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  • peaceandjustice2005
    ... ...Contrary to what many people want to tell you, not many American workers would line up to pick (fruit) in 90-degree heat, she said... in this e-mail:
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 6, 2008
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      "...Contrary to what many people want to tell you, not many American
      workers would line up to pick (fruit) in 90-degree heat," she said...

      in this e-mail:

      (1) A bitter crop sown in climate of fear
      The Times-Tribune

      (2) Immigration issues worry farmers
      Farm owners are concerned there might not be enough workers to harvest
      York Daily Record/Sunday News

      (3)Immigration News Briefs Vol. 11, No. 6 - April 6, 2008
      Activists Protest Arrests on Amtrak, Greyhound [New York City]


      The Times-Tribune

      A bitter crop sown in climate of fear

      One early morning last summer, 30 migrant workers walked onto Bruce
      Pallman's South Abington strawberry fields and expertly pulled weeds
      from the rows.

      At the end of the day, they returned to Keith Eckel's Newton Township
      farm — their home for the six-week harvest season — and Mr. Pallman
      had a tidy field.

      "Instead of stretching it out with five to six guys for five to six
      days, we would use Keith's guys and finish it in a day or two," said
      Mr. Pallman, a turkey and strawberry farmer. "We're going to miss that."

      Since March 24, when Mr. Eckel announced he would shutter his tomato
      operation because he can't get enough migrant laborers to pick his
      crop, the story and the problem have reverberated across the community
      of area farmers. It has also rippled through the network of laborers
      who work in their fields.

      For both groups, Mr. Eckel's decision changed the economic promise of
      current and future growing seasons and signaled a familiar, but
      worsening problem tied to a troubled immigration system.

      Although no single area farmer relies on as many migrant workers as
      Mr. Eckel did, smaller farmers depend utterly on the few they employ,
      according to John Esslinger, an educator with the county Penn State
      Cooperative Extension.

      In recent years, it has been harder for smaller farms to fill those needs.

      "Even if they have five or six people, they absolutely have to have
      those five or six people," Mr. Esslinger said. "They need them as much
      to do their farming as, say, the Eckels need 100 or 200 to do theirs."

      Farmers say migrants are integral to their operations because local
      laborers will not work the short, intense harvest season.

      Mr. Pallman said a high school or college student — the most likely
      local candidate for seasonal work — has not applied for a summer job
      in his fields in the past 18 years.

      Now, he is looking toward a June strawberry harvest without enough
      hands to do the work.

      He has a building with space to house eight migrant workers and, for
      the first time in seven years, no one to put in it.

      "We're still looking, but we don't know what we're going to do," he said.

      At a press conference in his tomato packing house, Mr. Eckel blamed a
      political climate that intimidates immigrant workers and puts
      enforcement pressure on their employers for why he could hire only
      about half of the laborers he needed last year.

      Gary Swan, head of governmental affairs for the Pennsylvania Farm
      Bureau, said the same labor concerns that closed Mr. Eckel's tomato
      business are being felt across the state.

      Although Mr. Swan said he is not aware of any other farmers making the
      kind of drastic change Mr. Eckel plans, he said "there are a lot of
      fingers being crossed across Pennsylvania about this growing season."

      The workers who pick the nation's fruits and vegetables are likewise
      making wishful gestures for their futures and contemplating change.

      In Georgia, Ramiro Vega and Debbie Peaster, who serve as Mr. Eckel's
      labor contractors, are considering getting out of the labor business
      entirely and going back to driving a truck.

      "Going there to pick tomatoes is what kept us all surviving," Ms.
      Peaster said by phone.

      Ms. Peaster said for some workers, the promise of higher pay in
      Pennsylvania wasn't enough to outweigh the risks of being scrutinized
      by immigration enforcement in the state.

      "The workers wanted to go," she said, "but with the immigration
      problem over there — because they're really bad over there — they were
      scared of being sent back."

      George Barron, a Wilkes-Barre-based immigration attorney, stopped
      short of attributing the dearth of migrant labor in the state to a
      reputation for strict enforcement. But he said that enforcement
      efforts in the region have increased dramatically in the last few
      years and, more generally, there is a pervasive hostility toward
      immigrants in the region.

      "I can't say why anyone has decided not to come to Northeast
      Pennsylvania," he said. "I can tell you that almost without exception
      my immigration clients are aware of what happened in Hazleton" — where
      Mayor Lou Barletta tried to outlaw renting to or employing illegal
      immigrants in the city — "and believe that Northeastern Pennsylvania
      is less tolerant of immigrants of all types, not only Latinos."

      When four of John Roba's regular migrant laborers decided not to
      return to his Dalton-based tree farm this year, it forced him to hire
      employees through a federal temporary guest worker program that
      farmers consider cumbersome and slow.

      Mr. Eckel has called the program, known as H-2A, "totally unworkable"
      for the scale of his labor needs and the short duration of his harvest

      The program allows farmers to recruit workers from abroad, but only
      after they have gotten approval from four government agencies, built
      federally certified housing, and proven they can't hire locally.

      For Mr. Roba, that meant advertising for, then hiring, a local worker
      who quit after two days on the job.

      Mr. Roba said the program is "the only way you can know absolutely for
      certain that your workers are legal," but it took him a significant
      monetary investment and several years to prepare for it.

