Monday, June 30, 2008

ICE Raid in Maryland- Employers not Fined or Detained

As long as ICE raids continue and  employers are not charged or detained - but undocumented workers are snatched away to God knows what detention center  - Department of Homeland Security will continue to show it's false mission.  These actions belie any claim that DHS and ICE are protecting the security of our country. 

As long as employers are only told "shame on you" and sent home - ICE will continue to look like the bully who terrorizes kids who can't hit back.

-----
Authorities Detain 45 in Immigration Raid at Painting Company
By William Wan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 1, 2008; Page B02

Authorities raided the offices of an Annapolis painting company yesterday and detained 45 suspected illegal immigrants, who officials say were hired and housed by the company in private homes.

The raids, executed simultaneously at the offices of Annapolis Painting Services and 10 private homes that authorities said were owned by the company, were conducted by a force of 75 federal immigration agents and 50 Anne Arundel County police officers.

The immigrants are being held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in Baltimore while their status is reviewed, said Scot Rittenberg, an assistant special agent in charge in Baltimore.

No charges have been filed yet against the owner of the painting company, Robert Bontempo Jr., because the investigation has not been completed, Rittenberg said. But Police Chief James Teare Sr. said Bontempo could face federal felony charges...

for complete WP article click here

Morals and Immigration: Thinking What is Best for the World

Professor Mathias Risse from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government has presented a theory that some people are finding novel - that the U.S. is unfairly restricting immigration.  Salon.com praises Risse for being so bold as to "turn immigration policy on its head" - 
It is good that at least someone besides the pro-immigrant blog sphere is aware of the immorality of how undocumented immigrants are treated in the United States.  With all due respect to Dr. Risse - his words are not new.... what is new is that someone like Risse* - from Harvard - is saying something different - 

Philosopher Michel Foucault wrote that the transfer of information is given much more weight if the speaker is of a higher class, or education, or valued group (like WASPS or professors at Ivy League colleges).
-----

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 14:11 PDT
Salon.com
On the morality of immigration
Some statistics on population density:

... Mathias Risse, a professor of public policy and philosophy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, concludes in "On the Morality of Immigration," published in the March issue of Ethics & International Affairs, that "the United States is severely underusing its chunk of three-dimensional, commonly owned space." From which it follows, argues Risse, that it is unfair for the U.S. to restrict immigration, legal or illegal, across its borders.

This is a perspective one is unlikely to hear espoused by presidential candidates in the U.S., no matter how liberal their views on immigration are. For one thing, it requires that one think about the world as if it was collectively owned by all of humanity, rather than divided into nasty little nation-states dedicated to protecting their most cherished NIMBY values with armed forces, fences and elaborate visa regulations. It is hopelessly utopian to imagine that national politicians would ever make decisions on topics as explosive as immigration policy on the basis of what would be best for the world.

...Risse argues that "as long as a country underuses its resources and refuses to permit more immigration in response, illegal immigration cannot be morally condemned..."


― Andrew Leonard

for link to complete Salon.com article click here


*not a person of color, the son of migrant workers, or an immigrant from a third world country.

Scholarship for BILINGUAL social work students

One of my many goals in life is to become an Social Worker for our Houston community.
This is a great time for all Bilingual individuals and those DREAMers who qualify, to go back to school.

The Hogg Foundation will enhance the opportunity for bilingual people who want to enter the field of Social Work in Texas by providing a scholarship. Remember! Everyone can go to school in Texas, a good friend of mine (DREAMer) attends the Graduate College of Social Work at UH, she received a full scholarship for being bilingual and is almost finished (Amazing reason why Obama should pay more attention to the DREAM Act).

The information below is about the scholarship the Hogg Foundation is providing for bilingual interests.

d-
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hogg Foundation Unveils New Bilingual Scholarship Program for Accredited Social Work Graduate Programs in Texas

The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health has introduced a groundbreaking bilingual scholarship program that will offer up to $1 million to Spanish-speaking students at accredited graduate social work programs in Texas in the next three years.

The new statewide program is the first of its kind in Texas and possibly in the U.S.

"This is a bold, forward-thinking program to encourage linguistic and cultural diversity in higher education and attract more interest in social work as a profession," said Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. The foundation is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.
The demand for bilingual social workers is greater than ever. Studies have shown that populations of color are under-represented in social work and other mental health professions. As a result, these populations are far less likely to receive effective mental health services that meet their cultural and linguistic needs.

In Texas, this is especially true for Latinos, who represent the state's largest ethnic population. Spanish is the second-most common language in Texas and was the primary language spoken at home by 6.2 million people in Texas in 2006, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The bureau also reported in May that the number of Hispanics living in Texas reached 8.6 million, 36 percent of the state's population, in 2007. Texas' Hispanic population was the second largest in the U.S. in 2007 and grew at a faster rate than any other state from 2006 to 2007, with an increase of 308,000 people.

"There simply aren't enough bilingual social workers to serve the growing Spanish-speaking population in Texas," said Dr. King Davis, outgoing executive director of the foundation. "These scholarships will achieve two important goals: raise public awareness of the need to build the state's bilingual mental health workforce, and simultaneously begin to meet that need."
Scholarship recipients must be fluent in Spanish and English and commit to work in Texas after graduation providing mental health services for a period equal to the timeframe of the scholarship.

For the 2008-2009 school year, the foundation is offering up to $22,000 in scholarship funds at each of the 11 Texas graduate social work programs that are accredited or in candidacy for accreditation by the national Council on Social Work Education.
The schools must use the scholarship funds to cover full tuition and fees for recipients. Funds awarded by the foundation each year could vary, depending on the number of students receiving the scholarships at each graduate school.

Eligible schools are Abilene Christian University, Baylor University, Our Lady of the Lake University, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Texas State University, University of Houston, The University of Texas at Arlington, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas-Pan American and The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Interested applicants should contact the schools of their choice directly for information about the scholarship program. Each school will manage its own application and language fluency assessment process and will submit a list of scholarship nominee finalists to the foundation. The foundation will announce the 2008 scholarship recipients in August.

The foundation worked closely with Dr. Ira Colby, professor and dean of the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, to develop the program. Colby began a similar bilingual scholarship program at the college four years ago. The Houston program has been highly successful in increasing the cultural and language diversity of its graduate students. In 2008, the college received 83 applicants for five scholarships.
Contact: Merrell Foote, Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, 512-471-9142, merrell.foote@austin.utexas.edu

Sunday, June 29, 2008

New Horizons in 2009?


by: Las Tres. Amanecer in Albuquerque 2008





I am just waiting for 2009 to come, if the DREAM doesn't happen by then i will be out of here!

