Fwd: [Noii-announce] NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL newsletter - Minutemen/ Security Certificates/ Mexican migrant workers/ News
No One is Illegal-Vancouver <noii-van@...> wrote:
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 2005 08:08:07 -0700 (PDT)
From: "No One is Illegal-Vancouver" <noii-van@...>
To: "noiilist" <noii-l@...>
Subject: [Noii-announce] Minutemen/ Security Certificates/ Mexican migrant
1) Report: Minutemen shut down on U.S. - Canadian Border
2) Vancouver Province: Minuteman and his pooch Vigilante on guard
3) Canada Defies United Nations and Paves the way to Deport Secret Trial
Detainee Mahmoud Jaballah to Torture in Egypt
4) Civil servant fired after going public about wrongdoing at the
Immigration and Refugee Board
5) An Open Letter to Joe Volpe and Anne McLellan from the Coalition
Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees, Montreal
6) 40 Mexican Migrant Farm Workers Stage Work Stoppage and Decide to
Return to Mexico as President Fox Chats Business with Martin (Vancouver)
7) Judge upholds lawsuit by two Muslim men (US)
8) Hayworth to introduce immigration bill today (Arizona)
9) Greyhound staffers face job loss if entrants ride (US)
10) Prosecutions in Immigration Doubled in Last Four Years (US)
Minutemen shut down on U.S. - Canadian Border
The Minuteman northern border patrol has officially begun. As was widely
publicized by the Minutemen and their supporters, October 1st was the
launch date of this latest campaign six months after the beginning of
their first armed patrol on the Arizona/Mexico border. Detachments have
now been sent along the U.S./Canadian border in the states of Maine,
Vermont, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Idaho and Washington State.
Though slated to make a launch appearance at the Peace Arch, which marks
the border between Washington State and British Columbia there were no
Minutemen to be seen there on October 1st. Members of the vigilante group
were spotted - in much smaller numbers than originally publicized along
a few stops on the border near Abbotsford, B.C. When questioned by the
media as to their original plans to have a gathering at the Peace Arch,
the Minutemen confirmed that the location was changed in order to avoid
Instead, loud cries of protest against the armed border vigilantes were
heard from a group of about 60-80 protestors who had gathered from both
sides of the border as well as a heavy media presence to cover the events.
Community members from Bellingham, Blaine and Vancouver stood together to
denounce this latest demonstration of racist anti-migrant activity as well
as the larger political and social ramifications of the Minutemens
actions. Organizers from both sides have begun an active campaign to
counter the Minutemen and bring public attention to the harsh realities
surrounding migration and the threat that such groups pose to marginalized
The Minutemen have also in the past told the media that the Lummi reserve
has welcomed them to train on their territory in Washington State. A
member of the community, however, completely denied those claims.
It is an outrage that armed groups can patrol the border and threaten our
communities this way without any repercussions, said Harjap Grewal, an
organizer with No One Is Illegal Vancouver. Why are these groups not
being condemned by the government, he added, while members of our
communities are increasingly subjected to racial profiling, arbitrary
detentions and labelled as terrorists?
Since the Minutemen began their activities along the U.S. Mexican border
in April of this year, numerous communities in the U.S. have clearly
demonstrated their opposition and outrage over both their actions and the
impunity with which they have been allowed to work. Thus far, ½ of the
Minuteman members have been former military and the majority have been
armed. Though they have maintained that they are not a racist group, many
of their members have been shown to have ties to white supremacist groups.
The Minutemen and their supporters have openly blamed migrants and
illegals as being the cause of disease, crime and low wages. Theyre
spreading all the racist myths about migrants that weve heard before,
said Mandeep Dhillon, another organizer with No One Is Illegal Vancouver.
The Minutemen and their allies will say that migrants are free-loading
off the system when the truth is that this system only exists because of
the exploited labor of such migrants. If NAFTA can cross
the border then so can the poor.
The Minutemen have stated that beyond border patrols,one of their main
objectives is to influence the public perception of border security and
policy changes to further militarize the U.S. borders. Resistance to their
actions, however, is also on the rise in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
Along the Mexican border, where a record 460 migrants have died in the
last year alone as a result of U.S. border policies known as Operation
Gatekeeper, numerous protest actions are planned for October 8th.
Minuteman and his pooch Vigilante on guard for U.S. of A.
A few administrative snags to overcome, says Wash. state leader
Monday, October 03, 2005
A private army's plan to patrol the Canada-U.S. border fizzled into a
oneman show yesterday. Thirty observation posts were to be operating
along the border in Washington state but only one was set up. And it was
The two members of the Washington detachment of the Minuteman Civil
Defense Corps who were to man the post deserted it because a neighbour
told them their presence was making them "feel uncomfortable," said Tom
"Skipper" Williams, leader of the Washington detachment. "We are having
administrative problems with getting our ID cards printed and our radio
relay sites set up," said Williams, holding his dog Vigilante
as he stood on a metre wide patch of grass separating Zero Avenue near
Aldergrove and Boundary Road in Washington state. He vowed the observation
posts will be manned soon, and said reinforcements are on the way.
The militia, described by U.S. President George Bush as "vigilantes,"
plans to monitor the boundary in eight northern U.S. states Washington,
Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York
bordering seven provinces.
The Minutemen say they will report to border officials when they see
people trying to sneak into the U.S. Washington state Democrats have
already passed a resolution condemning the group's plan, saying an
unregulated private army could jeopardize the safety of citizens on both
sides of the border.
On Saturday, civilrights and immigrant groups held a vigil at Peace Arch
Park to protest against the border patrol by a private army. A B.C.
refugee rights group which took part in the rally fears the thousands of
refugees who come from the U.S. to Canada each year will get into a
confrontation with armed militia members. "Refugees are already vulnerable
to various forms of abuse by governments, border services, law enforcement
agencies and unscrupulous employers," said Amal Rana, an organizer with
No One is Illegal group. "That they have to now deal with armed
vigilantes on their way to Canada is a major concern of ours, to say the
Williams, who said he was not armed yesterday, was upbeat despite the
"teething problems." He said his pooch Vigilante "is armed to the teeth."
Canada Defies United Nations and Paves the way to Deport Secret Trial
Detainee Mahmoud Jaballah to Torture in Egypt; New Immigration Decision
Violates Canada's Legal Obligation NEVER to deport ANYONE to Torture;
Torture Survivor Maher Arar Calls on Canadian Government to End Practice
of Deportation to Torture
TORONTO, OCTOBER 4, 2005 -- Four months after the United Nations called on
Canada to respect the absolute prohibition on deportation to torture,
the Governmment of Canada has for a second time denied protection to
secret trial detainee Mahmoud Jaballah, paving the way to deportation to
that exact fate in Egypt.
Jaballah, a father of six held without charge or bail since August, 2001,
on secret evidence neither he nor his lawyers are allowed to see, expects
to challenge the decision in Federal Court sometime in October. Jaballah
and his family claimed refugee status when they arrived in
Canada in May, 1996, following a decade of persecution, arbitrary arrests
and detentions without charge, and torture in Egyptian prisons. R.B.
Thornton, a delegate of Citizenship and Immigration Minister Joe Volpe,
acknowledges in a 15-page deportation decision that in 2002,
a Government of Canada pre-removal risk assessment officer concluded
"there are substantial grounds for believing that the applicant [Jaballah]
would be killed or tortured should he be required to return to Egypt." The
Federal Court has twice ruled that this assessment constitutes a final
determination as to the risk faced by Mr. Jaballah if deported. R.B.
Thornton writes in the September 23, 2005 decision that "there is
the possibility that Mr. Jaballah will be subject to torture or even the
death penalty if he were to return to Egypt," but proceeds to deny
Jaballah's application for protection.
Mr. Jaballah is one of five Arab Muslim men subject to a security
certificate, which allows the government to hold individuals under
indefinite detention based on secret evidence. Today in Federal Court in
Montreal, Adil Charkaoui, released on bail in February of this year, is
challenging the portion of the immigration act which opens the door to
rendition of non-citizens to torture -- the act explicitly excludes
people who have fallen under security suspicions from protection against
deportation to torture.
