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Take Action: Tell CA legislators it has to end. A sixth farm worker just died of heat stroke

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    in this e-mail: (1)    Cancer-Stricken Chinese National Dies in US Immigration Jail (2)    Take Action: Tell CA legislators it has to end. A sixth farm
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      Cancer-Stricken Chinese National Dies in US Immigration Jail

      Take Action: Tell CA legislators it has to end. A sixth farm worker just died of heat stroke   

      Police and Feds Set Tone for Chronicle Attack of Sanctuary Ordinance 

      What you may do to support Congressman Gutierrez

      Day Laborers and Home Depot 

      They Say They Were Born in the U.S.A. - The State Department Says Prove It   


      Cancer-Stricken Chinese National Dies in US Immigration Jail

      Another foreign national has died in a US immigration jail. Thirty-four-year-old Hiu Lui Ng of China died one week ago today after nearly a year in custody. He had been stricken with cancer that had gone undiagnosed and untreated. Ng was married to a US citizen and the father of two American-born sons. He was jailed last summer at his final interview for a green card. Attorneys for his family are demanding a criminal investigation into his detention and death. They say guards routinely ignored his complaints of back pain and even physically abused him to get him to accept deportation.


      Tell CA legislators it has to end. A sixth farm worker just died of heat stroke

      Take Action: Tell CA legislators it has to end. A sixth farm worker just died of heat stroke



      Police and Feds Set Tone for Chronicle Attack of Sanctuary Ordinance


      by Carlos Villarreal and Angela Chan, 2008-08-13

      Carelessly referencing vague sources and leading with off the cuff
      remarks by law enforcement, the San Francisco Chronicle and reporter
      Jaxon Van Derbeken have published a series of damaging articles about
      juvenile immigrant offenders and the city's sanctuary ordinance. The
      implication in the series of stories that began to appear on June 29,
      is that violent felons and crack dealers are taking advantage of the
      City's Sanctuary Ordinance and specifically a policy at the Juvenile
      Probation Department that has shielded felons, according to the
      Chronicle spin, from deportation at taxpayers' expense. A few major
      facts rarely tempered this incitement of reactionaries: the juvenile
      court system is very different from the adult criminal courts, the
      Sanctuary Ordinance never dictated the various tactics use d by the
      Juvenile Probation Department, and the Sanctuary Ordinance doesn't
      cause violence. To the contrary, the ordinance encourages people to
      communicate with law enforcement and other government agencies
      regardless of immigration status.

      Instead, the reporting took the lead from the former head of the SFPD
      narcotics unit, Captain Tim Hettrich and the federal prosecutor in
      charge of the San Francisco area, Joseph Russoniello. While providing
      little hard data but plen ty of hyperbole, these two did get multiple
      quotes and section headings. Their comments also framed the early
      stories on this subject for the Chronicle.

      Hettrich was quoted in a June 29 article as saying, "Some of them have
      been arrested four or five times," and "that is one of the big
      problems with being a sanctuary." Who "some of them" are was not
      clear, neither was the number of "them" who had been arrested multiple
      times or for what. The Chronicle rarely referred to "them" as children
      or youth, but more often, as "crack dealers" or "illegal immigrant
      drug dealers," i.e., lacking human worth or any reason for sympathy.

      The tax-payer-funded Russoniello was "flabbergasted that the
      taxpayers' money was being spent for the purposes of ferrying
      detainees home." What was actually best for taxpayers was not
      seriously considered, since millions of tax dollars go each ye ar to
      federal prosecutors like Russoniello, his staff, the federal courts,
      Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), border patrol agents, and

      The articles themselves may have prompted the youth to flee the group
      homes, as the Chronicle built three separate stories almost entirely
      on the young immigrants walking away from the homes. First there was a
      story about "8 crack dealers" who left; then in another story 3 more
      left a home in a different county; finally the last one to leave
      warranted a 3rd story. Some reportedly received calls ahead of time,
      perhaps warning them that they might soon be su bject to deportation.
      The Chronicle's role in creating that circumstance was never explored.
      Moreover, the Chronicle also failed to look into the percentage of
      undocumented youth that ran away from group homes prior to the
      hysteria started by the paper itself.

      Law enforcement innuendo and vague sources were commonplace in the
      series of articles. Referring to the flights home, Hettrich was quoted
      saying, "They probably get the round trip and the next day, they will
      be right back here. [emphasis added]" Paraphrasing Russoniello, Van
      Derbeken wrote, "drug dealers are being sent here as part of an effort
      that takes advantage of San Francisco's leniency." Again, without any
      real data or even specific anecdotal evidence, the message is pounded
      =0 Ainto the readers' heads: drug dealers are taking advantage of our
      liberal policies.

