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Arnoldo y Todo>Response: Immigrant Rights News -- Fri, Sept. 8, 2006

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  • Peter S. Lopez de Aztlan
    Hola Companero Arnoldo ~ PROFILE: Arnoldo Garcia Arnoldo García is the Enforcement and Justice Program Coordinator at the National Network for Immigrant and
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 10, 2006
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      Hola Companero Arnoldo ~
      PROFILE: Arnoldo Garcia
      Arnoldo García is the Enforcement and Justice Program Coordinator at the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, based in Oakland, California. He edits Network News, the NNIRR’s periodic newsletter / newsmagazine.
      Arnoldo heads up NNIRR’s enforcement and justice program and is organizing a California statewide pilot project to monitor and document immigration law enforcement abuses and human rights violations with community groups. He is a long-time cultural worker and musician; his work appears in the book, XicKorea – poems rants words together.
      Ya been holdin' out on me carnal! ;->
      This is a great report with some of the main articles that came out this week. I took the liberty of snatching your original Email, re-formatted into Times New Roman Font and did a little editing without altering the actual post itself such as closing up unnecessary hyphens.
      One suggestion: better to have the URL Links on the top
      of  Post together with Article Titles. Some Email Programs will truncate or cut off a long Email.
      With the URLs on top people could just click direct to the article source. I made mention of this before. In this case, the devil is in the details.
      Thanks to you, I am going to focus on what I will call Aztlan News Report with stuff on various social issues, political events and gatherings. I will learn by doing, as usual, then, you can focus on Immigrant Rights News and build up your related website!!!  http://www.nnirr.org/
      National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
      310-8th St., Ste. 303 Oakland, CA 94607, USA
      510-465-1885 (fax)

      (To get in touch with individual staff members, check our staff page @
      for email and more specific information.)
      I will focus on Aztlannet_News and other stuff like trying to get more of a real life offline and outside!

      It is hoped that all of us can harness our macho egos and avoid costly duplication of our collective efforts.
      Thus, I recommend we centralize all our main Internet communications in this realm with the Aztlannet Website @ http://www.0101aztlan.net/ 
      If we can make this movimiento menudo it should come out great with lots of flavors. We need to truly all get on the same main page. Forgive my verbosity, but I know people are dying. ~Peta
      Arnoldo Garcia <agarcia@...> wrote:

      Immigrant Rights News -- Fri, Sept. 8, 2006

      1. Christian Science Monitor, "As Congress stalls on immigration, a backlash brews"
      2. Two from the Chicago Tribune:
      A. "County measure would shield illegal immigrants"
      B. "Feds turning up the heat: Immigrant son won't lose rights, U.S. says"
      3. News 8 Austin, "Immigration activists try different approach"
      4. Courier Post, "Immigration rally falls short"
      5. San Francisco Chronicle, "House GOP to try again on immigration crackdown: Speaker sees chance to appeal to voters on hot-button issue"
      6. Los Angeles Times, "House GOP Makes Border Security Its Priority"
      7. Heritage Foundation, "Immigration Enforcement: A Better Idea for Returning Illegal Aliens [sic]"
      Christian Science Monitor
      September 08, 2006 edition
      As Congress stalls on immigration, a backlash brews
      By Amanda Paulson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
      Chicago activists marched 50 miles to House Speaker Dennis Hastert's house last weekend to protest congressional inaction over reforming immigration laws and what they say is his anti-immigrant stance. In Phoenix, protesters rallied at the state's Capitol, also to highlight the stalemate in Washington.
      Bob Johnson is equally exercised. The structural engineer from Buffalo Grove, Ill., argues the other side of 2006's Great Immigration Debate – that the US needs to send home illegal immigrants and gain better control of its borders - but he says he cannot believe Congress is punting on immigration reform. He's been writing letters to his congressman and senators and says he may not vote in November or he may vote for a third-party or write-in candidate.
      The decision by congressional leaders not to try to bridge the big gulf between the House and Senate versions of immigration reform, at least not before the  November midterm elections, is touching off a backlash that may deliver a sting to some incumbent lawmakers.
