Saturday, May 31, 2014

From the Bookshelves: Strange Neighbors: The Role of States in Immigration Policy Edited By Carissa Byrne Hessick and Gabriel J. Chin

 Strange neighbors

Strange Neighbors The Role of States in Immigration Policy Edited By Carissa Byrne Hessick and Gabriel J. Chin

Since its founding, the U.S. has struggled with issues of federalism and states’ rights. In almost every area of law, from abortion to zoning, conflicts arise between the states and the federal government over which entity is best suited to create and enforce laws. In the last decade, immigration has been on the front lines of this debate, with states such as Arizona taking an extremely assertive role in policing immigrants within their borders. While Arizona and its notorious SB 1070 is the most visible example of states claiming expanded responsibility to make and enforce immigration law, it is far from alone. An ordinance in Hazleton, Pennsylvania prohibited landlords from renting to the undocumented. Several states have introduced legislation to deny citizenship to babies who are born to parents who are in the United States without authorization. Other states have also enacted legislation aimed at driving out unauthorized migrants.

Strange Neighbors explores the complicated and complicating role of the states in immigration policy and enforcement, including voices from both sides of the debate. While many contributors point to the dangers inherent in state regulation of immigration policy, at least two support it, while others offer empirically-based examinations of state efforts to regulate immigration within their borders, pointing to wide, state-by-state disparities in locally-administered immigration policies and laws.

Ultimately, the book offers an extremely timely, thorough, and spirited discussion on an issue that will continue to dominate state and federal legislatures for years to come.

Table of Contents

Introduction  Gabriel J. Chin and Carissa Byrne Hessick


I. The Recent Spate of State and Local Immigration Regulation

1. Measuring the Climate for Immigrants: State Analysis Huyen Pham and Pham Hoang Van

2. How Arizona Became Ground Zero in the War on Immigrants Douglas S. Massey


II. Historical Antecedents to the Modern State and Local Efforts to Regulate Immigration

3. “A War to Keep Alien Labor out of Colorado”: The “Mexican Menace” and the Historical Origins of Local and State Anti-Immigration Initiatives Tom I. Romero II

III. A Defense of State and Local Efforts

4. Reinforcing the Rule of Law: What States Can and Should Do Kris W. Kobach

 5. The States Enter the Illegal Immigration Fray John C. Eastman


IV. A Critical Evaluation of the New State Regulation

6. Broken Mirror: The Unconstitutional Foundations of New State Immigration Enforcement Gabriel J. Chin and Marc L. Miller

7. The Role of States in the National Conversation on Immigration Rick Su

8. Post-Racial Proxy Battles over Immigration Mary Fan


May 31, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Removal Without Recourse: The Growth of Summary Deportations from the United States

This American Immigration Council  fact sheet reviews how the deportation process has been transformed drastically over the last two decades. Today, two-thirds of individuals deported are subject to what are known as “summary removal procedures,” which deprive them of both the right to appear before a judge and the right to apply for status in the United States. In 1996, as part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), Congress established streamlined deportation procedures that allow the government to deport (or “remove”) certain noncitizens from the United States without a hearing before an immigration judge. Two of these procedures, “expedited removal” and “reinstatement of removal,” allow immigration officers to serve as both prosecutor and judge—often investigating, charging, and making a decision all within the course of one day. These rapid deportation decisions often fail to take into account many critical factors, including whether the individual is eligible to apply for lawful status in the United States, whether he or she has long-standing ties here, or whether he or she has U.S.-citizen family members.

In recent years, summary procedures have eclipsed traditional immigration court proceedings, accounting for the dramatic increase in removals overall. As the chart below demonstrates, since 1996, the number of deportations executed under summary removal procedures has dramatically increased.



May 31, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrants Held Indefinitely Without a Hearing? Another Court Says No

Earlier this week, a federal district court in Massachusetts ordered the government to end its practice of putting immigrants in long-term lock up without ever providing them the basic due process of a bond hearing. As a result, immigrants in Massachusetts subjected to six months of mandatory imprisonment can now seek a hearing before an immigration judge to determine whether they should stay in jail or be allowed to go home to their families and communities. The ruling in Reid v. Donelan puts the brakes on one of the most unforgiving aspects of our immigration enforcement system.  For details on the case and a discussion how it fits into the growing body of caselaw on immigrant detention, click here.


