Ill and in Pain, Detainee Dies in U.S. Hands
- in this e-mail:
(1) NY Times - Ill and in Pain, Detainee Dies in U.S. Hands
(2) chicagotribune. com - Immigrant's death splits blue-collar town
(3) South Florida Sun-Sentinel. com - Notaries preying on undocumented immigrants, attorneys say
(4) To: Northwest Immigrant Rights Project News
Subject: Settlement Reached in Lawsuit Challenging Unreasonable Delays Granting Citizenship
(5) Expose the Total Hypocrisy of
(6) city council passes immigrant-friendly ordinance
(7) Subject: NLG lawsuit filed
http://www.chron. com/disp/ story.mpl/ ap/tx/5939149. html
UTEP launches border security, immigration program
(9) Aides in U.S. Hiring Scandal Won't Be Prosecuted, Mukasey Says
From: Peter Goselin <pdgoselin@lapm. org>
To: nyc-immigrantalert@ lists.riseup. net
Sent: Tue, 12 Aug 2008 9:41 am
Subject: [nyc-immigrantalert ] city council passes immigrant-friendly ordinance
Last night the Hartford, Connecticut city council voted unanimously in favor of an immigrant-friendly ordinance that bars police and other city employees from inquiring about or reporting immigration status. While still awaiting the mayor's signature, the passage is a big win for immigration activists in Connecticut. For a report on the ordinance:
http://hartfordimc. org/blog/ 2008/08/12/ hartford- city-council- votes-unanimousl y-to-support- immigrant- rights/
The New York Times
August 13, 2008
Ill and in Pain, Detainee Dies in U.S. Hands
By NINA BERNSTEIN
He was 17 when he came to New York from Hong Kong in 1992 with his
parents and younger sister, eyeing the skyline like any newcomer.
Fifteen years later, Hiu Lui Ng was a New Yorker: a computer engineer
with a job in the Empire State Building, a house in Queens, a wife who
is a United States citizen and two American-born sons.
But when Mr. Ng, who had overstayed a visa years earlier, went to
immigration headquarters in Manhattan last summer for his final
interview for a green card, he was swept into immigration detention
and shuttled through jails and detention centers in three New England
In April, Mr. Ng began complaining of excruciating back pain. By
mid-July, he could no longer walk or stand. And last Wednesday, two
0A days after his 34th birthday, he died in the custody of Immigration
and Customs Enforcement in a Rhode Island hospital, his spine
fractured and his body riddled with cancer that had gone undiagnosed
and untreated for months.
On Tuesday, with an autopsy by the Rhode Island medical examiner under
way, his lawyers demanded a criminal investigation in a letter to
federal and state prosecutors in Rhode Island, Connecticut,
Massachusetts and Vermont, and the Department of Homeland Security,
which runs the detention system.
Mr. Ng's death follows a succession of cases that have drawn
Congressional scrutiny to complaints of inadequate medical care, human
rights violations and a lack of oversight in immigration detention, a
rapidly growing network of publicly and privately run jails where the
government held more than 300,000 people in the last year while
deciding whether to deport them.
In federal court affidavits, Mr. Ng's lawyers contend that when he
complained of severe pain that did not respond to analgesics, and grew
too weak to walk or even stand to call his family from a detention pay
phone, officials accused him of faking his condition. They denied him
a wheelchair and refused pleas for an independent medical evaluation.
Instead, the affidavits say, guards at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention
Facility in Central Falls, R.I., dragged him from his bed on July 30,
carried him in shackles to a car, bruising his arms and legs, and
drove him two hours to a federal lockup in Hartford, where an
immigration officer pressured him to withdraw all pending appeals of
his case and accept deportation.
"For this desperately sick, vulnerable person, this was torture," said
Theodore N. Cox, one of Mr. Ng's lawyers, adding that they want to see
a videotape of the transport made by guards.
