Saturday, March 25, 2006

INB 3/25/06: Thousands Protest, Students Walk Out

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 9, No. 11 - March 25, 2006
(Special Double Issue)

1. Immigrants Hit the Streets
2. California Students Walk Out
3. Judge Recommends Hamdan's Release
4. Family Sues Over Detainee Suicide
5. Group Sues For Detention Info

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


Between Mar. 20 and 25, tens of thousands of immigrants
demonstrated in cities and towns across the US to protest anti-
immigrant legislation being considered by the Senate and to
demand legalization for out-of-status immigrants [see INB
3/18/06]. On Mar. 20, some 1,200 immigrants and supporters
rallied outside the statehouse in Trenton, New Jersey, to protest
a proposal being considered by the US Congress which would apply
tougher enforcement measures against out-of-status immigrants.
Southern New Jersey coordinator Ramon Hernandez said more than 25
local businesses and farmers helped pay for buses to take people
to the rally. [Home News Tribune Online (East Brunswick) 3/21/06;
Press of Atlantic City 3/21/06] On Mar. 22, more than 200
immigrants and supporters marched in Providence, Rhode Island, to
the office of Senator Lincoln Chafee, asking him to support
comprehensive immigration reform. [ (East
Providence) 3/22/06]

On Mar. 23, thousands of immigrants and supporters flooded the
streets of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in a march for immigrant rights,
part of what was billed as a "A Day Without Latinos." Milwaukee
police estimated the crowd at more than 10,000, but organizers
said some 30,000 people took part. About 90 Latino-owned
businesses on Milwaukee's south side were closed for all or part
of the day in support, according to Voces de la Frontera, which
organized the demonstration. Nearly 100 staffers and teachers
skipped work at the Milwaukee Technical College to attend the
rally. About a dozen businesses in the nearby communities of
Racine and Kenosha, south of Milwaukee, also closed, and several
hundred people protested in downtown Racine.

The Milwaukee Common Council voted 11-1 the same morning to
condemn the proposed punitive legislation and call on Congress to
approve a reform bill that would allow immigrants to gain legal
status. [Journal Sentinel Online (Milwaukee) 3/23/06; AP 3/23/06]
Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), sponsor of anti-immigrant bill
HR 4437, which passed the House last Dec. 16, issued a statement
criticizing the Milwaukee immigrant mobilization, while admitting
it was "an impressive show of force." [Sensenbrenner Statement on
Milwaukee Rally 3/23/06]

Latino immigrant communities in the Atlanta, Georgia area took
part in a "Day without Hispanics" civic strike on Mar. 24, a day
after the Georgia House voted 123-51 to approve a state bill that
would affect undocumented immigrants by denying state services,
imposing a 5% surcharge on wire transfers, punishing employers
and creating a worker verification program to be administered by
the state Department of Labor. The legislation must still be
approved by the state senate. [AP 3/23/06]

Teodoro Maus, one of the organizers of the protest, estimated
that as many as 80,000 Latinos failed to show up for work. About
200 people rallied on the steps of the state capitol in Atlanta,
some holding signs reading: "Don't panic, we're Hispanic" and "We
have a dream, too." [Arizona Republic (Phoenix) 3/24/06]

Some 2,000 people rallied in Kansas City, Kansas, on Mar. 24 to
protest the anti-immigrant legislation being considered by the US
Senate. [Kansas City Star (Kansas City, MO) 3/24/06]

In Phoenix on Mar. 24, thousands of people marched to the office
of Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) to demand respect for immigrants. Phoenix
police estimated the crowd at between 15,000 and 20,000 people;
organizers had only expected about 3,000. The march filled a
solid mile of 24th Street, shutting down the street and causing
major traffic gridlock. "I've been involved in protests like this
for nearly 10 years, and I've never seen anything this big," said
state representative Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix). A group of
protesters delivered a letter to Kyl's office. A smaller
demonstration took place the same day in Tucson. [Arizona
Republic 3/24/06; East Valley Tribune (Phoenix suburbs) 3/25/06]