The Jaballah deportation decision is the first to be released in the cases
of the Secret Trial Five since the landmark United Nations Committee
Against Torture report, released May 20, 2005, calling on
Canada to comply with the absolute prohibition on deportation to torture
(see http://incat.org/cat_reccomendations.php). Decisions about whether
Canada will grant protection for or deport to torture three other men
subject to security certificate -- Mohammad Mahjoub, Hassan Almrei, and
Mohamed Harkat, all at risk of torture or death if deported -- are
expected in the coming months.
The startling Jaballah deportation decision also comes on the heels of
three judicial reviews of similar decisions which were challenged in 2004.
All of them were found to be "patently unreasonable," "unlawfully made"
and, in one case, "perverse." A fourth deportation decision was withdrawn
by the federal government earlier this year as well. While judges of the
Federal Court have yet to rule on the legality of deportation to torture,
the Jaballah case may prove a touchstone that leads to a final
determination about whether such decisions are legal in Canada. Justice
Eleanor Dawson, writing in a January 31, 2005 judgment on the deportation
decision for Mohammad Mahjoub, did, however, note that there are
"powerful indicia that deportation to face torture is conduct
fundamentally unacceptable; conduct that shocks the Canadian conscience
and therefore violates fundamental justice in a manner that can not be
justified under section 1 of the Charter."
While Mr. Jaballah fights the deportation decision, he is also challenging
the provisions of the security certificate scheme which prevent him from
applying for bail while the deportation issue winds its way through the
court system. Arguments in that case resume October 19 in Toronto. At a
time when Canadians have learned a great deal about the shocking role of
their government in the deportation to torture of Maher Arar, Ahmed
El-Maati, Abdullah Almalki and Muayyad Nureddin, it is remarkable that
this government continues to pretend as if there is nothing wrong with
deporting someone to such a fate, says a spokesperson for the Campaign to
Stop Secret Trials in Canada.
Maher Arar, writing from Ottawa, comments: "As someone who has suffered
and endured physical and psychological torture at the hands of a regime
that does not respect basic human rights, I find it very shocking that
Canada will deport Mr. Jaballah to Egypt, a country it admits, practices
torture on detainees. "There is nothing on earth that justifies shipping
off someone to torture. The best way to have security is to support and
promote justice. If someone is guilty of breaking the law then he should
be allowed to see the evidence against him and to defend himself in an
impartial and fair manner. It is about time for Canada to repair the
damage that was done to its reputation since it was criticized by various
human rights organizations for being directly or indirectly complicit in
sending people to torture. Canada has a choice to make and I hope it
chooses the right one by committing not to send people back to countries
where they will face a substantial risk of being abused and tortured."
TORONTO (CP) - A federal civil servant who was fired after going public
about wrongdoing at the Immigration and Refugee Board has turned to the
courts for help because he says he has been punished for his decision
to come forward.
While the board says it axed Selwyn Pieters for tarnishing its image by
lying to the media, he argues in Federal Court documents that his
dismissal was in retaliation for blowing the whistle.
"Everyone should know that there's serious wrongdoings at the IRB,"
Pieters said in an interview. "The person who blew the whistle shouldn't
be fired for doing it." In March 2004, Pieters complained to the Public
Service Integrity Office that the politically appointed board members who
are supposed to decide the fate of refugee claims were violating the
Immigration and Refugee Protection Act by not writing their own
The refugee protection officer also went to the media with his allegations
that civil servants were the ones who were doing the decision-making.
Following a probe by a board-hired investigator, IRB chairman Jean-Guy
Fleury conceded "improper conduct occurred" in three cases and
administrative measures" were taken against four board members.
In firing him last month, executive director Marilyn Stuart-Major credited
Pieters with exposing the wrongdoing in which he participated. However,
she lashed out at him for his "deliberate fabrication" in calling the
problems at the board "systemic," and for alleging a "code of silence"
existed around the misconduct. "Rather than raising your own misconduct
and that of the members concerned internally, you instead chose to
go to the media with a story replete with exaggeration and falsehood with
a view to damaging the board in a dramatic and public fashion,"
Stuart-Major wrote in a letter obtained by The Canadian Press.
