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March-April 2009 U.S.
Immigrant Alert! Newsletter
by National Immigrant Solidarity Network
Please read the Newsletter:
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Immigration Reform: What’ll be Happen This Summer? May Day 2009 Call to Action!
In This Issue:
1) 4/10-12 NISN National Grassroots Immigrant Strategy Conference
2) Obama and the Future of CIR
May Day 2009 Call to Action!
Immigration Policy Update
DHS Signals Policy Changes Ahead for Immigration Raids
Immigration News Briefing
Please Support NISN! Subscribe the Newsletter!
National Immigrant Solidarity Network
4th National Grassroots Immigrant Strategy Conference
& Immigrant Rights Film Festival
April 10-12, 2009 UIC Student Center West
828 South Wolcott, Chicago, IL
Stop Immigrant Raids! Support Immigrant Workers Rights!
Together We Build A New Immigrant Rights Movement!
Chicago Conference Hotline: (773)942-2268
Registration Open! Student/Low-Income Specials!
(Sliding Scale, No ONE Will Turn Away for Lack of Funds)
Spanish Main Page | Campaign Proposals | Tabling | Flyers
Lists of Workshops | Endorse the Conference | Travel & Housing
National Immigrant Solidarity Network (NISN), the leading national immigrant activist network, is calling for 4th National Grassroots Immigrant Strategy Conference & Immigrant Rights Film Festival at the weekend of April 10-12, 2009 on Chicago, IL!
The conference will be our strategy planning meeting for grassroots immigrant activists looking 2009 and beyond. We want to send a clear message to the Congress and our new President: Stop Immigrant Raids! Support Immigrant Workers Rights!
- 2008 Elections and How It'll Impact Immigrant Rights Movement
- Linking Immigrant Rights Movements with Other Struggles
- Immigrant Raids, Detention & Deportation
- Immigrant Labor Campaigns and Day Labor Centers
- Housing, Education and Healthcare Rights for the Immigrants
- No to the Border Wall and Militization of the Border
- Strategic Resources for the Immigrant Activists
- Support Local Chicago Grassroots Immigrant Campaigns
- Building a Multi-ethnic, Multi-Constituents-Based Immigrant Rights Movement
- Congressional Immigrant Legislation
- International Immigrant Rights Campaigns
For more information, please visit:
CALL TO ACTION!
May Day 2009 National Immigrant Workers Mobilization
National Immigrant Solidarity Network http://www.immigrantsolidarity.org/MayDay2009/
We are calling A national day of multi-ethnic unity with youth, labor, peace and justice communities in solidarity with immigrant workers and building new immigrant rights & civil rights movement!
Wear White T-Shirt, organize local actions to support immigrant worker rights!
WE ARE ALL HUMANS! NO ONE IS ILLEGAL!
National Conference Call Will be Announce Soon! Please check our webpage, and send your May Day 2009 announcement to: info@ImmigrantSolidarity.org
Hundreds feared drowned off Libya
Tens of thousands of migrants attempt to reach Europe by sea every year
More than 200 African migrants are feared dead after their boat sank off the coast of Libya, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says.
The boat carrying around 250 people is reported to have capsized 50km (30 miles) north of the Libyan coast in stormy seas and high winds.
Libyan officials say 21 people are confirmed dead and 23 rescued.
A second boat with around 350 migrants was rescued, an official from the IOM told the Associated Press news agency.
The IOM's Laurence Hart said the rescued boat and all of its passengers were now safely back in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
"Rescue was quick because they were near an oil platform that notified the Libyan coastal guards who quickly rescued the migrants," he said.
The missing boat is believed to be in the same area.
Coastguards are believed to be looking for two other boats, which reportedly left for Italy in recent days.
"This is the typical route for migrants from Libya to Italy," Mr Hart said.
Italy is to start joint sea patrols in May with Libya, aimed at stopping the heavy influx of illegal migrants.
6,800 Tunisians, 6,000 Nigerians and 4,000 Somalis arrived in Lampedusa in 2008.
In 2007, by contrast, only 1,000 Tunisians were recorded arriving on the island, with even fewer Nigerians and Somalis.
The change could be attributed to increased Spanish efforts to crack down on illegal immigrants entering the Canary Islands.
Migrants from some African countries may have changed their approach as a result, choosing to focus on Lampedusa.
According to IOM figures, more than 31,000 people crossed from North Africa to the Italian island of Lampedusa in 2008 alone.
The UN's refugee agency reports that two boats, carrying more than 450 people, have arrived in Italy in the past week.
Mother and son
Libyan media report that among the dead was an African woman found lifelessly clutching an infant to her bosom, says the BBC's Rana Jawad in Tripoli.
The missing vessel reportedly ran into difficulty shortly after setting off on Sunday from Sidi Bilal, near Tripoli.
"Libyan search and rescue operations led to the recovery of the bodies of those who drowned as a result of the accident, among them the bodies of 10 Egyptians," said Egyptian official Ahmed Rizk.
The nationalities of the migrants are reported to have included Egyptians, Tunisians and Palestinians.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres expressed his "great sorrow" at the loss of life.
