5 More Bodies This Week
And speaking of the Tohono O'odham - De Tod@s Para Tod@s shares this info from the same reporter as the above article at the Star:Five illegal immigrants were found dead Monday through Wednesday along Arizona's stretch of the U.S-Mexican border, the U.S. Border Patrol reported.Border Patrol agents also carried out three notable rescues of illegal immigrants, including helping a woman six months pregnant who was dehydrated, said Rob Daniels, Border Patrol Tucson Sector spokesman.Four of the five bodies were found on the Tohono O'odham Reservation. Of the last 14 bodies recovered in the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector, 12 have been found on the reservation.
Arizona Daily Star
Tohono O'odham Chairman Ned Norris Jr. has grown incensed with Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff — who has rebuffed requests to meet and invoked a waiver to build border barriers on current and ancestral O'odham land. With the Tohono O'odham Nation spanning 75 miles of U.S.-Mexican border in the busiest stretch for illegal immigration, drug smuggling and border deaths, Norris says Chertoff owes him a meeting.Why would Chertoff want to meet? It's so much easier to violate laws on a whim.
51 Since October 1st
U.S. Border Patrol agents found the bodies of six people in southern Arizona's deserts from Thursday to Sunday.They were discovered in various areas of the desert and in separate incidents, said senior Border Patrol agent Dove Haber.Haber said that as summer temperatures rise above 100 degrees, agents expect to find bodies more often as illegal immigrants brave the heat to get into the United States.
Labels: border policy
Arizona Delegation's FISA Vote
Thanks for standing up for the constitution, Raúl and Ed - I won't forget it. As for the rest of you, well, this pretty much sums it up:
Aye AZ-1 Renzi, Rick [R] Aye AZ-2 Franks, Trent [R] Aye AZ-3 Shadegg, John [R] Nay AZ-4 Pastor, Edward [D] Aye AZ-5 Mitchell, Harry [D] Aye AZ-6 Flake, Jeff [R] Nay AZ-7 Grijalva, Raul [D] Aye AZ-8 Giffords, Gabrielle [D]
“I think the White House got a better deal than even they had hoped to get,” said Senator Christopher S. Bond, Republican of Missouri, who led the negotiations.
Carne Asada for Obama
Carne Asada for Obama @ Grijalva HQ (Unite for Change)
Time: Saturday, June 28 at 6:30 PM Duration: 3 hours Host: Gilberto Zaragoza Contact Phone: 520-629-0050 Location: Grijalva for Congress Headquarters (Tucson, AZ)452 S Stone Ave
Tucson, AZ 85701
Netroots Nation Bound thanks to DfA
Anybody else going?
Book Review: Lives on the Line
Those of us who live in the border region in its bi-cultural society understand that the human condition is lived very differently due to the current configuration of the international border. This book explores the economic impact of the maquilas - factories - that have risen on the other side of the line in response to so-called free trade agreements as well as several intimate stories of those who live in Ambos Nogales.
Environmental impact, human rights abuses of workers, the lives of Tunnel Children, and the effects of the growing militarization of our region is wonderfully woven throughout the chapters. Its power is in the storytelling. Readers are shown the work of community activists who work tirelessly for answers to their cancer-stricken neighborhoods and the political games that continue through this current era, transported to the work and passion that fuels humanitarian work in the shelters and soup kitchens of Nogales, Sonora, and get an idea of what its like to be an abandoned child that seeks refuge in the underground tunnels that perforate the line.
On a deeper level, the people of Ambos Nogales are leading the way to a new relationship between the United States and Mexico. Forever linked by geography, the two countries are becoming increasingly intertwined economically, socially, and culturally. In Ambos Nogales, people have lived this way for generations. They know how to celebrate and find strength in difference. They know that when Americans fight for the rights of Mexicans to a decent standard of living, we fight for the our own as well. People in Nogales have much to teach us about tolerating paradox and contradiction.If you've been reading here for any amount of time, you can see how that exerpt would be music to my ears. I enthusiastically recommend this quick-read book offered by the University of Arizona Press to get an idea of what it's like to call la frontera home. It is more than just a collection of stories, it's a call to action to bring about a more just world.
