The “Border Beat” (March 1, 2009)

As the Obama administration nears the halfway point of its first hundred days, the issues surrounding this nation’s failed immigration policies continue to take their tragic and very human toll.  Rather than beginning any process halting the Bush administration’s ICE raids, or even instituting a formal review of past policies, the Department of Homeland Security seems to be running in the same direction and at the same speed as it was some 42 days ago.

The “Border Beat” is back with a series of articles and resources providing an introduction to the context that pisses off a lot of Latinos.

• “Local Democracy on ICE” (Justice Strategies)
This report–written and issued by Justice Strategies (a NY-based, immigration “think tank”)–chronicles the waste of resources orchestrated by the DHS and their use of local law enforcement for immigration raids. As the report notes, the people being arrested are NOT criminals, nor are they people suspected of committing any harmful crime. They are civil violators.

Residing in the US without proper documentation is a civil immigration violation, but it is not a crime. Imagine if the IRS empowered local police to check the tax records of every person stopped for a traffic violation to see if their filings have ever violated civil tax laws. If the police started filling our jails with people who might have made a mistake on their tax filings, citizens would be outraged. Yet under 287(g), people are jailed when their civil immigration status is in question.

Their full report can be downloaded from the above link.

• “Federal immigration agents raid Belingham business” (Bellingham Herald-WA)
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under Obama and his DHS appointee, Janet Napolitano, began rounding up immigrant workers from Latin America again.  Like the vast majority of the others, these workers have no criminal backgrounds nor are they accused of any actual crime, other than the civil violation of being in and working in the nation without legal authorization.  So, of course, they were appropriately handcuffed, lined-up, and herded into custody like the hard-working people they are.

• “And Unequal Justice for Some” (NY Times)
One of the ways people rationalize arresting unauthorized migrants (even though their “crime” is not a “real” crime) is by saying those working are violating our laws of identity theft.  Those laws are currently under review by the Supreme Court, who hear arguments this week in the case of Ignacio Carlos Flores-Figueroa.  This editorial is a short statement of why his prosecution under identity theft laws is not only bogus but unethical.

• “Climate Fears Are Driving ‘Ecomigration’ Across Globe” (Washington Post)
One of the truly fascinating things about the current global environmental movement is the way it seems to be “new” or “recent” because the so-called First World is on board. Like most global tragedies, the poor feel it sooner and more severely than do the rich. While the First World was fucking up this planet for the past 100 years or so, the Third World’s knowledge and understanding of that fact was obscured, ignored, and covered-up. Now what can we learn from listening to them? It’s time to get out of town.

• “Who cares if arrests caused by quotas?” (Baltimore Sun)
To wrap it all up, let’s revisit a brief but thorough rendering of the neo-liberal, anti-immigrant (“I’m only talking about ‘illegal’ immigrants!”) analysis, peppered with the “panic/plague” neo-conservative one.  This reader criminalizes immigrants, dismisses gross ethic violations on the part of DHS and ICE, and then blames immigrants for California’s financial woes.  Classic.


3 thoughts on “The “Border Beat” (March 1, 2009)

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