      When the facts seemed more solid the sources suddenly became more
      illusory. "Police" were cited as saying "many of the Hondurans - some
      of whom they believe are actually adults - live communally in other
      local cities at the behest of drug lords, who finance their travel
      here and threaten to kill their families if they cooperate with law

      Such a detailed account is crying out for a more specific source, or
      at least a statement about why the source is kept anonymous. Was Van
      Derbeken just talking to officers who were passing on rumors, or were
      there consistent statements taken from a number of the juveniles? It
      certainly adds to the underlying=2 0story of criminals taking
      advantage of San Francisco liberalism, but a reporter actually
      following the evidence trail might find it isn't true at all.

      An evenhanded and truth-seeking journalist might also explain that
      juvenile offenders are treated differently than adults and look into
      the policy reasons behind this difference. Though these offenders were
      often described as "convicted" of "felonies," neither word is
      completely accurate in the context of the juvenile system where, as
      Public Defender Jeff Adachi was quoted as saying, "The law states that
      we must act in the best interest of the20child."

      Juveniles aren't convicted in a criminal court, but receive juvenile
      dispositions in a court that is actually governed by a section of the
      family code, not the penal code. So when Mayor Gavin Newsom announces,
      under pressure from this series of Chronicle articles, that he has
      directed his "administration to work in cooperation with the federal
      government on all felony cases," he is following the Chronicle's lead
      of equating adult criminal convictions with juvenile dispositions.
      Where do they draw the line? Should 14-year-olds be deported?
      Twelve-year-olds? What about 14-year-olds who have parents here and
      who were brought here when they were 3 months old?

      The Chronicle increased the stakes on July 20. Days after a suspect
      was captured in an apparently horrendous triple homicide, and after
      the initial reporting on the juvenile policy, a headline appeared that
      read "Slaying Suspect Once Found Sanct uary in S.F." According to the
      Chronicle, the suspect, Edwin Ramos, had committed an assault and an
      attempted robbery as a teenager. Since he was undocumented, he could
      have been turned over to ICE and deported, but instead he stayed on
      city streets and may have killed three innocent people as an adult.

      But Van Derbeken had to connect a lot of dots to hype this story.
      First, Ramos was, and is, a suspect, and has pleaded not guilty.
      =0 A Second, although this fact was hidden by the sanctuary-focused
      headline, months prior to the triple homicide ICE was informed that
      Ramos was in custody over another incident and ICE officials did not
      ask the Sheriff's Department to hold him. Since the city was not going
      to file charges, he was released. So the feds were notified, and they
      did nothing. But it was the Sanctuary Ordinance, and the juvenile
      probation policy that got the bad rap throughout most of the article.

      Finally the sources, again, make this story questionable. Another
      difference between the adult criminal system and the juvenile system
      is that juvenile records are not public records. Yet, the story on
      Ramos gives a lot of details about his juvenile offenses, only
      specifying that "records indicate" and "authorities said." Ramos'
      attorney has indicated that he believes the media is passing along a
      lot of misinformation about his client, and the lack of specific
      sources in the article begs the question of whether someone with a
      political agenda is feeding information to Van Derbeken and the Chronicle.

      Whatever the sources or the motivation, the Chronicle chose to spin
      the stories in a way that equated the juvenile system with the adult
      criminal system, and blamed the Sanctuary Ordinance for increasing
      violence. At a rally in front of City Hall on July 29th, 27 community,
      faith an d advocacy groups made it clear that juveniles are treated
      differently by our laws, and ought to be treated differently
      regardless of immigration status. Speakers also emphasized that the
      Sanctuary Ordinance does not cause crime but actually helps keep
      communities safe.

      Unfortunately, these two major points neither sell newspapers nor
      drive traffic to websites. The Chronicle failed to report the Tuesday
      "pro-immigrant rally" attended by over 200 people, including three
      members of the Board of Supervisors – opting instead to give frontpage
      coverage to a rally that occurred the next very day that was organized
      by 12 people in a fringe anti-immigrant group called the Minutemen.

      As the saga continues, a family in the Mission was raided by a
      collaborative effort between ICE and San Francisco Police Department
      officers this week, and the Mayor is expected to announce a policy
      next week that refers a broad range of undocumented youth in juvenile
      hall to ICE.

      Carlos Villarreal is Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild
      - Bay Area Chapter. Angela Chan is a staff attorney at the Asian Law


      ==================================</ div>

      re: Fwd: ICE Chief Calls for Congress to Discipline Lawmaker...