I hear this more and more from fellow DREAMers, just waiting on 2009 to come by; we are kind of waiting for something better to come along. Students with one or two degrees are getting burnt out already. They/We are itching to learn, experience, practice... to really live! Many of us feel betrayed by the sentence: "hard work pays off" I don't know how many times I have said this to others and how many times I've heard somebody saying this to me, but it's definitely a sentence that everytime i hear it, i can't help but to grin. As positive as i really am though, i have been telling myself more that if by 2009 nothing happens nothing will ever happen... or was anything ever going to happen?

I mean, by 2009 i should be finally done with school, other things should be settled, and most importantly: new horizons are surely waiting somewhere else, no? It is very hard to describe the feelings going through me right now when i am almost reaching 24 years of age- I mean, it is like this itch to go and see the world, to learn, to hope that there are better things out there waiting to be devoured by our passion and hunger. Many DREAMers are now adults, we are in our mid-20's, we are thinking of other things like: really living our lives! (whatever that fully entails)

Will Obama or McCain bring some sort of resolution in 2009? Not just for DREAMers, what about our parents? Will they also be ‘forgiven’?

I don't know- all i know is that I am not angry anymore. I am done with the questioning of why things are the way they are. I finally understood that there are people in the world in far worse situations than I am. Sure, it takes a big toll in my life and the life of other DREAMers to be in this state of limbo. Some of us have had to drive and struggle to other states just to get an ID, or have a bachelor's and master degree but continue to work in the restaurant kitchen, we have two jobs to make rent on top of classes. Some of us are still writing papers at three in the morning and can't help but to stop and say out loud: "hold on, why am i doing this again?"

What i believe at this point is that CHOICE rests in the power of our hands. We can choose to continue fighting here, for us, our families. On the other hand, we can now look for other alternatives; this is not giving up but understanding that the world does not end in this land of the 'freedom.'

Immigrants and employee abuse: It doesn't just happen in New Orleans:

$17.54 (£8.80) a week is all that Lithuanian immigrant workers are being paid in a UK government project for a hospital. The Guardian (London) found this while doing some investigative reporting.

Alan Ritchie, general secretary of Ucatt (UK's Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians) said: "This case is the worst we have seen. These workers were virtually destitute." - The Guardian


This makes me wonder how much the construction workers building the border fence are getting paid - and if they are immigrants too...

-----

Migrant builder took home £8.80 for a week

· Union wins back pay for Lithuanians on NHS site
· MP to raise regulation issue in Commons

  • The Guardian,
  • Monday June 30, 2008
  • Eastern European migrants working on the construction of a £600m NHS hospital have been taking home as little as £8.80 for a 39-hour week, the Guardian has learned, in what has been described by union bosses as one of the worst instances of employee abuse in the building sector since EU enlargement.

    The group of around 12 men, most of whom are Lithuanian, are construction workers on the government-backed PFI project in Nottinghamshire. Though allegations of abuse of migrants' rights on construction sites are widespread across the country the scale in this instance has shocked unions and politicians.

    Michael Clapham, MP for Barnsley West and Penistone, who is due to raise the matter in parliament today, said: "This happened on a government project where there are good rules and a strong union - who knows what is happening on the hundreds of smaller sites around the UK?"

    According to industry guidelines and an agreement between unions and the building firm Skanska, which is overseeing the project, workers on the site should have been earning more than £7 an hour. But after deductions for rent, tool hire and utility bills, some of the Lithuanian employees were receiving so little observers say it left them virtually destitute.

    Payslips seen by the Guardian show that one man worked a 39-hour week and took home just £8.80 after his entire monthly rent was deducted in one week, in breach of the law. A second worker was paid £79.20 for a 63-hour week and a third worked 70 hours a week for just £66. As they were registered as self-employed they did not receive holiday or sick pay. One man had £228 taken from his pay in one week for tools. The men each had a further £76.80 deducted weekly as their payment to the "construction industry scheme", which technically registers them as self-employed, meaning their employers have no requirement to pay national insurance...

for complete Guardian article click here

ICE vs. "In the best interest of the child"

Photo from Immigrant Child Advocacy Center, for link click here


In another life I was a child welfare worker. One phrase we often heard was "in the best interest of the child" - meaning that the state was obligated to consider the needs of the child first. Apparently the Department of Homeland does not adhere to that type of consideration. Perhaps the children's best interests are not considered because they are immigrants?
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Sunday, June 29, 2008

San Francisco juvenile authorities have been grappling for several years with an influx of young Honduran immigrants dealing crack in the Mission District and Tenderloin. Those who are arrested routinely say they are minors, but police suspect that many are actually adults, living communally in Oakland and other cities at the behest of drug traffickers who claim to be their relatives.

San Francisco juvenile probation officials - citing the city's immigrant sanctuary status - are protecting Honduran youths caught dealing crack cocaine from possible federal deportation and have given some offenders a city-paid flight home with carte blanche to return.

The city's practices recently prompted a federal criminal investigation into whether San Francisco has been systematically circumventing U.S. immigration law, according to officials with knowledge of the matter.

...

Nonetheless, city authorities have typically accepted the suspects' stories and handled the cases in Juvenile Court, where proceedings are often shielded from public scrutiny.

Unorthodox strategy

Barred by state law from sending drug offenders to the California Youth Authority and bound by a 1989 city law defining San Francisco as a sanctuary city for immigrants - meaning officials do not cooperate with federal immigration investigations - juvenile officials settled on an unorthodox strategy.

Rather than have the drug offenders deported, they have recommended that Juvenile Court judges and commissioners approve city-paid flights home to Honduras for the offenders with the aim of reuniting them with their families.

The practice, federal authorities say, does nothing to prevent offenders from coming back, while federal deportation legally bars them from ever returning. Federal officials also say U.S. law prohibits helping an illegal immigrant to cross the border, even if it is to return home.

Federal officials recently detained a San Francisco juvenile probation officer at the Houston airport, where he was accompanying two Honduran juvenile drug offenders about to board a flight to Tegucigalpa.

They questioned him for several hours before letting him go, and seized the youths and deported them...

A recent count showed 22 of the 125 minors in custody at juvenile hall were immigrants and had no legal guardians in the United States, Siffermann said. He said his office is trying to figure out what to do with them now that flights are no longer an option....