On Mar. 21, over 50 hunger strikers representing as many
community organizations began a seven-day protest in front of the
federal building in San Francisco to call for a fair and just
immigration reform. United Farm Workers of America co-founder
Dolores Huerta spoke at a noon press conference kicking off the
hunger strike, saying: "It's time for a new legalization
program." Later in the day, nearly 400 community members marched
from Dolores Park in the Mission District to the federal building
to support the hunger strikers. The hunger strike is to end on
Mar. 27 with a community march to Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office.
Daily reports from the week of action are posted on [Contra Costa Times 3/22/06;
"SF Hunger Strike Report: Day 1" 3/22/06]


In the Los Angeles area on Mar. 24, school district officials
estimated that more than 2,700 students walked out of at least
eight schools to protest anti-immigrant bills being considered by
Congress. [New York Times 3/25/06] At least 500 students started
the walkout at Huntington Park High School; some 300 students
then walked to Bell High and 200 went to South Gate High. Those
schools were locked down--meaning no one can come in or leave--
before the protesters reached them, said Los Angeles Unified
School District (LAUSD) spokesperson Olga Quinones. At Bell,
teacher Joan Dooley said hundreds of students climbed the gates
to join the protesters in the streets. "Those kids had a right to
walk out," Dooley said. "When they saw this huge mob...they
should have opened the gate."

Students who were blocked from walking out at Bell, South Gate
and San Fernando high schools protested on campus. Walkouts also
took place at Garfield, Roosevelt and Montebello high schools. In
Riverside County, 400 students at two campuses in the Moreno
Valley Unified School District held rallies but did not leave
school grounds, officials said. [Los Angeles Times 3/25/06; AP
3/25/06; (San Diego) 3/24/06] Another 1,500 students
rallied in Evergreen Park in Boyle Heights for an hour after
walking out of classes at Garfield, Montebello and Roosevelt high
schools, according to LAUSD official Rafael Escobar. Some 73% of
the 877,010 students in the LAUSD this year are Latino. [LAT

In northern California, about 300 students at Ceres High School
near Modesto--deep in the central valley east of San Francisco--
staged a protest before school. Administrators allowed the
demonstration for two class periods. "We felt it was valuable for
them to experience democracy in action," said Ceres Unified
School District Superintendent Walt Hanline. "People need to
understand this legislation is creating a lot of fear for
people." About 100 students refused to go to classes after the
demonstration and were suspended for three days. Police cited
eight for trespassing after they refused to go to a gym with the
other suspended students. [AP 3/25/06]

Pro-immigrant groups are holding a massive demonstration in
downtown Los Angeles on Mar. 25 to express their opposition to
the bill. [ 3/24/06] The march is being organized by
several organizations, including the Coalition for Humane
Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), as part of a "Weekend
of Action" against the Sensenbrenner bill and related
legislation. [LAT 3/24/06, 3/25/06]


In a Mar. 21 decision filed on Mar. 22, federal judge Jeffrey
Johnson of US District Court in Los Angeles recommended that
authorities release Abdel-Jabbar Hamdan from immigration
detention. Johnson noted that Hamdan had not been criminally
charged and would not be deported anytime soon. The
recommendation must still be approved by another federal judge,
and the government has 20 days to raise objections before that
can happen. Apr. 11 is the earliest Hamdan might be released from
the Terminal Island detention facility where he is being held,
said San Francisco attorney Stacy Tolchin. [AP 3/22/06, 3/24/06]

The recommendation came in response to a habeas petition filed
last July 14 by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of
Southern California. [LA Times 7/15/05] Some 150 people showed up
in solidarity with Hamdan at a hearing on the petition last Dec.
6; only 40 supporters were allowed into the courtroom for the
three-hour hearing. [Info from]

Born in a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan, Hamdan was a
respected resident of Orange County, California, when US
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested him on July
27, 2004. ICE charged him only with violating immigration law but
claimed he was linked to terror because of his work as a
fundraiser for an Islamic charity, the Holy Land Foundation for
Relief and Development. On Nov. 29, 2004, immigration judge D.D.
Sitgraves ordered Hamdan held without bond as a national security
risk; on Feb. 8, 2005, she ordered him deported but blocked his
return to Jordan because he could face torture there [see INB
12/18/04, 2/12/05].


The family of Algerian woman Hassiba Belbachir--who killed
herself on Mar. 17, 2005, while detained by ICE at the McHenry
County Jail, west of Chicago [see INB 3/26/05]--filed a federal
lawsuit on Mar. 14 in US District Court in Chicago. The suit
charges that jail officials knew Belbachir had health problems,
spoke no English, had severe depression and was suicidal, yet did
not do enough to prevent her from strangling herself with a pair
of jail-issue socks that had been knotted together.

The suit names the county; Sheriff Keith Nygren; Corrections
Chief Tom Svoboda; Centegra Health System, which at the time of
the incident had a contract with the county to provide medical
services at the jail; and several corrections officers, nurses
and a doctor. "We think that the woman's death, while tragic, was
not the result of any misconduct or failure to act on the part of
anyone involved in the operations of the McHenry County Jail,"
said First Assistant State's Atty. Thomas Carroll. Carroll said
the county switched its medical provider for the jail last year
for reasons unrelated to the death. Janine Hoft, the lawyer
representing Belbachir's family, said the lawsuit was filed on
behalf of Belbachir's father and a brother who live in Algeria, a
cousin in Chicago, a sister in Canada and two sisters and a
brother in France. The lawsuit does not seek a specific amount in
damages. [Chicago Tribune 3/16/06]


On Mar. 17, the Heartland Alliance's Midwest Immigrant & Human
Rights Center (MIHRC) filed a federal lawsuit against the US
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to obtain public
information about detained immigrants and asylum seekers. MIHRC
sued DHS after the government repeatedly failed to respond to
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for information on
compliance with detention standards, medical policies, and the
names and locations of detention facilities contracted by DHS.

MIHRC represents several detained asylum seekers who have
experienced substandard detention conditions and poor treatment
while in DHS custody. MIHRC director Mary Meg McCarthy noted that
the American Bar Association has produced several studies of
DHS's compliance with detention standards, but its members were
only allowed access to jails and detainees on condition of
secrecy. "We believe that the secrecy must end," said McCarthy.
[MIHRC Press Release 3/17/06]


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, March 18, 2006

INB 3/18/06: Senate Looks at Kennedy Bill; Raids in Boston, Rhode Island

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 9, No. 10 - March 18, 2006

1. Senate to Consider Kennedy Bill?
2. 60 Arrested in Boston Raids
3. Janitors Arrested at RI Navy Base

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

*1. Senate to Consider Kennedy Bill?

The Senate Judiciary Committee agreed early on Mar. 16 to
consider two legislative proposals which include provisions
for out-of-status immigrants to remain in the US. One
proposal, sponsored by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and
Edward Kennedy (D-MA), would allow out-of-status
immigrants to remain in the US for six years if they stay
employed and pay a $1,000 fine. They would then become
eligible for permanent residency by paying another $1,000,
learning English and paying all the taxes they owe. The other
proposal, sponsored by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Jon
Kyl (R-AZ), would let employed out-of-status immigrants
stay for five years, but they would then have to leave the US,
pay fines and apply to re-enter the country. Sen. Arlen
Specter (R-PA), chair of the Judiciary Committee, set a
committee vote for Mar. 27 on the two bills. Shortly after
Specter announced that his panel was nearing agreement on
the compromise, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN)
said he would introduce his own proposal limited to border
security and enforcement measures on Mar. 27. (AP 3/16/06)

The Judiciary Committee's decision to consider the Kennedy
proposal comes as immigrant rights activists and advocates
carry out actions around the country demanding a positive
solution for out-of-status immigrants. Advocates calling the
Judiciary Committee were told that the phones were "ringing
off the hook," according to a report from the Immigration
Forum. (Immigration Forum Policy Update 3/16/06) Actions
are expected to continue during the Senate's week-long
recess, including a hunger strike and week of actions in the
San Francisco Bay Area Mar. 21-27. (Bay Area Immigrant
Rights Coalition website,

*2. 60 Arrested in Boston Raids

In "Operation Avalanche," a two-day sweep through the
Boston area on Mar. 14 and 15, US Immigration and
Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 60 immigrants,
57 of whom had records of arrests or convictions. In its Mar.
16 news release reporting the raids, ICE did not specify how
many of those detained had been convicted of crimes and
how many had been charged but ultimately acquitted. Three
immigrants who did not have arrest records were detained on
outstanding deportation orders. ICE spun the raids as an
effort to rid the streets of potential offenders and stem recent
violence in high-crime Boston neighborhoods including
Dorchester, East Boston and Mattapan. Of the immigrants
seized in the raids, 43 were lawful permanent residents.

It was the largest such raid in New England since ICE was
formed three years ago, according to Matthew J. Etre, acting
special agent-in-charge of ICE in New England. Advocates
for immigrants criticized the arrests, saying that authorities
had targeted people of color and gave too few details about
the charges. The immigrants arrested came from 21
countries: Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cape Verde,
Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ghana,
Greece, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica,
Nicaragua, Nigeria, St. Vincent, Trinidad, United Kingdom
and Vietnam. In its press release, ICE did not specify how
many of the arrestees came from each country, although
charts the agency released to reporters before a press
conference announcing the results of the sweep showed that
more than half of those arrested were from Haiti, the
Dominican Republic or El Salvador. Asked if federal agents
had focused on Central American and Caribbean countries,
Etre said: "We do not target any one ethnic group. We are
targeting those individuals who are committing crimes in our
neighborhoods, and violent crimes at that."

Nearly 60% of the arrests took place in one of Boston's
crime "hot spots," 10 sections of the city where more than
20% of the 75 killings in 2005 occurred, said Etre and
Boston police superintendent Paul Joyce. ICE was assisted in
the operation by the Boston Police Department, the Suffolk
County Sheriff's Department, the US Marshals Service, the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the
Middlesex County Sheriff's Department, the Suffolk County
Probation Office, the Social Security Administration Office
of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, the US
Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service, the
Massachusetts State Police, the US Attorney's office, the
Bristol County Sheriff's Department and the Plymouth
County Sheriff's Department. (Boston Globe 3/17/06; ICE
News Release 3/16/06)

*3. Janitors Arrested at RI Navy Base
On Mar. 13, ICE agents arrested four janitors they said were
working illegally for a cleaning contractor at a Navy base in
Newport, Rhode Island. The four workers--three Guatemalan
nationals and one Colombian--are among 140 employees at
Aid Maintenance Co. who are ineligible to work in the US,
said ICE spokesperson Paula Grenier. Aid Maintenance, a
Pawtucket-based janitorial service, contracts with the Navy's
base in Newport and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. A
federal immigration judge will be responsible for deciding
whether the four employees will be deported. Russell Bizier,
the company's operations manager, said he believed his firm
now must fire more than half of its 280 employees. Aid
Maintenance officials check every job applicant's
documentation to make sure they're eligible to work, Bizier
said. The firm voluntarily submits Social Security numbers
to a government database to check their authenticity. Bizier
said immigration officials have told him the company will
not be fined. (Boston Globe 3/16/06 from AP)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

INB 3/11/06: Thousands Rally in Chicago, DC

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 9, No. 9 - March 11, 2006

1. Thousands Rally in Chicago, DC
2. Senate Committee Debates 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


Immigrants and supporters marched and rallied in Chicago on Mar.
10 to demand legalization for out-of-status immigrants and oppose
anti-immigrant legislation currently being considered by the
Senate. Organizers estimated the crowd at 130,000, while Chicago
police estimated 75,000 to 100,000 people took part, making it
one of the biggest pro-immigrant demonstrations in US history,
according to national advocates. The march was dominated by
Mexican immigrants but also included Irish, Polish, Chinese and
African-American participants. The protesters stepped off shortly
after noon for a two-mile march to Federal Plaza, followed by a
2pm rally; The march was so long that many participants had not
yet reached the plaza when the rally ended at 4pm. [Chicago
Tribune 3/11/06; La Jornada (Mexico) 3/11/06 from wire services]

Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley
were among the politicians who spoke at the rally in favor of
immigrant rights, along with US Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), a
longtime advocate for immigrants. According to a report in the
Chicago Tribune, whole shifts of workers left their jobs in
Chicago and the surrounding areas, and thousands of students
walked out of class to attend the demonstration. At one school,
Farragut Career Academy in Lawndale, about half the 2,500
students walked out en masse after attendance was taken at
10:40am. [CT 3/11/06]

Three days earlier, on Mar. 7, tens of thousands of immigrants
and supporters demonstrated in Washington, DC to urge the Senate
to pass legislation providing out-of-status immigrants with a
path to citizenship, and to reject the harsh anti-immigrant
provisions in HR 4437, the bill sponsored by Rep. James
Sensenbrenner (R-WI) which passed the House of Representatives
last Dec. 16. [Scripps Howard News Service 3/7/06] The rally was
organized by the National Capital Immigration Coalition, which
said the crowd was far larger than the predicted turnout of
20,000, with possibly as many as 40,000 participants. US Capitol
Police estimated that the rally drew at least 5,000. [Washington
Post 3/8/06; Washington Times 3/8/06]

Hundreds of participants arrived in the capital by bus from New
York City, Baltimore (Maryland) and Richmond (Virginia).
[Richmond Times-Dispatch 3/8/06; El Diario-La Prensa (NY) 3/8/06
from correspondent] Some 500 participants arrived on buses from
Georgetown, in southern Delaware, the center of the poultry
processing industry. Many of them had attended a massive
immigrant rights rally in Georgetown last Feb. 14 [see INB
2/18/06]. Parishioners from Catholic churches in Seaford and
Georgetown collected more than $3,000 over the weekend of Mar. 4
to pay for the buses. [News Journal (Wilmington, DE) 3/8/06]

Clergy from the Jewish, Catholic, Quaker, Episcopalian,
Methodist, Muslim and other faiths protested the bill with a
prayer service at the Washington rally and a press conference
earlier in the day; clergy are particularly incensed over a
provision in HR 4437 which would impose sanctions on anyone who
assists undocumented immigrants in any way. [Christian Post
3/8/06; WT 3/8/06]


On Feb. 24, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), chair of the Senate
Judiciary Committee, released his 300-page immigration "reform"
proposal, an attempt to compromise between opposing factions in
the immigration debate. Specter's "Chairman's Mark" includes many
of the same harsh provisions as HR 4437, along with a "guest
worker" program for migrant workers; the plan would not provide a
path to citizenship, and immigrants already living here would not
be eligible. [NYT 2/25/06]

On Mar. 2, the Senate Judiciary Committee began marking up the
bill; they continued on Mar. 8 and 9, voting on Mar. 9 to add
provisions to build new barricades on the US-Mexico border and
hire 12,000 new Border Patrol agents over the next two years. A
fourth markup session is scheduled for Mar. 16. The Judiciary
Committee is trying to finalize the bill and send it to the full
Senate for a vote by Mar. 27; Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist
(R-TN) has threatened to move forward with his own "enforcement-
only" version if that deadline is not met. [Los Angeles Times
3/10/06; Arizona Republic 3/10/06; News Journal 3/8/06; WT
3/10/06; Message from Prerana Reddy 3/3/06]

Organizers of the Chicago and Washington rallies are mostly
supporting the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act, co-
sponsored by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA), as
an alternative to Specter's proposal. [CT 3/11/06; Catholic News
Service 3/8/06] The Kennedy-McCain bill includes provisions for
border security, temporary worker visas and family reunification.
It would require efforts by foreign countries to help control the
flow of migrants, cover the costs borne by hospitals that provide
emergency care for undocumented immigrants, promote citizenship
and take steps to prevent fraud. [CNS 3/8/06]

Rights advocates are urging people to call their senators to
express support for immigrants--including a path to citizenship--
and opposition to harsh enforcement provisions. Anti-immigrant
forces are apparently flooding senators with calls. More
information is available from the American Immigration Lawyers
Association (, the Immigration Forum
( and the Rights Working Group
(, among others. [Immigration Forum
Action Alert 3/3/06; Message from Prerana Reddy 3/3/06; National
Immigrant Solidarity Network 3/10/06]


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, March 5, 2006

INB 3/5/06: Gov't Settles Abuse Lawsuit; Raids Hit Cape Cod

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 9, No. 8 - March 5, 2006

1. Government Settles Abuse Lawsuit
2. Raids Hit Cape Cod

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 Feb. 27, the US government filed a settlement in US District
Court for the Eastern District of New York, in Brooklyn, agreeing
to pay $300,000 to Ehab Elmaghraby, a native of Egypt who was
arrested in a sweep of Muslim men following the Sept. 11, 2001,
terror attacks and was held for nearly a year at the federal
Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn. Elmaghraby was
eventually convicted of credit card fraud but cleared of any
links to terrorism; he was deported in 2003 and now lives in

On May 3, 2004, Elmaghraby and co-plaintiff Javaid Iqbal, a
Pakistani native held at MDC for nine months, sued former
attorney general John Ashcroft and Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) director Robert S. Mueller III in the
Brooklyn federal court, accusing them of personally conspiring to
violate the rights of Muslim immigrant detainees on the basis of
their race, religion and national origin. The lawsuit also names
officials from the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and guards at
MDC [see INB 5/15/04].

Elmaghraby said he reluctantly decided to settle because he is
ill, in debt and about to have surgery for a thyroid ailment
aggravated by his treatment in detention. Iqbal is still pursuing
the lawsuit. Iqbal was one of several detainees who returned to
New York this year to give depositions in their lawsuits under
conditions of extraordinary security, including the requirement
that they be in constant custody of federal marshals and not call
anybody. Elmaghraby did not go to New York because of his ill
health and because the settlement was close, said one of his
lawyers, Haeyoung Yoon of the Urban Justice Center.

A number of similar lawsuits have been filed; Elgharaby's case is
the first the government has settled. The settlement agreement
must still be approved by the federal judge in the case, John
Gleeson. The government did not admit any liability or fault in
settling the suit.

Gleeson ruled last September that Ashcroft, Mueller and other top
government officials must answer questions under oath in the
lawsuit. "Our nation's unique and complex law enforcement and
security challenges in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks do
not warrant the elimination of remedies for the constitutional
violations alleged here," Gleeson wrote. Government lawyers filed
an appeal of that ruling on Feb. 24.

A 2003 report by the Justice Department's inspector general found
widespread abuse of noncitizen detainees at MDC following Sept.
11, 2001. In their lawsuit, Elmaghraby and Iqbal charged that
while at MDC they were kicked and punched while shackled, cursed
as terrorists and subjected to multiple unnecessary body-cavity
searches, including one in which correction officers inserted a
flashlight into Elmaghraby's rectum, making him bleed.

BOP spokesperson Traci L. Billingsley said the BOP began its own
investigation in April 2004, after federal officials declined to
prosecute. She said 10 guards and supervisors at MDC had been
disciplined: two were fired, two demoted and eight received
suspensions ranging from 2 to 30 days. She listed the offenses as
"lack of candor, unprofessional conduct, misuse of supervisory
authority, conduct unbecoming, inattention to duty, failure to
exercise supervisory responsibilities, excessive use of force,
and physical and/or verbal abuse." [New York Times 2/28/06]


On Feb. 21, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents
arrested nine Brazilian immigrants in the Cape Cod area of
Massachusetts while searching for three men wanted on outstanding
warrants of removal. Barnstable police collaborated with ICE
agents in the raids. The nine detainees were taken to Boston,
where half of them were released with an order to appear in court
at a future date. "When we're seeking several fugitives, as we
were, and we happen upon other people breaking immigration laws,
we are not going to release them," said ICE northeast regional
communications director Michael Gilhooly. "We are going to arrest

Local Brazilians believe the ICE raids stemmed from the Feb. 3
arrest by Barnstable police of two Brazilian men who worked at a
Dunkin' Donuts shop. The two were charged with having urinated
and spit in coffee served to customers--particularly police
officers. ICE northeast regional communications director Michael
Gilhooly said two of the three men named in the removal warrants
were also facing charges brought by Barnstable police; Gilhooly
would not confirm whether the charges were for the coffee-
tampering incidents. But Cape Cod Online reports that two of the
men named on the removal warrants have the same last names as the
two Dunkin' Donuts suspects. One of the two was arrested Feb. 21
in Hyannis; the other was picked up in Florida on Feb. 23.

Barnstable police would not say whether they had contacted
immigration officials about the Dunkin' Donuts case. Barnstable
police also arrested five men during the week of Feb. 20 for
using fake Brazilian driver's licenses. All of them were
initially pulled over for traffic violations.

The last large immigration sweep on Cape Cod took place in
September 2002, when 35 Brazilian nationals were arrested in
early-morning raids by what was then the Immigration and
Naturalization Service (INS). There are an estimated 15,000 to
18,000 Brazilian immigrants living on Cape Cod, according to
leaders in the Brazilian community. [Cape Cod Online 2/24/06]


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".)