Humanitarian Crisis in Mississippi:
ICE Detains Hundreds in Workplace Raids Take Action – Make Calls or Send Faxes to Demand an End to Raids (see below) Humanitarian Crisis in Mississippi: ICE Detains Hundreds in Workplace Raid Monday, August 25, 2008 After answering the phone, Bill Chandler, director of MIRA! (the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, based in Jackson), blurted out, “The ICE raid is in progress right now at Howard Industries, in Laurel, Mississippi.” Laurel is a small town of about 18,000 people; Howard Industries employs about 800 workers.
Earlier this morning, Department of Homeland Security agents began descending on different work sites in Mississippi to unleash another brutal immigration raid. According to Mr. Chandler, DHS began renting hotel space over the past few days, indicating the presence of hundreds of Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. MIRA also reports ICE placed the Southern Hens poultry plant under lockdown, which employs nearly 2,000 people in Mossell, Mississippi. Mossell is between Hattiesburg and Laurel on I-59. And on Sunday night ICE set up roadblocks near the Wal-Mart in Hattiesburg, an illegal detentive stop to check for immigration status of passersby’s.
ICE agents have already gone into the Howard Industries plant in Laurel, where some 800 workers manufacture ballast for office lights, neon tubes and transformers. Approximately half the workers there are Latinos. Howard Industries has three plants; one in Laurel, Magee and Ellisville. ICE also raided Howard corporate offices in Ellisville. ICE has arrested so many workers at the Laurel Howard plant that operations have been shut down. MIRA has already received reports of scores of children being left behind without their parents who ICE arrested at the Howard Industries plant.
ICE Raid, SB 2988 and MS’s Inglorious Present The brutal ICE raid now taking place in Laurel and other parts harkens back to Mississippi’s shameful past of Jim Crow segregation, police brutality and violence. The current state laws, the national anti-immigrant climate and hangovers from Mississippi’s inglorious past made Jones County ripe for ICE to conduct their usual raids that trample on constitutional rights and communities. Laurel has the distinction of being located in Jones County, headquarters for two notorious racist and anti-immigrant groups, the KKK and MFIRE, the Mississippi branch of FAIR, the national anti-immigrant group.
Earlier this year the Mississippi legislature passed and the Governor signed into law Senate bill 2988, the most draconian employer sanctions law passed to date in the U.S. that further criminalizes workers, especially immigrants, and opens the door for employers to discriminate against Latinos and others. SB 2988 makes it a felony to work without authorization in Mississippi. SB 2988 imposes a one to five year prison sentence and hefty fines of $1,000 to $10,000. No one has yet been charged under SB 2988.
Today’s ICE raid however opens the door to using both federal and state laws, including SB 2988, in a new way. This has everyone on edge. Mr. Chandler added, “Now we are all waiting to see what will happen to people being arrested at Howard Industries.” Support Needed to Counter ICE Raid Impacts Mr. Chandler said, “We had been expecting the raids, either on the coast or in Hattiesburg. We were getting information that ICE was in hotels in the coast and other preparations were going on in Hattiesburg.” MIRA began holding community meetings on the Mississippi coast and Hattiesburg areas all last week, getting the word out for the last ten days that an ICE raid was underway. MIRA advised workers of their Constitutional rights, to remain silent if arrested, and to prepare for the crackdown. Now MIRA is seeking the help of lawyers. There is deep worry among the community about the raids and their aftermath. MIRA has prepared social services and legal help for all persons, including families and others, affected by the ICE raid. Bill closed by saying, “Most of what we are getting today is that ICE is focusing on Jones County; but haven’t had calls from all areas. We have had calls from chicken plants in and around Laurel. We had expected the raids to occur at chicken plants; it was a surprise, it’s a different industry. Howard Industries gets state and federal funding to operate.” Support MIRA: Stop the ICE Raids MIRA is now in meeting with families affected by the raid to assess what their needs are and also working with lawyers to deal with arraignments of workers swept up in the raid.