      How big the backlash grows may not be known until the day after the election, but it's surfacing in blogs, letters to the editor, and record-low approval ratings for Capitol Hill.
      "When you have both Bob Novak and David Broder writing the same column  about Congress's failure to act on immigration, you know something is wrong," says Tamar Jacoby, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute in New York,
      referring to two well-known columnists who typically have very different views. "People on both the right and left will see it as a huge failure" if Congress ends its term without a bill.
      Certainly, many Americans are worked up over immigration. The issue sparked huge rallies and marches in the spring, and has been the subject of endless Lou Dobbs reports. Over the summer, House leaders held hearings on immigration all over the country.
      But now, with inaction on the Hill, some businesses are mobilizing. A few national groups - like the Associated General Contractors of America – say they'll stop campaign contributions to lawmakers who take hard-line stances on immigration controls, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Texas Produce Association has said people may have to get used to an "outsourced" industry, with more growing done in Mexico, if Congress doesn't produce a bill.
      "It's frustrating and troubling and bad for the country" that Congress hasn't taken action, says Ray Prewett, executive vice president of the Texas Vegetable Association. He adds that growers need at least a guest-worker program to enable them to harvest their crops. It angers him that Republicans in the House seem to have hardened in their opposition to compromise.
      If the backlash to inaction proves to be a big one, it would probably hit Republican lawmakers, who control both houses of Congress, the hardest, observers say. Democrats hope to use that image of a "do-nothing" Congress under Republican leadership. But Republicans have presumably done the math and are calculating that voters who want a crackdown on illegal immigration would rather have no bill than a bill that offers any version of amnesty.
      Still, experts see pitfalls for lawmakers. Congress "failed at crafting a Social Security plan that would sell. The same is true with immigration: It looks as if they can't tie their shoes," says David Mayhew, a political science professor and congressional scholar at Yale University. "This is a great prominent public issue, and it looked as if they were climbing up the hill earlier in the summer, but then couldn't make it and are going to do nothing."
      Some activists are responding to the inaction with laws and proposals at the state and local level, mostly aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration. Towns like Riverside, N.J., and Arcadia, Wis., have followed the lead of other cities in proposing ordinances that take aim at everything from flying non-US flags to hiring illegal immigrants or restricting the number of people who can live in rental housing. In state legislatures, almost 550 bills concerning immigrants have been introduced this year, and 33 have been enacted, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
      "It's a domino effect," says John Keeley, a spokesman for the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates restricting immigration. "Washington's at a stalemate, but the fact is there's large-scale illegal immigration, attendant crime, school overcrowding - all this stuff going on. At the state and local level, they don't have the luxury of filibustering."
      Part of the impasse, say observers, has to do with the Republican Party's split stance on the issue.
      "If they don't act, this has been their signature priority and the president's signature priority this year, and they look like idiots," says Norman Ornstein, a residential scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and coauthor of "The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track."
      Advocates on both sides claim public-opinion majorities, with some pointing to polls showing that between two-thirds and three- quarters of the public favors a combination of enforcement and a path to citizenship. Others note that far more Americans think immigration should be decreased, than increased.
      If fact, the security-only voices have been getting stronger, especially in some key districts, and many Republicans maintain they're better off with no bill than with a compromise involving some path to citizenship. And it's still possible that Congress will pass some smaller enforcement bills, increasing the resources for border security, in lieu of comprehensive reform.
      But critics say that strategy is shortsighted and ignores the growing numbers of Latino voters.
      "It seems to me like they're running an incredible risk," says Angela Kelley, deputy director of the National Immigration Forum, which favors reform more along the lines of the Senate's version. "It's unbelievable they would beat the drum on this issue for 18 months, have both chambers pass a bill, spend the summer doing hearings, and now say they aren't going to do anything.... They're going to have some 'splainin' to do."
      County measure would shield illegal immigrants
      By Oscar Avila
      Tribune staff reporter
      September 8, 2006
      A resolution introduced Thursday would make Cook County a "sanctuary" for undocumented immigrants, meaning authorities could not inquire about their
      immigration status in routine interactions.
