Immigrant Rights News - Friday, May 30, 2008
Immigrant Rights News – Friday, May 30, 2008
NOTE: IRN and other NNIRR posts are available at www.nnirr.blogspot.com
1. Reuters: “Chertoff was at a conference in
Chertoff was at a conference in
INTERVIEW-Chertoff keen on Israeli airport security technology
Thu May 29, 2008 4:03pm EDT
By Avida Landau
JERUSALEM, May 29 (Reuters) - U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said on Thursday he will seek to adopt novel Israeli methods, like behaviour-detection technologies, to better secure America's airports.
"That's a scenario where
Chertoff said such methods, as well as Israeli technologies that detect explosives, are some of the things that may help protect
Chertoff, at a conference in
One of the new systems presented at the conference, developed by the Israeli technology company WeCU, uses behavioural science, together with biometric sensors, to detect sinister intentions among travellers.
"Not every technological approach here (in
Chertoff also said that the
"(It's) a vastly longer border. It's not an area where there is much useful experience," he said.
Chertoff has recently cleared the way for the completion of nearly 500 miles of a planned barrier fence in
"The challenge will be to keep moving forward. We need to continue to implement the measures we have in place and continue to look for additional things to match what the enemies are doing because they are constantly retooling themselves," he said.
Chertoff is expected to leave his post when President George W. Bush finishes his term in January 2009. (Editing by Jon Boyle)
Does crackdown cross line?
12:26 AM CDT, May 26, 2008
The newest tactic in
That's all the probable cause sheriff's deputies here in sprawling
If the driver or the passengers fail to produce a
To Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, these zero-tolerance traffic sweeps, which he recently stepped up in heavily Hispanic neighborhoods across the Phoenix metropolitan area, are a successful tool to root out the undocumented workers that many conservative leaders say have overwhelmed America's fifth-most-populous city just a three-hour drive north of the Mexican border. Arpaio's deputies have arrested more than 500 illegal immigrants so far this year.
"We're hitting this illegal Immigration on all aspects of it," said Arpaio, the elected Republican sheriff for the last 16 years. "We know how to determine whether these guys are illegal, the way the situation looks, how they are dressed, where they are coming from."
But to a growing chorus of Hispanic activists, civil rights leaders and Democratic politicians, Arpaio's policy represents a blatant case of racial profiling. It is an extreme example, they say, of anecdotes that have begun surfacing across the country in which local police agencies respond to the national backlash against illegal immigrants by aggressively targeting Spanish-speakers for the offense of "driving while brown."
As a result,
"We're absolutely seeing a rise in racial profiling," said Cynthia Valenzuela, litigation director for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. "It's simply not legal to use a minor traffic offense as a pretext for investigating Immigration status."
Arpaio's critics allege that both
One class-action lawsuit already has been filed against the sheriff, and civil rights groups say they are collecting evidence for more.
"If you are of Mexican-American heritage, if you have brown skin, there is nothing you can do not to be stopped," said Mary Rose Wilcox, the only member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors who has criticized Arpaio's Immigration sweeps and the only Hispanic on the board.
"Deputies are asking for birth certificates. Do you carry a birth certificate with you? Should you have to?" she added.
Last month, Phil Gordon, the Democratic mayor of
"I understand these are serious allegations," Gordon wrote to Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey. "As mayor of the city of
Arpaio, who styles himself as "
"We don't racial-profile. That's all garbage. Everything [Gordon] has said is a lie," Arpaio said during an interview last week. "The politicians fear the Hispanic vote. They want to stay right on that fence; they don't want to aggravate the Hispanic community."
As training spreads
Controversies like the one in
Nearly 50 police agencies have signed on to the program so far, and Arpaio's office ranks as the most enthusiastic participant, with 160 sheriff's deputies trained as Immigration enforcers.
The cross-training is attractive to federal Immigration officials because it means frontline local police can now sift every suspect they arrest for Immigration violations.
But because ordinary traffic stops have long been a bedrock anti-crime tool for local police agencies across the country—felons and others wanted on outstanding warrants are discovered this way every day—the issue is whether such traffic enforcement can now be used as the legal basis for an inquiry into a suspect's Immigration status.
"This is a clearly impermissible use of race as a factor in law enforcement," said Dan Pochoda, legal director of the
"The cars that get stopped are drivers of color, period. And since Arpaio's claiming they are stopped because of traffic violations, he has no individualized suspicion to stop people on the grounds of Immigration violations. There's no way you can know by looking at a person if they are legal or illegal," Pochoda said.
But Arpaio and his defenders—he's got stacks of supportive letters and e-mails on his desk, and a box filled with $5,000 in checks donated to help replace the funding cut off by the governor—strongly disagree.
Just doing their job
The sheriff says that his deputies are not only making arrests for federal Immigration violations but also are pursuing charges under a new state anti-smuggling law that makes it a felony for both human smugglers and their customers to enter Arizona.
"We're enforcing the state laws," the sheriff said. "If we come across any illegals, we take action. But we're not going on the street looking for illegals per se."
On a ride-along last week, during which a Tribune reporter was permitted to observe members of the sheriff's Human Smuggling Unit out on a patrol, there seemed to be evidence for both sides in the debate.
On the one hand, the officers plainly admitted they were choosing vehicles to pull over based on telltale signs that they might contain illegal immigrants, such as low-riding axles indicating a large load of passengers.
But the officers also refrained from making a stop until they had developed legal probable cause, such as one case in which a license plate did not properly match the van to which it was affixed. Inside the van, the officers found a driver and seven passengers, none of whom spoke English or could produce any kind of license, visa or U.S.-issued identification. They gave conflicting stories about their destination, and all were arrested and charged under the state's human-smuggling law.
For their part, federal officials overseeing the Immigration arrests being made by the
Yet the federal Immigration department's Web site states that the cooperative law-enforcement program "is not designed to allow state and local agencies to perform random street operations" and "does not impact traffic offenses such as driving without a license unless the offense leads to an arrest."
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