some longtime customers, who had grown toadmire the calm and charming store manager, were shaken by his tragedyand connected him with Fossella."We did get involved; we argued this is an extreme case. Thecircumstances are so unique and tragic," Fossella said.After Senanayaka's sister was first denied a visitor's visa,Fossella's office contacted the embassy in Colombo, urging them toreschedule the interview. He wrote a letter she used as part of herfailed appeal.The denial demonstrates the limit of his sway, Fossella said: "Wecan't wave a wand and makes things happen."A consular official with the State Department could not comment on thespecifics of the case, but said applicants for visits must prove theywill return home by showing strong work and family ties in their homecountry. Requests "are adjudicated on the merits that the applicantbrings to the interview table," he said."She's still crying," Senanayaka said about his sister, Nandee, whomhe said was crisply informed during her 5-minute interview that theydidn't believe she intended to return to Sri Lanka. "She feels so bad."There is one final chance for Nandee to beseech the Americangovernment to allow her to come here, help tend to her newborn nephewand offer some measure of consolation to her grieving brother:Humanitarian parole.Senanayaka said he has contacted his attorney to help him understandthe paperwork."It's an extraordinary measure that is sparingly used ona case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian needs, a compellingemergency or significant public benefit," said Shawn Saucier, aspokesman for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.Roughly 1,500 people annually apply for this exception. If it isgranted, the length of stay varies with the circumstances, andvisitors are always expected to return home, he said."If he does apply, we will continue to do what we can," said Fossella."Who can plan for a woman to give birth and die within a couple ofweeks? I think these are extenuating circumstances."Deborah Young is a news reporter for the Advance. She may be reachedat young@....© 2008 Staten Island Live LLC.

Over 600 illegal migrants nabbed in northern Africa - in 2008

en todos lados...

Nador, Mar. 26 - Some 621 would-be immigrants were rounded in the northern city of Nador from January 1st through March 25, part of efforts to curb illegal migration.

According to local authorities, 536 out of these illegals come from sub-Saharan Africa, while the 85 others are from Algeria.

The would-be immigrants use Morocco as a destination, but mostly as a transit to cross to the EU either through the Gibraltar Strait, the Moroccan cities of Sebta and Melilia -occupied by Spain- or through the Canary Islands, off Morocco's southern Atlantic coasts.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Respect for Immigrants -March and Rally in Houston

March and Rally on May 1 in Houston - Volunteers Needed

call 713 271 9703

Discharge Petition on HB 4088

C-Span's definition of "Discharge Petition:" starts a process to force a bill out of committee. A successful petition requires the signatures of 218 members, which is a majority of the House.

The bill 4088 is very similar to the bill presented by the House of Representatives in early 2006. As mentioned before on this blog - the media seems to have made a pact with the devil - they are leaving the news about 4088 under the table.

Hopefully, the people involved with 4088 are pushing the bill so that they can seem tough to their anti-immigrant constituents - they might be thinking its the only hope they have when November comes - since it is clear that the GOP will be going down the tubes (at least for a while).

The list below is that of Representatives who signed the petition on 4088 (s.a.v.e. bill)

Is your favorite Representative on this list? If so, you might want to question how they view humanity - if they are supporting (and endorsing) HB4088 they are wanting something very harsh to come down on the U.S. See dreamacttexas posts "The Gravity of HB4088" from March 19, 2008 and "Explaining the S.A.V.E. Act (HB 4088) from March 13, 2008.

Discharge Petition on HB 4088 signed by the following Members:

Thelma D. Drake, Brian P. Bilbray, Lynn A. Westmoreland, Tom Davis, Bill Shuster, Jo Bonner, Peter J. Roskam, Mike Pence, Roy Blunt, Charles W. Dent, Mac Thornberry. Jeff Miller, Terry Everett. Thomas G. Tancredo, Heath Shuler, Ginny Brown-Waite, Steve Buyer, Eric Cantor, Michael C. Burgess, Virginia Foxx, Gus M. Bilirakis, Jeb Hensarling, Joe Wilson, Jean Schmidt, Jim Gerlach, David Davis, Paul C. Broun, Gene Taylor, Tim Walberg, John Campbell, Mike Ferguson, Dean Heller, Thaddeus G. McCotter, Ted Poe, Kevin Brady, Darrell E. Issa, Charles W. Boustany, Jr., Rodney Alexander, Michael R. Turner, Todd Russell Platts, Phil English, Tom Cole, Frank R. Wolf, Edward R. Royce, Mary Fallin, Randy Neugebauer, Marilyn N. Musgrave, Candice S. Miller, Mary Bono Mack, Connie Mack, Jim Jordan, John Abney Culberson, J. Randy Forbes, John Kline, Steve King, Bob Inglis, Joe Knollenberg, Jim Saxton, Peter Hoekstra, Brad Ellsworth, F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., Ron Lewis, Jerry Weller, Kay Granger, Patrick T. McHenry, K. Michael Conaway, Walter B. Jones, Jo Ann Emerson, Michele Bachmann, J. Gresham Barrett, Ray LaHood, John Barrow, Lee Terry, Dana Rohrabacher, Harold Rogers, John J. Duncan, Jr., John B. Shadegg, Daniel E. Lun- gren, Nick Lampson, Joseph R. Pitts, Sue Wilkins Myrick, Barbara Cubin, Geoff Davis, Robin Hayes, Christopher H. Smith, Virgil H. Goode, Jr., Henry E. Brown, Jr., Mark Steven Kirk, Lamar Smith, Ken Calvert, Bob Goodlatte, Christopher Shays, Judy Biggert, Todd Tiahrt, Nathan Deal, Michael N. Castle, Robert E. Latta, Ric Keller, David G. Reichert, Kenny Marchant, Jim McCrery, Robert J. Wittman, John Boozman, John R. Carter, Donald A. Manzullo, Sam Graves, Ander Crenshaw, Doug Lamborn, Scott Garrett, Tom Feeney, Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, Cliff Stearns, Paul Ryan, Dave Weldon, Tim Murphy, Kenny C. Hulshof, Jack Kingston, Steven C. LaTourette, Marsha Blackburn, Mike McIntyre, Dan Burton, Duncan Hunter, Nancy E. Boyda. Michael T. McCaul, Greg Walden, Jerry Lewis, David Dreier, Trent Franks, Heather Wilson, Rick Renzi, Jeff Fortenberry, Phil Gingrey, Pete Sessions, John Sullivan, W. Todd Akin, Zach Wamp, Tom Price, John Linder, Adrian Smith, Kevin McCarthy, John L. Mica, John A. Boehner, Frank D. Lucas, Jerry Moran, Ed Whitfield, Adam H. Putnam, Howard Coble, Gary G. Miller, Roscoe G. Bartlett, Louie Gohmert, Dave Camp, C. W. Bill Young, Wayne T. Gilchrest, Elton Gallegly, Ralph M. Hall, John E. Peterson, Peter T. King, Thomas E. Petri. Sam Johnson, Steve Chabot, Howard P. ``Buck'' McKeon, John T. Doolittle. Stevan Pearce, Vern Buchanan, Wally Herger, Chris Cannon, Rob Bishop, John Shimkus, Mike Pence, Robert B. Aderholt, Michael K. Simpson, Ralph Regula, Jim Ramstad, Jon C. Porter. Dennis R. Rehberg, Tom Latham. Spencer Bachus, Joe Barton, Joe Donnelly, Christopher P. Carney. and Jeff Flake.

click title of this post for link to Thomas Report on 4088

ICE Raid in Manassas Area

A few questions about the PWC ICE raid that occurred today. Were the owners or administrators of the company arrested? Have the families of those detained been advised of their where abouts? Or will these men disappear for a few weeks or months until the ICE bureaucracy catches up with it's paperwork?

I have mentioned this before - if Obama or Clinton are really serious about Latino voters, they should promise to stop the raids. At the least they should offer hope that people who are arrested will be able to contact their families in addition to obtaining legal representation. Obama and Clinton have said that the U.S. needs fair immigration reform, why can't they go further and make promises that will convince Latinos they would be leaders of "all" the people?


Immigration Agency Arrests 34 Workers At Construction Firm

By N.C. Aizenman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 25, 2008; B05

Federal immigration authorities converged on a Prince William County construction company just before sunrise yesterday, arresting 34 Latin American nationals for being in the country illegally.

