Saturday, May 31, 2008

Racial Issues in Utah

With so much tension these days between nativists and immigrant advocates, some of us tend to forget there are other issues that still haunt us.


Different State Of Race Relations

With Few Blacks, Utah Feels Its Way

By Karl Vick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 31, 2008; Page A01

SALT LAKE CITY -- Earlier this year, a state senator stood on the statehouse floor here and spoke disparagingly of a pending bill. "This baby is black," said Sen. Chris Buttars, a Republican, adding, "It's a dark, ugly thing."

Weary of talking about race? Come to [Utah] the Beehive State, where race relations is a topic of bracing freshness.

Here, basic issues of sensitivity -- what is spoken of aloud and what is best left unsaid, assumptions good and bad, all the delicate matters that in so many parts of the country have been burnished to exquisite subtleties by worry and constant attention -- are still very basic indeed...

for complete WP article click here

Letter to Chertoff on rights of detainees

Below is part of a letter written to Michael Chertoff, Director of Homeland Security. The letter is from 17 nationally recognized human rights organization (the list is abbreviated for this post). For a link to the complete letter click here

May 15, 2008
Secretary Michael Chertoff
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
3801 Nebraska Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20528
Dear Secretary Chertoff:

We, the undersigned organizations, are writing to express our continued and serious concerns regarding the provision of medical care to immigration detainees. Based on conversations with detainees, service providers across the country and personnel in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), we have identified several areas where we believe the provision of medical services must be dramatically improved.

First, we are deeply concerned that the Division of Immigration Health Services’ (DIHS) stated mission does not comport with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Detention Standard on Medical Care and established principles of constitutional and international law. The ICE Detention Standard appropriately requires that detainees “have access to medical services that promote detainee health and general well-being.” Yet by its own terms, the DIHS Covered Services Package primarily provides health care services for emergency care, defined as “a condition that is threatening to life, limb, hearing, or sight.” The services package treats pre-existing conditions differently from those that develop during detention, and ties treatment decisions regarding conditions that cause deterioration in health or uncontrolled suffering to ICE’s ability to effectuate deportation. In addition, documents released by the Washington Post reveal that at least one DIHS medical director identifies DIHS’s mission as that of “keeping the detainee medically ready for deportation.” This view was recently reinforced by Gary Mead, Acting Director of Detention and Removal Operations, on National Public Radio, when he questioned whether additional medical care must be provided once DIHS has ensured that a detainee is “medically capable of being removed.” The position of the DIHS medical director and Gary Mead demonstrate how inconsistent DIHS’s mission is with proper standards of care and ICE’s own standards....

Signed by the following organizations:

American Civil Liberties Union
American Immigration Lawyers Association
Amnesty International USA
Asian American Justice Center
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
Human Rights Watch
National Immigration Law Center
Physicians for Human Rights
Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children

cc: Julie Myers, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Daniel Sutherland, Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
Richard Skinner, Inspector General

Friday, May 30, 2008

What Color is Your Hat?

for link to photo click here

The De Moines Register wrote a great editorial on the DREAM act. However the responses are so hateful, I don't want to post them here. You can be sure they would make you wince.

That leaves me with a question. Should we post the negative comments as long as they are not vulgar? How "fair" do we need to be to the other side. The whole thing has become something of a Western in reverse - with the media (with the help of Lou Dobbs) labeling pro-immigrants and DREAMERS as the bad guys and nativists as the good guys.

Regardless, it is good to have the support. Many U.S. newspapers have done the same. The editorial asks why can't the government support the DREAM act? Perhaps it is because as long as there are people who are very loud about how they hate immigrants - the politicians will follow the nativist lead.

It will be an interesting election this November.
Give undocumented grads a chance

The Register's editorial
De Moines Register
May 30, 2008

No one knows how many illegal immigrants are graduating from Iowa high schools this spring, but it's a sure thing Santiago Cordero, Wendy Razam and Gaby Campos are not the only ones.

The Register's Ken Fuson wrote about the frightening futures faced by the undocumented teenagers who received their diplomas at Postville's high school on Sunday afternoon. In the wake of the May 12 immigration raid in the small northeast Iowa town, they worry about what will happen to parents, brothers and sisters and what to do with their own lives now.

But even if federal agents had not stormed the Agricprocessors Inc. meat-processing plant, these youngsters would be up against a much harsher reality than most of their classmates.

Because their families brought them here illegally, they don't qualify for most financial aid for college, and they lack the valid Social Security numbers necessary to get a job on the up and up.

Across the United States, it's estimated that 65,000 undocumented children who have lived in the country for five years or more finish high school each year. They are legally entitled to a public education through 12grade because of a 1982 Supreme Court decision.

But then they are cast into the shadows. This not only is a cruel contradiction in public policy, but also limits the potential of young people who could contribute a great deal to the U.S. economy if allowed to pursue a path to citizenship.

Congress could fix this by passing the Dream Act, legislation first introduced in 2001. The Senate voted down the most recent version in October, 52 to 44. Sponsored by Richard Durbin of Illinois, the bill would have granted provisional legal status to undocumented students who finish high school if they go to college or serve in the military for two years. To qualify, they must have been brought to the United States as children, lived here at least five years and be of good moral character. After meeting the requirement to attend college or the military, they could apply for permanent legal status.

Opponents don't want to reward any sort of illegal immigration, even though it's not the fault of young people - mostly Hispanic - who had no choice in coming to the United States.

Or perhaps they don't want to reopen the divisive debate over America's broken immigration system, despite the clear need for reform, evidenced by the presence of an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.

The Dream Act is just one part of a broad package of desperately needed reforms - including higher, realistic immigration quotas - but it is an important place to begin.

It would help offset an anticipated labor shortage and keep the country globally competitive. Instead, the United States invests in educating undocumented students in elementary and secondary schools, but gets too little in return.

It also would demonstrate compassion for young people who feel as if they are Americans. It's not much of an option for them to return to a home country that they don't know and whose language they may barely speak.

Imagine knowing that the door to a better life will slam shut when you are only 18. No wonder many illegal immigrants drop out of school long before high school graduation.

But others are hopeful, despite the anti-immigrant backlash. They go on to earn high school diplomas, like the three undocumented teenagers in Postville, who have said they hope to continue their education.

As Postville Superintendent David Strudthoff told the Register, they made the correct choice.

Why is it so hard for the nation's political leaders to do the same?

for DMR editorial click here

Koreans protest import of American Beef

Just about the entire European Union has been affected by Mad Cow disease.

click here for image


Democracy Now

May 30, 2008

10,000 South Koreans Protest US Beef Imports

In South Korea, more than 10,000 people took to the streets of Seoul Thursday in the latest of daily protests against an agreement on importing US beef. The South Korean government’s decision to ease restrictions has sparked a national crisis.