E-mail Jaxon Van Derbeken at jvanderbeken@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

for complete SFGate article click here


Truthout.org has also published an article on child detainees, see:

Children Detainees Battle System Alone

The Roots of Xenophobia

If you are interested in learning how the process works when a group of people becomes vilified, read the linked article from the Providence Journal.

Sometimes if you look back far enough you can find links you wouldn't have imagined. The Providence Journal presents an intricate story of how a group in Rhode Island helped move xenophobia to the forefront in their state. The article is long and detailed, but well worth the time to read...

_____

Rhode Island group linked to controversial foes of illegal immigration

01:00 AM EDT on Sunday, June 29, 2008
By Karen Lee Ziner
Providence Journal
Journal Staff Writer

In early 2006, the national Federation for American Immigration Reform sent an emissary to Rhode Island as part of a national grassroots organizing effort against illegal and mass immigration.

“Region by region, FAIR is helping to build a network of grassroots groups dedicated to fighting for immigration reform in their part of the country,” the organization stated on its Web site ( www.fairus.org). New England is emerging as a highly successful battleground, with a growing network of reformers and legislative successes under their belts.”

FAIR credited Sandra Gunn, then the organization’s Eastern field representative, with helping launch a host of such groups in New England.

Gunn came to Pawtucket, one of at least four similar New England stops within a week, at the invitation of William “Terry” Gorman, a 68-year-old retired postal worker and member of FAIR since 1997. Gorman, increasingly frustrated, wanted to organize his own local campaign against illegal immigration.

Gorman and his wife were among the eight people at the organizational meeting on Feb. 28, 2006, of Rhode Islanders for Immigration Law Enforcement. Gunn provided start-up strategy, literature from FAIR and advice to the new members, Gorman said. She kept the press out.

Gorman said the Rhode Island group has grown to 450 members. Gorman’s voice has become prominent in the rancorous local debate over illegal immigration. He lent vocal support to Governor Carcieri’s executive order, issued in March, to curb illegal immigration in Rhode Island. He testified at the State House on numerous immigration-related bills that failed in the General Assembly this year. He frequently speaks on talk radio programs that RIILE deems supportive of its cause.

But Gorman’s and RIILE’s association with FAIR, a controversial national organization that critics deem extremist, has received less attention –– until recently...

for complete Providence Journal article click here

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Obama & McCain comparing their committment to immigration reform

At this point in the U.S. presidential campaign, it is hard to believe what anybody says. Obama has been going back and forth on a number of issues... moving more towards the center. McCain likewise is trying to present several faces at once. Now McCain is thinking immigration is important (again) - McCain was not present for the DREAM ACT vote in October 2007 - was he avoiding the vote or was he really unavailable?

----

US presidential rivals Barack Obama and John McCain have clashed over their commitment to immigration reform.

BBC News
Page last updated at
22:29 GMT, Saturday, 28 June 2008 23:29 UK

Addressing a conference of Hispanic officials in Washington, Mr McCain, the Republican candidate, said the US must secure its borders.

Mr Obama, the Democratic Party candidate, said he admired Mr McCain's attempt last year to get an immigration reform bill approved by Congress.

But he said that Mr McCain had since walked away from that commitment.

Mr McCain was one of the few Republican senators to back President Bush's comprehensive immigration plan which contained an amnesty for some illegal immigrants...

Mr McCain paid his respects to Hispanic-Americans.

"I know this country... would be the poorer were we deprived of the patriotism, industry and decency of those millions of Americans whose families came here from Mexico, Central and South America," he said...

Nation of immigrants'

Appearing later before the same audience, Mr Obama accused Mr McCain of walking away from comprehensive immigration reform.

"When he was running for his party's nomination, he walked away from that commitment. He said he wouldn't even support his own legislation if it came up for a vote," Mr Obama said.

"If we are going to solve the challenges we face, we can't vacillate, we can't shift depending on our politics."

"We must assert our values and reconcile our principles as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. That is a priority I will pursue from my very first day," he [Obama] added.


for link to complete BBC article click here

The Roma Children

link to photo
at a social center for Roma children in North Bohemia



A few weeks ago a close relative lost his wallet on the Paris subway. There was hardly any money in it, and the credit cards were canceled quickly, so it turned out ok.... except for the stress involved.

While walking into the open doors of the subway car, he was blocked by four pre-teen girls. It was a strange scene since he is over 6 ft. tall -- the girls had him pinned. Neither one of us could figure out what was going on. The girls finally let go and suddenly ran out of the subway just before the doors closed. Two men sitting near us told him to check his wallet, and yes, it was gone.

After wandering around for twenty minutes with the bad directions from the subway employees, we finally found an open police station. The officer was sympathetic. He said they were Romanians - and this type of thing was very common in the Paris subway.

We talked to my step-daughter who had lived in Italy - she said, oh yes, they are Roma (Gypsy) children. Losing your wallet on the subway is an epidemic in Italy.

For a few days I thought about posting something on stereotypes and how they get started. I decided against it... my writing about little girls stealing things on the subway wasn't going to help anyone.

Then today, in the London Guardian there is an article about the Italian government wanting all Roma children to be fingerprinted...

The Roma have a very complicated existence. Their history is tragic. The Nazi's imprisoned them and exterminated many. After a thousand years of being on the outside, what can anyone say about four young girls stealing a wallet?
-----

Unicef among critics of Italian plan to fingerprint Roma children
Guardian - London
by Tom Kington

The Italian government's plan to fingerprint Gypsy children was condemned yesterday as a discriminatory "ethnic headcount" that insulted the country's Roma population.

...Silvio Berlusconi's government is introducing a series of measures aimed at reducing crime, for which immigrants are increasingly being blamed - including thousands of Romanian Gypsies who have entered Italy since Romania joined the EU last year....

Amos Luzzatto [A former head of the Union of Jewish Communities in Italy] told [the] La Repubblica. Recalling Italy's fascist past, he added: "Italy is a country that has lost its memory..."

This article appeared in the Guardian on Friday June 27 2008 on p24 of the International section. It was last updated at 00:02 on June 27 2008.


for link to complete Guardian article click here

Friday, June 27, 2008

Countering Misinformation part II

continued:

This is all really about public relations.


