Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Great Wall of Boeing

The 670-mile physical fence on the 2,000-mile border with Mexico could cost as much as $46.9 billion by 2030, and that's not including the still nonexistent Boeing "virtual fence."

by David L. Wilson, MRzine
September 27, 2008

On September 10 the U.S. government acknowledged that its Secure Border Initiative (SBI) was behind schedule and over budget. Promoted in 2005 as a new way to block unauthorized immigration, the $2.7 billion project was supposed to create a 670-mile physical and "virtual" fence by the end of this year along the 2,000-mile border with Mexico.

After three years, the government's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has only completed 341 miles of the physical fence -- 187 miles of wire-mesh fencing to stop pedestrians and 154 miles of shorter barriers to block vehicles. The cost for the pedestrian barriers has risen to $7.5 million a mile from earlier estimates of $4 million; the cost for the vehicle barriers has gone up from $2 million to $2.8 million a mile. The physical fence is already $400 million over budget. The "virtual fence" -- SBInet, an electronic monitoring system being constructed by Boeing Co., the giant military contractor -- is now on hold. Its cost so far has been $933 million; the official estimates are that it will cost $8 billion through 2013, and that number may triple, according to the DHS inspector general.

None of this is really news, of course. [...]

Read the full article:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Latinos Are the Fastest Growing Group in the U.S. Labor Movement

Report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)
September 16, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. - To mark the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month, a new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) documents a large wage and benefit advantage for Latino workers in unions relative to their non-union counterparts.

The report, "Unions and Upward Mobility for Latino Workers," found that unionized Latino workers earned, on average, 17.6 percent more than their non-union peers. In addition, Latino workers in unions were much more likely to have health insurance benefits and apension plan.

"Latinos are the fastest growing group in the U.S. labor force and the fastest growing group inside the U.S. labor movement," said John Schmitt, a Senior Economist at CEPR and the author of the study. "The data show that unions make a big difference in wages and benefits for Latino workers."

Read the report:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Justice for Ana Romero

Click the link below to sign a petition demanding a full investigation of the death of Salvadoran immigrant Ana Romero Rivera on August 22 while in immigration detention in Kentucky:

Immigrant Had Been Put in Isolation for Not Eating
Romero's death in jail to be reviewed

By Valarie Honeycutt Spears and Steve Lannen
Herald-Leader (Lexington, KY), September 24, 2008

Ana Romero Rivera was due to be deported in three to six weeks. Franklin Commonwealth's Attorney Larry Cleveland said Tuesday that he will review the Kentucky State Police investigation into the death of a Salvadoran immigrant at the Franklin County Regional Jail to see whether further action is warranted.

Ana Romero Rivera, 44, was awaiting deportation at the jail when she died Aug. 22. Family members said that she had been placed in isolation for not eating just before her death.

Read the full article:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Review: Confronting Myths About Immigration

by Orlando Sepulveda, International Socialist Review
Issue 61, September–October 2008

MANY QUESTIONS about immigration politics—the causes and effects of immigration, its economics and so on—have emerged in the national political debate since 2006, when a legislative attempt to criminalize undocumented immigrants met with a massive response that halted the proposed law.

Although some of these questions are legitimate, many are products of racist ideas pushed by well-funded anti-immigrant organizations and passed on by fear-mongering politicians and compliant media pundits. In their quick-read book, The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers, Jane Guskin and David L.Wilson round up many of these questions and honestly answer them from a strong pro-immigrant position, thus setting the stage to tackle bigger questions about the futility of borders and immigration laws.

Read the full review:

INB 9/20/08: California Bakery, Restaurants Raided; Raids in Chicago

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 11, No. 23 - September 20, 2008

1. Southern California Bakery Raided
2. Northern California Restaurants Raided
3. Chicago Neighborhood Raided, Again
4. “Fugitive” Raids in Chicago Area
5. “Fugitive” Raids in Colorado

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;; INB is also distributed free via email; contact to subscribe or unsubscribe. You may reprint or distribute items from INB, but please credit us and tell people how to subscribe. Immigration News Briefs is posted at

On Sept. 10, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided the Palm Springs Baking Company in Palm Springs, California, about 100 miles east of Los Angeles. ICE agents executed a federal search warrant at the bakery and arrested 51 workers on administrative immigration violations. More than 60 officials from ICE and the federal Food and Drug Administration participated in the raid. Agents arrived in 10 passenger vans, blocking driveways and doors to prevent workers from leaving. [...]

