Lack of healthcare turns federal detention into a death sentence for some immigrants.
- in this e-mail:
(1) Bush administration steps up immigration raids
(3) South Texas environmental groups sue DHS over Chertoff waivers
| RioGrandeGuardian.com | news source for the border. You can see this page at: http://www.riograndeguardian.com/rggnews_story.asp?story_no=16
(4) More illegal immigrants are being charged criminally in Austin*
*This article can also be accessed if you copy and paste the entire address below into your web browser.
(5) Slaughterhouse fiasco*
*This article can also be accessed if you copy and paste the entire address below into your web browser.
(6) (a) Immigration raid spurs calls for action against employers
Immigration raid spurs calls for action vs. owners - NYTimes.com
The New York Times
BUSINESS | June 1, 2008
Immigration raid spurs calls for action vs. owners
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- After the biggest immigration raid in U.S. history, hundreds of workers have been sentenced but not one company official as yet faces any charges -- something critics say is typical of a federal government that is tough on employees but easy on owners.
--------------------(8) Drugs in '70s, no green card now
A lethal limbo for migrants
Lack of healthcare turns federal detention into a death sentence for some
By Sandra Hernandez
June 1 2008
In May 2007, Victoria Arellano, a 23-year-old transgender immigrant from Mexico,
was sent to a detention center in San Pedro after being arrested on a traffic
The complete article can be viewed at:
(9) VIDEO: Lou Dobbs vs. Lou Dobbs
(10) Swiss to Decide on Secret Votes by Public on Citizenship Candidates - NYTimes.com
The New York Times
INTERNATIONAL / EUROPE | June 1, 2008
Swiss to Decide on Secret Votes by Public on Citizenship Candidates
By UTA HARNISCHFEGER
The referendum has been put forward by a right-wing party that wants to change naturalization by public approval to a secret vote, the result of which could not be challenged.
(11) Subject: Obama on Immigration [one paragraph of possible interest selected from speech:]
"...And we must tap the vast resource of our own immigrant population to advance each part of our agenda. One of the troubling aspects of our recent politics has been the anti-immigrant sentiment that has flared up, and been exploited by politicians come election time. We need to understand that immigration - when done legally - is a source of strength for this country. Our diversity is a source of strength for this country. When we join together - black, white, Hispanic, Asian, and native American - there is nothing that we can't accomplish. Todos somos Americanos!
Together, we can choose the future over the past..."for the full text of Barack Obama's Speech to the Cuban American National Foundation, on Cuban liberty and US policies click here:
http://www.blackcom mentator. com/279/279_ obama_cuban_ american_ speech.html
Day Laborers Reflect on Nonviolence at Mission San
Luis Rey conference:
nytimes.com - The New York Times - May 27, 2008
With Migrant Workers in Short Supply, a Farmer Looks to Machines
(14) Active-Duty Soldier Suicides Hit New High
Bush administration steps up immigration raids
By STEWART M. POWELL
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is vowing to carry out its
unprecedented crackdown on undocumented immigrants for the remainder of
the year — without regard to any political fallout during the
In a sign of its resolve, agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement, or ICE, have detained 1,755 people in raids conducted in
Nearly 3,700 illegal immigrants have been arrested in dozens of
business sweeps since October, immigration officials told the Houston
Chronicle, far ahead of the previous year's pace.
Houston has seen the results of stepped-up enforcement as well. A total
of 1,037 fugitive immigrants have been arrested by federal agents in
the Houston area in the first seven months of the fiscal year — a
monthly rate 44 percent higher than the previous year.
Identification of illegal immigrants held in prisons also has surged in
the Houston area, with more than 5,000 located in the first four months
of the current fiscal year — a rate 63 percent higher than a year
Julie Myers, who heads the immigration agency, said ICE personnel will
press dramatic enforcement operations until the moment the Bush
administration leaves office Jan. 20, 2009.
"We will continue enforcement of the law," she said. "What we try to do
is to try to stay out of the (election-year) rhetoric and do our job
and do it well."
But there are signs that high-profile raids on work sites, mounting
deportations and SWAT-team-style arrests of fugitive immigrants that
galvanize some pro-enforcement conservative voters also may alienate
some Latino voters, potentially driving them toward likely Democratic
presidential nominee Barack Obama.
Fear among Hispanics
The Bush administration remains "hell bent on moving ahead with this
strategy no matter what the cost," said Cecilia Muñoz, a senior vice
president at the National Council of La Raza, the nation's largest
national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. "This is for
Repeated immigration sweeps have prompted some 12th generation
Mexican-Americans to carry their U.S. passports to prove their American
citizenship, Muñoz said.