May 31, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Guaranteed Counsel for Noncitizens in Removal Proceeedings Would Pay for Itself

Yesterday, a study prepared by NERA Economic Consulting, an international firm based in New York, was released that estimates that a system that provided legal counsel for every indigent immigrant facing deportation from teh United States would cost about $208 million per year. But the program would pay for itself by saving about the same amount in reduced government expenditures to detain and remove immigrants and in other savings.

The New York Times ran a story by Kirk Semple on the cost-benefit report, which had been requested by the New York City Bar Association.  Yesterday, at the Law and Society annual meeting in Minneapolis, Dr. John Montgomery, the report's author, presented the report on a panel led by Mark Noferi and including Ingrid Eagly (UCLA),  Robert Koulish (Maryland), and me.  Dr. Montgomery outlined the findings of the report, explaining various assumptions for the cost and benefit projections.  His presentation was followed by a lively discussion, with audience participation as well as the commentary of the other panelists, about the right to counsel, the role of economic analysis in making immigration policy decisions, and related matters.


May 31, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

University of Toronto Reports on LBGT Discrimination in Cyprus, Slovenia, and Poland


This Spring, the International Human Rights Program of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law released three new reports to its Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Discrimination Database. The reports provide extensive information on discrimination against LBGT persons in Cyprus, Slovenia, and Poland



May 31, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

How America's Immigration Population Has Changed in the Last Century


In the last century, the top country of birth for America's immigrants has gone from Germany to Mexico. This graphic from Pew Research Center shows the two biggest immigration waves over the years.

With more than 40 million immigrants, the United States is the top destination in the world for those moving from one country to another. Mexico, which shares a nearly 2,000-mile border with the U.S., is the source of the largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States. But today’s volume of immigrants, in some ways, is a return to America’s past. A century ago, the U.S. experienced another large wave of immigrants. Although smaller at 18.2 million, they hailed largely from Europe. Many Americans can trace their roots to that wave of migrants from 1890-1919, when Germany dominated as the country sending the most immigrants to many of the U.S. states, although the United Kingdom, Canada and Italy were also strongly represented.


May 31, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

CBP Releases Use of Force Policy Handbook and Police Executive Research Forum Report


During his first 100 days, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske has established transparency as a top priority. His office just released a revised use of force policy handbook and a consultant study from the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).  The use of force policy handbook incorporates most of the recommendations found in the reviews by third parties – PERF and Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General.

The following changes were made to the handbook such as requiring additional training in the use of safe tactics and instituting the requirement to carry less-lethal devices, based on operational needs and requirements, such as a less lethal specialty impact/chemical munition and a controlled tire deflation device specifically engineered to enhance agent and officer and public safety.

In addition to updating the handbook, CBP is undertaking a comprehensive review and redesign of its basic training curriculum, establishing a center of excellence to continuously evaluate use of force policy and procedures, and installing border fence training venues and purchasing use of force training simulator systems designed to provide officers and agents with a more realistic and job specific training experience.

Julia Preston of the New York Times comments on the new Handbook and the consultant's study into the use of force. The research forum report examined 67 episodes from January 2010 through October 2012 in which deadly force had been used, mainly by Border Patrol agents along the Southwest border. The report focused particularly on incidents where agents had responded by shooting when they were attacked with rocks or when they were attempting to stop smugglers’ vehicles carrying illegal border crossers or drugs. In some instances, Border Patrol agents shot through fences along the border at rock throwers on the other side in Mexico. The review found a “lack of diligence” by the agency in investigating episodes where deadly force had been used.

While the report recognized that Border Patrol agents have a “unique and hazardous assignment,” with frequent rock attacks and confrontations with armed smugglers of migrants and narcotics, it found that in several cases where agents shot at rock throwers, the force appeared to be excessive. “Too many cases do not appear to meet the test of objective reasonableness with regard to the use of deadly force,” the report said.

The report made recommendations to change the border agency’s use-of-force policies, to equip agents with weapons less lethal than guns, and to train agents to avoid shooting at moving vehicles when possible.

For another media analysis of the report and policy changes, click here.


May 31, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Haitian Immigrants in the United States

This Migration Policy Institute Spotlight focuses on Haitian Immigrants to the United States.  Immigrants from Haiti represent a small but growing share of the total foreign-born population in the United States, tripling in number between 1990 and 2012. Haitian migration to the United States was very small several decades ago, with the population estimated at approximately 5,000 in 1960. Haitians began arriving in the United States in larger numbers after Haiti descended into chaos following the collapse of the Duvalier dictatorship in the late 1980s. The Haitian immigrant population stood at 606,000 in 2012, up from 200,000 in 1990; Haitians now constitute 1.5 percent of the total U.S.foreign-born population.