He said it was the latest tragic example of "a global phenomenon in which desperate people take desperate measures to escape conflict, persecution and poverty in search of a better life".
Hundreds of migrants have died in the last few months crossing the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa to Europe, and the Gulf of Aden from Somalia to Yemen.
They are at the mercy of unscrupulous smugglers, unseaworthy vessels and the elements but many take these risks for the lure of a better life.
The smuggling season normally stops in October, and resumes again in April.
But the IOM says there has been no lull this year and the smuggling boats have been sailing right through the winter.
The boat capsized on one of the main migration routes from Libya to Italy
More Latest Immigration News
Secure Communities -- Latest Immigrant Crackdown Initiative
by: Tom Barry Border Lines March 26-31, 2009
(An article in the BorderLines series: "Aliens, Crime, and Drugs: Making the Connection.")
The Department of Homeland Security already has a “comprehensive” plan in operation for immigration. It deals with both illegal and legal immigrants, not through some complicated political reform that tests the political will of our politicians but through the simplicity of database integration.
Despite many concerns about its accuracy expressed by civil libertarians and worker advocates and despite the fact that in the short or medium term there is little hope for an immigration reform that will enable the vast population of illegal immigrants to regularize their status, the E-Verify identification system is quickly moving forward. Fewer concerns have been expressed about another ID system that is quickly gaining hold among police departments around the country.
That lack of opposition is in due in part to the fact that the “Secure Communities” is quite new and in part because that, while targeting both illegal and legal immigrants, the focus is on criminals. Striving to build a broad coalition in support of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR), immigrant-rights advocates are understandably reluctant to oppose the intensifying drive to remove criminal aliens from America.
With both Homeland Security and CIR advocates rallying behind a “rule of law immigration stance, the political will to stand behind criminal aliens is hard to find. There’s been no congressional opposition to successive DHS initiatives over the past several years that simultaneous have clamped down on criminal aliens while widening the definition of what a criminal alien is.
Its latest criminal alien initiative, "Secure Communities: A Comprehensive Plan to Identify and Remove Criminal Aliens," shows more potential for involving localities in immigration enforcement. ICE explains that Secure Communities, which it introduced in mid-2008, will “change immigration enforcement by using technology to share information between law enforcement agencies and by applying risk-based methodologies to focus resources on assisting communities remove high-risk criminal aliens.”
Instead of training local law enforcement officials in immigration law enforcement, ICE equips police, sheriff departments, and local jails with “integration technology that links law enforcement agencies to both FBI and DHS biometric databases.” Whereas police now routinely submit data on suspects to the FBI, they will now be able to simultaneously check immigration and criminal databases.
In the program’s first eight months, ICE has entered into agreements with fifty localities to use this integrated technology when booking prisoners. ICE says that “in collaboration with DOJ and other DHS components, ICE plans to expand this capability to all state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the nation.”
Announcing its latest agreement with Fairfax County, Virginia on March 9, Executive Director for ICE Secure Communities David Venturella said, “Secure Communities is a new effort to identify and ultimately remove dangerous criminal aliens from our communities. Our goal with this ICE program is to use technology to prevent criminal aliens from being released back into the community, with little or no additional burden on our local law enforcement partners.”
“This is a win-win situation both for the community and law enforcement,” said Fairfax County Sheriff Stan Barry. “We will be able to identify illegal immigrants who commit crimes in Fairfax County and get them in the process for deportation, and it does not require additional funds or manpower from us.”
"We view our participation in Secure Communities as an additional tool to enhance what is already a very effective partnership with Immigration Customs Enforcement," said Larry Boyd, chief of police in Irving, Texas, which joined up in February.
At its heart, Secure Communities is a technological identification program developed jointly by the Justice and Homeland Security departments. It integrates DHS’ new US VISIT Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT), which holds biometrics-based immigration records, with the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), which contains biometric-based criminal records. Other components to DHS’ new focus on computerized identification programs and expanded immigration databases are its Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) and its new Video Teleconferencing project (VTC).
Through its widening net, ICE is catching a rapidly rising number of criminal aliens. In 2008 it identified 221,000 aliens in local, state, and federal prisons, who will be remanded to ICE for removal. That’s up from 164,000 incarcerated criminal aliens in 2007 and 67,000 in 2006. With the acceleration of Secure Communities, ICE expects these annual metrics of success to skyrocket.
ICE claims that it is “transforming community safety by transforming the way the federal government cooperates with state and local law enforcement agencies to identify, detain, and remove all criminal aliens held in custody.” When situated within the War on Crime, the immigrant crackdown counts on more support.
While other DHS initiatives, such as its worksite raids and border fence, have come under widespread criticism, DHS has found broad support for its focus on criminal aliens – which is one reason why the Obama administration is insisting that such programs will be a priority.
Aliens, Crime, and Drugs: Making the Connection
(The conclusion the Border Lines series: “Aliens, Crime, and Drugs: Making the Connection.")
Immigration is not a case apart.