Protester: “I came here because I got so angry after the minister announced the implementation. I’ve been participating in these rallies, but I think the government pushed it unilaterally without listening to our voices. I can’t
stand it.”

South Korea banned American beef five years ago after an outbreak of mad cow disease. But the ban was lifted earlier this month after US lawmakers threatened to withhold a pending trade deal unless South Korea accepted US beef.


Holy cow!

The mandarin strikes back ... Francis Beckett reads around The Politics of BSE, by Richard Packer
From The Guardian, June 30, 2006

Here is information on how Mad Cow Disease affected the United Kingdom:

BSE - mad cow disease - emerged in cattle in 1986, but the government insisted for 10 years that it could not be transmitted to humans and it was safe to eat beef. One agriculture minister, John Selwyn Gummer, invited the press to photograph him feeding beefburgers to his daughter. Then, on March 20 1996, Health Secretary Stephen Dorrell told Parliament that 10 young people had contracted variant CJD, which is always fatal, probably from BSE. By September 2000 there were 80 victims of CJD. Most of them were young. No other country suffered to anything like the same extent.

It wrecked the British beef industry, not least because the European Union banned British beef. The ban, which in 1997 Tony Blair vowed to have removed within months, was only lifted last month. But Sir Richard's story is not that of the illness, nor even its effect on the industry, but, as his title implies, the politics.

By the start of the 1990s, the European Commission was saying that British slaughterhouse standards were not high enough. Yet as late as 1992, Prime Minister John Major was writing to Gummer: "The regulatory burden we are imposing on business frustrates enterprise, innovation and growth . . . We . . . need to look at the new (EU) rules on meat hygiene which have caused alarm to local business . . . "

When Dorrell made his sensational announcement, the Major government panicked. Groups of ministers gathered in meetings whose decisions were reported, mostly accurately, in the same day's Evening Standard, and then changed by a slightly different group. Major decided on a policy of non-cooperation with the EU until it lifted its ban, a policy that Packer and others warned could not succeed, and it did not succeed.

for complete Guardian article click here

Timing of the Telling - McClellan on Bush

Cartoon "The McClellan Book," by John Cole
link to cartoon

McClellan is being attacked on all sides. From the Bush administration: that he is lying, from the media: why he took too long to tell us about the dark side of the White House.

You could say that it is a character flaw, that he was too easily led by his superiors. This could be possible. But considering the history of Bush, Cheney and associates - you could wonder how dangerous it would have been for him to speak out while he still worked for them. You can define the word dangerous many ways. Or how dangerous it is for him now that the book is released.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The presidential administration with no clothes

As story after story comes up about the disastrous tenure of the Bush administration, you would think that McClellan's book criticizing Bush and his cronies would be welcomed. Many people would rather criticize Mc Clellan than admit that their emperor has no clothes.

funny how lies can make you hallucinate.

'Disillusioned' McClellan Defends Memoir
By Dan Eggen and Debbi Wilgoren
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, May 29, 2008; 11:55 AM

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan today strongly defended his critical new book on the Bush administration, saying he became "disillusioned" as he realized he was a pawn in a larger political game.

McClellan, who has been harshly condemned as a turncoat by some of his closest friends and former colleagues, said in an interview on NBC's "Today" show that the book was intended to illustrate how a presidential candidate who vowed to change the culture of Washington failed to do so once he was elected.

Instead, McClellan says, President Bush stayed in a "permanent campaign culture" and allowed his staff to use misleading and incomplete information to "sell" the Iraq war to the American people. While the president focused his public arguments on the possibility that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, McClellan said, his true goal in toppling Saddam Hussein was to boost democracy in the Middle East.

McClellan told "Today" he hoped his message would resonate during the current presidential campaign season, when the major candidates are again emphasizing their desire to change the way Washington operates.

"The White House would prefer I not speak out openly and honestly about my experiences, but I believe there is a larger purpose," McClellan said in his first interview since the book's contents were reported earlier this week. "I had all this great hope that we were going to come to Washington and change it. Then we got to Washington, and I think we got caught up in playing the Washington game the way it is being played today."

McClellan, 40, was the ultimate Bush loyalist. He first went to work for George W. Bush when he was Texas governor in 1999, helped Bush gain the White House in 2000, and then came to Washington to defend the president for the next six years on such issues as the war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina.

But the explosive book, "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception," alleges that the Bush administration waged a "political propaganda campaign" in favor of the Iraq war and bungled the response to the storm that devastated the Gulf Coast...

for complete WP article click here

The Apocalypse: Nigerian Riots

When Donajih and I were in New Mexico about a month ago we stayed in a lady's house for a couple of nights. She was like super nice and really understood the struggle that immigrants across the globe are going through. She is one of the few people that have looked me in the eye and that i feel i have connected with. Donajih and I woke up in our last morning there and had coffee with her before we took off... she started talking to us about the the end of the world, wars, hunger, and all these things that almost made us cry (Ok, im exageerating). She basically told us that we were at the doorstep of the apocalypse... ok, so maybe she was overreacting too, but she did get to my head a little bit, just a little bit.

Yes, things in the United States are pretty bad regarding immigration. In toher parts of the world though things are much, much worse. I am not sure that people realize that we are killing each other everyday. People are being displaced from their familes and homes at the cost of xenophobia. That is really what it is.

When i came across this article today, the lady from New Mexico was the first image that came to my head. Maybe the apocalypse is closer than we think.

Complete article

Tens of thousands of mainly Zimbabwean and Mozambican immigrants have been forced out of their homes since the onset of the xenophobic attacks in the middle of the month have left 56 people dead.

While many of the victims of the riots have simply decided to leave the country for good after their shacks were torched or razed to the ground, others have been sleeping either out in the open or head-to-toe in community centres.

National police spokeswoman, Sally de Beer said no major incident had been reported in the last 24 hours, bolstering hopes that the violence had been finally brought under control with the help of troop deployments.

The xenophobic violence has been a major embarrassment for the continent's economic powerhouse which has portrayed itself as a beacon of racial tolerance since the demise of the whites-only apartheid regime in 1994.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is due to host his Nigerian counterpart Umaru Yar'Adua next week, has come under fire for his response to the crisis.


