Saturday, July 30, 2011

Political Links Seen Behind New Jersey Detention Center Bid

By Sam Dolnick, New York Times
July 27, 2011

Three weeks ago, Essex County, N.J., announced that it was seeking a company to run a 450-bed immigrant detention center, hoping to take advantage of a federally financed initiative to set up such facilities with better supervision and medical care.

The county said the contracting process was open to any company. But behind the scenes, it appears that officials have a clear favorite: Community Education Centers, which has a checkered record in immigrant detention but counts one of Gov. Chris Christie’s closest confidants as a senior vice president. The company’s executives are also political backers of the county executive, Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr., a prominent ally of Mr. Christie. [...]

Read the full article:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Europe's Homegrown Terrorists

[In the U.S. the anti-immigrant fanatics rail against Latino immigrants for their supposed refusal to assimilate and claim that Mexicans are planning a "reconquest" of the Southwest. In Europe the rightwingers rail against Muslim immigrants for their supposed refusal to assimilate and claim that Muslims are planning to conquer "Christian Europe." In both cases the claims have no basis in the facts. In Europe these ideas inspired the Oslo terrorist.--Blog editor]

Gary Younge, The Nation
July 25, 2011

...The general framing goes like this. Europe is being overrun by Muslims and other non-white immigrants, who are outbreeding non-Muslims at a terrifying rate. Unwilling to integrate culturally and unable to compete intellectually, Muslim populations have become hotbeds of terrorist sympathy and activity. Their presence threatens not only security but the liberal consensus regarding women’s rights and gay rights that Western Europe has so painstakingly established; and overall, this state of affairs represents a fracturing of society that is losing its common values. This has been allowed to happen in the name of not offending specific ethnic groups, otherwise known as multiculturalism.

One could spend all day ripping these arguments to shreds, but for now let’s just deal with the facts. [...]

Read the full article:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

USCIS Says ICE Deported US Citizen, Andres Robles Still Stuck in Mexico

By Jacqueline Stevens, States Without Nations
July 20, 2011

Andres Robles is celebrating his 22d birthday today in Mexico and not with his parents in Thibodaux, Louisiana because the U.S. government once again deported a U.S. citizen.

Instead of following the law that says U.S. citizens cannot be detained, much less deported, the government is channeling Kafka. [...]

Read the full post:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Illegal immigration from Mexico continues decline

By Elizabeth Aguilera, San Diego Union-Tribune
July 7, 2011

The Great Recession, border enforcement and social and economic changes in Mexico have resulted in a negative net flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico for the first time in at least the past decade, demographers said.

Fewer unauthorized Mexicans entered the U.S. last year than those who left, building on a trend that started four years ago, according to several University of California researchers, the Pew Hispanic Center and others. [...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Democrats accuse Rep. Lamar Smith of hypocrisy over deportation legislation

By Gary Martin, Texas on the Potomac (Houston Chronicle blog)
July 15, 2011

House Democrats denounced Thursday an immigration bill to spur deportations as “petty partisan politics” and accused the author, Rep. Lamar Smith, of being a hypocrite for introducing the measure.

Smith, R-San Antonio, filed the “Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation” Act, or HALT, after the Obama administration announced it would prioritize deportations to remove violent criminals and terrorists instead of students and illegal immigrant parents with children born in the United States.

Read the full article:

[The following press release contains more information on the use of executive discretion in immigration cases. --Blog editor]

Legal Experts Comment on Recent ICE Memo on Prosecutorial Discretion

July 19, 2011 Washington D.C. - In April, a distinguished group of immigration law experts released a memo explaining the executive branch’s authority related to the implementation of immigration laws and policies. This memo provided an explanation of how federal agencies possess the discretion to decide how they prosecute and enforce our nation’s laws. Today, the same legal experts are issuing a new memo discussing the purpose and impact of the recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) memoranda on prosecutorial discretion in the immigration context. These memoranda provide an important legal viewpoint in the ongoing debate around how much power the executive branch can exercise in the implementation of our nation’s immigration laws.

To view the memoranda in their entirety see:
Recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement Memoranda on Prosecutorial Discretion, July 19, 2011

Executive Branch Authority Regarding Implementation of Immigration Laws and Policies, April 29, 2011

For more information contact Wendy Sefsaf at  or 202-507-7524.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Did an "Economic Boom" in Mexico Cause the Decline in Undocumented Immigration?