The MPI Spotlight includes a wealth of detailed information about the Haitian immigrant population in the United States.


May 31, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

At the Movies: The Stranger


“The Stranger” is a 45-minute documentary film commissioned by the Evangelical Immigration Table and produced by Emmy-award winning producer Linda Midgett. The Stranger profiles three immigrant stories and includes interviews with local and national Christian leaders. By highlighting biblical teaching related to immigrants, sharing compelling stories of immigrants who are also evangelical Christians, and addressing some common economic and political misconceptions, The Stranger seeks to mobilize evangelical Christians to respond to immigrants and to immigration policy in ways that are consistent with biblical principles.

The film will be released on June 4, 2014.

May 31, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: Human Trafficking Law and Policy by Bridgette Carr, Anne Milgram, Kathleen Kim, Stephen Warnath



Human Trafficking Law and Policy by Bridgette Carr, Anne Milgram, Kathleen Kim, Stephen Warnath

Human Trafficking Law and Policy, for the first time brings together the case law, legislation and scholarship that comprise domestic and international human trafficking law. Organized to reflect the cross-section of criminal justice, civil and human rights, immigration and international law that frames human trafficking law and policy, this book includes chapters on the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and its doctrinal history, the Palermo Protocol, as well as the implementation and interpretation of human trafficking laws in the criminal, civil and immigration contexts. Compiled by a team of authors whose combined expertise includes experience criminally prosecuting and civilly litigating human trafficking cases, defending human trafficking victims, and teaching and writing about human trafficking at law schools, governments, NGOs and businesses around the world, this book provides both substantive and practical insight into the role of the human trafficking lawyer as counselor, litigator, and policy maker.


May 31, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Equal protection, immigrants and access to health care and welfare benefits – a 2014 update by Mel Cousins


Equal protection, immigrants and access to health care and welfare benefits – a 2014 update by Mel Cousins, Trinity College Dublin

Abstract:  The introduction of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) led to considerable litigation on the rights of immigrants to welfare benefits and access to health care. There was significant divergence between the approaches adopted by the different courts (both federal and State) based, in part, on the different statutory schemes involved but also on different approaches to equal protection. However, none of the cases reached the Supreme Court so the ‘correct’ approach remained unclarified. In response to the Great Recession and subsequent budget crises, several States have again excluded certain legal immigrants from the scope of State health care or welfare schemes and these decisions are currently under challenge in the courts. A number of these cases were discussed in an earlier (2012) article. This note discusses subsequent cases, in particular, two Circuit Courts’ recent rulings in Korab v Fink (Ninth Circuit) and Bruns v Mayhew (First Circuit) and the decision of the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey in Guaman v Velez and considers whether and how these decisions contribute to a clarification of the legal position.


May 31, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

DHS Will Not Scrap S-Comm

From Politico:

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told lawmakers Thursday that a controversial immigration enforcement program should continue, but be revamped in order to run more effectively.

After signaling recently that the program, called Secure Communities, should get a “fresh look,” Johnson said Thursday that the administration is not seeking to dump the initiative altogether. The program calls on law enforcement to hand over fingerprints of people booked into local jails to federal immigration authorities.

“I don’t believe we should scrap Secure Communities,” Johnson told the House Judiciary Committee. “I believe, given the reality of where we are with this program in this country, that we need a fresh start.”

Johnson said the mission of Secure Communities is a “very worthy one that needs to continue.” But the program, which began under President George W. Bush and was expanded under President Barack Obama, has “gotten off to bad messaging, misunderstanding in state and local communities about exactly what it is.”

Immigration advocates have long slammed Secure Communities, arguing that it can invite racial profiling and make immigrants fearful of local law enforcement authorities. But Republicans and enforcement hawks have praised the program as an effective tool to identify undocumented immigrants.

But any significant administrative changes to immigration enforcement programs are likely to stoke outrage from congressional Republicans, who believe the Obama administration will pick and choose which immigration laws to enforce. That was a major focus of the hearing on Thursday, the first time that Johnson has testified before the Judiciary Committee. Read more...


May 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

GOP Criticizes DHS for Being too Lenient?! Are you kidding?

From the Associated Press:

President Barack Obama’s latest attempt to pressure House Republicans to act on immigration legislation will backfire and make action harder, a House committee chairman said Thursday.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., criticized Obama’s move this week to delay the results of a review of the nation’s deportations policy until late summer. White House officials said they wanted to allow House Republicans opportunity to act before Congress’ August recess.

If they don’t, Obama is expected to take steps on his own to curb deportations, which have reached record highs on his watch.

“When the president says he’s going to set a time limit and then consider taking actions himself … that makes doing immigration reform harder not easier,” Goodlatte said during an oversight hearing with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

Johnson was in the midst of the administration’s review of the government’s deportation policies when the White House said it will be delayed until August, to give Congress time to act.

Legislation is stalled in the House, 11 months after the Senate passed a sweeping bill dealing with border security, workplace enforcement and eventual citizenship for millions. If the House does not act ahead of Congress’ annual August recess, Obama is expected to take limited steps on his own authority.

Johnson has given little indication about what he will recommend. He said Thursday that a program to identify immigrants in the country illegally who are booked into local jails should get a “fresh start.”

He told lawmakers the program known as “Secure Communities,” which uses fingerprints submitted to the FBI to identify potentially deportable immigrants, should not be eliminated.

“I believe with the reality of where we are (Secure Communities) needs a fresh start,” Johnson said. “I think the goal of the program is a very worthy one that needs to continue.”

The program has drawn complaints from local law enforcement, and an increasing number of counties, cities and states are opting not to participate in the wake of recent court decisions raising questions about the program. Goodlatte called the program “one of the most efficient mechanisms for removing dangerous aliens from the United States.”

Johnson also confirmed Thursday that his review is looking at refocusing priorities for who is deported. Priorities should include people who are threats to national security, public safety and border security, he said.

The secretary faced strong criticism from Republicans on both the review and the administration’s use of discretion enforcing immigration laws.

Federal data published this month showed that the Homeland Security Department released 36,007 convicted criminal immigrants last year who are facing deportation, including those accounting for 193 homicide and 426 sexual assault convictions. The immigrants nearly all still face deportation and are required to check in with immigration authorities while their deportation cases are pending. Read more...


May 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: The Beauty of Dreams


The Beauty of Dreams Publisher: ABA Book Publishing

Award winning author Jo S. Kittinger and illustrator Chuck Galey once again draw us into the world of The Kids in Building 160 series in the compelling story of a popular high-performing high school student-athlete and musician who learns from his college counselor that he entered the country illegally as a toddler. He lacks the legal status and documentation necessary for him to obtain financial aid to pursue his dream of a college education, and he is possibly subject to deportation. With an introduction by his younger friend, whom we know from earlier books in the series, A Breath of Hope and Helping a Hero, and a knowledgeable pro bono lawyer, the student finds legal and financial resources that may be available to help him pay for college and enable him to stay in the United States after graduation.

This 32-page picture book is an invaluable immigration primer for readers of all ages. Kittinger s remarkable story of self-empowerment through legal literacy and Galey's beautifully evocative illustrations exemplify the courage needed to embark on a promising beginning toward the beauty of a dream fulfilled.


May 29, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Whither Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Push for path to citizenship through military service


Leslie Berestein Rojas reports on a new, and very narrow immigration reform bill floated in the U.S. Congress.  Last year, Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) introduced what's known as the ENLIST Act. It proposes amending the U.S. military code to allow young immigrants who arrived in this country by age 15 to serve in the armed forces, in exchange for legal status and a path to citizenship. Last week, Denham introduced his measure as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act — a move struck down by the House Rules Committee. Still, the bill garnered bipartisan support, with about 50 co-sponsors split almost evenly along party lines. Immigrant advocates have supported the bill. It is not the first time a military-only legalization bill has surfaced. But it’s the first time one has garnered this much support from immigrant advocates. In 2012, a similar bill called the ARMS Act came and went with little ado — and with far less support from the immigrant rights lobby.


May 29, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

2015 Denver University Law Review Symposium: Crimmigration Call for Proposals


The Denver University Law Review is seeking proposals for our annual Symposium. The upcoming Symposium will focus on the intersection between criminal law and immigration, or “crimmigration.”

Proposals for the Crimmigration Symposium, which will be held on February 6-7, 2015, are being solicited as of May 21, 2014. With this Call for Proposals, you are invited to submit a title and abstract of a paper to be presented at the Symposium and be considered for publication in Volume 92 of the Denver University Law Review.  The Symposium panels will be tailored to focus on specific issues within the crimmigration discourse including detention, access to counsel, and federal courts.