Immigration and detention officials would not discuss the case, saying
the matter was under internal investigation. But in response to a
relative of Mr. Ng's who had begged that he be checked for a spinal
injury or fractures, the Wyatt detention center's director of nursing,
Ben Candelaria, replied in a July 16 e-mail message that Mr. Ng was
receiving appropriate care for "chronic back pain." He added, "We
treat each and every detainee in our custody with the same high level
of quality, professional care possible."
Officials have given no explanation why they took Mr. Ng to Hartford
and back on the same day. But the lawyers say the grueling July 30
trip appeared to be an effort to prove that Mr. Ng was faking illness,
and possibly to thwart the habeas corpus petition they had filed in
Rhode Island the day before, seeking his release for medical treatment.
The federa l judge who heard that petition on July 31 did not make a
ruling, but in an unusual move insisted that Mr. Ng get the care he
needed. On Aug. 1, Mr. Ng was taken to a hospital, where doctors found
he had terminal cancer and a fractured spine. He died five days later.
The accounts of Mr. Ng's treatment echo other cases that have prompted
legislation, now before the House Judiciary Committee, to set
mandatory standards for care in immigration detention.
In March, the federal government admitted medical negligence in the
death of Francisco Castaneda, 36, a Salvadoran whose cancer went
undiagnosed in a California detention center as he was repeatedly
denied a biopsy on a painful penile lesion. In May, The New York Times
chronicled the death of Boubacar Bah, 52, a Guinean tailor who
suffered a skull fracture and brain hemorrhages in the Elizabeth
Detention Center in New Jersey; records show he was left in an
isolation cell without treatment for more than 13 hours.
When Mr. Ng died last week, he had spent half his life in the United
States, his sister, Wendy Zhao, said in a tearful interview.
Born in China, he entered the United States legally on a tourist visa.
Mr. Ng stayed on after it expired and applied for political asylum. He
was granted a work permit while his application was pending, and
though asylum was eventually denied, immigration authorities did not
seek his deportation for many years.
Meanwhile, his sister said, Mr. Ng (pronounced Eng), who was known as
Jason, graduated from high school in Long Island City, Queens, worked
his way through community technical college, passed Microsoft training
courses and won a contract to provide computer services to a company
with offices in the Empire State Building.
In 2001, a notice ordering him to appear in immigration court was
mistakenly sent to a nonexistent address, records show. When Mr. Ng
did not show up at the hearing, the judge ordered him deported. By
then, however, he was getting married, and on a separate track, his
wife petitioned Citizenship and Immigration Services for a green card
for him — a process that took more than five years. Heeding bad legal
advice, the couple showed up for his green card interview on July 19,
2007, only to find enforcement agents waiting to arrest Mr. Ng on the
old deportation order.
Over the next year, while his family struggled to pay for new lawyers
to wage a complicated and expensive legal battle, Mr. Ng was held in
jails under contract to the federal immigration authorities: Wyatt;
the House of Correction in Greenfield, Mass.; and the Franklin County
Jail in St. Albans, Vt.
Mr. Ng seemed healthy until April, his sister s aid, when he began to
complain of severe back pain and skin so itchy he could not sleep. He
was then in the Vermont jail, a 20-bed detention center with no
medical staff run by the county sheriff's office. Seeking care, he
asked to be transferred back to Wyatt, a 700-bed center with its own
medical staff, owned and operated by a municipal corporation.
In a letter to his sister, Mr. Ng recounted arriving there on July 3,
spending the first three days in pain in a dark isolation cell. Later
he was assigned an upper bunk and required to climb up and down at
least three times a day for head counts, causing terrible pain. His
brother-in-law B. Zhao appealed for help in e-mail messages to the
warden, Wayne Salisbury, on July 11 and 16.
"I was really heartbroken when I first saw him," Mr. Zhao wrote Mr.
Salisbury after a visit. "After almost two weeks of suffering with
unbearable back pain and unable to get any sleep, he was so weak and
The nursing director replied that Mr. Ng had been granted a bottom
bunk and was receiving painkillers and muscle relaxants prescribed by
a detention center doctor.