[An otherwise informative article in the New York Times on July 6 claimed that "Better Lives for Mexicans Cut Allure of Going North." But in fact the Mexican economy took a big hit in 2009 because of the US recession, and the current "economic boom" is actually just a partial recovery. Poverty remains a serious problem in Mexico. -- Blog editor]

Is the Mexican Economy Booming?
By Fred Rosen, Mexico, Bewildered and Contested (NACLA blog)
July 19, 2011

Mexico’s Secretary of the Treasury, Ernesto Cordero, recently provoked some outrage when he announced that Mexico “was no longer a poor country.” Mexico, he tweeted to the press, echoing the line of the ruling National Action Party (PAN), “is now a middle income country.”

Well, maybe. Gross domestic product is growing but so—as opposition politicians were quick to point out—is the measured rate of poverty and the number of people eking out a living in the informal sector of the economy. Cordero’s claim has been received with little credibility in Mexico, but with a great deal of interest in the United States, which has a stake, for a number of reasons, in Mexican stability. [...]

Read the full article:

Mexico lags in regional economic growth
By Tracy Wilkinson, La Plaza (Los Angeles Times blog)
July 15, 2011

Mexico is near the bottom of the barrel in economic growth projections for Latin America, a new report says.

The report, by the United Nations' Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC, which is also known by its Spanish acronym, CEPAL), is an annual assessment of the state of economies, what's driving, or slowing, growth, the impact of fiscal and trade policies, and the like. [...]

Read the full article:

Mexico: The Economy Is Down and the Cartels Are Hiring
Weekly News Update on the Americas
July 17, 2011

The average income of Mexican households fell by 12.3% between 2008 and 2010, the government’s National Statistics and Geography Institute (INEGI) reported on July 15. The richest households generally lost the most in percentages, but poorer households suffered more because their income was already so low, according to the National Survey of Household Income and Expenditure, which the INEGI conducts every two years. The decline in income reflects a 6.1% contraction of the Mexican economy in 2009 in the midst of a world economic crisis that started in the US; the Mexican economy recovered partially in 2010 with a 5.4% expansion. (La Jornada (Mexico) 7/16/11) [...]

Read the full article:

New Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes FBI Role in Controversial Secure Communities Deportation Program (Press Release)

Contact: B. Loewe, NDLON, 773.791.4668; Jen Nessel, CCR 212.614.6449, ; David Lerner, Riptide Communications 212.260.5000,

FBI Views Secure Communities as First Step in “Next Generation Identification” (NGI) Surveillance Project to Amass Expansive Database of Personal Biometric Information

Opt-Out Policy for Secure Communities Set by Obscure FBI Panel, Not by Law

July 6, 2011, New York and Washington – Documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and the Cardozo Law School Immigration Justice Clinic show that the controversial Secure Communities deportation program (S-Comm), designed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to target people for deportation, is also a key component of a little-known FBI project to accumulate a massive store of personal biometric information on citizens and non-citizens alike.

According to the documents, S-Comm is “only the first of a number of biometric interoperability systems being brought online by the FBI ‘Next Generation Identification’ (NGI) project.” NGI will expand the FBI’s existing fingerprint database to add iris scans, palm prints, and facial recognition information for a wide range of people. [...]

Read the full press release:

To read FOIA documents and information about the case NDLON v. ICE brought by CCR, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and the Cardozo Law School Immigration Justice Clinic, visit CCR’s legal case page:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Immigration News: Migrant Heartbreaks on the Border

By Frontera NorteSur, via Grassroots Press
July 13, 2011

Crossings and detentions of undocumented migrants might be sharply down on the US-Mexico border, but many people stuck on the international line face stark conditions. Despite the well-known dangers and difficulties in crossing the border without papers, migrants continue attempting almost Herculean feats to reach the US. And more than a few die on the journey to the Promised Land.

In Sonora, state police announced this month the discovery of eight people who presumably died of exposure to the elements in the inhospitable desert near the US border. [...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Better Lives for Mexicans Cut Allure of Going North

By Damien Cave, New York Times
July 6, 2011

AGUA NEGRA, Mexico — The extraordinary Mexican migration that delivered millions of illegal immigrants to the United States over the past 30 years has sputtered to a trickle, and research points to a surprising cause: unheralded changes in Mexico that have made staying home more attractive.

A growing body of evidence suggests that a mix of developments — expanding economic and educational opportunities, rising border crime and shrinking families — are suppressing illegal traffic as much as economic slowdowns or immigrant crackdowns in the United States. [...]

