Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Immigrant Rights News - Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Immigrant Rights News – Wednesday, March 18, 2009


1. Los Angeles Times: Cities and counties rely on U.S. immigrant detention fees

2. GovExec.Com: Emergency plans would send troops to Mexican border

3. Border agency draws fire for weapons traffic to Mexico

4. Daily Breeze: Workplace immigration funds may go to fight drug cartels

5. New York Times op-ed: Workers Without Borders

6. New York Times: The Ballad of Joe Arpaio

7. Houston Chronicle: Documentary focuses on family detention center



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Los Angeles Times,0,764607.story


Cities and counties rely on U.S. immigrant detention fees

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department and other agencies cover budget shortfalls and save positions using the federal payments.


By Anna Gorman

March 17, 2009


At a time when local law enforcement agencies are being forced to cut budgets and freeze hiring, cities across Southern California have found a growing source of income -- immigration detention.


Roughly two-thirds of the nation's immigrant detainees are held in local jails, and the payments to cities and counties for housing them have increased as the federal government has cracked down on illegal immigrants with criminal records and outstanding deportation orders.


Washington paid nearly $55.2 million to house detainees at 13 local jails in California in fiscal year 2008, up from $52.6 million the previous year. The U.S. is on track to spend $57 million this year.



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Emergency plans would send troops to Mexican border



The Homeland Security Department has drawn up emergency plans for dispatching U.S. military personnel to the nation's southwest border if violence in Mexico continues to spiral out of control, but such action would occur only as a last resort, a senior department official told lawmakers Thursday.


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Border agency draws fire for weapons traffic to Mexico


For years, the Homeland Security Department has been criticized for not doing enough to prevent illegal immigrants and drugs from coming into the country across the southern border. Now the department is under heavy fire for not stopping the flow of illegal weapons from the United States to Mexico.


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Daily Breeze


Workplace immigration funds may go to fight drug cartels


By Eileen Sullivan and Devlin Barrett The Associated Press

Posted: 03/18/2009 08:05:59 AM PDT


WASHINGTON (AP)- The Obama administration is preparing to send federal agents to the Southwest border as reinforcements in the fight against Mexican drug cartels, even as officials consider taking money from one immigration enforcement program and using it to fight cartel-related crime.

The deployments are part of President Barack Obama's first moves to boost federal security on the U.S. side of the border.

Immigration officials are considering asking Congress for approval to shift tens of millions of dollars from enforcing workplace immigration laws to the anti-cartel efforts along the Southwest border, according to a person familiar with the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity because officials have not made the request yet to Congress.

Such a request could face stiff resistance from lawmakers who want to see that money spent investigating employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.


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New York Times


March 10, 2009


Op-Ed Contributor


Workers Without Borders




AMERICANS are hardly in the mood to welcome new immigrants. The last thing we need, the reasoning goes, is more competition for increasingly scarce jobs. But the need for immigration reform is more urgent than ever. The current system hurts wages and working conditions - for everyone.


Today, millions of undocumented immigrants accept whatever wage is offered. They don't protest out of fear of being fired or deported. A few hundred thousand guest workers, brought in for seasonal and agricultural jobs, know that asserting their rights could result in a swift flight home. This system traps migrants in bad jobs and ends up lowering wages all around.


The solution lies in greater mobility for migrants and a new emphasis on workers' rights. If migrants could move between jobs, they would be free to expose abusive employers. They would flow to regions with a shortage of workers, and would also be able to return to their home countries when the outlook there brightened, or if jobs dried up here.



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New York Times


March 16, 2009


Editorial Notebook


The Ballad of Joe Arpaio



Saúl Linares, a factory worker from Hempstead, N.Y., sat down at dinner on Feb. 7 with pen, paper and a story to tell. Then he did what similarly equipped Mexicans have done since the 1800’s. He wrote a corrido.

“In the left hand I was eating, and with my right hand I was writing it down,” he said. He was done in 20 minutes.

Mr. Linares was on a weekend retreat for immigrant-rights organizers in Rye, N.Y. After work on Saturday they took a break for a “cultural night” of poems, songs and stories.

Mr. Linares, 30, had never written a corrido before. He is from El Salvador, where they sing cumbias. But people all over Latin America like corridos. He knew what to do.

Voy a cantarles un corrido a los presentes,

que le compuse a Joe Arpaio de Arizona,

un sinvergüenza, desgraciado, anti-inmigrante,

que se ha ganado el repudio de toda la gente.

I will sing a corrido to all those present

that I wrote for Joe Arpaio from Arizona,

a shameless, disgraceful immigrant hater

who has earned the repudiation of the people.

Corridos are Mexican folk ballads, stories of love, betrayal, murder, drugs, often lurid and usually drawn from real life. Scholars who collect them by the tens of thousands say they are the literature of the rural poor: pulp nonfiction.


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Houston Chronicle


Documentary focuses on family detention center


By ANABELLE GARAY Associated Press Writer © 2009 The Associated Press


DALLAS A documentary chronicling the case of immigrant children held at a former prison with their families premieres next week at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin.

"The Least of These" follows the 2007 lawsuit that led to changes at the T. Don Hutto Family Residential Center, a Central Texas facility advocates contended inhumanely housed adults and children. It also focuses on four families who were detained at Hutto, including the Yourdkhanis, an Iranian couple who had been trying to reach Canada with their Canadian-born son.

"In the case of these four families, they all have very compelling and moving reasons to be in the country. They are all seeking asylum," Marcy Garriott, one of the film's producers, said Thursday.

On the Net:



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