      FYI -

      letters of support may be sent to

      the following Congressman Gutierrez staff person:




      The New York Times

      August 13, 2008


      Day Laborers and Home Depot

      It's rare, in the parched landscape of the immigration debate, to come
      across policies that are simple, realistic and humane. But here is
      one: The Los Angeles City Council is expected to vote on Wednesday on
      an ordinance requiring big-box home-improvement stores to protect
      order an d safety when day laborers gather in their parking lots
      looking for work.

      The ordinance is primarily aimed at Home Depot, which has 11 stores in
      Los Angeles and would like to open at least a dozen more. It would
      require new or renovating stores to have a plan for what to do when
      the day laborers show up, as they almost always do when Home Depot
      moves in.

      Like any land-use law governing things like parking-lot lighting,
      curbs and sidewalks, the ordinance treats milling crowds of laborers
      and idling trucks as an integral fact of Home Depot's business that
      should be managed before it becomes chaotic and hazardous. The
      solution is basic prevention, and could be as simple as setting up an
      area somewhere on store property with shade, toilets, drinking water
      and trash cans.

      Opposition has erupted from the usual camps. Not all day laborers are
      undocumented immigrants or even immigrants, but a lot of them are, and
      the thought of doing anything that would make their lives easier makes
      some restrictionists howl and clutch their chests. "Lounges for
      Laborers?" one headline read.

      The ordinance is as much for Home Depot's customers and neighbors as
      it is for laborers. Nobody likes parking-lot free-for-alls. And
      lawlessness goes down, not up, when a hiring site imposes order on the
      ad-hoc day-labor market.

      0A The immigration system, as it is currently malfunctioning, creates
      lots of problems. Solutions tend to be hugely ambitious and
      unrealistic — like restrictionists' calls to lock down a 2,000-mile
      border and deport millions. Los Angeles's proposed ordinance to
      require more orderly hiring sites for day laborers is a small measure
      that makes a huge amount of sense. We hope the Council approves it.

      Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company





      Subject: WSJ: State Dept. harasses Mexican Americans - refuses to
      issue passports to people living near border

      The Wall Street Journal
      August 11, 2008

      PAGE ONE

      They Say They Were Born in the U.S.A.
      The State Department Says Prove It

      An Old Scam Casts Doubt on the Citizenship
      Of Texans Delivered by Midwives

      August 11, 2008; Page A1

      WESLACO, Texas -- In the archives of local institutions, Juan Aranda's
      life is firmly rooted in this small south Texas town.
      [open interactive graphic]1

      His birth certificate says he was delivered unto Weslaco 38 years ago,
      and church records say he was baptized here soon after. School files
      list him as a student in the local district from kindergarten through
      high school, and voter rolls show he votes for president here.

      But to the U.S. State Department, all that black and white looks a lot
      like gray. It recently refused to issue Mr. Aranda a passport; the
      government isn't sure he's an American.

      "I never imagined my U.S. citizenship would be questioned," says the
      manager at a water company. "I've lived here since the day I was born."

      The problem is that Mr. Aranda was delivered by a midwife at a private
      home. Parteras, Spanish for midwives, have been part of life in Hidalgo
      and Cameron counties along the border with Mexico from the time of the
      Texas Republic and before. But in the early 1990s, dozens of midwives
      were convicted of forging U.S. birth certificates for about 15,000
      children born in Mexico as far back as the 1960s.

      As a result, the U.S. government no longer trusts that anyone in this
      region delivered by a midwife is an American citizen. In those cases,
      the gove rnment demands additional proof -- a demand that has applicants
      scouring school warehouses and church offices to document their pasts.

      That has caused a panic in south Texas, where locals need a valid
      passport more than ever. A new law that goes into effect next year
      requires Americans to use a passport, rather than just a birth
      certificate or driver's license, to visit Mexico and Canada. The
      situation threatens to isolate thousands of people in the Rio Grande
      Valley who regularly travel back and forth to Mexico for work or family

      "Usually a state-issued birth certificate is sufficient to establish
      U.S. nationality," says Michael Kirby, a senior official for consular
      affairs at the State Department. But, given the fraud committed by some
      south Texas midwives, "we want to be careful that we issue passports to
      everybody who is eligible and not to anyone who isn't," he says,
      acknowledging that thousands of passport applic ants could be affected.

      "These people aren't planning to tour Europe," counters Jaime Diez, an
      immigration attorney in nearby Brownsville. "Going back and forth to
      Mexico is a way of life here." Among his clients is a U.S. border-patrol
      agent. "These are people...who have passed security checks for
      government jobs," Mr. Diez says.

      Desperate for Evidence

      Desperate for evidence that they were born on U.S. soil, passport
      applicants born as far back as the 1930s come into the Cameron County
      Clerk Office in Brownsville to search for their midwives' whereabouts,
      in hopes that the aging women can testify for them, says Lettie Perez,
      deputy county clerk.

      "Most of the midwives are gone," says Ms. Perez, throwing her hands in
      the air.

      Mr. Kirby acknowledges that digging up evidence "might be difficult for
      somebody born 40 or 50 years ago." Passport adjudicators, he says, "are
      trying to make the right call in each individual case. It's hard." The
      State Department doesn't disclose how many people have been asked for
      additional proof, and the agency denies that it is targeting Hispanics.

      Juan Aranda
      Juan Aranda, as a 4-year-old boy.

      Back in 1969, Juan Aranda's mother, Mexican immigrant Cupertina
      Espinoza, worked as a live-in housekeeper for Fela Hinojosa. The
      Hinojosas owned a flower shop c alled La Perla, which still stands on the
      main street of Weslaco.

      "I started working for them when I was about three months pregnant,"
      recalls Mrs. Espinoza, 69. She had come north to make a living after her
      husband died in a car accident in Mexico and settled in this town of
      modest clapboard homes.

      One of a string of towns in the Rio Grande Valley that grew up along the
      rai lroad, Weslaco, population 30,000, reflects life on the border. While
      its strip mall and Wal-Mart are quintessentially American, the
      mom-and-pop stores and Spanish signs are straight out of Mexico.

      Mr. Aranda's birth on April 11, 1970, was attended by midwife Manuela
      Bazan. Ms. Bazan signed the baby's birth certificate and filed it with
      the Hidalgo County registrar, as required by law. On April 26, Mr.
      Aranda was baptized at St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church in Weslaco,
      according to parish records. His mother rented a tiny apartment nearby.

      Last year, Mr. Aranda, a father of three who wears cowboy boots and
      frequently says "y'all," applied by mail for a passport, enclosing two
      photographs and his birth certificate. As a supervisor for a small U.S.
      company that filters and sells drinking water in Mexico, he needs the
      passport to continue making his frequent business trips south of the
      border when the new rules take effect next year. "My job depends on it,"
      says Mr. Aranda.

      He received a letter from the State Department's national passport
      center stating that "upon review, we have determined that further
      information is needed to support your claim of birth in the U.S." The
      letter listed documents -- his mother's prenatal medical care in the
      U.S., a newspaper announcement of his birth in the U.S. and his parents'
      U.S. school records, a mong other things -- that could be used to bolster
      his request.

      [ school photo]
      Juan Aranda
      Juan Aranda (top row, far right) in an elementary-school photo in Texas.

      Mr. Aranda sprang into action, driving to a school district warehouse on
      the outskirts of town to collect records dating to kindergarten, which
      cite Weslaco as his place of birth. Mr. Aranda also obtained a baptismal
      certificate with a church seal that states he was born in the town. His
      mother tried to find her midwife, only to learn that Ms. Bazan -- who
      wasn't one of the midwives accused of wrongdoing -- died several years

      Eva Gonzalez, the church secretary, says that she has been issuing
      baptism records at the rate of 30 a week for passport applicants. "I
      have people coming in here crying," she says. "Ladies are saying, 'I was
      born here and have lived here all my life, but the government doesn't
      believe me.' " Ms. Gonzalez's own mother, who was delivered by a midwife
      75 years ago, is among those caught in the confusion. She says federal
      agents also visited recently to inspect church ledgers for fraud.

      No Recourse

      Since the adjudicators don't formally deny a request, but only request
      more evidence, applicants who are refused passports don't have any
      recourse to appeal within the State Department.

      "We st arted seeing people in droves," says local lawyer Lisa Brodyaga.
      The attorney, who has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of several
      applicants, says: "I can't take any more calls."

      Ms. Brodyaga says that the State Department is making "outrageous and
      unreasonable demands" on people delivered by midwives, such as seeking
      birth listings in census data going back seven decades. The American
      Civil Liberties Union is considering joining the lawsuit, for which
      class-action status is sought.

      In January, Mr. Aranda sent the school and baptism records to the State
      Department with a note explaining why he didn't have the additional
      documents. For example, he wrote that his mother "did not have the
      resources" for prenatal care. His mother, meanwhile, amassed what she
      could: a discolored document attesting to the first loan she ever took
      out -- for $10 -- shortly after her son was born in 1970; she found his
      immunization records and pictures from the local elementary sch ool.

      In early February, Mr. Aranda received a letter from the government,
      saying that he hadn't "fully complied with the request for additional
      information." The letter advised Mr. Aranda to learn about "procedures
      for your possible naturalization as a U.S. citizen" and closes: "Once
      you obtain U.S. citizenship, you may execute another application for a
      U.S. passport."

      Mr. A randa began looking for an attorney.

      Write to Miriam Jordan at miriam.jordan@...2

      URL for this article:

      (2) mailto:miriam.jordan@...



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