Monday, December 31, 2007

INB 12/30/07: Detainee Killed in Workplace Accident

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 10, No. 32 - December 30, 2007

1. Detainee Killed in Workplace Accident
2. Raids Hit Hawai'i
3. Connecticut Nonprofit Raided
4. Vigil at NYC Detention Center
5. March, Vigil at Texas Detention Center
6. Phoenix: Pro-Immigrant Activists March
7. ICE Chief Confirmed


On Dec. 5, Cesar Gonzales-Baeza, a Mexican immigration detainee at the Mira Loma Detention Center in Lancaster, California, was electrocuted when the jackhammer he was using struck a high-voltage power line. Gonzales-Baeza was transferred to the University of Southern California Medical Center's burn unit, where he died on Dec. 7. The accident took place while Baeza and another detainee were moving fence posts as part of a voluntary program that allows detainees to earn $1 a day or extra visiting hours in exchange for performing kitchen, janitorial or other light work. [...]

Read the full article:

Immigration from Mexico projected to rise 10% as NAFTA agriculture section goes into effect:

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wall Street and Immigration: Financial Services Giants Have Profited from the Beginning

While it is popular among U.S. presidential candidates these days to blame Mexican corruption for our huge undocumented immigrant population, corruption in the United States played a far larger role in compelling millions of Mexicans to cross our southern border with or without legal authorization.

by Peter Cervantes-Gautschi, December 4, 2007
Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP)

Life began to get hard for most Americans beginning in the late 1990s due to increased family debt. During the same period, life got a lot harder for most Mexicans for the same reason. The same financial institutions created and profited from much of the family debt in both countries.

According to census reports, 70% of the government unauthorized immigrants in the United States are from Mexico. Most legally unauthorized Mexican immigrants in the United States are economic refugees from the 1995 devastation of Mexico's economy. [...]

Read the full article:

NY State Enforces Labor Laws, Defends Workers

News from New York State Department of Labor

Labor Department Announces New Proactive Approach to Enforcement

Working with Community Groups and Unions, Department Uncovers Serious Wage Violations by Several Brooklyn Retailers

BROOKLYN, NY (12/19/2007; 1326)(readMedia)-- Labor Department Commissioner M. Patricia Smith today announced a major proactive approach to enforcing the state’s labor laws in various industries, beginning in New York City. This new enforcement effort will partner with advocacy and community groups and unions to gather information necessary to conduct wage and hour investigations. This effort is part of Governor Spitzer’s emphasis on increased labor law enforcement for low wage workers.

Working on information from a nonprofit organization, Make the Road New York (MTRNY), and from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Labor Department investigators walked a mile-long strip of Knickerbocker Avenue and inspected 26 businesses, during daytimes and evenings. They found that at least 19 of the 26 business had committed labor law infractions, including wage and hour and recordkeeping violations. Seven businesses remain under review.

Read full article here:

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Myth of Immigrant Criminality

[For those interested in the "crime" question, here is a link to an extremely comprehensive report, including charts and sources.]

The Myth of Immigrant Criminality
Published on: May 23, 2007

"At the same time that immigration—especially undocumented immigration—has reached and surpassed historic highs, crime rates in the United States have declined, notably in cities with large immigrant populations (including cities with large numbers of undocumented immigrants such as Los Angeles and border cities like San Diego and El Paso, as well as New York, Chicago, and Miami). The Uniform Crime Reports released each year by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) demonstrate the decline of both violent crime and property crime at the same time that the foreign-born population has grown."

Monday, December 17, 2007

INB 12/16/07: Hartford March; NYC Workers Fired; More Raids

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 10, No. 31; December 16, 2007

1. Hartford: Marchers Protest Raids
2. NYC: Fresh Direct Workers Fired
3. Arkansas Restaurants Raided
4. NM: Frozen Foods Plant Raided

On Dec. 10, some 150 people marched to the federal building in Hartford, Connecticut, to demand an end to immigration raids. Activists were upset about the arrest of 21 Brazilian immigrants in early November in the city's Parkville neighborhood in a joint operation between local police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents [see INB 11/4/07, which reported that nine people had been arrested as of Nov. 2]. Local police said they had asked ICE to help them search for a Brazilian man being sought on attempted murder and robbery charges. They didn't find the suspect, but ICE picked up 21 other people suspected of being in the US without permission. [...]

Read the full article:

Monday, December 10, 2007

Upcoming Radio Interviews

With Jane Guskin and David Wilson,
Authors, The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers

Tuesday, Dec. 11, midnight, to Wednesday, Dec. 12, 1:30 am

Interview on "Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade"
hosted by Bill Weinberg, Ann-Marie Hendrickson

For NY area: 99.5 FM
Live streaming:
Archived at:

Email address:
Voice mail: 212-631-1115


Sunday, Dec. 23, 7:30-8:00 pm CT (8:30-9:00 pm ET)

Interview on "The Haiti Show"
hosted by Jonas Elouidor and Mario Pierre

For Houston area: KPFT, 90.1 FM
Live streaming:
Archived at:


Some Previous interviews:

Monday, Dec. 10, 5:40-6:00 pm PT

Interview on "Beneath The Surface"
hosted by Suzi Weissman
KPFK 90.7 FM, Los Angeles

Archived at:


Friday, Nov. 30, 4-5 am

Guest appearance on the "Joey Reynolds Show"
hosted by Joey Reynolds and Myra Chanin
WOR 710 AM, New York

Archived at:


Thursday, Nov. 15, 1-2 pm

Interview on "Lakou New York,"
hosted by Dahoud André and Ernest Banatte ("Mèt Bano")
Radyo Pa Nou, WRPN, 94.7 SCA, New York

Archived at:


Tuesday, Oct. 9, noon PT (3 pm ET)

On "Against the Grain"
hosted by C.S. Soong
KPFA 94.1 FM and KFCF 88.1 FM, Northern California

Archived at:


Wednesday, Sept. 5, 8 am

"America's Work Force: The American Workers' Radio Network,"
hosted by Ed "Flash" Ferenc
WKTX 830 AM and WELW 1330 AM, Northeast Ohio

Archived at:

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Support Victor Toro; Protest Raids, Detention Center

Upcoming Events:

1) SAT 12/8: Support Victor Toro, NYC Activist Fighting Deportation
sabado 8 dic: Apoyemos a Victor Toro, activista peleando su deportacion
2) MON 12/10: March to Stop the ICE Raids in Hartford, CT
3) THU 12/13: Candlelight Vigil at NYC Immigrant Holding Center
jueves 13 dic: Vigilia al frente del Centro de Detencion de NYC

1) SAT 12/8: Support Victor Toro, NYC Activist Fighting Deportation
sabado 8 dic: Apoyemos a Victor Toro, activista peleando su deportacion

La Lucha Sigue! The Struggle Continues!

[texto en espan~ol sigue al ingles]

Saturday, December 8, 2007
Fundraising party for Victor Toro, NYC Activist Fighting Deportation with live music (Los Chamanes, Rebeldiaz) and DJ Laylo International.
Suggested donation: $10
Food/drinks, dancing, music & conversation--and no speeches!

At Martin Luther King Jr Labor Center, 310 W. 43rd St in Manhattan
(between 8th & 9th Aves, A/C/E to 42nd St-Port Authority)

[Jane Guskin and David Wilson, authors of "The Politics of Immigration: Questions & Answers," published July 2007 by Monthly Review Press, will be on hand selling and signing copies of our book--and we'll donate the profits from these sales to Victor's campaign. Join us in celebrating our book release and the resistance of a comrade in struggle, Victor Toro.]

If you can't attend, please give generously to Victor's campaign: make checks payable to "Las Peñitas Inc." and mail to P.O. Box 739, Bronx, NY 10454.

