Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Again it's ashamed that CNN spewed too much bigotry and ignorance behind the Anti Immmigrat idiots Mariachies like Lou Dobbs, Glenn Beck, Jack Cafferty, and many more. For some reason they are so obssesed with Mexicans.
The Immigration activists to protest against CNN's Dobbs.
SARASOTA --New College immigration activists plan to protest a Saturday appearance by CNN's Lou Dobbs at the city's reading festival.
Dobbs, in town to promote his new book, has become an outspoken voice in the national immigration debate.
Activists say his reporting is biased and incorrect when it comes to illegal immigrants living in the United States.
"Lou Dobbs has been one of the instrumental factors in the propagation of hate and lies against immigrants," said Jose Manuel Godinez Samperio, an organizer and New College student. "We don't want him in the community."
The protest will act as a way to speak with residents about the controversial issue, to "get them more involved and educated on what's going on."
"He's not welcome in our community because his reporting pretty much boils down to hate speech," said Adam Roca, a New College alum.
Protestors would be holding signs and passing out information at 1:30 p.m. on Pineapple Avenue in downtown Sarasota.
Dobbs was set to kick off the festival at 2 p.m., as part of a book tour promoting "Independents Day," according to Sarasota News & Books.
On Spanish radio stations and in Spanish-language newspapers, the rally has been advertised in hopes of putting "their side of the story," out into the public, Samperio said.
Dobbs served as a loud opponent of immigration reform and what to do with the illegal immigrant population across the country, including, Samperio and Roca said, his comments linking the rise in illegal immigrants in the United States to an increased number of leprosy cases.
They say they want to educate the public.
"The things he says are pretty representative of the anti-immigration movement," Samperio said. "The law isn't that you have to be scared all the time and people have to oppress you."
A call to CNN for comment was not returned Monday.
Immigration Fee Hike Creates Application Backlog.
Immigrations fees went up this year, and now have some waiting times.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services advises customers that "due to a tremendous increase in applications filed" the agency is now "behind schedule".
Fees doubled or even tripled in July. The cost to apply for a green card jumped from $395 to $1,010.
The agency touted the increase as a way to speed up the massive backlog within the system.
"With the fee increase, we've had more of a backlog than we ever had before," said Karan Kler, executive director of Coachella Valley Immigration Service and Assistance that has more than 4,000 cases. "People are looking at possible deportation if they do not have the documents to prove that they are here legally."
Applicants have been waiting for up to two months for a receipt notice.
Immigration experts say proof of mailing is the best thing to do while waiting for immigration documents to arrive
Immigration plan worries some businesses. I was just very disappointed with the Highway Patrol -- that they would do that just on the basis of an anonymous phone call, with no evidence or anything.
Gov. Matt Blunt's crackdown on illegal immigration has not uncovered any major instances of contractors employing illegal immigrants. But it has stoked anxiety among business owners who worry that Hispanic employees might be targeted by law enforcement.
A high-profile immigration bust in this northeast Missouri town seems to mirror the broader crackdown on businesses. While the questioning of 19 Hispanic men only uncovered one illegal immigrant, the event further stoked fears that Blunt's policy might lead to racial profiling.
"There could be a chilling effect," said Jorge Riopedre, secretary of the St. Louis-area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. "A company is not going to hire a Hispanic because they don't want to run any risk of going afoul of the government."
Blunt launched his two-pronged initiative in late August. He ordered Missouri Highway Patrol agents to check the immigration status of everyone presented for incarceration, and ordered the Missouri Department of Economic Development to check the immigration status of workers employed by contractors who get state incentives.
Blunt has said repeatedly his crackdown will not target Hispanics. Spokeswoman Jessica Robinson said the Department of Economic Development will make sure its policy won't amount to racial profiling when inspectors start visiting work sites.
"I understand that they will balance taxpayer protection with appropriate individual rights and protections," she said.
The patrol and other law enforcement agencies have identified 75 illegal immigrants that were taken into custody by Oct. 20, said Capt. Tim Hull. Over the weekend, 10 others were detained after a traffic stop in Warren County and are awaiting deportation. But the Department of Economic Development hasn't yet implemented its part of the initiative.
Spokesman Spence Jackson said the department is still drawing up a plan to train its inspectors in immigration law so they can spot-check employees when they make visits to work sites around the state.
In Hannibal, patrol agents visited the Continental Cement plant on Sept. 12 because of a tip that illegal immigrants were working on a construction project there. Continental Cement President Mike Johnson said the firm got no tax breaks or incentives for the construction project.
Johnson said patrol agents arrived at the site and asked to see the employees' immigration paperwork, even though they did not have a warrant.
The 19 men, all of them Hispanic, were detained at the work site while the patrol took down their names and birth dates. The information was passed on to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in St. Louis.
A patrol report on the incident said a man claiming to be a former employee of Continental Cement called State Rep. Rachel Bringer, D-Palmyra and told her the company was employing illegal immigrants to help build a new $150 million kiln.
Bringer told The Associated Press that she passed on the man's complaint to patrol agents. She said she routinely passes on the concerns of her constituents, and that she herself was not filing a complaint against Continental.
ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok said one worker was found to be in the country illegally after being deported earlier. He said ICE could not determine the immigration status for 15 of the men, meaning they were either legal residents of the United States or were illegal aliens who had never been arrested, which would have put their names in ICE's database.
Rusnok said ICE didn't investigate the matter further because there wasn't enough evidence of wrongdoing. The men worked for a subcontractor, Schueck Steel of Little Rock, Ark. The company refused to comment or let the employees be interviewed at the cement plant.
Johnson said the Hispanic employees felt intimidated -- some quit and found work elsewhere. He said he was frustrated to have his work site interrupted and is worried the same thing might happen again.
"I was just very disappointed with the Highway Patrol -- that they would do that just on the basis of an anonymous phone call, with no evidence or anything," Johnson said.
Riopedre said he is trying to arrange a meeting with Blunt's office to discuss ways that immigration law can be enforced without targeting Hispanics.
He said his chief concern is that business owners won't hire Hispanics, even if they present legal immigration documents.
Business owners might worry the paperwork is fake, and wouldn't know how to verify it.
"What kind of position is that putting the small business owner in Missouri (into)? We would say a very difficult one," he said
Monday, October 29, 2007
Breaking News. The Anti Immigrant Tom Tancredo has announced that he will retire at the end of next year. Who's next?
Tancredo to Retire at End of 110th Congress
Monday, Oct. 29, 2007; 9:07 am
By David M. Drucker,
Roll Call Staff
Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) revealed late Sunday that he will retire upon the conclusion of his current term, regardless of how his long-shot presidential bid turns out, according to the Rocky Mountain News.
As promised, Tancredo, 61 , waited until after the Colorado Rockies' last out of the World Series on Sunday night before announcing that he plans to leave Congress at the end of this, his fifth term. The Rockies were swept 4-0 in Major League Baseball's main event by the Boston Red Sox.
"It's the fact that I really believe I have done all I can do in the House, especially about the issue about which I care greatly [immigration]," Tancredo told the Rocky Mountain News in a phone interview from a motel in Iowa, where he is campaigning for president.
Tancredo's retirement leaves House Republicans with another open seat to protect in the 2008 cycle. The news is sure to buoy Democrats as they seek to expand their House majority.
However, the strong Republican bent of the Congressman's suburban Denver 6th district should keep the seat safe from a Democratic takeover and all but ensure victory in the general election for the eventual GOP nominee, especially considering the fact that 2008 is a presidential year.
Tancredo's worst performance since ascending to the House in 1998 occurred in 2000, when he won re-election with 54 percent of the vote. President Bush won the suburban Denver 6th district with 60 percent of the vote in 2000 and 2004.
The heated GOP primary that is likely to ensue to replace Tancredo could feature state Sens. Ted Harvey and Tom Wiens and small business owner Wil Armstrong, the son of former Sen. Bill Armstrong (R-Colo.).
The state Senate districts held by Harvey and Wiens include separate though significant chunks of the 6th Congressional district. That could give each of them an advantage over other potential primary candidates, although their support does not extend outside of their legislative seats.
Armstrong's father, the former Senator, is still revered by Colorado Republicans, and that could help the small-business man should he run for Congress. However, he would have to overcome the notion that he is trying to win a political office on his father's coattails.
