Immigrant Rights News -- Tues, September 5, 2006
Immigrant Rights News -- Tues, September 5, 2006
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1. Two from the The Boston Globe:
A. "The rise of the immigrant" [op-ed]
B. "No signs of pro-immigrant voter boom"
2. The New York Times, "G.O.P. Sets Aside Work on Immigration"
3. San Francisco Chronicle, "Spreading the word to female farmworkers: A
group teaches women about their rights in the fields"
4. The Star Ledger, "Law targeting illegals takes shape in Newton"
5. The Brownsville Herald, "Border Patrol at top nationally in detainments,
6. The Leaf Chronicle, "Councilman wants illegals out: Councilman proposes
to punish employers, landlords aiding aliens"
7. Tucson Citizen, "2 arrested for aiding migrants cleared"
The Boston Globe
The rise of the immigrant
By James Green | September 4, 2006
ON THIS LABOR DAY, American workers have little, if anything, to celebrate.
Profits and productivity are up (as are CEO salaries), but real wages keep
falling. During this golden age of profit taking, the amount paid to
compensate employees reached a new low as a share of the total economy.
One reason is that union membership in the private sector has dropped below
8 percent. Many of the remaining union workers are seeing their job
protections, healthcare benefits, and pensions disappear as corporations
slash labor costs. Additionally, workers' rights to organize and speak
freely are regularly violated, making it extremely difficult for unions to
recruit new members.
But then, this spring, something unexpected happened, something that cut
against this knotty grain.
On May 1, masses of the nation's 20 million immigrant workers poured into
the streets from coast to coast protesting a proposed federal law that would
make undocumented foreigners felons. The strikes, boycotts, and parades were
a compelling reminder of the labor movement's birth on May 1, 1886, when
thousands of immigrants left work to demand an eight-hour day. For the next
century several generations of foreign-born workers used labor unions as a
means of escaping poverty and becoming active citizens in the democracy.
What will these recent May Day demonstrations mean to today's hard-pressed
unions? It's too soon to tell. The demonstrators were protesting against
anti-immigrant attitudes and policies, not in favor of unions; and yet they
were presenting themselves as workers, not simply as immigrants.
They were saying: If you are going to treat us like criminals, why are you
hiring us to care for your sick and your elderly, to clean your offices and
build your houses, to cook and serve your food?
A few labor unions with immigrant members offered support for the spring
demonstrations, but the massive turnout resulted mainly from the efforts of
religious and community groups and radio DJs. Playing a less visible but
critical role in this historic mobilization were the 140 immigrant worker
centers in cities and rural areas across the nation. On this gloomy Labor
Day the emergence of these centers of solidarity and advocacy offers hope to
immigrant workers and their many allies.
The vast majority of these centers have been formed during the past decade
when they have played some of the roles that trade unions, ethnic clubs,
settlement houses, and legal service offices have played in the past.
For example, staffers at the Brazilian Workers Center and the Chinese
Progressive Association in Boston provide legal advice, expose and rectify
employer abuses, and provide education and training, as does the Welcome
Project in Somerville. This project also provides safe space for immigrants
of all nations to find common ground, and fosters a sense of solidarity,
which is what played out May 1 when several thousand Somerville residents
marched to Foss Park for a spirited immigrant-rights rally.
The AFL-CIO has recognized the importance of these workers' centers in
reaching out to the huge numbers of immigrants who work as day laborers,
particularly in the building, landscaping, and restaurant industries.
Indeed, just one month ago the federation announced an alliance with the
newly formed National Day Laborers Organization, a product of what its
director calls a ``growing worker center movement."
The centers are not adequate substitutes for unions because they are not
legal, recognized bargaining agents and therefore have limited leverage over
However, immigrant worker centers have become a foundation for an emerging
immigrant workers' rights movement, and they could be a building block for a
new, multifaceted American labor movement.
Such voluntary worker associations were, in fact, the forerunners of the
first unions that formed a century ago, long before employees won the right
to organize, strike, and bargain collectively. The Workmen's Circle, for
example, once provided a wide range of services to immigrant Jewish laborers
who then created legendary garment workers unions, like the ILGWU,
organizations that lifted two generations of Jews and other immigrants out
of ghetto poverty.
Could this happen again? Indeed it could. And so on this Labor Day immigrant
workers and those who value their contributions to our society have good
reasons to hope that history will repeat itself.
James Green teaches history at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. He
is the author of ``Death in the Haymarket: A Story of Chicago, the First
Labor Movement and the Bombing That Divided Gilded Age America."
