NDLON in the News

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California Advances TRUST Act to Stop Arizonification of Jails

Following Lofgren Investigation, former Arizona Governor Napolitano Flies to California to Defend Discredited Program
(Sacramento, CA) The TRUST Act (AB 1081) sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano passed out of the California public safety committee with all Democrats voting to support it. The bill seeks to repair the damaging impacts of the Immigration Customs Enforcement Agency’s “Se Communities” program. The program has been widely discredited across the country due to the blatant dishonesty exposed in a series of internal emails released by advocates who received them only through litigation under the Freedom of Information Act. Stories of domestic violence survivors and high rates of people still presumed to be innocent being placed into deportation proceedings via its finger-print sharing mechanism further demonstrated how the ICE program’s actual operations are far outside of its Congressional mandate. On Tuesday, a US Citizen testified about being falsely jailed because of the program.
Such developments led California Congresswoman Lofgren to call for an investigation into the program and into how involved ICE Director and DHS Secretary Napolitano may have been in its implementation.
Chris Newman of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network explains, “California will not allow the Arizonification of its law enforcement agencies. The TRUST Act is a modest measure meant to bring some transparency and confidence back to law enforcement after ICE’s rogue effort to enlist police as frontline immigration enforcers. We are confident California lawmakers will step up and create civil rights safeguards that protect our community, even if DHS officials are content to fight among themselves about a program no one fully understands.” …

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Following Allegations of ICE Lies, California Bill Would Renegotiate Participation in Se Communities

Ammiano bill would let localities out of troubled S-Comm immigration program;
Testimony from Sheriff, S-comm victims to show program’s harm to public safety
What: Assembly Public Safety Committee Hearing on AB 1081 (Ammiano), the TRUST Act, which would honor the right of local governments to opt out of ICE’s controversial “Se” Communities or S-Comm Program and set basic standards for jurisdictions that choose to participate.
When: Tuesday, April 26, 2011
* Interview availability at 10:30 AM
* Hearing begins at 9:30; TRUST Act may be heard any time during the hearing.
Where: Room 126, California State Capitol, Sacramento; Interview availability in hallway outside room.
Who: (Available at 10:30 AM)
· San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey
· Retired Sacramento Police Chief Arturo Venegas
· Norma – domestic violence victim facing deportation due to S-Comm

· Another person directly impacted by S-Comm (details to be released Tuesday.)
Note that Asm. Ammiano will be available for comment after the conclusion of the hearing.
Media visuals: Dozens of supporters packing the halls, wearing “Stop S-Comm” t-shirts and stickers, dramatic testimony from immigrants who have experienced hardship and fear due to S-Comm
Background: As Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) faces a growing storm of criticism from public officials over its troubled S-Comm program, the Assembly Public Safety Committee will hear a bill that would grant decision-making power to local governments on whether, and how, to relate to the controversial initiative.
The hearing takes place days after Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D- San Jose) called for an investigation into ICE officials’ “dissembling and deceiving” conduct on the question of whether local governments were required to participate in the burdensome program. According to Rep. Lofgren, ICE was “not honest with the local governments or with me.”
Lofgren’s forceful criticism followed the disclosure of hundreds of…

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Dealing with cancer: Family deals with radiation effects

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
By Clint Confehr, Senior Staff Writer | Marshall Tribune

PALMETTO — George Mitchell is “tired,” and willing to leave this world. He won’t force it, but he’s signed documents so s can refrain from providing that could save his life.

George, 50, and his family trace his maladies to when he and his brother, Doyce, were boys working for a day labor service that sent them to URC, Uranium Recovery Complex, near their home in Mulberry, Fla. They now live on Jack Pickle Lane, a Lewisburg address that’s just east of Marshall County.

“A lot of my es came from the environment where we grew up,” George said.

George and Doyce shoveled rocks into five-gallon buckets and carried them from one place to another. They didn’t know about radioactivity or what it can do to the human body.

The Mitchells are clear that it’s probably impossible to say with certainty that their es are from URC, a nearby phosphorus plant, the bright Florida sun, the boys’ work with asbestos, or their swimming in surface water of unknown quality.

“We grew up swimming in the water and eating the fish we caught,” George said.

“I just want somebody to benefit from what happened to me,” he said at Dr. Melvin Lewis’s office on Mooresville Highway with the who patched him up from a motorcycle accident in 1982.

Referring to George’s skin cancer, Dr. Lewis confirms information about the sun. It’s an on-going nuclear reaction and sunburn is similar to radiation exposure, so people should take his grandmother’s . She wore a bonnet when working in the cotton fields to protect her skin. Use sunscreen.

“Getting a sun tan is not the best thing to do,” Dr. Lewis said. “Skin is one giant organ over our body. It regulates our fluids and removes toxins from our body. We take our skin for granted too much.”

George always wears long-sleeved shirts now.

Too much sun and exposure to radiation can cause skin cancer, Dr. Lewis said. A Vanderbilt , Dr. Anna Clayton, indicated much the same thing in written remarks in response to questions about George’s health.

“Mr. Mitchell has suffered from a large number of squamous-cell carcinomas, an unusual amount for his age,” Dr. Clayton said.

Squamous cells may appear scaly to the naked eye.

“He continues to undergo periodic evaluation, biopsies, and excisional surgery to remove squamous-cell carcinomas that appear,” Dr. Clayton said.

George has an appointment on May 19. More surgery to remove squamous-cell carcinomas is anticipated. “I don’t know if I want this next surgery done,” he said.

Dr. Clayton continued: “Squamous-cell carcinomas can be caused by exposure to sun as well as radiation and increased numbers of them are reported in patients with significant radiation exposure,” she said.

“He did lose his eye due to squamous-cell carcinoma,” she said of surgery that removed George’s right eye.

Dr. Clayton is an assistant professor of in the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Division of Dermatology. Her office is at 100 Oaks Mall.

The Mitchells’ health became an issue for the Bedford County Board of Zoning Appeals in March 2007 when the panel granted them a temporary use permit on a year-to-year basis that sets aside strict enforcement of zoning codes limiting the number of “principal structures” on less than 15 acres.

The Mitchells have had four. The parents’ house and three mobile homes; one each for the brothers, George, Doyce and Eric. They’ve paid for three permits each year.

Bedford’s director of planning, zoning, building and codes, Chris White, has authority to grant extensions on payment and this year he’s granted leeway for the Mitchells who had been paying $30 for three extra dwellings. The fee per unit went up to $100 before White became director eight months ago.

The increase was “to be more consistent with other counties,” White said. Furthermore, there was abuse of what might be seen as a loophole. White knows it’s not typical to have three permits on one lot, but he also acknowledges the Mitchells’ have a “greater burden.”

Electrical and mechanical breakdowns resulted in George deciding to give his trailer away. He lives in his parents’ house now.

So, as the boys’ mother, Naomi, scrapes money together for the fees from government assistance that sustains the family, she, her husband, Lawrence “Buddy,” and the brothers are frank about their family.

Doyce had a “pouty lip,” Naomi says of her son’s lower lip. It protruded like he was pouting. Now, it’s thin since surgeons removed cancer. When they were eight and 12 years old, her sons went to the beach, riding in the back of a pickup truck and Doyce’s lower lip got sunburned.

She’s fair skinned and sees that and sunlight as a reason for what ails her on her leg. Doyce and George have red hair. George’s is darker, but both have had problems with their skin.

In Florida, Buddy was a carpenter. Much of his work was outside and he has skin lesions on his arms. Naomi was a ’s aide at Lakeland General Hospital.

The Mitchells moved to Palmetto on a suggestion from Sam Parolini of the Belfast Community who grew up with Buddy at Mulberry, Fla. Sam works for a construction company on Fishing Ford Road and is out of state now on a job.

Tennessee’s sunlight, however, seems less punishing than Florida’s Naomi said.

George and Doyce worked at URC for about five weeks.

Asked what she thinks when watching TV news about the nuclear power plant that broke down in Japan during the earthquake, Naomi replied, ” There are going to be a lot of people dying; not right now, but in years to come from the radiation.

“I believe a lot of people who may die… may say it’s from radiation, but the s are not going to say it’s from radiation…”

George has also had surgery to treat an aneurism in his head. There’s another that can’t be treated.

He feels as though he died, but was brought back by medical professionals before surgery for his first aneurism.

George’s face hurts almost all the time, he said. After working in a garden, he comes in and feels like he’s burned by the sun. He refuses to take pain .

“Now,” he said, “I’m tired.”

(Source: Marshalltribune.com)

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A White House Immigration Meeting without Immigrants?

Today, the President held a White House meeting on Immigration Reform In response, Pablo Alvarado, Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network said,

“While we appreciate the President’s effort to keep immigration reform on the national agenda, his actions belie his intent. We’re greatly disappointed that the meeting didn’t include more voices of immigrants at the table, including representatives of directly affected communities especially the people in the state of Arizona and Georgia where there is a modern day human rights crisis. If the President genuinely wanted to fix the broken immigration system, he would respond to the growing chorus of voices calling for the suspension of the se communities program and move to legalize instead of further criminalize our immigrant communities.”…

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Immigration law uncertainty hangs over Hispanic neighborhoods

Source: East Valley Tribune
updated 4/18/2011 12:46:11 PM ET

Adan Gallegos stands with a crowd of day laborers waiting on job offers in front of the Circle K convenience store in Chandler’s “Little Sonora” neighborhood.

On this day, there are about a dozen men alongside him near the corner store at 295 S. Arizona Ave. — which fronts the neighborhood of small apartments and mobile home parks where residents say at least 90 percent of the people are from the Mexican state of Sonora.

“The crowd waiting out here used to be bigger, ” says Gallegos, 38, who has lived in the neighborhood south of downtown Chandler for about 20 years. “Not anymore.”

“I used to watch the news about SB 1070. I think it was to scare people out of town. A lot of the people I used to see, I don’t see anymore. They either moved out of state or back to Mexico.”

