Monday, January 31, 2011

Plan to Upgrade New Jersey Jail Into Model for Immigrant Detention Centers

By Kirk Semple, New York Times
January 27, 2011

For officials of Essex County, N.J., it promises to be a potential moneymaker in struggling Newark: a proposed upgrading and extension of the county jail so it would hold hundreds more immigrants than it does now.

For the Obama administration, the plan offers the possibility of something far more sweeping: one of the first publicly visible results of its strategy to overhaul the way the government detains immigrants accused of violating the law. [...]

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Police trial ends in mixed verdict

Convictions come for 2 ex-officers in trial linked to feds’ probe of alien’s death. Third is acquitted.

By Matt Hughes, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
January 28, 2011

WILKES-BARRE – Following two days of deliberations, a federal jury returned a mixed verdict in the trial of three former Shenandoah police officers charged with obstructing an FBI investigation.

The jury Thursday afternoon found former Shenandoah Police Chief Matthew R. Nestor guilty of one count of submitting false records and Lt. William Moyer guilty of making false statements to the FBI. Nestor’s conviction for falsifying police reports carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, while Moyer’s charge carries a penalty of up to five years. [...]

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See also:
Did Hate Speech Lead to Murder of Mexican Immigrant?
U.S. Refugee in Mexico/Refugiada Estadounidense en México

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Brisenia Flores Is Still Not Quite National News: Why?

By Joe Coscarelli, Village Voice
January 28, 2011

​We've written twice this week about the trial of Shawna Forde, a troubled anti-immigration crusader, who stands charged with first degree murder for the 2009 killing of 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father in Arizona. Gina Gonzalez, Flores' mother, was also shot in the botched home invasion; she testified Tuesday about witnessing her daughter's death. And yet, despite the tragic narrative -- including its cursory similarities to the death of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green at the hands of Jared Loughner, also in Arizona -- plus the inclusion of other hot-button issues like immigration and extreme political discourse from groups like the Tea Party and Minutemen, which Forde identified with, much of the mainstream media continues to avoid the story of Flores' death. In this Friday edition of our media column, Press Clips, we'll examine why. [...]

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See also:
Brisenia Flores, Another Nine-Year-Old Girl, Was Shot and Killed in Arizona
Murder suspects tied to supremacists

Chipotle fires hundreds, draws protest

Chain dismissed workers at its 50 Minnesota restaurants after an immigration audit.

By Steve Alexander, Star Tribune
January 20, 2011

Chipotle Mexican Grill said on Thursday that it had fired a substantial number of the 1,200 employees at its 50 Minnesota restaurants after a federal immigration audit found some were illegal workers.

The circumstances of the firings, which began in early December, sparked a protest by several dozen people around noon on Thursday at a downtown Minneapolis Chipotle restaurant. Minneapolis police arrested eight participants after they chained themselves together inside the restaurant. They were cited for trespassing. [...]

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Monday, January 24, 2011

John Ross and Los de Abajo

by David L. Wilson, MRZine
January 24, 2011

Most of the tributes to John Ross have stressed the colorful side of the New York-born journalist, activist, and poet, who died in Michoacán, Mexico, on January 17.

"Colorful" is an understatement. Tall, gaunt, with his black beret and white goatee, a Palestinian keffiyeh around his neck, John was an unmistakable figure at demonstrations.... But all this shouldn't make us forget that John was also a serious political thinker -- however hard he tried not to sound like one. [...]

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Homeland Security Cancels ‘Virtual Fence’ After $1 Billion Is Spent

By Julia Preston, New York Times
January 14, 2011

The Department of Homeland Security on Friday canceled a project to build a technology-based “virtual fence” across the Southwest border, saying that the effort — on which $1 billion has already been spent — was ineffective and too costly. [...]

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Chicago aldermen urge moratorium on ‘cruel deportations’

By Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun Times
January 14, 2011

The Chicago City Council on Thursday turned up the heat on President Obama on the volatile issue of immigration reform that Illinois’ native son promised — but so far has failed — to deliver.

Aldermen unanimously approved a resolution urging Obama to use his executive powers to call an immediate halt to deportation of undocumented workers that separate them from families that include either a U.S. citizen or a child who would be covered by the so-called “DREAM Act.” [...]

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Federal Raids Against Immigrants on the Rise

By David Bacon, Urban Habitat
Fall 2010

While the criminalization of undocumented people in Arizona continues to draw headlines, the actual punishment of workers because of their immigration status has become an increasingly bitter fact of life across the country. The number of workplace raids carried out by the Obama administration is staggering. Tens, maybe even hundreds of thousands of workers have been fired for not having papers. According to public records obtained by Syracuse University, the latest available data from the Justice Department show that criminal immigration enforcement by the two largest investigative agencies within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has increased to levels comparable to the highest seen during the Bush Administration.[1]

In a recent action the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) pressured one of San Francisco’s major building service companies, ABM, into firing hundreds of its own workers. Some 475 janitors have been told that unless they can show legal immigration status, they will lose their jobs in the near future. [...]

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

FBI & Justice Probe Racist Police for Forcing Hispanics From Town

by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Daily Kos
December 29, 2010

Some think we live in a post-racial world where white privilege is non-existent. Some think "not speaking about race is the equivalent of making progress on race issues." This week it is reported that Hispanics have been forced to leave a Connecticut town due to racist police abuse and harassment. Thankfully, the Justice Department has commenced a civil rights investigation and the FBI is conducting a criminal probe because ignoring racism, sweeping issues under the rug, does not end racism.

Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse's diary :: ::
The police force is accused of "systematically running Hispanics out of town through harassing and beating them." Two years ago, racial profiling allegations started in East Haven, Connecticut. It is a predominantly Italian-American suburb with 7% of the population Hispanic. [...]

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Tijuana's Changed Migration Landscape

Frontera NorteSur (FNS), via
December 30, 2010

(TIJUANA, B.C.) - In Tijuana, the modalities of migration changed significantly during the decade of 2000-2010. Reinforced US border walls, stepped-up on-the-ground vigilance, zooming helicopters and high tech surveillance on the US side of the border forced would-be migrants into more dangerous passages. The transformed landscape dramatically increased the cost of crossing, and strengthened transnational outlaw groups that profit from trafficking migrants.

Simultaneously, the new travel conditions directly impacted life in Tijuana. Entrapped on the border, large populations of Mexican and Central American migrants not only bloated the reserve army of cheap labor for the factories that assemble goods for export to the United States, but also provided pools of recruits for the businesses of drug trafficking, prostitution and child pornography. [...]

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

El sur crucificado/The Crucifixion in the South

por Elvira Arellano, El Diario-La Prensa, NY
4 de enero, 2011

Cuando Pilato lavó sus manos de la sangre de Jesucristo, le echó la culpa por su tortura y crucifixión al propio pueblo de Jesús. Pero había sido el Imperio Romano que había corrompido a los israelitas, quienes en sus tiempos constituían un orden social basado en la ética, y convirtieron en un acto de tracción al imperio que conllevaba la pena de muerte decir que Cesar no era un dios. En otras palabras los romanos criminalizaron a Jesucristo y luego culpó de o que vino en cadena al mismo pueblo judío.

Antes de que lo crucificaron, Jesucristo en cierta ocasión les había dicho a sus discípulos que "todo que esta oculta será revelada". Así es la misión de un sacerdote totalmente entregado a su trabajo con los migrantes en México, el Padre Solalinde. Es una misión a la cual miles de nosotros vamos a juntarnos en los días que vienen.

Lo que se oculta es los asesinatos, los plagios, las violaciones y el abuso en general que se inflige a miles de migrantes que viajan desde Centroamérica, por todo lo largo de México para entrar en los Estados Unidos para buscar empleo o unirse con sus familias.[...]

lea el artículo:

By Elvira Arellano, via Sanctuary Movement
January 4, 2011

When Pontius Pilate “washed his hands” of the blood of Jesus, he put the blame for his torture and crucifixion on Jesus’ own people. Yet it was the Roman Empire that corrupted the Israelites once ethical social order and made the claim that Caesar was not God an act of treason, punishable by death. In other words, the Romans “criminalized Jesus” and then passed on the blame for his torture and crucifixion to his own people.

Before he was crucified, Jesus once told his disciples that “everything which is covered up will be revealed.” That is the mission of a dedicated priest in Mexico, padre Solalinde – a mission that thousands of us will join in the next few days.

What is being covered up is the murders, kidnappings, rapes and abuse of thousands of migrants as they make their way up from Central America through Mexico, on their way to find work or rejoin their families in the United States.

Padre Solalinde, who operates a mission for the migrants as they ride on top of the dangerous trains to the north, has gained much attention denouncing the failure of the Mexican government, police and army to protect the migrants from armed gangs. His efforts have also gained him almost daily death threats.

The attacks on the migrants, the most vulnerable in every society, is a sign of the sickness of violence and greed that has gripped Mexico. It is also the consequence of the dehumanization and increasing criminalizatin of migrant labor in the wealthy countries in North America and Europe.

