Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Protesters fill the Texas House gallery Against Senate Bill 4

Texas Protests Over SB 4 Lead to Call to ICE

By the end of the state legislative session in Texas on Monday, the Capitol had devolved into scuffles and grave accusations. A Democratic lawmaker had accused his GOP colleague of threatening to "put a bullet" in another lawmaker's head. That GOP state representative, meanwhile, accused a counterpart of threatening his life, saying he was prepared to use his gun in self-defense.
To understand how the day ended this way, one must first rewind to its start.
Earlier Monday, demonstrators gathered in the Capitol to protest a recently signed law aimed at what have come to be known as "sanctuary cities" — or cities that, as NPR's Nina Totenberg put it, "have limited their cooperation with federal immigration authorities." Earlier this month Gov. Greg Abbott signed the law, which also allows "police to inquire about the immigration status of anyone they detain, a situation that can range from arrest for a crime to being stopped for a traffic violation," according to The Associated Press.
Protesters from around the state descended on the Legislature, first watching Monday's session in silence then gradually growing louder. The demonstrators, many of whom were Latino and dressed in red, shouted slogans from the second-floor viewing area, eventually interrupting the proceedings below.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Trump Administrations Actions Expand -Again

DAVIS-OLIVER ACT CLEARS JUDICIARY: A bill that would intensify the Trump administration's crackdown on undocumented immigrants cleared the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday by a vote of 19-13. The Davis-Oliver Act, sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), would compel so-called "sanctuary cities" to comply with federal immigration laws and would increase by 12,500 the number of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. In addition, the bill would also allow ICE officers to carry M-4 rifles or the equivalent, and would criminalize unlawful presence in the U.S. (it's a civil violation at present). Read the bill here and a pair of amendments here and here.
HEAVY BEDDING: The White House budget proposal released this week requests funding for more than 51,000 detention beds, a 31 percent increase over the roughly 39,000 beds funded in the latest spending bill. With the president's promises of tougher enforcement, the additional beds would seem to make sense. But the number of arrests on the U.S.-Mexico border have plummeted under the new administration, which raises some question about whether the higher bed count - priced at a total cost of $2.7 billion in direct and indirect costs - will be needed.
DHS Sec. John Kelly spoke to that at a hearing Wednesday before the House Appropriations Committee Homeland Security Subcommittee. Kelly said the department's increased interior enforcement - which would "ideally go after criminals who are also illegal" - would maintain the need for 51,000 beds. "Ideally, in my mind over time, we will not need nearly as many beds," he told the committee. Kelly also said DHS plans to lower detention standards to be able to contract with local and state jails. More on that here.
From Politico's Morning edition. 

Remember some of  our allies who said- there was no difference between Clinton and Trump on immigration.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Free Hugo Mejia and Rodrigo Nunez

Solidarity Rally for Hugo Mejia and Rodrigo Nunez

On May 03, 2017, Hugo Mejia and Rodrigo Nuñez were arrested by military officers on their way to work at a construction site at the Travis Air force Base. They are currently being detained at Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center in Elk Grove, CA where they are scheduled for expedited removal. Hugo and Rodrigo have been in the country for over 15 years and each have three young children. Uprooting these men from their families, their home, and their communities is deeply violent and inhumane. We say no more deportations. ICE OUT! Cops out!

We will be rallying TOMORROW, May 24, at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center, where they are being held, at 6 PM-9 PM, in solidarity with these men and their families. We will not tolerate the terror that ICE, Sheriff Jones, and our local police inflict upon our communities.

Join us at this emergency protest to show support for these men, and all undocumented persons who live in fear despite their contributing to a greater CA.

Bring signs, banners and your voice tomorrow, Wednesday May 24th from 6PM-9PM at Rio Cosumnes Correctional Facility (12500 Bruceville Road Elk Grove, CA 95757). Please share widely. The Facebook event can be found here.

We are also asking people to call ICE field director David Jennings, who may use prosecutorial discretion to free Mejia and Nuñez.

How to Call:
  1.  Dial the ICE Field Office Phone: 415-844-5512 You will be directed to a menu of options.
  2. Press 1 for detention.
  3. Press 4 for A#s ending in 2 and 3. 
  4. Leave a voicemail for their deportation officer.

