Thursday, July 31, 2008

Terrorism and Your Laptop

Whether you are addicted to Worlds of Warcraft, or are writing a book - the new statement by DHS that laptops may be confiscated while entering the United States is truly terrifying.

They have been confiscating laptops and cell phones of U.S. citizens, even though they admit there is not necessarily any room for suspicion. DHS was taken to court, but a judge in San Francisco ruled that it was ok to take into custody electronic devices without a reason for suspicion.

This announcement, along with the increasing numbers of immigrants being detained and deported, tells us that our government no longer believes in a civil society. While Michael Chertoff is saying that electronic devices are dangerous because they might contain terrorist material -- he does not realize that it is not the populace that is dangerous, but Chertoff himself and his army of minions.

Five months and twenty days until the new administration. Let's hope that our incoming president will cut our country loose from this fascist stranglehold.

In the meantime, if you are traveling out of the country, you might consider not taking your laptop, or if you do, back up everything before you leave home.

Travelers' Laptops May be Detained At Border
No Suspicion Required Under DHS Policies

by Ellen Nakashima

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 1, 2008; Page A01

Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed.

Also, officials may share copies of the laptop's contents with other agencies and private entities for language translation, data decryption or other reasons, according to the policies, dated July 16 and issued by two DHS agencies, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"The policies . . . are truly alarming," said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), who is probing the government's border search practices. He said he intends to introduce legislation soon that would require reasonable suspicion for border searches, as well as prohibit profiling on race, religion or national origin.

DHS officials said that the newly disclosed policies -- which apply to anyone entering the country, including U.S. citizens -- are reasonable and necessary to prevent terrorism. Officials said such procedures have long been in place but were disclosed last month because of public interest in the matter.

Civil liberties and business travel groups have pressed the government to disclose its procedures as an increasing number of international travelers have reported that their laptops, cellphones and other digital devices have been taken -- for months, in at least one case -- and their contents examined.

The policies state that officers may "detain" laptops "for a reasonable period of time" to "review and analyze information." This may take place "absent individualized suspicion."

The policies cover "any device capable of storing information in digital or analog form," including hard drives, flash drives, cell phones, iPods, pagers, beepers, and video and audio tapes. They also cover "all papers and other written documentation," including books, pamphlets and "written materials commonly referred to as 'pocket trash' or 'pocket litter.' "

Reasonable measures must be taken to protect business information and attorney-client privileged material, the policies say, but there is no specific mention of the handling of personal data such as medical and financial records.

When a review is completed and no probable cause exists to keep the information, any copies of the data must be destroyed. Copies sent to non-federal entities must be returned to DHS. But the documents specify that there is no limitation on authorities keeping written notes or reports about the materials.

"They're saying they can rifle through all the information in a traveler's laptop without having a smidgen of evidence that the traveler is breaking the law," said Greg Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology. Notably, he said, the policies "don't establish any criteria for whose computer can be searched."

Customs Deputy Commissioner Jayson P. Ahern said the efforts "do not infringe on Americans' privacy." In a statement submitted to Feingold for a June hearing on the issue, he noted that the executive branch has long had "plenary authority to conduct routine searches and seizures at the border without probable cause or a warrant" to prevent drugs and other contraband from entering the country.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff wrote in an opinion piece published last month in USA Today that "the most dangerous contraband is often contained in laptop computers or other electronic devices." Searches have uncovered "violent jihadist materials" as well as images of child pornography, he wrote.

With about 400 million travelers entering the country each year, "as a practical matter, travelers only go to secondary [for a more thorough examination] when there is some level of suspicion," Chertoff wrote. "Yet legislation locking in a particular standard for searches would have a dangerous, chilling effect as officers' often split-second assessments are second-guessed."

In April, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the government's power to conduct searches of an international traveler's laptop without suspicion of wrongdoing...

For link to U.S. Customs policy regarding laptops and other electronic equipment click here

for a link to this WP article, click here

link to photo

U.S. Involvement in Mexico's Drug War

Al Jazeera- English has produced a video on the U.S. relation to the Mexican drug war. WARNING - this video includes graphic images of violence and death.

Democracy Now focused on this video on its July 30th show

click here for link to program

The video states that the U.S. is not only providing money, but also training in techniques of torture.

see dreamacttexas' related posts:

Confronting the Bully in Phoenix

Although George Gascon the Chief of Police of Mesa, AZ does not mention the name of Arpaio - he is speaking directly about the Maricopa County Sheriff and his brutal tactics concerning immigration.

Arpaio has grabbed the attention of those who hate immigrants and those who love immigrants. He is a great icon for the immigration debate. He is surely enjoying his celebrity status - and undoubtedly plans to do whatever he can to continue grabbing the attention of the media.

Unfortunately, gaining attention via the persecution of a group of people that don't have many rights to start with (i.e. Lou Dobbs style) is not a respectable way of becoming famous.

In the essay below, Chief Gascon is right about police not being able to do their job if they are also immigration enforcers. The police officer/immigration enforcer will only need to drive through a Latino neighborhood to cause terror in all who see him. Most of these people who he encounters would be American citizens, but it doesn't look like citizenship is important to the police turned ICE guys - they have their run-down on how an undocumented person should look - guilty until proven innocent - which is hard to contradict in a system so arbitrary.   At this point the police would totally transform into ICE guys - cold heart and all.

If this trend continues I recommend for all people with brown or swarthy skin carry their passports at all time. I do not just mean Latinos who are brown skinned (believe it or not, there are lots of us who look white).

In this case the following groups of people would be suspect to police/ICE guys:

1. If your father was born in Naples, Italy
2. If your grandmother was from Lebanon
3. If a couple of people in your ancestry were native American
4. If you are a Sephardic Jew
5. If you are a Jew with dark hair and tan easily
6. If you have dark brown eyes and dark brown hair
7. If you were born in Greece
8.  If you have brown skin and you are wearing your old shorts and t-shirt to cut your lawn.
9. If you can speak good Spanish
10. If you watch telenovelas

July 31, 2008
The Laws Cops Can’t Enforce

Mesa, Ariz.

OUR next president faces a formidable task. He will be forced to deal with two difficult wars, an economic downturn, higher energy prices and a bankrupt federal immigration policy.

To some, immigration pales in comparison with the wars and the economy. But for others, especially police departments in border states like mine, it is all-consuming. The first priority of the next president should be legislation that addresses the legitimate concerns of both the people who believe our borders are out of control and those who want equal protection for everyone living in this country.

Immigration issues are tearing apart communities. Demagoguery and misinformation are shaping public opinion and in some cases public policy. In the absence of a clear federal policy on immigration, states and cities are enacting draconian and constitutionally questionable laws.

This patchwork of conflicting local immigration laws is creating an untenable situation for police officials who face demands to crack down on immigrants — demands that contradict policing practices that have led to significant declines in crime.

For police officials, refusing to carry out policies that may violate the Constitution can be career-threatening. Both sides in the immigration debate accuse police departments of misconduct in dealing with immigrants. In this politically charged environment, some chiefs are making decisions based on bad politics instead of sound policing. In many cases, police officers are making illegal arrests with the acquiescence and sometimes explicit approval of their superiors.

Here in Arizona, a wedge is being driven between the local police and some immigrant groups. Some law enforcement agencies are wasting limited resources in operations to appease the public’s thirst for action against illegal immigration regardless of the legal or social consequences.

America’s 500,000 police officers are sworn to enforce the law. But we are increasingly unable to do so. Those who want to restrict immigration criticize us for not arresting immigrants for entering the country illegally. Yet others rightly wonder how we can do our job if some residents are afraid to report crimes or otherwise cooperate with the police for fear of deportation.

