Saturday, December 31, 2005
President Bush Friday signed legislation extending key provisions of the anti-terrorism USA Patriot Act until February 3, despite earlier objecting to anything short of a permanent renewal. He also signed a $453.3 billion defense spending bill that included a measure banning cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners, the White House said. KJ
President Bush Friday signed legislation extending key provisions of the anti-terrorism USA Patriot Act until February 3, despite earlier objecting to anything short of a permanent renewal.
He also signed a $453.3 billion defense spending bill that included a measure banning cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners, the White House said.
JOINING IMMIGRATION DRAGNETS ERODES LOCAL COPS' ANTI-CRIME EFFORTS,
JOINING IMMIGRATION DRAGNETS ERODES LOCAL COPS' ANTI-CRIME EFFORTS,BY JUAN PACHECO, PACIFIC NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON, D.C.--Ernesto (not his real name) lived in Virginia with his partner, who was pregnant with their child. A native of El Salvador, Ernesto entered the United States seeking work so that he could support his growing family. He worked multiple jobs, the most recent as a busboy in Virginia.
In April 2005, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided a carnival near the Springfield Mall. Ernesto was arrested in the sweep and placed in a detention center in Farmville, Va., where he awaited his deportation hearing. Ernesto knew he couldn't stay in the United States, but he wanted to be released for a short period, under a form of immigration relief known as voluntary departure, so he could take care of his partner before leaving. Little did he know that because he was arrested under "Operation Community Shield," a joint ICE-local police national program to arrest alleged violent gang members, his application for voluntary departure would be denied.
But Ernesto wasn't in a gang. The most serious crime he ever committed involved a minor driving offense. But in Immigration Court the mere allegation of his gang membership was enough for the judge to deny Ernesto's request. Though there was no evidence supporting gang affiliation, the judge ruled that Ernesto was too much of a public safety threat to be released.
Ernesto remains in detention, unable to care for his wife, who is in her seventh month of pregnancy. She will have to rely on public benefits to get through this difficult time. And Ernesto will be in detention through the holidays, waiting for ICE to deport him to El Salvador.
In response to this ICE initiative, immigration advocates, youth violence prevention groups and community service organizations on Dec. 20 held press conferences in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Florence, Ariz., expressing grave concerns about Operation Community Shield and similar programs that seek to turn local and state police into immigration agents. We demanded to know the extent of cooperation of the police in immigration raids. In the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area alone, 101 arrests have been made -- the highest in the nation.
We want to make it crystal-clear that we are opposed to gang violence. Our groups represent communities whose youths and families have been most hurt by gang crime. But the media sensationalism around gang activity and violence has reached a fever pitch, even in the face of government data showing that gang violence dropped 73 percent from 1994 to 2003.
Influenced by such distorted depictions, lawmakers have designed bills using "terrorism" models to combat gang violence, even when the FBI and the National Alliance of Gang Investigators Association have stated that any connection to terrorism is "speculative."
Consider Judiciary Committee Chairman James Chairman Sensenbrenner's H.R. 4437, a bill recently passed by the House. This harsh bill would further criminalize non-citizens by making unlawful presence a felony crime; make any friend, co-worker, co-congregant of an undocumented immigrant into an "alien smuggler" and a criminal; broaden the range of offenses that will make the offender deportable; make it harder for someone to get lawful permanent residency; and officially turn police into immigration agents.
Turning police into immigration agents means that ultimately, our streets will be made less safe for everyone. That's because non-citizen victims of crime will be afraid to file reports with the police if doing so could bring the risk deportation. The ICE-local police initiative undermines the hard-won trust between immigrant communities and the police and disrupts community policing programs. Important resources are diverted from local police priorities to making immigration arrests. Turning police into immigration agents will, in all likelihood, worsen crime rates, not reduce them.
