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5/11 Immigrant News Alert!: SLOVE Act, PATRIOT Act--2 Years Later

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  • SIUHIN@aol.com
    Immigrant News Alert!: SLOVE Act, PATRIOT Act--2 Years Later May 11, 2004 By: National Immigrant Solidarity Network URL: http://www.actionla.org/ISN/ May 11
    Message 1 of 1 , May 10, 2004
      Immigrant News Alert!: SLOVE Act, PATRIOT Act--2 Years Later
      May 11, 2004
      By: National Immigrant Solidarity Network
      URL: http://www.actionla.org/ISN/

      May 11 News: http://www.actionla.org/ISN/News/May%2011%2004--News.htm

      Call to Action!
      Aug 30-31 Immigrant-Worker Solidarity Day Of Action and Conference During
      Anti-RNC Mobolization, New York!
      We Demands: No to Immigrant Bashing! Yes to Multiethnic Unity! No to
      Sweatshops! Yes to Workers' Rights!
      For More Information: http://www.actionla.org/ISN/RNC/index.htm

      What's on the May Immigrant News Alert!

      1) Sign On to Support the Solve Act (National Immigration Forum)
      The American Immigration Lawyers Association is circulating the
      following sign-on letter for organizations wishing to support the SOLVE
      Act, S. 2381 and H.R. 4262, The deadline for signing on to the letter is
      Wednesday, May 26, so there is time to circulate this letter to your networks, if
      you haven't done so already......

      2) PATRIOT Act--2 Years Later (National Asian Pacific American Legal
      We attached a “Question and Answer” fact sheet from NAPALC entitled, “The
      USA PATRIOT Act: Two Years Later: Questions and Answers For Concerned Communities
      ”. Feel free to distribute. We will be posting this on our website at

      For the full report, please visit:

      Recent Immigrant Related News:
      Arrests soar at key border crossings
      Patrol officials credit enforcement, activists blame well-traveled rumors
      By James Pinkerton
      The Houston Chronicle, May 9, 2004

      REYNOSA, Mexico -- Rusbi Morales left Guatemala on April 12 with 60 others
      from his village after hearing media reports of a guest worker program in
      the United States. He hoped to enter legally, get a job and start sending
      money home to his wife and five children.

      Early last week, Morales said, he and his group waded the chest-deep Rio
      Grande near Roma and began walking north, guided by a smuggler. But the
      smuggler abandoned the group in the brush, and they were detained by the
      Border Patrol after dawn Wednesday as they walked along a back road.

      "I came with the idea of getting involved in this program, but it wasn't
      possible. We didn't accomplish anything," said Morales, a 42-year-old
      campesino, or field worker.

      Morales isn't the only one who has heard rumors that amnesty may be
      included in a guest worker program as part of a proposed overhaul of
      national immigration laws. And many immigration activists believe the
      well-traveled rumors are an important factor in the dramatic increase in
      arrests of illegal immigrants at key Texas border crossings in recent months.

      However, U.S. Border Patrol officials say stepped-up border enforcement is
      responsible for a 25 percent increase in arrests in the first six months of
      the fiscal year -- a reversal of a steep decline in apprehensions on the
      U.S.-Mexico border since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

      "There are more Border Patrol agents on the front line than ever before,"
      said Mario Villarreal, an agency spokesman in Washington. More than 9,900
      of the Border Patrol's 11,000 agents are now stationed on the southwest
      border, he said.

      "The primary reason there is an increase in arrests along the southwest
      border is the strong enforcement operations we have and the enhanced
      operational effectiveness by the agents on the front line," Villarreal
      said, adding that arrests are traditionally higher during the first months
      of the year because of harvest schedules and the holidays.

      Adding to the migrants' urgency are reports about further hardening of the
      border in Arizona, a hot spot for illegal entry for the last two years,
      where 200 more agents and enhanced surveillance equipment will be in place
      by June.

      Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a
      Washington think tank, said increased enforcement is part of the reason for
      the rise in arrests but that suggestions of government programs for amnesty
      are attracting immigrants as well.

      "The point is not that an illegal alien in Michoacan is saying, `Wow, did
      you read about the proposal in the New York Times?' But word gets back, and
      often gets exaggerated and turned into rumors that leads people to believe
      they need to get in while the getting is good," Krikorian said.

      The Border Patrol said there were 535,000 apprehensions along the entire
      southwest border in the last six months, a 25 percent increase.

