Friday, October 27, 2006

Borders n Walls

borders n walls ...

last nite, was reminded'a tha fact there's usually been hella repression happenin right before our struggles make change. cuz always, wit oppression comes resistance. was reminded'a that while still inside, have ta'keep remindin self n alla us daily. wit oppression comes resistance -- we don't n ain't neva stopped.

always love, support n protect each otha.

Elbit to help US secure Mexican border


Sep. 25, 2006


A consortium led by Boeing, the second-largest American defense contractor, and including Israel's Elbit Systems, has won the first piece of an estimated $2 billion government project to develop and provide new technologies to secure the US borders, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The $80 million contract is the first part of a multibillion-dollar Homeland
Security Department plan to secure America's borders with Mexico and Canada. The program's final cost is unknown, a department official said, because it hinges largely on whether Congress approves spending some $1b. to build a fence along the Mexican border. Until then, the contract will be given to Boeing in phases, the department official said.

Chicago-based Boeing was among several major defense companies competing for the job. While other companies' proposals relied more on using aerial drones, Boeing focused on a network of 1,800 high-tech towers equipped with cameras and motion detectors that could feed live information to Border Patrol agents.
Elbit participates in the the consortium through Kollsman Inc., its US subsidiary.

Kollsman's expertise includes the integration and development of advanced
electro-optical systems for surveillance and tracking, optical fiber technology for security, video communication and control systems alongside image-processing and smart systems for electronic fences.

Drones from the Hermes family of unmanned aerial vehicle and the mini-sized Skylark UAV, which can be carried in a pack by a single soldier, are also some of the capabilities Kollsman brought to the consortium.

The contract, part of the Secure Border Initiative, is the US government's latest attempt to use advanced technology to solve its illegal immigration problem.

The Department of Homeland Security gave companies chasing the contract - including Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp. - freedom to come up with their own ideas for how best to apply new and developing technologies to the problem.


Bush signs U.S.-Mexico border fence bill
Associated Press

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

Thu Oct 26, 11:32 AM ET

President Bush signed a bill Thursday authorizing 700 miles of new fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, hoping to give Republican candidates a pre-election platform for asserting they're tough on illegal immigration.

"Unfortunately the United States has not been in complete control of its borders for decades and therefore illegal immigration has been on the rise," Bush said at a signing ceremony.

"We have a responsibility to enforce our laws," he said. "We have a responsibility to secure our borders. We take this responsibility serious."

He called the fence bill "an important step in our nation's efforts to secure our borders."

The centerpiece of Bush's immigration policy, a guest worker program, remains stalled in Congress.

And a handful of House Republican are at the brakes, blocking negotiations with the Senate for a bill that includes the president's proposal.

Still, Bush argues that it would be easier to get his guest worker program passed if Republicans keep their majorities in the House and Senate after the Nov. 7 elections. His proposal would allow legal employment for foreigners and give some of the estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States a shot at becoming American citizens.

The measure Bush put into law Thursday before heading for campaign stops in Iowa and Michigan offers no money for the fence project covering one-third of the 2,100-mile border.

Its cost is not known, although a homeland security spending measure the president signed earlier this month makes a $1.2 billion down payment on the project. The money also can be used for access roads, vehicle barriers, lighting, high-tech equipment and other tools to secure the border.

Mexican officials have criticized the fence. Outgoing Mexican President Vicente Fox, who has spent much of his six years in office lobbying for a new guest worker program and a chance at citizenship for the millions of Mexicans working illegally in the U.S., calls the fence "shameful" and compares it to the Berlin Wall.

Others have doubts about its effectiveness.

"A fence will slow people down by a minute or two, but if you don't have the agents to stop them it does no good. We're not talking about some impenetrable barrier," T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing Border Patrol agents, said Wednesday.

Customs and Border Protection statistics show that apprehensions at border crossings are down 8 percent nationally for the budget year that just ended, Bonner said. Apprehensions were up in the San Diego sector, he said, an area of the nearly 2,000-mile border that has the most fencing.

A spokesman for Customs and Border Protection would not confirm the statistics or discuss reasons for the increase in the San Diego sector.

Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, both Texas Republicans, had wanted to amend the fence bill to give local governments more say about where fencing is erected. They lost that battle, but Republican leaders assured them the Homeland Security Department would have flexibility to choose other options instead of fencing, if needed.

Cornyn said he voted for the fence because he wanted to help demonstrate that Congress was serious about border security.

"The choice we were presented was: Are we going to vote to enhance border security, or against it?" Cornyn said. "I think that's how the vote was viewed."


Associated Press Writer Suzanne Gamboa contributed to this report.


On the Net:

Information on the bill, H.R. 6061, can be found at


Border Fence to Divide Three Native American Nations
--> -->--> -->-->


Rumbo, News Report, Rodrigo París, Translated by Elena Shore, Oct 06, 2006

Criticism by Native Americans who Live along the Border

Three Native American nations and 23 tribes live in the borderlands between the United States and Mexico. The construction of the border separation fence approved by Congress will divide in two the ancient history of these peoples.

"The land is the place God put us from time immemorial. I can't imagine that now it will be difficult to visit my family," because of the construction of the fence, said Louis Gussac, chief of the Koumeyaay nation located on both sides of the California border.

These sentences are repeated time and time again on the reservations' international limits.

The tribes' situation has been difficult since 2001 as a result of an increase in the Border Patrol, the presence of National Guard troops in the last four months and narco-traffic activities in some areas along the border.

O'odham, Cocopah and Kickapoo are the three Native American nations that will see their culture and land divided by a fence that is at least five feet tall and, according to Congress, is expected to be completed in May 2008.

"Although the project is meant to stop the undocumented, it affects our life," said Gussac.

Texas Has its own History Too

The Kickapoo nation resides in the Eagle Pass area. These Native Americans see the fence that will be built there as a tragic sign.

Congress approved a span of the fence that will go from five miles northwest of Del Río to five miles southeast of Eagle Pass.

"The territory of this reservation will be permanently divided by the hand of man," said anthropologist and Kickapoo expert Rebeca Brush.

Throughout history, the Kickapoo have had to change their traditions. In the 17th century, they lived in the Great Lakes region. A century later they were displaced to Kansas and Texas.

"It's one thing to change where you live, but it's something else to have a fence separate the members of a nation," Brush explained.

"It's truly a tragedy. The construction of the fence doesn't make any sense," says José Aranda, a member of the Kickapoo in Eagle Pass.

"This isn't the way to solve a problem that's more complicated and needs a more intelligent solution," explained Jaime Loiácono, the priest of a church in Eagle Pass.

"Fifty percent of the high school students on the reservation are Black Rocks. What's going to happen to them?" the priest asked.

The mayor of the city, Chad Foster, has expressed strong criticism of the fence. "It's a cure that is worse than the disease," he said before Congress approved the bill.

The Kickapoo, despite living in the United States for centuries, were not recognized as a nation until 1983.

Two decades later, various miles of fence will divide the land where they live, and the steel beams will be nailed like a threat to the preservation of their unity, family and customs.

Friday, October 20, 2006

IRN - Oct 19, 2006

Immigrant Rights News -- Thurs, October 19, 2006

NOTE: if this is the first time you are receiving IRN (and/or are receiving it sporadically), please rely with all your contact info to continue receiving. IRN comes out one to five times per week.

1. Rumbo: "Border Fence to Divide Three Native American Nations"

2. Washington Post: "Calif. Campaign in Turmoil Over Letters. Aide to GOP Candidate Sent Mailing Saying Immigrants Are Barred From Voting"

3. Seattle Times: "Fed chief urges revamp of Medicare, Social Security"

4. PRLDEF, et. al., media release: "Businesses Sue Riverside Over Vague, Discriminatory Anti-Immigrant Ordinance"

5. New York Times Op-Ed: "Can You Tell a Sunni From a Shiite?"

<><><> 1


Border Fence to Divide Three Native American Nations

Rumbo, News Report, Rodrigo París, Translated by Elena Shore, Oct 06, 2006
(this article originally appeared in Rumbo )

Criticism by Native Americans who Live along the Border

Three Native American nations and 23 tribes live in the borderlands between the United States and Mexico. The construction of the border separation fence approved by Congress will divide in two the ancient history of these peoples.

"The land is the place God put us from time immemorial. I can't imagine that now it will be difficult to visit my family," because of the construction of the fence, said Louis Gussac, chief of the Koumeyaay nation located on both sides of the California border.

These sentences are repeated time and time again on the reservations' international limits.

The tribes' situation has been difficult since 2001 as a result of an increase in the Border Patrol, the presence of National Guard troops in the last four months and narco-traffic activities in some areas along the border.

O'odham, Cocopah and Kickapoo are the three Native American nations that will see their culture and land divided by a fence that is at least five feet tall and, according to Congress, is expected to be completed in May 2008.

"Although the project is meant to stop the undocumented, it affects our life," said Gussac.

Texas Has its own History Too

The Kickapoo nation resides in the Eagle Pass area. These Native Americans see the fence that will be built there as a tragic sign.

Congress approved a span of the fence that will go from five miles northwest of Del Río to five miles southeast of Eagle Pass.

"The territory of this reservation will be permanently divided by the hand of man," said anthropologist and Kickapoo expert Rebeca Brush.

Throughout history, the Kickapoo have had to change their traditions. In the 17th century, they lived in the Great Lakes region. A century later they were displaced to Kansas and Texas.

"It's one thing to change where you live, but it's something else to have a fence separate the members of a nation," Brush explained.

"It's truly a tragedy. The construction of the fence doesn't make any sense," says José Aranda, a member of the Kickapoo in Eagle Pass.

"This isn't the way to solve a problem that's more complicated and needs a more intelligent solution," explained Jaime Loiácono, the priest of a church in Eagle Pass.

"Fifty percent of the high school students on the reservation are Black Rocks. What's going to happen to them?" the priest asked.

The mayor of the city, Chad Foster, has expressed strong criticism of the fence. "It's a cure that is worse than the disease," he said before Congress approved the bill.

The Kickapoo, despite living in the United States for centuries, were not recognized as a nation until 1983.

Two decades later, various miles of fence will divide the land where they live, and the steel beams will be nailed like a threat to the preservation of their unity, family and customs.

<><><> 2

Washington Post

Calif. Campaign in Turmoil Over Letters
Aide to GOP Candidate Sent Mailing Saying Immigrants Are Barred From Voting

By Sonya Geis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 20, 2006; A04

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 19 -- A California Republican's congressional campaign went into meltdown Thursday after he said a staff member was responsible for sending thousands of letters to new voters with Hispanic surnames telling them -- wrongly -- that it is illegal for them to vote if they are immigrants.

Tan Nguyen, the GOP candidate for California's 47th District, said in a statement that a staff member had sent the letters without his knowledge and has since been fired. Nguyen, himself an immigrant from Vietnam, has focused his campaign on keeping illegal immigrants out of the country, a deeply felt issue in suburban Orange County.

"The mailer was flawed and ill-conceived," Nguyen's statement said. "I will do whatever I can in the weeks before the election to encourage all citizens in this district to exercise the most important of their democratic privileges."

The Orange County Republican Party immediately called for Nguyen to withdraw from the race. He will hold a news conference today.

Written in Spanish, the letters advise recently registered voters that it is a crime for those in the country illegally to vote in a federal election, which is true. They also say, falsely, that immigrants may not vote and could be jailed or deported for doing so, that the federal government has a new computer system to verify voter names, and that anti-immigration organizations can access the records.

As many as 14,000 letters were sent in the district, now represented by Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D). The letterhead identified them as coming from the California Coalition for Immigration Reform.

The group denied responsibility, and California Attorney General Bill Lockyer launched an investigation into possible violations of two state laws that prohibit intimidation to suppress voting. On a radio program, Lockyer confirmed that his office was focused on a Republican congressional candidate.

Sanchez said she has called for a federal probe into possible violations of the Voting Rights Act. "We would like to find who did this and have them prosecuted," she said.