Workplace raids are rare in the Washington area, and the roundup at CMC Concrete Construction in the Manassas area appears to be the largest in the region in nearly two years, according to a review of news releases on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Web site.

The workers -- who come from Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica and El Salvador -- are being charged administratively and are in ICE custody undergoing deportation proceedings, said Ernestine Fobbs, a spokeswoman for the customs agency.

News of the arrests spread quickly through an immigrant community already on edge after a county law took effect this month allowing Prince William police to check the immigration status of people stopped for other infractions.

Fobbs said the agency had executed two search warrants in connection with the operation. Because those warrants were under seal, Fobbs said, she could not discuss how or why the company had drawn federal attention, nor confirm that CMC Concrete Construction was the agency's target.

James Rybicki, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said no employers had been charged. But he added, "Obviously, we'll be reviewing the case for possible criminal charges."

Public records identify Felisberto J. Magalhaes as the president of CMC and Maria Brandao Magalhaes as its secretary and treasurer. A relative of the owners who entered the company's administrative suite in a Manassas office complex yesterday afternoon to meet with several ICE agents declined to comment.

A few miles away, at a large lot where CMC workers come to pick up equipment before heading out to job sites each day, about a dozen remaining workers stood in groups discussing the morning's events.

A 32-year-old Mexican man, who asked that his name not be published for fear of retaliation from his bosses or the government, said he and three others had driven off the lot in one of the company's pickup trucks when they noticed a silver van behind them flashing police lights.

"We thought maybe we had run a light or there was something wrong with the plates -- we figured at worst we were going to get a traffic ticket," he said.

Instead, the man said, an armed immigration agent leaned in the window and demanded identification.

"Everyone grew very quiet. We were horribly sad, but more than anything, resigned," the man said.

He said agents were able to retrieve records demonstrating that CMC had successfully sponsored him for legal permanent residency years ago. But he said two colleagues in the truck had no such proof to offer and were handcuffed, along with five workers riding in a pickup behind them.

Minutes after the roadside detentions, other workers said, immigration agency vehicles entered the lot and more than a dozen agents fanned out in pursuit of several fleeing workers.

When the Mexican worker finally reached the lot, he learned that his younger brother was among those taken away.

"You feel so impotent, to see someone you know, who is just trying to work, go through this and to not be able to help him," he said.

for link to WP article click the title of this post

French Police search the "intimate parts" of rights activist

The title of this post may seem vulgar, but I believe it needs to be very clear, so that everyone who reads this will understand what happened to rights activist Fatimata M'Baye at Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris.

The article mentions that these actions are part of Sarkozy's stringent anti-immigration measures. Has this happened in the U.S. but hasn't been reported?


Activist says threatened, stripped by French police

Tuesday, March 25, 2008; 4:40 PM
Washington Post

NOUAKCHOTT (Reuters) - A Mauritanian rights activist said French police threatened her, strip-searched her and detained her for 24 hours for protesting at the treatment of an illegal migrant being deported.

Fatimata M'Baye, head of the Mauritanian Human Rights Association, said around 20 police boarded her flight on March 11 and threatened to beat her and doctor Pierre-Marie Bernard after they complained about the condition of the shackled Mauritanian, who was being forcibly restrained by officers...

M'Baye, a lawyer and a Muslim, said she was subjected to an invasive strip-search and was considering legal action... "The most painful part of this affair was the body search. I was stripped completely naked and they searched my intimate parts, without any reason. It was humiliating. I consider it like a rape," M'Baye said...

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The Irony of Ignorance

After 4,000 soldier deaths - the Bush administration vows to continue.  Adding this to the million+ Iraqi deaths - creates such irony, since to proceed with the war - and the heavy troop presence is said to be the "right" thing - Recalling the statement that God helps the president decide what is best - would God really want an administration that feigns ignorance to the consequences of such massive carnage?

Bush Says War's Outcome 'Will Merit the Sacrifice'
President and Petraeus Discuss Strategy as the U.S. Death Toll in Iraq Rises to 4,000

By Karen DeYoung and Michael Abramowitz
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, March 25, 2008; A01

As the American military death toll in Iraq reached 4,000, President Bush conferred yesterday with top U.S. officials in Washington and in Baghdad and vowed in a public statement that the outcome of the war "will merit the sacrifice."