MIRA needs attorneys to volunteer their services and help the detained workers. Please visit the MIRA website to make an on-line donation at: www.yourmira.org Send in a check or money order, payable to “MIRA,” write in the memo “Relief for families affected by raids” and mail to: MIRA!PO 1104Jackson, MS 39215 To support MIRA’s legal project, call (601) 354-9355For media inquiries, (601) 968-5182. *
Take Action to Stop the ICE Raids Call or fax the following officials, demand an END to ICE raids and to stop the attack the rights of immigrant families, workers and communities Mississippi Congressional Delegations:House: http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/index.htmlSenate: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?State=MS MS Gov. Haley BarbourTel (601) 359-3100 * Fax (601) firstname.lastname@example.org Call your Congressional delegation:Find your Senators telephone and fax numbers at:http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfmFind your Representative’s number at:http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/index.html
Tell them: Stop all immigration detentions & deportations, end raids: · ICE raids traumatize families, undermine worker’s rights and violate the rights of citizens and non-citizens.
· Immigration collaboration with local, county and state police and other public agencies undermine community trust and make our communities vulnerable to abuse, violence and exploitation.
· ICE raids and enforcement operations destabilize our communities and disrupt the economy.
· The problem with ICE raids is so fundamental that Department of Homeland Security should end all such enforcement operations.
· Congress must stop the raids and hold hearings on the impact on DHS/ICE on immigration raids and enforcement operations. Restore due process rights and make our communities safe! To file a complaint against ICE agent on ICE abuses during enforcement operation or immigration raid:Call the Joint Intake Center ATTN: Duty AgentFax (202) 344-3390 and (202) 927-4607Toll-free: 1 (877) 2INTAKE (1-877-246-8253)
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Humanitarian Crisis in Mississippi:
Friday, August 22, 2008
Know Your Rights Materials for Youth
A Know Your Rights & Responsibilities Resource for Immigrant Youth
Immigration issues are tricky. There are many ways in which your immigration status – whether you're a green card holder or undocumented – can impact your ability to get a job, go to college, or even remain in the United States. That's why the Immigrant Legal Resource Center created this resource especially for immigrant youth.
The newly released Spanish version can be downloaded at:
The newly released Korean version can be downloaded at:
The English version can be downloaded at:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 22, 2008
TO: Editor/News Director
Contact: Patricia Ice—office 601-354-9355
Bill Chandler—office 601-968-5182
JACKSON, MS—A series of preparations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on the Gulf Coast has local advocates on edge about the possibility of yet another worksite raid, and yet another devastating blow to businesses, families and communities in the name of immigration enforcement.
“The preparations we are seeing ICE make are alarmingly similar to what occurred immediately prior to the raid on the Agriprocessors, Inc. Kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, a few months ago, “ said Patricia Ice, an immigration attorney and spokesperson for MIRA. ICE has reportedly booked dozens of rooms in hotels on the Gulf Coast. They may be checking in as early as tonight.
Perhaps even more worrisome are the reports that the federal court in Hattiesburg is being readied for a response similar to the response to the raid in Postville, when nearly 400 plant workers were arrested on trumped up identity theft charges, and slammed through criminal prosecution and judicial removal (being forced to waive all their criminal defense and immigration claims) within just days of the raid. “What happened in Postville was an absolute travesty of justice that must never happen again,” said Ms. Ice. “ICE must assure that any future enforcement actions are conducted in a humane manner and that detainees are permitted their constitutional rights to due process and to legal counsel.”
With all the signs pointing to an impending raid, Ms Ice, other staff and local leaders are working quickly to identify possible targets, educate workers and assemble a team of attorneys to offset the burden on public defenders and provide immigration advice.
The Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (MIRA) is a membership-based alliance which guarantees the human rights of immigrants and all workers in Mississippi. MIRA works to support immigrants in the exercise of their rights through providing services, organizing, advocacy and public education.
Catherine Tactaquin, Executive Director
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
310 8th St. Ste. 303
Oakland, CA 94607
tel: 510.465.1984 ext. 302
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Thursday, August 21, 2008
(image from Windy City Times)
Queer Activists And Immigrant Activists: Finding Intersections and Working Together
Posted by: Xiomara Corpeno . Monday, Aug 18, 2008
Cross-issue work between queer and immigrant communities is possible. What are the connections that bring these communities together? And how does a struggle for liberation connect us all?
I started as an activist/organizer while I was getting my bachelor's degree at UC Riverside. I worked on a lot of different issues at that time. Although most of my activism focused on issues most directly affecting people of color, I also spent a lot of my time at the Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Resource Center after I re-connected with an old high school friend who had since come out of the closet. While my current work focuses on organizing for immigrants rights, I am struck by the similarities of the struggle between queer youth and immigrant youth and the intersections of the systems of oppression which seek to marginalize and divide queer, poor and people of color communities.
When I was in college, hanging out at the LGBT Center eventually turned into being an ally; I worked with the Center and other Student Program offices on joint activities, trying to promote solidarity and understanding between groups. Two successful, albeit sad events, that brought together a wide coalition of campus and community groups were the vigil for Matthew Shepard, as well as the march and memorial services for Tyisha Miller, both victims of hate crimes. Matthew was a young white gay man in Wyoming who was beaten to death by two men he had just met. Tyisha was a young Black woman who was shot and killed by the police while she was passed out in her car in Riverside. At the time, these incidents made it crystal clear for me how homophobia, sexism, and racism were all inevitably intertwined.
While there have been significant gains for the queer movement over the years, many youth remain silent about their identity for fear of violence and/or rejection. And the threat is real. Theresa is a 2008 college graduate who was confronted by her parents about her sexual orientation and over night was cut off from any financial assistance from her parents. Lawrence King, a fifteen year old boy, was murdered earlier this year because of his sexual orientation and gender expression.
Fear of violence is also pervasive in immigrant communities. Incidents like the 2000 beating of two immigrant men in Farmingville, NY are a reminder that hate and racism are still prevalent in the United States. In 2007, plots to attack immigrants with grenades and semi-automatic weapons by white supremacists were uncovered in Alabama, Maryland and Washington, D.C by federal authorities. Of course, the threat of a knock on your door in the middle of the night by ICE agents as well as raids in the workplace make these fears more palpable.
Undocumented youth, like their queer counterparts, live a closeted lifestyle. Even in Los Angeles, one of the largest immigrant cities, there is a clear line (including amongst Latinos) that there is some inherent difference between Latinos on the basis of immigration status. "Wetback, Chunt(aro) and FOB" are still popular insults on the playground. My friend Anita had to endure years of threats from her younger sister who would pick up the phone to call immigration when they would get into petty teenage arguments.
Undocumented students also face depression and feelings of isolation and rejection, as they try to navigate a system that wants them to stay in the 'undocumented closet.' Some student leaders have admitted that they have endured jobs with low-pay and other exploitative conditions because they felt they had few prospects for finding a better job. Others have faced deep depression after graduating from college still unable to find work. Undocumented youth, like queer youth that are in the early stages of coming out to themselves, sometimes reject other undocumented people as a way to negotiate their identity. Sometimes they blame their parents, arguing that they were brought to the United States through no fault of their own. Sometimes we encounter families who will emphasize how their immigrant child deserves a college education for their hard-pressed effort, but they are reluctant to be "tossed" in with the immigrant rights movement.
In response to these struggles, students have developed on-campus clubs in order to form support groups. Like their queer counterparts, these students face the challenge of attracting other undocumented students, without necessarily outing themselves or others because of some of the repercussions that might bring. On some campuses, like Cal-State Dominguez Hills, organizations like these have blossomed, but on other campuses, like Bakersfield Community College, there are just two friends who hope to be able to transfer soon. Our biggest success is in the California DREAM Network, made up of over 25 campus groups who have joined together in the fight for access to higher education.
Over 65,000 undocumented youth graduate from high school every year with little means to attend college. When we talk about undocumented youth, we mostly focus on the top students who are trying to make it against the odds. But this figure does not account for all undocumented young people, because just as many drop out of high school when they figure out there are few options for them upon graduation.
While we should also recognize the unique struggles faced by both groups, we must be clear that both of these communities have been marginalized as part of the same system of oppression that took land away from Native Americans, legalized slavery, and placed U.S. Citizens of Japanese descent in concentration camps. Cross-issue work is difficult in the United States. For many organizations, their funding relies on being an "expert" in their field. Cross-issue work is a process and there are gains and misunderstandings along the way. But the first step is to start open, honest and respectful dialogue to bridge understanding, instead of avoiding topics that can be construed as sticky or controversial.
CHIRLA, in conjunction with Mobilize the Immigrant Vote first began with conversations about how "wedge" issues are created and who benefits from the divisions they create. The next steps have included educational workshops for our members on Lesbian, Gay, and Transgender definitions and issues, as well as workshops on the historical context of oppression in the United States. Our conversations are far from over because the struggle for liberation of all peoples is on-going.
Karl Heinrich Ulrichs is credited for being one of the first gay rights activists and in the 1860s he began to promote the idea of coming out as a means of liberation. Ulrichs understood that while people remained in hiding, ashamed or fearful of embracing their identity, it would be impossible to challenge and eventually change the dominant world view about being gay. As activists and organizers in these or other struggles, the concept of liberation should ring true for all communities. My hope is that this piece inspires queer activists and immigrant justice activists to find ways to get together and work for liberation together.
Xiomara Corpeno is the Director of Organizing with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA). She is also a 2008 Taproots Fellow. Read her bio here.
Cops Enforcing Immigration Laws Bust County Budgets
By Anthony D. Advincula
New American Media, Posted on August 14, 2008
When local cops enforce federal immigration laws, the police department may not only incur significant costs, but may also fail to attend to more serious crimes and delay response times to most emergency calls, according to a report released by the Immigration Policy Center (IPC).
Take the case of Maricopa County, Ariz. Since Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio transformed his department into an immigration-enforcement agency,following a partnership made by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on January 19, 2007, his
office has incurred a $1.3 million deficit in just three months.
Maricopa's police officers began working 4,500 extra hours every two-week pay period during the first month of the partnership, as compared to 2,900 extra hours the previous month, the report said. In April 2007, police officers worked more than 9,000 overtime hours and cost the county's
Maricopa County is not an isolated case. More and more cities across the country that allow the police to carry out federal immigration laws get themselves in a similar economic quagmire. Many of them find that it is much
more expensive than they thought.
Recently, the initiative against illegal immigration in Prince William County, Va., raised its costs to $6.9 million for the budget year that starts July 1, because of overcrowding at the county jail.
Immigrant rights advocates also say that even cities like Valley Park, Mo.and Hazleton, Pa. -where local enforcement takes a more aggressive approach than simply relying on ICE to perform federal immigration operations -may fall into deep budget pits soon. "This kind of local enforcement just leaves
counties broke, aside from many other negative consequences," said Michele Waslin, senior policy analyst for IPC. "It makes the community frightened and forces many businesses to close down."
While police officers arrest undocumented immigrants, Waslin says that they fail to catch the human smuggling rings. "I don't think that cops who become immigration agents are effective to help in stopping the flow of illegal
immigration," she said.
The two-page IPC report, based mainly on the findings of a series of
investigative stories published in Phoenix-based East Valley Tribune , also revealed that since Maricopa County cops started looking for undocumented immigrants, the county's arrest rate for serious crimes -including robberies, aggravated assaults and sex crimes -decreased dramatically -and these crimes received little or no investigation. Arpaio's office in 2005
cleared 10.5 percent of its investigations with arrests. When immigration
operations began, according to the report, that number dropped to 6 percent.
In July 2007, the county's police only made arrests on 2.5 percent of their investigations. Because more officers need to be added to the immigration
team, the report said that Arpaio pulled deputies off patrol beats and used them to staff the human smuggling unit, resulting in more delays when responding to 911 and other emergency calls. Patrol districts, trails and lake divisions as well as the central investigations bureau all lost deputies. Allegations of racial profiling have also stung the county, as
Arpaio's team increasingly conducts large-scale operations without any evidence of criminal activity in Latino neighborhoods or sites where day
"Some of these will ultimately lead to costly lawsuits," Waslin added. "In any way, the idea of cops doing federal immigration enforcement is very problematic. It's not just going to work.
Anthony D. Advincula is a New York based editor at NAM.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
AUGUST 30: INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE DISAPPEARED
In Your Community and Everywhere
A Day to Remember, A Day to Take Action
FREEDOM TO POLITICAL PRISONERS - APPEARANCE OF THE DISAPPEARED!
In solidarity with the international call from the Association of Families of the Disappeared and Victims of Violations of Human Rights in Mexico (AFADEM), and by the Latin American Federation of Associations of Families of Disappeared Detainees (FEDEFAM)...
We of the Solidarity Without Borders Delegation call upon groups in the United States to participate in August 30, as a day of remembrance and a day of action for those disappeared and those detained.
As repression rises across the United States against immigrant communities and communities of color...
As political prisoners continue to struggle for freedom behind bars, and as more dissidents are taken captive as "terrorists" under the pretext of homeland security...
As Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) imposes a reign of terror with raids, roundups, deportations, detentions and disappearances...
As the government strips detainees of their rights from Guantanamo to Iraq to Black Sites across the globe...
As private corporations, multinationals and security contractors profit from every detention, disappearance, and incarceration, from our communities to occupied territories abroad...
MAKE AUGUST 30 A DAY FOR MEMORY AGAINST FORGETTING. A DAY FOR STRUGGLE AGAINST SILENCE.
As the US exports this repression globally to serve and protect its corporate interests, to enforce its capitalist agenda on the world...
As the US sponsors state and paramilitary violence against people's movements in Mexico, such as the Zapatistas in Chiapas and the popular struggles in Oaxaca...
As the US continues its 30-year campaign to silence those who resist in Latin America, from Plan Colombia to Plan Mexico and on to the Security and Prosperity Partnership...
As occupying forces continue to disappear thousands of people from their homes and streets in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Haiti, and beyond...
As those who commit these crimes against humanity have never been brought to
justice, and as impunity reigns in the halls of power...
MAKE AUGUST 30 A DAY TO GLOBALIZE OUR REMEMBRANCE, A DAY TO GLOBALIZE OUR RESISTANCE.
ON AUGUST 30 WE ALSO STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH...
Those commemorating Black August, in memory of the freedom fighters.
Those still struggling in New Orleans and beyond on the anniversary of Katrina.
Those mobilizing for political prisoners and for immigrant rights at the DNC and those mobilizing against the RNC.
Those struggling every day in their communities and behind bars.
THIS AUGUST 30 AND BEYOND, WE UNITE WITH OUR SISTERS AND BROTHERS IN AFFECTED COMMUNITIES TO DEMAND...
Freedom to All Political Prisoners!
Appearance of the Disappeared!
Not One More Raid! Not One More Deportation!
Not One More Detention! Not One More Murder!
WHAT SHAPE COULD THE AUGUST 30 DAY OF ACTION TAKE IN YOUR COMMUNITY?
A March of Silence?
A Disappear-In? Direct Action Street Theatre?
An action at your local Detention Center?
An act of solidarity around the DNC or RNC?
A display of the faces and names of those disappeared or detained in your community?
A dialogue or forum with the families and communities hit hardest by repression?
Building local coalitions, supporting existing movements of resistance in your community?
It´s up to you...
EDUCATE. AGITATE. ORGANIZE.
For Our Dead and Disappeared
Not a Moment of Silence But a Lifetime of Struggle!
From Oaxaca, Mexico in struggle,
Solidarity Without Borders Delegation
ORIGINAL CALL TO ACTION FROM AFADEM/FEDEFAM
International Day of the Disappeared Detainee
Since 1981, we have commemorated the International Day of the Disappeared Detainee in Latin America. The purpose of this day is to remember men and women who were taken from their homes by criminal hands. They were beings who did not hesitate to offer their life to construct a world where peace with justice predominates.
They were taken prisoner by those who thought themselves lords of their lives, who applied the doctrine of national security through the most ferocious terrorism of the State, commiting grave violations of human rights, excelling by their cruelty to the forced disappearance.
Throughout these years, families have been added to the commemoration of the disappeared in Asia, Africa, and the European Continent. Various governments of these continents have recognized the proposal pushed by the Latin American Federation of Associations of Families of Disappeared Detainees (FEDEFAM), the establishment of the 30th of August as the International Day of the Disappeared Detainee, among them the Bolivarian of Venezuela.
Sadly, in Colombia, the forced disappearance is still practiced. Every day many Colombians are victims of disappearance and other violations of human rights, they are assassinated and tortured. But also in other countries of our Latin America, repression and the perpetual violation of rights live on, above all those that apply the economic project designed by the government of the USA. For this reason we demand the termination of any attempt to continue training soldiers to repress and murder the peoples.
Impunity is a grave problem that we confront day to day in many of our countries, thanks to which those who committed crimes against humanity have never even been brought to justice nor punished. This is leaving grave consequences among our people. Human life is devalorized, confidence in justice is lost, and democracy is degraded.
We, FEDEFAM, together with social organizations, will continue pushing preventative actions so that the forced disappearance will be definitively eradicated in Latin America and in the world.
25 Years of Struggle for Truth
For Justice and Against Impunity!
For the Right Not to Be Disappeared!
Association of Families of Disappeared Detainees and Victims of Violations of Human Rights in Mexico, AFADEM-FEDEFAM
FEDEFAM: 20 years of struggle against impunity
AFADEM: 30 years of struggle against impunity
FREEDOM TO POLITICAL PRISONERS - APPEARANCE OF THE DISAPPEARED