Labels: open thread
Open Letter to Citizen Tom Horne
Dear Superintendent Horne:
In your 'Open Letter to the Citizens of Tucson', you write in the opening section:
"The citizens of Tucson, of all mainstream political ideologies, would call for the elimination of the Tucson Unified School District’s ethnic studies program if they knew what was happening there. I believe this is true of citizens of all mainstream political ideologies. The purpose of this letter is to bring these facts out into the open. The decision of whether or not to eliminate this program will rest with the citizens of Tucson through their elected school board."It's not lost on me that you have included the word "citizen" four times in your opening salvo - a signal that you are conflating the curriculum of the Tucson Unified School District's ethnic studies department with the political debate on immigration. It speaks of a gross misunderstanding of the history and culture of the state that you have, regrettably, been elected to represent as the chief administrator of Arizona's education system.
You and other nativist politicians are working to enact cultural genocide in a country that has a rich and diverse history that is whitewashed in history books. The ethnic studies department at TUSD is an attempt to engage students in critical thinking by expanding their understanding of that incomplete history by studying, celebrating and engaging various cultures that are in our society - some of which are indigenous to this area.
Your pandering screed, which I have no doubt you believe in forcefully, is based in ignorance. You call for the abolishment of a program that you have never visited. What type of administrator forms such an opinion without ever taking so much as a footstep into the classrooms of students who are participating in a program that is successful? An irresponsible one.
I understand, of course, that politics is playing a very large role in your decision to target Mexican-American/Raza Studies - let's not kid ourselves, that's what this whole thing is about. You've calculated that it is in your best interest to attack our culture as you prepare for a 2010 run for the Arizona Governorship. You've bought in to the whole Reconquista myth like a good nativist soldier by exploiting groups that you know nothing about.
The very name “Raza” is translated as “the race.” On the TUSD website, it says the basic text for this program is “the pedagogy of oppression.” Most of these students’ parents and grandparents came to this country, legally, because this is the land of opportunity. They trust the public schools with their children. Those students should be taught that this is the land of opportunity, and that if they work hard they can achieve their goals. They should not be taught that they are oppressed.Know this: you are not allowed to define Chicanos or our movement that seeks equality not oppression. No matter how many times you and others repeat that "Raza = Race", it doesn't make it true. We understand it to signify "The People", as in "We, The People" - all of us.
Stop your attempts to label us dissidents of the United States. Our families do work hard, many serve in the armed forces, and there are more than a few of us who have roots in this region that precede the movement of the border between the United States and Mexico. Again, quit conflating indigenous cultural studies with the immigration debate.
As for the claim that "a kind of destructive ethnic chauvinism" is being taught, it should be noted that the TUSD Ethnic Studies Department does not discriminate nor segregate students. They are available to any pupil who wishes to participate. Collectively, TUSD's African American, Native American, Pan Asian, and Mexican American Studies Departments are successful qualitatively by raising AIMS scores and graduation rates - but as you demonstrated yesterday when you came to Tucson for your anti-Raza press conference - student success is not your main concern.
No wonder Arizona's education system is ranked 50th in the country - the State Superintendent of Public Instruction is getting a big, fat F on his report card.
Do your job, Mr. Horne, and wake yourself up from the self-created nightmare that Tucson students are being brainwashed. The reality is that they are having their brains engaged, which we all know is a threat to the type of nativism and ignorance you exude.
A Tucson citizen of mainstream political ideology
Websites Fighting Obama Smears
There are now two tools available online to combat the smears and myths that are winding their way through email inboxes across the world. The first has been launched by the Obama campaign, and is an extension of the official BarackObama.com website.
Please add them to your bookmarks. The sites will be part of an important and collective effort to educate the public on the truth of Barack Obama's candidacy and background. Some people in this country are going to be dragged kicking and screaming into the general election because they feel their ignorant bubble of security threatened. Others, however, don't really grasp what they're buying in to with spreading these email chains - they are the ones that we can take our time with to teach the underlying messages of the campaign.
There will be a stark choice in November between the two major-party candidates. Let's make sure they go to the polls armed with information that is based in reality.
ACTION ALERT: Support TUSD Ethnic Studies
Horne will be in Tucson tomorrow in order to talk "about reasons TUSD should abolish its Ethnic Studies department". Prior to his press conference, however, community members will gather in opposition to this deluded strategy of axing programs that lift up minority students.TUSD's ethnic studies program has come under the lens of Arizona's education czar.Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne has asked the Tucson Unified School District to provide information on funding for its ethnic studies programs.The request also calls for all training materials used in Mexican-American and African-American studies, syllabuses, videos, films, teachers' guides, reading materials, audio recordings and other instructional materials.Horne said his inquiry is not based on a question of academics or education, but "values."
Community members representing the four TUSD Ethnic Studies Departments (AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES, NATIVE AMERICAN STUDIES, MEXICAN AMERICAN/RAZA STUDIES, and PAN ASIAN STUDIES) will be holding a PRESS CONFERENCE in SUPPORT of ETHNIC STUDIES
Where: TUSD's GOVERNING BOARD ROOM , 1010 E. 10th Street, Tucson, AZ 85719
Time: 9:30 a.m., Thursday, June 12, 2008
Giffords Takes Aim at E-Verify System
Washington — The nation's top immigration official on Tuesday defended a federal system — known as E-Verify — that allows businesses to check the legal status of workers.
"E-Verify is the best available tool for employers to gain quick and easy verification information for their new hires," said Jonathan Scharfen, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Scharfen testified before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law amid concern the system could reject legal citizens.
Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-08), who sits on the Subcommittee, had this to say during the proceedings:
Some of the businesses that have signed up have reported a variety of challenges with using E-Verify. They are finding it complicated, unreliable, and burdensome. They are also having difficulty getting answers from DHS to their questions about the system.
I have heard from employers, employees and civil rights advocates who are very vocal that nationally mandating E-Verify AS-IS for ALL employees would be disastrous.
They are all experiencing the downfalls of using an inaccurate database with inadequate privacy protections. Between October 2006 and March 2007, roughly 3,000 foreign-born U.S. citizens were initially flagged as not-work-authorized. These errors have specifically impacted Arizona workers who have had their ability to work wrongly impacted.
The experience of Arizona employers and employees makes it clear that we can do better and that action is needed.
Having reflected on what is happening in Arizona and the challenges we have seen, I think we need a system that includes these three key elements:
That is why I am a cosponsor of legislation introduced by Ranking Member Sam Johnson. H.R. 5515, the New Employee Verification Act, or NEVA provides a simplified, effective and balanced alternative to E-Verify.
- Explicitly pre-emption of state laws such as the one in Arizona;
- Privacy protections for U.S. citizens and legal workers;
- Liability protections for employers who play by the rules; and
Johnson, a Republican from Plano, Texas, is ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee's subcommittee overseeing Social Security. He and Giffords' bill would transfer the verification of employment process from E-Verify to the Social Security Administration. It would effectively cut out the Department of Homeland Security unless a worker is flagged in the process.
As it stands currently, DHS is monitoring every single worker that is entered into their online database, regardless of status. It'll be interesting to see if such a big change in policy can make its way through the Hill in an election year.
- Full Subcommittee Hearing Information
- Full text of HR 5515
- GAO Report on rampant problems with E-Verify System (.pdf warning)
Update on Valedictorian's Status
I'm happy to give an update that Senator Diane Feinstein has filed a private bill on his behalf that has halted the process as it moves through the legislative branch:
Thanks to everyone who called the Senators' offices. Please send Mrs. Feinstein a thank you message for taking the extra step to protect the entire Mkoyan family.
Feinstein’s bill also applies to Arthur’s mother and father, who is being held in detention in Arizona, said Scott Gerber, a Feinstein spokesman. Arthur's 12-year-old brother is a U.S. citizen because he was born here, Gerber said.
In a prepared statement, Feinstein said: “This is a family that has deep roots in the community and has worked hard. The children have excelled in school. So I am introducing a private bill to ensure that they can stay in this country.”Fresno Bee
Solidarity Building for NOLA Hunger Strikers
Way down at the bottom of the junk pile are the everyday workers who, because of their legal limbo, are often forgotten - but as I've learned from living and working with those whom society would rather forget or shaft - they have inner-strength that many of us spend a lifetime searching for. XP fills us in:
Solidarity is being built across the world to support the justice of these migrant workers, who were legally working in the U.S. (that's for the trolls who claim they are only against illeeeegals), but were still without protections to their health and job security. A petition is being circulated via the New Orleans' Workers Center for Racial Justice that outlines the following points:
On May 14, five Indian guest workers launched a water-only hunger strike outside the White House to protest the slave-like conditions that more than 500 Indian welders and pipe fitters have endured while working at the Signal International, a marine oil rig construction company based in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
Each workers paid $20,000 to a recruiting agency for the promise of green cards and work-based permanent residency for themselves and their families. Instead they received 10-month temporary H2B guest worker visas and worked under deplorable conditions.
