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Monterey County Women Farm Workers Say No to Sex Harassment

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  • abeltranjurisdr@aol.com
    in this e-mail: (1) LA Times - A 670-mile-long shrine to American insecurity (2) E-Verify flaws: error-filled databases might end up impacting citizens (3)
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 8, 2008
      in this e-mail:

      (1) LA Times -
      A 670-mile-long shrine to American insecurity

      (2) E-Verify flaws: "error-filled databases might end up impacting citizens"

      TheCalifornian.com - No to sex harassment [Monterey County farm-worker women]

        The Seattle Times An American teen in a foreign land

      common dreams - Challenges Arise to Border Fence Project

      (6)  Panel Grants Rare Review to Immigrants: Complaint Alleges Poor Medical Care For Detainees

      THE CBS EVENING NEWS -  special series, Immigration Nation, continues Wednesday night...

      UN links up with Google Earth to help refugees

      (9) movie - The Visitor - http://www.thevisitorfilm.com/

      (10)  SPLC - HATEWATCH: Nativist News for April 8, 2008

      (11) Groups challenge illegal immigrant bail law



      Groups sue, challenge Prop 100

      Michael Kiefer
      The Arizona Republic
      Apr. 8, 2008 12:00 AM

      Two national civil-rights groups brought a class-action lawsuit in federal court challenging Proposition 100, the state law that denies bail to illegal immigrants accused of serious crimes.

      The American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund claim that the 2006 citizen's initiative is unconstitutional, in part because it denies individual hearings to defendants as to whether they are flight risks or dangers to the community.

      Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, County Attorney Andrew Thomas and Superior Court Presiding Judge Barbara Rodriguez Mundell were named as defendants in the suit, which was filed by attorneys from the Phoenix firm of Perkins Coie Brown & Bain on Friday.

      "We're not asking that anyone be released from jail," said attorney Steve Monde. "We're asking that they be permitted like all other criminal defendants in Arizona to have their day in court to have the court determine whether they're flight risks."

      Mundell could not be reached for comment.

      A representative from the Sheriff's Office wondered why the sheriff would even be named.

      And Thomas issued a statement saying, "Just as I helped draft and led the fight for passage of Proposition 100, I will vigorously defend this law in federal court. The ACLU is wrong to challenge this reform, which was approved by 78 percent of Arizona voters."

      That remark was countered by Kristina Campbell, a Los Angeles-based lawyer for MALDEF.

      "Just because something is popular doesn't mean it's lawful," she said.

      Proposition 100 was billed as a way to deny bond to illegal immigrants accused of "serious crimes."

      But the term "serious crimes" has no legal meaning, so the Legislature stepped in and defined them as Class 1-4 felonies, encompassing everything from murder and rape down to shoplifting.

      "Serious" now includes burglars, perjurers, forgers, and those who conspire to commit human smuggling, the charge in place for all people caught with coyotes.

      The suit alleges that the law violates several amendments to the U.S. Constitution:

      • The Fifth Amendment, alleging that in revealing immigration information, defendants are incriminating themselves.

      • The Sixth Amendment, in that defendants are not represented by defense attorneys when they are denied bond.

      • The Eighth Amendment, by setting excessive bail.

      • The 14th Amendment, which assures due process of law, because it is unnecessarily punitive, and because the defendants are not allowed a hearing to question the judge's decision.

      The 14th amendment grants equal protection under the law and is usually interpreted as meaning that judicial decisions are based on the individual facts of the case.

      That argument was recently used successfully in the Arizona Court of Appeals by the Sheriff's Office in knocking down a Superior Court decision on when lawyers could visit clients in jail.

      Sheriff's Office Deputy Chief Jack MacIntyre wondered why his office would be named in the current suit.

      "The sheriff doesn't enact the law, and the sheriff doesn't decide whether it's constitutional. He just enforces it," MacIntyre said.

