Sunday, April 30, 2006

INB 4/30/06: Raids Spark Fear; Protests in DC, NJ, SF, Miami

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 9, No. 16 - April 30, 2006

1. Raids Spark Fear, Rumors
2. Families Protest Deportation
3. More Protests: Newark, SF, Miami

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; INB is also distributed free via email; contact 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


Reports of widespread immigration raids at stores, restaurants,
laundromats, transportation hubs and the streets have kept many
immigrants home in fear throughout the US since around Apr. 20.
Most of the raid reports have turned out to be false alarms,
according to journalists and advocates who investigated them.
[New York Times 4/29/06; Miami Herald 4/27/06; Wall Street
Journal 4/28/06; Bergen Record (NJ) 4/24/06] US Immigration and
Customs Enforcement (ICE) said it was carrying out enforcement
actions but would not give details: "We're conducting operations
everywhere, all around the country and New Jersey, as part of our
normal operations," said ICE spokesperson Michael Gilhooly.
"They're not random sweeps. They're planned law enforcement
actions that result from leads and intelligence." [Asbury Park
Press (NJ) 4/29/06]

One person cited by the New Jersey-based Portuguese-language
National The Brazilian Newspaper said rumors about immigration
raids in restaurants and stores began flying in Newark after ICE
went to a location on Elm Street looking for two Brazilians with
prior deportation orders. [NTBN 4/27/06] The New York Spanish-
language daily El Diario-La Prensa published confirmed reports of
two raids in New Jersey. In Plainfield on Apr. 20, five
immigration agents entered a home and asked all 11 people present
to show their documents. At least one person was arrested and
taken to Hudson County Jail in Kearny. At a home in North
Plainfield on Apr. 14, two Guatemalans and three Costa Ricans
were arrested by immigration agents and taken to a detention
center in Elizabeth. [ED-LP 4/26/06]

In Austin, Texas, US citizen Manuel Mendez was working at a
construction site on Apr. 26 when two immigration enforcement
cars pulled up. Immigration agents asked Mendez to show
immigration documents. "They singled me out because I was
Hispanic, and they thought I was not from here, they thought I
was from Mexico," he said. [News 8 Austin 4/26/06] John Chakwin,
the top regional investigation official for ICE in Dallas, said
his office is working at least five active investigations in the
region which includes North Texas and Oklahoma, and is gathering
information from more than a dozen local, state and federal
agencies for more. "We can't possibly chase every illegal alien
in North Texas, but we've got to go after the companies who hire
them," Chakwin said on Apr. 27. [Dallas Morning News 4/28/06]

Some people have suggested that rumors of raids are part of a
campaign to intimidate immigrants from participating in a May 1
nationwide day of action which includes demonstrations and a
planned boycott of work, school and shopping. [Newsday (NY)
4/28/06] Fear is also being stoked by major recent ICE operations
like the Apr. 19 nationwide arrests of nearly 1,200 workers
employed by the pallet company IFCO [see INB 4/22/06]. In an Apr.
28 sign-on letter to ICE chief Julie Myers, the National
Immigration Law Center (NILC) mentioned the IFCO sweep and
expressed "grave concern with the chilling effect that recent
immigration enforcement actions may have on peaceful
demonstrations and protests that are planned for May 1, 2006, in
support of comprehensive immigration reform." [NILC 4/28/06]

On Apr. 25 in Chinook, Washington, nearly 50 agents from ICE and
other federal and state agencies executed federal search warrants
on several fishing boats at the Port of Chinook as part of an
investigation into possible violations of fishing report
requirements. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the
state Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service/National Marine
Fisheries Service and the US Coast Guard participated in the

In the same operation ICE arrested 16 undocumented immigrants--
including a minor--working at Bell Buoy Crab Co., a seafood
processing plant in Chinook. Those arrested were transported to
Portland, Oregon and placed in removal proceedings. ICE regional
spokesperson Lori Haley called the arrests "routine." Chinook is
located at the mouth of the Columbia River; across the river in
Astoria, Oregon, where some of the arrested workers lived, the
operation sparked fear and rumors of more raids. To protest the
separation of families in Astoria, high school students planned
an emergency demonstration for Apr. 28. [AP 4/26/06; WSJ 4/28/06;
Daily Astorian 4/26/06, 4/28/06]

ICE agents arrested 183 immigrants throughout the state of
Florida in a weeklong operation that ended on Apr. 21. Those
arrested included 130 people ICE characterized as "fugitive
criminal aliens," as well as 53 out-of-status immigrants who
happened to be at the raided sites. [ICE News Release 4/24/06; MH
4/27/06] Their countries of origin included Bahamas, Brazil,
Canada, Peoples Republic of China, Colombia, Costa Rica,
Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Guyana,
Haiti, Honduras, India, Israel, Jamaica, Lebanon, Mexico,
Nicaragua, Peru, Syria, Poland, Trinidad, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The operation was spearheaded by ICE fugitive operations teams
based in Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville and Orlando, and carried out
with the participation of the Orange County Sheriff's Office, US
Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Jacksonville Sheriff's
Office, Miami-Dade Police Department, City of Miami Police
Department, Coral Gables Police Department, Broward Sheriff's
Office, Palm Beach Sheriff's Office, Hialeah Police Department
and Florida Probation and Parole. [ICE 4/24/06]

ICE agents arrested 125 immigrants throughout the Midwest from
Apr. 10 to 19, according to a report received by the National
Association of Chiefs of Police. The agency said 106 of those
arrested were "fugitives" who had ignored deportation orders; 46
of them also had criminal convictions. The other 19 people
arrested were described as "immigration status violators" and
were presumably picked up because they happened to be at the
raided sites. Those arrested came from 28 countries: Cameroon,
China, Congo, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El
Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia,
Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Lithuania,
Mexico, Poland, S. Korea, Romania, Somalia, Tanzania, Thailand,
Ukraine, and Yugoslavia.