But his condition continued to deteriorate. Once a robust man who
stood nearly six feet and weighed 200 pounds, his relatives said, Mr.
Ng looked like a shrunken and jaundiced 80-year-old.
"He said, `I told the nursing department, I'm in pain, but they don't
believe me,' " his sister recalled. " `They tell me, stop faking.' "
Soon, according to court papers, he had to rely on other detainees to
help him reach the toilet, bring him food and call his family; he no
longer received painkillers, because he could not stand in line to
collect them. On July 26, Andy Wong, a lawyer associated with Mr. Cox,
came to see the detainee, but had to leave without talking to him, he
said, because Mr. Ng was too weak to walk to the visiting area, and a
wheelchair was denied.
On July 30, according to an affidavit by Mr. Wong, he was contacted by
Larry Smith, a deportation officer in Hartford, who told him on a
speakerphone, with Mr. Ng present, that he wanted to resolve the case,
either by deporting Mr. Ng, or "releasing him to the streets." Officer
Smith said that no exam by an outside doctor would be allowed, and
that Mr. Ng would not be given a wheelchair.
Mr. Ng told his lawyer he was ready to give up, the affidavit said,
"because he could no longer withstand the suffering inside the
facility," but Officer Smith insisted that Mr. Ng would first have to
withdraw all his appeals.
The account of his treatment clearly disturbed the federal judge,
William E. Smith of United States Distr ict Court in Providence, who
instructed the government's lawyer the next day to have the warden get
Mr. Ng to the hospital for an M.R.I.
The results were grim: cancer in his liver, lungs and bones, and a
fractured spine. " `I don't have much time to live,' " his sister said
he told her in a call from Rhode Island Hospital in Providence.
She said the doctor warned that if the family came to visit,
immigration authorities might transfer her brother. Three days passed
before the warden approved a family visit, she said, after demanding
their Social Security numbers. Late in the afternoon of Aug. 5, as Mr.
Ng lay on a gurney, hours away from death and still under guard, she
and his wife held up his sons, 3 and 1.
"Brother, don't worry, don't be afraid," Ms. Zhao said, repeating her
last words to him. "They are not going to send you back to the
facility again. Brother, you are free now."
Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
http://www.nytimes. com/2008/ 08/13/nyregion/ 13detain. html
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www.chicagotribune. com/news/ nationworld/ chi-hatecrimeaug 12,0,4994865. story
RACE IN AMERICA
Immigrant's death splits blue-collar town
White teens accused of targeting Latino
By Antonio Olivo
Chicago Tribune correspondent
August 12, 2008
SHENANDOAH, Pa. — Under an elliptical moon, the sight of an illegal
Mexican immigrant alone with a 15-year-old hometown girl seemed to
push the beer-fueled high school football players into deadly violence.
"Isn't it a little late for you guys to be out?" one teen reportedly
asked Luis Eduardo Ramirez, 25, and the girl as they walked near a
park after 11 p.m. one Saturday last month. "Get your Mexican
boyfriend out of here!"
Ethnic slurs ricocheted in the night, echoing what many have muttered
for years in this crumbling mountainside town that was once the
thriving jewel of Pennsylvania' s coal country. Then, fists flew, and
one teen, an honor student, reportedly delivered a skull-shattering
kick to the head, killing Ramirez.
This pocket of blue-collar America, where big-band musicians Tommy and
Jimmy Dorsey got their start, is spinning in the ugly vortex of the
nation's racially charged war over illegal Immigration. Federal
officials have launched an investigation into last month's murder to
determine if it is part of a rising trend of anti-Latino
around the country.
"We are reaping what we, as a nation, have [sown]," said Mark Potok,
spokesman for the , which tracks hate
Feds helping case
With Mexicans the focus of anger over illegal Immigration, reported
hate crimes against Latinos increased to 576 in 2006, or 25 percent
more than three years before, according to the most recent FBI report
on such incidents. Latino activists argue the trend has only gotten
worse as the debate rages over . In Illinois,
anecdotal evidence suggests hate crimes have risen since 2006, when
there were six, according to the Mexican American Legal Defense and
Though no federal charges have been filed in the Shenandoah case, the
Justice Department's civil rights division is aiding local
prosecutors, a department spokeswoman said.