      County Commissioner Roberto Maldonado, the measure's sponsor, said he wants to prevent the county from joining a growing group of local jurisdictions that are cooperating with the Department of Homeland Security to enforce immigration laws.
      If the measure passes, Maldonado said, sheriff's deputies could not ask for immigration papers during traffic stops and county employees could not report suspected illegal immigrants to federal authorities.
      Maldonado said he has no evidence that county officials are currently doing that.
      The measure offers illegal immigrants no protection from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, who are free to make arrests in the county. But Maldonado said the resolution is still important because turning county authorities into immigration agents would detract from their other duties.
      Those who support sanctuary policies say they don't want to send illegal immigrants underground. Earlier this year, the Chicago City Council strengthened its sanctuary policy by turning a long-standing executive order into law.
      But critics say sanctuary policies undermine law enforcement and let criminals go free when they might otherwise be arrested for immigration violations. Residents in Elgin and other suburbs have recently appealed to their elected officials to become more aggressive in assisting with immigration enforcement.
      The County Board did not discuss the resolution Thursday. Maldonado said he hopes to have a public hearing on the measure before the Law Enforcement and
      Corrections Committee. The hearing has not yet been scheduled.
      Chicago Tribune
      Feds turning up the heat
      Immigrant son won't lose rights, U.S. says
      By Oscar Avila
      Tribune staff reporter
      September 8, 2006
      The U.S. government and Elvira Arellano's legal team escalated their skirmish Thursday over an unusual federal lawsuit contending that to deport the undocumented immigrant would violate her young son's rights.
      Attorneys for 7-year-old Saul Arellano say his constitutional rights would be violated if he is forced to return to Mexico with his mother even though he is a U.S. citizen by birth.
      Prosecutors detailed their counterarguments in a motion filed Thursday to dismiss the case, insisting that Saul would not lose legal rights by his mother's deportation.
      Arellano has taken refuge in a Humboldt Park church since defying a government deportation order Aug. 15, creating a standoff that has generated international notoriety.
      U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve said Saul Arellano's lawsuit raises "novel issues." Normally, illegal immigrants contest their own deportation orders instead of having their U.S. citizen children become plaintiffs, experts say.
      Legal observers and advocates on both sides of the immigration debate are closely watching the lawsuit, which could affect the 3.1 million U.S. citizen children with at least one parent living here illegally. Some say the lawsuit is a long shot but could have political benefits.
      "The courtroom is only one arena in which this lawsuit is going to play out. There is also the political arena," said Rev. Walter Coleman, pastor of Adalberto United Methodist Church, where Arellano has taken refuge.
      Arellano, a well-known activist for undocumented immigrants, and the government have been in a stalemate since she took refuge at the church. Arellano said she is not leaving the church. Immigration officials say they don't plan to enter the church to get her even though she is a fugitive.
      For now, Arellano's hopes rest on Saul, who had already taken center stage at sympathetic rallies, quietly playing with a Spiderman action figure or a TV microphone cord.
      Arellano said she does not want to take Saul to Mexico because she fears that he will return to the United States as she did: with no knowledge of English and little formal education. Arellano said she has never seriously considered leaving her son behind either.
      Federal prosecutors, in their court filings Thursday, said allowing Arellano to stay in the U.S. because of her son would grant her a benefit that Congress never intended. They implied that Arellano was hypocritical in turning to the court after ignoring the government's orders.
      "Ms. Arellano should not be permitted to ignore the law and yet use the law through the means of a legal fiction by challenging the order through her son," prosecutors argued.
      Prosecutors said they considered but rejected a plan to grant Arellano a temporary stay of deportation while her son's case is heard.
      Joseph Mathews, attorney for Saul, said Arellano had been willing to wear an ankle bracelet or observe a curfew if she could be protected from deportation while the case is heard.
      "I am disappointed in [the government's] decision, but I understand it," Mathews said. "They have a job to do, and they are doing it."
      Prosecutors said legal precedents work against Arellano, and many experts tended to agree.
      David Martin, a law professor at the University of Virginia and former counsel for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, said he would be surprised if a judge agrees with the boy's claim.
