Monday, April 30, 2012

How Mississippi's Black/Brown Strategy Beat the South's Anti-Immigrant Wave

By David Bacon, The Nation
April 20, 2012

Jackson, Mississippi--In early April, an anti-immigrant bill like those that swept through legislatures in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina was stopped cold in Mississippi. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Tea Party Republicans were confident they’d roll over any opposition. They’d brought Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State who co-authored Arizona’s SB 1070, into Jackson, to push for the Mississippi bill. The American Legislative Exchange Council, which designs and introduces similar bills into legislatures across the country, had its agents on the scene.

Their timing seemed unbeatable. Last November Republicans took control of the state House of Representatives for the first time since Reconstruction. Mississippi was one of the last Southern states in which Democrats controlled the legislature, and the turnover is a final triumph of Reagan and Nixon’s Southern Strategy. And the Republicans who took power weren’t just any Republicans. Haley Barbour, now ironically considered a “moderate Republican,” had stepped down as governor. Voters replaced him with an anti-immigrant successor, Phil Bryant, whose venom toward the foreign-born rivals Lou Dobbs. [...]

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Former Prosecutor in Arizona Is Disbarred

Associated Press, New York Times
April 10, 2012

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona ethics board disbarred Maricopa County’s former top prosecutor on Tuesday for violating the rules of conduct for lawyers in bringing criminal charges against two county officials and a judge in December 2009 with the purpose of embarrassing them.

All three investigations were dismissed after a judge ruled that Andrew Thomas, the former county attorney, had prosecuted one of the officials for political gain and had a conflict of interest. Other county officials and judges who were at odds with Mr. Thomas and his top ally, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, were also investigated by the two but were not charged. [...]

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Punishment and Profits: Immigration Detention

Fault Lines investigates the business of immigrant detention in the US.

Fault Lines, Al Jazeera English
April 17, 2012

Immigration is a key issue in the US presidential election, with the Republican candidates trying to demonstrate their tough stance on undocumented immigrants.

But under the Obama administration, the detention and deportation of immigrants has reached an all-time high.

Every day, the US government detains more than 33,000 non-citizens at the cost of $5.5mn a day. That is a lot of money for the powerful private prison industry, which spends millions of dollars on lobbying and now operates nearly half of the country's immigration detention centres.

Fault Lines travels to Texas and Florida to investigate the business of immigrant detention in the US and to find out how a handful of companies have managed to shape US immigration laws. [...]

Watch the full report:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Anniversary screening of Enemy Alien, NYC, 4/26

A special event commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the arrest of Farouk Abdel-Muhti, in the room where his supporters regularly met to organize the fight for his freedom. Screening will be followed by an open discussion with the filmmaker and people who were involved in the case, including Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Shayana Kadidal, who has since served as Senior Managing Attorney for the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative, and MacDonald Scott, legal representative with No One Is Illegal Toronto.

Thursday, April 26
A.J. Muste Memorial Institute
339 Lafayette Street, corner of Bleecker Street, Manhattan
Muste room, third floor (buzzer #11)

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

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

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

Enemy Alien is a project of Life or Liberty,

Twitter: @enemyalien
For more background:

Enemy Alien educational distribution & screenings: Third World Newsreel

Press Coverage:

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

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

New York Observer article:

Radio interviews with director Konrad Aderer on Asia Pacific Forum, WBAI 99.5 NYC (6/27/2011)

Insight: Mike McGowan, Capital Public Radio KXJZ 90.9 Sacramento (2/18/2011)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Border Patrol Agent Charged With Smuggling Guns Into Mexico

By Angela Kocherga, KVIA (El Paso, Texas)
April 11, 2012

EL PASO, Texas -- A U.S. Border Patrol agent and his girlfriend are in federal custody charged with buying and smuggling weapons and ammunition across the border to Mexico and into the hands of violent drug traffickers.

The pair was arrested Monday after a yearlong investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms in El Paso.

A federal grand jury indicted U.S. Border Patrol Agent Ricardo Montalvo, 28, and his girl friend Carla Gonzales Ortiz, 29 on conspiracy, firearms and smuggling charges. [...]

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Home again in Mexico: Illegal immigration hits net zero

Tiny Tamaula is the new face of rural Mexico: Villagers are home again as the illegal immigration boom drops to net zero

By Sara Miller Llana, Christian Science Monitor
April 8, 2012

Tamaula, Mexico--At this time of year in this tiny rural outpost that sits on a mountainside in Guanajuato State, most able-bodied men are gone. They're off plucking and cutting chicken in processing plants in Georgia or pruning the backyards of Seattle.

