Atlanta Journal Constitution 05.26.2011
With a 1, 500 square-foot backyard, including a small orchard of apricot, mind nectarine and apple trees, a large vegetable patch, a greenhouse, and a wide variety of flowers, Harold Black has his work cut out for him.
Back when he was younger, Black relished taking it on — the pruning and harvesting, the weeding and raking. But now, while the 77-year-old widower remains committed to his thriving plot of land across the street from Los Altos High School, it is a little more difficult to manage.
“As you get old, your back is the first thing to go,” he explains, with a nudge and a grin one Saturday afternoon. Black is walking around his property, pointing out various plants and trees, and occasionally giving direction to Juan Antonio, a laborer he picked up that morning from the Day Worker Center of Mountain View.
Antonio and workers like him have made it possible for Black to continue to maintain his land, and for that Black is grateful. He has been coming to the Day Worker Center to hire help for about 15 years — as long as the organization has been around — and has always been satisfied, he says.
In fact, Black prefers hiring labor from the center over other “mow, blow and go” landscaping services, because, as he puts it, “that’s all they do — mow, blow and go.”
With the Day Worker Center, Black says he has much more control over the length of time a worker devotes to the job and what kind of work they do. Black typically hires one laborer to work in his yard for a full eight-hour day, paying about $100 for his services, which may include tilling soil, trimming hedges, pruning trees or mowing the lawn, among other tasks.
Black likes that level of control, as his yard is not only his hobby but his passion. Born into a North Carolina family with a rich history of farming, Black has been working the soil since he was 5 years old. “Everybody has their agenda,” he explains. “Mine is farming.”
This afternoon, Black has Antonio working in his front yard, trimming hedges. Though the two don’t exchange many words, on account of the English-Spanish language barrier, they seem to communicate just fine. Black points and gestures with his hands to indicate where he would like the bushes cut and Antonio swipes the electric shears back and forth, up and down, while his employer minds the long orange extension cord, making sure it doesn’t get caught on branches as Antonio moves around.
Antonio, who came to the United States from Cuernavaca, the largest city in the Mexican state of Morelos, says that he has been living in Mountain View for about four years. Shortly after moving here, some friends told him about the Day Worker Center and he immediately went down and signed up. He is happy that he did, he says. The center helps him find, on average, two days of work each week.
The center, located at 113 Escuela Ave., accepts anyone looking to find work, and asks for only basic information upon registration. Members of the center get access to free English classes, meals prepared by Day Worker Center members, computer literacy instruction and help searching for work on the Web and applying for citizenship if necessary. Maria Marroquin, executive director Day Worker Center, says her organization never asks would-be members about their citizenship status.
Needless to say, the Day Worker Center has not been received with open arms by all Mountain View residents. Many object to the center’s don’t-ask, don’t tell policy on citizenship status.
Black, however, doesn’t see things that way.
“You’re giving a person with three or four kids a job and he’s working his fingers to the bone,” Black says in response. As for hiring a non-citizen, that’s something that he isn’t even sure he has ever done. Just like the Day Worker Center, Black never asks the people he hires whether they are in the United States legally.
When pressed on the issue and asked if he could be taking jobs away from American citizens, Black is incredulous.
“Quit joking me, man,” he snaps. “Where are you going to find someone to do these jobs?”
The way Black sees it, there is plenty of hard, back-breaking work that needs to be done in this country, and he doesn’t see many other groups of people, other than migrant workers, who willingly offering themselves up to do those jobs.
For Antonio’s part, he is certainly willing to take whatever work comes his way. He, his wife and their three children cram into one bedroom of a two-bedroom Mountain View apartment that they share with two others.
He says living in those conditions is worthwhile, considering the alternative back in Cuernavaca. He and his wife together make about $500 during a good week, but that is still more than they might expect to make in a month where they came from. “It is a very difficult situation in Mexico,” he says in Spanish.
And then there is the matter of the schools.