The Boston Globe
No signs of pro-immigrant voter boom
By Michael R. Blood and Peter Prengaman | September 5, 2006
LOS ANGELES --During the spring protests that brought hundreds of thousands
to the streets, Hispanic immigrants chanted a promise and a threat to
politicians: "Today We March, Tomorrow We Vote."
So far, however, there is no indication that such a potent political legacy
An Associated Press review of voter registration figures from Chicago,
Denver, Houston, Atlanta and other major urban areas that saw large rallies
shows no sign of a historic new voter boom that could sway elections.
Even in Los Angeles, where a 500,000-strong protest in March foreshadowed
demonstrations across the United States, an increase in new registrations
before the June primary was more trickle than torrent in a county of nearly
4 million voters.
Protest organizers -- principally unions, Hispanic advocacy groups and the
Roman Catholic Church -- acknowledge that it has been hard to translate
street activism into ballot box clout, though they insist their goal of 1
million new voters by 2008 is reachable.
It's impossible to count exactly how many new registrants were inspired by
the new movement because counties typically do not ask race or ethnicity.
But while new registrations were higher this year than last -- not
surprising since Democrats and Republicans are struggling for control of
Congress -- the numbers are well below 2004 and do not indicate the
watershed awakening that advocates had envisioned.
"I was anticipating a huge jump in registration -- I didn't see it," said
Jess Cervantes, a veteran California political operative whose company
analyzes Hispanic voting trends. "When you have an emotional response, it
takes time to evolve."
The emotional response was a reaction to federal legislation that would have
overhauled current immigration policy, including the criminalization of the
estimated 11 million immigrants who are here illegally.
While that legislation is effectively dead this year, immigration remains a
campaign issue. And Hispanic voters remain a pivotal voting bloc, especially
with their numbers projected to grow significantly in coming decades.
Hispanics have long voted in numbers far below their share of the
population, in part because many are under 18 or not U.S. citizens. A study
by the Pew Hispanic Center found that while Hispanics accounted for half the
nation's population growth between the 2000 and 2004 elections, they
represented only one-tenth of the increase in votes cast.
A lack of political experience helps explain why the flow of new
registrations has been halting. Some activists acknowledge that their groups
have yet to master the nuances of voter registration drives -- a typically
face-to-face task more complex than mobilizing a march. Others complain that
political parties with the most to gain haven't financed registration
"Until the money is spent, 'Today We March, Tomorrow We Vote' will always
just be a slogan," said Nativo Lopez, president of the California-based
Mexican-American Political Association. "A million new registrations would
cost about $10 million. Is anybody willing to pay that? I haven't seen it."
What's more, no galvanizing leader of the immigrant-rights movement has
emerged and the largest pool of potential voters -- young people -- tend to
be the hardest to reach.
"It's a hard sell," said Avelino Andazola, a field organizer with the
Southwest Voter Registration Education Project who rounded up only a dozen
new registrations at a spring immigration rally attended by several thousand
people in southern Los Angeles County.
For this story, the AP reviewed new registration numbers in metropolitan
areas over several years. The areas included Los Angeles, San Francisco and
San Jose, Calif.; Chicago; Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Dallas and Houston;
Atlanta; Denver; and Jacksonville and St. Petersburg, Fla. The time frames
included both January-through-July periods dating to 2004, as well as
periods before statewide elections, when registration efforts are most
The data provide a wide-angle look at new registrations, but do have
limitations. Any significant shift in registrations overall would stand out,
but voters are not specifically identified by race or ethnicity.
Gains in new registrations were highest in 2004, when political parties
spent lavishly to enroll new voters ahead of the presidential election.
New voter registrations increased in virtually every city between 2005 and
2006 -- but that would be expected because of congressional primaries and
elections. The 2006 numbers were below the 2004 numbers in every city, often
In Harris County, Texas, home to Houston, new registrations through July
tallied 55,657 -- an increase of 16 percent over 2005 but well below the
71,402 from 2004.
And in rare cases, registrations declined. New registrations in San
Francisco were significantly lower in the 100 days before this year's June 6
primary than over the same period before a statewide special election in
In Chicago and surrounding Cook County, registrations in the first seven
months this year jumped about a third over 2005, but were far below the same
period in 2004.
Associated Press Writers Giovanna Dell'Orto in Atlanta, Nathaniel Hernandez
in Chicago, Anabelle Garay in Dallas, Steve Paulson in Denver, Juan Lozano
in Houston, Phil Davis in Tampa, Fla., and Arthur H. Rotstein in Tucson,
Ariz., contributed to this story.