Without a national immigration policy, a new culture of lawlessness will increasingly permeate our society. In cities, politicians will pressure police departments to reduce immigration by using racial profiling and harassment. At the same time, immigrants who fear that the police will help deport them will rely less on their local officers and instead give thugs control of their neighborhoods.

Many top law enforcement officials were part of the community policing revolution of the 1980s and ’90s. We have a deep concern for constitutional rights and social justice. We believe that effective policing requires residents, regardless of immigration status, to trust the police.

We are also students of the mistakes of our predecessors. Past police practices helped lead to the civil unrest of the 1960s, which tore our nation apart along racial and political lines. We do not want to repeat those mistakes.

If we become a nation in which the local police are the default enforcers of a failing federal immigration policy, the years of trust that police departments have built up in immigrant communities will vanish. Some minority groups may once again view police officers as armed instruments of government oppression.

A wink and a nod will no longer suffice as an immigration policy. Effective border control is a critical step. But so is ensuring that otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants have the same protections as everyone else in a modern, free society.

Presidential candidates need to specify the measures on immigration they would present to Congress after Inauguration Day. No doubt, the advisers to John McCain and Barack Obama are counseling them to be vague. That’s the wrong advice.

America’s police officers deserve thoughtful federal leadership so that we can continue doing our best to provide our country with the security that defines a civilized society.

George Gascón, a former assistant chief in the Los Angeles Police Department, is a lawyer and the chief of the police department in Mesa, Ariz.

for link to NYT article click here

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Bully in Phoenix

Arpaio's immigration sweeps

by Jerry Kammer - Jul. 30, 2008 12:00 AM
Republic Washington Bureau

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon escalated his feud with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Tuesday, calling on the national media to come to the Valley and observe the sheriff's crackdown on illegal immigration.

Criticizing the sweeps as heavy-handed and abusive, Gordon said he'd like to see a media mobilization comparable to the effort of the dozens of reporters who streamed to Arizona from around the country following the 1976 murder of Arizona Republic investigative reporter Don Bolles.

Their effort, which became known as the Arizona Project, produced extensive reporting on organized crime in the state.

"Come like you did for Don Bolles; come to Phoenix and stop this madness," said Gordon, who has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to launch a civil-rights investigation. "Let's turn the eyes of the nation on this."

Gordon wants to focus attention on the department's sweeps, in which deputies check vehicles and pedestrians in a search for illegal immigrants. The measures have been widely criticized as a form of racial profiling.

Arpaio fired back in a telephone interview from Phoenix.
He doesn't have to call (on the media), because they're here every day," Arpaio said. "I've been on 3,000 national shows as sheriff. I had two different Dutch reporters yesterday. They come all the time. ... I don't need him to be my press agent."

The Gordon-Arpaio feud is a particularly volatile example of the tensions dividing communities across the country that are frustrated by the inability of Congress to pass immigration reform.

In the absence of a new federal policy, state and local jurisdictions are fashioning their own approaches to enforce immigration law.

Gordon says he favors comprehensive immigration reform, the term for legislation that attempts to package measures to deal with the major components of the immigration issue, including border security and what to do about the estimated 12 million immigrants in the country illegally.

Principal presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama favor a comprehensive approach. Both have promised to take up the issue during their first year as president. There is no expectation Congress will take it up this year.

Gordon accused the sheriff of ham-handed techniques that violate the rights of citizens caught up in Arpaio's sweeps.

He claimed the sweeps are making immigrants, legal and illegal, fearful of cooperating with police on investigations.

"He (Arpaio) has become the false messiah," Gordon said. "But when the light is shined on him, people will see that he isn't helping to fight illegal immigration and he's just making the situation worse. You've got an individual with a badge and a gun who's breaking the law and abusing his authority."

The sheriff said his efforts have received broad support from the people of Maricopa County.

"I don't have to defend myself over his vicious comments because he doesn't like me arresting illegal immigrants," said Arpaio, who is seeking his fifth term as sheriff.

He said Gordon is trying to fuel his own political ambitions.

"He wants to be governor," Arpaio said.

Reach the reporter at jkammer

for link to article click here

The Emotional Brutality of Deportations

New Video Unmasks the "Hidden System" of Federal Deportations
by Marisa Trevino
Huffington Post
Posted July 30, 2008 | 12:11 PM (EST)

...had it not been for the conscience-stricken federal interpreter who came forward to reveal how the federal government railroaded these undocumented workers into deportation, the height of the injustice of the system would not have been brought to light.

Nor would it have stirred the interests of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who visited with Postville immigrant families this past Saturday and will be holding a press conference tomorrow in Washington, D.C. to unveil the results of their fact-finding mission, and to voice a special request of Congress on behalf of the families left behind from the raid who are struggling on a daily basis to live.

The secretive and isolationist nature of how the federal government conducts deportations and immigrant detentions naturally lends itself to abuse of the system and the erosion of human rights. By failing to make the process transparent -- from blocking out the windows on the buses transporting apprehended immigrants and denying due process of law, to depriving families of personal contact with detainees -- the government is creating a hidden system.

It is precisely that concept of "A Hidden System" that is the title of a new video by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR). Documenting the practices and impact of this federal policy that is part of an overall broken immigration system, the video achieves in spotlighting a department of the government that critics of illegal immigration hail as working perfectly.

However, as the video shows, the impact of these enforcement practices creates an undue emotional and physical hardship on families and children that must be seen to be believed.

for link to article click here

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

1.8 Million Potential DREAMers in the U.S.

"there are an estimated 1.8 million undocumented children living in the United States. The immigration status of these children derives from their parents. If the parents are undocumented, there is no way for immigrant children to gain legal immigration status on their own. Although raised and educated here, undocumented children face tremendous barriers when they try to go on to college or work legally and live in fear of deportation.

Approximately 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school every year with almost no hope to access higher education. But even if they overcome this barrier and complete a college education, these students face the same predicament, if not worse. Having attained a Bachelors or Masters degree, they cannot put their education into practice: their immigration status prevents them from working and contributing to our economy and society."

The U.S. Should Never Deny the Right to Education. So Why Are We?

Posted by Christina Jimenez, Drum Major Institute at 1:51 PM on July 28, 2008.

The DREAM Act is a small first step to a better and more effective immigration debate.

Since its foundation, our nation has witnessed the special contributions and success of immigrants and their children. Indeed, some of the most innovative contributions to American society have come from the children of immigrants, both the second generation (those born in the United States) and the generation known as 1.5 -- those born abroad and brought to the U.S. as children. It was a Belarusian 1.5 immigrant, Irving Berlin, who wrote "God Bless America."

Children of immigrants are unique in that they are raised in multiple cultures and become effective at building bridges between them. The 1.5 generation, however, exhibits even a greater level of uniqueness and talent. They are immersed in their native culture long enough to learn their native language and cultural values, but come to this country early enough to easily learn English and become part of mainstream America. 1.5 immigrants tend to be fluently bilingual and bicultural, communicate easily between two worlds, and can easily connect to different cultures, approaching the ideal global citizen.

Their cultural and language fluidity has even proven to be an advantage in school performance. Although, as Albuquerque's Mayor Martin Chavez says in a MayorTV interview, we live in the "only nation on Earth that seems to celebrate monolingualism;" studies have shown that 1.5 generation students tend to do better in school than their monolingual peers. It is immigrants' richness in multiculturalism and multilingualism that has transformed and strengthened our nation.

But like their talents, the challenges faced by some members of the 1.5 generation, are also unique. Today, there are an estimated 1.8 million undocumented children living in the United States. The immigration status of these children derives from their parents. If the parents are undocumented, there is no way for immigrant children to gain legal immigration status on their own. Although raised and educated here, undocumented children face tremendous barriers when they try to go on to college or work legally and live in fear of deportation.

