Friday, May 30, 2008

Minuteman Racists??? Do they holding a racist view? Do they are Involved on Supremacist Groups? Find out..

I was browsing thru the Internet and I found a great and excellent article about the Minuteman racist view.

Looking into the Minuteman, Racism. By Joe Killian.

A lot of the blog discussion – here and elsewhere - in the wake of the Minutemen’s stop in Greensboro this week revolved around whether the group is, as the group's protestors and detractors claim, in bed with racists or motivated by racism.I think it’s important to make the distinction between people who hold racist views (some of whom were certainly in attendance at the rally, but who did not make up the entirety or even the bulk of the crowd) and people who are actively involved in organized white supremacist groups.

Chip Atkinson posted at this blog and on Ed Cone's that he was skeptical about claims of racism among Minutemen and could find no evidence of ORGANIZED racism on the part of the Minutemen or their supporters.I pointed Chip to the Southern Poverty Law center and their publication, Intelligence Report, which reports extensively on violent radical groups of all stripes and works with the United States government, sharing intelligence on domestic terrorism. Calling the SPLC too liberal to be considered credible, Chip said he still didn't buy it.And that's a valid enough position. You can't swallow everything that's given to you. It's the reader's responsibility to be somewhat skeptical and to ask for proof, particularly when information doesn't come from an actual news agency or someone with any journalism background.So, in my off-time, I did a little old-fashioned independent reporting on the claims of the SPLC and the Minuteman Project regarding ORGANIZED racists. Since I have no link with the Minutemen, the International Socialist Organization or any of the groups that protested the Minutemen and am not a member of any partisan organization I'm hoping Chip and others with questions about this take my reporting seriously or investigate it themselves. It's as accurate as I can make it, either way.A little Internet research, a few e-mails and six phone calls have produced the following:
Continue reading:

Thursday, May 29, 2008


COLUMBIA, South Carolina -- Acting United States Attorney Kevin F. McDonald announced today that a Federal Grand Jury sitting in Florence, South Carolina, returned an Indictment against Ryan Anthony Schallenberger, age 18, of Ruby, South Carolina, in connection with an alleged plot to blow up Chesterfield High School. Schallenberger was charged in the three-count indictment with:

(1) receiving and attempting to receive an explosive with the knowledge and intent that it would be used to kill, injure, or intimidate an individual, and damage and destroy a building, vehicle, or other real and personal property, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 844 (d), and punishable by a maximum possible prison term of ten years;

(2) attempting to damage and destroy real property owned, possessed, or leased to Chesterfield High School and the Chesterfield County School District, by means of fire and an explosive, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 844(f)(1), and punishable by mandatory minimum prison term of five years and a maximum possible term of 20 years; and

(3) possessing an unregistered destructive device, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Sections 5861(d) and 5871, and punishable by a maximum possible prison term of ten years.

Schallenberger was initially arrested last month on a federal complaint that cited his alleged conduct as being in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2332a, involving a weapon of mass destruction. Mr. McDonald state that the WMD charge was not presented to the Grand Jury for its consideration. “Having considered the circumstances of this matter, and having reviewed the evidence obtained to date, I believe the case is properly charged. The explosives charges that were issued by the Grand Jury today are very serious charges,” Mr. McDonald said.

Schallenberger’s arraignment is tentatively scheduled for 10:00 a.m., at the Federal Courthouse in Florence on June 10 th.

The case was investigated by ATF, FBI, SLED, and the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Rose Mary Parham and Buddy Bethea of the Florence Office.

Mr. McDonald stated that the charges in this Indictment are merely accusations and that the defendant charged is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former deputy with the Clay County Sheriff’s Department was charged in federal court today with violating a defendant’s civil rights by using unreasonable force during an arrest and with obstruction of justice.

Donald A. Devens, 59, of Smithville, Mo., waived his right to a grand jury and was charged in a two-count information filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City. Devens was a Clay County deputy for four years before resigning on Oct. 7, 2005.

The federal charges stem from an incident that occurred on Aug. 16, 2005, while Devens was on road patrol near Kearney. Devens began pursuing a pickup truck that was traveling at a high rate of speed. Eventually, Devens and Kearney, Mo., police officers stopped the vehicle, which was driven by Wesley A. Lewis, and Lewis was arrested.

The information charges Devens with deprivation of rights under color of law. Devens allegedly assaulted Lewis, thereby depriving him of his Constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by one acting under color of law, resulting in bodily injury to Lewis.

The information also charges Devens with obstruction of justice. Devens allegedly destroyed a videotape recording of Lewis’ arrest that was taped from the Devens’ patrol vehicle. Devens destroyed the videotape, the information alleges, in order to obstruct the investigation involving Lewis’ arrest.

Under federal statutes, if convicted of both charges, Devens could be subject to a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500,000. Wood cautioned that the charges contained in this information are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Roseann A. Ketchmark. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The voices of Danbury residents speaking up about the Unjustice of city ordinance against Undocumented Immigrants.

What's coming to America. Camps for the Undocumented Immigrants. Anti Immigrants do not have another Humane and civil solution just Camps, fence, walls, raids, scapegoating, diminishing, dehumanizing,and criminalized Undocumented Immigrants

A tribute for those who are not here and for those who's still continue fighting for the Civil and Human rights.
Hopefully we can learn from others their tolerance, understanding, compassion for humanity, civil and profounded love for others. Thank youuuuuuuuu.

No Autorizacion. No Busqueda.(Entrada)!!!!.
Please, exercize your constitutional rights. ICE, Police, FBI and DHS wants search houses for suspicious activities detaining individuals without exercizing their Constitutional rights. No search without a warrant!!!!!!! Do not open the door.

BUSTED: Exercize your constitutional rights

Great video to acknowdledge and exercized your constitutional rights at any Police search or stop.

The blind side of Lou Dobbs on War on drugs. B.C. Cannabis on the Northern Border.

Stopping smugglers is left to a multitude of government agencies and agents on both sides of the border. The political intrigue and sovereignty issues symbolized by anti-smuggling efforts became clear to me when I tried to interview top government bureaucrats in Ottawa and Washington, DC. Obfuscation, unreturned phone calls and non-responsive answers were the rule rather than the exception.

Because they are losing the war, officials are unwilling to provide stats or policy statements regarding smuggling. They're embarrassed. Federal officials in both nation's capitols sheepishly told me to contact local offices of the US Border Patrol and Customs Service, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Vancouver.

When I spoke to representatives of local agencies, I found them to be candid, affable and good-humoured about the obvious challenge of interdicting the total Canadian marijuana outflow. They seem like nice people.

"We're doing as much as we can," said Gene Davis of the US Border Patrol, "but marijuana is just one of many things we're trying to catch. We have a serious alien smuggling problem because Canada has a relatively open policy toward Third World immigrants, and that's a stepping stone for them entering the United States. The Southern border has gotten all the attention for so many years, but when Congress found out that even terrorists were coming across the northern border, and how few agents we had up here, they were really shocked."

Davis says that seizures of Canadian marijuana are up six hundred percent over last year's figures.

"Seizures are up because demand has increased, and so has supply. Why? Because the Canadian marijuana is so potent, between 25 to 30 percent THC, and everybody wants it. The BC bud is second to none in the drug world. The Blaine office has to patrol a very busy corridor which covers from the top of the Cascades west and includes the Olympic peninsula. There's lots of rugged hills and mountains. There are roads parallelling each other on both sides. We've asked for more manpower, and it looks like we might get it, but we've got so much territory, they could give us another 100 officers and it wouldn't be enough," he said.

US Border Patrol Intelligence Specialist Dave Keller says 42 agents are responsible for interdicting the 40 mile smuggling corridor near Vancouver.

"If we're getting more than two percent of what's coming across, we're lucky," he says. "The bulk of it is in commercial vehicles, but an average load is 35 pounds, enough to fit in one duffel bag. We haven't had the resources to examine the sea routes, and we don't think the air routes are significant. Many of the people we catch are ethnic minorities, like Central and South Americans who are also involved in gun and hard narcotics smuggling.

"We're seeing a rapid infiltration of organized crime, apparently a more rapid infiltration than what happened on the Mexican border. They're bringing marijuana south and sending guns, meth, cocaine and heroin. Definite Hells Angels involvement, Asian Triads, the works. Sometimes we see personal use smugglers: people who pick up one to three pounds of BC bud and bring it across for their own smoke."

2 whistle-blowing agents sue Patrol, alleging retaliation.

Two Border Patrol agents assigned to Southern Arizona are suing the agency, accusing the Tucson Sector chief of illegally retaliating against them for publicly exposing illegal practices.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, says Robert Gilbert suspended the law-enforcement powers of agents Juan Curbelo and William Leafstone Jr. because they publicly disclosed a Border Patrol practice of "shotgunning," which, according to the lawsuit, involves stopping vehicles without reasonable suspicion a crime has been committed.

Since August 2007, the two have been assigned to build fences along the border. And Curbelo also drew a two-month maintenance assignment, with his duties including painting guardrails, mowing grass and unclogging sewage lines.

Dove Haber, a Border Patrol agent who handles media inquiries, said Wednesday that her agency does not comment on pending litigation.

According to the lawsuit, the two agents' problems began in 2006, when Curbelo's ex-wife, Concepcion, and children were stopped by a Border Patrol agent near Rodeo, N.M. She was charged with possessing and transporting marijuana.
The suit says Curbelo and Leafstone, reviewing the arrest report, found "numerous inconsistencies that were an effort to cover up an obvious lack of reasonable suspicion" for having stopped the vehicle in the first place.

Curbelo eventually contacted the Border Patrol's inspector general to complain, not only about the "shotgunning" but also other concerns about how his ex-wife's arrest was handled, concerns Leafstone also shared with that office.
Leafstone also agreed to testify at a hearing on behalf of Curbelo's ex-wife. The judge concluded the traffic stop was illegal and the charges against her eventually were dismissed. Within days of that hearing, the lawsuit says, Gilbert directed both to turn in their badges and firearms because the agents had "divulged sensitive Border Patrol information."

The suit, filed on their behalf by the American Civil Liberties Union, contends the officers were punished for exercising their First Amendment free-speech rights, in particular the right of Leaf-stone to testify in a legal proceeding. It seeks a court order returning the men to their full job positions and responsibilities.
"It's our contention that the Border Patrol is punishing these officers for breaking the agency's 'code of silence' and shedding light on a practice that brazenly violates the privacy rights of motorists," Peter Simonson, executive director of the ACLU of New Mexico, said in a prepared statement.

"Rather than being suspended from their jobs, Agents Curbelo and Leafstone should be congratulated for taking a principled stand, knowing full well that it might not sit well with some of their fellow officers," he said.

Homeland Security Checkpoint:

Check point activity over the Border Patrol Limits. They stopping Latinos without No reasonable suspicion with the exception of just being racial profiling. (Mexicans). Taking the the law on their own hands.

Know how to exercize your rights at any Check point..

Military contractor Blackwater wants to train Border Patrol agents on the U.S./ Mexican Border.

Military security contractor Blackwater Worldwide asked a federal court judge Tuesday to force San Diego to issue permits required to open a new indoor military training facility in the city.

The company claimed in a motion filed in San Diego federal court that it stands to lose a $400 million Navy training contract unless the center opens by June 2. Blackwater claims final permits have been withheld for political reasons after city inspectors initially approved the project because anti-Blackwater rhetoric had reached a "feverish pitch."

"This is an election year in San Diego," wrote Brian Bonfiglio, Blackwater's project manager, in court papers.

Blackwater has been targeted by local anti-war activists since 2006, when the Moyock, N.C., company bought a defunct chicken ranch in the mountains about 40 miles east of San Diego with plans for converting it into a training camp for local and federal law enforcement, including Border Patrol.

The company dropped those plans in March. The same month, city inspectors approved permit applications for a 61,000 square-foot indoor facility in Otay Mesa, an industrial warehouse park along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to Bonfiglio.

The facility would house an indoor firing range for training sailors from nearby naval facilities in defense tactics against the threat of terrorist attacks by small boats in harbor.

Blackwater contends that elected officials forced the city to withhold

final approval for occupancy and called for a review by the city planning commission only after activists made it a campaign issue. On May 16, Mayor Jerry Sanders issued a stop work order, while City Attorney Michael Aguirre issued an opinion finding the project required additional review.
Both are in the midst of hotly contested campaigns ahead of the June 3 election

A spokesman for Sanders said the mayor deferred comment to the city attorney's office. Aguirre told The Associated Press he did not believe that taking the matter to federal court was appropriate because the review hadn't been completed.

"What we are saying is that it has to be thoroughly reviewed. The community has to be given the opportunity to comment," said Aguirre.

A hearing was scheduled for June 2.

Blackwater employees are currently embroiled in a federal investigation over a deadly Sept. 16 shooting in Baghdad involving several of the company's contractors.
Iraqi witnesses have described the shooting as an unprovoked attack in which the U.S. contractors killed motorists, bystanders and children.

Blackwater, hired by the State Department to guard U.S. diplomats in Iraq, says its contractors were responding to a Baghdad car bombing when they were ambushed by insurgents, touching off a firefight.

Three Iraqis, including the father of a slain 9-year-old boy, appeared Tuesday before a federal grand jury considering the matter in Washington.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008 - A Tribute

A Tribute to those who are not here and to those who are still fighting. So Today is the day...and to anyone else that has ever put their lives in harms way to protect this wonderful country of Immigrants...THANK YOU!! God Bless you and God Bless America!!!!!!!!

Honor a nuestros Heroes Latinos Olvidados en La Guerras.

Los Heroes Olvidados por los Medios de Comunicacion. The forgotten Heroes by the News Media.

The transforming experiences of African-Americans and Japanese-Americans during World War II have been well documented on public television. They speak to issues of civil rights, self-determination, and racial integration of the U.S. Armed Forces. And after the war, access to education and fair housing were among the benefits sought and in some measure attained because of their wartime achievements.

For Latinos, and Mexican-Americans in particular, there are few programs that present stories of the heroism and sacrifices made on behalf of the ideals of freedom and valor.

Mexicans Americans Veterans from all branches of our armed forces were interviewed in Texas, Arizona and California. Among them is Silvestre Herrera, a Latino soldier awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for injuries suffered in battle; B-25 bomber pilot Gilbert Orrantia; and D-Day veteran John D. Luna. Women who participated in the war effort also describe their experiences, including Henrietta Lopez Rivas, a Texas woman who used her excellent bilingual skills to work at the local Civil Defense office and later as a mechanic at Kelly Air Base in San Antonio; and Rosa Ramirez Guerrero, who devoted her time as an entertainer for troops stationed in El Paso.

Hardly a day goes by without William Figueroa mentioning his World War II memories. The retired lawyer, who became a naturalized United States citizen after joining the army in 1942, loves to regale his seven children and three grandchildren with World War II stories of "flying a typewriter." Figueroa was a staff sergeant who served as chief clerk at the Air Office of the Africa Middle East Transport Unit in Cairo, Egypt.

Figueroa recalls fondly, "There was no Air Force in those days. We were known as the Army Air Corps. Our main function was to facilitate the transport of cargo and dignitaries. But, we also took every opportunity to explore the rich historical sites of the region."

And, explore he did. "We grew up hearing about my dad's army buddies, and all the things they did overseas. We have pictures of him at the Pyramids, and lots of mementos that he brought back from the Middle East, such as Egyptian scarabs, carved brass candlesticks and filigreed jewelry," notes Figueroa's daughter Mary, a Minneapolis physician

This fall, the Figueroa family will gather in the Los Angeles suburb of Whittier to celebrate William's 80th birthday. No doubt, there will be many World War II remembrances at the event, and not just from William. Two of his three sisters, Josephine and Teresa, are married to World War II veterans. Josephine's husband, Albert Peinado, was an infantryman in Italy. Teresa's husband, Stan Santoyo, served in the Pacific and was taken prisoner of war by the Japanese in the Philippines. Between them, the three World War II veterans have 23 children and 37 grandchildren. The entire clan is close, and gets together frequently for parties. "We're so lucky to have so much history right here in our own family. Who else can boast of three World War II veterans, and all of them serving in different parts of the world?" says Figueroa's niece, Liza De La Rosa Walker, who is compiling a family history.