If we follow the NYT essay's advice regarding truth and fiction, we would say:

1. Immigrants PAY taxes.

2. Immigrants are law abiding people.

3. Immigrants contribute to the economy.

4. People usually migrate because of economic reasons.

5. Immigrants have more children because they are bringing cultural traditions from their home countries -
which often encourage large families.

6. ICE raids de-stabilize communities.

7. The immigration debate would be very different if employers were also arrested.

8. Most immigrants love the U.S. - and are very patriotic.


Now if you follow these directions, you might see things change:

Repeat these to yourself every day.
If you have a blog, post this information as often as you can (without making your blog look weird).
Tell these truths to everyone you know.
And pray to The Force, God, or any higher being that might be able to help.

Countering Misinformation part I

From the 1960s television program "To Tell the Truth"

link to photo


"by repeating a false rumor, they [you] may inadvertently make it stronger" - NYT

The essay below presents a number of interesting ideas. It reminds me of when I learned that someone I knew (fairly intelligent, white, middle class from the midwest)* still believed there really were WMD's in Iraq years after many of us knew otherwise.

The whole idea about truth, lies, and what we believe is especially pertinent to the immigration debate and the current presidential campaigns.



-----

June 27, 2008
New York Times
Op-Ed Contributor

Your Brain Lies to You

FALSE beliefs are everywhere. Eighteen percent of Americans think the sun revolves around the earth, one poll has found. Thus it seems slightly less egregious that, according to another poll, 10 percent of us think that Senator Barack Obama, a Christian, is instead a Muslim. The Obama campaign has created a Web site to dispel misinformation. But this effort may be more difficult than it seems, thanks to the quirky way in which our brains store memories — and mislead us along the way...

Journalists and campaign workers may think they are acting to counter misinformation by pointing out that it is not true. But by repeating a false rumor, they may inadvertently make it stronger. In its concerted effort to “stop the smears,” the Obama campaign may want to keep this in mind. Rather than emphasize that Mr. Obama is not a Muslim, for instance, it may be more effective to stress that he embraced Christianity as a young man...

Consumers of news, for their part, are prone to selectively accept and remember statements that reinforce beliefs they already hold. In a replication of the study of students’ impressions of evidence about the death penalty, researchers found that even when subjects were given a specific instruction to be objective, they were still inclined to reject evidence that disagreed with their beliefs..

Sam Wang, an associate professor of molecular biology and neuroscience at Princeton, and Sandra Aamodt, a former editor in chief of Nature Neuroscience, are the authors of “Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life.”


for complete NYT opinion piece click here



*Being fairly intelligent, white, middle class, and from the midwest does not automatically mean you should know it all. The reason I mention this is that many Americans assume a person with these demographic qualifications would know better.

The hope of non-citizen soldiers

link to photo


Kendall Frederick from Randallstown, Maryland



How many young people have joined the U.S. Military so they could obtain U.S. citizenship? How many of these have been killed in Iraq?

The chunks of money given to recruits, plus the lure of citizenship lead many immigrants to the military. They have to be aware of the price as they see growing list of their comrades who have died.
-----

Md. mom uses son's Iraq death to help change law


By CHRISSIE THOMPSON
Washington Post
The Associated Press
Friday, June 27, 2008; 4:12 AM

RANDALLSTOWN, Md. -- U.S. Army Spc. Kendell Frederick lost his life while trying to become a citizen of the country he was fighting for. Now, his mother hopes a bill President Bush signed into law Thursday will make sure no other soldier dies the way her son did.

Frederick, a native of Trinidad who moved to the U.S. in 1999, was killed in Iraq in October 2005 when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb. He was only in the convoy because he had to go to another base to get a duplicate set of fingerprints made for his U.S. citizenship application.

for complete article click here

More on Gabriela Pacheco: the ankle bracelet monitor

'"Ms. Gaby Pacheco's past statements had no effect on ICE's decision to begin removal proceedings against the other members of the Pacheco family, nor the decision to supervise them," ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez said in an e-mail Friday. Immigration activist says family being punished' - Fox News

-----

Immigrant Activist says family being punished

MIAMI (AP) -- An Ecuadorean college student who alleges her relatives were targeted for deportation because of her immigration activism said Friday they are again being punished by being placed into an expanded house arrest program.

Gabriela Pacheco's father and sister [who is seven months pregnant] were ordered to wear ankle bracelets to monitor their movements. Under the monitoring program, immigration authorities are alerted if individuals leave their homes for unauthorized reasons...

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said they decided to implement the monitoring program this week for the Pachecos to ensure their compliance after a "thorough review" of the case.

"Ms. Gaby Pacheco's past statements had no effect on ICE's decision to begin removal proceedings against the other members of the Pacheco family, nor the decision to supervise them," ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez said in an e-mail Friday...

...more than 1,000 other individuals in South Florida also participate in the monitoring program....

The case is on appeal as the family awaits a judge's final order. The next hearing is set for Sept. 16.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

for link to complete AP article click here

thanks to A.P. for sending this along

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pacheco Family Under the Lens

Some more updates from Gaby Pacheco:

Although Gaby's family is still undergoing the bracelet program, her pregnant sister Erika was allowed to undergo a different type of surveillance program that is yet to be determined.

More help is needed from people out there.

This is a message that Gaby and friends sent earlier today where a sample letter and contact info is attached if you wish to help out:

Sample Letter:

Dear Congressman,

First and foremost, I would like to acknowledge and honor you for your continuous support of DREAM Act efforts in the past couple of years and especially your role as a beacon of leadership for immigrant students throughout south Florida. Thousands of us have heard of and have been anxiously following the many initiatives you have taken on behalf of our human rights and our rights as committed students to have equal access to education. I commend you and assure you that these efforts have never gone unnoticed.
But I come to you today because of a sudden and extremely urgent matter. Perhaps you are familiar with the name Gabriela Pacheco. Since the age of 15, Gaby has been a passionate advocate for the rights of immigrants and DREAM students nationwide. She was the SGA president of Miami Dade College, and the FJCCSGA (Florida Juior Community Colleges Student Government Association) President for 2005-2006. During this time, she toured the country representing 1.1 million students in the state of Florida and fighting for their rights.
It is this activism and fervor that has brought ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to target her family –specifically telling them that they would be deported because their daughter was too outspoken.
Gaby just fights for what is right and just in this world… and as one of the core leaders of the organization SWER (Students Working for Equal Rights) she has forged alliances with the Florida Immigrant Coalition and student-led coalitions nationwide that are here to support her and fight for her as she has fought for us.
Today, ICE has announced that they plan on putting Gaby’s whole family under the ISAP (Intensive Supervision Appearance Program) which would place ankle bracelets on each individual in the family and would force them to remain within a designated perimeter of their house. They would also have to check in to an ISAP office one hour away from their house 12 times a month. This is an outrageous and unnecessary burden, particularly for Gaby’s sister, Erika, who is 7 months pregnant.
At SWER, we fear for the spirit and morale of this loving family, we fear for the health and well-being of the baby, and we fear what these situations signify for the rest of us as immigrant right’s activists. I write to you on behalf of this organization of youth leaders to plea that you respond to the struggle of this family and that you contact Michael Rosos of ICE to keep them out of the ISAP program.
I appreciate the time you have taken to read this and will hope that you take my words to heart.