The operation was carried out by agents from ICE's Detention and
Removal Operations (DRO) "fugitive operations teams" based out of
ICE offices located in Bloomington, Minnesota; Chicago, Illinois;
Indianapolis, Indiana; Kansas City, Missouri; Louisville,
Kentucky; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; St. Louis, Missouri; and Wichita,
Kansas. ICE said the arrests were part of its National Fugitive
Operations Program (NFOP). [Sierra Times 4/30/06; Sheboygan Press
(WI) 4/28/06]

On Apr. 20 in the five boroughs of New York City, ICE arrested 52
immigrants it described as "child predators" in a joint operation
with officers of the New York City Department of Probation.
According to ICE, all the individuals arrested had been
previously convicted of sex offenses. Of the five arrestees whose
cases were detailed in an ICE press release, only one received a
jail sentence--four months--for his crime. The others were all
sentenced to probation. The countries of origin of the 52
arrestees included China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador,
Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Jamaica, Liberia,
Mexico, Norway and Trinidad. "New York City Probation is pleased
to work once again with ICE and Homeland Security to rid this
city of 52 dangerous predators," said Martin F. Horn, New York
City Probation Commissioner. [ICE News Release 4/20/06]

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) said on Apr.
28 that raid rumors may also have been fueled by a roundup in
which the US Marshals Service arrested more than 9,000 fugitives
wanted for a number of crimes. ICE assisted in the effort but
most of those detained were US citizens. [AP 4/29/06]


On Apr. 24, the first day the Senate returned from recess to
resume debate over immigration reform, hundreds of families
affected by deportation gathered on the West Lawn of the Capitol
in Washington, DC to protest immigration laws passed a decade
earlier. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
(AEDPA), passed on Apr. 24, 1996, forced thousands of immigrants
into mandatory detention and deportation. Rally participants came
from California, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania,
New Jersey, New York and Washington. They urged Congress to
reject measures that step up deportation, such as one being
considered by the Senate under which mere suspicion of "gang
activity" could subject an immigrant to deportation.

Organizers of the protest have outlined a series of proposed real
reforms that would keep families together and end what they see
as retroactive punishment and double jeopardy. They also support
a measure introduced by Rep. Jose Serrano--HR 5035, the "Child
Citizen Protection Act"--which would restore limited discretion
to immigration judges where the exile of an immigrant parent is
clearly against the best interests of a US citizen child. Members
of Families for Freedom, Hate Free Zone, Homies Unidos, Keeping
Hope Alive, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and Northern
Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights participated in the
protest. [Families for Freedom 4/27/06]


According to police estimates, nearly 3,000 people rallied for
immigrant rights in Lincoln Park in Newark, New Jersey on Apr.
23. The "March for Peace and Liberty of Immigrants" was organized
by the newly formed Immigrant Rights Defense Committee of New
Jersey. State attorney general Zulima Farber addressed the crowd
in Spanish and English. [Star-Ledger 4/24/06] Organizers said
attendance was lower than expected, probably because rumors of
immigration raids led many immigrants to stay home in fear.
[Diario Hoy (NY) 4/24/06]

In San Francisco on Apr. 23, religious leaders including the
city's archbishop, George Niederauer, led a march of 10,000-
15,000 people to demand that Congress take up legislation
favorable to immigrants. [AP 4/24/06; David Bacon 4/23/06]

On Apr. 22 more than 4,000 protesters filled the streets of North
Miami near the regional immigration offices to denounce
discriminatory immigration policies toward Haitians. The crowd of
mostly Haitian immigrants demanded that Haitians be granted
temporary protected status (TPS), which provides temporary relief
from deportation. "We're gonna fight to make sure there are no
second-class citizens... Haitians will no longer go invisible!"
protest organizer Eliseo Medina, executive vice president of
Service Employees International Union (SEIU), told the crowd.
Since Congress created TPS in 1990, it has been granted to
citizens of Burundi, El Salvador, Honduras, Liberia, Nicaragua,
Somalia and Sudan--but never to Haitians, despite that country's
severe crisis situation. [Miami Herald 4/23/06]

On Apr. 10 in Connecticut, as part of a national day of action
for immigrant rights [see INB 4/16/06], some 3,000 people
gathered on the New Haven green, and 2,000 people marched in
Hartford from a local church to a rally at the state capitol.
[Email from Joelle Fishman 4/16/06] For Seattle's Apr. 10 march,
the media estimated the crowd at 15,000, but Mayor Greg Nickels,
who spoke at the rally, put the number at 25,000. [AP 4/11/06]
Activists believe it was closer to 40,000. [Email from Sylvie
Kashdan 4/17/06]

In Waukegan, Illinois, about 35 miles north of Chicago, about 300
students skipped school the morning of Apr. 13 to march for
immigrant rights. [Chicago Tribune 4/14/06]


Contributions toward Immigration News Briefs are gladly accepted:
they should be made payable and sent to Nicaragua Solidarity
Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012. (Tax-deductible
contributions of $50 or more may be made payable to the A.J.
Muste Memorial Institute and earmarked for "NSN".)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

INB 4/22/06: Massive Raid Reflects New ICE Strategy?

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 9, No. 15 - April 22, 2006

Massive Raid Reflects New ICE Strategy?

