|5 quick links to brighten up your day.
||[Aug. 15th, 2008|01:40 pm]
People who look brown are forced to prove their legal residence or citizenship if they were born using a midwife instead of a hospital: http://latinainstitute.wordpress.com/2008/08/12/nlirh-decries-the-state-department%E2%80%99s-discriminatory-practices-toward-latino-us-citizens/
If you show up at an airport with no ID you will end up on a terrorist watch list: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=5568621&page=1
A 15-year US resident who had fathered 2 American children goes to his finalizing green card interview, gets locked up by DHS and abused. He has spinal cancer and is in excruciating pain and is told to stop faking, until he dies from lack of treatment in custody. His family is denied visiting rights as he is fucking dying. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/13/nyregion/13detain.html?_r=2&hp=&oref=slogin&pagewanted=all
“...during a raid last summer, ICE officers went door to door asking how many people were inside each house—and what race they were. In an ICE operation in Willmar, Minn., Latino residents were handcuffed and interrogated while white residents, some even in the same home, went unquestioned.”
“In San Rafael, Calif., ICE detained 6-year-old Kebin Reyes, a citizen from birth, holding him in a locked office for 12 hours after immigration agents, pretending to be police, stormed into the apartment he shared with his father and forcibly removed him from his home.”
...and other heroic feats of ICE (also known as the KKK with riot gear): http://www.slate.com/id/2192393/pagenum/all/
FOX News holdin’ it down as always: http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/94903
||[Jul. 5th, 2008|01:19 am]
|It's not a human rights violation if you don't consider them human.
||[May. 17th, 2008|11:51 pm]
Some Detainees Are Drugged For Deportation
Immigrants Sedated Without Medical Reason
by Amy Goldstein and Dana Priest | Washington Post Staff Writers
Page A1; May 14, 2008
The U.S. government has injected hundreds of foreigners it has deported with dangerous psychotropic drugs against their will to keep them sedated during the trip back to their home country, according to medical records, internal documents and interviews with people who have been drugged.
The government's forced use of antipsychotic drugs, in people who have no history of mental illness, includes dozens of cases in which the "pre-flight cocktail," as a document calls it, had such a potent effect that federal guards needed a wheelchair to move the slumped deportee onto an airplane.
"Unsteady gait. Fell onto tarmac," says a medical note on the deportation of a 38-year-old woman to Costa Rica in late spring 2005. Another detainee was "dragged down the aisle in handcuffs, semi-comatose," according to an airline crew member's written account. Repeatedly, documents describe immigration guards "taking down" a reluctant deportee to be tranquilized before heading to an airport.
In a Chicago holding cell early one evening in February 2006, five guards piled on top of a 49-year-old man who was angry he was going back to Ecuador, according to a nurse's account in his deportation file. As they pinned him down so the nurse could punch a needle through his coveralls into his right buttock, one officer stood over him menacingly and taunted, "Nighty-night."
Such episodes are among more than 250 cases The Washington Post has identified in which the government has, without medical reason, given drugs meant to treat serious psychiatric disorders to people it has shipped out of the United States since 2003 -- the year the Bush administration handed the job of deportation to the Department of Homeland Security's new Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE.
Involuntary chemical restraint of detainees, unless there is a medical justification, is a violation of some international human rights codes. The practice is banned by several countries where, confidential documents make clear, U.S. escorts have been unable to inject deportees with extra doses of drugs during layovers en route to faraway places.
Federal officials have seldom acknowledged publicly that they sedate people for deportation. The few times officials have spoken of the practice, they have understated it, portraying sedation as rare and "an act of last resort." Neither is true, records and interviews indicate.
Records show that the government has routinely ignored its own rules, which allow deportees to be sedated only if they have a mental illness requiring the drugs, or if they are so aggressive that they imperil themselves or people around them.
Stung by lawsuits over two sedation cases, the agency changed its policy in June to require a court order before drugging any deportee for behavioral rather than psychiatric reasons. In at least one instance identified by The Post, the agency appears not to have followed those rules.
In the five years since its creation, ICE has stepped up arrests and removals of foreigners who are in the country illegally, have been turned down for asylum or have been convicted of a crime in the past.
If the government wants a detainee to be sedated, a deportation officer asks for permission for a medical escort from the aviation medicine branch of the Division of Immigration Health Services (DIHS), the agency responsible for medical care for people in immigration custody. A mental health official in aviation medicine is supposed to assess the detainee's medical records, although some deportees' records contain no evidence of that happening. If the sedatives are approved, a U.S. public health nurse is assigned as the medical escort and given prescriptions for the drugs.
After injecting the sedatives, the nurse travels with the deportee and immigration guards to their destination, usually giving more doses along the way. To recruit medical escorts, the government has sought to glamorize this work. "Do you ever dream of escaping to exotic, exciting locations?" said an item in an agency newsletter. "Want to get away from the office but are strapped for cash? Make your dreams come true by signing up as a Medical Escort for DIHS!"
The nurses are required to fill out step-by-step medical logs for each trip. Hundreds of logs for the past five years, obtained by The Post, chronicle in vivid detail deviations from the government's sedation rules.
An analysis by The Post of the known sedations during fiscal 2007, ending last October, found that 67 people who got medical escorts had no documented psychiatric reason. Of the 67, psychiatric drugs were given to 53, 48 of whom had no documented history of violence, though some had managed to thwart an earlier attempt to deport them. These figures do not include two detainees who immigration officials said were given sedatives for behavioral rather than psychiatric reasons before being deported on group charter flights, which are often used to return people to Mexico and Central America.
Even some people who had been violent in the past proved peaceful the day they were sent home. "Dt calm at this time," says the first entry, using shorthand for "detainee," in the log for the January 2007 deportation of Yousif Nageib to his native Sudan. In requesting drugs for his deportation, an immigration officer had noted that Nageib, 40, had once fled to Canada to avoid an assault charge and had helped instigate a detainee uprising while in custody. But on the morning of his departure, the log says, he "is handcuffed and states he will do what we say." Still, he was injected in his right buttock with a three-drug cocktail.