Like many immigrants, they are forced to sell their homes in India or take out loans so they can afford the high fee so they can come here and achieve the “American dream;” but in reality, all they found was the American nightmare.
- That workers be released from the terror of deportation and granted continued presence as authorized by the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 so they may safely participate in the federal government’s anti-trafficking investigation
- That US Congress hold hearings that focus on the way that US companies, recruiters, and labor brokers have used the H-2B guestworker program as a legally sanctioned vehicle for trafficking and forced labor in the post-Katrina Gulf Coast
- That the Indian government take immediate action to move bilateral discussions between India and US and to ensure the protection of migrant workers arriving in the US from India.
Sign the petition here
Immigration News Roundup
- ICE is pissed off at the Washington Post for having the audacity to write about the deaths of migrant worker detainees in the DHS concentration camps.
- The WaPo responds
- Blackwater mercenaries are setting up shop within view of la frontera in San Diego.
- An ACLU lawsuit has been successful in stopping ICE from stuffing human beings into overcrowded cells like animals in Otay Mesa, CA
- G. Gordon Liddy doesn't sleep at night, cuz he keeps having reoccurring nightmares of The Alamo.
- LATimes published an article regarding the effects on children of migrant workers who are put in concentration camps and/or deported. Nice to see more of these stories focusing on the human impact of ICE's detestable actions lately.
- Cherokee Chief Chad Smith speaks out in solidarity to combat the U.S.'s insistence that the populace be as ignorant as possible of different languages besides American™
Labels: open thread
Some Friday Frivolity
An Air National Guard sergeant assigned to work on the border fence was indicted Wednesday on a theft charge that he stole scrap metal and sold it for more than $11,000, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney for Arizona.Among other things, he bought a pair of cowboy boots and a garage door opener with the proceeds. Can't make this stuff up!
Labels: border policy
Another Citizen Ensnared In ICE
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Texas woman whose American-born daughter was deported to Mexico with the father and not recovered for three years is suing the federal government for $5 million.
Monica Castro, a native of Corpus Christi, Texas, accuses the U.S. Border Patrol of refusing to release her daughter to her when the girl's father was arrested by agents in December 2003. Despite proving the child was born in the U.S., officials took the girl from Lubbock to the Texas-Mexico border. Castro did not find and regain custody of her daughter until three years later, according to Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, which represents Castro.Houston Chronicle
Some Data Released On Migrant Detainee Deaths
The articles, based on thousands of pages of internal documents, found that 83 detainees had died since ICE was created five years ago and that many more sick and mentally ill people have been denied the treatment to which they are entitled. The Post found medical staff shortages, treatment delays, sloppy record-keeping, poor administrative practices and cover-ups by employees aware of the poor care.
Yesterday's hearing was partisan and testy. Myers said ICE has been working to improve the health-care system. But detainees, their lawyers and relatives, and advocates for immigrants offered graphic testimony about misdiagnoses, medical neglect and secrecy.
House Resolution 5950 would set medical care standards for immigrant detainees.
The secretary of the U.S. Department of Health Services would be required to establish procedures for the timely and effective delivery of health care to detainees and to report the deaths of detainees to the agency and Congress. It would require any necessary medications be provided upon detention.
Grijalva may not he done yet. The congressman said he is considering co-sponsoring two more immigration bills that have bipartisan support.
Thank you, Congressman. Thank you.
No More Deaths Seeking Summer Volunteers
- Desert Patrols: Provide humanitarian aid and maintain a constant presence in the Southern Arizona desert
- Aid Stations: Provide humanitarian aid and information and document human rights abuses in Northern Mexico (Requires Spanish skills)
- Advocacy Projects: Work on current campaigns in Phoenix or Tucson
- Material Aid Coordination: Acquire and distribute needed donations from Tucson
Labels: No More Deaths
Valedictorian Faces Deportation
He and his mother, who did not want to be identified for fear of losing her job and income she needs, were given an extension to June 20 so Arthur could join his class at the ceremony, said Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"Our goal is to enforce these court orders for deportations," Kice said. But "if they come to us and they fully intend to respect the court order, we will work with them."
Mark Silverman, director of immigration policy at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center in San Francisco, said Arthur Mkoyan's case illustrates why Congress should have passed the Dream Act. The act would have allowed students who excelled in school and stayed out of trouble to become permanent residents and attend college or enlist in the military
"There's something very wrong with the immigration laws when our government is deporting our best students," Silverman said.