"Ted [Harvey] and Tom [Wiens] both are very serious, legitimate candidates," a knowledgeable Colorado Republican told Roll Call last week. "But I think Wil [Armstrong] is the intriguing wild card that could surprise a lot of people. I don't think there's a frontrunner in it
Litchfield Park area in Arizona. Family targeted in hate crime.
PHOENIX (AP) -- The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is investigating a hate crime and burglary of a home near the community of Litchfield Park.
Yesterday, the sheriff's office says a 25-year-old mother returned to her home to find it burglarized.
The burglars also left behind racial slurs and epithets written on the interior walls of the home.
The victim is black and has lived in the home for several years.
Investigators say the hate words were written in nearly every room, including a young child's bedroom.
The graffiti included a swastika drawn next to racial epithets and sexual terms.
The Sheriff asks that anyone with information on this crime call 602-876-1011.
Fishing in fear; Anglers of Asian descent call it a hate crime. We just can't believe these kinds of things happen in our communities
Representatives from several Asian-Canadian groups and local municipal governments joined with the Peterborough Community and Race Relations Committee yesterday to publicly condemn recent attacks in central and eastern Ontario against Asian anglers.
Police have laid assault charges in some of the incidents while several - including one in Westport, near Kingston, where a 73-year-old man was beaten unconscious and his son-in-law thrown off a three-metre high bridge - remain unsolved.
The committee repeated accusations the attacks were racially motivated assaults and asked that they be investigated as hate crimes.
"These are not isolated incidents by any means," committee member Anu Radha Verma said. "I think it's really important to take these seriously. They are not just pranks.
"They are hate crimes."
Representatives of the Asian fishing community say the attacks have instilled fear in their members and challenge the foundation of Canada's multiculturalism.
"The greatest concern for us is that people are terrified to go fishing," said Xu Zhang of the Chinese Anglers Sports Club of Canada. "We feel terrified."
There is a real fear that the attacks could escalate and lead to the death of an Asian angler, Zhang said.
"People talk to me and say they won't risk their life for fishing," Zhang said.
He called on authorities to bring a safe fishing environment back to the area.
Raymond Zee of the Ontario Chinese Anglers Association said there is no excuse for the attacks and if they go unchecked they could harm business and tourism in the area.
The press conference at the New Canadians Centre in Peterborough came in the wake of a series of attacks across a swath of land that stretches from Georgina near Lake Simcoe to Westport near Kingston.
Closest to Peterborough, a fisherman of Asian descent was assaulted in Coboconk.
A father and son face charges stemming from the incident and appear in a Lindsay court in November.
The committee also lists an August incident in Bewdley where an Asian fisherman and his son had a gun fired at them while they were fishing in a boat on Rice Lake.
A man was charged with several weapons offences from the incident.
Northumberland OPP said yesterday there was no indication that particular attack was a hate crime.
The original report indicated the man involved was a heavy drinker who didn't like anyone coming near the island he lived on, police said.
Victor Wong, executive director of the national chapter of the Chinese Canadian National Council, said they weren't trying to single out any one community.
"We're not smearing any local community," Wong said. "These are criminal matters."
We are concerned about incidents, as are the police, Wong said.
When asked if the attacks were hate crimes, OPP Staff Sgt. Ron Campbell said it would be inappropriate to comment on ongoing investigations.
The OPP hate crime/extremism unit has been in contact with the detachments, Campbell said.
According to the OPP website, the unit conducts strategic intelligence operations on matters involving hate propaganda, hate bias motivated crimes and criminal extremism.
"We do take any violent crime seriously," Campbell said. "(The OPP) do not tolerate race based attacks on any citizens."
Campbell said it's the force's mandate to investigate all crimes and protect all citizens of Ontario.
In Westport, numerous complaints about non-locals, mostly of Asian-Canadian background, fishing illegally have been made.
Zee acknowledged the attacks in Westport may be more about frustration over perceived poaching than racism although he condemned the vigilante route and advised people to use existing systems to address the problem.
But Karen Sun, executive director of the Toronto chapter of the Chinese Canadian National Council, said the attacks and reports of illegal fishing are two separate issues.
"Under no circumstances is it appropriate to attack someone whether they are illegally fishing or not," Sun said. "It's hard to believe these attacks are being motivated by people's desire to protect local fisheries."
Victims shouldn't blame themselves and should report the crimes, she said.
Peterborough Mayor Paul Ayotte called the attacks unfortunate.
"That they would be assaulted for taking part in a Canadian tradition is disturbing," Ayotte said.
"I just can't believe someone would be assaulted for going fishing.
"We just can't believe these kinds of things happen in our communities."
Ayotte said no assault is acceptable and a zero tolerance approach needs to be taken.
He encouraged anyone that is a victim of such an attack to contact authorities.
"The town of Coboconk doesn't condone this kind of stuff," City of Kawartha Lakes Coun. Emmett Yeo said. "We embrace people from out of town, that's our bread and butter."
Yeo read a letter from City of Kawartha Lakes Mayor Ric McGee that stated the actions of the two people in Coboconk do not reflect the feelings of the residents of Coboconk or the City of Kawartha Lakes. The municipality continues to welcome all people, Yeo said, adding a personal apology for the attack in his hometown of Coboconk.
"Kawartha Lakes just wants to tell you you're all welcome anytime," Yeo said.
But both Ayotte and Yeo stopped short of calling any of the attacks hate crimes.
Ayotte said he didn't know whether the assaults were hate crimes.
The attacks were unacceptable but hate is a strong word, Yeo said, adding they were definitely cases of ignorance.
ISU Hate Crime. Indiana currently has no hate crime laws.
Local police are investigating what they're calling a "hate crime" on a college campus.
A rope resembling a noose was confiscated at Indiana State University Thursday afternoon. It was found by an anonymous caller in a tree near Hines Hall.
ISU's Dean of Students met with the campus NAACP chapter, and immediately organized a meeting. This evening's meeting gave students and faculty a chance to talk about today's incident, and find out what is being done about it.
Officials notified local law enforcement and the FBI. If a suspect is found, the FBI will handle the case -- since Indiana currently has no hate crime laws.
Ebony Roberts, President of ISU's NAACP chapter, says, "I think it's a national trend right now, with everything that happened with Jena 6. And that's why I say it's bigger than us. It's so much bigger than Indiana State. It's bigger than IU, Purdue, it's bigger than the state of Indiana, and that's why something needs to be done nationally. If we can get Indiana started, we can make a difference."
"When something like this happens in the community, it makes our community less. I'm offended by it too. It's something that happened in my house, in my community.. that is unacceptable," says Bill Mercier, Director of Public Safety.
Students upset by today's incident can visit ISU's Student Counseling Center.
I believe media and the extreme conservative right wing has been playing a big role of spewed xenophobia, ignorance and fear against the proposition of NY Governor Eliot Spitzer.
They had outcried with false statements that: Terrorist will attack U.S. If we provide a driver license; There it will be a massive voter fraud, Insecure cities, they can board a plain, they can enter an official building, etc, etc, those statements are just pathetic. At least somebody taking a rational action to protect the community rather than harm them.
Giving undocumented immigrants driver's licenses will make us safer.
As New Yorkers, we take the threat of terrorism very seriously. Having witnessed the most devastating attack on our nation in history, mourned the loss of friends and family and experienced the vulnerability that comes with having one's homeland under siege, we know firsthand the threat that terrorism poses.
Our state's public officials have no more essential obligation than ensuring the safety and security of New Yorkers. That's why we have now reached an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security to implement the most secure and inclusive driver's license system in the country.
Under this agreement, the recent policy change we made to restore the ability to apply for a driver's license without regard to one's immigration status - and the anti-fraud security measures tied to it - will continue moving forward. However, along with this policy change, we also will develop a license that meets the security requirements of the federal REAL ID Act.
After several months of discussions, the Department of Homeland Security and the state DMV will implement a pilot program to develop an "Enhanced Driver's License." This license will be accepted at the Canadian border instead of a passport, which would have been required next year under federal law. In this way, our agreement represents a critical win for New York's economy - because cross-border trade would have suffered tremendously if the passport requirement were imposed.
Most importantly, however, the agreement we reached will make New York more secure.
