Sunday, April 30, 2006
For statewide information on the May 1 boycott, visit California Senator Gil Cedillo's website by clicking here Listen to Senator Cedillo speak befor the California legislature on the rights of immigrants
Cedillo has fought for the last several years to allow undocumented immigrants to secure driver's licenses, as they were able to do without a problem in California before 1994.
Displays of anti-immigrant and anti-Latino anger in California and across the country have increased in the six weeks since massive immigrant rights rallies began, and they’re injecting a new note of vitriol into the nation’s immigration reform debate.
The messages sent in pro-immigration demonstrations lately don’t sit well with many immigration restrictionists, including leaders of the Minuteman Project, whose members will depart from Los Angeles on Wednesday on a cross-country lobbying tour for tougher border control. And the elected officials on the receiving end downplayed the anonymous messages, saying they get death threats from time to time on a range of issues
Click on: Immigration Reform Vitriol
By Aarti Shahani,
While most lawmakers, media, immigrants and restrictionists
have focused on legalization and guest worker programs for the 11 million
undocumented immigrants in the United States, few have questioned the harsh
deportation measures in the proposed bills. The "best" and
"worst" bills consistently propose to:
* Deport long-term residents for increasingly minor crimes, even when they are green card holders, U.S. veterans, or the parents of American-born children
* Expand immigration detention facilities, using domestic military bases and for-profit prison facilities
* Overturn Supreme Court rulings and legalize the indefinite detention of non-citizens
* Turn local and state police into immigration agents
* Erect a massive border fence and further militarize our border communities
* Enable Homeland Security agents to expel suspected foreigners indiscriminately
* Create a national identification system for all workers.
These hidden provisions in the immigration proposals would make a bad situation worse. American immigration laws are already harsh, resulting in the destruction of immigrant families. Since Congress made deportation and detention mandatory minimums in 1996, 1.4 million people have been exiled from the United States. Immigrants have become the fastest-growing segment of our prison population. Families and taxpayers are paying dearly, as the Department of Homeland Security lines the pockets of for-profit prisons.
Law Prof Michael Olivas and Education Prof Tina Reyes have a nice/op ed in the Houston Chronicle on April 30 "To protest....or not Monday." It starts like this:
As many others have been, we are impressed by the peaceful efforts of Houston-area and other students to take to the streets and to urge immigration reform. They have done so at some risk to themselves, especially in light of the very real threat to their immigration status, as some of them have come to the attention of immigration authorities and school officials. In Albuquerque, as one example, several undocumented students were arrested and turned over to immigration authorities without reason. In California, when one student's status was threatened by a school official, he tragically took his own life. In other communities, when immigration policy debates are exposing latent prejudices and nativism, many of our young immigrant students quite reasonably fear for their own safety and family security. In this society, they have come to realize the wonderful attributes offree expression and the importance of advocacy on important issues - especially those that affect their own community. They are putting into practice civics lessons, ones learned in the Houston Independent School District and other schools.
To see the entire piece, click here.
Saturday, April 29, 2006
The courts have chastised the Board of Immigration Appeals and immigration judges for years. In January, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales instructed them to clean up their act. Still, reviewing courts criticize the IJ's treatment of noncitizens and their claims. For two recent cases, see
Given what we know what is going on in our immigration courts combined with limited scrutiny of IJ rulings by the BIA, one wonders what justification there can be for no judicial review or deferential judicial review of BIA decisions.
It's especially striking that the Third Circuit criticized by name Judge Ferlise in Pennsylvania and asked the government attorney during oral argument what the AG would do with an IJ that repeatedly acts inappropriately.
Also that the Third Circuit remands for a new hearing without requiring proof that the respondent otherwise would have prevailed.
U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner's immigration-control proposals have helped ignite protests across the nation but created little controversy in his solidly Republican Wisconsin district.
One newspaper in his district says it has yet to receive a single piece of reader mail concerning the 14-term Republican U.S. House of Representatives member's proposals to make undocumented immigration status a felony and build an additional 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.
"All I hear from my constituents is to keep at it," Sensenbrenner told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently.
The Seattle Times has an interesting story today on how religious leaders of different faiths view the current debate over immigration. The paper's Faith & Values columnists were asked to weigh in on the issues.
Grits for Breakfast (click here) posted an interesting story this morning on the increasing use of immiogrant detention. here's an excerpt:
If the war on illegal immigration hasn't already become a more expensive government boondoggle than the war on drugs, I bet it soon will. Projecting into the future, the incarceration needs for potential immigration violations, given current and proposed policies, could be limitless. Already, one third of federal prosecutions in the United States are for immigration violations - more, even, than drug crimes. "The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recommended the prosecution of 65% more immigration cases in FY 2004 than it did in the previous year," according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, and that number's only increasing. According to TRAC's data, even before the recent raids immigration agents were taking more cases to court than the the FBI, the DEA and the IRS combined. A huge and growing number of these derive from Texas' Southern District (Houston). Now Johnny Sutton in Texas' Western District (San Antonio) appears to have climbed on the bandwagon - his office has "filed criminal charges against dozens of undocumented immigrants for crimes that have long been handled with simple deportation," according to the Austin American Statesman ("Austin seeing change in immigration prosecutions," April 28). "For undocumented immigrants in the Austin area, the chance of being prosecuted remains small, but the shift means they are more likely to face federal prison time or leave the country with a criminal record if they are caught," reported Steven Kreytak.
And if immigration "reform" passes, we can expect more and more detention. the beat goes on!
From the Austin Statesman: With widespread reports of immigration raids in Austin multiplying and federal officials refusing to say whether the rumors are true, city and immigrant rights leaders Friday raised the possibility that vigilantes might be impersonating law enforcement officers and terrorizing immigrants and citizens. At a City Hall news conference, they called on government officials to be open about information that might help explain the numerous raid reports sweeping Austin and the region. "I think everyone just wants answers," Council Member Raul Alvarez said. "If it isn't the government doing it, who's to say it's not some other group that's doing this and is potentially violating the rights of our citizens?" But a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Friday that the agency remained steadfast in its position of never commenting on its operations as a consideration of officer and public safety. "That's just policy," Nina Pruneda said.
Click here for the story.
On May 1st, Radio Bilingüe, the national Latino public radio network, will open its airwaves for a full day of breaking news reports, public service announcements, and listener call-ins about the National Boycott Day or Day Without Immigrants, a day slated to rally and skip school, work and shopping to protest criminalization of immigrants and urge immigration reform. Línea Abierta, Radio Bilingüe’s national Spanish-language call-in talk show, will run an extended, four-hour edition to provide a special coverage of the news developments around the nation. Beginning at 11 AM PDT, Línea Abierta will gather reports from correspondents and affiliate stations to bring up-to-the-minute news on the national boycott and analysis on the historic mass demonstrations. In addition, guests including civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, Congressman Luis Gutiérrez from Chicago, and others are invited to comment on pending immigration bills. In addition to Radio Bilingüe’s six-station network, a partial list of stations joining this four-hour special segment of news and analysis include: KBBF, Santa Rosa, CA, KERU, Blythe, CA , WCIW, Immokalee, FL, WCOM, Grassboro, NC, KBOO, Portland, OR, WOMA, Lebanon, PA, KRUC, Pharr, TX, KDNA, Granger, WA, KSVR, Mt. Vernon, WA. In Mexico, the following stations will interconnect live to the special mid-day service: Radio Michoacán in Morelia (twelve stations), Radio Universidad de Guadalajara (seven stations), XERF-AM, Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila During the rest of the day, Radio Bilingüe will move to a full-time call-in format to allow immigrant listeners to share their stories on the air. In addition, listeners will become Radio Bilingüe’s eyes and ears in the community and will be encouraged to report any civic activity or news event they witness on May 1. Through Satélite Radio Bilingüe, the non-profit organization distributes news, information and musical programming to affiliates throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and Mexico.
Radio Bilingüe also has a live audio service online at www.radiobilingue.org.
Friday, April 28, 2006
CNN reports that the former head of the interrogation center at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was charged Friday with cruelty, maltreatment and other criminal offenses for his alleged involvement in the abuse of detainees in 2003. Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan is the highest-ranking officer at Abu Ghraib to face criminal charges, although higher-ranking officers have been reprimanded and relieved of command. Click here for the story.
P.S. It is not immigration related but CNN's breaking news on Friday afternoon is that Rush Limbaugh was arrested on prescription drug charges and released on bail, law enforcement officials in Florida, tell AP.
According to an AP news report, "Rep. John Salazar was one of just 36 Democrats who voted late last year for a tough Republican-backed House bill that would make being in the country illegally a felony and proposed construction of the fence. His younger brother, Sen. Ken Salazar backs a Senate plan that would give law-abiding illegal immigrants a chance to earn U.S. citizenship." For the full story, see here.