The New York Times
September 5, 2006
G.O.P. Sets Aside Work on Immigration
By CARL HULSE and RACHEL L. SWARNS
WASHINGTON, Sept. 4 - As they prepare for a critical pre-election
legislative stretch, Congressional Republican leaders have all but abandoned
a broad overhaul of immigration laws and instead will concentrate on
national security issues they believe play to their political strength.
With Congress reconvening Tuesday after an August break, Republicans in the
House and Senate say they will focus on Pentagon and domestic security
spending bills, port security legislation and measures that would authorize
the administration's terror surveillance program and create military
tribunals to try terror suspects.
"We Republicans believe that we have no choice in the war against terror and
the only way to do it is to continue to take them head-on whether it is in
Iraq or elsewhere," said Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the
A final decision on what do about immigration policy awaits a meeting this
week of senior Republicans. But key lawmakers and aides who set the
Congressional agenda say they now believe it would be politically risky to
try to advance an immigration measure that would showcase party divisions
and need to be completed in the 19 days Congress is scheduled to meet before
breaking for the election.
President Bush had made comprehensive changes in immigration laws a
priority, even making the issue the subject of a prime-time address, but
House Republicans have been determined not to move ahead with any
legislation that could be construed as amnesty for anyone who entered the
country illegally. They held hearings around the country in recent weeks to
contrast their enforcement-only bill with a Senate measure that could lead
to citizenship for some.
"I don't see how you bridge that divide between us and the Senate," said
Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York and chairman of the
Homeland Security Committee. "I don't see it happening. I really don't."
Democrats say they are not surprised by the immigration impasse and believe
some Republicans would prefer to keep the issue alive to stir conservative
voters rather than reach a legislative solution.
They plan to highlight the collapse of immigration legislation sought by Mr.
Bush and the likelihood that Congress will not meet an Oct. 1 deadline to
pass most required spending bills as evidence that Republicans have lost
sight of the concerns of average Americans. The Democrats are also
intensifying calls for the dismissal of Defense Secretary Donald H.
"Every day, people around the country recognize that this is a failed
administration," said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader.
"If Republicans want to spend the whole month on nothing that is relevant to
the American people, we are happy to do that."
With Democrats poised to pick up seats in the House and Senate and
Republicans determined to hang on to their majorities for the final two
years of the Bush administration, the next few weeks promise to be highly
combative, particularly after the August primaries made it clear that voters
are not in a forgiving mood.
In a draft of a planning memorandum to be circulated to Republican senators,
Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, who is entering his last months as majority
leader, said, "I expect minority obstructionism to be at an all-time high."
Republicans are already preparing for a post-election session to begin Nov.
13 and run at least up to Thanksgiving.
Mr. Frist laid out an ambitious agenda, including a vote on John Bolton's
renomination to be ambassador to the United Nations. But his memorandum did
not even mention immigration. In an appearance in Iowa last week, Mr. Frist
said broad legislation addressing what to do about millions of illegal
immigrants already in the United States might have to await the next
Staff members from the Senate and House Judiciary Committees met last week
to try to find some basis for common ground on the fate of the illegal
population, but one participant said they made no progress.
Representative Mike Pence, the leader of the House conservative caucus and a
proponent of an immigration compromise proposal that has attracted some
White House interest, said he was also doubtful that legislation would reach
Mr. Bush's desk before the elections.
"Anything's possible," said Mr. Pence, Republican of Indiana, "but that's
probably not likely."
Lawmakers of both parties who helped shape the Senate measure insisted that
consensus was still within reach, even on the more difficult immigration
issues, and immigrant advocacy groups are planning a series of marches this
week to prod lawmakers to take action. Some Republicans warned that their
party could suffer politically if it falls short.
"If there's not legislation with Republicans in charge," said Senator Arlen
Specter of Pennsylvania, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, "there's going
to be blame here, and justifiable blame, if we do not produce a bill."
Two other senators who played a leading role in writing the Senate bill,
John McCain, Republican of Arizona, and Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of
Massachusetts, intend to urge Mr. Bush to bring lawmakers to the White House
to broker a resolution.
"We can get the job done, but it's going to require presidential
leadership," Mr. Kennedy said.
With the immigration measure seemingly stalled, Republicans say they will
put most of their time and energy into security-oriented measures to drive
home a theme that has served them well in the last two elections - that they
are better equipped to thwart terrorism than are Democrats.
