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Archive for December, 2009

Justice Out of Balance

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

LOS ANGELES — An analysis of federal prosecutions in the last year shows a disturbing trend, write editors of La Opinión. While little attention is being paid to white collar crimes like securities and mortgage fraud, the criminal prosecution of immigrants for entering the country illegally or for illegal reentry are currently the two most common types of cases in the entire U.S. federal justice system. Together, these cases represent 92 percent of federal immigration cases. Immigration-related criminal offenses now represent 54 percent of all federal cases nationally. Even more disturbing, editors write, is the fact that of the more than 91,800 immigration-related offenses, employers were prosecuted in only eight cases. As long as the punishment falls on individual immigrants and not on the employers who attract them with jobs, editors write, it is a formula for failure.

A Decade of New Youth Activism

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

by Raj Jayadev

I often hear older activists asking where activism has gone. Where are the Martins and Malcolms of today? They may not have heard of Karina Vargas, Annie Loya, or the youth behind the immigrants’ rights marches. But they should know these youth are part of vital, evolving movements that are going places where prior movements could not go. And given the challenges this next decade will lay at their feet, they’re going to need to go even further. These young people might not fit the traditional mold of “activist” and that might be the best thing about them.

Around this time last decade, I was wading through clouds of tear gas and dodging rubber bullets from the Seattle Police Department. I was 24, it was the World Trade Organization (WTO) protests and a moment that I thought signaled the inauguration of a new youth activism that would hit the ground running with the new millennium.

I was right about the arrival of a new political engagement of young people for the decade, but wrong in my presumption that it would look and feel like the activist movements in America’s past that I had read about. I thought young people, 16 to 24-year-olds, were going to continue what my generation did — fight for inclusion, to be part of the ongoing struggles over civil rights, immigration and the environment. Instead, they decided to lead them. They did so by redefining what it means to be an “activist,” who could be one, and new ways to get the job done. They made history in the process, and did so on their own terms.

In Seattle, I was part of a “youth of color contingent.” In a mainly older, white anti-globalization movement in the United States, to define and pronounce ourselves was important. Our fight was just to be part of the fight, and that’s exactly what we did. Never before had we known what it felt like to completely take over city blocks, to make global financial powers nervous, or to freeze a major international convening. Emboldened as to what was possible, some stayed in the anti-globalization movement (a term that admittedly seemed horribly ahistoric at this point) but most of us returned to the places where youth activism would really be cultivated, our local communities. Read more…


Obama and Congress: At the Crossroads of Immigration Reform

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

By Maribel HastingsNew America Media.

Is it ever “the right time” to pass immigration reform and a path to legalization? Using the issue merely to score political points has been the norm for decades, among detractors and some proponents alike.

President Barack Obama is the latest political figure to attempt a comprehensive fix to the immigration system — or at least, he promised to do so in 2008, in the heat of the presidential campaign.

As January 20, 2010 rolls around — marking the end of his first year in office — Obama has not passed immigration reform, but his defenders predict that by that time the stirrings of the immigration debate will have started in the Senate.

“In this country people have always made excuses for delaying justice. But they’re excuses for inaction. The fact is that the president of the United States (Barack Obama) came to office in large part because he supports wholesale reform of the (immigration) system. It’s time for these politicians to turn their promises into reality,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., told MaribelHastings.com and Reform Immigration For America before introducing the bill H.R. 4321, presented to the House this week to stimulate immigration reform. Read more…

The BIA Has the Chance to Prevent the Wrongful Deportation of Immigrant Children

Monday, December 21st, 2009

By Mary Kenney

While there is no question that Congress needs to step up to the plate and repair our broken immigration system through legislative reform, there are some fixes that can be made now without waiting for Congressional action. If the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) would stop narrowly interpreting existing immigration law, many noncitizens would be eligible to complete applications for legal status in the manner Congress intended.

Read the rest of this entry »

ICE Will Halt Detention of Asylum Seekers on January 4

Monday, December 21st, 2009

by Seth Hoy

According to the Associated Press, the Obama Administration said today that it will no longer detain asylum seekers who, in addition to other criteria, have displayed a credible fear of persecution in their home countries. According to the article:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement director John Morton says beginning Jan. 4, asylum seekers can temporarily enter the U.S. if they meet certain criteria. They must establish their identities, they cannot be dangerous or a flight risk, and they must have a credible fear of persecution or torture.

Currently, foreigners who come to the U.S. without valid documents can be immediately deported. Many are detained while their asylum requests are considered.

Immigration Officials Are Holding People In Secret, Unmarked Jails

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

By Jacqueline Stevens

In addition to publicly listed field offices and detention sites, ICE is holding prisoners in 186 unlisted, unmarked locations, many in suburban office parks or commercial spaces.

“If you don’t have enough evidence to charge someone criminally but you think he’s illegal, we can make him disappear.” Those chilling words were spoken by James Pendergraph, then executive director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of State and Local Coordination, at a conference of police and sheriffs in August 2008. Also present was Amnesty International’s Sarnata Reynolds, who wrote about the incident in the 2009 report “Jailed Without Justice” and said in an interview, “It was almost surreal being there, particularly being someone from an organization that has worked on disappearances for decades in other countries. I couldn’t believe he would say it so boldly, as though it weren’t anything wrong.”  read more…


ICE Agents’ Ruse Operations

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

By Jacqueline StevensThe Nation

Guatemalans in the Boston area are seeing spies infiltrating factories, buses with tinted windows taking away unidentifiable co-workers, and men with guns grabbing their neighbors. For these survivors of state violence, it’s a traumatic reminder of the very thing they thought they had left behind. Twenty-six-year-old Julia, arrested in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid, said, “If they are taking children away and everything, then for me, that’s a second war.” She told her story in interviews with Professors Brinton Lykes and Dan Kanstroom of Boston College’s Post-Deportation Human Rights Project.  read more…

Thank You.

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

Homies Unidos and Alex Sanchez would like to thank all of our supporters for joining us at our Christmas Celebration.  It is with people like you that we will accomplish our mission of creating peace in our communities.

Happy Holidays,

Homies Unidos

The Awful Plight of Pregnant Prisoners

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

By Rachel Roth, The Nation.

Over the past year, incarcerated women and their allies have achieved a remarkable string of victories against inhumane treatment. First, they persuaded the Bureau of Prisons to issue a new policy in October 2008 limiting the use of restraints on women who are in labor, giving birth or recovering after childbirth; the Marshals Service, which transports people in federal custody, followed suit. Next, they won legislation in the spring and summer of 2009 restricting the use of restraints on pregnant women in New Mexico, Texas and New York. Finally, they successfully petitioned the US Court of Appeals Eighth Circuit for a rehearing of the full court in a case from Arkansas, which resulted in a ruling in October that shackling women in labor is unconstitutional. –  Read more…

Congressman Luis Gutierrez Introduces Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

By Seth Hoy

Today, in a room filled with supporters and shouts of “Si, Se Puede,” Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) held a press conference to introduce the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (CIR ASAP). Congressman Gutierrez introduced the immigration reform bill—which at last count had 89 original co-sponsors including the Congressional Hispanic, Black, Progressive, and Asian Pacific American Caucuses—before Congress heads home for the holidays “so that there is no excuse for inaction in the New Year.” - read more…