      "If there's a constitutional challenge, that's all well and good. But until that challenge is resolved, you still have to enforce the laws as they're enacted and as they currently exist. He doesn't set bail and he doesn't determine probable cause other than at the time of arrest. But he certainly doesn't set bail and he certainly doesn't establish release conditions."

      But under an agreement with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, certain Sheriff's deputies can determine legal immigration status of people they arrest.

      The suit also claims that Prop. 100 unlawfully usurps federal authority on immigration matters.

      MALDEF and the ACLU claim that the Sheriff's Office is using that agreement to check immigration status for prosecution under state laws.

      "The very real problems facing Arizona with illegal immigration can't override the constitution of the United States and that's what we're trying to uphold," Monde said.

      Cecillia Wang, a San Francisco-based attorney for the ACLU, took the argument a step further.

      "This lawsuit is not about who's legal and who's illegal," she said. "Whether you're going to be locked up in jail or not has to do with the merits of your individual case. Governments can't go around locking people up because they're members of an unpopular group.

      "What's really going on is that the backers of Prop. 100 were trying to single out an unpopular minority group for unfair treatment and that goes against the core principles in the American system of j

      Copyright © 2008, azcentral.com.


      A 670-mile-long shrine to American insecurity

      Building a border wall to keep migrants out is an odd act for a nation so proud
      of its power.

      Gregory Rodriguez

      April 7 2008

      Last February, I found myself in the difficult position of explaining American
      insecurity to a group of Mexican undergraduates at a college in Matamoros,
      Mexico, just south of the border at Brownsville, Texas. I was taking questions
      after delivering a lecture on the long-term prospects of Mexican immigrants
      being accepted into U.S. society. A neatly dressed young man in the back stood
      up to ask a pointed question. "How," he said politely in Spanish, "could such a
      rich and powerful country be so self-centered as to build a wall on its border
      to keep people out?"

      The complete article can be viewed at:

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


      New America Media, News Report, Roberto Lovato, Posted: Apr 08, 2008

      Editor’s Note: Electronic programs to verify employment eligibility are meant to detect those working in the United States illegally. But an unlikely coalition of unions, business organizations and conservatives fear that error-filled databases might end up impacting citizens as well. NAM editor Roberto Lovato is a writer based in New York.

      Two hours after starting his new job at a food processing plant in 2006, Fernando Tinoco got fired. “I went to work, felt really good to have a new job and started going to it,” says Tinoco, a 53-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen who lives in Chicago. “And then they called me into the office and told me that my Social Security number was fake,” he adds, “And then they fired me.” Apparently, Tyson Foods Inc., Tinoco’s former employer, was one of the more than 52,000 companies voluntarily participating in “E-Verify”, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program designed to identify undocumented workers by electronically verifying their employment eligibility.

      After the Kafkaesque experience of being hired, fired and trying to maneuver through the famously overstretched bureaucracy of the Social Security Administration to re-confirm status, Citizen Tinoco has become an outspoken critic of U.S. immigration laws’ impact on citizens. “I think that citizens need to be as careful of these new immigration laws,” says Tinoco, who now works at a school, adding, “they can ruin our lives too.” Tinoco found his concerns echoed by Jim Harper of the conservative Cato Institute, who recently wrote that “If E-Verify goes national, get used to hearing that Orwellian term: ‘non-confirmation.’”