But this year, Pedro Laguna and his wife, Silvia Arellano, are clearing rocks from their yard to prepare a field for corn. They've returned home to Tamaula, Mexico, with their four young children, after 20 years in the United States working illegally. [...]

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Shocking Video of Death at the Border

By Arturo Carmona,
April 18, 2012

"Please! Señores, help me!"

These are the words screamed by Anastasio Hernández-Rojas as over a dozen U.S. Border Patrol agents beat and tasered him in May 2010. PBS has just uncovered new video showing how Anastasio laid in the dirt defenseless, begging for his life, as Border Patrol agents continued to beat him. The video elicits haunting reminders of the Rodney King beating as Anastasio cries out "¡Nooo! ¡Nooo! ¡Déjenme! [Leave me alone!] ¡Nooo! ¡Señores!" Anastasio later died at the hospital.

There's been two years of inaction, and now we finally have the evidence we need to break the case open. Watch the video clip and sign a petition telling the Justice Department to investigate his death immediately.

If justice isn't served for Anastasio, even when video clearly shows injustice, Border Patrol agents will continue their pattern of abuse and lethal force. Since Anastasio's death in May 2010, at least 7 other US citizens and non-citizens have died in Border Patrol custody, yet there's been no serious investigation by the Justice Department.

"They [Border Patrol] didn't stop to think that he had a family. That he left behind five children and a wife," said Anastasio's widow, María Puga. Please join María in bearing witness to the killing of Anastasio Hernández-Rojas and tell the Justice Department to investigate his homicide now!

Todos somos Anastasio. We are all Anastasio.

Thanks and ¡adelante!
Arturo, Ana, Roberto and the rest of the Team

"First Look: Crossing The Line," Need to Know on PBS, 4/12/12
“In History: Rodney King,” CBS News, 2/26/06
Southern Border Communities Coalition

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why Haiti Wasn’t “Built Back Better”

By David L. Wilson, Upside Down World
April 17, 2012

Tectonic Shifts: Haiti Since the Earthquake. Mark Schuller and Pablo Morales, editors. Kumarian Press, 2012. Paperback, 288 pages, $24.95.

Earthquakes may be hard to predict, but it should have been easy to foresee the disaster that would result from the sort of quake that hit Haiti in January 2010. Haiti’s failure to recover in the two years since was just as predictable.

The structural problems that turned a bad earthquake into a cataclysm go all the way back to Haiti’s colonial history, but the immediate causes are much more recent. [...]

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For earlier earthquake coverage:

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Problem with ObamaCare that Nobody Talks About

While we were demonstrating, I saw a young boy kicking a soda can down the street. I thought to myself, ”That is what they are doing to our children, kicking their futures down the road like an old dirty half crushed soda can."

By Elvira Arellano, Centro sin Fronteras
April 11, 2012

The national news lit up last week after the Supreme Court heard arguments about ”Obama Care.” The court will decide if Obama’s effort to provide health insurance for most U.S. citizens be requiring all citizens to buy insurance is constitutional.

The news coverage reminded me of the time Familia Latina Unida demonstrated outside on the steps of the Supreme Court. We were asking the Supreme Court to hear our lawsuit which sought to stop the government from deporting the parents of U.S. citizen children. We argued that it violated the constitutional rights of the children. Sadly, the court never decided to hear our case. [...]

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Lea el artículo en español:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Two Immigrants Killed in Ambush by Arizona Gunmen

By Mike Ludwig, Truthout Report
April 11, 2012

Eloy, Arizona.Two people were killed on Sunday night when "an unknown number of subjects in camouflage clothing armed with rifles" ambushed a truck carrying 20 to 30 undocumented immigrants near the southern Arizona town of Eloy," according to the Pima County sheriff's department.

Border Patrol agents and police found one body in the bed of the pickup truck and the other nearby in the desert. The identities of the victims have not been released. [...]

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Former Restaurant Workers Demand $27K in Unpaid Wages

By Gloria Medina, El Diario-La Prensa via Voices of NY
March 22, 2012

Wage theft has been a recurring issue for New York City’s Latino community. On March 21, former workers at the restaurant Plaza Garibaldi in Elmhurst, Queens, held a protest, claiming they were cheated out of wages due to them. Below is the translation from Spanish of an El Diario La Prensa article by Gloria Medina on last week’s protest.

Yesterday [March 21], five female ex-workers of the Plaza Garibaldi restaurant in Queens demanded that their former boss pay them $27,000 in wages that they say they earned over months of working there. [...]

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Read the original story: