Saturday, February 18, 2006

INB 2/18/06: Thousands Rally for Immigrant Rights

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 9, No. 6 - February 18, 2006

1. Thousands Rally for Immigrant Rights
2. Immigrant Sues New York City
3. Woman Miscarries During Deportation

Immigration News Briefs is a weekly supplement to Weekly News Update on the Americas, published by Nicaragua Solidarity Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012; tel 212-674-9499; weeklynewsupdate@gmail.com. INB is also distributed free via email; contact immigrationnewsbriefs@gmail.com to subscribe or unsubscribe. You may reprint or distribute items from INB, but please credit us and tell people how to subscribe. Immigration News Briefs is posted at http://immigrationnewsbriefs.blogspot.com.

*1. THOUSANDS RALLY FOR IMMIGRANT RIGHTS

On Feb. 14, some 1,500 immigrants and supporters rallied at
Philadelphia's Independence Mall to protest HR 4437, a harsh
anti-immigrant bill passed by the House of Representatives last
Dec. 16 [see INB 2/17/05] and due to be considered by the Senate
in March. [News Journal (Wilmington, DE) 2/15/06] The
Philadelphia Spanish-language weekly newspaper El Dia described
the rally as the largest immigrant rights mobilization in the
city's history. The action was part of "A Day Without an
Immigrant," a regional Valentine's Day labor strike by immigrant
workers. Many protesters came from the Philadelphia area while
hundreds more arrived in buses from Wilmington, Delaware, and from
the Pennsylvania cities of Reading, Allentown and Lancaster, and
still others came in vans from Trenton, Camden, Bridgeton,
Vineland and Hammonton in neighboring New Jersey. A number of
businesses in the region were closed--some with signs announcing
their solidarity with the strike--and many business owners even
attended the rally. [Al Dia 2/19/06] About six members of the
rightwing anti-immigrant group Minutemen held a counter-
demonstration across the street, in front of the Liberty Bell.

Valentine's Day is the second-most-popular day of the year (after
Mother's Day) for dining out, and immigrant advocates hoped the
protest would convince restaurant owners and other employers who
hire immigrants to play an active role in opposing HR 4437, the
Border Protection, Anti-Terrorism, and Illegal Immigration
Control Act of 2005. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) said in a
statement on Feb. 14 that the Judiciary Committee, which he
chairs, was preparing a compromise bill that would reach the full
Senate by the end of March. [Philadelphia Inquirer 2/15/06; News
Journal 2/15/06]

Between 600 and 1,600 immigrants rallied in Georgetown, in
southern Delaware, as part of the same Valentine's Day action
against HR 4437. Many immigrant workers in the area--a major
center for poultry processing--apparently observed the strike.
About two-thirds of the workers at Perdue Farm's processing plant
in Georgetown did not report to work on Feb. 14, said Julie
DeYoung, vice president of corporate communications. Company
officials planned for the possible shortage of workers, she said,
and arranged for other employees to help keep operations running.
Perdue Farms has spoken out against HB 4437. "We already oppose
that bill," said DeYoung. "We agree on this." [News Journal
2/15/06]

In New York City on Feb. 14, nearly 100 demonstrators brought
Valentine's Day messages to the offices of New York's Democratic
senators, Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton, asking them to
oppose HR 4437 and support legalization for immigrants. The
protest was organized by the Immigration Communities in Action
coalition. [El Diario-La Prensa (NY) 2/15/06; Diario Hoy (NY)
2/15/06]

*2. IMMIGRANT SUES NEW YORK CITY

On Feb. 9, Palestinian immigrant Waheed Saleh filed a lawsuit
against the city of New York in US District Court in Manhattan,
charging that police reported him to immigration authorities in
retaliation for his complaints about police discrimination. The
lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, alleging that Saleh's
constitutional rights including free speech were violated and
that he suffered extreme pain and hardship as a result of his
improper arrest, detention and deportation proceedings. Saleh is
represented by attorney Tushar Sheth of the Asian American Legal
Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF).

Saleh came to the US five years ago; he filed an administrative
complaint against a police officer in late 2003, saying he was
repeatedly subjected to verbal abuse and baseless threats of
arrest. On Dec. 20, 2004, a police lieutenant accompanied a
federal immigration officer who took Saleh into custody, the
lawsuit said. Saleh spent two weeks detained as federal
authorities accused him of staying in the US illegally, said
Sheth. [Newsday (NY) 2/9/06]

*3. WOMAN MISCARRIES DURING DEPORTATION

Immigrant rights advocates rallied in New York and Philadelphia
on Feb. 14 to protest the treatment of a Chinese woman, three
months pregnant, who miscarried twins while immigration
authorities tried to deport her from JFK airport in New York on
Feb. 7. Zhenxing Jiang has lived in Philadelphia for 11 years;
she and her husband have two US-born sons, ages four and seven.

Jiang reported on Feb. 7 for a regularly scheduled check-in with
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Philadelphia.
According to her attorney, Richard Bortnick of Philadelphia, ICE
officers pushed Jiang into a minivan, bruised her and bumped her
abdomen against the backseat and drove her to JFK airport. He
said the officers stopped to eat lunch but gave the pregnant
woman nothing to eat during her eight-hour ordeal and cursed her
when she cried and told them she was in pain. By the time they
reached the airport, Jiang was suffering severe abdominal cramps
and begging for help in a public waiting area. Someone finally
called an ambulance, and at the hospital a ultrasound showed that
Jiang's twin fetuses had died. [AP 2/15/06; World Journal
2/11/06; New York Times 2/14/06]

On Feb. 14, ICE spokespreson Dean Boyd called the accusations
"categorically false." Boyd said the agency had interviewed the
officers and concluded that "contrary to the claims of her
attorney, she was not pushed or bruised," ridiculed or denied
food. But "as a matter of protocol," he said, the claims have
been referred to the agency's Office of Professional
Responsibility. [NYT 2/15/06]

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1 comment:

Immigration News Briefs said...

followup:
NY jury rejects Palestinian immigrant's claims in rights case
The Associated Press, April 5, 2008
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny--immigrationlawsui0405apr05,0,2261790.story
(the link for this article no longer works--text is below):

New York (AP) -- A federal jury in Manhattan has rejected a Palestinian man's claims against the city that two police officers violated his constitutional rights by reporting him to immigration authorities.

The man, Waheed Saleh, had sued the city, saying that he was unfairly accused of immigration violations in retaliation for accusing police officers of discrimination.

Saleh had filed a complaint against a police officer in late 2003, alleging that he was repeatedly subjected to verbal abuse and baseless threats of arrest. He said that the officer and a supervisor retaliated by telling immigration authorities he had overstayed his visa.

But the jury agreed on Friday with the city that the police were enforcing the laws by giving him tickets for actual offenses.