Immigrant Rights News -- Thurs, August 31, 2006
Immigrant Rights News -- Thurs, August 31, 2006
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1. Philadelphia Inquirer, "Immigration may drive Senate race in N.J., poll
2. New York Law Journal, "Criminalizing Employer Sanctions: Employers Walk a
3. Findlaw, "The Forgotten Detainee"
4. New York Times, "U.S. Blocks Men’s Return to California From Pakistan"
5. GovExec.com, "Chertoff calls for end to ban on deporting Salvadorans"
6. Fox News, "Immigration Ads a Problem for Campaigns"
7. BBCMundo.com, "La 'tos de Katrina'"
Immigration may drive Senate race in N.J., poll finds
Kean has taken a hard line on the issue. Menendez, meanwhile, voted to pass
By Donna De La Cruz
WASHINGTON - New Jersey is thousands of miles from the border with Mexico,
but a recent poll suggests illegal immigration is a top issue in the state's
U.S. Senate campaign.
Republican candidate Tom Kean Jr. says strict immigration reform would be a
top priority if he is elected. Yet Kean, who has taken a hard line on
immigration, won't say whether he supports or opposes an ordinance adopted
by Riverside, the rural Burlington County town that has banned residents
from hiring or renting to illegal immigrants.
That law drew hundreds of protesters on both sides of the issue and forced
Riverside police to close the town's main thoroughfare during a rally on
Kean's opponent, Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, says he opposes the
Riverside ordinance, which is being challenged in federal court.
A poll released earlier this summer suggests that immigration will be one of
the top issues in the Senate campaign between Kean, who comes from a
prominent New Jersey family that has been in the state for generations, and
Menendez, whose parents emigrated from Cuba.
Political analysts say the issue could be a tricky one for Kean in a state
as diverse as New Jersey. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanics
make up nearly 15 percent of the state's population. An estimated 350,000
illegal immigrants live in New Jersey.
"It's a calculated risk on Kean's part, but I think he has to say something
on the issue," Rutgers University political scientist Ross Baker said.
"What works for Republicans in Colorado doesn't work for Republicans in New
Jersey," Baker added. Colorado recently passed statewide tough immigration
laws that would force a million people receiving state or federal aid there
to verify their citizenship.
A Rutgers-Eagleton poll released in June showed that 65 percent of New
Jerseyans said illegal immigrants who have lived and worked in this country
for at least two years should be permitted to keep their jobs and eventually
seek legal status. Thirty-two percent said those immigrants should be
Opinion varied slightly by political affiliation, with 69 percent of
Democrats surveyed supporting legalization for immigrants already here,
compared with 62 percent of Republicans. The telephone survey of 800 adults
has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Joseph Marbach, a political scientist at Seton Hall University, said New
Jersey's long history of being home to a variety of immigrant groups had
made residents "much more liberal-leaning and tolerant with regard to the
treatment of immigrants."
Marbach said this is one area in which Kean's campaign can differentiate
itself from Menendez, since the two candidates share the same views on many
issues - both favor abortion rights, stem-cell research and tougher
Menendez voted along with the majority of senators in May to pass landmark
legislation to secure U.S. borders and offer millions of illegal immigrants
a path to eventual citizenship. In all, 38 Democrats, 23 Republicans and one
independent voted for the bill, while 32 Republicans and four Democrats
"The solution to the nation's broken immigration system should be at the
federal level, which is why I am standing with [Arizona Sen.] John McCain to
pass legislation that will strengthen our borders and increase enforcement
of immigration laws," Menendez said.
The senator accused Kean of flip-flopping on the issue, saying Kean
initially endorsed the McCain-sponsored bill, then changed his position.
Kean was not available to speak to the Associated Press about the issue,
said Jill Hazelbaker, a Kean campaign spokeswoman.
Had Kean been in the Senate, he would not have voted for the Senate measure
that passed, she said.
"The bill makes a mockery of our legal system and rewards those who have
broken our laws," she said.
Kean believes that the United States needs a system that allows employers to
easily verify the legal status of employees and that there should be
penalties for those businesses who knowingly hire illegal immigrants,
New York Law Journal
Criminalizing Employer Sanctions: Employers Walk a Tightrope*
By Stanley Mailman and Stephen Yale-Loehr**
Newspapers have abounded recently with reports of sanctions against
companies that have hired foreign workers who are not authorized to work in
the United States, including over 400 criminal charges this year alone.
After years of relative inactivity on the employer sanctions enforcement
front, how did we get here? What are the trend lines? And how can employers
make sure they are complying with the law? This article explores the
background and the issues, and provides tips for employers on how to comply
with immigration rules without violating antidiscrimination laws.
Employer Sanctions Background
Until 20 years ago it was not illegal for an employer to hire an
undocumented worker. That changed with enactment of the Immigration Reform
and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). With respect to employers, IRCA essentially
does three things. First, it prohibits employers from knowingly hiring a
noncitizen who is not authorized to work for them. Second, an employer must
verify the identity and work eligibility of all employees, even if they are
U.S. citizens, on an I-9 form, and refuse them employment if they fail to
comply with the verification requirements. Third, IRCA's antidiscrimination
provisions prohibit an employer from intentionally discriminating in hiring
or firing on the basis of an individual's national origin or citizenship
status. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) §§ 274A-274B, 8 U.S.C. §
1324a-1324b. See generally Maurice Roberts & Stephen Yale-Loehr, Employers
as Junior Immigration Inspectors: The Impact of the 1986 Immigration Reform
and Control Act, 21 Int'l Law. 1013 (1987). We generally refer to these
rules as "employer sanctions."
Fines for violating the employer sanctions provisions range from $100 for
first-time paperwork violations to criminal sanctions (including up to six
months in jail) for repeat offenders. INA §§ 274A(e)(5), 274A(f)(1), 8
U.S.C. §§ 1324a(e)(5), 1324a(f)(1). The former Immigration and
Naturalization Service (INS) focused its employer sanctions enforcement
efforts on administrative fines, not criminal prosecutions. Even those
efforts waned over time. For example, the number of notices of intent to
fine issued to employers for knowingly hiring unauthorized workers or
improperly completing I-9 forms, never a high number, decreased from 417 in
fiscal year 1999 to just three in fiscal year 2004. U.S. Government
Accountability Office, No. GAO-05-822T, Immigration Enforcement: Preliminary
Observations on Employment Verification and Worksite Enforcement Efforts, at
4 (June 21, 2005), at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05822t.pdf.
Recent Employer Sanctions Prosecutions
Everyone agrees that the current system for verifying workers' identity and
work eligibility is broken. Congress has proposed significant changes to the
employer sanctions regime as part of comprehensive immigration reform
legislation. See generally Stanley Mailman & Stephen Yale-Loehr, Immigration
Reform: Balancing Workers and Enforcement, N.Y.L.J., Aug. 22, 2005, at 3,
reprinted in 10 Bender's Immigr. Bull. 1403 (Sept. 15, 2005). The
administration has also signaled its intent to get tough on employer
sanctions violators. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has
begun what Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff
calls a "strategic shift" in enforcement by focusing on employers that
knowingly or recklessly hire illegal immigrants. Those employers will face
criminal charges -- including money-laundering charges -- and seizure of
assets rather than administrative fines. "We found that [administrative]
fines were not an effective deterrent," Julie L. Myers, Assistant Secretary
for ICE, told the New York Times. "Employers treated them as part of the
cost of doing business." Julia Preston, U.S. Puts Onus on Employers of
Immigrants, N.Y. Times, July 31, 2006, at A6. While the former INS brought
25 criminal charges against employers in 2002, ICE has already arrested 445
employers this year. Id. "Companies that utilize cheap, illegal alien labor
as a business model should be on notice. ICE is dramatically enhancing its
enforcement efforts against employers that knowingly employ illegal aliens,"
said Ms. Myers. "Criminal indictments . . . are the future of worksite
enforcement." Paul Cuadros, The New Tactics of Immigration Enforcement, Time
Magazine, Aug. 7, 2006, at
generally Thomas C. Green & Ileana M. Ciobanu, Deputizing - and Then
Prosecuting - America's Businesses in the Fight Against Illegal Immigration,
43 Am. Cr. L. Rev. 1203 (2006).
Proposed DHS SSA "No-Match" Rule
Does the new emphasis on prosecuting the worst employer sanctions violators
mean that other companies can breathe easy? Not necessarily. Supporting the
continuing shift to make all employers more responsible for complying with
immigration laws, the DHS recently published proposed regulations addressing
what employers should do if they receive a notice from the Social Security
Administration (SSA) indicating that an employee's name or social security
number doesn't jibe with SSA records. The proposed rule is at
Each year the SSA sends these notices, known as "no-match" letters, to
thousands of U.S. employers. See generally Stanley Mailman & Stephen
Yale-Loehr, Social Security "Mismatch Letters" Jeopardize Jobs, N.Y.L.J.,
June 24, 2002, at 3, reprinted in 7 Bender's Immigr. Bull. 773 (July 1,
2002). Until recently, employers faced few problems if they failed to react
to no-match letters. Under the proposed rule, however, no-match letters
could serve as "constructive knowledge" that an employee is not authorized
to work in the United States. Such a finding would expose employers to
employer sanctions penalties.
The proposed rule would add two examples of constructive knowledge
situations to the existing regulations: where the employer receives written
notice from the (1) SSA that the combination of name and SSN submitted for
an employee does not match SSA records; or (2) DHS that documentation
presented by an employee in completing an I-9 form is invalid.
The proposed rule specifies the steps an employer would have to take to
constitute a reasonable response to a no-match letter. These "safe harbor"
procedures would not always be easy to follow. They include a requirement
that employers take specific steps to resolve any discrepancies within 14
days of receipt of the letter, complete a new I-9 form within 60 days of
receipt if they fail to resolve the discrepancies, and verify the new
information within 63 days of receipt. Otherwise, employers would risk a
finding of constructive knowledge that an employee is not authorized to
The DHS received a number of comments opposing the proposed rule. For
example, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) noted the
danger in basing worksite enforcement on a federal database ill-designed for
this purpose, particularly given the lack of SSA mechanisms for correcting
data discrepancies and the short deadlines given. AILA also argued that the
new rule would invite discrimination, in that while it would pressure
employers to discharge employees, it failed to provide corresponding
immunity against charges of citizenship discrimination even though they
resulted from good faith efforts to comply with the safe harbor provisions.
AILA, Comment on DHS Docket No. ICEB-2006-0004, Safe-Harbor Procedures for
Employers Who Receive a No-Match Letter (Aug. 11, 2006), at
Making many of the same criticisms, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce pointed out
that the proposed rule could result in massive firings and the shutdown of
businesses around the country. The Chamber also claimed that the rule was
premature in view of pending legislation that could obviate the need for
such action by establishing a temporary worker program. U.S. Chamber of
Commerce, Comment on DHS Docket No. ICEB-2006-0004 - Rulemaking Proceedings
on Safe-Harbor Procedures for Employers Who Receive a No-Match Letter (Aug.
14, 2006), at
Employers must be careful in complying with employer sanctions. On the one
hand, they face government fines or even criminal prosecution if any of
their employees are not authorized to work. On the other hand they face
possible lawsuits if they ask employees for too much information. A recent
case shows the tightrope employers must walk.
In Zamora v. Elite Logistics, Inc., 449 F.3d 1106 (10th Cir. 2006), the
employer, Elite Logistics, rechecked its employees' documents in
anticipation of an immigration investigation. Ramon Zamora, originally from
Mexico, had provided a social security card when he was hired months
earlier. However, Elite Logistics demanded that Zamora produce I-9
documentation again when it discovered that someone else had used Zamora's
social security number in California in 1989, 1995, and 1997. When Zamora
produced more documents, including a naturalization certificate, Elite
Logistics refused to accept them and suspended Zamora until he produced
proof that he was using the correct social security number. Zamora did so,
but was fired when he asked for an apology before returning to work. Zamora
sued for wrongful discharge, claiming national origin discrimination.
The Tenth Circuit held that Zamora had produced enough evidence to go to
trial because a jury could determine that Elite Logistics' actions weren't
motivated solely by a desire to comply with I-9 requirements. According to
the Tenth Circuit, a jury could determine that Elite Logistics was motivated
at least in part by Zamora's Mexican heritage. The case was remanded to the
trial court, where a jury will decide whether Zamora is entitled to damages.
Tips for an Employer Sanctions Compliance Program
Here are some tips for employers to toe the line between employer sanctions
compliance and antidiscrimination law:
o Be pro-active. Set up internal protocols for how your company will handle
I-9 forms, including ongoing training. Do regular audits of your I-9 forms.
o Do not request specific documents to verify employment eligibility.
Instead, let new hires choose from the list of acceptable documents attached
to the I-9 form.
o Complete section one of the I-9 form on the first day an employee begins
work. Do this for all new employees, even if you are convinced they are U.S.
o The remainder of the I-9 form must be completed within three business
days. If workers fail to bring the documentation required by the I-9 (or a
receipt for replacement documents if they were lost) within that time, you
may fire them.
o If an employee provides a document that does not satisfy the I-9
requirements, simply return the document and ask for another one from the
o Don't accept any documents that are not originals, except as stated on the
o If you discover that you didn't receive I-9 forms from all employees, get
the proper documentation immediately and only from those people who are
actually missing information. Initial any changes. Don't throw out the old
I-9 form and do a new form with the old date.
o If the documentation provided at hire looks to be genuine on its face, you
may not ask for more proof. Doing so can subject you to a national origin
o If you discover evidence that would lead you to believe an employee isn't
legal, question her, and provide her with another chance to present proper
o Review your I-9 forms on a regular basis and develop a tracking system for
any employment authorization documents that may expire. Update and reverify
o Treat all employees and job applicants equally. Create a routine drill for
all employees, and follow it every time.
o Keep all I-9s for three years after the date of hire or one year after the
date of dismissal, whichever is later.
o When in doubt always consult counsel to avoid exposure and liability.
Other resource materials are on the Internet. See, e.g., American
Immigration Lawyers Foundation, Resource Lists: Employer Sanctions and "Know
Your Rights" (May 1, 2006), at
http://www.aila.org/Content/default.aspx?docid=19204 (document no.
Complying with IRCA's employer sanctions provisions has never been easy. See
generally Stanley Mailman & Stephen Yale-Loehr, The Complexity of Verifying
Work Authorization, N.Y.L.J., Oct. 27, 1997, at 3, reprinted in 2 Bender's
Immigr. Bull. 943 (Nov. 15, 1997). Now, facing the specter of criminal
prosecution and other enforcement tools, employers can no longer shrug off
the immigration rules. The DHS is sending a clear message: exploiters of
undocumented labor will face aggressive enforcement. Even companies that
observe the verification rules routinely will find the process more taxing
as the DHS steps up its regulatory efforts with such enforcement tools as
the SSA no-match letters. But lawyers remain aware that unless the
government refines its regulations, too many authorized workers will lose
their jobs and some employers will inevitably violate the antidiscrimination
* This article originally appeared in the August 23, 2006 issue of the New
York Law Journal. Copyright © 2006 New York Law Publishing Company. The
authors thank the Journal for permission to reprint this article.
** Stanley Mailman and Stephen Yale-Loehr are co-authors of Immigration Law
and Procedure, published by LexisNexis Matthew Bender. Mr. Mailman is
counsel to Satterlee Stephens Burke & Burke in New York City. Mr. Yale-Loehr
is of counsel at Miller Mayer in Ithaca, N.Y., and teaches immigration and
asylum law at Cornell Law School.
The Forgotten Detainee
By JOANNE MARINER
Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2006
Who remembers Ali Saleh al-Marri? A citizen of Qatar held since mid-2003 as
an "enemy combatant" in the United States, al-Marri has largely been treated
as an afterthought. Even as editorial boards waxed indignant over the
indefinite detention of American citizens Yaser Hamdi and Jose Padilla, few
seemed to notice the like situation of al-Marri.
But now that the two others have been released from military custody - Hamdi
to return to Saudi Arabia, and Padilla to face criminal prosecution on
terrorism charges - al-Marri's circumstances warrant greater scrutiny. As
his habeas corpus claim works its way up through the courts, some very basic
constitutional rights questions are being decided.
As was the case with both Padilla and Hamdi, al-Marri is being held in a
Navy brig in South Carolina because of a one-page presidential order. And
like Padilla (but unlike Hamdi), al-Marri was arrested in the United States,
where he was lawfully present as a student.
Picked up by FBI agents from his home in Peoria, Illinois, al-Marri might be
a criminal, but he hardly seems like a combatant. He carried no weapon, was
thousands of miles away from any conceivable battlefield, and was charged
with credit card fraud, making false statements, and similar offenses, until
the government decided to drop his prosecution and transfer him into
On the basis of a brief hearsay declaration, a federal court recently upheld
al-Marri's indefinite detention. The press reacted with silence: Only the
Peoria Journal Star published a single, short article on the ruling.
The "former West Peoria man," the Journal Star indicated, would remain in
It's a Long Way from West Peoria to Kabul
The allegations against al-Marri are set out in a sixteen-page hearsay
declaration filed with the South Carolina district court that issued a
decision in his case a few weeks ago. What al-Marri essentially stands
accused of is the crime of terrorism. If the government is correct in its
allegations, al-Marri was an al Qaeda "sleeper" agent who was sent to the
United States to disrupt the banking system and help other terrorist
Al-Marri is not accused of using a gun in Afghanistan, but rather of using a
computer in Illinois. But because the government does not want to follow the
basic rules of criminal procedure - such as granting the defendant the right
to confront his accusers - it has deemed him a combatant, rather than a
In upholding al-Marri's detention, the South Carolina district court that
issued a decision in the case a few weeks ago relied heavily on the Supreme
Court's 2004 ruling in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld. The plurality opinion in the Hamdi
case found that enemy combatants captured in Afghanistan could be held for
the duration of the armed conflict if they were given a meaningful
opportunity to challenge their detention.
The Hamdi case's holding narrowly reflected its facts. Yaser Hamdi was
captured in Afghanistan in November 2001, allegedly with a large number of
Taliban. While he claimed that he was not fighting as a combatant, there is
no doubt that he was captured in a war-time environment.
The Hamdi plurality, focused on these circumstances, specifically defined an
enemy combatant as a person who was "part of or supporting forces hostile to
the United States or coalition partners in Afghanistan and who engaged in an
armed conflict against the United States there." Read those words again, if
their scope is in any way unclear.
The Supreme Court's Hamdi ruling, in short, would seem to have very little
relevance to someone arrested by the FBI in Peoria. Someone engaged in
credit card fraud - or even terrorism -- on the territory of the United
States just cannot be said to have engaged in armed conflict in Afghanistan.
KSM, Once Again
Besides the simple desire to evade criminal justice protections in favor of
the more relaxed standards set out in Hamdi (by which, for example, hearsay
might be allowed), the government appears to have another reason for placing
al-Marri in military custody. This reason is easy enough to deduce from the
hearsay declaration that the government filed with the court.
The main source of the allegations against al-Marri is apparently Khalid
Sheikh Muhammed. Muhammed, believed to be the architect of the September 11
terrorist attacks, has been in secret CIA custody for years. Numerous press
reports based on anonymous CIA sources have claimed that he has been
Because the government does not want to let KSM anywhere near a courtroom,
it also needs to keep people like al-Marri away from fair criminal justice
procedures. If al-Marri were allowed to cross-examine the source of the
allegations against him, as he should be, the government would have to
deliver up KSM to the court.
The CIA's secret detention of Muhammed and others is not only repugnant in
itself, it is tainting a whole generation of terrorism prosecutions. It
nearly derailed the prosecution of Zacarias Moussaoui; it caused similar
problems with the prosecution of Uzair Paracha; and it is behind the Bush
administration's efforts to push Congress to adopt egregiously unfair rules
for military commission proceedings.
It may be that both Ali Saleh al-Marri and Khalid Sheikh Muhammed deserve to
stay behind bars. But we will never know what they deserve until we subject
them to a process that is designed to reveal the truth. Until then, what we
have is a mockery of justice in which criminals are called combatants and
Peoria is akin to Kabul.
Joanne Mariner is a human rights attorney. Her previous columns on the
detainee cases and the "war on terrorism" are available in FindLaw's
New York Times
August 29, 2006
U.S. Blocks Men’s Return to California From Pakistan
By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 28 — Federal authorities have prevented two relatives of a
father and son convicted recently in a terrorism-related case from returning
home to California from Pakistan unless they agree to be interviewed by the
It is unclear whether the men, Muhammad Ismail, 45, and his son Jaber, 18,
have a direct connection to the terrorism case or if they have been caught
up in circumstance.
The United States attorney’s office in Sacramento declined Monday to answer
questions about the Ismails beyond confirming that the men had not been
permitted to fly into the United States and that the Federal Bureau of
Investigation wanted to question them.
The United States attorney, McGregor W. Scott, reiterated a comment he had
made to The San Francisco Chronicle, which reported Saturday about the
“They’ve been given the opportunity to meet with the F.B.I. over there and
answer a few questions, and they’ve declined to do that,” Mr. Scott said
through a spokeswoman, Mary Wenger.
The Ismails live in Lodi, Calif., a small farming town south of Sacramento,
where their relatives Umer Hayat and his son, Hamid, were arrested last
summer as part of what federal prosecutors said was an investigation into
The Hayats are the only people to have been charged. Hamid Hayat, the nephew
of Muhammad Ismail and the cousin of Jaber, was convicted in April of
supporting terrorists by attending a training camp in Pakistan. Umer Hayat,
in a deal reached with prosecutors after jurors deadlocked on terrorism
charges, pleaded guilty in May to lying to the authorities about carrying
$28,000 to Pakistan from California.
The Ismails discovered they were on the federal government’s no-fly list of
people not allowed to enter the United States after they were refused
permission to board a connecting flight in Hong Kong on April 21; they had
been trying to return to California after several years in Pakistan, said
Julia Harumi Mass of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern
California, who is representing them.
In Hong Kong, Ms. Mass said, they were told there was a problem with their
passports; other family members traveled on to California, while the Ismails
returned to Pakistan. There, a consular officer suggested there had been a
mix-up and advised them to book a direct flight to the United States, but at
the airport, they were told they were on the no-fly list, she said.
Jaber Ismail, who was born in the United States, was questioned by the
F.B.I. at the American Embassy in Islamabad, but his father, a naturalized
United States citizen from Pakistan, declined to participate, Ms. Mass said.
Jaber Ismail has refused further interrogation without a lawyer and has
declined to take a polygraph test; Ms. Mass said the men were told these
conditions had to be met before the authorities would consider letting them
back into the United States.
She said the men had not been involved in terrorist activities; Jaber
Ismail, she said, had gone to Pakistan in part for religious study.
“If the government had evidence instead of innuendo,” Ms. Mass said, “then
they would be charged with a crime instead of being held hostage in a
foreign land.” She said she had filed a complaint with the Department of
Homeland Security, seeking the removal of the Ismails from the no-fly list
and an explanation for why they were considered a threat.
Hamid Hayat mentioned Jaber Ismail in a marathon F.B.I. interrogation before
he was charged, according to transcripts. He said his cousin had attended a
camp in the past couple of years, but he was not sure if it was the same one
he had attended.
Defense lawyers attacked the interrogation as coerced and misleading, saying
that the camp Mr. Hayat had referred to involved religious instruction, not
terrorism, and that investigators had intimidated the men into making false
claims. The government never presented evidence that Mr. Hayat had attended
the camp, beyond his own words.
Carl W. Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond who has
studied terrorism prosecutions, said the Ismails’ situation raised a host of
difficult legal issues.
“There are a lot of Supreme Court cases on the right to travel,” Mr. Tobias
said. “But you have to play them against the Patriot Act and whatever
legislation may apply. This does render them stateless in some ways.”
Chertoff calls for end to ban on deporting Salvadorans
By Jonathan Marino
Homeland Security Department Secretary Michael Chertoff on Wednesday said
Congress must immediately act to end a decades-old provision that prohibits
Salvadorans from being deported.
After four months of inaction in court following the department's filing of
a motion to quash the provision, DHS now is counting on lawmakers, Chertoff
said. He said he would like to see legislation passed to eliminate a 1980s
injunction preventing deportation of Salvadorans in the United States
illegally. The civil war leading to the injunction ended in the early 1990s.
"I believe there ought to be widespread support" on Capitol Hill for the
legislation, which is yet to be proposed, Chertoff told reporters. "I would
like to see it passed before the midterm elections... the civil war in El
Salvador is over."
From mid-May to mid-July, more than 3,700 Salvadorans were arrested and
released under DHS' old catch-and-release policy. But, with the end that
program, Chertoff warned that these illegal immigrants are filling
already-crowded detention centers.
DHS officials said 99 percent of illegal immigrants caught are now detained
and that most are then deported. This is a marked improvement from 2005,
when slightly more than one-third of illegals were being detained.
Already, DHS officials are mulling a variety of options to accommodate a
growing population at detention centers.
Chertoff said completely ending catch-and-release procedures, in which
illegal immigrants are caught but then let go after being served with
paperwork to appear at a later court date, will be impossible without a
reversal of the policy on Salvadorans.
Despite the challenges immigration officials face, DHS agencies can point to
success in the months since President Bush's call for tighter border
control, Chertoff said. Leading up to Bush's nationally televised speech in
May, arrests of illegal alien Mexicans at the U.S.-Mexico border were
outpacing those in recent years, according to DHS data.
But, after the anti-illegal immigration initiative was announced, those
numbers fell sharply, indicating that Mexicans - the United States' largest
illegal immigrant group - were becoming wary of trying to cross the border,
according to Chertoff. David Aguilar, chief of the Border Patrol, said
Mexican towns bordering the United States once considered a jumping-off
point for groups trying to sneak past border agents have since seen a lull
"This is proof-positive of the deterrent effect of the catch and remove
policy," Chertoff said.
In addition, "other-than-Mexican" arrests have decreased about 60 percent,
to 6,400 in mid-July from about 16,400 the same time the previous year.
Arrests of non-Mexican illegal immigrants are approaching a four-year low,
DHS data shows.
Still, DHS' border protection agencies are trying to recruit as aggressively
Aguilar said the agency has made progress in meeting the president's goal of
hiring 6,000 more Border Patrol agents by the end of fiscal year 2008. There
are currently 700 agents being trained, and already this fiscal year, 900
have completed training, he said.
This document is located at
Immigration Ads a Problem for Campaigns
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
By SUZANNE GAMBOA, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON — Capturing the immigration debate in political ads this campaign
season _ without upsetting Hispanics _ is proving tricky for the parties and
An ad criticizing Stephen Laffey, who is challenging incumbent Sen. Lincoln
Chafee for the Republican nomination in Rhode Island, set off grumbling in
the Latino community. The ad criticized Laffey, mayor of Cranston, for
allowing city police to accept ID cards issued by the Mexican government as
Chafee's spokesman had no comment about the ad. Laffey's campaign called it
an insensitive attack on the mayor's attempt to empathize with"people who
struggle and who try to make a better life for themselves."
The National Republican Senatorial Committee said the ad, which it
sponsored, raises legitimate questions."This ad is about our national
security, and it speaks to concerns raised by the FBI,"spokesman Dan Ronayne
Polls have shown Laffey and Chafee running neck-and-neck in a race that has
gained national attention.
The winner of the Republican primary will face Democratic former Attorney
General Sheldon Whitehouse in the November election.
The immigration debate was left hanging when Congress adjourned for the
summer. Rather than negotiate a compromise on the vastly different bills
passed by the House and Senate, Republicans and Democrats have traded barbs
over immigration at field hearings and in political ads.
"Both parties are crossing the line,"said Janet Murguia, president of the
National Council of La Raza, which is calling for an end to such ads."The
issue of what to do about immigration is fair game for this election,
demonizing an entire community is not."
On Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee's Hispanic Caucus called on
national Republicans to stop airing its ad in the Chafee-Laffey race, saying
it implies falsely that"Mexican immigrants will carry out acts of terrorism
against government buildings and airplanes."
The Chafee-Laffey race is not the only one facing the challenge of using the
immigration issue in political ads.
_In his first campaign ad, Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., boasted of his
immigrant heritage, but said some immigrants today have sinister motives for
entering and lists how he's tried to beef up border security. The ad was
intended to appeal to voters worried about losing their jobs to immigrants.
_Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., has an ad on his re-election campaign Web site
praising his anti-terrorism work. The ad includes an image of him standing
in the desert near two white SUVs, similar to those used by the Border
Patrol. Critics say the scene looks like the U.S.-Mexican border.
_Republican Brian Bilbray is believed to have sealed his victory in a June
California runoff to fill the House seat of disgraced former Rep.
Randy"Duke"Cunningham with an immigration ad suggesting Democrat Francine
Busby was encouraging illegal immigrants to vote.
Even Internet ads have drawn ire. Without commenting, the Democratic
Senatorial Campaign Committee recently removed a Web ad that Republican and
Democratic Hispanics decried as offensive because it squeezed images of two
people trying to cross a border fence between video of al-Qaida leader Osama
bin Laden and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
The ad asked,"Feel Secure?"
The Web ad so outraged Houston City Councilwoman Carol Alvarado, who is
Mexican-American, that she fired off a letter to committee chairman Sen.
Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. Alvarado, who says she's very loyal to the party,
said likening illegal immigrants to bazooka-toting terrorists undermined
Democrats'positive relationship with Latinos.
"It's a slippery slope if not done carefully,"she said."If you look at the
9/11 attacks those are not people who crossed the Mexican border. Those are
people who got through our airports."
Rhode Island state Sen. Juan M. Pichardo, a Dominican-American, was equally
critical of the NRSC ad attacking Laffey."To me and the Latino community and
the immigrant community, it is an ad that is mean-spirited, divisive and has
no place in Rhode Island,"Pichardo said.
Focusing on positive aspects of the Latino culture _ family, culture, future
_ is the best way to reach the community, even in negative ads, said Lorena
Chambers, founder of Chambers Lopez&Gaitan, an advertising company.
For Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign, Chambers
created an award-winning ad that criticized President Bush's education
policies, but featured a Latina in cap and gown with her mother.
Frank Guerra, who helped produce an ad for Bush's 2004 presidential
campaign, said creating ads for Hispanics is complicated by the population's
diversity. Their views on immigration are just as varied.
"It's tricky and precarious no matter what you do because this is an issue
where the people are all over the map. You are going to make some people
happy and you are going to make some furious,"said Guerra, founder of Guerra
DeBerry Coody marketing and communications
His advice to campaigns:"Tread carefully."
Associated Press Writer M.L. Johnson in Providence, R.I., contributed to
On the Net:
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Republican National Senatorial Committee
La "tos de Katrina"
Redacción BBC Mundo
Cuando comenzaron a bajar las aguas en Nueva Orleans tras el paso del
huracán Katrina, muchos inmigrantes latinos llegaron a la zona para hacer
trabajos de limpieza y reconstrucción.
Según la socióloga de la Universidad de Tulane, Elizabeth Fussell, "antes
del huracán la población de Nueva Orleans era alrededor de 500.000, y 3%
"Ahora, se estima que la población es de 200.000, y aunque es difícil decir
cuántos son hispanos, imaginamos que el porcentaje es mayor que antes",
Varias organizaciones sociales están denunciando que las condiciones en las
que trabajan no cumplen con los reglamentos legales.
Tomás Aguilar, del Proyecto Defensa Laboral en Austin, Texas, viajó a la
región entre diciembre de 2005 y febrero de 2006 como parte de un proyecto
con la Universidad de California en Los Angeles (UCLA), y entrevistó a más
de cien trabajadores hispanos.
"Los trabajadores eran jornaleros, estaban en las esquinas y los patrones se
los llevaban en la mañana. Los llevaban a trabajar a sitios donde había
asbestos, moho y, en algunas ocasiones, cadáveres. Los mandaban sin guantes,
sin máscaras, y no les explicaban los riesgos que iban a encontrar", dice
Los jornaleros dijeron a los investigadores que no se atrevían a pedir los
equipos de protección porque "había muchos que querían hacer ese trabajo".
"Ahora hay muchos trabajadores que están enfermos y tienen lo que se llama
la 'tos de Katrina', que es una tos que no se les va y que no saben por qué
es... Hay otros que tienen ronchas, pero no van al médico porque no tienen
seguro", añade el investigador.
Según Aguilar, hay una gran dificultad en encontrar quiénes tienen la
responsabilidad de darles los equipos necesarios a los trabajadores.
Nadie sabe a quién echarle la culpa, nadie sabe quién es el encargado --
Tomás Aguilar, Proyecto Defensa Laboral
"Para hallar a los patrones culpables -que no les dan el equipo
reglamentario- es difícil, porque los trabajadores trabajan para
contratistas, que dicen que hasta que no le paguen las empresas grandes no
les pueden pagar los equipos. Los contratistas son pequeños y no tienen
mucho dinero, muchas veces no tienen los fondos para comprar equipos",
"Las compañías grandes, por su parte, dicen que los contratistas tienen que
cumplir con las reglas. Así que, nadie sabe a quién echarle la culpa, nadie
sabe quién es el encargado", explica.
El informe concluye que "la asistencia técnica y los programas educativos
suministrados por las agencias federales es loable, los fallos en hacer
cumplir los derechos básicos de salud y seguridad están poniendo en peligro
la salud de los trabajadores".
Por otra parte, los investigadores sugieren que mejore la educación de los
trabajadores sobre sus derechos laborales y los riesgos que enfrentan.
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