Saturday, December 31, 2011

Obama signs National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into Law Today

WASHINGTON – President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law today. The statute contains a sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provision. While President Obama issued a signing statement saying he had “serious reservations” about the provisions, the statement only applies to how his administration would use the authorities granted by the NDAA, and would not affect how the law is interpreted by subsequent administrations. The White House had threatened to veto an earlier version of the NDAA, but reversed course shortly before Congress voted on the final bill.

“President Obama's action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director. “The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield. The ACLU will fight worldwide detention authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or internationally.”

Under the Bush administration, similar claims of worldwide detention authority were used to hold even a U.S. citizen detained on U.S. soil in military custody, and many in Congress now assert that the NDAA should be used in the same way again. The ACLU believes that any military detention of American citizens or others within the United States is unconstitutional and illegal, including under the NDAA. In addition, the breadth of the NDAA’s detention authority violates international law because it is not limited to people captured in the context of an actual armed conflict as required by the laws of war.

“We are incredibly disappointed that President Obama signed this new law even though his administration had already claimed overly broad detention authority in court,” said Romero. “Any hope that the Obama administration would roll back the constitutional excesses of George Bush in the war on terror was extinguished today. Thankfully, we have three branches of government, and the final word belongs to the Supreme Court, which has yet to rule on the scope of detention authority. But Congress and the president also have a role to play in cleaning up the mess they have created because no American citizen or anyone else should live in fear of this or any future president misusing the NDAA’s detention authority.”

The bill also contains provisions making it difficult to transfer suspects out of military detention, which prompted FBI Director Robert Mueller to testify that it could jeopardize criminal investigations. It also restricts the transfers of cleared detainees from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to foreign countries for resettlement or repatriation, making it more difficult to close Guantanamo, as President Obama pledged to do in one of his first acts in office.

Source: ACLU

El Paso gathering at international bridge denounces 19 years of NAFTA

El PASO, TX. Activists will gather on January 1 at the international bridge that unites El Paso and Juarez to note the 19th Anniversary of NAFTA. The North American Free Trade Agreement has brought, in their words, "19 years of corporate domination over the people of the United States and Mexico." In that spirit they plan a demonstration and teach-in at the foot of the Santa Fe Bridge.


Sponsored by Occupy El Paso and members of Occupy Las Cruces, the event is planned for Jan. 1, 2012 from 3-5 PM. Various local leaders will address the group, including Alan Dicker from Occupy Las Cruces, Lorena Andrade of Mujer Obrera, local organizer Eric Murillo as well as a spokesperson from the Brown Berets. UTEP Professor Joe Heyman will address the press at 3 PM. The public is invited to participate in the gathering and teach-in.

NAFTA took effect on January 1, 1994. However now, after 18 years of "free trade" between the United States and Mexico, the economic situation is characterized by massive unemployment and underemployment, and poverty and human suffering in both countries.

Corporations benefit from NAFTA while the 99% suffer, say the groups. NAFTA has boosted the so-called corporate elite, or 1%, of both Mexico and the United States. Meanwhile the workers, middle class, peasants (campesinos) and family farmers of both Mexico and the US have lost ground.

NAFTA provides for "freedom" of capital investment, ownership of property, and trade in commodities. However, says the group, that freedom has been the prerogative of the rich! It does not provide for human freedom to move. It fails to promote autonomous, beneficial local development. It has given the 1% domination over the 99%!

Cross-border trade can be fair and just, but not under the NAFTA system. Group members say the continent needs a new North American treaty focused on human development.

For more information visit the Occupy El Paso and Occupy Las Cruces websites.
http://www.facebook.com/OccupyElPaso
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-Las-Cruces-Official/288381804505226

Friday, December 30, 2011

New ICE Detention Hotline: Pros and Cons

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced new measures yesterday that they hope ensure that individuals being held by state or local law enforcement on immigration detainers would be notified about their potential removal from the country and be made aware of their rights.

The measures include a new detainer form and also the launch of a toll-free hotline — (855) 448-6903 — that detained individuals can call if they believe they may be U.S. citizens or victims of a crime.

Image source
The hotline will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by ICE personnel at the Law Enforcement Support Center. Translation services will be available in several languages from 7 a.m. until midnight (Eastern) seven days a week. ICE personnel will collect information from the individual and refer it to the relevant ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Field Office for immediate action.

However, Michael Wildes, a former federal prosecutor and prominent immigration attorney, blasted Federal immigration officials for the telephone hotline :

 “This hotline represents a woefully inadequate and farcical attempt at due process. It presupposes that immigrant detainees - regardless of status - will possess both the moxie and the blind faith in our government to call ICE when they feel they have been detained in violation of their civil rights. It is preposterous to assume that an agency that has deported a record number of individuals this year will now represent a haven for civil rights for immigrants when threatened by state and local enforcement.”

ICE deported 10.3 percent more people in 2011 than in 2008, the last full year of the George W. Bush administration, and double the total for 2001. While the administrations claims it is deporting criminal offenders, a closer look reveals that, because the administration is using an expansive definition of criminal, the deportation list includes tens of thousands of petty offenders, according to information in the Orange County Register.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Increased Deportations Affect Obama's Latino Support


--Most Latinos Oppose Obama's Policy, Yet He Keeps a Big Lead over 2012 GOP Rivals--

As deportations rise to record levels, Latinos disapprove by a ratio of more than two-to-one (59% versus 27%) of the way the Obama administration is handling deportations of unauthorized immigrants. This information from a new national survey of Latino adults was released today by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.


Deportations under President Obama rose to an annual average of nearly 400,000 since 2009. This is about 30% higher than the annual average during the second term of the Bush administration and is about double the annual average during George W. Bush's first term.

More than eight-in-ten (81%) of the nation's estimated 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants are of Hispanic origin, according to Pew Hispanic Center estimates. Hispanics accounted for an even larger share of deportees in 2010----97%.

Not all Latinos are aware that the Obama administration has stepped up deportations of unauthorized immigrants.
  • A plurality (41%) says that the Obama administration is deporting more unauthorized immigrants than the Bush administration. 
  • Slightly more than a third (36%) say the two administrations have deported about the same number of immigrants. 
  • And one-in-ten (10%) Latinos say the Obama administration has deported fewer unauthorized immigrants than the Bush administration.
Disapproval of Obama's policy is most widespread among those who are aware that deportations have risen during his tenure. Among this group, more than three-quarters (77%) disapprove of the way his administration is handling the issue of deportations. Among those who are not aware that an increase has occurred, slightly more than half disapprove.

The 2012 Presidential Election and Latinos

The Pew Hispanic survey also reveals that, heading into the 2012 presidential campaign, Obama and the Democratic Party continue to enjoy strong support from Latino registered voters.

In a hypothetical match-up against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Obama wins 68% to 23% among Latino registered voters. And in a match-up against Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Obama wins the Latino vote 69% to 23%. These results closely match the outcome of the 2008 presidential election, when Obama carried the Latino vote over Republican John McCain by 67% to 31%.