Pieters, who is black, called his firing "an outrage." He said he went
public because he had no faith the IRB would deal properly with his
allegations because complaints he made about racism at the board led to
reprisals. He was disciplined after an internal investigation concluded
earlier this year that Pieters had harassed three colleagues by not
keeping private his accusations of racial harassment against them - even
though the conduct of one employee was "arguably inappropriate."
In its final report released in June, the integrity office deemed three of
Pieters' allegations were valid and praised him for coming forward with
his "serious disclosure" of wrongdoing. "As a result, measures that would
not have otherwise been taken had the wrongdoing remained unknown have
been taken," the report concluded. However, it found no evidence he had
been subject to reprisals. In his request for a judicial review, Pieters
argues the integrity office's investigation into the alleged
retaliation was "very cursory."
He also maintains it failed to delve throroughly into his claim that the
problems with decision writing were widespread. "I said it was a systemic
issue and they're saying there's no evidence of any systemic issues here,"
Pieters said. "There's no evidence because (they) didn't investigate
29 September 2005
An Open Letter to Joe Volpe, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and
Anne McLellan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and
Emergency Preparedness from the Coalition Against the Deportation of
Dear Hon. Joe Volpe and Hon. A. Anne McLellan,
One might have thought that, being old enough to fill the shoes of federal
cabinet Ministers, you would have long since outgrown the childhood game
of hot potato. Instead you have simply increased the stakes, and instead
of passing off a scalding tuber, you have moved on to passing off
responsibility for the lives and dignity of Palestinian refugees in Canada.
Either way, the music has stopped: Your attempts to disavow responsibility
and accountability for our current situation are revealed.
Ms. McLellan, in a letter dated June 4th 2004, you denied responsibility
for the situation of over 40 Palestinian refugees facing deportation from
Canada, tossing the potato to Joe Volpes office, stating that it is the
Minister of Immigration who is responsible for addressing our concerns.
Mr. Volpe, in a letter dated August 22nd 2005, you denied all
responsibility for the situation of over 40 Palestinian refugees facing
deportation from Canada, tossing the potato to Anne McLellan, stating that
it is the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness who is
responsible for addressing our concerns.
Our demands have always been clearly stated: end the deportation of
Palestinian refugees from Canada and grant permanent residence status to
all Palestinian refugees in Canada. In June 2005, we marched 220
kilometers from Montreal to Ottawa with hundreds of our allies in
Solidarity Across Borders to highlight these same demands. For over two
years, we have made repeated requests to discuss our situation with
representatives of your Ministries.
The NDP, the Bloc Quebecois, and members of the your own party, as well as
over 140 civil society organizations, have publicly denounced the
arbitrariness and injustice wreaked by Canadas refugee determination
process upon the lives of Palestinian refugees, and recognized that the
plight of those unjustly refusedthose stateless persons born in refugee
camps, living under military occupationshould be immediately redressed.
However, when these same demands are addressed to you, the two members of
Parliament directly responsible, you purport to absolve yourselves of
responsibility for immigration, permanent residence, refugee
protection and deportationsall of which fall squarely and solely
within your joint mandate.
Meanwhile, your fools dance does not absolve you of responsibility. You
remain responsible for our suffering. Members of our Coalition have been
deported back to refugee camps and unending insecurity, our health
deteriorates under the stress of not knowing if or when we will be
uprooted from our homes here and shipped out like last weeks garbageas
though we never worked 80-hour weeks in your kitchens and car washes, as
if we never fell in love or held our newborn kin in our arms in this
Maybe youve enjoyed your little game, but we havent.
Tag, youre both it.