All proposals related to the broad issue of crimmigration are welcome. We are particularly interested in proposals relating to the militarization of the border and comparative studies of crimmigration. Speakers who wish to be published in the Denver University Law Review should indicate this in their initial abstract submission.

Please note that those being published must submit their completed articles to the Denver University Law Review within two weeks of the conclusion of the Symposium. Please submit your proposal to Lindsey Dunn, Editor-in-Chief of the Denver University Law Review, at, and Lauren Parsons, Symposium Editor of the Denver University Law Review, at

Your proposal should include:

1) The proposed title of your article and a brief 500 word abstract; and

2) Your CV

Please submit your proposal by June 11, 2014. We look forward to hearing from you.


May 29, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: Comprehensive Immigration Reform(s): Immigration Regulation Beyond Our Borders by Stella Burch Elias


Comprehensive Immigration Reform(s): Immigration Regulation Beyond Our Borders by Stella Burch Elias, University of Iowa - College of Law May 9, 2014 Yale Journal of International Law, Vol. 39, No. 1, 2013 U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-17

Abstract: American lawmakers, jurists, and scholars are vigorously debating the future direction of immigration regulation in the United States. Following the passage on July 27, 2013 of Senate Bill 744, some kind of comprehensive reform seems increasingly likely. Immigration law is inherently inter-jurisdictional and transnational, but thus far the conversation about immigration reform has failed to look beyond our own national borders for alternative models or practices. This Article seeks to broaden the immigration regulation debate by contrasting recent developments in immigration regulation in the United States with those in other countries with federal systems. In three federal nations that traditionally had widely divergent approaches to immigration regulation — Germany, Australia, and Canada — strikingly similar multi-tiered, multi-governmental systems of immigration regulation have emerged in recent years. This Article proposes that the future direction of immigration regulation in the United States should consider the German, Australian, and Canadian models of immigration law and policy to shed light on a range of potentially desirable legislative, regulatory, and policy options. The German, Australian, and Canadian experiences strongly suggest that any reform of our own immigration laws should permit states and localities to play a greater role in immigrant selection, a continued role in immigrant inclusion, and more limited role in the enforcement of immigration laws that exclude immigrants from the country.


May 29, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Removal Without Recourse: The Growth of Summary Deportations from the United States

Today, the American Immigration Council released Removal Without Recourse: The Growth of Summary Deportations from the United States. The deportation process has been transformed drastically over the last two decades. Two-thirds of individuals deported are subject to what are known as “summary removal procedures,” which deprive them of both the right to appear before a judge and the right to apply for status in the United States. This fact sheet explains the summary removal processes that are responsible for the majority of all deportations today. It also discusses how these rapid deportation decisions often fail to take into account many critical factors, including whether the individual is eligible to apply for lawful status in the United States, whether he or she has long-standing ties here, or whether he or she has U.S.-citizen family members.


May 28, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

How the Immigration System Hurts Women and Children

FROM: We Belong Together: Women for Common-Sense Immigration Reform


Undocumented women and youth will testify at Congressional Progressive Caucus hearing to push lawmakers to act on immigration reform and stop deportations that tear families apart

[Washington, DC] – Women and congressional representatives from across the country will testify about how current immigration policies disproportionately hurt women and children at a Congressional Progressive Caucus hearing on Thursday, May 29 at 9:30AM in Room 2226 of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC.

While women and children make up three-quarters of our nation’s immigrant population, immigration policy has yet to address their specific needs. Even though women make up 51% of people migrating to America, they are granted only a quarter of the work visas distributed. Women who are able to work often do so in informal industries and are subject to exploitation and abuse with no recourse.

“The human face and anguish must be at the center of immigration reform,” said Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ). “The Congressional Progressive Caucus will bring the human and moral imperative to the discussion.”

Andrea Mercado of We Belong Together and Michelle Brané of the Women’s Refugee Commission, leaders in immigration reform research, will present on the negative impacts that immigration law, visa policy, and detention centers have on women and children.

At Thursday’s hearing half a dozen members of Congress will sit alongside immigrant mothers and DREAMers who face the day-to-day consequences of Congress stalling on immigration reform. Immigrant women and youth will share their stories about how current immigration policies tear families apart, cultivate a culture of fear and weaken American communities.