Local police enforcement of immigration law also exacerbates racial profiling. Think of how many times we hear that tattoos or baggy clothes of certain colors are "definite indicators" of gang membership. Those of us who work with gangs know that it's not always so clear-cut. Many youths "age out" of gangs but remain stuck with their tattoos because they can't afford to have them removed.
Sensenbrenner's bill will result in hardship to immigrants, their children, family members, employers, fellow students and community members who depend on and benefit from their presence, productivity and important contributions. Like previous enforcement-only immigration "reforms," the bill will only drive immigrants and refugees further away from fully participating in U.S. society, making them more prone to exploitation and more vulnerable to the real criminals, such as professional smugglers and traffickers.
Reform efforts that focus on enforcement alone haven't worked to bring about a rational or effective immigration system because they ignore the complex realities of existing family ties and the needs of employers and employees alike. For immigration reform to be truly effective, it must balance appropriate enforcement measures with a workable admissions, employment and family unification program.
Enlisting local police to enforce immigration law has already torn apart immigrant families. Just consider Ernesto, his partner and their soon-to-be-born infant.
Friday, December 30, 2005
Dysfunctional Immigration Policy Strikes California's In-State
Tuition Program: James T. Daly writes about the conflict between state law andfederal law as each affect immigrants in California.
The Houston Chronicle ran a crisp article summmarizing the controversy over the proposed fence between the United States and Mexico. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/3551212.html
I see only two possible problems: (1) although it will cost millions, it is unlikely to reduce undocumented immigration (read "where there is a will, there is a way"); and (2) a fence is likely to make the Mexican government angry and contribute to anti-Mexican feelings in the United States. The House's border bill includes a provision for building a fence along parts of the border. Next spring, the Senate will consider the proposal.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
A Senate-passed measure to add more visas for foreign workers in high-tech and specialty fields was dropped from a budget bill that passed the House earlier this month, disappointing high-tech and manufacturing firms in search of skilled workers.
The Senate plan would have allowed 30,000 more of the popular H1-B visas each year, and increased fees for those visas to help trim the budget deficit. Congress capped the six-year H-1B visas at 65,000 per year in 2004, and that cap has already been reached for the 2006 fiscal year that began Oct. 1.
The Senate language also would have allowed 90,000 more employment-based green cards that offer permanent residency to skilled workers, and added fees for those.
Critics contend the visas give foreigners high-level jobs that should go to American workers, and the plan was opposed by some House Republicans as a backdoor way to boost immigration. House and Senate negotiators left it out of the final version of a $39.7 billion federal budget bill that passed the House 212-206 and was expected to get a Senate vote later in the day.
"This is very, very
disappointing," said Sandy Boyd, a vice president at the National
Association of Manufacturers. "What's distressing about this, and what the
Senate clearly understood, is there is a real global competition for this work
and for these employees, and the question is not whether the work is going to
get done, it's where is the work going to get done. We've missed a real
opportunity by not ensuring the work would be done here."
House and Senate negotiators also dropped a plan to increase fees on another kind of visa, the L-1, which companies use to transfer workers they already employ in foreign countries in the U.S.
Source: Associated Press & San Jose Mercury News, Dec. 20, 2005
Second Annual Cultural Competency Conference, March 20 & 21, 2006
Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, 30303
Diversity vs. Multiculturalism: The Ethical Transformation.
The Faculty and Staff of Georgia State University Counseling Center are excited to announce the dates for the Second Annual Cultural Competency Conference. The title of this year’s conference is Diversity vs. Multiculturalism: The Ethical Transformation. The keynote speakers are:
Dr. Derald Sue, Teacher's College, Columbia University
Dr. Thomas Parham, University of California, Irvine
Dr. Asa G. Hilliard III, Georgia State University
Dr. Joanne DeMark, Emory University
Dr. Maya Angelou, Author, Poet, Wake Forest University
There will be a special evening event with Dr. Maya Angelou, award winning poet, actress and author, who will address the conferees and the Georgia State University community. Registrants are urged to register early. Group discounts are available. An overview of the conference, speaker bios, and registration information are available in the conference brochure and at our extraordinary, fantastic conference website at:
http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwcou/CulturalCompetency2/index.htm. (flash and sound)
(or http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwcou/CulturalCompetency2/2006/) (without flash).