The has charged Brandon Piekarsky,
16, and Colin Walsh, 17, as adults with murder and "ethnic
intimidation, " which covers hate crimes. Derrick Donchak, 18, has been
charged with aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation. Another
17-year-old faces the same charges in juvenile court. All have pleaded
As a approaches next week, the case has further
divided=2 0a community of wilting row houses and boarded-up businesses
that has grown more tense since Latin American immigrants began
arriving during the mid-1990s.
"One has fear of getting caught walking the streets at night, only to
get the same as him," said Jorge Perez, owner of a Mexican grocery
store. The grocery faces a memorial to the European immigrant miners
who helped build the town to 30,000 residents before the coal economy
crashed during the late 1950s. Today, about 5,600 people live in
A 20-minute drive from Hazleton—the site of an earlier controversy
over illegal Immigration—Shenando ah has a Latino population that has
jumped in the past decade from three families to about 500 people,
town officials say.
While older families lost jobs and moved out, the arriving Mexicans,
Puerto Ricans and Dominicans landed work picking cherries or pruning
pine Christmas trees.
The resentment over deteriorating neighborhoods and new
Spanish-speaking neighbors who keep to themselves has fueled local
reactions to Ramirez's murder. Some suggest he provoked the fight.
No criminal history
Ramirez, a father of two who held down a factory job and another one
picking cherries, had no criminal history, District Atty. James
Goodman said. He arrived illegally in 2003, friends said.
His co nnection to the 15-year-old girl remains unclear.
Though they say Ramirez was hard-working and devoted to his family,
friends say he was seeing the girl. Her sister, Crystal Dillman, 24,
is the mother of Ramirez's two children, ages 1 and 2. Dillman said
she and Ramirez were engaged, and that he assumed the role of an older
brother to her sister. The 15-year-old was unavailable.
Roger , an attorney for Walsh, said the boys had seen Ramirez
and the girl together at the high school.
"You see a 15-year-old white girl with a person you believe to be a
gangster or a thug: What's wrong with this picture?" said Laguna.
"Most of us keep it to ourselves, but you've got 17-year-olds out
there being rude and dumb; they broached the topic."
Laguna, seeking to move the case to juvenile court, describes what
happened as a street brawl gone awry.
In a town that reveres its Blue Devils football team, the murder case
is as much about the teens' future. Piekarsky and Walsh were honor
roll students. Donchak was the starting quarterback before graduating
last spring. Their families wouldn't comment.
"Those kids don't need to be gone [in prison] for 17, 18 years," said
Bob Seigel, 48. Nearby, his teenage daughter smacked her fist to her
palm, while others laughed, in mock preparation for what some fear
will be ethnic retaliation.
Community leaders worry about such reaction. Two years ago, officials
unsuccessfully attempted to pass an ordinance modeled after one in
Hazleton that would have punished landlords for renting to illegal
immigrants. Now, they are forming an advisory council to help build
better relations with Latinos.
"Some families are even afraid to send their kids to school," said
Andrew Szczyglak, Shenandoah City Council president, referring to
comments during a candlelight vigil for Ramirez last month that drew
about 200 people. "That shouldn't be."
, a sociology professor at Boston's Northeastern University
who has written books on hate crimes, said he could see it coming.
In a 24-hour news culture, where blogs, talk radio and cable TV
provide a steady torrent of negative stereotypes about illegal
immigrants, Latinos are primed as potential victims, Levin said.
Friends described Ramirez as the reserved son of an abused mother,
sending much of what he earned back to her in Guanajuato, Mexico.
In her apartment, Dillman said Ramirez had assumed the role of father
to her eldest daughter, 3, from another relationship.
"He would do anything for these kids," Dillman said. "He'd walk around
in ripped-up jeans and an old shirt so they could have nice clothes."