Although the Department of Veterans Affairs does not know the exact number of Hispanics who fought in World War II it estimates that up to 500,000 served. The number includes 53,000 Puerto Ricans in the 65th Infantry Regiment from Puerto Rico.

Hispanics earned 12 Medals of Honor during World War II, distinguishing themselves in the Philippines, North Africa, the Aleutian Islands, the Mediterranean and Europe. In fact, Hispanics have earned more Medals of Honor—39 in all-than any other ethnic group. After World War II, General Douglas Mac Arthur described the 158th Regimental Combat Team, comprised mostly of Mexican-Americans and Native Americans from Arizona, and known as the "Bushmasters," as "the greatest fighting combat team ever deployed for battle."

Yet, the media have largely ignored Hispanic contributions to the World War II effort. The golden anniversary of key World War II events brought a wave of commemorative books and big-budget Hollywood movies, such as Saving Private Ryan and Pearl Harbor. But, how many made mention of Hispanics?

But, Hispanic vets, you can tell the stories yourself. World War II veterans who think their families aren't interested in hearing about their wartime experiences should keep one thing in mind. Decades from now, your grandchildren or great-grandchildren will come across some wartime memorabilia you have long forgotten about. They will regret they didn't hear your recollections first-hand. And, one more thing you should know—America is interested in hearing your story. There are several ongoing projects dedicated to preserving World War II recollections, and they'd like to hear from you!

Two years ago, the U.S. Congress created the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress's American Folklife Center in Washington, D.C. Citing the "urgent need" to collect stories and experiences from veterans, the Veterans History Project is gathering audio and video tapes of oral histories, as well as other material from veterans. The material will be archived in various museums and educational institutions across the country. Some will even be conserved in a "Digital Library," where it will be accessible to future generations. AARP is a founding corporate sponsor of the Veterans History Project, which is actively seeking Hispanic World War II veterans to share their stories.

At the University of Texas at Austin, Assistant Professor of Journalism Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez is spearheading an ambitious project aimed specifically at Hispanic WWII veterans. Volunteers with the Latino & Latina World War II Oral History Project have videotaped interviews with more than 500 veterans. And, she's not just gathering material from soldiers. She wants to hear from factory workers and women who kept the home fires burning during the War years. "We want a complete sociological portrait of Hispanic life during that era," says Rivas-Rodriguez. The completed histories will be archived in two libraries at the University of Texas. "We want people hundreds of years from now to recognize the great contributions of Hispanics during the war," says Rivas-Rodriguez.

Untold stories of Mexican-American WWII veterans.
By San Gabriel Valley Tribue.

Much debate has been raised over whether the Latino contribution to World War II has been overlooked or ignored by modern-day media.

WHITTIER - His mission was to help about two dozen comrades herding 20,000 armed German soldiers who surrendered during World War II.

At first, David Alcala thought it was crazy.
But it wasn't long before he was driving his jeep up and down the massive line of enemy forces as they marched on the banks of the Loire River in September 1944 toward a prisoner camp.

The Whittier resident and his fellow soldiers were ordered to make sure the captive Germans marched without incident.

"I was hoping they wouldn't (turn on us)" the 86-year-old said. "If anything would have started, I wouldn't be here."

Alcala's unit, the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon of the Army's 329th Infantry Regiment, assisted in what is widely considered the largest mass surrender during the war. They were featured on an episode of the popular 1950s television show, "This is Your Life," with host Ralph Edwards.

Alcala was the only Mexican-American in the platoon. Continue reading here:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


There are many problems facing the United States today: a faltering economy, a health-care crisis, and the continuing war in Iraq, to name a few. But viewers of some of the most prominent cable news programs are presented a different reality, one in which one issue stands above all others: illegal immigration.

Media Matters Action Network undertook this study in order to document the rhetoric surrounding immigration that is heard on cable news. When it comes to this issue, cable news overflows not just with vitriol, but also with a series of myths that feed viewers' resentment and fears, seemingly geared toward creating anti-immigrant hysteria.

There are two types of myths we discuss in this report. The first type is the large and most common myths, about crime and undocumented immigrants, and the costs of illegal immigration in social services and taxes. These topics are complex, and there are sometimes legitimate points buried within the arguments immigration opponents make. The second type of myth is the urban legend: that there is a conspiracy to take back the Southwest United States for Mexico; that there is a secret plan to construct a "NAFTA Superhighway" running from Canada to Mexico; that the U.S. is well on its way to surrendering its sovereignty to a "North American Union" (NAU); that Mexican immigrants are infecting Americans with leprosy; and that undocumented immigrants are responsible for a wave of election fraud. These myths are discussed less often, but are notable for their sheer ludicrousness. The North American Union and NAFTA Superhighway are closely related, and indeed are often discussed in tandem (the building of the Superhighway being posited as a step on the road to the creation of the NAU), but since each is also often discussed alone, we examine these two myths separately.

We focus our analysis on a trio of cable commentators: Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly, and Glenn Beck. While hosts on other cable programs regularly discuss illegal immigration (particularly on Fox News, where it is a frequent topic on Hannity & Colmes and Special Report with Brit Hume), these three are the most notable for a number of reasons. On their eponymous programs, Dobbs, O'Reilly, and Beck serve up a steady diet of fear, anger, and resentment on the topic of illegal immigration.

Dobbs is the one most obsessed with the topic; indeed, instead of Lou Dobbs Tonight, his program might be more properly called Lou Dobbs Crusades Against Illegal Immigration Tonight. Fully 70 percent of the 2007 episodes of Lou Dobbs Tonight contained discussion of illegal immigration. The O'Reilly Factor is not far behind; 56 percent of 2007 episodes discussed illegal immigration. And though Glenn Beck was less consumed with the issue (28 percent of his 2007 programs discussed it), his show is the one on which viewers often find the most inflammatory claims

Continue reading.">>

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


WASHINGTON - Former Los Angeles police officer William Ferguson was sentenced today in federal court in Los Angeles, for his role in a series of home invasion robberies over a two-year period, the Justice Department announced today. Ferguson was sentenced to 102 years in prison and 5 years of supervised release.

On Jan. 30, 2008, a Los Angeles jury convicted the defendant of conspiracy to violate civil rights, deprivation of rights under color of law, conspiracy to possess narcotics with intent to distribute, possession of narcotics with intent to distribute, and several firearms offenses. The defendant's brother and co-defendant, former Long Beach police officer Joseph Ferguson, was also convicted of participating in these conspiracies and was sentenced to 97 months imprisonment and four years of post-incarceration supervised release on May 5, 2008.

The evidence at trial showed that the defendant and his co-defendants were members of a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy, led by former Los Angeles police officer Ruben Palomares and including other law enforcement officers and drug dealers. Together, they committed more than 40 burglaries and robberies throughout the Los Angeles area between early 1999 and June of 2001. The robberies generally were committed after the group received information that a particular location was involved in illegal drug trafficking. The robbery teams usually consisted of multiple sworn police officers in uniform or displaying a badge, who would gain access to the residence by falsely telling any occupants that they were conducting a legitimate search for drugs or drug dealers. Victims often were restrained, threatened or assaulted during the search. These assaults included firing a stun gun at a victim, striking victims with police batons, and putting a gun in the mouth of a victim. When the group stole drugs, they would use co-conspirators to sell the drugs and they would split the profits among the group.

In all, 17 defendants, including law enforcement officers from the Los Angeles Police Department, the Long Beach Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, and the California Department of Corrections have been convicted of federal crimes in connection with the conspiracy.

"This former police officer violated his oath as a public servant when he, along with his co-defendants, began engaging in violent criminal conduct," said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "While the vast majority of law enforcement officers carry out their difficult duties in a professional manner, the Department of Justice will not hesitate to prosecute those who cross that line."

"William Ferguson not only violated the oath he took to become a police officer, he abused citizens as he and his partners attempted to obtain drugs and money," said U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O'Brien. "His conduct shocks the conscience and certainly warrants the lengthy sentence he received today."

This case was investigated by Special Agent Phil Carson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of Steve Sambar, Roger Mora and Mark Bigel of the Los Angeles and Long Beach Police Departments. This case was prosecuted by Department of Justice Special Litigation Counsel Jeffrey S. Blumberg, Department of Justice Trial Attorney Josh Mahan, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas M. Miller.