-The Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees, Montreal
40 Mexican Migrant Farm Workers Stage Work Stoppage and Decide to Return
to Mexico as President Fox Chats Business with Martin
(VANCOUVER) - A group of 40 Mexican migrant farm workers staged a work
stoppage today at Purewal Blueberry Farms in Pitt Meadows when their
demands for improved pay and housing conditions to bosses were not met. It
is has been 3 months since workers have been living under completely
inadequate living conditions, and they have seen virtually no improvement.
Many have to cook in the open air, exposed to the cold and rain, as well
as take cold showers and air dry their clothes, even though they are
Meanwhile, Mexican President Fox is in town speaking about the virtues of
NAFTA to Canadian and Mexican business and government officials, like Paul
Martin and Gordon Campbell. President Fox is here in Canada to expand the
very program that has conditions which led to the work stoppage. One of
the negative impacts of NAFTA has been its devastating effects on
communities of farmers and workers, who must migrate North to the US and
Canada to seek jobs. The Mexican government is relieving itself of its
responsibility to offer support for rural and urban development by
exporting its population through such programs as the Seasonal
Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP).
Mexican migrant farm workers are employed under the auspices of SAWP, an
agreement between the Mexican and Canadian governments. Each worker has a
contract with their employer, and is here on a temporary work visa.
Workers face a number of violations to their contract, including being
paid 15 cents per box of mandarins, earning about $20-24 a day, when their
contract stipulates that they must earn $8.30 an hour for a minimum of 40
hours a week.
Workers at Purewal say that what pushed them to make the decision to
return to Mexico was that they "no longer believed the boss nor the
representative of the Mexican Consulate" who kept making promises that
were not fulfilled.
Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW) and other organizations across Canada
will be staging support actions for Mexican and Caribbean migrant farm
workers. J4MW is a human rights organization that advocates for migrant
agricultural workers in Canada for improved labour and living standards.
WHY EXPAND A PROGRAM THAT FORCES MEXICAN MIGRANT FARM WORKERS TO LIVE AND
WORK UNDER EXPLOITATIVE CONDITIONS?
Friday, September 30, 2005
(TORONTO)- Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW) is demanding that current
bilateral talks between Mexico and Canada address the poor living and
working conditions faced by Mexican agricultural workers while they are
employed in Canada.
Mexican President Vicente Fox is in British Colombia today in an effort to
increase business ties between Mexico and Canada. J4MW stresses that both
governments must urgently address the exploitative conditions faced by
many Mexican migrant farm workers employed under the auspices of the
Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP), a guest worker program that
provides offshore labour to meet the needs of Canadas agricultural
J4MW questions the motives of both the Mexican and Canadian government for
expanding the SAWP when the deplorable conditions to which many migrant
farm workers are subjected throughout Canada have not been addressed.
Across the country, workers in this program have expressed a litany of
concerns that include the following:
Working 12-15 hours without overtime or holiday pay
Being denied necessary breaks
Using dangerous chemicals without proper equipment or training
Cramped, substandard housing (for example, leaking sewage, inadequate
washroom facilities, lack of heating or hot water, weather-exposed open
air cooking facilities)
Overt racism from townspeople sometimes resulting in physical threats
Acute pay discrimination between migrant and non-migrant workforces
Unfair paycheck deductions such as for EI, CPP and other services, to
which they have little or no access
Inadequate health attention and services
Limitations on collective bargaining and joining unions
Exclusion from many laws pertaining to the protection and rights of workers
Inadequate representation in policy making and contract disputes
Inability to claim residency or obtain educational opportunities for
themselves or their children despite extensive years of work in Canada
Lack of appeals process when employers repatriate workers to home country
Gender discrimination: few opportunities for female workers and women
are heavily are controlled and disciplined in various ways by employers
Erika Del Carmen Fuchs, an organizer with J4MW who works with agricultural
workers in BCs Fraser Valley asks, When will both governments shoulder
their responsibilities and address the structural issues that drive
migration, such as the impact of NAFTA on Mexicos farming communities?
The exploitation of farm labour is simply a near-sighted response that
fails to address the root causes of unemployment and poverty. According
to Fuchs, There are workers who do not have cooking facilities, proper
heating in their living quarters and are subjected to verbal abuse from
employers. Both governments must take steps to ensure that migrant
agricultural workers are treated with respect and dignity. Currently the
Mexican consulate is not meeting the concerns of workers in the program,
so how it is possible that they could meet the needs of even more workers
if the program is expanded?
