August 2008 Archives

Like a recurring nightmare of Hurricane Katrina, a powerful Hurricane Gustav is expected to hit the gulf coast on Monday.  Reuters has a list of possible scenarios, none of which look very good. 

Thankfully, it looks as if the local, state, and federal agencies are doing everything they can to make sure this is not a repeat of Katrina.  We need to give credit where credit is due, and it looks as if President Bush is taking the right steps to confront this potential disaster head on.  The Republican National Convention will likely be delayed or shortened, according to the New York Times.  This is another development I welcome.  Humanity has been put before politics.

Still early reports already suggest that there is at least one set of people that is being forgotten as the hurricane approaches.  There is a huge unauthorized migrant population in the Gulf Coast region.

A Call For Help

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Many of us get an extra day off to celebrate labor day. Sadly though the injustices against workers around the world continue.  Even within these United States we see working people being arrested for simply seeking employment and working hard. 

While ICE claims to be heavily involved in the "war on terror" they're really only involved in creating terror.  The only "war on terror" I see needing to take place is the one that changes the abhorrent policies of ICE.  (As if being arrested and detained is not enough of a Labor Day present for hard working people please read about the gift to farm workers this Labor Day in A Labor Day Attack on Farmworkers.)

Just last Monday as the Democratic Convention was getting underway the largest immigration raid ever took place.  595 people were arrested.  This post is a call for help.  

Please ad any information you have to the comments section of this post.  

Father Ken Ramon-Landry
313 Walnut St
Hattiesburg, MS. 39401

Recently the Border Patrol placed an ad in a hunting magazine looking for recruits.  What type of person picks up a hunting magazine, sees the ad for Border Patrol agents and places the call to join? Is this person mad at those "illegals" that "took" their job? Are they a person that didn't want to join the military, but figure if you can hunt deer why not hunt migrants? Or is it just a "patriot" that decided they wanted to help "protect" America from the "invasion?"

While there is activity that demands the border be watched, let's face it - if drugs have been the biggest threat over the past many years it's going to take more than an few Elmer Fudds to deal with that. The "war on drugs" hasn't done anything to deal with the problem of drug use no more than recruiting thousands of new Border Patrol Agents will stop the flow of migrants from impoverished countries.

Much like the other Armed Forces the Border Patrol is on a recruitment campaign and they're looking for venues to run their ads. Last year they tried to run an ad during the Super Bowl, but the NFL rejected the ad because it was essentially an anti-migrant ad portraying anyone crossing the border as a terrorist.

"The ad that the department submitted was specific to Border Patrol, and it mentioned terrorism. We were not comfortable with that," said Greg Aiello, a spokesman for the NFL. "The borders, the immigration debate is a very controversial issue, and we were sensitive to any perception we were injecting ourselves into that."

A Labor Day Attack on Farmworkers

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Amid all the hype of political conventions, analysis of the Republican VP pick and Labor Day celebrations for the rest of the country, the Bush Administration will launch an attack on the nation's farmworkers.

Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, at any moment,will announce extensive changes to the H-2A guestworker program, slashing wages and reducing worker protections for hundreds of thousands of our nation's farmworkers. These policy changes deserve our attention.

The H-2A program is a temporary agricultural guestworker program that permits employers to apply for permission to hire foreign labor for jobs lasting ten months or less. To bring in H-2A guestworkers, employers must show that they cannot find U.S. workers who want the jobs. These will be the most far-reaching changes in the laws regulating guestworker programs since 1942. If the changes are finalized, as we expect them to be next week, and take effect, this Administration will have returned us to an era of agricultural labor exploitation that many thought ended over 65 years ago.

What a Labor Day gift to farmworkers!

It's good to see Michelle Obama getting in on the act and delivering a pro-migrant message as well.  I can't find the exact text of her remarks to the "Hispanic Caucus", but from the Associated Press article, it looks as if they were good.

DENVER (AP) -- Hispanics should not have to live in fear of raids by immigration agents, Michelle Obama told a Hispanic caucus to the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday.

Her husband, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, wants to reform immigration policies and provide illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, she said.

"We would have an immigration policy that brings 12 million people out of the shadows," she told cheering caucus members who shouted "Yes we can" in Spanish.

Steven K. Paulson - Associated Press (27 August 2008)

Open Letter to the Democratic National Committee at Dream Act Texas.

Dear Democratic Party,

Now that you are together with your thousands of supporters, please use this opportunity to make a strong public statement against ICE raids. Show us you really believe in a democracy and that you are not just pandering to those who hate.

Also at Dream Act Texas Mississippi ICE Raid: "no company executives detained".

FOLLOW THE MONEY: Why Largest ICE Raid in US History Happened Monday! at Immigration Talk With A Mexican American.

ACLU Investigating Ice Conduct In Mississippi Raid at Greg Siskind's Blog.

I wish the BBC would do more in depth recording on migration instead of just putting out articles every time migrants drown, dehydrate, or starve on their way to Europe.  71 more African migrants have drowned on their way to Malta, according to the BBC.

The lesson for people in the U.S. is that no matter how desperate the circumstances, migrants will continue to come.  U.S. citizens can either allow the atrocities to continue, or they can accept it, and work on the real root of the problem which is global inequity.