      Three weeks ago, four new workers arrived at his farm. For Gustavo and
      Victor Cruztitla, it was their first time in America.

      Jose Avalos, one of Mr. Roba's foremen and, since 2003, a dual Mexican
      and American citizen, said it will take time to train the new men.

      "They still got a lot of things to learn," he said. "It's a little
      hard for me to have to teach them everything."

      At dusk on a recent Thursday, Mr. Avalos stood on a gravel drive near
      Heart Lake at Mr. Roba's Lakeland farm, near acres of Christmas trees
      and deciduous saplings laid out in rows. Behind him, the four workers
      from the H-2A program waited for him near a Bobcat loader that was
      leaking oil.

      Mr. Avalos has worked on U.S. farms since he was 18, harvesting
      oranges in Florida, Christmas trees in North Carolina and apples and
      cabbages in Virginia.

      He said migrant workers don't want to make the trip north to work
      short harvest seasons in Pennsylvania, where there aren't many options
      for them to find work if one farm fails.

      He also said workers are afraid to travel in the state.

      "They say they love it here, but it's too hard," he said. "If they get
      pulled over, they get in trouble."

      Since he settled at Roba's, where he has worked since 1997, he doesn't
      follow the harvest seasons anymore. When he travels, he returns home
      to his wife and three young children in Mexico. Then he comes back to
      the fields.

      "I like to come back to Pennsylvania," he said. "Since I got here, I
      don't go no more places."

      Not far down the road from where Mr. Eckel recently closed his tomato
      empire, a father-and-son team of Mr. Eckel's workers have begun sowing
      5 acres of tomato plants of their own.

      Ray and Anthony Vega, the uncle and cousin of Mr. Eckel's labor
      contractor Ramiro Vega, built their lives by picking fruit and
      vegetables across the country and, often, on Mr. Eckel's farm.

      Ray Vega, 64, picked tomatoes with his family since he came to America
      from Nuevo Leon, Mexico, when he was 4.

      Anthony Vega said his mother and father together could pick 700
      buckets of tomatoes a day; when his mother was pregnant with him, she
      would have an older son carry her bucket so she could keep her pace.

      Neither of them can pinpoint exactly what is keeping Mr. Eckel's
      migrant workers away, but Anthony Vega mentioned recent raids by the
      U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement on a T.J. Maxx
      distribution center in Pittston, a Scranton manufacturing plant and an
      East Stroudsburg plastics plant.

      And although neither relies on Mr. Eckel's farm for a living anymore,
      they both say the closed tomato farm marks the end of an era.

      "I couldn't believe that," Ray Vega said of Mr. Eckel's decision. "It
      was over."

      Contact the writer: llegere@...

      ©The Times-Tribune 2008



      Immigration issues worry farmers

      Farm owners are concerned there might not be enough workers to harvest


      For the Daily Record/Sunday News
      Article Last Updated: 04/06/2008 06:00:58 AM EDT


      [go to original to see photo]

      Hector Mateos, 18, trims raspberry bushes at... (Daily Record/Sunday
      News - James Robinson)


      Kay Hollabaugh's jaw dropped when she learned recently that the
      state's largest tomato grower would not plant a crop this year because
      there might be too few workers to harvest it.

      It begs the question, she said, if the day will ever come when Adams
      County's fruit growers face a similar decision.

      And while Hollabaugh Bros. Fruit Farm and Market outside of
      Biglerville has not had to take such a drastic step, Hollabaugh said
      she's noticed fewer and fewer migrant workers, most of whom are
      Mexican, coming back to the orchard each year.

      "I'm very fearful of what the future holds for us," she said.
      "Agriculture is a hands-on business, and if we can't get people to do
      the hands-on labor, we will go out of business."

      Keith Eckel is a fourth-generation farmer from northeastern
      Pennsylvania, and the largest tomato farmer in the state. In March he
      said he will no longer grow tomatoes because he cannot find enough
      workers to harvest the fruits from his 2.2 million plants. He blames
      Congress' failure at immigration reform, and the climate it has
      created, which diminished the number of potential workers.

      Eckel, who came to Gettysburg this week to take part in a panel
      discussion on migrant workers, said there are not enough local workers
      willing to do the work done by migrant workers.

      It's too much of a risk to plant his $1.5 million tomato crop, and
      possibly not have enough people to harvest it.

      "The American consumer really needs to wake up to this issue,"
      he said.

      Eckel's decision to stop planting tomatoes, along with ceasing pumpkin
      planting, and cutting his sweet corn production in half, resonated
      through the several immigration-related events held last month in

      "You grow with them"

      Five migrant workers snipped away with long-handled shears, pruning
      down several lines of raspberry bushes at the Hollabaugh farm recently.

      One of the workers, Hector Mateos, 18, said he has gained a connection
      to the land.

      "When you see these trees, you see them when they are young. You grow
      with them," Mateos said. "We grow together."

      Mateos has been with the Hollabaughs for four years now and is
      following in his family tradition. He worked part-time in the fruit
      stand, and full-time during the summers, while he went to Biglerville
      High School. After graduating last year, he was hired on full-time.

      The job is hard work, especially during the harvest. He can put in
      long days, working sometimes from six in the morning until six, or
      later, in the evening, he said. It's a job many domestic workers just
      won't do, which is why farmers say they need migrant workers.