About Immigration: from the words of the Wall Street Journal

It is surprising that Sen. Elizabeth Dole has started an anti-immigration campaign as part of her re-election plan after the appearance of the following review on a book by Jason L. Riley, a member of the WSJ's editorial board, in the Wall Street Journal explains many aspects of the immigration debate. Here are a few excerpts:
A Welcome, Not a Wall
16 May 2008
The Wall Street Journal

In "Let Them In," Jason L. Riley, a member of The Wall Street
Journal's editorial board, argues the case for open borders, reminding us of the immigrant contribution to America's economy and culture, correcting various myths about legal and illegal immigration, and chiding Republicans for their restrictionist tendencies., .,

...Most immigrants fall into one of two categories: low-skilled laborers or high-skilled professionals. One-third of all immigrants have less than a high school education, and one-quarter hold a bachelor's or advanced degree. Most native workers, by contrast, are concentrated betwixt those two extremes. Hence, immigrant workers tend to act as complements to the native U.S. workforce...

...Immigration policies that limit industry's access to that talent become ever more risky as the marketplace becomes ever more global....

...-- better to let Apple and Google and eBay make their own personnel decisions
without interference from Tom Tancredo and Lou Dobbs."...

...hostility to immigrants is not a political winner...Unfortunately, it's not a lesson that some conservatives are in danger of learning anytime soon."...

.. illegals who collect a paycheck also pay payroll and Social Security taxes but are denied the attendant benefits, Uncle Sam tends to come out ahead."

..."Mexican immigration was such a nonissue in American politics that it never even came up in the 2004 presidential debates. But by November 2006, Republicans and their conservative allies in talk radio and cable news would turn it into a raucous
national theme... The GOP spent tens of millions of dollars on television ads that portrayed Latino immigrants as dangerous criminals...

...Historically, the best results have come from providing more legal ways for immigrants to enter the country. Most of these people are not predisposed to crime or terrorists in waiting. They are economic migrants who would gladly use the front
door if it were open to them...

to obtain this WSJ article click here

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Immigrant Bashing Does Not Win Elections

detail of image from

Elizabeth Dole should take the advice from the Boston Globe journalist who wrote
The anti-immigration rabble-rousers haven't disappeared - but none of them will be the next president of the United States.*

As I watched a new campaign ad approved by Elizabeth Dole, I thought about how she is reminding her constituents that North Carolina's most significant concern is to "identify, apprehend and deport these [undocumented immigrant] repeat criminals."

The Sheriffs in the ad have either not read the numerous studies that show the very low incidence of crime among the undocumented immigrant population* or have chosen to misrepresent the information (in other words lie). If you take the comments seriously, you could wonder about "these repeat criminals." You would think they were talking about axe murderers instead of people who have only committed a misdemeanor for entering this country without a proper visa. How many misdemeanors have you (or your kids) committed that no one knows about?

A few examples (I swear on my grandmother's memory I am telling the truth):

a young man who ended up at Harvard decided one day to smash up the car of his high school principal. He did this in the school parking lot. He positioned his car some yards behind the principal's car and rammed it from the back. Did anyone report this? no was the young man charged with anything? no. We know how much auto body repairs are these days, so he not only committed a misdemeanor, you could say that was a felony because it was well over the $50 limits on such crimes.

another young man takes computers from his school and other computer related material from where he works part time. Everyone knew about it, even the school. Nothing happened, which could possibly be related to one of his parent's being the CFO of a major health corporation.

Having had two offspring that were once teenagers, I heard these kinds of stories for years.

These kinds of things happen frequently, everyone that has raised a child to adulthood has probably experienced some of the agony of getting that phone call.

Everyday life is full of things that can go wrong, that are done with or without malice. Yet the Sheriff's of North Carolina have decided to cleanse their state of the most vulnerable. Their uniforms and southern drawls make them sound like the strong men of the South - Final question: when does a bully look like a strong man?

click here for link to Dole's anti-immigrant campaign ad

May 28, 2008

Categories: Campaigns

Dole focuses on illegal immigration in first campaign ad

Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) launched the first advertisement for her reelection bid, which features statewide sheriffs praising her work securing federal assistance for law enforcement officials to crack down on illegal immigration.

The federal program Dole touts in the ad trains local law enforcement officials to act as immigration enforcement deputies.

“Most of us didn’t have the tools to identify and apprehend illegal immigrants who were repeatedly committing crimes. ...So Sen. Dole works out a solution, a statewide partnership between federal officials and North Carolina sheriffs to give us access to the federal tools to identify and apprehend and deport these repeat criminals,” several statewide sheriffs say in the ad.

“She’s one tough lady with major league clout,” two other sheriffs go on to say. “I’m sure glad she’s from North Carolina...”
link to complete Politco article

*See dreamacttexas post "US natives are 10 times more like to be in prison or jail than immigrants."

thanks to A.N. for passing this info along

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Underground Undergrads coming out on May 28th from 4-6 PM in UCLA

Undocumented Immigrant Students Speak out

Featuring Stories by: Mario Escobar – A former child soldier from El Salvador who recently attained asylum in this country Tam Tran – A UCLA graduate who testified before the U.S. Congress on the status of undocumented students Grace – A Korean student who gave up her student visa to qualify for AB 540 so she could attend UCLA Antonio – A Mexican immigrant who arrived in this country at the age of four and who struggled to finance and complete his college education

UNDERGROUND UNDERGRADS highlights the growing student movement around access to higher education for undocumented students. This student publication includes the moving stories of eight UCLA undocumented undergrads who write about their emotional pain, financial hardships, and ultimate triumphs upon graduation. It also serves as an educational and research tool by providing a summary of the history of legislation impacting undocumented students in higher education as well as a resource guide of organizations that support student rights.

Wednesday, May 28, 4:00-6:00 pm UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Library Haines Hall 144 Co-sponsored by the CSRC, UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education, and IDEAS at UCLA

Directions to UCLA available at: Campus parking can be purchased for $8 at the Westholme Dr./Hilgard Ave. or Wyton Ave./Hilgard Ave. kiosks. The closest available Lots are #2 and #3. For more information: (310) 206-9185 b

To learn more about the CSRC, visit our website or email us . To subscribe to our newsletter, e-mail CSRC Newsletter and include in the body of your message the line (and nothing but the line) SUBSCRIBE CHICANO [first name, last name] (don't enter the brackets, just your name).

Crossing over to the dark side

link to image

In the 1960s, long before the big immigration rush, a young relative of mine, who was about 13 at the time used to tell the rest of the family that he wanted to be a Border Patrol Agent. He lived on the border with Mexico - and like most kids then, saw the Border Patrol as a representative of "good authority" - the family had no experience (at least in a couple of hundred years) with immigrating, so there were no "bad stories" about these men in uniform. Our experience was crossing back and forth over the international bridge, going to "el otro lado" to go to a Bull Fight,* buy cabritos, spices, or gifts for relatives who lived further from Mexico. When our car would approach the officer he just asked "American citizens?" and my mother (who usually took us over) would say yes, while the kids would watch.