It turns out Mondays' raids led to the arrest of 595 people and I don't believe one word was mentioned at the DNC.

ICE gambles that Democrats and progressive bloggers are too distracted to call them out on latest immigration raid at Latina Lista.

Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance Calls for Support at Vivir Latino.

In light of lack of critical connection to immigrant communities displayed by our 'leaders,' it's important that we do what we can to help out. The following was put out by MIRA! in Mississippi--and organization that was working well before the recent raids to minimize the reach of the raid in Mississippi. See after the cut for ways you can help out.

IT'S NOW 595 at Greg Siskind's Blog.

Immigration: Too Hot for DNC? at Of América.

Outside of the Pepsi Convention Center are hundreds of immigrant rights groups planning a major mobilization this Thursday - the day of Obama's acceptance speech. They will protest what they believe is the unwillingness of Democrats and their Washington-based immigrant rights allies to seriously support what the press release of the March 25th Coalition calls "human legalization and a moratorium on raids and deportations."

Again ICE preventing Terror from Abroad but creating TERROR from Within at Pro Inmigrant.

As Michelle Obama stated that "the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them" 350 migrants were arrested by ICE yesterday. 

And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children -- and all children in this nation -- to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them. / People who work the day shift, kiss their kids goodnight, and head out for the night shift -- without disappointment, without regret -- that goodnight kiss a reminder of everything they're working for. / All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won't do -- that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be. (Full text of Michelle Obama's speech)
DNC Hispanic Caucus : Loretta Sanchez Says She Knows Nothing About Miss. Raids (and calls me girl) at Vivir Latino.

The ICE Raids in Mississipi at Dream Act Texas.

Federal immigration agents arrested some 350 suspected undocumented workers in a raid on a Mississippi electrical equipment plant Monday, authorities announced, hours after sealing all entrances amid reports their sweep had idled normal operations.

ICE Raids In Mississippi at Vivir Latino and Another ICE raid in Mississippi at La Chola.

Story from the AP ICE raids Miss. plant seeking illegal workers

Hundreds of Workers Held in Immigration Raid at the New York Times.

Postville Part II

As the Democratic National Convention gets underway, DHS continues its campaign to terrorize immigrant communities for the administration's political ends.  Adam Nossiter reports in the NY Times today:

LAUREL, Miss. -- In another large-scale workplace immigration crackdown, federal officials raided a factory here on Monday, detaining at least 350 workers they said were in the country illegally.

Numerous agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement descended on a factory belonging to Howard Industries Inc., which manufactures electrical transformers, among other products.

As of late Monday afternoon, no criminal charges had been filed, said Barbara Gonzalez, an agency spokeswoman, but she said that dozens of workers had been "identified, fingerprinted, interviewed, photographed and processed for removal from the U.S."

The raid follows a similar large-scale immigration operation at a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, in May when nearly 400 workers were detained. That raid was a significant escalation of the Bush administration's enforcement practices because those detained were not simply deported, as in previous raids, but were imprisoned for months on criminal charges of using false documents.

The mass rapid-fire hearings after the Postville raid took place in a temporary court facility on the grounds of the National Cattle Congress in Waterloo, Iowa. An interpreter was later sharply critical of the proceedings, saying the immigrants did not understand the charges against them.

Here's Liza's post at the Awearness Blog, XP's post at Para Justicia Y Libertad, and Roberto Lovato's post at Of America.  Already loving the perspectives they bring.
Nativists beware! At this moment, migrant bloggers from across the nation are invading the Democrat National Convention in Denver, Colorado. 

They bring crime and disease with them.  Thinking freely is their crime, and they are spreading the infectious diseases of truth and justice.  These migrants are taking jobs and traffic away from other bloggers.  They are parasites taking advantage of free services like wireless internet connections.  They should all be locked up in Denver's, "Gitmo on the Platte" and deported back to their home states.

Oh man, I could keep this parody of nativist speak going, but it wouldn't do justice to what my esteemed blogmigos are in the midst of accomplishing. 

Liza Sabater, of Culture Kitchen, has been able to put a remarkable team of bloggers together to cover the DNC through her connections with Kenneth Cole's Awearness Blog.  Kai Chang of Zuky and Nezua of The Unapologetic Mexican are part of the team.  Maegan La Mala of Vivir Latino, and Kety Esquivel of Cross Left, will also be making apperances.

I would be remiss if I didn't mentioned that my esteemeed and respected friend, XP of Para Justicia Y Libertad, was able to find his way to Denver through his connections with Scholars and Rogues

If these names seem familiar to you, look no further than The Sanctuary's Who We Are page to refresh your memory.  The Sanctuarysphere has invaded the Democrat National Convention.

Juan Gomez - Once facing deportation, grad off to college at Dream Activist.

One year ago, Juan Gomez, the Killian High School grad who was saved from deportation, traveled to the nation's capital to advocate for undocumented students. Gomez headed for Washington again Thursday, but for a different reason: Next week he starts at Georgetown University.

ICE declares self-deport program a failure at Latina Lista.

Update: Juan Gomez at Generation 1.5.

Possible ICE Raids in Mississippi at La Chola.

"Many Officials Reluctant to Help Arrest Immigrants" at Anti-BVBL. It is widely acknoledged that when police become immigration officers they lose the trust of immigrant communities and will cause many crimes to go unreported.

Comments on a recent article on the end of the ICE self-deportation program called "Scheduled Departure" got me thinking a little different about nativists. It seems they're a great resource for undocumented migrants given they know of so many "entitlements" us pro-migrant supporters are unaware of.

Immigrants In USA Blog has Classes enhance fluency, food bank, Some States Seek Integration Path for Immigrants, Wave of immigrants could be at polls and Out of many, one "A nice opinion piece about all the people who live in this country and make up America. DP."

Chertoff's immigration indifference at The Latin Americanist. Check out Chertoff's aloof response to the death of Hiu Lui Ng which basically translates to "oh, well - these things happen."

Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign at La Chola.

On August 1st at 3:30 PM at St. Paul City Hall (15 W. Kellogg Blvd.), the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign will launch "Operation March For Our Lives." Operation March for Our Lives will be a statewide caravan through Minnesota to collect economic human rights violations documentation.

Another Immigrant Dies in ICE Custody at WOCPhd. Also The Impact of Immigration Raids on "Non-Targeted" Women (on the Postville raids),  Feminist Spotlight: LATINAS, Stephanie Tubbs Jones Dies (Feminist Spotlight) and Feminist Spotlight: Barbara Nimiri Naziz.

Postville at Western MA Coalition for Immigrant & Worker Rights. From the Democracy Now story:

For those left behind, namely the wives and children of the men taken away, the town has been turned into what some have described as an open-air prison. Dozens of immigrant women remain in Postville without status or a means of support. Many of them are even forbidden from leaving and have been made to wear electronic monitoring bracelets (story covered by Democracy Now!)

Beaten to death because he was Mexican. How does a small town heal? at Anti-BVBL.

Luis Ramirez was murdered in mid July by a group of white teenagers. His story is one that should concern us all. While being beaten, the six teenagers, all whom were on the local football team, were allegedly yelling racial epitaths. Luis Rameriz was left on the street, bloodied, battered, and foaming at the mouth. He died two days after the attack, leaving behind a wife and two small children.
Picture: Guy Calaf / Vanity Fair, Italy

I think a huge part of what motivates me to develop myself as a global citizen is the following: at least one of every two children that is born into the world today lives in conditions that those reading this can't even imagine.  Half the world lives on under $2 a day, and it's a world that people with access to a computer can't hope to relate to. 

It would be a lot easier for me to live in this world if I believed half the world deserved that fate.  It would be a lot easier for me to live in this world everyone in this world has a chance at success.  I know the truth, though.  The truth is success and privilege has more to do with chance than ability.  I've known to many good, hard-working people that have landed on the wrong side of chance to believe otherwise.  Their only sins are the circumstances they were born into.

Nothing illustrates this better than the fate of the half-brother of Barack Obama, who was recently found by a reporter with the Italian edition of Vanity Fair.
Christopher Sherman of the Associated Press reports:

A former Border Patrol agent pleaded guilty Tuesday to hitting an illegal Guatemalan immigrant in the face with his pistol and to putting the barrel of his pistol against the head of another illegal immigrant while interrogating him.

Santiago Perez, of Edinburg, admitted Tuesday in federal court in Houston to both cases of violating the civil rights of the two immigrants while working as a South Texas Border Patrol agent in 2006 and 2007.
Chistopher Sherman - Associated Press (19 August 2008)
Sombrero Tip to Mexico Trucker.

Nina Bernstein of the New York Times reports.  It appears the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Center, in Central Falls, R.I., has made a habit of accusing migrants they are faking back pains.

The lawsuit, filed in Providence, asserts that employees at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Center, in Central Falls, R.I., denied a wheelchair to Marino De Los Santos, who said that he suffered serious injuries to his neck, back, chest and spine in two falls at the center in 2006. According to the suit, employees accused Mr. De Los Santos of faking his injuries and refused to take him to scheduled examinations by a spine specialist.
Nina Bernstein - New York Times (19 August 2008)
We celebrate the gold medal victory of first generation American Henry Cejudo.  His victory, along with other immigrant victories, only demonstrate how diversity is what makes us strong.  Talent from all of the world comes to the U.S. making us all better and stronger.

Can't Get Enough of Postville! ACLU Obtains Government "MANUAL" FOR PREPACKAGED GUILTY PLEAS FOR PROSECUTION OF IMMIGRANT WORKERS at Immigration Prof Blog. Also Only in America!!!!!!!!!! Son of Undocumented Immigrant Wins Gold for USA.

Child of Illegally Present Immigrants Wins Gold For US at Greg Siskind's Blog. Also This Is Not Making Us Safer.

The surliness just drips from this narrative by Emily Feder, a US citizen, who was detained for hours at JFK Airport in NY. Denying people access to the bathroom, food, water? Collectively punishing people? Is this airport inspection or a warzone?
There is more from Scott Fontaine at the Tacoma News Tribune on the story of the US citizen locked up for seven months in immigration prison and nearly deported due to standard government circumvention of due process.  Notice the contempt with which all the key decisionmakers in the process treated Castillo.