A group of Mexican migrant farm workers accompanied by organizers went to
the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Vancouver this morning in an attempt to speak
with President Fox as he was about to address the Vancouver Board of
Trade. Workers wanted to give Fox a letter to denounce their current
living and pay conditions. The letter was handed to Consul Hector Romero
who assured the workers that he would pass the letter onto Fox. Currently,
workers at Purewal Farms in Pitt Meadows are on work stoppage, as their
contract is being violated and they are subjected to substandard living
conditions, which they say they can no longer tolerate.
Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW) is a human rights organization that
advocates with migrant agricultural workers in Canada for improved labour
and living standards.
Judge upholds lawsuit by two Muslim men
NEW YORK - A federal judge has rejected former Attorney General John
Ashcroft's attempt to block a lawsuit by claiming that the threat of
terrorism exempts the government from following peacetime regulations.
The decision allows a lawsuit by two Muslim men who were detained after
the Sept. 11 attacks to go forward against Ashcroft and other high-ranking
federal officials. The two, who were later deported, are seeking to hold
the officials responsible for their confinement and alleged abuse at a
federal jail in Brooklyn where Arab and Muslim men were held after the
U.S. District Judge John Gleeson's ruling Wednesday also opens the door
for depositions of Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller and other
officials, who will be questioned under oath about their personal
knowledge of detention policies if they are unable to successfully appeal
"I think we have a strong chance of prevailing in terms of discovery going
forward," said Haeyoung Yoon, a lawyer for Egyptian immigrant Ehab
Elmaghraby and Pakistani immigrant Javaid Iqbal, who filed the lawsuit
The two argued that the government violated their right to appeal their
solitary confinement in a special unit of the Metropolitan Detention
Center in Brooklyn.
Justice Department lawyers wrote on Ashcroft's behalf that the FBI needed
detainees isolated from the outside world as the bureau frantically tried
to find al-Qaida cells in the United States in the months after Sept. 11,
making the appeals process and its limits on solitary confinement an
"Regulations written in peacetime cannot circumscribe the government's
discretion at a time of national emergency from foreign threats," they
Gleeson singled out that argument for particularly harsh criticism
Wednesday in a 70-page decision upholding most of the charges in the
"This proposition, which suggests that, as a matter of law, constitutional
and statutory rights must be suspended during times of crisis, is
supported neither by statute nor the Constitution," he wrote.
Elmaghraby and Iqbal were deported to their home countries after serving
time for charges unrelated to terrorism - Elmaghraby for a counterfeiting
charge and Iqbal for fraud.
Yoon said Wednesday that Gleeson's ruling confirmed the validity of the
charges in the lawsuit.
"We do allege in the complaint that people at the highest levels of
government were involved," she said.
A Justice Department spokesman, Charles Miller, said the government was
still reviewing the decision and had not decided what action to take.
A 2003 Justice Department report found "significant problems" with the
treatment of post-Sept. 11 detainees at the Metropolitan Detention Center,
including physical abuse and mistreatment.
Hayworth to introduce immigration bill today
BILLY HOUSE and SUSAN CARROLL
The Arizona Republic
WASHINGTON - Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., today will introduce a sweeping
immigration-enforcement bill that would create a new national Social
Security card, crack down on employers who hire illegal immigrants and
bring a moratorium on immigrant visas for Mexican citizens. While the
provisions of the bill were well-received by some proponents of greater
immigration control, they were widely assailed by immigration attorneys,
advocates for illegal [SIC!] immigrants and privacy watchdogs.
The "Enforcement First Immigration Act of 2005" laces together in one
package new and old proposals. It represents what Hayworth and other U.S.
House conservatives hope will be their signature, core principles in any
immigration-reform bill agreed upon by Congress.
"The hope is that my model of enforcement will be a blueprint where the
majority ... can come together," Hayworth said of the 113-page bill he
will detail today at a Capitol Hill news conference.
