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El Paso City Council Opposes Installation of New Border Fence

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  • peaceandjustice2005
    (1)Anti-Immigrant Fever Ignites Violence Against Women (2) The El Paso City Council on Tuesday unanimously opposed the installation of new border fencing...
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 30, 2008
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      (1)Anti-Immigrant Fever Ignites Violence Against Women

      (2) The El Paso City Council on Tuesday unanimously opposed the
      installation of new border fencing...

      (3)Lest We Forget: An Open Letter To My Sisters Who Are Brave by Alice
      Walker

      (4)Black Churches, Labor Activists form Underground Railroad for
      Indian Guest Workers

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      Racewire Blog
      Julianne Hing
      Anti-Immigrant Fever Ignites Violence Against Women

      I felt a sour taste in my throat, the one that immediately precedes my
      gag reflex, when I read the NY Times piece about an immigration
      official who forced a woman to perform oral sex on him in exchange for
      her green card.

      After the 22-year-old Colombian woman, whose name has not been
      released, went in for an interview for her green card with immigration
      agent Isaac Baichu in December of 2007, she started receiving phone
      calls from Baichu demanding sex.

      When he called her to meet in a restaurant's parking lot in Queens,
      she was prescient enough to stash her cell phone, which was recording
      their conversation, in her purse. Her cell phone captured Baichu
      asking for sex "one or two times. That's all. You get your green card.
      You won't have to see me anymore." Later in the tape there's a
      minute-long pause when, the reporter writes, the young woman "yielded
      to his demand out of fear that he would use his authority against
      her." The Times posted an audio clip of the woman's recording in the
      web edition of the article (yay, multimedia?) .

      The sexual exploitation of immigrant women is nothing new, but there's
      a very specific pattern of abuse tied to this case. News of a Miami
      ICE agent who made a pit stop at his home so he could rape the Haitian
      woman he was responsible for transporting to detention and reports of
      sexual assault on a woman held at the Don T. Hutto Family Residential
      Facility, a de facto prison in Texas for families awaiting
      immigrations processing, come to mind. Similar scandals have been
      reported in Maryland (Deputy Lloyd W. Miner this year), California
      (Agent Eddie Miranda in 2007) and Georgia (Agent Kelvin R. Owens in 2005).

      So what is it about the structural design of our society and the U.S.
      immigration system that enables this abuse of power and the sexual
      exploitation of immigrant women?

      Part of it has to do with the vast discretionary power immigration
      agents actually have. It's a job with little oversight and nearly
      limitless opportunity to exploit immigrants – the power differential
      is too great for abuse not to be a near inevitability. But the recent
      jump in reports of sexual assault is not just about bureaucratic
      corruption. It's a symptom of the post-9/11, anti-immigrant fever that
      continues to burn across the country. Mainstream media's dominant
      characterizations of immigrants the last 7 years have been that of the
      criminal alien, the dark-skinned terrorist, the unwelcome foreigner.
      We've seen it more widely manifested in workplace raids, restrictive
      local ordinances, and the vitriolic daily debate taking place on talk
      radio. This cultural climate emboldens folks like Baichu to act with
      impunity against people who've been systematically demonized in the
      nation's political debates.

      According to Pramila Jayapal, executive director of the Hate Free Zone
      Campaign of Washington, eighty-five to ninety percent of immigrants
      navigate the system without any legal representation, most immigrants
      have few resources and no recourse when they've been wronged. The
      truth is it's almost impossible to know how many similar cases go
      unreported.

      The implicated immigration agents were not guilty of just everyday
      white-collar corruption. Let's call it what it was: sexual violence,
      rape plain and simple. Underlying these incidents is the systematic
      debasement of undocumented immigrants and people of color justified by
      the assumption that if a person is in the country without papers, they
      cease to be human, and subsequently relinquish their rights to be
      treated as such.

      http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_8619684

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      Recommended HLLN Link:

      Lest We Forget: An Open Letter To My Sisters Who Are Brave

      By Alice Walker |

      http://www.emorywhe el.com/detail. php?n=25344

      courtesy: Ezili's Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network

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      City: No fence access
      By Erica Molina Johnson / El Paso Times
      Article Launched: 03/19/2008 12:00:00 AM MDT

      The El Paso City Council on Tuesday unanimously opposed the
      installation of new border fencing sought by the Department of
      Homeland Security by denying access to a road by the Albuquerque
      District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

      The corps wanted to use the road to reach a staging area on
      International Boundary and Water Commission property.

      Although prohibiting access to the Corps of Engineers may impede the
      federal government's process, it probably will not halt it, said Barry
      Morrissey, spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in
      Washington, D.C.