      Mateos thinks it deflates the argument when those staunchly against
      immigration say "they're taking our jobs."

      "They think we're coming to take their job," he said. "They don't
      realize the work we have to do."

      Enrique Ruiz Sanchez, the consul of Mexico in Philadelphia, said at
      one of the Gettysburg panel discussions recently that the idea
      migrants and immigrants are taking American jobs is no more than a
      myth. He said there is no statistical correlation between immigration
      and unemployment.

      Kay Hollabaugh remembers a time when carloads of migrant workers would
      roll in, looking for work. Slowly, fewer and fewer showed up. She
      fears soon there won't be enough to do that work.

      And what about local workers?

      Eckel was right, she said.

      "Contrary to what many people want to tell you, not many American
      workers would line up to pick (fruit) in 90-degree heat," she said.

      Around harvest from August to October, the busiest time, the
      Hollabaughs employ about 25 migrant workers. Last year, with an Easter
      freeze and a drought, the harvest was not as big as usual, so the
      workload was more manageable. But, she's not sure what will happen in
      a fruitful year.

      "It all comes down to being able to harvest in a timely and quality
      fashion," said Will Lower Jr. of Boyer Nurseries and Orchards.
      "There's only a certain window in which you can harvest."

      Lower said Boyer Nurseries is fortunate to have a stable, migrant work
      force, many members of which have been there for years. But, there are
      fewer coming around, and if there is not legislation like a
      guest-worker program helping farmers, Lower believes Eckel's
      announcement may be the harbinger of bad things to come not only for
      agriculture, but for consumers, too.

      Copyright ©2008 York Daily Record/Sunday News


      Immigration News Briefs
      Vol. 11, No. 6 - April 6, 2008

      1. LA Area Warehouses Raided
      2. Day Laborers Arrested in Northern California
      3. Nightclub Security Guards Arrested in Dallas
      4. Idaho Pallet Company Raided
      5. Activists Protest Arrests on Amtrak, Greyhound
      6. Laws to Be Waived for Border Fence

      Immigration News Briefs is a weekly supplement to Weekly News Update
      on the Americas, published by Nicaragua Solidarity Network, 339
      Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012; tel 212-674-9499;
      weeklynewsupdate@.... INB is also distributed free via email;
      contact immigrationnewsbriefs@... to subscribe or unsubscribe.
      You may reprint or distribute items from INB, but please credit us and
      tell people how to subscribe.

      Immigration News Briefs is posted at
      http://immigrationnewsbriefs.blogspot.com Starting with 2008, INB
      issues on the blog include clickable links to all available cited
      sources. Please use the blog to access sources and back issues and to
      search by key word.

      *1. LA Area Warehouses Raided

      On Apr. 1, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested
      44 workers at the warehouses of three distribution companies--Samsung,
      Frontier and Imperial CSS--in an industrial park in Torrance,
      California, just south of Los Angeles. ICE spokesperson Virginia Kice
      said all but two of the 44 people arrested are Mexican. Kice said 17
      of those arrested were released for humanitarian reasons. [Diario Hoy
      (LA/Chicago) 4/2/08, 4/3/08; La Opinión (Los Angeles) 4/3/08; Free
      Speech Radio News 4/2/08] The Mexican consulate in Los Angeles
      reported that its personnel were able to speak with 34 of the arrested
      Mexicans and offer them orientation about their legal situation. [El
      Financiero (Mexico) 4/3/08 with information from Notimex/MVC] William
      Jarquin, the consul of El Salvador in Los Angeles, said he was
      informed that two of those arrested were Salvadoran, and that one of
      the two had been released. [Diario Hoy 4/2/08]

      At least 11 of the Mexican workers who were arrested on Apr. 1 were
      deported that same night, said Angélica Salas, executive director of
      the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA). She
      added that it "seemed strange" that they were "deported so quickly,
      because that doesn't happen unless they have final orders of
      deportation, and none of these people even had the chance to talk to a

      Salvadoran immigrant Nemesio Hernández said he was arrested on Apr. 1
      despite having valid Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Hernández
      explained his situation to the ICE agents but they threw him violently
      to the floor, handcuffed him and jailed him for seven hours, said his
      sister, Isabel Hernández. He was then released without so much as an
      apology. [La Opinión 4/3/08]

      Miguel Angel Reyes, a Mexican immigrant who had worked for four years
      at Imperial CFS, described how managers there collaborated with ICE to
      carry out the Apr. 1 raid: "The managers said we were going to have a
      meeting. They had us sit down in the lunchroom and then Immigration
      began to ask for California identification. They put us on the floor
      one by one. After about two hours they started to take everyone in the
      van." Reyes said many of the workers did not try to escape because
      "the managers said everything was fine, that it was a routine check,
      that nothing was going to happen. When I turned around, all the
      immigration agents were right there in front of me." [Diario Hoy

      Salas said that according to workers at the raided companies, ICE
      agents only checked the documents of the workers who appeared to be of
      Latin American origin. [La Opinión 4/3/08] CHIRLA organized a press
      conference and demonstration on the afternoon of Apr. 1 outside the
      federal detention center in downtown Los Angeles where some of the
      arrested workers were apparently taken. The protest was attended by
      dozens of people, including family members of the workers arrested
      that morning and workers who had been arrested in a Feb. 7 raid at
      Micro Solutions Enterprises in Van Nuys. [CHIRLA Email Alert 4/2/08;
      Diario Hoy 4/2/08; Free Speech Radio News 4/2/08] One woman who
      attended the protest, María Cruz, said her husband had been arrested
      on Apr. 1 at the Amay's Bakery and Noodle Co. factory in central Los
      Angeles. He had been a legal resident in the US for 25 years, but in
      2001 authorities dug up a 20-year old felony case they said made him
      deportable. Cruz said her husband suffers from epilepsy; the family is
      worried that his condition will be exacerbated by the stress of
      detention. [Diario Hoy 4/2/08; Free Speech Radio News 4/2/08]

      ICE spokesperson Lori Haley claimed the operation in Torrance was
      simply a routine inspection of customs bonded warehouses. "We do this
      type of routine audit to make sure everything is safe and sound," said
      Haley. "In the course of the inspection, we found people who were in
      the country illegally and we arrested them." [Diario Hoy 4/2/08]

      The raids in the area south of Los Angeles continued on Apr. 2 with
      operations at the warehouses of Nippon Express Inc. on Francisco
      Street in Torrance and The Trading Center in Long Beach, and at a
      factory in Wilmington where some 25 ICE agents detained at least 10
      workers, most of them women. [Diario Hoy 4/3/08; La Opinión 4/3/08; El
      Financiero 4/3/08 with information from Notimex/MVC; TelemundoLA.com

      Kice confirmed that the warehouse "inspections" would continue. "ICE
      and CBP [Customs and Border Protection] are carrying out routine
      inspections at import-export companies in various communities of Los
      Angeles... to identify any security vulnerability," said Kice. [Diario
      Hoy 4/3/08] By Apr. 3, as word spread about the raids, many Los
      Angeles-area immigrants reportedly stayed home from work. [El
      Financiero 4/3/08 with information from Notimex/MVC]

      Following the February raid at Micro Solutions, groups including the
      American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California, the
      National Lawyers Guild and the National Immigration Law Center sought
      a restraining order in federal court against federal immigration
      officials who they said repeatedly blocked attorneys from accompanying
      workers during meetings and interrogations. On Mar. 12, the two sides
      finalized a settlement guaranteeing that the workers arrested at Micro
      Solutions can be accompanied by an attorney to all meetings and
      interrogations. ACLU staff attorney Ahilan Arulanantham said the
      groups hoped that the case would set a legal precedent. "The
      government would have a hard time explaining why the rights of these
      people are different from those of others" detained in similar raids,
      he said. [Los Angeles Times 3/14/08]

      *2. Day Laborers Arrested in Northern California

      On Mar. 28, local police officers in Fremont, California (in the Bay
      Area, southeast of San Francisco) carried out a sting operation
      against day laborers who were waiting for jobs outside a local Home
      Depot outlet. The Fremont Police Department cited about 15 workers for
      trespassing and took 13 of them who had no ID to the Santa Rita Jail
      to be identified, according to Detective Bill Veteran. There, the
      laborers were apparently handed over to ICE.

      The raid was carried out in response to complaints from Home Depot,
      Veteran said, because some of the laborers allegedly harass customers
      and drink in public. "As a matter of courtesy, we alert ICE when we
      conduct" these kinds of operations, said Veteran. The Immigrant Legal
      Resource Center in San Francisco said it will look into whether the
      operation violated the Constitution and will consider legal options.
      [NBC11.com 4/3/08]

      According to information received by Larisa Casillas, director of the
      Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition (BAIRC), the workers were told at
      the time of their arrest that they would be placed in deportation
      proceedings. Casillas said her organization has received other reports
      indicating that people detained for traffic violations in Fremont are
      also being placed in deportation. Bay Area advocates are seeking to
      meet with Fremont police to discuss the issue. [Email message from
      Casillas received as forward on 4/2/08]

      *3. Nightclub Security Guards Arrested in Dallas

      Late on Mar. 29, a Saturday, agents from a task force led by ICE
      raided 26 mostly Latino night clubs, restaurants, pool halls and other
      businesses in Dallas, Texas, arresting 49 immigrants who were working
      as security guards. All of those arrested were employed by two local
      security companies. Jamille Bradfield, spokesperson for the Dallas
      County district attorney's office, said the names of the security
      companies were not being released yet because "we don't want to
      compromise the investigation." Authorities recovered four pistols
      during the operation. Five of the workers are being held on $250,000
      bail each at the Dallas County Jail; they face felony charges of
      document tampering in order to get licensed as a security officer and
      to carry a firearm, Bradfield said.

      Four of the 49 workers arrested were from El Salvador; the others were
      Mexican, authorities said. One of the Salvadorans has legal status in
      the US, immigration officials acknowledged; it is not clear whether he
      is facing any charges. Of the 45 Mexicans arrested, 29 accepted the
      government's offer of "voluntary return" and were swiftly returned to
      Mexico, officials confirmed on Mar. 31. None of the 29 would have
      faced criminal prosecution, according to ICE Dallas spokesperson Carl
      Rusnok. "Voluntary return is offered to noncriminal aliens or
      low-level criminal aliens"--such as for violations that usually result
      in a ticket, explained Rusnok. The US attorney's office is evaluating
      what charges to pursue against the other arrested workers; in the
      meantime they are being held at the Bedford Jail, which ICE contracts
      to use as a short-term detention facility.