Hayworth joins several other Arizonans in producing his own major
legislation targeting immigration reform, a key issue for the state, which
is the gateway for most of the illegal immigration into the United States.
Some provisions echoed a bill by Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., that calls for
10,000 more Border Patrol agents, adds Customs and Border Protection
officers at ports of entry and expands detention space for illegal
But Hayworth's bill, unlike other immigration legislation introduced this
session, would reduce the number of visas available, particularly for
Mexican citizens. It includes provisions that historically have proven
controversial, such as putting the U.S. military on the border, ending
automatic citizenship for babies born on U.S. soil, and authorizing an
estimated 700,000 state and local law enforcement officers to enforce
Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for
Immigration Studies, a think tank that favors stricter immigration
controls, said the bill is "the right approach because it focuses on
"It really does summarize the approach we need to take, which is to regain
control of the border and then talk about whether we need an amnesty or
guest-worker program," he said.
But critics found plenty to fault in the legislation. Lynn Marcus,
director of the University of Arizona Immigration Law Clinic, said the
proposed legislation is a "monster," with "many heads," alluding to the
number of controversial provisions. "Any piece of this could be a
disaster," she said.
Arizona Daily Star
Greyhound staffers face job loss if entrants ride
By Michael Marizco
ARIZONA DAILY STAR
Greyhound Lines Inc. has been threatening to fire employees who sell bus
tickets to illegal immigrants under an internal policy made public earlier
this month. The policy was adopted after a 2001 migrant-smuggling
indictment of Golden State Transportation Co. that grew out of an
investigation beginning in Douglas two years earlier. Eventually, the bus
company admitted to moving more than 42,000 illegal border crossers from
Tucson to Los Angeles.
The "Transportation of Illegal Aliens" policy warns Greyhound's customer
service employees to beware of people in large groups, moving in single
file and traveling with little or no luggage. It says other telltale signs
include people "trying to hide or stay out of plain view" or large groups
led by a "guide" who holds everyone's tickets.
The policy has been in place since 2002, including in Tucson, where there
were 335,000 outbound passengers on Greyhound buses last year, said
company spokeswoman Anna Folmnsbee. Whether Greyhound employees are
actually reporting illegal entrants in Arizona is not known. Folmnsbee
said it has "rarely, if ever," actually happened.
One immigrant-rights group said several companies in Tucson have the same
policy, while U.S. immigration agencies in Arizona say they have used tips
from companies calling in illegal border crossers. "We have had
information provided to us by employees of certain transportation
companies," said Russell Ahr, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs
Enforcement. He said the agency does not keep track of how many times that
According to Greyhound, other signs of smugglers include: calling bus
stations to ask if immigration authorities are present, loitering,
repeatedly buying large numbers of tickets for other people and using
phrases such as "These guys just crossed the line," "My cargo" and "I've
got to move my people."
"This is the anti-immigrant climate going everywhere," said Isabel Garcia,
co-chair of Tucson-based Derechos Humanos. "Obviously Greyhound has
decided to remove its own liability by putting it on their workers." She
questioned the training that Greyhound workers would receive to ascertain
whether to alert a supervisor. Answers to that question were vague.
Folmnsbee said employees are trained to look for certain types of behavior
but that the policy serves as a reminder that there are federal laws
against knowingly transporting an illegal entrant. "We just remind our
employees that there is such a law," Folmnsbee said. "This is just a
customer-service training." The policy is the company's way to cover its
bases after the 2001 indictment, she said.
"What it's really doing is encouraging racial profiling," said Derechos
Humanos organizer Kat Rodriguez. "Which is the same as having state
workers trying to enforce immigration laws under Prop. 200. It's not their
job, and it shouldn't be." The company is walking a fine line if it
enforces the policy, said Denise Blommel, a labor and employment lawyer in
Scottsdale. Because an illegal entry is a violation of law, it can be
tantamount to refusing to allow someone with a gun board the bus. Or it
could be construed as racial profiling, she said. If a Greyhound employee
believes the policy violates anti-discrimination laws and complains, that
worker is protected from being fired, she said.
