FIRM UPDATE- want your feedback

WE WANT YOUR FEEDBACK – let us know on this post- are these updates useful? is there info missing? would you like to see other info? 

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FIRM is coordinating a range of activities in support of the organizing that we’ll need to do to strengthen our base and build our organizational membership going forward.  One of our main priorities is the Democracy Schools program, which was inspired in part by the Freedom and Citizenship Schools of the Civil Rights movement.  Organizations can get information on this multi-faceted curriculum at http://www.fairimmigration.org/learn/civic-engagement/democracy-schools.html.  For more information about the Democracy Schools curriculum (an open source curriculum that is adaptable to organizational needs), please contact Mayron Payes at the Center for Community Change at mpayes@communitychange.org.  

 Immigration Politics & Elections in 2008 

As reported in the US News and World Report, Sen. McCain is attempting to thread the needle between Hispanic and conservative voters on the immigration issue: http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/campaign-2008/2008/03/14/mccain-must-appease-both-hispanics-and-conservatives-on-immigration.html 

A recent internal Republican poll in Colorado found that a majority of Republicans and Independents polled in Colorado CD 6 do not agree with the stances taken by the anti-immigrant wing of the Republican party: http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_8552360 

The National Republican Congressional Committee has published a hit-list of Democrats wrong on Immigration: Baird (WA), Bishop (GA), Boucher(VA), Boyd (FL), Braley (IA), Carney (PA), Edwards (TX), Hodes (NH), Kanjorski (PA), Larsen (WA), Loebsack (IA), McNerney (CA), Michaud (ME), Mollohan (WV), Shea-Porter (NH), and Welch (VT). 

Congressional News 

Last week, Republicans in the House of Representatives began circulating a discharge petition that could force the SAVE Act to the House floor for a vote if it receives 218 signatures, a simple majority of Representatives.  The move signaled a renewed anti-immigrant attack geared at vulnerable Democrats.  There are now 181 signatures on the petition (to see the list go to http://clerk.house.gov/110/lrc/pd/petitions/Dis5.htm).  For more information about discharge petitions and how they work, go to http://www.rules.house.gov/archives/97-552.pdf. 

The ACLU of Southern California has issued an alert that does a good job of framing the issue from a civil liberties lens: http://ga1.org/campaign/OpposeSAVEAct

The New York Times published an editorial on the SAVE Act and related measures last week: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/13/opinion/13thu1.html 

While the House is lurching toward a possible floor vote on the SAVE Act, there are negotiations also underway around a possible negotiated package of immigration-related measures.  Initial news reports suggest that this package will include some provision to renew the H2B Visa program, a modest renewal of the H1B Visa program, an employment verification provision and some elements of the SAVE Act related to border security, and provisions advocated by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus providing relief to undocumented immigrant families that could include a waiver of the 3 and 10-year bars on return for immigrants that have committed immigration violations, a five-year non-renewable temporary visa, and relief for familiy members of individuals in the military. These negotiations are driven by pressure on the SAVE Act, pressure on H1B Visas, pressure on H2B Visas and the CHC‘s effort to use their leverage to prevent these other measures from moving forward without some relief for undocumented immigrants.  This article in the New York Times reflects pressure being directed toward the CHC by the business community to back off of their efforts: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/14/us/14visa.html?_r=2&hp=&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1205593313-HdoUcsgbhg48c3ivhhCYkA&pagewanted=print.

 In the mean time, in the Senate, a series of immigration related amendments were debated and voted on as part of the fight over the Senate’s budget resolution.  Note that the budget resolution is not binding, but provides parameters for future debates on binding legislation.  These amendments are a signal for where Senators are on a range of issues related to immigration heading into the elections and 2009.

 –Kennedy amendment to increase funding for the Department of Education’s English Literacy-Civics Education State Grant program, with an offset (#4350) was agreed to by a roll-call vote of 95-2.

–Alexander amendment to take $670,000 used by the EEOC in bringing actions against employers that require their employees to speak English, and instead use the money to teach English to adults through the Department of Education’s English Literacy/Civics Education State Grant program (#4222) was agreed to by a roll-call vote of 54-44.

–Menendez amendment to establish a reserve fund for immigration reform and enforcement (#4259) was agreed to by a roll-call vote of 53-45.

–Sessions amendment to establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund for border security, immigration enforcement, and criminal alien removal programs (#4231) was agreed to by a roll-call vote of 61-37. 

–Vitter amendment to create a reserve fund to ensure that Federal assistance does not go to sanctuary cities that ignore the immigration laws of the United States and create safe havens for illegal aliens and potential terrorists (#4309) was tabled to by a roll-call of 58-40. 

–Dole amendment to increase amounts budgeted for States and local governments for expenses related to immigration enforcement training and support under section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, with an offset (#4208) was accepted by voice vote. 

–Reid amendment to establish a reserve fund for studying the effect of cooperation with local law enforcement (#4373) was accepted by voice vote.

–Biden amendment to increase FY 2009 funding for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) by $100 million, with an offset (#4166) was accepted by unanimous consent.

–Feinstein amendment to provide for a total of $950,000,000 in outlays for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program in fiscal year 2009. (#4225) was accepted by unaminous consent.

–Leahy amendment to add a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation that improves the participation of naturalized citizens in the US political process, strengthens national security by improving and expediting FBI security name checks, and reduces the backlog of naturalization applications for individuals seeking to become naturalized citizens (#4270, as modified) was accepted by unanimous consent. 

State & Local News 

Tired of waiting for the federal government, Arizona and Colorado are now considering legislation to create their own guest worker programs: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jZoEanK6LDPjZgsMKkyMLLAGgLRAD8VDCAIO1 

A widely publicized employer crackdown bill in Indiana died in conference committee this week: http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080313/LOCAL19/80313072 

A compelling article about a principle taking a stand for immigrant students in Arizona: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/12/education/12education.html 

FIRM Member Activities 

Organizations in Colorado, including the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition denounced a racially motivated assault in Boulder, CO last week.  “It is time to stand up to the politicians and commentators who are fanning the flames of insecurity and prejudice around the immigration debate. They continue to contribute to racial and ethnic hostility,” Julien Ross of CIRC (julien@coloradoimmigrant.org).  

Following on worksite raids on Microsolutions in Van Nuys, California, CHIRLA has been organizing a major response with a wide range of allies in the region.  Please take a moment to review this video describing the impact of the raids at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EG7cCxS5RH0&feature=email

A settlement associated with a law suit against ICE for conduct in these raids was announced last week. Hate Free Zone and a coalition of allies worked with the Governor to issue a new executive order on how Washington State will treat its newest Americans.   

Allies and Partner Activities 

The Progressive States Network recently launched a new coalition: State Legislators for Progressive Immigration Policy.  For more information on the effort, please go to http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1665/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=951. 

Federal Regulations, Naturalization Backlogs & Social Security No Match 

Emilio Gonzalez, the head of the US Citizenship and Immigration Service, announced that he will be leaving the agency last week.  He leaves in the midst of enormous naturalization backlogs that threaten to disenfranchise tens of thousands of immigrants that have filed to naturalize since the agency increased fees for naturalization applications. 

News to Use 

In Arizona, the Colores Actors-Writers Workshop is running a production called “The DREAM Act” by James E. Garcia.  For more information, go to http://www.americanlatino.net/caww/. 

The Immigration Policy Center recently released a new report on problems with the SSA No Match database and other employment verification proposals.  To view the report go to http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/index.php?content=fc080313b. 

The National Immigration Law Center recently released a paper providing additional information about problems with Employment Verification proposals.  http://www.nilc.org/immsemplymnt/ircaempverif/e-verify_infobrief_2008-03-13.pdf.  Additional information is available at http://www.nilc.org/immsemplymnt/ircaempverif/index.htm. 

An article in the Arizona Daily Star addressing the question: Why Don’t People Come Here Legally? http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/border/228697

One response to “FIRM UPDATE- want your feedback

  1. Threats from Dakota County against my Free Speech

    They took my home, my car, my personal property and now they wan’t me to shut up or else… With extreme prejudice, they gave my American dream to an immigrant residency seeker who fraudulently used false accusations and VAWA to expedite her immigration process.

    I’m on unsupervised probation for petty disorderly conduct for not leaving my home under duress with false accusations. I should have left my home when the storm troopers (Eagan, Minnesota Police Department) asked for me to leave. The charge is expungable and I’m working on that. It’s a game and the residency seeker admitted she punched me and that I did not hit her back which is why I wasn’t found guilty of domestic assault. She only came forward with the truth after getting caught lying about her academic credentials under oath.

    The incident that resulted in my arrest happened 2 years after my wife had been in country ( June 2005 to May 2007 ) and her immediate family came to participate in the fast track residency plan through VAWA. Without an attorney, I was cleared of the false Domestic Abuse / Assault charge. Her family even traveled to the U.S. again from Guatemala 5 months later to serve as witnesses against me to help ensure their family’s immigration plans didn’t fall through. If I could have afforded an attorney, I could have been cleared of the disorderly conduct as well. The residency seeker intentionally cleaned out the joint bank account to prevent a proper defense against her immigration motivated accusations. I don’t think the residency seeker will receive her Greencard as immigration knows this scam already which is probably why her work VISA was rescinded.

    The Eagan, Minnesota Police department threatened to arrest me again for disorderly conduct after I called them to enforce the law in regards to the residency seeker driving my car without a license or insurance. I was calm, collective and even relaxing on a picnic bench outside the police station, but an officer threatened to arrest me for public disturbance for being persistent. Sgt. Mason was reasonable and understanding this time, but his female partner kept threatening arrest and putting her hands on her handcuffs telling me to shut up or I would be going to jail again. She backed off her unwarranted arrest threat when I pointed out my witness in the parking lot. Thinking back, I should have let them arrest me and followed up with a Civil case with ACLU backing. So here is my second chance to have my civil rights blatantly violated. Go ahead and arrest me for writing as it will only fuel my desire to publicize what happened and what’s wrong with the system.

    Anyway, I put a lot of information out on my blog about judges, the civil society and my wife’s VAWA attorney. Emails are being exchanged between state representatives, state offices, county offices and attorneys. Referrals from Email clients show up in the logs… I see the order in which government officials review the blog and I am getting a good understanding of the level of corruption and collaboration that exists in the system. Today, a county Probation officer just tracked me down through an undisclosed 3rd party and warned me about speaking out. She tracked down my girlfriend’s mother. I told her my free speech doesn’t violate any criminal laws, but she insisted that I shouldn’t be writing about my story in public. She called specifically to intimidate me about my writing.

    Please remove Martha Sullivan and The Civil Society from any group mailing lists associated with our cause. I only intended for these recipients to receive the correspondence to the state representative that gave my Blog URL to my wife’s VAWA attorney. We will legally deal with this and similar groups that facilitate VAWA based immigration fraud as our numbers grow.

    I’m not a criminal and I am sick and tired of being treated like one by Dakota County, Minnesota. I had no prior criminal record at age 36 and I honorably completed 4 years in the U.S. Army. My only “crime” is that I married an illegal immigrant who used and abused me for a Greencard and now my writing is under attack by officials within Dakota County. Sometimes the system needs a little shaking to break the bonds of the Good Ol’ Boy and Ol’Girl network. I will expose the communication links and relations between the various individuals in the system. If someone in the Good Ol’ Boy judicial network doesn’t like you, they go out of their way to screw you and instruct their minions to oblige as well which explains why my wife get’s whatever she wants in court including a car in my name even though she had no driver’s license or insurance. Now she want’s to flee the state with my son before the divorce I petitioned for is over. I’m going to try to keep my son in state, but I have concerns the system is too corrupt for anything to go in my favor which is why I continue to write and express my frustration with the system. Give me justice and I’ll tone it down maybe…

    A message to Dakota County

    I am not going to cease and desist from my right to free speech. If anything, my writing could welcome civil action, but my writing and my thoughts are not criminal. Stop trying to intimidate me!

    We will speak out about this sort of injustice and VAWA immigration fraud. A story will be featured soon about one woman’s experience working at a woman’s shelter and the fraud and corruption she witnessed to promote immigration. Dakota County took my American dream away and they gave it to an immigrant residency seeker who absed the system to facilitate her immigration process. My voice and my words will not be taken away from me.

    Ann also asked me why I was so bitter. Why? Can you read? I am bitter over how the system treated me and because I lost everything including my livelihood and financial future over this sort of fraud that is tolerated and promoted by various groups and individuals. I had to adopt and change my entire lifestyle after being homeless. I’m bitter because my Civil Rights were violated and they continue to be violated as I can’t face my accuser and challenge her VAWA accusations in a court of law. Immigration loopholes will be abused and steps need to be taken to prevent this sort of abuse. I already moved on with a woman who supports my goals and political mission ( public awareness and protesting for laws to protect U.S. citizens from predatory residency seekers).

    I’m glad my message is making waves. Each day this blog recieves numerous hits from government agencies (mostly dakota county and minnesota government hosts) including the Department of Justice ( Washington District Of Columbia United State – swdcsun23.usdoj.gov ). Officials have been trolling my blog and reading for hours each day. I wouldn’t be making this much noise for 9 months now if my claims were untrue. Through circumstance I have become a political activist and I will fight for change and I will help bring people together to fight the system with me.

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