In one printout of Nageib's medical log, next to the entry saying he was calm, is a handwritten asterisk. It was put there by Timothy T. Shack, then medical director of the immigration health division, as he reviewed last year's sedation cases. Next to the asterisk, in his neat, looping handwriting, Shack placed a single word: "Problem."
When he landed in Lagos, Nigeria, Afolabi Ade was unable to talk.
"Every time I tried to force myself to speak, I couldn't, because my tongue was . . . twisted. . . . I thought I was going to swallow it," Ade, 33, recalled in an interview. "I was nauseous. I was dizzy."
As he was being flown back to Africa, his American wife alerted his parents there that he was on his way. His father was waiting at the Lagos airport. It was the first time in three years that they had seen one another. Shocked by how woozy the young man was, his father decided not to take him home and frighten the rest of the family. Instead, he checked his son into a hotel.
Ade was in the hotel for four days before the effects of the drugs began to abate.
Part of a prominent Nigerian family, Ade asked The Post to identify him by only a portion of his name to protect their reputation. He had come to the United States as a college student in the mid-1990s. Five years later, he was in a car belonging to cousins when police found fraudulent checks in the trunk. He pleaded guilty.
After finishing his sentence, Ade was living in Atlanta, and was two semesters away from a telecommunications degree at DeVry University, when immigration officers came looking for him one day in January 2003. They wanted to deport him for the old crime. He called his probation officer to ask whether he could wait to surrender until he took his upcoming final exams. But when he went to the probation office, immigration officers were there to arrest him.
His records offer little explanation of why he was sedated. The one-page medical record in his file mentions one condition: chronic nasal allergy. The log of his trip does not mention mental illness; in the space to list current medical problems, a nurse wrote merely that Ade was anxious.
His drugging, however, fits a pattern that emerges from the cases analyzed by The Post: The largest group of people who were sedated had resisted attempts to deport them at least once before.
One summer day in 2003, deportation officers arrived at the rural Alabama jail where Ade was being held. Pack your bags, they told him. When they reached an immigration office in Atlanta, Ade recalled, half a dozen "big guys came to meet me and said I was there to be deported."
"I can't be deported," he replied. "I have a wife I love very much." Besides, he told them, he was still appealing his immigration case. He shouldn't have to leave, he protested, until the judge had ruled. That day, he was returned to Alabama. But he said that immigration officers warned him, "We'll find a way to get you on a plane."
A few weeks later, the officers came back and again took him to a holding cell in Atlanta. He was, the medical log says, becoming "increasingly anxious and non-cooperative per flt. to Nigeria." At 1:30 p.m., the log says, "Dt taken down by four" guards.
Ade was being held down, he recalled, when he noticed a nurse "with a needle and a bottle with some kind of substance in it." He said he told the guards: "Okay, fine, fine. If it's going to be like this, don't inject me. I will go on my own free will."
The nurse went ahead, the log shows, injecting him in the left shoulder with two milligrams of a powerful drug, Haldol, used to treat psychosis, and one milligram of an anti-anxiety drug, Ativan. He was injected with two more rounds, as well as a third drug, in progressively larger doses, during the trip.
The effects of those injections are what alarmed Ade's father after the plane landed in Lagos. Yet the medical log says Ade arrived "alert and oriented."
His family's doctor, who visited him on each of the four days his father hid him in the hotel, had a different view. "He was groggy -- somebody under the influence of drugs or drunkenness," recalled Olakunle Adigun, a general practitioner. He couldn't figure out what sedatives his patient had been given, so he tried to detoxify him with saline infusions.
Ade's pulse was dangerously low, and when he tried to walk around the hotel room, "he leaned on the wall," Adigun said. "He was talking, but a slurred kind of speech."
* * *
Internal government records show that most sedated deportees, such as Ade, received a cocktail of three drugs that included Haldol, also known as haloperidol, a medication normally used to treat schizophrenia and other acute psychotic states. Of the 53 deportees without a mental illness who were drugged in 2007, The Post's analysis found, 50 were injected with Haldol, sometimes in large amounts.
They were also given Ativan, used to control anxiety, and all but three were given Cogentin, a medication that is supposed to lessen Haldol's side effects of muscle spasms and rigidity. Two of the 53 deportees received Ativan alone. One person's medications were not specified.
Haldol gained notoriety in the Soviet Union, where it was often given to political dissidents imprisoned in psychiatric hospitals. "In the history of oppression, using haloperidol is kind of like detaining people in Abu Ghraib," the infamous prison in Iraq, said Nigel Rodley, who teaches international human rights law at the University of Essex in Britain and is a former United Nations special investigator on torture.
For people who are not psychotic, said Philip Seeman, a University of Toronto specialist in psychiatry and pharmacology, "prescribing Haldol . . . is medically and ethically wrong." Seeman studied the drug in the 1960s and later discovered the brain receptors on which several antipsychotic drugs work.
The only circumstances in which small amounts of Haldol are appropriate for non-psychotic people, Seeman said, are when a person comes into a hospital emergency room violent and agitated from an overdose of a drug such as PCP, or when someone with severe dementia is delusional or combative. "You or I wouldn't get it if we were emotionally upset," he said.
In addition, Seeman said, typical doses to help psychotic patients accustomed to the drug are perhaps five to 15 milligrams a day. Several deportees were given a total of 30 milligrams, which Seeman characterized as "really high," especially for people who have never taken the drug before.
Even when used for its intended patients, people with psychosis, Haldol has drawn warnings from the U.S. government. In September, the Food and Drug Administration issued an alert citing "a number of case reports of sudden death" and other reports of dangerous changes in heart rhythm. It is, important, the FDA warned, to inject Haldol only into muscles, not veins, and to avoid doses that are too high.