      The raids were carried out with the participation of the Dallas County
      district attorney's office, the US Department of Labor's Office of
      Inspector General; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
      Explosives; the Dallas Police Department; the Texas Department of
      Public Safety; the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission; and the US
      Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas.
      [Dallas Morning News 3/31/08, 4/1/08]

      Norma Núñez, owner of the Palacio nightclub, said agents blocked
      everyone from leaving while the club was being raided, but did not
      question or arrest her customers. [El Hispano News 4/1/08]

      *4. Idaho Pallet Company Raided

      On Apr. 2, ICE agents arrested at least 13 Mexican immigrants working
      at a pallet manufacturing company in Homedale, Idaho. Maria Andrade,
      an immigration attorney and volunteer coordinator of attorneys helping
      the detainees, said that other arrests may have occurred as a result
      of the raid and that as many as 20 people may be in custody. The
      workers were all employed by Specialty Inc. Wood Products. They were
      expected to be placed in removal proceedings for violating immigration
      law. Two of the workers were released for "humanitarian reasons" and
      will make an appearance at a later date before an immigration judge,
      according to ICE spokesperson Lorie Dankers. The rest of the workers
      were being held at Ada County Jail. Since Idaho has no immigration
      detention facility, the workers will likely be sent to Arizona or
      Washington state, Andrade said.

      Family members of the arrested workers joined community members in
      protesting the raids at a demonstration and press conference in
      downtown Boise on Apr. 3. "What we need to realize is that people come
      to this country as immigrants, as undocumented workers because they
      are poor, because...they have no other recourse," said Ed Keener of
      the Interfaith Alliance of Idaho. [ICE News Release 4/3/08; Idaho
      Statesman - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX 4/4/08;
      Fox 12 News (Boise) 4/4/08]

      ICE initiated the investigation that led to the raid after receiving
      information that unauthorized workers might be employed at the wood
      products company. "Subsequent investigation revealed that some of the
      workers may have secured their employment by using false Social
      Security numbers and other counterfeit identity documents," ICE said
      in a news release. The company's owner is cooperating with ICE on this
      investigation, according to the news release. [ICE News Release

      "We've been going through an audit for about a year now," said Ed
      Leavitt, the CEO of Specialty Inc., on Apr. 3. "We totally didn't
      expect this." Leavitt said those arrested represented less than half
      of his workforce and that the arrests would have only a minor impact
      on the plant's operation. "We're back up and running and, in fact,
      hired 17 more people this morning," Leavitt said. [Idaho Statesman -
      McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX 4/4/08]

      *5. Activists Protest Arrests on Amtrak, Greyhound

      On Apr. 2, several dozen demonstrators gathered in front of Penn
      Station in Manhattan to protest the collaboration of the Amtrak train
      company with border and immigration agents who arrest passengers
      traveling between US cities. With chants of transportation, not
      deportation!" and "immigrant rights are human rights," the protesters
      then marched to Port Authority to condemn the Greyhound bus company's
      collaboration with similar immigration sweeps.

      The protest was organized by Families for Freedom, a New York-based
      multi-ethnic defense network by and for immigrants facing and fighting
      deportation. The protesters are demanding that Amtrak and Greyhound at
      the very least warn passengers about the raids in advance, publicly
      apologize and provide ticket refunds to those who have been arrested.
      [El Diario-La Prensa (NY) 4/3/08; Demonstration announcement from
      Families for Freedom, received via email 3/26/08; Immigration News
      Briefs editor's first-hand experience of demonstration 4/2/08]

      A woman named Sonia, who spoke at the demonstration, said she was
      arrested by immigration officials along with her husband and two sons
      while returning to New York City from Chicago on Amtrak as the train
      passed through upstate New York. She spoke about the terror of being
      grilled by immigration officials and separated from her family. "This
      is the last thing I expected coming home. They seemed to be
      approaching all of the Latinos on the train and asking them for
      papers. One family even had work permits but immigration officials
      told them that this was not enough and they were detained also. I'm a
      customer, I paid just like everyone else, but my family and I were
      treated like we are less than human beings," Sonia said. After being
      detained at the Amtrak station, Sonia and her 17-year-old son were
      released while her husband and 18-year-old son were detained at the
      Buffalo Federal Detention Facility for several days before being freed
      on bond. [Families for Freedom Press Release 4/2/08; EFE 4/2/08]

      Amtrak has agreed to cooperate with border inspections on a random
      basis within 75 miles of the border, said Cliff Cole, a spokesperson
      for the company. "We're merely facilitating their request to board the
      train," he said of the Border Patrol agents. The train between Chicago
      and New York, called the Lakeshore Limited, passes within 75 miles of
      the border, he said. Greyhound also said it simply complies with law
      enforcement requests, be it local, state or federal. "We are under no
      obligation to inform customers of law enforcement activity at any
      time," said Greyhound spokesperson Dustin Clark.

      Customs and Border Protection, a division of the Department of
      Homeland Security, said the stops are just part of routine practice
      that has gotten more frequent as the agency has tripled its number of
      agents along the Canadian border over the past few years. [New York
      Times Cityroom Blog 4/2/08]

      *6. Laws to Be Waived for Border Fence

      In an Apr. 1 statement, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff
      said the federal government plans to speed up completion of 470 miles
      of border fence in the southwestern US by the end of 2008 by using two
      waivers to bypass some three dozen federal and state environmental and
      land-management laws. The move is permitted under an exemption granted
      by Congress in the Real ID Act of 2005.