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; INB is also distributed free via email; contact 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


On Apr. 19, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents
arrested 1,187 immigrant workers employed by IFCO Systems North
America, Inc., which manufactures and recycles pallets and
crates. ICE also arrested seven current and former IFCO Systems
managers on criminal charges of conspiring to transport, harbor
and encourage unauthorized workers to reside in the US for
commercial advantage and financial gain. Two of the seven were
arrested in Guilderland, New York; one in Amsterdam, New York;
two in Houston, Texas; one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and one in
Westborough, Massachusetts. All seven were released on bond and
are to appear May 4 in Albany, New York, where the criminal
complaint was filed. Two other IFCO employees were arrested in
Guilderland on criminal charges relating to fraudulent documents.
Agents executed criminal search warrants at three residences in
Guilderland where IFCO was allegedly housing unauthorized
workers. [ICE News Release 4/20/06; AP 4/20/06; New York Times
4/21/06; Indianapolis Star 4/21/06] IFCO is based in the
Netherlands with operational headquarters in Houston and Munich.
[Rocky Mountain News 4/21/06]

Over all, the raids involved criminal search warrants or what ICE
calls "consent" searches at more than 40 IFCO plants and related
sites in 27 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California,
Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana,
Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New
Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon,
Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, South Carolina, Virginia and
Utah. [ICE 4/20/06; RMN 4/21/06]

"We are cooperating fully with representatives from ICE and hope
to have this matter resolved as soon as possible," IFCO Systems
said in a statement. [Newsday (NY) 4/21/06] "It is our policy to
comply with all federal and state employment requirements," IFCO
insisted. [AP 4/20/06] At least 275 of the detained workers had
already been removed to Mexico as of Apr. 21. [NYT 4/21/06] Many
others were released and told to report for immigration court
hearings. [NYT 4/21/06; Baltimore Sun 4/21/06; Houston Chronicle
4/21/06; Charlotte Observer 4/21/06; Indianapolis Star 4/21/06]

The raids culminated a 14-month investigation conducted by ICE,
the New York State Police-Upstate New York Regional Intelligence
Center, the Social Security Administration (SSA) Inspector
General, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the
Department of Labor Inspector General, with assistance from the
Guilderland Town Police Department and Schenectady Police
Department. [ICE 4/20/06]

According to a government affidavit filed in the Northern
District of New York, ICE began the investigation in February
2005 after receiving information that IFCO workers in Guilderland
were seen ripping up their W-2 tax forms. Later investigation
found IFCO officials transported unauthorized employees to and
from work, paid rent for their housing and deducted money from
their paychecks to cover these expenses. The affidavit says IFCO
officials knowingly hired an unauthorized worker who turned out
to be an ICE informant. Recorded conversations suggest that IFCO
officials reimbursed the informant for obtaining fraudulent
identity documents.

More than half of IFCO's 5,800 workers in 2005 were using social
security numbers that were invalid or belonged to other people,
the affidavit alleges. In 2004 and 2005 the SSA sent IFCO at
least 13 letters about such discrepancies. [ICE 4/20/06]

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced the raids
at an Apr. 20 news conference with Julie Myers, assistant
secretary for ICE, and Glenn Suddaby, chief federal prosecutor in
Albany. "Employers and workers alike should be on notice that the
status quo has changed," said Chertoff. "These enforcement
actions demonstrate that this department has no patience for
employers who tolerate or perpetuate a shadow economy." [ICE
4/20/06; AP 4/20/06]

Also on Apr. 20, Chertoff and Myers unveiled a new Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) "interior enforcement strategy" which
seeks "to reverse the tolerance of illegal employment and illegal
immigration." DHS outlined three goals focused on "criminal
aliens, fugitives and other immigration violators," "worksite
enforcement and compliance" and "criminal infrastructures" of
smuggling and document fraud. DHS wants "a legislative fix in
Congress" to allow ICE full access to social security data, and
is working with Congress to "build employer compliance systems."
[DHS/ICE Press Release 4/20/06]

Chertoff denied the timing of the raids had anything to do with
recent immigrant demonstrations. But Don Sherman, director of
Cincinnati Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, said: "I
think the timing is very suspicious because there are a number of
rallies coming up around the country promoting immigration
reform." [AP 4/20/06] Cristobal Hinojosa, a Houston organizer,
said plans for a May 1 nationwide boycott for immigrant rights
will go ahead. "The people are angry," he said. [HC 4/21/06] In
San Antonio, Texas, activists protested the raids on Apr. 20
outside an IFCO plant where 27 workers were arrested. [San
Antonio Express-News 4/21/06] About 25 university students joined
other activists in an Apr. 20 protest outside the Chicago
immigration office. "It's almost like a punishment. You get up,
you protest and now we're going to punish you..." said Roberto
Lopez of Pueblo Sin Fronteras. [Chicago Sun Times 4/21/06; 4/20/06; BS 4/21/06]


Contributions toward Immigration News Briefs are gladly accepted:
they should be made payable and sent to Nicaragua Solidarity
Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012. (Tax-deductible
contributions of $50 or more may be made payable to the A.J. Muste
Memorial Institute and earmarked for "NSN".)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

INB 4/16/06: Protests Sweep Nation

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 9, No. 14 - April 16, 2006

Special Issue: Protests Sweep Nation

1. Northeast: DC to Maine
2. South: Florida to Texas
3. Midwest: Indiana to Nebraska
4. West: Colorado to California

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; INB is also distributed free via email; contact 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


An estimated two million people took part in coordinated
demonstrations in more than 140 US cities on Apr. 10, a National
Day of Action for Immigrant Justice demanding legalization and
other rights for out-of-status immigrants. Organizers scheduled
the protests for a Monday during congressional recess so elected
officials would be in their home districts to witness them.
Hundreds of thousands more marched on the previous day, Apr. 9.
[Atlanta Journal-Constitution 4/11/06; Los Angeles Times 4/11/06]


In Washington, at least 200,000 people poured onto the National
Mall on Apr. 10, waving US flags and chanting in Spanish, "Si, se
puede" ("yes, we can"). [AJC 4/11/06] Organizers estimated the
crowd size on the Mall at 500,000. The District's Metropolitan
Police Department did not provide crowd estimates. [Miami Herald
4/11/06; Washington Times 4/11/06]

In New York City, Police declined to estimate the size of the
crowds, but organizers said 125,000 people were present at City
Hall on Apr. 10. [AP 4/11/06] "We are inseparable, indivisible
and impossible to take out of America," Chung-Wha Hong, executive
director of the New York Immigration Coalition, told a spirited
crowd. [New York Times 4/11/06] On Apr. 9, some 700 people
rallied at the office of Rep. Peter King (R-NY) in Massapequa,
Long Island. The Long Island Immigrant Alliance organized the
action to protest King's co-sponsorship of anti-immigrant bill HR
4437, passed by the House last December. [NYT 4/10/06]

In New Jersey, several hundred people rallied on Apr. 10 in
Liberty Park, Jersey City, within sight of the Statute of
Liberty. [AP 4/11/06] Some 7,000 people rallied in Philadelphia.
[MH 4/11/06; Washington Post 4/11/06]

In Boston, an Apr. 10 march from Boston Common to Copley Square
drew a crowd Boston police estimated at 5,000 to 7,000 people.
[Boston Globe 4/11/06] The Washington Post gave a higher figure--
10,000--for the Boston demonstration. [WP 4/11/06] According to
police estimates, about 5,000 people marched in Providence, Rhode
Island, on Apr. 10. [AP 4/10/06] About three dozen people, mainly
religious leaders, rallied in front of St. Paul's Episcopal
Church in Concord, New Hampshire.

Some 200 people demonstrated in Portland, Maine--one of the few
sites where violence was reported. An individual described as a
Latino teenager, his face hidden with a bandanna, ran up to one
of three white counter-protesters and hit him with an
unidentified object, bloodying the man's face. "When you promote
violence, you get violence," said Rev. Virginia Maria Rincon, one
of the rally organizers. "Our rally is about promoting a peaceful
dialogue." [Portsmouth Herald (NH) 4/11/06 from AP]


More than 2,500 people, including many farmworkers, rallied at
sunset on Apr. 10 in Homestead, Florida, south of Miami. [AP
4/11/06; MH 4/11/06] Another 4,000 people rallied in Lake Worth,
Florida. [WP 4/11/06] More than 300 people rallied at the federal
courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. [MH 4/11/06] Some 7,000 people
rallied in Miami on Apr. 9. [Amherst Times (NY) 4/10/06]

Police estimated between 30,000 and 40,000 people marched in
Atlanta, Georgia, on Apr. 10; the Washington Post reported
50,000, while the Atlanta Journal-Constitution suggests the
number was probably closer to 60,000. [AJC 4/11/06; WP 4/11/06]
Organizers were forced to improvise a detour to extend the three-
mile march route after the front of the march caught up with the
tail end. Other supporters stood at intersections and cheered the
marchers on. [AJC 4/11/06] Rev. James Orange, from the Georgia
Coalition for the People's Agenda, compared the Atlanta march to
civil rights demonstrations led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
and farmworker leader Cesar Chavez. "People of the world, we have
come to say this is our moment," Orange said. [AP 4/11/06]

The civil rights movement of the 1960s was also evoked at an Apr.
10 rally in Jackson, Mississippi, where some 500 people sang "We
Shall Overcome" in Spanish. [La Jornada (Mexico) 3/11/06] In
Birmingham, Alabama, some 4,000 demonstrators marched on Apr. 9
to a rally at Kelly Ingram Park, where in 1963 police turned
firehoses on black children at civil rights protests. Rev.
Derrill Wilson of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
addressed the crowd. [AP 4/10/06, 4/11/06; Amherst Times 4/10/06]
Hundreds of people also demonstrated on Apr. 10 in Greenville,
South Carolina, and outside the federal courthouse in Lexington,
Kentucky. [AP 4/11/06]

In Dallas, Texas, police estimated that nearly 500,000 people
rallied on Apr. 9, making it the largest demonstration in the
city's history. Another 7,000 people (or up to 30,000, according
to the national radio program "Democracy Now!") marched the same
day in the neighboring city of Fort Worth. [Star-Telegram
4/11/06; AP 4/11/06; DN! 4/11/06] The Apr. 9 events included a
boycott of Dallas businesses, dubbed "Not a Penny Spent."
[MarketWatch 4/10/06; S-T 4/11/06] On Apr. 10, organizers in
Houston estimated 50,000 people rallied at a park before marching
to the spot where the city's founders first arrived. [AP 4/11/06]
Another 10,000 people marched in Austin, the state capital, on
Apr. 10. [WP 4/11/06]

Some 2,000 people converged from three feeder marches into an
Apr. 10 rally in downtown El Paso, Texas, organized by the Border
Network for Human Rights. In one of the feeder marches, some 300
people walked along a border highway from Sunland Park, just over
the state line in New Mexico. Organizers scheduled the march for
4pm and urged students not to skip school. On Mar. 31 some 6,000
people--including many students--marched in El Paso during school
hours to commemorate farmworker leader Cesar Chavez [see INB
4/2/06, which said "hundreds" took part]. [El Paso Times 4/11/06;
AP 4/11/06]


About 20,000 people rallied in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Apr. 10.
[Catholic News Service 4/11/06] Hundreds marched in South Bend,
Indiana and in Champaign, Illinois. Police estimated 30,000
rallied Apr. 9 at the state capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota. [AP
4/10/06, 4/11/06] Some 10,000 people marched on Apr. 10 to the
state capitol in Madison, Wisconsin. [WP 4/11/06; NYT 4/11/06] On
Apr. 9, 4,000 marched in Boise, Idaho. [Amherst Times 4/10/06]

In southwestern Kansas, an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 people
rallied in Garden City, a farming community with a total
population of 30,000. [AP 4/10/06; Hutchinson News 4/11/06] About
50 miles to the east in Dodge City, home to two major meat-
packing plants, another 2,000 people marched to the local office
of Republican senator Pat Roberts. [HN 4/11/06, 4/12/06] The
Dodge City rally resulted in a slowdown at the Excel Corp. beef-
packing plant, according to Mark Klein, spokesperson for Wichita-
based Cargill Meat Solutions, which operates the plant. [Kansas
City Star 4/11/06; HN 4/12/06] A noon rally in Great Bend, about
100 miles northeast of Dodge City in central Kansas, attracted
between 200 and 300 people. And some 60 to 80 people rallied in
Liberal, another meat-packing town about 100 miles south of
Garden City on the Oklahoma border. [HN 4/11/06] An estimated
1,000 people rallied in Tulsa, Oklahoma. [KOTV 4/12/06] About
10,000 people had rallied in Oklahoma City more than a week
earlier, on Apr. 1. [Pioneer Online 4/10/06] Several thousand
people marched in Kansas City, Missouri, on Apr. 10. [KCS

In eastern Nebraska, another meat-packing area, Apr. 10 brought
unprecedented demonstrations. Some 4,000 people rallied outside
the state capitol in Lincoln, while just 50 miles to the east,
police estimated another 8,000 to 10,000 marched through downtown
Omaha, from the Heartland of America Park to the federal
courthouse. [Lincoln Journal Star 4/12/06; 4/10/06]
Several hundred people left school and work to rally in Columbus,
Nebraska, about 60 miles northwest of Lincoln, in what was called
"A Day without Latinos." According to demonstrator Porfirio
Centero, who works for the Tyson Fresh Meats Pork Plant in nearby
Madison, "They closed the plant because a lot of people walked
out." Cargill Meat Solutions spokesperson Mark Klein said
production was slowed at the Cargill plant in Schuyler, another
nearby town. [Columbus Telegram 4/11/06] Some 1,000 people
demonstrated farther north in Norfolk, and 5,000 people marched
from South Sioux City in the northeastern corner of Nebraska
across the state line to Sioux City, Iowa. [LJS 4/12/06;
4/10/06] On Apr. 9, some 5,000 people marched in Des Moines,
Iowa. [Times-Republican (Marshalltown, IA) 4/10/06 from AP]


In Colorado, police estimated that 8,000 to 10,000 people took
part in an Apr. 10 march around Sloan's Lake in northwest Denver,
honoring migrants who died crossing the border. Organizers said
up to 15,000 people participated. An estimated 5,000 people
marched around the Denver Civic Center earlier in the day,
according to organizers. More than 1,000 people attended a rally
in Colorado Springs, headed by three Latino US soldiers who just
returned from a year-long combat tour in Iraq with the 3rd
Armored Cavalry Regiment based in nearby Fort Carson. "Today,
over 10,000 undocumented persons are serving in our armed
forces," said Albert Gonzales, president of the local chapter of
the American G.I. Forum. Rallies or vigils were also held in
Telluride, Boulder and Grand Junction. [Rocky Mountain News

In Salt Lake City, Utah, some 50,000 people marched on Apr. 9.
[Diario Hoy 4/11/06, some from AP]

About 200 people, many of them high school students, demonstrated
on Apr. 10 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. [Albuquerque Tribune
4/11/06] Hundreds of students missed classes in Santa Fe, Deming
and Hatch on Apr. 10, and at least 300 people marched past City
Hall in Las Cruces. [AP 4/11/06]

More than 100,000 people marched through Phoenix, Arizona from
the state fairgrounds to the capitol on Apr. 10, backing up
freeway traffic for miles. Organizers believe the crowd may have
numbered 200,000 or more. [Arizona Daily Star (Tucson) 4/11/06;
AP 4/11/06] More than 11,500 people demonstrated in Tucson, while
an anti-immigrant counter-protest at the same site drew fewer
than a dozen people. A scuffle broke out when counter-
demonstrators burned a Mexican flag; Tucson police detained four
or five people. Nearly 15,000 students--about a fifth of the
total--and more than 500 teachers were absent from Tucson schools
on Apr. 10. [ADS 4/10/06, 4/11/06]

In San Diego, California about 50,000 demonstrators marched
through the streets on Apr. 9. [AP 4/11/06] In Los Angeles on
Apr. 10, thousands held a candlelight vigil outside La Placita
church before beginning an evening march. Police estimated the
crowd at 7,000. Several thousand protesters marched outside the
state capitol in Sacramento, and hundreds rallied in San
Francisco. [AP 4/11/06; LAT 4/11/06] An estimated 5,000 people
marched in Oakland, according to the Washington Post; Arnoldo
Garcia of the Oakland-based National Network for Immigrant and
Refugee Rights (NNIRR) estimated the crowd at close to 20,000.
[WP 4/11/06] According to the Los Angeles Times, California's
largest demonstration on Apr. 10 was in Fresno, where about
10,000 people marched in what a police spokesperson called "by
far the largest event we have ever had in the city." [LAT

Thousands demonstrated in Salem, Oregon, on Apr. 9. [Amherst
Times 4/10/06] In Seattle, Washington, about 15,000 demonstrators
marched on Apr. 10. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer 4/12/06]


Contributions toward Immigration News Briefs are gladly accepted:
they should be made payable and sent to Nicaragua Solidarity
Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012. (Tax-deductible
contributions of $50 or more may be made payable to the A.J.
Muste Memorial Institute and earmarked for "NSN".)

Sunday, April 9, 2006

INB 4/9/06: ICE Pulls Kids Off School Buses; New Raids in New Orleans

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 9, No. 13 - April 9, 2006

1. School Threats Lead to Student Suicide?
2. ICE Pulls Kids Off School Buses
3. New Raids in New Orleans
4. Senate Compromise Falters

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; INB is also distributed free via email; contact 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


A 14-year-old boy who took part in a student walkout on Mar. 28
in Ontario, California--one of hundreds of walkouts around the
country demanding immigrant rights--killed himself on Mar. 30
after a vice principal at De Anza Middle School told him he would
be punished for his truancy. The administrator said he could not
attend graduation, his mother would be fined $250, and he could
be jailed for three years, said attorney Sonia Mercado. Soltero
phoned his mother with the news, but before she could get home,
he shot himself in the head using a gun his stepfather had hidden
in the garage, leaving behind apology notes. "We have to let the
schools know that they can't punish our children for exercising
their rights," said his mother, Louise Corales, in a statement
issued by Mercado. [Press-Enterprise (Riverside) 4/8/06; Press
Release from Civil Rights Lawyer R. Samuel Paz 4/7/06]


US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 49
Mexicans and two Salvadorans on Mar. 30 and 31 in Merced County
in central California. ICE said all those arrested had prior
deportation orders. In at least two cases, ICE seized US citizen
children off school buses before or after arresting their
parents. In Firebaugh, two unmarked ICE vans pulled up alongside
a school bus on the morning of Mar. 31, said Brian Walker,
superintendent of the Dos Palos Oro Loma Joint Unified School
District. One van drove in front of the bus, forcing the driver
to stop. Armed ICE agents boarded the bus and took three children
away in a van. The concerned bus driver followed the vans to a
home where he saw agents handcuffing people who appeared to be
the students' parents, said Walker. In Merced, agents took two
students from Franklin Elementary School off a bus after
arresting their parents.

Walker said he called ICE officials to discuss how arrests could
be handled in the future. "[W]e want to share with them that it
can be a traumatizing experience for students to be pulled over,"
said Walker. "We...think it could have been handled differently."

"There was no intention to target the children," said ICE
spokesperson Virginia Kice. "We were arresting their parents. The
parents were concerned about the kids coming home to an empty
house. We didn't want to separate a family."

The timing of the raids, during a week of nationwide protests for
immigrant rights, was a coincidence, said ICE Deputy Field Office
Director Timothy Aitken. "We do this every day," he said. "This
had nothing to do with the protests or the bills in the House and
the Senate." Three of ICE's "fugitive operations" teams conducted
the raids; local law enforcement agencies were not formally
involved, but the Merced County Sheriff's Department helped with
at least one arrest, said Aitken. [Merced Sun-Star 4/4/06]


Over the weekend of Apr. 1, ICE agents and the Gretna Police
Department arrested 68 immigrants from Mexico, Honduras, Peru and
El Salvador in a joint operation in New Orleans, Louisiana. ICE
said the raid targeted criminals, but admitted that only 12 of
the 68 immigrants had criminal records; nine had illegally re-
entered the US after having been deported, and three had
outstanding warrants of removal. [ICE did not indicate why the
others were arrested; presumably they only lacked legal
documents.] [ICE News Release 4/5/06]

On Mar. 17, ICE agents arrested 40 immigrant workers in New
Orleans. ICE said the immigrants were undocumented and that at
least a dozen of them had violent criminal backgrounds in Central
America. ICE officials said the action was not part of a major
campaign but was instigated by complaints from people associated
with small businesses around Lee Circle who were apparently
disconcerted by large numbers of workers gathering there waiting
for jobs. During the raid, one worker trying to escape allegedly
drove a car over an ICE agent's foot. [ 3/18/06 from AP]
Mexican national Dennis Dedert has since been indicted by a
federal grand jury on a charge of assaulting, resisting and
impeding a federal officer. [ 3/24/06 from AP]


On Apr. 7, a day after key senators announced they had reached a
final compromise on immigration reform, the deal fell apart and
the US Senate broke for a two-week recess. [CNN 4/8/06 from AP;
Time 4/7/06] The bill would have allowed undocumented immigrants
present in the US to get permanent residence within 6 to 8 years,
although those here less than five years would have to leave the
US first and come back as temporary workers. Those who arrived
after Jan. 7, 2004, would not be eligible, but would not be
barred from a temporary worker program. [National Immigration
Forum 4/7/06] The compromise also included proposals which would
expand expedited removal and legalize indefinite detention.
[Asylum Working Group 4/6/06]

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), the Senate's minority leader, apparently
scuttled the deal because he feared amendments would make the
Senate bill unworkable, and the final bill would worsen when
lawmakers meet to reconcile it with HR 4437, an anti-immigrant
bill passed by the House last December. In an election year, Reid
did not want to lead an effort to block the final bill. Sen.
Arlen Specter (R-PA), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee,
said he would take the compromise up in committee as soon as the
recess ends, and send it to the Senate floor a week later. [CNN
4/8/06 from AP; Time 4/7/06]


Contributions toward Immigration News Briefs are gladly accepted:
they should be made payable and sent to Nicaragua Solidarity
Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012. (Tax-deductible
contributions of $50 or more may be made payable to the A.J.
Muste Memorial Institute and earmarked for "NSN".)

Sunday, April 2, 2006

INB 4/2/06: Protests Continue, School Walkouts Spread

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 9, No. 12 - April 2, 2006
(Special Double Issue)

1. Immigrant Protests Continue
2. Student Walkouts Spread
3. Senate Committee Moves on Bill

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; INB is also distributed free via email; contact 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


More than 500,000 people marched in Los Angeles on Mar. 25 to
demand legalization for out-of-status immigrants and protest
anti-immigrant legislation being considered by the Senate [see
INB 3/18/06, 3/25/06]. Police estimated the crowd size using
aerial photographs and other techniques, police commander Louis
Gray Jr. said. [AP 3/26/06]

The LA demonstration was the largest of a wave of protests
sweeping cities across the US, starting with Feb. 14 rallies and
strikes in Philadelphia and Georgetown, Delaware, and energized
by a massive Mar. 10 rally in Chicago [see INB 2/18/06, 3/11/06,
3/25/06]. According to a Mar. 25 article by New American Media,
more than 50 demonstrations took place over the previous few
weeks, including in Minneapolis, Knoxville, Seattle, St. Louis,
Portland (OR), Staten Island (NY) and Grand Rapids (MI). [NAM

More than 50,000 people protested on Mar. 25 in downtown Denver,
Colorado, according to police. Some 5,000-7,000 people gathered
in Charlotte, North Carolina. A rally in Dallas, Texas, drew
1,500. In Sacramento, California, more than 4,000 people took
part in an annual march honoring the late farm labor leader Cesar
Chavez. [AP 3/26/06] According to an email update from the
Houston, Texas-based zine The Alarm, between 5,000 and 6,000
people marched in Houston on Mar. 25 for the DREAM Act--
legislation that would allow immigrant students to legalize their
status. [The Alarm 3/29/06]

In New York on Mar. 25, several hundred people gathered at a
"dialogue with elected leaders" in Jackson Heights, Queens,
organized by Immigrant Communities in Action [whose name was
given incorrectly in INB 2/18/06]. At least 75 people protested
outside the federal building in Manhattan at a vigil organized by
Families for Freedom, highlighting the plight of US citizen
children affected by the deportation of parents. [New York Times
3/26/06; FFF 3/20/06] On Mar. 26, 1,000 people marched in Upper
Manhattan. [El Diario-La Prensa (NY) 3/27/06] Immigrants also
marched in Columbus, Ohio on Mar. 26. [AP 3/27/06]

On Mar. 27, several thousand demonstrators gathered on the west
lawn of the Capitol in Washington, DC, joined by 100 religious
leaders who denounced a House provision that would make it a
crime to give aid to illegal immigrants. [NYT 3/28/06; San Jose
Mercury News 3/27/06]

On Mar. 27 in San Francisco, as many as 5,000 demonstrators
marched to the offices of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The march
marked the culmination of a week-long hunger strike. [David Bacon
email 3/27/06; NYT 3/28/06] As many as 2,500 immigrants from a
broad array of backgrounds rallied on Boston Common. [Boston
Globe 3/28/06] About 4,000 people turned out for a rally in
Detroit; business owners of Latin American descent closed their
shops in support of the protest. [NYT 3/28/06]

About 200 students rallied in front of the Statehouse in Trenton,
New Jersey on Mar. 30 to urge state and federal lawmakers to
consider bills that would allow undocumented students to attend
college at in-state tuition rates. [Ocean County Observer
3/31/06; AP 3/30/06]

On Mar. 31, the birthday of Cesar Chavez, hundreds of students,
farmworkers and supporters marched through the streets of El
Paso, Texas, to support immigrant rights and pay homage to the
farmworker leader, who died in April 1993. [La Jornada (Mexico)

On Apr. 1 in New York City, more than 10,000 people marched over
the Brooklyn Bridge to demand legalization and protest anti-
immigrant legislation. The march ended with a rally at
Manhattan's federal building. [AP 4/1/06]

In Costa Mesa, California, about 40 miles south of Los Angeles,
some 1,500 people turned out in the wind and rain on Apr. 1 to
support immigrant rights. The mostly young and Latino crowd
marched around city hall, waving US and Mexican flags. [MSNBC
4/1/06] Last year Costa Mesa's City Council approved a plan to
give local police authority to enforce immigration law. Federal
officials have not yet decided whether to accept the city's
proposal. [AP 4/1/06]

Labor, immigrant and civil rights and religious groups are
organizing for a National Day of Action on Apr. 10. [AP 3/26/06]


In Los Angeles on Mar. 27--the Monday on which California
celebrates Cesar Chavez day, but which is not a school holiday--
as many as 36,000 students from 25 Los Angeles County schools
walked out of class to protest anti-immigrant measures being
debated in the Senate and demand legalization for immigrants.
Officials at Huntington Park High School locked the gates after
classes started to prevent walkouts, but students climbed over a
chain-link fence and joined the march. More than 1,000 students
encircled the Los Angeles City Hall, and a group of six met with
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in his office. Villaraigosa then
stepped outside and addressed the crowd of students, telling him
he supported their goals but urging them to return to class.

About 300 students and other protesters took over several lanes
of a freeway in downtown Los Angeles. The demonstrators walked
about a mile before they were escorted off, the Highway Patrol
said. [AP 3/27/06, 3/28/06; Dallas Morning News 3/28/06; NYT

The Mar. 27 student walkouts quickly spread to San Diego,
Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and Ventura counties. In San
Diego County, two dozen protesters were arrested in Escondido
after refusing orders from police to disperse. In Riverside,
seven people were arrested across town after scuffles with riot
police, authorities said. [LAT 3/28/06] Other student protests
were reported in Fresno, Oakland and Watsonville, California. [AP

An estimated 400 students walked out of high schools in Phoenix,
Arizona, on Mar. 27 and marched to the Capitol to support
immigrant rights. [AP 3/28/06] As many as 4,000 students walked
out of high schools in the Dallas, Texas area on Mar. 27 to
demonstrate at a park and at Dallas City Hall. [DMN 3/28/06]

Hundreds of students walked out of class on Mar. 27 and 28 in
Houston, San Diego, Denver, Las Vegas, Detroit and in northern
Virginia. [DMN 3/28/06; AP 3/29/06; Washington Post 3/29/06;
Rocky Mountain News (Denver) 3/29/06]

Students from a dozen North Texas school districts walked out of
class on Mar. 28, and several hundred students stormed the lobby
of Dallas City Hall and disrupted a council meeting. Dallas
School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa warned students
that further protests could lead to in-school suspensions, parent
conferences or even truancy arrests. [DMN 3/28/06]

On Mar. 28, thousands of high school and some middle school
students walked out of class in Phoenix and its suburbs. By
midday, Phoenix police estimated 2,000 students had gathered at
the Capitol. [Arizona Republic 3/29/06] Nearly 800 high school
students staged demonstrations in Tucson, Arizona on Mar. 29.
About 500 students at Sunnyside High in Tucson began a three-mile
march about a half-hour before dismissal time. The principal and
staff helped organize the action. [Arizona Daily Star (Tucson)
3/30/06] At least 1,150 students from 18 Tucson area schools--
including elementary and middle schools--walked out of class on
Mar. 30 and marched through the streets. [Arizona Daily Star
(Tucson) 3/31/06]

Some 6,000 students walked out again on Mar. 28 in the Los
Angeles School District. [El Barlovento 3/28/06] The walkouts
slowed in Los Angeles on Mar. 29, but continued elsewhere in
California. In Kern County, California, about 3,000 students
walked out. About 1,800 students took to the streets in and
around Bakersfield. In nearby Arvin, 1,000 high school students
marched to the town's city hall. At Oceanside High in San Diego
County, California, some students defied a school lockdown and
tried to leave for a protest. Police arrived and sprayed mace at
students to keep them from climbing a fence. A number of students
were detained. The Oceanside Unified School District decided to
close middle and high schools for the rest of the week. [LAT

In Yakima, Washington, 660 students at Davis high school and
dozens of others at Eisenhower high school walked out on Mar. 27.
On Mar. 29, Davis administrators at decided to punish the 660
students who walked out by suspending them. Eisenhower students
were not punished. [Email message from Yakima resident Maria
Cuevas 3/30/06] On Mar. 30, police arrested 26 students who
walked out of classes in the Houston Independent School District
for curfew violations. Another 33 students from Dowling Middle
School and 34 from Madison High School got truancy citations the
same day. [Houston Chronicle 3/31/06]
About 700 high school students walked out on Mar. 29 in El Paso,
Texas, and marched for several miles. On Mar. 30, more than 2,000
El Paso area students skipped out of class and marched through
the streets all day. [El Paso Times 3/30/06, 3/31/06] Students
also walked out of class in Austin, and again in Dallas. [AP

Demonstrations among high schoolers and middle schoolers spread
on Mar. 30 in the suburbs of Washington, DC. Ignoring threats of
disciplinary action from school administrators, 1,500 students
walked out of class or skipped school in Northern Virginia and
about 300 students did the same in Kensington, Maryland, to march
for immigrant rights. [Washington Post 3/31/06]

In Los Angeles on Mar. 31, more than 100 students rallied again
at City Hall. [La Jornada (Mexico) 4/1/06] Some 2,000 students
demonstrated in San Diego and another 1,000 did so in
Bakersfield. In Las Vegas, Nevada, some 4,000 students walked out
of classes at 22 schools and met in the center of the city. More
than 1,000 walked out again in Tucson and marched through the
city, and the walkouts also continued in Maryland and Virginia.
[LJ 4/1/06]


During debate on immigration reform on Mar. 27, the Senate
Judiciary Committee voted 12-5 to approve an amendment by Sen.
Lindsey Graham (R-SC) under which out-of-status immigrants in the
US could stay for six years if they remain employed, and apply
for permanent residency after six years. The committee also
accepted amendments incorporating the DREAM Act, which would
provide a path to legalization for students, and a modified
version of the AgJOBS bill, which would allow farmworkers to
legalize their status. The committee voted 11-6 to approve an
amendment sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) which would
create a "guest worker" program to admit up to 400,000 low-
skilled foreign workers a year. The committee also voted to
nearly double the number of border patrol agents, calling for
12,000 more over the next five years, to bring the force to
23,000. The final bill, which passed the committee on a 12-5
vote, did not include provisions that would make unauthorized
presence in the US a felony or allow the prosecution of church
and charitable groups for providing aid to immigrants.
[Immigration Forum Update and Action Alert 3/29/06; SJMN 3/27/06;
NYT 3/28/06]

The Senate began discussing immigration reform on Mar. 29. Debate
will focus on working out conflicts between the bill passed by
the committee and an enforcement-only measure sponsored by Senate
Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) which resembles HR 4437, passed
by the House last December. [Los Angeles Times 3/30/06]


Contributions toward Immigration News Briefs are gladly accepted:
they should be made payable and sent to Nicaragua Solidarity
Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012. (Tax-deductible
contributions of $50 or more may be made payable to the A.J.
Muste Memorial Institute and earmarked for "NSN".)