By the time he was 18, he no longer talked about the Border Patrol. Maybe it was a good thing. He went on to college and has a successful career a few hundred miles form the border.

Four decades have passed and so much has changed. It is no longer so easy to cross the border, immigrant or not. No one I know wants to be a Border Patrol Agent. Now our experience is like the one I encountered a couple of years ago in Pharr, Texas when an agent "mistakenly" kept my friend's Mexican ID Card - the Matricula. I guess when he took the card he didn't imagine someone would be writing his story in a widely read blog.

In the 50s and 60s there were probably a number of "good guys" (not many women then) in the Border Patrol. But who knows nowadays. In the following article the NYT talks about the agents that have gone over to the dark side. My contention is that with the current anti-immigration climate and the notorious reputation gained by ICE agents - just joining DHS is like crossing over the DARK SIDE. I never did like it when they changed from INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) to DHS. Considering how many charges of inappropriate behavior are being leveled against DHS officers - maybe the agency should really be called Darth Vader Homeland Security.


May 27, 2008

Border Agents, Lured by the Other Side

SAN DIEGO — The smuggler in the public service announcement sat handcuffed in prison garb, full of bravado and shrugging off the danger of bringing illegal immigrants across the border.

“Sometimes they die in the desert, or the cars crash, or they drown,” he said. “But it’s not my fault.”

The smuggler in the commercial, produced by the Mexican government several years ago, was played by an American named Raul Villarreal, who at the time was a United States Border Patrol agent and a spokesman for the agency here.

Now, federal investigators are asking: Was he really acting?

Mr. Villarreal and a brother, Fidel, also a former Border Patrol agent, are suspected of helping to smuggle an untold number of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Brazil across the border. The brothers quit the Border Patrol two years ago and are believed to have fled to Mexico.

The Villarreal investigation is among scores of corruption cases in recent years that have alarmed officials in the Homeland Security Department just as it is hiring thousands of border agents to stem the flow of illegal immigration.

The pattern has become familiar: Customs officers wave in vehicles filled with illegal immigrants, drugs or other contraband. A Border Patrol agent acts as a scout for smugglers. Trusted officers fall prey to temptation and begin taking bribes.

Increased corruption is linked, in part, to tougher enforcement, driving smugglers to recruit federal employees as accomplices. It has grown so worrisome that job applicants will soon be subject to lie detector tests to ensure that they are not already working for smuggling organizations. In addition, homeland security officials have reconstituted an internal affairs unit at Customs and Border Protection, one of the largest federal law enforcement agencies, overseeing both border agents and customs officers.

When the Homeland Security Department was created in 2003, the internal affairs unit was dissolved and its functions spread among other agencies. Since the unit was reborn last year, it has grown from five investigators to a projected 200 by the end of the year.

Altogether, there are about 200 open cases pending against law enforcement employees who work the border. In the latest arrests, four employees in Arizona, Texas and California were charged this month with helping to smuggle illegal immigrants into the country.

While the corruption investigations involve a small fraction of the overall security workforce on the border, the numbers are growing. In the 2007 fiscal year, the Homeland Security Department’s main anticorruption arm, the inspector general’s office, had 79 investigations under way in the four states bordering Mexico, compared with 31 in 2003. Officials at other federal law enforcement agencies investigating border corruption also said their caseloads had risen.

Some of the recent cases involve border guards who had worked for their agencies for a short time, including the arrest this month of a recruit at the Border Patrol academy in New Mexico on gun smuggling charges.

The federal government says it carefully screens applicants, but some internal affairs investigators say they have been unable to keep up with the increased workload.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” said James Wong, an internal affairs agent with Customs and Border Protection. “It’s very difficult for us to get out and vet each and every one of the applicants as well as we should.”

The Border Patrol alone is expected to grow to more than 20,000 agents by the end of 2009, more than double from 2001, when the agency began to expand in response to concerns about national security. There has also been a large increase in the number of customs officers.

James Tomsheck, the assistant commissioner for internal affairs at Customs and Border Protection, said the agency was “deeply concerned” that smugglers were sending operatives to take jobs with the Border Patrol and at ports.

Mr. Tomsheck said the agency intended to administer random lie-detector tests to 10 percent of new hires this year, with the goal of eventually testing all applicants. His office has contracts with 155 retired criminal investigators, adding 36 since last fall, to do background checks.

In one of the new corruption cases this month, at a border crossing east of San Diego, a customs officer allowed numerous cars with dozens of illegal immigrants and hundreds of pounds of drugs to pass through his inspection lane, investigators said.

The officer, Luis Alarid, 31, had worked at the crossing less than a year, and the loads included a vehicle driven by Mr. Alarid’s uncle, the authorities said. Mr. Alarid has pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to smuggle. Investigators found about $175,000 in cash in his house, according to court records.

In another recent case, Margarita Crispin, a customs inspector in El Paso, Tex., began helping drug smugglers just a few months after she was hired in 2003, according to prosecutors. She helped the smugglers for four years before she was arrested last year and sentenced in April to 20 years in prison and ordered to forfeit up to $5 million.

Although bad apples turn up in almost every law enforcement agency, the corruption cases expose a worrisome vulnerability for national and border security. The concern, several officials said, is that corrupt agents let people into the country whose intentions may be less innocent than finding work.

“If you can get a corrupt inspector, you have the keys to the kingdom,” said Andrew P. Black, an F.B.I. agent who supervises a multiagency task force focused on corruption on the San Diego border.

Comparing corruption among police agencies is difficult because of the varying standards and procedures for handling internal investigations, said Lawrence W. Sherman, the director of the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania and an authority on corruption.

But he described policing the border as “potentially one of the most corruptible tasks in law enforcement” because of the solitary nature of much of the work and the desperation of people seeking to cross.

Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, declined an interview. But in response to questions at a recent news conference, he suggested that the breadth and depth of border security improvements would inevitably produce problem officers.

“There is an old expression among prosecutors,” he said. “Big cases, big problems. Little cases, little problems. No cases, no problems. Some people take the view we ought to make no cases and then we would have no problems. I think that is a head-in-the-sand view, which I do not endorse...”

for complete NYT article, click here

*sorry about that, but I was six years old, and people didn't talk about animal rights in the late 1950s.