Victor Toro is a citizen and national of Chile who was jailed and tortured there because of his opposition to the illegitimate Pinochet government (1973-1990). For more than 23 years, Victor and his wife Nieves Ayress (also a survivor of torture by the Pinochet regime) have been living in New York City and engaging in activism in the South Bronx, where they founded Vamos a La Peña, a nonprofit community organization that has served as a space for free expression and people's power for undocumented workers and other disenfranchised community members. On July 6, 2007, Victor Toro was arrested by US Border Patrol, an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security, while on board an Amtrak train in Rochester, New York. He was released on bond on July 9 and is now seeking political asylum with the help of his legal team. His wife Nieves is a US citizen; their daughter, Rosita Toro, is a legal permanent resident.
Victor's next hearing is set for January 18, 2008 before immigration Judge Paul Defonzo at 9:00 am at 26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY 10278.

Pickets in support of Victor Toro are held every Friday (weather permitting) from noon to 1pm at the federal building in Manhattan, northeast corner, Worth St at Lafayette St. For more information, contact
the Victor Toro Defense Committee: 718-292-6137, 212-631-7555, 646-291-2778,,,


Sabado, 8 de diciembre, 2007

Fiesta para recaudar fondos para Victor Toro, activista neoyorkino luchando contra su deportacion con musica en vivo (Los Chamanes, Rebeldiaz) y DJ Laylo Internacional
Donacion sugerida: $10 comida/bebidas, baile, musica y conversacion... y nada de discursos!

En el Martin Luther King Jr Labor Center, 310 W. 43rd St en Manhattan (entre avenidas 8 y 9, trenes A/C/E a 42 Street-Port Authority)

[Jane Guskin y David Wilson, autores de "The Politics of Immigration: Questions & Answers" (La politica de la inmigracion: preguntas y respuestas), que se publico en julio pasado en la editorial Monthly Review
Press, estaremos presentes, vendiendo y firmando copias de nuestro libro--y destinaremos todas las ganancias de estas ventas a la campan~a de Victor. Vengan a celebrar con nosotros la publicacion del libro y la resistencia de un compan~ero en la lucha: Victor Toro.]

Si no puede asistir, por favor envie su donacion a la campaña de Victor: escriba su cheque a nombre de "Las Peñitas Inc." y envielo al P.O. Box 739, Bronx, NY 10454.

Victor Toro es un chileno quien fue encarcelado y torturado en ese pais por su oposicion al gobierno ilegitimo del dictador Pinochet (1973-1990). Durante mas de 23 años, Victor y su esposa Nieves Ayress (tambien sobreviviente de torturas bajo el regimen de Pinochet) han estado viviendo en la ciudad de Nueva York e involucrados en la lucha social en el Sur del Bronx, donde fundaron Vamos a La Peña, una organizacion comunitaria sin fines de lucro que ha sirvido como espacio de libre expresion y poder
popular para los trabajadores indocumentados y otra gente marginada de esa comunidad. El pasado 6 de julio, 2007, Victor Toro fue arrestado por la Patrulla Fronteriza, agencia del Departamento de "Seguridad de Patria" de EEUU, mientras viajaba en un tren de Amtrak pasando por la ciudad de Rochester, New York. Fue liberado bajo fianza el 9 de julio y ahora busca asilo politico con ayuda de su equipo legal. Su esposa Nieves es ciudadana estadounidense; su hija, Rosita Toro, es residente permanente legal. La
proxima audiencia de Victor es programada para el 18 de enero, 2008, ante el juez de inmigracion Paul Defonzo, a las 9:00 am en 26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY 10278.

Piquetes en apoyo a Victor Toro se llevan a cabo cada viernes (cuando el clima permite) desde 12:00 mediodia hasta la 1pm afuera del edificio federal en Manhattan, esquina noreste, calle Worth con calle Lafayette.

Para mas informacion: contactese con el Comite de Defensa de Victor Toro: 718-292-6137, 212-631-7555, 646-291-2778,,,

2) MON 12/10: March to Stop the ICE Raids in Hartford, CT

Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 19:12:43 -0500
From: "McGahan, Jason C."
Subject: March on ICE Headquarters in Hartford -- Mon., Dec. 10

On International Human Rights Day, join us in calling on the federal government to
Stop the ICE Raids in Hartford!
Release the Parkville Detainees!

March on the ICE Headquarters in Hartford
Monday, December 10th, 5 p.m.

Gather at 4:30 p.m. in South Green Park (corner of Park and Main streets)
Step off at 5 p.m. and march to the ICE headquarters, 450 Main St., for a

This will be a peaceful protest of the 21 arrests made by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the Parkville neighborhood over the first week of November. ICE has terrorized Hartford by its actions and must be held accountable. Arrests of innocent working-people have nothing in common with a fair, humane immigration reform that recognizes the rights of immigrants to live and work in the U.S. Parkville: Never again!

[This call comes out of a unanimous vote of more than 50 activists from across the city and state at a public meeting last night at St. Augustine's Church which included members of the Connecticut Federation of
Educational & Professional Employees; American Friends Service Committee; Stop the Raids, Trinity College; Hartford Areas Rally Together; Hartford H.O.P.E.; Greater Hartford Interfaith Coalition for Equity and Justice; Unidad Latina en Acción of New Haven; CT People of Faith; Latinos Against
the War; Queers Without Borders; Campaign to Stop the ICE Raids in Danbury; Voluntown Peace Trust; CT Transadvocacy Coalition; Free People's Movement, as well as students and faculty from UConn, St. Joseph's College, Trinity, and CCSU.]

For more information or to get involved, contact Frank O'Gorman of CT People of Faith at 860-841-5006 or or Kate Prendergast of Stop the Raids, Trinity College, at 610-209-9264 or
A press conference announcing the protest will take place in front of ICE Headquarters, 450 Main St., on Monday, Dec. 10 at 11 a.m. Details to come.

3) THU 12/13: Candlelight Vigil at NYC Immigrant Holding Center

Date: Tue, 4 Dec 2007 18:10:19 -0500
From: rachel soltis
Subject: 12/13 - Candlelight Vigil at NYC Immigrant Holding Center

Please join us and forward this invitation to your contacts.

For fliers, or if you'd like to sign on as a supporting organization, contact Rachel at .
Thank you, and see you on the 13th!



Join us for a Candlelight Vigil at NYC Immigrant Holding Center!

Thursday, December 13, 6pm-7pm

at the ICE Varick St. Service Processing Center (201 Varick St.) in Manhattan

As we come together as families during this holy season, we remember NYC families who are being separated by current immigration policy. We hold light to these mothers, fathers, and children, and decry their suffering.

The vigil will be interfaith. Please join us!

Organized by the NYC New Sanctuary Coalition, Families for Freedom, Greater NY Labor-Religion Coalition, House of Peace, New York Immigration Coalition (list in formation).

Subway: 1 train to Houston St. Or, A/C/E/B/D/F/V train to West 4th. Walk south on 6th Avenue. Turn right on West Houston St. Walk one block to Varick St.

Contact: Rachel Soltis, 212-477-0351,


Juntese con nosotros en una Vigilia de la Luz al frente del Centro de Detencion de NYC!

Jueves, 13 de diciembre, 6pm-7pm
Donde: ICE Varick St. Service Processing Center (201 Varick St.) en Manhattan

La vigilia sera para grupos de diferente fe religiosa. Venga por favor!

Organizada por la Coalicion del Nuevo Santuario de NYC, Familias Pro Libertad, Greater NY Labor-Religion Coalition, House of Peace, New York Immigration Coalition (lista en formacion).

Subway: 1 tren a Houston St. O, A/C/E/B/D/F/V tren a West 4th. Caminar al sur por la 6ta avenida. Doblar a la derecha en la West Houston St. Caminar una cuadra hasta la Varick St.

Para mayor informacion, contacte a Rachel Soltis al 212-477-0351, .

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Trade Agreements' Dirty Secret: Displacement

"When corn farmers couldn't farm, or auto parts and maquiladora workers were laid off, where did they go? They became migrants."