      That is why E-Verify is opposed by an unlikely alliance that includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, major unions, Republican legislators and others. But it is only one of a growing number of legislative and administrative immigration control initiatives that Tinoco and many critics believe will negatively impact not just non-citizens, but citizens as well. This week, for example, Congress is considering the Secure America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act, which includes provisions that mandate a national verification system like that of the more voluntary state programs like E-Verify. Also causing intense fear is last week’s announcement by the Bush administration of revisions to its “No Match letter” plan, which requires the Social Security Administration (SSA) to send out 140,000 letters demanding that employers fire workers whose Social Security numbers did not match those in their records. Advocates are concerned that, like the E-Verify program and SAVE Act, the new No Match regulations will affect other U.S. citizens and authorized workers thanks to the same kind of faulty record keeping that led to Tinoco’s firing.
      “By viewing these initiatives through the narrow lens of ‘immigration policy’ sold to us by politicians many fail to see that many of these programs will have direct impacts on many citizens,” says Michele Waslin, senior research analyst with the Immigration Policy Center. To support their claims, Waslin and other critics point to several reports like one by the SSA’s Office of Inspector General that found that there are 17.8 million discrepancies in the SSA’s records relating to lawful American workers. The report also found that 70 percent or 12.7 million of those inconsistencies belong to native-born (as opposed to naturalized) U.S. citizens.

      Some advocates like Harper of the Cato Institute are fighting the proposals because they believe that there are no checks against government error or abuse against citizens in the programs ostensibly targeting those here illegally. “Once built,” wrote Harper, “this government monitoring system would soon be extended to housing, financial services, and other essentials to try to get at illegal immigrants. It would also be converted to policy goals well beyond immigration control.” Waslin agrees. “These programs will do nothing to deal with undocumented immigrants because people will simply go further underground,” says Waslin. “But they will eventually lead to a situation that will force every single person to ask the government for permission to work. We have to ask ourselves, ‘Is it really worth it?’”
      The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation, answers Waslin’s question with a resounding ‘no’, a ‘no’ accompanied by lawsuits, letter-writing and lobbying.

      For their part, DHS representatives say that concerns about the effects on citizens are misplaced. The number of citizens mistakenly impacted by programs like No Match and E-Verify programs, says DHS spokesperson Amy Kudwa, “are a small portion of the population. Ninety-two percent of all E-verify queries are returned without incident in less than eight seconds and only 1 percent of them are contested. These are important tools in fighting illegal immigration.”

      But advocates point out that, despite being run on trial basis, E-Verify and other programs have already demonstrated disconcerting flaws that are rooted in the unreliability of the technology and the databases like that of SSA.
      In the face of so many legislative proposals and administrative initiatives, Tinoco says his obligation to speak only grows because of his concern for his fellow immigrants - and fellow citizens. “I still don’t understand: how can this happen here? It’s like a movie, a very bad movie.” Asked what message he has for his fellow citizens, Tinoco answers, “This can happen to you too.”



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      An American teen in a foreign land
      Full story: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2004330695_mexicojulie06m.html

      By Lornet Turnbull
      Seattle Times staff reporter; Seattle Times staff reporter

      MEXICO CITY -- The morning immigration officers came for Ana Reyes, her
      12-year-old daughter pleaded with them not to take her mother away.

      Julie Quiroz was to graduate from grade school in Burien that day last June.

      It was her mother's 41st birthday.

      "It was a pretty bad day," recalls Julie, now 13. "I think I was the only kid
      without my mom at graduation."

      More than a week later, Reyes was deported, returning to this city she'd left 17
      years earlier. She had not wanted her two daughters, Julie and 6-year-old
      Sharise, to join her on the government flight to Mexico: "I didn't want them to
      see me cuffed and shackled."

      So the girls came later after Reyes led them to believe it would be only a short

      Neither girl is in school.

      "I hate it here," said Julie, shifting easily between Spanish and English.

      "We can't go out anywhere; it's so dangerous. I was walking down the street the
      other day, and these men started whistling at me."

      Estimates show 3 million American children have at least one parent living in
      the U.S. illegally. And while little is known about what happens to these
      parents after they are deported, even less is known about what becomes of their
      American-born children.

      "You have to think the number has got to be pretty big, considering that the
      number of families with kids who have been deported in recent years is several
      hundred thousand," said Randy Capps, of the nonpartisan Urban Institute, who
      co-authored a report last year about the impact of work-site raids on children.

      Whose duty?

      Critics of U.S. immigration policies call them "anchor babies," saying they tie
      their parents to a host of government benefits and, once they turn 21, can
      sponsor their parents for legal status.