Monday, May 26, 2008

DREAMERS be careful in Galveston


In today's Houston Chronicle there is an article on how suburban jails may get overloaded because of ICE"s criminal alien program (funny I kept typing "progrom") - inside the article is an important piece of information:

Maj. Ray Tuttoilmondo, spokesman for the Galveston County Sheriff's Office, said Galveston deputies already report illegal immigrants whenever they are encountered during the course of a normal arrest

As thousands of students visit Galveston beaches every year - a good number of these students get arrested - for violations such as public intoxication or assault (if they got into a fight). DREAMERS go to the beach too.... and you know how sometimes you can get caught in a mess by just standing nearby.

Since Galveston now has a policy of checking immigration status - be careful if you are a DREAMER- and stay out of, if you see a problem erupting nearby - get away from the action. If you are no longer a DREAMER, be sure to carry your documents with you...


May 25, 2008, 11:02PM
Effort by ICE could be strain on suburban counties' jails

As Harris County meshes into a Homeland Security Department program to accelerate the deportation of illegal immigrants locked up in U.S. jails, suburban counties fear it could overburden their smaller staffs.

The department's U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has already enlisted Harris County and the six adjacent suburban counties in its Criminal Alien Program, allowing jails to report each inmate's immigration status.

The more ambitious parts of the ICE effort are to train local law enforcement in immigration duties and equip county jails with sophisticated technology that would give them access to the ICE fingerprint database.

Harris County is waiting its turn to send deputies for immigration duty training in the 287(g) program, but suburban counties worry about the strain caused by having members of a smaller department absent for the training.

Houston-area counties are among 52 counties under the ICE Houston office, which reports that about 200 illegal immigrants with criminal records are taken into custody every week.

The number of illegal immigrants in suburban county jails varies, from 317 over the course of a year in populous Fort Bend County to less than 10 on any given day in smaller Chambers and Liberty counties.

ICE does not keep numbers for individual counties, but deportations from the 52-county area have risen steadily over the past three years, rising from 4,880 criminal deportations in fiscal 2005 — about 58 percent of all deportations — to 7,100 in fiscal 2007, about 53 percent.

Nationally, deportations of all types have risen from 178,177 in fiscal 2005 to 280,523 in fiscal 2007.

None has applied

Although most area counties are interested in the training, so far none of the suburban counties — Montgomery, Fort Bend, Liberty, Chambers, Brazoria or Galveston — has applied for the program.

"Taking people out of pocket for an extended period of time would be a problem," said Cpl. Hugh Bishop, spokesman for the Liberty County Sheriff's Office.

The ICE training takes officers away from their departments for at least a month, ICE spokesman Greg Palmore said. Jailers receive four weeks of training and field officers five weeks, Palmore said.

Bishop said cost is another hurdle to participation. Although ICE pays for the training and provides housing, departments must continue to pay salaries for the absent officers.

Maj. Ray Tuttoilmondo, spokesman for the Galveston County Sheriff's Office, said Galveston deputies already report illegal immigrants whenever they are encountered during the course of a normal arrest, and the department is leery of doing more...

for complete article click here

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Agency cites mistake in raid at UCSD complex

Agency cites mistake in raid at UCSD complex

May 23, 2008
LA JOLLA – Local officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement say agents made a mistake last week when they entered UCSD student housing to search an apartment without first notifying the university.

Last Thursday morning, ICE agents entered the off-campus graduate housing unit of student Jorge Narvaez, 21, a legal U.S. resident. Earlier that morning, agents had carried out a criminal search warrant at the French Gourmet, a Pacific Beach bakery and bistro, and were proceeding on to suspected illegal workers' homes.

While Narvaez works at the bakery, the worker that ICE agents sought didn't live at Narvaez's address.The agency's policy when entering a university campus, or off-campus university housing, is to alert campus police. However, in this case, agents didn't realize they were in student housing until later, ICE spokeswoman Lauren Mack said.

"Had they been aware that morning, we would have provided a courtesy notification by contacting the campus police," Mack said. "We are conducting an internal review of the situation to clear up any confusion as to how that happened, and to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Narvaez, a pre-law student born in Mexico who has lived in the United States most of his life, lives in the Mesa Graduate Housing complex near the University of California San Diego. While he is an undergraduate, students with families also live there; Narvaez has a wife and young child.

He said he was home alone last Thursday about 10 a.m. when half a dozen armed agents arrived at his door. After asking if the other person lived there, they began asking him questions, Narvaez said.

"They asked me what's my legal status," he said. "I had nothing to hide, so I let them in my home. I went outside and they went through all my stuff."

While Narvaez said he has no complaints as to how the search was carried out, he said agents should have been aware of where they were.

"There are signs in front that say this is university housing," he said.

UCSD officials learned of the incident as news spread from student to student and eventually to faculty, said Grecia Lima, a senior who helped organize a forum on campus yesterday to discuss stepped-up immigration enforcement. Earlier this week, UCSD campus police spoke with ICE officials about the incident and to "revisit the importance of advising campus police when agents become involved in contacting students on campus," Stacie Spector, associate vice chancellor for university communications, said in a written statement.

Campus police at San Diego State University cooperated with federal drug-enforcement agents during a five-month undercover operation on campus that resulted in 96 arrests earlier this month. Afterward, university President Stephen Weber said he had not been made aware of the agents' presence until shortly before the operation ended.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Immigrant Detainees Beaten, Lawsuit Claims

(CBS) CBS News Investigative Producer Laura Strickler wrote this for

Immigrant Detainees Beaten, Lawsuit Claims
Private Contractor Cited for Safety Problems in the Past

A new lawsuit filed against a private contractor who runs an immigrant child detention center claims nine teenagers were beaten and abused by employees who work for Cornell Companies. The company has been cited by immigration officials for safety problems in the past.

The Hector Garza facility in San Antonio handles young immigrant “males with serious behavioral and psychological impairments”. “I think the general American has no idea these kids even exist,” said Susan Watson, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid attorney for the nine plaintiffs, “When our own government treats them this way, they deserve their day in court,” she said. The plaintiffs claim they notified authorities of multiple beatings but no action was taken.

One of the plaintiffs is described in court documents as a 16-year-old Honduran male identified as C.C. Arriving at the border alone, C.C. was put into custody for a week by Border Patrol agents.

He was later transferred to the Hector Garza Center, where court filings claim a teacher “severely battered C.C. punching and kicking him, then beating him with a chair as he lay on the floor.”

Lawsuit filings claim C.C. conveyed this to the authorities but nothing was done. A week later, court documents indicate C.C. came to the defense of another child who was being beaten. C.C. was hit again, this time losing consciousness and ended up in the hospital, according to the civil complaint.

