Saturday, June 30, 2012

Arizona's "Barrio Defense" Rises for SCOTUS Decision on SB 1070

"For migrants in Arizona, our work has turned towards building power for and amongst ourselves.... It's time we realize we have only each other and instead of appealing to the powers-that-be, start organizing deeper in our community so that our goals are unshakable demands instead of requests." Carlos Garcia, Puente

By Jeff Biggers, Huffington Post
June 18, 2012

With defiant Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer growing more emboldened as the Supreme Court readies to unveil its ruling on the state's SB 1070 "papers, please" immigration law, Arizona human rights group Puente and their national allies are bolstering their "Barrio Defense Committees," as "neighbors link with neighbors to learn their rights and make collective plans to defend themselves."

They are also asking their fellow Arizona neighbors and politicians to take a stand. [...]

Read the full article:

Statement of Familia Latina Unida on the Supreme Court Arizona decision

Statement of Familia Latina Unida

June 26, 2012
The Supreme Court Decision strikes down most of the hated Arizona law. It stated strongly that immigration policy was in the hands of the federal government-not the states.

It left in place – and undecided – the part of the law that allows local police to ask people for papers if people are stopped for some other reason. The court said that local law enforcement would do this because they were invited to do this by the federal government, referencing the Obama administration 287g and secure communities program. The court said it would have to see how the “show your papers” worked in practice – if it showed racial profiling, if it resulted in incarceration or harassment that exceeded federal actions.

What do we think: The court puts the issue of enforcement squarely in the hands of the federal government. As we have said before, the atrocities in Arizona were brought about by the Obama administration’s 287g policy. We lost that challenge to the law because the Obama administration had provided federal cover for what they were doing - as we said all along. The court clearly said that future challenges to the show your papers part of the law could be made once the law was put into effect.

We call again for an end to the 287g program and the secure communities program which enable racial profiling, especially in states like Arizona, Alabama and South Carolina.

We call on the Obama Administation, at a minimum, to immediately establish a commission to monitor and receive complaints of racial profiling and civil rights violations which, after all, emanate from federal policies. We will continue to challenge racial profiling in immigration enforcement everywhere we find it – in the courts and in the streets.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Investigators Find Forced Labor at Louisiana Walmart Seafood Supplier

By Jorge Rivas, ColorLines
June 20 2012

An investigation by the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) has found labor law violations and inhumane treatment of workers at a Walmart seafood supplier in Louisiana.

The 37-page report published Wednesday alleges Mexican “guest workers” are forced to work shifts of up to 24 hours during peak production periods, with as few as four hours between shifts. According to the report, workers are paid 40 percent below the legal minimum wage. The WRC concluded that the totality of the abuses taking place at this employer constitute forced labor under U.S. law. [...]

Read the full article:

Watch a video with the workers:

Sign the petition:

People in the New York metropolitan area can show support on June 30. Align NY writes:

"On Saturday June 30, guestworkers will be camping out and going without food or water for 24 hours in front of Walmart Board Member Michelle Burns' apartment in Lower Manhattan to appeal to her conscience. They will be gathering in front of Michelle Burns' residence on Spruce Street, between Williams & Nassau in Manhattan (near Pace University) at 10am to launch their fast, and they won't leave until 11am on Sunday."

ENEMY ALIEN awards, reviews & Tule Lake pilgrimage

“Of great importance to American democracy, Enemy Alien is both timely and moving. We ignore its message at our peril.” - Gary Y. Okihiro, coauthor, Impounded: Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment

Jason D. Mak Social Justice Award, 2012
PAC Alliance Award for Courage, 2012

RECOMMENDED for Young Adult Curriculum: “a strong reminder of the fragility of human rights and an excellent discussion prompter”Booklist Online

This week Konrad will present the film at the Tule Lake Pilgrimage 2012 (June 30-July 3), where internment survivors and the larger community gather to learn and share about one of the most egregious episodes of the World War Two incarceration of Japanese Americans.

Konrad continues what began with his life-changing encounters with Tule Lake Segregation Center survivors when he presented Enemy Alien as a work in progress at the 2010 pilgrimage. The relationships formed there have led to the development of his next documentary, the Tule Lake Project (working title).

Other recent news:
Enemy Alien Garners Awards and More at DisOrient 2012
Enemy Alien Recommended by Booklist, Purchased by Universities

After this summer the director will be bringing the film to Japanese American National Museum (September 8) and the Middle East Caucus of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies in Chicago (March, 2013).

Documentary, 2011, 81 minutes
a Palestinian activist’s fight for freedom draws a Japanese American filmmaker into confrontation with detention regimes of past and present.
A project of Life or Liberty

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,  
Film website:

Twitter: @enemyalien  
Enemy Alien educational distribution & screenings: Third World Newsreel

Saturday, June 16, 2012

More Views on Obama Granting Relief for Young Immigrants

Statement from the New York State Youth Leadership Council
in Response to Announcement from Obama Administration on Deferred Action Process for DREAM Act Eligible Youth


Friday, June 15, 2012

Contact: Daniela Alulema, 646-472-9565,
Razeen Zaman, 212-473-2570,

The inspiring actions taken by undocumented youth from the National Immigrant Youth Alliance has prompted the White House today to announce Deferred Action for undocumented youth. We will need to confirm the claim with the caseload of deportation cases we receive. We are aware that this new announcement comes a year after the Prosecutorial Discretion announcement, which unfortunately was not implemented. [...]

Read the full statement:

Statement from the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights


June 15, 2012

Information: Catherine Tactaquin,
Laura Rivas,

We Welcome Promise to Stop the Deportation of (Some) Young Immigrants
Safety and Security for All Immigrants Still a Dream

We welcome President Obama’s decision to stop the deportations of over a million immigrant youth who may be eligible under terms described today. We hope this will be a first step towards ending the punishment of all undocumented immigrants and the separation of families.

We congratulate the tens of thousands of youths, their families, friends and allies who have fought for over a decade for relief from deportation, initially through the proposal of the “DREAM Act” and more recently with calls for an executive order by President Obama. Without a doubt, the very visible actions of undocumented youth and students in recent years “coming out” as undocumented, and leading nationwide actions and mobilizations, has been critical to this evolution of policy. [...]

Read the full statement:

Obama Grants Relief for Young Immigrants--or Does He?

Obama immigration plan: Advocates offer mixed reactions
LA Times
June 15, 2012

Immigration advocates and attorneys had mixed reactions Friday to the Obama administration's announcement that it would grant relief from deportation to some young immigrants.

Some were encouraged, saying the policy change could spare many young people from living under threat of deportation. Others questioned the sincerity of the administration.

Matthew Kolken, an immigration attorney, said he was highly skeptical about the administration’s plans. [...]

Read the full article:

Obama immigration order poses dilemma for eligible illegal immigrants
By M. Alex Johnson,, and Jose Diaz-Balart, Telemundo
June 15, 2012

The Obama administration's announcement Friday that it would defer deporting most young illegal immigrants poses a dilemma for those who are eligible, as they must take a leap of faith that they won't jump to the head of the line for deportation if a future president rescinds the order.

Under the order, the Obama administration wouldn't seek to deport illegal immigrants under 30 who entered the U.S. as children and meet certain other residency and education requirements for the next two years. They also would be eligible to apply for work permits, the Department of Homeland Security said. DHS is the parent agency of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. [...]

Read the full article:

Friday, June 15, 2012

ALERT: Stop the Deportatio​n of Litigant Immigrant Workers in California

[This alert was supplied to us by an organizer in California. If you need more information, please contact us at:]

Luis Mendez and Jesus Ramirez, both former members of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union – Local 5 and employees of Boshma & Sons Dairy (located in Kern County, California), were in the middle of a labor dispute on or around October 2011 involving what the union believes was an unjustified termination of Jesus Ramirez and suspension of Luis Mendez. On January 5, 2012 the union initiated arbitration procedures to fight for these workers’ jobs.

On or around March 5, 2012 Anthony P. Raimondo, an attorney for the Fresno based law firm McCormick, Barstow, Sheppard, Wayte, & Carruth LLP, let the union know that Mr. Mendez had “been previously deported […] and [was] not authorized to work in the United States.” He also said, “Mr. Mendez [also] had no proper legal documentation to work in the U.S.” Mr. Ramirez and Mr. Mendez had been working for Boschma Dairy since 2004 and 2009, respectively, without receiving any previous complaints regarding their legal status on the part of the employer. On March 9, 2012 Raimondo sent an e-mail to Pete Maturino, the Agricultural Division Director for Local 5, in which he said, “I have received reliable information that Luis Mendes [sic] was arrested by ICE yesterday and has been removed from the United States to Mexico,” he added, “If so, I presume Mr. Mendes’ grievance will not proceed to arbitration.”

After Raimondo sent the e-mail, Pete Maturino called Raimondo and asked him: Is this what you will be doing from now on, call ICE when employees file a complaint against Boschma? Raimondo replied that he would do whatever it took in order to protect his client against complaints from workers.

On May 22, 2012 Raimondo sent a letter to the legal counsel of Local 5 in which Raimondo said, “I contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and provided them with Mr. Mendez’s name, date of birth, Social Security Number, and a copy of the Permanent Resident Alien card that Mr. Mendez produced to complete his I-9 […].”

Californian workers deserve a more dignifying and humane treatment. We must stop this kind of retaliatory action against immigrant workers. Also, we want to know if Raimodo has called ICE on other immigrant workers involved in labor disputes.

What to do:
We are asking immigrant workers’ advocates to contact (call or fax letter) federal Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and the State Bar of California and urge them to initiate an investigation on Raimondo’s alleged questionable and probably illegal behavior. If this is the case, we will demand from the State Bar of California to take away the license of Raimondo to practice law.

What to Say if you call:
Hi, my name is ________________, I reside in _____________, my phone number is __________ and my e-mail address is_______________. I am calling to ask the senator/State Bar of California to initiate an investigation on the alleged questionable ethical behavior of attorney Anthony P. Raimondo, whose State Bar of California number is 200387.

The public needs to find out whether or not Raimondo engaged in any illegal or unethical behavior when he contacted Immigration and Custom Enforcement Agents to provide them information pertaining to the immigrant workers Luis Mendez – such action probably resulted in the deportation of Mr. Mendez. Mr. Mendez was in the middle of a legal dispute with his former employer, Boshma Dairy based in Kern County (a client of Anthony Raimondo). Mr. Mendez was deported on or around March 9, 2012.

What to do if you fax letter or use e-mail:
You can also fax or email letters with the same information urging Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and the State Bar of California to initiate an investigation on Raimondo’s alleged questionable and probably illegal behavior.

Contact information:
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer: phone 559-497-5109, fax 559-497-5109,
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein: phone 559-485-7430, fax 559-485-9689,
The State Bar of California: 1-800-843-9053,

Monday, June 11, 2012

Bringing the Battlefield to the Border

The Border Patrol became part of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003 and was placed under the wing of Customs and Border Protection, now the largest federal law enforcement agency in the country with 60,000 employees.

By Todd Miller, TomDispatch
June 7, 2012

William “Drew” Dodds, the salesperson for StrongWatch, a Tucson-based company, is at the top of his game when he describes developments on the southern border of the United States in football terms. In his telling, that boundary is the line of scrimmage, and the technology his company is trying to sell -- a mobile surveillance system named Freedom-On-The-Move, a camera set atop a retractable mast outfitted in the bed of a truck and maneuvered with an Xbox controller -- acts like a “roving linebacker.”

As Dodds describes it, unauthorized migrants and drug traffickers often cross the line of scrimmage undetected. At best, they are seldom caught until the “last mile,” far from the boundary line. His surveillance system, he claims, will cover a lot more of that ground in very little time and from multiple angles. It will become the border-enforcement equivalent of New York Giants’ linebacking great, Lawrence Taylor.

To listen to Dodds, an ex-Marine -- Afghanistan and Iraq, 2001-2004 -- with the hulking physique of a linebacker himself, is to experience a new worldview being constructed on the run. [...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Children of undocumented families ‘outing’ their illegal status

By Helen O’Neill, Associated Press
June 3, 2012

Across the country, children of families who live in the United States illegally are “coming out” — marching behind banners that say “undocumented and unafraid,” staging sit-ins in federal offices, and getting arrested in the most defiant ways.

In “outing” their families as well as themselves, they know they risk being deported.

But as states pass ever more stringent anti-illegal immigration laws — and critics denounce their parents as criminals — these young people say they have no choice. [...]

Read the full article:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Private Prisons Profit From Immigration Crackdown, Federal and Local Law Enforcement Partnership

"You build a strong image of fear of these Mexican immigrants, which creates a moral justification for imprisoning them, and at the same time brings in lots of money," [immigration reform advocate Roberto] Reveles says. "The politicians are not motivated to fix the immigration system. On the contrary, they're benefiting from it politically and economically."

By Chris Kirkham, Huffington Post
June 7, 2012

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. -- On a flat and desolate stretch of Interstate 10 some 50 miles south of Phoenix, a sheriff's deputy pulls over a green Chevy Tahoe speeding westbound and carrying three young Hispanic men.

The man behind the wheel produces no driver's license or registration. The deputy notices $1,000 in cash stuffed in the doorframe -- payment, he presumes, for completed passage from Mexico. He radios the sheriff's immigration enforcement team, summoning agents from the U.S. Border Patrol. Soon, the three men are ushered into the back of a white van with a federal seal.

This routine traffic stop represents the front end of an increasingly lucrative commercial enterprise: the business of incarcerating immigrant detainees, the fastest-growing segment of the American prison population. [...]

Read the full article: