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20 posts categorized "Immigration"

August 17, 2007

Head of UFCW speaks out against alleged ICE abuses

The head of the United Food and Commercial Workers' Union spoke out against the "increasingly militarized" raids that immigration authorities are conducting in the name of combating illegal immigration:

The president of the Food and Commercial Workers union on Thursday called for congressional hearings into tactics used by federal officials during immigration raids last year at six Swift & Co. meatpacking plants.

Union officials heard complaints from Swift workers in plants raided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in December.

"No water, no food for hours standing up there together. Worse than the animals that are sacrificed there every day," said Delphina Arias, 44, who works at the Cactus, Texas, Swift plant. "It was depressing as a U.S. citizen and as a human being."

Joseph Hansen, president of the union, said workers' rights are under attack and the union will defend them.

"At gunpoint, more than 12,000 workers were herded together and systematically stripped of their rights," Hansen said. "Workers were denied access to telephones, to bathrooms and legal counsel."

ICE officials investigating identity theft arrested more than 1,200 workers at the Swift plants.

ICE spokesman Tim Counts said the union's allegations were baseless. [AP]

Note that ICE didn't get a criminal warrant from a judge to search the premises. You have to show probable cause for that.

The police can't just detain 1200 people at gunpoint first, and ask questions later. 

However, ICE obtained a civil search warrant--even though they were investigating crimes (identity theft and illegal immigration). They did so knowing they were rounding up US citizens and lawful aliens in the process.

The UFCW is planning a suit against ICE on Fourth Amendment grounds.

Even diehard opponents of illegal immigration should side with the UFCW against ICE's paramilitary tactics.

Let's ignore the ethics of using the threat of deadly force apprehend non-violent workers suspected of being out of status.

The there's still the issue of ICE detaining first and asking questions later. If they don't have to supply evidence upfront, they can do this to anyone. Americans should be able to go to work without fear that the feds are going to break the door down and round them up because they suspect there might be some illegal immigrants on staff.

Manufactured hysteria over illegal immigration is taking its place beside terrorism and the drug war as excuses to erode civil liberties for everyone. Securing the border shouldn't come at the expense of our right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures.

August 07, 2007

Giuliani advisor quit Nevada GOP over Minuteman fliers

First there was the his mobbed-up nominee for Homeland Security chief, then the alleged South Carolina coke peddler, now the nativist demagogue:

LOS ANGELES - Rudy Giuliani's southwest political director left a top position at the Nevada Republican Party last year after breaking rules by advertising a Minuteman border patrol rally in internal GOP e-mails.

The notices publicizing a "Stop the Illegal Invasion" rally in October 2006 outraged some Hispanic Republicans in the state, who said they feared it would alienate voters in the nation's fastest-growing minority group just weeks before election day.

The executive director of the Nevada party, Chris Gulugian-Taylor, resigned after party leaders said he violated procedures by circulating the Minuteman information to party members. He was installed recently as Giuliani's political director for California, Arizona and New Mexico after the departure of Mike Vallante, a former chief operating officer of the California Republican Party who split from the campaign about a month ago. {AP]

Imagine that!

Rudy Giuliani needs to make some better friends. One scuzzy buddy is a tragedy, but two or three begin to look like carelessness.

June 25, 2007

Another blow for day laborers in Houston

Houston City Council voted to cut the funding for the only city-run facility for day laborers.

June 09, 2007

New media consumption and immigration attitudes

Some researchers from Stony Brook University are studying the relationship between online news consumption and attitudes towards immigration.

As someone who blogs about immigration, I find this research topic very interesting. It would be great to know whether blog readers have different attitudes about immigration than people who get their news from other sources.

Obviously no study is going to give us the definitive answer, but but each project has the potential to deepen our understanding of this understudied subject.

So, I urge you to participate.

Immigration Attitudes Survey

Increasingly, Americans are turning to the web for news about politics.  This is a survey about online news coverage of the immigration issue.  We are interested in your thoughts on this important political controversy.  If you decide to participate in our survey, you will start off by answering a few questions about yourself and your political attitudes.  Then you will watch a short news clip of an immigration story.  After the clip, we will ask you some questions about your position on immigration policy.  In total, the survey should take about 15 minutes to complete.  The survey is completely anonymous and you can skip any questions you do not wish to answer.    

Click here to take the survey:

Please feel free to contact Chris Weber ([email protected])  or Mary-Kate Lizotte ([email protected]) at Stony Brook University with any questions or concerns. Thanks for your help!

May 30, 2007

More immigration fee gouging

U.S. immigration officials announced Tuesday that citizenship application fees will double and permanent residency application fees will triple:

WASHINGTON -- Immigration officials said Tuesday they will proceed with plans to double the cost of applying to become a U.S. citizen and triple the fee for seeking legal permanent residency.

The fee increases will take effect July 30. Citizenship fees will rise from $330 to $595, plus $80 for required electronic fingerprints, an increase of $10. For legal permanent residency and fingerprints the cost will be $1,010 for those over 14. The cost now is $325. [AP]

Update: "Gouging" isn't a complaint about the existence of fees, per se.  It's a complaint about a massive fee increase levied on a captive audience with no say in the fee structure. Doubling and tripling fees overnight is gouging, especially if you're charging for an absolutely necessary service.

This particular fee hike is especially irksome because the hike is nominally intended to improve service in the future. The people who have to pay double on August 1st endured the shitty service and now have to pay twice as much for it.

May 23, 2007

Senate slashes guest worker program

The Senate cuts Bush's proposed guest worker program from 400,000 to 200,000.

That's 200,000 down, and 200,000 to go. Guest workers may seem like a quick fix to immigration woes, but they're actually a way to retrench and legalize all the defects in the current immigration system.

The fundamental problem with guest worker programs is that the workers have no way of asserting their rights. Under the current H-2A and H-2B visa system, workers are tied to the employer who brought them here. If an employer doesn't honor the terms of their agreement, the guest worker can't quit and look for another job. Getting fired means getting sent back, or going out of status.

A better alternative to a guest worker program would be a renewable work visa program where applicants would be granted the opportunity to work in the US for 3 years at a time. If the newcomer is working steadily and obeying the law, he or she deserves a chance to apply for another 3-year work visa without having to leave the country for a year. There needs to be some process by which people who have established long-term residency can apply to become full-fledged citizens.

Working conditions that seem acceptable to someone who has just arrived from a very poor country will seem increasingly less attractive to a worker after they've had a few years to become accustomed to American standards of living. With a guest worker program, you're constantly swapping out one crew of newbies for the next.

By entrenching guest workers as second-class citizens, Bush is giving guest workers an "advantage" over Americans who can assert their rights. That is, unscrupulous employers will choose isolated disorganized guest workers over Americans and other legal residents who can stand up for themselves. 

May 21, 2007

McCain urges Romney to train "varmint gun" on humans

What a sick fuck.

Tacit approval of vigilantism should automatically disqualify John McCain to be president.

Not like he hasn't done plenty to disqualify himself already. Start back with the Savings and Loan fiasco, if you're curious.

Immigration bill and guest workers

The new immigration bill includes a provision for up to 400,000 guest workers.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has an excellent report detailing exactly why guest worker programs are a terrible idea for American workers and for the guest workers themselves.

The point of the guest worker program is to create a pool of exploitable labor. Think about all the obstacles that temporary workers face in asserting their rights: They may not speak English, they're parachuted in a new place where they don't know anyone, and they're only here for a short time.

Under our current H-2B visa program, guest workers are tied to one employer. Getting fired means getting sent home. Workers are afraid to complain about mistreatment or organize themselves for fear of being dismissed and locked out of the US permanently.

Guest workers can end up working for even lower wages than documented immigrants because the guest workers are sending their money home to countries where the cost of living is so much lower. Whereas, documented workers who are allowed to come here with their families have to live on American wages while paying American prices.

To make matters worse workers frequently arrive deeply in debt to unscrupulous "recruiters" who lure workers to the US with lavish promises and keep them in line with threats. This modern-day dept peonage also spurs undocumented immigration. If guest workers lose their jobs, they have to return to their home countries, where they frequently owe more money than they can possibly repay. 

The American dream is that waves of immigrants advance over successive generations. The guest worker program is designed to maintain a permanent underclass of foreign workers.

May 08, 2007

LAPD officers disciplined over immigration rally abuse

The ranking LAPD officers on duty at the MacArthur Park immigration rally will be disciplined for police attacks on protesters. [WaPo]

May 03, 2007

LAPD attacked journalists and protesters at immigration rallly

If this is what these cops are willing to do to journalists in public, imagine what they're doing to suspects at the police station:

One day after several reporters and camera operators were injured while covering an altercation at an immigrant rights rally in MacArthur Park, news organizations condemned the Los Angeles Police Department for its use of batons and riot guns against members of the media, and some said they were considering legal options.

"We are sorry for what happened to our employees and find it unacceptable that they would be abused in that way when they were doing their job," said Alfredo Richard, spokesman for the Spanish-language network Telemundo, of the anchor and the reporter who were hurt during the evening rally.

Other members of the media who were injured included four employees of KVEA-TV Channel 52, a KTTV-TV Channel 11 news reporter who suffered a minor shoulder injury, a camerawoman who has a broken wrist and a reporter for KPCC-FM (89.3) who was bruised by a police baton.

"I was dumbfounded," said the KPCC reporter, Patricia Nazario. "I've covered riots. I've covered chaos. I was never hit or struck or humiliated the way the LAPD violated me yesterday."

Nazario said she was walking away from riot police when she was hit in the back.

Wearing a press pass and holding a microphone, she turned around and told the officer, "Why did you hit me? I'm moving. I'm a reporter," Nazario recalled. [LAT]

The immigration rally drew 25,000 peaceful protesters. The anti-immigration crowd loves to trumpet their respect for law and order, but who was breaking the laws this time?

The chief of the LAPD admits that "inappropriate" police tactics weren't just directed against journalists. Officers fired rubber bullets into crowds of protesters that included children. Officials say they aren't sure whether orders to disperse were issued in Spanish, the native language of most of the protesters.

Update: Alan has much more on the police brutality at the LA immigration protest.