Juan Rodriguez
Core Leader of Students Working for Equal Rights



Contact Lincoln Diaz Balart:
http://diaz-balart.house.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Offices.Contact

and your local congressman as well:
http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/cgi-bin/newseek.cgi?site=ctc&state=fl


Office of Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25th)


THE REST OF GABY'S FAMILY STILL NEEDS HELP! We have to continue pressuring the legislators from our district to contact Michael Rosos and take the rest of the family off of ISAP.

LAPD - don't ask don't tell on immigration status

In contrast to what is happening throughout the country (esp. in Virginia) a judge in California upheld a 1979 law that states officers "do not ask about immigration status while interviewing victims, witnesses and suspects, and do not arrest people based on immigration status."

-----


LAPD won't ask about immigration status

Thursday, June 26, 2008

LA Times

(06-26) 04:51 PDT LOS ANGELES (AP) --

A California judge blocked a lawsuit that sought to enlist Los Angeles police officers in weeding out illegal immigrants.

Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu on Wednesday rejected arguments that the city's policy — under which most suspects are not asked about their immigration status — conflicted with federal and state law.

Los Angeles police work in communities with large numbers of illegal immigrants, and generally don't inquire about immigration status because it could discourage undocumented people from helping officers and reporting crimes...

Under a 1979 order formally known as Special Order 40, LAPD officers do not ask about immigration status while interviewing victims, witnesses and suspects, and do not arrest people based on immigration status...


for complete article click here

150 ICE agents: part IV

The Big Snare



Here is a video from Fox about the Action Rag raid.

Today, the Houston Chronicle's headline on the raid used the word "snare." What do you snare? Armadillos? rabbits? mice? I have never heard of anyone "snaring" people.

80 people were present for the protest scheduled today at the Leeland Federal Building in Houston.

HB 1 Visas - throwing away talent

George Will, you might consider the thousands of DREAMERS who have majored in Engineering. They are also hitting the wall against talent.
---


Building a Wall Against Talent



By George F. Will
New York Times
Thursday, June 26, 2008; Page A19

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Fifty years ago, Jack Kilby, who grew up in Great Bend, Kan., took the electrical engineering knowledge he acquired as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois and as a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin to Dallas, to Texas Instruments, where he helped invent the modern world as we routinely experience and manipulate it. Working with improvised equipment, he created the first electronic circuit in which all the components fit on a single piece of semiconductor material half the size of a paper clip...

The semiconductor industry's problem is entangled with a subject about which the loquacious presidential candidates are reluctant to talk -- immigration, specifically that of highly educated people. Concerning whom, U.S. policy should be: A nation cannot have too many such people, so send us your PhDs yearning to be free.

Instead, U.S. policy is: As soon as U.S. institutions of higher education have awarded you a PhD, equipping you to add vast value to the economy, get out. Go home. Or to Europe, which is responding to America's folly with "blue cards" to expedite acceptance of the immigrants America is spurning...



for link to complete NYT article click here

A friends' life in FEAR...

...with all these details how can anyone live a normal life. Gaby is a great person, a leader, I met her at a conference in Kansas City early last year. I last saw her Washington, DC at a March and Rally in Defence of Family Unification and a Mock Graduation in mid-June. Unfortunately, Gaby and her family became ICE preys and are now facing unjust procedures like many other families and individuals. Her description below breaks my heart.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Immigration is Criminalizing my Family!
Yesterday at 10:46am

Friends, I need your help!

Yesterday, after leaving immigration court, the trial attorney gave an ICE official dress in civilian clothes my family's four Alien numbers. When we heard her giving the numbers to him we knew there was something wrong!

Four ICE agents came towards us and said "where is Mr. Pacheco?" I asked the ICE agent why he was asking and he said they were going to put him on the ISAP program. I asked him why and told him my family was already on supervised release they have gone to every single appointment, they have never arrived late.

Our lawyers also spoke out and the ICE agents even asked them what Supervise Release was. They took my family in for 30 minutes to a room on the second floor of the 333 South Miami Drive building and then released them with stamp sign papers (Michael Rozos) saying they had to come back to the ISAP office in North Miami on Friday June 28, 2008 at 8:00 AM)

We went to Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Ballart's office yesterday after living the immigration court building to ask for support. We are a good moral character family as the immigration court judge said yesterday. Even though my sister Erika is 7 months pregnant, she is also being put in this program. This program is extremely detrimental to her health and the health of her baby. I fear what is going to happen to the moral of my family and what is going to happen to my sister. My mother cried the entire day yesterday.

We are asking the Diaz-Ballarts to please call Michael Rozos and ask him to take my family out of this program. Please help us in asking our congressmen to make that call and put pressure on Michael Rozos for him to do the right thing.

Let me tell you a little bit about the ISAP program. Please note that everything that is in quotations comes word for word from the ISAP handbook.

ISAP stands for "Intensive Supervision Appearance Program"ISAP services are delivered by BI Incorporated.

BI stands for Behavioral Interventions.The first page of the booklet says Welcome to ISAP as if this is such a wonderful thing to be part of.It states "You have been assigned to the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP) as an alternative to detention. BI Incorporated has contracted with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to operate the ISAP program." ISAP is a community-based supervision program that will help you:

*Appear at your Immigration court hearings.
*Comply with immigration court requirements
*Follow your orders of supervision

WE HAVE APPEARED IN COURT THREE TIMES WITH NO PROBLEMS, WE HAVE COMPLIED WITH IMMIGRATION COURT REQUIREMENTS, AND WE HAVE FOLLOWED ALL THE ORDERS OF SUPERVISION!

ISAP has three phase- Intensive, Intermediate, and Regular.