Read the full INB:

Friday, September 19, 2008

Has ICE Abandoned Its Practice of Staying Out of Labor Disputes?

Workers Suffering Wage and Hour and Other Violations Are Increasingly Targeted for Immigration Enforcement

National Wage & Hour Clearinghouse Special Report
A periodic update on wage and hour trends
September, 2008

[Note to readers: Consider signing up for the National Wage & Hour Clearinghouse, at, where you can receive periodic reports and news on leading fair pay issues and participate in a listserv with other worker advocates working on wage theft and related issues.]

The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)'s Office of Field Operations issued a revised operating instruction (OI) 287.3a on December 20, 1996, instructing its investigators to inquire about any ongoing employment disputes when they received information concerning the employment of an undocumented person. The OI specified that the investigator was required to receive approval from a Director before continuing an investigation, where it appeared that the Department was being used to interfere with workers exerting their employment and labor rights. The OI has been re-designated as 33.14(h) of the Special Agent Field Manual as of April 28, 2000 and it has not been officially rescinded.[1]

It should come as no surprise that in workplaces with rampant labor and employment violations, there are workers afraid to come forward and complain of those violations. This dynamic was the fundamental reason for the OI to begin with: without willing witnesses to the labor standards violations, the unpaid wages and unsafe conditions would continue. INS (now ICE) pledged to refrain from enforcing its laws in workplaces where labor standards were at issue.

Recently, ICE has conducted several high-profile workplace raids around the country that have been connected to a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) or other agency investigation of the work site. The most troubling example was the raid on a kosher meatpacking plant, Agriprocessors, Inc., in Postville, Iowa on May 12, 2008.[2] In that raid, ICE arrested 389 undocumented workers in what was at the time the largest enforcement operation in a single workplace. There have been several reports that prior to the ICE raid, the Iowa Division of Labor Services, Iowa's OSHA office, the DOL, and the EEOC were investigating the plant for wage and hour, child labor, health and safety, and sexual harassment allegations.[3] In addition, Mark Lauritsen, international vice-president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), sent a letter to ICE on May 2, 2008 advising officials of an ongoing organizing campaign at the plant. Lauritsen informed ICE, "the federal and Iowa Departments of Labor (DOL) are currently in the middle of an investigation of Agriprocessors' facilities in Postville, Iowa, in order to uncover possible labor violations. The UFCW has also had an ongoing organizing campaign at Agriprocessors which began in 2006 and continues today. Any potential ICE action could not only have a chilling effect over the existing workforce which has reported some of Agriprocessors' violations in the past, but ICE action could also result in employees leaving the plant, thereby interfering with DOL's investigation that could ultimately uncover unscrupulous employer acts."[4]

Finally, and perhaps most troubling, ICE acknowledges the vulnerability of undocumented workers to exploitation, the reasoning behind the OI, in its own Application and Affidavit for Search Warrant allowing it to conduct the raid. "Those who knowingly employ or supervise illegal aliens, knowing their unlawful status, are able to exploit illegal aliens because illegal alien are unlikely to contact authorities for fear they will be arrested and/or deported."[5] ICE goes on to cite newspaper articles detailing employee abuse at Agriprocessors and a civil lawsuit on behalf of twenty Agriprocessor workers alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act as further justification for its right to a search warrant to conduct its raid of the plant.[6] Instead of following the OI and allowing the labor standards investigations and organizing to continue, ICE swept into the plant, arrested hundreds of workers, and charged them with aggravated identity theft prompting the New York Times to declare, "This is enforcement run amok."[7]