Copyright © 2008,
sun-sentinel. com/news/ local/southflori da/sfl-flrndnota riosbaug12, 0,5070966. story
South Florida Sun-Sentinel. com
Notaries preying on undocumented immigrants, attorneys say
By Tal Abbady
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
August 12, 2008
Over the years, word had spread in his Jupiter neighborhood. If you
want a driver's license, go to a notario. Need a work permit? The
notario can arrange it.
So Edgar, undocumented and eager for a pass out of the fringes of the
law, walked into a notary public's office and plunked down more than $500.
The Mexican native obtained the documents — along with a deportation
Attorneys say hundreds of undocumented immigrants in Florida and
around the country are victims of notaries who engage in the
by providing legal advice and filing
immigration- related documentation on their behalf — work a notary is
not auth orized to do.
Asylum applicants are eligible for and driver's licenses
while their cases are pending. But a frivolous asylum application
filed in order to obtain the license can result in a deportation
order, according to several attorneys familiar with the practice.
"There's a lot of confusion as to what these companies can and can't
do," said Janet Morgan, the bar counsel in the ' s who is investigating complaints
filed against notaries. "There can be terrible results for people who
go in and rely on a non-lawyer to prepare the right application for them."
Edgar, 27, said he went to notary Fabian Sosa in 2006. He
said he signed documentation for what he was told was a temporary work
permit and a driver's license. With a receipt from the transaction, he
was able to get a license at a Department of Motor Vehicles office.
In fact, Edgar and his attorney said, the receipt was for an asylum
application. In July 2007, Edgar was ordered before an immigration
judge who told him his request for asylum was denied. He was dumbfounded.
"I never asked for asylum," said Edgar, who last name is being
withheld because he is still trying to obtain legal status. "I know as
a Mexican I'm not eligible."
Sosa declined to comment on Edgar's case.
Notarios, or notaries, have broad legal powers in Mexico and
throughout , and immigrants often assume their role is
similar here. But in the U.S., notaries are limited to taking oaths,
authenticating certain documents and acting largely as a typing
service. Officials say that hasn't stopped many notaries from
advertising legal services in heavily immigrant neighborhoods in order
to draw desperate clients to their storefront operations. The
unlicensed practice of20law is a third-degree felony in Florida.
"Notaries are seizing upon fears and rumors of raids, pickups and
deportations, " said Linda Osberg-Braun, president of the South Florida
chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. "They often
represent themselves to be lawyers and sell hope where hope does not
Osberg-Braun said the association would soon launch a Spanish-language
radio campaign in South Florida to help educate immigrants about
"These people are getting rich on other people's pain. People need
better information so they don't keep falling into these traps, " said
The Florida Bar Association opened 659 unlicensed practice of law
complaints, 163 of them immigration- related, in the 2007-2008 fiscal
year, Morgan said. Thirty-seven complaints have been filed in 2008
against Sosa, owner of Las Americas Service on Dixie Highway in Lake
Worth, she said. The complaints remain open. Spokesperson Sandi Copes
said the Florida Attorney General's office also is investigating Sosa
for allegedly providing deceptive immigration services through his
company, Sur America Travel, Inc.
Sosa, who opened his business 18 years ago, denied the allegations
that he had engaged in the unlicensed practice of law.
He said immigration attorneys often blame notaries as a tactic to get
a stay of deportation from a judge. He said his agency simply provided
a translation service and at no point offered legal advice. When he
learned that some former clients who'd landed before an immigration
judge were blaming him, he began asking clients to sign a waiver
warning them false testimonials could lead to deportation. He said he
no longer provides any translations for asylum claims.
West Palm Beach immigration attorney Aileen Josephs was able to halt
Edgar's deportation, but said she knows of dozens of other cases in
Palm Beach County that ended with forced removals and devastated families.
"The federal government is going after these immigrants with the
pretense that they are fugitives of the law. But these fugitives are
victims of people who have abused their vulnerability, " Josephs said.