Approximately 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school every year with almost no hope to access higher education. But even if they overcome this barrier and complete a college education, these students face the same predicament, if not worse. Having attained a Bachelors or Masters degree, they cannot put their education into practice: their immigration status prevents them from working and contributing to our economy and society.

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, known as the DREAM Act addresses the struggle of these undocumented 1.5 generation immigrants. Although it was first introduced to Congress back in 2001, the DREAM Act has lacked the political will to become a reality. Clearly Congress has, for too long, listened to the few and irrational anti-immigrant voices.

Senator Barack Obama has co-sponsored the DREAM Act and publicly announced his intention of making this bill a reality. Senator McCain on the other hand, has supported the bill in the past but walked out when it was voted on last year, stating that the elusive goal of "border security" would have to be achieved before the situation of young people already living in the United States could be addressed.

A 52-44 majority of the Senate voted in favor of the bill, but 60 votes were needed for the DREAM Act to proceed.

By ignoring these 1.5 immigrants' aspirations and not allowing them to contribute to our society, we are throwing their invaluable talents, creativity, and knowledge to waste. And today in a globalized world, their uniqueness, multilingual and bicultural skills, and contributions are more important than ever to the success and global competitiveness of the United States. The DREAM Act is a small first step to a better and more effective immigration debate.

Cristina is an Immigration Policy intern at the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy.

for link to article click here

Video on Postville protest of July 27th

Video from Postville protest, July 27, 2008.

Monday, July 28, 2008

When your mother is deported

Stokely Baksh and Renne Feltz do this great report on a daughter's perspective when her mother was imprisioned by DHS.

View Video

$42 million to help Local Jails Report Undocumented Immigrants

"We'd like to detain everyone. But that is a fantasy world," James Prendergraph, Director of ICE's partnerships with state and local agencies.

Virginia Jail to Report Foreign Inmates
By Bill Brubaker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 28, 2008; Page A01

A year after Prince William County launched a crackdown on illegal immigrants, Virginia has implemented a law that requires something similar for every jurisdiction in the state. Jail officials are now required to notify federal authorities of all foreign-born inmates regardless of their immigration status.

The little-noticed law went into effect July 1 and aims to make every corner of the state as unwelcoming as Prince William for illegal immigrants charged with crimes.

"With our new law, these people who are here illegally should be afraid of living anywhere in Virginia right now," said Del. David B. Albo (R-Fairfax), who helped write the law and chairs the state's crime commission. "If you're here illegally, it's not any scarier to live in Prince William than in any other county."

Prince William and about 60 other jurisdictions nationwide had previously joined in a separate partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to identify immigrants who have committed crimes. But now, under the Virginia law, officials across the state have begun routinely filing similar reports to the same federal authorities that Prince William does. Under the state law, local jails probably will spend a fraction of the $10.5 million Prince Willliam has budgeted over the next five years for the ICE partnership.

ICE cannot say how many illegal immigrants from a particular jurisdiction are being deported, only that it cannot remove as many as it would like because of budget limitations. So there are no statistics about what ultimately happens to the illegal immigrants who are reported to ICE -- either by way of the new state law or through the federal program, which trains local officers to identify and detain undocumented suspects charged with crimes.

ICE has $42 million for the partnership program this year, but officials at the agency say they need a lot more money to do the job. "We'd like to detain everyone. But that is a fantasy world," said James Pendergraph, who oversees ICE's partnerships with state and local agencies.

Together, the federal program and the state law, passed in the aftermath of Congress's failure last summer to reform the immigration system, underscore how dissimilar enforcement policies are in the Washington region.

While Virginia jails have begun expediting reports to ICE on their foreign-born inmates, even if there is no evidence that they are undocumented, the Montgomery County jail sends federal authorities a weekly list of its immigrant inmates...

for link to complete WP article, click here

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Clue to the Future of ICE Raids

For a long time it seemed that ICE was only trying to scare people and bring terror to undocumented immigrants throughout the United States - using periodic immigration raids as examples...

Yet at I mentioned in a previous post, immigration experts see this as a longer trend that will grow in intensity - with the ultimate goal of deporting all undocumented immigrants by 2012.

Many people say that there will be changes with the next administration -- with Obama or if McCain wins and returns to his previous immigration stance - Operation Endgame could suddenly go away.

What is disconcerting is that during the presidential debates NONE of the candidates said they would end the ICE raids...

Below is an op-ed piece about Operation Endgame written by the ACLU, published in the Boston Globe in 2007.

Inhumane raid was just one of many

By Carol Rose and Christopher Ott | March 26, 2007

Boston Globe

IF THE CHAOTIC immigration raid in New Bedford earlier this month troubled you, we have news: Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE, is just getting warmed up.

We know this because the New Bedford raid was part of a frighteningly ambitious plan laid out by the Department of Homeland Security in 2003 -- and it hasn't received nearly enough scrutiny.

The plan is called Endgame, and its details are available online on our group's website ( It's a 10-year campaign to track down and deport all the immigrants to the United States who are living and working here without proper documentation, by the year 2012.

Let's be clear: This means expelling roughly 12 million people.

We've seen Endgame at work already in other parts of the country, with ICE conducting more and bigger raids. In December, for example, the agency raided Swift & Company slaughterhouses in six states, arresting about 1,300 workers and deporting roughly half of them.

Already, on any given day, ICE holds approximately 26,000 people in detention. And on March 6, we got a chance to see Endgame at work on a large scale here in Massachusetts. We saw the human cost of an operation directed at 361 people.

The pace of raids will need to accelerate, however, in order to meet Endgame's aggressive deportation goals over the next five years. We'll see more of the surreal New Bedford-style tactics: arrest first, ask questions later. We'll hear more stories of the human suffering that results from such tactics: of nursing babies who become dehydrated when separated from their mothers, of 7-year-olds frantically looking for their missing mothers, and of minors being flown to distant states without adequate protection.

We'll see more people's rights trampled, and more families torn apart by ICE's race to deport in order to meet Endgame's staggering goal.

Obviously, the United States has the right to control who enters our country, as well as the right to deport those who are not authorized to be here. But the US Constitution also says that everyone's fundamental rights must be respected while it is being determined whether or not they have a right to be here.

Even most US citizens could not prove their citizenship on demand. If ICE raided your workplace, could you? If you're like most people, you don't carry documents such as your passport or birth certificate with you at all times. And in a free society, you shouldn't have to.

That's why those detained by ICE need protections such as the right to a hearing before an immigration judge, legal representation, and, when necessary, interpretive services. They need time and a fair chance to prove their case. It's also critical to make provisions for the children and other dependents of those arrested.

Some of those dependents are US citizens, even if the detainees themselves are not -- and all of them are human beings.

The pandemonium of the raid in New Bedford was deeply troubling in this regard. If ICE couldn't handle 361 detainees without violating people's rights and tearing families apart, how will they cope with millions?

The simple answer is they can't. There is no way to expel 12 million people without terrorizing and compromising the civil liberties of anyone who "looks foreign." Even US citizens, as well as immigrants who are here legally, will live with the fear of arrest.

ICE tactics call to mind sinister human rights abuses from other parts of the world. The United States went to war to stop Slobodan Milosevic's attempt to "ethnically cleanse" Kosovo in 1999. We should ask ourselves how, just eight years later, we came to be carrying out a policy that involves such similar tactics -- lightning raids, mass arrests, packed detention centers, and mass deportations.

We must stop it. It's time to bring operation Endgame itself to an end. We need an immigration policy that balances the right to control our borders with the civil liberties we must preserve in order to remain free.

