Thursday, May 04, 2006

Democracy Now: Immigrants, Immigration Prisons

CAROLINA FULECIO HERNANDEZ: I went to school here, graduated here. I’ve made my whole life here. And -- I'm sorry. After I graduated, I got married with my husband, who -- we’ve dated since we were in high school. And a year later, I had my baby. And so, two years later, I filed a petition, I-130. When I got the letter for the interview, it said that the reason for the interview was for the petition that I made.
So I show up to the interview with my husband and my son and my dad. And they did the interview. They asked me a couple of questions, and then immigration, two guys came in. And then they took me to another room, and they pulled out my file, and everything showed up, that I had deportation nine years ago. Then they asked me if I went back to my country at all, and I said, "No" -- if I ever went to a court with a judge or anything, and I told them, “No,” that I don't remember, because I was little. I don't remember ever going with a judge or anything.
And then, one of those guys said that they were going to ask somebody in there if -- they were probably going to take me in custody, but they were going to ask somebody, because I have my baby. But he came back in, and he said they were going to take me in custody, because I had deportation and I broke the law, and all this stuff. And they took me in that day.
Billie asked that we open with that.  It's from "Two Immigrants Who Followed the Path to Citizenship Tell Stories of Detention and Deportation" (Democracy Now!) and Billie wonders, "How the government expects any 12 year old to deport themselves?"  Listen, watch or read the segment. Billie notes, "There are lives at stake whether the clowns at The New York Times realize it or not."
BC Professors Protest Honoring Condoleeza Rice
In Massachusetts, nearly 100 Boston College professors have added their names to a letter protesting their university's decision to award Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice an honorary degree. Rice has been announced as a commencement speaker for graduation ceremonies later this month. The letters' authors, including theology department chair Rev. Kenneth Himes, wrote: "On the levels of both moral principle and practical moral judgment, Secretary Rice's approach to international affairs is in fundamental conflict with Boston College's commitment to the values of the Catholic and Jesuit traditions and is inconsistent with the humanistic values that inspire the university's work."
Senate Judiciary Committee To Investigate Bush Exemption Claims
Back in the United States, Senate Judiciary Chair Arlen Specter has announced he will hold an oversight hearing into President Bush’s claim to the right to bypass more than 750 laws since he took office. In an interview with the Boston Globe, Specter said: ''What's the point of having a statute if . . . the president can cherry-pick what he likes and what he doesn't like?" Specter said he intends to call on both Bush administration officials and constitutional scholars to testify.
Investigators: Faulty Evidence Led To Wrongful Execution of Texas Man
And in Texas, private investigators have concluded faulty evidence in separate arson cases led to the wrongful death sentences of two men, one of whom was later executed. In a report prepared for the legal advocacy group the Innocence Project, the investigators said negligence and misconduct by prosecutors and fire marshals undermined not just the two cases in question but possibly several others where similar investigative methods were used. The executed man Cameron Willingham, was convicted in 1992 of a fire to his home that killed his three daughters. He was put to death in February 2004. The other man, Ernest Willis, had his sentence overturned that same year after spending nearly 18 years in prison.
The above three items (following Billie's highlight) are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Skip, Kansas and LucyDemocracy Now! ("always informing you," as Marcia says):
Headlines for May 4, 2006

- Moussaoui Sentenced To Life Imprisonment Without Parole
- House Passes Controversial Lobby-Reform Bill
- Families Call For Safety Regulation At Sago Mine Hearing
- Tsunami Warning Withdrawn After Earthquake Hits Tonga
- 10 Killed in Baghdad Suicide Bombing
- US Influence Speculated As Fox Backs Off Drug Bill
- BC Professors Protest Honoring Condoleeza Rice
- 63 Journalists Killed in 2005
Jury Rejects Death Penalty for Moussaoui in Major Defeat for Bush Administration

Zacarias Moussaoui - the only person charged in this country in connection to the 9/11 attacks - has been sentenced to life in jail without parole. The verdict marked a major blow the Bush administration who were seeking the death penalty. We play an excerpt of an interview with Moussaoui's mother, Aicha, in the months after his arrest and we talk to Phyllis Rodriguez, who lost her son on Sept. 11th in the World Trade Center. [includes rush transcript]
Two Immigrants Who Followed the Path to Citizenship Tell Stories of Detention and Deportation

As mass immigrant rights demonstrations rock the country, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been conducting widespread deportation raids and immigration roundups. We speak with two young immigrant women who tried to follow the path to citizenship and were subsequently jailed. One of them was deported and has been separated from her three year-old son. [includes rush transcript - partial]
A Look Inside U.S. Immigration Prisons

Undocumented immigrants are one of the largest growing populations being detained by the U.S government. We look at the issue of immigration detention, focusing on the treatment of immigrant detainees, the trend towards privatization of detention centers and the policies behind it all.
Iraq snapshot.
Chaos and violence.
Yesterday, in Baghad, the number of corpses found continued to climb.  Reports when the snapshot was done yesterday had reached 36.  The Associated Press reports that the final number of corpses discovered in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq on Wednesday was 43. On Thursday, corpses continued to be discovered with KUNA reporting that 18 had been found in Tikrit and Babylon.
Also noted yesterday were German press reports that the release of hostages Rene Braeunlich and Thomas Nitzschke were the result of payment.  Today, China's Xinhua reports, "The German government . . . denied that it had paid a ransom to kidnappers in Iraq".  Also yesterday, we noted that Jawad Kadom "the No. 3 official in Iraq's electricity ministry" was killed (gunshot).  Today, KUNA reports that Iraqi police have stated Wadie' Yahya Saleh was assassinated today.  Saleh was "a high ranking official from the Iraqi oil ministry."
As David Enders reported yesterday, on Free Speech Radio News and The KPFA Evening News, tensions run high as debates in Parliment address the constitution ('adopted' six months ago) and on the issue of who holds what positions.
In Baghdad, a bomb went off outside of a court house.  Depending upon the organization, the bomb was a "roadside bomb" or a vest.  Depending upon the organization, the vest was worn by the person or it had been taken off and the person walked away from the explosion they set off.  Depending upon the organization, the bomber was a male or a female.  What is known is that at least ten people have died and at least 52 more are wounded. Australia's ABC reports that among the dead are at least two women and at least one child.
Roadside bombs did go off in Baghdad and one bombing took the lives of two US troops.
In Ramadi, two houses have been bombed by US air forces.  This despite the initial claims of US Army Sgt. Dan Schonborg that "no coalition aircraft launched bombing runs in Ramadi on Thursday" (that's the AP summarizing Schonborg, not a direct quote).  The BBC notes that the US military later confirmed the attack and, noted, refused to provide casualty figures.  During news breaks in KPFA's The Morning Show, Sandra Lupien noted that doctors and neighbors say children were killed in the bombings (US denies that) and that local TV footage shows the corpse of one small child.  Doctors treated a teenage female and noted that two girls and a boy (age eight-years-old) were among the dead.
Still on the topic of Iraq, but switching to another country: Juso Sinanovic.  Who?  On Sunday, while we were discussing Jake Kovco, I wondered: "Has anyone attempted to identify that body? I'm sure his or her family is just as outrage as the Kovko's." Pravda identifies Juso Sinanovic as the person sent to Australia instead of Jake Kovco.  Sinaovic, Pravda reports, was 47 years old, died of a stroke ("reportedly), and had worked in Iraq for three years for KBR.  Survivors include his wife Refija, and children Jasmina, Jasmin and Asmir. The AP quotes Jasmina Sinanovic, commenting on the fact that Juso Sinanovic's body has still not made it to Bosnia, "The officials keep telling us our father's body will arrive on Monday, then on Wednesday, then on Friday and then on Monday again.  It's been the most difficult 19-20 days of our lives."
AFP reports that Paul Pillar has denounced the lies of the administration that led us into war: "There was an organised campaign of manipulation.  That would be the proper way to define it."   Pillar made his remarks in an interview with El Pais (Spanish newspaper) and is "a former CIA analyst speciailizing in counter-terrorism in the Middle East and Asia."  This as the Times of London notes that while 'reconstruction' in Iraq has little to no success with projects such as electricity, the mammoth US embassy (104 acres) is "on target."
Thursday.  Highlights lead with Margaret Kimberley's "Ted Hayes: Colored Minuteman" (Freedom Rider, The Black Commentator):
When Ted Hayes announced his intention to join with the white supremacist Minutemen organization, he became the latest in a long line of opportunists, fortune seekers and ordinary Uncle Toms, who are willing to do the bidding of black America's enemies. The quickest way for black people to find fame, fortune and good press is to publicly denounce what is in the best interest of their own people.
[. . .]
The Minutemen claim to be upset only about the illegal nature of immigration. It is an inconvenient fact that self-described white supremacists have promoted the Minutemen and their effort to patrol the border. Confederate and Nazi flags have been proudly unfurled at Minutemen events.
Black people marching arm in arm with white supremacists is the ultimate insult, a sign that black leadership has utterly failed to create an agenda that is of any use. Nature abhors a vacuum, and Ted Hayes and company are happy to fill it.
The activism in the mostly Latino immigrant community has been controversial throughout the country, but that controversy is especially tragic for black America. The sight of millions of recently arrived Americans who demand citizenship and the full rights of other Americans, has created resentment among a group who should see the opportunity for allies on a host of issues.
Most of the resentment towards immigrants is caused by fear of competition for scarce jobs and resources. The magnitude of the activism should tell us that this sea change in the demographic and political landscape need not be detrimental to black people.
At a time when thousands of well paying blue collar jobs disappear from General Motors and Delphi, the need for labor activism should be obvious. The need to work with other groups who are willing to march en masse should be obvious.
Immigration is on the minds of many members including Stan who highlights Jeff Cohen's "I'm Tired of Bushes and Clintons" (Common Dreams):
Every presidential election since 1980 has had a Bush or a Clinton on a major party ticket. And the pundits say we're likely to see a Clinton atop the next Democratic ticket.
Unlike the last seven presidential elections, I dream of a 2008 contest that is Bush- and Clinton-free. Our country needs new leadership and fresh ideas beyond the realm of just two families.
Of course, influential political families are as old as the Republic. Our nation's first vice president and second president was an Adams; his son was our sixth president. A Republican Roosevelt dominated U.S. politics at the turn of the 20th century; a Democratic Roosevelt, his distant cousin, was even more dominant decades later (joined by our country's greatest first lady, a Roosevelt by birth as well as marriage, who toiled for human rights for years thereafter.) Then came the '60s and the brothers Kennedy...but both John and Robert were killed before the age of 47.
Those earlier eras were marked by hope or social progress. By contrast, the Bush-Clinton era is marked in many respects by political regress and decline. And as major national problems fester, neither Team Bush nor Team Clinton are willing to seriously address them.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not in any way equating the Clintonites with the extremists in today's White House. No one comes close to Bush recklessness and fecklessness. But I believe that until we sweep away the Bush-Clinton era and transcend narrow Bush-Clinton debates (and non-debates), we won't be able to put our country back on the road to social progress.
In the last couple decades -- as power has passed from Bush to Clinton to Bush -- we've seen major problems worsen.
What does that have to do with immigration?  Stan's disgusted with Hillary Clinton's position/nonposition (it changes like the weather) on immigration.  (This was addressed Tuesday on Democracy Now!)
More on immigration comes via Brady's highlight -- Saurav Sarkar's "May Day, May Day" (The Nation):
"It's great because the Pandora's Box is open, and you can't close it," says 30-year-old Jerry (who requested that his last name be withheld). The black Chicagoan stands outside the sandwich shop where he works, and snaps pictures as hundreds of thousands of Mexican, Polish and other immigrants and their supporters stream by, chanting and occasionally throwing up a deafening roar that rebounds among the skyscrapers of downtown Chicago. An official police estimate placed the crowd at about 400,000, while organizers at the rally announced a figure of 700,000.
On the 120th anniversary of the Haymarket Riot, the birthplace of May Day witnessed a demonstration unprecedented in size for the city--part of the nationwide demonstrations, strikes, human chains, economic boycotts, student walkouts and other forms of protest for immigrants' rights. Chants of "Bush, escucha, estamos en la lucha!" "Amnistía!" and occasionally "USA! USA!" were heard, not "The Internationale." The march culminated in a rally at Grant Park, where throngs of people lined the sides of the bowl-shaped space while others filled the muddy infields of the park's baseball diamonds to try to catch words from the speakers, to rest after their several-mile trek or, in some cases, to do the Wave.
Moving to a different topic, Cindy notes Dave Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky's "Impeachment Weighed Again: President Bush's actions threaten basic freedoms and the American system of checks and balances" (Philadelphia Inquirer via Common Dreams):
Who would have thought, just seven years after the Clinton impeachment farce, we'd again be considering impeachment? Yet here we are, five years into the Bush presidency, and again impeachment is in the air.
For some time, opponents of the Iraq War have been calling for impeachment. You could see their signs at marches, but given Republican control of the House, it was hard to take the idea seriously.
In recent months, though, impeachment calls have gained a new seriousness - and wider public support - and for good reason: this November, a shift of only 15 House seats would give Democrats control of the House and of the Judiciary Committee. Rep. John Conyers (D., Mich.), who would become Judiciary Committee chair, has already submitted a bill calling for an investigation into impeachable crimes, and would certainly welcome an impeachment bill.
More important, over the last five years, Bush has become the Willie Sutton of constitutional violators. While the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for lying about sex was a case of frivolous political harassment, this president's many "high crimes and misdemeanors" pose such a threat to basic freedoms, and to the system of checks and balances, that not to impeach would be irresponsible.
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