"They'll wave the white flag in the war on terror," Senator Mitch McConnell
of Kentucky, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said Sunday of the
Democrats on the CBS News program "Face the Nation."
But Democrats believe that voters will not be easily persuaded by the
Republican push on national security and that the public increasingly sees
the Iraq war as an impediment to the war on terror.
In a letter to Mr. Bush on Monday, the Democratic leaders of the House and
Senate urged him to begin pulling American troops out of Iraq this year.
"Mr. President, staying the course in Iraq has not worked and continues to
divert resources and attention from the war on terrorism that should be the
nation's top security priority," said the letter signed by Mr. Reid and
Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, as well as
the senior Democrats on relevant committees.
The Democrats also urged Mr. Bush to fire Mr. Rumsfeld, and they intend to
try to force no-confidence votes in coming days that could put Republicans
on the spot, given statements by some in the party that Mr. Rumsfeld should
resign. But the leadership remains supportive.
"I doubt there is any other American who could have done a better job over
the last five years," Mr. Boehner said of the defense secretary.
Since they will not finish the spending bills on time, Republican leaders
will have to push through a stopgap measure to keep the government running
through the election. But Republicans do hope to advance some nonsecurity
measures. The major legislation on the floor in the House this week is a
bill that would ban trading in horses to be slaughtered for human
San Francisco Chronicle
Spreading the word to female farmworkers
A group teaches women about their rights in the fields
- Heidi Benson, Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, September 4, 2006
09-04) 04:00 PDT Salinas -- Soon after Virginia Bautista came from Mexico to
work in the fields of California, her supervisor demanded sex. She quit. But
when it happened at her next job, in 1988, she had nowhere to turn. She had
four children to support.
"I couldn't lose my job again," she said. The harassment got worse and,
ultimately, she was hospitalized for depression.
Bautista is one of many female farmworkers in California who, lacking
knowledge about antidiscrimination law and often fearful of deportation,
have been subject to repeated instances of sexual harassment. But last year
Bautista joined Líderes Campesinas, a California group dedicated to
educating female farmworkers about their rights, in the hope that relating
her experience would help others.
"I'm learning so much, and letting a lot out," said Bautista, who now does
seasonal work with grapes and row crops. "I don't want to miss a meeting."
Founded in 1992 with an $8,000 grant from the Ms. Foundation, nonprofit
Líderes Campesinas, or the California Organization of Farmworker Women
Leaders, now has 12 chapters statewide and trains about 500 women each year.
The group is part of a broad, decadelong effort by state workers, employers
and government agencies to reduce workplace sexual harassment in the
"Now is the first time in history that women in our communities are feeling
safer," said Mily Trevino-Sauceda, founder of Líderes Campesinas. "Women
have been invisible in the workforce in the agricultural business."
Among the organization's most effective techniques are house meetings, where
skits are performed to help educate farmworker women -- legal permanent
residents and undocumented workers alike. There, they learn they have
recourse under federal law, since the Civil Rights Act protects persons, not
just citizens, from all forms of discrimination.
"These presentations work because the hostess invites her neighbors, family,
comadres -- people she trusts," said Trevino-Sauceda. In such circumstances,
women feel they can speak openly.
On a recent 90-degree evening in Salinas, a dozen farmworker women gathered
for just such a meeting. Trevino-Sauceda led the group, taking cues from a
lengthy agenda posted over the fireplace, while members eagerly interjected
with presentations on health and safety for women and families. One member
gave tips for letting farmworker women know where to be tested for breast
and cervical cancer.
But the central issue this night was getting out the word about sexual
harassment. Women from the chapter in Madera, north of Fresno, were visiting
with expert members of the Salinas chapter. With a ceiling fan slapping
overhead, the first skit began.
Two women pretended to hoe a field using rows of potted plants set on the
living room rug. A male supervisor approached, played by a woman wearing a
beard that had been drawn on with eyebrow pencil.
"Hey, pretty girl, you don't have to work so hard," he said, touching her
shoulder. Alarmed, she whispered to her friend: "That man is bothering me."
"They only give us a five-minute break," said her friend, "but I will go up
to the office to talk to the manager."
However, the friend became tongue-tied at the office when the manager
bellowed: "What do you want!" Wilting in the face of authority, she left.
The skit ended with tips on how to report an illegal act. And as the scent
of taquitos, nopalitos and chile con carne drifted in from the kitchen,
dinner was served.
The next day, Trevino-Sauceda would go to San Francisco for a morning
meeting with the Esperanza Project, a national group of farmworker women.