As part of this year’s conference, we are inviting participants to submit proposals for poster sessions that will run concurrently with the conference on March 20 and 21, 2006. The conference brochure and call for papers form are attached. The deadline for submission is January 27, 2006. Send your completed information as an email attachment in MS Word to the following email address: email@example.com. If you have questions please call Michelle K. Lyn, Ph. D or Alaycia D. Reid, Ph.D. (co-chairs of the poster session committee) at 404-651-2211.
Notification of selection will take place January 20, 2006. Poster presenters are required to register for the conference and will receive a discounted registration rate.
Posters submissions may be theoretical or empirical in nature. Please note that preference for selection will be given to those falling under one of the four following categories:
1. General Multicultural Awareness
2. Clinical/Counseling Application of Multicultural Issues
3. Multicultural Education
4. Multicultural Research and Theory
Thanks to Donna Shestowsky for this tip!
ADC Press Release: ADC Files FOIA With FBI, DOJ, and DOE For Radiation Surveillance of Muslim Sites- http://adc.org/index.php?id=2687
Washington, DC, December 27, 2005, -Today, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request asking that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the US Department of Justice (DOJ), and the US Department of Energy (DOE) release information relating to the FBI and Department of Energy's Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST) nuclear surveillance program. Specifically, ADC requested that it be provided with the addresses of the mosques, homes, businesses, warehouses, and all other facilities, in the greater Washington, DC, area where the nuclear surveillance program has been conducted. ADC's intent with the request is to assure the Arab-American and Muslim communities, along with the rest of our nation, that national security enforcement measures are not resulting in a disproportionate impact on these communities and that these federal agencies act in a manner consistent with the repeated statements made by their spokespersons - namely, not to engage in racial, national origin, or religious profiling.
According to a December 22, 2005, U.S. News & World Report article, entitled "Nuclear Monitoring of Muslims Done Without Search Warrants," this nuclear surveillance program has monitored hundreds of Muslim "targets" in the greater Washington, DC, area. In essence, the program is alleged to have monitored radiation levels at specific locations in an effort to seek out potential nuclear threats, but without obtaining search warrants.
ADC hopes that the FBI, DOJ, and DOE review this request in a timely manner and make the correct decision to release the information and rest any concerns of alleged profiling. For more information, please contact the ADC Legal Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling us at (202) 244-2990.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
For a special issue on immigration reform in the American Prospect, see http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=immigration Contributors include Maria Echaveste (andeditor of the issus), Doris Meissner, Frank Sharry, David Bacon, Leonard Zeskind, Marta Tienda, Celelia Muñoz,and Janet Murgia.
A federal judge took the unusual step last week of tripling the suggested sentence for a Somali community leader convicted of immigration crimes, saying the harsher sentence was justified because of national security concerns.
After Omar Abdi Mohamed
declined to make a statement to the court, U.S. District Judge John Houston
sentenced the self-described Muslim missionary to 18 months in prison. Mohamed
has already served two years while awaiting the outcome of his case.
Houston said he was departing from the sentencing guidelines because he was troubled by a comination of facts--in particular that a charity founded by Mohamed in San Diego received more than $300,000 from "specially designated global terrorist organizatins." Houston noted that the money was then channeled by Mohamed to an unknown overseas location. The judge also was concerned about Mohamed's conduct--from his work for the Saudi government to his extensive travel on just a $20,000 annual salary.
