Immigrant Rights News: Friday, October 31, 2008
Immigrant Rights News: Friday, October 31, 2008
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4. December 18 Net: Radio 1812 is Back!
This week, Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) announced she was sending letters to 4,770 registered voters that they may have to cast "challenge" ballots that won't be automatically counted on election day.
In a striking announcement, she also declared that regular citizens could respond to the problem of non-citizen voting by contesting the citizenship of fellow voters at the polls -- forcing them to also cast challenged ballots that won't be included in election day tallies.
The controversial move is the latest in a winding saga between Handel, voters, the Department of Justice and a panel of federal judges over a new and aggressive
Earlier this month, the ACLU sued the state of Georgia on behalf of Jose Morales, a Cherokee County voter who was wrongfully targeted to be purged from the roles despite having become a citizen in November 2007. Earlier, the Department of Justice had argued that Georgia's citizenship purge violated the Voting Rights Act because it had not be pre-cleared with the DOJ, something Georgia must do because it falls under the Act.
After the DOJ questioned the purges, many counties stopped mailing letters to flagged voters. A three-judge panel of federal judges said on Monday of this week that the state must notify those who have been flagged and find a way to allow them to vote.
But it's not at all clear that Handel's decision to do an end-run around the counties and directly mail letters to 4,770 flagged voters will in reality allow them to vote. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:
Those whose citizenship is in question can go to a county elections office before Election Day and produce documents proving their citizenship and resolve the issue, Carrothers said.
But if the letters were only mailed Wednesday, that means that many flagged voters will only be receiving the letters today -- giving them only 1-2 business days at crowded election offices to resolve the problem. If they're not able to, Handel has made it clear the votes might not count:
The letter from Handel's office tells the voters that if they appear at their polling place with the issue still unresolved, they will be given a "challenge" ballot -- a paper version of the ballot that appears on electronic voting machines. The ballot will not be included in the precinct's vote totals, Handel said.
Even more worrisome is that Handel made a point of stating that any voter's citizenship can be contested by any other voter, a policy which could be used to target the state's rapidly-growing Latino population and other racial groups. As the AJC reports:
Any voter can challenge another's qualifications to cast a ballot by notifying a precinct poll manager, Handel said. That voter then would be given a challenge ballot and would have to go before the election board.
And as Handel has made clear, "challenge ballots" will not be automatically counted, forcing those who are challenged to prove their citizenship later.
Handel seems to admit the approach opens the door for vigilante racially-targeted voter intimidation at the polls, but dismissed the threat:
If large numbers of challenges are made on Election Day, Handel said, her office will investigate whether they are part of an orchestrated effort to influence the election's outcome. But, she said, "I'm not anticipating any kind of huge issue there."
A few other states have similar laws allowing voters to contest other voters. For example, Republicans recently pushed through a similar law in Florida which provoked widespread controversy:
What is unusual about Secretary of State Handel's announcement is her apparent encouragement to citizens that they use the controversial law as a way to deal with the perceived problem of non-citizens voting on election day.
Handel is no stranger to controversy. A leader in the largely Republican movement against so-called "voter fraud," Handel has drawn sharp criticism for her partisan approach to running
No matter the outcome of Tuesday's election, a loser has emerged -- Secretary of State Karen Handel.
Her relentless crusade to bounce Democratic Public Service Commission candidate Jim Powell from the ballot, her posturing over yet-to-be-seen voter fraud and her flippant dismissal of voter delays this week have tarnished her and her office.
Sheriff puts immigration program on hold
By LIZ AUSTIN PETERSON firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle
Oct. 29, 2008, 10:32PM
The Harris County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday suspended a program that allowed some of its jailers to act as immigration officers after a county commissioner complained the agency had not gotten permission to implement the plan.
The sheriff's office first sought permission from
Jailers were trained
The court did approve plans to send nine jailers to South Carolina in August for special immigration training, and those officers began performing their immigration-related duties as soon as they returned, sheriff's spokesman Capt. John Martin said.
Garcia raised questions about the 287(g) program Monday after ICE announced the sheriff's office had become the first local law enforcement agency in the nation to test an automated fingerprint check system that gives jailers full access to suspects' immigration history. The sheriff did not need court approval to implement that new system and the department plans to continue to use it, Martin said.
Martin said the sheriff's department would put the 287(g) agreement on the agenda for Tuesday's meeting, and the trained jailers could resume their immigration-related duties immediately following an affirmative vote. Allowing the officers to begin that work before the agreement was approved by court was an oversight, he said.
No attempt at deception
"There was no willful attempt on the part of anyone at the sheriff's office to circumvent
Gregory Palmore, an ICE spokesman, said
ICE agents still have access to the facility around the clock, he added.
Through the 287 (g) program, local jailers are given the authority to interrogate any person believed to be in the country illegally and to issue immigration detainers, essentially noting in their records that ICE should be notified when they are going to be released.
Garcia said she believes it is inappropriate for local detention officers to spend time doing the federal government's job while
"I don't think that's the best use of our local taxpayer dollars," she said.