Carol Rose is executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. Christopher Ott is communications director.

ACLU on Operation Endgame

for link to DHS Operation Endgame Document, click here


"Endgame" Documents: Before and After

On March 26, 2007, the Boston Globe ran our op-ed about operation Endgame, the plan to remove all 12 million undocumented immigrants from the United States by 2012. We wrote the piece to point out that the March 2007 raid in New Bedford by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents was not just an isolated incident, but part of a detailed and ambitious plan that will likely require similar tactics on an even greater scale.

After that (and starting the very next day), something interesting happened. While publicly taking issue with our assertion that Endgame uses tactics similar to the ethnic cleansing we saw in the Balkans during the 1990s -- lightning raids, mass arrests, packed detention centers, and mass deportations -- ICE has quietly removed documents about operation Endgame from its website,

Fortunately, we anticipated this and saved copies

for link to ACLU article on Operation Endgame click here.

for link to DHS Operation Endgame document click here

Wikipedia on Operation Endgame

Although it is known that Wikipedia is not always totally accurate - it is still worth reading what it calls an "orphaned article."

Operation Endgame is a plan under implementation by the Office of Detention and Removal Operations of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain and deport all removable aliens currently living in the United States by 2012.[1]

The objectives of the plan are described in a memorandum from the director Anthony S. Tangemann to the Deputy Assistant Director of Field Operations dated June 27th 2003:

"The DRO provides the endgame to immigration enforcement and that is the removal of all removable aliens. This is also the essence of our mission statement and the "golden measure" to our succsess."[1].

A document issued by the Office of Detention and Removal Operations titled "Strategic Plan, 2003-2012 Detention and Removal Strategy for a Secure Homeland "describes Operation Engame as follows:

Endgame is the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Detention and Removal (DRO) multi-year strategic enforcement plan. It stresses the effective and efficient execution of the critical service DRO provides its partners and stakeholders to enforce the nation’s immigration and naturalization laws. The DRO strategic plan sets in motion a cohesive enforcement program with a ten-year time horizon that will build the capacity to “remove all removable aliens,” eliminate the backlog of unexecuted final order removal cases, and realize its vision.[1

1. Operation_Endgame.pdf 'U.S. Department of Homeland Security Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Form M-592 (8/15/03) ENDGAME Office of Detention and Removal Strategic Plan, 2003 - 2012 Detention and Removal Strategy for a Secure Homeland'

for link to Wikipedia article click here

A Search for Operation Endgame

A colleague who specializes in Immigration research recently told me about a DHS project called Operation Endgame. O.E. has involved the establishment of ICE - which is in effect a national police force - with a long term goal of deporting all undocumented immigrants by 2012.

DHS previously had a good deal of information posted on the web regarding O.P., but since has been deleted. Although I am told that a number of individuals and/or groups were able to save the information before it was taken down.
Below is a small bit of information from a private law firm. There is no date given.


“Operation Endgame” Adopted to Prevent Immigrants from Evading Deportation

According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is adopting stricter detention policies. In an effort to stop immigrants from evading deportation, the first step of “Operation Endgame” is to detain immigrants as soon as judges deny their cases and order the immigrants removed from the United States. Presently, deportable immigrants without a criminal record remain free as they pursue appeals or dissolve their households. Officials report that every year tens of thousands of deportable immigrants go underground instead of complying with final deportation verdicts.

Another step in the strategy of Operation Endgame is to release many of the immigrants and track them with an intensive supervision program that could include ankle-bracelet monitors. A participant in this current pilot program, Orfa Salazar, says she feels much freer than she did during her 10 months in detention and hopes for more flexible supervision under the new program.

Critics of this plan say that these measures are far from efficient and excessively harsh. Immigration lawyers note that the stress of an asylum hearing has been multiplied by the fear of possible immediate detention after judgment. This fear has led to an increase in the number of petitioners who skip their final immigration hearings.

ICE officials stated that they did not know when these policies would be enforced on a national level, or how the steps of the plan would fit together.

Hell Between Four Walls: Part III, Caught Inside an ICE Detention Center

The Game of ICE - continued

Inside the Aurora detention center: Sam Jones’ diaries

Editor’s note: The following has been translated from the original Spanish.

This detention center houses about 50 people per area. There are the orange, blue and red areas. Generally the orange and blue are for those with immigration problems, some awaiting deportation, others waiting to get back to their countries voluntarily. The rest are waiting court hearings to take care of their immigration status.

You ask what the problem is? The problem is that there is no uniform treatment and a very distressing lack of information. It’s there that the hell begins. Some, for not knowing the laws, don’t know what to do. So many things are said [things people guess might happen to them that may or may not be true] that people get exhausted from stress, since the majority of those awaiting court hearings have no idea what the results will be.

Maybe they’ll pay the bond and get out and not be deported. Maybe they’ll get out and take care of their paperwork. Or maybe they’ll get deported regardless. Always after deportation, a desperate family is left behind. They act as if these people do not have families. A family that cannot pay the expenses, because the breadwinner is detained. … If this isn’t hell, what is?

April 12, 2007
Today the psychological pressure is more than in past days. After arriving in Aurora on the night of Friday the sixth, paperwork can’t be processed on Saturday and Sunday, and Monday was a public holiday. Here people are freed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Tuesday nobody from the group that came in with me on Friday got out. On Thursday only one of us was released, the one who signed a voluntary exit form. However, there are many others that signed SVs and others who have received deportation.

The predictions [about what will happen] vary and are distressing, being that some believe re-entry is a federal crime that requires 24 months of prison. Others believe they’re going to be able to pay bond and get out. Others have no clue.

Today I haven’t been able to talk with my friend; the phones for collect calls are all busy. Tomorrow I’ll buy a phone card to call him. Today I feel very anguished. It’s incredible but illegals are the new business for the US. Let me explain: An undocumented worker is arrested for any given reason, even for being suspected to be illegal, and is taken to jail. After several days the county sets a bond for release. The person pays, then when you ask to be released, they tell you that you have an immigration hold. The funny thing here is that the police claim that they do not cooperate with immigration. But at the county’s police station, there is an immigration office so when the suspect arrives, they investigate. About four or five days later, immigration takes him to be detained at Aurora, where some are given court dates and others sign voluntary exit forms and even others are deported; nonetheless, everyone is said to be “retained” not “detained.” The curious thing is that liberty is not an option. Those who are given the chance at a court hearing have to pay a very high bond of about $10,000 or they are deported. After paying, you’re released on the condition that you’ll come back for a second hearing, which means that your case is not closed. If during the new hearing, the judge’s verdict is negative, you are deported, therefore losing the bond money: you end up losing money from the county bond as well as the one imposed by immigration, and in the end you get deported anyway. What a great business!

Today we had picadillo for dinner and some sort of fruit cocktail as desert, with no flavor at all. Seems like today phone calls are prohibited. It’s around 8 p.m. and I’m a little sleepy, but I don’t want to fall asleep because it is too early. The TV has no sound; there is a lot of bulla from the fifty of us full of stress. Everyone with their own problems. We played dominoes all afternoon, one of the few things we do, play dominoes or cards.

April 13, 2007
Today is Friday. I woke up at 5 a.m. I went back to sleep until 7, waiting for breakfast. After eating, I couldn’t get a hold of my friend, and it’s urgent.

I finally got a hold of him to ask him whether he or my wife called Morelia so that they could immediately send my identification, since I don’t have any other way of identifying myself. Hopefully they understand the urgency. Tomorrow, the 14th, I’ll call again to check if they were able to do it.

Today we got lunch around 11 a.m., quite early but the dog’s vomit was enough that now it’s 9 p.m. and I’m still satisfied. But it feels like it’s noon, because everyone here is anxious. Today, since we’ve behaved very well, they gave us cokes and potato chips (how sweet they are!). …

It’s 11 p.m. but no one is sleepy. It’s very moving to hear people speaking about how tired they are of the system, and they yearn to go back to their countries, even though after a while over there, the disillusion will come after the face the reality of their low quality of life. Then they start thinking about coming back again, into the evil, repressive and uneducated system of the U.S.

April 14, 2007
Today we were woken up at 7:30 for breakfast, which was sparse. The phones aren’t working again today. I’m hoping my friend truly understood what papers I need. I’m hoping next week I’ll be able to talk to my wife.

We got lunch at 11 a.m. We’ll eat again around 6 or 7.

It’s noon, and they’ve taken all of us out to the patio. They finally listened to us and gave us razors, but they don’t cut for shit, so I only shaved half my beard so that I don’t end up all cut up. They’re showing a movie, “Christopher Columbus” [“Cristobal Colon”]. I’m not watching any Christopher Columbus movie. …

I took a nap until 6, when it was time for dinner. They are training the new security personnel, and it’s funny how the fucking gringos don’t understand the dynamics of Latin American society: loud, a lot of loud speaking, laughing, joking and games that they just simply don’t understand and don’t exist in their manuals.

April 15, 2007
Today is Sunday. As with any other day, breakfast was served at 7:30, then I went back to sleep until it was time for lunch. Then I went back to bed. … It’s now 2pm. You get so desperate from listening to everyone around you talking about their cases and the uncertain future ahead. Not evening knowing how long they’ll be retained. The psychological punishment of not communicating and not giving you details is worse than committing you to jail.

April 20, 2007
It’s midnight and they just passed on the list of names of those who are going to be sent back to Mexico. It’s indescribable the happiness and the relief from so much accumulated psychological pressure that we’re all under. Suddenly, the room is filled of people screaming, hugging each other, exchanging phone numbers and addresses, people praying and people wishing each other well. These truly are moments of more than happiness; de-stressing moments, like pinching a balloon full of butane gas, an outburst of emotions that touched even the security guards.

April 25, 2007
After several days of having explained to the fucking Mexican consulate my problem, which he was aware of, he told me, “I’ll see what I can do.” I believe nothing because it didn’t feel sincere, and until today nothing has been resolved. …

Today I found myself in between angry and fearful about going back to Mexico. But tonight at 11, after lying on the couch for a while, I went for a walk through the dormitories. I told myself, “If Mexico doesn’t want to give me entry, I don’t care if they send me to Italy.” My wife’s dream was to see her grandchildren, which she already has, and together save some money within three or four years to build a small house and live peacefully somewhere near the ocean.

Anyway, in the past when the lira (Italian currency) wasn’t worth as much it would have been foolish, but now that the euro is worth more than the dollar it wouldn’t be bad to work in Europe. I think I’d like to go there for a year while my wife goes to find a spot by the beach to build a house, and I’ll send her money to make our dream a reality. Unless she wishes otherwise. Besides, that lately I’ve been getting over this fear of the unknown, since I know I can safely get to Mexico with the whole family, wife and kids, why not to Italy by myself?
for link to complete article click here

Hell Between Four Walls: Part II, Caught Inside an ICE Detention Center

The Game of ICE - continued


Sam Jones’ trip from Larimer County to Aurora took a brief detour in Park County, home of South Park, a trio of popular fourteeners and the Park County Jail, an ICE-contracted local prison — the same one that held dozens of the more than 200 workers netted in the Swift Meatpacking raid in Greeley last December.

“They cuffed us by the hands, the feet, around the waist, and they chained us to each other. And in the van, they chained us to the floor,” Jones says. “We were 50 in one cell the size of my kitchen. They gave us French fries and water.

“The people remain as they arrive. They didn’t allow them to get dressed before they left. They wore the same thing they had on when they were taken. I had been working, so I was more or less well dressed, but there were people there who were freezing. It was after the last snowfall; they were wearing tank tops and shorts. Others had been taken from bed” in their pajamas.

Jones spent a few days in Park County before he was hauled to Aurora, where he finally had a chance to bathe and was clothed in a fresh prison jumper. Almost immediately, though intermittently, Jones began collecting his observations, and transcribing the thoughts of others, in journal-type entries on loose sheets of white paper. (Most of them have been translated and are available at the end of this article.)

Although ICE contracts with Park County, the Aurora facility is their largest in the Rocky Mountain West. The prison, which first began detaining immigrants in May 1987, is owned and managed by the GEO Group, a Florida-based private company with more than 50 jails across the country, including one in U.S.-controlled Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and more in Canada, Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Formerly known as Wackenhut Corrections Corporation — which was charged with several alleged scandals stemming from abuse, neglect and sexual assault — GEO boasted $860.9 million in revenues last year alone. That pushed a 40 percent increase from 2005 and marks the most financially successful year for the company in its 22 years of operations.

The Aurora facility detains immigrants apprehended throughout Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and Montana. During the past two decades, the jail has expanded its holding capacity from 150 beds to more than 400. As of July 10, the prison had processed 9,547 inmates since the beginning of last year.

One current lawsuit against the GEO Group alleges poor and inhumane medical care, a common gripe about the company and one that the federal government itself notes in a report recently released by the Government Accountability Office. The GAO reviewed “alien detention standards” at 23 facilities across the country, including Aurora’s, finding sporadic “deficiencies” in medical treatment, food service, recreation, access to legal materials and the processing of complaints as well as the use of “hold rooms,” physical force and overcrowding.

The Colorado branch of the American Civil Liberties Union also reports stories of overcrowding and poor medical care.

The GAO claimed to find only one “pervasive” problem throughout the system, however: telephone access. Against medical care and use of force, phone calls might not seem like such a big deal, except the best means for an inmate to submit complaints — grievances that “mostly involved legal access, conditions of confinement, property issues, human and civil rights, medical care, and employee misconduct at the facility” — is to call the Office of the Inspector General inside the Department of Homeland Security. Yet the “GAO encountered significant problems in making connections to…the OIG complaint hotline,” as well as consulates and pro-bono legal providers.

Jones says the misery that stemmed from a lack of communication with the outside world was matched only by the maddening dearth of information about his detention status.

“The big problem is the anguish of not knowing,” he says. “Psychologically, it’s terrible.”

Throughout the three weeks of Jones’ confinement in Aurora, he filed several requests that addressed the difficulty of making telephone calls. On his fifth day, he filed a grievance form with a simple request: “Phones are not working. I’m trying to call long distance (area code 970). I need to speak with my family and my lawyer. Please help me. Thank you.”

In a second request, filed five days after the first, he asked for clarification about why he was being held and when he would be released or deported. The next day, he received a response: He would be detained until his citizenship could be verified. Jones continued along the mostly fruitless course of attempting to contact the Mexican consulate and friends and family, including his wife and best friend, both back in Larimer County.

On April 27, Jones was suddenly released on a $1,500 bond.


Upon entry to the Aurora detention facility, Sam Jones had the option of signing a form for voluntary return to his home country, but he declined. Some of the 50 detainees with whom he was transported signed return forms. Others opted to await an appearance before a federal immigration judge who rules on deportation status. Detainees in removal proceedings have access to presentations about their legal rights by the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network.

“People are feeling a tremendous amount of pressure, because they are told, ‘Look, you can either sign this and go back right now, or we’re going to take you to the detention center, where you are going to languish for weeks,’” says RMIAN’s Goehring. “Particularly for people who have never been in the criminal justice system, who haven’t been to a jail before, they will avoid that at any price.”

In November 2006, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General revealed detrimental problems in the detainee tracking system, called DACS, that includes both ICE-operated and private-run detention centers. Their audit found that “DACS and detention facility records did not always agree on the location of detainees” and that “ICE had no formal policy regarding what information it would provide to anyone inquiring about detainees in their custody.”

But the U.S. immigration detention system isn’t known for transparency. In May, the U.S. State Department invited Jorge Bustamante, the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants for the United Nations, to visit some of the country’s immigrant jails. But the Department of Homeland Security unexpectedly denied Bustamante entry to jails in Texas and New Jersey. The shafted official is expected to present a report on immigration issues, in the U.S., to the U.N. General Assembly later this summer.

Legal advocates say the government and private-prison operators should have nothing to hide from the public’s scrutiny.

“It’s always important to have a check and balance,” says Taylor Pendergrass, a staff attorney with the Colorado ACLU. “Especially when what you’re talking about is a deprivation of liberty, of taking someone’s freedom of movement entirely away and locking them up.

“Transparency benefits the people who are being detained. It also lets the public know that the government is treating those detainees in a way that’s consistent with the Constitution.”

Richard Stana, the GAO director for homeland security and justice issues, says it’s too early to tell what might result from their recent report.

“We will, after an appropriate period of time — in this case it may be several months — follow up with the agency with the actions that they’ve taken and try to assess whether that’s going to assess the problems we’ve found,” he says.

“Let’s hope that these deficiencies get corrected soon.”

The next GAO review of the Aurora facility is scheduled for October. Both a spokesman for the GEO Group and Aurora Warden Teresa Hunt referred questions about the problems outlined in the federal report to ICE.

ICE central region spokesman Carl Rusnok says the agency “places great value on the data and feedback” that it receives from the government watchdog, adding that ICE is establishing a weekly review of all detainee telephones to ensure they work, as well as an internal inspections group that will provide oversight during the detention standards review process.

Whatever changes may or may not occur will have no impact on Sam Jones’ future.

And he is still visibly shaken from his run-in with the U.S.’s amalgamated and defective immigration enforcement.

“For a broken car light, you are not a criminal. For being undocumented, you are not a criminal,” he says. “Yet the treatment is the same. They treated me as if I’d killed 10 people.”

Still, Jones isn’t expecting much from his next court hearing. The most he can realistically hope for is a delayed deportation and for authorities to ship him back to Mexico instead of Italy so that he will be closer to his family. But he doesn’t hold onto any delusions of freedom in the United States.

“I am illegal,” he says, lighting a Camel cigarette with his orange Bic. “Totally illegal.”


for complete article click here

Hell Between Four Walls: Part I, Caught Inside an ICE Detention Center

Funny how things can slip by you. Last year, exactly one day before dreamacttexas got started, the Rocky Mountain Chronicle published an article written by an Italian citizen (who is using the pseudonym Sam Jones) who got caught in the DHS immigrant detention system. The article is long but we encourage readers to make it through the whole thing. It has been divided into three parts.

Jones called the detention center "Hell Between Four Walls."

Rocky Mountain Chronicle
Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Law enforcement agencies move immigrants through multiple detention facilities, passing paydays and delays along the way.

Howls echoed through the anxiety-stricken dormitory as Sam Jones* tried to fall asleep. Men screamed and cried, hooted and heckled. Just after midnight, a prison guard entered with a document that held the numbers assigned to men from as many as 60 countries who’d be deported later that day.

“Suddenly, the room is filled of people screaming, hugging each other, exchanging phone numbers and addresses, people praying and people wishing each other well,” Jones scratched into a journal, a collection of personal reflections he wrote on loose printer paper. “These truly are moments of more than happiness. De-stressing moments, like pinching a balloon full of butane gas, an outburst of emotions that touched even the security guards.”

Jones’ number wasn’t on the list that night. He returned to his limbo, at least another few days of uncertainty, for the next inventory of numbers that may or may not hold his own, and little chance, in the meantime, of figuring out if it would.

For 22 days, Jones occupied one of hundreds of beds inside Colorado’s foremost immigrant prison, known both as the ICE Processing Center and the ICE Detention Center, in Aurora. Such facilities have fallen to increasing attacks from civil liberties and human rights groups across the country for claims ranging from inhumane treatment to unconstitutional incarceration of U.S. citizens. And a report released on July 6 by the federal Government Accountability Office confirms multiple problems at the Aurora detention center.

Jones calls the jail “hell between four walls,” and he descended into it by way of a law enforcement maze that began with a traffic stop in Larimer County.


Sam Jones knew the left headlamp of his car was out as he drove to work, a job that kept him busy with duties like payroll and other administrative odds and ends, on the morning of March 28. It was around 6 a.m., and 63-year-old Jones, wearing blue jeans and a shirt, a brown belt and tan Airwalks, had just turned southbound onto Highway 287 from Carpenter Road when he noticed the red and blue lights of the Colorado State Patrol car in his rearview mirror.

Jones, an Italian citizen with thinning gray hair who’d been living in Mexico for the past 20 years, had never been pulled over. The fact that he’d been in the country illegally for about six months didn’t help to calm his nerves. Even worse, Jones’s English, unlike the myriad European languages he speaks, wasn’t even fluid, much less fluent. So when officer Clinton B. Rushing queried Jones for his name and date of birth, Jones quickly provided his generic American moniker but fumbled with the date, which didn’t correspond with the one listed on his Mexican driver’s license. Rushing continued to press him, and Jones became increasingly nervous. He finally fell silent. Rushing “gave him one more chance to not lie,” Rushing wrote in his affidavit.

Jones says Rushing’s voice grew louder and more forceful.

“The fear and the nerves just left me in a state of not being able to speak at all,” Jones explains.

After a handful of failed attempts to match his date of birth with the one on the Mexican ID, Rushing arrested Jones and took him to the Larimer County Detention Center, or LCDC, where he was charged with criminal impersonation, false reporting to authorities and two traffic infractions: driving without a valid license and driving with a defective headlamp. Among the possessions that LCDC officials confiscated were a wallet, keys, a cellphone and an orange Bic lighter that Jones used to light Camel cigarettes when he had them.

During his week inside LCDC, Jones was visited and interviewed by a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent. For more than a year, county officials have submitted lists of all foreign-born detainees at the local jail to ICE, previously known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which was rolled into the Department of Homeland Security in 2003.

ICE agents visit the county jail multiple times a week to determine if individuals are in the country illegally and if they should be deported. With sufficient proof, officials can place a retainer, or “immigration hold,” on LCDC prisoners. Which is exactly what happened to Jones, except he didn’t find out until he thought he’d been freed.

Jones posted the required $200 bond, then pled guilty to the false reporting violation, a misdemeanor, in a deal that dismissed the other charges. He shoveled out an additional $159 in court costs, and the district court judge sentenced him to time served. He was then released — to ICE officials. He’s one of 36 individuals Larimer County had turned over to ICE as of May 24. Last year, the county logged 118 such transfers.

Mekela Goehring, executive director of Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network, a Denver-based nonprofit legal program that provides Know Your Rights presentations to detainees in Aurora, says she believes the practice is common in counties throughout Colorado.

And Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden praises the partnership.

“It’s been successful having them come into the detention center on a regular basis and to make those determinations,” he says. “We take a very strong position on arresting illegal immigrants who are involved in criminal activity.”

The sheriff says he also encourages an aggressive stance against traffic violations. Minor infractions, such as broken taillights, burned-out license plate lights or a failure to signal for turns, he says, can lead officers to drug dealers and burglars as much as drivers without insurance and those holding false documents.

“If somebody has a defective taillight and they get pulled over and it turns out they’ve also got a forged driver’s license, they’re definitely going to get arrested for having a forged driver’s license,” Alderden says, “which is a felony.”

Sam Jones wasn’t convicted of a felony in Larimer County, but ICE doesn’t make a distinction when it transfers immigrant detainees. On the road to the big pen in Aurora, burglars and traffic violators are one in the same.

*Sam Jones is a pseudonym.


for complete Rocky Mountain Chronicle article click here

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Recruiting Nurses? Help pass the DREAM ACT

While there is a shortage of health workers - there are many DREAMers who would gladly study nursing, medicine, and other types of medical workers.

Every time a reporter writes a newspaper article about there not being enough potential employees for medical and technical jobs - the writer (and the editor) need to consider the option of allowing DREAMers to regularize and work as professionals once they complete their college degrees. Articles that include DREAMers when discussing worker shortages help move the DREAM Act closer to reality.


U.S. Has a Shortage of Trained Health Workers

Hospitals scramble for pharmacy technicians, lab scientists and other trained workers as baby boomers age and retire.
By Mary Engel, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
5:29 PM PDT, July 26, 2008
During a typical 12-hour shift, Hector Hernandez can be found in just about any corner of Kaiser Sunset, tending to premature infants and the elderly, to patients with asthma and those with AIDS, to heart attack victims and survivors of car wrecks.

He connects patients to ventilators, evaluates lung capacity and blood gases and administers oxygen and aerosol medications. Clad in green scrubs and white running shoes, he is often the first to arrive on a "code blue" -- the term that is broadcast when a patient has stopped breathing.

The allied health profession is a large and varied group. Some, like laboratory scientists (who analyze blood and other bodily fluids), need a bachelor's degree. Pharmacists, licensed social workers and physical therapists need advanced degrees.

But most allied health jobs do not require four years of college. Training programs after high school can lead to state certification to be an emergency medical technician (who provides emergency care and transport) or a pharmacy technician (who counts pills, labels bottles and works the pharmacy counter). Community colleges offer two-year associate degrees for medical radiographers (who position patients for mammograms and other imaging machines) and for respiratory care practitioners like Hernandez.

And although some jobs are relatively low-paying -- the median wage for an EMT in 2005-06 was $12.19 an hour -- others pay two or three times that, according to the study. The median wage for dental hygienists was $36.83. The highest median wage was for pharmacists, at $53.03.

Yet despite the decent pay, to meet the need for clinical laboratory scientists -- median wage, $32.36 an hour -- the state would have to produce 559% more graduates in that field alone in the next six years, the study found.

"Laboratory sciences are just critical to our delivery of healthcare in an acute care hospital," said Roger E. Seaver, president and chief executive of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Valencia. "But they are out of sight, out of mind."

The factors driving the shortages are similar to those behind the nursing shortage, experts say.

Allied health workers make more money in the clinic than in the classroom, leading to faculty shortages. Community colleges, underfunded and independently operated, do a poor job of letting students who are on a waiting list at one college know about available seats at another. Attrition rates are high because many students are ill-prepared academically when they enter college and juggle classes with work and family obligations. Little is offered in the way of tutoring, counseling or financial aid.

Public-private partnerships to fix some of these problems in nursing education are already showing results, said Siqueiros, who is calling for similar steps -- and funding -- for the allied health fields.

Some hospitals, Kaiser among them, already work with community colleges to recruit and prepare students.

When Jerry Saldana became manager of respiratory care services at Kaiser Sunset, he knew that wages didn't explain the problems he was having filling vacancies: The starting salary for respiratory care practitioners right out of school is $29 an hour plus full benefits. There just weren't enough applicants to go around. So he set up partnerships with East Los Angeles College, Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut and Concorde Career Colleges to do the clinical training, which makes up the program's second year, at Kaiser.

"We get to see the students here for a year, train them here," he said. "I've hired quite a few right out of school."

The worsening economy has sparked interest in the program among mid-career workers who have lost their jobs to downsizing or are seeking stable work. The field also attracts immigrants who worked in a health profession in their home countries.

"We're making some ground on the awareness side," said UC San Francisco's Chapman. "But we still have a long way to go to have a serious, sustained commitment to this. Like in nursing, it's not something that's going to be resolved overnight."

for link to LA Times article click here

Telling Congressmen ICE Raids Need to Stop

July 26, 2008, 7:32PM
Iowans to Congressmen: Stop Immigration Raids
By HENRY C. JACKSON Associated Press Writer
© 2008 The Associated Press

POSTVILLE, Iowa — An immigration raid that arrested nearly 400 people in northeastern Iowa scarred a small town and tore families apart, residents said Saturday.

Dozens begged a visiting congressional delegation to do everything in its power to stop federal immigration raids. The May raid in Postville at Agriprocessors, the nation's largest kosher meatpacking plant, by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials was the largest of its kind in U.S. history.

Reps. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., Albio Sires, D-N.J., and Joe Baca, D-Calif., members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, heard three hours of often emotional testimony. Women whose husbands are being detained talked about their longing to be reunited, underage workers detailed deplorable working conditions and city and religious officials lamented the impact on the community.

The speakers alternated between sharp criticism of immigration officials and the Department of Homeland Security for launching what they called an inhumane raid, and at their former employer, Agriprocessors, which they said took advantage of workers and allowed unsafe conditions. Many said they were equally responsible for the situation.

By the end, Gutierrez said he had heard enough.

"This is wrong," he said. "We've taken men and women who want to work and made felons out of them."

Gilda Yolanda Ordonez Lopez, 17, wept as she described working 12-hour shifts with no overtime pay.

When Adolpho Wilson was an employee at the plant, he was cleaning an unplugged meat grinding machine when someone turned it on by mistake, he said.

"I shouted, I screamed. I said, 'Help me, help me!'" Wilson said in Spanish. "When they heard me, they took apart the machine, but it had eaten my hand."

Jerry Messer, a local union official with the United Food and Commercial Workers, said Agriprocessors should be punished.

"The family that owns that place, they're the ones who should be prosecuted," he said. "They're the ones who should be deported, not the workers."

Phone messages left with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Agriprocessors by The Associated Press were not immediately returned.

Postville Mayor Robert Penrod told the congressmen to take the message back to Washington that immigration raids do not work...

for link to AP/Houston Chronicle article, click here

A Question for Readers about Genealogy

In the previous dreamacttexas post we wrote about how people sometimes announce to others around them that their family has been in the U.S. "x" generations - sort of like they are wearing a badge about themselves.

A couple of questions for readers. If you have a comment please respond by clicking "comment" after this post.

1. What does it mean when a person tells others their family has been here many (5, 7, 9 etc) generations?

2. How many generations does a family have to be here not to be considered immigrant?

3. What happens with mixed families, where there might be one immigrant and the rest 4th generation?

If you are interesting in posting your comments, you would need to have a gmail email account. Please remember to be respectful. Comments with profanity or hate speech will not be published.

How many generations does it take to be respected by your community?

A few months ago I was stopped at Customs while returning from a trip to Mexico. Once officer said I was fine and could go, as a younger officer showed up and signaled me to follow him. Turns out they wanted to check out some large books that were in my carry on - they actually told me it was a random check, but I travel enough to know that could be true. (see dreamacttexas post "Returning Home to Houston," March 30, 2008)

During the conversation, the young officer told me that his family had been farming in Wharton County Texas* for many generations. He basically was telling me that he had the officer U.S. Government seal of approval --- his family is not new to the U.S. -- they have been here a LONG time.

At that moment it didn't seem useful to give him a cocky answer (my mother's family has been on this side of the Rio Grande since the mid-eighteenth century), plus, I don't think he would care what I would say to him, as long as I was respectful to his position.

