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As President Obama reflects on his trip to Arizona on Jan. 25, he has some soul searching to do. In recent months, the President has displayed a schizophrenic approach to immigration as he attempts to straddle impossible opposites. He gives lip service to legalization but doubles down behind policies that criminalize. The Department of Homeland Security, headed by Arizona’s former Governor, has made conscripting states into immigration enforcement a centerpiece strategy while the Department of Justice sues states for usurping federal authority. Within the white house, it would seem that constitutional rights and discriminatory deportation programs are in a tug of war.
The Obama administration is starting to shut down a program that deputized local police officers to act as immigration agents. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have trained local officers around the country to act as their agencies’ immigration officers. Working either in jails or in the field, the officers can check the immigration status of suspects and place immigration holds on them. The program, known as 287(g), reached its peak under President George W. Bush, when 60 local agencies signed contracts with ICE to implement it. But that trend slowed significantly under President Obama— only eight agencies have signed up since he took office, and none has done so since August 2010.
Last week Minnesota joined the controversial federal immigration program known as Se Communities, site while critics continue to blast the program. Minnesota is the twenty-seventh state fully to join the now mandatory program designed to share fingerprint information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Under Se Communities, all fingerprints from individuals detained by local and state authorities are automatically scanned and sent to ICE to determine their immigration status. – Homeland Security News Wire 02.16.2012
The Buck Stops Here: How the LA County Sheriff’s Participation in Immigration Enforcement is Hurting Community Policing and Public Safety
For the last few years, I have been engaging fellow law enforcement leaders in a dialogue about sensible immigration reform. Immigration is an issue that affects our work as cops on a daily basis. But, sometimes I’m asked whether the fact that law enforcement is engaged in immigration enforcement really has an impact on victims or witnesses coming forward or not. The tragedy of sexual abuse of school children at Miramonte Elementary School, a part of the Los Angeles Unified School district and located in a largely poor Latino neighborhood, has, sadly, answered that question once and for all. – Arturo Venegas. 02.16.2012
This groundbreaking civil rights lawsuit begin in 2004, when the City of Redondo Beach initiated the “Day Labor Enforcement Project.” Under a local ordinance that made soliciting day labor a crime, police arrested over 50 day laborers. The Comite de Jornaleros de Redondo Beach and NDLON, represented by MALDEF, immediately brought suit, arguing that the City’s ordinance violated the First Amendment.
On September 16, 2001, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, struck down the ordinance, declaring: “We agree with the day laborers that the Ordinance is a facially unconstitutional restriction on speech.” The case is the first at the federal appellate level to decide the constitutionality of an anti-solicitation ordinance aimed at day laborers. On February 21, 2012, the Supreme Court declined to hear Redondo Beach’s appeal. The Supreme Court’s decision removed the City’s last chance to preserve its unconstitutional restriction on speech and confirmed the Ninth Circuit’s decision as controlling law throughout the western United States.
Today at a Capitol Hill news conference, see U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) was joined by Rev. Jesse Jackson and other major labor and civil rights leaders to introduce the Protect Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation (POWER) Act, which aims to improve workers’ rights across the board by protecting those at the bottom of the ladder. Specifically, the legislation, cosponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), would offer protections for whistleblower workers who expose workplace abuses by their employers. Also joining the announcement today were Daniel Castellanos, of the Alliance of Guestworkers for Dignity; Arturo Rodriguez, president, United Farm Workers of America; and Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. Senator Menendez said: “When it comes to making sure people who work for a living are treated fairly by their employers, we are reminded of what John F. Kennedy meant when he said ‘A rising tide lifts all boats’.