DATE:              Thursday, May 29th, 2014

TIME:                9:30am–11:15am

WHERE:           Rayburn House Office Building

Room 2226

SPEAKERS:     Rep Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)

Rep Keith Ellison (D-MN)

Rep Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)

Rep Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)

Rep Mark Pocan (D-WI)

Rep Barbara Lee (D-CA)

Rep Judy Chu  (D-CA)

Andrea Christina Mercado, We Belong Together

Dr. Hirokazu Yoshikawa, New York University

Michelle Brané, Women’s Refugee Commission

Megan McKenna, Kids in Need of Defense

Various immigrant mothers, DREAMers, and allies who have undocumented family-members


May 28, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Justice for Anastasio's Murder by Border Patrol

From Southern Borders Community Coalition:

On the 4th anniversary of Anastasio's death, questions remain unanswered
Elected officials, faith and civic leaders join family to demand justice and accountability
May 28 Program
12:00 pm - Press Conference with the family of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas
San Ysidro Port of Entry (U.S.). Led by the Hernandez Rojas families, San Diego Council Member David Alvarez, faith and civic leaders.
12:30 pm - Border Reality Checkpoint Action - San Ysidro Port of Entry (U.S.).
6:00 pm - Vigil and Rally with Families Affected by Border Patrol Abuse.
San Diego, CA: Wednesday May 28, 2014 will mark 4 years since Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, a long time San Diego resident and father of five, was beaten and shot several times with a Taser while handcuffed and hogtied by over a dozen Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents.  Anastasio did not survive the horrific beating and the San Diego Coroner's Office declared the case a homicide. Although the incident prompted congressional inquiries, a grand jury investigation, and several agency-wide audits to assess the extent of excessive use of force at CBP, not one border agent has been held accountable for this incident.
San Diego residents are gathering on Wednesday, including San Diego City Council Member David Alvarez, to support the family of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas and to urge CBP to hold its agents accountable for their actions. A press conference will take place at 12:00 p.m. at the San Ysidro Port of Entry which will be followed by a Border Reality Checkpoint at 12:30 p.m.  Later in the evening, a vigil and rally with the community will take place at the Civic Center Plaza in Downtown San Diego at 6:00 p.m.
"When a wife loses a husband, she is a widow. When a child loses a parent, he is an orphan. What do you call a mother who has lost her son?" Asked Maria de la Luz Rojas, the mother of Anastasio. "It took several minutes for agents to kill my son, but it has been 4 long years without any justice."
On the same day that Anastasio's family and community mourn his death, CBP Commissioner Kerlikowske will deliver a keynote speech to the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), the very agency which audited CBP's use-of-force policies and whose findings and recommendations the Commissioner is currently withholding from the public.
Earlier this week, border advocacy groups met with CBP Commissioner Kerlikowske to urge him to  immediately release the PERF findings and recommendations as well as the use-of-force policies that have also been withheld from the public. "Without knowing what is in these documents we are left to assume that the agency has something to hide," said Christian Ramirez, director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), which has documented the killing of at least twenty-seven civilians by CBP agents.
The story of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, along with the tragic eye-witness video of his beating, exposed to the nation the culture of violence and impunity within the nation's largest law enforcement agency, Customs and Border Protection. Since the year of his death in 2010, twenty-six other people have been killed by CBP agents. Roughly a third of them were minors, a third were U.S. citizens, and nearly all were border residents. In addition to those killed, many others have been injured due to excessive force.
The family of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, including his widow, Maria Puga, and his mother, Luz Rojas, have become national spokespersons for accountability and oversight over border agents. The family, along with advocates from the Southern Border Communities Coalition, have been asking for the public release of the PERF report, use-of-force policies, better training of agents, proper tracking and investigation of abuses, disciplinary action of agents when merited, and the use of body-worn cameras on all border agents to prevent abuses.
The family of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas will lead the Border Reality Checkpoint, which aims to inform border residents who live within 100 miles of the border about current border policies and issues that have direct implications on their communities.  They will also ask residents to take action by signing  postcards that will be delivered to the White House.  Human rights observers will be on stand-by to document abuses for those who would like to report troublesome encounters with border agents that have occurred either at ports of entries, at checkpoints or in their communities.
Visuals: Participants in this action will be wearing orange vests, holding Border Reality Checkpoint signs along with posters of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, handing out postcards and information about their rights, and documenting abuses.


May 28, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)