Tag Archives: illegals

More Illegals Nabbed in 5 States

by Cynthia De Castro/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents conducted a sweeping raid in the world’s largest poultry processor, Pilgrim’s Pride poultry plants last week in five states – Texas, Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Over 300 undocumented workers were arrested for suspicion of committing identity theft. A felony under Federal law, identity theft has been a growing problem as workers in the US illegally look for ways to avoid detection. Some US citizens and legal residents rent or share their Social Security numbers, making detection even more difficult.

The poultry plant raids and other recent raids by immigration officials were the main focus of discussion during Access Washington, a teleconference participated in by members of ethnic media to get the latest immigration updates. The calls are organized in partnership with the National Immigration Forum, the Center for Community Change, the Asian American Justice Center and the National Council of La Raza, and funded by Public Interest Projects.

As ICE raids are on the rise, hundreds of undocumented workers are put up into detention centers around the country, affecting families, communities and the economy. Last week, Federal immigration agents raided a Houston doughnut plant and arrested almost 30 workers as suspected illegal immigrants, according to the Associated Press.

Andrea Black, Network Coordinator of Detention Watch Network, reported that in recent months, there has been a dramatic increase in ICE raids and arrests. “Their target is to remove all illegal immigrants from the US by 2012. They have had a vast increase in budget and manpower and they have become much better organized. Last year, 276,000 were deported. These raids have been able to create an environment of fear across the country,” said Black.

The arrests have had devastating effects on families, according to Paromita Shah, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. “We have had reports that workers who have been arrested were not able to contact families or lawyers and were transferred to other facilities making it very difficult for their families to track them down. The usual problem is what happens to the children left at home by these people who are arrested and deported? “ Shah stated.

Black and Shah mentioned that with the failure of the passage of a comprehensive immigration reform program, the authorities are stepping up the enforcement of arresting and deporting illegal immigrants. If the attempt at such an immigration reform was passed last year in Congress, it would have provided a path to citizenship for some of the nation’s 12 million illegal immigrants, a guest worker program and toughened enforcement against employers.


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Illegals Welcome in San Francisco

by Cynthia De Castro/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – The City of San Francisco recently launched an advertising campaign featuring TV and radio ads, billboards and bus signs reminding residents that the city is a sanctuary for illegal immigrants. The $83,000 ad campaign includes brochures distributed at police stations and hospitals, promising safe access to city services regardless of residency status.

This city has long considered itself as a compassionate place, promoting gay marriages and expanding homeless welfare programs. Now officials are extending a very public welcome to undocumented workers.

“We’re inviting people to come out of the shadows and take advantage of services. Our city officials want to remind illegal workers that the city would not play a part in any possible discrimination they might encounter at the hands of the federal government,”San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said.

Since 1989, when San Francisco became a sanctuary city, it has tried to make this point clear for years. It has barred employees from assisting federal officials with immigration investigations or arrests. Recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in San Francisco and the Bay Area convinced Mayor Newsom.

Although there are other communities in the country that consider themselves as sanctuary cities– including Seattle, San Jose, Miami and Oakland — only San Francisco has launched a campaign to advertise that fact, officials here say.

San Francisco’s ads — written in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Russian — encourage residents to seek services and report crimes without fear of being deported.

Los Angeles does not consider itself a sanctuary city, but officials say police will not take part in federal immigration raids. “Our officers are not immigration officers,” said Matt Szabo, a spokesman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

A spokesman for Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, however, called San Francisco’s program “a tragedy.”

“It’s an insult to the people who waited in line and filled out forms so they would do things right,” said Tony Bell. “For them, it’s a slap in the face.”

But Newsom brushed off the criticisms. “We’re not trying to convince people in Los Angeles,” he said. “We’re trying to assist people in our own city and county.”

Newsom, a Democrat who is considering a run for governor in 2010, said he hopes it will have an effect at shelters and psychiatric intake units.

He acknowledged that much of the reaction to the sanctuary program has been negative, attracting even more criticism than his stand on gay marriage.

“We’re convinced that this is the right thing to do,” the mayor added.


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Illegals Not to Blame for Budget Problem – Gov

by Cynthia Flores/Asianjournal.com

In a meeting with local officials and business leaders in San Luis Obispo on Wednesday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was asked by Diane Blakeslee, mother of Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo,) how the state should handle fiscal burdens created by illegal immigrants.

In his response, Schwarzenegger said it would be a “big mistake” to blame illegal immigrants for the state’s looming $8 billion budget problem.

“There is, you know, always a time like this where you start pointing the finger at various different elements of what creates the budget mess, and, you know, some may point the finger at illegal immigrants,” Schwarzenegger said. “I can guarantee you, I have been now four years in office in Sacramento, I don’t think that illegal immigration has created the mess that we are in.”

The governor has spent the last two weeks traveling to different cities to discuss the budget and ask local residents to pressure their legislators into early negotiations.

He was in San Luis Obispo to pitch his budget proposal to local officials and business leaders. His comments came a day after Assembly Republicans announced a package of 20 bills they said would help California reduce the “negative impact” that illegal immigrants have on the state budget. Included are proposals to repeal a law enabling undocumented students from paying in-state college tuition and demand more money from the federal government for housing illegal immigrants in state prisons.

Schwarzenegger said he believes the United States should pursue immigration reform and have tougher border controls. But he added that blaming illegal immigrants “because we have a budget problem would be a big mistake. I think we have to look at ourselves in Sacramento. We in Sacramento have the responsibility to come up with a coherent budget system, and we haven’t done that.”


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