      "We're looking at other options," Morrissey said. "We're optimistic
      we'll be able to work through this and continue with the project."

      The vote came after a presentation by El Paso Sector Border Patrol
      officials on the national Secure Border Initiative, which would
      increase personnel, and improve technology, innovation and
      infrastructure designed to prevent illegal crossing on foot over 93.14
      miles of fence in the sector.

      About 12 miles of that fencing would be inside the city.

      Border Patrol Supervisory Agent John Contreras told the council that
      between one and 1å miles would be new fencing inside the city.
      Existing fences would be replaced on the rest of that 12.58-mile stretch.

      The plan also calls for 300 miles of fencing to prevent illegal
      vehicle crossings along the Southwest border, including 82.73 miles in
      the El Paso sector. Of that, 82.69 miles would go in New Mexico. Less
      than half a mile would be installed in Texas.

      After the meeting, Eastridge/Mid-Valley city Rep. Steve Ortega said,
      "We all agree there is a problem with undocumented immigrants, but I
      think the federal proposal is a simple-minded, kindergarten-type of
      solution seeking to address a real problem." He said he would prefer
      that the discussion center on proposals to deal with the problems
      causing illegal immigration.

      The council also unanimously voted to instruct Mayor John Cook to
      draft a letter to Congress explaining its denial of the access road
      request, emphasizing that the Border Patrol's plan presented Tuesday
      may not comply with the Hutchison Amendment that requires community
      consultation.

      "As I understand it (the consultation), it's not just for information,
      but an engaged process," West-Central city Rep. Susie Byrd said after
      the meeting. "What was presented, that's not a consultation. They at
      no time asked us for feedback."

      She said the federal government may not be allowed to release money
      for the project if the community consultation requirement is not met.

      The fence "is not a solution to the problems we have," Westsider
      Martina Morales said. "The only thing it's going to do is cause more
      deaths on the border because people are going to cross through
      more-remote areas."

      Border Patrol Assistant Chief Roy Hoats told the council that multiple
      efforts had been made to obtain El Pasoans' input.

      "We have been actively engaged with the community," he said.
      "Overwhelmingly, the local citizenry of El Paso is in support of our
      fencing initiatives. We did have several meetings where there were
      opponents of our technology and fencing initiatives."

      The meetings organized by the Border Patrol were advertised primarily
      through fliers distributed in neighborhoods, though one in February
      was mentioned in the newspaper and on television.

      "We're doing what we can to get the word out, and we will continue to
      do that," Contreras said.

      In Washington, D.C., Morrissey said that in addition to meetings,
      comments could be submitted by fax, e-mail, mail, online and in person.

      Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Border Network for Human
      Rights, an immigrant-rights group in El Paso, said he was disappointed
      by the actions of the Border Patrol in El Paso.

      "We are a major stakeholder on this issue. We never heard about any
      serious consultation," he said. "They tried to mislead the City
      Council (with claims of community support). Hopefully this opens the
      space in El Paso to discuss the issues of the border fence."

      Northeast resident Ken Muise said the city should be made to cooperate.

      He said that if the city did not cooperate, the federal government
      should withhold all money meant for El Paso.

      Hoats told the council that the fencing costs between $1 million and
      $4 million a mile.

      But East Side Rep. Rachel Quintana said during the meeting, "That $12
      (million) to $50 million would be better served with technology rather
      than a fence."

      Although the discussion focused on the border fence, Hoats reminded
      the council that the plan also included personnel, technology, other
      infrastructure and innovation.

      Ortega called the border fence plan one that "caters to the
      reactionary and xenophobic element of political leadership."

      He said that although he would not be surprised to see the federal
      government's plan to move forward regardless of the actions of the El
      Paso City Council, he hopes for change in 2009.

      "I think there's a high likelihood the next presidential
      administration and next Congress will reconsider the silly measure,"
      he said. "I think both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both stated
      they would re-examine this."

      Erica Molina Johnson may be reached at emolina@...; 546-6132.

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      [Click below to] View Full Story

      http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_8619684
      http://www.elpasotimes.com

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      Black Churches, Labor Activists form Underground Railroad for Indian
      Guest Workers

      http://www.racewire.org/archives/2008/03/black_churches_labor_activists.html#more

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      The New York Times

      US | March 29, 2008
      National Briefing | New England: Rhode Island: Order to Combat
      Illegal Immigration
      By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

      Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

      http://www.nytimes com/2008/ 03/29/us/ 29brfs-002. html

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      At the Border, No Tip of The Hat for This Dandy

      By Kevin Sullivan

      LONDON -- Sebastian Horsley arrived at the gates of America in a top
      hat and tails and a red velvet vest.

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      03/23/AR20080323 01953.html? referrer= emailarticle

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