It is amazing that there are two Salazars in Congress. My wife, Virginia Salazar, who never recalls hearing of a Salazar in public life pre-Alberto Salazar became a track and field legend in the 1980s, is shocked! But now the Salazar bros disagree?
The LA Times is reporting that two immigrant rights demonstrations Monday in Los Angeles could each draw a half-million marchers or more, police said Thursday, as officials expressed concern about a major disruption of traffic, commerce and school. LAPD Assistant Chief George Gascon said the estimates are based on street intelligence and what he described as a well-organized campaign involving radio stations, churches and community groups. Police do not expect trouble, he added. Click here to see the story.
From the ABA Journal E-Report (Geri Dreiling): Two more federal appellate courts have weighed in on the validity of a federal regulation that blocks an alien in removal proceedings from applying for an adjustment of status—even if he or she marries a U.S. citizen. With the latest rulings, the battle over the regulation in the federal appellate courts appears to be turning into a circuit-by-circuit campaign with no clear resolution in sight. For the full article, click here.
In Smith County, Texas (one of the most conservative counties in Texas), the judges are make the following [see below] as conditions of probation when people plea guilty or are found guilty. I have two undocumented clients who were given as part of their probation the following conditions. They do not qualify for any petitions. The probation officer told them that if they do not comply, their probation will be revoked and they will go to jail and then deported. I am not sure if they give this to all the Defendants or just the ones that look like they are not citizens. I am wanting to investigate as to whether what they are doing is constitutional? If the state judge has the right to impose these restrictions? Also, if not, then under what basis can I sue to get a permanent injunction to get them to stop doing it.
[CONDITIONS OF PROBATION]
(a) Within ten (10) days you must make contact with an agency or agent to start the proceedings for legalization of immigration status and provide proof to your supervision officer if such contact and initiation.
(b) Within ninety (90) days, complete the filing of all paperwork need for legalization immigration status with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and provide proof of such filing to your supervision officer.
(c) At the end of twelve (12) months from the date probation begins, if you have not obtained legal status from the U.S.I.C.E, for being within Smith County, Texas, you must leave the country and reside in a location where you do have a legally authorized status. This does not change, alter or affect the requirement that you must obtain permission from the supervision officer to move and notify such officer of your new address. You must then report by mail each month and include a sworn statement substantially in the form provided, that you have continued to live that month in the location in which you are legally authorized to reside.
(b) As a condition of Community Supervision, if the defendant is not a United States Citizen, or an alien in the United States without legal status, the defendant will, as a condition of Community Supervision report to the nearest office of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement and initiate the process of obtaining legal status in the United States or initiate the process for voluntary deportation. The defendant is ORDERED to provide proof to his/her Probation Officer of the defendant's compliance in this matter within 35 days of the date of this order.
Jose Sanchez Jose Sanchez Law Firm, P.C. Longview, TX
In Austin, Texas, immigration agents in recent months have filed criminal charges against dozens of undocumented immigrants for crimes that have long been handled with simple deportation, according to the agents' supervisor. Alonzo Pena, the special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's San Antonio division, which includes Austin, attributes the change to a recent shift in the cases that federal prosecutors are willing to take to court. Click here for the story.
Call this blogger paranoid but is this part of an increased immigration enforcement campaign -- recall the workplace raids reported last week -- perhaps designed to show that the Bush administration is willing to vigorously enforce the immigration laws and facilitate passage of "comprehensive" immigration reform?
Religious conservatives bared their internal struggles over immigration Thursday at an unusually frank public debate, demonstrating that the most powerful faction of the Republican Party is as divided as the party itself on the issue.
Torn between the values of Christian compassion and a disapproval of lawbreaking -- with an undercurrent of angst about cultural change -- social conservatives and their political allies squared off in the face of internal polls that show their "values voters" overwhelmingly prefer strong border security.
The Family Research Council, which sponsored Thursday's debate, surveyed its members earlier this month and found that by a ratio of 9 to 1, they believe undocumented immigrants should be "detected, arrested and returned to their country of origin."
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Silicon Valley and state education officials are urging students to wait until after school on Monday to join organized demonstrations against proposed immigration reform.
Jack O'Connell, state superintendent of public instruction, was joined by San Jose Unified Superintendent Don Iglesias, other officials and students at San Jose High Academy today to encourage students to discuss immigration issues freely in class.
But skipping school, officials warned, put students at risk of discipline such as Saturday school.