Click the title of the post to view the entire article.

Another Student in the news!

It is good that the media is paying more attention to cases like these, it is sad that cases like these happen. Before, students who Could Not continue their studies further because of their status- were not even taken into account. But reality has to set into the politicians and truly pay attention to what the people in this country are facing. How difficult is to understand the necessity of ‘allowing’ for students to keep up with their goals in schools and careers. The careers that others may not fill, but the needs and wants are there.


Aspiring artist, 18, who grew up in U.S. fighting deportation to Mexico

By Tal Abbady | South Florida Sun-Sentinel

“Garcia adjusted to his new life and became fluent in English. He attended Silver Lakes Middle School and Coconut Creek High School, where he discovered his artistic talent. In 10th grade, he won first place in an art competition for ESOL students for his drawing of a Mayan man standing next to a jaguar. That prize spurred more drawings. Garcia took art classes at school and began to see his future as an artist.

But a random checkpoint at the Port of Miami in August put Garcia on the radar of immigration officials. Garcia and a 21-year-old friend, an undocumented Salvadoran immigrant who was driving the pair, were stopped by officials when they accidentally drove into the Port of Miami. They tried to leave, but both were asked for their ID. Neither had any. Officials took Garcia's friend into custody. He was deported soon after. Garcia was held in Miami for two days before authorities sent him to a detention center in New York. He was there three weeks, before he was given a hearing date and released. Garcia, who has little understanding of the immigration system, said he'd heard of the deportation of adults. But he said he doubted that school children such as himself could be ensnared by the law.

Roughly 700,000 children enrolled in K-12 schools throughout the country are undocumented, according to Josh Bernstein, director of federal policy for the National Immigration Law Center. A proposed bill, the Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for students like Garcia, has languished in Congress for years. Bernstein referred to Garcia as part of the "1.5 generation" -- wedged between the first generation of immigrant adults and the second generation of U.S.-born children. "It is a very promising generation, but our laws are written in such a way that we treat them like criminals," he said. But proponents of tougher immigration enforcement say that is the easy side of the argument.

"When parents break the law, they're taking the risk that there will be consequences for their children," said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. "Immigration policy forces people to make tough ethical decisions," said Stein, "but the laws matter."

After his hearing, Garcia was hopeful for his future. Bolstered by the judge's decision, he said he will focus the next months on his case. "I came here to be someone," he said of his entry into the United States. "I have a good shot.""

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bad News in Massachusetts

It's not just that Senator Kennedy was diagnosed with brain cancer. It is also that the state of MA has decided (again) not to allow instate college tuition for DREAMERS.

These two events do not bode well for DREAMERS. Kennedy has always been one of the DREAMERS greatest champions. The latest denial of instate tuition will keep hundreds of graduating high school seniors from attending college.

Tuition aid to illegal immigrants falters

Patrick declines to act on behalf of graduates

Governor Deval Patrick has decided against taking action to allow illegal immigrants to pay resident tuition and fees at state colleges and universities this fall, an administration official said yesterday, crushing advocates who were counting on the governor to deliver on a pledge to support the students.

Earlier this year, Patrick said he was considering ways to offer illegal immigrants in-state rates, such as issuing a regulation, adding that it would be "the right thing to do."

The governor declined to comment yesterday, but an administration source who spoke on condition of anonymity said Patrick decided that there were "significant legal impediments" to that approach. The governor will still support legislation on the matter, but on Beacon Hill the issue is widely viewed as dead this session.

The decision is a blow to church pastors, school counselors, and advocates from Lawrence to Springfield, who had pressured Patrick to act before high school graduations in the next few weeks. Now several hundred seniors are again facing college tuition and fees that are more than double the resident rates, as high as $21,900 a year.

"This would be slamming the door on hundreds of students who are graduating this year," said Loren McArthur, staff director of the Merrimack Valley Project, a group of churches, labor unions, and others who sent Patrick 300 letters this month urging him to act now. "If this is his decision, it's unfortunate. But we will be urging him to reconsider."

Advocates had hoped that Patrick, who often touts his own background as a civil rights advocate whose life was transformed by education, would build support for a relatively small group of students. The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation estimated that if students could pay in-state rates, as many as 600 illegal immigrants would enroll in college a year, out of 160,000 in the public system, bringing in about $2.5 million in tuition and fees. The group estimated that only about 100 such students were enrolled in 2006.

"We had hoped that the governor would honor his commitments and his promises to make education access fair for all Massachusetts students," said Shuya Ohno, spokesman for the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. "He understood that it was a question of fairness. What he couldn't articulate is that it actually makes money for the state."

In recent weeks, hundreds of supporters were intensifying pressure on Patrick, peppering him with calls and letters on behalf of the students. Some wanted Patrick to sign an executive order allowing students to pay in-state rates. Others urged the Board of Higher Education to change its regulations to allow it. Patrick considered that option, but the board said it did not have that authority, said Eileen O'Connor, a board spokeswoman....

for complete Boston Globe article click here

thanks to for alerting us to this article

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Congressional Hearing on Immigration Enforcement & Reform

House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border, Maritime, and Global Counterterrorism

Hearing on
"The Border Security Challenge: Recent Developments and Legislative Proposals."

Thursday, May 22, 2008, 10 a.m. Eastern Time

For live webcast of this hearing click here

Thursday, May 22, 2008 @ 10am Eastern Time

311 Cannon House Office Building

“The Border Security Challenge: Recent Developments and Legislative Proposals”

· Subcommittee on Border, Maritime, and Global Counterterrorism and Subcommittee

Witnesses (invited, partial):

Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), Member of Congress

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), Member of Congress

Rep. Health Shuler (D-NC), Member of Congress

Chief David V. Aguilar, Office of Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security

Michael C. Kostelnik, Maj. Gen., USAF (Ret.), Assistant Commissioner, Office of Air and Marine, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security

Thomas S. Winkowski, Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security

There will be a live webcast of this hearing.

Press Release from Immigration Policy Center

On Thursday, May 22, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border, Maritime, and Global Counterterrorism will hold a hearing on "The Border Security Challenge: Recent Developments and Legislative Proposals." As lawmakers evaluate the border-enforcement initiatives that have already been implemented by the Bush administration, and the various enforcement proposals now on the table in Congress, they would do well to keep in mind that an enforcement-only approach to border security has been tried - and failed - for more than two decades.