The traditional frameworks for viewing immigration issue – from the “nation of immigrants” history to demands for “comprehensive immigration reform” – treat the immigration as a distinct issue in U.S. society and politics. In public and policy discourse, we regard immigration policy as the special way we deal with outsiders – the regulations and laws we institute to determine who can come inside and remain in our society.
But as the crackdown on immigrants evolves, the old frameworks for understanding the plight of immigrants and for advancing policy solutions fall increasingly short. That’s largely because the federal government, in concert with local and state governments, has stopped treating immigrants as a special case.
The way we have decided to deal with these outsiders – the 30 million illegal and legal immigrants who live among us – is how we already decided to deal with ourselves.
In the early 1970s America began a new experiment in social engineering and control. It rejected the liberal, democratic, and humanitarian impulses that had previously played such an important role in defining who we were as Americans.
Instead of hope, fear increasingly defined governance in social policy. Increasing drug use and rising urban crime were met with reactionary policies rather than problem solving – the get-tough wars on drugs and crime. We began “governing through crime,” as criminal justice scholar Jonathan Simon has observed.
Millions of Americans began to be imprisoned for victimless drug-possession crimes. To enforce the social order and uphold the rule of law, the drug and crimes wars filled America’s expanding prison complex with petty criminals and illegal drug users.
While liberal programs – drug treatment, Head Start and other education programs, social services, etc. – persisted, the newly dominant response was to isolate our social problems rather than address them. Mass imprisonment became our prevailing risk-management strategy.
Similarly, rather than fixing a dysfunctional immigration system, government has since the mid-1990s moved to manage the immigration crisis through a strategy that stresses deterrence and forcible exclusion. The immigration system has been shifted to the criminal justice system.
Immigration law increasingly has been criminalized – a process some legal scholars have called “crimmigration.” Federal courts are clogged with immigrants. Ever larger numbers of immigrants, legal and illegal, are regarded as “fugitive aliens” or “criminal aliens.”
Shifting immigrants to the America’s system of crime and punishment has obligated ICE, U.S. Marshals Service, and Bureau of Prisons to greatly expand their network of prisons. Immigrant prisons operated by private prison firms have popped up all across the nation but especially in Texas and other border states.
Just as government latched on crime-fighting as the easiest, most popular form of governance, so too have we increasingly responded to the challenges of managing immigration. Immigrants have become identified as criminal aliens, and a multibillion-dollar enforcement and penal complex has arisen to manage this pressing social problem.
This immigrant crime/prison complex overlaps with the citizen crime/complex. Like the citizen penal system, the immigrant penal system has become largely the domain of private prison firms. The criminal justice system, already heavily burdened by the crime and drug wars, is now overwhelmed with immigrants who are charged largely with nonviolent, victimless crimes.
There are important differences, of course, between the citizen and noncitizen crime/prison complexes. While state and local governments in the face of budgetary and economic crises are starting to question the sustainability crime and punishment system as the costs of maintaining the penal system mount, DHS and DOJ are the beneficiaries of generous congressional funding increases for the immigrant crackdown. ICE alone spends $1.7 billion a year for immigrant detention.
It’s likely, though, as the federal budget deficit grows and the national fixation on immigration control as a guarantor of homeland security decreases, that the immense sums our government spends on the immigrant crime-and-punishment system will also be questioned.
While DHS officials routinely say that immigration law enforcement aims to uphold the “rule of law,” it’s a rule of law for citizens alone that is being enforced. A far inferior and ever-more degraded set of laws and regulations rules the immigrant world.
Legal or illegal, they aren’t protected by the same constitutional guarantees as citizens. While immigrants have the right to counsel in immigration court, they don’t have the right to a government-provided attorney if they can’t afford to hire an attorney. When in the immigration system, criminal aliens are protected by the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause, but they aren’t protected by the criminal process rights in the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments. As aliens, they are defined and treated as outsiders with few of the rights and guarantees of citizens.
No doubt that America has the right to control who enters its borders and who becomes a citizen. It’s just as clear that America’s immigration system is badly broken and that there are valid citizen concerns about illegal immigration, immigrant crime, and border security.
But instead of dealing proactively with the complexity of the problem, America lately has reacted to the immigration issue chiefly with the “get tough” strategies employed in the drug and crime wars for so long, for so much money, with so little result, and with so much tragedy. As America begins to reconsider its prohibitive and punitive response to the immigration crisis, it also would do well to declare an end to the crime and drug wars that are so now so closely linked.
It’s time to start solving these problems, not just cracking down.
Photo: Criminal alien prison in Sierra Blanca, Texas.
Immigrant Resources on Detention and Deportation
Face Sheet: Immigration Detention--Questions and Answers (Dec, 2008) by: http://www.thepoliticsofimmigration.org
Thanks for GREAT works from Detention Watch Network (DWN) to compiled the following information, please visit DWN website: http://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org
ICE's Enforcement Agenda
Deal fact sheet on detention
Deal fact sheet on border
Raids to Deportation-A Community Resource Kit
- Know Your Rights in the Community (English,
Your Rights in Detention
Community Safety Plan
to Deportation Map
to Deportation Policy Map
More on Immigration Resource Page
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