Prior to the Agriprocessors raid, in Chicago, Illinois, on November 2, 2007, ICE raided O'Hare Airport and arrested 20 workers employed by Ideal Staffing Solutions, Inc. The workers were charged with fraudulently using airport security badges and many were placed in deportation proceedings. In its press release following the raid, ICE stated that it was assisted in its investigation by the DOL's Office of the Inspector General.[8] Following the raid, Working Hands Legal Clinic filed a lawsuit on behalf of ten workers, including some of the workers arrested in the raid, claiming unpaid minimum and overtime wages. The lawsuit was filed against Ideal Staffing Solutions, Inc., as well as eight other companies, including several airlines.[9]

It also appears ICE violated the OI last December when conducting an I-9 audit of Fresh Direct, a high-end on-line grocery service based in Long Island City, New York. Two unions, the UFCW Local 348 and Teamsters Local 805 were in the middle of an organizing drive of the company's 900 warehouse workers when ICE informed the company of the impending audit.[10] The workers were scheduled to vote on December 22 and 23 on whether to affiliate with the UFCW or the Teamsters. Fresh Direct informed the workers that ICE planned to inspect their employment records on December 9 and 10 and asked the workers to update their files with information proving work eligibility.[11] Over a hundred workers disappeared shortly after receiving the company memo and the union election was unsuccessful. UFCW informed NELP that it had contacted ICE weeks prior to the election and asked that it refrain or at least postpone the audit until after the elections. The request was ignored.

Particularly troubling about the Postville and Chicago raids and the Long Island City audit was the fact that ICE was aware or should have been aware that an employment dispute or organizing campaign was underway in the workplaces where they conducted its enforcement actions. Even worse are ICE's public statements about collaborating with DOL and other enforcement agencies prior to conducting its raids.

Is this a lazy ICE trolling the newswires and courthouses for any mention of immigrant workers recovering unpaid wages, or is it more cynically a defiant flouting of the OI and its underpinning policy to enforce both labor standards and immigration laws? Either way, it sets up a system where workers are taught that ICE will appear if you stand up for your rights, and where employers are rewarded for seeking out and hiring undocumented workers who will be removed if they speak up about workplace conditions.

As we continue to monitor this situation and represent immigrant victims who wish to vindicate their employment rights, it is important that employment and labor attorneys speak out about these injustices to prevent them from continuing. We also must partner with immigration attorneys who can help our clients adjust their immigration status in this country. Some of the Postville victims are applying for U-Visas, which allow victims of certain crimes who can be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity to live and work lawfully in the United States. A growing body of plaintiffs'employment attorneys are educating themselves about these potentially useful protections that can help after the fact. Contact Rebecca Smith,, atNELP for more information.

This report was prepared for NELP by Hillary Ronen, Staff Attorney, La Raza Centro Legal, September 2008.
[1] Request a copy of the OI.
[2] See ICE press release about the Postville raid:
[3] See series of articles by Julia Preston in the New York Times:After Iowa Raid, Immigrants Fuel Labor Inquiries, July 27, 2008,; Iowa Rally Protests Raid and Conditions at Plant, July 28, 2008,; Inquiry Finds Under-Age Workers at Meat Plant, August 6, 2008, Also see Criminal Investigation into Iowa Company Targeted by ICE,Wendy Feliz Sefsaf, July 11, 2008, New America Media,
[4] Letter from Mark D. Lauritsen to ICE dated May 2, 2008 (on file with NELP)
[5] ICE's Application and Affidavit for Search Warrant found at and
[6] paragraphs 104-109.
[7] 'The Jungle,' Again, New York Times Editorial, August 1, 2008, For more information about the "kangaroo trials" set-up in order topush the Agriprocessor workers into accepting guilty please, also seeInterpreting After the Largest ICE Raid in US History: A PersonalAccount, Erik Camayd-Freixas, June 13, 2008, was an interpreter at the hearings for the close to 300 workers detained and charged with "aggravated identity theft" conducted in "emergency courtrooms" set up in the National Cattle Congress, a fairground in Waterloo, IA. Magistrate judges took guiltypleas from immigrants in groups of 10, then sentenced the immigrants immediately, five at a time. Although many of the workers did not know what a social security card was, they pled to a lesser charge of "knowingly using a false Social Security number" in order to serve 5months in jail followed by immediate deportation instead of waiting 6 to 8 months in jail for a trial on the "aggravated identity theft" charges which would nonetheless end in deportation. ICE prosecutors said the blanket plea agreement was directed from the DOJ inWashington and that they were not authorized to make any case by case exceptions so as not to interfere with the fast-tracking. Also see Immigrants' Speedy Trials After Raid Becomes an Issue, Julia Preston, August 8, 2008, New York Times,
[8] See ICE Press Release about the Chicago raid:
[9] Immigrant Workers Sue Employment Agency Over Unpaid Wages, VanessaBauza, July 17, 2008, Chicago Tribune,,0,2667590.story
[10] Groceries on the Computer and Immigrants in the Cold, NinaBernstein, December 22, 2007, New York Times,
[11] Warehouse Workers Quit in Immigration Inquiry, Nina Bernstein,December 13, 2007, New York Times,

