Take Action: Tell CA legislators it has to end. A sixth farm worker just died of heat stroke
- 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 worker just died of heat stroke
(3) Police and Feds Set Tone for Chronicle Attack of Sanctuary Ordinance
(4) What you may do to support Congressman Gutierrez
(5) Day Laborers and Home Depot
(6) They Say They Were Born in the U.S.A. - The State Department Says Prove It
Cancer-Stricken Chinese National Dies in US Immigration JailAnother 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
http://www.ufwaction.org/campaign/heatdeath15=================================================================================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
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
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...
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
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
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
By MIRIAM JORDAN
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
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, 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
[ school photo]
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.
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
Mr. A randa began looking for an attorney.
Write to Miriam Jordan at miriam.jordan@...2
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