There are now hundreds of millions of people that are forced to leave their homes and their countries to find work in the rich countries. They provide a valuable part of the labor force in those countries – yet they are not formally recognized as part of their economies. As a result, they are denied basic human rights – including the right to keep their families together and raise their children.

In the United States we see the consequences every day of 5.1 million children, 80% of whom are U.S. citizens, facing the separation of their families. In Mexico, we are seeing fathers and mothers from Central America facing a deathly terror as they try to get back to their children and their spouses – or continue the journey to the north to find work to support their families back home.

The massacre of 72 migrants by the Zeta cartel a few months ago focused attention on the dangers faced by the Central American migrants – and the lack of protection they receive from the Mexican government. The 72 were only a few of the tens of thousands that have suffered at the hands of both corrupt government police and gangsters. Meanwhile the politicians in Washington D.C. and the U.S. employers who, for decades, offered jobs to the undocumented by the millions “wash their hands” like Pontius Pilate.

The Romans also boasted of being a nation of laws – for their citizens. Saying that U.S. is a “nation of laws” does not free that nation from taking responsibility for its failure to observe these laws. The Reagan administration recognized that the nation itself had failed to comply with immigration law and sponsored the first amnesty after implementing a moratorium on deportations. Following that partial remediation, the nation and its businesses actually offered employment to 12 million more undocumented workers, accepted their irretrievable contributions to social security, gave many of them tax numbers and collected their taxes, while banks and unscrupulous mortgage companies sold them mortgages.

While it is true that millions of workers crossed the border without authorization and worked without authorization, it is also true that almost every component of the US. nation’s economic system knowingly utilized their labor and every citizen of the nation received the benefits of their labor and their financial contributions to the government. Meanwhile, neither Democratic nor Republican administrations moved to enforce the increasingly stringent laws against employers.

The current enforcement only policy – leading to 1100 deportations every day – criminalizes the most vulnerable of those who violated the laws of the United States. At the same time, those U.S. citizens who benefitted from the frequently cruel exploitation of the undocumented have pocketed their profits and have gotten off scott free.

Padre Solalinde now simply bears witness to this “Roman Hypocrisy”, which has placed thousands of people in the hands of violent, murderous men who prey on poor people that look like them and speak the same language. Meanwhile Pontius Pilate washes his hands.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Rise and Fall of Employer Sanctions

by David Bacon & Bill Ong Hing
Fordham Urban Law Journal, 2010

Workplace Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids by gun-wielding agents resulting in the mass arrests of dozens and sometimes hundreds of employees that were common under the George W. Bush administration appear to have ceased under the Obama administration. Legally questionable mass arrests in neighborhoods continue to occur in neighborhoods under the pretext of serving warrants on criminal aliens. However, disruptive, high-profile worksite raids appear to have subsided. Instead, the Obama administration has engaged in silent raids or audits of companies' records by federal agents that have resulted in the firing of thousands of undocumented workers. the administration defends these softer, gentler operations, yet the result is the same: workers who are here to feed their families are out of work.

In this article, David Bacon and Bill Ong Hing argue that ICE raids - be they the Bush-style or the Obama approach - should cease. The basis for these operations - employer sanctions - should be repealed, and true reform that recognizes the rights of all workers should be enacted.

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Mexican teen who died in border confrontation was shot, officials say

by Jonathan Clark, Nogales International
January 6, 2011

A Mexican teenager who died after a confrontation early Wednesday morning with Border Patrol agents in Nogales was killed by a gunshot, Sonoran officials say.

The Sonora State Investigative Police, or PEI, said 17-year-old Ramses Barron Torres, who died shortly after 3 a.m. at a Nogales, Sonora hospital, was shot in the back of the right arm, with the bullet continuing into his chest cavity, puncturing a lung, and lodging in the left side of his ribcage. [...]

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Lawmakers in 14 States Coordinate Birthright Citizenship Attack

by Julianne Hing, ColorLines
January 5, 2011

This morning leaders from 14 states marked the beginning of what will likely be this year’s biggest immigration fight when they officially announced their plans to join together in a state compact to pass laws that deny citizenship to children born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants.

Legislators in states like Pennsylvania and Arizona have pledged to attempt to pass a law that revives the old debates around “state citizenship” so that only babies born to at least one permanent resident or citizen parent would be granted citizenship in the state. Other states have promised to follow their lead. The goal, as anti-immigration legislators are not shy to admit, is to force the Supreme Court to take up the issue. [...]

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