Local Republicans have largely ignored the race, though Sanchez's seat is not normally considered safely Democratic. The district narrowly went for President Bush in 2004.

Nguyen, 32, was largely unknown to local Republicans until he beat out a favored candidate to face Sanchez. Two years ago, Nguyen ran as a Democrat in an effort to take the 46th District seat of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.).

Orange County Republican Party Chairman Scott Baugh said: "When I interviewed him to determine why he was becoming a Republican, I was less than convinced that he switched parties because he doesn't believe in the values of Democrats. Then, after getting the nomination, he wanted the Republican Party to carry him across the finish line. And I told him that's not how it works."

Nguyen had spent $427,000 of his own money on the race as of September, according to campaign filings.

His campaign materials describe immigration as the focus of his campaign. He praises the Minuteman Project and opposes Bush's proposed guest-worker program.

Nguyen himself immigrated to the United States at age 8, one of thousands of Vietnamese to flee in boats. He worked as a stockbroker before entering politics.

Orange County is known for heated immigration politics. One-third of its residents are Hispanic, according to 2004 census data, and the area is home to large populations of Vietnamese and Middle Eastern immigrants. It is also the birthplace of several anti-illegal-immigration movements. Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minutemen, is a resident, as is Barbara Coe, founder of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform.

"Certainly this is a very polarized area," Sanchez said. "When you have people like the creator of the Minutemen living there, and Gloria Tuchman, who worked on the anti-bilingual law, and Barbara Coe, one would say that it's a pretty volatile area."

<><><> 3

Seattle Times

Fed chief urges revamp of Medicare, Social Security

By Kevin G. Hall
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke called Wednesday for an urgent overhaul of Social Security and Medicare, warning that failure to do so soon could lead to dire economic consequences.

Speaking to the Economic Club of Washington, Bernanke said projected funding shortfalls for Social Security and Medicare threaten "large and unavoidable" consequences.

Absent action soon, he warned, the nation could be forced to raise taxes sharply, trim retiree benefits, cut deeply into other programs, and run up the national debt - or some combination of all.

Beginning in 2008, the first wave of baby boomers - 76 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 - begin taking early retirement. Progressively, fewer active workers will be available to fund promised benefits to retirees.

To meet promises made under Social Security and Medicare, Bernanke said, taxes would have to increase by about 33 percent. That would take taxes from their current level, 18 percent of the nation's total output, to about 24 percent in 2030.

If politicians instead opted to spend less on other federal programs, they'd have to cut all other government spending in half, the Fed chairman said.

Citing an unpublished Fed research paper, Bernanke said that if today's savings rates remain constant, future generations would be forced to consume 14 percent less than they do now because they'll have to shift their money to pay for boomers' retirement benefits.

But if today's Americans cut current consumption by 4 percent and put that money into savings, that could stave off the 14 percent reduction in American consumption two decades from now.

"These numbers shouldn't be taken literally, but the basic lesson is surely right - that the decisions that we make over the next few decades will matter greatly for the living standards of our children and grandchildren," Bernanke said.

Bernanke also said a more liberal immigration policy would ease the burden of a shrinking work force. But, he cautioned, it would take annual flows close to 3.5 million immigrants, not today's 1 million, to replace retiring boomers.

<><><> 4


Businesses Sue Riverside Over Vague, Discriminatory Anti-Immigrant Ordinance

October 18, 2006

Contacts: John Garcia, PRLDEF; (212) 739-7513; Mary Moreno, PFAWF; (202) 467-2338;; Annu Mangat, ACLU-NJ; (973)642-2086;

Businesses Sue Riverside Over Vague, Discriminatory Anti-Immigrant Ordinance

A coalition of Riverside business owners and landlords and residents will file a lawsuit today against the Township of Riverside in state court, contending that the recently adopted Illegal Immigration Relief Act oversteps the city's authority, is too vague, unfairly puts businesses at risk and violates civil rights under state law.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys from the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, People For the American Way Foundation, Spear Wilderman, P.C, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation Immigrants' Rights Project, American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and Ragonese Albano & Viola.

The ordinance is one of the most restrictive of the recent wave of anti-immigrant legislation passed by local governments across the nation. It attempts to ban immigrants from renting, residing, using property or being employed in Riverside. The ordinance, in very broad terms, applies to actions that "aid or abet" undocumented immigrants anywhere in the United States.

"All this ordinance does is create tension and hatred between neighbors," said Cesar Perales, President and General Counsel of the PRLDEF. "By pandering to the worst instincts of a few in the community, the Township is exposing the residents of Riverside to costly litigation expenses." PRLDEF's Latino Justice Campaign tracks local anti-Latino ordinances on their website,

The lawsuit is being filed today with the Superior Court of New Jersey, Burlington County. The case is captioned Riverside Coalition of Business Persons, et al. v. Township of Riverside.

"State law simply does not permit Riverside to exclude immigrants from the Township," said James Katz of Spear Wilderman, P.C., who is cooperating counsel for the ACLU-NJ and ACLU-IRP in the case. "Nor can they regulate the rental or hiring decisions of Riverside businesses and landlords."

Business owners and landlords decided to sue because they felt the law is difficult to comply with and exposes them to enormous risk. It could require them to take unreasonable and expensive measures and possibly invade the privacy of their clients in order to comply, all at great detriment to their businesses. They are also concerned that the divisive ordinance is fomenting ugly sentiments against immigrants, and destroying the community's business climate and its spirit of tolerance and cooperation.

The ordinance is not currently being enforced, but has had a profound impact on the town, said David Verduin, a Riverside business owner and a plaintiff. He estimated the ordinance has "scared off" about one-third of Riverside's immigrant population causing some businesses to close, while others have seen sales decline by as much as 50 percent.

"The ordinance almost authorizes a vigilante-type of attitude," Verduin said. "Everyone lives in fear." He added, "Immigration is too complicated an issue for us to make a judgment on. Even federal agents need a court's help in deciding who is here illegally."

The lawsuit also charges that the ordinance goes far beyond the authority of Riverside under state law.

"This ordinance is so vague and overbroad that it's virtually impossible to obey and appears to ban a large amount of innocent conduct," said Elliot Mincberg, Vice-President and Legal Director for PFAW Foundation.

"Even a hospital or church that allows an immigrant on its premises could be charged with a violation."

In support of this lawsuit, New Jersey Appleseed and Seton Hall Law School Center for Social Justice will file an amicus brief on behalf of the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey and a broad coalition of non-profit organizations working with immigrants.

<><><> 5

New York Times

October 17, 2006
Op-Ed Contributor

Can You Tell a Sunni From a Shiite?



FOR the past several months, I've been wrapping up lengthy interviews with Washington counterterrorism officials with a fundamental question: "Do you know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?"

A "gotcha" question? Perhaps. But if knowing your enemy is the most basic rule of war, I don't think it's out of bounds. And as I quickly explain to my subjects, I'm not looking for theological explanations, just the basics: Who's on what side today, and what does each want?

After all, wouldn't British counterterrorism officials responsible for Northern Ireland know the difference between Catholics and Protestants? In a remotely similar but far more lethal vein, the 1,400-year Sunni-Shiite rivalry is playing out in the streets of Baghdad, raising the specter of a breakup of Iraq into antagonistic states, one backed by Shiite Iran and the other by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states.

A complete collapse in Iraq could provide a haven for Al Qaeda operatives within striking distance of Israel, even Europe. And the nature of the threat from Iran, a potential nuclear power with protégés in the Gulf states, northern Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, is entirely different from that of Al Qaeda. It seems silly to have to argue that officials responsible for counterterrorism should be able to recognize opportunities for pitting these rivals against each other.

But so far, most American officials I've interviewed don't have a clue. That includes not just intelligence and law enforcement officials, but also members of Congress who have important roles overseeing our spy agencies. How can they do their jobs without knowing the basics?

My curiosity about our policymakers' grasp of Islam's two major branches was piqued in 2005, when Jon Stewart and other TV comedians made hash out of depositions, taken in a whistleblower case, in which top F.B.I. officials drew blanks when asked basic questions about Islam. One of the bemused officials was Gary Bald, then the bureau's counterterrorism chief. Such expertise, Mr. Bald maintained, wasn't as important as being a good manager.

A few months later, I asked the F.B.I.'s spokesman, John Miller, about Mr. Bald's comments. "A leader needs to drive the organization forward," Mr. Miller told me. "If he is the executive in a counterterrorism operation in the post-9/11 world, he does not need to memorize the collected statements of Osama bin Laden, or be able to read Urdu to be effective. ... Playing 'Islamic Trivial Pursuit' was a cheap shot for the lawyers and a cheaper shot for the journalist. It's just a gimmick."

Of course, I hadn't asked about reading Urdu or Mr. bin Laden's writings.

A few weeks ago, I took the F.B.I.'s temperature again. At the end of a long interview, I asked Willie Hulon, chief of the bureau's new national security branch, whether he thought that it was important for a man in his position to know the difference between Sunnis and Shiites. "Yes, sure, it's right to know the difference," he said. "It's important to know who your targets are."

That was a big advance over 2005. So next I asked him if he could tell me the difference. He was flummoxed. "The basics goes back to their beliefs and who they were following," he said. "And the conflicts between the Sunnis and the Shia and the difference between who they were following."

O.K., I asked, trying to help, what about today? Which one is Iran - Sunni or Shiite? He thought for a second. "Iran and Hezbollah," I prompted. "Which are they?"

He took a stab: "Sunni."


Al Qaeda? "Sunni."


AND to his credit, Mr. Hulon, a distinguished agent who is up nights worrying about Al Qaeda while we safely sleep, did at least know that the vicious struggle between Islam's Abel and Cain was driving Iraq into civil war. But then we pay him to know things like that, the same as some members of Congress.

Take Representative Terry Everett, a seven-term Alabama Republican who is vice chairman of the House intelligence subcommittee on technical and tactical intelligence.

"Do you know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?" I asked him a few weeks ago.

Mr. Everett responded with a low chuckle. He thought for a moment: "One's in one location, another's in another location. No, to be honest with you, I don't know. I thought it was differences in their religion, different families or something."

To his credit, he asked me to explain the differences. I told him briefly about the schism that developed after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, and how Iraq and Iran are majority Shiite nations while the rest of the Muslim world is mostly Sunni. "Now that you've explained it to me," he replied, "what occurs to me is that it makes what we're doing over there extremely difficult, not only in Iraq but that whole area."

Representative Jo Ann Davis, a Virginia Republican who heads a House intelligence subcommittee charged with overseeing the C.I.A.'s performance in recruiting Islamic spies and analyzing information, was similarly dumbfounded when I asked her if she knew the difference between Sunnis and Shiites.

"Do I?" she asked me. A look of concentration came over her face. "You know, I should." She took a stab at it: "It's a difference in their fundamental religious beliefs. The Sunni are more radical than the Shia. Or vice versa. But I think it's the Sunnis who're more radical than the Shia."

Did she know which branch Al Qaeda's leaders follow?

"Al Qaeda is the one that's most radical, so I think they're Sunni," she replied. "I may be wrong, but I think that's right."

Did she think that it was important, I asked, for members of Congress charged with oversight of the intelligence agencies, to know the answer to such questions, so they can cut through officials' puffery when they came up to the Hill?

"Oh, I think it's very important," said Ms. Davis, "because Al Qaeda's whole reason for being is based on their beliefs. And you've got to understand, and to know your enemy."

It's not all so grimly humorous. Some agency officials and members of Congress have easily handled my "gotcha" question. But as I keep asking it around Capitol Hill and the agencies, I get more and more blank stares. Too many officials in charge of the war on terrorism just don't care to learn much, if anything, about the enemy we're fighting. And that's enough to keep anybody up at night.

Jeff Stein is the national security editor at Congressional Quarterly.

<><><> the end / el fin / tamat <><><>

Monday, October 16, 2006

 preliminary observations from the Border Social Forum

 preliminary observations from the Border Social Forum - a more detailed updates and reports will be coming.

The Border Social Forum, part of he World Social Forum process, was held in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua México, on the border with EL Paso, TX from Oct 13-15, 2006.

Some 1000 people, representing social justice organizations, immigrant rights, labor, indigenous communities, farmworkers, women, youth, African Americans, and many others, converged on Juarez. Ciudad Juarez is considered a laboratory for neoliberalism. The first maquiladoras of the global assembly lines, were first implemented in Juárez in the1960s. Juárez is also the site of mass repression against women maquiladora workers. In this setting, all the discussions and program sessions were focused on creating alternatives to the militarized border where thousands of women, men and children have died as the result of US border policies and Homeland Security.

Th Oct 12

The Border Social Forum began with a March Against NAFTA and Violence. Then on the afternoon particopants went on a “border reality tour” to visit industrial sites and colonias (working class neighborhoods). There were 14 themes or tracks of discussion and workshops and actions and proposals including, globalization & integration, US Mexico relations, women and the border, labor and workers, environment and justice, health, indigenous peoples, children and elders, youth, human rights, art & culture, education & communication, food sovereignty, migration.

Friday Oct 13

The numbers of the National Network participated mainly in the migration tracks or theme. Desisi Rising Up & Moving (DRUM), South Asian Network (SAN), St. Peter’s Housing Committee, Colonias Development Council, Center for Agricultural Worers and NNIRR Board members led an organizing workshop called “Building Walls, Destroying Rights.” That lookd at the panorama of anti-inmmigrant legislation, the immigrant fightback, and a proposal from the National Network for a National Campaign for equity, liberty & justice. The National Network also participated in a panel plenary discussion call the Migrant Struggles, in the United States that discussed the sdignificane of the mass mobilizations of the past year.

All the members of the NEtwork, like Coalicion de Derechos Humans, DRUM, and organized separate workshops on bordr violence and militarization in Mexico and Palestine. The National Network also participated in a workshop organized by CHIRLA discussing interior immigration law enforcement issues.

Diverse community organizations and movements at the BSF presented a gamut of disucssions, trainings, resources, video and audio to focusdiscussion on alternaticves to the dominant forms of economic development now presemnt;. they also looked at the impacts of neoliberalism from indigenous peoploes; lands to EJ to workers rights and all the challenges that they are faing (indig comm workin people and poc. each of the theme tracks like mgration presented a series of conclusions and proposals for action as a followup to the BSF.

The National Network presented its proposal for a national campaign in the US to organize a national dialogue on the type of broder communities want including humanitarian and solidarity ad bringing diverse communities to meet their counterparts at the US /// Mexico border to challenge the existing militarization and impunity at the border.

The outcomes from the migration track recognize that the mass mobilizations of 2006 were the result oforganized communities and especially the last 10 years of work. the border militarization is part of the low intensity war being waged against migrants and border communities. The migrant track put forth that toppling the border wall and ending militarization is a top priority.

The BSF participants by acclamation will organize a campaign to defend the rights of communities at the border to stop hate crimes and link it to stopping the war abroad as well.

There is also a proposal for organized actions including boycotts and work stoppages for May 1, 2007.

Finally, there are plans to hold a 2nd borderSF that is to held on mexico’s southern border.

See the SWOP blog for more information. http://www.swop.netswop blog.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Join the National Network!

Únete al la Red Nacional!

NNIRR at the Border Social Forum

IRRTI 2006 - Scholarship Applications due Oct 18!


¡Matriculáte ahora!
Register now!

Las solicitudes de beca y formularios de matriculación para el
3er Instituto Nacional de Capacitación ed Derechos Inmigrantes y Refugiados
se deben entregar para el dia 18 de octubre.

3rd National Immigrant and Refugee Rights Training Institute
Registration & Scholarship Application Forms are due October 18!

You can register in many ways. / se lo puedes hacer en varias maneras.

1. On paper: Go to our webpage and print out the forms and fax or mail them in:
Por escrito: Vaya a nuestra pagina de Web, imprime los formularios, llenarlos y mandelos a nosotros por fax o correo:

2. Fill out the form online / Ahora, hazlotodo en la linea!

un abrazo fuerte,

* * * * *
Diana Pei Wu 吳珮珮
Program Director, Education & Capacity Building
National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights
310 8th Street, Suite 303
Oakland, CA 94607
Office: (510) 465-1984 x 304

* * * * *
Diana Pei Wu 吳珮珮
coordinadora, programa de capacitación
red nacional pro derechos inmigrantes y refugiados
310 8th Street, Suite 303
Oakland, CA 94607
tel: (510) 465-1984 x 304

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

IRN - Oct 10, 2006

Immigrant Rights News -- Tues, Oct. 10, 2006

Please note: IRN is sent out one to five times per week by National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. If you wish to continue (or discontinue) receiving IRN, please reply with your full contact info. Starting Friday, we will be sending out first-hand reports and analyses from Cd. Juarez where NNIRR staff and members will be participating in the Border Social Forum.

1. Border Social Forum website:

2. Wall Street Journal: "Arizona Targets Money Transfers In Coyote Probe"

3. San Antonio Express-News: "New 'Berlin Wall' finds few fans on the border"

4. The Nation: The Minutemen Hit the Wall

5. Washington Monthly: "Borderline Catastrophe"

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Please visit the Border Social Forum Web Page, for updates and other information on the proceedings of the gathering starting this Thursday, October 12, 2006 through Sunday, October 15, 2006 in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua -- right across from El Paso, Texas.

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Wall Street Journal

Arizona Targets Money Transfers In Coyote Probe

Wall Street Journal, October 9, 2006; Page B1

Thousands of money transfers handled by Western Union, the venerable company of telegram fame, have come under scrutiny by Arizona's attorney general, as the state moves to block payments to traffickers of illegal immigrants from Mexico.

A five-year probe by the state has resulted in hundreds of deportations, dozens of prosecutions of alleged traffickers, known as coyotes, and $17 million in seizures of cash, mostly from coyotes' safe houses.

In late September, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard moved to block electronic payments to traffickers by obtaining warrants to seize all Western Union money transfers of at least $500 going to the Mexican state of Sonora, directly south of the Arizona border, and originating in 29 U.S. states -- including California, New York, Florida, Illinois and Georgia.

Western Union is challenging the seizures, arguing that Arizona doesn't have legal authority to order them. U.S.-to-Mexico money transfers are a mainstay of Western Union's business, making up 10% of its money transfers. And the company says it isn't technically possible to block only those money transfers bound for Sonora, since a recipient with proper identification can pick up a transfer from a Western Union agent anywhere in Mexico.

The Arizona warrants were in effect for only three days before Western Union won a court stay of them. During that period, the attorney general seized some 260 money transfers from the U.S. to Sonora in sums ranging from $750 to several thousand dollars and totaling more than $200,000. State investigators determined that 50 of the seized transfers, or some 20%, were legitimate, allowed them to proceed and continued to hold the rest. A hearing on whether the state can seize more transfers is set for Oct. 30 in Arizona's Maricopa County Superior Court.

In court filings, Western Union called Arizona's use of the warrants a "threat of incalculable damages." The crackdown is harming innocent people, whose money is being held indefinitely, Western Union says. "Many of the people are just frightened," Chief Executive Christina Gold said in an interview. "Some of them don't speak English and are not sure what's going on." The company says it has complied fully with all U.S. laws and is cooperating with authorities investigating coyote operations.

The role Western Union and other U.S. businesses may play -- knowingly or not -- in greasing the wheels of illegal immigration is a red-hot issue. Arizona has surpassed Texas and California as the busiest state for undocumented entries, with an estimated three million illegal border-crossings last year. (Many crossings are the second, third or fourth attempt by one individual.)

The Arizona probe also highlights the potential downside of Western Union's dependence on 270,000 independent agents in 195 countries, who are paid on commission and often run a Western Union counter as a sideline to a grocery store, gas station or check-cashing outlet. The company moved $42 billion around the world last year, making it by far the biggest player in the $250 billion global money-transfer business, with ease of use and global reach its stock in trade.

An Arizona sting last year found that some Western Union clerks took bribes in exchange, for example, for accepting bogus or shodd identification from a recipient. And a state audit found that in certain outlets more than half of the recipients of money transfers used fake Social Security cards to pick up funds. Last month, Western Union agreed to pay $3 million to end a state probe that uncovered shoddy recordkeeping and money-transfer agents who accepted illegible ID cards.

Still, Western Union says Arizona has no legal basis to restrict money transfers in other states. The company says it devotes 200 employees and $35 million annually to compliance with financial regulations and law-enforcement requests and goes to great lengths to comply with Arizona's "exceedingly strict" regulations, such as fingerprinting wire-transfer recipients when they pick up money in the state.

Western Union says there isn't much it can do about money transferred legally over its network but that may be part of an illegal enterprise. "We are not ... law enforcement agents," Western Union said in a statement. "In many instances, only the government has a full view of the facts which would lead to a conclusion that inappropriate behavior is occurring."

The legal impasse comes at a bad time for Western Union. Just a few weeks ago, the Englewood, Colo., company was spun off from data-processor First Data Corp., and its share price has been lackluster. On Friday, Western Union closed at $19.57 in 4 p.m. composite trading on the New York Stock Exchange, slightly below the $20 price when shares were issued in September. Last month, Western Union warned investors that money transfers year-to-date between the U.S. and Mexico grew only 3% compared with a year earlier, and domestic transactions dropped 4% -- a poor harbinger for the third quarter.

In court filings, Arizona authorities estimate that 95% of illegal border crossers contract with trafficking organizations. These coyotes charge an average fee of $1,600 to bring clients, known as pollos, or "chickens," over the border. The Attorney General's office contends that coyotes typically hold clients in Phoenix and Tucson until somebody -- usually a friend or an employer who has agreed to finance the journey -- wires payment.

During late winter and early spring, the peak smuggling period, Arizona officials calculate that more than $4.5 million in fees are paid every day to coyotes operating in the state. Authorities contend that since Arizona stepped up various enforcement measures last year, tens of millions of dollars in transfers that previously might have been picked up within the state instead have headed to Western Union outlets in Sonora, as coyotes have moved to evade state authorities.

Over a two-month period in early 2005, $28 million was wired from the U.S. to Sonora, where Western Union licenses 201 authorized outlets, according to Western Union data included in a government court filing. The Arizona Attorney General says $19 million -- or 67% of the total -- was wired to just eight Western Union agents in five Mexican cities, including Agua Prieta, Caborca and San Luis Rio Colorado -- all "launching pads" on or near the Arizona border where groups of immigrants gather to cross illegally.

In the Sonoran city of Altar, a bustling town 50 miles south of Sasabe, a border village that is a popular crossing point, one Western Union customer received $68,000 in 34 payments over a two-month period, or $2,000 every two days. "The apparent brazen activity of pick-up operators in northern Sonora is no doubt due to the complete lack of law-enforcement investigation of wires sent to those locations," states an affidavit sworn by Daniel Kelly, a financial crimes investigator with the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Spurred by those findings, Mr. Goddard, the state Attorney General, early this year began ordering Western Union to fingerprint recipients, demand multiple forms of identification and take other precautions. Frustrated that transfers to coyotes appeared to be shifting outside Arizona, Mr. Goddard moved to begin seizing transfers from other states in September. Western Union responded by seeking court relief.

"It's gone from 'amicable' and 'in discussions' to bringing this to court," says Mr. Goddard, who adds he still hopes to negotiate a settlement with Western Union.

Write to Valerie Bauerlein at and Joel
Millman at

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San Antonio Express-News

New 'Berlin Wall' finds few fans on the border

Web Posted: 10/07/2006 11:13 PM CDT

Jesse Bogan and Mariano Castillo
Express-News Staff Writers

HIDALGO - If there was a place along the winding Rio Grande to justify the controversial fence Congress and President Bush have authorized, it seems Sonny Miller's ranch would be it.

Nine people, most of them Salvadorans, drowned when their smuggler drove a 1987 Crown Victoria into a nearby irrigation canal two years ago. And Miller has a photo of 60 immigrants detained on his property this summer.

Like many South Texas ranchers, he built stairs over a pasture fence so it wouldn't get trampled.

Clearly, there's a lot of foot traffic, yet Miller, 72, is among residents and leaders from both sides of the border - not to mention the rest of the Americas - who are riled up over the "Berlin Wall," as many call the proposed structure.

"It's a waste of money," said Miller, who used to farm vegetables and cotton but now just raises a few cattle. "They'll either go through it, over it or under it."

Rancher Sonny Miller of Hidalgo says he doesn't support the planned border fence because immigrants will find a way to get in.

The Senate recently joined the House in passing the Secure Fence Act, which calls for 700 miles of fencing along the southern border, including large stretches in Texas - from Laredo to Brownsville, Del Rio to Eagle Pass, and El Paso into New Mexico.

In an election year, the bill was designed to please voters anxious about homeland security, primarily conservatives who long have sought a border clampdown. But the fence's construction is far from a sure thing, and with the exception of those who would build it, support for it appears almost non-existent along the border.

Although 700 miles were authorized, no money was included in the bill. A separate bill signed Wednesday by President Bush appropriated $1.2 billion for border security, which can - but doesn't have to - be used for a fence.

Many questions remain. How close to the river would the fence be built? Will the government condemn private property? What about the long stretches of rough terrain that experts say isn't appropriate for such a barrier? What about environmental concerns?

Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, both Texas Republicans, got assurances the Homeland Security Department will have broad discretion on whether to build the fence and will consult with state and local officials on its location.

"It's all a complex thing, but I think at this point the focus ought to be on appreciation that Congress has finally done something," said Pennsylvania-based Colin Hanna, president of the Web site, acknowledging that "a year ago, we were just about the only organization advocating a fence, and the idea was very much on the fringe of the debate."

Now he is confident the money needed to build it - an estimated $2 billion to $7 billion - will be approved.

Many foes in Texas and Mexico, however, said the fence ignores the root causes of immigration, is not neighborly, and ultimately would jack up the going rate for smugglers who guide immigrants here or foster more attempts to corrupt officials on international bridges.

Among people interviewed along the border after Senate passage of the Secure Fence Act, those who saw no downside to the fence generally were able to cross the border legally, didn't care to cross the border, or were enthused about financial or employment opportunities stemming from the project.

Brownsville Mayor Eddie Treviño Jr. said fences could be helpful in certain areas, but he described the wall as an "attempt to institutionalize discrimination and racism."

"We spent 40 years trying to tear down the Berlin Wall, and here we are building one (against) our second-largest trading partner," he said, blaming Congress for failing to address comprehensive immigration reform, including a bolstered guest worker program and better pathways to citizenship.

Across the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Matias Miss, a manager of a shelter for undocumented immigrants, said border-area residents shouldn't have a problem with the wall because most have laser visas that allow them to shop, eat and visit with families in the 25-mile border zone of South Texas.

"If I have a house and put up a fence, I am going to feel more secure, and that doesn't mean I can't be a good neighbor," said Miss, 38.

The burden, he said, will fall heaviest on the residents of his shelter, Casa San Juan Diego, some of whom have endured rape, robbery and hunger during their long trips north fueled by dreams of construction, agricultural and service jobs.

They include people like Patricio Vázquez, 23. A farm laborer with a sick mother, he sold a few cows and his stereo and borrowed money from relatives to fund a trip from rural Veracruz state, only to be robbed of his $2,000 on the Rio Grande's banks.

Vázquez said the wall wouldn't be fair, because "we all have a right to eat and have a normal life without so much poverty."

Eduardo Hinojosa Cepeda, mayor of Camargo, a Mexican border town of 20,000, asked, "What would the United States do without our manual labor?"

Hinojosa, a dual citizen born in McAllen, said the wall is bad for the "brother countries" because it makes it look like the United States "doesn't want anything to do with Mexico."

Reynaldo Clemente Cavazos, director of the country club in Reynosa, Mexico, a large border city and manufacturing center, said he already feels like a delinquent when he crosses because of close questioning by U.S. officials at the bridge. It would worsen with a fence, he said.

He compared the tide of undocumented immigrants to the bustling narcotics trade, saying they couldn't be held back by force because they are pulled by U.S. demand.

"Mexico is the diving board, and the United States is the swimming pool," he said.

Across the river, Steve Ahlenius, president of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, called the wall a "19th-century solution to a 21st-century problem" and said it could erode the local $2 billion retail economy, to which Mexicans contribute a third.

"How it hurts us economically is, the image that we send to Mexico is that, 'We are going to build a wall and we don't want you here,'" he said, adding that the perceived cold shoulder could cause shoppers who make several trips a year to cut back.

Ahlenius finds it hard to believe anyone locally could support the wall, and he said lawmakers who voted for it are "scared about what they think America is becoming."

"People are afraid that America is being more brown. ... This is a country where there has always been opportunity, there has always been freedom, and (when) we start to wall up things and to block things off - we are losing what we really stand for."

In Laredo, Ray Segura, owner of Segura Fence Co., said he's eager to compete for government contracts to help build the fence. He already has teamed up with a San Antonio company to submit a bid.

"There's going to be a lot of contracts, there's going to be a lot of bidding, there's going to be a lot of action," Segura said.

He said that based on his experience, the fence probably would be built on an easement along the river that the government owns and runs along the entire border, usually 30 to 50 feet wide.

He estimated it would take about two to three months per mile of construction for a thick wire fence with holes too small to fit a boot in; twice as long if it is a double fence, as Congress wants.

Also standing to gain was a shirtless man with a tattoo of a bat on his chest.

He was drinking beer last week with two colleagues along the river where smugglers commonly bring immigrants in rafts from the Mexican town of Miguel Alemán to the Texas town of Roma.

The self-described "patero," or smuggler, sat among trash, just beyond the reach of flies buzzing around a dead animal.

"We aren't politicians, we are ruffians. It's going to be more difficult (to cross), but it's going to cost more money," said the man, who appeared to be about 40 and declined to give his name.

"If they want to spend the money on the wall," he said with the flick of a hand, "then spend it."

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The Nation, October 23, 2006 issue
posted October 5, 2006 (October 23, 2006 issue)

The Minutemen Hit the Wall



As about sixty supporters of Democratic Congressional candidate and businesswoman Gabrielle Giffords gathered in late September for a wine and guacamole fundraiser at a local hillside home, their mood was nothing short of electric. Earlier in the day a news report had swept through this desert district with all the drama and punch of a late summer monsoon: The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) had just canceled about $1 million in planned TV ads for Giffords's GOP rival, Randy Graf. "The Republicans have firmly planted the white flag in this district," said a jubilant Giffords campaign official. "This is nothing short of surrender."

Indeed, the Washington Post's political blog has identified Arizona's 8th Congressional District seat, held for eleven terms by retiring moderate Republican Jim Kolbe, as one of those most likely to switch parties in next month's mid-term elections. Even more important, in a race seen as a national bellwether on the immigration debate, Republican candidate Graf, supported with $40,000 in contributions from a Minuteman PAC, banked his entire campaign on a virulent seal-and-militarize-the-border message. If the anti-immigrant pitch was going to work anywhere in America, this would be the place. The contested district sweeps downward from Tucson, runs along an eighty-mile portion of the Mexican border that is the most trafficked of illegal crossings, and includes such Minuteman hot spots as the towns of Sierra Vista and Tombstone. About half of the illegal aliens apprehended on the US-Mexico border attempt to cross into Arizona, and anti-immigrant sentiment can turn red-hot.

But here in the veritable staging ground of the Minuteman movement, Graf's campaign has hit the wall. "Randy's going to get his ass handed to him," says a veteran Arizona Republican consultant. "And in this national atmosphere, the NRCC isn't about to piss away a million bucks on him." The refusal by the national Republican Party to invest in Graf was fueled by some pretty stark numbers, and to a great degree reflects the deep division that runs through the GOP on the issue of immigration.

A late September poll conducted by the Arizona Daily Star showed Giffords out in front of Graf by a whopping 48-35 margin. And while immigration even outranked the war in Iraq by 4 to 1 as the most important issue on local voters' minds, those who put it first also gave a majority to Giffords, who has endorsed the sort of comprehensive border reform proposed by Senators Ted Kennedy and John McCain.

"Graf speaks directly to his base, but only to his base," says the GOP consultant. "If something freakish were to happen in the next few weeks and this guy were actually to get elected, it would be a disaster for us. Right-wing tirades in a border area like this make Republicans look like crackers. With more and more people coming to live in Arizona and many of them at least slightly liberal, Republicans can't afford to sound like racists."

Fear among the Republican establishment that Graf was too extreme to win in a moderate district was heightened in this crucial year, when the loss of any seat could tip the balance of the House majority. This is a socially temperate district that sometimes gave the openly gay Republican Kolbe more than 60 percent of the vote. In 2004 Graf--a former pro golfer and state legislator--challenged Kolbe in the primary and won a surprising 42 percent of the vote. The day after the vote, Graf started gearing up for his next shot, the 2006 primary. He campaigned relentlessly and single-mindedly on the border issue, praising the Minutemen and tightly aligning himself with the policies of Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo, the leader of House resistance to liberalized immigration reform.

"Randy Graf was in the right place at the right time to capitalize on the immigration issue," says Margaret Kenski, pollster for Republican Arizona Senator Jon Kyl. Graf, whose campaign wouldn't schedule an interview with The Nation, cashed in on the national immigration debate that roared through much of this year. And in a five-way primary September 12, Graf came out on top, with a 42 percent plurality. In an unusual move, the NRCC had intervened directly in the primary and poured more than $120,000 into the campaign of his more moderate opponent Steve Huffman--the only race in the country in which the NRCC took sides in a primary. Other top local Republicans lined up with local GOP stalwart Mike Hellon in a move to stop Graf.

But the organizational power of anti-immigration, anti-choice and conservative mega-churches propelled Graf's victory and also helped defeat a number of other moderate and prochoice Arizona Republican candidates. It also laid bare the GOP's deep factional fissures. "We're really in a state of internal warfare," says a former Republican National Committee member still active in local politics. "It's really the most extreme Republicans who are winning the primaries, and they're making it harder and harder for us to win statewide offices. We've been through this two or three times already, but after each round it is getting harder to put the party back together again."

Scrapping Reagan's so-called Eleventh Commandment enforcing GOP unity, outgoing Representative Kolbe, a firm supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, pointedly un-endorsed Graf on the morrow of his victory, saying that because of "profound and fundamental [differences] I would not be true to my own principles were I to endorse [Graf] now for the general election." Neither will any endorsement be forthcoming from the state's most popular Republican, John McCain. Nor from a host of other elected Arizona Republican officials who openly shun Graf.

Apart from Graf's in-the-tank numbers, he still draws loud jeers from his 2004 appearance on The Daily Show, where he argued to overturn an Arizona law that bans handguns in bars. On the same show he blithely compared the Constitution to a rule book for golf. An unsolicited link to his campaign website from the site of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke hasn't helped matters.

Arizona Republicans find themselves endangered in other races beyond the 8th district match-up between Graf and Giffords. Conservative six-term Representative J.D. Hayworth, who represents the Phoenix suburbs and whose book Whatever It Takes calls for a ban on legal immigration from Mexico, is facing a serious challenge from Democrat Harry Mitchell. Former Republican Attorney General Grant Woods has endorsed Democrat Mitchell, calling Hayworth "ridiculous." Even more disturbing to Arizona Republicans is the predicament of Kyl, a recent target of Latinos protesting his immigration policies. Kyl faces a stiff challenge from wealthy Democratic developer Jim Pederson. "Frankly, I'm amazed how competitive Kyl's race has suddenly become," says the veteran GOP consultant. And Republican social conservative Len Munsil will need divine intervention to defeat incumbent Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano, last seen outpolling him 56 to 40.

Back in the 8th district, meanwhile, Democrat Gabi Giffords won a contested primary by firmly seizing the political center vacated by Graf's campaign. A former state legislator (and a former Republican), Giffords has garnered the unified support of the local Democratic and labor machinery but has striven to run what she calls a bipartisan campaign. The national Democratic Party has become so confident of her victory that one day after the NRCC canceled its ad campaign for Graf, the DCCC followed suit on behalf of Giffords.

Already well funded and likely to be buoyed by outside "independent expenditure" campaigns, Giffords has de-emphasized the debate over the war in Iraq and has rather deftly co-opted Graf on the immigration issue. "Starting back in May of last year, the Democrats began pounding away on the border issue as if they were Republicans," says pollster Kenski. "And Gabi does it as well as any.

"Enforcement-plus" is the way Giffords describes her immigration position: tighter enforcement, plus an expanded visa and guest-worker program. But listening to Giffords address her campaign supporters at that hillside fundraiser, it sounded like "enforcement" was 90 percent of the equation and that the "plus" was maybe 10 percent. After denouncing a "strategic systematic decision" by the federal government to funnel immigrants through the Arizona desert, she went on to say it's "just not acceptable to have so many people that we don't know who they are, we don't know where they are going and we don't know what they want." To stem the tide, she called for more "radar, aerial drones, electronic surveillance, tough employer sanctions"--and, yes, "a guest-worker program."

During the question-and-answer session, some of the gathered supporters were disgruntled with Giffords's emphasis on enforcement hardware but nevertheless seemed reassured by her clarifications that immigration reform also had to include expanded legal pathways. "I'd rather she put the emphasis on the second part," said one of her toughest questioners. "But you have to suppose she's saying what's she's saying because she wants to get elected. I also support that."

The Giffords campaign coincides with a Latino voter mobilization already under way as a result of this past spring's upsurge in pro-immigrant demonstrations. As many as 15,000 came out to Tucson street rallies in April to support liberalized border reform. "It's a hot enough issue that people want to go out and take action. Being part of this campaign is one of those actions," says Daniel Garcia, a volunteer with the Giffords campaign and with a local affiliate of the grassroots Industrial Areas Foundation. "With Graf and the Minutemen blaming just about everything including global warming on immigrants," he says, "this race has absolutely become a place where a lot of emotion has surfaced, and we are channeling that into the campaign." Giffords also has the solid support of the local Democratic political network headed by Representative Raúl Grijalva, one of the strongest voices for immigration reform.

Democrat Tom Volgy, former Tucson mayor and now a university professor, argues that Giffords's ascension in this southern Arizona district should be unequivocally cheered as a national example. While close-the-border intransigence by the Republican right succeeded in torpedoing comprehensive immigration reform, it has now seemingly boomeranged to the GOP's disadvantage as an electoral strategy. "Arizona is the most hard hit by immigration," Volgy says. "But what you see here highlights something really good about the American people. You take a very difficult issue that lends itself to simplistic arguments, but the more you subject it to debate, the more sophisticated and nuanced public opinion becomes. This is the really great part of what's happening here."

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Washington Monthly

Borderline Catastrophe

How the fight over immigration blew up Rove's big tent.

By Rachel Morris

Karl Rove's storied partnership with George W. Bush, now in its second decade, has long been concerned with more momentous matters than simply winning elections. Famously, Rove has sought to engineer a seismic realignment in American politics. To that end, he's perfected two signature strategies. He's mastered a "base-in" approach, designing policy positions first for the party's core conservatives, then marketing them to moderates (in contrast to the "center-out" model preferred by Bill Clinton). At the same time, Rove has made ingenious appeals to new constituencies that he believed were already Republicans, but just didn't know it. Because these tactics defy all kinds of conventional wisdom and have delivered Bush a string of victories, they've won Rove a reputation for political genius. Stories about him invariably make dazzled references to his latest scheme to bring some unlikely group into the GOP fold: black conservatives, Arabs in Michigan, outlier Jews.

But for Republicans eyeing a long-term majority, the Hispanic vote is considered the real prize, particularly immigrant Hispanics. While two thirds of registered U.S.-born Hispanics reliably vote Democratic, foreign-born Hispanics remain up for grabs. This group now comprises nearly half the Latino electorate, which has tripled between 1980 and 2004 to 10 million voters; that figure is expected to double by 2020. For Republicans, this growth is especially important, because their core constituency-white voters-is in demographic decline. But what makes Hispanic voters so coveted by both parties is also their location on a stratified electoral map. As the last two presidential contests have demonstrated, the Democrats have a lock on the Northeast and California, while Republicans hold the South; the two parties split the Midwest. The real battleground is the West and Southwest, traditionally GOP regions that have been drifting leftward, partly because of their growing concentrations of Hispanic residents. If one party wins their loyalty, the theory goes, it holds the key to a generation of political dominance.

Rove and Bush understood the importance of Hispanic voters and have courted them earnestly. That's not an easy task. Puerto Ricans don't vote like Cubans; Mexican Americans in Texas are very different from Mexican Americans in California. But one issue has the potential to attract significant Latino support or provoke their opposition: immigration. After Bush won the White House in 2000, he repeatedly promised to enact a guest-worker program and some form of legalization for the undocumented. In a rare occurrence for this administration, the imperatives of Republican politics actually aligned with something resembling sound public policy. It's not so far-fetched to say that the GOP's future rested with Bush and Rove's ability to make that policy happen.

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Nor is it too overwrought to say that Rove's grand designs have disintegrated. For most of this year, the Republican Party has been publicly waging an ugly internal fight over immigration. Like the president-and, polls show, most Americans-a bipartisan coalition in the Senate supports comprehensive reform. But House Republicans, fearful of their inflamed base, won't budge from an enforcement-only measure that in March and April propelled thousands of Hispanics into the streets. This April, former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie penned a dire warning to his party in The Wall Street Journal: "Anti-immigration rhetoric is a political siren song, and Republicans must resist its lure," he wrote, "or our majority will crash on the shoals." But instead of working with the Senate to actually pass legislation, this summer, Republican representatives have been traveling to competitive districts to hold hearings with titles like, "Should We Embrace the Senate's Grant of Amnesty to Millions of Illegal Aliens and Repeat the Mistakes of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986?" Even if Congress scrapes together a face-saving compromise before November, the damage to the GOP's standing with Latinos can't be so quickly repaired-already, a recent poll by NDN showed that Bush's support among Spanish-speaking Hispanics has dropped almost by half.

It's become a journalistic truism that the House's theatrics will hurt the Republicans in the long-term, but will at least provide the boost they need to hold Congress in November. A closer look suggests that even that latter assumption is doubtful (see "Base Instinct"). Historians may look back at the GOP's struggle over comprehensive reform and pronounce it the moment when its chances for an enduring majority slipped from its grasp. It's worth asking how the Republicans got into this mess -and what it says about the sustainability of the Karl Rove brand of politics.

Hot patata

The American public agrees on very few things, but the need to do something about immigration forms a rare island of consensus. What that something might be provokes a more fractured response. Although a strain of anti-immigrant sentiment runs throughout the population, in recent times at least, its most uncompromising advocates tend to belong to the Republican Party. Time and time again, the GOP has been seduced by the antics of its nativist wing, with disastrous results.

This happened most notoriously in the mid-1990s, when then-governor of California, Pete Wilson, facing an uphill re-election battle, embraced Proposition 187, a state ballot initiative denying social services to legal and illegal immigrants. Both Wilson and Proposition 187 won, prompting House Republicans to attempt a similar stunt. They clamored for a harsh immigration bill and welfare reforms denying benefits to legal immigrants. Bill Clinton vetoed welfare legislation twice because of these demands. Eventually, he signed both bills, but later restored most of the benefits, portraying his party as the champion of immigrants. In 1996, Clinton returned to the White House with 72 percent of the Hispanic vote, collecting Arizona and Florida along the way. In California, Wilson's crusade prompted Hispanics to register to vote in record numbers. With the maverick exception of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the state has been solidly blue ever since.

There were few more attentive students of these lessons than Karl Rove and George W. Bush. As governor of Texas, Bush denounced Wilson and Proposition 187 and spoke warmly of the contributions that Hispanics had made to Texas. He was rewarded with nearly half the Hispanic vote in his second gubernatorial campaign. Seeking to replicate this success in 2000, Bush became fond of remarking to reporters that "family values don't stop at the Rio Grande." His overtures paid off. Whereas Bob Dole won just 21 percent of the Hispanic vote in 1996, Bush, according to exit polls, captured 35 percent.

Everything in moderation

In order to get elected, aspiring presidents often say things that anger their base. Bush did that in two main ways. His education policy, with its prescription for a stronger federal role in local schools, angered believers in small government. And his immigration proposals, with their emphasis on guest-worker provisions rather than border security, were anathema to the party's nativists. More than anything else, these two platforms signaled to voters that Bush would be a moderate.

At first, it looked like Bush planned to be. He tapped Hispanics for cabinet posts and made his first foreign visit to Mexico to meet with Vicente Fox. He even reportedly considered an amnesty (back then, people still used the word) for around three million Mexican workers. But after conservatives complained-Sen. Phil Gramm declared that an amnesty would proceed over his "cold, dead political body"-Bush wavered. "When he got some rollback from the real conservative base, he backed off," said Dick Armey, the former House majority leader, who had urged Bush to stand his ground. "He didn't allow himself to be the largest voice in the country on the subject."

When Fox visited the United States in the first week of September 2001, he and Bush discussed a guest-worker program, increased visa quotas for Mexicans, a mechanism allowing some undocumented workers to "normalize," and heightened border security. But instead of reaching a bilateral agreement, as was once anticipated, the "two amigos" merely mapped the outlines of sweeping reform.

Then came September 11. As the nation rallied around Bush, his hand was strengthened immeasurably. In retrospect, this was probably Bush's best chance to push for comprehensive reform, at a time when the conservative base would have been least able to resist. "Had he done [immigration] in 2002, he would have had more credibility," said Kate O'Beirne, the Washington editor of National Review. "He could have sold both guest worker and citizenship as security issues." But instead of challenging his base, Bush fed it with tax cuts. For the next two years, immigration virtually vanished from the president's public agenda, resurfacing only as his reelection campaign took shape at the end of 2003.

In January 2004, Bush again called for a guest worker program in his State of the Union speech. When a president includes a message like this in a major election-year address, it usually means one of two things: He is telling lawmakers that he wants action, or he is merely signaling to a constituent group that he has their interests at heart. In this case, Bush appears to have been doing the latter-immigration never became a major feature of his campaign. However, at least a few lawmakers seemed to have taken him seriously. In July, Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) offered an initiative called AgJobs, which would have created a path to legal residency for half a million farm workers. Although 63 senators (including 27 Republicans) backed AgJobs, the White House, reportedly nervous about touching anything resembling an amnesty that year, asked Majority Leader Bill Frist to prevent the measure from coming to a vote. Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain, (R-Ariz), along with two Arizona Republicans in the House, Reps. Jim Kolbe and Jeff Flake, began working on a comprehensive bill. Towards the end of the term, a small group of House Republicans attempted to persuade the White House to translate Bush's stirring talk on immigration into concrete proposals, according to a former chief of staff to a GOP representative. But the White House responded evasively, refusing even to tell the group what types of measures it might potentially support, the staffer said, adding: "I don't believe they showed leadership at that time."

As election day approached, Rove mounted an extraordinary effort to rouse the base to maximum strength. This required a very different style from the soft-focus conservatism of 2000. Because conservative backing underpinned Bush's entire re-election strategy, this time he could afford few diversions from the party line. His prescription-drug benefit, an affront to the small government wing, used up his minimal allowance for crossing his base.

At the same time, Rove aimed to supplement conservative support, not by concentrating on swing voters as he had done in 2000, but by making targeted appeals to what he considered persuadable constituencies. To that end, Bush continued to say all the right things to Hispanics. While the Democrats' Hispanic outreach focused on promoting specific policies, Rove produced sophisticated, issue-light TV ads that projected messages of inclusion and respect, delivered by Bush in Spanish. The seeming brilliance of this approach was that Bush could reach out to Latinos without really promising them anything-and without arousing much ire from restrictionists. Rove's plan appeared to work beautifully. Strong conservative turnout swept Bush back into office, along with a share of the Hispanic vote that increased to 40 percent-almost matching John Kerry among foreign-born Latinos.

All talk

In the weeks after Bush's victory, Rove's reputation as "the architect" was confirmed. It seemed that Republicans might really be about to embark on a period of extended dominance. Again Bush indicated that immigration would become a cornerstone of his term. The conditions seemed promising: At this point, he might have used his political capital to override objections from his nativist base and push for moderate immigration reform, boosting his share of the Hispanic vote in the process. Or he could heed the obsession of the party's small-government ideologues, who were urging him to privatize social security in order to destroy a traditional pillar of Democratic support. Both were, as Bush liked to say, political gamechangers, but only immigration required him to cross his base. Instead, he chose Social Security. This turned out to be a fateful decision: The plan proved irrevocably unpopular. Meanwhile, the consequences of the administration's decisions of the past four years began to set in. Iraq deteriorated, spending spiraled, corruption scandals unraveled. The administration's distrust of government resulted in a disastrously inept response to Hurricane Katrina. By the summer of 2005, Bush's poll ratings had plummeted, and events had spun beyond his control.

Until then, Rove's strategy of wooing Latinos without actually doing anything that might offend the conservative base had worked remarkably well-perhaps because his outreach to the base and to Hispanics had advanced along separate tracks. So far, he hadn't been confronted with anything that might cause these tracks to converge, forcing the disparate elements of the Republican voting coalition towards collision.

The convergence began on right-wing talk radio. By mid-2005, the medium was at somewhat of a loss. Normally its red meat consists, to put it baldly, of liberal-bashing and bellicose defenses of conservatives. But now the liberals had lost the election, and the causes conservatives had embraced-the war, the insistence on small, frugal government-weren't going so well. Casting around for something to talk about, hosts discovered the Minutemen. Illegal immigration has always been a perennial source of talk-radio outrage, but the Minutemen, with their warnings that terrorists could enter the country via Mexico, set off a veritable storm. Suddenly, the self-styled border patrols, along with their champion in the House, Rep. Tom Tancredo, became fixtures on radio shows and cable TV.

According to a former senior White House official, the administration became concerned by this phenomenon and conducted some research. Staffers listened to hours of talk radio and found that the obsession with illegal immigration on talk radio had appeared virtually from nowhere. "Two years ago, this wasn't on the radar screen," he said. House Republicans, already eyeing the midterm elections, also took note. By then, Tancredo's immigration-reform caucus had grown to more than 80 members (in 2001, it only had 15).

In August, the White House tried to push back. It tapped Gillespie, Armey and former Democratic Representative Cal Dooley to "do a 501(c)3"-as such efforts are known on the Hill-a non-profit lobbying campaign funded by corporate donations. However, although Bush has always strongly supported a guest-worker program, it's rarely noted that over the years his pronouncements on earned legalization or citizenship have become increasingly opaque. (His preferred formulation is now "bringing workers out of the shadows"). When approached for as much as $3 million in funding, business groups found that all the White House was offering in return were generalities-bullet points rather than detailed policy. Business groups withheld their cash, and the effort petered out.

However, the former Hill chief of staff said that it was embattled Majority Leader Tom DeLay "who played a key role-probably more than anyone else" in pushing an enforcement-only agenda to the foreground. According to three sources familiar with negotiations over the House bill, in early October, soon after he was indicted, DeLay told the Republican conference that representatives should make a border-security bill their strategy for the midterm elections. This may have startled some members, like Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. James Sensenbrenner and Speaker Dennis Hastert, who were known to be open to broader reform. "We'd always considered the Speaker kind of in our corner," said Rep. Flake. But before he stepped down as majority leader, DeLay insisted that the House pass legislation focused only on enforcement. The resulting bill was rushed through the Judiciary committee with no hearings. The leadership refused to allow a vote on any Republican amendments.

This seemed like the moment when Bush would make a stand. Instead, the former White House official said, the administration did some polling, and found that respondents seriously doubted Bush's commitment to securing the border. In November, the president flew to Tucson, Ariz., and gave a speech touting increased funding for detention, mentioning measures for immigrant workers only in passing. By then, the base didn't buy it. "[The response was] 'why is he talking about it now? It's been five years,'" said O'Beirne. "It sounds tinny, it feels insincere." On Dec. 16, after a two-day debate, Republicans rammed their bill through the House.

With the base unleashed, the White House was unable to broker a compromise, either by persuasion or by pressure. This spring, Karl Rove and Josh Bolten, the White House's newly appointed chief of staff, met with the Republican conference to pitch the president's plan. "People were booing and hissing," said the former House staffer. "That probably wouldn't have happened a year ago." Then in June, Brian Bilbray won the California House seat vacated by disgraced Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham. Bilbray had supported the enforcement-only approach against an opponent who supported comprehensive reform. "All of a sudden," said Flake, "Bilbray becomes our model."

Comprehensive failure

In the future, people may look to Bilbray as the Pete Wilson of 2006, the superficial success story that Republicans imitated to their long-term detriment. Already, prominent GOP leaders are blaming House Republicans, particularly Rep. Tancredo, for leading the party to its ruin. Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, described Rep. Tancredo as "the face of the Republican party losing elections for the next 20 years." (He added that the GOP might have avoided this problem by "sending Tancredo to Guantanamo"). Armey put it more diplomatically. "A lot of Hispanics around the country are taking this very personally," he said. "They're saying, 'The problem with Republicans is that they just don't like us.' "

But perhaps the real casualty of the GOP's immigration meltdown is the Rovian model of Republican politics. Part of the near-mythic aura of infallibility surrounding Rove stems from the sense that his tactics seem to defy all known political laws-that it shouldn't be possible to reach out to minorities while fanning the flames of a base that is often hostile to them. And as it turns out, it probably isn't.

Rachel Morris is an editor of The Washington Monthly.

<><><> the end / el fin / tamat <><><>

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Dear friends,

This is just a reminder that there is an emergency picket tomorrow
morning outside the Woodfin Suites Hotel in Emeryville to protest
hotel managers' threatened firings of immigrant workers who blew the
whistle on working conditions at the hotel:



    This Thursday, October 5th from 7 - 9 AM in the morning
    Sidewalk outside of the Woodfin Suites Hotel, Emeryville CA
    5800 Shellmound, near Borders and the Emeryville Public Market

    Please bring a friend, and your broom, mop, or bucket!


For more information about this situation, please contact EBASE

   -- Sarah Norr at (510) 435-9475 or at, or
   -- Brooke Anderson at (510) 290-0978 or at

Brooke Anderson and Sarah Norr

Brooke Anderson, Organizing Director
East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy

1714 Franklin Street, Suite #325
Oakland, CA 94612

PHONE:  (510) 290-0978

* * * * *
Diana Pei Wu 吳珮珮
Program Director, Education & Capacity Building
National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights
310 8th Street, Suite 303
Oakland, CA 94607
Office: (510) 465-1984 x 304

Immigrant Rights News -- Mon, Oct. 2, 2006

Immigrant Rights News -- Mon, Oct. 2, 2006

Please note: if this is the first you receive IRN -- or are receiving it sporadically -- and would like to continue receiving it, please reply with your address and contact info. IRN is sent 1 to 5 times per week.

1. New York Times: "Wait Ends for Father and Son Exiled by F.B.I. Terror Inquiry"

2. New York Times: "Senate Passes Bill on Building Border Fence"

3. Washington Post, Commentary by Ariel Dorfman: "Are We Really So Fearful?

4. Washington Post, Commentary by Tariq Ramadan: "Why I'm Banned in the USA"

5. Sun Herald: "Police mostly hands-off in immigration issues"

6. Houston Chronicle: "HPD revising its immigration policy. Changes taking effect this week will help feds nab criminals here illegally"

7. Belleville News Democrat: (On Elvira Arellano struggle against deportation) "Immigration activist responds to judge's denial"

<><><> 1

New York Times

October 2, 2006

Wait Ends for Father and Son Exiled by F.B.I. Terror Inquiry


LOS ANGELES, Oct. 1 - Two American citizens of Pakistani descent returned to the United States on Sunday, five months after they were denied permission to fly home to California unless they submitted to an interrogation by F.B.I. terrorism investigators.

The men, Muhammad Ismail, 45, and his son, Jaber, 19, of the Northern California farming town of Lodi, returned from Pakistan on a flight that landed at Kennedy Airport in New York around 3:30 p.m. Eastern time. They were scheduled to arrive in California on Sunday night or early Monday on a connecting flight, their lawyer said Sunday.

The Ismails are an uncle and cousin of Hamid Hayat, a Lodi man who was convicted in April in federal court of providing material support to terrorists. Mr. Hayat told investigators he had attended a terrorism training camp during a long stay in Pakistan and intended to carry out unspecified attacks in the United States. Mr. Hayat's father, Umer, was convicted on a lesser charge of lying to investigators about the amount of cash he carried to Pakistan on a 2003 trip, but a jury deadlocked on terrorism charges.

The Ismails were not charged in the case. They attributed their predicament to being related to the Hayats, the only people to have been charged in what federal prosecutors have described as an investigation into possible terrorism links in Lodi.

Julia Harumi Mass of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, who is representing the Ismails, said the pair had no terrorism connections. In a complaint in August to the Department of Homeland Security, she urged the authorities to explain any accusations against them and why they had been denied permission to fly home.

Legal experts said the matter raised questions about balancing terrorism investigations against American citizens' right to travel freely without having been charged with a crime or detained as a suspect.

On Sept. 6, nearly a month after Ms. Mass's complaint, the Homeland Security Department notified her in a letter and telephone call that unspecified records had been modified "to address any delay or denial boarding" the pair had encountered. Ms. Mass said she took that to mean they were cleared to fly, and the Ismails arranged financing and bought tickets home.

"I never imagined that the country I was born in would stop me from coming home for five months and separate me from my family, especially when I was not charged with a crime," Jaber Ismail said in a statement released through the A.C.L.U.

Hamid Hayat had told investigators he believed that Jaber, who was born in Lodi, attended a terrorism camp, but he lacked details. Mr. Hayat's lawyers attacked the investigators' questioning of Mr. Hayat as vague and coerced. Muhammad Ismail, a naturalized citizen who was born in Pakistan, said in the statement that they had traveled to Pakistan so Jaber Ismail could pursue religious study there.

On April 21, as juries were weighing the Hayats' cases, the Ismails were not permitted to board a connecting flight to San Francisco from Hong Kong and returned to Pakistan, where Jaber Ismail was questioned by F.B.I. agents at the American embassy in Islamabad. The agents, Ms. Mass said, requested further interviews with him and his father and a polygraph, which the Ismails refused.

The United States attorney's office in Sacramento, which prosecuted the Hayats, has declined to comment on the investigation other than to acknowledge that agents wished to speak with the Ismails. A Homeland Security spokesman said he had no information about the case.

<><><> 2

New York Times

September 30, 2006

Senate Passes Bill on Building Border Fence


WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 - The Senate on Friday approved the building of 700 miles of fence along the nation's southwestern border, fulfilling a demand by conservative Republicans to take steps to slow the flow of illegal immigrants before exploring broader changes to immigration law.

The Senate vote, 80 to 19, came as lawmakers finished a batch of legislation before heading home to campaign. It sent the fence measure to President Bush, who has promised to sign it despite his earlier push for a more comprehensive approach that could lead to citizenship for some who are in the country illegally.

House Republicans, fearing a voter backlash, had opposed any approach that smacked of amnesty and chose instead to focus on border security in advance of the elections, passing the fence bill earlier this month. With time running out, the Senate acquiesced despite its bipartisan passage of a broader bill in May.

Congress also passed a separate $34.8 billion homeland security spending bill that contained an estimated $21.3 billion for border security, including $1.2 billion for the fence and associated barriers and surveillance systems.

"This is something the American people have been wanting us to do for a long time," said Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, whose state would be the site of substantial fence construction.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff praised the money for border security. He said it would "enable the department to make substantial progress toward preventing terrorists and others from exploiting our borders and provides flexibility for smart deployment of physical infrastructure that needs to be built along the southwest border."

Some Democrats ridiculed the fence idea and said a broader approach was the only way to halt the influx. "You don't have to be a law enforcement or engineering expert to know that a 700-mile fence on a 2,000-mile border makes no sense," said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate. Nevertheless, more than 20 Democrats moved behind the measure.

The fence bill and homeland spending were among security-related measures the Republican leadership was pushing through in the closing hours to bolster their security credentials.

On a 100-to-0 vote, the Senate earlier sent a $447.6 billion bill for the Defense Department to the president. It included $70 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a sum that will bring the total spent on those wars and other military antiterrorism operations to more than $500 billion.

Lawmakers also sped through a port security bill that would institute new safeguards at the nation's 361 seaports, while a Pentagon policy measure stalled in a Senate dispute.

"Passage of this port security bill is a major leap ahead in our efforts to strengthen our national security," said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine and chairwoman of the Senate homeland security panel.

At the urging of conservative groups and the National Football League, among other interests, the port security measure carried legislation cracking down on Internet gambling by prohibiting credit card companies and other financial institutions from processing the exchange of money between bettors and Web sites. The prohibition, which exempts some horse-racing operations, has previously passed the House and Senate at different times but has never cleared Congress.

"Although we can't monitor every online gambler or regulate offshore gambling, we can police the financial institutions that disregard our laws," said Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the majority leader, who lobbied to add the crackdown to the port bill.

Because Congress failed to finish nine other required spending bills before the Sept. 30 deadline, the Pentagon measure also contained a provision to maintain spending for other federal agencies through Nov. 17 to give lawmakers time to finish the bills in a post-election session.

In an end-of-session appeal to conservatives, Senate Republicans also brought up a measure that could lead to criminal charges against people who take under-age girls across state lines for abortions, but they were unable to get enough votes to overcome procedural obstacles, and the bill stalled.

The atmosphere in the Capitol was somewhat tense as lawmakers were set to head back to their districts for what is looming as a difficult election. And the sudden resignation of Representative Mark Foley, Republican of Florida, after the disclosure of sexually suggestive e-mail messages he reportedly sent to teenage pages, added to the turmoil.

The fence legislation was one of the chief elements to survive the broader comprehensive bill that President Bush and a Senate coalition had hoped would tighten border security, grant legal status to most illegal immigrants and create a vast guest worker program to supply the nation's industries.

Senator Saxby Chambliss, Republican of Georgia, said the vote would build credibility with conservative voters who have been skeptical of the government's commitment to border security.

"They have been under the impression that Congress has been a lot about conversations about securing the border and not about action," said Mr. Chambliss, who opposes the legalization of illegal immigrants and voted against the Senate immigration bill. "This is real action."

But Republicans and Democrats alike acknowledged they were leaving the country's immigration problems largely unresolved. The border security measures passed do not address the 11 million people living here illegally, the call for a guest worker program by businesses or the need for a verification program that would ensure that companies do not hire illegal workers.

And while Congress wants 700 miles of fencing, it was appropriating only enough money to complete about 370 miles of it, Congressional aides acknowledged, leaving it unclear as to whether the entire structure will be built. Dana Perino, deputy White House press secretary, said Friday that Mr. Bush intended to keep pressing Congress for a broader fix. She said the White House was hopeful that Congress would return to the issue after the elections.

<><><> 3
Washington Post

Are We Really So Fearful?

By Ariel Dorfman
Sunday, September 24, 2006;


It still haunts me, the first time -- it was in Chile, in October of 1973 -- that I met someone who had been tortured. To save my life, I had sought refuge in the Argentine Embassy some weeks after the coup that had toppled the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende, a government for which I had worked. And then, suddenly, one afternoon, there he was. A large-boned man, gaunt and yet strangely flabby, with eyes like a child, eyes that could not stop blinking and a body that could not stop shivering.

That is what stays with me -- that he was cold under the balmy afternoon sun of Santiago de Chile, trembling as though he would never be warm again, as though the electric current was still coursing through him. Still possessed, somehow still inhabited by his captors, still imprisoned in that cell in the National Stadium, his hands disobeying the orders from his brain to quell the shuddering, his body unable to forget what had been done to it just as, nearly 33 years later, I, too, cannot banish that devastated life from my memory.

It was his image, in fact, that swirled up from the past as I pondered the current political debate in the United States about the practicality of torture. Something in me must have needed to resurrect that victim, force my fellow citizens here to spend a few minutes with the eternal iciness that had settled into that man's heart and flesh, and demand that they take a good hard look at him before anyone dare maintain that, to save lives, it might be necessary to inflict unbearable pain on a fellow human being. Perhaps the optimist in me hoped that this damaged Argentine man could, all these decades later, help shatter the perverse innocence of contemporary Americans, just as he had burst the bubble of ignorance protecting the young Chilean I used to be, someone who back then had encountered torture mainly through books and movies and newspaper reports.

That is not, however, the only lesson that today's ruthless world can learn from that distant man condemned to shiver forever.

All those years ago, that torture victim kept moving his lips, trying to articulate an explanation, muttering the same words over and over. "It was a mistake," he repeated, and in the next few days I pieced together his sad and foolish tale. He was an Argentine revolutionary who had fled his homeland and, as soon as he had crossed the mountains into Chile, had begun to boast about what he would do to the military there if it staged a coup, about his expertise with arms of every sort, about his colossal stash of weapons. Bluster and braggadocio -- and every word of it false.

But how could he convince those men who were beating him, hooking his penis to electric wires and waterboarding him? How could he prove to them that he had been lying, prancing in front of his Chilean comrades, just trying to impress the ladies with his fraudulent insurgent persona?

Of course, he couldn't. He confessed to anything and everything they wanted to drag from his hoarse, howling throat; he invented accomplices and addresses and culprits; and then, when it became apparent that all this was imaginary, he was subjected to further ordeals.

There was no escape.

That is the hideous predicament of the torture victim. It was always the same story, what I discovered in the ensuing years, as I became an unwilling expert on all manner of torments and degradations, my life and my writing overflowing with grief from every continent. Each of those mutilated spines and fractured lives -- Chinese, Guatemalan, Egyptian, Indonesian, Iranian, Uzbek, need I go on? -- all of them, men and women alike, surrendered the same story of essential asymmetry, where one man has all the power in the world and the other has nothing but pain, where one man can decree death at the flick of a wrist and the other can only pray that the wrist will be flicked soon.

It is a story that our species has listened to with mounting revulsion, a horror that has led almost every nation to sign treaties over the past decades declaring these abominations as crimes against humanity, transgressions interdicted all across the earth. That is the wisdom, national and international, that has taken us thousands of years of tribulation and shame to achieve. That is the wisdom we are being asked to throw away when we formulate the question -- Does torture work? -- when we allow ourselves to ask whether we can afford to outlaw torture if we want to defeat terrorism.

I will leave others to claim that torture, in fact, does not work, that confessions obtained under duress -- such as that extracted from the heaving body of that poor Argentine braggart in some Santiago cesspool in 1973 -- are useless. Or to contend that the United States had better not do that to anyone in our custody lest someday another nation or entity or group decides to treat our prisoners the same way.

I find these arguments -- and there are many more -- to be irrefutable. But I cannot bring myself to use them, for fear of honoring the debate by participating in it.

Can't the United States see that when we allow someone to be tortured by our agents, it is not only the victim and the perpetrator who are corrupted, not only the "intelligence" that is contaminated, but also everyone who looked away and said they did not know, everyone who consented tacitly to that outrage so they could sleep a little safer at night, all the citizens who did not march in the streets by the millions to demand the resignation of whoever suggested, even whispered, that torture is inevitable in our day and age, that we must embrace its darkness?

Are we so morally sick, so deaf and dumb and blind, that we do not understand this? Are we so fearful, so in love with our own security and steeped in our own pain, that we are really willing to let people be tortured in the name of America? Have we so lost our bearings that we do not realize that each of us could be that hapless Argentine who sat under the Santiago sun, so possessed by the evil done to him that he could not stop shivering?

Ariel Dorfman, a Chilean American writer and professor at Duke University, is author of "Death and the Maiden."

<><><> 4

Washington Post

Why I'm Banned in the USA

By Tariq Ramadan
Sunday, October 1, 2006; B01


For more than two years now, the U.S. government has barred me from entering the United States to pursue an academic career. The reasons have changed over time, and have evolved from defamatory to absurd, but the effect has remained the same: I've been kept out.

First, I was told that I could not enter the country because I had endorsed terrorism and violated the USA Patriot Act. It took a lawsuit for the government eventually to abandon this baseless accusation. Later, I reapplied for a visa, twice, only to hear nothing for more than a year. Finally, just 10 days ago, after a federal judge forced the State Department to reconsider my application, U.S. authorities offered a new rationale for turning me away: Between 1998 and 2002, I had contributed small sums of money to a French charity supporting humanitarian work in the Palestinian territories.

I am increasingly convinced that the Bush administration has barred me for a much simpler reason: It doesn't care for my political views. In recent years, I have publicly criticized U.S. policy in the Middle East, the war in Iraq, the use of torture, secret CIA prisons and other government actions that undermine fundamental civil liberties. And for many years, through my research and writing and speeches, I have called upon Muslims to better understand the principles of their own faith, and have sought to show that one can be Muslim and Western at the same time.

My experience reveals how U.S. authorities seek to suppress dissenting voices and -- by excluding people such as me from their country -- manipulate political debate in America. Unfortunately, the U.S. government's paranoia has evolved far beyond a fear of particular individuals and taken on a much more insidious form: the fear of ideas.

In January 2004, I was offered a job at the University of Notre Dame, as a professor of Islamic studies and as Luce professor of religion, conflict and peace-building. I accepted the tenured position enthusiastically and looked forward to joining the academic community in the United States. After the government granted me a work visa, I rented a home in South Bend, Ind., enrolled my children in school there and shipped all of my household belongings. Then, in July, the government notified me that my visa had been revoked. It did not offer a specific explanation, but pointed to a provision of the Patriot Act that applies to people who have "endorsed or espoused" terrorist activity.

The revocation shocked me. I had consistently opposed terrorism in all of its forms, and still do. And, before 2004, I had visited the United States frequently to lecture, attend conferences and meet with other scholars. I had been an invited speaker at conferences or lectures sponsored by Harvard University, Stanford, Princeton and the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Foundation. None of these institutions seemed to consider me a threat to national security.

The U.S. government invited me to apply for a new visa and, with Notre Dame's help, I did so in October 2004. But after three months passed without a response, I felt I had little choice but to give up my new position and resume my life in Europe. Even so, I never abandoned the effort to clear my name. At the urging of American academic and civic groups, I reapplied for a visa one last time in September 2005, hoping that the government would retract its accusation. Once again, I encountered only silence.

Finally, in January, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Academy of Religion, the American Association of University Professors and PEN American Center filed a lawsuit on my behalf, challenging the government's actions. In court, the government's lawyers admitted that they could establish no connection between me and any terrorist group; the government had merely taken a "prudential" measure by revoking my visa. Even then, the government maintained that the process of reconsidering my visa could take years. The federal court -- which issued a ruling recognizing that I have been a vocal critic of terrorism -- rejected the indefinite delay. In June, it ordered the government to grant me a visa or explain why it would not do so.

On Sept. 21, the long-awaited explanation arrived. The letter from the U.S. Embassy informed me that my visa application had been denied, and it put an end to the rumors that had circulated since my original visa was revoked. After a lengthy investigation, the State Department cited no evidence of suspicious relationships, no meetings with terrorists, no encouraging or advocacy of terrorism. Instead, the department cited my donation of $940 to two humanitarian organizations (a French group and its Swiss chapter) serving the Palestinian people. I should note that the investigation did not reveal these contributions. As the department acknowledges, I had brought this information to their attention myself, two years earlier, when I had reapplied for a visa.

In its letter, the U.S. Embassy claims that I "reasonably should have known" that the charities in question provided money to Hamas. But my donations were made between December 1998 and July 2002, and the United States did not blacklist the charities until 2003. How should I reasonably have known of their activities before the U.S. government itself knew? I donated to these organizations for the same reason that countless Europeans -- and Americans, for that matter -- donate to Palestinian causes: not to help fund terrorism, but because I wanted to provide humanitarian aid to people who desperately need it. Yet after two years of investigation, this was the only explanation offered for the denial of my visa. I still find it hard to believe.

What words do I utter and what views do I hold that are dangerous to American ears, so dangerous, in fact, that I should not be allowed to express them on U.S. soil?

I have called upon Western societies to be more open toward Muslims and to regard them as a source of richness, not just of violence or conflict. I have called upon Muslims in the West to reconcile and embrace both their Islamic and Western identities. I have called for the creation of a "New We" based on common citizenship within which Buddhists, Jews, Christians, Muslims and people with no religion can build a pluralistic society. And yes, I believe we all have a right to dissent, to criticize governments and protest undemocratic decisions. It is certainly legitimate for European Muslims and American Muslims to criticize their governments if they find them unjust -- and I will continue to do so.

At the same time, I do not stop short of criticizing regimes from Muslim countries. Indeed, the United States is not the only country that rejects me; I am also barred from Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and even my native Egypt. Last month, after a few sentences in a speech by Pope Benedict XVI elicited protests and violence, I published an article noting how some governments in the Muslim world manipulate these imagined crises to suit their political agendas. "When the people are deprived of their basic rights and of their freedom of expression," I argued, "it costs nothing to allow them to vent their anger over Danish cartoons or the words of the Pontiff." I was immediately accused of appeasing the enemies of Islam, of being more Western than Muslim.

Today, I live and work in London. From my posts at Oxford University and the Lokahi Foundation, I try to promote cultural understanding and to prevent radicalization within Muslim communities here. Along with many British citizens, I have criticized the country's new security laws and its support for the war in Iraq. Yet I have never been asked to remain silent as a condition to live or work here. I can express myself freely.

I fear that the United States has grown fearful of ideas. I have learned firsthand that the Bush administration reacts to its critics not by engaging them, but by stigmatizing and excluding them. Will foreign scholars be permitted to enter the United States only if they promise to mute their criticisms of U.S. policy? It saddens me to think of the effect this will have on the free exchange of ideas, on political debate within America, and on our ability to bridge differences across cultures.

Tariq Ramadan, a fellow at Oxford University, is author of "Western Muslims and the Future of Islam."

<><><> 5

Sun Herald (Mississippi)

Posted on Sun, Oct. 01, 2006

Police mostly hands-off in immigration issues


Across the country, some local law enforcement agencies have recently gotten involved in the deportation of undocumented immigrants as the national debate over immigration has heated up.

Mississippi is no exception, although recent interviews with Coast law enforcement and immigrant-advocacy groups showed that it is not widespread and not an easy issue.

In Gulfport in mid-August, police officers assisted Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in the detention and eventual deportation of 37 undocumented immigrants at the Home Depot and Lowe's on U.S. 49 who were day laborers, according to several people with knowledge of the incident.

Gulfport Deputy Chief Alfred Sexton said the operation was planned, organized and largely executed by ICE.

"All we did was transport them from point A to point B," said Sexton, adding it is the normal level of involvement for Gulfport police when it comes to undocumented immigrants. "They (ICE) handle those. I can't take an immigrant that does not have proper paper work. They make the decisions. That's their jurisdiction."

Sgt. Jackie Rhodes, public information officer for the Biloxi Police Department, said police officers have the right to ask for proper identification as part of an investigation. Sometimes that means asking for a green card or work visa, too.

"If they don't have an American driver's license, we'll ask if they have a green card," said Rhodes, adding that if they turn out to be undocumented, ICE or border patrol does not necessarily get involved. "If it's a criminal act, yeah, we do (get ICE involved), every time. Usually if the person hasn't committed a crime, (ICE) or border patrol doesn't follow it up, they're so busy doing other stuff."

Although police do have the right to ask for someone's immigration status during any investigation, the danger of racial profiling is high because there are so many light-skinned and light-haired Latinos, said Andy Guerra, president of the Gulf Coast Latin American Association and a former law-enforcement officer himself.

"When these individuals are being stopped and asked for proper identification, license and insurance, some (police) are also saying, 'Let me see your immigration paperwork,' which is a violation of civil rights," Guerra said. "The state of Mississippi only requires two documents (to drive a car): proof of (insurance) and driver's license."

Otherwise, Guerra said, police ought to ask every person they stop for their proof of citizenship, regardless of their accent or skin color.

Bill Chandler, president of the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, said if police start getting heavily involved in deportations, they risk having their own work impeded because immigrants will often not talk to police to report or admit witnessing crimes if they fear getting asked about their immigration status.

Chandler said there was an incident in Jackson County recently in which a shooting yielded no witnesses because those in the Latino community who witnessed it were afraid the police investigators would ask for their immigration papers.

"Trust is an issue," he said.

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Houston Chronicle
Oct. 1, 2006, 2:52AM

HPD revising its immigration policy
Changes taking effect this week will help feds nab criminals here illegally

Under fire in recent months over its policy toward illegal immigrants, the Houston Police Department is unveiling new procedures today to allow more cooperation with federal agents trying to catch criminals living in the country illegally.

Officers still will not inquire about the immigration status of people they haven't arrested, so the changes are unlikely to quiet critics who have labeled Houston a "sanctuary city" for illegal immigrants.

But the department is making several key revisions.

An announcement is expected today, less than two weeks after the shooting death of police officer Rodney Johnson caused simmering opposition to the department policy to flare anew. An illegal immigrant who previously had been deported is charged in the slaying.

Among the changes to take effect this week:

.The department will hold people detained or arrested for traffic violations or other minor crimes - Class C misdemeanors - if warrant checks show they are wanted by federal agents for defying an order to leave the country or for returning after being deported in connection with a criminal case. Under existing policy, police generally did not hold such people for federal authorities, even if officers were aware of the federal warrants.
.The department will allow immigration agents unfettered access to the city's two jails, as they have had in the Harris County jail, and officers will start asking all arrestees whether they are citizens.
.Fingerprints of anyone booked into the jails without proper identification will be checked against a national fingerprint database.
That could help officers identify wanted criminals, including people wanted for serious immigration violations, police say.

"There's a pretty solid process now between HPD and the federal authorities to identify and act on people who've been deported from this country because of their criminal behavior," said Executive Assistant Chief Timothy Oettmeier, among a group of police commanders who briefed the Houston Chronicle on the changes.

"We're now in a position to detect and get them back out of here."

Oettmeier and the others acknowledged they can't project how many immigration violators who previously might have been released will be snared under the new policy. Immigration officials say roughly 200,000 such cases are in their database, but only a few such people encounter authorities each year.

Police commanders, who dispute the "sanctuary" title, have been working on the revisions for months with federal prosecutors and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

Under the revised procedures, officers still won't attempt to determine the immigration status of people encountered routinely, and won't arrest anyone solely for being in the country illegally - as advocated by supporters of tougher immigration enforcement.

Local versus federal
But police and immigration officials say the immigration status of suspects charged with serious misdemeanors or felonies is routinely determined upon transfer to the county jail.

Mayor Bill White and Police Chief Harold Hurtt have said the department doesn't have legal authority in most immigration cases.

They also say the department shouldn't expend its limited manpower on a federal responsibility and that doing so would alienate officers from immigrant communities.

That could make it harder to get immigrants to report crimes or cooperate as witnesses.

"The administration supports giving law enforcement all tools to reduce the risk of crime within their resources," White said.

"Running more checks on the wanted status of people, and more use of the fingerprint database, will tighten up the procedures."

Critic not satisfied
One key department critic, Mary Williams of Protect Our Citizens, a local group trying to change the policy through a voter referendum, charged that the revisions don't go far enough.

She vowed to continue her fight to put a provision in the City Charter permitting police to enforce immigration laws.

"We want officers to have the discretion to ask them the first time," she said, referring to inquiries about citizenship status during routine encounters such as traffic stops.

Williams dismissed the new policies as political posturing.

"When you let the politicians decide, you get baby steps like this thing," she said.

Though the changes likely won't end criticism of the policy, police commanders said the new procedures will make it harder for criminal immigrants to elude detection but also allow the department to maintain its position that officers should have a limited role in immigration matters.

2003 incident resurfaces
The change involving criminal deportees - people forced out of the country because they violated laws here - would prevent incidents like one in October 2003, when officers were forced to release Moises Hernandez Galvan, a 37-year-old illegal immigrant detained after a traffic stop, even though they knew he had returned to the country after deportation.

The incident was not publicized at the time but sparked internal criticism about the department's policy, according to police memos obtained by the Houston Chronicle under the Texas Public Information Act.

"If this suspect had been a deported felon with terrorist ties, then the actions taken in this incident could seriously jeopardize homeland security," Lt. Tom Roman, who is now retired, wrote then-acting Police Chief Joe Breshears.

A reply memo stated that the department would continue its policy of not detaining people arrested on Class C misdemeanors simply because they had immigration warrants.

Under the new policy, police would hold for federal authorities a suspect such as Galvan if it's discovered the suspect is wanted on an immigration warrant.

Bob Rutt, special agent in charge of the Houston office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said his agents will take those suspects from police custody within 12 hours.

"This is very big," he said. "It shows the commitment by HPD to public safety and homeland security."

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Belleville News Democrat

Posted on Sat, Sep. 30, 2006

Immigration activist responds to judge's denial

Associated Press

CHICAGO - Immigration activist Elvira Arellano said Saturday she will remain holed up in a church in an effort of avoid deportation even though a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed against the government.

The lawsuit contended deporting Arellano would effectively deport her son Saul, who is a U.S. citizen, and would be a violation of his rights. U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve ruled Friday, that although the 7-year-old would face hardships, they weren't of constitutional magnitude.

Arellano, 31, and her son have been living at the Adalberto United Methodist Church since mid-August to avoid deportation.

"I want to stay here with my son," Arellano said in Spanish. "I'm not just fighting for my can't separate families."

Church pastor the Rev. Walter L. Coleman, who filed the lawsuit in August for Arellano, says she will continue working on all three branches of government to find a way to stay in the U.S. They are in contact with other families in similar situations and are considering filing a class action lawsuit, he said.

Coleman said he is not concerned federal officials will enter the church to remove Arellano.

"We fear God more than we fear Homeland Security," he said.

Arellano was to surrender to federal authorities for deportation Aug. 15, but instead sought refuge in the small church located in the city's heavily Puerto Rican Humboldt Park neighborhood.

Arellano first was arrested in 1997 soon after crossing into the United States and was back to Mexico.

She returned and was again arrested in 2002 and convicted of working as a cleaning woman at O'Hare International Airport under a false Social Security number.

After Arellano gave her statement Saturday, the church hosted an interfaith service with local Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders.

Emma Lozano, the executive director of the Chicago immigration-rights group Centro Sin Fronteras, asked the approximately 50 people in attendance to "prepare spiritually" and come together to work against hatred toward immigrants.

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