The Civil Rights Division is committed to the vigorous enforcement of every federal criminal civil rights statute, such as the laws that prohibit the willful use of excessive force or other acts of misconduct by law enforcement officials. The Division has compiled a significant record on criminal civil rights law enforcement prosecutions. In fiscal year 2007, the Criminal Section convicted the highest number of defendants in its history, surpassing the record previously set in fiscal year 2006. During the last seven years, the Criminal Section obtained convictions of 53 percent more defendants (391 v. 256) in law enforcement prosecutions than the previous seven years

California Man Convicted of Federal Civil Rights
Crime For Race-Motivated Threats

WASHINGTON - A federal jury in Fresno, Calif., yesterday found Bradley Smith guilty of a felony federal civil rights offense for a series of race-motivated threats against an African-American member of his community. Smith, a resident of Modesto, Calif., was convicted of race-based interference with the victim's federally protected housing rights. Smith also was convicted of a second felony offense for providing a false statement to an agent of the FBI. Smith faces a maximum punishment of 15 years imprisonment, criminal fines and restitution for the victim. Sentencing is scheduled for July 25, 2008.

The evidence at trial showed that between June 2005 and May 2007, shortly after the victim moved to the Central Valley city of Modesto, the defendant engaged in a campaign of racial intimidation that was intended to drive the victim from the Modesto area. Smith and the victim were avid citizens-band (CB) radio enthusiasts and many of Smith's threats were made via CB broadcasts that were overheard by other Modesto-area CB participants. The defendant's threats were laced with racial slurs and included threats to burn a cross on the victim's lawn, firebomb the victim's house, and hang the victim from a tree while sexually assaulting the victim's wife.
In addition, local police had to intervene on at least one occasion in which the defendant followed up on his threats by going to the victim's home with a group of approximately six people in at least three vehicles. As a result of the defendant's conduct, the victim eventually moved from the Modesto area to another community in California's Central Valley.

"Threatening to attack someone in their home because of their race or color is offensive to our nation's fundamental values," said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Justice Department is committed to vigorously prosecuting the federal laws that prohibit such violent threats."

"There is no place for the reprehensible speech perpetuated by the defendant, whether on citizens band radio or on the streets of our communities," said McGregor Scott, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California. "The jury is to be commended for drawing a very distinct line between free speech and racial epithets and criminal threats."

Prosecuting the perpetrators of bias-motivated crimes is a top priority of the Justice Department. Since 2001, the Civil Rights Division has charged 184 defendants in 123 cases of bias-motivated crimes.

This case was investigated by agents from the FBI and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Gappa from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California, and Trial Attorneys C. Douglas Kern and Karen Ruckert from the Civil Rights Division.

How the Anti Immigrant sentiment grew before and after the Immigration debate ended up in wrong hands.

Right-wing anti-immigration groups have placed the 1965 Immigration Act at the center of a campaign to promote anti-immigrant sentiment in the 1980s and 1990s.
In the 1965 Act, Congress repudiated the infamous 1952 McCarran-Walter Act, which followed 1920s-era legislation in parceling out immigrants' visas based on country of origin. Under the banner of humanitarian values, Congress decided to allocate visas primarily on the grounds of kinship.

The 1965 law states that 20 percent of all numerically restricted visas will be allocated for skilled workers and 6 percent for refugees, with the remainder split among various family-oriented preference categories. Importantly, spouses, dependent children, and parents of US citizens were exempted from any numerical limits. It is this provision that particularly drew the wrath of the right.

In the 1980s, anti-immigrant sentiment grew during the debate over immigration reform. Supporters of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 argued that immigrants were stealing jobs and draining the economy, and that political turmoil in Mexico and Central America would spill over into the US. Defenders of immigrants argued that immigrants are, in fact, a positive force in the American workforce and that the US is historically a nation of immigrants.

The final law, authored by Senator Alan Simpson (R-Wyoming) and Representative Romano Mazzoli (D-Kentucky), and promoted by the Reagan White House, was intended to shut the door on the further flow of illegal immigrants, while ostensibly supporting immigrants by offering "legalized" status to undocumented immigrants already in the US.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act contains sanctions against employers who hire illegal immigrants and includes provisions for "guest workers" who are allowed to work in the US, but are denied rights or benefits. (The "guest worker" provisions were touted by Pete Wilson, then a Senator from California.)

Although many immigrants entered the legal citizenship process, despite significant obstacles, the law laid the basis for the current debate over how to effectively seal the border. Further, the guest worker program has contributed to the flow of immigrant workers to the US who have no possibility of becoming citizens.

The most recent piece of major legislation on the issue, the Immigration Act of 1990, reaffirmed the centrality of family reunification, which has been the touchstone of US immigration policy since 1965. However, the concept of family reunification is now under attack.

Rightists Fund Anti-Immigrant Groups

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is directly tied to more virulent racists by the funding it has received from the Pioneer Fund. Between 1985 and 1989, the Pioneer Fund provided eight grants totaling $295,000 to FAIR, and three grants totaling $80,000 to the American Immigration Control Foundation.
Pioneer Fund documents indicate that FAIR received another $150,000 in 1992, making it the largest recipient of Pioneer grants that year. And FAIR clearly has no qualms about receiving such funding. The Pioneer Fund also funded much of the research behind the book The Bell Curve

It is also of note that heiress Cordelia Scaife May supports FAIR, US English, the Center for Immigration Studies, and others to the tune of $2.5 million. May's political agenda is made clearer by her foundation's underwriting in 1983 of the distribution of The Camp of the Saints by Jean Raspail, a book in which immigrants from the Third World invade Europe and destroy its civilization.

Raspail's novel was the emotional touchstone for a recent article in the Atlantic Monthly titled "Must It Be the Rest Against the West?" in which the authors ultimately propose rather pragmatic solutions in response to the global division between rich and poor that they perceive as "dwarf[ing] every other issue in global affairs."

The Atlantic Monthly article quotes directly from The Camp of the Saints, a copy of which they obtained from the American Immigration Control Foundation. It is instructive to read even a short passage from that book. It describes the masses threatening the white, and naturally civilized world as:

"All the kinky-haired, swarthy-skinned, long-despised phantoms; all the teeming ants toiling for the white man's comfort; all the swill men and sweepers, the troglodytes, the stinking drudges, the swivel-hipped menials, the womenless wretches, the lung-spewing hackers. . . ."

These "five billion growling human beings" are threatening the "seven hundred million whites."

Immigration, Today & Yesterday

Today there is a tendency to revise history, to extol the virtues of past immigration, specifically that which includes our ancestors, while saying that now the country is full and can hold no more. But as we have seen, the pattern of resistance to immigration was, if anything, more severe during earlier waves of arrivals. Indeed immigration today does not equal, in absolute numbers, the peak of entries around 1910. And immigration as immigrants per 1,000 residents of the US (the rate) is several times lower than at any time during the period 1850-1930.

Anti-immigrant groups have had to endorse historical immigration because the vast majority of non-native US citizens are descended from immigrants. What they do not state directly, but imply in cleverly constructed arguments, is the one thing that clearly is different today. In 1900, 85 percent of immigrants came from Europe (only 2.5 percent came from Latin America and Asia combined). In 1990, Latin and Asian immigrants accounted for more than two-thirds of all immigrants. Indeed, the population of Hispanics in the US is projected to reach 80 million by the middle of the next century, while the Asian population will rise to about 40 million.

The US has been a majority-white country and immigrant labor in the early part of this century was white, although, as we have seen, ethnic, national, and religious distinctions were critical in that time as the basis for defining immigrants as different, inferior morally and intellectually and, thus, threatening. The current influx from Third World countries faces the added dimension of race, a powerful factor throughout US history. Thus the current sentiment is as much the political twin of the racist history of exclusion of the Chinese as it is the resistance to white immigration.

The recent US military action in Haiti is yet another sign of the depth of impact that race has on immigration policy. Haitian immigrants have been widely and falsely disparaged as bringing AIDS into the US. President Clinton, however, promised fair treatment for Haitian refugees during his campaign, only to renege on that promise once in office. When intense economic sanctions failed to force the Haitian military junta out and the flow of boat people continued, pressure mounted to do something and Clinton sent in the troops. In the process, the issue of halting immigration of poor black people was elevated to the level of national security.

The Message of the Right Wing

Dan Stein, Executive Director of FAIR, writes that a public consensus has emerged "in the face of Haitian boats, the World Trade Center bombing, Chinese boats, international immigrant-smuggling and crime syndicates, persistent illegal immigration from Mexico and high profile tales of immigrant-related welfare rip-offs." Stein states that in the face of this assault we need to cut the total number of immigrants, legal and illegal: "the country needs a break to absorb and handle its critical social and internal problems. . . .We have to limit immigration significantly to preserve the nation."

In its advertisements in mainstream magazines, FAIR claims that "nowhere are the effects of out-of-control immigration more acutely felt than in the labor market. The original intent of our nation's immigration laws. . .was to protect the American Worker." In their mailings, FAIR plays on fears by telling a story of Mexicans crossing the US border "with the sole intention of having a child who is automatically an American citizen." In a brochure, FAIR writes:

"Today's challenges are very different from those faced by earlier generations. We no longer have a vast frontier to tame. In fact, we must protect shrinking forests, wetlands and farm lands. . . .We no longer need to encourage an influx of new workers as we did to fuel the industrial revolution."

Overall, the message of the anti-immigrant forces is that things have changed. At one time immigration was a good thing for this country, but no more. There is, in this view, no longer enough to go around and immigrants are cutting into the share of what could be had by good patriotic Americans.

Furthermore, anti-immigrant advocates raise the specter of new immigrants failing to assimilate and forcing their culture on everyone else--a prospect that, they argue, could lead to separatist scenarios like the disaster in what was once Yugoslavia.

For instance, Chronicles, a rightist monthly cultural magazine, devoted its June 1993 issue to the subject of cultural breakdown in the US resulting from immigration.
The cover, a cartoon depiction of the Statue of Liberty, features immigrant characters (with pointed ears to indicate their demon status) clawing their way to the top of the statue, whose face is grimacing in pain and alarm.

The thrust of the article is the dual threat of cultural adulteration of the Anglo-Saxon American heritage and the overwhelming inferiority of Third World alternative cultures. Feature writer Thomas Fleming writes, "Arab and Pakistani terrorists, Nigerian con artists, Oriental and South American drug lords, Russian gangsters--all are introducing their particular brands of cultural enrichment into an already fragmented United States that increasingly resembles Bosnia more than the America I grew up in." This message pervades not just right-wing anti-immigrant rhetoric, but the mainstream media and the rhetoric of both political parties.

Know Public Opinion is Against Immigrants

Today public opinion has been swayed by such arguments and the enormous access that anti-immigrant organizations have to the national media. A Business Week/Harris Poll in 1992 found that while 59 percent of those surveyed thought immigration has been good for the US historically, 69 percent of non-blacks and 53 percent of blacks thought present-day immigration was bad. Among the reasons cited were taking jobs away from American workers (60 percent) and using more than their fair share of government services (about 60 percent). black views may be prompted by different reasons than those of whites, since it is likely that blacks are resentful of the success of recent immigrants appearing to overtake them economically, while whites see immigrants threatening what they already have.

There is a clear lack of a sense of the history of immigration in the current out-cry. Nothing so exemplifies the lack of historical connection as a story in the Boston Globe New Hampshire Edition, headlined "Son of Immigrants Offers English Bill." The legislation offered by Bernard Raynowska, a state representative from New Hampshire and of Lithuanian descent, would restrict the state's use of bilingual ballots or forms. While Raynowska's father came up the hard way after immigrating, his son now feels, "[i]n the year 2000 we're all going to be speaking Spanish, dressing Spanish [sic] and eating Spanish food." A letter to the editor in the November 10, 1991 Tampa Times echoes that sentiment when the writer recalls, through rose-colored glasses, his experience with immigrants in an earlier era. "There was no special consideration given those people, and their children required little time to become proficient in English."

What are the actual statistics to back up this anti-immigrant rhetoric? In fact, less than 1.5 percent of the US population is undocumented, according to the US Census. One quarter of immigrants in the US are undocumented. Most of these do not sneak across the border, but arrive legally and stay beyond the expiration of their visas. Only one-third of undocumented immigrants come from Mexico.

Nothing is as fiercely contested or as wildly divergent in their conclusions as studies on the impact of immigration on the economy. Anti-immigrant organizations point to a study by Dr. Donald Huddle that shows that immigrants cost the US $44 billion more than they contributed in 1993.

Immigrant advocates point to the Urban Institute study that shows that immigrants contributed from $25 to $35 billion more than they took out in 1992. A study by Los Angeles County found that immigrants cost the county almost $1 billion, but give back four times that amount in taxes. The problem, however, for Los Angeles County is that the taxes go to the federal government instead of the county. Business Week estimated that immigrants pay $70.3 billion in taxes annually and receive $5 billion in welfare benefits, and another $11.5 billion in primary and secondary education benefits.

The Urban Institute reviewed a number of contemporary studies that "document" the draining effect of immigrants on the US economy in order to find underlying biases. They found that the studies vary in quality, but "the results invariably overstate the negative impact of immigrants for the following reasons:

1) they systematically understate tax collections from immigrants,
2) they systematically overstate service costs for immigrants,
3) none credit immigrants for the impact of immigrant-owned businesses or the full economic benefit generated by consumer spending from immigrants,
4) job displacement impact and costs are overstated,
5) they omit the fact that parallel computations for natives show natives use more in services than they pay in taxes too, and
6) the size of the immigrant population--particularly the undocumented immigrant population--tends to be overstated."

The Anti Immigrant Sentiment backlash. The ethnicity change but the target remained the same.

"Many persons who have spoken and written in favor of restriction of immigration, have laid great stress upon the evils to society arising from immigration. They have claimed that disease, pauperism, crime and vice have been greatly increased through the incoming of the immigrants. Perhaps no other phase of the question has aroused so keen feeling, and yet perhaps on no other phase of the question has there been so little accurate information."

These words, written in 1912 by Jeremiah Jenks and W. Jett Lauck, who had been part of the United States Immigration Commission, sound surprisingly contemporary. In 1995, there is a popular argument that immigrants are responsible for many, if not all, of the problems facing our country. This theme has been struck before in US history.

It has arisen now in part because right-wing organizations have promoted immigrants as a group targeted for blame. For example, an organization prominent in this right-wing campaign, the American Immigration Control Foundation (AICF), in a 1992 mailing, lists immigrants as the culprits behind high taxes, wasted welfare dollars, lost jobs, high costs for education, and rising crime. AICF claims that immigrants are driving up health care costs by grabbing free care while also bringing disease into the US. Interestingly, subsequent versions of the same letter, sent out the following year, reduce their claim of 13 million illegal immigrants to 6-8 million, a number still higher than that cited by Time magazine as no more than 5 million. As Jenks and Lauck conclude in the above quote, the debate is still characterized more by angry talk than by facts.

An important ingredient in the success of the right's anti-immigrant campaign is its ability to deflect anger about the negative effects of the current US "economic restructuring" onto the scapegoat of immigrants. This tactic nests within a larger goal of capturing political gain by exploiting a popular issue. This is nothing new, but rather is a practice rooted in a long-standing history of reaction to immigration, nurtured today by a cluster of right-wing political organizations dedicated to this single issue.

The Anti Immigrant sentiment within our History of US Immigration.

It is impossible to understand the current wave of anti-immigrant sentiment without some historical perspective. Indeed, excepting the Native American population, it is often said that the US is a nation of immigrants. Certainly, the role of cheap immigrant labor has been critical in building the US economy.

Immigration has been both voluntary and forced. In early US history, territorial and economic expansion was a magnet for persons fleeing poverty and political repression. There was also forced immigration in the form of the slave trade and the annexation of one half of Mexico by the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo, signed in 1848, at the end of the Mexican-American War. This, not traditional immigration, is the reason that a significant number of Chicanos in the Southwest live in the US rather than in Mexico.

By the turn of the 19-century, territorial expansion was no longer a major force fueling immigration. The new magnet was the industrial revolution, which was in full swing and in need of labor. Today, as the US is going through another economic shift to a service and information-based economy with global reach, immigration is once again a factor.

The US has historically had a complex reaction to immigration. On the one hand, immigrants have been crucial to US economic progress at certain junctures in our economic development. On the other, there has been considerable hate and anger directed toward immigrants, based on xenophobia, religious prejudice, and fear that immigrants will take jobs from native-born workers. It is revealing to take a brief look at some of this history of immigration as told by Howard Zinn in A People's History of the United States.

In his description of the colonies in the 1700s, Zinn notes that the colonies grew quickly as English settlers and black slaves were joined by Scottish, Irish, and German immigrants. Immigration was causing the larger cities to double and triple in size, but often urban poverty grew apace. "As Boston grew, from 1687 to 1770, the percentage of adult males who were poor . . . .[and who] owned no property, doubled from 14 percent of adult males to 29 percent. And the loss of property meant loss of voting rights." Indeed this often-romanticized period of US history was a time of far harsher immigration conditions than those of today.

Civil War era immigration occurred in an even more hostile environment. The Contract Labor Law of 1864 allowed companies to sign contracts with foreign workers in return for a pledge of 12 months' wages. This allowed employers during the Civil War not only to recruit very cheap labor, but also strikebreakers. Predictably, this resulted in conflict. "Italians were imported into the bituminous coal area around Pittsburgh in 1874 to replace striking miners. This led to the killing of three Italians, to trials in which the jurors of the community exonerated the strikers, and bitter feelings between Italians and other organized workers." It is interesting to note that there was no definition of United States citizenship in the Constitution until the 14th Amendment was added in 1868. A definition was needed, in part to counteract the Dred Scott decision, which held that slaves were not citizens.

At the turn of the century, the immigrant population had changed from largely Irish and German to Eastern and Southern European and Russian, including many Jews. Zinn again describes the impact well, citing the role of immigration of different ethnic groups as contributing to the fragmentation of the working class. He discusses how the previous wave of Irish immigrants resented Jews coming into their neighborhoods. At this time, there was also the added fear that immigrants would bring with them socialist ideas that would undermine the principles of this country.

While nationality, religion, and political ideology were the main basis for resentment of immigrants in urban areas during the first half of the 19-century, race was the issue when Chinese immigrants arrived, brought in to fill a labor gap and then later to work as construction workers on the railroads in the 1860s. Indeed the first anti-immigrant law, passed in California, targeted the Chinese. In 1882, the US passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which was not repealed until 1943. Even then, immigration quotas for Chinese were only raised above 105 per year by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The late 1800s were difficult for Chinese in the US--the growing trade union movement based part of its organizing strategy on advocating deportation of Chinese immigrants. Race riots on the West coast were the response of angry whites who blamed Chinese for their woes.

In 1917 and again in 1942, the US initiated guest labor programs, commonly known as the Bracero programs, that brought Mexican workers into the Southwest to work as non-citizen farm workers and fill an alleged labor shortage. Up to half a million workers were enrolled in the program at its height. The flow of undocumented Mexicans grew during this time, prompting a government effort to stem the tide by "drying out the wetbacks"--an effort to convert undocumented immigrants into Braceros. When that failed, "Operation Wetback" was launched with the deployment of a military style border patrol. The Bracero programs effectively exposed thousands of poor Mexicans to the wealth of the United States and contributed to immigration pressure. It also displaced Chicanos from rural agricultural jobs, fueling their exodus to urban centers.

The role of racism in anti-immigrant sentiment seemed to have dimmed by the late 1970s, at least according to Lawrence Fuchs, who served for two years as director of the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy. Commenting on hearings held by his committee in 12 major cities from 1979 through 1980, Fuchs stated that "racism [against immigrants] was not nearly as powerful a force as it once was." Fuchs attributed this decline in anti-immigrant racism to the civil rights movement and an expansion of the spirit of pluralism that it forced. This optimistic reading of US tolerance for ethnic, racial, and religious diversity parallels the optimism of that period.

Intolerance, however, was just below the surface of American politics. The appearance of a hospitable melting pot that had an accepting attitude toward immigrants proved illusory. It took only the arrival of immigrants who were politically unwelcome, such as those fleeing the repression in El Salvador, for government policies of exclusion to become explicit again.

As in the case of El Salvador, immigration has sometimes followed a pattern of growth from parts of the world in which the US is heavily involved militarily or economically. In recent years, immigration has increased from South East Asia and the Central America/Caribbean region. This sometimes results from granting entry for persons fleeing official enemies of the US, such as Cuba or Vietnam, but also draws people from countries allied with the US, such as the Philippines, Hong Kong, or El Salvador. It is likely that as global trade relationships grow through treaties such as NAFTA, the coming period will prompt greater immigration.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hometown to the World: Raids against Immigrants just because they violated the Law.

Are they mad because I'm working? They don't go after employers, CEOs and put them in jail for violating Labor, Immigrations and environmental Laws?. Why? I am not the only one breaking the Law?

Antonio Escobedo ran to get his wife Monday when he saw a helicopter circling overhead and immigration agents approaching the meatpacking plant where they both work. The couple hid for hours inside the plant before obtaining refuge in the pews and hall at St. Bridget's Catholic Church, where hundreds of other Guatemalan and Mexican families gathered, hoping to avoid arrest.

"I like my job. I like my work. I like it here in Iowa," said Escobedo, 38, an illegal immigrant from Yescas, Mexico, who has raised his three children for 11 years in Postville. "Are they mad because I'm working?"

Monday's raid on the Agriprocessors plant, in which 389 immigrants were arrested and many held at a cattle exhibit hall, was the Bush administration's largest crackdown on illegal workers at a single site. It has upended this tree-lined community, which calls itself "Hometown to the World." Half of the school system's 600 students were absent Tuesday, including 90 percent of Hispanic children, because their parents were arrested or in hiding.

Current and former officials of the Department of Homeland Security say its raid on the largest employer in northeast Iowa reflects the administration's decision to put pressure on companies with large numbers of illegal immigrant workers, particularly in the meat industry. But its disruptive impact on the nation's largest supplier of kosher beef and on the surrounding community has provoked renewed criticism that the administration is disproportionately targeting workers instead of employers, and that the resulting turmoil is worse than the underlying crimes.

"They don't go after employers. They don't put CEOs in jail," complained the Postville Community Schools superintendent, David Strudthoff, 51, who said the sudden incarceration of more than 10 percent of the town's population of 2,300 "is like a natural disaster -- only this one is manmade."

He added, "In the end, it is the greater population that will suffer and the workforce that will be held accountable."

Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) said enforcement efforts against corporations that commit immigration violations have "plummeted" under the Bush administration. "Until we enforce our immigration laws equally against both employers and employees who break the law, we will continue to have a problem," he said.

Julie L. Myers, assistant homeland security secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said that to the contrary, the agency has seldom been so aggressive, including opening criminal investigations of company officials. While cases have netted only a handful of sentences for low-level managers so far, Myers said, such white-collar crime investigations typically take years to develop.

"Can we really execute a search warrant without taking any action against [illegal employment] that we know is taking place?" she asked. "Or will just taking business records through a search warrant cause illegal aliens to leave, and then we're not fulfilling that part of the mission, as well?"

Lobbyists and former officials say that in unleashing ICE, the administration is trying to "turn up the pain" to motivate businesses and Congress to support the comprehensive immigration changes sought by President Bush, such as a temporary-worker program and earned legalization. If the existing legal tools are too blunt, they said, Congress should create a fairer system.

But the pressure on employers -- whose wages and hiring practices have lured illegal workers to both large cities and small towns -- has mostly been indirect and economic: While workplace arrests have risen tenfold since 2002, from 510 to 4,940, only 90 criminal arrests have involved company personnel officials.

So far, no officials at Agriprocessors have been charged. The company, founded by Aaron Rubashkin, has a storybook history whose recent chapters have turned murky. After some of Rubashkin's Lubavitch Hasidic family moved here from Brooklyn in 1987, the firm became the nation's largest processor of glatt kosher beef, the strictest kosher standard. It produces kosher and non-kosher beef, veal, lamb, turkey and chicken products under brands such as Iowa Best Beef, Aaron's Best and Rubashkin's

According to an affidavit filed by an ICE agent in conjunction with this week's arrests, 76 percent of the 968 employees on the company's payroll over the last three months of 2007 used false or suspect Social Security numbers. The affidavit cited unnamed sources who alleged that some company supervisors employed 15-year-olds, helped cash checks for workers with fake documents, and pressured workers without documents to purchase vehicles and register them in other names.

In addition, the affidavit alleged that company supervisors ignored a report of a methamphetamine drug lab operating in the plant. It also cited a case in which a supervisor blindfolded a Guatemalan worker and allegedly struck him with a meat hook, without serious injury.

Agriprocessors has faced other troubles, as well. In 2006, it paid a $600,000 settlement to the Environmental Protection Agency to resolve wastewater pollution problems, and this March it was assessed $182,000 in fines for 39 state health, safety and labor violations. In 2004, the U.S. Agriculture Department's inspector general accused the company of "acts of inhumane slaughter" after animal rights advocates publicized an unauthorized video of a stumbling, dying cow, and some Jewish groups attacked its worker practices.

And last month, the company lost a federal appellate court battle over whether it could ignore a vote by workers at its Brooklyn distribution center to unionize, on grounds that those in favor were illegal immigrants and not entitled to federal labor protections.

"This employer has a long history of violating every law that's out there -- labor laws, environmental laws, now immigration laws," said Mark Lauritsen, international vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, which has waged a bitter battle to organize the Postville plant. The union charged that the immigration raid disrupted a separate U.S. Labor Department investigation into alleged child labor law violations and other infractions.

ICE may be "deporting 390 witnesses" to the labor investigation, Lauritsen said, adding, "This administration seems to place a larger value on big, splashy shows in this immigration raid than in vigorously enforcing other labor laws."

In November, Sholom Rubashkin, company vice president and the founder's son, wrote a letter to customers decrying "a slanderous and patently false campaign" by the union, and defending the company's record and its products as "safe and wholesome." After this week's raid, the family released brief statements expressing its sympathies to workers, commitment to customers and cooperation with authorities.

Chaim Abrahams, a company representative, said Agriprocessors is working to "bolster our compliance efforts to employ only properly documented employees" and has launched an independent investigation into the circumstances that led to the raid.

The blitz, which occurred after a 16-month investigation, began with helicopters, buses and vans encircling the western edge of town at 10 a.m. Witnesses said hundreds of agents surrounded the plant in 10 minutes, began interviewing workers and seized company records.

By early afternoon, illegal immigrants began arriving by bus at the National Cattle Congress grounds in Waterloo, Iowa, about 75 miles from Postville. ICE held 313 male suspects at an exhibit hall and 76 female suspects in local jails for administrative violations of immigration law.

Those arrested include 290 Guatemalans, 93 Mexicans, 2 Israelis and 4 Ukrainians, according to the U.S. attorney's office for the Northern District of Iowa.

Eighteen were juveniles who have been released or turned over for refugee resettlement, and the prosecutor's office would not say if there were underage workers at the plant. Of the adults, 306 face criminal charges for aggravated identity theft and other crimes related to the use of false documents. A lawsuit filed on behalf of the workers on Thursday, meanwhile, accused the government of violating their constitutional rights through arbitrary and indefinite detention

For now, Postville residents -- immigrants and native-born -- are holding their breath. On Greene Street, where the Hall Roberts' Son Inc. feed store, Kosher Community Grocery and Restaurante Rinconcito Guatemalteco sit side by side, workers fear a chain of empty apartments, falling home prices and business downturns. The main street, punctuated by a single blinking traffic signal, has been quiet; a Guatemalan restaurant temporarily closed; and the storekeeper next door reported a steady trickle of families quietly booking flights to Central America via Chicago.

"Postville will be a ghost town," said Lili, a Ukrainian store clerk who spoke on the condition that her last name be withheld.

But Cesar Jochol, 48, a native of Patzun, Guatemala, and owner of a market called Tonita's Express, questioned whether the raid will be a deterrent. People who can afford to eat meat only once or twice a week in Guatemala, while earning $4 a day, can earn $60 a day in Iowa, enough to eat beef or chicken three times a day, he said. "You take away a hundred people. A couple hundred more will come tomorrow; they'll just go to L.A., New York, New Jersey and Miami," said Jochol, a 21-year U.S. resident.

At St. Bridget's Catholic Church, Eduardo Santos, 27, who came from Guatemala and lost two of his fingers working at the factory, said the raid was "fair . . . but it's bad for everybody. There's no work." He plans to go home.

"The problem is, who is going to do the work?" said Stephen G. Bloom, a University of Iowa journalism professor who wrote a 2000 book on the clash of cultures in Postville as Agriprocessors' Lubavitch Jewish leaders gained influence in the mostly Lutheran town. "This is a no-win situation."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Nafta free trade agreement. Free flow of goods but blocked and sealed labor market with a walls of shame.
If I will be Lou Dobbs he should be ashamed for his stand of the Anti Immigration sentiment specially against mexicans for not see the Humane, nonsense, hypocrital walls of shame,and his protectionism and nativism against Immigrants.
Immigration system is dysfunctinal and needs a humane comprehensive reform. People dying just for work.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

In Christ I believe and I Stand

I am hoping that we can fulfill our hearts with love, compassion, tolerance and faith for others and our God.

Poor support and the military government's refusal to allow foreign aid workers have left most of the delta's survivors living in miserable conditions.

YANGON, Myanmar - Heavy rains and another potentially powerful storm headed toward Myanmar's cyclone-devastated delta on Wednesday. The U.N. warned that inadequate relief efforts could lead to a second wave of deaths among the estimated 2 million survivors.

The International Red Cross said in a new estimate that the death toll already may be between 68,833 and 127,990.

The Red Cross says it arrived at the number by adding figures gathered in affected areas by other aid groups and organizations and extrapolating the total.

The Myanmar junta says Cyclone Nargis left at least 34,273 dead and 27,838 missing. U.N. agencies and other groups have been able to reach only 270,000 people so far.

The country's junta told visiting Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, however, that it is in control of the relief operations and doesn't need foreign experts.

Samak visited a government relief center in Yangon and told reporters after returning to Bangkok that the junta has given him the "guarantee" that there are no disease outbreaks and no starvation among the cyclone survivors.

"They have their own team to cope with the situation," Samak said, citing Myanmar Prime Minister Lt. Gen. Thein Sein. "From what I have seen I am impressed with their management."

International agencies say bottlenecks, poor logistics, limited infrastructure and the military government's refusal to allow foreign aid workers have left most of the delta's survivors living in miserable conditions without food or clean water. The government's efforts have been criticized as woefully slow.

Rain has been has been pounding the cyclone-hit area all week, and more is expected in the coming days, compounding the already difficult task of moving supplies over ruined roads. It also poses significant health risks to survivors of the May 3 cyclone.

"The weather will exacerbate humanitarian conditions for the homeless, many of whom are living under an open sky," said Elizabeth Griffin, a director of Catholic Relief Services from Baltimore. "Thankfully, no serious outbreaks of bacterial, water or mosquito borne diseases have been reported, but this could change in the next two to three weeks."

The U.S. military's Joint Typhoon Warning Center said there is a good chance that "a significant tropical cyclone" will form within the next 24 hours and head across the Irrawaddy delta area.

But other forecasters were unwilling to make such a prediction.

Dr. Thawat Sutharacha of Thailand's Public Health Ministry said Wednesday the junta has given permission to a Thai medical team to go to the cyclone-hit delta.

The government separately announced that it will allow 160 relief workers from neighboring countries — India, China, Bangladesh, and Thailand — to come to Myanmar, but it is not clear if they include the Thai medics or whether they will be allowed to travel to the delta.

"The government has a responsibility to assist their people in the event of a natural disaster," said Amanda Pitt, a spokeswoman for the U.N. Office for Humanitarian Affairs.

"We are here to do what we can and facilitate their efforts and scale up their response. It is clearly inadequate and we do not want to see a second wave of death as a result of that not being scaled up," she said.

The news of a possible second cyclone was not broadcast by Myanmar's state-controlled media. But Yangon residents picked up the news on foreign broadcasts and on the Internet.

"I prayed to the Lord Buddha, 'please save us from another cyclone. Not just me but all of Myanmar,'" said Min Min, a rickshaw driver, whose house was destroyed in Cyclone Nargis. Min Min, his wife and three children now live on their wrecked premises under plastic sheets.

Soldiers have barred foreign aid workers from reaching cyclone survivors in the hardest-hit areas, but gave access to an International Red Cross representative who returned to Yangon on Tuesday.

Bridget Gardner, the agency's country head, described tremendous devastation but also selflessness, as survivors joined in the rescue efforts.

"People who have come here having lost their homes in rural areas have volunteered to work as first aiders. They are humanitarian heroes," said Gardner.

Gardner's team visited five locations in the Irrawaddy delta. In one of them, they saw 10,000 people living without shelter as rain tumbled from the sky.

"The town of Labutta is unrecognizable. I have been here before and now, with the extent of the damage and the crowds of displaced people, it's a different place," Gardner was quoted as saying in a statement by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Some survivors of Cyclone Nargis were reportedly getting poor-quality or spoiled food, rather than nutrition-rich biscuits sent by international donors, adding to suspicions that the junta may be misappropriating foreign aid.

The military, which has ruled since 1962, has taken control of most supplies sent by other countries, including the United States, which began its third day of aid delivery Wednesday as five more giant C-130 transport planes loaded with emergency supplies headed to Myanmar.

Lt. Col. Douglas Powell, a spokesman for what has been dubbed operation Caring Relief, said a total of 197,080 pounds of provisions have been sent into Myanmar on the eight U.S. military flights that have been cleared to go.

Most of the provisions have been blankets, mosquito nets, plastic sheets and water.

In Washington, the State Department renewed U.S. appeals for the junta to allow in outside disaster relief experts and more assistance.

"We want to see the regime do more to allow the outside world to be able to help people in need in that country," deputy spokesman Tom Casey told reporters. "This is not a political issue, this really is simply a humanitarian issue."

Myanmar has agreed to attend an emergency meeting of Southeast Asian foreign ministers next week to discuss problems in getting foreign aid into the country, Asian diplomats said Wednesday.

Diplomats from the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes Myanmar, are to hold the meeting Monday in Singapore, said two Manila-based Southeast Asian diplomats knowledgeable about preparations for the gathering.

Singapore, which currently heads the ASEAN bloc, organized the meeting after getting a nod from Myanmar, which has committed to sending its foreign minister, according to one of the diplomats. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media.

I think race is definitely a factor in the immigration issue even on some Republican politicians.

The differences on their positions are quite similars. They seems that the only Undocumented Immigrants, Terrorists and drug dealers are coming from Mexico.

On immigration, all four Republicans running to represent the 52nd Congressional District – Duncan D. Hunter, Brian Jones, Rick L. Powell, and Bob Watkins – say they would tighten border security by lengthening the border fence, and they oppose amnesty for those who have entered the country illegally.

Democratic candidate Mike Lumpkin said he would use technology, an extended fence and increased Border Patrol presence to stem the flow of illegal immigrants. Lumpkin's opponent in the Democratic primary, Vickie Butcher, would increase funding for the U.S. Border Patrol and hire more agents. Butcher said she would try to improve the quality of identification materials.

Lumpkin said he would tackle border security before attempting a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws. Butcher said she would support taking a broad look at immigration laws, including allowing paths to citizenship for some illegal immigrants.

Libertarian candidate Michael Benoit supports more legal immigration, and would withdraw American troops from Iraq and reassign them to the U.S.-Mexico border.

On health care, all four Republicans oppose a government-run, single-payer system and said they would seek alternative ways to expand access.

Hunter would allow more people to pay for health care using pre-taxable income. Jones would work to eliminate “frivolous” health care lawsuits that he said drive up costs, and look for tax incentives for businesses and individuals. Watkins supports personal savings accounts and portable insurance plans that workers can take with them when they change jobs. Powell would cut down on regulation that he said discourages some small businesses from providing coverage.

Lumpkin supports a single-payer system but first would increase funding for the federal government's State Children's Health Insurance Program. Butcher believes a single-payer system should be the eventual goal, and also supports increasing SCHIP funding.
Benoit is opposed to government involvement in health care

Immigration topic framed by the Media as the only Undocumented Immigrants coming to U.S. are from Mexico.

Nobody seems to be much concerned about security reasons along the Canadian border where seems wide open.

Getting to the Whitlash Port of Entry involves a 40-mile drive down a dirt road that never seems to end. One hill climbs into another, and there’s the elephant in the car you can’t ignore.

That elephant, of sorts, is the public relations officer for the Havre sector of the U.S. Border Patrol, the guy doing the driving. He’s a former Marine and was kind enough to haul us around, though he won’t reveal the details surrounding the operations going on up here.

Security reasons, he says.

We’re the media and he’s the government. There’s a natural distrust between the two of us and it keeps us talking all the way to Whitlash. By the time we get there, I think he’s on our side, at least in the way of the public’s right to know what its government is doing.

Less than three minutes after we pull up to the Whitlash station, a man with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection comes out, fidgeting nervously. He’s overwhelmed with the paperwork passed down to him by headquarters over in Sweetgrass, and his computer keeps crashing.

Besides, he said, he didn’t know we were coming and that could be a problem. He needs to make some phone calls. He needs to get clearance. What did we want, anyway? His time? He doesn’t have it to give.

Our guide grins and says he’ll figure this out. He follows the Customs officer back into the station and returns moments later.

“This is the deal,” begins our guide. He says we can’t take pictures of the officers or the buildings until the boss in Sweetgrass grants permission.
“I’ve already taken pictures of the building,” photographer George Lane grumbles.

This is where the awkward silence sets in. Our guide asks that we not run the pictures we’ve already taken until we get clearance. I imagine confiscated film, but this is the wrong country for that. The photographer replies that we don’t need clearance, anyway, because he took the photos from a public road.

“And it’s a public building,” he shrugs.

The silence grows thicker. We’ve reached an impasse on the Montana prairie, waiting for a phone call from Sweetgrass that may or may not come.

There’s nothing in any direction. Whitlash is like an outpost on Tatooine, and I can feel the camera watching — the little white box mounted atop a wooden telephone pole.

The day before, we had toured the Sweetgrass Port of Entry 40 miles west. There, I had seen the control room with the television screens — the real-time video that helps the officers there keep on eye on things here.

The Canadian flag flaps in the wind beyond the camera and the sign that says “You are now leaving the United States.” The signs beyond that are in French and the words seem unnecessarily long.

“Hey, George,” I say. “What do you say we walk over there and say hello to the Canadians?”
“Can’t hurt,” George says.

Down in New Mexico with the Montana National Guard in April, I found, there was no way to jump the fence and chat with the Mexicans. But here on the 49th parallel, you can walk down a dirt road and shake a Canadian’s hand, so long as the U.S. Customs officers are willing to let you back into the country once you leave.

Got your ID?” George asks.

“Yeah. Got yours? Good. Let’s go see.”

This is no-man’s land. The distance between the U.S. port and the Canadian post is about 100 yards. There’s a bush or two between them and a small white car parked on the Canadian side. The door to the Canadian post is unlocked. The place looks empty inside.

The lone Canadian customs officer sits at a desk around the corner, smoking a cigarette. He looks like Santiago from the Old Man and the Sea with his long gray beard and white hair. The patch on the man’s arm says “l’Agence des services frontaliers du Canada.”

Ello,” he says, but he doesn’t get up. “Star Wars” plays on the television. A cat sleeps in a box on the counter and the crumbs of catnip are scattered nearby.

Compared to the frenzy across the border at the American post, this place is downright relaxed. The officer is friendly, cracking jokes, real mellow. He lives in a cabin behind the port, out here in the middle of nowhere.

“You’ve got to be something of a recluse to do it, eh,” he says, grinning.

It’s easy to make generalizations at moments like this — how the Canadians are relaxed and the Americans are stressed. The Canadians are friendly with the world. The Americans are at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, arming Israel, disarming North Korea, siding with the Sunnis to suppress al Qaeda, and pondering a move into Pakistan.

Sure, the Canadian border isn’t exactly open, but it’s not Fort Knox, either. The Canadian agents didn’t even carry guns until recently. Really, it’s hard to hate a country that gave us the McKenzie Brothers and sayings like, “Take off, you hoser.”

Anyway, we’ve had our fun with the Canadian and he with us. It’s time to see if the boss over in Sweetgrass has given the U.S. Customs officer permission to speak with us.

“Got your ID?” asks George.

Yep. Let’s go see if they’ll let us back in.”