"We're planning a national conference for next year," she said. The mission
of the conference is to improve connections between official agencies and
the community-based organizations that farmworker women are most likely to
While employees organize and educate themselves, agricultural companies also
are taking steps to fight sexual harassment and other forms of
discrimination. But observers say farms have been slower to adopt training
than other employers, partly because so many farms in California are
small-scale or hire workers seasonally, through labor contractors.
According to the 2002 U.S. census of agriculture, 5 percent of California
farms have 10 workers or more who work 150 days or more. During peak season
in late summer, the number of farmworkers in the state doubles -- from
225,000 to 450,000 -- according to the California Farm Bureau Federation.
"There has been a big difference in the level of sophistication about
training between agribusiness and other employers," said William Smith, a
Fresno civil rights attorney.
But in the past few years, farm companies have begun to catch up, moving
rapidly to ensure all supervisors are trained, according to Julia Belliard,
executive director of the Agricultural Personnel Management Program in
Salinas, which provides training in the grower community.
"In 2004, we had two training sessions," Belliard said. "Last year, we had
In addition to the mandatory training and the impact of worker-driven
groups, several large lawsuits have put both agricultural employers and
employees on notice.
In a 2005 case, the San Francisco district office of the federal Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission -- working with Smith -- brought an action
on behalf of a farmworker in Fresno County who said she had been raped by
The case might never have come to light if not for a 1999 Líderes Campesinas
house meeting that focused on domestic violence. The woman was at first
afraid to reveal that she had been attacked at work, but with the group's
support she eventually came forward, said Trevino-Sauceda.
"It took time, but she wanted to talk, and we sat with her," she said.
The result was a $994,000 jury verdict against Harris Farms, one of the
largest agribusinesses in the nation.
E-mail Heidi Benson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complaints filed against farms
Number of sexual harassment complaints filed with the California
Department of Fair Employment and Housing against commercial farms and
Source: California Department of Fair Employment and Housing
Page A - 8
The Star Ledger (New Jersey)
Law targeting illegals takes shape in Newton
Friday, September 01, 2006
BY JIM LOCKWOOD AND MAURA McDERMOTT
Newton may become the first community in northern New Jersey to crack down
on illegal immigration by imposing fines on landlords who rent apartments to
undocumented immigrants and businesses that hire them.
The proposal, unveiled earlier this week by Councilman Philip Diglio, also
would make English the official language in the Sussex County town.
Newton is the latest in a string of small towns across the nation seeking to
take a hard line against illegal immigration by punishing landlords and
businesses. Newton's proposal is modeled after an ordinance adopted last
month in Hazleton, Pa.
"We have similar issues as (Hazleton) with illegal immigrants," Diglio said.
"We've seen a big increase in crime this particular year," including a knife
fight at an apartment on Spring Street in May that police said was among
four illegal Mexican immigrants.
There also was a recent fire on Main Street at an apartment where illegal
immigrants lived, said Diglio, who also cited growing incidences of
"stacking," or the packing of more people -- who tend to be illegal
immigrants -- into apartments than allowed.
Newton Police Chief John Tomasula said there is no way to link an increase
in crime to illegal immigrants.
There may be a perception of more crime from illegal immigrants due to a few
high-profile violent incidents, but "the perception of the problem may be
worse than it is," Tomasula said.
Diglio's plan would require non-citizens to bring green cards, visas and
working papers to town hall for verification before being allowed to rent or
be hired for a job. Any business owner who hires an illegal immigrant would
be denied businesses permits and city contracts for five years, and landlord
fines would range from $1,000 for a first offense to $10,000 for three or
However, critics of such ordinances say they are unconstitutional,
misguided, divisive and racist.
"What you're doing is playing on people's fear and not resolving the issue,
which is how do we integrate these people," said Jose Perez, development
director of the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey. "We're a society
of immigrants. In terms of Hispanics, it's the next big wave."
The ordinances in Hazleton and Riverside, Burlington County, the first
municipality in New Jersey to pass one, have already spawned lawsuits.
The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders, which claims
15,000 member churches nationwide, filed a $10 million federal lawsuit
against Riverside, and promised to sue Newton if it passes Diglio's plan,
said the Rev. Miguel Rivera, coalition president.
Rivera, who encountered a crowd of jeering protesters waving Confederate
flags and making Nazi salutes when he led a prayer vigil Aug. 20 protesting
Riverside's law, said: "The real reason behind all that is racial
intolerance, and there's a real easy way to say that in one word: racism.
Our Latino community is the one that is being targeted."