The Golden State case prompted another bus company, Sistema Internacional
de Transporte de Autobuses Inc., a Greyhound subsidiary, to adopt the same
policy. The company owned a 51 percent stake in Golden State, Al Penedo,
its chief operating officer, said. Golden State filed for bankruptcy and
pleaded guilty in 2004, paying a $3 million fine and forfeiting a downtown
Phoenix terminal. The Golden State case is still held up in the 9th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals, said Mike Piccarreta, the lawyer representing
Golden State's ex-president, Antonio Gonzalez. In June, the court upheld a
Tucson judge's decision not to allow wiretap evidence collected at the
corporate offices of Golden State. The government planted devices at
Golden State Transportation Co.'s corporate offices in Los Angeles,
seizing telephone conversations at that location that it sought to
introduce as evidence. The United States filed for a rehearing. Piccarreta
said he will file a response to that motion.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
[This article clearly demonstrate the racist, yet popular, myth
perpetuated by the government that migrants are criminals and terrorists]
New York Times
September 29, 2005
Prosecutions in Immigration Doubled in Last Four Years
By ERIC LICHTBLAU
WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 - Federal prosecutions for immigration violations
more than doubled in the last four years, surpassing drugs as the most
frequently pursued federal crime, according to new data released Wednesday
by a private research group. The change reflects a major shift in
priorities since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Immigration prosecutions surged to 38,000 last year from 16,300 in 2001,
as federal authorities mounted a crackdown on illegal immigration as a way
of deterring terrorism, according to the Transactional Records Access
Clearinghouse, a research group connected to Syracuse University that
compiled the data.
Prosecutions for drug crimes have begun to decline, dropping to 30,988
last year from 32,753 in 2001, the new data showed. The Syracuse group's
data showed that immigration prosecutions passed drug crimes last year as
the crime most frequentlyprosecuted by federal officials.
The study, analyzing half a million federal prosecutions, offers perhaps
the firmest evidence to date of the refocusing of federal law enforcement
priorities since the Sept. 11 attacks toward illegal immigration,
terrorism-related offenses and gun crimes and away from drugs and
white-collar crime. Prosecutions for white-collar crime dropped to 7,000
cases last year from 9,500 in 2001, the study found.
"This is a substantial shift any way you measure it," said David Burnham,
co-director of the research group, which collects and analyzes federal
data on law enforcement and financial issues. "We're seeing choices being
made by United States attorneys and by the president about what's
important and what's not, and clearly, the administration has changed the
priorities of the federal law enforcement machine."
The Justice Department has often tangled with the Syracuse research group
over its methodology and access to law enforcement data. Paul Bresson, a
spokesman for the department, said the group's numbers were "misleading"
because a significant number of misdemeanor immigration prosecutions in
Texas that had not previously been counted were included.
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, hundreds of agents at the Federal Bureau of
Investigation who had been working on drug investigations have been
diverted to terrorism cases, and many financial investigators at the
F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security are now handling cases
related to terrorist financing.
The new numbers from the Syracuse group bear out the trend. The number of
cases brought by the Justice Department related to terrorism rose to
nearly 800 last year from 115 in 2001. The number peaked at 1,208, but
researchers at Syracuse and some critics of the administration's
antiterror policies have asserted that the department inflated its
prosecution numbers after Sept. 11 by including cases that had little or
no connection to terrorism.
With the drop-off over the last three years, "it appears that prosecutors
are being more selective," Mr. Burnham said.
A separate study by Mr. Burnham's group at Syracuse, completed last month,
found that the Justice Department was now bringing many criminal charges
in immigration cases that once would probably have been handled as
administrative matters. This was particularly true in South Texas, where
prosecutors went into "super drive" on immigration crimes last year and
spurred a 345 percent increase in recommendations for criminal
prosecutions, rising in a single year to 18,092 from 4,062, the study
Federal prosecutions for gun and weapons crimes rose to more than 10,000
last year from about 6,500 in 2001, the study showed, and
prosecution rose to 728 cases last year from 428 in 2001.
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