"Pharma non grata" is the way Emergency Medicine News magazine described the drug after the FDA alert.
Beyond the specific drugs used, Rodley said, is a deeper question: "What is the least intrusive means of restraint consistent with the human dignity of the person? . . . I'd be very surprised if the injection of disabling chemicals against somebody's will that affect one's psychological well-being . . . is likely to be the least intrusive means."
Asked to explain the reason for using Haldol and other psychotropic drugs with people who are not mentally ill, ICE responded, "The medications used by Aviation Medicine are widely used in psychiatry." Agency officials said that medical escorts administer "the lowest dose possible." Combining Haldol and Ativan "allows you [to] use less of each," they said, and produces a quicker and longer sedative effect.
In the years before Ade was drugged, there had been an internal debate within the U.S. government over whether sedating deportees against their will is legal, according to confidential legal memos obtained by The Post. There was agreement that mentally ill people could be forced to take psychotropic medicine on their way out of the country. At dispute were cases in which the detainees were not mentally ill but combative -- known as "behavioral cases."
Near the end of the Clinton administration, Health and Human Services lawyers sent around a memo that warned, "[U]sing chemical restraints in cases in which medication is not clinically indicated . . . may put the government at risk of potential liability."
Another memo went further, concluding that it could be done only if a federal judge gave permission in advance. "[R]egarding detainees who are not mentally ill," the November 2000 document said, "involuntary medication of such persons for the sole purpose of subduing them during deportation, without a court order, is not supported by any legal authority and raises ethical issues, as well.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and after the Bush administration assumed a tough new stance on immigration in its campaign against terrorism, the Justice Department still sounded wary about drugging deportees. In March 2002, a Justice lawyer laid out two options. One choice, he wrote, was to "seek a court order . . . in every case where the alien's medication is not therapeutically justified." The other choice was to create a regulation to grant immigration officials explicit permission to sedate deportees, perhaps including safeguards that would give people a warning that they might be medicated -- and a chance to object.
Top immigration officials chose neither. Instead, in May 2003, just after ICE was created, they internally circulated a new policy: "[A]n ICE detainee with or without a diagnosed psychiatric condition who displays overt or threatening aggressive behavior . . . may be considered a combative detainee and can be sedated if appropriate under the circumstances."
Under that policy, scores of people have been sedated every year since then, usually with heavy psychotropic drugs.
Some countries forbid the practice. The medical files for several deportees recount disputes between U.S. officials, who wanted to inject a subject, and foreign officials, who would not allow it.
Immigration guards and a public health nurse ran into trouble in May 2004, during a stopover on a trip from Colorado to Guinea. The deportee had been given the three-drug cocktail at the airport gate before leaving Denver, the nurse wrote in the log. Three "booster doses" followed.
The last booster was given shortly before the plane landed in Belgium. "[N]o problem initially with Belgium security," the log says. "[T]hen approached and informed illegal to medicate detainee against their will in Belgium. Informed them pt wasn't medicated in Belgium airspace for which they replied that he is medicated in Belgium." In the end, the security officers let the deportation go ahead.
Immigration guards and a nurse had more trouble during another deportation to Guinea in April 2006, as they escorted a 34-year-old man from Atlanta, with a stop in France.
He had been given 15 milligrams of Haldol, as well as the two other drugs, by the time the flight reached Paris at 9:45 a.m. According to a nurse's report on the incident, the guards, nurse and deportee were met at the plane by French national police, who accompanied them to an airport police station to await the connecting flight to Africa later in the day.
Once at the station, one of the guards asked a French officer "where we could inject the detainee when needed." First, they were shown into a private area. But five minutes later, the nurse's report says, "a superior French police officer approached and informed me that any type of involuntary injection was strictly forbidden in France, and that we would have to wait until we were in the aircraft if we were to inject our detainee."
Six hours later, the entourage returned to the boarding area for the flight to Guinea. "When we arrived at the plane, the detainee became very argumentative, refusing to enter plane until [the guards] produced paperwork showing a final deportation order," the nurse wrote. The immigration officers tried to coax him onto the plane. He refused.
"I asked the French police if the ramp on the gate would be an appropriate place to medicate," the nurse wrote. "The French police's reply was that it was strictly forbidden." The plane's captain came over to say that he would not allow the deportee onto the flight. The guards and the nurse flew him back to Atlanta.
Five weeks later they tried again, and this time, they reached Guinea. By the time they arrived, a nurse had given the deportee nine injections of Haldol totaling 55 milligrams -- nearly four times as much as before.
* * *
One deportee who was sedated last year had convictions for armed robbery and assault. Another kept telling immigration officers, "I am God." But many of those injected with psychotropic drugs, records show, are neither violent nor mentally ill. They simply do not want to go home.
"[M]ild anxiety and agitation" is how a deportation log describes Remmy Semakula's state on the afternoon he was taken from his cell in the Middlesex County jail in New Jersey to be deported to Uganda in early April 2007. According to a memo from his deportation officer, he had said earlier that he would "fight with the officers and obstruct the operation of the airline" if guards tried to force him to go home. Semakula, 42, said that he had not tried to thwart his deportation and had not known it was imminent because his immigration case still was before a federal judge. "I never fought violently or physically," he said. "They just grabbed me and injected me with a sleeping drug."
The first time immigration agents tried to deport Michel Shango, he slammed his head, hard, against the outside of the van that had come to pick him up at Atlanta's city jail. Instead of being driven to the airport, then flown to the Democratic Republic of Congo, he was brought back to the jail so his wound could be tended to.
"I asked him why he feared being returned back to his country," an immigration officer wrote of the incident. Shango, now 42, replied that he had been a journalist and had written articles critical of the Congolese government. "Detainee stated . . . that he might as well die trying to avoid deportation," a second officer wrote, "because they will kill him as soon as he gets to the D.R. of the Congo."