There has been no public outcry against illegal immigrants in Newton. In
April, a Hispanic outreach center, El Refugio (The Refuge), was opened in
Newton by some churches and a nonprofit agency aiming to integrate a growing
immigrant population and prevent culture clashes or problems.
Newton's debate is a microcosm of a national problem caused by a flood of
illegal immigrants straining the system, and the federal government's
failure to secure the borders or enforce the laws, said Diglio and New
Jersey State League of Municipalities president Bill Dressel.
"I don't want to pit any group against any other group," Diglio said. "I
just want to see these people to be documented to pay back into system
they're taking from. If the federal government would control the borders
like it should be, we wouldn't be dealing with this. If every municipality
across the country would do this, then maybe the problem wouldn't exist."
At the center of the debate has been Hazleton, a former coal-mining city of
25,000 residents near the intersection of Interstates 80 and 81 in
northeastern Pennsylvania that has seen a culture clash from a large influx
of illegal immigrants in recent years.
In July, the Hazleton City Council passed the "Illegal Alien Immigration
Relief Act" that targets landlords and employers and has become a model
across the nation.
Hazleton Council Vice President Jack Mundie said the ordinance was needed
due to the toll that illegal immigrants were taking on the city's hospital
and schools. The hospital had to expand its emergency room, and the school
district's English as a Second Language budget soared from virtually zero to
nearly a million dollars in the last few years. Hazleton's ordinance also
came in response to some high-profile shootings involving illegal
immigrants. Mundie said an influx of illegal immigration to Hazleton has
been increasing over the past five years, and a new meat-packing plant that
supplies meat to Wal-Mart was one of the attractions.
"We had to step in because no one else is stepping in," Mundie said.
"Hopefully, sooner or later, maybe the federal government will wake up and
do something about it. They're dragging their feet."
It's not known how many illegal immigrants are living in Newton, which had a
population of about 8,400 in 2005, according to the Census.
"As time goes by, more and more illegal immigrants move in," said Newton
Councilman Joe Ricciardo. He's not sure if Diglio's plan is the answer, but
"something has to be done," especially about stacking.
Immigration is of "major concern to municipalities up and down the state,"
particularly regarding stacking, Dressel said. Riverside and Newton
demonstrate "that local officials are taking matters in their own hands ...
because there doesn't seem to be any leadership coming from the federal
government nor from the state government," Dressel said. "It's a
quality-of-life issue that deals with the community on a whole."
Such laws are being considered in nearly 50 municipalities nationwide,
But are they legal and will they stand up in court?
No, contends Ed Barocas, legal director for the American Civil Liberties
Union of New Jersey. Immigration laws are a federal responsibility and local
governments have "no authority" to pass them, he said. They endanger both
undocumented immigrants and legal immigrants, because employers and
landlords may avoid hiring or renting to immigrants regardless of their
status, to avoid the appearance of wrongdoing and the risk of large fines,
"You might as well paint a target on someone who is perceived to be a
foreigner and say, 'Treat me differently,'" Barocas said.
Such ordinances also violate state and federal anti-discrimination laws by
singling out immigrants in general and Latinos in particular, Barocas said.
New Jersey's law against discrimination is the strongest in the nation, and
the courts interpret it broadly, he said.
And English-only provisions "not only violate employees' free speech rights
but are ... counterproductive to preclude government employees from being
able to best assist citizens and others," Barocas said.
Diglio, whose grandparents came from Italy and Portugal, thinks English-only
laws will help with integration.
"The strength of this country was founded by immigrants. They came here and
wanted to be Americans, they got legal status as Americans," Diglio said.
"Today, we have a group of people who don't want to contribute to society
... It seems they don't want to acclimate themselves."
Newton has a five-member council. Diglio and Ray Storm support the idea, and
Ricciardo is not sure. Two council members, Mayor Kevin Elvidge and Thea
Unhoch, declined to say whether they support the measure.
"Why would anybody in our town not support it, unless they're a landlord of
these people?" Storm said.
Opinions in Newton are mixed.
Kenneth Ellman, a landlord who owns properties in Newton and other
communities, said it's "ridiculous" for the town to assume the task of
verifying immigration documents, because "They shouldn't take on the work of
the (federal) immigration department." But the town should go after
landlords who "knowingly and intentionally" rent to illegal immigrants,
The downtown has suffered from a negative image of illegal immigrants and
crime, said Newton Greater Chamber of Commerce president Dennis Becker. He
believes his group, which represents 150 businesses, would support the
"If you stopped landlords from renting to them and stop businesses from
hiring them, they're going to leave," Becker said.
Staff writer Paula Saha contributed to this report. Jim Lockwood covers
Sussex County. He may be reached at email@example.com or (973)
The Brownsville Herald (Texas)
Border Patrol at top nationally in detainments, seizures
BY SARA INÉS CALDERÓN
The Brownsville Herald
September 3, 2006 - Personnel, technology, intelligence analysis and the
National Guard have allowed the Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley
sector to improve upon itself since last year, officials said.
The Valley sector continues to lead the nation in other than Mexican (OTM)
immigrant detainments and cocaine seizures, according to federal officials.
"Everything that we have is very dynamic," said Mario Villarreal, assistant
chief patrol agent for the Valley sector. He stressed the combined use of
resources as the cause for positive changes here, adding that the
improvements have not escaped the notice of major decision makers.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, President Bush,
the Border Patrol chief David Aguilar, as well as Customs and Border
Protection Commissioner W. Ralph Basham have all come to the Valley in
recent months, testifying to the importance of the work done locally by the
Border Patrol, Villarreal said.
As of August 2005, the number of apprehensions had decreased by 15 percent.
Historically, the Valley sector has led the nation in arrests of OTM
immigrants, which also has decreased since by 30 percent, according to the
To date, the sector leads the nation in confiscating cocaine and is second
in marijuana seizures. To date this fiscal year, agents in the sector have
confiscated 218,000 pounds of marijuana and 6,200 pounds of cocaine,
according to the Border Patrol.
An increase in drug seizures is in part due to better law enforcement in the
Valley, said Will Glaspy, spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration.
"There's no doubt that law enforcement is working better and smarter today,
and there is more intelli-gence sharing going on between the various
agencies in the Rio Grande Valley," Glaspy said. "I would attribute some of
the drug seizures to that."
Most drugs are intercepted at the Falfurrias and Sarita federal checkpoints,
Villarreal said, adding that the Valley's Border Patrol staff boasts some of
the best dog handlers in the country.
"We have the most productive Border Patrol checkpoints in the country," he
Villarreal stressed intelligence analysis as crucial to the agency's success
With help from the border intelligence center, where information taken from
the field is continuously analyzed, managers can deploy resources daily or
hourly based on recent intelligence. Understanding the various tactics that
smugglers use means that agents are better able to do their job.
Another factor is the National Guard troops, who were deployed to the Valley
in mid-June. The troops have freed-up more than 70 agents from
administrative duties and allowed them back into the field, Villarreal
New technology, such as aircraft and surveillance, also has allowed the
Patrol to improve its monitor-ing of the border, according to the agency.
Compared with last fiscal year, OTM arrests in August were down by 72
percent compared to this time last year, Villarreal said.
Villarreal suggested that the combined work of the Patrol and ICE has acted
as a deterrent for would-be immigrants, echoing thousands of miles away in
their home countries.
The decrease is due to the agency's work, as well as a strong partnership
with Immigration and Cus-toms Enforcement. Together, the agencies announced
the end to "catch and release," meaning that 99 percent of OTMs are now
detained until they are deported.
The Leaf Chronicle (Clarksville, Tennessee)
Councilman wants illegals out
Councilman proposes to punish employers, landlords aiding aliens
By ERIC SNYDER
A City Council member is wondering if local law enforcement is deliberately
turning a blind eye to illegal immigrants living in Clarksville.
Ward 4 City Councilman Wallace Redd has drafted an ordinance, to be
presented to the City Council next week, which would punish landlords or
employers who "aid and abet illegal aliens."
The ordinance also "declares that English is the official language of the
Redd's action comes in response to accounts of Friday's walk-through of
Burkhart's Mobile Home Park in New Providence by Police Chief Mark Smith,
Clarksville Mayor Don Trotter, a detective and several uniformed police
officers in an effort to improve relations with the Hispanic community.
Hispanic immigrants often hail from countries where the police are to be
feared, so they are reluctant to report the crimes committed against them,
local law enforcement officials explained.
"First of all, why is the chief of police in a mobile home park talking to
illegal aliens?" Redd wrote in an e-mail to Chief Smith Monday. "If the
aliens are illegal, shouldn't they be worried?"
The language and structure of Redd's ordinance is very similar to an
ordinance passed by Hazleton, Pa., in July, which swiftly prompted a lawsuit
by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and
Education Fund for being overly broad.
The ordinance proposes that any business which knowingly "employs, retain,
aids or abets illegal aliens or illegal immigration into the United States"
shall have its business license revoked for one year. The suspension would
last five years for subsequent violations.
The ordinance would also levy $1,000 fines against landlords who allow
illegal aliens to use, rent or lease their property.
Redd's ordinance, like the one passed by the Pennsylvania town, claims
"illegal immigration leads to higher crime rates, contributes to overcrowded
classrooms and failing schools. Contributes to burdens on public services
and diminishes our overall quality of life."
Chief Smith said Tuesday he was not at the mobile home park to condone
anyone's legal status, but to improve relations with the Hispanic community
so they'll report crimes against them.
"We're really having a problem with the Hispanic population becoming
victims," Smith said.
Residents were not quizzed on their legal status during the walk-through.
"The Clarksville Police Department on the local level has very little to do
with illegal immigration," the police chief said.
While the Police Department has no written policy concerning illegal
immigrants, Smith said officers are to call the Memphis branch of the
Immigration and Naturalization Services to report illegal aliens they
Except in cases of felony offenses, local police are usually instructed to
note the alien's name and release them.
Redd said he's not yet certain who would enforce the ordinance.
Smith said it would be "extremely difficult" for his officers to enforce —
even if the department had more resources.
"I feel terribly sorry for these people. And that is a very good gesture,"
Redd said of Friday's walk-through. "But the thing is, we've got to look at
the root of the problem — and that is, they shouldn't be here to begin with.
"We need to encourage them to leave Clarksville."
Redd said he was not worried that similar ordinances have been met with
"I know that the legal stuff is not one of our strong points," Redd said,
referring to numerous federal discrimination lawsuits filed against the
Police Department. He added, "We are ready for it. That's why we have a city
Angel Natal, a Hispanic community leader who helped organize the
walk-through, said the ordinance risks negating any progress Clarksville has
made in reaching out to the Hispanic community.
He did not, however, object to declaring English the official language of
"English is the first language. Ain't no question," Natal said.
City Council will discuss the ordinance at its 4:30 p.m. Tuesday executive
Eric Snyder covers city government and the courts. He can be reached at
245-0262, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 arrested for aiding migrants cleared
Government led students Sellz, Strauss to believe helping them was
acceptable, judge rules
In a dramatic ruling Friday, the year-long case against humanitarians Shanti
Sellz and Daniel Strauss was dismissed.
U.S. District Judge Raner Collins found that the government for years has
led No More Deaths volunteers to believe they could legally provide care to
ailing illegal immigrants.
Sellz and Strauss could not be prosecuted for what had been deemed legal,
The college students were in the desert near Arivaca on July 9, 2005, when
they encountered five illegal immigrants.
Two of the men showed signs of severe dehydration, so Sellz and Strauss
called physicians in Tucson and were advised to rush the men to a hospital.
Before they could reach Tucson, Border Patrol agents arrested them and
apprehended the two men.
Sellz and Strauss willingly faced an uncertain future, refusing from the
outset to accept a plea agreement.
"We have committed no crime," Strauss said on July 21, 2005.
On Friday, Collins agreed.
"The judge recognized that Samaritans (a group that is part of No More
Deaths) really is a humanitarian organization," said Bill Walker, who joined
Stanley Feldman, a former chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, to
defend Sellz free of charge.
"What the judge said is, No More Deaths isn't an organization smuggling
"That's a great victory for everybody in Tucson and on the border who wants
to make sure people don't die in the desert."
The Rev. John Fife, founder of Samaritans, rejoiced. "This is vindication
for our position from the very beginning. And that is, humanitarian aid is
never a crime," he said.
Signs spouting that slogan had sprung up around the Tucson area as
supporters of the humanitarian movement feared for Sellz and Strauss.
U.S. Magistrate Bernardo P. Velasco recently declined to dismiss the case,
but Collins overruled him.
Fife said the ruling sends a clear, ethical message to the people of
southern Arizona that food, water and emergency medical care can be provided
to anyone in distress.
"In my judgment, that means lives will be saved," said Fife.
The Green Valley Samaritans had held a memorial service Thursday for a
migrant they had found dead in the desert.
Alfonso Salas Villagran had died from a combination of heart disease and
heat exposure, the Pima County medical examiner found.
"I was at the No More Deaths camp when the folks from Green Valley found the
body," Fife said.
"We hear all kinds of ways people try to dehumanize these folks, calling
them 'aliens,' 'illegals.' This death puts a human face on this issue."
Sellz, Strauss and federal prosecutors could not be reached for comment.
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