Archive for May 1st, 2008

CASA De Maryland

Dozens of local immigrant rights and social justice organizations are have joined the call for a major immigrant rights mobilization for May1, 2008. We have agreed on five demands:

Immigration Reform with Justice and Dignity for All
Stop the Raids, Deportations, and Use of No-Match Letters
Rescind the Anti-Immigrant Resolution in Prince William County
Declare the District of Columbia a Sanctuary City for Immigrants
Establish Workers Centers in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia
To call attention to these demands, our coalition will be organizing a series of events on May 1st. We will picket the national offices of the Republican and Democratic National Committees, calling on members of both parties to recognize the basic human rights of all immigrants to this country.

We will also be holding a rally and march starting in Malcolm X/Meridian Hill Park.

12:30pm - Meet at Capitol South Metro Station, from there march to the RNC at 310 1st St SE, followed by the DNC at 430 S. Capitol St SE
4pm - Rally at Malcolm X Park, 16th & Euclid St NW
6pm - March starting from Malcolm X Park

Participating Organizations include All Souls Church Social Justice Ministries, Barrios Unidos, CASA of Maryland, CISPES, the CPUSA, the D.C. Alliance for Immigrant Justice, D.C. Jobs with Justice, DC Students for a Democratic Society, the Fellowship of Reconciliation- D.C., the FMLN-DC, Free the Cuban Five Committee- D.C., the Gray Panthers, the Hip Hop Caucus, the International Socialist Organization, the Latin American Youth Center, the Latino Media Collective, the Metro D.C. Interfaith Sanctuary Network, Mexicanos Sin Fronteras, the Richmond Defenders of Justice and Peace, the Socialist Workers Party, the 31-45 Mt. Pleasant St. Tenants Association, the Union de Trabajadores de D.C., the Virginia Immigrant People’s Coalition, the Virginia Justice Center/Immigrant Advocacy Program, the Virginia People United, the Washington Peace Center, and the Woodbridge Workers Committee.

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The Washington Post

Swelling populations and a global tide of immigration will present new security challenges for the United States by straining resources and stoking extremism and civil unrest in distant corners of the globe, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said in a speech yesterday.

The population surge could undermine the stability of some of the world’s most fragile states, especially in Africa, while in the West, governments will be forced to grapple with ever larger immigrant communities and deepening divisions over ethnicity and race, Hayden said.

Hayden, speaking at Kansas State University, described the projected 33 percent growth in global population over the next 40 years as one of three significant trends that will alter the security landscape in the current century. By 2050, the number of humans on Earth is expected to rise from 6.7 billion to more than 9 billion, he said.

“Most of that growth will occur in countries least able to sustain it, a situation that will likely fuel instability and extremism, both in those countries and beyond,” Hayden said.

With the population of countries such as Niger and Liberia projected to triple in size in 40 years, regional governments will be forced to rapidly find food, shelter and jobs for millions, or deal with restive populations that “could be easily attracted to violence, civil unrest, or extremism,” he said.

European countries, many of which already have large immigrant communities, will see particular growth in their Muslim populations while the number of non-Muslims will shrink as birthrates fall. “Social integration of immigrants will pose a significant challenge to many host nations — again boosting the potential for unrest and extremism,” Hayden said.

The CIA director also predicted a widening gulf between Europe and North America on how to deal with security threats, including terrorism. While U.S. and European officials agree on the urgency of the terrorism threat, there is a fundamental difference — a “transatlantic divide” — over the solution, he said.

While the United States sees the fight against terrorism as a global war, European nations perceive the terrorist threat as a law enforcement problem, he said.

“They tend not to view terrorism as we do, as an overwhelming international challenge. Or if they do, we often differ on what would be effective and appropriate to counter it,” Hayden said. He added that he could not predict “when or if” the two sides could forge a common approach to security.

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The Washington Post

HAMBURG Some years ago, I received a terror threat. If I did not apologize publicly and profusely for a column that blasted the Iranian regime, I would be killed by Friday, Sept. 13 — what an auspicious date! So I sent for the security experts, and this is what they told me: Your front and back doors are worthless; get armored ones. Order bulletproof windows. Build a safe room. Install panic buttons. Get rid of that silly chicken-wire fence and put in a steel and concrete one. Don’t use the driveway; try to vary your access routes (which, I think, meant sneaking home through the neighbors’ gardens). Pretty soon, we were talking six-figure costs and contemplating emigration to Iceland.

The appointed day of my demise came and went. (Real terrorists don’t write letters; they just kill you.) But the moral of this story will remain etched in my mind: When security is at stake, there is no limit to fear or fortification.

Fear, in other words, is a tax, and al-Qaeda and its ilk have done better at extracting it from Americans than the Internal Revenue Service. Think about the extra half-hour millions of airline passengers waste standing in security lines; the annual cost in lost work-hours runs into the billions. Add to that the freight delays at borders, ports and airports, the cost of checking money transfers as well as goods in transit, the wages for beefed-up security forces around the world. And that doesn’t even attempt to put a price tag on the compression of civil liberties or the loss of human dignity from being groped in full public view by Transportation Security Administration personnel at the airport or from having to walk barefoot through the metal detector, holding up your beltless pants. This global transaction tax represents the most significant victory of Terror International to date.

The new fear tax falls most heavily on the United States. Last November, the Commerce Department reported a 17 percent decline in overseas travel to the United States between 9/11 and 2006. (There are no firm figures for 2007 yet, but there seems to have been an uptick.) That slump has cost the country $94 billion in lost tourist spending, nearly 200,000 jobs and $16 billion in forgone tax revenue — and all while the dollar has kept dropping.

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The Washington Post

WASHINGTON (AP) — A coalition of immigrant rights’ groups and social justice organizations are marching today in Washington to call for immigration reform.

The groups are demanding that Prince William County, in northern Virginia, rescind its anti-illegal immigration measure. They also want raids and deportations to end, and are calling for worker centers to be established in Washington, Maryland and Virginia.

Activists also plan to deliver a letter to the Republican and Democratic national committees, asking the presidential candidates to enact immigration reform.

The events in Washington are part of rallies and marches planned in cities across the nation.

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Sun Times

It was going to be a matrimonial blowout: lots of food, scores of guests and even a mariachi band.

But two days before Fernando Lara Flores, 26, was due to wed his fiancee, Lucia Rodriguez, at St. Cletus Parish in La Grange, he was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at O’Hare Airport while waiting to pick up his grandmother and father. They’d flown in from Guadalajara, Mexico, for the celebration.

While Chicago passed an immigrant sanctuary ordinance in 2006, O’Hare is under federal jurisdiction. Flores is now in a McHenry County federal detention center awaiting his fate.

‘He’s so scared right now,’ says his sister, 28-year-old Monica Lara, who has talked with Flores several times by phone. ‘He’s so negative. He says he doesn’t want anything. He just wants to go back to Mexico.’

Starting mid-morning Thursday, thousands of people and many immigrant rights groups are expected to rally at Union Park at Ashland and Lake before marching downtown to Federal Plaza to push for immigration law reform — reform that could help those in binds similar to Flores’.

Read more.

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A Belleville man who has been linked by DNA to two separate sex assaults was convicted today of repeatedly raping a teenager on a desolate Newark street and then calling her later in the day for a date.

David Vasquez was arrested after the victim, with a Newark detective sitting by her side, pretended to be interested in seeing him again and set him up for what turned out to be a rendezvous with the police.

Vasquez, 29, an illegal immigrant from the Dominican Republic, was convicted of three counts of second-degree sexual assault after a trial before Superior Court Judge Joseph Cassini.

The jurors acquitted him of aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping and weapons charges, despite the victim’s claim that she was abducted at gunpoint.

“I’m glad they believed she was raped,” said Deborah Freier, the assistant Essex County prosecutor who argued the case. “She went through a lot that night, and like any victim of a violent crime, she continues to suffer from that.”

The victim, then a 17-year-old high school student, ended up outside Newark’s Broad Street train station just after midnight on Dec. 1, 2005, after her train out of Manhattan was delayed.

She told police she was standing in front of the Burger King at Broad and Clay streets when Vasquez pulled up in a white 1991 Oldsmobile, asked her if she wanted a ride and then ordered her in the car at gunpoint.

He took her to a quiet street in an industrial area and subjected her to three different sex acts before taking her cell phone number and warning her not to tell anyone, Freier said.

Later that day, as she was in a room with Newark Detective Anthony Iemmello, Vasquez called her cell phone and she followed the detective’s instructions to pretend she was interested in him romantically, the prosecutor said.

“When the phone rang, she was deathly afraid, she was very upset,” Freier said. “But the detective told her to speak as if she wanted to see him, that she forgave him and did not tell anyone.”

She suggested they meet at Rita’s Ice, an ice cream parlor in Belleville. When Vasquez arrived, he found that his “date” was with Belleville Detective John McAloon and Detective Eric Serio of the prosecutor’s office.

After Vasquez’ DNA was submitted to the New Jersey State Police lab, it linked him to the May 2002 rape of a 21-year-old woman near St. Stephen elementary school in Kearny, authorities said.

Read more.

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North American Union