Mohamed, a Somali war refugee and father of eight who moved to the U.S. in 1995 from Canada, was never charged with terrorism. He was convicted in two trials of six felony charges that he lied on visa a naturalization applications. He was acquitted of more serious charges, particularly that he lied during a citizenship interview about his association with the two charities in question, Global Relief Foundation and the Al-Harmain, which the U.S. government has linked to terrorist fundraising.
Source: San Diego
On Sunday, Califonia Senate Bill 670 - the so-called "Apology Act for the 1930s Mexican Repatriation Program" - becomes official. It acknowledges the suffering of tens of thousands of Latino families unjustly forced out of the Golden State that was their home. "The state of California apologizes . . . for the fundamental violations of their basic civil liberties and constitutional rights during the period of illegal deportation and coerced emigration," the act reads. For a story about the apology, see http://www.sacbee.com/content/politics/story/14021428p-14853951c.html
The apology came after hearings before a special committee of the Califonia State legislature and the hard work of many activists and legislatiors, including Califonia Senator Joe Dunn. The famous book on the repatriation, Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s, by Francisco Balderrama and Ray Rodriguez. Unfortunatyely, many people have not heard of the forced removal of approximately one million persons – U.S. citizens as well as noncitizens – of Mexican ancestry from the United States during the Great Depression. This is true despite the fact that the number of repatriates dwarfed by about ten-fold the number of persons of Japanese ancestry who were interned by the United States government during World War II. The invisibility of the repatriation is entirely consistent with the general invisibility of Latina/o civil rights deprivations throughout much of U.S. history.
The repatriation campaign of the 1930s had a long and enduring impact on Mexican-Americans in this country. In a time of severe national economic crisis, the deportation campaign sought to save jobs for true "Americans" and reduce the welfare rolls, by encouraging Mexicans to "voluntarily" leave the country. An economic threat had placed the nation’s future in jeopardy, caused severe economic distress for many U.S. citizens, and effectively compelled government to act. A discrete and insular minority, the most available and vulnerable target, suffered from the government’s policy choices. This tragic episode is well worth remembering as the United States continues to engage in a "war on terror" in response to the horrible loss of life on September 11, 2001. This "war" has targeted Arab and Muslim noncitizens suspected of no crime and subjected them to special immigration procedures, arrest, detention, and deportation from the United States.
In criticism of the government’s responses to the tragic events of September 11, the specter of the internment of the persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II has often been invoked. The analogy is apt in important ways, with racial profiling based on statistical probabilities at the core of the government policies adopted in both incidents. At least in my estimation, however, the repatriation of the 1930s also has modern relevance in evaluating the measures taken by the U.S. government in the name of national security after September 11. This paper draws out the historic and legal parallels between these two episodes in U.S. legal history and suggests that the nation should pay heed to the excesses of the past in considering its practices and policies in the "war on terror."
For more on the repatriation, be on the lookout for a soon-to-be published lecture on the topic in the Pace Law Review. A short while back, I described the efforts to bring redress to the repatriates in International Human Rights Class Actions: New Frontiers for Group Litigation, 2004 Mich. St. L. Rev. 643.
For a copy of the Apology Act, see http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/bill/sen/sb_0651-0700/sb_670_bill_20051007_chapte Thanks to the ever-vigilant Dan Kowalski for the link.red.html
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
On December 16, 2005, four of the leading national Hispanic advocacy organizations in the United States – The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) – today released the text of a letter to President George W. Bush expressing their "extreme disappointment" with the White House’s strong support of the "Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005" (H.R. 4437), a bill sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner which is currently being debated on the House floor.
The letter states that the groups are "shocked and saddened" by the White House statement in strong support of this legislation which is both unduly harsh and punitive yet highly unlikely to resolve any current immigration concerns. The groups also note that the legislation seriously undermines not only the President’s own interest in enacting comprehensive immigration reform but also Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Ken Mehlman’s recent efforts to reach out to the Latino community. The groups call for the President to instead embrace and support bipartisan legislation pending before Congress to enact realistic, rational, and effective comprehensive immigration reform.