      One waiver will be used to complete a 22-mile combined river
      levee-fence project in Hidalgo County, Texas. The second waiver covers
      an additional 470 miles of fencing--through 2008 and future years--in
      Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
      Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi who chairs the House
      Homeland Security Committee, said the administration's use of the
      waivers exceeds what Congress intended when it approved the measure.
      "Today's waiver represents an extreme abuse of authority," Thompson
      said in a statement. "Waiver authority should only be used as a last
      resort, not simply because the Department has failed to get the job
      done through the normal process."

      The waiver allows the agency to skip carrying out detailed reviews of
      how the fence will affect wildlife, water quality and vegetation in
      the ecologically sensitive affected border areas. Two environmental
      advocacy organizations, Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club,
      filed a petition in March asking the Supreme Court to review the
      constitutionality of the waiver provision. [Los Angeles Times 4/2/08;
      Washington Post 4/2/08; Houston Chronicle 4/1/08]


      Contributions toward Immigration News Briefs are gladly accepted: they
      should be made payable and sent to Nicaragua Solidarity Network, 339
      Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012. (Tax-deductible contributions of $50
      or more may be made payable to the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute and
      earmarked for "NSN".)

      ORDER "The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers," a new book
      by the editors of Immigration News Briefs and Weekly News Update on
      the Americas, out now on Monthly Review Press: for details see
      publisher website: http://monthlyreview.org/politicsofimmigration.htm
      book website: http://thepoliticsofimmigration.org
      authors' blog: http://thepoliticsofimmigration.blogspot.com
      or email the authors at thepoliticsofimmigration@...



      E-Verify nabs U.S. citizens


      Arizona slams door on illegal immigrants

      Some citizens have been bruised, too, as the state cracks down.

      By Nicholas Riccardi
      Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

      April 5 2008

      PHOENIX - -; As it has become the favorite entry point for undocumented
      migrants trying to sneak into the United States, Arizona has become a
      for whether a state can single-handedly combat illegal immigration.

      The complete article can be viewed at:

      Visit latimes.com at http://www.latimes.com


      Critics say crackdowns amount to racial-profiling




      Former Austin imam facing deportation, family says*

      *This article can be accessed if you copy and paste the entire
      address below into your web browser.


      AP story -

      Legal Immigration Drops



      Guadalupe - Mayor Rebecca Jimenez: town does not support the sheriff [AZ]




      Bolinao52: Vietnamese Refugees




      APRIL 4, 2008

      FERNANDO GARCIA, (915) 204-0337,
      ADRIENNE EVANS (915) 276-0402,
      BILL GUERRA ADDINGTON (915) 539-4158

      *This letter was signed by over 25 human rights and environmental
      groups and activists, as well as border residents and concerned U.S.

      April 1, 2008 was the beginning of a very sad time for millions of us
      on the border, in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, and
      throughout the U.S. The Bush administration issued two waivers on
      April 1 that circumvent dozens of U.S. environmental and other laws to
      pave the way for wall construction to begin immediately on the Texas
      border, and to continue on the New Mexico, Arizona and California borders.

      With such an action, spearheaded by DHS Secretary Chertoff, the
      Federal Government shows a major failure to work and consult with
      border communities on the wall issue. Clearly, Chertoff is flexing
      his muscle upon the border residents. Instead of dialogue and
      consultation we, at the border, will receive imposition and

      We on the border know that a wall won't work, and that it is not a
      real solution. Many others know this also. We, the undersigned
      individuals and organizations, are trying to educate the public and
      elected officials about how the wall and militarization of the border
      will profoundly impact the wildlife, the environment, our river and
      the lives and rights of people on both sides of the border. The
      executive branch of our government and the U.S. Congress, by their
      actions, do not seem to care about any of that.

      We believe that Americans must realize before it is too late that
      their government is wasting taxpayer money in building an 18-foot-high
      barrier along sections of the border, as well as in increasing the
      militarization of the border communities, in a vain attempt to close
      the border.

      In three Texas counties, DHS intends to combine walls with the
      existing flood control levees. By building this structure before it
      has been thoroughly evaluated for safety and effectiveness, DHS is
      recklessly endangering lives and property of border residents in these

      We all now must endure an unimaginably difficult time during which our
      nation's fears are manifested in an ancient, ugly form -- a wall –-
      and manifested even more by increased militarization. In China,
      Berlin, Israel, Palestine and Northern Ireland, WALLS DIDN'T WORK.
      They definitely don't work in the U.S. either. They, primarily,
      decimate human rights and show intolerance and rejection. They kill
      hundreds of people annually in the U.S. because they drive people
      crossing the border to walk through more remote areas of desert where
      many then die of dehydration and exposure.

      After lessons are learned, most walls are taken down. Thereafter, the
      wall builders are ridiculed, if they are acknowledged at all. Walls
      have failed to keep people out (or in) but, however, have damaged both
      human and riparian habitat permanently.

      The Rio Grande is a very sacred and special place, with several
      wildlife refuges that will be devastated by a wall. In New Mexico,
      California, and Arizona, there are many special and sacred places
      along the border, including wildlife refuges and tribal lands, where
      a wall has already been built, unbeknownst to most Americans. Many of
      us have lived, farmed, and ranched along the border for generations.
      We urge the American public to hold on to images of the border, its
      people, and the environment as worth protecting, and to keep in mind
      that the wall is temporary because it was born of a failed policy.

      We the undersigned ask Americans not to let a wall divide our border
      community. Even though the executive branch of the current
      administration has exercised undue power to bring about the
      construction, we the people must call, write and organize to stop the
      wall. If it is built, we must demand that it be taken down. We ask
      the American public to keep foremost in their minds the fact that the
      border area encompasses one community that includes both sides.

      By our actions and our words, we must hold to peace along the border.
      Compassion, understanding and hope must inform the struggle that is
      by necessity taking place on many levels right now along the
      U.S.-Mexico border. We demand that our border communities not be
      devastated by a wall and by militarization.

      We will not remain silent as our country's constitutionally-guaranteed
      freedoms and even its laws are swept aside in the name of greed, fear
      and anti-immigrant fervor under the guise of "improving national
      security." Our country was founded on Constitutional protections as
      well as immigration, both of which are historically the very basis of
      what makes us American.

      Americans need to wake up to the fact that signs of tyranny and
      imposition now exist in the United States of America, in the form of a
      Cabinet member, Michael Chertoff, who is allowed to use his
      legislatively-granted power to waive all U.S. law in order to
      implement a failed anti-immigrant policy. That cannot be allowed to
      go on any longer.

      We the undersigned ask that Americans write their Congressional
      Representatives as well as their President and demand that the impacts
      of wall-building and militarization of the border be fully studied and
      fully acknowledged, and that humane, affordable, wise and workable
      solutions be found and implemented instead.

