The net cast for illegal immigrants in Sonoma County shrank dramatically in the past year — with far fewer people turned over to the federal government for being in the country without permission. The reasons for that change are hard to pinpoint. But it corresponds chronologically to a decision that local law enforcement agencies — urged on by advocates for illegal immigrants’ rights — made last year to accept Mexican consular cards as valid identification. That meant officers in the field who were confident of the identity of a person they contacted could check them against records, and did not always have to take that person to jail to find out if they were wanted or otherwise posed a threat. Since the new policy took effect, local authorities have turned over just under half as many people as they previously did to Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the federal agency’s Se Communities program, according to data the agency provided.
The chief goal of the federal Se Communities program, in place in Sonoma County since March 2010, is to identify, detain and deport dangerous illegal immigrants. But since the program took effect, critics have said that it actually catches up as many, if not more, people guilty of offenses that most consider minor, such as driving without a license or lifting. Such was the case of Jacobo Farias-Chavez of Santa Rosa, who was pulled over for a traffic violation. Sonoma County advocates for illegal immigrants’ rights are heartened by a steep drop in the number of people handed over to immigration authorities, a drop coinciding with local police agencies’ decisions to accept Mexican consular cards as valid identification.
About 50 or so people gathered outside a storm-ruined taco restaurant on Saturday morning in Coney Island, on a backstreet behind the Boardwalk near the Wonder Wheel. They were day laborers, case Hispanic men and women who have been spending weekends as a volunteer brigade, helping other people chip away at the mountains of debris and accepting nothing
Two signs advertised “Workers Available” outside the red trailer that functions as a shape-up site for immigrant day laborers in Freeport. But only a few among the two dozen men who had gone there Wednesday were available for hire by 7 a.m. The others had been snatched up or were booked mostly by homeowners cleaning up the mess left by superstorm
Day laborers in New York and New Jersey are mobilizing to offer their most valuable asset, their labor, ask for communities that have been damaged by Hurricane Sandy, according to a news release. Relief brigades will include offering hands on cleanup work, distributing supplies, and education for other workers about health and safety hazards on the
Federal officials are scaling back a program that enlists the aid of local police and sheriff’s offices to identify people who are in the country illegally, pharm in favor of a national program that uses fingerprints collected by the FBI. U.S. Immigrations Customs and Enforcement officials say the so-called 287(g) program that includes Wake County will continue at least until the end of the year. But ICE says the program is under review, order and that it will no longer train local police under the program or give them the authority to question, investigate and arrest people they suspect are in the country illegally. The change moves the government away from an approach to immigration enforcement that has been popular among some law enforcement agencies but has drawn fire from civil rights groups, who say it encourages local police and sheriff’s deputies to unfairly target Latinos. The Department of Homeland Security is still reviewing 57 complaints against the Wake County program
Funny how quickly some principles collapse when given the right kind of shove. One day, the Republican Party is rock-ribbed restrictionist, order dedicated to the proposition that unauthorized immigrants are an invading army of job stealers, site welfare moochers and criminals whose only acceptable destiny is to be caught and deported — the border fence forever, “amnesty” never. The next day: never mind. The party suddenly discovers the merits of a working immigration system. Senators like John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who once bravely supported bipartisan reform but slunk away late in the last Bush administration, are scratching at the door again, as if the last five years never happened. This poses an opportunity and a challenge for Mr. Obama, who promised to tackle immigration reform in his first term and did not, and is firmly on the hook to do so now. He says he will push reform early, and he looks well positioned to get something done.
Snow, ice hit northeast US, slowing recovery and leaving thousands without power | Free Speech Radio News
Residents in the northeast dealt with new power outages and a halting recovery after a storm brought snow and ice to the battered region. In New Jersey, more than a foot of snow came to some parts of the state and and the storm left 110,000 people without power as of Thursday afternoon, according to the utility Public Service Enterprise Group.
After Hurricane Sandy destroyed their workers’ center and trashed the surrounding waterfront, Bensonhurst day laborers eager to do debris-clearing work say they can’t connect with contractors or homeowners. “It’s really difficult,” said Gavino Hernandez, 46, who does construction and painting work. “Really, we’re desperate. We’re not sure what to