Still, the posture of the article and the reason this is a news item is not that a human being was treated so poorly.  It's that this happened to a U.S. citizen.  The problems that this article uncovers--the failure of the system to obtain accurate results, the inability of many migrants to navigate a complex process--exist for non-citizens as well.  These problems didn't arise by accident.  They have been built into the system to allow the government to imprison and deport more migrants for political gain.

And the idea that the issuance of two "A numbers" for a single individual is a bizarre glitch is just not true.  It happens All. The. Time. 

SCOTT FONTAINE; Published: August 19th, 2008 01:00 AM | Updated: August 19th, 2008 10:33 AM

Rennison Castillo broke the law. He was punished for it. And he thought he had served his time. Instead, the last day of an eight-month jail sentence was the start of a seven-month nightmare that almost ended two years ago with Castillo - a Lakewood resident, Army veteran and American citizen - deported to Belize, a country he left as a child.

He spoke publicly about the incident for the first time earlier this month.

Immigration officials say his case was a rare mistake and that it has prompted closer scrutiny of citizenship claims. But advocates say it's the kind of mix-up that's bound to happen as the federal government aggressively moves to deport more criminal immigrants while limiting their access to the legal system.

Photo: Saurabh Das / Associated Press

New York Times reports that Henry Cejudo, the son of unauthorized migrants, has just won the gold for the U.S.  For most nativists, however, Henry Cejudo is not a U.S. citizen.  He is an "anchor baby".
The term "anchor baby" riddles the site of supposedly "pro-legal, anti-illegal migrant" websites.  An "anchor baby" is the child of unauthorized migrants who has been given U.S. citizenship by birth. 
Today, my baby girl is a migrant.

She is headed four thousand miles away, and she will be gone a year. We've been preparing for this trip for almost as long, since she first decided she wanted to be a Rotary exchange student. Her decision left me proud and excited for her, and not until my last few days with her did I begin to feel the dread of seeing her leave, knowing I wouldn't see her again for a long time. But my sadness at her leaving is tempered somewhat by the certainty, barring any tragedies, that I will see her again, and by the finite amount of time that she will be away.

My ache at being separated from my daughter is eased by something else, too: by the knowledge that what I am experiencing pales in comparison to what thousands of mothers are going through as their children set off on more perilous, less certain, journeys.

The following is an op-ed I wrote for New America Media that contrast the hypocrisy of George W. Bush deriding China for human rights violations, while a Chinese migrant dies in Bush's own detention centers.

What Have We Become? - Medical Neglect in Immigrant Prisons Reveals America at Its Worst

New America Media, Commentary, Kyle de Beausset, Posted: Aug 17, 2008

BOSTON -- On the eve of the Beijing Olympics, while Bush was preparing to express his "deep concerns" over China's human rights record, Chinese immigrant Hiu Lui Ng was dying in the custody of our great nation's own U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. For months, according to the New York Times, 33-year-old Mr. Ng had complained of excruciating back pain. Officials accused him of faking it.

When a judge finally ordered that Mr. Ng be brought to a hospital, it was discovered that he had a fractured spine, cancer all over his body, and very little time to live. He died five days later, leaving behind a wife and two young sons.

It's been years since I've sat down and wrote an op-ed to be published.  I had forgotten how hard it is.  I write my blog posts like I write emails.  I don't fret over every word.  I don't pay attention to the structure. 

With op-eds it's different.  There's a specific formula to them.  I'm sorry to say that my return to formal opinion journalism hasn't resulted in my best work, but it gets the point across.  Without further ado I link you to my first published piece with New America Media.

Peaceful Marchers Demonstrate at "Kick In the Head" Hate Crime Hearing Causing Some Delays! BREAKING NEWS: JUDGE ORDERS MURDER TRIAL!! at Immigration Talk With A Mexican American.

Shame on North Carolina: Education Is Denied to Immigrant Youth at DMI Blog. Sadly the opportunity to attend community colleges has been taken from DREAMers in North Carolina.

Despite her 4.0 grade point average, Laura, an aspiring engineer and a recent graduate from Charlotte high school in North Carolina will not be able to go to college. The land of opportunity has denied her access to a college education.

Participating in democracy may very well be a punishable offense in Denver Takes A Page Out of ICE's Playbook at Para Justicia y Libertad.

Bob Edwards' Weekend: Two kinds of border patrol

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This week's edition of Bob Edwards' Weekend on public radio (and XM) is a rebroadcast of a 2006 show about immigration.  The first part is an interview with a border patrol agent and I didn't catch this part when I heard the broadcast over the weekend (ergo my initial post praising the program).  He does a pretty good job of dehumanizing people.  No explanation of who they are, the circumstances that led them to risk their lives to cross the border into the U.S.  Nothing.  They talk like people crossing the border are a plague of bugs that must be processed and controlled.  It'll give you chills.

Then I guess to balance out the show he interviews two Samaritans (that's the name of the group) who patrol the trails leaving out water and other essential supplies for migrants.  One's a doctor.  The other is a photographer.  This is the part of the show that's worth a listen.  The stories they tell of the people they meet out there, the brutal conditions they have to go through...

And unlike the border patrol agent interviewed, the Samaritan was able to put a human face, not only on the migrants but on the opposition as well, in this case, the border patrol agents.  He said he has an appreciation for the agents saying they're only enforcing laws they didn't make. and the laws they have to enforce determine the strategy they have to use.  He said he's met agents who agree with promigrant groups essentially saying, yeah "we're enforcing laws that are forcing people farther and farther out into the more dangerous places.."