No cost to the county
The program cost nothing and did not divert any personnel or other resources from any jail function, Martin said. The trained jailers still are responsible for their normal duties booking inmates in and out of jail at the inmate processing center.
Commissioner Steve Radack said he thinks it is a great program and applauded Sheriff Tommy Thomas for pursuing it.
"There are (illegal immigrants) in jail who are being kept there at the cost of the taxpayers of Harris County, their medical is being paid for by the taxpayers of Harris County. And here the federal government actually wants to do something about it? And we're going to tell them no?" Radack said. "It's ridiculous not to do this."
County Judge Ed Emmett said he would need to hear more about the program on Tuesday before deciding whether to support it. Commissioner Jerry Eversole's office said he had not received any information about the program from the sheriff.
Vaccine Required for Young Women Seeking Immigration to
Should immigrants to the
Young women between the ages of 11 and 26 seeking to become legal permanent
Yet the vaccine, manufactured by Merck & Company, remains a recommended not mandatory immunization for young women who are already
In its first full year of distribution, Gardasil, which protect against 4 of the 100 types of human papillomavirus (HPV): 2 types that cause 70% of cervical cancer cases, and 2 more types that cause 90% of genital warts cases, has been administered in whole or in part to 2.5 million girls.
An array of medical, financial and ethical concerns about the vaccine have kept the debate over Gardasil stirring since its FDA approval in 2006. Advocates for the vaccine say it has proven effective in preventing a very common STD that can lead to cancer, but critics cite its high cost and potential side effects, and question whether vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases should be mandatory.
The addition of Gardasil to the list of required vaccinations was due in part to the 2007 change in the Department of Health and Human Services’ recommended vaccination schedule for children 0-18 years of age. The Center for Disease Control suggested that 11-26 year old girls and women receive the HPV vaccination as part of their immunization schedule. But the backlash has stalled the CDC and FDA's push for making the HPV vaccine mandatory for young female
John Abramson, who chairs the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices said in an October 6 Wall Street Journal article that had they known about the decision to require the vaccination for immigrant women, they would have told USCIS that it's not a good idea since cervical cancer is not a disease that is communicable like SARS or pandemic flu or even measles. Adamson also added that their vaccination policies are designed to protect the populace not individuals.
Judicial Watch, a Washington-based public interest group, raised concerns about adverse reactions to the drug, stating in a 2007 report that at least three deaths in more than 1600 adverse reactions have been connected to the Gardasil vaccination. According to Merck, known side effects include pain, swelling, itching, and redness at the injection site, fever, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and fainting.
Last month, the National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights claimed that the addition of the HPV vaccine is similar to a surcharge applied only to young immigrant women that will impede their efforts to immigrating to the
Gardasil is thought to decrease the chances of cervical cancer especially for those who are vaccinated before becoming sexually active since HPV is sexually transmitted. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about 20 million people are infected with HPV in the
This past summer the New England Journal of Medicine published an editorial about why there should be reasons for caution' when it comes to the HPV vaccine and that the medical community still lacks sufficient evidence of an effective vaccine against cervical cancer.
Parents have also expressed concern about the Gardasil vaccine. Dr. Vincent Iannelli, a pediatrician who writes for About.com says that parents 'may have problems thinking about vaccinating their child against a sexually-transmitted disease' which would imply that that their child may be at risk for contracting an STD. Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the
Many assumed that the conservative religious group would also express opposition to the HPV vaccine, but that opposition never really manifested. Major conservative groups such as the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family have supported the vaccine while encouraging a parent’s right to choose or forego the HPV vaccination for their child, even as the rest of the religious community debates the moral merits of the vaccine.
In 2007 Merck discontinued its lobbying of state legislatures to make the Gardasil vaccine mandatory for school-age girls due to the reaction from parents and religious groups about the vaccine. Richard Haupt, executive director of medical affairs for vaccines at Merck & Company, said the media publicity had become a "potential distraction" to promoting the use of Gardasil.
The HPV vaccination mandate for immigrant women is part of an ongoing immunization policy for
Over the years, the USCIS has generally taken their cue from the CDC immunization committee and Technical Instructions to Civil Surgeons for Vaccination Requirements in revising their vaccination requirements for potential
Currently the United States Citizen and Immigration Services have no plans to remove the HPV vaccination from their list of required vaccinations for female immigrants applying for permanent
Radio 1812 is Back!
This year, Radio1812 does not wait until International Migrants Day to get started. We just launched our new site where you will find exciting content which you can use in your programming.
A team from December 18 is in
We encourage all of you to visit the new site at www.radio1812.net and to take part in the third edition of Radio 1812 and celebrate International Migrants Day on the 18th of December.
For any further questions, please contact the Radio 1812 team at email@example.com
Radio 1812 is a global event that brings together migrant groups and radios from around the world to produce, broadcast and share programmes celebrating the achievements and highlighting the concerns of migrants worldwide. The first edition of Radio 1812 took place in 2006 and brought together over 50 radio stations in more than 25 countries. Last year, the event was even more successful. In total 152 radio stations from 34 countries in 4 continents participated, ranging from community radio stations to national and international public broadcasters.
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