      Very sincerely,

      Fernando Garcia, Director, Border Network for Human Rights, El Paso, Texas
      Eve Trook, co-founder, No Wall - Big Bend Coalition and member,
      Veterans for Peace, Alpine, Texas
      Adrienne Evans, co-founder, No Wall - Big Bend Coalition, Terlingua,
      Luissana Santibanez, immigrant rights activist, Grassroots Leadership
      Austin, Austin, Texas
      MEChA Austin
      Iris Rodriguez, La Nueva Raza Turk. Austin, Texas
      Christy Pipkin, The Nobelity Project, Austin, Texas
      Louis Black, Editor, The Austin Chronicle
      C. Denby Swanson, writer, Austin, Texas
      Joe Ely, musician/artist, Austin, Texas
      Sharon Ely, artist, Austin, Texas
      Alice Guynn, poet, Austin, Texas
      Mary Jo Galindo, Ph.D., Archaeologist, Austin, Texas
      Librada Perez Giese, Austin, Texas
      Antonio Diaz, Spokesperson, Texas Indigenous Council, San Antonio, Texas
      Ruben Solis, Spokesperson, Southwest Workers Union, San Antonio, Texas
      K. Sheridan Coffey, member, San Antonio Audubon Society, San Antonio,
      Anne M. Goodwin, San Antonio, Texas
      Jill Goodwin, Texas citizen, San Antonio, Texas
      Marisa Treviño, Publisher, Latina Lista
      Peter and Sherry Dana, immigrant activists, Georgetown, Texas
      Elizabeth H. Mealy, Ph.D., Georgetown, Texas
      Scott Nicol, professor and co-founder, No Border Wall Coalition, and
      member, Lower Rio Grande Valley Sierra Club Group Executive
      Committee, Weslaco, Texas
      Stefanie Herweck, co-founder, No Border Wall Coalition, Weslaco, Texas
      Martin Hagne, Executive Director, Valley Nature Center, Weslaco, Texas
      Wayne Bartholomew, Executive Director, Frontera Audubon Society,
      Weslaco, Texas and board member, Friends of the Wildlife Corridor,
      Alamo, Texas
      Mary Lou Campbell, member, Sierra Club, Frontera Audubon Society, No
      Border Wall Coalition, Mercedes, Texas
      Alice Hempel, Ph.D, Associate Professor, Kingsville, Texas
      Betty Perez, No Border Wall Coalition, rancher, native plants grower,
      member of the Sierra Club, Friends of Santa Ana National Wildlife
      Refuge and the Wildlife Corridor, Valley Nature Center, La Joya,
      Gerard Vaello, member, No Border Wall Coalition, Border Ambassadors,
      Holy Spirit Peace & Justice Group, McAllen, Texas E. Elizabeth Garcia,
      co-founder and spokesperson, CASA (Coalition
      of Amigos in Solidarity and Action), Brownsville, Texas
      Elsa Duarte-Noboa, educator/activist, Brownsville, Texas
      Julio Noboa, professor/activist, Brownsville,Texas
      Francisco Solis Garcia, Jr., Aventura Boats, Brownsville, Texas
      Jay J. Johnson-Castro, Sr., Border Ambassador and Freedom Ambassador,
      Del Rio, Texas
      Sarah Boone, Border Ambassador and Freedom Ambassador, Del Rio, Texas
      Bill Guerra Addington, and spokesperson, El Paso Regional Group of
      the Sierra Club, Sierra Blanca, Texas, co-founder of Sierra Blanca
      Legal Defense Fund
      Heather McMurray, environmental activist, teacher, and member, El Paso
      Regional Group of the Sierra Club, El Paso, Texas
      Briana Stone, Director, Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project, El Paso,
      Guillermo Glenn, Director, Asociacion de Trabajadores Fronterizos, El
      Paso, Texas
      Iliana Holguin, Executive Director/Attorney at Law, Diocesan Migrant
      & Refugee Services, El Paso, Texas
      West Cosgrove, Community and Religious Activist, El Paso, Texas
      Dr. Kathleen Staudt, Professor and community activist, El Paso, Texas
      Ruben Garcia, Director, Annunciation House, El Paso, Texas
      Veronica Escobar, El Paso County Commissioner, Precinct 2, El Paso, Texas
      Jose Rodriguez, El Paso County Attorney, El Paso, Texas
      Trinidad Lopez, Mayor, City of Socorro, Texas
      Fr. Arturo Banuelas, St. Pius X Church, El Paso, Texas
      Adriana Cadena, Community Activist, El Paso, Texas
      Tony and Christian Perez-Giese, El Paso, Texas
      Martha Ryan Stafford, public school teacher, Terlingua, Texas
      Diane Walker, public school teacher, Terlingua, Texas
      Kassi Williams, public school teacher, Terlingua, Texas
      Butch Hancock, musician/artist, Terlingua, Texas
      Joanne James, clergywoman, Terlingua, Texas
      Sally Bergmann Cervenka, Terlingua, Texas
      Mimi Webb Miller, Terlingua, Texas; Los Angeles CA
      Allison K. Fullwood, artist, Terlingua, Texas
      Gary Oliver, cartoonist, Marfa, Texas
      Andrew Stuart, journalist, Marfa, Texas
      Verena Zbinden, Marfa, Texas
      Evelyn Luciani, citizen, Marfa, Texas
      Eleanor Taylor, peace activist, Ft. Davis, Texas
      Jan Woodward, CFO, Woodward Ranch, Brewster County, Texas
      Simone Swan, founder, Adobe Alliance, Presidio, Texas
      Jesusita Jimenez, Project Manager, Adobe Alliance, Presidio, Texas
      Julia West, teacher, Presidio, Texas
      Mary Schwartze, mother of two and nature enthusiast, Alpine, Texas
      Linda Shank Eller, mother, grandmother, CPA, Alpine, Texas
      Redford Citizens Committee For Justice, Redford, Texas
      The Rev. Melvin Walker La Follette, Redford, Texas
      Barbara J. Baskin, Redford, Texas
      Don Dowdey, Chair, Big Bend Regional Sierra Club, Alpine, Texas
      Fran Sage, Member, Big Bend Regional Sierra Club, Alpine, Texas
      Dallas Baxter, journalist, Alpine, Texas
      Jerry Mitchell, contractor, Alpine, Texas
      Hiram and Liz Sibley, Alpine, Texas
      Rachel and Chris Sibley, Austin, Texas
      Roger Siglin, Alpine, Texas
      Susan Curry, citizen activist, Alpine, Texas
      Tom Curry, artist/builder, Alpine, Texas
      Dee Perkins, Alpine, Texas
      Glen Perkins, builder, Alpine, Texas
      Judy Ford, Alpine, Texas
      Molly Walker, Alpine, Texas
      Dr. Marilyn Dell Brady, Alpine, Texas
      Karen Nakakihara, Alpine, Texas
      James Wightman, Tax Consultant, Alpine, Texas
      Patricia Manning, Environmental Science Technician, Alpine, Texas
      Michael Stevens, guitar builder, Alpine, Texas
      Alice Stevens, Plant Nursery owner, Alpine, Texas
      Pilar Pedersen, Alpine, Texas
      Gaylan Corbin, Alpine, Texas
      Amelie Urbanczyk, Alpine, Texas
      Mary Ann Matteson, Alpine, Texas
      Pollyanne Melton, realtor, Alpine, Texas
      Wendy Lynn Wright, artist, Casa Piedra, Texas
      Marilyn Lamin, teacher and storyteller, Bedford, Texas
      Nat Stone, The Rock House Project, Zuni, New Mexico
      Marcy Campbell Krinsk, San Diego, California
      Lily Keber, documentary filmmaker. New Orleans, Louisiana
      D. A. Vickers, Media Credit Manager, Detroit, Michigan
      Mary Goodwin, Apple Valley, Minnesota
      Maya Zniewski, mom, Minneapolis, Minnesota
      Brian Cutean, human being, Portland, Oregon
      Liz and Jeff Gordon, Lewes, Delaware
      La Clinica de Inmigracion de San Jose, Inc., Del Rio, Texas
      Casa de la Cultura, Familias Unidas of Val Verde County, Del Rio, Texas
      Alpha Hernandez, Val Verde County, Del Rio, Texas
      Lily Keber, documentary filmmaker. New Orleans, Louisiana
      D. A. Vickers, Media Credit Manager, Detroit, Michigan
      Mary Goodwin, Apple Valley, Minnesota
      Maya Zniewski, mom, Minneapolis, Minnesota
      Brian Cutean, human being, Portland, Oregon
      Jennifer Johnson, Policy Associate, Latin America Working Group,
      Washington, D.C.
      Rev. Dr. Mari E. Castellanos, JWM/United Church of Christ, Washington D.C.
      Arnoldo Garcia, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights,
      Oakland , CA
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