When asked about the allegations made by Josephs and Edgar, Sosa said
he did not know the attorney and that he would not comment further.
Josephs said she had spoken with Sosa about the allegations, but had
not filed a complaint.
Aura, 26, a Guatemalan native who lives in Jupiter, regrets the day
her partner consulted a notario. (It was not Sosa.)
Jose An tonio Melgar, 28, was deported to his native Honduras three
months ago after the asylum claim a notary filed on his behalf was
denied and authorities flagged him. He left behind two children,
including a 2-year-old son who often refuses to sleep or eat since
witnessing his father's arrest.
"You fill out a form and then this happens," Aura said. "Nobody warns
Copyright © 2008, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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==============================================NEWSFor Immediate R elease Contact: Matt Adams, NWIRP,August 12, 2008 Sarah Dunne, ACLU of Washington,Seattle, WASettlement Reached in Lawsuit ChallengingUnreasonable Delays in Granting CitizenshipNorthwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), the ACLU Foundation of Washington (ACLU-WA), and the law firms of class action lawsuit.
and today announced that they had reached a preliminary settlement agreement with the federal government in a landmark
The case, Roshandel, et al. v. Chertoff, et al., challenges the Department of Homeland Security's unlawful delays in processing the applications for naturalization of hundreds of legal in Western Washington. Under the preliminary settlement, the government has agreed to complete the citizenship process for hundreds of individuals i n time for them to register to vote in the November general election."The government's failure to act unfairly had left many people in limbo. Now they will be able to vote and participate fully in civic life," said Sarah Dunne, legal director of the ACLU of Washington."We are pleased that through this agreement, hundreds of lawful permanent residents will finally have their naturalization applications adjudicated, as the law requires," said Matt Adams, legal director of NWIRP.Under federal law, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is required to make a decision on citizenship applications within 120 days of the naturalization interview. DHS routinely failed to comply with this timeframe, however. The Department has disregarded this deadline in order for the FBI to conduct "name checks" that are not required by regulation or statute, and even though the applicants have already been cleared through separate FBI criminal background checks. As a result, many applicants have been waiting for years to become citizens, for no good reason.The case was filed in October 2007 on behalf of four legal permanent residents who had waited years for the government to make a decision on their requests to become citizens. In April 2008, Judge Marsha Pechman certified the suit as a to cover the numerous other people affected by the government's inaction. In granting class certification, Judge Pechman rejected the government's arguments asserting that the inability to vote does not prevent individuals from fully participating in our democracy: "This suggestion that Plaintiffs should be resigned to participate vicariously in civic society is shocking, offensive, and wrong. It echoes the sentiments of those who challenged woman's suffrage, suggesting that women should be content to participate in the political process vicariously through their husbands' votes."Through the lawsuit, 79 individuals already have had their cases adjudicated. Under the settlement agreement, the cases of 283 lawful permanent residents will be finalized by September 19. This group will be able to register to vote in time for the regular mail-in registration deadline of October 4. The remaining group of approximately 65 permanent residents will have their citizenship applications adjudicated by voter registration deadline of October 20 for first-time voters., in sufficient time for the in-personBecause the suit involves a class action, the preliminary settlement agreement will have to be approved by Judge Pechman. A fairness hearing is scheduled for August 28, 2008. The exact terms of the settlement are available at www.nwirp.org and www.aclu-wa. org.
Handling the case are cooperating attorneys Rita Latsinova of the law firm Stoel Rives LLP and Alfred Day of Ropes and Gray LLP; ACLU of Washington attorney Sarah Dunne; and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project attorneys Matt Adams and Christopher Strawn.* * *Northwest Immigrant Rights Project promotes justice for low-income immigrants by pursuing and defending their legal status. We focus on providing direct legal services, supported by our education and public policy work. NWIRP is the only entity in the list of "Free Legal Services" that is given to individuals placed in removal (aka deportation) proceedings in www.nwirp.org.###============ ========= ========= =====
http://www.chron. com/disp/ story.mpl/ ap/tx/5939149. html
UTEP launches border security, immigration program
EL PASO, Texas -- The University of Texas at officially became
the home of the National Center for Border Security and Immigration on
The center, a U.S Department of Homeland Security-supported research
and degree program focused on producing border, and
immigration experts, will be a partnership with the University of
Retired Army Brigadier General Jose Riojas, executive=2 0director of the
center at UTEP, lauded the program's launch at the second day of the
fifth annual Border Security Conference.