Denying driver's licenses to New York's 1 million undocumented immigrants has not only forced thousands of unlicensed and uninsured drivers onto our roads, making our roads more dangerous for everyone, it also has meant that vital information about all these people who are living here is not in our DMV database - the largest law enforcement database in the country.
We are proposing to bring people out of the shadows and into the system by restoring their ability to apply for a driver's license. At the same time, we are increasing the security of the license by implementing the strictest standards in the nation.
Undocumented immigrants will not be able to apply for a license "over the counter." Rather, they will have to submit a current and valid foreign passport plus four points of current and valid ID. Each document will be examined by highly trained experts in a new Enhanced Identification Verification Unit, analyzed by state-of-the-art document authentication technology and subject to layers of biometric verification to prevent fraud. And rather than one license, New Yorkers will have the option of three secure licenses - meeting the standards established by REAL ID.
Since the REAL ID Act was passed, many states, including New York, have raised concerns about the cost, convenience and privacy of the new license. After raising these issues with the Department of Homeland Security, we are confident that the final regulations for REAL ID - which are coming out soon - will adequately address these concerns.
At the end of the day, this agreement will ensure we have both national standards for licenses and the ability to implement them in a practical way, by bringing as many people into the system as possible.
It is a powerful example of the federal government and New York State working together in the interests of national security. It is a win for our economy. And it is a major step forward for our security.
The Matthew Shepard Act questioned by John Whitehead: Criminalizing your thoughts. The likelihood of an expanded federal hate crime law is a very real eventuality. It is one more sign that politically correct America is moving closer and closer to extinguishing freedom.
If my thought-dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine."
- Bob Dylan
Americans have always had difficulty reconciling the fact that the First Amendment protects those who may be perceived as offensive, profane and bigoted. That's the double-edged sword that is free speech.
By John M. Whitehead
Unfortunately, more and more Americans in their efforts to censor, silence or sanitize what they find offensive have resorted to banning certain words and criminalizing the thoughts behind certain actions. However, attempts to curtail the actions and speech of a few individuals are now threatening the constitutional rights of all Americans.
Such is the danger posed by the Matthew Shepard Act, which was named after a gay college student who was savagely beaten to death in Wyoming in 1998. This Act would expand the 1969 federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by a person's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
The Shepard Act would give federal officials greater authority to engage in hate crime investigations at the local and state level. It would also remove the current prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally protected activity like voting or going to school. In other words, it opens the door for federal law enforcement officials to crack down on undesirable behavior wherever it occurs, as well as undesirable thoughts.
Frankly, this legislation is unnecessary. There are already a host of stiff penalties on the books for those who commit acts of unspeakable horror, whether the crimes are based on an individual's race, religion, national origin or sexual orientation. Indeed, most states already have hate crime laws. As Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has noted, "Those who perpetrated the Shepard murder in Wyoming are already sentenced to death or in prison for their lives under state law. There is no evidence that state governments are incapable of prosecuting these crimes or that they are failing to do so."
Thus, there being no real need for such legislation, one has to wonder why Congress would spend so much political capital on it when there are other, more critical battles to be fought? The answer is obvious. Having failed to make good on their campaign promises, especially in regard to the Iraq war, Democrats are trying to mollify certain private interest groups with this legislation.
It is also another example of how our elected officials are bartering away our freedoms by playing political games. By tacking the Shepard Act onto a defense authorization bill aimed at providing a pay raise and increase in health care spending for U.S. military personnel, Democrats are most likely trying to score points against their Republican opponents who voted against the legislation.
Yet such political pandering and manipulation does a disservice to all and creates a bureaucratic nightmare that poses real threats to our constitutional rights. For instance, the Shepard Act singles homosexuals out for expanded protection from hate crimes yet fails to address the thousands of crimes that occur each year against people who, while not gay, just don't "fit in." As one commentator pointed out, "Why not accord the same enhanced protection to kids who stutter, teenagers with bad acne, or adults who are overweight, homeless, or have unusually large ears?"
Furthermore, by providing millions of dollars in funding to help state and local agencies pay for investigating and prosecuting hate crimes, this legislation incites prosecutors to further intimidate defendants by piling on the charges. Moreover, hatred toward the victim often isn't necessary in order to be charged with the crime. Under New York's hate crime statute, no actual hatred for the victim is necessary for a conviction. As one reporter pointed out, "The law requires only that they have singled out a person for a violent act because of some belief or stereotype about that person's ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability or sexual orientation."
Finally, and most concerning of all, the Matthew Shepard Act has the potential to further suppress free speech, especially among religious individuals who disagree with homosexuality. Whether or not the law includes a provision exempting free speech, there have already been instances at home and abroad where peaceful religious expression has resulted in hate crime prosecutions.
For example, Christians have been prosecuted under a state hate crime law for "singing hymns" and peacefully "carrying signs" while attending a homosexual fair in Pennsylvania. Because the signs challenged the morality of homosexuality, these Christians were charged with three felonies and five misdemeanors and faced 47 years in prison for attempting to preach at a homosexual street fair. Indeed, a state judge determined that the prosecutions could go forward. His rationale was that the Christians' speech constituted so-called "fighting words." The decision was eventually overturned.
Well-meaning though they may seem, hate crime laws that punish not just the act but the motive open the door for a whole new realm of prosecutions, namely thought crimes.
But when all is said and done, a violent crime is still a violent crime, no matter what the motivation, and criminalizing someone's thoughts or speech will never change that.
Unfortunately, this issue is not going away any time soon. Although President Bush has pledged to veto the legislation, the likelihood of an expanded federal hate crime law is a very real eventuality. It is one more sign that politically correct America is moving closer and closer to extinguishing freedom.
National march for West Virginia torture victim.
NOV. 3 MARCH SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
- Friday Nov. 2, 5 p.m.:
A Pre-March remembrance/ prayer vigil will take place at the Logan County trailer home where Megan Williams was kidnapped and tortured
- Saturday November 3, 10 a.m.:
Pre-March Rally for National March against Hate Crimes and Racism
First Baptist Church 423 Shrewsbury St Charleston, WVA 25301
- Saturday November 3, noon:
National March against Hate Crimes and Racism, Charleston, West VA March will begin in front of the First Baptist Church located at 423 Shrewsbury St Charleston WVA 25301 and proceed to the West Virginia State Capitol Building
- Saturday Nov. 3, 5 p.m.:
Fundraiser for Megan Williams and Town Hall Meeting on Race Relations to take place at Rehoboth Cathedral of Christ in Charleston, West Virginia—Bishop James Carter III is the host pastor.
NNPA) — Promising “busloads” of supporters and demonstrators from across the nation to protest the absence of hate crime charges in the alleged month-long rape and torture of a young Black woman, attorney Malik Shabazz of the Washington D.C.-based Black Lawyers for Justice says a national march and rally is planned for Charleston, W. Va. for Saturday, Nov 3.
The primary organizers for the march are Black Lawyers for Justice (BLFJ) and the Support Committee for Megan Williams. This march will be endorsed by at least 100 Black organizations, student groups, clergy, and other community leaders.
Charleston was chosen because the state capital and federal courthouse are located there, organizers said.
So far, Logan County prosecutors have resisted adding either state or federal hate crime charges to the long litany of first-degree criminal offenses six white career criminals—three of whom are women —are charged with in their alleged abduction and torture of Megan Williams, 20.
The six suspects, Frankie Lee Brewster, 49; her son, Bobby Ray, 24, who authorities believe had some sort of relationship with the alleged victim; Danny Combs, 20; George Messer, 27; Karen Burton, 46, and her daughter Alisha, 22—all of whom have collectively racked up 108 criminal charges since 1991, the most serious being first-degree murder —are charged with kidnapping and at least one count each of first-degree sexual assault, among other charges.
The prosecutors’ argument—so much has to be done to make sure their evidence is solid and airtight against each of the six, that state hate crime charges, which carry a maximum of 10 years in prison, could be considered much later on, if at all.
Making sure that all six defendants are convicted for kidnapping, which could send each to prison for life, in addition to first-degree sexual assault, which could add an additional 35 years behind bars, is their top priority.
Two weeks ago, Logan County prosecutor Brian Abraham said hate crime charges would be “difficult” to prove because there is evidence that Megan Williams had a “social relationship” with one of her alleged captors, Bobby Brewster, for several months before.