Open Forum
By David Bacon, San Francisco Chronicle

November 20, 2007

In the 2006 elections, aspiring Democrats attacked the Bush administration's free trade policies, and more than 20 new members of Congress were elected, giving the Democratic Party its new majority in the House of Representatives. Yet two weeks ago Democratic Party leaders urged those same members of Congress to vote for a new free trade agreement with Peru.

Most rebelled, but enough Democrats voted for the Bush administration proposal, along with every Republican, to push it through the House. The Senate is expected to take up the agreement any day now.

Why would Democrats support the administration's trade policy, when campaigning against it helped them win in the last election? Try money.

Fourteen years ago, the promoters of the North American Free Trade Agreement promised that free trade would produce jobs. We hear the same claim today for the agreement with Peru, as well as the other agreements Bush has negotiated with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

NAFTA certainly produced some winners. Large corporations moved high paying jobs south of the U.S.-Mexico border in order to cut their labor costs and increased their profits. Mexico created a new generation of billionaires. But rising profits did not produce jobs.

By November of 2002, the U.S. Department of Labor had certified 507,000 workers for extended unemployment benefits because their employers had moved their jobs south of the border. The Department of Labor stopped counting NAFTA job losses, but the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., estimated that NAFTA had eliminated 879,000 jobs. That was five years ago.

But U.S. job loss didn't produce job increases in Mexico - it eliminated them there too. In NAFTA's first year, more than a million jobs disappeared in the economic crisis NAFTA caused.

To attract investment in Mexico, the treaty required privatization of factories, railroads and other large enterprises, leading to more layoffs of Mexican workers.

On the border, Ford, General Electric and other corporations built factories and moved production from the United States to take advantage of low wages. But more than 400,000 maquiladora workers lost their jobs in 2000-2001 when U.S. consumers cut back spending in the last recession, and companies found even lower wages in other countries, such as El Salvador or China.

Before NAFTA, U.S. auto plants in Mexico had to buy parts from Mexican factories, which employed thousands of local workers. But NAFTA let the auto giants bring in cheaper parts from their own subsidiaries, so Mexican auto parts workers lost their jobs, too.

The profits of U.S. grain companies, already subsidized under the U.S. farm bill, rose higher when NAFTA allowed them to dump cheap corn on the Mexican market, while at the same time it forced Mexico to cut its agricultural subsidies. As a result, small farmers in Oaxaca and Chiapas couldn’t sell corn anymore at a price that would pay the cost of growing it.

When corn farmers couldn't farm, or auto parts and maquiladora workers were laid off, where did they go? They became migrants.

The real, dirty secret of trade agreements is displacement. During the years NAFTA has been in effect, more than 6 million people from Mexico have come to live in the United States. They didn’t abandon their homes, families, farms and jobs willingly. They had no other option for survival.

Farmers and workers throughout Central America, who saw what NAFTA did to Mexicans, have protested, marched, and even fought in the streets of El Salvador, Guatemala, and most recently Costa Rica, to stop ratification of the Central American Free Trade Agreement. Now that rebellion is spreading to Peru.

No major union or organization of poor farmers wants the trade agreement that the Bush administration negotiated. No wonder. They don't want to say goodbye to their families, and start looking for work in Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York.

To get the Peru treaty through Congress, its supporters claim it will protect labor rights. Peruvian unions don't believe this promise any more than they believe it will bring them jobs.

Today a huge mining corporation, Grupo Mexico, has provoked a strike by demanding that miners work 12 hours a day instead of eight in Peru's largest copper mine. The Peruvian government supports the company, because it believes longer hours and lower wages will attract more foreign investment. Since NAFTA passed, the same company has forced strikes and cut thousands of jobs at its Mexican mines to cut labor costs, and the government there has also cooperated.

NAFTA's toothless labor rights protections never stopped union busting and job elimination in Mexico. They won't in Peru either.

Those freshmen members of Congress have a better grasp on global reality than their party leaders, who are enthralled by the siren song of big contributions from corporate free traders. But those newly elected Democrats will have a hard time going back to their districts and explaining to constituents why their party allowed the treaty to pass.

Party strategists think Democrats can accept big contributions to support the Bush free trade program. They calculate that unions, workers, displaced immigrants and those hurt by the treaties have nowhere else to go in 2008. They're wrong. They could stay home - the Democrats certainly won't be giving them much reason to get out and vote.

For more articles and images on immigration and trade, see

See also the photodocumentary on indigenous migration to the US, Communities Without Borders (Cornell University/ILR Press, 2006)

See also The Children of NAFTA, Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border (University of California, 2004)

David Bacon, Photographs and Stories

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Immigration forum at Pace Law School addresses how to respond to nationwide anti-immigrant sentiment

By Leah Rae, The Journal News
November 29, 2007

WHITE PLAINS - An immigration forum at Pace Law School last night became largely a strategy session on how to respond to the virulent anti-immigrant sentiment that seems to be rising across the country.

Among the questions: Do immigrant supporters need their own Lou Dobbs? Should they insist on using words like "undocumented" and reject the use of "illegal alien?" Should they accuse their opponents of racism when they see it?

About 50 people, including attorneys, students, English-language teachers and others, took part in a discussion hosted by the school's Immigration Justice Clinic and several student groups. Jane Guskin and David Wilson, authors of the book "The Politics of Immigration,"invited discussion about the fact and fiction in the immigration debate. Much of the conversation revolved around how to respond to misconceptions, like the assumption that illegal immigrants are eligible for welfare benefits or that they pay no taxes.

The first question the group took on was the modern refrain: "What part of illegal don't you understand?"

With lawyers chiming in, they went over the facts: Being in the United States without authorization is a civil violation, not a criminal charge. Crossing the border without inspection is a misdemeanor. Re-entering the country after deportation is a felony.

Guskin said those who demonize undocumented immigrants should step back and consider that they've broken the law, too, by speeding, rolling through stop signs, and other minor violations. To Mark Levine, a Yorktown attorney who was in the audience, that wasn't muchof a response.

"It's not a winning argument," he said. To understand the anger over illegal immigration, it's necessary to address the issue of laws being violated, he said.

Guskin and Wilson emphasized that the vast majority of people around the world have little or no chance of immigrating legally or even obtaining a tourist visa. Once here unlawfully for a year or more, there are few ways to legalize their status without returning home andfacing a 10-year bar from re-entry. It's not that they refused to jump through hoops, she said, but that "there are no hoops for them to jump through."

Everyone in the group seemed to agree that the push to legalize the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants is being lost in a polarized debate in which neither side is listening to the other.

To Lee Seham, a labor attorney in White Plains, supporters of immigration reform need to show middle-wage, American workers that they are being hurt by a system that won't allow undocumented immigrants to legalize themselves.

Not only are the undocumented workers being exploited, but unscrupulous contractors are getting an advantage unless the system changes.

"What we have now is the equivalent of prohibition," he said. Referring to exploitation, he said there is an "Al Capone" on every construction site.

Monday, November 26, 2007

This Week: New York Area Events on Immigration (Updated)

With Jane Guskin & David Wilson
authors of The Politics of Immigration: Questions & Answers

Tuesday, Nov. 27, 6:30-8:30 pm

Dialogues on Politics of Immigration
at Lower East Side Tenement Museum Shop
108 Orchard Street at Delancey
New York, NY
(take the F train to Delancey, the B/D to Grand, or the J/M/Z to Essex Street)

Moderated by Irene Tung
Director of Organizing with Make the Road New York and a member of the Tenement Museum’s Immigrant Programs Advisory Committee

Please RSVP to
For more information: call 212-982-8420
or visit

* * * * * *

Wednesday, Nov. 28, 6 pm
Participatory Dialogue on Immigration
At Pace Law School
78 North Broadway
Judicial Institute building, Room 105
White Plains, NY

Sponsored by Pace Law School's John Jay Legal Services, Immigration Justice Clinic, the Muslim Law Students Association, the Asian American Law Students Association, the Latin American Law Students Association, and the International Law Society.

For more information: call 914-422-4333
or email

* * * * * *

Between Thursday, Nov. 29, midnight
and Friday, Nov. 30, 5 am

Guest appearance on the Joey Reynolds Show

For listeners in the New York:WOR, 710 AM
Live streaming and archives:

Call in: 800-321-0710

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Recent Articles Citing The Politics of Immigration

Myths, lies and books about immigration
by Emile Schepers
People's Weekly World Newspaper, September 20, 2007

The American public is being subjected to a bombardment of slander and lies about our immigrant neighbors. TV personalities like Lou Dobbs and Bill O’Reilly, as well as radio talk show hosts, right-wing newspapers and Internet web sites and blogs, vie with each other to make up the most terrifying stories about crazed immigrants bringing crime, disease, poverty and terrorism.

It is hard to keep up with such a bombardment. So activists and the general public will be glad to hear that there are two new book-length resources to refute the anti-immigrant slander campaign. [...]

Read the full article:

Bloomington author hosts informal discussion on issue of immigration
by Rama Sobhani
Indiana Daily Student, October 12, 2007

[...] “There are no easy answers to anything,” Guskin said about concern over open borders, but suggested that part of the solution to stemming a huge tide of immigration is to address the root causes driving people out of their home countries. “They won’t come here if they can have a better life at home,” she said. [...]

Read the full article:
See also:

The Immigration Blame Game
by John Buell
Bangor Daily News (Maine), October 30, 2007

[...] Two recent books, Aviva Chomsky’s “They Take Our Jobs - and 20 Other Myths about Immigration” and Jane Guskin and David Wilson’s “The Politics of Immigration,” provide extensive documentation from a wide range of historical and economic perspectives that the same global economic restructuring that has led to outsourcing the best U.S. jobs and attacks on unions here has also badly damaged societies in the developing world and led to widespread migration of the poor. [...]

Read the full article:
See also:

Citan ante juez de Inmigración a Víctor Toro
by José Acosta
El Diario-La Prensa (NY), November 5, 2007

[...] Jane Guskin, autora del libro “The Politics of Immigrations”, dijo que Toro fue arrestado en un viaje en los trenes Amtrak, y que este tipo de redadas ocurren “día tras día y por eso es bueno recordarle a los inmigrantes que no es seguro viajar en trenes interestatales”. [...]

Read the full article:

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Blackwater Seeks Immigration Profits

Blackwater's run for the border
By Eilene Zimmerman
Salon, October 23, 2007

The notorious security contractor has plans for amilitary-style complex near the U.S.-Mexico border.Critics worry the firm's "mercenary soldiers" could join the U.S. Border Patrol. [...]

Read the full article:

Monday, November 12, 2007

Upcoming New York Area Events on Immigration

with Jane Guskin & David Wilson
authors of The Politics of Immigration: Questions & Answers

For information:Website:


Thursday, Nov. 15, 1-2 pm

Interview on "Lakou New York,"
hosted by Dahoud André and Ernest Banatte ("Mèt Bano")

For listeners in the New York area with special receptors:
Radyo Pa Nou, WRPN, 94.7 SCA

Live streaming and archives:

For more information: call 718-907-0484,
or visit

* * * * * *

Saturday, Nov. 17, 11:30 am-1 pm

"The Realities of Immigration"
Panel discussion at "Think Beyond Borders,"
North American New Humanist Forum Conference

At Hunter College School of Social Work
Harold Lewis Auditorium
133 E 79th St at Lexington Avenue
New York, NY
(take the 6 train to 77th Street)

Sponsored by: Hunter College School of Social Work, Centre of Cultures USA/Mex/CA, Community for Human Development, Action Fronts of the Humanist Movement

For information and to register:

The conference starts on Friday, Nov. 16, 7:30-10:30 pm, at El Museo del Barrio, Teatro Hechscher, 1230 5th Avenue at 104th St (take the 6 train to 103rd St). It continues at Hunter School of Social Work Saturday, Nov. 17, 9 am-6 pm, and Sunday, Nov. 18, 10 am-5 pm. Speakers include activist poet Daniel Berrigan, S.J., Bolivian ambassador Hugo Siles Alvarado, Center of Cultures USA director Nicole Myers, Hunter College School of Social Work dean Jacqueline Mondros, and many others.

* * * * * *

Tuesday, Nov. 27, 6:30-8:30 pm

Dialogues on Politics of Immigration
at Lower East Side Tenement Museum Shop
108 Orchard Street at Delancey
New York, NY
(take the F train to Delancey, the B/D to Grand, or the J/M/Z to Essex Street)

Moderated by Irene Tung
Director of Organizing with Make the Road New York and a member of the Tenement Museum’s Immigrant Programs Advisory Committee

Please RSVP to
For more information: call 212-982-8420
or visit

* * * * * *

Wednesday, Nov. 28, 6 pm

Participatory Dialogue on Immigration
At Pace Law School
78 North Broadway
Judicial Institute building, Room 105
White Plains, NY

Sponsored by Pace Law School's John Jay Legal Services, Immigration Justice Clinic, the Muslim Law Students Association, the Asian American Law Students Association, the Latin American Law Students Association, and the International Law Society.

For more information: call 914-422-4333
or email

Friday, Dec. 7, time to be announced
Book Party
At Hunter College
Location to be announced
New York, NY

With Jane Guskin & David Wilson
Chilean-born New York activist Victor Toro
and others to be announced

* * * * * *

Saturday, Dec. 8, time to be announced

Benefit for Victor Toro legal defense
At location to be announced.

For more information: call 718-292-6137, 212-631-7555, or 646-291-2778
email or or

* * * * * *

Most Fridays, noon-1 pm (rain cancels)

Join The Politics of Immigration authors at a vigil and leafleting to defend Victor Toro, a Chilean activist and exile who was tortured under the Pinochet regime. The US is attempting to deport him after he has lived in New York for 25 years with his family.

At Worth St & Lafayette
Foley Sq near 26 Federal Plaza
New York, NY
(take the J/M/Z train to Chambers St, 4/5/6 to Brooklyn Bridge-CityHall, R/W to City Hall)

Sponsored by the Victor Toro Defense Committee

For more information:
call 718-292-6137, 212-631-7555, or 646-291-2778
email or or

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Arizona Border Fence Environmental Impact Questioned

by Brenda Norrell, October 2, 2007
Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP)

With over a billion dollars in "border security funds" allocated by Congress, private companies are carrying out the biggest hoax of all--a $31.5 million dollar, seven-mile border fence at Sasabe, Arizona. The project has been whitewashed by a slim environmental assessment that obligingly finds "No Significant Impact." [...]

It only takes one look at the rugged mountains to the West of Sasabe to see that building an effective major wall across those mountains is hardly feasible. Migrants and jaguars can traverse the mountain paths, but wall construction appears physically impossible.

Read the full article:

Friday, November 9, 2007

INB 11/4/07: Final Charges Dropped Against LA 8; Raids in CT, NY, IL, GA, VT

NOTE: INB editor Jane Guskin will be in southern California this week:

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 10, No. 27 - November 4, 2007

(Note: Immigration News Briefs will skip the next week; the next issue should come out the weekend of Nov. 17.)

1. Final Charges Dropped Against LA 8
2. Connecticut: New Raid as State's Role Questioned
3. Dozens Snared in Queens Raid
4. Chicago Workers Arrested in Raid
5. Georgia: 30 Workers Arrested Near Fort Benning
6. NY Governor Accepts Federal Licenses
7. Vermont Hotels Raided
8. Migrant Deaths Marked
9. California: Immigrants Affected by Fires

Immigration News Briefs is a weekly supplement to Weekly News Update on the Americas, published by Nicaragua Solidarity Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012; tel 212-674-9499; fax 212-674-9139; INB is also distributed free via email; contact for info. You may reprint or distribute items from INB, but please credit us and tell people how to subscribe.