In two new fact sheets, Money for Nothing: Immigration Enforcement Without Immigration Reform Doesn't Work and The Politics of Contradiction: Immigration Enforcement vs. Economic Integration, the IPC analyzes the escalating costs and fatal flaws of the enforcement-without-reform approach to border security. The reports point out that the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States has increased dramatically at the very same time the federal government has poured billions upon billions of dollars into border enforcement. Many U.S. taxpayers question the use of their tax dollars on failed deportation-only efforts, and are calling for fair and practical immigration reform.

No Racial Profiling?

NPR does a report on the death of a high school student involving an undocumented youngster. Shawl's family is now fighting to pass a law in order to question SUSPECTS on their legal status in the United States.

Listen HERE

In March, 17-year-old Jamiel Shaw Jr. was gunned down outside his home in South Central Los Angeles. The man accused in the fatal shooting is alleged gang member Pedro Espinoza, who prosecutors say entered the United States illegally.

Now, Shaw's family is fighting to pass a measure called "Jamiel's Law." The proposed legislation would allow the Los Angeles police to ask crime suspects about their immigration status.

For more, Farai Chideya speaks with Jamiel's mother and father, Jamiel Shaw Sr. and Anita Shaw.

Then, we hear from Fermin Vasquez, a student at California State University, who entered the United States illegally and is now an immigrants' rights activist. Vasquez is president of Students United to Reach Goals in Education.

Talented student artist could be deported


Talented student artist could be deported
Meynardo Garcia's artwork has won awards, but the Coconut Creek student may be deported.
Posted on Sun, May. 18, 2008


Meynardo Garcia, 18, stands with his Holocaust Documentation and Education Center award-winning artwork. Garcia is a senior at Coconut Creek High School and is in danger of being deported.


» More Photos
Meynardo Garcia's ambitious dreams of becoming an artist are on hold, while he fights the U.S. government over his mother's decision years ago to break the law.
His mother slipped Meynardo, then age 10, into the United States illegally from Mexico. He's now 18 years old, a senior at Broward's Coconut Creek High School.
Meynardo's saga as an undocumented immigrant would have largely gone unnoticed but for his art teacher, his fellow classmates and his prize-winning artwork.
Nearly 1,000 classmates have signed a petition to allow Meynardo to stay in the country and his art teacher has gotten him an attorney to represent him in his legal battle.
Last month, he won first place in the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center's student art competition, beating out 500 other nationwide contestants.
He produced intricate artwork on a poster board with an airbrush, a technique Meynardo taught himself. It depicts a somber group of Latino boys surrounded by barbed wires and includes words written in Hebrew.
''When I studied about the Holocaust, it reminded me of kids in my neighborhood,'' Meynardo said. ``Those kids didn't have freedom and the kids in Mexico don't either.''
He wasn't able to claim the $250 prize because he doesn't have a social security number.
''He has an innate sense of what a composition needs,'' said his art teacher, Jacqueline Sacs. ``In 2007, he didn't know what the Holocaust was but wanted to participate in the contest. His piece awakened a passion for him about children.''
She hopes his artistic ability will somehow help persuade an immigration judge to allow him to stay.
Click the title of the post to view the complete article.

Who is Afraid?

Not to scare anybody, but the Daily Kos published a post today that tells us there might be up to 8 million people put in detention - "in case of national emergency" -

When I first saw the link and didn't know the source I thought to myself, they have got to be kidding - the source must be some nut.

Apparently the London Times also published an article on a similar plan in the UK.

I clicked the link and to my surprise it came from the Daily Kos - click here for the post

thanks to GL for alerting us to this information

"Juan Crow" In Georgia


"Juan Crow" In Georgia

May 09, 2008 - Latinos' subordinate status in Georgia and in the Deep South bears more than a passing resemblance to that of African-Americans who were living under Jim Crow.

Click the title of the post for the full article. (MALDEF : Truth in Immigration Website)

La NETA...about Latinos and English

The vast majority (88%) of second generation Latinos speak English very well, a figure that rises to 94% by the third generation. In fact, maintaining fluency in Spanish is often a challenge for second and third generation Hispanics. Just 11% of second generation Latino adults and 6% of third-generation Latinos speak only Spanish in the home. To learn more, click here.

Responding to Julie Myers and ICE

Julie Myers, assistant director of DHS published an op-ed piece in the Washington Post. in which she defended the agency while describing what she believes as competent care for those in detention. She is saying that ICE needs to be represented with "balanced" views. Of course it is fair to present different sides of the problem. But the Washington Post and the NY Times are not debating the quality of care in DHS detention centers. These newspapers are exposing inhumane treatment of detained immigrants. This is not a debate, it is a exposé of something very detrimental to our society.

My response to Myers' statements:

Myers: ICE did not create the detention or detainee health-care systems but, in fact, inherited the procedures of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Division of Immigration Health Services (DIHS).

Response: Myers appears to be implying that her agency is less responsible for bad medical treatment in detention centers because DHS "inherited the procedures' and detention heath-care systems.

Myers: Psychologists and social workers have managed a daily population of more than 1,350 seriously mentally ill detainees without a single suicide being committed in the past 15 months.

Response: Perhaps none in the past 15 months (that have been reported), but suicide is still a very serious threat to the well-being of detainees. See WP article on suicides in detention.

Myers: [DHS has] national detention standards that are comparable to or surpass industry standards in their commitment to detainee health and comfort.

Response: The WP has a document that highlights actual DHS dollar savings when medical care is denied. This document shows DHS imitating the policies of HMOs, generally known for paying doctors not to treat (the care they don't give), versus the care they do give. Click here for details.

Myers: ICE detention facilities are open to those outside the agency. We routinely conduct tours for members of Congress, representatives from nongovernmental organizations and the media.

Response: from the ACLU: In March, 2008 U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, Jorge Bustamante was denied entrance to New Jersey's Monmouth County Correctional Institution and Texas's Hutto immigration detention center, a converted prison According to ACLU the "U.S. has a history of blocking international experts from access to controversial detention facilities." For the complete ACLU report click here.

Myers: Readers should know that ICE does not tolerate malfeasance or malpractice. Instances of improper behavior will be immediately and vigorously investigated; if necessary, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.

Response: If this is true, then why are there repeated incidents of ICE misrepresenting themselves as police, why are they entering homes without warrants, and verbally abuse people being interrogated (among many other inappropriate behaviors)? See ACLU statement requesting the Senate Judiciary Committee to investigate the DHS.

The Big White Buses

Photo by Spencer Hsu for the Washington Post

Last year I spent many hours talking to DREAMERS - they often mentioned the ominous big white buses from Homeland Security. This image contains buses used to transport detainees from the Postville raid.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Introduction to Congressional Hearing on ICE Raids

Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey introduces a hearing by the Congressional Committee on Education and Labor.