Or, call and leave a message for David Jennings, SF Field Office Director, at 415-855-5503.

Suggested script:
Hello, I'm calling on behalf of Rodrigo Nuñez, A#079-220-673 and his coworker Hugo Mejia, A#079-163-283.
I am calling to request that Rodrigo and Hugo be released immediately from the jail where they are being held, and also that they be placed in regular removal proceedings so they have an opportunity to be heard.
Hugo and Rodrigo have each lived in the United States for almost 20 years. They each provide for three young children who have grown up in the United States. They should not be in jail, and they should not be deported, but released to their families.

In the Fields of the North - Davis

Davis, Thursday, June 1, 2017
7-9 PM, Art Annex Room 107 (Technological Studies Building)
UC Davis Main Campus

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

DSA Condemns Texas Senate Bill 4

by the National Political Committee, Texas DSA chapters, and the National Anti-Racism Working Group - Immigrants' Rights Committee.

On May 7, 2017, the Texas Senate passed SB4, a bill that allows local law enforcement to check the immigration status of people in most instances, such as routine traffic stops. This "show me your papers" law will result in racial profiling throughout Texas communities. These illegal arrests will increase tensions between law enforcement and the communities they seek to protect and serve. SB4 will allow law enforcement to detain Texas residents lacking legal status until Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrives to take them to privatized detention centers for processing.
All Texans will be endangered when fear of law enforcement and their continuous collaboration with ICE outweighs the need for help from those same government agencies when the victim of a crime.
The American Civil Liberties Union has recently issued a travel advisory for those planning to visit Texas after September 1, 2017 when the law comes into effect, showing the severe restrictions on civil liberties that this bill brings to not only Texas residents, but to those visiting as well.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Trump and the Border

Border Solidarity Day

Border Context
·      The Border Community is 2,000 miles long, expanding from California to the Gulf of Mexico. It includes uninhabited desert, small and large cities, and el Rio Grande.
·      The US considers Border Territory anything 100 miles from ports of entry. This includes the Southern and Northern Borders as well as all coasts, meaning that about  2/3 of the entire US population live within Border Territory.
·      About 200 million people live within the 100-mile zone; including 11 states that lie almost entirely within the zone and 9 of the 10 largest cities in the country: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego and San Jose.

Border Enforcement
·      The United States spends billions of dollars a year on border enforcement under the narrative of ‘national security’, which is primarily spent on the Southern Border.
·      Customs and Border Patrol is the largest federal law enforcement agency in the country. Today there are about 22,000 Border Patrol agents, 18,000 of them stationed on the Southern Border.
·      CBP has full authority to operate anywhere within the 100-mile zone, including stopping and searching vehicles and persons on reasonable suspicion, regardless of legal status.
·      The Department of Justice exempted Border Patrol from its most recent orders to local and federal police against racial profiling.
·      The budget for border enforcement increased by 75% in the last decade, to add up to 13.5 billion dollars per year. This is more than the DEA, FBI, and Secret Service budgets combined.
·      Internal Border Patrol immigration checkpoints exist all throughout the 100-mile zone, way beyond Ports of Entry. In New Mexico, these checkpoints are located well beyond urban locations, forcing all undocumented immigrants to remain within the region.
·      The current wall covers about 650 miles along the border and has already cost the US $7 billion, that’s about $5 million per mile in some areas.
The Border & the Trump Administration
·      Trump’s executive orders call for the immediate construction of a wall, which is estimated to cost $25 billion, and the hiring of 15,000 more ICE and Border Patrol agents that would cost up to $15 billion in 10 years.
·      An initial $3 billion has already been requested from Congress to begin the construction of a wall and to immediately hire 1,000 ICE agents and 500 Border Patrol agents.

The Sacramento Immigration committee has established a hot line to report ICE activity in the neighborhoods, at schools, parks, and other areas. 
If you see ICE activity, please report it.  When you report the activity, volunteers and legal observers will go to the location.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Sin Fronteras- Images of Rini Templeton

An exhibition of over 100 prints, sculptures and artifacts
Curator: David Bischoff

For 30 years, a brilliant artist-activist, RINI TEMPLETON illustrated the struggles of the people in the United States, Mexico, Central America and Cuba. Before her early death in 1986, Rini made thousands of unsigned drawings to be reproduced and used freely for popular movements. 