A backlash among Latinos could make it harder for presumptive
Republican nominee John McCain to match George W. Bush's performance in
the Hispanic community. Experts estimate that Bush received between 40
percent and 44 percent of the Latino vote in 2004. The latest
nationwide Gallup Poll showed Latinos favoring Obama.
The potential shift in Hispanic support could tilt the results in
battleground states such as Florida, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado.
An above-average performance by Bush among Hispanics helped him to
carry those states in 2004 en route to a 51 percent to 48 percent
victory over Democrat John Kerry.
The Bush administration has stepped up enforcement activities since
last June when White House-backed legislation that would have blended
enforcement with a pathway to U.S. citizenship failed in the Senate.
The most highly publicized raid led to the arrest of 389 suspected
illegal workers at Agriprocessors Inc., in Postville, Iowa, on May 15.
The surge in enforcement this year is well on the way to surpassing the
4,490 arrests at businesses for criminal and administrative violations
in the last fiscal year.
A necessary step
Deportations are expected to exceed the 282,548 immigrants sent home
last year as well. Prosecutions of illegal immigrants inside the
nation's prisons also are on track to exceed the 164,000 prisoners
identified as undocumented immigrants last year.
The administration's move has been hailed by leading supporters of an
enforcement-only approach to immigration.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who has pressed plans for building a
fence along the U.S.-Mexico border in his San Diego congressional
district, calls increased enforcement operations "an important and
ICE's Myers makes it clear that the administration would prefer to
include enforcement as part of a more comprehensive approach to
immigration law reform rather than standing alone as a lightning rod
"We are very disappointed that comprehensive immigration enforcement
did not pass — very disappointed," Myers said. "But we are enforcing
the law Congress had on the books."
McCain sees the enforcement effort as a necessary first step to win
public support before enacting any sweeping overhaul, which would
balance enforcement with a guest worker program and a path to
Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton have voiced support for enforcing
existing immigration laws as they press for a broader overhaul that has
yet to come together.
Andy Hernandez, a former president of the Southwest Voter Registration
Project and co-author of the Almanac of Latino Politics, said he
suspects vigorous Bush administration enforcement operations are
designed in part to give McCain a boost.
"If you have the Republican administration looking tough with all these
raids, then people don't look at McCain's past support for reform,"
said Hernandez, who now runs the Wesley Center for Family and
Neighborhood Development in Austin. "This offensive," he said, "is more
about politics than anything else."
Brought to you by the HoustonChronicle.com
===================================================================http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/sunday/commentary/la-op-hernandez1-2008jun01,0,4800385.storyFrom the Los Angeles Times
A lethal limbo for migrantsLack of healthcare turns federal detention into a death sentence for some immigrants.By Sandra Hernandez
June 1, 2008
In May 2007, Victoria Arellano, a 23-year-old transgender immigrant from Mexico, was sent to a detention center in San Pedro after being arrested on a traffic charge.
Arellano, who was born a male and had come to the United States illegally as a child, had AIDS at the time of her arrest but exhibited no symptoms of the disease because of the medication she took daily. But once detained, her health began to deteriorate.She lost weight and became sick. She repeatedly pleaded with staff members at the detention center to see a doctor to get the antibiotics she needed to stay alive, according to immigrant detainees with whom Arellano shared a dormitory-style cell. But her requests were routinely ignored.
The task of caring for Arellano fell to her fellow detainees. They dampened their own towels and used them to cool her fever; they turned cardboard boxes into makeshift trash cans to collect her vomit. As her condition worsened, the detainees, outraged that Arellano was not being treated, staged a strike: They refused to get in line for the nightly head count until she was taken to the detention center's infirmary.
Officials relented, and Arellano was sent to the infirmary, then to a hospital nearby. But after two days there -- and after having spent two months at the federally operated facility -- she died of an AIDS-related infection. Her family has taken steps to file a wrongful-death claim against the federal government.
The treatment Arellano received in San Pedro, unfortunately, is typical of what passes for healthcare at about 400 immigrant detention centers across the U.S. More than 70 immigrant detainees have died in custody since 2004, at least 13 of them in California, more than in any other state, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The reason may shock you. Unlike federal and state prisons, immigrant detention centers, many of which are run by private contractors, are not legally mandated to abide by any healthcare standards when it comes to treating sick immigrants. Civil and immigrant rights groups have filed suit in New York to force federal officials to issue such rules, but the Department of Homeland Security, which has jurisdiction in the matter, has yet to produce them. In the absence of legally binding standards, detained immigrants, such as Arellano, have no legal way to complain about the lax healthcare they receive at the facilities where they are held. They cannot appeal the denial of care or sue in federal court to obtain it.
