Thursday, March 30, 2006

Remembering César - Continuing the Legacy

Today marks the anniversary of the birthday of one of America's greatest civil rights leaders, César Chávez (1927-1993). Across the world, the legacy of a man who spent his entire life fighting against the injustices saddled on the shoulders of hardworking people will be celebrated and honored.

He was a posthumous recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 under the Presidency of Bill Clinton and was nominated for a Congressional Gold Medal in 2004 by leaders of the Democratic Party. Buildings, schools and streets across the United States have been renamed in his honor.

Here in Tucson, the city government is considering an official holiday to commemorate and honor his mission. Even the U.S. Congress has a bill calling for a federal holiday, which is probably collecting dust somewhere in Speaker Hastert's office.

So who was this humble man on a mission of justice?

Born in 1927, César learned at a young age what it was like to be a victim of society. From his Wikipedia entry:
Cesar grew up in Arizona; the small adobe home where Cesar was born was swindled from them by dishonest white businessmen. Cesar's father agreed to clear eighty acres of land and in exchange he would receive the deed to forty acres of land that adjoined the home. The agreement was broken and the land sold to a man named Justus Jackson. Cesar's dad went to a lawyer who advised him to borrow money and buy the land. Later when Cesar's father could not pay the interest on the loan the lawyer bought back the land and sold it to the original owner. Cesar learned a lesson about injustice that he would never forget. Later, he would say, "The love for justice that is in us is not only the best part of our being, but it is also the most true to our nature."
Known primarily for his work in organizing the United Farmworkers Movement, César followed in a long line of historical figures who adhered to the nonviolent method of protest and activism. He empowered everyday workers to take a stand for their rights, organizing widespread marches and boycotts that allowed their calls for justice to be heard and joined across America. He also showed the corporate masters that he believed in his mission by engaging in multiple hunger Fasts for Life.
Cesar was willing to sacrifice his own life so that the union would continue and that violence was not used. Cesar fasted many times. In 1968 Cesar went on a water only, 25 day fast. He repeated the fast in 1972 for 24 days, and again in 1988, this time for 36 days. What motivated him to do this? He said, Farm workers everywhere are angry and worried that we cannot win without violence. We have proved it before through persistence, hard work, faith and willingness to sacrifice. We can win and keep our own self-respect and build a great union that will secure the spirit of all people if we do it through a rededication and recommitment to the struggle for justice through nonviolence.
Thirty-six days. A testament to the power of the human will when the entire "body, mind and soul" are united for a common cause - or causa, as it is known in the Xicano community.

Seeing images and video of hundreds of thousands of people marching and students walking out of their classrooms to join in solidarity the past few weeks has been breathtaking. Much hay has been ordered by conservative talking-heads to water down the power of these demonstrations of unity and comunidad by their touting of César's opposition to illegal immigration during his years of activism. From the 3/27/06 transcript of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:
And there is horrible symbolism, at least in my opinion, that these students would be leaving their schools to demonstrate, and particularly on a day that is Cesar Chavez Day by the way, a man who fought fiercely for the rights of migrant workers and Hispanics in this country and who objected to illegal immigration with all of his heart and all of his energy, because he understood that the people who would be most victimized by it would be the very people he sought to help and that is the Hispanic community.

By the way, The Pew Hispanic Center bore out Cesar Chavez's views last year with a study that showed that of two million Hispanic illegal immigrants into this country, those who lost their jobs as a result, were the most recent Hispanic immigrants into this country. A difficult, difficult complex issue. In one that, could it seems to me, be far better represented by the elected officials, certainly in Los Angeles.
Now would be a good time to mention that L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined his people in the march for justice last Saturday. He has also met with students this week to address their concerns at seeing the U.S. Congress consider making their friends and family members felons overnight; finishing with a stern plea for them to return to their classrooms to discuss the issue.

People like Lou Dobbs and Michelle Malkin have no credibility to dictate what Latino leaders believe. To get the facts, it's best to go straight to the source. In this case, The Cesar E. Chavez Foundation should be a good starting point.
Following huge marches & student walk-outs, the Cesar Chavez Foundation and United Farm Workers have created a special immigration curriculum to further engage students in taking action on Justice for Immigrants.

Download it Today! (.pdf file)
The curriculum activity found at the download link should put that particular right-wing talking-point to a quick death.

César was indeed an opponent of illegal immigration, but he was also vehemently opposed to the enslavement of workers by corporate greedmongers who worship at the altar of the Almighty Dollar. To suggest that he would support draconian bills like HR4437 if he were alive today shows a gross disconnect to understanding the legacy of Chavez's mission, summed up today by Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO)'s reciting of one of César's personal prayers on the floor of the Senate.

Show me the suffering of the most miserable;
So I will know my people's plight.

Free me to pray for others;
For you are present in every person.

Help me take responsibility for my own life;
So that I can be free at last.

Grant me courage to serve others;
For in service there is true life.

Give me honesty and patience;
So that I can work with others workers.

Bring forth song and celebration;
So that the Spirit will be alive among us.

Let the Spirit flourish and grow;
So that we will never tire of the struggle.

Let us remember those who have died for justice;
For they have given us life.

Help us love even those who hate us;
So we can change the world.

Take some time today to remember César's long legacy of promoting justice and human dignity. He was able to reawaken the conscience of the people through a combination of organizational power and personal humility that can easily be replicated today if we believe and hope in the collective strength of la causa de paz y justicia. It can be done. ¡, Se Puede!

Crossposted at BooMan Tribune and Daily Kos

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Money Quote: What is Home?

Say what you will about South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham ... Lord knows over the years I have ... but on Monday afternoon during the Senate Judiciary Committee's deliberations on immigration reform he made a statement that most eloquently summed up the whole debate … What constitutes someone's "home".

“…Most of us here believe that the 11 million undocumented people are also workers.

We couldn’t get by as a nation without those workers and those people.

And the question is ... sending them ‘home’.

I would just throw this out for some consideration…

What do you mean by ‘home’?

There's domicile, and there's legal residence ...and for some …they’ve been here so long that they can’t imagine where they live is not home.

And that’s the real debate here.

Where is home ….and where would you want home to be?

…The President says he wants a guest worker program, but doesn't want amnesty.

All the guest worker programs allow people to stay here a long period of time and work, some would have a group within the group to go back … home.

And I would argue that for someone who's been here three or four generations … they don't know where to go.

Cause their home is where they’ve raised their children, their home is where they’ve lived their married lives.

And we have allowed, rightly or wrongly, for that home to be established.

And we as a nation have sat on the sidelines since at least the eighties and allowed this situation to build up.

…There are generations who've been in America …who came across undocumented …and they set up roots and… they’ve led very noble lives.

They have a home.

And if you told them to go home they'd go right back to where they’ve been for thirty four years…. Cause they don’t know any other place.

…for several generations people have made America home.

And we've accepted the benefit of their labor and we've accepted the benefit of their work … and I'm trying to come up with a solution within American values.

…The law is about justice … How do we render legal justice …I would argue that if your breaking up families, and your sending people to some place that they don’t know to be home after forty years.

That is not a just result."

you can view the whole statement :
Afternoon sessions at 2hr 44min 25sec here

Lo barato sale caro

What's cheap ends up expensive

Reuters has an article that addresses the underlying issue to the mass re-migration of people from Central and South America to the United States.

Roughly half of Mexico's population lives on less than $5 a day, according to government figures. The U.S. minimum wage is $5.15 an hour. Annual Mexican Gross Domestic Product per capita is just under $7,000. It is almost $44,000 in the United States.

The gap is now wider than it was when Mexico, the United States and Canada signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1992.

The treaty took effect two years later and was supposed to generate more jobs in Mexico, raise incomes and, as a consequence, reduce the number of Mexicans crossing the 2,000-mile border with their superpower neighbor, legally or illegally.


An investment of $20 billion a year over the next 10 years in Mexico in roads and communications connecting the poor southern part of Mexico to the North American market, Pastor says, would attract new companies to invest in Mexico and encourage many Mexicans to stay home and others to return.

"The idea of funding development in Mexico may sound ludicrous to many," Pastor said, "and it would not end illegal immigration overnight. But it would end it eventually. And besides, it would benefit the U.S. economically."

That "ludicrous idea" is one that is being echoed by former deputy assistant secretary of Commerce, Karl Reiner, who was snagged for an interview by Blog for Arizona.

Here's a snippet:

American economic policy has long touted the benefits of free enterprise, open markets and the rule of law. As such, we must put emphasis on helping our southern neighbor get its economic house in order. Of the $8 billion spent on foreign economic assistance annually, only $30 million currently goes to projects in Mexico. We need to change that policy to ensure Mexico becomes an economic success. There is no reason why it can'’t become an example for other developing nations. As Congress debates the illegal immigration issue, it should also review the old programs that rebuilt Europe and Japan after World War II and consider doing some of the same for Mexico. A booming Mexican economy would do a lot ease the pressure on workers to migrate. An economically successful Mexico would also be a larger market for U.S. goods and services in the future.

Go read the whole thing. It is provocative, to say the least, but takes notice of the elephant in the room: the United States has been touting economic stabilization while grossly underfunding initiatives that could bring it to fruition.

Sound familiar? Of course it does, this government is "All Hat, No Cattle." They sold the American public a gold brick that ended up being iron pyrite.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Open Thread

¿Que pasa?

Senate Debate on Immigration Reform

Duke1676 has this update from yesterday posted over at Migra Matters:
The Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon passed an immigration reform bill that will now move on to the floor for further debate tomorrow morning.

The bill, which incorporates most of the provisions of the bill originally sponsored by Sen.Kennedy(D-Ma) and Sen. McCain(R-AZ) calls for the most massive reform of the immigration system in twenty years. It contains the comprehensive measures to allow for a path to citizenship for the 12 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the US. It also has provisions for a guest worker program and a plan to allow for 1.5 million agricultural workers and their families to work legally. Additionally an amendment was added to the bill that guaranteed that humanitarian aid workers and others providing services to immigrants would not be subjected to criminal penalties.
The biggest observation I have on the Senate Judiciary Committee's deliberations from yesterday is the fact that the bill was passed without a majority of the majority. Only four of the committee's ten Republicans voted in favor of the final measure to be sent to the floor of the Senate (McCain Specter, Graham, DeWine and Brownback). The Democrats remained united, with all eight voting in favor (12-6 final vote).

I think this is the first time something like this, a bipartisan coalition, has formed under the Bush Regime for such a big issue. I'm cautiously optimistic that a moderate bill was advanced, unfortunately it will now be offered up for two weeks of thrashing from Senators like Tom "Lesbianism is so rampant" Coburn and Trent "Strom Thurmond is my hero" Lott.

The markup of this piece of legislation could restore some of the most offensive portions of the House measure (HR4437). It will be on Frist's head if any arm-twisting or back-alley deals are made in the dead of night, as they did with Medicare reform destruction. It's up to the people to continue sending their message in the streets. It appears :

Lawmakers central to the immigration debate acknowledged that the televised images of tens of thousands of demonstrators, waving flags and fliers, marching in opposition to tough immigration legislation helped persuade the panel to find a bipartisan compromise.

"All of those people who were demonstrating were not necessarily here illegally," said Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who sponsored the legalization measures with Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts. Mr. Kennedy described the people who would benefit from the bill as "our neighbors," adding: "They're churchgoers. They're the shop owners down the street. They're the people we know."

La Raza Unida Jamás Será Vencida
The people united will never be defeated

Crossposted at Booman Tribune

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Monday, March 27, 2006

California Students Carry the Torch

Is it possible to be hopeful and angry at the same time? I'm learning quickly how to do it.

The national media was unable to keep a lid on the big story of the weekend: tens of thousands of people marching and rallying for human dignity.

Today, Monday, is Cesar Chavez Day in California, and students across that state are showing their solidarity with their familias y amigos by staging mass walk-outs. From CNN:
Tens of thousands of students walked out of school in California and other states Monday, waving flags and chanting slogans in a second week of protests against legislation to crack down on illegal immigrants.

On Monday, California's Cesar Chavez Day, at least 8,500 students marched out of eight Los Angeles-area schools, including the San Fernando Valley and the wealthy coastal enclave of Pacific Palisades, said Monica Carazo, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles school district.

By midmorning, the protests had spread to downtown, where hundreds of students walked the streets and chanted. The boycott had the tacit approval of school officials in some of the heavily Hispanic downtown schools, where word was passed through hall posters and public address systems.

Reading the aftermath of the blog coverage on the protests, I read a term I had never heard before: anchor babies. After figuring out what the goons were talking about, I was utterly disgusted at the spitting hatred shown by some people towards another human being.

An "anchor baby" is a child born from immigrant parents, and is apparently caused-to-be born for the sole purpose of providing leverage to keep the parents here. That pesky XIV Amendment to the Constitution, it causes all sorts of hell...apparently......

That whole notion is not only insulting and degrading, it is reminiscent of days past when the lunacy was coming from the Oval Office.
Over a period of about five years, Reagan told the story of the "Chicago welfare queen" who had 80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards, and collected benefits for "four nonexisting deceased husbands," bilking the government out of "over $150,000." The real welfare recipient to whom Reagan referred was actually convicted for using two different aliases to collect $8,000. Reagan continued to use his version of the story even after the press pointed out the actual facts of the case to him.
Disgusting. I hope the marches and rallies continue to spread across this country until the bigoted groups still operating in the U.S. are either forced back into their holes to fester and rot or they end up leaving and poisoning some other country with their hate.

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Making Sense of the Soundbites

Today's the day. The Senate Judiciary Committee has a midnight deadline to hammer out an agreement on an immigration-reform bill that is scheduled for a two-week debate on the floor of the Senate. If the Associated Press is to be believed (I hear those guffaws, Ductape!), the protests of the past several weeks are making an impact.

"If they're prepared to work to become American citizens in the long line traditionally of immigrants who have helped make this country, we can have both a nation of laws and a welcoming nation of workers who do some very, very important jobs for our economy," Specter said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

Senate aides met into the evening Sunday in advance of a Judiciary Committee meeting to debate legislation, but there was no evidence of a breakthrough on the issue most in dispute. Lawmakers have been divided on whether illegal immigrants should be required to return to their home country before they become eligible for U.S. citizenship.


The Senate will ultimately take a moderate stance on reform, in stark contrast to their rabid colleagues in the House like James Sensenbrenner. I'm optimistic that that they will dismiss suggestions of criminalization, as HR4437 proposes. Can you image what would happen in this country if all-of-a-sudden 11 million plus (that's the official count, it's much more) people were considered felons overnight? Not to mention, criminalizing the actions of social workers, ESL instructors, and soup kitchen workers from coast-to-coast? We would enter an era unseen since the days of the civil war.

[Meta-Note]: Corresponding with a few of you over the past couple days made me realize how immersed I've been in the details of this debate. I often forget that some of the things we mention may not be common knowledge, so please feel free to ask any questions or clarification if you find yourself saying, "Huh?"

Cliff-Notes version of everything:
  • The House passed a horrible bill in December (HR4437), that would make it a felony to be/work in the U.S. without documentation; it also called for penalties towards anyone who aid them, which is why Cardinal Mahoney and other clergy have called for civil disobedience. If those facets aren't bad news, then consider that it also calls for construction of a 700-mile wall along the southern border and the placement of the military to "protect the homeland."
  • The Senate has four major bills competing at the moment: the bipartisan bill sponsored by McCain/Kennedy, hardline-stance by Kyl/Cornyn, a guest-worker program by Specter, and a bizarre out-of-nowhere offering by Frist.
  • George Bush is actually taking the moderate stance on this at the moment. I don't trust Shrub one iota, so we'll see if he is being a political opportunist or not if/when the final bills make it out of the Congress and to his desk.
Preguntas? :)

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

barreling through the barrio

I know we usually meander, but it's been a bizzy, bizzy day (week, even) for me so far, so I'm still in fast mode!

I hope everyone (or at least their blogs) has on their Sunday Best, cuz here we come to see the day.

First up... DuctapeFatwa updated his blog! And, as usual, it was well worth the wait. Not only has he written (just a 'lil bit tongue-in-cheek) about how to stop illegal immigration (also posted here on this blog) and the new flower power, but he's given us one of those incomparable glimpses into the lives of people you'd almost swear you knew, in Insurgent Cleansees: A True Story of Katrina Survivors and Surprise.

This is a joke, right? was my first reaction to catnip's stories about CMD's and FMD's... but no, not only is irony dead, but so is outrageous speculation and "what if's"! Plus, she's been on top of the Washington Post right-wing blogger implosion and has also done a round up of interesting news stories.

I think more and more people are realizing what a benefit Eat4Today is, regardless of what it is they are trying to accomplish for the day... the idea of just taking things on just for today is something that anyone can do, and more and more are. Today, katiebird talks about the value of friends and the commitment.

Over at Migra Matters, Duke has the most amazing picture up of the pro democracy/immigration rights march in LA, while xicanopwr covers Houston, as well as information of upcoming events. On the news here they showed busloads of high school kids who were going from school to school attempting to get other students to do a walkout and join the march. We have no idea how many would have, as the schools locked down and would allow no one in or out. (Not really surprising, but still... heh.)

[UPDATE!]Of course we have to see what olivia has been up to - she always has surprises in store. Evening at the Hollywood Bowl could also, quite easily, be A Day at the Air Show. Who knew? And more sneaky stuff... this next one olivia first posted in December, but re-posted it now to see what we thought of it. katie's mind went off on a predictable path (okay, and mine followed) but for some reason the picture is still not named "Waiting for my Bee"! And speaking of bugs, get a load of this not so little guy saying, So much pollen, so little time.

Oh, and hey... my little corner of the internets is updated as well... thanks to katiebird, actually. How, she probably asks? Well, instead of getting overwhelmed by the huge job it can be, I've figured out how to partition it out so that all I have to concentrate is just this one thing, just for today :).

BlogArts News! The first blogarts conspiracy will begin on Monday, April 3. I'll write up a thingy on how it will work and people can either post that on their blogs, or some sort of thing like it in their own words. We should probably post on bootrib too? We'll limit the entries to 30, and if we get that many, just have two each day, for a total of 15 days.

Someone needs to come up with 4 interesting and informative (to the reader) questions for the participants to answer, though.

More to come!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Immigration rallies Saturday open thread

The first pictures from the Los Angeles rally against HR4437/S.2454 are starting to come in. This one gives a good idea of the size of the march.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Gut-Check Time on Immigration

After lurking at several liberal political blogs over the past few years, I quickly realized that the issue of immigration reform was one of those taboo subjects that rarely got any attention. Diaries on the subject were sure to either disappear into the ignored/unmentioned ether or ignite into a massive flame-war until both sides finally threw up their arms in disgust and walked away to other pressing topics.

When Booman Tribune opened up for business in March 2005, I jumped right into the fray and decided that I would try to focus my attention on a humane and just viewpoint on immigration reform. My first big diary, The Immigration Crisis, was so well-received, that I did a follow-up to it a month later when Jon Kyl and John Cornyn released S.1438, a hard-lined answer to the bipartisan bill offered by John McCain and Ted Kennedy.

Now, eight months later, the immigration storm clouds have finally gathered enough strength to draw the lines in the desert sand and force the American public decide where they stand, and more importantly why.

Through a well-organized and concerted effort by human rights groups that serve the Latino population in the United States, rallies and marches have been staged in cities all across America, demanding an end to the hate-mongering string of bills that have been working their way through the Republican-led Congress.

Will the liberal left join bigot-filled groups like the Minutemen and American Patrol in reacting negatively to these powerful demonstrations of democracy? Will you join your voices with the likes of these commenters at the Arizona Republic's Blogizona?:
Comment from: jeanne7272 - 03/24/06 @ 15:50
Not just no, BUT HELL NO! We have existing immigration laws in this country which have been totally ignored and now we have hundreds of thousands of ILLEGALS waving the MEXICAN flag and protesting on AMERICAN SOIL? This is just wrong, these people are law breakers and ICE should be there hauling their butts right back to Mexico and dropping them off at Vicente Fox's front door! AMERICANS, we can't let ILLEGALS dictate our border policies to us! They don't have the right to be here in the first place! I am afraid these protesters are going to start a HUGE mess in this country! TAKE YOUR MEXICAN FLAG AND FLY IT IN MEXICO WHERE IT BELONGS, NOT ON U.S. PROPERTY!
Comment from: Jaime3766 - 03/24/06 @ 18:29
And what about crime here in Arizona? Ever notice that most crimes we hear about here are committed by someone with a Hispanic last name? Don't tell me that crime levels wouldn't drop if illegals weren't sent back to Mexico.
You see, in a black-and-white world for people like Jaime3766, any person with a Hispanic last name is 1) automatically illegal and 2) a criminal. As someone who is neither of those two and also blessed with a Hispanic surname, you can see why I would take exception to her calls for expulsion and blatant xenophobia.

American exceptionalism is driving the adverse reactions to the images that have been played out in cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, Trenton, Washington, D.C., Knoxville, Milwaukee, Tucson, Phoenix, Denver, Atlanta, San Francisco, Kansas City (KS), Columbus, New York City, Houston, and Los Angeles.

To be perfectly honest, it reminds me of reading stories of slaves owners in the civil war era who were offended and appalled that the slaves would dare demand some semblance of dignity. "How dare they? Who do they think they are?"

The echo in my ears from one of the gritos at today's Tucson rally provides an answer:
¡No Somos Enemigos, Somos Tus Amigos!
We are not enemies, we are your friends.


I implore the left and moderate ends of the political spectrum in the United States to consider the humanity of these people who are merely asking for a chance to ensure the survival and prosperity of their families. The debate on immigration has been dominated by bigots like James Sensenbrenner, Russell Pearce and Chris Simcox. It is now time to let the targets of their ire have their say, and clue-in the American public on the reasons they have risked their lives and livelihood to come to the United States.

One of the signs at today's rally was very simple, and was held by the hands of young girl who was no more than ten years old: "I want to be a doctor."

Will you respond to her as an American exceptionalist and deny her a path to succeed or as a human being who recognizes that we all have have a right to follow our dreams?

It's gut-check time, my friends. There are no borders when it comes to love.

Crossposted at ePluribus Media, Booman Tribune, and Migra Matters.

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Friday Bud Blogging

Resting up for the 4th Avenue Street Fair

Tucson Rally for Justice - No to HR4437!

¡Queremos Justicia!
March 24, 2006
Tucson, Arizona

yours truly with Isabel Garcia of Derechos Humanos

I'll update later with more info. I could only stay for an hour due to a meeting I have in a few minutes. There were easily 1000 people there of all ages, classes and races, it was a powerful demonstration of democracy. Plenty of car-honkers in support!

[UPDATE] It's gut-check time

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Rallying for Human Rights - Open Thread

Chicago, Illinois
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Trenton, New Jersey
Washington, D.C.
Knoxville, Tennessee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Tucson, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Denver, Colorado
Atlanta, Georgia
California Student Walkout
San Francisco, California
Kansas City, Kansas
Columbus, Ohio
New York City, New York
Houston, Texas
Los Angeles, California

We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community... Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.
--Cesar Chavez

Immigration Rallies to Carry Message of Hope

(bumped up to the top - M.E.)

"We are not the enemy;
we are part of the solution"

WHAT: While Senator Kyl is on recess, Arizona's immigrant and border communities are going to his offices in Tucson and Phoenix to insist that "we are not the enemy; we are part of the solution." The Phoenix march and Tucson rally will emphasize that our communities do not need policies like H.R. 4437 (introduced by Congressman Sensenbrenner and passed by the House in December). Instead, the groups will point out, we need an immigration policy that provides 1) a means for immigrants to attain permanent residency and 2) a border policy that upholds community security and border security. A safe border must also be a just and humane border.

WHERE: Tucson--Rally at 7315 N. Oracle Rd (northwest corner of Ina/Oracle)
Phoenix--March begins at St. Agnes Church at 24th and McDowell. Concludes at Senator Kyl's office 2200 East Camelback.

WHEN: Friday, March 24, 2006. All events begin at 11:00am

WHO: Sponsoring organizations include Border Action Network, No More Deaths, Service Employees International Union, Center for Biological Diversity, Samaritans, Coalicion de Derechos Humanos, Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, American Friends Service Committee, Arizona Latino Legislative Caucus, Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus and other Phoenix organizations.

Thanks to the Border Action Network for the heads up.

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His Lordship Dick Cheney

Tucson has the (unfortunate) honor of playing host to Dr. Evil himself today as he woos the Republican Elite of the Old Pueblo in support of Jon Kyl's upcoming reelection retirement.

Always the rabblerousers on the web, the folks over at The Smoking Gun have obtained official documentation from the Vice President's office on the exact specifications required for overnight hotel stays. (to be clear, they got it from a hotel, not the VP office staff)

It is ridiculous how out-of-touch these people are to everyday Americans. I wish I could provide a 5-star resort with explicit instructions on the amount of ice cubes required in my horchata. Life and death matters, you see.

Here's the form:

I wonder if the Faux News TV setting is designed so he can place his hands on the screen and commune directly with the talking-head minions? (I'm only half-kidding)

While you're at it, send Jim Pederson some love so he can end the reign of one of Darth Cheney's most loyal subjects.

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Call to Action: The Rose Revolution

The best gift blogging has given to the world is the flame of activism spread to everyday people who interact and coordinate via the internets. BostonJoe, a prolific blogger over at BooMan Tribune and DailyKos, calls himself an Accidental Activist; but I have to disagree with my friend, there's nothing Accidental about the everyday Movement he has instigated. He is a Patriot for Peace and I am proud to offer my support for his latest initiative:

Dear Peace People,

I am really quite gratified by the level of participation in this year's 3rd anniversary events. From the sign-up sheets, I was worried that we would not staff these protests at a level that would let the public understand the commitment of the peace movement toward this cause. But that worry has been cast aside. I've lost an exact count, but I honestly believe that approximately 350-400 or more people have participated in the events we've scheduled for this last week. And we still have two full days to go to boost that number. And that does not include the thousands (I'd say quickly approaching ten thousand or more -- horn honks of support we've seen from the public). The ratio of positive to negative response if well in excess of ten to one. Protestors have joined us from as far away as Howell, Clinton County, Jackson and Bay City, Michigan. And a couple of new residents of Kansas City. New peace people have joined in. And total strangers are delivering us hot chocolate, coffee, cookies and apples. Many
have stopped to shake hands from their car, or to just say thanks for doing
this. The public support is almost bizarre. The people are truly tired of this war.

Now for important notes. First, we started a "Petals for Peace" event today. Individual protestors are taking a single flower into Mike Rogers' office and giving it to Mike, asking him to stop the war. The response has been very good. We delivered in the neighborhood of 48 flowers today. A significant portion are from the public at large. And we want to continue this. It sends a great message to Mr. Rogers. You can help in a few different ways. E-mail this to your family, friends and associates, so that they might have a chance to participate. Stop by the picket and deliver a flower (it takes about 15-30 seconds, and you can park right in front -- no tickets issued yet and we will watch your car). Or, for those with the means, send a cheap floral arrangement to Rogers' office for Thursday or Friday. Make sure the card reads something like "Petals for Peace -- Stop the War". You just get the feeling on the ground that this is a really wonderful protest statement. The office is located at 1327 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, Michigan 48912. And there is a great place to order flowers just a block away. Bancroft Flowers. (517) 371-4120. Just a block east of the protest site. (And they have given us a great rate on flowers for the protest.

Second, we're going to incorporate a new angle Thursday. "Kisses for Peace" where in addition to flowers, we are going to be delivering Hershey's Kisses to ask for peace. Friday, we are considering adding "Going Nuts for Peace," where we may deliver nuts for some kind. For those of you who got my earlier e-mail about baking cookies, we can deliver those also, but some have suggested that non-packaged consumables might be suspect from the Rogers' staff. So that is why we went "Kisses" instead. Don't worry. We will not let your cookies go to waste. Bring them by. We have some voracious cookie monster types on the picket lines.

Third, if you can't do the actual picket or one of the walk-up/drive-up quick protests, consider calling Rogers' office at some point in the day and telling him that you support the "Picket for Peace" outside his office. You want him to support legislation to stop the war and to hold the administration accountable. His office number is (517) 702-8000. Plus you can call him toll free in Washington D.C., at 1-877-762-8762. Or you could fax a sheet telling him you support the "Picket for Peace" at (517) 702-8642. I'm told that legislative offices weight communications in this hierarchy: Personal visits, faxes, phone calls, and e-mails. So help out if you can. Those of you who blog, post this info so we can get some regional or nationwide support.

Fourth, Tom is circulating an invitation to "Gone Wired" for pizza following the Picket for Peace. If you participated please come out and say hello again on Friday evening. I'm suggesting we might drink a beer for peace after pizza.

Fifth, I have to say a special thank you or two. I mean it seems to me absolutely everyone is helping to the maximum. So it is difficult to single anyone out without casting a shadow on everyone else's contributions. But just some really cool neat little thing. Margaret N. was out in the cold with us to march a pit. And that was pretty cool. And Amy B. bought a plant for a Rogers' secretary who has been making our lives much more enjoyable (and brought a nice smile to that person's face). Anyway. It has been so fun being out there. Hope you can join us for a bit Tomorrow has the potential to be slow, because Gary D., who has been there every minute
is unavailable. So anyone who can pick-up slack is appreciated.

Good night. And good luck.


Terry Olson

Please consider supporting the efforts of BostonJoe (Terry) and help turn the tide of the warmonger's global crusade one petal (and kiss)-at-a-time. Paz, Man Eegee.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Free Math Tutoring

It's a simple equation, even for the simple-minded.

When you allow this and this (a) to happen on your watch, and the culture you create leads to this (b), then multiply by this and this (c2), you get the following:
(a + b) * c2 = You're Fired
Got it?

Apparently not.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Deer-In-Headlights Open Thread

"Lets see here. They told me what to say" - today's WH transcript via Atrios

Immigration News Roundup

The MinuteMan Project Militia are preparing their return to the borderlands in two weeks. They're also taking credit for the national debate currently raging on immigration reform.
Love or hate 'em, those who follow the illegal immigration debate say the original Minuteman Project conducted in April 2005 in Cochise County and a subsequent patrol in October brought increased national attention to the Arizona stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border. Some even credit the group with pushing legislators to create border enforcement bills
Too many of them, in fact.
Upwards of 50 bills dealing with the border and illegal immigration have come before the Republican-controlled Legislature this session, more than in any other session in state history.
Meanwhile human beings are still dying, and in some cases, getting assaulted by bandits

Armed robberies of illegal immigrants are on the rise along the Arizona-Mexico border, with notable spikes in remote areas increasingly favored by illegal immigrants, authorities say.

The increases reflect competition between smugglers pressured by U.S. Border Patrol crackdowns and bandits eager to take advantage of easy targets, officials say.

J.D. Hayworth (Wingnut-AZ5), who deserves permanent retirement this fall, is sending out anti-immigrant literature paid for with taxpayer money. Follow the link to view the mailing, and if you have a hard copy, AZ Congress Watch is looking for additional scans.

On the Dem-side, Blog for Arizona has an interview posted with Jeff Latas, who is one of several candidates for AZ's Congressional District 8. With Republican Jim Kolbe's retirement announcement, we have a good shot at picking up that seat (as long as the Democratic Primary doesn't produce any casualties). Here's part of the section where Jeff talks about immigration.

J: Obviously there is a real concern about using government resources in order to provide schools and medical treatment and such services. But there are certain cases where illegal immigrants pay their own way through their taxes. Some of that is failing to get back here to the states where the money is being spent, however. This issue needs close study of the facts. There might need to be a ‘fencing off’ of certain funds from those revenue sources, so that it can be sent back into the local economy where the impacts are. For instance, the state prisons here that are owed money for holding criminals who are Mexican nationals.

The immigrants generally are helping our society out and benefiting us greatly. I think much of the negative rhetoric is used to conceal that simple fact. A lot of it might be hate-based and prejudiceÂ… IÂ’m not willing to say that someone like Randy Graf is a bigot, but there are definitely people who are bigots who are attracted to this issue.


Finally, the Tucson Citizen has a two-page profile up regarding a unique photography project underway that is trying to capture the human aspect of two opposing sides of the debate: immigrants and the Minutemen. They are handing out disposable cameras to various groups, along with a return envelope, and documenting the response.

"We were hoping to tell the story of the U.S.-Mexico border in a new and fresh way," said Adler, who graduated from Arcadia High School and the University of Arizona and works as a designer and filmmaker in New York City.

"Our goal was to show the journey without it being tainted by our own perspective and by just our presence there."

Crossposted at Migra Matters and Booman Tribune

Tags: ,

The Eegee Board FAQs

What is the Eegee Board?
The Eegee Board is our version of the community bulletin board. It's a place where you can post up messages for fellow community members. They can be time sensitive, urgent, or personal messages that you want to make sure get seen by the recipient.

Isn't it like an open thread?
Yes and No. The daily open threads are a great place to meet together, chat, exchange ideas, and leave messages for fellow members, but this is a little different. It should be used in addition to open threads as a communication tool. For instance if you came upon a link that might be of particular interest to a certain member, the Eegee Board would be the best place to leave that kind of message. Another case would be if you need to ask a personal question. It should be used for the kind of messages that might be lost in the ebb and flow of the daily threads. Unlike the daily threads the Eegee Board remains up all the time so you can check one central location to see if anyone needs to get in touch with you.

How do I access the Eegee Board?
It's simple. Just click the Eegee Board icon in the right sidebar and a comment window opens up where you can leave your message or see if there was one left there for you. You can also place an Eegee Board icon on your own homepage or blog and access it from there any time you like.

Are there any specific rules for the Eegee Board?
No not really. Just make sure you start your message with:
  • To: ___________

  • RE:___________

This will make it easier for all to search through the message board to see if anyone left a message.

Also try to reserve the use of the Eegee Board for messages and not general chat. That's what the open threads are for. We don't want to clog up the board or make it so long that a new Eegee Board must be started before people have had a chance to receive their messages.

How do I add an Eegee Board to my blog?
It's Easy. Simply pick the icon you want to use and copy the link. Then go to you template and paste the link anywhere you want in your sidebar or blogroll. Make sure to change all the "(" to ">". For those not familiar with the ins and outs of CSS or HTML, the best place would probably be at the top or bottom of your blogroll. Use you blogs Help section to find out how to "add a link" or "change my blogroll". The Eegee Board button works the same as any other link. Periodically new button styles will become available.

Directions for using links: Change all "( )" to "< >"

Gray Plain (120x20)

(a target="_new" href="") (img src="")(/a)

Gray w/ white border (120x25)

(a target="_new" href="") (img src="")(/a)

Tapir Large (100x200)

(a target="_new" href="") (img width="100" src="")(/a)

Tapir Small (77x128)

(a target="_new" href="") (img src="")(/a)

[UPDATE]: Nanette just made us an excellent custom Eegee Board graphic that will cause no copyright problems. ... And a whispering tapir for all the "Tapir Whisperers" out there

Eegee Board (150x100)

(a target="_new" href="") (img src="")(/a)

Whispering Tapir(127x149)

(a target="_new" href="") (img src="")(/a)

[UPDATE]: I've added a new icon. It's one of those small 80x15 generic boxes that you see all the time.

Generic box

(a target="_new" href="") (img src="")(/a)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Meta-Monday Open Thread

You know it's bad when you have a case of the Mondays AND the Lazies at the same time.

Here's what's going on in the Eegeeian Barrio
  • nominations are being accepted for the next Coyote Carnival
  • Duke, kansas, and DuctapeFatwa are devising a method to summon the Tilted-Halo(scan) spirits so we can keep in touch better (the can-and-string method was too costly when we factored in the Canadian exchange rate)
  • Nanette is leading a Conspiracy of internet gnomes under the banner: BlogArt is on the March
I've been tinkering with the template of the site, let me know if you're having trouble loading anything, or if you have any suggestions for layout changes. My eyebrows are finally growing back from the last flamewar I was involved with, so give me your best shot. :)

Chimpy Knows Best? I Think Not.

The populace of the United States has spent the past three years flinging mud at each other regarding one central question:
Did Iraq pose a threat to our country that needed to be met with military force?
For me, that answer has always been a firm 'F*ck No'! I never supported this debacle. Not one iota. There have been times, though, when it was difficult to have conversations with family and friends, especially since I've had several who have served multiple tours over there (in fact, one close friend is there right now); but something fundamental is changing now with the conversation.

The central question has shifted from woulda, coulda, shoulda to
Who knows what's best for the Iraqi people?
The answer to that is simple: the Iraqi people.

Not George W. Bush. Not Dick "Dick" Cheney. Not Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice, Stephen Hadley, John Negroponte, John Bolton, or any of the other neo-con minions who have strapped us all into their suicide mission of greed and instability.

I think this is enough of a common sense issue for the pro-war American populace, who are apparently finding in their post-9/11 bloodlust crusade. Consider this portion of the article regarding Iraqi civil war:

An escalation of sectarian killings since the bombing of a Shiite shrine in a city north of Baghdad last month has intensified assertions that the country is in the throes of a civil war. The latest came today from Iraq's former interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi, in an interview with the BBC.

Mr. Allawi said there had been a daily average of 50 to 60 people throughout the country being killed, "if not more" in the wake of the shrine attack in Samarra.

"If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is," he said.

But Vice President Dick Cheney, asked about Mr. Allawi's remarks, disagreed and said that American military commanders on the ground in Iraq shared his view.

"I think the assessment that we get from Gen. George Casey, who's our man commanding in Iraq, from Zal Khalilzad, the ambassador, from John Abizaid, who is the general in charge of Central Command, doesn't square with that," Mr. Cheney said in an interview with the CBS News program "Face the Nation."

As long as the Warmonger Council is forced to debate the Iraqi leadership on what's really going on in the streets of Baghdad, instead of strawmen liberals, Peace will have the winds of change at its back.

The past three years have been saturated with incompetence. Think Progress has put together a that shows, in detail, the appalling levels of ineptitude that BushCo has provided. The question of whether or not the Iraq Crusade was a good idea is moot now, it has been an utter disaster, now the real debate is beginning at dinner tables and water coolers across the U.S.: who's to blame.

The Eegee Board Experiment

Over the past few days the open threads have been buzzing with brainstorming about a way for us to contact our fellow Eegian spirits across the time and space of the blogosphere. Kansas probably explained the situation best:

One day last week I realized that I'd left a question for James on three different threads over several days and he hadn't been around at just the right time to see any of them, nor was I around to nab him when he did appear. At the same time, Ductape was trying to chase Duke down and it took him two or three days to do it. I don't know why Duct didn't try email, but I didn't because the question just wasn't that big a deal to warrant adding to James' email pile, if that makes any sense.

So. . .I realized I had seen many situations, like over at Boo, where one person wanted to get another person's attention without using email to do it. Sometimes the email isn't available. Sometimes a person doesn't feel as if he knows the other person well enough to intrude into their home, etc. And I thought, hm, maybe we could make good use of a bulletin board. It will be (if it turns out this way) the blog equiv. of those cork boards that get put up in the lobby at conventions where people post little notes for people: "Catnip. Meet me in the cheesecake bar, 4:30. kansas."

With necessity being the mother of invention and all that, the collective wisdom of Eegeedom has started to formulate a solution: The Eegee Board.

The Eegee Board would be a central location where we could post up a message for a fellow Eegian that might be time sensitive, urgent or personal and could be missed in the flow of open threads. Here's what we've got so far:

The Eegee board would basically be a link to a semi-permanent Haloscan comment box that everyone could place on their homepage (or click on here at Man Eegee) to send and receive messages. At the present time it looks like it would be refreshed once a week, when all the old messages would be removed to make room for new ones (but the specifics are still to be worked out).

If you go to my blog and scroll down on the lower right you'll find some sample "buttons" we might use to access the Eegee board. The lower two gray ones are live and should bring you to the comments on this post. Please check them out make sure they work with your system/browser (there was already an IE problem that needed to tweak), and make any suggestions you have as to size, color, whatever… We could have a few different choices available to fit your blog style so if enough people want a white background w/black text, or a square one, or whatever it will be available. (we can also add new button styles over the course of time… which might be fun … like a clickable baby Tapir)

I guess the other thing we should discuss is Eegee Board etiquette…. Perhaps we should have a standard format for posting, just to make looking for messages easier. Something like:

  • To: _______

  • From:_________

  • RE:___________

  • Date___________

Anyway, lets use this as an open thread to discuss any ideas, improvements, suggestions, anything that you think would make the Eegee Board a better tool.

[UPDATE]: I've been informed that the use of the actual ouija board graphic might in fact be a copyright infringement and we would be best to not use it :(
... we still have the tapir, so that's a good thing :)
...and of course the regular text graphics

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sunday Touring!

If it's Sunday (and it is, no matter what some Aussies or Kiwis might say) then it's time to take a stroll around the Eegian (Eegeean?) neighborhood and see what everyone is up to. Um... and then remember to come back ;).

I'm one of those folks that doesn't "know a thing about art, but I know what I like", which is one reason I like Deano's ArtCrit site! He finds all sorts of interesting things, and then just lets you read into them what you want. Which is great, as I have no clue what some of it is... (although I think these are tonsils).

Michael (supersoling) suffers a loss and celebrates the life of a loved one. A love story, a story of family, life and trust, on many levels.

Olivia... well, what can I say? I was going to tell you how she's calmed down considerably (okay, well there was the Volcano, but still), but she's as racy as ever. She first lulls us with faerie ballarinas and their wings, and the most buttery Vying for Attention - then today she kicks it up a notch and hands us a flirty, windswept specimen that you can just tell is giving you an I'm-so-innocent--- NOT! look, with a broad wink and a smile. Definitely pretty in pink.

Imagine , catnip tells us, in heartrending and so true prose. Also, you can point in any direction of the Iraq debacle, and find someone to blame. Chalabi points at the fingers pointing right back at him.

Now, for this next you'll likely need a quiet room, your preferred beverage and a little time to recover your thoughts (and your power of speech, as this seems to have left so many speechless). Dove, in a powerful and powerfully simple essay, speaks on the On the Republic of Silence.

UPDATE! XicanoPwr picks up on Duke's powerful article on the new "internment camps" for immigrants and ties it in to Michelle Malkin's racist screed of a book, notices the similarity of language then and now, and lists some figures that many anti immigrant forces would rather ignore.

Hmmm... I probably shouldn't mention that katiebird is planning on committing more public lolling on vibrating beds, but I can mention her question about laughter! The health benefits of laughing have been noted... but what about the weightloss benefits? Also, don't forget the nightly Exercise Club (pom poms provided for those who prefer to just cheerlead!).

On the Left End of the Dial, James marks a day that will live in infamy. Sadly, there are way too many of those lately.

UPDATE AGAIN! You guys drive a hard bargain, but here it is, finally: Cheesecake!

Some can't access the blogger comments (at some sites), but this can be a discussion thread of whatever strikes your fancy, as well as an open thread.

More to come!

Presidential appreciation late night open thread

We should take this time to reflect upon the surefooted, sober and steady leadership that has been provided by our President through these trying and turbulent times.

Ok, how about we just have a late night cheesecake snack instead?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

BlogArt Conspiring - final touches

We are almost ready to have our first conspiracy! There are just a few details to work out (such as length of each conspiracy, entrants limits per topic, lead time and so on).

There is, however, progress! We've voted on the first two topics, and we'll just decide on the others as we go. Having at least two, though, will give us and participants a bit of time to plan.

First topic, on the strength of 6 votes is Roads. Second, with 3 votes, is Oneness.

Now... how it will work (let me know if you think it's too complicated). On each successive day of the conspiracy, all involved (and anyone else who wants to) will put up a post on their blog (if they have one, unblogged people also welcome to participate)similar to this:

The BlogArt Conspiracy

Topic 1 -Roads

Day 1 Conspirator BLOG NAME


Q: What do you want people to know about you? A: Blah, blah and lots more blah.

Q: Another fun and insightful question. A: Another brilliant answer.

2 more questions and answers, including what medium they choose (writing, painting, poetry, etc) and why.

previously featured Conspirators

Day 1 link
Day 2 link
And so on

So... What do you think of that format? And, how many entrants per topic (this will determine the length of each conpiracy). How often ... every other month? Every month? And anything else I've forgotten.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Friday Bud Blogging

It's better than a siren to de-lurk the lurkers

Immigrants of Every Color of the Rainbow

Living in the Southwest, when the topic of immigration comes up, it usually rests in the context of the relationship between the U.S., Mexico and Latin America; but since today is St. Patrick's Day, lets shift the focus for a moment from brown to green, and honor the activism of some of the Irish immigrants who are using their cherished holiday to take a stand for human rights.
At St. Patrick's Day parades in San Francisco and Chicago last weekend, activists with the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform wore white-and-green T-shirts saying "Legalize The Irish" and passed out fliers urging people to call their elected representatives in support of allowing undocumented workers to earn legal status as guest workers. Similar activism is expected at parades in other cities in coming days.

Adding heft to the immigrants' message, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, who visited San Jose on Tuesday, plans to push President Bush for legal status for illegal Irish immigrants when he visits the White House on Friday, St. Patrick's Day.


"They are in as dire straits as any other ethnic group," said Kennelly, who estimates there are 3,000 to 4,000 Irish illegal immigrants in San Francisco, most working in construction, in restaurants or as nannies and caretakers for the elderly. "They cannot get driver's licenses, it's harder to open bank accounts, they cannot travel home and return again. ... The relationship between Ireland and America is so long and fantastic, but it's in danger now."

San Francisco Chronicle
As Duke1676 pointed out yesterday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is laying the foundation for a new era of domestic concentration camps, designed to herd unwanted human beings into the shadows of society. A large-scale "dust under the rug" strategy, if you will.

A good litmus test to determine the morality of any policy decision is to ask yourself "Why?" What is the motivation for taking a particular course of action?

In the case of egregious moves to seal off the country by wingnut Republicans like John Sensenbrenner, Arlen Specter, Jon Kyl and John Cornyn, the motivation is xenophobia, racism, and greed. No one on the left or center of the political spectrum should support their efforts, but sadly there are enough liberal and moderate Americans who have bought into the propaganda against the scary, eeeevil "aliens" invading their Manifest Destiny-imparted land.

The Irish immigrants demonstrating for their freedom today carry on the torch of all human beings who are seeking a better life. They are hard-working people who are merely satisfying the instinctive need to care for their own. As they rally today, clad in green, may their message of equality and human dignity be spread across the country with the vibrancy of a rainbow, and may the pot of gold found at its end be Freedom.

Accept this Irish Blessing today as a call to Solidarity.

We're on this Earth together,
And if we would be brothers,
Fight not just on your own behalf
But for the sake of others.

Technorati: , ,

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Best News I've Read All Day

If this turns out to be true, a Charro Dance is in order
Capsaicin, the component that gives jalapeno peppers their heat, may also kill prostate cancer cells, a new study suggests.

Initial experiments in cancer cells and mice show that capsaicin causes prostate cancer cells to undergo a kind of suicide. Researchers speculate that, in the future, pills containing capsaicin might be used as therapy to prevent prostate cancer's return.

According to their report, capsaicin caused almost 80 percent of prostate cancer cells in the mice to die. In addition, prostate cancer tumors treated with capsaicin were about one-fifth the size of tumors in untreated mice.


This is an Open Thread. Has anyone seen my bottle of Tums?

Internment of undocumented immigrants to begin.

On Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced that DHS would be opening detention facilities in the next few weeks to house thousands of Chinese immigrants who have been denied immigration to the United States, yet were refused readmission by the Chinese government. Currently there are an estimated 39,000 undocumented immigrants caught in this diplomatic limbo, but if the more punitive immigration legislation passed in the House back in December, and now being debated in the Senate, was to become law perhaps millions more would join them.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Chertoff said that China last year readmitted 800 people. But that made only a small dent in what he described as a backlog of thousands illegally in the U.S.

"The math is pretty easy — at that rate, we wind up with increasing numbers of migrants who, if we're going to detain them, we're going to have to house at enormous expense," Chertoff said.

He added: "We can't be in the position any longer where we are paying the burden and bearing the burden for countries that won't cooperate with us and take their own citizens back."

The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately return a call for comment.