      The upswing in activity is evident at the two most populated regions of the
      Texas border.

      Agents who patrol the sprawling McAllen sector's 284 miles of Rio Grande
      have increased their arrests by 19 percent since October, while their
      counterparts in El Paso have seen a 20 percent increase. Arrests in the
      Laredo sector are up slightly, and they remain the same as last year in the
      remote Marfa and Del Rio sectors, officials said.

      "You'll see this (increase) during a presidential election year because of
      all the talk about who will be in the White House and whether there will be
      any changes in the benefit programs," said Assistant Chief Harry Beall of
      the McAllen sector. "There is some misunderstanding that there may be an
      amnesty program, but what they're getting off on is the guest worker

      In January, President Bush proposed a guest worker program for illegal
      immigrants, an effort to contend with an estimated 7 million people who are
      in the United States illegally. The program would allow illegal immigrants
      to work in the United States for as long as three years. Democrats last
      week introduced a plan calling for legal residence for illegal immigrants
      and their families.

      The Border Patrol released Morales, the Guatemalan arrested Wednesday, with
      10 others only because they claimed to be Mexican citizens. Border Patrol
      authorities allow Mexican citizens without a criminal record to voluntarily
      return to Mexico, but officials are required to detain nationals from other

      Forty others in the group were placed in detention, and another 10
      disappeared in the brush when agents in five Border Patrol vehicles
      corralled the group, Morales said.

      Morales and his companions, from the Guatemalan town of San Marcos near
      Mexico's southern border, spent the night at the Albergue Guadalupe, a
      refugee shelter maintained by the Catholic diocese in Reynosa. All 70 beds
      in the shelter were full.

      "We're not looking to be citizens. We just want to work for a short time
      and get a temporary work permit," said Morales, adding that the few jobs
      available in the Guatemalan countryside pay $3.75 a day.

      "I was looking for anything I could get, anything they wanted me to do;
      nothing professional, because I'm not one," said Morales. "I can work in a
      factory, or in a restaurant as a waiter -- something simple."

      Magedelina Amores, a 41-year-old single mother, recounted nights of
      sleeping outside and hitching rides on trains and buses from the Guatemalan
      border. But the hardest thing was parting with her 13- and 18-year-old
      children, knowing she might not return.

      "When we left Guatemala we said goodbye to our families, because we didn't
      know if we would see them again. We could die on the road or drown in the
      river," said Amores, who waded the Rio Grande on Monday.

      Among the 70 migrants at the shelter were two women from Honduras who were
      deciding whether to attempt the hazardous river crossing.

      "I'm trying to see what the possibilities are to cross, because I've
      suffered so much to get here," said Marta Isabel Mendez, 26. "I will either
      drown or live, one or the other."

      Mendez, who left a young son and daughter in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, decided
      to make the trip north after spending fruitless months looking for work.
      She lost her sewing job at a clothing factory that declared bankruptcy in

      "I want to work -- work for two years and then return to my country. It can
      be anything, as long as it is decent and honorable. I'll even take out the
      trash," said Mendez, who left her 4-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter in

      Her companion was 23-year-old Marcely Ordonez, a teacher who could not find
      a steady job in the Honduran capital.

      "To find work as a teacher you have to have a godfather, as they say,
      someone who is powerful, with connections," said Ordonez, who brought
      2-year-old son Marcello with her.

      "In Honduras, I read in the newspaper they needed 5,000 teachers in Austin.
      But so far, I haven't found a way to get in touch with them," she said.

      Michael Wyatt is a legal aid attorney who works in employment claims and
      has spent the last decade representing farm workers who are predominantly
      immigrants. He believes Mexico's worsening economy, more than talk of guest
      worker or amnesty programs, is what is fueling immigration.

      "If anyone in Washington wants to address immigration issues ... they
      should focus on assisting Mexico in rebuilding its economy," he said. "It
      doesn't matter if we have a 10-foot high, electrified fence topped with
      coiled barbed wire surrounding our entire country, people are going to come
      here if that's what it takes to feed their family."

      National Immigrant Solidarity Network
      No Immigrant Bashing! Support Immigrant Rights!
      webpage: http://www.actionla.org/ISN/ (For latest immigrant issues/news)
      ***Please consider making a donation to the important work of the ActionLA
      Coalition, National Immigrant Solidarity Network and US-Mexico Border Actions 
      Send check pay to:
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      (All donations are tax deductible)

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