It’s been one year since Senate Bill 1070 was passed by the Arizona Legislature and signed by Gov. Jan Brewer. The state’s controversial undocumented immigration bill — which makes it a crime for Mexican nationals to live in Arizona — sparked cheers from many, and fury from others. Debates about SB 1070 took place from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. Opponents marched. Supporters tried to strike up copycat bills in other communities. Entertainers, businesses and even community leaders in other states cried foul and called for boycotts.

Since then, legal experts on both sides have fought over the measure. But while much of the teeth of the new law is still tied up in court, the bill’s impact can be felt in communities like Little Sonora. Whether completely because of SB 1070 or the combination of Arizona’s 9 percent unemployment and scarcity of jobs, people have left.

The Centre De Trabajo — Day Labor Center — sits behind the Free Methodist Church on Arizona Avenue, across the street from the Circle K. From the church, Rev. Jose Gonzalez can see the crowd of men hoping for employment. Last year, he said, the crowd of men on the corner was about double.

“Things are slowly picking back up,” Gonzalez said. “This year has been a little better, but we still don’t see the number of people here that we used to.”

Gallegos said that’s because the economy is bad and it’s still difficult to get a job.

“There’s been a lot of changes. The neighborhood is different now,” Gallegos said. “When I go to Mexican businesses and grocery stores, there’s barely any Hispanic people anymore. They’re scared.”

A year after the bill was signed, the Hispanic community is “uncertain,” with some debating whether to stay as the school year comes to an end, said Mesa Unified School District community liaison Deanna Villanueva-Saucedo.

“The hysteria died down, but it’s been replaced by this continual uncertainty,” she said. “Mesa has great heart and community connections. To see that level of uncertainty is disheartening because it’s not what community should be about.”

When classes began last August, Mesa leaders were surprised to find that about 2,400 students did not return to their schools.

At the time, some of the blame was put on the fears felt by the community because of SB 1070.

As the district looks to next year, an even sharper decline is predicted — about 2,800 students. But there are other factors at play: foreclosures, jobs losses and pay cuts.

“We really work at making that personal contact with family. It goes beyond this issue. It’s just exasperated,” Villanueva-Saucedo said.

Businesses have felt the loss of people — and their dollars — as well.

“Since 2007, we’ve lost about 75 percent of our business,” said Nino Mihilli, 30, who works at the Mama Mia Market, his family’s business at 731 S. Arizona Ave. “These laws have added fuel to the fire and have chased businesses and people out of the state. It is killing the economy on all levels and chasing away the purchasing power of the state.

“If we did not own the property, we would’ve closed our business a long time ago,” Mihilli added. “We started losing business after the E-Verify law was passed in the summer of 2007. Then it was Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s raids. It was just blow after blow after blow.”

Mihilli’s family is Italian and moved to Arizona from Detroit about 20 years ago, seeking better jobs and more opportunities. He received a degree in business management from Arizona State University and also runs an insurance company. In the 10 years the market has been in business, it has expanded from 1,200 square feet to 6,000, Mihilli said.

“We’ve grown with Chandler and the neighborhood, and then it all came tumbling down,” he said. “Not so long ago, people couldn’t find a place to live in the neighborhood. Now, go to any trailer park or apartment complex — everything is available.”

In fact, Mihilli has written a screenplay, “The Mexican Dream,” taking what he calls a reverse approach to immigration — Americans are the immigrants and find themselves in the roles of the Mexicans, Mihilli said.

“The ethnic community is a very simple community,” he said. “The majority of all nationalities are here for a proper cause, mostly to work. This country was built on immigrants, and I don’t think that Arizona’s leadership is consistent in recognizing that.”

In west Mesa, where roadside Mexican restaurants dot Main Street, Luis Mesqueda has owned Adrian’s No. 2 Mexican Restaurant at 1011 W. Main for 15 years. He didn’t think he was going to make it past his 14th year because of looming implications from SB 1070 and customers moving out of state.

“I’ve lost more than 50 percent of my business,” Mesqueda said. “The government? Phfffft! This is worse now, and it’s not going to change, but we’re hanging in there. It can’t get any worse. We’re there now.”

The debate that SB 1070 stirred crosses cultures, political standing and residency status. Opinions about the end result of the legislation — and how many people left Arizona because of it — will likely do the same.

“People want to isolate the issue, but there are so many things tied to it,” Villanueva-Saucedo said. “It can’t be just pigeonholed to that. … So many other factors are going on in our community: the housing crunch, the economy issues. People have to go where they can find jobs.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6549 or mreese@evtrib.com

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The Battle of Arizona… In California

Californians took a turn against the Arizonification of immigration policy and took a step toward standards we expect and the oversight we deserve when the state passed the TRUST Act out of its assembly’s public safety committee this week.

The modest bill meant to improve public safety, foster transparency, and protect civil rights following the botched expansion of the Se Communities program, now makes California a national focal point for the next phase of the battles over Arizona-style immigration policies that would convert police into enforcers of our nation’s broken, and unjust, immigration laws.

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