Read the full article:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Action Alert! Border Patrol Demands the Removal of a Memorial Cross for Teen Slain by Agent

Another Insensitive Blow to Carlos Lamadrid's Family
From Coalición de Derechos Humanos
July 14, 2011

Tucson-Nearly four months after the shooting death of Carlos Lamadrid by a Border Patrol Agent in Douglas, Arizona, his family has been ordered to remove a cross placed at the site of the murder. Guadalupe Guerrero, mother of the 19 year-old, received the letter on July 14th, nearly four months after Carlos, a U.S. citizen, was shot in the back by a Border Patrol Agent.
The cross and other memorial items were placed at the site of the shooting within a week of the shooting. Although dated June 29th, the letter was not delivered to his mother until today. The letter states: "The Border Patrol does not allow anything to be placed on or adjacent to the border fence because such placement negatively impacts operations and creates and unnecessary risk to our agents."

The letter also states that the family has a period of five calendar days from the receipt of the letter to remove the cross and memorial items. "If all items are not removed from the current site after that date, they will be removed and returned to you" the letter goes on to state.

On April 5th, Derechos Humanos and other community organizations joined the family in denouncing the murder of Carlos and demanding that the shooting be impartially investigated and prosecuted.

The Department of Homeland Security's callous demand for the removal of his memorial demonstrates its intent to disappear this totally unnecessary death and the violence that reigns on the border. To date, Border Patrol has failed to provide answers to the family yet is attempting to erase history and remove any reminder of the human cost of their brutal policies.

Derechos Humanos calls on friends and allies to contact the office of Congressional Reps. Gabrielle Giffords and Raúl Grijalva and the U.S. Border Patrol to allow the family's memorial to remain, and to continue to demand answers that have been denied both the family and our community in regards to the murder of Carlos Lamadrid.

Congressional Representative Gabrielle Giffords:

Congressional Representative Raúl Grijalva:

Timothy Sullivan, Patrol Agent in Charge, Douglas Station:

The family of Carlos Lamadrid and Derechos Humanos invite you to join us this Sunday, July 17th at 5:00pm at the memorial site in Douglas, Arizona for a vigil to honor the life of Carlos, continue our call for justice in his murder, and demand that his memorial be permitted to remain at the site where his life was so tragically taken from him.

Coalición de Derechos Humanos
P.O. Box 1286 Tucson, AZ 85702
Tel: 520.770.1373
Fax: 520.770.7455

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Note to Our Readers

We’re now working on a new edition of our book, The Politics of Immigration: Questions & Answers, and you can help us.

We won’t be making dramatic changes--unfortunately, not that much has changed in the immigration debate since the book came out back in 2007. The media repeat the same myths about immigration, the laws remain harsh and restrictive, and anti-immigrant hysteria continues to rise; the main difference is that the media have created some new myths, the legislators have passed some new harsh and restrictive laws, and the anti-immigrant forces have gotten a little more hysterical.

But we feel that all this only shows the continuing need for a concise, easy-to-read presentation of the facts about immigration--and the importance of updating and improving it.

Here is where you can help, based on your experience reading the book, or using it in the classroom, or discussing the issues with other people. Do you see places where we could improve what we say or how we say it? Are there areas where we could be clearer, or where we missed important facts or arguments? If so, please write us a note at .

The new edition won’t be significantly longer than the first, so we may not be able to incorporate all your suggestions, but we’ll consider them all carefully, and we’ll definitely appreciate your help.

Jane Guskin
David Wilson

Sunday, July 10, 2011

‘Exigent Times’: Konrad Aderer’s Enemy Alien

By Rebecca Panovka, New York Observer
July 6, 2011

In April 2002, police and immigration officers arrested Palestinian activist Farouk Abdel-Muhti’s at his Queens apartment, launching a two-year legal saga that—according to Enemy Alien, a documentary about his case–saw him placed in solitary confinement for eight months, beaten, denied crucial thyroid medications, and threatened with deportation. Ordering his release in 2004, a judge called his treatment “Kafkaesque.”

The film, screened last night at Anthology Film Archives before the tenth anniversary of 9/11, chronicles the struggle of activists, friends, and lawyers to free Abdel-Muhti. [...]

Read the full review:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Chance to Stand with Jose Antonio Vargas

From Jose Antonio Vargas at:

Just one short week ago, I published a shocking expose in the New York Times. It was my life story. I am an undocumented immigrant, an outlaw in my own country.

Since publishing "My Life As an Undocumented Immigrant," I have been drowning in media requests, tearful letters, and powerful Facebook messages. I want to thank all of the individuals who have both challenged and supported me, as well as ask those who have not yet done so to join me.