For a copy of the press release, see http://www.nclr.org/content/news/detail/35688/
The death toll on the U.S.-Mexico border has risen dramatically over the last 11 years ever since the Border Patrol launched Operation Gatekeeper in 1994 during the Clinton administration. I believe that this is one of the most immoral actions this nation has undertaken in the name of plenary power over immigration. Most of the deaths are preventable, because the enforcement mechanism intentially closes off the easier parts of the border to cross, with full knowledge in the minds of enforcement officials that border crossers then will have cross through treacherous territory (deserts or high mountains). The construction of more fences (as required by the Sensenbrenner legislation) will only make things worse. Extreme poverty and oppression continue to propel folks across the border. In the past fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 451individuals lost their lives trying to cross.
Source: El Diario/La Prensa (NYC), Dec. 22, 2005
See also: The Dark Side of Operation Gatekeeper, 7 U.C. DAVIS J. OF INT’L L. & POL’Y 121 (2001).
Renunciation by Minuteman Leader James Chase
Renunciation by Minuteman Leader James Chase
Minuteman leader James Chase, head of the California Border Watch, has split with Minuteman Project, charging racism and fascism in the Minutemen's ranks.
In an email sent to the Minuteman Project chat room, Chase formally split his organization and its members from the Minuteman Project, as reported on November 27, 2005, by Raoul Lowery Contreras. Chase wrote:
"I cannot continue in any way, shape or form in a relationship with Minuteman Civil Defense Corps or even Minuteman Project...James Gilchrist wanted to skin Chris alive but then they went to Washington and picked up the two DC crooks Mary Lewis [Gilchrist's congressional campaign manager] and Connie Hair [official Minuteman Project spokesperson] and the corruption machine was off and running. Now Mary is even allowing the Nazi party into the campaign and they refuse to remove Ranch Rescue, Andy Ramirez and Cliff Linquist from their links. So you have an absolute CON man Andy in your ranks sucking many thousands of dollars away from the cause. I have standards of right...sending email and letter requests for money to all of our people, even to my grandchildren, sister-in-law, and distance English ex-step mother is just without all Class or regard for civility. I am sad that some of you are so desperate, so gah gah, over what was a super lightning rod for anti-illegal immigration that you refuse to see that ethics and honesty is above all. May the Lord Open your eyes to see and your nostrils to smell the manure before us."
Mary Parker Lewis managed Gilchrist's congressional campaign. Hair is the official Minuteman Project spokesperson.
Chase posted a similar disclaimer on his California Border Watch website, http://www.borderwatch.us/ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1&Itemid=0, notifying his members and the public of the split in the Minuteman ranks
The Houson Chronicle has a story on the never-ending debate on birthright citizenship.
Monday, December 26, 2005
Its official, the front page of the N.Y. Times (Dec. 26) reports on Judge Posner et al.'s criticism of the BIA.
Courts Criticize Judges' Handling of Asylum Cases
Courts Criticize Judges' Handling of Asylum Cases
In one decision last month, Richard A. Posner, a prominent and relatively conservative federal appeals court judge in Chicago, concluded that "the adjudication of these cases at the administrative level has fallen below the minimum standards of legal justice."
Some Border Patrol Agents Take a Chance on Love:
Some Border Patrol Agents Take a Chance on Love:It's an open secret: By day they deport illegal immigrants, but at night they date them, by Nicholas Riccardi.
DOUGLAS, Ariz. — The forbidden romance between the Border Patrol agent and the illegal immigrant began in a gym.
Maria Terrazas, 31, met Jose Ruiz three years ago at LM's Body Builders in this remote border town. Terrazas, a waitress and mother of two, knew Ruiz was a catch. As a Border Patrol agent, Ruiz belonged to an elite class in town: available men with good jobs and an education. For more see, http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/la-na-romance26dec26,1,935025.story?ctrack=1&cset=true