Thursday, August 21, 2008

John Tanton Keeps Expanding his Racist Tentacles

The Southern Poverty Law Center HateWatch project is reporting that the racist anti-immigrant advocate, John Tanton is funding ProEnglish which has given $19,000 and legal advice to Nashville English First, which hopes to force a countywide vote on a proposal to limit all Metro Nashville government business, publications and meetings to English, with no exceptions for health or safety. Both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have listed John Tanton and his network of white–supremacist anti-immigrant organizations as hate groups. Eristic Ragemail has written extensively on the racist roots of the anti-immigrant movement. Further information onJohn Tanton and his nativist network can be found John Tanton’s Network of Hate: How A Small Group of the Wealthy founded the Contemporary Nativist Wave and at Eugenics and Nativism: Joined at the Hip and at The Lies, Distortions and Fabrications of F.A.I.R. Any organization that Tanton touches should be viewed with considerable skepticism.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Settlement Reached in Class Action Suit Challenging Delays in Granting Citizenship

The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington (ACLU-WA), announced that they have reached a preliminary settlement agreement with the federal government in a landmark class action lawsuit challenging delays in the granting of citizenship. In granting class certification, Federal District Court Judge Pechman, rejected the government's arguments asserting that the inability to vote does not prevent individuals from fully participating in our democracy: "This suggestion that Plaintiffs should be resigned to participate vicariously in civic society is shocking, offensive, and wrong. It echoes the sentiments of those who challenged woman's suffrage, suggesting that women should be content to participate in the political process vicariously through their husbands' votes." Such strong language, “shocking, offensive and wrong,” in rejecting the government argument is unusual for a Federal District Court Judge and indicates how far out-of-bounds the Department of Justice and the Bush Administration have gone in defending their immigration policies.

Detainee Dies In Agony

Describing conditions out of a Third World prison, The New York Times’ Nina Bernstein describes the horrible ordeal of Hiu Lui Ng, an immigrant who had lived in the United States for most of his adult life and died an excruciating death at the hands of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Ng was suffering with such crushing pain, from undiagnosed cancer, that he needed help from other detainees just to get out of his bunk and use the toilet. Orwellian bureaucrats refused to give him painkillers because he would not get up to get in line to receive them, (due to his excruciating pain). On his deathbed he was told by ICE's staff to stop faking it. Herein an excerpt from the New York Times article:

He was 17 when he came to New York from Hong Kong in 1992 with his parents and younger sister, eyeing the skyline like any newcomer. Fifteen years later, Hiu Lui Ng was a New Yorker: a computer engineer with a job in the Empire State Building, a house in Queens, a wife who is a United States citizen and two American-born sons.

But when Mr. Ng, who had overstayed a visa years earlier, went to immigration headquarters in Manhattan last summer for his final interview for a green card, he was swept into immigration detention and shuttled through jails and detention centers in three New England states.

In April, Mr. Ng began complaining of excruciating back pain. By mid-July, he could no longer walk or stand. And last Wednesday, two days after his 34th birthday, he died in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a Rhode Island hospital, his spine fractured and his body riddled with cancer that had gone undiagnosed and untreated for months.

Instead, the affidavits say, guards at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, R.I., dragged him from his bed on July 30, carried him in shackles to a car, bruising his arms and legs, and drove him two hours to a federal lockup in Hartford, where an immigration officer pressured him to withdraw all pending appeals of his case and accept deportation.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Torture and Repression Brought to You by the U.S.A.

Much shock and dismay has been expressed over the U.S. military’s use of torture in Iraq, Guantanamo and at so-called “black sites." However, the use of torture by the military or its surrogates is by no means new. The United States has a long dark history in the use, training and implementation of torture in Latin America. The most infamous institution associated with the promotion of torture, summary execution, disappearance and repression of dissidents is the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia.