"This is about aligning our intellectual capital ... with the needs of
DHS," Riojas said. "They've given us a challenge to make a different
and new approach."
Lt. Gen. William G. Webster, of U.S. ,
said the program would become invaluable because of the changing
"Information and intelligence exchanges are also necessary," Webster
said. "Homeland security is not just a Homeland Security or military
concern. We need to prepare a condition of anticipation. "
The center, with a six-year contract with the government, will be
awarded about a $1 million a year, but Riojas said it will also give
UTEP a chance to become a serious player in research and real-world
solutions for security concerns. Center officials also hope to have an
international presence in the future.
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Brought to you by the HoustonChronicle. com
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Subject: NLG lawsuit filed
http://www.fightbac knews.org/ 2008/08/lawsuit- filed-to- open-more- space-for- rnc-protests. htm
Lawsuit filed in MN Court to Open up more space for Anti-war, Economic
Justice Protests at RNC
St. Paul, MN - Anti-war, low-income, labor and student activists have
mounted a new legal challenge to Saint Paul's policy of curtailing
protests at the . The lawsuit, filed in
Ramsey County District Court by attorney Bruce Nestor of the , seeks to open up additional areas for p rotest at the
Republican National Convention.
"While we are marching against the war on Sept. 1, we also want to
open up more space to protest the Republican war on the poor at home
and abroad throughout the four days of the RNC. More than 95% of the
space around the Xcel center has been set aside for Republicans and
the corporate media. We can not accept that," states Angel Buechner of
the Welfare Rights Committee. Buechner is an organizer of the Poor
People's Contingent that will march in the Sept. 1 anti-war protest.
The plaintiffs in this lawsuit are:
* Welfare Rights Committee, a grassroots group of low-income
families, current and former welfare recipients and working poor that
is fighting for economic justice.
* Twin Cities Peace Campaign - Focus on Iraq, a committee that
opposes military intervention in Iraq through educational programs,
speaking events, vigils and protests.
* Tracy Molm, resident of Hennepin County, student organizer and
* Cher rene Horazuk, resident of Hennepin County, Chief Steward of
AFSCME 3800 and organizer around labor issues.
* Mick Kelly, resident of Hennepin County, wrongfully arrested in
Saint Paul for leafleting at the Obama rally in June.
Bruce Nestor of the states, "The plaintiffs
have the constitutional right to use the streets and sidewalks of the
city of Saint Paul to speak out against the war and economic injustice
at the RNC. This lawsuit seeks to protect those rights and allow for
an anti-war, social justice message to be heard by the Republican
delegates and the people of this country."
____________ _________ _______
Expose the Total Hypocrisy of U.S. Immigration Laws
By Sally Kohn, Movement Vision Lab
Posted on August 11, 2008, Printed on August 12, 2008
http://www.alternet .org/story/ 94432/
I have to confess I've never really cared about the Olympics. Since
I'm not much for sports or raw nationalism, the fusion of the two
doesn't really get me up in the morning. But I will tune in tonight to
watch Lopez Lomong -- Sudanese "Lost Boy" turned U.S. track star --
carry the American flag in the opening ceremonies. I'm sure I'll have
a tear in my eye, but also a twinge in my stomach for the profound
irony of the moment. Some might even call it hypocrisy.
For here we are in the United States, where though the price of gas is
skyrocketing, there seems to be endless fuel to feed the fires of
anti-immigrant sentiment. But the Olympics are different, I guess. Is
it the same with profe ssional sports? Or the governorship of
California? We don't like immigrants in low-wage jobs that none of us
citizens want to do, but we don't mind immigrants in the exceptionally
high-paying jobs that American-born citizens can only dream of?