On Oct. 30, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissed all charges against Palestinian immigrants Khader Musa Hamide and Michel Ibrahim Shehadeh, the last two members of the "Los Angeles Eight" (LA 8) who were still fighting deportation, and approved a settlement submitted by the men's lawyers and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The BIA
announced the settlement on Oct. 31.

Hamide and Shehadeh were legal permanent residents when they were arrested on Jan. 26, 1987 and placed into deportation proceedings along with six other activists because of their alleged support for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Specifically, the government targeted the eight activists' efforts to distribute Al Hadaf, the PFLP magazine, a
publication available in public libraries and college campuses. On Jan. 30, 2007, Los Angeles immigration judge Bruce J. Einhorn terminated the deportation proceedings against Hamide and Shehadeh, calling the government's conduct in the case "an embarrassment to the rule of law."
[see INB 2/4/07; see also Einhorn's ruling posted at]

The government had appealed Einhorn's ruling, but under the terms of the settlement it dropped its appeal and agreed not to charge either Hamide or Shehadeh as "removable, deportable, excludable or inadmissible, or bring any other type of proceedings to expel" either of them or take away their lawful permanent resident status "based on any affiliations, associations, information or conduct in any way connected with any organizations that
were identified or described in any testimony" or any other legal document in the case or based on any statement they made.

In exchange, Hamide and Shehadeh agreed to have several court orders--including Einhorn's January 2007 order--vacated as moot; and to give up their right to sue any government officials or agencies--including the Justice Department, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement--for any action taken in the course of the case. The settlement also states that Hamide and Shehadeh must wait at least three years before they can apply for citizenship, and could be subjected to deportation or to having their permanent resident status revoked if they violate immigration laws in the future.

In a statement, the DHS said, "After thorough analysis and investigation, the United States government has no information indicating that Khader Musa Hamide and Michel Ibrahim Shehadeh currently pose a threat to national security." (Los Angeles Times 10/31/07)

"The government reasonably believed at the time these men were charged they were a threat because of their membership in a terrorist organization," said Virginia Kice, spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in California. "Based on current analysis, we have no information that they are a threat." (New York Times 11/1/07)

"It's a huge victory and certainly a relief for our clients who have lived with this cloud over them for 20 years," said Georgetown University law professor David Cole, representing the Center for Constitutional Rights, which fought the case along with the National Lawyers Guild and the
American Civil Liberties Union. (AP 10/31/07)

"This is a monumental victory...for all immigrants who want to be able to express their political views and support the lawful activities of organizations in their home countries fighting for social or political change," said San Francisco attorney Marc Van Der Hout of the National Lawyers Guild, who has worked on the case since its inception. The government's attempt to deport Hamide and Shehadeh "all these years marks another shameful period in our government's history of targeting certain groups of immigrants for their political beliefs and activities."

"My family and I feel a tremendous amount of relief," said Hamide, who lives in Chino Hills, California, and works as a wholesaler of coffee and tea. "After 20 years, the nightmare is finally over. I feel vindicated at long last. This is a victory not only for the LA 8 but for the First
Amendment of the Constitution and for the rights of all immigrants."

Shehadeh, who now lives in Oregon, said that although he was "extremely happy" to put the battle behind him, he had mixed emotions. "The government robbed us, and our families, of the best and most productive years of our lives. But we will continue...acting on our beliefs, loving
our country and defending the Constitution," he said. (LAT 10/31/07)

As for the other members of the LA 8, Hamide's Kenyan-born wife, Julie Mungai, has permanent resident status, as do Naim Sharif and Amjad Obeid. Obeid's brother Ayman remains in the US on a work permit; his application for permanent residency is apparently still pending. Basher Amer returned to the West Bank. Aiad Barakat is a US citizen, sworn in on Dec. 20 of last year, six months after a federal judge ordered the government to allow him to naturalize [see INB 7/8/06, 2/4/07].


ICE spokesperson Paula Grenier said on Nov. 2 that nine people were detained that morning in Hartford, Connecticut. The raids apparently began around 7am in the Parkville section of Hartford, where ICE agents went to homes and businesses on Park, South Whitney and Carpenter streets. Grenier said an ICE fugitive operation team arrested one person on an outstanding deportation order. The others were apparently swept up in the raid, suspected of being in the country without permission. Grenier declined to say how many warrants agents were trying to serve. "It was a routine operation by a fugitive operation team," she said.

Jason McGahan, a member of Stop the Raids, a Trinity College-based group, said the latest raid in Hartford "drives home that we have to mobilize in response to these attacks if we are going to protect the immigrant community. Otherwise they are sure to continue." Raids by ICE fugitive
operation teams in New Haven in June led to public demonstrations, as well as aggressive legal challenges by a team of law professors and students from the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at the Yale Law School. (Hartford Courant 11/3/07)

On Oct. 31, at a Connecticut state Freedom of Information (FOI) Commission hearing in Hartford, Commissioner Vincent Russo took testimony on whether state police should be ordered to make public all the records they have in their possession on a June 6 ICE raid in New Haven in which 29 people were arrested on immigration violations. Lawyers representing two advocacy groups are seeking the state police records to determine whether ICE acted
unconstitutionally by entering homes without consent or civil warrants or by racially profiling those arrested.

At the hearing, several partially redacted emails were released to the lawyers, including an Apr. 30 email from an ICE employee to state police detective Carmine Verno about an ICE operation planned for May 2 in New Haven. "I know you guys usually work nights, but if you're interested we'd love to have you! We have 18 addresses--so it should be a fun time!! Let me know if you guys can play!!" said the ICE official. "Sounds great!" Verno wrote back, saying he would run it by his bosses. The date was later pushed back to June 6; in the end, four state police officers
participated. None of the emails referred to any suspected criminal activity by those targeted.

"It sounds like a bunch of cowboys decided to get a posse together, and the feds wanted to give the state police the opportunity to take part in the roundup," said Justin Cox, a student intern at Jerome N. Frank Legal Services. The law clinic is representing 21 of the 29 people arrested in
the June 6 raid. (New Haven Register 10/31/07, 11/1/07)


On Oct. 14, federal and local agents carried out a massive raid on Roosevelt Avenue, the main commercial strip of the heavily immigrant neighborhood of Jackson Heights in northern Queens, New York City. While the operation was supposedly targeting individuals accused of involvement in a fraudulent document ring, Spanish-language news reports cited witnesses saying that dozens of immigrants--possibly as many as 100--who had nothing to do with the fake IDs were also swept up in the raid.

Witness Rodrigo Arce told the Spanish-language television news channel Telemundo that agents used plastic netting to trap people who were standing there talking or passing by. "They were asking people to show documents," he said. (Telemundo 47 10/16/07) Rosario Ruiz, an employee of a Colombian bakery, said she witnessed "more than 100 arrests." Ruiz confirmed that people who just happened to be walking on the crowded avenue that Sunday afternoon were among those arrested. According to Ruiz, "Of those arrested, and there were a lot, 80% were Mexicans who were passing by here." (El Diario La Prensa 10/16/07)

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced at a press conference on Oct. 16 that the raid was part of an operation targeting suspects involved in the production and sale of fraudulent identity documents. Brown said an inter-agency taskforce was formed in October 2005 after the DA's Counter-Terrorism Unit received information from the Queens Gang Squad of the New York Police Department (NYPD) that fake government documents were being manufactured and sold on Roosevelt Avenue. Brown said the investigation led to the indictment of 41 people on various charges including enterprise corruption, forgery, conspiracy and criminal
possession of forgery devices. Of the 41 people indicted, 20 were in custody, said Brown; the remainder were being sought. According to Brown, more than 40 suspects were arrested over the weekend, including the alleged ringleader; he did not say whether the other 20-plus
arrestees--those not named in the indictment--were charged with anything. (WABC Eyewitness News (Queens) 10/16/07; Queens Tribune 10/20/07; Queens County District Attorney Press Release 10/16/07)

"Today's indictments are the result of a two-year investigation that included months of court-authorized eavesdropping and video surveillance and thousands of intercepted telephone calls," Brown said in a press release. "During the investigation hundreds of arrests were made of those purchasing fraudulent documents and numerous search warrants were executed
resulting in the closure of a number of fraudulent identification mills and the seizure of thousands of completed, semi-completed and blank forged government identification documents." (QCDA Press Release 10/16/07)

Brown said most of the suspects are undocumented residents from Mexico. NYPD Deputy Inspector Robert Boyce claimed that at least 12 of the 41 suspects indicted are members of the M-18, Surenos 13 or Vatos Locos gangs. (Queens Tribune 10/20/07) The investigation involved city and state police, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, the Social Security Administration and the state branch of the Secret Service. (Times Ledger (Queens) 10/18/07) Brown also "expressed his appreciation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Joint Terrorism Task Force and the US Department of Homeland Security's Office of Immigration and Customs
Enforcement for their assistance during the investigation," according to the press release.