      And it's the parents of these children, they say, who should be held responsible
      for what happens to them.

      "Obviously everybody empathizes with these kids ... but no legitimate U.S.
      policy can take the place of parental responsibility," said Ira Mehlman,
      spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

      "It's unreasonable to ask the United States to assume all these burdens that
      result from parents' decision to break the law."

      But others believe the U.S. has a duty to these children.

      "We are better people than that to hold the sins of the parents against these
      kids," said Seattle immigration attorney Steve Miller.

      When facing deportation, most parents leave their children in the U.S. with a
      spouse or extended family. A few, once deported, move to border communities such
      as Juárez, so their kids can attend school on the U.S. side.

      An unknown number, like Reyes, take their children with them.

      While these kids derive Mexican citizenship from their parents, it gets them
      precious little in the impoverished towns and cities their parents had fled.

      Advocates worry that if the children remain for long in places such as Mexico,
      they will lose their English skills, fall behind at school and be unable to get
      a good job later in the U.S.

      "As adults, they will be traveling with passports that say they were born in
      Washington, but will speak no English or English with an accent, raising a red
      flag with immigration authorities," said Brent Renison, an Oregon immigration

      "They are going to get hassled -- even put into custody. ... Those are the
      difficulties that lie ahead for these kids. We already see it happening."

      "Nobody to call"

      In the U.S., Julie was the typical American kid, hanging out with friends at the
      mall or at the library when her mother would let her.

      She had lived in the same Burien apartment complex since her family moved to
      Western Washington in 2001 and had many friends there.

      "I was always on the phone, burning up the minutes," she said. "Here I have
      nobody to call."

      She's made no friends in this city where her family lives in neighborhoods so
      unsafe she never leaves the house without an adult. Her mother worries she and
      her sister might be kidnapped -- or worse.

      When a friend from the U.S. sends money, they sometimes go to Pizza Hut or
      McDonald's, Julie said. "We don't get to go on those trips often because there's
      no money.

      "There's no going to the movies. I'm inside all the time. It's not the same as
      over there."

      A few weeks after she arrived in Mexico, Julie enrolled in the seventh grade.

      But she dropped out after two weeks because, she said, she's unable to read or
      write Spanish well and couldn't keep up. "The teacher said, 'I will help you;
      you've got to try.' But I would just get mad. ... "

      She said the only class she enjoyed was English and she enjoyed talking to the
      teacher. "Actually, I knew more than her," she said, laughing. "They were doing
      things that kindergarten kids do in the states: 'Color a tree and write tree at
      the bottom.'

      "I kept asking, why am I here?"

      Her mother, equally frustrated, said, "I'd see her come home crying every day"
      after school. "She was not happy there."

      The Mexican government operates a joint program, supported by the U.S., that
      seeks to provide basic education to students who migrate between the two
      countries. While it offers Spanish-as-a-second-language instruction for children
      who speak an indigenous language, it has no such program for those such as Julie
      who primarily speak English.

      Yolo Brito, a coordinator with the Binational Migrant Education Program, said
      there are many children like Julie enrolled in Mexican schools who speak and
      understand Spanish but can't read or write it.

      Programs must be created, she said, for students who must "learn Spanish as a
      second language in order to succeed."

      Fading friendships

      It bothers Julie that her little sister, who'd just finished kindergarten in the
      U.S., is already losing her English skills. "I talk to her in English and she
      responds back to me in Spanish," Julie said.

      With no school, Julie begins her days around 11 a.m., when she has breakfast and
      flips on a small television.

      Sometimes, she'll go online, if there's enough time left on the Internet-access
      card the family sometimes buys -- their one connection to an old life.

      But increasingly, she's found her old friends aren't returning her e-mails. Now
      that they are in middle school, she says, they've made other friends, and "I
      think many of them have forgotten about me."

      Lornet Turnbull: 206-464-2420 or lturnbull@...