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sept. 25: Night of 1,000 Conversations

Engage friends, family, and neighbors in discussions around the Hold Department of Homeland Security Accountable campaign.

Host a Conversation
Hosting a Conversation is easy and fun.

Step 1: Register your Conversation.
Step 2: Download the "Night of 1,000 Conversations Toolkit."
Step 3: Get ready for your Conversation.
Invite family and friends to your house or another meeting place.Use stories, RWG factsheets, or other conversations starters togenerate discussion.Join a Preparatory Conference Call with RWG staff to get tips and ask questions.
Step 4: Have your Conversation.
Have your participants talk about their personal experiences.
Step 5: Send us your feedback.
Have fun. Keep it simple. Use dialogue to create change.

RWG Fact Sheets
RWG Fact Sheet on Raids (Spanish)
RWG Fact Sheet on Detention & Due Process (Spanish)
RWG Fact Sheet on Naturalization Backlogs (Spanish)

Videos / Games
Death By Detention Youtube video from Breakthrough
Swift Raids Video United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)
ICED, a video game by Breakthrough

News Articles
Immigration Enforcement: Raiding Children's Dreams (The Huffington Post)
The Politics Driving Mississippi's ICE Raids (New America Media)
Immigration Detention: The Case for Abolition (The Huffington Post)I
ll and in Pain, Detainee Dies in U.S. Hands (New York Times)
Justice Detained (KoreAm Journal)
System of Neglect; As Tighter Immigration Policies Strain Federal Agencies, the Detainees in Their Care Often Pay a Heavy Cost (Washington Post)
The Name Game; The FBI's incompetence is punishing immigrants who playby the rules (Washington Post)
Some Immigrants Face Long Waits to Become U.S. Citizens (Kansas City InfoZine)

Read more:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Democracy Now!": David Bacon on Immigration Raids, Guest Worker Programs

"Michael Chertoff keeps saying it over and over and over...[that] we're going to shut the back door and open the front door. And what that means is that ICE is trying to push for the establishment of new guest worker programs, so that people can come here as workers, but only as workers, without rights, without eventually getting political rights, without becoming citizens, certainly without voting, but whose labor is going to be used in the economy."

Increased Raids and Checkpoint Arrests Endanger Undocumented Immigrants Threatened by Gulf Coast Storms
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez interview David Bacon, "Democracy Now!"
September 12, 2008

Undocumented immigrants along the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast have resisted mandatory evacuation orders out of fear they could be arrested and deported at checkpoints. The climate of fear around deportation has worsened as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, or ICE, continues to step up its raids across the country, with two of the largest raids in US history taking place in the last five months. We speak to David Bacon, award-winning photojournalist, labor organizer and immigrant rights activist and author of Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Migrants. [...]

Read or listen to the full interview:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Immigrants Fight Restrictions at Home

There's punishment without crime for some noncitizens facing immigration troubles, advocates say.

By Gabriela Reardon, City Limits Weekly
September 8, 2008

Natalia Puriy's appearance at an immigration court in Florida in January 2006 began like many that she and her husband, James Turner, had attended previously. The judge once again admonished the government attorney to obtain the necessary paperwork so he could rule on Puriy's petition for political asylum, and then adjourned the hearing for another six months.

But after the hearing, as the couple entered the building's elevator, two immigration agents followed. Turner recalls that one agent shoved him aside and asked his wife if she was Natalia. When she said she was, he proceeded to detain the 48-year-old Ukrainian immigrant without explanation. That wasn't what Puriy, a teacher, was expecting when she applied for America's protection following a wave of killings in her native Ukraine that targeted outspoken anti-communist teachers, leading her to fear for her life.

"I asked him who he was and what he was doing, and he said they were retaining all people coming in. When I demanded his name, he slammed his badge in my face and told me to shut up and get out of his way," Turner, a U.S. citizen, said in a recent interview. [...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fight FAIR! A Letter from America's Voice

Dear Friend,

Members of a recognized hate group, FAIR, headed to Washington this week to lobby Congress for support of mass-deportation tactics in the guise of "immigration reform."

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and denounced by nearly every major civil rights group in the nation. However, they continue to appear in Washington and in the news as 'legitimate' voices on immigration reform.

Please take a moment to warn your Member of Congress now about who is coming to visit:

More and more, the extreme has become mainstream on the airwaves, on the campaign trail, and in the halls of Congress. As quoted in the Washington Post, FAIR has said:

"It's almost like [Asians and Hispanics] are getting into competitive breeding"-FAIR President

"Just because one believes in white separatism that does not make them a racist"-FAIR staff

"As Whites see their power and control over their lives declining, will they simply go quietly into the night? Or will there be an explosion?"-FAIR founder and board director

We need your help to spread the word

Please take a moment to visit the site, where you can learn about FAIR's extremism, send a quick email to your Member of Congress, and forward this to your friends!

Thank you for taking action today. Together, we can fight back and move America forward.

Adam Luna
Political Director
America's Voice

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Crimes Less Likely From Immigrants

By Elaine Silvestrini, The Tampa Tribune
Published: September 7, 2008

TAMPA - When three Mexican nationals were arrested for a series of rapes in the Tampa Bay area, public officials battled over how law enforcement handles illegal aliens and some residents complained that the immigrant crime problem had gotten out of hand.

But illegal immigrants actually are less likely than others to commit violent crimes, said researchers who study the issue. In part, they say, that's because the immigrants don't want to draw attention to themselves. [...]

Read the full article:

Friday, September 12, 2008

Virtual Fence for Mexico Border Is Put Off

U.S. to Turn Focus to Physical Barrier as Boeing Struggles
By August Cole, Wall Street Journal
September 10, 2008

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Customs and Border Protection is putting off plans for a virtual fence being built by Boeing Co. along the Mexico border and instead will focus on getting a physical fence in place as it tries to implement a border-security plan that is already late and over budget.

Both the virtual and the physical fences were the anchors of a 2005 Bush administration plan called the Secure Border Initiative. But the plan to secure the U.S.-Mexico border has been plagued by cost overruns and delays and has come in for withering criticism from Congress. [...]

Read the full article:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Matter of Justice

In the case of Sami Al-Arian, the same US justice system showed how unjust it can be. Al-Arian, a former Florida professor and civil rights activist, was released on bail on September 2 after spending more than five and a half years in jail fighting a vindictive prosecution.

by Jane Guskin, Huffington Post
September 11, 2008

Two Muslim men that our federal government has unfairly accused of supporting Palestinian terrorist groups celebrated victories last week. Both men are Palestinian immigrants who have been living legally in the US for many years and have been active in bringing together diverse communities, opposing religious extremism and working for social justice. Both have children who were born in the US, and both are devoted to their families.

In Paterson, New Jersey, an immigration judge ruled on September 4 that the federal government was wrong to try to deport local imam Mohammad Qatanani. The ruling upholds Qatanani's petition for permanent legal residency, which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had sought to deny by claiming he lied on his application about an arrest in Israel. (Like thousands of other Palestinian men, he was detained administratively there.) Immigration Judge Alberto Riefkohl was unconvinced by the government's evidence. [...]