In fact, Brewster had been in jail from July 18 until August 2 on a domestic abuse charge against Williams.
Federal authorities have ceded the case to the state, so no charges are expected from them.
Black activists like Shabazz, the Nation of Islam and the New Black Panther Party, among others, believe that the allegations of beating, stabbing, strangling with a cable, being raped at knifepoint; having scalding hot water poured on her, being made to eat dog and rat feces; forced to drink urine from a toilet, perform oral sex, lick up her own blood and being threatened with death, all the while being told, “This is what we do to niggers around here,” should be clear evidence that Megan Williams was targeted primarily because she is Black.
Indeed, activists say, Williams’ own words to Logan County Sheriff’s investigators on Sept. 8—the day she was rescued by deputies from the broken-down mobile home trailer she was being held prisoner in after they were tipped off—provided the justification for a hate crime.
“They said it was because I was colored,” Williams is quoted in a written statement to authorities. “They said they don’t like Black people and they said they were going to hang me.”
The young mentally challenged woman added that her alleged captors were usually high on drugs or alcohol when they tortured her.
“It is obvious that this is one of the most sick, horrific, sadistic and evil hate crimes that has ever occurred in U.S. history,’’ Shabazz, who is legally advising Williams and her family, told reporters during a recent press conference in which he demanded that federal and state hate crimes charges be rendered.
“The number of outright hate crimes and injustice cases against Blacks is rising so rapidly it’s hard for our office to keep track,” Shabazz continued on the BLFJ website. “We are calling for every concerned person in our community to respond to this national crisis with vigor and due diligence. The November 3rd March in Charleston is a big step in the direction of organizing to challenge the tide of attacks occurring against Blacks.’’
Not everyone is thrilled that Shabazz and company are advocating for Williams.
Two weeks ago, two groups—the Logan County Improvement League and the American Friends Service Committee’s Empowerment for Women Plus—sponsored a biracial candlelight vigil at a church two miles from where Megan Williams was allegedly held captive and tortured.
Their message—they support the young Black woman, deplore the alleged racial degradation, and want the world to know that what happened is not indicative of their community.
They also urged Logan County authorities to prosecute the case to the fullest extent of the law, even including hate crime charges.
But the coalition, which has welcomed the NAACP and Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s participation, then blasted those from “outside” who planned to march and rally in Charleston soon.
“We understand that groups from outside Logan County have expressed the intention of coming into our community to show their displeasure,” James Hagood, spokesman for the coalition said, making veiled reference to Malik Shabazz and the Black Lawyers for Justice. “We want to send a message to these people that we are actively engaged in planning peaceful actions to demonstrate our intention to see that Ms. Williams receives justice in Logan County. We do not condone or support violence of any sort from any extremist group.”
Meanwhile, there has been criticism that many of the national women’s groups have been quiet about the Megan Williams case.
There are numerous blogsites online dedicated to keeping up with the case. The Black Press is keeping the story alive, as are Black talk radio hosts like Imhotep Gary Byrd in New York, who discusses the latest developments weekly on his programs.
Clearly part of the strategy in holding a massive demonstration in Charleston is to get Megan Williams story back into the major media, and national headlines.
As plans for the Nov. 3 national march and rally are being readied, the court cases for the accused are moving steadily along.
Probable cause has been determined by a local magistrate for all six defendants now.
So far, at least three of the six suspects waived their right to preliminary hearings, with one, Karen Burton, already having her case sent to the grand jury.
That panel is expected to take up charges against the remaining five not now, but in January, for reasons that weren’t apparent at press time.
Burton, who allegedly cut patches of Williams’ hair off while making the “This is what we do” remark, was the last of the six to have a preliminary hearing on October 4.
In addition to kidnapping and first-degree sexual assault, Burton faces malicious wounding, assault during the commission of a felony and thirteen counts of battery.
Part of the evidence against Burton is a statement given to investigators by Bobby Brewster alleging that she, her daughter Alisha and George Messer cut Williams’ hair off, beat her, choked her, slashed her ankle and forced the black woman to eat feces.
Brewster’s police statement confirms that Burton repeatedly called Williams “nigger” in the course of allegedly attacking her.
In her statement to police, Burton denied doing anything to Williams.
Defense attorneys in the case are already raising the specter of filing change of venue motions, citing the intense local media coverage thus far, and how their clients have been portrayed.
The attorneys say their clients, who they allege have been threatened, cannot get a fair trial in Logan County.
Prosecutors counter that the likelihood of the trial being moved is slight at best, saying that other high-profile cases have been fairly and successfully tried in Logan County.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Ku Klux Klan rally planed for Storm Lake.
The Ku Klux Klan is planning a rally in Storm Lake in November that the group expects to attract 2,000 people, according to the leader of the Missouri Realm of the Church of the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
The rally will reportedly be held November 17 on the Buena Vista County Courthouse grounds, according to the official, who goes by the name of Grand Dragon J.J. Klan. He said that he moved from Missouri to the Storm Lake area about a year ago, and now oversees the Church of the National Knights programs for both Iowa and Missouri from here.
The rally is aimed to oppose immigration, and in response to the racial strife in Jena, Lousiana, where six black students are accused to beating a white student.
Officials from Buena Vista County, the City of Storm Lake, Police and Sheriff's departments said they were unaware of any KKK gathering planned in Storm Lake, and said that the group had not applied for permits.
Buena Vista County Sheriff, Chuck Eddy, said that if a KKK event is held, he would probably request support from the Storm Lake Police.
Storm Lake Public Safety Director Mark Prosser said that if the group does hold a rally in the city, it would need to apply for a parade permit if any type of march were held, and a noise variance if they intend to have amplified sound. With the group's views, there could be security concerns as well, and in the event that an event became a threat to public safety, it could be closed down for that reason, Prosser said.
Local officials are not arguing with the group's right to speak.
"Traditionally issues dealing with the rallies of the KKK come down to freedom of speech," Prosser said. "They have a right to protection, and opposing groups have a right to have their say as well.
"Most certainly extreme viewpoints have been a concern throughout history," Prosser added. "A rally like this would require a lot of planning, and no requests for information in that regard have been made to the city."
J.J. Klan said that no permits would be sought, because the group had decided against making an optional march to the site. "They can't stop us from having a rally. We have the constitutional right to speak," he said. The event will include speakers and a time for questions, he said.
Plans have been in the works for a considerable time, and letters have been received from KKK groups in Iowa, Missouri, California, Indiana, Texas and Oklahoma showing an interest in attending, according to the Grand Dragon.
He said the Storm Lake event would be the largest rally of its type ever held by the organization.
While the Church of the National Knights is somewhat related to other KKK organizations, it rejects the use of violence and the breaking of laws that some other groups have resorted to, J.J. Klan said.
"Our beliefs are to do everything legally, to live by the Bible as it was before it was corrupted by modern man. We are a non-violent organization and we do not want any weapons brought to an event like this. We do not believe in violence. We fight for America, not against America."
However, the motives of the KKK have not changed.
"We are hoping to wake the white American people up to the fact that America is being overrun by these illegals and blacks wanting more than we ourselves as citizens are getting... we are tired of carrying the taxes and bills of these people on our backs," J.J. Klan said. He also said the group is protesting the Jena, LA situation, feeling that the black students involved are getting off easier than would be the case if whites had attacked a black person.
The KKK reached the height of its influence in the midwest in the 1920s, but has shown renewed energy with some organizing in a few Iowa towns, including Charles City and Nevada. Another group of Klan members conducted a protest against gay marriage in Des Moines in 2006.
Also in 2006, members of a separate Klan group, the brotherhood of Klans, distributed membership flyers in parking lots in Storm Lake and Denison, both meatpacking towns that have seen considerable immigration.
The Church of National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is based in South Bend, Indiana. Its web site describes it as "a gathering of White Christian men, women, and children, who are joined together because of the common bond shared by blood and by faith."
The website also prominently displays a photo of several modern Klansmen dressed in robes and pointed hats, unmasked, in front of a large burning cross.
Michigan restaurateur fights deportation
High-profile backers rally behind popular Kurdish cafe owner, called a terrorist by U.S.
HARBERT, Mich. -- The Department of Homeland Security calls Ibrahim Parlak a terrorist linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party and is trying to deport him to his native Turkey.
But to a tight-knit group of high-profile supporters across the political spectrum, Parlak is a benevolent community leader and popular restaurateur in this resort in southwest Michigan.
Whatever the specifics of his involvement with the Kurdish independence movement, they said, they see him as a symbol of the American dream. Martin Dzuris, a conservative talk show host who fled communism in Czechoslovakia, said he wondered about his longtime friend's past when the government raised its allegations
I thought maybe he didn't tell me everything," said Dzuris, who runs an import-export business in southwest Michigan and coordinates the "Ibrahim for Citizen" grass-roots campaign. "But then I read all the briefs, and I know what kind of person he is."
Dzuris said that even if Parlak, 45, had been involved in violent separatist activity, as the Turkish and U.S. governments allege, he would not hold it against Parlak.
"That would be like my grandfather shooting a few Nazis," Dzuris said.
Parlak has also gained public support from film critic Roger Ebert, a frequent patron of his restaurant; Chicago Sun-Times columnist Carol Marin, who called him a "gentle man" who makes "some great hummus," and novelist Andrew Greeley.
Sen. Carl M. Levin, D-Detroit, and Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, have introduced bills asking that Parlak be granted permanent residency.
And former U.S. Attorney John A. Smietanka and Anne L. Buckleitner, a former assistant general counsel for national security for the FBI, offered their legal services after hearing about his case.
Parlak gained asylum in the United States in 1992 after serving time in a Turkish prison on a conviction of "separatism," according to Smietanka. Documents from a Turkish military court also allege that he was a PKK member and was present during a border skirmish in which a guard was killed. Parlak maintains that he was involved only with the civil and cultural arm of the Kurdish independence movement.
In July 2004, Homeland Security moved to deport him and placed him in immigration detention, saying he did not mention his conviction in Turkey on his 1993 green-card application and 1998 naturalization application.
The government also alleges that he was a member of the PKK, which the U.S. designated a terrorist organization in 1997.
"We believe, based on his conviction in Turkey for participating in terrorist actions against the Republic of Turkey, that he has no legal right to remain in the U.S.," Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Tim Counts said.
Parlak was released from detention in June 2005 on the orders of a federal judge.
Hypothetical political coincidence or Tom Tancredo is on denial stage for bigotry and conspiracy for Immigration raids at the hotel where he stayed?
Immigration agents raid hotel where Tancredo stayed
federal immigration raid has shut down a Vermont hotel where Rep. Tom Tancredo, a hard-line opponent of illegal immigration, stayed during a recent campaign visit to neighboring New Hampshire.
Tancredo told reporters about the coincidence during a visit to Davenport, Iowa, on Thursday night, saying he was surprised to learn the news from his New Hampshire campaign staff.
According to the Associated Press, agents from the Department of Homeland Security, FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement searched two hotels in Brattleboro, Vt. — a Hampton Inn and a Quality Inn.
The hotels' Canadian owner, Gurdeep Nagra, 38, was arrested and charged with harboring and employing illegal immigrants, and lying to authorities to gain his own authorization to live in the United States. He pleaded not guilty at an arraignment Tuesday in Burlington.
Fourteen hotel workers were arrested on suspected immigration violations, the Associated Press said.
The investigation reportedly began about a year ago — long before Tancredo's stay at the Hampton Inn on Sept. 22.
Tancredo has made immigration the centerpiece of his long-shot bid for the Republican presidential nomination, and for several years he has been harshly critical of President Bush's administration for what he considers lax enforcement of immigration laws.
In Muscatine, Iowa, on Thursday night, he told a handful of supporters gathered in a mostly empty high school auditorium that aggressive enforcement of existing laws against businesses that employ illegal immigrants would shut off the jobs "magnet" that prompts people to enter the country illegally.
"It wouldn't be an issue if we would enforce the law," Tancredo said.
Although he has been known to prompt immigration authorities to investigate cases — as he did last week when congressional colleagues invited illegal immigrants to a briefing at the U.S. Capitol — Tancredo said he was unaware of the issues at the hotel until after the raids.
When his staff told him about the news, he said his first thought was about his life on the road during the campaign and "that I can't distinguish one Hampton Inn from another."
Backlog traps immigration applications. The recently Increase on INS services suppose to minimize the backlogs of applications not to increase it. The agency is barred from using federal tax money to deal with backlogs.
Immigration attorneys and advocates fear that a backlog in immigration applications is leading to delays that could put some people at risk of deportation and cause family members to remain separated.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services received a crush of applications in the weeks leading up to a July 30 increase in document fees. Many prices doubled or tripled. The cost for a temporary resident to apply for a green card skyrocketed from $180 to $1,370.
That money was supposed to speed up the application process. Instead, the applications that were mailed in to beat the fee increase have plugged up the system.
In 2006, fewer than 782,000 people applied to become citizens. As of Sept. 30, more than 940,000 people had already done so this year, according to preliminary federal data.
At this point, the delay is only in the processing of applications and the mailing of application receipts, said immigration-services spokeswoman Sharon Rummery.
Attorneys said those processing delays will undoubtedly lead to backlogs in decisions. Even the delay in processing could cause serious problems, they said.
For example, if a temporary resident's employment authorization has expired, that person can often stay in the country if he or she has a receipt for a reauthorization application, said Karan Kler, executive director of Coachella Valley Immigration Service and Assistance, a nonprofit legal group based in Palm Springs.
Without that receipt, federal agents could arrest the resident during a workplace immigration raid or at an immigration checkpoint for not having valid work papers, he said. In some cases, that could lead to deportation, Kler said.
Some employers fire workers with expired documents, even if the employees are permanent residents with green cards, he said. Permanent residents are allowed to stay in the United States even if they receive their green-card renewals late, but Kler said employers sometimes fire them because they mistakenly believe they risk prosecution for employing someone with an expired green card.
The delays could also cause immigration-court cases to pile up, as judges repeatedly postpone hearings while waiting for immigration documents, Kler said.
Kler criticized the government for not using money from the vastly increased fees to improve service.
"With that kind of price increase, you would think the system would be far more effective and faster," he said.
Rummery said the immigration-services agency is hiring and training more employees as applicants' checks are cashed.
"It's going to be a while before additional money coming in from the fees is reflected in reduced backlogs," she said.
The agency is barred from using federal tax money to deal with backlogs, she said.
Martha DahDah, a Riverside immigration attorney, said the delays could also postpone family reunification. Immigrants who marry in their home country may have to wait for weeks for their spouses to receive permission to immigrate, and parents may remain separated from children who still live in their native countries, she said.
Emilio Amaya, executive director of San Bernardino Community Service Center, an immigration-assistance agency, said he worries that delays in citizenship applications could hurt efforts to register more immigrant voters for the 2008 elections. He is meeting with immigration officials next week to discuss the backlogs.
"Anything that delays our ability to fully participate in the social and political system causes concern for us," he said.
How many more cases like this we need to understand that Immigration system is on crisis. Needs a structural change on policies and procedure. Can we be more rational and objectives on hot issues.
Most of the media exposed the case of a Mexican citizen(Tourist) traveler with T.B. as an outrageous news even when Mexican Health Authorities warned to U.S. Border patrol but we forgot the U.S. Citizen slipped into the U.S. from Europe via a flight to Canada with MDR Tuberculosis. Can we see the root of the problem and call for a solution rather being ignorants, and xenophobics?
Traveler with TB did not use alias.
Key senators said a Mexican national infected with a highly contagious form of tuberculosis did not use a fake name to enter the country 76 times and take numerous flights, as Homeland Security spokesmen had previously stated.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent and chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican and the panel's ranking member, said that Customs and Border Protection officials had the name and a corrected date of birth by mid-April but that the man continued to cross the border unfettered 21 more times.
"He wasn't using an alias," Miss Collins said.
"The first report that we got from the [Homeland Security] department was that that was the reason. That turned out not to be the case," Miss Collins said.
Mr. Lieberman and Miss Collins questioned Paul Rosenzweig, Homeland Security deputy assistant secretary for policy, about the conflicting excuses and the potential health threat caused by the lapse during a hearing this week.
"We are not satisfied, and we don't want this to happen again," said Mr. Lieberman, who along with Miss Collins is drafting a follow-up letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt demanding more answers on how the health-security lapse occurred.
The Washington Times last week reported that Amado Isidro Armendariz Amaya made the border crossings from August 2006 to June 2007. Homeland Security (DHS) officials had said the Mexican businessman was traveling under an alias.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was warned by Mexican health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on April 16 that the frequent traveler was infected with multi-drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis
But according to internal DHS e-mails obtained by The Times, Mr. Armendariz did not use a fake name but rather used variations of his own name. For example, he customarily went by his middle name "Isidro," rather than his formal birth name, "Amado."
The e-mails show nine variations of his name in a system that is capable of searching two dozen law-enforcement databases.
In this week's hearing, the Senate committee learned that Customs and Border Protection officials had the name of "Isidro Armendariz Amaya" and the correct birth date in April.
Homeland Security officials, however, took more than six weeks to issue a May 31 alert to warn its own border inspectors, according to Homeland Security sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.
MDR tuberculosis is a highly contagious and dangerous illness — the same strain that concerned health officials when Andrew Speaker, a 31-year-old Atlanta lawyer, slipped into the U.S. from Europe via a flight to Canada. The story set off alarms that the system had failed to identify the contagious passenger, which led to congressional hearings in June.
The Mexican national's border crossing card was canceled on June 1. However, Border Patrol officials declined to report the health security breach when it briefed the Senate committee on Mr. Speaker's case on June 4. The CDC also failed to report the Mexico breach when it briefed the committee on June 6.
The Mexican national was not placed on the no-fly list until the Transportation Security Agency was warned on June 7.
"I'm really concerned about this," Miss Collins said. "This person was potentially very dangerous from a public health perspective. What if this had been a terrorist?"
Customs officials told lawmakers at this week's hearing that they were hampered initially by their incomplete information on the traveler — a transposed date of birth and his middle name and his two surnames, maternal and paternal, the common practice among Spanish-speakers.
"The case of the Mexican gentleman with tuberculosis ... is an example of that, where we can only work with as much information as we have," Mr. Rosenzweig said.
"If the information is incomplete or inaccurate, that defeats, to some degree, our ability to conduct watch-list name matching," Mr. Rosenzweig said.
The response did not satisfy the committee, which has opened an inquiry into the security lapse on the Mexican border.
"If a terrorist about whom we have an accurate last name and an accurate middle name and an accurate date of birth could cross 21 times, when you know it's likely where the individual is going to be crossing, that's a huge concern to me," Miss Collins said.
Using only three of the four names would create tens of thousands of "false-positive" hits creating a logjam at the border crossings, Mr. Rosenzweig said.
"You know, we've had many, many complaints that the lines on the southern border are already too long. As the type of information we get is less and less accurate, and we widen the field to make an examination based upon the name check, we get more and more people who will be overwhelming our secondary inspection capabilities, extending the line beyond belief and inconveniencing lots and lots of people who aren't matches for any of those," Mr. Rosenzweig said.
Again, the lawmakers were not satisfied with the response.
"I think the public interest would have been better served if you had stopped everybody with his two last names," Mr. Lieberman said.
Added Miss Collins: "I have no confidence that these agencies have procedures in place to adequately address the next health threat, particularly one that would put the American public in even more danger."
How can we prevent to continue rising this wave of pedophiles? you will see this as an outrageous or bizarre news but imagine if this man was expose or rape a child? or do you believe that's the proper and decent way to exposure or relief our sexual tension?
How do you know what's going thru his mind having sex with a Doll? As a Society can we tolerate this kind of behavior on public sites?
Man charged with indecent exposure allegedly was found with inflatable doll in public restroom.
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A man was arrested after a government agent allegedly found him in an office building restroom lying next to an inflatable, anatomically correct doll with his pants down.
Craig S. McCullough, 47, was charged Wednesday with indecent exposure, a misdemeanor.
The criminal complaint against McCullough says he was discovered in the public restroom by an agent for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, which is one of the federal agencies that rents space in the Hach office building.
McCullough was arrested, and Cedar Rapids police took him to the Linn County jail. His arraignment was scheduled later Friday, police spokeswoman Cristy Hamblin said.
Another agency has an outstanding warrant against McCullough, but the reason for that warrant was not immediately clear, Hamblin said. He was still in jail Friday morning and it wasn't clear if he had an attorney.
McCullough's criminal record includes a 2004 conviction for burglarizing Just For Me bridal boutique. Shortly after the burglary, police officers found McCullough in a nearby alley, carrying a mannequin wearing a bridal dress
Friday, October 26, 2007
PHILADELPHIA WOMAN SENTENCED FOR FEDERAL HATE CRIME
WASHINGTON – A Philadelphia woman, Kia Reid, was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Philadelphia to eight months confined to a community corrections center as part of two years supervised probation, following her conviction on a federal civil rights charge, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Rena J. Comisac and U.S. Attorney Patrick L. Meehan for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced.
At her guilty plea on June 22, 2007, Reid admitted to committing a federal hate crime by sending a note threatening violence to her supervisor at work, who is Arab and Muslim American, in an attempt to interfere with the supervisor’s federally protected employment activity. During the early-morning hours of Monday, Oct. 2, 2006, Reid left an anonymous threatening letter in her supervisor’s office at the Sheraton Suites Hotel in Philadelphia. Reid had affixed words and phrases which appeared to be cut from publications, including the phrases “REMEMBER 9/11,” “you and your kids will pay,” “tie onto the fence,” “strategically planned,” and “death.”
“Attacks against individuals because of their race, ethnicity, or religion are contemptible and un-American, and will not be tolerated,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Rena J. Comisac said.
The case was investigated by the Philadelphia Field Office of the FBI and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Schwartz and Jeffery Whitt and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Eric L. Gibson.
Since 9/11, the Justice Department has prosecuted 38 defendants for federal bias crimes against Muslims, Arabs, Sikhs and South Asians, with 34 convictions to date. The Department has also assisted in more than 150 state and local prosecutions involving bias crimes against these groups
Since last couple of years We have an increase in Domestic Terrorism than International Terrorism Why we do not recognized that we have an internal problem?Why?
Explosives possibly thrown at Mexican Consulate.
Two explosive devices were apparently thrown at the Mexican Consulate on the East Side in the middle of the night -- and it appears one exploded.
Residents reported hearing an explosion at around 3:50 a.m. this morning in front of the building at 27 East 39th Street. When consulate workers arrived at around 9:25 a.m., they reportedly discovered broken glass and fragments from one of the devices.
Eyewitness News is told police responded and immediately began scouring outside the building for evidence. Neither of the devices actually got into the consulate.
The two devices appear "similar" to those thrown at the British Consulate in May 2005. Law enforcement officials are investigating the possibility that today's incident is related to the one outside the British Consulate in 2005.
No injuries were reported at the consulate.
A State Department official said the building was evacuated due to "a broken window." Police say the Consulate General was not at the building at the time of the incident.
The NYPD Bomb Squad is on the scene investigating. None of the residents called police when they heard the overnight explosion.
On May 5, 2005, two makeshift bombs exploded in front of a building that houses the British Consulate and other offices on the East Side. Those blasts shattered windows but caused no injuries and no significant damage. No arrests were made in that case.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
That Lou Dobbs is obsessed with Mexicans or La Senora don't get enough of Lou that he is joining the Minuteman Groups?
This country has its fair share of xenophobes and racists, some of which have made a name for themselves on cable news networks, where every non blond-haired, blue-eyed Jesus fearing individual is subject to belittlement and allegations of being responsible from everything to gas prices to terrorism.
CNN's Lou Dobbs, however, is a different breed of bigot. Whether or not true reflections of Mr. Dobbs' own convictions or the work of a few savvy producers with a penchant for sensationalism (remember when Bill O'Reilly was on A Current
Affair and was "normal"?), Lou Dobbs is OBSESSED with Mexicans. I repeat: OBSESSED. And I actually do think the obsession is real, especially given the above photo of him with the "Minutemen".
At first it was kind of a joke: "Guess what Lou Dobbs' lead story is today...Uh, I don't know, the outsourcing of America to MEXICO? Our unprotected borders open to evil MEXICANS?" Later I realized that the subject of illegal Mexican immigration was even more common on his show "Lou Dobbs Tonight" than I thought. I think it's pretty safe to say that at least one of bigger stories each night is about illegal Mexican immigration to the U.S., if not more.
So, my question is: why just Mexico? Why not throw in Canada, Dominican Republic, China, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador or any other country every once in a while? Was Mr. Dobbs slighted by a Mexican girlfriend at one point and expressing his ire years later via cable news, or does he not know that these other countries exist? I'm stumped.
True testament to his obsession can be found in the transcripts of his show on CNN.com. He promote against Mexicans; Broken Borders, War against Middle class, and you name it. He mentioned many times Mexican illegal immigrants coming in to "take away jobs" in New Orleans post-Katrina and another about the "disturbing rise in the number of Mexican consulates" in the U.S..
Now I know why you joining the Minuteman Groups Lou..La Senora (Mrs.) can't get enough just a Minute man......That's why you taking your anger and frustation of no paraguas with Mexicans...
Do you believe Highway Patrol should be question residency to passengers? Even to people who had a flat tire on the freeway rather to assist them?
Do Highway Patrol had the Authority to question residency to all or just to Hispanics? I've never heard of anyone who is not Hispanic being detained on any traffic stop. Why?
Raids are against Criminals or fugitives? or are single out just for their skin color?
Immigration crackdown feasts on motorists.
JEFFERSON CITY — The state's crackdown on illegal immigrants has led to 52 arrests in the first six weeks, with most caught in routine traffic stops.
More than half of those detained were passengers. One had a flat tire. Others were pulled over for speeding or failure to use a turn signal properly.
While many have hailed Gov. Matt Blunt's get-tough policy, critics say the Missouri Highway Patrol's even more aggressive strategy of checking residency during traffic stops could result in racial profiling.
"If you're being told from on high that we're going to stop illegal immigration, law enforcement is going to look twice at someone who looks Hispanic," said Jorge Riopedre, secretary of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis. "It's only human nature."
Tony Rothert, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, said the Highway Patrol doesn't seem to have a "coherent policy" for deciding whom to arrest.
"I've never heard of anyone who is not Hispanic being taken in for failing to use the turn signal," he said.
In launching the stepped-up enforcement on Aug. 27, Blunt pointed to an illegal immigrant from Peru who has been accused of committing a triple murder in New Jersey while free on bail on a rape charge. Blunt said an earlier immigration check could have prevented those murders. He directed the Highway Patrol to run residency checks on everyone troopers lock up.
The patrol is going further. It encourages officers to run computerized immigration checks on motorists who lack sufficient IDs — primarily Missouri drivers licenses issued after 2005. But exceptions can be made if the officer personally knows the driver.
"Our people are trying to do everything they can to make sure people can legally operate vehicles," patrol Major Bret Johnson said. "If something bad were to happen, the question would be, 'Why didn't you check their status?'"
That question came up last month, after an illegal immigrant ran his SUV into diners at a Clayton restaurant. The driver, Sergio Lopez, 23, had been cited for several traffic offenses in a previous crash in St. Louis, but his residency apparently had not been checked
The Post-Dispatch filed a public records request to obtain information about those detained since Aug. 27. The results showed that relatively few were charged with crimes other than immigration violations.
More than half — 31 out of 52 — were passengers in vehicles stopped by the patrol. One was gambling at a casino.
A few of the detainees were charged with serious crimes, including two arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Records show that six people were arrested in a stealing case and two were picked up as part of a salvage yard investigation, though the records don't offer details. The patrol also declined to provide details.
Blunt's anti-illegal immigration stance has angered Hispanic leaders across the state, but he continues to defend the move. He even took another step on Wednesday, sending a letter to county prosecutors saying he supports efforts to enforce a state law against illegal immigration.
The law says employers found employing illegal immigrants can be ruled ineligible for state tax credits, tax abatements or loans.
"I am confident that you have the power to use this law at your discretion," Blunt wrote.
Tracking the arrests of illegal immigrants the last several weeks is complicated by the secrecy that surrounds immigration enforcement. The patrol usually leaves detainees at a county jail that doubles as a federal holding center.
The detainees at times are not held long. Those who are from Mexico and have no criminal records often are given the option of a quick "voluntary return" with no charges, said Carl Rusnok, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Immigration has become a hot political topic in many states, with Republicans and Democrats aligning behind initiatives such as penalties for hiring undocumented workers.
Some have pushed for agreements that allow state officers to make immigration arrests and handle deportation paperwork, under federal supervision. Blunt has applied to be the seventh state with such authority, joining Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia and Massachusetts.
If Blunt's request is granted, the state will send 25 officers to five weeks of training, probably in Georgia.
Even without such authority, supporters say, Missouri is on solid legal ground in policing residency.
A 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision gave law enforcement broad authority to check immigration status, said Kris W. Kobach, who teaches law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
"This is basic information, like asking a person his name," said Kobach, who served as chief adviser on immigration to former Attorney General John Ashcroft. "As long as it's uniform policy that applies in all situations — like a person being arrested or all people being stopped for a traffic violation — then the possibility of any kind of profiling is very low."
In the six weeks after Blunt issued his directive, state and local law enforcement officers ran 1,136 immigration checks, according to the Missouri Information Analysis Center, which is part of the Missouri Department of Public Safety.
One officer, Patrol Corp. R.A. Seaton of Troop C arrested nearly half of the detainees — 25 out of 52 — in two traffic stops on Interstate 70 in Warren County.
In the first case, Omar Gomez-Ibarra, 24, was stopped for improper use of a turn signal. The 1997 Chevy Astro van also had a broken luggage shell on top, and items were falling out, said a spokesman for Troop C, which covers St. Louis and surrounding counties.
The driver had an ID card that appeared to be fraudulent, and the other occupants — seven men and four juveniles — had no identification, said the spokesman, Sgt. Al Nothum. The 12 were taken to the Montgomery County Jail, according to the patrol.
Rusnok, the ICE spokesman, said four of the men were deported, three were held as material witnesses, and the driver was turned over to U.S. marshals for prosecution. The juveniles were transferred to another facility.
Seaton declined to comment. Nothum defended the officer's decision to pull over the van, saying, "We can't have people going down the highway with stuff falling out of their vehicle."
In Seaton's second case, Miriam Castillo, 22, was pulled over for what patrol reports describe only as a "traffic violation." Seaton called immigration officials, who told him to detain Castillo and her 12 passengers, the patrol said.
Johnson, the patrol major, said detainees could have dangerous drug dealing, human smuggling or "sex ring" records that aren't apparent, because the state doesn't track that information once federal agents take charge of a case.
In some cases, bad luck seems to be the main reason people are caught. Consider the two men who were arrested on Highway 65 in Taney County when patrol Cpl. Gary Riggs stopped to help them with a flat tire.
Riggs said the men, who worked at an area restaurant, admitted they were in the country illegally. Both men were taken to the Taney County Jail. One of the men was the vehicle's owner, Jose L. Martinez-Pimentel, 20, who was charged with failing to transfer ownership of his vehicle.
The charge was the result of his neglecting to sign the back of his title
Are we shooting ourselves on the foot? Are we prepare for crisis. We have recently Katrina Crisis, California Wildfire crisis and know Georgia suffering the worst case drought scenario. They do not have a real back up plan for the 90 days supply of water.
Officials Have No Backup For Worst Case Drought Scenario.
ATLANTA -- With the South in the grip of an epic drought and its largest city holding less than a 90-day supply of water, officials are scrambling to deal with the worst-case scenario: What if Atlanta's faucets really do go dry?
So far, no real backup exists. And there are no quick fixes among suggested solutions, which include piping water in from rivers in neighboring states, building more regional reservoirs, setting up a statewide recycling system or even desalinating water from the Atlantic Ocean.
The owner of an Atlanta landscaping business, Ray Wiedman, said, "It's amazing that things have come to this. Everybody knew the growth was coming. We haven't had a plan for all the people coming here?"
Governor Perdue seems to be pinning his hopes on a two-pronged approach: urging water conservation and reducing water flowing out of federally controlled lakes.
Perdue's office today asked a federal judge in Florida to force the Army Corps of Engineers to curb the amount of water draining from Georgia reservoirs into Alabama and Florida. And Georgia's environmental protection director is drafting proposals for more water restrictions.
But that may not be enough to stave off the water crisis. More than a quarter of the Southeast is covered by an "exceptional" drought -- the National Weather Service's worst drought category. Georgia is smack in the middle of the affected area, which extends like a dark cloud over most of Tennessee, Alabama and the northern half of Georgia, as well as parts of North and South Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia.
Lawsuit Filed; Governor May Ask President For Water Help
The state filed the lawsuit Friday trying to force the Corps of Engineers to restrict downstream water releases. Governor Perdue is planning a news conference Saturday at Lake Lanier.
Channel 2 Action News has learned Governor Sonny Perdue may ask President Bush to declare a State of Emergency.
Press Secretary Heather Teilhet told Channel 2 the governor is preparing to see if it is feasible to ask the president to declare a State of Emergency because of the lingering drought and the dramatic drop-off in Georgia reservoirs up and down the Chattahoochee River.
The governor -- on a trade mission to Asia -- was not available by phone to talk to reporters about the growing water dispute -- he is expected to speak Saturday morning. His office announced Wednesday that a lawsuit challenging the Corps of Engineers’ releases of water from Lake Lanier would be filed no later than the end of the day Friday. The governor's press secretary said the governor is taking steps toward a possible request that President Bush declare a State of Emergency because of the dire conditions in Lake Lanier and other Georgia reservoirs.
A fellow Republican, who is Chairman of the Cobb County Commission and the Atlanta Regional Commission, told Channel 2’s Sally Sears more litigation is not the answer.
“We need to force the issue publicly, encourage the president to jump in. He's been very quiet on this issue. He needs to get engaged in this issue, and say ‘Gentlemen, we need to do what's best for our residents,’ said Sam Olens.
With the governor's parking space at the capitol empty as the stand-off intensified this week, some critics took their shots.
“We should hold our elected officials and our policy-makers accountable for not planning this better and taking proactive actions,” said former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes
Immigration Raids Hurt Farmers. An Immigration Crackdown Is Causing Workers To Flee And Crippling Operations. Now They're Urging Reform. Import Workers, or Import Food. It doesn't matter if I raise wages, We just don't have the population base. There's no one out there.
Maureen Torrey, an 11th-generation farmer in the rural town of Elba, N.Y., has been losing sleep. Just as rows of cabbage and winter squash stand ready for harvest on her 11,000 acre farm, she can't find enough workers to bring in the crops. She needs about 350 workers and is 70 short of that number. "I wake up at 3:30 in the morning and my mind doesn't shut off," she says.
The problem, she says, is fear. Torrey Farms, a 14-crop vegetable farm located an hour east of Buffalo, has been raided twice since last October, when she says immigration officials kicked in the doors of workers' housing and apprehended 34. In August, officials arrested seven workers and 14 more fled the area. Amid continued talk of a federal crackdown on undocumented immigrants, she's afraid still more of her workforce will flee to less hostile terrain. With a population of about 9,000, the town of Elba, "Onion Capital of the World" to locals, may not have the manpower to replace them.
A Climate of Fear
"With all the raids, people get scared and leave, and I don't blame them," says Torrey. She says now rumors are running rampant that another sweep is planned for Nov. 15. "It's terrible. This is the worst I've seen."
A climate of fear is spreading among undocumented immigrant workers, causing turmoil in industries dependent on their labor. In August the Homeland Security Dept. announced that employers would be required to terminate workers who fail to produce valid Social Security numbers. Implementation of the new rule is delayed pending the outcome of a lawsuit brought against the government by the umbrella labor union group, the AFL-CIO.
But while the new rule has yet to take effect, its impact is already being felt by farmers like Torrey. An estimated three-quarters of agricultural workers in the U.S. are undocumented, and growers are starting to feel the paralyzing effects of losing their workforce. They say that unless the government implements workable reforms, the future of the U.S. as a food-producing nation is in jeopardy.
Import Workers, or Import Food
Agriculture does not play the role it once did in the U.S. economy, of course. Though the amount of farmland used has remained fairly steady over the past century, changes to the structure of farms and improvements in productivity have cut the number of people involved dramatically. In 1900, for example, 41% of the U.S. population was employed in agriculture, while that number now stands at less than 2%. Farmers hire workers for about 3 million agricultural jobs each year, but only one-quarter of that workforce is legally authorized. Agriculture also makes up a lower share of the U.S. gross domestic product than ever, accounting for less than 1%.
Still, farm advocates say that immigrant workers are allowing U.S. farmers to compete in a fierce global marketplace, and that losing the workforce means losing domestic sources of food. "The choice is simple: Do we want to import workers or import food?" says Craig Regelbrugge, co-chair of the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform.
U.S. consumers may see little or no effect from the crackdown, but farmers like Torrey certainly will. Losing farm labor in the U.S. is likely to result in a shift of market share to foreign producers from domestic ones, rather than much change in food prices. "Farmers all over the world are salivating at the prospect that we won't be able to produce here," says James Holt, an agricultural labor economist. "They are more than happy to produce for us."
The chief issue in lost U.S. production, say Holt and others, is security. "What's at stake here is not prices, but food safety," he says. Torrey and other farmers agree. "We need to wake up to the realities of food safety and security issues," says Torrey. "A country not in control of its food supply is a weak nation."
Farmers Want Congress to Act
While some employers of immigrants fear the limelight, the 55-year-old Torrey is unabashedly vocal in her opposition to the government's proposed crackdown. She set up the Web site www.saveUSFarms.org, which allows farmers to sign a petition and make donations in support of the AgJobs bill [S. 1645/ H.R. 3142]. She also testified before Congress on the issue. The bill, currently being debated in Congress, would streamline the H-2A farm worker visa program and also allow workers a path to permanent resident status.
"Every day I'm picking what crops my crew should tend to because I don't have enough workers for all of them," says Torrey. "We need Congress to act before the end of the year; farmers are in a crisis."
Many agriculture experts agree. On Oct. 4, farmers and economists testified in front of the U.S. House of Representatives' Agriculture Committee to plead their case for reform. "The U.S. agricultural industry is in the midst of a labor crisis, the resolution of which will determine whether U.S. producers are more than marginal participants in U.S. and global markets," said Holt in his testimony in support of AgJobs.
While AgJobs is debated, some growers are advocating more employer-friendly regulations. The Bush administration is currently rewriting federal regulations, to accommodate employers' needs, that forgo the promise of permanent residency for agricultural workers. The Homeland Security Dept., State Dept., and Labor Dept. are involved in that effort, which was announced alongside the call in August to crack down on workers with suspect Social Security numbers.
It is unclear how much progress Congress can make on immigration reform before it lets out for the year in mid-November. As farmers like Torrey are pushing for AgJobs, other employer groups disappointed by the failure of comprehensive immigration reform in June are stepping up efforts to pass narrower reforms. For example technology companies including IBM (IBM), Microsoft (MSFT), Google (GOOG), and Oracle (ORCL), are pushing for more visas for skilled workers, while tourism and hotel groups advocate for more non-farm, unskilled visas.
Pay Is Not the Problem
One question in the background of the debate is why employers do not raise wages to avoid legal problems and attract a native-born workforce. But unlike other industries that might attract more workers with greater pay -- such as nursing [BusinessWeek, 8/28/07] and segments of the technology industry [BusinessWeek, 10/10/07] -- it is not clear that raising wages for agricultural work would attract Americans to these jobs. Between 1990 and 2006, wages in agriculture have increased 54%, from an average of $6.12 per hour to $9.44 per hour [both figures are in 2006 dollars]. Yet shortages remain common.
Employers and their advocates say that the fact that wages have increased so much and workers are still scarce is evidence that pay is not the problem. "This is not just about wages," says Regelbrugge. "Who wants to get up 3 a.m. and milk the cows? It's not a lifestyle many Americans opt for, especially when there are more comfortable alternatives."
Others argue that raising wages would undoubtedly attract more workers. "Labor shortages are created by employers," says Ana Avendano, director of the immigrant worker program for the AFL-CIO. "Employers say they can't find workers, but look at the conditions they are offering. Some of them are atrocious."
But Torrey says she offers good working conditions, and provides housing and a 401[k] plan for her workers. Workers start at $7.15 an hour, and the average wage on the farm is $10.95 to $11.95 per hour. "It doesn't matter if I raise wages," says Torrey. "We just don't have the population base. There's no one out there."