      "Some people's knee-jerk reaction is that you can't force a U.S.-citizen child to live somewhere else," Martin said. "This isn't really forcing him. Technically, they aren't deporting the child."
      Muzaffar Chishti, director of the non-profit Migration Policy Institute's office at New York University School of Law, agreed that Saul's rights would be violated only if the government was ordering him to leave. In this case, Arellano is choosing to take him to Mexico rather than leave him in the U.S. with a guardian.
      "It's a tragic human case but not a very compelling legal issue," Chishti said.
      Even if Arellano's strategy doesn't hold up in court, some legal observers think her lawsuit could have political value in publicizing the situations of families like hers.
      "This reflects the fact that our immigration laws are not accomplishing what they set out to, which is family unification," said Mary Meg McCarthy, director of the Chicago-based National Immigrant Justice Center.
      Critics say Arellano's rhetoric and legal tactics show how cynically many illegal immigrants use their U.S. citizen children as protection from their lawbreaking.
      For some illegal immigrants, their children could eventually provide a legal window. When the children turn 21, they can petition for legal status for their parents living here illegally although the process is not easy.
      Those children gained U.S. citizenship through the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868 mainly to reverse pre-Civil War legal barriers against African-Americans. The amendment states that "all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States."
      A growing number of congressmen want to strip the citizenship rights of the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants. U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) sponsored a bill last year to change the practice and received nearly 100 co-sponsors, almost all Republicans.
      3 News 8 Austin
      Immigration activists try different approach
      Updated: 9/7/2006 10:44:52 PM
      By: Bob Robuck
      More than 200 immigrant rights activists gathered at the Texas Capitol Thursday for a different kind of rally. Instead of protesting immigration laws, they honored people they say are victims of immigration laws.
      The approach is meant to breathe new life in an issue some activists believe is losing steam.
      "We wanted to bring it back to the actual people, to being human, to say that no human is illegal. We all have a right to be here. We're supporting all immigrants," said activist Silky Shah.
      With hopes dwindling for broad immigration reform, protestors now focus on the human toll that's resulted from crackdowns on undocumented workers.
      "I think the present immigration laws divide people and families, and we are against that," Josefina Castillo said.
      Their hope is to put a new face on the immigration issue; one that shows the pain of first-hand experience with detention, deportation and death.
      "There were three people crossing the border in Arizona, and because of Arizona and the situation there and the heat, two of the people died and one of the people had blisters all over his feet," Shah said.
      Thousands also gathered at the nation's capital for continued protests in favor of immigrant rights. Both rallies were part of a series of protests going on all over the nation this month.
      4 Courier Post (New Jersey)
      Immigration rally falls short
      Courier-Post Staff
      The rally, organized by IMPACT, a pro-immigrant organization, called on
      immigrants and those sympathetic to their cause to make their voices heard.
      The sparsely attended rally fell far short of expectations.
      Some recognized that there has been a growing frustration with the lack of progress on immigration reform over the summer. Maria Juega, chairwoman of
      the Latin American Legal Defense Association, said she fears that the "people may have lost faith in the process."
      Luis Talesca of C.A.T.A., an immigrant farmworker organization, said that it was still important that "we get together and not to lose faith."
      Laura Rodriguez, another member of C.A.T.A., said, "Today, with our presence here, we want it to be recognized that although we may be undocumented, that
      we contribute to this country and its economy."
      Congressional Republicans have said that their focus in the last session before the election cycle will be on terrorism and Iraq. Political analysts have posited that this may indicate that immigration is too hot a political potato to handle before the November elections.
      Ryan Stark Lilienthal, a New Jersey immigration attorney, told the crowd, "It is important to remind U.S. citizens that you are the future of this country."
      The crowd chanted, El pueblo callado jamas sera escuchado! (The people who keep quiet are never heard).
      Gary Christopher, chairman of the planning board in Riverside, where an ordinance cracking down on illegal immigrants was recently passed, said he supports the ordinance. He said he understands why immigrants may want to come to the township and the country, but when they do it illegally they strain public resources, he said.

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