On May 13th the Latino Center of Art and Culture presents SIN FRONTERAS/IMAGES OF HOPE: RINI TEMPLETON PRESENTE! an exhibition of over 100 prints, publications and original sculptures. They present Rini’s legacy of art --- of and for the people. The exhibition includes a multi-media biography, “Rini Templeton, A Life of Struggle and Creation,“ created by Mexico City’s Punto Critico magazine collective. 

The work is on loan from Mexican and US collections. 

WHAT                                               SIN FRONTERAS/IMAGES OF HOPE: RINI   TEMPLETON PRESENTE!
May 13-July 17, 2017
Gallery Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 12PM – 6PM

OPENING RECEPTION:                        Saturday, May 13
(speakers, music, refreshments)       5PM – 9PM

WHERE:                                              Latino Center of Art and Culture
                                                            2700 Front St.
                                                            Sacramento, CA 95818

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

MALDEF on Texas SB 4.

"SB 4 is nothing short of a legal, political and fiscal disaster for Texas. Forcing police chiefs and sheriffs to cooperate with federal immigration officials will only foster distrust and suspicion between law enforcement and Latinos. MALDEF will not stand idle while the state tacitly encourages racial profiling and discrimination. We pledge our support for the immigrant community and will fight this unconscionable attack on their rights in court."

"Many things in Texas are big, such as the colossal blunder of SB 4. With a stroke of his pen, Governor Abbott has undermined democracy and voters' right to choose their elected officials, alienated nearly half the state population now subject to widespread racial profiling, severely undermined public safety by triggering widespread non-cooperation with police investigations of real crime, subjected Texas businesses tied to trade or tourism to incalculable losses, and exposed the state's taxpayers to substantial costs related to multiple statewide and local challenges to this inhumane law. Given the size of the state, this may well be the most costly gubernatorial signature in all of United States history.

Many things in Texas are also small, such as the hearts and minds of the elected leaders who cravenly championed this wholly execrable legislation.

MALDEF will do its level best, in court and out, to restore Texas, the state where MALDEF was founded, to its greater glory, and to help Texas to overcome 'Abbott’s Folly'."

Current population data indicate that 44 percent of the total Texas population is Latino, Asian American, or Arab American; even more striking is that nearly 54 percent of Texans under the age of 18 fall within one of these three groups. These are the population groups who would be subject to widespread police profiling and harassment as a result of SB 4. Add in African Americans, an additional 11.5 percent of the Texas population, who already face widespread racial profiling that could be exacerbated by the permission to profile extended in SB 4, and we are talking about a majority of all Texans and nearly two-thirds of Texas minors.  

MALDEF urges Governor Greg Abbott to reject this invitation to discriminate against over half his state’s population and to sow broad mistrust of law enforcement among two-thirds of the state’s future workforce.

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit: www.maldef.org.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Texas Leads the Way - In anti Immigrant Campaign

Roque Planas,
AUSTIN, Texas ― Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Sunday one of the harshest immigration laws to pass a state legislature since Arizona’s 2010 crackdown. 
But opponents say the bill is headed straight to court. 
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund plans to file a lawsuit in the coming months that could block the bill’s implementation in September, its president, Thomas A. Saenz, told HuffPost. 
“This bill is crazy,” Saenz said. “There are so many different legal problems with this, it’s almost like a law school exam intended to test your knowledge … I expect a judge will have problems with virtually every section of it.”
Senate Bill 4 bans so-called “sanctuary” policies that shield some undocumented immigrants from federal authorities by declining requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold them in local custody on the agency’s behalf. Under the law, no jurisdiction may refuse an ICE detainer, despite the fact that the Justice Department continues to view them as requests rather than mandatory
“Elected officials and law enforcement agencies ― they don’t get to pick and choose which laws they will obey,” Abbott said in a Facebook Live video of the bill signing
Jurisdictions that violate the law would be subject to fines and the loss of state grant money. Local officials face the possibility of getting tossed from elected office and spending up to a year in jail for refusing to comply with ICE detainers. 
The new law also gives police the authority to question those they stop about their immigration status, drawing comparisons to Arizona’s 2010 immigration crackdown, which opponents dubbed the “show me your papers” law. The provision extends to police on university campuses, despite the fact that the state has another law on the books allowing undocumented immigrants to attend colleges at in-state tuition rates. 
The Republican-dominated state legislature passed the law over the objections of immigrant rights groups, faith leaders and many of the state’s top law enforcement officials
The bill offers fruitful ground for a legal challenge, critics say. Courts have ruled in the past that holding people in local jails who would otherwise go free on bond or because their charges were dropped violates the Fourth Amendment.
Critics say this law also looks too much like an attempt for Texas to draft its own immigration policies. The U.S. Constitution reserves that authority for the federal government, which pre-empts the states from creating or enforcing immigration laws on their own. Barbara Hines, who headed the immigration clinic at the University of Texas at Austin and still serves as a professor there, said there’s no federal law that criminalizes declining an ICE detainer. 
“I think there clearly are pre-emption issues,” Hines told HuffPost. “Pre-emption would be a facial challenge, like in the Arizona bill, which means this would go straight to court before it gets implemented. Because what the state is doing is getting involved in immigration policy.”
Opponents argue that giving local officers the ability to inquire about immigration status would lead to racial profiling, which could also be challenged in court. 
“We can only anticipate that vulnerable people will be subjected to profiling and other constitutional violations,” Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas, said on a call with reporters. “By giving local police the green light to inquire about a person’s immigration status, we know from experience that people ― that is citizens and noncitizens alike ― will be held unlawfully for extended periods of time while their status is checked.”
Texas has built a track record for passing laws with discriminatory intent that won’t help it in court. This year alone, federal judges have ruled that the state legislature acted with intent to discriminate against Hispanics and other minorities in two separate cases ― when passing a 2011 law requiring voters to present a photo ID to cast a ballot, and when drawing the state’s congressional districts in the same year.
The only Texas jurisdiction that has a formal policy limiting detainers is Travis County, which includes the capital of Austin. Seeking to avoid challenges to the new law, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against Travis County and Austin elected officials that asks a federal court to declare the new law constitutional under the Fourth and 14th amendments and to agree that the bill does not pre-empt federal law. The lawsuit could force coming legal challenges to be consolidated into one case, according to the Texas Attorney General’s Office. 
“SB4 is constitutional, lawful and a vital step in securing our borders,” Paxton said in a statement. “SB4 guarantees cooperation among federal, state and local law enforcement to protect Texans. Unfortunately, some municipalities and law enforcement agencies are unwilling to cooperate with the federal government and claim that SB4 is unconstitutional.”
Greg Casar, an Austin city councilman, told HuffPost last week that several jurisdictions beyond Travis are already planning legal challenges to the new sanctuary policies law.
“We won’t be coerced,” Casar told HuffPost during a sit-in at the governor’s offices that got him and more than 20 other protesters arrested for civil disobedience. “Even if [Gov. Abbott] threatens us with criminalization, even if he threatens to remove us from office, we can’t betray our communities.”
Huff Post.
Elise Foley contributed reporting. This article has been updated with a statement from the Texas attorney general.
Things could be worse for those of us living in California.  We could live in Texas. 

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Sacramento Legal Services to Defend Undocumented Residents

by Anita Chabria.  The Sacramento Bee
Undocumented immigrants in Sacramento will have city-funded legal services as soon as next month to fight deportation and “prepare for the worst” as their fears grow about federal immigration enforcement.
Sacramento City Council members voted unanimously late Thursday to set aside up to $300,000 for a network of legal, educational and faith-based nonprofit groups that will help residents with immediate immigration problems and advise them how to protect children and assets if parents are deported.
The network also would educate them on their rights.
“The reality is there is a lot of fear,” said Councilman Eric Guerra. “We can alleviate that fear.”
Washington Elementary School Principal Gema Godina testified she has been asked multiple times by frightened undocumented families to take their children if parents are detained. She said she was unprepared for the requests but has agreed to be the legal guardian for five of her students.