Intensive Phase.
"During this time, you must meet with your Case Specialist at the ISAP office 12 times per month. Each month, your Specialist will make unscheduled visit(s) to your home, and will contact your employer (if you are allowed to work). During this time, you will be monitored with an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet and/or random phone calls. "

In this phase you also have curfews, schedules, meet employment and residence requirement.
The time spent in the phase is at least 30 days.

"Service Plan-Authorized schedule-Your Case Specialist will work with you to establish a schedule that includes Court hearing, and meetings with legal services, ISAP staff, your guarantor, and community resources, etc. Your schedule may also include work hours (if you are allowed to work and have a job), guarantors meetings, doctors appointment, etc. Your must follow this schedule. Your DHS officer may also require that your case specialist use electronic monitoring to check if you are following your schedule.

"Procedures-Home Visits- Your Case Specialist will make unscheduled visits to your home. You must allow the Case Specialist to enter your home when he or she makes these visits. You must have your D card available for scanning.

Electronic Monitoring-
If your supervision includes electronic monitoring, your case Specialist will attach a transmitter around your ankle and give you a receiver to take home.Never remove your transmitter or tamper with it. You are required to wear it all the time, even in the shower and at night in bed. When you do not have to wear it anymore, your case specialist will remove it.

Always answer your phone after two rings.
The receiver has a red light (phone indicator) that flashes when it needs to use the phone. If you see the light flashing when you are on the phone, finish your conversation immediately and hang up.When the red light stays on, the receiver is using the phone, so do not pick up the phone. Wait until ten minutes after the light has gone off before you use the telephone.

THANK YOU!

Gaby

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

150 ICE agents, part III













link to photo

Today's ICE raid happened in my backyard - well not literally, but not far from my house. When it starts getting this close, a person begins to feel uncomfortable. It doesn't matter if you have your "papers" or you are an American born citizen. It's just the whole idea of 150 (maybe as many as 200) guys with guns running around handcuffing people (including 10 pregnant women) in my neighborhood.

A Houston Chronicle update after 7 pm said that there are still a large number of ICE vehicles surrounding the plant. Supposedly they are looking for people who are hiding. One woman who hid fell down 20 feet and was seriously injured.

From the videos I have seen of ICE raids I would imagine there was lots of screaming and crying - (the ICE agents screaming, the workers crying).

There is no way to express my disgust and anger towards these raids (and the people who plan and carry them out). They are clearly reminiscent of Germany in World War II, or maybe Argentina in the 70s, or the former Soviet Union. Why in the world would a government that treasures democracy want to hunt down people who truly are the most vulnerable in it's community? There is no way to detain the millions of undocumented people in the U.S. ICE knows this. The purpose of the raids is specifically to cause terror, to make people afraid. Maybe Chertoff or Myers are thinking that if the people are sufficiently terrorized they will leave the U.S., or stop sending their kids to school, or work for even lower wages.

It is ironic that a nation that is so obsessed with the threat of terrorism - has more than 12 millions of its residents terrorized.*




*whether authorized or not, undocumented immigrants are considered residents of the U.S. A protest is scheduled at 10 am on Thursday, June 26 at the Leeland Federal Building in downtown Houston.

One Minute-Man Less












Jim Gilchrist on the right
link to photo


A couple of summers ago I went to a congressional hearing on immigration here in Houston.  The newspaper called the hearing a dog and pony show.

Sitting next to me was a man in his late 50's or early 60's.   I noticed that he kept moving towards me.  It didn't appear that he was doing this because he liked me.  Maybe I was imagining but it seems like anger and dislike emoted from his body.   By the end of the hearing I was pushed aside so much, if I would have been at the end of the bench I would have fallen off. 

Although I'm not sure, I think it could have been Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minute Man Movement.  Even if it wasn't - it was certainly on of Gilchrist's sympathizers.

Who would have ever thought that Gilchrist would actually regret what he had done with the Minute Men.  I guess this shows there is always hope.

---

Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Minutemen leader laments path of anti-illegal immigration groups
Founder of Minuteman Project said he worries about people instigating violence in connection with his group's name.
By AMY TAXIN
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER


When Jim Gilchrist headed to the U.S.-Mexico border three years ago to press for tougher immigration enforcement, he carried binoculars.

Today, Gilchrist is worried that a few self-proclaimed patriots might be carrying a gun.

After seeing online videos that encouraged border violence amid calls to crack down on illegal immigration, the 59-year-old Aliso Viejo resident said he feels responsible for what started out as a publicity campaign and has since fallen prey to internal divisions and to influence by people he believed had "Saddam Hussein mentalities."

"In retrospect, had I seen this, had I had a crystal ball to see what is going to happen… Am I happy? No," Gilchrist said in a phone conversation late last week. "Am I happy at the outcome of this whole movement? I am very, very sad, very disappointed..."

Sometimes, Gilchrist said he thinks about leaving the debate over illegal immigration and taking on a new issue like urban blight or tax reform. For now, he said he will continue to lobby for more border patrol agents but not from a perch on the border, watching for people trying to cross.

"I have found, after four years in this movement (…) I very well may have been fighting for people with less character and less integrity than the 'open border fanatics' I have been fighting against," he said. "And that is a phenomenal indictment of something I have created."


Contact the writer Amy Taxin: 714-796-7722 or ataxin@ocregister.com



for link to complete article click here
thanks to A.P. for sending this along

150 ICE agents, part I

This is Part I of a Houston Chronicle article about a raid in Houston's East End

----

June 25, 2008, 12:25PM
East Houston workers detained in ICE raid

Federal immigration agents have detained at least 170 workers at an east Houston plant as they conduct a major raid to investigate allegations that the company is employing illegal immigrants.

The raid, involving 150 to 200 agents, was launched about 7 a.m. at Action Rags U.S.A, 1225 Port Houston, just north of the Houston Ship Channel.

Officials would not specify the information that led them to plan the raid, which is at least the second major immigration enforcement action in Houston in recent months.

Federal agents swarmed the Shipley Do-Nuts headquarters in north Houston on April 16, detaining 20 workers who they said were illegal immigrants.

The sign at Action Rags includes the phrase ropa usada, Spanish for "used clothing." A number of companies in Houston buy and sell used clothing, much of which is cut up for use as industrial rags.

The agents are questioning workers to determine their immigration status, said Bob Rutt, special agent in charge of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement criminal office in Houston.

Of the detained workers, 60-70 percent are women, Rutt said.

