Saturday, October 21, 2006

INB 10/21/06: Deport Flight to Pakistan; Buffalo NY Farm Raided

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 9, No. 36 - October 21, 2006

1. Deport Flight Sends 76 to Pakistan
2. NY: Buffalo Area Farm Raided
3. AZ: Raid at Yuma Construction Site
4. Lawsuit Challenges Detention
5. IL: Local Ordinance Postponed

Immigration News Briefs is a 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 for info. You may reprint or distribute items from INB, but please credit us and tell people how to subscribe. Immigration News Briefs is archived at


On Oct. 11, a chartered Boeing 757 jet arrived in Islamabad, Pakistan, from New Jersey carrying 76 deportees, including two women. Some had served criminal sentences in the US, but most were deported for having violated immigration rules. The flight was accompanied by 18 US Marshals and immigration officials. The deportees were handcuffed throughout the entire trip, from the time they left US detention centers until an hour after the plane landed in Islamabad. During the flight, one of the women deportees fainted and had to be revived with first aid, including oxygen. Upon arrival, the deportees were detained for about three hours while officials from Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) recorded their statements and took fingerprints. The FIA also confiscated the deportees' passports, and threatened to fine them if the passports were found to be false. [DAWN (Pakistan) 10/12/06; Daily Times (Pakistan) 10/12/06]


On Oct. 4, special agents from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 28 Mexican immigrants working for Torrey Farms in Barker, New York, 40 miles east of Buffalo. The workers were living in a building owned by Torrey Farms. All 28 were placed in ICE custody and scheduled for removal hearings before an immigration judge. An ICE investigation found the workers had used false social security numbers to get their jobs. [ICE News Release 10/4/06]


On Oct. 10, about 50 agents from ICE and the Border Patrol, with backup from local police and a helicopter, raided the construction site for a new high school in Yuma, Arizona. The agents detained seven workers for questioning and served search warrants on the offices of a site contractor. All those detained were employed by contractors working on the $50 million Gila Ridge High School. Five of the seven workers gave up
their right to appear before a judge and agreed to be repatriated, said ICE spokesperson Russell Ahr. The other two will face deportation hearings. Their nationalities were not given. [AP 10/12/06]


In a class-action lawsuit filed on Sept. 25, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California, the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project and the Stanford Law School Immigrants' Rights Clinic charged that ICE routinely holds immigrants longer than six months in defiance of the Supreme Court's June 2001 ruling in Zadvydas v. Davis. "These people have been kept away from their families, their communities and their lives for years--without even a hearing to determine if their prolonged detention is justified," said ACLU staff attorney Ahilan Arulanantham.

Two of the six plaintiffs named in the suit were released after the suit was filed. On Oct. 6, the ACLU asked US District Judge Terry Hatter to order the immediate release under supervision of the remaining four named plaintiffs, or grant them bond hearings. Arulanantham says immigration officials purposely avoid defending their policy in court, releasing only detainees whose attorneys file challenges. In order to force the issue to a hearing and prevent ICE from simply releasing the named petitioners and moving to dismiss the case as moot, the ACLU included as additional
plaintiffs any unknown detainees in the same circumstances.

ICE spokesperson Virginia Kice said the Zadvydas ruling does not apply to immigrants who are fighting deportation. The agency is required to detain immigrants convicted of certain felonies or considered to be flight risks or threats to public safety or national security, Kice said.

Arulanantham said Justice Stephen Breyer's majority opinion in the Zadvydas case applies to a much broader group of immigrants. Arulanantham said that in any case two of his clients, Ebrahim Mussa and John Rasheed, were no longer fighting deportation; judges barred their removal because they might be tortured in their homelands, but the government is prolonging the legal battle with appeals. As for the mandatory detention of convicted immigrants, Arulanantham said Mussa and Rudolph Stepanian
were convicted of crimes but have been released; only one of the four remaining plaintiffs has any prior convictions.

Niels Frenzen, director of the University of Southern California (USC) Law Immigration Clinic, said he believed the Supreme Court "was probably looking at people whose appeals were completed" in its Zadvydas ruling. But if the immigration agency "is cutting people loose just because the case is filed," perhaps government lawyers have concluded the ruling does apply to these immigrants, he added. [Los Angeles Times 10/10/06; Washington Post 10/10/06 from AP; ACLU Southern California News Release 10/9/06]


On Oct. 3, the Village Board of Carpentersville, Illinois, postponed discussion of a proposed anti-immigrant ordinance after nearly 3,000 people showed up to oppose it. On the advice of the village attorney, the Board deferred a meeting on the measure until a larger location is found. The proposed ordinance would deny a business permit to any employer found to have knowingly hired undocumented workers; fine landlords $1,000 if they rented apartments to undocumented immigrants; and make English the official language for village documents, forms and signs.

A similar ordinance in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, was approved by local officials but challenged in court by the ACLU. Under court orders, Hazleton halted plans to implement the ordinance and is considering a different one, according to the ACLU. [Chicago Tribune 10/4/06]


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