Saturday, September 2, 2006

INB 9/2/06: New Round of Marches; Raids in Florida, Arkansas

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 9, No. 32 - September 2, 2006

1. New Round of Marches Begins
2. Multiple Raids in Florida
3. Raid at Arkansas Country Club

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 now archived at


On Sept. 2, about 5,000 immigrant-rights supporters marched through downtown Los Angeles to City Hall as part of a series of events planned through Labor Day weekend. The march was organized by the March 25th Coalition. [ (Los Angeles) 9/2/06]

In Chicago, at least 400 supporters of immigrant rights kicked off a four-day march from the city's Chinatown at noon on Sept. 1. The marchers will end their 45-mile journey, dubbed the Immigrant Workers Justice Walk, on Sept. 4 at the office of US House Speaker Dennis Hastert in Batavia, a suburb west of the city. The march demands include legalization for undocumented immigrants and a moratorium on raids and deportations. Catherine Salgado of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights said she expects a few hundred supporters will walk the entire distance, and thousands more would show up at the route's various rallies. [Chicago Tribune 9/2/06] Marches are also planned for Sept. 4, the Labor Day holiday, in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Phoenix, Arizona, and a national march is scheduled for Sept. 7 in Washington, DC. [San Jose Mercury News 9/2/06]

On Sept. 1, Miller Brewing Co. denied reports in that day's Chicago Tribune that it had contributed over $30,000 to "a planning convention, materials and newspaper ads" for the Chicago march. Miller isn't sponsoring the march and didn't authorize use of its trademarks in association with the event, said Miller spokesperson Peter Marino. "The money supported a recent convention on immigration issues in Chicago, which provided attendees with information on how to become legally naturalized citizens of the US," Marino claimed. A coalition of Midwestern Latino community organizations had threatened to boycott Miller because the company's political action committee made $2,000 in campaign contributions to Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), sponsor of anti-immigrant bill HR 4437, which the House passed last December. The boycott was canceled after the two sides met in Chicago, and Miller agreed to run newspaper ads against the bill and help the group fight it. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 9/1/06]

The presence of the "Miller Girls," the company's public relations ambassadors and a display of Miller logos at a welcoming reception the day before the Aug. 12-13 planning convention in Chicago was defended by some of the organizers. "We would love to have 20 corporate logos. It doesn't mean we are selling the movement out," said Jorge Mujica, a member of the March 10 Committee. "The principles and demands remain the same. They are helping out this movement and we are happy with that." [CT 9/1/06]


On Aug. 26, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 55 immigrants from Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala who were working as janitors in state government buildings in Tallahassee, Florida. All 55 were employed by General Building Maintenance, Inc. (GBM), a janitorial services company contracted by the state of Florida. The US Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida will criminally prosecute three of the workers, two for illegally re-entering the US after being deported and one for document fraud. Another 21 workers have accepted "stipulated orders of removal" and will be deported. The other 30 workers have been charged administratively for being in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Six were released under orders of supervision because they were juveniles or "families with young children," ICE said; the rest are detained. "A potential vulnerability has been neutralized," said Robert Weber, special agent-in-charge of ICE investigations in Tampa. Agencies assisting the operation included the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Department of Management Services, the Tallahassee Police Department, the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, the US Marshals Service and Leon County Sheriff's Office. [ICE News Release 8/30/06]

A federal judge ruled on Aug. 25 that ICE agents had probable cause in arresting six men the previous week in Tallahassee on a criminal complaint that they were carrying fake immigration papers. Five men were arrested at a trailer park; the sixth was picked up at a Wal-Mart. William Clark, a federal defender representing the man arrested at Wal-Mart, said it was rare to see such cases where a person was "picked up on the street for being illegal, you don't ordinarily see that." In the courtroom, Clark grilled an ICE agent on what criteria was used to identify his client as a suspected undocumented immigrant. US Magistrate Judge William Sherrill cut short Clark's questioning and ruled the agents had probable cause for the arrest. [Tallahassee Democrat 8/26/06]

ICE arrested another 82 immigrants--all but three of them described by an ICE news release as "fugitives" who had ignored deportation orders--in Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa over a two-week period ending Sept. 1. [ICE News Release 9/1/06] Over the weekend of Aug. 26 in Apopka, 12 alleged Mexican gang members and "associates" were arrested in a joint operation between ICE, the Orange County Sheriff's Office and the City of Apopka Police Department. The arrests were part of "Operation Community Shield," targeting "criminal street gangs with foreign-born members." Since the operation was launched in March 2005, ICE claims to have arrested more than 3,450 alleged "street gang members and associates" nationwide. In the same news release, ICE reported six "non-gang related" arrests over the same weekend (presumably in the same area), of Mexican nationals who were detained and charged administratively for violating immigration laws. [ICE News Release 8/28/06]


On Aug. 23, ICE agents arrested 11 employees of the Country Club of Little Rock, Arkansas, as part of an identity-theft investigation. US Attorney Bud Cummins said the workers were to be arraigned in federal court on Aug. 25. Social Security investigators and the US Marshals Service assisted in the operation. Cummins said the club's management had cooperated with authorities in the investigation. [AP 8/24/06]


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