Antonio says that in Mexico he wouldn’t be able to provide his children with the kind of life he wants for them. “In Mexico, I don’t believe this would be possible,” he says, nodding at the newly installed, gleaming solar panel canopies in the Los Altos High School parking lot. “In Mexico, you need much more for this kind of life.”
“The only things ICE is apparently willing to credit to me… are those which they wish to use to imply I was a rogue… I have been made a scapegoat for reasons of political expediency.” – Fired Contractor, Dan Cadman
Detailed letters released today from a former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contractor to Representative Zoe Lofgren give rise to grave questions of Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) transparency and integrity in the administration of the controversial ICE Se Communities (S-Comm) program.
Following the release of internal emails as a result of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Cardozo Law School Immigration Justice Clinic, the federal government has been under pressure to answer questions about the program’s use and scope. The new letters further reveal DHS’ attempts to cover up mismanagement and lies, including questioning the redactions of documents about the opting-out issue that a federal judge ordered federal agencies to release in January.
Attached to Rep. Lofgren’s letter to the DHS Office of Inspector General urging an immediate investigation into S-Comm are two letters from a former ICE contractor, Dan Cadman, who claims responsibility for a majority of S-Comm activations. He wrote, “I believe key elements in the ICE correspondence [to you] are inaccurate and misleading… ICE painted itself into a corner and needed someone to blame.” He enclosed a letter he wrote to ICE Se Communities Acting Assistant Director, Marc Rapp, following his “abrupt” termination: “I will admit to being puzzled as to which documents the FOIA office elected to provide versus those they withheld.” He notes in some instances the FOIA office redacted his name while in others they did not and credits the misrepresentation of the program as the key factor to New York State’s former Governor Patterson’s agreement to participate, observing, “this would be downright amusing, if the subject matter were not so serious.”
Bridget Kessler, attorney at Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, observed, “ICE cannot choose to release documents and redact names selectively, particularly not to hide government misconduct or dishonesty. FOIA gives the public a right to access information about what their government officials are doing and does not allow for agencies to withhold documents simply because they might be embarrassing.”
“The worst part of ICE’s lack of transparency and accountability in the development and deployment of S-Comm is that every day S-Comm tears families apart and spreads fear in immigrant communities across the nation. ICE’s conduct belies a fundamental lack of respect for democracy and the people that are impacted by its harsh policies,” said Sunita Patel, attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights
Sarahí Uribe of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network said, “Se Communities has become an ever larger symbol of President Obama’s broken promises on immigration. We second the call by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. We need a moratorium on this program immediately. Each day ICE exposes itself as a rogue agency that needs to be reigned in. Those responsible for this attempt at a cover-up have no place in the offices of a democracy.”
New York FOIA documents are, for the first time, posted here:
Correspondence between Lofgren, Morton, Inspector General, and Cadman (Cadman letters at end of Document): http://ndlon.org/pdf/2011-05cadman.pdf
A Petition for a Moratorium on S-Comm Launched Today at: http://bit.ly/scommice
NDLON v. ICE litigates President Obama’s flagship “Se Communities” biometrics program, currently operating in over 1,200 jurisdictions in 42 states as of May 2011. Rights groups say the program makes state and local policing central to the enforcement of federal immigration law. The program automatically runs fingerprints through immigration databases for all people arrested and targets them for detention and deportation even if their criminal charges are minor, eventually dismissed or the result of an unlawful arrest. The documents released as a result of the litigation have shown widespread internal agency confusion about the program’s voluntary nature as well as the government’s heavy-handed implementation strategy. Mayer Brown serves as co-counsel in the case.