Read the full article:

Wednesday Sept. 17: Immigration Dialogue at Brooklyn College

In commemoration of Constitution Day
September 17, 2008

The Brooklyn College Division of Student Affairs sponsors:

Learning to Lead in a Global Society:
Brooklyn Immigrants, Diversity and the US Constitution

A Diversity Lecture / Dialogue series

with Jane Guskin and David L. Wilson, co-authors of
The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers

Wednesday, September 17, 2008, at 12 noon
Gold Room, 6th floor, Brooklyn College Student Center
East 27 Street & Campus Road
Brooklyn, NY 11210

The purpose of this series is to have Brooklyn College students understand the arts, histories and cultures of the past as a foundation for those of the present. Also, it will allow students to think critically and creatively in the area of diversity.

Free and open to the public. If you are not a Brooklyn College student, you will be asked for photo ID to enter the building. (If you don't wish to show ID, you can RSVP to by 9pm on Tuesday 9/16 to be added to a guest list.)

For more information contact:

Christine Pomponio
Coordinator of Events & Meetings
Brooklyn College Student Center
1st Floor, Main Office
Phone: (718) 951-5528, Fax: (718) 859-3057

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Anti-Immigrant Republican Brian Bilbray's Bizarre Crusade on the 14th Amendment

"Although the primary aim of the Fourteenth Amendment was to secure citizenship for African Americans, the debates on the citizenship provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Fourteenth Amendment indicate that they were intended to extend U.S. citizenship to all persons born in the U.S. and subject to its jurisdiction, regardless of race, ethnicity, or alienage of the parents."

By Rhonda Brownstein, Southern Poverty Law Center
September 1, 2008.

Since 1995, U.S. Rep. Bilbray (R-Calif.) has tried to deny American citizenship to children born in the United States of non-citizen parents.

In almost every session of congress he has been part of since 1995, U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) has unsuccessfully sponsored a law that aims to deny American citizenship to children born in the United States of non-citizen parents. His persistence is not a surprise: Bilbray is a former lobbyist for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a right-wing, anti-immigrant group that paid him almost $300,000 to lobby on its behalf between 2002 and 2005, and has headed the hard-line Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus since early last year. The current version of Bilbray's perennially losing legislation is called the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2007. [...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Thu 9/11, NYC: "Illegal People" with David Bacon

Thursday, 11 September 2008 - 6:00pm
Place: Global Information Network
146 W. 29th St. Suite 7E (between 6th and 7th Aves)
New York, NY

Join NACLA and renowned author David Bacon, along with Jane Guskin, co-author of The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers, and a representative from Families for Freedom, for a discussion of David's latest book:

Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants
(Beacon, $25.95, 272p, ISBN 978-0-8070-4226-7)

A veteran photojournalist explores the human side of globalization and argues for new ways to think about and legislate around immigration.

Through interviews and on-the-spot reporting from both impoverished communities abroad and American immigrant workplaces and neighborhoods, Bacon shows how the United States' trade and economic policy abroad, in seeking to create a favorable investment climate for large corporations, creates conditions to displace communities and set migration into motion. Trade policy and immigration are intimately linked, Bacon argues, and are, in fact, elements of a single economic system.

To get to Global Information Network:
B/D/F/V/Q/N to Herald Square; R/W to 28th St; 1/2/3 to Penn Station; 1 to 28th St.

This event is free; copies of the book will be available or sale.
For more information, visit or contact:
Christy Thornton, Director and Publisher
North American Congress on Latin America
NACLA Report on the Americas
38 Greene St. 4th Floor , New York, NY 10013
t: 646.613.1440 f: 646.613.1443

For the full schedule of David's tour, go to:

INB 9/7/08: Al-Arian Released, Flower Grower Raided

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 11, No. 22 - September 7, 2008

1. Civil Rights Activist Al-Arian Released
2. Texas Town's Rental Ban Overturned
3. Marchers Oppose Border Fence
4. Raid at California Flower Grower
5. Poultry Workers Charged, Raid Feared
6. Immigrants March in Denver