      Copyright (c) 2007 The Seattle Times Company



      April 8, 2008

      No to sex harassment

      The Salinas Californian

      Their voices are not often heard.

      But for some Monterey County farm-worker women, the silence about ongoing sexual assaults in their workplace stops now.

      On Monday afternoon, two farm-worker advocacy groups - California Rural Legal Assistance and Lideres Campesinas - kicked off "The Bandana Project: 'No' to Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in the Fields" with a display of decorated bandanas at La Plaza Bakery, 20 N. Sanborn Road, Salinas. The project is being coordinated by The Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based nonprofit legal organization that promotes civil rights.

      The display of bandanas decorated by women who say they've experience sexual assault will rotate through four other locations, including Soledad and Greenfield, through May 7.

      The month-long project is focused on raising awareness of sexual violence and harassment against women farm workers and bringing it to an end.

      Many of the women use clothing, including

      bandanas, to hide their faces and bodies at the fields in hopes of staving off sexual harassment. In tribute, about 30 women in the project have decorated white bandanas with messages signifying their opposition.

      The bandanas, with simple, empowering messages and images standing starkly against the white-colored cloth, covered one wall inside the bakery.

      In one of the displays, green-colored eyes were drawn peeking out from a blue bandana. Underneath the drawing were words in Spanish that read: "I don't need to hide my face to get respect."

      "(Sexual harassment and assault) happens a lot," said Marcela Zamora, an administrative and legal assistant with CRLA, "but unfortunately for the women, it takes a lot for them to come out."

      According to CRLA, 90 percent of farm-worker women surveyed throughout the state noted sexual harassment as a significant issue.

      Michael Marsh, a Salinas-based attorney with CRLA and director of the Agriculture Workers Health Program, said a third of the cases he handles involve sexual harassment of farm-worker women. Assaults usually occur in the fields, Marsh said, and can come from coworkers, supervisors and even company owners.

      "A lot of the women don't know their rights, or are afraid to come forward and lose their jobs," he said. "I think in some ways, the feminist movement occurred in the cities, but passed the fields."

      Copyright ©2008 Salinas Californian




      UN links up with Google Earth to help refugees

      GENEVA (AFP) — The United Nations refugee agency on Tuesday unveiled a new partnership with Internet giant Google to help track refugees from Iraq to Darfur and raise public awareness of its work.

      The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) launched its new service using the "Google Earth Outreach" programme, which allows organisations to add their own data and information as a "layer" on top of the existing Google Earth service.

      The UNHCR layer shows three of the agency's main refugee operations -- Iraq, Darfur and Colombia -- as well as providing an overview of its structure, mandate and wider operations.

      Users can click on an icon of a camp for Darfur refugees in Chad, for example, and read pop-up windows detailing everyday life for the refugees, their histories and the challenges aid agencies face in ensuring their health and livelihoods.

      "Google Earth is a very powerful way for UNHCR to show the vital work that it is doing in some of the world's most remote and difficult displacement situations," said UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner Craig Johnstone.
      "By showing our work in its geographical context, we can really highlight the issues we face and how we tackle them," he added.

      Johnstone stressed that the agency had to change how it works to keep pace with technological developments as well as the increasing complexity of refugee issues, with economic migration and displacement due to climate change adding to traditional patterns of refugees forced from their homes by conflict.

      "We're putting more people out in the field, trying to be as slim as we possibly can at the headquarters level, really working extremely hard to stay abreast of change," he told a presentation of the new Google service at the agency's base here.

      "The opportunity to work with Google to sort of help us in that process I think is a fantastic opportunity for the UNHCR," he added.

      Rebecca Moore, head of the Google Earth Outreach programme, said the aim was to addresss what to many people is an abstract construct, and "take" them there on a virtual trip, so they can gain an intuitive understanding of what is at stake.

      Copyright © 2008 AFP. All rights reserved.




      special series, Immigration Nation, continues Wednesday night only on

      © MMVIII, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.



      0408 07

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