Even among those who disapprove of the way Obama is handling the issue of deportations, a majority support his reelection over either of these two potential Republican challengers. Obama would carry this group by 57% to 34% against Romney and 61% to 31% against Perry.

The survey also shows that identification with the Democratic Party among Hispanic registered voters remains strong. Two-thirds (67%) of Hispanic registered voters say they identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, while 20% say the same about the Republican Party.

And when asked which party has more concern for Hispanics, 45% of Hispanic registered voters say it's the Democratic Party, while 12% say it's the Republican Party. The share that identifies the Republican Party as the better party for Hispanics is up six percentage points since 2010.

Obama's Job Rating among Hispanics

Despite Obama's strong showing among Latinos when compared with potential 2012 Republican rivals, he has suffered a decline in his overall approval rating as president. 
  • Today 49% of Latinos approve of the job he is doing, down from 58% in 2010. 
Among the general public, Obama's approval trend has been more stable during the past year. His current rating----46%----is still somewhat lower among the general public than among Latinos, but this gap has narrowed significantly in the past year.

Among Latinos who disapprove of the Obama administration's deportation policy, just 36% approve of the president's overall job performance while 54% disapprove.

These and many other findings are from a new national survey of 1,220 Hispanic adults ages 18 and older conducted by landline and cellular telephone, in English and Spanish, from November 9 through December 7, 2011.
SourcePew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Immigrants create jobs for U.S. workers, new study shows

Image credit: Jerusalem Post

Findings from a nationwide study released today offer new evidence that immigrants create jobs for U.S. citizen workers. Immigrants with specific skill types do not compete with native workers, but complement them and improve their employment outlook, says the report. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Partnership for a New American Economy released results examining the impact of immigration on the American economy based on a multi-year statistical analysis. 

The report entitled “Immigrants and American Jobs” by economist and professor Madeleine Zavodny investigates the relationship between the foreign-born workforce and the employment rate for native U.S. workers. It focuses on two critical groups: foreign-born adults with advanced degrees and foreign workers here on temporary-employment visas. In both cases, more foreign-born workers means more jobs for U.S. natives.  As many as 262 more native-born workers are employed for every 100 foreign-born workers with advanced U.S. degrees who work in science, technology, engineering, or math (“STEM”) fields. 

The report also looks at the fiscal impact of the foreign-born. It finds that, on average, all immigrants pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits, with the finding particularly true for highly educated immigrants. 

Coupling these two findings, the data shows that policy reforms designed to accommodate more of these categories of immigrants would boost employment, while making a positive contribution to government budgets.

Congressman Tim Griffin (R-AR), member of the House Judiciary Committee, stated that the report yielded important evidence for reforming immigration policy with a focus on skilled immigrants.

“We have a shortage of STEM graduates with advanced degrees here in the United States, which hinders American job creators’ ability to grow their businesses and hire additional employees,” said Congressman Griffin. “Many highly skilled immigrants study in the U.S. but are forced to return home after graduation, where they work to strengthen their home nation’s economy to compete against ours. I am working on legislation that will change the system so that we can keep the best and the brightest, which will strengthen our economy and create jobs here in America.”  

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, co-chair of the Partnership for a New American Economy also underlined the findings significance: “At a time when job creation should be our highest priority, the study released today casts light on some of the greatest potential areas for growth, at no cost to taxpayers. It’s time for Washington to restart the conversation on immigration reform – and to center it on our economic needs.”

Madeleine Zavodny, economics professor at Agnes ScottCollege and author of the report for notes that the data’s relevance transcends the field of economics and offers insight for legislators who, she says “need to know what’s at stake in immigration policy.”

The report calls for specific legislative proposals that could create jobs for U.S. workers:
  • Give priority for foreign workers who earn advanced degrees from U.S. universities, especially those who work in STEM fields.
  • Increase the number of green cards (permanent visas) for highly educated workers.
  • Make available more temporary visas for both skilled and less-skilled workers.

Currently only 15 percent of green cards are reserved for employment needs. Factoring in a foreign-born worker’s spouses and children, the real percentage is closer to seven, according to information released by Partnership for a New American Economy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gathering outside Mexican consulate notes murder of activist Marisela Escobedo

El Paso, Texas// Members of the public and border activists for human rights from a number of organizations will join here Friday for commemorative activities on the first anniversary of the assassination of noted Mexican activist Marisela Escobedo. The event will be led by Escobedo's son, Juan Manuel Fraire Escobedo.

Marisela Escobedo was killed at the doorsteps of the Chihuahua Governor´s Palace on December 16, 2010 as she was demanding justice for her daughter Rubí Fraire Escobedo, a victim of femicide. The man who confessed to killing Rubi was later released by the Chihuahua judicial system. Marisela's assassination was caught on tape. The "hit," apparently professionally orchestrated, occurred in under two minutes:


Juan Manuel Fraire Escobedo and his family, now forced to exile, will hold a press conference and lead a series of activities in front of the Mexican Consulate in El Paso to demand justice from the Mexican authorities for the deaths of both Rubi Fraire and Marisela Escobedo. He will announce the continuation of Marisela´s campaign to protest the injustice done to them by the Mexican government and judicial system.

The event in El Paso, is one of many to take place in Mexico, including Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico city, and in the United States, as well as in other countries in Europe where Marisela Escobedo’s fight for dignity and justice was widely known. This advance information about the Juarez event is circulating on Facebook:

It calls for a march beginning at 5 PM and ending with a candlelight vigil at 7 PM in honor of the deceased.

Activists' activities at Mexican Consulate in El Paso, located at 910 E. San Antonio Avenue, will occur from  10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday, December 16.

The following local human rights organizations will participate in this event: Mexicanos en el Exilio, Border Network for Human Rights, Miners Without Borders, Peace and Justice Without Borders, Annunciation House, Centro de Trabajadores Agrícolas Sin Fronteras, Border Peace Presence, among others.

Primary Source: Law Offices of Carlos Spector















Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lomas del Poleo: Plight of the 99th percentile before the avarice of the top 1%

The documentary Colonia Perdita/Lost Colonia recounts the fate of the residents of Lomas del Poleo in their own words. Their neighborhood, located about 10 miles away (maybe less) teaches me that even the power of law cannot protect the vulnerable from the avarice of the top 1%.

Years ago, some of the poorest of the poor found remote desert land upon which they could legally settle, construct homes, small farms and gardens. They literally built a life for themselves atop a dry and rocky mesa outside Juarez.

Little did anyone envision NAFTA, maquiladoras (international factories) and the tyranny of unjust trade practices that would push the poor further down while raising up the rich of North America.

The wasteland of Lomas del Poleo, now lying directly on the path of a proposed international highway, exponentially grew in value overnight. And, just as suddenly, one of the richest families in all of Mexico "realized" that they owned that land.

As in the fairytale Jack and the Beanstalk, these economic giants ruthlessly robbed the peasants of everything, stopping at nothing to accomplish the depopulation of Lomas del Poleo. (Really. I'm not exaggerating.)

This short documentary broadcasts the voices of those who experience the fate of the 99th percentile--crushed under the boot of the 1%.


FEATURE VIDEO: Colonia Perdida / Lost Colonia from Notes from the Margins on Vimeo.

Their story is our story. The wise will recognize it. The foolish will pursue more entertaining topics and activities until they themselves--or their children--fall and are crushed by the avarice of the 1%.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Framed Photos of religious images from the Border benefit human rights


The sale of these professional-quality photographs will support the efforts of poor people of Lomas del Poleo who are fighting to defend their homes from a wealthy developer who claims he owns their land. This is a clear case of injustice and human rights at risk--documented by Amnesty International.

Choose from seven images of statues in El Paso, Texas. These 8 X 10 inch photos are matted in white with your choice of black or brown frame. Price: $25 each, or 2 for $45.

Simply email borderchristmas@gmail.com with your order by December 17 for Christmas delivery.

Image choices: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pieta, St. Francis of Assisi, Kateri Tekakwitha, Jesus and the Children and Juan Diego.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Barrio Azteca Gang Associates Plead Guilty in El Paso to Racketeering Conspiracy

WASHINGTON—Two associates of the Barrio Azteca (BA) gang pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, as FBI, DEA and the Justice Department officials announced today.

Yesterday, Fabian Rodriguez, 35, aka “Shamoo,” of El Paso, Texas, and today Mexican national Juan Manuel Viscaino Amaro, 41, aka “Porky,” pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Norbert J. Garney in the Western District of Texas, El Paso Division, to racketeering conspiracy.

According to court documents, Rodriguez and Amaro were associates of the BA. The group began in the late 1980s as a violent prison gang and has expanded into a transnational criminal organization. The BA is primarily based in West Texas; Juarez, Mexico; and throughout state and federal prisons in the United States and Mexico. The gang has a militaristic command structure and includes captains, lieutenants, sergeants, soldiers and associates such as Rodriguez and Amaro. This works to maintain power and enrich its members and associates through drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion, intimidation, violence, threats of violence and murder.
El Paso/Juarez--site of Barrio Azteca activity
Members and associates of the BA have engaged in a host of criminal activity committed since Jan. 1, 2003, say court documents. These include drug trafficking, extortion, money laundering, kidnapping, and murder. The group was involved in the March 13, 2010, murders in Juarez of U.S. consulate employee Leslie Ann Enriquez Catton, her husband Arthur Redelf and Jorge Alberto Salcido Ceniceros, the husband of a U.S. Consulate employee.

The BA makes money by importing heroin, cocaine, and marijuana into the United States from Mexico. Gang members and associates also allegedly charge a “street tax” or “cuota” on businesses and criminals operating in their turf. These profits support gang members in prison by funneling money into prison commissary accounts of gang leaders and pay for defense lawyers or fines. The “cuota” profits are also allegedly reinvested into the organization to purchase drugs, guns and ammunition.

During the plea hearings, Rodriguez and Amaro admitted to working with the BA in buying and selling illegal drugs on the streets of El Paso. They also admitted that the gang extorted money from drug dealers operating on the gang’s turf.

According to Rodriguez’s plea agreement, he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. Under Amaro’s plea agreement, if approved by U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone, he will receive a 12-year prison term. Sentencing dates for the defendants haven't been scheduled.

Thirty-five members and associates of the BA gang, including Rodriguez, Amaro and 11 others who have pleaded guilty, were charged in a third superseding indictment unsealed in March 2011 with various counts of racketeering, murder, drug offenses, money laundering and obstruction of justice. That trial is set to begin April 6, 2012.

Source: FBI release

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bloggers.com features Border Explorer

Bloggers.com, a website supporting blog authors, has selected Border Explorer as an Editor's Pick of the Day today.

I really appreciate their recognition and look forward to displaying their Featured bloggers badge on my profile!

Currently, I'm in between my worlds--enroute to El Paso, Texas. I'm exploring another beautiful section of the U.S.-Mexico border today, out in the wilderness--far from internet or cell phone connections! I'm slated to arrive in El Paso tomorrow and look forward to updating the blog then.

Welcome to the blog! Enjoy the entries...I'll return visits as soon as I can!

Thank you very much, Bloggers.com! 
Best regards, Billie

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Occupy El Paso prepares for confontation, extends urgent call for support!

Source: Facebook page for Occupy El Paso
Friends and those who care. Occupy El Paso is facing eviction tomorrow. They have decided to remain in San Jacinto Park. The city has decided to outsource permits for parks to a priavate Corp headed committee.

Occupiers are going to stay in the park and face arrest. For those of you who stand with occupy but cannot be there, please consider a donation to a bail fund set up in this wepay account:

www.wepay.com/donate/37956. Every little bit helps. 

We would also like to take this opportunity to extend our invitation for support in the form of coverage for those that cannot partake in civil disobedience, through video and pictures within their extent,

**but strictly limited to remain outside the perimeters of the park alongside the sidewalk for the sake of not being identified in part of those partaking in civil disobedience.**


We also take this opportunity to extend our invitation in the form of partaking in direct peaceful civil disobedience; where in we urge you to contact your lawyer and or research the knowing of your rights and make your way out to

*San Jacinto Plaza 111 E. Mills

as soon as possible to arrange the following meetings;

1.Know your rights 4 p.m.

2. Legal Consultation with a sympathetic lawyer 5p.m.

3.Civil Disobedience Rehearsal 6 p.m.

 **projected to take place
within the hours of 10 p.m. November the 13 - 1 a.m. November the 14.

4. General Assembly 7 p.m.

5. Coverage Meeting 8 p.m.

Why we are doing civil disobedience: www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=129326193843282

Know your rights: www.occupytogether.org/docs/occupy-web.pdf
www.aclutx.org/documents/righttoprotestpamphlet.pdf

Warrant search: www.elpasotexas.gov/muni_clerk/warrant_search.asp

Sourcehttp://occupyelpaso.org/component/kunena/2-posts/499-urgent-call-for-critical-mass.html?Itemid=0#499  [as shared on Facebook]

Thursday, November 10, 2011

U.S. Racism--Then vs. Now

Racism: 1950's

"separate and unequal" 
image credit: Progressives South Bend


Racism: 2011



"undeserving and subhuman"

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Occupy El Paso to Address Grievances Specific to Southern Border Region

On November 11, Occupy El Paso will bring together occupiers and supporters suffering from unemployment, discrimination, homelessness, lack of access to basic needs, and systemic violence to share personal testimonies and issue an official statement of grievances and demands. The gathering will occur at 12PM at San Jacinto Plaza 111 E. Mills Avenue in downtown El Paso, Texas. This declaration is intended to address many of the issues of structural injustice on which the Occupy movement concerns itself. It demands an end to the corruption and economic inequality and at the root of our current social and political crisis. Community members will share their personal experiences of marginalization and suffering and call for justice at a noon press conference on Friday.

At Saturday the group urges all supporters to converge on the Plaza from noon onward, to join with the occupiers—to create a large community event, according to a Facebook announcement.

On Sunday, the occupiers call on supporters to join them as they move from San Jacinto Plaza to Cleveland Square, across from the Main Public Library.

Occupy El Paso is part of the larger Occupy Wall Street Movement, which began in reaction to vast injustice and inequality experienced by 99% of the population in the United States and continues to gain support throughout the world. Occupy El Paso is actively working to unite diverse voices from local communities, especially those who have been historically marginalized, to demand an end to economic injustice and inequality. The hope is that together, as the 99%, this movement can make lasting change by bringing a critical understanding of how the greed, corruption, and inequality inherent in our economic system threatens the lives of all peoples and the Earth.

Occupy El Paso shares Occupy Wall Street’s vision of a more just and equitable society and recognizes that many of the issues brought to light in this movement have existed disproportionately in communities of color and border communities since the formation of the United States. Because of its location and proximity to vast human rights abuses, El Paso has a unique opportunity to stand in solidarity with human rights activists and demand that human beings be given priority over profit.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dona Nobis Pacem: Peace in Mexico's drug war

When I began blogging for peace in 2007, I never dreamed I'd become involved in a war myself. But since then--five Blog Blasts for Peace later--over 9000 people have been murdered in our sister-city of Jurarez just across the U.S.-Mexico border from my winter home in El Paso. The bloodbath entails unspeakable cruelty and violence: horrifying and chilling.

My volunteer work now includes helping manage a shelter for war refugees. We receive even families with children who've fled their homes--literally running for their lives.

When I return to my native Iowa each spring/summer, sometimes people ask me to tell them about what's happening in Mexico. It's hard to answer. When I describe it as best as I can, people usually ask: How can peace be restored? What can we do? 

But there is no tidy answer. Right now, no one sees an end to this violence, to the shattered lives, the bloodbath of innocents.

In March, renowned Mexican poet Javier Sicilia lost his beloved son, another murdered innocent. "I have no more poetry in me," he lamented. Grieving, he laid his pen aside and instead took to the streets, sparking a national mobilization for peace in Mexico's drug-fueled violence, leading marches and caravans.

"What will you do next?" U.S. reporters asked him in June. Sicilia responded that he was unsure. Like me, he had no road map to offer. No road map to peace.

Instead he recited lines from the Spanish poet Antonio Machado:
"There is no road; the road is made by walking."

So next week I'll travel again to the border. I know I can not make peace happen there. Nevertheless, my journey is not futile. No effort for peace is futile. We simply walk the road of peace, stepping into the darkness without a map. We do it because we believe we can make a road.

We embark on this journey not because peace is the destination, but because peace is every step.

-----
I invite you to accompany me on the journey. Subscribe. Follow. Join Border Explorer. 'Like' Border Explorer on Facebook. Peace! Paz!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

El Paso Rights Groups condemn arrests, jailing of activists in Juarez

Crosses pasted at intersection prompted police action.
A coalition of human rights, legal, religious, and community organizations will hold a press conference at 12:15 pm on Thursday, November 3rd to condemn the arrest of activists protesting the killing in Juarez of over 9,000 individuals during the past several years as a result of Mexico’s declared war on drugs and to demand the immediate release of all activists jailed for protesting the environment of violence and immunity that pervades the city of Juarez.

On Tuesday November 1, 2011 at 6 p.m. the Juárez Municipal Police and Transit division headed by the Secretary of Public Security, Lt. Col. Julian Leyzaola repressed a demonstration of young protestors from the organization Frente Plural Ciudadano who were undertaking a peaceful march commemorating victims of the "war" against organized crime and protesting against the strategy of the government of Mexico. Journalists and photojournalists were also beaten and stripped of their cameras and equipment.

The youth-led demonstration was overtaken as they were painting crosses at the intersection of Triunfo de la República and Avenida Lopez Mateos, where they were assaulted with baton blows and kicked by municipal police officers and transit police. Thirty-two individuals were jailed and charged with assault. Also detained were two members of the media.



The overwhelming police participation in the detention and arrest yesterday of thirty-two protesters stands in stark contradiction to the overwhelming absence of police in the killing of 9,000 Juarez individuals since 2008 and the almost nonexistent investigation and arrest of any of the assassins. 

Included among the organizations who are calling the press conference are the following:

Annunciation House
Paso Del Norte Civil Rights Project
Border Network for Human Rights
Coalition Against Violence toward Women & Families at the Border
University Community for Immigrant Rights,
Miners without Borders, BASTA Organizing Committee
The Columban Mission
Assumption Sisters of Chaparral
Sisters of Charity in Anthony, NM
Border Workers Association
Mexilios in Exile
Casa Puente
MEChA, UTEP Chapter
Law Office of Carlos Spector
Executive Committee of the El Paso University Faculty Council of the Texas Faculty Association
Global Exchange

The conference will be held at Casa Vides at 325 Leon Street.

Amnesty International calls for humane treatment of detained peaceful protesters in Juarez, Mexico


[Video showing the police repression of the peaceful protest]

Last evening, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico,  the municipal police arrested and physically beat a group of peaceful activists involved in a peaceful protest honoring the dead victims of the extreme violence in Ciudad Juarez of the last five years. The student activists are part of Frente Plural Ciudadano--an organization that has been very actively involved against the injustice and violence in Ciudad Juarez.

Reports are that the students/activists planned to paint and place about 9000 crosses around the city in honor of the dead from Ciudad Juarez for Dia De los Muertos, the Day of the Dead commemoration. Informal reports as recent as this afternoon indicated that the 29 detained are still in custody and that family and friends spent the night outside the site of their detention and will continue there until they are released.


Blatant police oppression of peaceful protest


Amnesty International has joined the groundswell of grassroots support for the peaceful protesters who are in custody. The following is a rough English translation of the original report in Spanish, published today:

Amnesty International expresses concern over the arrest of 29 people in two peaceful demonstrations on November 1 in Ciudad Juarez. The first municipal police operation resulted in the arrest of 15 people at the center of town where there was a rally to remember the more than 10,000 violent deaths over the past five years in Ciudad Juarez. Hours later, 14 people were arrested outside the Aldama police station during a demonstration to demand the release of their arrested colleagues. Among those arrested were at least two children and two journalists. VIDEO HERE.

Amnesty International calls on the authorities in Ciudad Juarez to guarantee the physical integrity of detainees, give them immediate access to doctors, lawyers of their choice and allow them to see their families. The organization also reminds the authorities of their obligation to bring the arrested promptly to the public prosecutor to face charges or release them recognized.

Amnesty International believes it is essential that Chihuahua state authorities guarantee the right to freedom of association and expression. The maintenance of public order should not be a pretext to limit these rights and the use of force must always be limited to the necessity and proportionality as outlined by international human rights standards.

Amnesty International urges respect for the human rights of the protesters detained in Ciudad Juarez and asks for an investigation into the operations of the municipal police.

Additional information
According to information received by Amnesty International, the event was part of a series of protests in various cities in Mexico during the Day of the Dead to commemorate the victims of violence in recent years and highlight impunity.

In Ciudad Juarez several demonstrators pasted paper crosses on the walls to represent the dead. During attempts to stop the protest, a disruption ensued and several people were arrested. At night there were new arrests when demonstrators were reported to the police station Aldama. According to witnesses, several of those arrested during the day were subjected to mistreatment and police use of disproportionate force. Subsequently, the detained journalists were released. Other detainees were taken.
--------------
How you can help: It is almost impossible for those who live in Juarez to protest oppression in the city. Use your voice to speak the public outrage, thereby assisting the victims of police oppression.
  • A press conference will occurr in El Paso, Texas tomorrow, Thursday at 12:15pm, at Casa Vides, 325 Leon Street. 
  • Widely circulate information about this event to your contacts, both local, national and international, to raise pressure and ensure that the Juarez government knows that the international community is watching the situation. Links to videos of this event are below. 
  • Create pressure on the Juarez city government to release activists who are still detained and to prevent further aggressions in the coming days by emailing the following people/sample email in English is suggested below:

Presidente Municipal.
Ing. Hector Murguia Lardizabal
Responsable de la Secretaria de Seguridad Publica Municipal.
TTE. CORONEL. Julian Leyzaola Perez
Tel. 208-88-00
Secretaria Tecnica (responsable interdependencias)
Ing. Arturo Armendariz Diaz
Comision de Regidores encargados de seguridad publica.
Coordinador. Luis Manuel Aguirre Aguilera
Tel. 207-88 00 Ext 2002
Secretario Hector Hernandez Garcia
Tel. 207- 88 00 Ext 2002
vocal. Laurencio Gallegos Jimenez
Igallegos@juarez.gob.mx

A SAMPLE EMAIL to Mexican Officials:
Yesterday Tuesday November 1, 2011 at six p.m. the Juárez Municipal Police and Transit Division headed by the Secretary of Public Security, Lt. Col. Julian Leyzaola repressed a demonstration of young protestors from the organization Frente Plural Ciudadano who were undertaking a peaceful march commemorating victims of the war against organized crime and protesting against the strategy of the government of Mexico. Journalists and photojournalists were also beaten and stripped of their cameras and equipment.

The youth-led demonstration was overtaken as participants were pasting paper crosses at the intersection of Triunfo de la República and Avenida Lopez Mateos, where they were assaulted with baton blows and kicked by municipal police officers and transit police. Initial reports said that ten of the young people were handcuffed and taken to the cells of the Municipal Police where they were still being held at 10:30 pm. Later reports put the number of detained at 21 (see full list of names below).

The attitude of the police and Lt. Col. Leyzaola is totally illegal and reprehensible. On the one hand police are criminalizing peaceful youth-led demonstrations, in which young people are taking constructive action and demanding change from the government’s failed strategy to stop the crime and on the other hand, the police themselves are unable to stop or even significantly reduce the wave of crimes and murders that continues to plague the border.

For all these reasons, we DEMAND:

· The immediate release of youths arrested in the demonstration today in Ciudad Juarez.

· The return of the working tools stolen from the workers of the media and the truck Red de Infancia

· The identification of responsibility for these abuses of authority committed by municipal and transit police, and the naming of the person or persons who led the operation.

· An end to the criminalization and the systematic repression of Juárez youth.

· Implementation of a true culture of legality beginning with the authorities, police and military forces, to make them respect the individual rights, end impunity, punish those who are accomplices of the criminals and fight those responsible for the crimes that most we face as a community: femicide, targeting and murder of youth, extortion, rape, kidnapping, armed robbery.

NAMES OF THE DETAINED

People detained at Triunfo de la República and López Mateos:

Ana Pong Ríos, 28 años, alumna de Diseño Gráfico de IADA

Arturo Vázquez Flores, 22 años, estudiante de la UACJ

Beatriz Mercedes Sáenz García, 49 años, ingeniero agrónomo

Carlos Yeffin Pong Ronquillo, 37 años

César Antonio Ochoa Paredes, 22 años, estudiante de El Paso

Yazmín López Yáñez, 17 años

Jesús Fabio Ceballos, 24 años, estudiante de la UACJ

José Luis Rodríguez Isaí, 21 años, estudiante de la UACJ

Juan Pablo Rodríguez Isaí, 17 años

Michelle Baraza Nevares, 24 años

Naín Eastwood Romero, 22 años, estudiante de la UACJ

Sandra Isabel Frías Vela, 27 años

Pedro Mireles Contreras, 58 años

Verónica Castillo, 35 años, maestra de psicoterapia de la UACJ

Agustín Alberto Ortega Rodríguez

People detained at Estacion Aldama:

Karla Luisa Corral Morales, 17 años, estudiante de la UACJ

Gabriela Ortiz Enrique, 23 años, electricista

Armando Magallanes Chavira, 24 años

Emmanuel Albarrán Quiñónez, 28 años, estudiante de la UACJ

Jesús Armando Jiménez Gutiérrez, 59 años, epidemiólogo

Irving Luévano Pereira, 20 años

Julián Álvarez, 30 años, estudiante de Literatura en la UACJ

Antonio Muñoz Quintana, 26 años, estudiante de la UACJ

Daniel Delgadillo Díaz, 50 años, ingeniero agrónomo

Daniel Luévano Pereira, 23 años

Armando González Bailón, 47 años, maestro de la Escuela Secundaria Técnica 55

Arturo Vázquez Peral, 52 años, médico del IMSS

Gerardo Solís Quejalva, 39 años, maestro de la Preparatoria Altavista

Adolfo Grijalva Vázquez, jardinero

Crosses of protest--Protesters had hoped to post a cross for each of the 9,000  killed during the past five years in their city during the "war on drugs."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

25 Juarez human rights orgs denounce police repression of peaceful protest & young journalists

Twenty-five Juarez human rights organizations issued an urgent statement November 1 [it is roughly translated from the Spanish] about an incident of police repression of a peaceful protest of the drug war that occurred in Juarez. Watch the incident via El Diario TV HERE.

Today at six p.m. Juárez Municipal Police and Traffic police, headed by the Secretary of Public Security, Lt. Col. Julian Leyzaola repressed a demonstration of youth that was remembering the deceased in this "war" against organized crime and protesting against the government's strategy in its execution. They were also beaten and journalists and photojournalists were stripped of their cameras.

Young people were making paintings of crosses at the intersection of the avenues Triunfo de la República and Avenida Lopez Mateos, when they were assaulted with baton blows and kicked by police officers and transit police.Then ten of the young men were handcuffed and taken to the cells of the Municipal Police where they were still being held at 7 pm.

Unfortunately this is not an isolated event. In recent weeks several young people from various social organizations have been arrested by members of the municipal police arbitrarily. Simply for being young they are treated as "suspects," they were required to provide voter registration, although they are not even 18 years of age, and were jailed without justification. To top it all, even those who do social service work in a very vulnerable community are assaulted. This was the case for a group of youngsters from the Children's Network who performed educational and cultural workshops with children and parents in the neighborhoods. They were stopped and the truck they used to support their work remains illegally seized by the police of Ciudad Juarez

The attitude of the police and Lt. Col. Leyzaola is totally illegal and reprehensible because on the one hand, they criminalize peaceful demonstrations by several youths who took constructive action or demanded change from the present failed strategy to stop crime and on the other hand, they are unable to stop or even significantly reduce the wave of crimes and murders that continues to plague the border.

It seems that the authorities in Juarez are executing a mechanical and pathetic imitation, a pathetic caricature of the "Zero Tolerance" strategy newly touted in this border city by former New York mayor, Rudolph Giuliani. This is  irrespective that the problem here is not are "broken windows" or minor violations, but murders that exceed ten thousand, or hundreds of extortions and armed robbery to life and property of citizens. They organize city and state level events to promote the "culture of legality" and insists on respecting municipal regulations and sides when large violations of the law as killing of children, femicide, rape, enforced disappearances, are completely unpunished.

For all these reasons, the organizations signing this document DEMAND:

  • The immediate release of the youth detained in today's demonstration in Ciudad Juarez.
  • The return of the tools stolen from the workers of the media and the Children Network truck.
  • The fincamiento of responsibility for abuse of authority committed by police officers and municipal roads, and who led the operation.
  • An end to the criminalization and the systematic repression and youth.
  • Implementation of a true culture of legality beginning with the authorities, police and military forces, to make them respect individual rights, end impunity, punishing those who are criminal accomplices and fighting those responsible for the crimes that we as a community face: femicide, killing of children, extortion, rape, kidnapping, armed robbery.
Signed by the following Juarez Human Rights Organizations:
Casa, promoción juvenil, A.C.
Centro de los Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres, (CEDHEM)
Centro de Derechos Humanos Paso del Norte, A.C.
Centro de Derechos del Migrante
CIMAC
Comisión de Solidaridad y Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (COSYDDHAC)
Comité Médico Ciudadano
Comunidades Eclesiales de Base de Ciudad Juárez
Consejo Ciudadano para el Desarrollo Social
Contec, Asesoría Técnica Comunitaria, A.C.
Educación en Valores
El Barzón, A.C.
Frente Democrático Campesino
Grupo de Mujeres Tonantzin
Justicia para Nuestras Hijas
Movimiento Ciudadano por la Paz y la Vida Digna.
Mujeres por México en Chihuahua, A.C.
Mujeres de Pacto
Organización Popular Independiente
Pacto por la Cultura
Plan Estratégico de Juárez
Red de Infancia de Ciudad Juàrez
Red de Defensoras y Defensores de los Derechos Humanos, A.C.
Red Mesa de Mujeres de Ciudad Juárez
Techo Comunitario
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For greater accuracy, here is the original statement in Spanish:

Comunicado de prensa

REPRIME LA POLICIA MUNICIPAL DE JUAREZ A JOVENES MANIFESTANTES Y A PERIODISTAS.

Hoy a las seis de la tarde efectivos de la Policía Municipal de Juárez y de la Dirección de Vialidad, dirigidos por el Secretario de Seguridad Pública, teniente coronel Julián  Leyzaola reprimieron a golpes una manifestación de jóvenes del Frente Plural Ciudadano que conmemoraba  a los caídos en esta “guerra” contra el crimen organizado y protestaba contra la estrategia gubernamental  para llevarla a cabo. También fueron golpeados y despojados de sus cámaras e instrumentos varios periodistas y reporteros gráficos.

Los jóvenes se encontraban realizando pintas de cruces en la intersección de las avenidas Triunfo de la República y Avenida López Mateos,  cuando fueron agredidos a golpes de macana y puntapiés por los agentes de la policía y de tránsito. Luego diez de los muchachos fueron esposados y conducidos a los separos de la Policía Municipal donde permanecían todavía a las 7 de la tarde.

Por desgracia este no es un hecho aislado: en las últimas semanas varios jóvenes de diversas organizaciones sociales han sido detenidos por elementos de la policía municipal de manera arbitraria. Por el sólo hecho de ser jóvenes se les da el trato de “sospechosos”, se les exige se identifiquen con la credencial de elector, así no tengan aun 18 años y se les encarcela sin justificación alguna. El colmo es que, incluso a quienes realizan trabajos de servicio social en esta muy vulnerada comunidad se les agrede. Así sucedió con un grupo de jóvenes de la Red de la Infancia que realizan jornadas educativo-culturales  con niños y padres de familia de las colonias populares. A ellos se les detuvo y el camión que utilizan para apoyar estas jornadas, permanece ilegalmente incautado por la policía juarense

La actitud de la policía y de teniente coronel Leyzaola es totalmente ilegal y reprobable pues, por un lado, criminalizan las diversas manifestaciones pacíficas de jóvenes que realizan acciones constructivas o demandan el cambio de la fracasada estrategia para detener el delito y por otro lado, son incapaces de acabar o siquiera reducir de manera significativa la ola de crímenes y homicidios que sigue azotando a esta frontera.

Tal parece que las autoridades de Juárez está realizando una imitación, mecánica, caricaturizada y patética de la estrategia “Cero Tolerancia”, recién expuesta en esta frontera por el ex alcalde de Nueva York, Rudolph Giuliani, sin tomar en cuenta que el problema aquí no son las llamadas “ventanas rotas” o infracciones menores, sino los asesinatos que rebasan ya los  diez mil, o los centenares de extorsiones y ataques a mano armada a la vida y al patrimonio de la ciudadanía. Se organizan a nivel municipal  y estatal eventos para promover la llamada “cultura de la legalidad”, y se insiste en respetar reglamentos y bandos municipales cuando las grandes infracciones a la ley como los juvenicidios, los feminicidios, las violaciones, las desapariciones forzadas, siguen totalmente impunes.

Por todo lo anterior, las organizaciones que suscribimos este documento EXIGIMOS:

  • La libertad inmediata de los jóvenes detenidos en la manifestación de hoy en Ciudad Juárez.
  • La devolución de los instrumentos de trabajo arrebatados a las y los trabajadores de los medios de comunicación, asì como del camión de la Red de Infancia.
  • El fincamiento de responsabilidades por el abuso de autoridad cometido por los agentes de la policía municipal y de vialidad, y de quienes dirigieron el operativo.
  • Cese a la criminalización y represión sistemática a las y los jóvenes.
  • Implementación de una verdadera cultura de la legalidad comenzando con las autoridades, las fuerzas policíacas y militares, que las haga respetar las garantías individuales, acabar con la impunidad, castigar a quienes son cómplices de los criminales y combatir a los responsables de los delitos que más nos aquejan como comunidad: feminicidios, juvenicidios, extorsiones, violaciones, secuestros, asaltos a mano armada.

Hernandez connects Mexico, U.S. authorities to drugwar crime


Anabel Hernández, a Mexican journalist and a writer who is receiving death threats from drug cartels and the Mexican government, will speak on her explosive information Thursday, November 3, at San Diego State University during a program that begins at 6 p.m. and is free of charge.

In 2010, Ms. Hernandez authored the book "Los señores del Narco" which outlines the connections between TOP Mexican politicians, military, police, industrialists and bankers and the drug cartels. In her perspective, the Mexican government is protecting the Sinaloa cartel, led by Chapo Guzman, and attacking Chapo’s enemies.

Huge bribes are given to military and police officials to garner their support and their protection of drug smuggling. Opposing cartels, particularly the Zetas, are enraged that the government is targeting them while protecting the Sinaloa cartel. This has prompted much of the bloodbath presently occurring in Mexico.

The permise of the evening is that all of this can only occur with the cooperation and support of elements within the CIA and the DEA, according to information received from Jesús Nieto, another presenter on the program.

The program will include a workshop on the musical genre of the narcocorrido and a presentation by Jesús Nieto on the history of CIA criminal activities including support of drug smuggling (marijuana, cocaine, heroin and crack).

Anabel Hernandez will take questions in an extended session after her presentation. She was recognized in 2003 by UNICEF for her investigation into child slavery on the U.S.-Mexico border.

At a recent signing, Hernandez penned on the book of a purchaser: “Corruption grows in the silence, in the silence.”

Friday, October 28, 2011

Border Communities Remember Immigrants Lost Due to Violence in Mexico & Broken U.S. Immigration System

~After sharing stories of loved ones lost forever, hundreds will process four-miles to El Paso's downtown San Jacinto Plaza~

The combination of a failed immigration system in the U.S. and unaccountable violence in Mexico has proven deadly for migrants. In the past two years U.S. immigrant deportations to Mexico have surged — often provoking terrible consequences. Not only are deportees separated from their families, but many are also ultimately killed in Mexico due to corruption and the Mexican government’s failure to protect it's people from violence.

The Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) in El Paso, Texas will pay tribute to those murdered migrants as part of their annual Dia De Los Muertos event.

On November 1, BNHR will remember those who have lost loved ones due to the current situation in Mexico and the broken U.S. immigration system. Immigrant families of victims of the unaccountable violence in Mexico will give testimonies and call for justice at a 2 p.m. press conference at the BNHR El Paso office. After the press conference, a procession --anticipated to number 250--will march together toward San Jacinto Plaza in downtown El Paso to join Occupy El Paso. Marchers will wear black and hold crosses and enlarged photos of victims of violence.

Mass detentions, deportations and the death of migrants at the border has created multi-billion dollar profits for a few. BNHR stands in solidarity with all who believe human rights matter more than profits.
-----------
Information source: Border Network for Human Rights
Image source: La Mujer Obrera. Image promotes a Day of the Dead event this weekend at La Mujer Obrera in El Paso, Texas.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Is Slavery Making a Comeback in America?

Lucia Mann 
~Former Journalist Wants World to Wake Up to Slavery Crisis~

Just this week, human trafficking reared its ugly head in Juarez. Slavery is a reality in our world--and it exists much closer to us than we care to think. [SEE: Human Trafficking, A Reality in El Paso on NewsChannel 9]. I received the following info about a book by Lucia Mann from Ginny Grimsley, a public relations agent. All emphasis below is mine.
----------------------------

A woman was recently sentenced to 140 years in prison after using two Nigerian immigrants as personal unpaid servants in her luxury home in Atlanta, Georgia. A few days later, two Ukrainian brothers were convicted of smuggling desperate villagers into the United States to work long hours, cleaning retail stores and office buildings at little or no pay. The prosecuting U.S. attorney in Philadelphia, Daniel Velez, said it was “modern-day slavery. It’s hiding in plain sight.”

However, according to a woman who lived through the racial prejudice, segregation and slavery in post World War II Europe, the slavery crisis in the modern world is far greater than that.

“Anyone who thinks slavery died when America abolished it in the 1800s has a shock coming to them,” said Lucia Mann, whose mother was a sex slave and a WWII concentration camp survivor. Mann, a former journalist and author of Rented Silence, a novel about slavery and racial prejudice based on her life experiences and those of other persecuted souls she witnessed says:


“According to the United Nations, there are more than 27 million slaves worldwide, which are more than twice the number of those who were enslaved over the 400 years that transatlantic slavers trafficked humans to work in the Americas. Many are forced into prostitution while others are used as unpaid laborers used to manufacture goods many of us buy in the U.S. In fact, it’s almost impossible to buy clothes or goods anymore without inadvertently supporting the slave trade.”

Mann said that the crisis extends far greater than in the African and Asian nations typically associated with slavery or indentured servitude.

“After the hurricane in Haiti, the economy was so devastated, with as many as 3,000 people sold into slavery right there in their own country,” she added. “It affects all racial groups and slaves come from every single continent on the planet. The irony is that there are more slaves now that slavery is illegal than there were when it was a legal part of international commerce. Moreover, because of its illegal nature, it’s practically impossible to track and contain. It’s not a matter of how to stop it. It’s a matter of how we even begin to address it.”

One of the reasons Mann wrote her book was to establish an awareness of the problem, so that people could have a frame of reference for action.

“The wrongs of the past as well as the present must continue to be exposed so that they can be righted in the present and future,” Mann added. “This means educating society about evil and injustice and motivating them to take steps to ease others’ pain and anguish. The key is to get people aware of it, and then let them know what they can do to end the practice. In America, the first thing we need to do is address our own consumer habits. To help, the United Nations has created an online and mobile phone application to help people track if what they buy is supporting slavers.”

Mann said the awareness and concern of the American people are the first steps to ending slavery around the world.

“If there is no money to be made from enslaving people, it will end,” she said. “Many innocent people become the victims of viciousness or the prey of prejudice. While fear and anger are filling the cells and souls of innocents, the rest of us can bolster their spirits and lighten their load by having the guts to fight their fight and the heart to bring hope to humanity. Courage and commitment are powerful weapons and we should not hesitate to use them against the dishonorable people of the world.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Income Drops, Racism Spikes – The Price of Recession?


~Secret Service Pioneer Sees The Beginnings Of A Bigotry Backlash~

In Alabama, fields of tomatoes are ripening – with almost no workers to pick them.

In that state’s classrooms, teachers face rows of empty desks. Many of their students suddenly disappeared, having fled with their families.

After the U.S. Supreme Court upheld much of Alabama’s tough new law governing undocumented immigrants on September 28, many workers – mostly Mexicans – quickly packed up and left in fear. Some of them, according to press reports, gave up their homes and jobs even though they were working here legally. They were afraid to stay.

Their experience is not so different from that of countless American citizens who, because of their ethnicity, have been legally pushed out of communities and workplaces, writes Donald W. Tucker, a retired Secret Service agent and author of The Two-Edged Sword (www.dontuckerbooks.com), who rose through the ranks to become chief of security for the nation’s federal courts.

“It’s an old problem and a continuing one in the United States,” he writes, “from the overt prejudice against Irish Americans in the 19th century to the Jim Crow laws that segregated black Americans in the 20th century. It’s an issue that should concern everyone. Limiting opportunities for any group of people weakens us by snuffing the potential contributions of bright minds and breeding a hopelessness that can lead to higher crime rates.”

“The country still has serious discrimination challenges, not only with the blacks, but with other groups of color,” Tucker writes. “We have a long way to go before we can say without guilt that we walk our talk as a ‘land of the free and home of the brave.’”
Tucker is a black American who grew up in the ghetto of Chicago’s South Side. His “one in a million” winning lottery ticket out was a football scholarship to the University of Iowa.

With a bachelor’s in criminology/sociology, he became one of the first black federal drug and law enforcement agents in 1961.

However, like those immigrant workers in Alabama, there were many who tried to push him back from whence he came.

“Whether posing as a drug buyer or dealer in counterfeit money, protecting a political dignitary or performing administrative duties, I always knew that for many I was ‘just a blackie,’ one step removed from the cotton fields,” he writes in his memoir, “The Two-Edged Sword.”

When he joined the U.S. Secret Service in 1965, he was one of only 19 blacks out of more than 300 agents nationwide. The black agents, he writes, never stood “shoulder to shoulder” with their white colleagues when it came to commendations and promotions.

He initially hid his anger and kept quiet for fear of losing his job. But he could not keep quiet forever.

“Around the office and in Secret Service circles I became known as Tucker, the Troublemaker,” he writes, “the agent who would stand up for any other black — or white agent, too, if need be — to fight for equal recognition and equal consideration.”
~Secret Service Pioneer Sees The Beginnings Of A Bigotry Backlash~

Decades of working for change in federal law enforcement posts throughout the country sensitized Tucker to bigotry and legal discrimination against any minority group. He worked as an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission counselor in all of the agencies he served, and became instrumental in developing diversity and sensitivity training for managers and employees.

As the economic slump continues to cost Americans their homes and jobs, the first to suffer in the panicked backlash will be minority populations, he notes. Evidence: The Arizona Act, which would have, among other mandates, made it a crime for immigrants to be without the documents proving their legal status; and, of course, Alabama’s new law. These actions increase the propensities for violence when people feel backed into a corner and feel the need to strike out.

“Hatred and bigotry are rampant,” he writes.

As Americans fret over the future of their financial investments, they must remember their imperative to protect a greater investment – the contributions of minorities to the strength of the nation.

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I received this information from a public relations person. It is consonant with my beliefs, and I will pursue this further. Billie

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Partisan politics, wedge-issue campaign tactics sabotage immigration reform efforts


Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL-4) applauded a ruling by the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta late last week that puts on hold parts of Alabama's controversial HB 56, the state's effort to demand papers from immigrants and otherwise make life difficult for Latinos and immigrants in Alabama. Rep. Gutierrez is the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Task Force on Immigration.


A statement by Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez:

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an injunction and I am happy that the Obama Administration and Attorney General Eric Holder are acting to prevent some of the worst aspects of Alabama's hugely discriminatory law from being implemented.  Some people have already been prosecuted and many others have been adversely affected by the Alabama law, so the sooner it is overturned in the federal courts, the better.  Today's injunction is a step in the right direction, but unfortunately still leaves the door open for racial profiling.

Click to enlarge: Why the law needs to change!

Maybe with the 11th Circuit injunction the feverish anti-immigration exclusionism engulfing Alabama is on the path to extinction, but I offer anyone in Alabama an alternative. When Alabama was not a viable location for African-American families to raise their children back 40, 50 and 60 years ago, many came north to my city of Chicago as part of the Great Migration and revitalized and reinvented Chicago. Already, as Hispanic families are seeing no future for themselves in Alabama regardless of their immigration status or even U.S. citizenship, we are seeing some follow the same trail from Alabama to Chicago. We need all the good, hardworking, and conscientious people we can get in Chicago so Alabama's loss is our gain.

We have been fighting to pass immigration reform in Congress for a decade or more to reestablish legal immigration as an alternative to illegal immigration and to get those people already here on-the-books and in the system. It is the only way to return confidence in and law and order to our immigration system and to prevent states from enacting a hodge-podge of 50 state laws on immigration, a subject the Constitution explicitly cedes to the federal government to regulate. Unfortunately, recent efforts to reform immigration have fallen victim to partisan politics and short-sighted wedge-issue campaign tactics.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A good reason never to say "illegal" immigrant

Image credit: Microsoft Office Images

"The so-called “illegals” are so not because they wish to defy the law; but, because the law does not provide them with any channels to regularize their status in our country – which needs their labor: they are not breaking the law, the law is breaking them."


~Most Reverend Thomas Wenski, Bishop of Orlando

[If you approve, you can vote Bishop Wenski "up" in the Send Love application at the bottom of this post.]

Friday, October 7, 2011

¡BASTA! Border Activist Summit for Teaching and Action

University of Texas at El Paso will host the ¡BASTA! Border Activist Summit for Teaching and Action on Tuesday, Oct. 11 through Friday, October 14. The schedule of events follows:


Tuesday, October 11th
at the Rubin Center Auditorium
6:00 – 8:00 PM           Stories from the Binational “War on Drugs”
  • John Gibler, author of To Die in Mexico: Dispatches from Inside the Drug War and Mexico Unconquered
  • Diego Osorno, author of El Cartel de Sinaloa and Nosotros Somos Los Culpables

Thursday, October 13th
El Paso Natural Gas Conference Center (UTEP campus across from Library) except as noted
8:30 AM                      Breakfast / Press Conference
9:00 –10:20 PM         Why Should I Care? 
  • Laura Carlsen/Americas Program
  • Carmen Morales, mother of UACJ student

10:30-11:50 PM        Plan Mérida John Lindsay-Poland/Fellowship of Reconciliation
Oscar Enríquez/Centro de Derechos Humanos Paso del Norte
1:00-1:30                   Impacts on Chihuahua 
                                  Victor Quintana/former Chihuahua State Legislator
1:30- 2:50 PM            Asylum and Immigration
  • Rubén García/Annunciation House (US asylum)
  • Joe Heyman/UTEP (US border militarization)

3:00- 4:50 PM            Drugs and Guns Adam 
  • Isacson/Washington Office on Latin America (drugs)
  • Colin Goddard/Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence (weapons)
  • Howard Campbell/UTEP, author of Drug War Zone (drugs)

6:00 PM                      Reception for Art Exhibition in Glass Gallery
Friday, October 14th
El Paso Natural Gas Conference Center (UTEP campus across from Library) except as noted
8:00-9:50 AM             Student Panel- UTEP student papers concerning the violence in Mexico and
policy responses
10:00-11:50 AM        Legislative/Policy Panel- Richard Wiles, Beto O’Rourke, Susie Byrd
12:00-1:30 PM           Union Breezeway – cultural activities and student speakers
Dance performance, drum circle (Echoes in the Park), student organizations
1:30-4:00 PM             Making a Difference: Student Engagement Training- free admission to a hands-on workshop, John Lindsay-Poland/Fellowship of Reconciliation and Joe Heyman/UTEP, co-facilitators
Related Events

Friday, Oct. 7  Quinn Hall, Room 212

1:30-3:00 Book Presentation: “Give Refuge to the Stranger:  The Past, Present, and Future of
Sanctuary” by Dr. Linda Rabben, anthropologist.  Discusses the human ability to provide protection and asylum to strangers, relevant to current issues on the U.S.-Mexico border.


Wednesday, Oct. 12  Leech Grove

11:00 AM - 2:00 PM  MEChA Día de la Paz por la Raza Indígena y Resistencia
(Day of Peace for the Indigenous Race and Resistance):

Danca Azteca Omecoatl Opening
Vossa Nova Music Performance Trio
Chicanos Poetry Session
and Aztec Calender Preservation Forum