What medical care is available is often delayed, or denied, while doctors and nurses at the facilities await approval from officials in Washington, who can deny crucial care without explanation.
Most of the 30,000 immigrants detained at these centers do not face criminal charges. Many are there for civil violations. Some have overstayed a visa. Others seek asylum. Still others are legal residents who suddenly could be deported because they have committed crimes that were formerly misdemeanors -- such as shoplifting -- but have been upgraded to felonies by a 1996 law that sought to deter illegal immigration by making it easier to deport those who are in the country illegally.
Detention at these centers is the fastest-growing form of incarceration in the U.S. in terms of the sheer number of detainees -- more than 300,000 in 2007 -- passing through the system.
Because they face civil charges, most of the immigrant detainees are not entitled to a public defender. As a result, they must wage their civil rights battles, including the fight to obtain healthcare, from facilities that are often in remote rural areas where there are few pro bono groups or pro-immigrant advocates.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement has repeatedly told Congress that it spends millions of dollars on medical care for detained immigrants facing deportation. But many of the immigrants are already sick when detained, and the public health nurses and doctors at the detention centers are too overwhelmed to treat them adequately.
Daniel Javier Solando, a Honduran immigrant turned over to ICE after serving time in a California state prison for bankruptcy fraud, witnessed Arellano's final days. He is appealing a deportation order and faces months, even years, in detention while his case makes its way through a court system burdened by a backlog of similar cases. As a result, Solando fears that he too might die because he won't get the medicine he needs to control his high blood pressure. Currently held at a detention center in Florence, Ariz., he has twice been rushed to an emergency room in the city. His medical records, provided to me by his pro bono attorney, indicate at least one of those visits might have been because he had a seizure.
Last month, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) introduced a bill, the Detainee Basic Medical Care Act, that would require the Department of Homeland Security to adopt mandatory standards for care, allow detainees to appeal denial of care and require all deaths at detention centers to be reported to the department's inspector general and to the Department of Justice within 48 hours.
Hopefully the bill will not get lost in today's polarized debate about immigration. If it does, and more people are allowed to die because of a lack of care, the detention centers will become one of the most shameful chapters in this nation's troubled immigration history.
Sandra Hernandez, a staff writer at the Daily Journal, writes about immigration for the legal newspaper.
Copyright 2008 Los Angeles Times
Immigration raid spurs calls for action against employers
By DAVID PITT
DES MOINES, Iowa — After the biggest immigration raid in U.S. history,
hundreds of workers have been sentenced but not one company official as
yet faces any charges — something critics say is typical of a federal
government that is tough on employees but easy on owners.
Worker advocates and lawmakers say the fact that nearly 400 workers
were arrested in the May 12 raid at the Agriprocessors Inc. plant in
Postville — or more than one-third of the total number of employees —
proves that company officials must have known they were hiring illegal
"Until we enforce our immigration laws equally against both employers
and employees who break the law, we will continue to have a problem
with immigration," said U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, an Iowa Democrat whose
district borders Postville.
Such raids are designed to get headlines and make it appear that the
federal government is cracking down on illegal immigration, said Frank
Sharry, executive director of the immigration reform group America's
Voice. But he says even those who think enforcement is the answer can't
seriously believe the 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. can be
arrested and deported.
"Even if you wanted to pursue an imbalanced enforcement-first strategy,
the only thoughtful way to do it would be to go after employers, make
examples of them and try to scare other employers into compliance," he
said. "They're not doing that."
The owner of the Postville plant, Aaron Rubashkin, has said that the
company is conducting its own investigation "into the circumstances
which led to the recent work site enforcement action, and is fully
cooperating with the government." He said the company could not respond
to specific allegations due to pending legal issues.
Court documents filed by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent
prior to the raid at the Postville plant indicate that authorities
believed company supervisors were violating a number of federal laws
including harboring illegal immigrants. An application and affidavit
for search warrant alleged that:
—Based on 2007 fourth-quarter payroll reports, about 78 percent of
Agriprocessors' 968 workers were using false or fraudulent Social
Security numbers in connection with their employment.
—Agriprocessors was notified by the Social Security Administration in
five separate letters of 500 Social Security number discrepancies for
each tax year from 2000 to 2005.
—A Department of Transportation investigation found that an
Agriprocessors supervisor was forcing workers to buy cars from him and
allegedly registered the cars under falsified identities. An
investigator found at least 200 cars were bought in this manner.
—The Iowa Department of Labor uncovered workplace safety problems
including 39 citations since last October. Fines of around $182,000
were reduced on Tuesday to $42,750 after the company agreed to correct
some of the violations, which included improper storage and handling of
hazardous chemicals and inadequate training in the use of respirators
and handling of blood-borne pathogens.