She talks of raids in her district in San Rafael and Novato, in Marin County, California. It appears that the Postville ICE raid provoked today's meeting.

She tells of 4.7 million children in the U.S.that have one parent who is undocumented. Two thirds of these children are U.S. citizens. That over 200 children had parents arrested in Postville Raid, that many of these children are sleeping in St. Bridget Church.

This video is over 8 minutes long, but well worth watching in its entirety.

Congressional Hearing on ICE RAIDS

Elementary school principal Kathryn Gibney testifies about the impact of ICE raids on her students. She tells of parents being arrested while they walk their children to school, ICE agents banging on apartment doors at night saying they are police.

Congressional Hearing by Committee on Education and Labor, May 20, 2008, regarding the impact of ICE raids on communities, families, and children.

400 protest Postville Raid


Hundreds Protest Iowa Immigration Raid

In Waterloo, Iowa, hundreds of people marched on Sunday to protest last week’s immigration raid at the Agriprocessers kosher meatpacking plant. Immigration agents detained nearly 400 immigrant workers in what has been described as the largest single immigration raid in US history. The raid resulted in more than ten percent of the town of Postville, Iowa being locked up. On the day after the raid, half of the school system’s 600 students were absent, including 90 percent of Latino children, because their parents were arrested or in hiding. Many of the workers have been held at a fairgrounds usually used for exhibiting cattle. No charges have been filed against the owners of the meatpacking plant, Agriprocessors.

What U.S. would lose if we sent everyone away


The impact of illegal immigration on the U.S. economy.

8.1 million: illegal immigrants

$1.8 trillion: annual spending, U.S.

$220.7 billion: annual spending, Texas

$652 billion : annual contribution to U.S. GDP

$27 billion or more: * the costs of education, health care and incarceration in six states, including Texas

Sources: The Perryman Group;

The Greater Houston Partnership, Houston's pre-eminent coalition of businesses and corporations commissioned a study that confirms that undocumented immigrants bring huge benefits to the U.S. and Texas economies. The study is showing the liability of undocumented people is in the billions, however their contribution is in the trillions.

Just so you will know the importance of the GHP, here is a little information.

The Great Houston Partnership statement on it's web page:

"If the Greater Houston Partnership were a Fortune 500 company, the $1.92 Trillion in combined annual sales and other receipts of its board of director firms would exceed the Gross Domestic Products of all but the top six nations of the world"

GHP's members and supporters include:


British Petroleum

Center Point Energy





May 19, 2008, 10:40PM
Price put at $1.8 trillion
Study: That's what U.S. would lose if undocumented immigrants vanished

Houston Chronicle


If the 8.1 million undocumented immigrants who cut lawns, bus tables and perform other jobs disappeared overnight, the nation's economy would lose nearly $1.8 trillion in annual spending.

Texas, the second-hardest-hit state after California, would lose 1.2 million undocumented workers and $220.7 billion in expenditures.

These are just some of the findings from a study done by the Perryman Group, a Waco-based economic analysis firm, whose work was commissioned by Americans for Immigration Reform, a group spearheaded by the Greater Houston Partnership.

Houston's business community is trying to revive the politically charged immigration reform debate that has stalled in Congress. It plans to raise $12 million by December to fund a campaign for reform and thus far it says it has raised about 10 percent of that goal in pledges.

The government has recently increased enforcement, with raids at work sites and plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. But getting rid of all undocumented immigrants would hurt, not help the economy, Charles Foster, an immigration attorney and chairman of Americans for Immigration Reform, said Monday.

"If you do that, you would have serious economic upset," Foster said.

He said immigration reform needs to give employers a method of hiring immigrants legally.

"We need comprehensive reform that looks at our needs and addresses those needs," said Ray Perryman, president of the Perryman Group, which examined data for 500 sectors of the economy, Census Bureau surveys and other data to arrive at its conclusions...

for complete Houston Chronicle article click here

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Postville ICE Raid - Why weren't the Postville employers arrested?

The largest immigration raid in U.S. History did not include the arrests of any employers - Is ICE thinking that the only ones guilty are the immigrants? ICE is well aware that the companies generally know the immigration status of their employees - If an employer willingly hires someone with a false social security number, isn't that punishable by law? Why is the rule so stringently enforced for undocumented immigrants but not for their employers who are colluding with this so-called illegal job system?

Those wanting to send donations for Postville families, can send checks to

St. Bridget's Hispanic Ministry
St. Bridget's Church
P.O. Box 369
Postville, IA 52162

for information on donations call St. Bridget's Church
at (563) 864-3138.

Video of Sister Mary McCauley at St. Bridget's discussing the Postville ICE raid


Postville relief workers report families' greatest need is cash
Decorah, Iowa

May 20, 2008

from the Decorah Newspaper

Many Postville families torn apart by last Monday's federal government raid on a Agriprocessors meat packing plant are in dire need of money for rent, utilities, food, and medical bills.

That is the latest report from leaders of volunteer support groups who have rallied to the aid of families now sheltered at St. Bridget's Catholic Church in Postville. As of Friday afternoon, about 300 people, mostly women and children, many of whom are U.S. citizens, remained at the church.

Approximately 390 allegedly undocumented workers at Agriprocessors were arrested during the May 12 raid by agents of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency -- the largest single-site operation in the country.

Workers were transported to a makeshift detention center at the Cattle Congress grounds in Waterloo, and many family members are still without word of the arrested workers. Nearly 40 women have been released with GPS monitoring devices, attached to their ankles. And several minors have also been released with monitoring devices.

"Families are anxious to find their loved ones, and when fear does not keep them away from their own homes, they are accepting collect calls that cost $4.25 for the first minute and $1 for each consecutive minute. Children whose parents were detained are traumatized and dealing with issues of anxiety, grief and separation," explained Sister Mary McCauley of St. Bridget's.

Leaders of the relief effort reported the workers' paychecks have stopped, and their families' greatest need now is cash to pay basic household expenses and medical costs.

Donations may be sent to: St. Bridget's Hispanic Ministry, St. Bridget's Church, P.O. Box 369, Postville, IA 52162. Checks should be made out to St. Bridget's Hispanic Ministry.

Donations of non-perishable food items to the local food pantry are also greatly needed. For information about the types of foods most needed and how to make a donation, call St. Bridget's Church at (563) 864-3138.

"The church and area volunteers plan to continue arranging medical services and legal advice for the families while also trying to provide security and support. The goal is to help family members feel secure enough to begin to think about what lies ahead," McCauley said.