Seventeen of the defendants named in the indictment were arraigned on Oct. 15 before Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard Buchter on charges of enterprise corruption, forgery, criminal possession of a forged instrument, criminal possession of forgery devices and conspiracy. Two
other defendants were arrested in Los Angeles, and a third was arrested in New Jersey. (QCDA Press Release 10/16/07)


On Oct. 31, ICE special agents arrested 23 immigrant workers at the Rock Run Business Park in Joliet, Illinois, just southwest of Chicago, as part of what ICE referred to as "an ongoing criminal worksite enforcement investigation." The 16 men and seven women were employed by ANNA II Inc., a staffing company which provides laborers to various warehouses in the Chicago area. They had been transported to the worksite in Joliet from the heavily Mexican neighborhood of Pilsen on Chicago's south side in three vans. The driver of a fourth van was taken into custody in Des Plaines, northwest of Chicago. ICE agents executed a criminal search warrant the same morning at ANNA II's main offices in Bensenville, Illinois. ICE initiated the investigation into ANNA II in April 2006.

One of those arrested was from the Dominican Republic; the others were from Mexico. All are currently being processed at ICE's Broadview facility and will face deportation proceedings for violating US immigration laws.

During fiscal year 2007, which ended Sept. 30, ICE arrested 863 individuals on criminal charges in worksite investigations, and administratively apprehended another 4,077 unauthorized workers on immigration violations. These arrests have increased significantly when compared to the 160 criminal arrests and 685 administrative arrests ICE made in fiscal year 2004. (ICE News Release 10/31/07)


On Oct. 30, ICE agents entered the worksite of the new National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center at Patriot Park, next to the army base at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, and checked the IDs of all workers. ICE spokesperson Richard Rocha said 27 Mexicans and three Guatemalans were arrested on immigration violations. All 30 were transported to the ICE
detention center in Stewart County, said Rocha, and will be processed for deportation.

Cyndy Cerbin, a spokesperson for the National Infantry Foundation, a private group building the museum, referred all questions to contractor Batson-Cook Co. Eddie Sanders, on-site project manager for Batson-Cook, said his company is cooperating with ICE, and that the arrested workers were employed by a number of subcontractors on the site. "Batson-Cook follows all the federal and state laws on hiring of personnel," Sanders said. "We expect our subcontractors to follow those laws, as well."

The $85 million museum dedicated to infantry history will replace the current museum, which is in the middle of Fort Benning and is run by the army. Last Jan. 17, ICE arrested 24 unauthorized contract workers at the Fort Benning base as they arrived there to work on a barracks project [see INB 2/10/07]. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 11/1/07)

The latest raid comes just a few weeks before thousands of protesters descend on Fort Benning Nov. 16-18 to demand the closure of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), a combat training school for Latin American soldiers. The institution was formerly known as the School of the Americas; the annual November protests are organized by School of the Americas Watch, a grassroots organization based in Washington.


On Oct. 27, New York governor Eliot Spitzer joined Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff in announcing that New York state will alter a plan Spitzer announced on Sept. 21 which would have allowed immigrants to get driver's licenses without having to provide a social security number or proof of legal residency [see INB 9/30/07]. Instead, New York will create a three-tiered license system: an enhanced license for residents of northern and western areas of the state which can be used instead of a passport to cross the border into Canada; a license which meets the new federal standards of the Real ID Act and will only be available to citizens or legal permanent residents; and a license available to anyone who does not want to pay the extra fee for a federally approved license or who cannot provide the necessary documents--including out-of-status immigrants. This third type of license will be marked with the phrase "not for US government purposes" and will not be valid for boarding airplanes. To get this category of license, applicants will have to present a valid passport from any country and proof that they reside in New York state. (Newsday 10/28/07; Washington Post 10/28/07 from AP)

"I don't endorse giving licenses to people who are not here legally," said Chertoff, "but federal law does allow states to make that choice." (WP 10/28/07 from AP) Spitzer said long, collegial conversations with Chertoff over several weeks led to the policy change. Spitzer said he has known Chertoff for more than 10 years, since he went to Harvard Law School with Chertoff's wife. (Newsday 10/29/07 from AP)

New York is the fourth state to agree to the secure licenses as established by the Real ID Act, after Arizona, Vermont and Washington--all border states. New and tighter rules are soon to go into effect for border crossings. (WP 10/28/07 from AP) Real ID is expected to be phased
in by 2013. After that, federal agencies that now allow standard state-issued licenses for identification will require the Real ID or other federally accepted identification, like a passport, for boarding a plane. (New York Times 10/28/07)

Immigrant advocates blasted the compromise deal. Spitzer's move "is a lose-lose political decision that betrays his most ardent supporters and emboldens the anti-immigrant opposition," said Chung-Wa Hong of the New York Immigration Coalition. "Public safety for all is not possible when we carve out a million people to be outside of the public safety rules or
stigmatize them as second-class residents marked by a Scarlet Letter." (Newsday 10/28/07) "He's now embracing and letting his good name be used to promote something that has been widely known in the immigrant community as one of the most anti-immigrant pieces of legislation to come out of Congress," Hong added, referring to the Real ID Act. (NYT 10/28/07)


On Oct. 23, more than 20 agents from ICE and the FBI raided the Quality Inn & Suites and the Hampton Inn in Brattleboro, Vermont, arresting 13 out-of-status workers. Ten of the workers were being detained pending removal hearings; three were released with orders to appear for
immigration hearings at a later date. Federal agents were assisted in the raids by Brattleboro police and Windham County Sheriff deputies; Brattleboro police arrested a Brazilian national at one of the hotels for possession of amphetamines.

In addition to arresting the workers, federal agents arrested Canadian citizen Gurdeep Nagra, president of the Nanak Hotel Group, which owns the two hotels. Nagra was taken to US District Court in Burlington where he pleaded not guilty to charges of employing and harboring unauthorized immigrants and lying to authorities. According to an ICE news release, many workers at the hotels were "employed by a shell company created by Nagra to avoid detection by immigration officials." ICE says Nagra was arrested on immigration charges in 1992 when he was using the name Gurdeep Singh. He then apparently changed his name legally and applied for admission to the US under the new name. (Brattleboro Reformer 10/24/07; ICE News Release 10/23/07)


In El Paso, Texas, about 30 activists marked Day of the Dead on Nov. 1 by hanging 450 white wooden crosses on the border fence along the American Canal, where at least 15 people drowned this year trying to enter the US. Some crosses held the names of dead migrants, while others were blank to represent those who have not been identified. The event was organized by
the Border Network for Human Rights, an El Paso-based grassroots group that keeps track of migrant deaths. According to the Border Network, 371 migrants died this year on the US-Mexico border, including 25 in El Paso and New Mexico. Border Patrol officials in El Paso recorded 27 deaths in this sector.