I decided to quit my job as a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and come out about my immigration status in order to launch the project "Define American." I knew it would be a risk, but I also knew it was long past time to strike up a more civil, inclusive debate about immigration in America. After all, I had a unique story to tell, and I was tired of staying silent.

We may not all agree on how to fix it, but one thing we can all agree on is that our immigration debate is out of control and our immigration system is badly broken. I believe that not only can we do better, but that we must.

Will you sign the pledge to stand with me -- Jose Antonio Vargas -- in saying that it's time for a new national conversation on immigration? Define American. Pledge to ask questions, debate, listen, and learn.

Some would say my story is the tale of a hard-working immigrant who defines the American dream: achieving success against great odds, working hard, and even earning a Pulitzer Prize for my reporting. Still, despite everything I've achieved, the law still says I am not technically an American. I am undocumented.

I want to ask my fellow Americans: what would you do, if you found out at age 16 that you didn't have the right papers? As a journalist, my job is to ask questions that spark conversation. Now I am asking you to join in.

Sign the pledge to "Define American", share it with everyone you know, and then leave us a comment about what you would do if you found out you were undocumented. I will bring your comments with me as I head to the next round of media interviews.

We all have a story to tell, so let's talk. Let's debate. Most importantly, let's listen.

Read Pledge


Pulitzer Prize-Winning Undocumented Journalist Wants to Spark Conversations by Gabriela Garcia - 2 days ago

Friday, July 8, 2011

Hacked data reveals US Marines as contract killers, hunting migrants on the border

By Brenda Norrell, Censored News
June 24, 2011

The hunting and murder of migrants by US Marines along the Arizona border was among the first facts revealed, after LulzSec hacked the Arizona Department of Public Safety on Thursday.

The data exposes the fact that Arizona law enforcement officers were aware that migrants were being hunted by off-duty Marines patrolling the border with assault weapons. The information was in a report for the month of October, 2008, by Arizona's HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Investigative Support Center. [...]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"Enemy Alien" Sneak Preview in NYC, 7/5/11

NewFilmmakers at Anthology Film Archives presents

a Palestinian activist’s fight for freedom draws a Japanese American filmmaker into confrontation with detention regimes of past and present.

“ that is what I call a ‘real’ documentary. An exposé of the first order.” -- Satsuki Ina, director, Children of the Camps & From a Silk Cocoon

"Enemy Alien is a must-see documentary! The filmmaker crosses boundaries and prison walls to tell the story of this peaceful Palestinian freedom fighter…a powerful and often scary real-life tale of the shared struggle between Japanese Americans and Muslim Americans." --Basim Elkarra, Executive Director, CAIR-Sacramento

Documentary, 2011, 82 minutes
A project of Life or Liberty
Directed by Konrad Aderer

Sneak Preview! After showing as a work-in-progress at community screenings, the film is about to be released as a film festival offering and distributed by Third World Newsreel.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011
9:30 p.m.
Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Ave & 2nd Street, Manhattan
Subway F to 2nd Ave.; B,D,Q to Broadway-Lafayette St.; 6 to Bleecker
$6 admission

Enemy Alien, a first-person documentary, is the gripping story of the fight to free Farouk Abdel-Muhti, a gentle but indomitable Palestinian-born human rights activist detained in a post-9/11 sweep of Muslim immigrants. Told through the eyes of the filmmaker, the grandson of Japanese Americans interned during World War II, this documentary takes on unprecedented intimacy and historical resonance.

As the filmmaker confronts his own family legacy of incarceration, his involvement in the current struggle deepens. Resistance brings consequences: In retaliation for organizing a massive protest from inside detention, Farouk is beaten and locked in solitary confinement, and his American-born son Tarek is arrested in a counterterrorism investigation into the documentary itself.

Twitter: @enemyalien  

Friday, July 1, 2011

Haiti 1994: The Forgotten Intervention

Lessons for Libya?

One thing that was striking about the run-up to the invasion is how rarely we heard from the many Haitians who struggled for Aristide's return but opposed any US military action.

by David L. Wilson, World War 4 Report
July 1, 2011

On the night of September 29, 1991, Haitian army officers launched a coup d'état against the country's elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. By the next afternoon, soldiers had arrested Aristide and had started gunning down coup opponents in the street. The toll would reach more than 3,000 over the next three years.

US liberals didn't take long to see that the Haitian crisis could provide a good test case for the newly fashionable doctrine of "humanitarian intervention." [...]

Read the full article: