Thursday, September 18, 2008

Immigrant Rights News - Thursday, September 18, 2008

Immigrant Rights News – Thursday, September 18, 2008

 

 

1. Chicago Tribune: 150 illegal [sic] immigrants arrested in Chicago area, officials announce

 

2. Frontera NorteSur: “World Migrants Say No to Walls, Yes to Legalization”

 

3. Reuters: Appeals court upholds Arizona immigration law

 

4. Clarion Ledger: 9th worker charged after Laurel immigration raid

 

5. Andy Comix: Cartoon on Laurel, MS raid

 

 

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Chicago Tribune

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-immigration-arrestssep18,0,7634859.story

 

150 illegal [sic] immigrants arrested in Chicago area, officials announce

Immigrant advocate group protests higher citizenship fees

 

|Chicago Tribune reporter aolivo@tribune.com

September 18, 2008

 

Nearly 150 illegal immigrants [sic] in the Chicago area have been arrested during a four-day sweep that ended earlier this week, officials announced Wednesday, the same day that Immigration advocates held a Citizenship Day protest against federal policies.

 

The arrests occurred in northern Indiana, Chicago and 26 other Illinois communities, with agents targeting immigrants who have failed to leave the country after being ordered by a judge to do so, said Gail Montenegro, Chicago spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

 

Those arrested in the operation hail from 26 countries, including Mexico, Croatia and India, she said.

 

So far this year, officials have made about 23,000 such "fugitive arrests," and 7,000 others have been detained after being questioned during sweeps and found to be in the country illegally, Montenegro said.

 

"A lot of these fugitives have been ignored [by the federal government] for many, many years," she said. "It could be someone who just became a fugitive, or someone who has been here for 20 years and we're now just tracking them down."

 

Immigrant advocates called the action an emblem of a broken system that has separated thousands of families through deportation. As part of Citizenship Day, they protested Wednesday in Grant Park against higher fees for U.S. citizenship applications that they argue has led to fewer legal residents applying for citizenship.

 

In Chicago, applications for U.S. citizenship dropped 39 percent during the first four months of the year to 8,049, compared with the same period last year, according to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

 

"The United States needs to rediscover that the center of democracy is citizenship, a democracy where the people have a stake," said Joshua Hoyt, the group's executive director. "We need to create a stake for the undocumented so they're no longer vulnerable and their families aren't being broken."

 

 

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Frontera NorteSur (FNS)

 

September 17, 2008

 

World Migrants Say No to Walls, Yes to Legalization

 

In a major gathering ignored by US mass media, thousands of migrants met in Spain from September 11 to 14 to articulate a set of demands directed at governments across the world. Meeting for the Third World Social Forum on Migration, delegates represented organizations from more than 90 nations.

 

Issuing a final declaration, migrant representatives demanded legalization of undocumented migrants, strengthened United Nations protections, increased political rights in destination countries, the compliance of temporary worker programs with articles 97 and 143 of the International Labor Organization (ILO), and the ratification of the 1990 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, among other demands.

 

“To migrate is not a crime,” the World Social Forum declaration stated. “The causes that give rise to migration are crimes. Let’s raise our voices, defend our rights and struggle toward building a world without walls.”

 

The migrant rights statement blamed the mass migrations uprooting the planet on the current world capitalist economic model with all its attendant environmental and economic consequences. The ILO’s Patrick Taran has estimated that migrants represent three percent of the world population, or 191 million people.

 

At the mass meeting held near Madrid, particular criticism was leveled at the European Union (EU) and the Spanish government. Approved by the European Parliament last June and set to go into effect in 2010, the EU’s controversial “Return Directive” will allow member nations to jail undocumented for migrants for up to 18 months while awaiting deportation.

 

Anywhere from 4.5 million to 8 million undocumented migrants could be residing in EU member states, according to recent estimates. As in the United States, migrants are heavily employed in the construction, agricultural and service industries.

 

Apart from protests by Amnesty International, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees  and  grassroots migrant groups, the new EU policy caused serious diplomatic frictions with several South American governments and leaders, including Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who threatened to cut oil supplies and curb European capital flows in his oil-rich nation.

 

Although the Madrid forum was mainly a NGO affair, several representatives of international institutions and governments addressed the attendees.

 

Jorge Bustamante, UN special migrant human rights rapporteur, charged that migrants living in the United States were facing a “situation of terror.”

 

The UN official likewise criticized his native country, Mexico, for its own alleged ill-treatment of immigrants.

 

“With shame, I have to say that we Mexicans treat them worse than they treat us in the United States,” Bustamante said.

 

According to statistics from Mexico’s federal Interior Ministry cited in the Mexican press, the United States deported 528, 822 Mexicans from September 2007 to August 2008, while Mexico deported 89, 507 foreigners, mainly Central Americans, during the same time period.

 

Bustamante took issue with the Spanish government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero for cracking down on undocumented workers and supporting the EU’s return directive.

 

Said Bustamante: “It is incongruent for the Spanish government to approve this directive, which is a step backwards, an escalation of the criminalization of migrants, who are not criminals. Besides, there was a time that Spain was a country of emigration and many were victims of abuses. (Spain) should (sign the migrant convention) in remembrance of the benefits it received from those migrants. Spain has to honor the role it had in the defense of immigrant rights.”

 

Bustamante’s appeal to the Spanish government was echoed by Ignacio Diaz de Aguilar, World Social Forum coordinator and president of the Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid.

 

Enjoying an economic boom in recent years, Spain attracted many foreigners, who are estimated to make up as much as 11.3 percent of the country’s population of 46 million people. Of the foreign-born population, Latin Americans, especially Bolivians and Argentines, make up approximately thirty percent of the total. More recently, hard economic times have made Spain far less receptive to new immigrants.

 

In an interview with Latin American journalists last July, Spanish Labor and Immigration Minister Celestino Corbacho Chaves said critics were unfair to lump Spain’s emerging immigration policy with the EU’s new directive. Corbacho said the Spanish government was encouraging voluntary repatriation, but that it would allow returning migrants to resume benefiting from the country’s social security system after a five-year absence.

 

“There is no change in immigration policy, Corbacho said. “There is a new context in Spain and in Europe, and an economic complexity at the global level.”

 

For migrant representatives, not all the news delivered in Spain was bad.

 

Alberto Acosta, ex-president of Ecuador’s constituent assembly, told delegates that his country’s proposed new constitution will contain provisions for universal citizenship and free transit for migrants.

 

Ecuador will allow its own migrants living abroad the right to elect direct representatives to the national legislature if the political reform is approved, Acosta said.

 

Elaborating on the same theme, Lorena Escudero, Ecuador’s minister of migrant affairs, proposed the creation of a universal passport to symbolize the ideas of “universal citizenship, non-discrimination and friendly and respectful integration.”

 

The World Social Forum’s migrant assembly concluded with a march of about 5,000 people through the streets of Madrid. Slogans shouted by the demonstrators included “No Human Being is Illegal” and “Our Voices, Our

Rights: For a World without Walls.”

 

In its final statement, the Madrid assembly noted that the meeting occurred during the 60th anniversary year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other important world political events including the September 11, 1973 coup in Chile. Keeping with a political theme, the declaration expressed solidarity with the embattled government of Bolivian President Evo Morales. The next World Social Forum on migrant issues is scheduled for Quito, Ecuador, in 2010.

 

Sources: La Jornada, September 13 and 15, 2008. Articles by Armando G. Tejeda and Fabiola Martinez. Inter-Press Service July 16 and 21, 2008; September 12, 2008. Articles by David Cronin, Franz Chavez and Alicia Fraerman. http://www.Cimacnoticas.com, June 18, 2008 and September 11, 2008. Articles by Guadalupe Cruz Jaimes and editorial staff. Proceso/Apro, July 23, 2008. Article by Alejandro Gutierrez. El Universal/AP/Notimex, July 1, 2008 and August 1, 2008. La Jornada/AFP/ Reuters/ DPA/ PI/ Notimex, June 21, 2008.

 

Foro Social Mundial de las Migraciones 2008 (FSMM2008) http://www.Fsmm2008.org

 

Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news Center for Latin American and Border Studies New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New Mexico

 

For a free electronic subscription email fnsnews@nmsu.edu

 

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Reuters

http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN1729901720080917

 

Appeals court upholds Arizona immigration law

 

Wed Sep 17, 2008 7:35pm EDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday upheld an Arizona law that targets employers who hire illegal immigrants by revoking their licenses to do business in the state.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals noted that the 2007 law, which has not been enforced, arose from "rising frustration with the United States Congress's failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform."

Some 12 million illegal immigrants are believed to live in the United States; many work with false papers and the issue of what to do with them has become a political hot potato.

It was not immediately clear whether Arizona would now begin enforcing the law or if its opponents would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The American Civil Liberties Union, a plaintiff in the suit, said the court expressly left open the possibility of further challenges if and when it was enforced.

Arizona attorney general Terry Goddard welcomed the ruling, and said his office would "continue to defend the statute should there be an appeal to the highest court."

Arizona passed the employer sanctions law after a federal immigration overhaul died in the U.S. Congress in June 2007.

Immigration, business and civil rights groups challenged the law, saying it was preempted by federal rules governing immigration.

The groups also contended the law, called the Legal Arizona Workers Act, violates employers' due process rights by denying them the chance to challenge allegations that their workers are illegal before their licenses are revoked.

But the appeals court ruled that federal law does not preempt the Act or its requirement that employers to use an electronic verification system to check the work-authorization status of employees through federal records.

The court also ruled that the law "can and should be reasonably interpreted to allow employers, before any license can be adversely affected, to present evidence to rebut the presumption that an employee is unauthorized."

Although the court upheld the law "in all respects", it noted that its opinion did not bar later challenges once it is enforced.

(Reporting by Gina Keating; Editing by Tim Gaynor and Alan Elsner)

 

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Clarion Ledger

http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080918/NEWS/80918046

 

9th worker charged after Laurel immigration raid

 

The Associated Press

A ninth suspected illegal immigrant has been charged with identity theft as part of an ongoing federal investigation in the aftermath of the nation’s largest raid on undocumented workers.

Nearly 600 workers at Howard Industries’ transformer factory in Laurel were rounded up by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on Aug. 25. Eight of those detained were quickly charged with identity theft. Most of the others were transported to a facility in Louisiana and face deportation.

The latest person charged with identity theft in the case, Tomas Juarez-Perez of Mexico, is accused of using the name and Social Security number of another man, whose information had been reported stolen, according to court records.

“Eight of them have been indicted. I anticipate this last fellow to face the same charges,” said John Weber, a federal public defender who represents the accused workers. “My clients have entered a not guilty plea. We’re preparing for trial.”

Weber said those indicted face up to 17 years in prison if convicted and sentenced to the maximum on all three counts — aggravated identity theft, use or possession of a fraudulent alien registration card and use of a Social Security number belonging to someone else.

The trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 15.

Juarez-Perez is accused of using the resident alien card of a man named Jose Rodriguez, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Hattiesburg. A fraudulent card seized by ICE agents allegedly contained Rodriguez’s personal information next to a photograph of Juarez-Perez.

It’s not clear how many more of the workers could face federal criminal charges in the case.

“The investigation into the case continues,” said Barbara Gonzalez, an ICE spokeswoman. “As with any investigation, additional charges may be filed.”

Gonzalez would not say how the fraudulent identities were obtained nor how ICE identified the nine people as allegedly using someone else’s personal information.

However, several people in Laurel who acknowledged being illegal immigrants told The Associated Press after the raid that it was easy to obtain fraudulent documents in the area.

One of them, who asked that he only be identified as Jose, said illegal workers sometimes paid from $400 to $1,500 for fraudulent identities from people they learned about through word of mouth.

The lower-priced documents were generally made with fictitious Social Security numbers, while the more expensive ones contained the real information of other people, Jose said. Several other people backed up the claim, but asked that their identifies not be made public for fear of retribution or deportation.

Jose said when he first applied to work at Howard Industries, he learned the Social Security number he purchased had already been used there. He said he obtained new documents, applied again and was hired.

A woman who answered the phone at Howard Industries on Thursday declined comment. The company issued a statement in the past that says it “runs every check allowed to ascertain the immigration status of all applicants for its jobs. It is company policy that it hires only U.S. citizens and legal immigrants.”

Howard Industries is the largest employer in Jones County and makes products ranging from computers to medical supplies. The company’s corporate headquarters also was raided, but no executives have been charged with a crime.

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Cartoon on Laurel, MS raid from http://andycomix.blogspot.com/ :

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_rrJwILOGHLg/SNGA1U5XcDI/AAAAAAAAABo/zDmmvx1nrMU/s1600-h/Laurel.jpg

 

 

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

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