For decades the U.S. has propped up military dictatorships in Latin America that stifled progressive change and entrenched small cliques of elites which were completely out of touch with the population over which they ruled. The most notorious of these nefarious regimes were the Argentine junta, Chile's Augusto Pinochet and the Central American military dictatorships. The Mexican government, despite its dressings of democracy, has always operated with torture and disappearance of dissidents. These regimes assured a free hand for U.S. business interests and the iron fist for the impoverished masses. The modus operandi for the military and U.S. intelligence agencies was well established prior to 911. In fact some of the most active agents in promoting torture in Latin America include such well known Iraq war figures as Dick Cheney and John Negroponte.

Although the documentary history of this long and dark history of repression is abundant, most Americans have little knowledge of just how reprehensible their government has been in brutally repressing social change in Latin America. The history of the United States relationship with Latin America needs to be understood in order to gain a complete understanding of the migration of Latin Americans to the United States. More on this in future posts.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Legal Resident Jailed Indefinitely: Accused of lying to ICE agent

Just when you think that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) could not get more outrageous they pull out a new trangression. Apparently, ICE can jail you indefinitely for “lying" even if you are here legally and even if there is no probable cause for their questioning. Maximiliano Mateo-Mendez was minding his own business in Raleigh, North Carolina when an immigration officer approached him on the street and asked him what he was doing. Unlike most law enforcement agencies which abide by a minimum standard of conduct respecting civil rights, apparently ICE has a free hand to do whatever the f*ck it wants, whenever it wants to. As reported in the North Carolina Times-News is reporting as follows:

Mateo-Mendez's case highlights the ability of immigration agents to question people on the street without the probable cause that limits other police agencies. Immigration lawyers and advocates worry this will help lead to greater levels of racial profiling and have a chilling effect on the willingness of immigrant crime victims and witnesses to talk to police and testify in court.

``To allow immigration agents to come into the federal and state courthouse and questioning people is really going to pose problems,'' said Sara Dill, a Miami-based immigration and criminal lawyer.

Dill is a co-chairwoman of the American Bar Association's committee on immigration law and said the group is studying the legal rights of clients, especially as more local law enforcement agencies work closely with federal immigration agents to deport illegal immigrants who commit crimes.

While incarcerated, Mateo-Menendez’ business has apparently suffered due to his absence. Strike another low for civil and human rights in the United States.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Diversity Train Has Arrived

The United States is multi-cultural and ethnically diverse. So, you may ask, why is that news? It is news, in large measure, because nativists and the anti-immigrant lobby in particular, argue that we need to immediately shut our borders lest, we become multi-cultural and ethnically diverse. For better or worse, and I would vehemently argue for better, the U.S. is already a multi-cultural society. The horse, so to speak, has left the barn and closing the gate will not prevent what nativists fear most. The U.S. Census Bureau confirms that minorities now form a much larger part of the American population. As reported recently in the New York Times:

Foreshadowing the nation’s changing makeup, one in four American counties have passed or are approaching the tipping point where black, Hispanic and Asian children constitute a majority of the under-20 population, according to analyses of census figures released Thursday.

Racial and ethnic minorities now account for 43 percent of Americans under 20. Among people of all ages, minorities make up at least 40 percent of the population in more than one in six of the nation’s 3,141 counties.

The latest population changes by race, ethnicity and age, as of July 1, 2007, were generally marginal compared with the year before. But they confirm the breadth of the nation’s diversity, and suggest that minorities — now about a third of the population — might constitute a majority of all Americans even sooner than projected by census demographers, in 2050.

Reasons for this emerging diversity will, of course, cause much ink to be spilled, never mind the rancor that will be evinced. But one thing should be unequivocally clear: anyone who argues that immigration alone is causing this shift is quite simply howling at the wind. Nativists cannot speak of “our culture” as if they had some proprietary lock. I am reminded of Woody Guthrie’s song: “This Land is Your Land.”

This land is your land, this land is my land

From California, to the New York Island

From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters

This land was made for you and me


The sun comes shining as I was strolling

The wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling

The fog was lifting a voice come chanting

This land was made for you and me


As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there

And that sign said - no tress passin'

But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!