Bush held a two-hour videoconference with Gen. David H. Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker. Petraeus reiterated his plan to halt U.S. troop withdrawals, begun late last fall, at the end of July. At that point, he has said, he will "evaluate" whether Iraqi forces and a reduced number of U.S. troops can maintain the lower levels of violence.

"We have every desire to continue with the withdrawal of forces" at some time after July, one military official said. "The issue will be once we remove over 25 percent of combat power plus other associated units . . . we let the dust settle . . . and look to see where we're at," he said, adding that the evaluation period would probably be at least six weeks. Petraeus has offered no guarantee that conditions will allow further withdrawals before Bush leaves office.

In congressional testimony next month, Petraeus and Crocker are expected to describe continued but slow improvement in military and political conditions, even as recent weeks have seen an increase in suicide bombings, along with Sunday's renewal of rocket attacks on Baghdad's Green Zone, where the U.S. Embassy and much of the Iraqi government are located.

Among the wounded in four separate attacks were an American military contractor and an embassy employee from Jordan, both of whom remain in serious condition, a U.S. official in Baghdad said. Military officials said the munitions were Iranian-made, fired from northeastern Baghdad by renegade Shiite militia groups.

Late Sunday night, the U.S. command in Baghdad announced that four soldiers had been killed by a makeshift bomb in southern Baghdad, bringing the total number of U.S. troops killed to 4,000 since the war began in March 2003. Dozens of Iraqis were also killed in violence around the country Sunday.

Overall attacks in Iraq have sharply declined in Iraq, but the trend has begun to plateau over the past three months -- car bombings have decreased, but suicide bombings have increased. Military officials said that Petraeus will tell Congress that the withdrawal, which has now reached about 9,000 troops, will continue with three additional brigades to be withdrawn without replacement by July 31.

Although administration officials have said that U.S. troop strength at that point should be about where it was before a "surge" in deployments began last spring -- approximately 130,000 -- the military official said the net number remaining may be larger. "They're in the process now of trying to scrub the numbers," he said of Petraeus's command in Baghdad. "Figuring out boots on the ground is difficult because . . . units come in at different sizes, people have left, people have been wounded."

There are similar difficulties, he said, in determining the "battlefield geometry" that will enable the withdrawal of entire combat brigades. Brigades are seldom deployed intact, and their battalions are often scattered. While one battalion could be withdrawn without replacement, others may have to be replaced by U.S. or Iraqi forces from elsewhere.

During his testimony on April 8 and 9, Petraeus expects to present Congress with firm numbers on how many U.S. troops will leave Iraq and how many will remain by the end of July.

Crocker, who in previous testimony has cautioned against hopes of rapid progress, is expected to describe some political and economic achievements but to say that much work remains. In a mid-March interview with The Washington Post, he described Iraqi political and economic institutions as "like everything else here, still very much under development."

Another senior U.S. diplomat offered positive indicators yesterday, saying that Iraqis are "spending increasingly more money than we are" on reconstruction and some military programs. "We're not starting any new projects and [the Iraqis] are getting incrementally better," he said. Iraq's "Arab neighbors are gradually engaging, although not enough. They're not embracing Maliki the way they ought to," he added, referring to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

After speaking with Petraeus and Crocker yesterday morning from the White House, Bush attended a briefing by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the State Department on cooperation between military and civilian officials in Iraq and elsewhere. In a statement to reporters, he spoke of the U.S. civilians who have died in Iraq and said: "I will vow so long as I am president to make sure that those lives were not lost in vain."

Bush will attend a similar briefing by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and military leaders today at the Pentagon, but administration officials said they do not expect any new decisions or departures from current policy.

One official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that after months of friction among civilian and military leaders -- including over concerns about overall stress on the military -- there is little debate over the basic Iraq strategy for the next six months. The only real question, he said, is how long the "pause" in withdrawals after July will last.

In Turkey yesterday, Vice President Cheney told ABC News that "there's no reason now to decide what the force level is going to be in December of '08." The criterion, he said, "is how do we make certain we succeed in Iraq? It may be that we can make judgments about reductions down the road. . . . But I don't think [Bush] is likely to want to try to say now what the force level ought to be at the end of the year."

for link to WP article click the title of this post

we apologize for not having the source for the Bush photo