—Allegations of child labor law violations are under investigation by
the state. The investigation was initially halted by the ICE raid, but
have resumed, said Iowa Workforce Development spokeswoman Kerry Koonce.
If confirmed, the violations could be prosecuted as misdemeanors under
—Occupational Safety and Health Administration logs show records of
incidents that led to five amputations, dozens of reports of broken
bones, eye injuries and hearing loss at the plant between 2001 and
Immigration officials said the 389 arrests at the plant meant it was
the largest single-site immigration raid in U.S. history. Of those
arrested, 297 pleaded guilty and were sentenced. The guilty pleas
included use of false identification documents to obtain employment,
false use of a Social Security number or cards and unlawful re-entry
into the United States.
About 60 of the workers taken into custody were released for
humanitarian reasons and do not face criminal charges, while 20 others
were detained on immigration violations only and face deportation
proceedings, said Bob Teig, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in
the Iowa's northern district. Five other defendants did not enter pleas
and have cases pending in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids.
The large number of people arrested, coupled with the allegations
against Agriprocessors, has led some to conclude that the company is at
least as culpable as the workers.
"I'll be interested to see if federal authorities will be bringing any
charges against the employer," Braley said in a telephone interview.
Braley has questioned the cost of the Postville raid as well as an
operation at Swift & Co. plants in Marshalltown and five other Midwest
cities in 2006. Although federal agents arrested about 1,300 workers in
raids at the Swift plants, Braley noted that no top company officials
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials told Braley they didn't
have a cost estimate for the Swift raids.
Although it primarily has been Democrats who have questioned why few
company officials are charged in immigration raids, the Republican
congressman who represents Postville also expressed disappointment
about how that operation was handled.
James Carstensen, a spokesman for Rep. Tom Latham, said he views the
raid as a blow to families seeking a better life and for the community,
which is suffering economically.
"It's a tragedy of an immigration system that is absolutely broken and
the tragedy of an enforcement system that is probably not working as
effectively as promised by the Bush administration," Carstensen said.
Rep. Timothy Bishop, D-New York, raised concerns about the federal
action during a May 20 hearing of the Workforce Protections
Subcommittee of the House Committee on Education and Labor.
"Is it not reasonable to assume that if over a third of the work force
employed at this plant violated labor law in one form or another that
management has to have some complicity in those violations?" he asked
James Spero, a deputy assistant director for Immigration and Customs
Spero answered that he couldn't comment on a potential ongoing
investigation but said immigration enforcement at workplaces does
include investigations into violations by management and owners.
"The goal for our work site operations is to target and develop cases
against the egregious employers who are committing violations," he
Spero said investigations of the employers often take more time, and
noted that agents in Postville had search warrants and seized numerous
documents from the company.
Kelly Nantel, a spokeswoman for the agency, said in a statement that it
targets employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens, but "must build
worksite investigations in stages.
"Developing sufficient evidence against employers requires complex,
white-collar crime investigations that can take years to bear fruit,"
The agency said it filed criminal charges against more than 90
individuals in company supervisory positions last year. That is out of
a total of 863 people who were charged with crimes during the year and
4,000 administrative arrests.
Agriprocessors, established in 1987 when Brooklyn, N.Y., butcher Aaron
Rubashkin bought a shuttered meatpacking plant, is now the nation's
largest kosher meatpacking facility. The owner's son, Sholom Rubashkin,
has been running the Postville operation.
However, the company said in its statement that it was seeking a new
chief executive for the Postville operation.
"The best course of action for the company, its employees, the local
community and our customers is to bring new leadership to
Agriprocessors," Rubashkin said in the statement.
The plant was closed on the day of the raid, but resumed operation the
next day at a reduced level.
Company officials said they were hiring replacement employees and were
working with immigration officials to "help us bolster our compliance
efforts to employ only properly documented employees."
On the Web
Agriprocessors Inc.: http://www.agriprocessor.com
Immigration and Customs Enforcement: http://www.ice.gov
Brought to you by the HoustonChronicle.com
========================================================================As Sunland Park resident Martha Venegas watered her lush front lawn, in a neighborhood shadowed ...
Jesse James DeConto, Staff Writer
Drugs in '70s, no green card now
Terry VanDuzee and his wife lived the first two years of their marriage apart -- he in Canada, she in Hillsborough -- so he could enter the U.S. legally.Staff Writer
Terry VanDuzee and his wife lived the first two years of their marriage apart -- he in Canada, she in Hillsborough -- so he could enter the U.S. legally.For the complete story ... http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1092188.htmlCopyright The News & Observer Publishing Co., Raleigh, NC