Until early 1996, Shango worked in Congo, ghostwriting articles and supplying information to foreign correspondents about the repressive administration of President Mobutu Sese Seko, he said in telephone interviews from locations in Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, where friends are now helping him hide. Eventually Shango was arrested, he and two of his lawyers said, but he escaped to Canada, then settled in North Carolina, where he started a limousine business with a cousin in Charlotte. He married an American, who at first offered to help him become a citizen. The marriage dissolved. He applied for political asylum. He was turned down.
He was remarried to a Congolese woman by the time immigration officers came to his house at 4:30 one morning in May 2006. As his wife and their three American-born children cried at the frightening scene, the officers led him away at gunpoint.
On Feb. 28, 2007, three months after the first deportation attempt was aborted because of the head-banging incident, seven guards arrived at the Atlanta jail to make a second attempt. Shango glanced at his watch and noted that it was 1:45 p.m. "They pushed me against the wall," he recalled. "They pulled my pants down." His medical log shows that he was given seven shots in his right buttock and right shoulder before he boarded the airplane.
The log says his only psychological problem was "anxiety disorder."
By the time Shango reached Congo, records show, he had been injected with 32.5 milligrams of Haldol and 7.5 milligrams of Ativan. As he was thrown into a prison after he got off the plane, and even as friends helped him escape, he was so disoriented, he said, that he did not fully know where he was. For two weeks, Shango said, "It was like I was dreaming. . . . I started crying, crying, crying all day long. . . . I was like crazy, because [of] the drugs, knocking me down."
* * *
Of all the detainees who have been forcibly drugged, only two have drawn much public attention. Neither, in the end, was deported. And compared with other deportees, neither got large doses of sedatives. But publicity about their cases sent shock waves through the immigration bureaucracy. Raymond Soeoth, a Christian minister from Indonesia, had tried and failed to win asylum in the United States. While in custody at an immigration compound near Los Angeles, his medical log notes, Soeoth, now 39, he said he would kill himself if deported -- a statement his lawyers say he never made.
On Dec. 7, 2004, he was injected in the left buttock with five milligrams of Haldol and four milligrams of Cogentin before being taken to the airport. As it turned out, his deportation was canceled before takeoff because immigration officials had not alerted airline security in Singapore, a stopover point.
Amadou Diouf came to the United States from Senegal as a student in 1996 and got a degree in information systems from California State University at Northridge. He married a U.S. citizen and was trying to change his immigration status when, in March 2005, he was arrested and brought to the same compound as Soeoth.
Eleven months later, as he was still appealing his case and, according to his lawyers, had a court order blocking his deportation, immigration officers came for him and took him to the airport for the trip back to Senegal.
At first, records show, Diouf, now 32, was calm. He was already sitting in a window seat, 4A, when he demanded to speak to the plane's captain. He "became more agitated, anxious and loud in his dialogue," according to the medical log. A nurse said he would be given "some calming medicine," but when Diouf saw the needle, he lunged. Guards "proceeded to take down the detainee to the ground" in the plane's galley, and the nurse injected him with five milligrams of Haldol, two milligrams of Ativan and two milligrams of Cogentin.
At that point, the guards and nurse called off the trip. Diouf was returned to his cell. In early May 2007, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California was drafting a lawsuit on behalf of Soeoth and Diouf and told a local newspaper, the Los Angeles Daily Journal, about their sedations. Across the continent, inside the immigration health division's headquarters in downtown Washington, the publicity's effect was electric.
The next day, the chief of psychiatry for the division's aviation medicine branch dispatched a memo. "I have stopped all planned non-psychiatric behavioral escorts, of which 10 are currently planned," he wrote, until government lawyers "have formalized policy in regards to this type of escort activity."
A month and a half later, the medical escort rules were changed. Except in psychiatric cases, according to a confidential June 21 memo from ICE, the health division "must have a court order to assist. . . . [ICE in] removal of problematic detainees." In January, the language was made even stronger: "DIHS may only involuntarily sedate an alien to facilitate removal where the government has obtained a court order. There are no exceptions to this policy."
The newest rules were issued less than three weeks before the government tentatively settled the lawsuit with Soeoth and Diouf, who are now out of custody. The government is no longer trying to deport Soeoth; Diouf is still fighting to remain in the country.
How well the government is following its new rules is unclear. Asked how many court orders the government has sought, immigration officials said that none "have been issued to involuntarily sedate an alien for removal purposes," but they declined to discuss whether any requests are pending.
In one known case in which government lawyers sought a court order, they withdrew the request after a congressman intervened. On Oct. 1, a federal judge in Texas was asked for permission to sedate Rrustem Neza. Immigration officers had canceled their first attempt to deport him to Albania because he created a scene at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, screaming, "I am not a terrorist."
One week after the government filed its motion, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), a former judge, wrote to the court, saying he had "grave concerns" about the government's desire to medicate his constituent to deport him. "Mr. Neza fled Albania after telling a crowd in Tropoje the names of the men who were seen killing Azem Hajdari, who organized a student movement against the Communist Party. Mr. Neza's cousins were fatally shot while fleeing with him," the congressman wrote. "[S]edating Mr. Neza amounts to a death sentence for an innocent man."
Last March, after Gohmert had spoken about Neza's case with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and after he had introduced legislation to block Neza's deportation, the issue was dropped.
* * *
In at least one instance since the rules were changed, the government apparently drugged a deportee without permission from a judge. Maher Ayoub, now 44, was sent back to Egypt last August. A month later, immigration officials told Congress that they had not yet asked for a court order in any case.
Ayoub had thwarted the first attempt to deport him, a few months earlier, by sitting in a van and demanding all the paperwork in his immigration file. He said he spent the next three months in segregation in an Elizabeth, N.J., detention center. The next time they tried to send him home, immigration officers were determined to make sure he would go quietly.
His record offers contradictory evidence about whether there was psychiatric justification for the drugs he got, though it seems to suggest that there was not. A one-page "patient summary" for Ayoub says "Med/Psych Alert Documents: None." His medical escort log labels him a mental health case and says he had a "depressed mood" and an "anxiety state."
A handwritten note in his escort file, from a psychiatrist who saw him at the Elizabeth center, first says Ayoub was not likely to endanger himself or anyone else -- then, lower on the same page, says he might. On the next page of the file is another note, this one written two days before his flight, from the psychiatrist in charge of aviation medicine. It says that Ayoub's case is a "behavioral escort," not a psychiatric one, and that the nurse "is only to give medications to the patient if he agrees to take them. He will only use involuntary treatment if the patient is at imminent risk of hurting himself or others."
That is not what happened.
"Detainee tearful and wringing hands," his medical log begins. An hour later, it says: "Detainee increasingly agitated and resisting clothing change. Detainee is now crying and screaming" at two guards. A nurse at the Elizabeth detention center slid two milligrams of the anti-anxiety drug, Ativan, into his left shoulder.
Immigration officials said his deportation was "consistent" with the June policy that allows medication only when a detainee "may be a risk to himself or others."
"I was feeling my head was leaving my body," Ayoub remembers. "I was losing control over my body." He was groggy but awake when he arrived with guards and the nurse at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and boarded the nonstop flight to Egypt.
Before the plane took off, he remembers, he called over a flight attendant and "asked them to tell the pilot I didn't want to leave." The nurse stuck a needle into his right arm this time. That injection put him to sleep.
|MAY DAY 2008
||[Apr. 30th, 2008|08:49 pm]
TOMORROW, as we’ve done every may day in the US since 2006, we march for the rights and respect of immigrants living in the US who make life easier for the privileged and get almost nothing in return. This year, for the first time in Santa Rosa, we explicitly march against the so-called “Free Trade” agreements that the rich and powerful make with each other -- not with the workers. These economic systems are designed to make international business easier for the most rich, which leaves millions of poor workers unemployed and many times displaced, as we have seen from the surge in immigration directly related to the passing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). We also march against the violent and deadly militaristic raids on our communities that that often leave children orphaned and tear families apart when one or more head of household is deported. We march against the Sonoma County’s Sheriff department who willingly allows and helps the federal government to enforce arbitrary and racist immigration law on our streets, almost always based on racial profiling, often deporting young latino men who have grown up in the US and know nothing of the place in which they were born. We march FOR a COUNTY OF REFUGE, in support of passing a law that would prohibit local law enforcement from collaborating with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security), so that immigrant residents of Sonoma County will no longer feel the looming threat of deportation for simply stepping outside their homes.
THURSDAY, MAY 1ST - NO WORK, NO SCHOOL
MEET AT SEBASTOPOL RD. AND WEST AVE. (parking lot of what used to be the Albertson’) AT 12PM, MARCH TO JULLIARD PARK AT 1PM.
There will be a rally at Julliard Park with food, music, education, workshops, and more.
The community has been asked to bring 26-cent stamps to help fund a mailing of petitions to the county supervisors.
NO TO FREE TRADE
NO TO THE MILITARISTIC RAIDS ON OUR COMMUNITIES
YES! TO A COUNTY OF REFUGE
|migra pig rapes immigrant
||[Mar. 21st, 2008|03:37 pm]
From the New York Times, who sometimes requires you to create a stupid fucking account on their site for you to access their articles:
March 21, 2008
An Agent, a Green Card, and a Demand for Sex
By NINA BERNSTEIN
No problems so far, the immigration agent told the American citizen and his 22-year-old Colombian wife at her green card interview in December. After he stapled one of their wedding photos to her application for legal permanent residency, he had just one more question: What was her cellphone number?
The calls from the agent started three days later. He hinted, she said, at his power to derail her life and deport her relatives, alluding to a brush she had with the law before her marriage. He summoned her to a private meeting. And at noon on Dec. 21, in a parked car on Queens Boulevard, he named his price — not realizing that she was recording everything on the cellphone in her purse.
“I want sex,” he said on the recording. “One or two times. That’s all. You get your green card. You won’t have to see me anymore.”
She reluctantly agreed to a future meeting. But when she tried to leave his car, he demanded oral sex “now,” to “know that you’re serious.” And despite her protests, she said, he got his way.
The 16-minute recording, which the woman first took to The New York Times and then to the Queens district attorney, suggests the vast power of low-level immigration law enforcers, and a growing desperation on the part of immigrants seeking legal status. The aftermath, which included the arrest of an immigration agent last week, underscores the difficulty and danger of making a complaint, even in the rare case when abuse of power may have been caught on tape.
No one knows how widespread sexual blackmail is, but the case echoes other instances of sexual coercion that have surfaced in recent years, including agents criminally charged in Atlanta, Miami and Santa Ana, Calif. And it raises broader questions about the system’s vulnerability to corruption at a time when millions of noncitizens live in a kind of legal no-man’s land, increasingly fearful of seeking the law’s protection.
The agent arrested last week, Isaac R. Baichu, 46, himself an immigrant from Guyana, handled some 8,000 green card applications during his three years as an adjudicator in the Garden City, N.Y., office of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of the federal Department of Homeland Security. He pleaded not guilty to felony and misdemeanor charges of coercing the young woman to perform oral sex, and of promising to help her secure immigration papers in exchange for further sexual favors. If convicted, he will face up to seven years in prison.
His agency has suspended him with pay, and the inspector general of Homeland Security is reviewing his other cases, a spokesman said Wednesday. Prosecutors, who say they recorded a meeting between Mr. Baichu and the woman on March 11 at which he made similar demands for sex, urge any other victims to come forward.
Money, not sex, is the more common currency of corruption in immigration, but according to Congressional testimony in 2006 by Michael Maxwell, former director of the agency’s internal investigations, more than 3,000 backlogged complaints of employee misconduct had gone uninvestigated for lack of staff, including 528 involving criminal allegations.
The agency says it has tripled its investigative staff since then, and counts only 165 serious complaints pending. But it stopped posting an e-mail address and phone number for such complaints last year, said Jan Lane, chief of security and integrity, because it lacks the staff to cull the thousands of mostly irrelevant messages that resulted. Immigrants, she advised, should report wrongdoing to any law enforcement agency they trust.
The young woman in Queens, whose name is being withheld because the authorities consider her the victim of a sex crime, did not even tell her husband what had happened. Two weeks after the meeting in the car, finding no way to make a confidential complaint to the immigration agency and afraid to go to the police, she and two older female relatives took the recording to The Times.
Reasons to Worry
A slim, shy woman who looks like a teenager, she said she had spent recent months baby-sitting for relatives in Queens, crying over the deaths of her two brothers back in Cali, Colombia, and longing for the right stamp in her passport — one that would let her return to the United States if she visited her family.
She came to the United States on a tourist visa in 2004 and overstayed. When she married an American citizen a year ago, the law allowed her to apply to “adjust” her illegal status. But unless her green card application was approved, she could not visit her parents or her brothers’ graves and then legally re-enter the United States. And if her application was denied, she would face deportation.
She had another reason to be fearful, and not only for herself. About 15 months ago, she said, an acquaintance hired her and two female relatives in New York to carry $12,000 in cash to the bank. The three women, all living in the country illegally, were arrested on the street by customs officers apparently acting on a tip in a money-laundering investigation. After determining that the women had no useful information, the officers released them.
But the closed investigation file had showed up in the computer when she applied for a green card, Mr. Baichu told her in December; until he obtained the file and dealt with it, her application would not be approved. If she defied him, she feared, he could summon immigration enforcement agents to take her relatives to detention.
So instead of calling the police, she turned on the video recorder in her cellphone, put the phone in her purse and walked to meet the agent. Two family members said they watched anxiously from their parked car as she disappeared behind the tinted windows of his red Lexus.
“We were worried that the guy would take off, take her away and do something to her,” the woman’s widowed sister-in-law said in Spanish.
As the recorder captured the agent’s words and a lilting Guyanese accent, he laid out his terms in an easy, almost paternal style. He would not ask too much, he said: sex “once or twice,” visits to his home in the Bronx, perhaps a link to other Colombians who needed his help with their immigration problems.
In shaky English, the woman expressed reluctance, and questioned how she could be sure he would keep his word.
“If I do it, it’s like very hard for me, because I have my husband, and I really fall in love with him,” she said.
The agent insisted that she had to trust him. “I wouldn’t ask you to do something for me if I can’t do something for you, right?” he said, and reasoned, “Nobody going to help you for nothing,” noting that she had no money.
He described himself as the single father of a 10-year-old daughter, telling her, “I need love, too,” and predicting, “You will get to like me because I’m a nice guy.”
Repeatedly, she responded “O.K.,” without conviction. At one point he thanked her for showing up, saying, “I know you feel very scared.”
Finally, she tried to leave. “Let me go because I tell my husband I come home,” she said.
His reply, the recording shows, was a blunt demand for oral sex.
“Right now? No!” she protested. “No, no, right now I can’t.”
He insisted, cajoled, even empathized. “I came from a different country, too,” he said. “I got my green card just like you.”
Then, she said, he grabbed her. During the speechless minute that follows on the recording, she said she yielded to his demand out of fear that he would use his authority against her.
How Much Corruption?
The charges against Mr. Baichu, who became a United States citizen in 1991 and earns roughly $50,000 a year, appear to be part of a larger pattern, according to government records and interviews.
Mr. Maxwell, the immigration agency’s former chief investigator, told Congress in 2006 that internal corruption was “rampant,” and that employees faced constant temptations to commit crime.
“It is only a small step from granting a discretionary waiver of an eligibility rule to asking for a favor or taking a bribe in exchange for granting that waiver,” he contended. “Once an employee learns he can get away with low-level corruption and still advance up the ranks, he or she becomes more brazen.”
Mr. Maxwell’s own deputy, Lloyd W. Miner, 49, of Hyattsville, Md., turned out to be an example. He was sentenced March 7 to a year in prison for inducing a 21-year-old Mongolian woman to stay in the country illegally, and harboring her in his house.
Other cases include that of a 60-year-old immigration adjudicator in Santa Ana, Calif., who was charged with demanding sexual favors from a 29-year-old Vietnamese woman in exchange for approving her citizenship application. The agent, Eddie Romualdo Miranda, was acquitted of a felony sexual battery charge last August, but pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery and was sentenced to probation.
In Atlanta, another adjudicator, Kelvin R. Owens, was convicted in 2005 of sexually assaulting a 45-year-old woman during her citizenship interview in the federal building, and sentenced to weekends in jail for six months. And a Miami agent of Immigration and Customs Enforcement responsible for transporting a Haitian woman to detention is awaiting trial on charges that he took her to his home and raped her.
“Despite our best efforts there are always people ready to use their position for personal gain or personal pleasure,” said Chris Bentley, a spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Services. “Our responsibility is to ferret them out.”
When the Queens woman came to The Times with her recording on Jan. 3, she was afraid of retaliation from the agent, and uncertain about making a criminal complaint, though she had an appointment the next day at the Queens district attorney’s office.
She followed through, however, and Carmencita Gutierrez, an assistant district attorney, began monitoring phone calls between the agent and the young woman, a spokesman said. When Mr. Baichu arranged to meet the woman on March 11 at the Flagship Restaurant on Queens Boulevard, investigators were ready.
In the conversation recorded there, according to the criminal complaint, Mr. Baichu told her he expected her to do “just like the last time,” and offered to take her to a garage or the bathroom of a friend’s real estate business so she would be “more comfortable doing it” there.
Mr. Baichu was arrested as he emerged from the diner and headed to his car, wearing much gold and diamond jewelry, prosecutors said. Later released on $15,000 bail, Mr. Baichu referred calls for comment to his lawyer, Sally Attia, who said he did not have authority to grant or deny green card petitions without his supervisor’s approval.
The young woman’s ordeal is not over. Her husband overheard her speaking about it to a cousin about a month ago, and she had to tell him the whole story, she said.
“He was so mad at me, he left my house,” she said, near tears. “I don’t know if he’s going to come back.”
The green card has not come through. “I’m still hoping,” she said.
Angelica Medaglia contributed reporting.
good commentary here: http://feministing.com/archives/008854.html
1.) the NY Times refuses to call this what it actually is: rape
2.) it's pretty amazing that this woman came forward and that this is getting press
3.) this is not new. most victims of rape who are immigrants cannot report it from fear that they or their family will be compromised.
|fuck dobbs again
||[Dec. 16th, 2007|10:02 pm]
thanks for all the great comments on the last post!
ANYWAYS. as you know, i have spent TONS of energy debating racists through my blog. some people, including myself, sometimes wonder why i bother. here's why:
the hatred of immigrants in this society isn't just shit-talking. if it was just shit-talking, it would get settled as easily as it does on the playground -- people would just get over it. but this shit-talking has its roots in economics, politics, war, imperialism, colonialism, capitalism, AND racism. it has evolved and perpetuated for hundreds of years, and now that a few people need to get elected, it's coming up to the surface again. it's NOT okay to let racists feel comfortable. this is dangerous shit-talking. anti-immigrant sentiment gives hateful people an excuse and a motivation to act out their desires. anybody who perpetuates this hateful bullshit needs to be called out and confronted, to let them know that it's not okay.
(by the way, there are many other factors that work to spread this violence, like the fact that immigrants have little or no access to legal help.)
i'm not going to link to of any of the violent racist fucks that are desperately trying to get their foot in the door in sonoma county. but since lou dobbs and tom tancredo already have tons of publicity, it can't hurt to link to them to give you an example of how insane these people are.
|What would it take?
||[Apr. 28th, 2007|09:13 pm]
what would a man have to do to a woman such that it would result in most of society agreeing that it was wrong of him to do so?
if a man walked up to a random woman on the street and harassed her, raped her, and then beat her to death, and it made it into the news, and it was posted in a really popular blog, people would literally post comments saying something like "well, we don't know exactly what happened in the situation! let's not jump to conclusions...i mean....she WAS wearing a short skirt....and maybe she said something offensive to him!! you people are just man-bashers!"
sonoma county police have murdered four people in the last 3 months. and the reaction of the general public to these murders has been exactly like what i said above. "well...i mean....he DID act aggressively towards the cops! what were the cops supposed to do???"
uh, that's like saying that if a kid is harassing you and then breaks into your house and he's obviously fucked up on drugs, that the first thing you should do is shoot him in the chest four times.
oh wait, that's exactly what happened to my friend in Cloverdale.
throwing things at his face or shooting him in the legs would not be enough, of course. (evidently, this was the conclusion of the official investigation of this incident, because the shooter was not blamed for the death.)
when is it okay to kill someone?
when is it okay for cops to kill someone?
what is the purpose of cops?
what is their role in society?
what are the reasons for and intentions of cops reacting to something somebody does?
would you shoot someone who was being aggressive towards you?
is that the best thing to do in situation like that?
is that the best thing to do in a situation where you are covered in armor that is not penetrable by a shooting bullet, you are armed with a beating stick, pepper spray, and you are trained in dealing with violent situations?
and the person you're dealing with is mentally unstable?
how aggressive should someone be to be considered an immediate threat to the cop's life?
what would a police officer have to do to a person to result in a situation where the majority of people generally agree that it was wrong?
obviously, shooting them is not enough. what would it take?
to assist in giving you some perspective while pondering this, here is some news footage of a scenario in europe. after watching this footage, ask yourself,
what would santa rosa police do in this case?
what would these cops have to do to the protesters if the logic of sonoma county police was valid?
some people joke around that the public isn't going to do anything about Bush until the day he eats a baby in front of the white house.
uh, what makes you so sure? MANY people probably said at some point, "people aren't gonna get off their ass until dick cheney shoots an old guy in the face with a shotgun!" ....and then this actually happened and nobody really cared.
or, to use another example, some people say that the reason they want to expose 9/11 complicity is because if the american people knew that their own government had killed 3000 of its own citizens, and lied about it, they would wake up and take arms! and do something about it! these people fail to realize that the bush administration has killed more than 3000 american citizens in iraq, and they knew that this would happen, and they lied about it, and they lied to the people who would die and told them that it was absolutely necessary for them to go there.. this leads us to the conclusion that
the american public knows that the bush administration has deliberately and unfairly killed more than 3000 of its own citizens and
there is still no significant anti war movement in the US. sorry 9/11 truth activists, it seems that your mission is hopeless after all.
what the fuck would it take for people to stop believing the bullshit.
what the fuck would it take for people to stop defending the lies that they have been indoctrinated with but claim to have stopped believing? would you shoot someone who is acting aggressively to you? THEN WHY THE FUCK IS IT OKAY FOR A COP TO DO SO?
i am not going to make any assumptions about the poor old guy whose house got broken into, but would my friend still be alive if society didn't constantly insist on defending an authority's violence?
what would it take for hip hop heads to stop being apologists for misogyny?
what would it take for NEO-NAZI GROUPS (THERE I SAID IT, MINUTEMEN ARE NEO NAZI GROUPS, DEAR MINUTEMEN: HI, THIS IS VIKTOR FRANKL SPEAKING, YOU ARE FUCKING NAZIS) to stop getting airtime? to stop being considered "the other side of the debate?" (more importantly, what would it take for fucking democrats to be considered the "pro-immigrant" side?)
the US government has killed so many iraqi civilians that if i took the time to look up the official number i would collapse onto the floor and start crying and not be able to finish this post. this is not enough incentive for people to stop their daily lives and be committed to helping someone other than themselves, so what is?
do 30 minutes of research of US history and youll see why the anti immigrant sentiment in this country shows blatant signs that inevitably WE AS A SOCIETY ARE GOING TO REGRET THIS SOMEDAY. but this is still not enough for people to get off their ass and do something.
there are like 500 ideas, points, subjects, sentiments, arguments, and non-sequitors in this post, sorry about that.
may 1st is a pagan holiday and is also international worker's day (look up may day on wikipedia) (the rest of the world gets that day off, and it was a result of workers fighting for it, not like labor day, which is a day off that the government gets to choose, and not only that, we have to deal with all the fucking propaganda bullshit.) and many things will happen in santa rosa, starting at 11PM at the ex-albertson's parking lot in roseland.
-people from all social groups will refuse to go to work and school
-there will be an immigrant solidarity march and rally
-the minutemen will be there to protest it (i was thinking about dressing up like the klan and marching with them, but i have better things to do)
-there will be people training people about their rights when dealing with the cops
-there will be people actively watching the police to make sure they don't do anything they're not supposed to do
-there will be privileged people ready fight and be arrested in case the cops attack the immigrant population, because some people have the privilege of facing trivial consequences for this while the undocumented population faces deportation. (this is less likely to happen now that the organizers attained a permit for the march).
-there will be many groups, ranging from liberal democrats to anarchists, in open solidarity with the oppressed immigrant population.
-there will be a rally afterwards with food, music, speakers, and community groups.
-there will be mothafuckin 10,000 people openly expressing that the anti immigrant sentiment in this country is morally unfounded
in other words, this is a good chance to "do something." there are many others. contact me if interested.
haha, kinda like that book where someone puts out an ad that says "teacher looking for pupil, must be interested in saving the world."
|their pain ignored.
||[Sep. 27th, 2006|10:35 pm]
"It seems as if all those people who were immigrants and those who were once slaves in America have forgotten what it means to be struggling...And to have their pain ignored." --Immortal Technique
I took this text from Immortal Technique's MySpace blog:
( clickCollapse )
|SOS: Save Our SkinColor
||[Sep. 15th, 2006|02:59 pm]
whenever i am feeling sad, i look a few pages of the SOS forum. usually this brightens up my day, especially when i come across the word "invasion," or when the word AMERICA is in all-caps....actually just whenever the word america comes up, it's funny.
but i don't laugh at their message board anymore. recently i came across the section in their forum where they talk about all the protests they have put together. every once in a while they go to a day labor center and video tape everyone (because all poor mexican people are illegal immigrants) in an effort to scare away employers and have "evidence" of illegal immigrants on video. then they go on the forum and brag about it and talk about how the illegals beat them up cause mexicans are racist rapists.
.......as if depriving people of their only means of survival isn't violent.
the act of SOS scaring immigrants out of work is a very definite example of terrorism. depriving immigrants (both documented and undocumented...although SOS seems to have an unspoken they-all-look-the-same policy) of essentially the only work they can find is an issue of human rights, not an issue of "they shouldn't have been illegals so that's what they get." some of the people looking for work at day labor centers have children at home whose well-being depends on whether the parent finds work that day. (remember, illegal immigrants cannot receive welfare.) day labor centers typically have a minimal pay system, which provides security for the worker. when SOS scares away employers or workers, they are possibly depriving a family of work or forcing the worker to find means of work that are even more illegitimate. if SOS's claims that they get preemptively attacked by workers is true, a very important "what the fuck did you expect" element is at play here. you're telling me that with SOS's in-your-face attitude they wouldn't take some kind of violent action if their family was put in danger by depriving them of finding the only work they can find? The day laborers at these places are already oppressed, poor, desperate and hungry. on top of that, they are ridiculed by people passing by, both passively and actively. then, a bunch of people with cameras come to scare away one of the only opportunities they have to make money that day. what the fuck do you expect? it is worth noting that it is SOS itself that claims they are occasionally attacked.
Do the people who do this want immigrants to not have any money at all, to starve? or do they want immigrants to go find work elsewhere, which would make their protests completely pointless?
a likely response to this might be (actually, i'm pretty much 100% sure it will be) that illegal immigrants are stealing the jobs of real human beings, therefore SOS is justified in what they do. this argument.....holy shit........i think im starting to smile again.....is terrible.
IF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ARE STEALING YOUR JOBS AT THE DAY LOBOR CENTER, GO LINE UP AND STEAL YOUR JOB BACK. I was not aware that SOS members used to be day laborers. but apparently they were............but.....that's really weird....i don't really see them lining up for work......hm.....i don't get it.......seems like they would try as hard as they can to get their old jobs back....
sorry for the lame sarcasm, but i couldn't help it. illegal immigrants are not stealing SOS's jobs. SOS, your jobs are right there at the day labor center for you whenever you want them back. oh, and another thing....it's funny how you have video footage of who you think are illegal immigrants, lining up for work and working all day. when do they have time to go out and rape puppies and all the other terrible things that only illegal (not legal) mexicans do? ah yes, they go out at night and stalk....i forgot.
check out the peaceful non-racist freedom fighters who love america and don't have anything against mexicans: http://reportanddeport.org/
and in case you didn't read it before, check out what happens when more than a dozen SOS members trip over each other trying to debate a 19 year old community college student. (note that it's 2 pages). it's hilarious, and it forces them to show their real motives for what they do, which often contradict what SOS officially declares it stands for:
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