ICE officials have released 16 employees so far. ``One was a U.S. citizen and another 15 were here in status and are legally authorized to work," Rutt said.

Ten female workers who are pregnant were detained. ``We are processing them here for humanitarian purposes and will release them here under an order to report to an immigration court,'' Rutt said.

He said that four employees were transported from the facility for medical treatrment, including a woman transported by helicopter to a local hospital after she fell 20 feet off a stack of wooden pallets in which she was hiding.

"Right now, we're still trying to secure the interior because we found several individuals trying to locate hiding spaces inside," said Greg Palmore, spokesman for ICE in Houston.

A plant supervisor who would not provide her name said the company employed 240 people at the site.

Rutt said no member of the company's management has been arrested...


for link to article click here

150 ICE agents, part II

This is Part II of a Houston Chronicle article about a raid in Houston's East End

-----

June 25, 2008, 12:25PM
East Houston workers detained in ICE raid


Scores of ICE vehicles are parked at various spots at the plant, as numerous agents in body armor can be seen talking with workers and walking around the site.

At 9:45 a.m. an ICE helicopter was flying over the plant to check if any employees were hiding on the roof.

Workers at an adjoining plant have gathered in a nearby lot and along railroad tracks to watch the events.

Houston police are providing perimeter security for the federal action.

Calls to Action Rags were not answered this morning. Action Rags U.S.A.'s Web site describes the company as a leading grader and exporter of used clothing. ``We specialize in selling used clothes to worldwide markets including Africa, South America, India and Pakistan,'' according to the Web site.

Dozens of family members gathered on the street outside the plant entrance at Port Houston near Tilgham. Many of them rushed to the facility after employees called them on their cell phones during the raid.

Bernardo Olvera came to ask about his sister, Juana Maria Olvera, who he said was working in the plant and is in this country illegally.

"She doesn't have any papers to work there," Olvera said. "I'd like to talk to her to see if she could give me the keys to her husband's car.

"This is bad, what they do," he said. "But what can you do? The people here are just working. They're not doing anything wrong. These women are hard workers; they're not criminals."

Another relative of a worker said most of the plant's employees are women.


james.pinkerton@chron.com

for link to article click here

A view of "Underground America"












---
Breaking the silence

A new project led by Dave Eggers is documenting the stories of people whose voices usually go unheard, finds Ruth Gidley

Wednesday June 25, 2008
The Guardian - London

History doesn't have to be told by the victor. Sometime the best accounts come from the mouths of ordinary people who've been at the sharp end of extraordinary events.

Like the undocumented Latino workers who did 25% of the reconstruction work after Hurricane Katrina hit the US Gulf Coast in August 2005, only to find the authorities turn their back on them afterwards.

Polo, a 23-year-old Mexican, worked seven days a week clearing up after Katrina, sleeping in a guarded air hangar, then was told at gunpoint to leave by soldiers who said his employers had left town without paying him.

"My idea was to get to Mississippi, to start working, and to earn money to send to my family," Polo says in a new collection of interviews with undocumented workers in the United States. "I couldn't imagine this kind of humiliation."

Underground America is the latest in an oral history series published by the San-Francisco-based Voice of Witness project, started by author Dave Eggers.

"(This) is not a compendium of suffering. This is a collection of voices," insists editor Peter Orner, who's an asylum lawyer and a fiction writer.

The book focuses on undocumented workers from all around the world trying to make it in the United States - most of them separated from their families for years on end. Many suffer violence and injuries or end up doing forced labour, but few complain or seek medical attention because of the constant fear of deportation...
Polo's story represents thousands of others. Some 100,000 Latino workers relocated to the Gulf Coast after Katrina, and one in three of the undocumented reconstruction workers reported trouble getting paid for their work, according to a study by the Human Rights Centre at the University of California, Berkeley.

A month after the disaster - one of the worst in American history - US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it sent 725 officers to the Gulf to detain and remove undocumented workers...

for link to complete article click here

Narratives about Detention in the U.K.

--
Painful experiences take centre stage


by Alison Benjamin
The Guardian - London
June 25, 2008

Asfin Azizian stares at you from the screen. Standing in his kitchen in north London, the former professional footballer from Iran nervously relays his story of detention, destitution and attempted suicide. However, his 13-year ordeal was not at the hands of Tehran's secret police, but the result of the British immigration service.

Azizian's painful experience is one of many horrific tales of asylum seekers' struggle and survival on the streets of Britain that will unfold on the stage of Southwark Playhouse, London, next month in a play combining film, live action and audience participation.

Devised and directed by Topher Campbell, artistic director of theatre company Red Room, Unstated aims to expose the dehumanising treatment meted out to some of society's most vulnerable people and its impact on both them and us.

"These people become stateless," Campbell explains. "We wanted to tell their stories in the UK, where their rights have been removed. While the government is debating whether to lock up terror suspects for 42 days, asylum seekers are being locked up in detention centres for two years. Britain is home to just 3% of refugees worldwide, yet the tabloid view is that we are being overrun..."

for link to video click here

for  link to complete Guardian article click here


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Do you know the location of the U.S. - Canadian border?

This article is already 3 years old, but it made me laugh so much I just had to post it.


---

Volunteers get cold reception in Vermont

They run into protest and walk through wild to watch Canada border

NEWPORT, Vt. -- It's hard to save the United States from illegal immigrants when you can't find the border.

At noon yesterday, some volunteers in the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps were in this bucolic town in northern Vermont, trying to do both.

Eleven members of this citizens group had come to the Vermont-Canada border to patrol for illegal immigrants. They had intended to station themselves in Derby Line, a quaint village that straddles the border.

But these Minutemen were forced out of town by a larger crowd of protesters, who denounced their opposition to illegal immigration as a front for racism.

So the volunteers set off to watch a stretch of border on a bike path that runs along Lake Memphremagog.

Only they got lost.

Some of the men stood at a break in the path, which is crossed by the Canadian border close to where they stood. But the group's leader, Bob Casimiro of Weymouth, Mass., was not sure which way to send them.

He pointed down the path toward a footbridge. The Minutemen started walking.

''Stay within sight," he told them. Within minutes, they were out of sight.

The Minutemen were formed in Arizona by ordinary citizens who believe that the federal government is not doing enough to secure the country's borders. In April, they stationed themselves along the southwest border with Mexico, armed with binoculars and cellphones.

They alerted border patrol officers whenever they saw people crossing illegally into the United States, hoping to deter others from trying.