Later in the evening on Nov. 1, community members gathered at the Chamizal National Memorial for a candlelight vigil in the memory of migrants who died. "This is the day that we mourn our dead and demand a change in the policies that caused those deaths," said Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Border Network. Garcia pointed out that migrant deaths increased after 1993, when new border policies forced migrants away from urban areas into more remote and riskier crossing areas. The crosses were scheduled to stay up until Nov. 3. (El Paso Times 11/1/07)

The Human Rights Coalition, an Arizona immigrant rights group, documented 237 deaths along the Arizona-Mexico border between Oct. 1, 2006 and Sept. 30, 2007. The figures exceed the previous fiscal year, when 205 bodies were recovered. The totals represent the number of deaths reported by coroners in Pima, Yuma and Cochise counties over the federal fiscal year.
At least 51 of the migrants who died in Arizona were women. The Human Rights Coalition compiled the data with the help of Arizona authorities, multiple foreign consulates and the Binational Migration Institute. The Border Patrol reported 186 migrant deaths in Arizona through August of this year. ( 10/22/07)


Immigrant rights groups and the ACLU say authorities have created a climate of intimidation at evacuation centers set up to help people displaced by wildfires in southern California. As wildfires forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people, more than 100 Border Patrol
agents were deployed to help evacuate homes, operate checkpoints, guard against looters and assist at evacuation shelters. At an assistance center set up at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, a Border Patrol communications vehicle provided key logistics support and uniformed Border Patrol agents were visibly present. "Having people at evacuation sites in Border Patrol uniforms is asinine," said Enrique Morones, president of the Border Angels, an immigrant rights group. The ACLU and other rights groups say immigrants were subjected to racial profiling at Qualcomm and were abused by some volunteers who questioned their legal status. They have also said the city did not go out to migrant camps to tell people to evacuate. (Los Angeles Times 10/28/07)

On Oct. 24, San Diego police arrested an evacuated Mexican family as they tried to leave Qualcomm Stadium. The police handed seven family members--four adults with three children ages two, eight and 13--over to Border Patrol agents, who deported them that same evening. Footage of their arrest was replayed numerous times on local television stations.

According to the San Diego office of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), which interviewed the family in Tijuana following their deportation, a volunteer at the evacuation center had called police, claiming that the family was taking more than their share of material aid. At least five police officers responded, aggressively questioned the family, and demanded to know their immigration status. Despite the San Diego Police Department's official policy of not collaborating with the federal immigration agency, officers called the Border Patrol after
determining that the family was undocumented. All of the family's belongings--including things they had brought with them, such as the children's backpacks containing personal items--were taken back into Qualcomm Stadium and have not been returned to the family.

The seven members of the family were taken to a Border Patrol facility, where they were processed. From the time of their arrest around 8:30am until their deportation after 7pm, they were not provided with food. The Border Patrol failed to inform the family of their right to consular consultation and phone calls. Two Border Patrol agents insulted the family, calling them thieves and other derogatory names. Consular officials interviewed the family only after they had already signed for voluntary departure. The San Diego AFSC office is coordinating with the
local ACLU office in investigating possible civil rights violations. (Update from Pedro Rios, AFSC, 10/26/07)

On Oct. 25 four migrants, two men and two women, were found apparently burned to death in the wildfires in a ravine off state Route 94 in southern San Diego County. Their bodies remain unidentified; authorities suspect they may have crossed into the US shortly before being trapped by the flames. Another 11 suspected undocumented immigrants are among 18 people who have suffered burns from the wildfires and are hospitalized at UCSD Medical Center's burn unit. (San Diego Union Tribune 10/31/07)


Contributions toward Immigration News Briefs are gladly accepted:
they should be made payable and sent to Nicaragua Solidarity
Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012. (Tax-deductible
contributions of $50 or more may be made payable to the A.J.
Muste Memorial Institute and earmarked for "NSN".)

ORDER "The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers," a new book by
the editors of Immigration News Briefs and Weekly News Update on the
Americas, out now on Monthly Review Press: for details see publisher
website: book website: authors' blog:

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Updated: 4 Southern California Dialogue Events Nov. 8-10

Have you heard an anti-immigrant argument that you feel is wrong, but need the facts to contest? (For example: "Immigrants are a drain on social services.") Do you have your own fear or concern about the issue? (For example: "Are the lowest-paid US-born workers really hurt by immigration?")

Bring your concerns to one of these upcoming dialogues in Southern California facilitated by Jane Guskin, co-author (with David Wilson) of the newly released Monthly Review Press book "The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers." We'll work together to develop effective responses using hard facts, rational reasoning and personal experiences.

To set up a dialogue in your community:
For more information about the book:

Thursday November 8, 2007
Social Justice Seminar
UC San Diego John Muir College
1103 Muir Biology Building
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093
Sponsored by Human and Earth Rights Organization (HERO)
Free and open to the public
For details:

Thursday November 8, 2007
Cal State University San Marcos
Academic Hall 102
San Marcos, CA
Driving directions:
Sponsored by Student Life & Leadership Cross Cultural Center, National Latino Research Center (NLRC) & CSUSM MEChA
Free and open to all CSUSM students, staff, faculty and invited guests
For details:

Friday, November 9, 2007
7pm program (social hour with refreshments at 6pm)
Palomar Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship
1600 Buena Vista Drive, Vista, CA 92081
(in the Shadowridge section of Vista)
Free and open to the public

Saturday, November 10, 2007
Escondido Public Library
Turrentine Room
239 South Kalmia, Escondido, CA 92025
Sponsored by North County Forum
Free and open to the public

If you plan to attend and would like more information about any of these events, please contact Jane Guskin at

INB 10/28/07: Judge Halts SSA Crackdown, Raids Continue

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 10, No. 26 - October 28, 2007

(Note: Immigration News Briefs did not publish for the past three weeks; the last issue was dated Sept. 30. Sorry for the lapse.)

1. Judge Halts Crackdown on Workers
2. Buffets Raided in Kentucky, Maryland
3. Over 1,300 Arrested in California
4. "Fugitive" Raids in Idaho, Kansas
5. New York Raids Challenged

Immigration News Briefs is a weekly supplement to Weekly News Update on the Americas, published by Nicaragua Solidarity Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012; tel 212-674-9499; fax 212-674-9139; INB is also distributed free via email; contact for info. You may reprint or distribute items from INB, but please credit us and tell people how to subscribe.


On Oct. 10, federal judge Charles R. Breyer of US District Court in San Francisco granted a preliminary injunction barring the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from launching a planned crackdown on workers whose social security numbers don't match the Social Security Administration (SSA) database [see INB 9/2/07]. At an earlier hearing on Oct. 1, a day after immigrant workers and their supporters demonstrated in front of San Francisco's federal building to protest the crackdown, Breyer had extended a temporary restraining order for 10 days. His Oct. 10 injunction blocks implementation of the plan until the court makes a final ruling in a lawsuit on its legality.

The crackdown, announced by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on Aug. 10 with new rules originally set to take effect Sept. 14, involves mailing "no-match" letters to 140,000 US employers, warning them that they must resolve questions about their employees' identities or fire them within 90 days. If they fail to do so, employers could face stiff penalties, including fines and even criminal prosecution. The federal government has mailed out "no-match" letters since 1994, but in the past employers weren't required to take action and did not face liability.

The lawsuit against the plan was brought on Aug. 29 by the AFL-CIO and local labor organizations, who were joined on Sept. 11 by the US Chamber of Commerce and trade associations for the agriculture, restaurant and construction industries, and on Sept. 13 by UNITE HERE and the United Food and Commercial Workers union. The national American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), its Northern California chapter, the National Immigration Law Center and two private law firms are representing the plaintiffs. [Washington Post 10/11/07; Blog by Jennifer Chang of ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project 9/14/07; AFL-CIO, ACLU & NILC Press Releases 10/1/07, 10/10/07; David Bacon 9/30/07]

The plaintiffs convinced the judge that the SSA database includes so many errors that its use in firings would unfairly discriminate against tens of thousands of legal workers, including native-born and naturalized US citizens, and cause major workforce disruptions that would burden companies. "There can be no doubt that the effects of the rule's implementation will be severe," Breyer wrote, resulting in "irreparable harm to innocent workers and employers."