He says he "knows from having spoken to a few of the [agents].... in the summer especially a lot of them consider their job as much rescue as arrest and they don't relish finding bodies out in the desert any more than the rest of us do.  They're human beings."

Then he tells a story of a woman and her two sons who got lost in the desert.  She fell ill and the coyote left her behind.  She died and her father spent weeks looking for his daughter's body.  He found three other bodies before he found hers.  This, and no one can tell me we live in a civilized country.  Not with people dying like cattle in the desert.

crimey, it's amazing that anyone could be so cold-hearted to have anything but immense compassion for people forced to migrate in these conditions.


No More Deaths

Humane Borders

Cross posted at Lucky White Girl

Peaceful Border March to Protest the Border Wall Aug 27 - Aug 31, 2008 at Immigration Talk With A Mexican American.

Latinas and Allies, Join/Organize Protests at YOUR local I.C.E. Offices at La Chola.

It is imperative that we send a message to I.C.E., President Bush and the upcoming Democratic Party Convention that there must be AN IMMEDIATE MORATORIUM ON ALL RAIDS, DEPORTATIONS, INCARCERATIONS AND SEPARATION OF FAMILIES. - FRIDAY, AUGUST 22ND at 4:00 PM. 

Also Update on sexist racism of

Latin@s and Allies: Join/Organize Protests at Your Local ICE Offices at Problem Chylde.

Texas Education: Arming Teachers to Teach at Para Justicia y Libertad. Only in Texas! A local school board, Harrold Independent School District, in rural North Texas unanimously passed the policy to allow its teachers and staff to carry concealed hand guns to school.

Some would have you believe there is a growing faction attempting to eradicate the use of the English language in the United States. These groups want to pass laws stating that English is our official language which would ban the government from offering help in any language other than English. This includes emergency services such as police, fire and health. Does this sound like America to you? Callous, cold and exclusionary - refusing to help people because they don't understand English well enough to communicate their pain?

Currently Nashville is looking to make their city "English Only." Essentially this means that no immigrants, legal or undocumented, unless they have the good fortune of coming from a country wealthy enough to have taught them English as children, will be able to communicate with the local government or those providing emergency services. This will also affect any tourists that happen to be in the area with the misfortune of becoming ill in a town that does not welcome foreigners. Given the euphonious beauty Nashville is famous for this is not only disheartening, but also quite disgusting.

Nashville English First hopes to force a countywide vote this fall on a controversial proposal to limit all Metro government business, publications and meetings to English, with no exceptions for health or safety. It does include language indicating it should not be interpreted to conflict with state or federal law. (English-first initiative gets out-of-state help)

Yesterday I enjoyed tofu and vegetables from Homes Kitchen (really good restaurant if you're ever in the Flat Iron). I cracked open my fortune cookie and it said - "If your desires are not extravagant they will be granted." Immediately I asked myself what is 'extravagant?' While we usually associate this word with wealth and pomp this fortune was defining it differently. For so many poor in this world what does 'extravagance' mean? The meal I had just eaten would have been extravagance for so many. From the portion to the vegetables the packaged utensils and the container - all were extravagance.

THEIR VILLAGES ARE DYING. They come from towns with no future, from families with no food. at The Unapologetic Mexican.

IT BAFFLES THE MIND to meet some of the mindsets in our country about migrants and the lives they lead, and the pains they go to to find work that will sustain them. The way some xenophobic individuals speak, you’d imagine Mexicans (because it’s always Mexicans to these people) stroking long luxurious mustachios and plotting which part of the USA they will reconquer, just exactly what excellent careers they will steal away from us, and how much of their fat moneyroll they will squander on coyotes.

Bush's deportation policies dumping thousands of children into squalor at Orcinus.

Why ICE's self-deport program is a bust at Latina Lista.

Back when Comprehensive Immigration Reform or CIR was in the throes of being tossed, turned and twisted by Congressional legislators to make it fit everyone's idea of a perfect remedy, it wasn't surprising that the final result looked more like a bad dream waiting to happen than a real solution.

I wrote a post a while back on a video released and promoted by the Heritage Foundation titled "Demographic Winter" which states the world's population is falling. However, listen closely and you'll hear that it's really just a call stating heterosexual whites will be a minority soon. Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family.

Welcome to América, Soon-to-Be Land of the White Minority, at The Sanctuary. (Also at Of América.) Given we must monitor how this is fed to the public the video mentioned above, "Demographic Winter", is not one we should applaud. Nor should we be ignoring the fact that white supremacist groups want Obama to win so they can stir up anti-minority sentiment among whites in the United States. (White Supremacista and Obama at Hatewatch.)

Scary New World? Minority to Become Majority in 2040s at No Borders and Binaries.

Homeland Security's ICE is killing immigrants and New Americans through brutal neglect at Culture Kitchen.

Hiu Lui Ng died in the custody of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs' Enforcement agency. Actually, he was documented : He had a job as a computer programmer. He had a wife and children and a home in Queens.

Detainee Dies In Agony at Eristic Ragemail.

Describing conditions out of a Third World prison, The New York Times' Nina Bernstein describes the horrible ordeal of Hiu Lui Ng, an immigrant who had lived in the United States for most of his adult life and died an excruciating death at the hands of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Unlimited Sun at The Unapologetic Mexican.

I think of the "immigration issue." How much easier it seems to be for people to stoke up fear, talk about jails, talk about walls, operate as if we need to protect something from people, when they are part of all we are, when we can all help make each other's lives more full and beautiful and nobody has to lose. And yet, it seems it is so much easier to get people to fear and hoard than it is to convince them that they are safer when giving, sharing, taking care of others.

We all know that CIS was created by John Tanton of FAIR and any data coming from that group is going to be heavily biased against migrants. I'm sure they go into "research" mode with "[social ill] + [biased and made-up 'facts' and figures] = immigrants are to blame" written on their chalkboard like some complex mathematical equation. I wonder if there's some anti-migrant Will Hunting that comes in from time to time and solves the equation for them. "How do you like them apples?"

Faux Think Tank claims Immigrant Farts Cause Global Warming at Culture Kitchen.

They have such incredibly stupid "data" includes factors like "immigrant emissions". Tell me they're not talking about José's and Tanya's farts?

Immigration leads to Global Warming? Nonsense! at No Borders and Binaries. I believe the following quote from this post sums it all up:

Q: How do you make a conservative believe in global warming?
A: Blame it on immigrants

Update on Isabel Garcia : Her Job Targetted by Jon (In)Justice at Vivir Latino. Also read Economic Slowdown is Affecting Latinos Hard.

There are many groups on the front lines of the immigration issue who give so much to help those migrants making the treacherous journey into the United States.  One such group is Humane Borders who assists migrants at the border by setting up water stations.

Humane Borders Needs Donations at Latino Politico. This saintly group has been attacked by having all the tires on 5 vehicles slashed.

Legal Resident Jailed Indefinitely: Accused of lying to ICE agent at Eristic Ragemail. It's getting easier and easier to clearly point out the prejudiced and unjust actions of ICE.  That, of course, is not something that give me the warm and fuzzies.

Just when you think that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) could not get more outrageous they pull out a new transgression. Apparently, ICE can jail you indefinitely for "lying" even if you are here legally and even if there is no probable cause for their questioning.

How to *really* help young Latina girls at Vivir Latina. "The organization Circle de Luz provides university scholarships and educational mentorship to young Latinas."

Donna Poisl, A Friendly Voice for Immigrants at La Mariposa En La Pared.

Update: Isabel Garcia's Job Endangered by Jon "Jackass" Justice at Problem Chylde. Join the Campaign to End Hate Radio - visit the Coalicion de Derechos Humanos website to help end hate radio and support Isabel Garcia. Also Sign the Petition: Justice for LaVena Johnson, a soldier whose death has been covered up by the military.

The Diversity Train Has Arrived at Eristic Ragemail. The strangest argument I hear from the nativists is that "diversity equals death." Huh? I guess these guys and gals don't get out much. Both Houston, where I was born, and New York, the place I now call home, are very diverse and are both great places to live. It is in large part due to the diversity these cities provide.

Speaking of diversity read Influx brings Brazilian `bounce' to NYC suburb at Immigrants in the USA Blog. Also read Some Immigrants Face Long Waits to Become U.S. Citizens, Classes aid immigrant students' assimilation and Religion remains an immigrant's lifeline.

It's been about a year since I started dedicating myself full-time to the fight for migrant justice, particularly through the use of new mediums of communication.  If someone were to have told me one year ago that we'd be where we are today, I would say they were crazy. 

What once was a disparate band of online acquaintances, each doing their own wonderful things, has now become a force to be reckoned with in new media.  I knew that the united voices of the founders of The Sanctuary would be powerful, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that things would move as fast as they have.

Today, as The Sanctuary moves from it's cumbersome address of, to the sweet and right sounding, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the recent groundbreaking developments of this increasingly important new media outlet. 

U.S. Wants You : Young Latino Men, Even If They Have to Drag You Kicking and Screaming at Vivir Latino.

Check out Thursday's SanctuarySphere post for links to the Democracy Now video on allegations against military recruiters.

Captives of the Meatpacking Archipelago at Bender's Immigration Bulletin.

"The reason AgriProcessors employed 13-year-old children was because they could," Mark Lauritsen of the United Food and Commercial Workers, which has tried to organize the company's workers, told me. "Because they knew the federal Department of Labor would never come down on them."

North Carolina Community Colleges to Vote on Letting DREAMers Enroll at Dream Act Texas. Also fixing one DREAMer is not enough and A Little Experiment with Your Imagination

Today dreamacttexas is undertaking a small experiment. We are of the theory that you are more likely influenced by an opinion of someone you "idealize" or highly respect than someone who is not widely known for his/her credentials.
Kety Esquivel did The Sanctuary proud yet again with her appearance on CNN.  The McCain campaign has yet to answer our questionnaire and it's unfortunate, because I've been doing my best to keep an open mind, and to defend McCain when he moves towards a more pro-migrant position.  Here's the video of Kety, and if you watch closely, you'll see how McCain responds to our questionnairre through Leslie Sanchez:

Urgent Action: "Justice" vs. Garcia may cost the wrong person's job at WOC PhD.

The Politics of Humanity: "A Hidden System" at Para Justica y Libertad.

In a newly created video, "Hidden System," Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) documents the impact the enforcement practices that are currently putting an undue emotional and physical hardship on families and children.
All About This Game Dances Death and Pain at The Unapologetic Mexican.
ANYWHERE THE PEOPLE GATHER to express their voice, their government-be it communist, democratic or otherwise-will be infiltrating and disturbing the cohesion and strength of that voice, ultimately using violence with no hesitancy or remorse. The unsettling juxtaposition of profit, spotlight, and ignored oppressions will always cause this confluence of energy and tumult. This is our modern-day Olympic Games Carnival settling down uneasily into a world where war and class divides are hurting so many.
Any nativist will tell you that polls show 1,000% of 'Mericans support speaking only English in the United States of America.  It doesn't matter if the U.S. can't even understand the languages of the countries it goes to war with (you don't need to understand people to shoot at them).  If people can't speak English like they're supposed to, they're not real 'Mericans

Using this iron-clad logic, I thought I'd compile a list of five English lessons for those that want to learn to how to be a real 'Merican and speak English.

1. Make English America's Offical Language

Ellie Klerlien of the National Council of La Raza just informed me that We Can Stop the Hate highlighted my video exposing the racism of the San Diego Minutemen here.  It seems the more you read about the San Diego Minutemen, the more I realize that the racism I caught on tape just scratched the surface of what they're involved in.  Still, it's good to know that my work is appreciated.

For the nation's migrant farmworkers, high temps creating a "Black Summer" at Latina Lista. Tragically the people who give us life through working the fields are experience much physical stress and five have died in three months.

Sadly, even with these deaths, new stories of workers being misled, taken advantage of, forced to live in squalor conditions, deprived of sufficient water, breaks and shade, exposed to lethal pesticides and dangerous equipment are heard every week.

Democracy Now featured a story of illegal tactics used by U.S recruiters yesterday. In one case the recruiter, rather than being punished, was made commander of a recruiting center. Given that most see the Iraq war as terrible and unjust it's no wonder nobody's signing up to go. U.S. Military Recruitment Tactics: Kidnapping High School Kids? at Dream Act Texas. If they need new soldiers let Bush and his cabinet go fight. Also read Postville: Child Labor isn't Kosher on charges that Agriprocessors violated child labor laws.

Surprise, surprise at Open Borders Lobby on the new plan by ICE to have people deport themselves known as "Scheduled Departure." We're not too surprised to find out nobody showed up. Why? Because it's a ridiculous idea put together by an agency that realizes it can have no effect in a country that refuses to address the issues (or reasons) rather than the symptoms.

Critics Say ‘Scheduled Departure’ Is PR Stunt at Bender’s Immigration Bulletin. Go to BIB for links to the “Scheduled Departure” brochure and fact sheet.

DIY Deportation Plan Not Really Working at Vivir Latino. A little comedy in the video Don’t Deport Me Scotty.

Lies! Lies, I tell you! Liiiieees! on lies propagated by the anti-migrant crowd at Open Borders Lobby. I’ve tried listening to Gheen’s show, but it’s hard with all the lies and propaganda. Also check out some submissions for the Brickfish Immigration Illustration Scholarship.

Chinese American Experience, Part 1: Exclusion and The Driving Out and Chinese American Experience, Part 2: Wong Chin Foo at Zuky blog. These posts on Bill Moyers documentary series “Becoming American: The Chinese Experience” reveal the truth which is often hard to stomach, but it’s necessary to do so. As Kai states he brings us these posts:

not because I perversely enjoy revelling in victimhood but because this is the hard truth, this is what happened, and we need to look at it and ourselves squarely if we’re going to make things right in this country, not only for Chinese Americans but also with regard to the current wave of Latin@ migration which faces similar backlash from nativist reactionaries.

Breakthrough has put out their latest video on migration using a Star Trek Theme.  The crew of the enterprise tries to deport Spock only to find out they needed him.

Do any Trekkies out there have any Star Trek parallels they'd like to compare with the current situation migrants are going through. CBS actually has the whole Star Trek: The Original Series online now. 

How about Season 3: Episode 16 the Mark of Gideon?  Leaders of the planet Gideon try to solve their overpopulation problem by killing everyone off.  Sounds pretty close to "attrition through enforcement" to me. 
If you haven't heard it already from my blogmigos, the Obama campaign has gotten back to us with their answers to the questionnaire we've sent out to everyone.  The McCain campaign has not only been silent, they've shown a plain lack of courtesy. 

"The first phone call I placed was answered cordially.  I was told that someone would get back to me.  I never heard back from anyone," said  The Sanctuary editor Kety Esquivel of who has appeared on CNN to discuss the questionnaire.  "The second time I called, the person I was  speaking with hung up and the third time I called the line was disconnected."
The Sanctuary (4 August 2008)
Kai is beginning what looks to be an excellent and important series over at about the Chinese American experience.  Stop by and check it out if you have the chance.

No Human Being Is Illegal, by Professor Peter Rachleff, at Western MA Coalition for Immigrant & Worker Rights. (direct link to article)

The Changing Face of American Immigrants at Immigration Talk With A Mexican American on Somalian refugees coming to call America home.

The Sorrow and the Pity at Wild Chihuahuas.

For the last several weeks, I have been rendered pretty much mute by the sheer scale of injustice, corruption, cynicism, and, yes, treason, represented by the US establishment's response to illegal immigration.

Latino Soldier's Sad Homecoming at Vivir Latino. Also Undocumented Residents of Hurricane Impacted Areas Need to "be careful" with FEMA and Texas Thumbs Nose to International Community, Set to Execute Mexican National.

Barack Obama Forgot Latin America c/o McCain at Anti-BVBL.  In a recent Berlin speech Obama mentions many countries after referring to his being a citizen of the world, but he fails to mention any in Latin America.

Review of Dan Kanstroom, Deportation Nation at Immigration Prof Blog. Also Expatriation of Hmong Refugees from Thailand and Hospitals Deporting Immigrant Patients?.

U.S. Hospitals Dump Disabled Immigrants at Eristic Ragemail.  This is a sad story of a man hurt by a drunk driver who was deported by the hospital and now lives in a wheelchair with no access to care.

CAPS Board Member Responds Angrily to Request for Comment at Hatewatch.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Catholic National Migration Conference in Washington, D.C.  As has been my experience with previous conferences for immigration legal service providers, there is always more information on offer than time to absorb it.  It is at once an exhausting and rejuvenating experience—meeting new colleagues from other parts of the country, reconnecting with old ones, fine-tuning your practice, commiserating with others whose clients are also facing impossible situations.
sad Postville girl.jpg

There were many fine speakers at the conference, including Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat and genocide survivor Immaculee Ilibagiza.  But the stark contrast between two of the speakers in particular was impossible for me to ignore. [Image: Citizen Orange]

At the Tuesday morning plenary session, we heard from Julie Myers, head of Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE), the enforcement wing of DHS.  I’ve expressed concerns about her leadership of the agency in this space before.   

Setting those issues aside for now, her presentation was notable for the near-complete misalignment between the issues she talked about and the issues of primary concern to those of us listening.  As a speaker, you have to know your audience, and she didn’t seem to.  She talked about her recent experience sitting in on a citizenship swearing in ceremony, and the happiness she felt at being able to witness this moment of such importance for those who reach that point.  Left unanswered was the question that must have immediately presented itself to most of the audience, as it did to me: Why, then, does ICE make it so difficult for migrants to attain citizenship? 

Julia Preston's article in the New York Times speaks for itself. (sombrero tip to the ImmigrationProf Blog)
The Boston Globe reports on the latest Border Patrol recruiting drive here in Massachusetts.  While everyone else gets laid off there's no shortage of jobs that further militarize the U.S. 

It's funny, nativists don't want 'Mericans speaking Spanish, but it looks as though fluency in Spanish is a must for the Border Patrol.  Here's another interesting statistic:

About 53 percent of agents are Hispanic, about 45 percent are white, and about 1 percent are African-American, officials said.
Rachana Rhatti - Boston Globe (3 August 2008)
It seems the Latinos that nativists frequently target are not only dying for them in Iraq, but they're also doing the work for them protecting the border.
(Picture from the Boston Globe / Michele McDonald)

For someone like myself, who spends far too much time thinking about injustice, I fear sometimes that I'll get used to it.  I fear that my heart will encase itself in steel to protect itself from the pain.  I don't know if I'm fortunate or not, but it looks as if my heart hasn't grown cold yet.  My heart wasn't able to insulate itself from the story of Rakan Hassan.

If you read one newspaper article today, let it be the story of Hassan in the Boston Globe today.  When the author, Kevin Cullen, tells of breaking the news about Hassan to his son, I bawled.

Sombrero Tip to Blue Mass. Group.

The story of Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa may be a unique one, but his success need not be unique. With so many DREAMers who are constantly proving their intellect and determination we can copy this story many times over by giving them a chance. Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa Proves There's No "Illegal" Immigration at Awearness Blog.

To Split like a Seed and Become a New at The Unapologetic Mexican. A poetic post on the seed that we are - over and over again. One must be prepared to endure the pain of splitting, and growing, if to become new.

A Navajo Peacemaker in Iran at Zuky. Makes sense. We are all citizens of the world after all. Seems too often we view others by their government rather than by the people themselves.

Government how-to manual on expediting guilty pleas from undocumented immigrants uncovered by ACLU at Latina Lista.

And today, we learn that the irregularities that occurred in the Postville courts, to which Dr. Erik Camayd-Freixas testified to before Congress, were premeditated and came complete - with a how-to manual.
Also Justice Department report reveals manufactured White House strategy to deny undocumented immigrants the "rule of law".

Gainesville Times Review of 9500Liberty Special Screening at Anti-BVBL. In Just Call the Cops Anti-BVBL is challenged by another blog PWConservative claiming Anti-BVBL claims all Hispanics are being dragged out of PWC. Of course, this isn't true. Also read NY Times: The Laws Cops Can't Enforce.

This Op-Ed in the NY Times, hits the nail on the head. We owe it to our law enforcement officers to come up with a workable federal immigration policy that does not force police departments to succumb to political pressures to 'reduce immigration by using racial profiling and harassment'.

Hispanics twice as likely to be searched while driving at The Latin Americanist. Also Follow-up: Suspect arrested in transgendered Latina murder.

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