Now that side was made for you and me!


In the squares of the city - In the shadow of the steeple

Near the relief office - I see my people

And some are grumblin' and some are wonderin'

If this land's still made for you and me.

Yes, indeed, some are grumblin’ and wonderin’ if this land’s still made for you and me.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

ICE petty bureaucrat whines, oversteps her authority

Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Julie L. Myers, has been dipping into the evidence locker at ICE since she apparently thinks she has authority, not only beyond that of her boss at the Department of Homeland Security but also over the legislative branch. Since ICE seems to have no shortage of hubris, the petty bureaucrat Myers, is deluded with the notion that she can discipline a member of Congress.

The head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will ask Congress to consider taking disciplinary action against one of its members for a statement he made equating ICE agents with the Gestapo, a senior agency official said Wednesday.

Luis V. Gutierrez , vice chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee that handles immigration, has called for a moratorium on ICE enforcement actions until Congress passes a comprehensive overhaul, something it has failed to do in each of the past two years.

In a column written for Politico, Gutierrez, D-Ill., commenting on recent ICE arrests of illegal immigrants in Iowa, said: "You know who is in charge now? The Gestapo agents at Homeland Security. They are in charge."

A senior ICE official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Julie L. Myers, the assistant secretary of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was "absolutely appalled and deeply angered" by the statement. The official said Myers would send a letter to senior members of Congress asking that disciplinary action be taken against Gutierrez’ for his remarks.

I guess all the bullying of immigrants has deluded the hapless Myers into thinking that she can push around members of Congress. This stunt by Myers is fat in and of itself, but when you consider that Myers likes to attend office parties where the good folks running ICE participate in racist skits complete with black face and Ratafarian wigs, well it makes the whole thing completely laughable. Daily Kos had a great take on this episode.

Oh noes!!! Julie Myers is "appalled and deeply angered."

Glass houses, my friend:

Democratic lawmakers yesterday accused Julie L. Myers, an assistant secretary of homeland security, of misleading Congress after photographs emerged of Myers at an office Halloween party honoring a white employee dressed as an escaped prisoner with dreadlocks and makeup that made him look African American or Hispanic.

Myers, whose Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency runs the nation's 32,000-bed immigration detention system, was on a three-judge panel that gave a "most original costume" award to the worker at an ICE charity event Oct. 31. Myers subsequently apologized, saying the costume could leave "a negative impression" of ICE's respect for people whom it detains and explained that she learned only the next day that the man was wearing makeup.

My advice? Stick to disciplining your own branch. You've got no business looking outside your own agency -- and some would say none outside your own behavior, quite frankly -- much less outside your own branch. The executive has done quite enough meddling in the legislature, thank you very much. The last thing we need is petty bureaucrats with their own ethical rap sheets whining to Congress about which legislators do and don't need disciplining for huwting your widdle feewings. …. Keep your nose in your own branch, please. You don't have oversight authority here. And maybe keep your thoughts about who needs to be disciplined for appalling behavior a little closer to home.

I would guess that Julie Myers is the odds on favorite in the running for worst person of the year award. My advice, take a civics lesson and retake the citizenship test that Immigration administers, since you were apparently sleeping when they discussed the three branches of the Federal Government. Come to think of it, Julie, there is this thing called the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. You might want to read it sometime since your agency seems unaware of its existence.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Just How Arbitrary Is Immigration? Scientist to be deported for imperfect profile photos.

Just how arbitrary and inflexible is U.S. Immigration? So arbitrary that they are about to deport a scientist with a top security clearance who has been working to make us safe from bio-terrorism because of bureaucratic snafus that would rival Joseph Heller (Catch 22). Katarzyna Dziewanowska is a Polish born scientist recruited to the University of Idaho in 1994 and has been involved in studying methods of fighting biological agents, such as the plague, that could be used in germ warfare. Her travails began in 2003 when she applied for Permanent Residency. She submitted her application and an application for a work permit.

While immigration officials considered her application, she was required to apply annually for temporary work permits called employment authorization documents.

In the fall of 2004 her application for a permit was rejected because she had submitted a profile photo rather than a face-forward one as required under new rules. She sent a face-forward photo, but that was rejected because officials said it included glare on one lens of her glasses.

In a letter in September 2004, immigration officials wrote, "There is no appeal to this decision."

By then, her previous work permit had expired.

Dziewanowska said the university's human rights office told her she could keep working during a 240-day grace period, a claim The Spokesman-Review found was supported by Cherasia and e-mail records.

During that period Dziewanowska worked on finding ways to protect against humans from bioterrorist attacks with the plague, but the university's advice that she could keep working turned out to be incorrect.

Immigrations officials then told her that, because she had worked illegally for eight months without a work permit, her application for permanent residency was being rejected.

In April 2005 the university told her to stop working.

Dr. Sziewanowska is now set to be deported, as is her son. She had just recently purchased a home and now will lose both her job and her home. Immigration insists that there is no room for good faith mistakes. If U.S. immigration can ensnare a scientist, well-versed in the English language, in this bureaucratic Catch 22, imagine how the system handles the cases of immigrant laborers.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

U.S. Hospitals Dump Disabled Immigrants

Just when you think things could not get more f*cked up for undocumented immigrants in this country comes a story in The New York Times about hospitals "privately repatriating" disabled immigrants desperate for medical and rehabilitative help. The Sunday August 3, 2008 issue of The New York Times is carrying a story entitled "Immigrants Facing Deportation by U.S. Hospitals," by reporter Deborah Sontag. The story relates the heart-wrenching ordeal of being an undocumented immigrant with disabling injuries. Here are some excerpts:

High in the hills of Guatemala, shut inside the one-room house where he spends day and night on a twin bed beneath a seriously outdated calendar, Luis Alberto Jiménez has no idea of the legal battle that swirls around him in the lowlands of Florida.

Shooing away flies and beaming at the tiny, toothless elderly mother who is his sole caregiver, Mr. Jiménez, a knit cap pulled tightly on his head, remains cheerily oblivious that he has come to represent the collision of two deeply flawed American systems, immigration and health care.

Eight years ago, Mr. Jiménez, 35, an illegal immigrant working as a gardener in Stuart, Fla., suffered devastating injuries in a car crash with a drunken Floridian. A community hospital saved his life, twice, and, after failing to find a rehabilitation center willing to accept an uninsured patient, kept him as a ward for years at a cost of $1.5 million.

What happened next set the stage for a continuing legal battle with nationwide repercussions: Mr. Jiménez was deported — not by the federal government but by the hospital, Martin Memorial. After winning a state court order that would later be declared invalid, Martin Memorial leased an air ambulance for $30,000 and “forcibly returned him to his home country,” as one hospital administrator described it.

Since being hoisted in his wheelchair up a steep slope to his remote home, Mr. Jiménez, who sustained a severe traumatic brain injury, has received no medical care or medication — just Alka-Seltzer and prayer, his 72-year-old mother said. Over the last year, his condition has deteriorated with routine violent seizures, each characterized by a fall, protracted convulsions, a loud gurgling, the vomiting of blood and, finally, a collapse into unconsciousness.

“Every time, he loses a little more of himself,” his mother, Petrona Gervacio Gaspar, said in Kanjobal, the Indian dialect that she speaks with an otherworldly squeak.

American immigration authorities play no role in these private repatriations, carried out by ambulance, air ambulance and commercial plane. Most hospitals say that they do not conduct cross-border transfers until patients are medically stable and that they arrange to deliver them into a physician’s care in their homeland. But the hospitals are operating in a void, without governmental assistance or oversight, leaving ample room for legal and ethical transgressions on both sides of the border.

Indeed, some advocates for immigrants see these repatriations as a kind of international patient dumping, with ambulances taking patients in the wrong direction, away from first-world hospitals to less-adequate care, if any.

“Repatriation is pretty much a death sentence in some of these cases,” said Dr. Steven Larson, an expert on migrant health and an emergency room physician at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. “I’ve seen patients bundled onto the plane and out of the country, and once that person is out of sight, he’s out of mind.”

I wish I could cast a stone here, but the fact is that our medical system is so inadequate that it barely serves the needs of its own, never mind the poor immigrant unlucky enough to suffer a griveous injury in this country. Some things just boggle the mind.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Ideology of Peter Brimelow

The Nativist ideologue, Peter Brimelow, insists that he is not a racist but rather is merely looking to engage this nation in a dialogue as to its direction. The issue, he argues, is whether the complexion of this country, both figuratively and literally, should be changed by the growth of non-whites who are not Anglo-Saxon Protestants? The terms of this "debate," as well as the persons entitled to debate this issue, per Brimelow and his nativist bretheren, are highly instructive as to the nativist mindset and more particularly as to Brimelow's true purpose. We are to assume that this is simply a dry policy issue, not unlike farm support subsidies. Why, so the unstated refrain goes, do liberals get so enraged over the mere invitation to such a debate? Instead of engaging us, so the narrative proceeds, does the immigrant lobby attack us as racists, xenophobes or extremist right-wingers? All we want, so Brimelow would conclude, is a fair and open debate -- no holds barred.

A central premise of Brimelow's argument as advanced in his nativist tome, Alien Nation, is that the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which removed the racist national-origin categories which had governed immigration policy since the enactment of the the restrictive and racist Immigration and Restriction Act of 1924, was a great mistake which irrevocably changed the "character" of this country. If it were possible, Brimelow would turn back the clock and undo the changes wrought by the 1965 Act. Accordingly, the persons entitled to a voice in this debate are the white Anglo-Saxon protestants who comprised the overwhelming majority of citizens in 1964. Anyone born of non-white immigrants should not be entitled to a voice because such people are not the progeny that gave birth to this, "our country." This is especially true of anyone who immigrated to this country after 1965 from any country that was not formerly a part of the United Kingdom. This exclusion would apply to anyone born from such emigrant stock, no matter how assimilated or removed from the original immigrants. Accordingly, underlying this debate is a racist premise, nonwhites need not voice their views or concerns. The message to nonwhites, per Brimelow, is "shut up, while we decide your fate!"

And what are the terms of Brimelow's complexion debate? We have already established that since nonwhites are not a part of this debate any recourse to self-interest, group-identity and the elements of sovereignty for nonwhite are off the table just as they were off the table for the indigenous population after Europeans arrived in the New World. If anyone is to speak for Latinos, Asians and even African-Americans, it has to be vis-a-vis the good graces of white overlords, not unlike Colonialism, which Brimelow has championed. As any student of the American legal system will tell you, an adversary who is absent at his own trial has no chance of redeeming himself. The verdict, for those tried in absentia, is a dead certainty.

Having assured that their deliberations will not be encumbered by those whose fate they are debating, Brimelow's nativists are not content to let the outcome be endangered by inconvenient truths. The nativists who write for VDare, Michelle Malkin's website or ALIPAC, make no bones about their disdain, even hatred, for nonwhites and for nonwhite immigrants. Hence, the marriage of nativist ideology with racism. Brimelow, who is himself racist, prominently features racists, Steve Sailer, Jared Taylor, Kevin MacDonald and Patrick Buchanan, amongst others. These writers are not a counter-balance for pro-immigrant writers, they are the core of authors who regularly perorate in nativist publications. Such views are the heart of the definition of bigotry, a stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own, no matter how true. So much for debate. This is not the presentation of positions, it is the shouts of the hooligan.

Shortly after being liberated from a Nazi Prisoner of War camp, Jean-Paul Sartre penned the classic tome, Anti-Semite and Jew. In this seminal essay, Sartre explored what animates the anti-Semite, the racist and the bigot. The anti-Semite is not concerned with an actual Jew (qua Jew) just as Brimelow is not concerned with real Latinos or Hispanics. For the racist, hate of the other is, among other things, a way by which to "lay claim to the nation in which they reside, and an oversimplified conception of the world in which the antisemite sees "not a conflict of interests but the damage which an evil power causes society." Nativism, like antisemitism is not an idea in the commonly understood sense of the word: it is not a point of view based rationally upon empirical information calmly collected and calibrated in as objective a manner as is possible. It is not an idea, ‘It is first of all a passion.' (Sartre, Anti-Semite and Jew, (Schocken Books, Paris, 1948), p.10.) It is a deep passion, 'Some men are suddenly struck with impotence if they learn from the woman with whom they are making love that she is a Jewess. It is an involvement of the mind, but one so deep-seated and complex that it extends to the physio-logical realm, as happens in cases of hysteria.' (Ibid. p.10-11)

Sartre comments that, ‘It is not unusual for people to elect to live a life of passion rather than of reason. But ordinarily love the objects of passion: women, glory, power, money. Since the anti-Semite has chosen hate, we are forced to conclude that it is the state of passion that he loves.’ (Ibid. p.18.) He chooses to reason from passion, to reason falsely ‘because of the longing for impenetrability. The rational man groans as he gropes for the truth; he knows that reasoning is no more than tentative, that other considerations may intervene to cast doubt on it.’ Anti-Semites are attracted by ‘the durability of a stone.’ (Ibid.) What frightens them is the uncertainty of truth. (Ibid. p.19.) ‘The anti-Semite has chosen hate because hate is a faith.’ (Ibid.) He has escaped responsibility and doubt. He can blame anything on the Jew; he does not need to engage reason, for he has his faith.

Anti-Semitism is a way of feeling good, proud even, rather than guilty at the abandonment of responsibility and the flight before the impossibility of true sincerity. (Ibid.) The anti-Semite abandons himself to the crowd and his bad faith, he ‘flees responsibility as he flees his own consciousness, and choosing for his personality the permanence of the rock, he chooses for his morality the scale of petrified values.’ (Ibid. p.27.) He pulls down shutters, blinds, mirrors and mirages over his consciousness to keep himself in his bad faith away from his responsibilities and his liberty. The anti-Semite is afraid ‘of himself, of his own consciousness, of his own liberty, of his instincts, of his responsibilities, of solitariness, of change, of society, and the world – of everything except the Jews.’ He is ‘a coward who does not want to admit his cowardice to himself.’ (Ibid. p.53.)

The nativist, like the anti-Semite and the racist, expounds at length on the great evils wrought by the subject of his hatred. The fact that most of his "views" are false or gross distortions is of little consequence. What matters to the hater is the confirmation of his hatred. Hence, the pathological fixation on the social ills supposedly wrought by "the menace." The crime of one becomes the guilt of all who share the criminal's ethnicity. The drain on society, however false, becomes an article of faith which no amount of reason will remove. Hispanics are demonized for each and every action which any one of the group commits. As well, the fact that an immigrant is working at low wages with false documents is not an indication of economic need but rather an indication of mendacity and venality common to the whole group. All characteristics must bear out the durability of his hatred for this evil race. The nativist constantly resorts to images of defilement, the dark rapist who preys on white women, nay who preys on under-age girls, the avaricious alien who steals not only your job but your very bread. Our culture, the white Anglo-Saxon culture is constantly said to be at risk, defiled and sullied. The nativist is so steeped in his hatred that he unconcsiously parrots the very same tired arguments of such anti-Semitic tomes as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Such is the nature of anti-Semitism, racism and nativism. And this truly is what Peter Brimelow wants to advance when he calls for a debate on the "immigration question." It is not a debate but a call to action, all true whites stand up for your race, you are at peril. Brimelow is not concerned with real Latinos, Hispanics or immigrants. For the nativist, hate of the other is a way by which to lay claim to the nation in which they reside, and an oversimplified conception of the world in which the nativist sees not a conflict of interests but the damage which an evil power causes society.