For more information on NDLON v. ICE or to view documents produced by the government, visit the Center for Constitutional Right’s legal case page or www.uncoverthetruth.org.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit www.ccrjustice.org
The mission of the National Day Laborer Organization Network is to improve the lives of day laborers in the U.S. by unifying and strengthening its member organizations to be more strategic and effective in their efforts to develop leadership, mobilize day laborers in order to protect and expand their civil, labor and human rights. Visit www.ndlon.org
The Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law was founded in 2008 to provide quality pro bono legal representation to indigent immigrants facing deportation. Under the supervision of experienced practitioners, law students in the Clinic represent individuals facing deportation and community-based organizations in public advocacy, media and litigation projects. Visit www.cardozo.yu.edu/immigrationjustice
Atlanta, GA. – In response to the Governor’s announcement that he will sign HB 87 at noon eastern time today, Georgians are amassing at the capitol during the day and preparing for a general assembly this evening at Trinity United Methodist Church at 6:30pm.
Communities will hold a Women’s March in Defense of the Immigrant Family on May 22 and are declaring July 1st, the date when segments of hb 87 are to be activated, as a day of Non-Compliance as part of a broader campaign of community education and organizing they’re calling the “Georgia Human Rights Summer.”
Below are comments in reaction to the signing:
Pablo Alvarado, Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network
“Governor Deal’s signing of HB 87 flies in the face of those concerned with either Georgia’s economy or its residents’ civil rights. Those who have passed this law with the hope of intimidating or displacing our community have accomplished the opposite. As a result, people are standing up in the long tradition of organizing for justice. We know and will show that Georgia is better than HB 87.
We will accompany the humble communities targeted by this bill in defending their rights and making real a vision of the beloved community. Arizona has become the capitol of prejudice and we will do everything we can to keep Georgia from heading in the same direction. Our way forward as a country must be through policies that bring us together instead of divide us. We are certain that Georgia will see that as well.”
Georgina Perez, student member of Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance
“We have a right to remain in this state where we have lived, worked, and studied, for some of us, nearly all of our lives. We will not obey a law that is unjust, that is meant to drive out our families and criminalize our community. Just as African Americans resisted unjust Jim Crow and segregation laws in the 1960’s, so will we resist until justice prevails and HB 87, and all anti-immigrant laws, are repealed.”
Xochitl Bervera, Somos Georgia/We are Georgia.
“We are calling on all businesses, conventions, and conferences to cancel your trips to the State of Georgia and pledge to not spend one dollar here until this law is repealed.”
Adelina Nicholls, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights
“This action is not only an insult to the Latino community and other immigrants, but is also an exercise in cheap political pandering that will cost our state dearly. This is not the end, only the beginning of a new stage. This law can and must be fought; and it can and will be defeated.”
Interviews Available Upon Request
Interested Participants in Georgia Human Rights can Sign up at http://bit.ly/georgia2011…
When Adrian Magallanes was named 2011 City of Plano Employee of the Year last month, he thought it was very nice.
But he had no idea of the attention he was about to receive. First, he and 11 other nominees were honored at a private reception in April. Then special recognition was given to him at a Rotary Club meeting last week. Then lastly, he was introduced at a regular meeting of the Plano City Council Monday night.
“It has really been humbling,” he said in a phone interview Wednesday morning. “It inspires me to do more, and I think it also inspires others.”
Magallanes joined the Plano City Planning Department in June 2007. As the supervisor for the city’s Day Labor Center, he helped coordinate recent improvements to the center while continuing to supervise regular operations.
“Throughout the construction process, Adrian communicated with laborers who were temporarily displaced due to construction on the facility during the hottest months of the summer,” said Christine Day, his supervisor. “He posted plans on-site so the laborers could see the changes that were taking place. He brought coolers and water, and modified processes whenever possible to ensure the laborers stayed safe in the heat.”
Plano City Manager Bruce Glasscock also had high praise for Magallanes.
“In a relatively short time, Adrian has made a huge difference for the laborers and customers we serve through our Day Labor Center,” Glasscock said.
Magallanes said one of his proudest moments was at the Rotary Club meeting.