Last month, they announced they would start patrolling the border with Canada.

Border patrol officers are careful not to criticize the Minutemen directly. But they do point out that the officers are best qualified to watch the border.

Others were more openly critical this week. Yesterday, about 40 men and women stood in the pouring rain on the village common in Derby Line to protest the arrival of the Minutemen in town.

''They are outsiders, and we don't want them here," said David Van Deusen of Moretown, Vt., who helped to organize the protest. ''We don't want their racist policies in Vermont..."

.....

Back on the bike path, the three Minutemen trudged on in the rain. Finally, they knocked on Amy Audet's door to ask directions.

The border, she told them, was in the opposite direction.

Yvonne Abraham can be reached at abraham@globe.com.

for link to complete Boston Globe article click here


thanks to M.H. for letting us know about this article

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hatred towards immigrants is not just in the U.S.




detail of book cover from a novel by Randa Abdel-Fattah
link to photo





A few months ago I took a trip with a number of African immigrants living in Spain. We spent three days talking about everything. One conversation that came up frequently was about religion. They kept talking to me about how they were Protestant. One person told me he regularly listened to a radio show featuring by a Texas preacher. Several stated very clearly that they were not Muslim. I didn't think it through at the time. I just thought they were talking about American religions - it was not discussed with any passion.

Now I understand.

They were telling me this to be safe.

The avoidance is everywhere. Obama's campaign wants to make sure no women with head scarfs turn up in the video of his speeches. A major advertising company changes a photo shoot because the pattern on the model's scarf looks like the one Yasser Arafat used.

The west is afraid, and the fear is localized in the image of the Muslim. It would be wise for us to try to understand the complex nature of our fear - it's not about Muslims - its about our own capability for violence against fellow man (or woman). Both Europeans and Americans need to learn more about their nation's histories. Maybe this is happening because we haven't learned from out mistakes.


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June 22, 2008
The Way We Live Now
New York Times

The New Pariahs?

No country is wholly free of anti-immigrant prejudice, whether it is the United States, where illegal immigration was a hot-button issue in the Republican primaries, or post-apartheid South Africa, where economic migrants were recently burned to death. But in many Western European countries today, something new and insidious seems to be happening. The familiar old arguments against immigrants — that they are criminals, that their culture makes them a bad fit, that they take jobs from natives — are mutating into an anti-Islamic bias that is becoming institutionalized in the continent’s otherwise ordinary politics.

... In Belgium, the Vlaams Belang deploys a clever variation, publicly praising Jews and seeking their support against Muslims, whom it tellingly describes as “the main enemy of the moment.” Meanwhile, the Dutch politician Geert Wilders calls Islam “the ideology of a retarded culture.”

Even Britain, which has afforded Muslims a more welcoming environment, has had some worrying moments. A few years back, a Labor M.P. called for an end to “the tradition of first-cousin marriages” among Pakistanis and other South Asians in Britain. The basis for her suggestion was the claim that Pakistanis in Britain were more likely than the general population to suffer from recessive autosomal genetic disorders. Of course, so are Ashkenazi Jews, but you can hardly imagine an M.P. proposing to limit Jews’ marriage choices for this reason, especially given the historic Nazi allegation of Jewish genetic inferiority.

What is so striking about these forms of prejudice, which go beyond ordinary anti-immigrant feeling, is that they are taking root in otherwise enlightened, progressive states — states where the memory of the Holocaust has often led to the adoption of laws against anti-Semitism and racism. The reasons, therefore, must surely go beyond economic or cultural insecurity...

...Generalized anti-immigrant feeling, they suggest, has come to rest on Muslims simply because they are increasingly visible. In France, the specter of the “Polish plumber” undercutting French workmen’s wages played a role in recent votes, suggesting the possibility of an equal-opportunity bias. But hostility to Eastern European migrants, though real enough, still does not run as deep as corresponding hostility to Muslims.

...Muslim immigrants are depicted in European political rhetoric as not merely backward but also illiberal, contradicting Europe’s now-prevalent commitment to tolerance of homosexuality and sex out of wedlock. At the same time, Muslims are thought to be forcing their children to maintain practices like the head scarf, which is banned in many French schools...

for link to complete NYT Magazine article click here


Learn about death in detention

Citizen Orange has posted a video by Breakthrough that gives details about immigrants dying in ICE detention centers. For link to page with video click here

from Love America blog:

After a fellow detainee died under mysterious circumstances, which were covered up by detention facility authorities, Ahmad says he was threatened with lines like “We don’t want you to tell or speak to anyone about this” and “We have cameras and people [detainees] who are watching you, monitoring you.” Though Ahmad was released, he is still in deportation proceedings.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

ACLU questions Loudon County's agreement with ICE

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Washington Post

June 21, 2008

Immigration Program Scrutinized

The American Civil Liberties Union raised concerns yesterday about an agreement that the Loudoun County sheriff has made with federal authorities to check the immigration status of all people arrested in the county who are suspected of being in the United States illegally.

The ACLU's Virginia chapter said it filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the sheriff's office, asking for records pertaining to the program.

On Tuesday, Sheriff Stephen O. Simpson (I) announced that he had reached agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to participate in the program, which ultimately seeks to deport illegal immigrants convicted of serious felonies.

Simpson said his deputies will not check suspects based solely on their ethnicity.

The ICE program, also used in Prince William County, Manassas, Manassas Park and Herndon, will begin in Loudoun this summer, Simpson said.

-- Bill Brubaker

for link to WP article click here

Fairness & dignity don't depend on your citizenship


link to photo


A reminder of immigrant deaths on the job comes up again. See dreamacttexas post "And it's dangerous" from June 18, 2008.
---
June 21, 2008
NewYork Times
National Briefing | Southwest

Texas: Deal Over Worker’s Death

Five years after an immigrant worker was pulled into a food processor and killed, the Texas food company where he worked agreed to a settlement to improve safety conditions for workers across the state. The company, Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods Inc., a frozen food manufacturer near Austin, will create a council of concerned businesses to address workers’ safety. It will also donate $375,000 to four nonprofit organizations that educate immigrants on their rights. The family-owned company had faced possible criminal charges in the death of the worker, Daniel Romero-Cruz, 34, of Mexico. “This is a modern-day reminder of the most basic ancient constitutional principle that fairness and dignity does not depend on your citizenship,” said District Attorney Ronnie Earle of Travis County, who worked out the agreement.


for link to NYT article click here