"The government's proposal to disseminate no-match letters affecting more than eight million workers will, under the mandated time line, result in the termination of employment to lawfully employed workers," wrote Breyer. "Moreover the threat of criminal prosecution... reflects a major change in DHS policy." Breyer also said that the government may have ignored a 1980 law, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, that requires it to weigh the cost of imposing new regulations that would significantly burden small-business owners.

Chertoff expressed disappointment with Breyer's injunction and said the administration will continue to aggressively enforce immigration laws while considering an appeal, which plaintiffs' attorneys said could take at least nine months. Judge Breyer was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1997 and is the brother of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

SSA database errors have also hampered DHS' efforts to promote the Basic Pilot Program (now known as E-Verify), a system it launched in 1996 which employers can use voluntarily to verify the social security numbers of new hires. A report provided to Congress showed that between June 2004 and May 2006, the program erroneously rejected 11% of foreign-born US citizens and 1.3% of authorized immigrant workers. That error rate led Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich to sign state legislation in August barring Illinois companies from participating in the program until it is 99% accurate. [Washington Post 10/11/07]


On Oct. 16, local police in Villa Hills, Kentucky, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio, pulled over a van carrying immigrant workers to their jobs at the Empire Buffet in nearby Crescent Springs. After a passenger in the van allegedly admitted being an undocumented immigrant, police detained five of the van's eight passengers. The driver was cited for running a stop sign and released.
Police then returned to the house where the workers lived, allegedly obtained consent to search there, and arrested another immigrant worker found sleeping. All six immigrants were handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Five men and one woman were in the custody of federal authorities on the night of Oct. 16, according to Villa Hills Police Chief Dan Goodenough. Three others were released when they provided proof of identity.

Police claimed they pulled over the van in a "routine traffic stop," but admitted they had been investigating the home for months. "We had complaints from neighbors due to the volume of people that were living in the property," said Villa Hills Police Detective Joe Schutzman. Schutzman said every room in the two-story home was used for people to sleep.

On Oct. 17, ICE spokesperson Gail Montenegro said nine Empire Buffet workers were detained in the operation: five Mexican men, two Chinese women and two Chinese men. Montenegro said all nine were in the US without permission and would face removal proceedings. [Cincinnati Enquirer 10/17/07; 10/17/07; Cincinnati Post 10/19/07]

City officials say they are in the process of citing Chun Gond Shi, president of the company that operates the restaurant and owner of the home, and Wang Xiu Yun, who is also listed as an owner of the home, for about a dozen building code and city ordinance violations. Both Chun and Wang are naturalized US citizens. [CE 10/17/07]

Early on Sept. 27, ICE agents assisted by local law enforcement agencies raided the Mikayo Sushi and Seafood Buffet, the Panda Buffet and a private home in West Ocean City, Maryland, arresting six immigrant workers from Mexico and China. Following the raids, the restaurants were chained shut. In the nearby private community of Oyster Harbor, ICE officials also served a search warrant at a residence apparently belonging to Zhu Bo Hao, who owns the two restaurants. ICE spokesperson Ernestine Fobbs confirmed the arrests; she said the six workers were transported to the ICE regional office in Baltimore for processing and remain in custody. [Maryland Coast Dispatch 10/5/07]

It was the second federal raid in a week in Worcester County; on Sept. 20, ICE and FBI agents raided two convenience stores and a residence in Snow Hill as part of "Operation Cash-Out," an undercover sting targeting hawala (money transfer) businesses and involving at least 46 defendants in the US, Spain, Canada and Belgium facing bribery, money laundering and other charges. [Maryland Coast Dispatch 10/5/07; FBI Baltimore Office Press Release 9/20/07]


In a two-week sweep that ended Oct. 2, ICE officers arrested 1,327 immigrants in five southern California counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura. A total of 530 people were arrested in their communities on immigration violations; ICE said 258 of them--less than half of the total--were "fugitives" who had failed to comply with deportation orders or who had reentered the US after being deported. ICE claimed that half of the 530 people arrested in the communities had criminal histories.

At the same five counties' jails ICE took custody of another 797 people it described as "previously unidentified deportable foreign nationals" who had been scheduled for release. Some of those arrested in the sweep were lawful permanent residents who were said to be deportable because of crimes they committed. Of the total 1,327 people arrested, about 1,100 were from Mexico, 170 were from Central America and others came from more than 25 countries including Armenia, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Jordan, Peru and Vietnam. Nearly 600 of them had already been deported by Oct. 3. The US attorney's office plans to prosecute more than 45 of those arrested on felony charges of reentry after deportation. [Los Angeles Times 10/3/07; ICE News Release 10/3/07]


ICE officers arrested at least 20 immigrants in Idaho's Wood River Valley region over the weekend of Sept. 15. ICE agents in unmarked sport-utility vehicles were seen conducting pre-dawn raids in Ketchum and Bellevue on Sept. 15. ICE officials declined to comment on the raid, but Blaine County Sheriff's Detective Steve Harkins said the federal agents were from a "special fugitive unit" out of Boise that was allegedly searching for immigrants with felony convictions. It was not clear whether any of the individuals arrested had convictions or were among those allegedly being sought, or if they were simply found to be without documents. Harkins said on Sept. 18 that he heard 21 people were arrested. Ketchum police spokesperson Kim Rogers said some of the detainees were Peruvian. The ACLU of Idaho is investigating to see if civil rights were violated in the raids. The sheriff's office and Ketchum police assigned officers as uniformed escorts during the raids. [Idaho Mountain Express (Ketchum) 9/19/07]

Between Oct. 20 and 24, ICE agents arrested 50 out-of-status immigrants in a sweep through the greater Kansas City area of Kansas and Missouri; 29 of the 50 had apparently failed to comply with deportation orders, while the other 21 were merely discovered during the raids and found to be out of status. Nine of those arrested had criminal convictions. ICE was assisted in the raids by local police in Kansas City, Independence, Grandview and Raytown, Missouri; and in Kansas City, Overland Park, Lenexa, Olathe, Shawnee and Topeka, Kansas. [Kansas City Star 10/25/07]


On Oct. 2, officials in Nassau County on New York's Long Island called for a federal investigation into an "anti-gang" sweep carried out by ICE Sept. 24-30 during which 186 immigrants were arrested in Nassau and neighboring Suffolk county [see INB 9/30/07]. Nassau officials said the vast majority of those arrested were not gang members and that local police were misled and endangered by the operation. Nassau County police commissioner Lawrence W. Mulvey noted that many US citizens and legal residents were rousted from bed and required to produce papers during the raids, and that all but 6 of the 96 administrative warrants issued by the immigration enforcement agency in the alleged search for gang members had wrong or outdated addresses. Peter J. Smith, an ICE special agent in charge of the operation, called the Nassau county officials' allegations "without merit."

"We didn't have warrants," said Smith. "We don't need warrants to make the arrests. These are illegal immigrants." Smith said that of the 186 people arrested in the two counties, 28 were identified as gang members (13 in Nassau and 15 in Suffolk) and 129 as "associates of gang members" (79 in Nassau and 50 in Suffolk). Asked how the agency defined "associates of gang members," Smith replied, "If you're hanging with gang members and you're eating with gang members, there's an affiliation there." Smith said 59 of those arrested had previous criminal convictions that might make them deportable. All 186 face deportation proceedings; apparently none face criminal charges. Suffolk County police commissioner Richard Dormer expressed complete support for the ICE raids. [New York Times 10/2/07, 10/3/07]

On Oct. 5, several families and individuals from Suffolk, Nassau and Westchester counties filed a request in US District Court in Manhattan for a temporary restraining order to prevent ICE from conducting further raids without court-issued search warrants. The plaintiffs are represented by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund and a private law firm. The
petition names 27 plaintiffs who are also listed in a class-action lawsuit filed Sept. 20, alleging that ICE raids in the three New York counties in February, March and September 2007 violated their constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches by the government. [Newsday (Long Island) 10/6/07]


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