They are collateral damage to a government system that has dragged its feet over the years to unclog application processing, figure out what to do with mixed-status families, and diversify their procedures for treatment of migrant workers who don't have criminal backgrounds. The default position of the U.S. government at this time is to either lock them up in a concentration camp where some are being killed through mistreatment, or deport them immediately regardless of family unity issues. This is inhumane and unacceptable.
Fortunately, local communities are banding together to exercise all legal options to keep these human rights violations at a minimum. In the case of Arthur Mkoyan, the media attention his case has received has initiated a wave of support.
Mkoyan, whose story was featured in Monday's Bee, drew immediate support from a local Armenian advocacy group and fellow Bullard High students -- and a promise from Rep. George Radanovich to take a second look at his request for help.
On Monday, Arthur said, he was showered with questions and offers of help from students and teachers at school, who hadn't known of his plight. His home phone has been ringing off the hook as friends and supporters called. Television news reporters were trying to get an interview most of the day, Arthur said.
The shy 17-year-old with a 4.0 grade-point average said he is overwhelmed by the sudden attention.
"It makes me feel good people care," he said.
The family has also reached out to Senator Diane Feinstein to see if she will support a private bill that, if passed, would give Arthur a green card and the ability to stay in the U.S. and finish his education. Even if it does not pass through Congress, though, the deportation order would be halted immediately upon submission of the bill. Please call her office, as well as the other listed public officials and ask them to support this worthy effort:
And in this episode of Why Elections Matter, it should be noted that the Congressional Representative, George Radanovich-R (CA-19), has basically told them, "Tough Shit."
Radanovich's office acknowledged Monday that the family first sent a letter to the congressman on April 18. A few days later, a staff member told the family that its only option was a private bill to grant legal status to individuals, but that Radanovich doesn't introduce private bills.
"He doesn't feel he should be able to pick winners or losers and who should on an individual basis stay or leave," said Spencer Pederson, Radanovich's press secretary.
It should also be noted that Arthur Mkoyan's deportation would be a non-issue if the Governator hadn't vetoed California's version of the D.R.E.A.M. Act (twice). The federal version of it is still languishing on Capitol Hill because lawmakers are too afraid to do anything substantive in an election year that might be construed (the horror!) as helpful to migrant workers and their families. I recommend bookmarking the group blog A Dream Deferred for updates on the bill's status.
The Perks of Being Brown in 2008
Deep Thought: Lou Dobbs would call me a racist for pointing out these statistics.
The annual reports show that black drivers were pulled over more disproportionately in 2007 than in 2006, but they were less likely to be searched or arrested this past year. Hispanic motorists were more likely to be searched and arrested in 2007, but in 2006 they were pulled over with greater frequency than would be expected based on their share of the population. Data for whites remained largely unchanged between the two years.
Hispanic drivers in 2007 were searched more often than anyone else, nearly 15 percent of the times they were pulled over. That compares with 12 percent of stopped black motorists and 7 percent of white drivers.
Even though searched the least, white drivers were the most likely to be found with contraband in their vehicles — almost one time for every four vehicle searches.
Minority motorists also were far more likely to be arrested. About 11 percent of Hispanic drivers pulled over were arrested — compared with 9 percent for blacks and 5 percent for whites.Kansas City Star
Compared with white women, black women had lower odds of receiving definitive therapy (82.1 percent for blacks versus 86.1 percent for whites). Hispanic women also had a lower rate, 83.2 percent, while the rate among Asian women, 89.4 percent, was higher than it was for white women.
"The difference between blacks and whites may seem small percentage wise -- 4 percent -- but if 200,000 women are diagnosed with early breast cancer every year, 4 percent amounts to 8,000 women who are not receive definitive primary therapy," said Freedman.
Labels: institutional racism
Neil Boortz Continues Radio Racism
On the May 29 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, while discussing reports that six Muslim women were fired from a Minnesota tortilla factory because of dress code violations, host Neal Boortz asked: "Muslims, making tortillas? You know, this world is really screwed up when Muslims are making our tortillas, folks." He added: "I mean, with all of the illegal Mexicans in this country, we can't find some Mexicans to make those tortillas?"I'm tired of having my ancestry insulted, most Mexicans are - but it doesn't matter too much when the powers that be won't lift a manicured finger to stop it.