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;; INB is also distributed free via email; contact to subscribe or unsubscribe. You may reprint or distribute items from INB, but please credit us and tell people how to subscribe. Immigration News Briefs is posted at

On Sept. 2 in Alexandria, Virginia, former Florida professor and civil rights activist Sami Al-Arian was finally released on bail after spending five-and-a-half years in jail. Al-Arian had been transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody on Apr. 11 of this year, then transferred back to US Marshals custody on June 30 after being charged with criminal contempt for refusing to testify before a grand jury. After US District Judge Leonie Brinkema ordered Al-Arian's release on bail on July 10, the government transferred him back to ICE custody, claiming it was attempting to deport him. Brinkema reaffirmed the bail order on Aug. 8 as she postponed the criminal contempt trial, pending a Supreme Court ruling on Al-Arian's appeal challenging the government's right to compel him to testify [see INB 8/16/08, 7/5/08, 4/27/08, 3/29/08, 3/24/07, 6/10/06]. On Aug. 25, Al-Arian's attorneys filed a habeas petition demanding his release; Brinkema gave ICE until Sept. 2 to respond. The agency's response came in the form of an order for Al-Arian's release on bail. Al-Arian's family met him as he was released from an ICE facility in Fairfax, Virginia. He remains under house arrest. [Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace 9/2/08; Tampa Tribune 7/1/08] [...]

Read the full INB:

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Did a Mississippi Raid Protect Rightwing Politicians?

By David Bacon, TruthOut
August 31, 2008

LAUREL, MS (8/31/08) -- On August 25, immigration agents swooped down on Howard Industries, a Mississippi electrical equipment factory, taking 481 workers to a privately-run detention center in Jena, Louisiana. A hundred and six women were also arrested at the plant, and released wearing electronic monitoring devices on their ankles, if they had children, or without them, if they were pregnant. Eight workers were taken to Federal court in Hattiesburg, where they were charged with aggravated identity theft.

Afterwards Barbara Gonzalez, spokesperson for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), stated the raid took place because of a tip by a "union member" two years before. Other media accounts focused on an incident in which plant workers allegedly cheered as their coworkers were led away by ICE agents. The articles claim the plant was torn by tension between immigrant and non-immigrant workers, and that unions in Mississippi are hostile to immigrants. [...]

Read the full article:

David Bacon's new book, Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants, has just been released. For a schedule of book events, go to:

Monday, September 1, 2008

INB 8/30/08: Mississippi Factory Raided, 595 Arrested

Local 1317's collective bargaining agreement expired at the beginning of August, and the ICE raid took place as the union was negotiating a new contract seeking wage increases, better vacation benefits and health care improvements. Activists say the raid in Laurel will help the company resist such demands and could undermine progressive coalition-building.

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 11, No. 21 - August 30, 2008

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;; INB is also distributed free via email; contact to subscribe or unsubscribe. You may reprint or distribute items from INB, but please credit us and tell people how to subscribe. Immigration News Briefs is posted at

Special Issue: Mississippi Factory Raided, 595 Arrested

On Aug. 25, dozens of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested approximately 595 workers in a raid on an electric transformer manufacturing facility owned by Howard Industries, Inc. in Laurel, Mississippi, a town of 20,000. The agents sealed off all the plant's exits, trapping workers inside, and executed a federal criminal search warrant for evidence relating to aggravated identity theft, fraudulent use of Social Security numbers and other crimes, as well as a civil search warrant looking for unauthorized immigrants. [ICE News Release 8/26/08; AP 8/27/08; ABC News 8/29/08; Washington Post 8/28/08]

The arrested workers were immigrants from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Peru, Brazil and Germany. Citing humanitarian reasons such as childcare, ICE released about 106 workers after fitting their ankles with electronic monitors to ensure their future appearance before a federal immigration judge. Nine other workers were transferred to the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) after they were determined to be unaccompanied minors. All nine were 17 years old; one was female. [ICE 8/26/08; ABC News 8/29/08] [...]

Read the full INB: