Nativism: October 2009 Archives

Seth Williams.jpg

Cross-posted at Young Philly Politics.

Julio Maldonado was deported to Peru on Thursday, October 22, 2009, after arriving in the U.S. 38 years ago at the age of 3.

He and his cousin, Denis Calderon, had been victims of an attack based on their ethnicity in 1996. Julio was wrongfully convicted of aggravated assault, incarcerated for a total of 8 years, and then deported.

His family's pleas for justice were ignored by local, state, and federal decisionmakers--except for the convicting judge, Judge Gregory Smith, who actually vacated his own verdict after an evidentiary rehearing. That decision was appealed by the District Attorney's office and overturned. A jury of Julio's peers also found him not guilty of the murder of one of his attackers. So how then was Julio locked up for so long and deported, when the convicting judge (in the aggravated assault trial) and the jury (in the murder trial) both decided he was not culpable?

When it came to wrongfully convicting, imprisoning, and deporting Julio, prosecutors and the Department of Homeland Security zealously worked to prevent a just result. When it came to acknowledging that a mistake had been made and families would be torn apart, everyone's hands were tied, from prosecutor Seth Williams to Governor Rendell (mayor of Philadelphia in 1996, now with the power to pardon an egregious error that occurred on his watch) to Thomas Decker, director of Immigration Customs and Enforcement in Philadelphia, to Janet Napolitano, head of DHS.

The case has broader significance, as Seth Williams will likely be Philadelphia's new District Attorney. He will have to decide, along with the mayor and police commissioner, whether to continue along Philadelphia's current track of close cooperation with ICE to target immigrant communities. Currently, Philly PD is routinely arresting Latin@ immigrants for minor traffic stops and turning them directly over to ICE, or actually joining ICE on home raids. This is in direct contravention of Mayor Nutter's expressed desire to make Philly an immigrant-friendly city. It is hard to be friendly when the immigrant community is terrified of the police, which is working hand in glove with the local ICE contingent to deport every last one of them.

Seth Williams didn't lift a finger to undo the damage he had done to Julio Maldonado and his family, despite repeated promises to the family. At least, we have no evidence he took any favorable action.

Will Philadelphia's elected officials side with the immigrant community, or with Lou Dobbs and others who want to see immigrants chased out of the U.S.? Right now, they are saying one thing and doing another.

[Image: Democratic candidate for District Attorney of Philadelphia, Seth Williams.]

Harvard freshman Jacob D. Roberts '13 has easily written one of the most well-informed and balanced accounts, yet, of the cancellation of Jim Gilchrist's invitation to Harvard.  Here is where Roberts quotes me:

The movement to ban Gilchrist from the conference was largely initiated by Kyle A. de Beausset '11, who in early October began using different university mailing lists to build support for uninviting Gilchrist due to his involvement in the Minuteman Project, which organizes civilians to patrol the border for illegal immigrants and to report crossings to the Border Patrol.

"It might be an interesting intellectual exercise for Harvard students to hear extremist views," de Beausset wrote in one of these e-mails, but he added that the "broader implications of legitimizing these extremist views with the Harvard name" were more important.
If you didn't read the Boston Globe this morning, I was identified as one of the protesters responsible for getting Jim Gilchrist's invitation to Harvard canceled.  The reporter, Milton Valencia, was slightly off on my name (it's always written "de Beausset) but otherwise did an admirable job on such short notice. 

Kyle de Beausset, an undergraduate student and migrant advocate, who was one of the original Harvard protesters, said yesterday that Gilchrist's removal will allow discussions to move toward policy, rather than animosity.

"It's a victory for people who are trying to get hate out of the immigration debate,'' he said. "There's a difference between having views, and hate speech.''

Beausset said more students have been alerted to the group's stance since the arrest in June of a woman with ties to the Minuteman Project.

Shawna Ford and two others allegedly shot and killed a father and son, and wounded the mother in a robbery that Beausset said was to "finance her nativist activism.''

He said the episode showed the extremes to which some members of the movement will go.

"I'm concerned about the broader national implications of legitimizing these extremist views with the Harvard name,'' he said in a letter to fellow students.
Milton Valencia - Boston Globe (16 October 2009)
Jim Gilchrist's organization, in characteristic fashion, has responded with hyperbole and falsehoods.


The award winning filmmaker Arturo Perez, Jr., just released the this powerful video in tandem with Presente.org's announcement that their Basta Dobbs campaign has signed up 50,000 people in support of their demand that CNN get rid of anti-migrant commentator Lou Dobbs.  I'm happy to use this opportunity to announce that Citizen Orange has officially endorsed the Basta Dobbs campaign as evidenced by the "Who We Are" page.

Part of the reason I have been dutifully quantifying the number of pro-migrant blogs in the sanctuarysphere is so that I can encourage the sanctuarysphere to throw its full weight behind bastadobbs.com.
Paul-Ryan-Protest.jpgThe pro-migrant organization Voces de la Frontera continues its incredible organizing work in Wisconsin, this time by forcing Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) to distance himself from Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The following is an article in the Racine, Wisconsin publication The Journal Times on the decision to organize the march: