Tag Archives: civil rights

ACTION: Tell Colbert who Sheriff Joe Arpaio Really is!

There’s only one thing that’s a bigger threat to our country than bears – and that’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Sheriff Arpaio’s civil rights abuses are unacceptable and you know Joe’s under federal investigation now because we spoke out against his illegal tactics. Well, today Arpaio is skipping out on his duties as Sheriff to go on The Colbert Report. That’s right–he’s going to film a comedy show in New York today – instead of testifying at a Congressional hearing because he doesn’t want it to turn into a “media circus”.

Ha, we can explore the hypocrisy of that later. But for right now we want to make sure Colbert’s producers have all the info they need to expose Joe. Send a letter, “outing” Sheriff Arpaio for the rights-abuser he really is:


In Joe Arpaio’s world, if you are an immigrant detainee, you should be marching in chains to segregated “Tent Cities” in the Arizona desert, surrounded by electric fencing.   It’s up to us to shout, “Not so fast, Nation!”

The show is being filmed at 4pm EST today, so please send your email now:


People like you — from all across the country —  are speaking out against Arpaio’s blatant civil and human rights violations. We’re taking a stand for justice and “truthiness” in this country.

A new low for Anti-Immigrant legislation in Texas

libertyFrom Vince Leibowitz at Capitol Annex:

A new bill proposed by a State Representative in Texas shows just how low the anti’s are willing to go.

HB 49 by State Rep. Debbie Riddle (R-Tomball) could be classified as both “Can’t you people get over the fact that it is NOT the state’s job to enforce immigration laws” and “a law that sounds as stupid when you read it out loud as it does on paper,” Rep. Riddle brings us another immigrant-hating piece of legislation that makes it an offense, essentially, for an illegal immigrant to stand. Anywhere. In the entire state of Texas. Yes, even in your yard. Under this bill, an illegal immigrant could be arrested while sitting in the living room of the house he owns and watching TV though he has committed no other offense than being here illegally. No, I’m not kidding:

Sec. 30.055.  CRIMINAL TRESPASS BY ILLEGAL ALIENS. (a) A person commits an offense if the person:

(1)  is a citizen of any country other than the United States; and

(2)  enters or remains on or in any public or private property in this state in violation of 8 U.S.C. Section 1325 or 1326.

Yes, that says any public or private property–even if they own it.

This is terrifying. Especially in light of the fact that American citizens have been arrested and even deported for merely being “suspected” undocumented immigrants. This bill marks a new low for civil rights, for all Americans.

Winning the Fight of Our Lives

Subhash Kateel has written a great article in the current edition of LeftTurn. Going beyond green cards and legalization, Kateel writes about the immigrant prison-industrial complex and predictions that have unfortunately come true in recent years.

During the debate over Immigration Reform in 2006 and 2007, it was said that:

 A system was developing that would systematically criminalize and attack immigrants’ lives as people of color and working people. This emerging apartheid would use the criminal justice-, prison-, and deportation systems – and any other system – at its disposal to make lives of immigrants – both legal and undocumented – as hard as possible. What we would see, whether we won reform or not, would be more arrests, more raids, more detentions, and more deportations. In sum, more destruction of our communities.

Sadly, this prediction has proved to be right on target.

We felt no satisfaction when government tactics confirmed our worst fears. No one wants to be right or prophetic when predicting the destruction of our communities. 

For whatever reason the link to the full article at LeftTurn.org isn’t working. Click here to read the full text on the Education, Equity, Politics and Policy in Texas blog.

What Civil Rights? This is post 9-11!

In yet another example of the erosion of civil rights we are witnessing in this country, the Bush adminitration passed more legislation in the ongoing “war on terrorism”. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

The Bush administration has overturned a 22-year-old policy and now allows customs agents to seize, read and copy documents from travelers at airports and borders without suspicion of wrongdoing, civil rights lawyers in San Francisco said Tuesday in releasing records obtained in a lawsuit.

The records also indicate that the government gives customs agents unlimited authority to question travelers about their religious beliefs and political opinions, said lawyers from the Asian Law Caucus and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They said they had asked the Department of Homeland Security for details of any policy that would guide or limit such questioning and received no reply.

So, unregulated workplace ICE raids, where people are lined up by race and then arrested, warantless wiretapping and now indefinite power for customs agents to harass travelers without ANY suspicion of wrongdoing. Does anybody else feel like this is a burgeoning police state?

This makes me think of the Pew Hispanic Center study released last week: they found that 1 in 10 Latinos living in the United States had been asked about their immigration status by government officials. The majority of Latinos living in this country are citizens, legal permanent residents or were BORN here. But they continue to be targeted by authorities because of their skin color, under the guise of “counterterrorism”.

Come on, America, you can do better than this.

ACTION: Help the South Texas Civil Rights Project

From VivirLatino:

The specific needs of immigrants in crisis situations, like hurricanes, is important now and taking care of those needs requires a community response.

The South Texas Civil Rights Project (located in San Juan, TX) is a non-profit, public interest
organization which provides free legal services to those in the
Valley’s low-income community whose civil rights have been violated.

We are pleased to announce our 3rd annual Noche de Fiesta –
Celebrating Commitment to the Community on Wednesday September 3,
2008, at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. This event celebrates and
honors individuals striving for human rights in our community.
Proceeds from the evening will enable us to continue providing
advocacy in a variety of areas and free legal assistance to low-income
Valley residents.

Please consider donating to our raffle or silent auction and support
the very important work that we do. All donations will be
acknowledged in the evening’s program booklet. In previous years,
donations came in the forms of gift certificates, art pieces, books,
zines/magazines, furniture. Monetary donations are always welcome.

The South Texas Civil Rights Project cannot afford to do this work
without your support. Thanks to community support, we have helped many
people achieve a quality of life in the community that would not
otherwise have been possible. Your support will allow us to continue
to protect civil rights and will be greatly appreciated by the people
we assist.

For further information, get in touch with Noemi Martinez, legal
assitant, at noemi.stcrp@gmail.com or Corinna Spencer-Scheurich, Equal
Justice Works Attorney at corinna.ss@gmail.com. Both can be reached at

Noche de Fiesta
Celebrating Commitment to the Community
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
McAllen Chamber of Commerce, 1200 Ash
(north of Business 83, just east of Archer Park)
Reception 6:30 p.m.
Awards 7:30 p.m.
(Food catered by Edible Pursuits)
Tickets: $30
For more information call (956) 787-8171

“The work of the Texas Civil Rights Project is critical in the struggle to bring about justice and equality in Texas .” –César Chávez