“I’m really glad my wife Marivel was there,” he laughed. “She would never have believed all of the good things they said about me.”
Other nominees for 2011 City of Plano Employee of the Year were Kristy Andrews, Technology Services; Robert Barnett, Building Services; Deb Bliss, Sustainability/Environmental Services; Floydett Carter, Police; Gloria Carter, Property Standards; Rick Figueros, Technology Services; Eva Horvath, Engineering; Pearl Milton, Customer and Utility Field Services; Susan Parker, Harrington Library; Cliff Roddam, Police; and Mike Shamel, Libraries.
(Los Angeles) Following President’s speech on immigration, Pablo Alvarado, director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network made the following statement:
“Immigration reform has been on the national agenda for ten years, and we are mindful the politics have never been more poisonous. However, we hope the President will use his political capital and his persuasive powers to help steer the debate back to a more productive course. After all, the loud voices who favor punishing this generation’s Americans-in-Waiting are the very same people who suspected the President himself was an undocumented immigrant. It’s time to move beyond the Arizonification of American politics. The nation’s first African American president has a unique opportunity to take racism out of the political discourse on immigration.
Like Congressman Luis Gutierrez though, we all want to feel the same sense of hope and optimism we felt in 2008. However, words alone will no longer be enough. The President must earn Latinos’ support through actions that move the country toward a policy granting us political equality, through the regularization of our immigrant families’ status. The goal contained in Arizona’s SB1070, the criminalization of immigrants, is mutually exclusive with the goal of legalization. While Republicans have coelesced on a nativist position that will be shamed by history, it is not sufficient for the President to simply blame Congress for inaction. The President must lead by example, and we will measure his commitment to immigration reform by taking stock of his actions.If the President seriously wants to move the debate forward, he can start by answering the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s call to freeze the misguided Se Communities as a first step.*”
Pablo Alvarado is available for media inquiries.
NDLON staff is also available for interviews on Se Communities FOIA litigation, Arizona work, and to provide reporters access to day laborers so their voices can be included.
* In a letter sent Thursday, May 5th, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus called on the President to place a moratorium on SCOMM saying, “[it] will contribute to the criminalization of immigrant families by casting them under a cloud of suspicion and by further conflating civil immigration violations with criminal conduct.”
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network represents 43 member organizations and more than 120,000 corner day laborers throughout the country. The mission of the National Day Laborer Organization Network is to improve the lives of day laborers in the U.S. by unifying and strengthening its member organizations to be more strategic and effective in their efforts to develop leadership, mobilize day laborers in order to protect and expand their civil, labor and human rights. Visit www.ndlon.org
Legal Scholars Weigh in on Immigration Enforcement Controversy in California and the ICE’s Se Communities Program
WHO: Law Professors Hiroshi Motomura and Bill Ong Hing, and Director of Immigration Policy Aarti Kohli
WHAT: Legal scholars weigh in on recent developments surrounding immigration enforcement in California and the “Se Communities” (S-Comm) an ICE program that automatically shares fingerprints at the point of arrest by local law enforcement.
WHY: Local authorities in California and across the country are turning against S-Comm because they argue that it overburdens local law enforcement with civil immigration enforcement, resulting in high budgetary and social costs. Community advocates and several elected officials assert that S-Comm harms community policing strategies by eroding trust between victims and witnesses of crime and police who fear immigration consequences. They cite examples of high-profile cases of domestic violence victims in San Francisco and Maryland who have been placed in deportation proceedings after calling for help. San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey has asked to opt out of S-Comm because it casts “too wide a net”. The S-Comm program calls for fingerprinting and federal immigration database checks of people jailed for minor offenses like a broken taillight and can result in deportation without conviction or a trial. Recent statements by the Secretary of Homeland Security claiming that states and localities have no power to decide whether to participate in the program raise serious concerns about overreaching by the federal government and intrusion into local police power. Noted professors and researchers weigh in on the issue to provide accurate and important analysis on the legal terrain surrounding S-Comm.
WHEN: Immediately upon interview request.
Professor Hiroshi Motomura, Susan Westerberg Prager Professor of Law University of California, Los Angeles.
“[Se Communities] undermines trust between local law enforcement and immigrant communities; and it may overstep the constitutional authority of the federal government to tell local governments how to run its police departments. But Se Communities has a more basic flaw, with both policy and constitutional dimensions. It is that the program delegates to local police the discretion to decide who—through stops and arrests—will be put into the immigration enforcement system, and who will not. Even if the federal government retains the theoretical power to decide not to deport some non-citizens, local police will become the gatekeepers. As a practical matter, their decisions to arrest some residents but not others, to get tough with some neighborhoods but not others, will drive and direct federal immigration policy. The constitutional command that U.S. citizenship is national citizenship means that immigration enforcement decisions can’t be left to local preferences—and local prejudices. The local government proponents of opt-out aren’t arguing that they should be allowed to make immigration decisions. Instead, they are arguing that no local officials should be allowed to make what must ultimately be national policy.”
Professor Bill Ong Hing, Professor of Law University of San Francisco
Regarding ICE’s stated position that states and local governments must participate in S-Comm: “In the immigration field, the concept of preemption is an appropriate check on over-zealous local enforcement efforts that directly affect immigration regulation, while the Tenth Amendment is a check on federal intrusion on a local jurisdiction’s attempt to be more protective of individual rights and when the locality has a legitimate non-immigration-related purpose such as public safety.”
“The central teaching of the Tenth Amendment cases is that ‘even where Congress has the authority under the Constitution to pass laws requiring or prohibiting certain acts, it lacks the power directly to compel the States to require or prohibit those acts.’1 Congress may not, therefore, directly compel states or localities to enact or to administer policies or programs adopted by the federal government. It may not directly shift to the states enforcement and administrative responsibilities allocated to the federal government by the Constitution. Such a reallocation would not only diminish the political accountability of both state and federal officers,2 but it would also ‘compromise the structural framework of dual sovereignty,’3 and separation of powers.4 Thus, Congress may not directly force states to assume enforcement or administrative responsibilities constitutionally vested in the federal government.5”
Regarding California’s current agreement with DHS concerning S-Comm: “The current Se Communities program Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between ICE and the State of California provides that it may be ‘modified at any time by mutual written consent of both parties.’ The implication of this provision is clear: the terms of the MOA are negotiable.”
Aarti Kohli Director of Immigration Policy, Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law & Social Policy
“The Warren Institute’s initial research indicates that Se Communities does implicate the use of local resources. Data indicates that the majority of non-citizens who are booked into ICE custody through Se Communities have been accused of low-level offenses, including traffic-related misdemeanors. Under typical circumstances, localities would allow low-level arrestees to post bond soon after an arrest. However, if ICE issues a request for the local jurisdiction to hold the person, then bond is often denied and the person must remain in the local jail until the case comes before a judge. Because of ICE holds, local jurisdictions use their own limited resources to feed, detain, and manage low-level offenders who would ordinarily not remain in custody. All of this occurs before the person is even taken into custody by ICE. Se Communities has resulted in a dramatic rise in ICE holds issued to local jails, thereby overburdening local law enforcement with the detention of those arrested on minor offenses who would not normally be held for extended periods.”
1New York, 505 U.S. at 166.
2 See New York, 505 U.S. at 168; Printz, 117 S. Ct. at 2382.
3Printz, 117 S. Ct. at 2383.
4See id. at 2378 (“The power of the President would be subject to reduction, if Congress could act as effectively without the President as with him, by simply requiring state officers to execute its laws.”)
5See New York, 505 U.S. at 166-68.
LEXIS NEXIS Login Required to Access Footnotes
Across the country, migrant communities and the families that make them up have been roiled by the wave of criminalization that comes in the form of police/ICE collaborations and Arizona-style copycat bills.
On Monday, the Center for Constitutional Rights debuts a short film that features Maria Bolaños, a domestic violence survivor and mother from Maryland whose call for help led to deportation proceedings she’s still battling.
In New York, State Senators are calling on the Governor to do as Illinois did this past week and cancel the Se Communities program that leads to so many being placed in deportation.
In California, women like Norma are hoping to have their wrongful deportation proceedings dropped and hope to see the state pass the Trust Act that would prevent what happened to her from happening to other mothers.
In Georgia, families are watching the Governor closely to see if he will sign the Arizona copycat, HB 87.
And of course, in Arizona, Sheriff Arpaio still has his federal immigration powers leaving children like Katherine Figueroa wondering if their parents will still be there when they come home from school each day.
Last summer, Michelle Obama was almost speechless when a 2nd grader asked her why President Obama wanted to deport her parents.
How will she be celebrating Mothers day this year?
Aurora Sentinel 05.05.2011
Washington, DC. – Following a chorus of growing criticism over the President’s Se Communities (S-Comm) policy, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus delivered a letter to the White House calling on the Administration to place a moratorium on the program that “is not living up to its name,” according to the Caucus.
Se Communities (SCOMM) was initially described as a program to identify and deport immigrants found guilty of serious crimes. The program enlists local police into federal immigration enforcement by screening all fingerprints of those booked in local jails through the federal ICE database. Data revealed through a federal lawsuit filed by civil rights groups shows the program fails to live up to its stated intention, as the program deports large groups of people without any convictions or convicted of only minor offenses. According to the CHC letter, “Evidence reveals not only a striking dissonance between the program’s stated purpose of removing dangerous criminals and it’s actual effect; it also suggests that S-Comm may endager the public, particularly among communities of color…”
Lawmakers in Congress and in states throughout the country say ICE officials lied about program details and requirements at its early stages. Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California has described the implementation of the program as “dissembling and deceiving” and has called for an Inspector General (IG) investigation with the support of Senator Menendez. The call is reminiscent of another IG report on SCOMM’s predecessor, the 287(g) program made famous by Joe Arpaio in Arizona, which showed a program riddled with flaws that was too broken to be fixed.
On May 4th, the Governor of Illinois terminated his state’s participation in the program. In California, Assemblyman Ammiano introduced the TRUST Act to reform and regulate the program. In Massachusetts and Rhode Island, large scale rallies have taken place in opposition to the program.
Thus the Caucus states, “We appreciate and steadfastly support your efforts to reform broken immigration laws and to strengthen national security and public safety. Unfortunately, neither of these goals are served or advanced by the S-Comm policy in its current form…
We are not convinced the program is achieving its stated goals, and we see nothing in the management and oversight of S-Comm that convinces us that these risks have been adequately addressed in the latest incarnation of local police immigration enforcement…
For these reasons, we request an immediate freeze of S-Comm pending a thorough review.”
Pablo Alvarado, Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network whose organization along with the Center for Constitutional Rights and Benjamin Cardozo School of Law are litigants in a FOIA suit with the agency stated:
“SCOMM has become a symbol of the President’s broken promises on immigration reform. We are all painfully aware of the poisonous political climate on immigration reform, but there is simply no excuse for the President to deploy a policy that criminalizes immigrants, erodes our civil rights, and destroys community safety. The policy is unacceptable, and it needs to be stopped immediately.
There is a domestic human rights crisis in Arizona and elsewhere, on display to the world, because of the foolish entanglement of police in immigration enforcement. To allow- and advance- a policy that repeats Arizona’s mistakes across the whole country would be a betrayal.
The President must change direction immediately, through actions and not mere words. His first steps on the road to reform can- and must- be heeding the Hispanic Caucus’ call and putting S-Comm on ice.”
See below for Letter from Rep. Gutierrez to Governor Quinn and for for Governor Quinn’s letter to ICE.