What's the point complaining about an undocumented Mexican making $5
an hour in a chicken processing plant, who lost two of his fingers
because of unsafe conditions and labor violations? Shouldn't we be
more upset about Yao Ming making $15 million a year, plus endorsements?
Ah, but in America, we have a long and proud tradition of picking on
the little guy. We also have a proud tradition of taking half-hearted
moral stands. (Remember the Southern , anyone? Our
continuing tolerance of segregation after abolition? Or the Bush
Administration' s rejection of nation-building ... ?) Why bother
standing up for what's right when we can just talk about what we know
is right but then just keep doing what we've always done.
Of course I don't want the anti-immigrant hate spewers to wizen up to
their inconsistencies and expel the 33 immigrants on the U.S. Olympic
team this year, let alone a vast number of our nation's doc tors,
nurses, engineers -- and one governor. But on the other hand, it would
be refreshing if the anti-immigrant fanatics would just level with us
-- and chant "Run home immigrant" at Lopez Lomong during his 1500
meter dash, as opposed to just chanting at the far less fortunate and
far more desperate undocumented migrants who are just trying to get to
work to make a day's pay. After all, factory workers and maids and
farmworkers are easy targets. Let's see the anti-immigrant folks
really test their theories and tirades by attacking people Americans
really care about.
Because while and others will say it's just undocumented
immigrants they mean to attack, it's not true. Accusations against
also stick to legal immigrants and , especially those from Latin America -- because we don't make
much distinction between undocumented Latino immigrants working crappy
jobs for crappy wages and permanent resident or naturalized Latino
immigrants working crappy jobs for crappy wages. When < span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1218601337_11">Pat Buchanan
says on Fox News, "You've got a wholesale invasion, the greatest
invasion in human history, coming across your southern border,
changing the composition and character of your country," he's not
exactly distinguishing, is he?
And attacks against undocumented immigrants promote attacks against
all immigrants. Recall after September 11th how Bush Administration
rhetoric against "Muslim terrorists" led to a rise in hate crimes
against Muslim and Arab gas station attendants, taxi cab drivers and
other law-abiding immigrants and citizens. Lopez Lomong and Yao Ming
had better stay alert.
In our two-tiered America -- with a persistent and wide gulf between
the rich and the poor, those with power and those who are struggling,
those who have every opportunity in life and those who have none -- is
it any wonder we have a two-tiered take on immigration? In an America
where we forgive for repeated cocaine abuse but throw
the book at poor for even the most minor
offenses, in an America where we give huge tax breaks to Wal-Mart and
Exxon but refuse to raise funding for food stamps, is it any wonder we
attack low-wage undocumented workers at the bottom of our society
while celebrating immigrant athletes at the top?
You might be thinking, "But Lopez Lomong had a talent. He was a gifted
runner and because of that our country rescued him from the violence
and poverty of the Sudan." That's right. We're America. We give
everyone a chance. Tonight we'll be celebrating what Lomong made of
his opportunity. But let's not forget all the immigrants that we're
denying an opportunity to.
Sally Kohn is the director of the Movement Vision Project of the
Center for Community Change, which is interviewing hundreds of
activists across the country to determine the progressive vision for
the future of the United States.
© 2008 Movement Vision Lab All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet .org/story/ 94432/
------------ --------- --------- --------- ----Aides in U.S. Hiring Scandal Won't Be Prosecuted, Mukasey SaysBy Robert SchmidtAug. 12 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Justice Department won't prosecute former officials who discriminated against jobseekers based on their political leanings and will encourage applicants who weren't hired to reapply, Michael Mukasey said.Internal department watchdogs have issued two audits concluding that several former officials broke civil laws by vetting interns, George W. Bush. Th e posts are meant to be non-political.and immigration judges on their conservative credentials and loyalty to President``Not every wrong
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