Currently, 687 Chinese are being held in federal detention facilities, at a daily rate of $95 each, while some 38,000 have been released on bond or under a monitoring program, such as wearing an electronic surveillance bracelet, the Homeland Security Department said later Tuesday.


Chertoff also said Homeland Security would open detention facilities in the next few weeks to house entire families of illegal immigrants who hope to bring their children along in order to avoid jail time. "It'll be humane, but we're not going to let people get away with this," he said.

Chertoff's remarks comes as the Homeland Security Department aims to end its "catch and release" immigration policy by Oct. 1. After that date, all illegal immigrants will be held in U.S. detention centers until they can be returned to their nation of citizenry.


Japanese-American internment camp during WWII

The Department of Homeland Security's decision to end the "catch and release" immigration policy by Oct.1 comes on the heels of last month's announcement by the Army Corps of Engineers that a $385 million contract had been awarded to Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Root and Brown to build "temporary immigration detention facilities".
Halliburton Subsidiary Gets Contract to Add Temporary Immigration Detention Centers
New York Times

Feb. 3 - The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a contract worth up to $385 million for building temporary immigration detention centers to Kellogg Brown & Root, the Halliburton subsidiary…

KBR would build the centers for the Homeland Security Department for an unexpected influx of immigrants, to house people in the event of a natural disaster or for new programs that require additional detention space…

A spokesman for the corps, Clayton Church, said that the centers could be at unused military sites or temporary structures and that each one would hold up to 5,000 people.

"When there's a large influx of people into the United States, how are we going to feed, house and protect them?" Mr. Church asked. "That's why these kinds of contracts are there."


In recent months, the Homeland Security Department has promised to increase bed space in its detention centers to hold thousands of illegal immigrants awaiting deportation. In the first quarter of the 2006 fiscal year, nearly 60 percent of the illegal immigrants apprehended from countries other than Mexico were released on their own recognizance.

Domestic security officials have promised to end the releases by increasing the number of detention beds. Last week, domestic security officials announced that they would expand detaining and swiftly deporting illegal immigrants to include those seized near the Canadian border

As the Senate Judiciary Committee takes up immigration reform this week they will be debating provisions that may increase the number of incarcerated undocumented immigrants into the millions. Both the current Senate proposal, "The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006", sponsored by Sen. Arlen Spectrer, and it's House equivalent, the "Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005"(HR4437) would criminalize almost any immigration infraction and leave the entire undocumented population vulnerable to incarceration. Both bills, in theory, call for the arrest and possible detention of all undocumented immigrants.
Mandatory Detention
Under current law, individuals who arrive without documents, including asylum-seekers, are subject to mandatory detention. Again this applies mainy to those arriving at airports or by sea. 60% of detainees are held in local jails under contract to the federal government, where they are generally not segregated from the criminal population even if they are asylum-seekers and others with no criminal record.

Under this new bill, the mandatory detention policy would be extended to all non-citizens who are detained at any port of entry or anywhere “along” the border for any reason.

“Illegal Presence” and “Aggravated Felonies,”
Section 203 of HR 4437 calls for the creation of a new federal crime of “illegal presence”. As defined in the bill it includes any violation, even technical, of any immigration law or regulation. Even if the immigrant was to fall “out of status” unintentionally, or do to paperwork delays. In essence, the bill makes every immigration violation, however minor, into a federal crime. As drafted, the bill also makes the new crime of “illegal presence” an “aggravated felony” for immigration purposes. This classification would have the further effect of restricting ordinary undocumented immigrants (including those with pending applications) from many forms of administrative or judicial review. Those convicted of an "aggravated felony" would be subject to indefinite detention and/or expedited removal.

Indefinite Detention
Indefinite detention currently applies to non-citizens ordered removed from the United States whose countries refuse to accept them or who have no country because they are stateless. Most often they come from countries without good relations with the United States.

Section 602 of HR 4437 would permit indefinite detention of an increased broad class of non-citizens, including:
  • those with a contagious disease
  • any non-citizen convicted of an “aggravated felony,” (see above)
  • non-citizens whose release would pose foreign policy problems
  • non-citizens charged even with very minor immigration violations who, based on secret evidence, are deemed a national security risk.
With the internment of undocumented Chinese immigrants and their families becoming a very real possibility, we need to start to look at the real ramifications of some of this proposed legislation. Homeland Security has already announced its intent to greatly increase the incarceration of undocumented immigrants and Halliburton is ready to supply the facilities to hold them. With HR 4437's provisions for indefinite detention and the reclassification of even minor offenses as aggravated felonies it is quite possible that all 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country could shortly end up in internment camps no different from the refugee camps we see throughout the rest of the world. We just never thought it could happen here.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Nightowl Open Thread

Hey lurkers, don't be shy! Drop a comment and say hello

Happy Birthday to Maryb! (what's left of it)

Telling Their Stories, One-by-One

...until these deaths are no more than a gut-wrenching memory.

Juan Cruz-Torralva crossed the Arizona desert with his daughter last week because he wanted a better life for her.

His daughter, 12-year-old Lourdes Cruz-Morales, will return to Mexico in a casket.

Near the last leg of their three-day journey, a U.S. Border Patrol agent ran over Cruz-Torralva and his daughter with his truck near Dateland.

The agent had spotted a dozen illegal immigrants and was following them in the truck, according to a report by the Yuma County Attorney's Office.

When the agent got out of the truck, he heard moaning and discovered that he had run over Cruz-Torralva and his daughter. At no time did he see the two, according to the report.

Yuma County sheriff's detectives ruled the incident an accident.

Shortly after his daughter's death, sheriff's deputies arrested Cruz-Torralva on charges of endangerment.

Sheriff's authorities argued that by bringing his daughter with him through the desert, Cruz-Torralva placed her within "risk of imminent death" and eventually caused her death.

My heart breaks every time I read these tales of desperation and injustice. My eyes well up with the tears of my people who are no longer able to release the pain and anger they hold due to a broken society. They are the silent victims of an ongoing war that has been waged in the southwestern United States for the past 158 years.

In the halls of power across the globe and especially in Washington, D.C., the suits and pearls play chess with the lives of people instead of commiserating on a better way to create a balanced system of cooperation and peace.

No wonder we often feel defeated and depleted. Hatred and divisiveness have been given the platform and throne. It has lead us to widespread death, destruction and distrust.

We are diminished as a human race because of it.

As liberals, we must see the brokenness for what it is, not the illusions that are spread by the screens and speakers of the corrupt Age of Technology. The uphill battle against the forces of war and greed often appears hopeless, but it is a necessary fight and we are called to carry on.

How do we find the right direction to peace and change?

It's simple, really. It is a path that has fared well over history. To create Movements requires the telling of the Truth. Through our stories we are able to ignite an inner-fire that keeps us moving forward, motivated with resolve, to keep working towards a better world.

There is a recognition of honor in the simple act of recognizing the humanity of a person regardless of color, race or creed. To take that small step, allows Peace to make a giant leap. That is why these stories must be told.

Part of the Una Identidad Sin Fronteras series, crossposted at BooMan Tribune and Migra Matters