What is it about people announcing how many generations their families have been in the U.S.? Is it a marker representing their status as real Americans? It is a way to divide oneself from those others so many people dislike?

It is the opposite of the Yellow Star that many Jews wore during WWII - its a sign announcing a person is special - of "good blood," clean character - that he/she belongs to the "right" group - that they will not bring in bad habits or uncivilized ways.

In the LAT article below the reporter repeatedly mentions how many generations the victim's family has been in the U.S. - and that the perpetrator was an undocumented immigrant. What an easy way to divide the "good" people and the "bad" people.

The crime committed was heinous - and probably needs to be written about and published. Yet is there a need to classify people according to their generational ranking? What difference does that make in talking about a murder? And further questions; do undocumented immigrants deserve stricter sentencing when found guilty of a crime. The U.S. Consitition would say no. But the constant reminder of victim's American genealogy makes you wonder if that would reduce the guilty party's sentence.

'Sanctuary city' no haven for San Francisco family's grief

A third-generation resident says city officials are responsible for the slayings of his brother-in-law and nephews, allegedly by an undocumented Salvadoran immigrant.
By Maria L. LaGanga
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

July 26, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO -- — Frank Kennedy is a third-generation San Franciscan, the son and grandson of local police officers and the proud owner of a Bay Area business. And this week he became Exhibit A for all he believes ails his hometown.

On Wednesday, a 21-year-old undocumented Salvadoran immigrant pleaded not guilty to murdering Kennedy's brother-in-law and two nephews in a case that has galvanized sentiment nationwide against this "sanctuary city" and its ambitious mayor.

Kennedy has spent much of the time since telling anyone who will listen that San Francisco and cities like it should stop shielding illegal immigrants from federal authorities and that officials here are responsible for his loved ones' deaths.

Suspect Edwin Ramos awaits trial in San Francisco County Jail, a system that released him nearly three months before the slayings. Convicted twice on felony charges as a juvenile, he was protected then from immigration officials because of the city's sanctuary policy.

"Any mayor, any board of supervisors that passes these laws should be prosecuted to the fullest," Kennedy said in a recent interview.

"This is not the United States of San Francisco . . . My family was the sacrificial lamb in this."

Immigration activists have embraced the grieving family, using the June 22 deaths of Anthony, Matthew and Michael Bologna to call for change. Conservative broadcasters have vilified the city and its officials all week.

Outraged e-mailers have lit up message boards for days. And federal immigration officials have demanded greater access to the city's jails, telling Mayor Gavin Newsom in a letter Wednesday that the sanctuary policy means they can't "prevent the release of these criminal aliens . . . "

CNN's Lou Dobbs asked Kennedy: "What is your reaction when you think about the fact that Mayor Newsom has with great, complete, sanctimonious arrogance defended the sanctuary policy of this city?"

On June 22, Anthony Bologna, 48, and his sons Matthew, 16, and Michael, 20, were driving back to their home in this city's Excelsior neighborhood from a family get-together at Kennedy's home.

Driving south on a narrow street, Bologna stopped the car, inadvertently blocking the path of a Chrysler 300M, authorities said. The Chrysler's driver pulled up alongside and began shooting. The father and his oldest son died at the scene. The younger boy died later at San Francisco General Hospital.

"That Sunday, we had breakfast, hugged each other, kissed each other and the kids," Kennedy said.

Later that day, the phone rang, and "the homicide inspectors told my wife her brother was shot and killed along with his son . . . . "

Bologna "was a wonderful individual and a great father," Kennedy said. "To have him assassinated in broad daylight with my two nephews is incomprehensible."

Three days later, police arrested Ramos of nearby El Sobrante. San Francisco Police Sgt. Neville Gittens said Ramos is allegedly a member of the violent Mara Salvatrucha gang.

He was charged with three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. Because of the serious nature of the crime -- including the fact that there were multiple victims -- state law would allow the death penalty to be invoked if Ramos is convicted.

Kennedy, his sister-in-law Danielle Bologna and various activist groups are calling on Dist. Atty. Kamala Harris to seek the death penalty in the case.

Harris is opposed to capital punishment and came under fire earlier in her career when she did not seek the death penalty in the murder of a San Francisco police officer. She has yet to decide whether to do so in the Bolognas' case.

The widespread uproar over the Bolognas' deaths began this week, after the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Ramos had been found guilty of two felonies as a juvenile.

Because of the city's sanctuary policy -- enacted in 1989 -- local agencies do not consider immigration status when dealing with young offenders and therefore did not check whether Ramos was in the country legally.
Ramos was also arrested March 30 on a weapons violation, along with an alleged gang member riding in his car. After he spent several days in jail, authorities decided to file charges against the other man but not him, and Ramos was released, said Eileen Hirst, a sheriff's spokeswoman.

Deportation proceedings against Ramos could have been initiated but were not because of an apparent mix-up between the federal Immigration, Customs and Enforcement Agency and the San Francisco Sheriff's Department, which runs the jail. Hirst said jail officials notified ICE two times that they had Ramos in custody but were told there was no government detainer against Ramos.

A detainer is the document that says there is probable cause to believe someone is in the country illegally. Without that, Hirst said, the Sheriff's Department could not hold Ramos.

But ICE spokesman Tim Counts said the jail contacted federal immigration officials only once -- at 3:44 a.m. April 2, two hours after Ramos had been released.

"At 5:12 a.m. we sent the response back saying he's an illegal alien in removal proceedings," Counts said, an account that the Sheriff's Department disputes.

But it was too late. Ramos was gone. And less than three months later, the Bolognas were dead.

Robert Amparan, Ramos' defense attorney, did not return phone calls for comment. According to published reports, Amparan says his client was not the shooter, was not involved with gangs and is in the country legally.

The triple murder is not the first time this summer that San Francisco's "sanctuary city" policy has come under fire.

The same week that Newsom announced he was exploring a run for governor, he overturned the part of the policy that shielded convicted juvenile drug offenders who were illegal immigrants from federal authorities.

Instead of handing them over for deportation, city officials for years would escort the young offenders back to their home countries or place them in unsecured halfway houses. This summer, several escaped from facilities in San Bernardino County and other regions.

On Tuesday, Newsom ordered "a top-to-bottom review" of the sanctuary policy, to ensure that "in every case we are complying with applicable federal and state law," said Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for the mayor.

One day later, however, ICE Assistant Secretary Julie Myers wrote to Newsom demanding greater access to San Francisco jails. She requested the kind of cooperation her agency has with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which works with ICE to screen for undocumented inmates in its jails.

Because of jail policy under the sanctuary city ordinance, she wrote, "ICE is unable to effectively identify criminal aliens in the Sheriff's custody and lodge the detainers necessary to prevent the release of these criminal aliens back into the San Francisco community."

But Ballard, Newsom's spokesman, insisted that "the sheriff has turned over felons to ICE. That is his standard practice. Whether ICE chooses to pick them up or not is up to ICE. The sheriff complies with the law."

For the grieving Kennedy and Bologna families, that's little comfort.

"I took my son off life support two days after his dad and brother were murdered," said a tearful Danielle Bologna, 47, who now must raise her surviving two children alone. "It was the most difficult part of my entire life to look at my baby and know he was gone . . . .

"We used to have six," she said. "Now we have half."

Bologna and Kennedy have vowed to work with immigration activists to change San Francisco's sanctuary policy and others like it.

"This issue is not going to calm down until changes are made," said Kennedy, 52. "I'm going to make sure of it. . . . And as far as I'm concerned, Mr. Newsom's political future after this is washed up."

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*Wharton County is app. sixty five miles southwest of Houston on U.S. Highway 59.