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OHIO Immigrant Rights Protests
by world cant wait Friday, Apr. 07, 2006 at 12:24 AM
cleveland@worldcantwait.org 216-633-6200

Toledo, Cincinnati, Louisville actions against HR4437

OHIO Immigrant Right...
sign.jpg, image/jpeg, 281x211

Immigrant Rights Protests in Ohio
MOBILIZE: April 10 Immigrant Rights Protests

Continuing the unprecedented wave of resistance to stop anti-immigrant laws, protests are being planned in cities across the country on April 10.

World Can't Wait supports and joins this urgently needed outpouring of resistance, and will be bringing our call to drive out the Bush regime to protests across the country.

We urge everyone to attend these events and spread the word! You can download English/Spanish fliers to distribute at:

http://worldcantwait.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=26&Itemid=61

____________________

Toledo
Wednesday, April 12
March begins at NOON from South and Broadway--Please join us!


Cincinnati
Monday, 4/10
7:00PM
Location: Miami of Ohio University, Hamilton Campus (1601 University Blvd.
- Wilks Conference Center, Conference room A & B)
"The Current Climate on Immigration" - Panel Discussion
Organizer - ACLU of Ohio
216-472-2200
contact@acluohio.org


Lexington KY
Monday, April 10
We are working to bring together 10,000 people at the new courthouse plaza
in Lexington, KY at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 10th (10-10-10 ¡Sí Se Puede!
Yes, We Can! ). This will be an authorized, peaceful celebration of the
immigrants' presence in this great country of the United States of
America. There will be people from all over Kentucky, from all walks of
life: workers, families, youth, students, religious and political leaders.
We are all coming together to educate ourselves and to honor the patriotic
symbols of this magnanimous country.


For more info
http://www.cirnow.org/content/en/april10_2006.htm

__________________

On the Immigrant Rights Protests and Driving Out the Bush Regime
by Travis Morales

Over the last few weeks in an historic outpouring, millions have demonstrated in the streets across the country in opposition to the Sensenbrenner bill (H.R. 4437) and other proposed Congressional laws that would make felons out of the 11 to 12 million undocumented people in the U.S. and those who aid them in any kind of way. The Sensenbrenner bill (H.R. 4437) and others would also greatly increase the militarization of the border with 700 miles of more walls and thousands of more Border Patrol agents. I spoke at the March 25 demonstration in Los Angeles and I will tell you that despite press reports, one to two million people marched. Marches in other cities included up to 500,000 in Chicago, and hundreds of thousands more in DC, Phoenix, Milwaukee, New York, Houston, Charlotte, and many other cities with more marches planned for April 10 and May 1. Crowds roared in defiance, “¡Aquí estamos y no nos vamos!” (Here we are and we won’t go!) In Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities, these were the largest demonstrations ever or at least in the last one hundred years.


And especially, we must praise the youth. On March 27, 40,000 high school and middle school students throughout the greater Los Angeles area walked out of their classrooms and into the streets. Hundreds of students blocked and shut down two major freeways in Los Angeles, the Hollywood 101 and Harbor 110. In Arizona, Texas, Nevada, Georgia, New York, and Virginia (where Black and Latino students walked out side by side), tens of thousands of high school students have walked out. The Dallas Morning News reported that students who walked out in Houston were chanting slogans and wearing stickers that said, “Drive Out the Bush Regime.” Some of the youth have been publicly making the link between these attacks on immigrants and Katrina and the occupation of Iraq.

As someone who has been active in the immigrant rights movement over the last 20 years, organizing against mass roundups and detentions, the deathly militarization of the border, capture and deportation of Haitians, INS concentration camps, and the post 9/11 secret detention of Muslim, Arab and South Asian immigrants, this outpouring of resistance has been unbelievable, incredible, inspiring, and tremendously challenging. I'm someone who thinks the treatment of immigrants at the border and in the cities and rural areas has always been an injustice, but I have to say some of the outright and open bigotry, intolerance and outrageous injustice, now, is really bad, worse than it has ever been in my lifetime of 53 years – the Minutemen, Sensenbrenner, and all the rest. Anyone with a heart must praise and support this determined struggle of immigrants.

As the Call for the World Can’t Wait, Drive Out the Bush Regime says, “We, in our millions, must and can take responsibility to change the course of history.” Do you want to know what this means? Look at the millions of immigrants in the streets and especially the youth walking out of school and blocking streets and freeways in the face of lockdowns, police beatings and arrests. In World Can’t Wait, we have talked a lot about the need to take independent historical action and break out of the established political framework. This is it!!! This is how change will come. And this is why a lot of politicians are scrambling to get at the head of this and channel it back into relying on them. But let’s be clear. If the Democratic Party leadership has refused to stand up to the Bush regime and all the horrors it is bringing down on the people, do you really think it will fight for immigrant rights? Do you really think the Democratic Party leadership that did nothing to call out the Bush regime for leaving 100,000 mainly Black and poor people to die in New Orleans is going to fight for the lives of immigrants?

Anyone who sees the burning necessity to drive out the Bush regime needs to unite with and learn from this struggle. Just think of where we would be if this kind of outpouring had burst forth in opposition to the Downing Street Memo revelations, the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Alito, the NSA spying revelations, and the banning of abortion in South Dakota. Just think of where we would be in stopping the whole fascist trajectory of the Bush regime and actually driving it from power!

Why is this happening, what would these proposed laws do if passed, and how should all those who hate the whole trajectory of the Bush regime respond?

Immigrants, especially the undocumented, are vilified as criminals, parasites, drains on social services, potential terrorists, and thieves stealing jobs from Americans. What is the reality? Who builds the houses and buildings, picks and processes the crops, cooks the food, does the landscaping, makes the hotel beds, and cleans the offices? We are told that immigrants take the jobs that “Americans” won’t take. Why won’t “Americans” take these jobs? Because these are slave jobs! Immigrants take these jobs because they have no choice. Why would millions of people leave their families and their communities, travel thousands of miles, and face death in the desert, death at the hands of racist vigilantes or the Border Patrol, discrimination, horrible and slave like working conditions, and the constant fear of arrest and deportation? People come here to survive and feed themselves and their families. This is a question of life and death for millions. And now, after enduring all of this, people face the prospect of even greater assaults on their lives. That is why they have taken to the streets.

Let’s look at what life has been like for immigrants since 9/11. More walls have been built at the border with more Border Patrol agents and hi-tech surveillance equipment. The stated purpose has been to make crossing the border much more difficult by pushing people into crossing through more remote and dangerous areas. In the last ten years, over 4,000 people have died crossing the border, not counting the many whose bodies will never be found in the deserts, mountains and rivers. As the border militarization has increased over the last few years so too have the number of people dying. Armed racist vigilantes, including the Minutemen (who are a separate fascist force in society who do not totally agree with the Bush program), with cooperation from the Border Patrol and praise from government officials like California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, are hunting, capturing, and, according to some reports, killing immigrants. A subsidiary of Halliburton was awarded a contract to build "temporary immigration detention centers" in the US for Homeland Security Department. A government spokesperson said that the centers could be at unused military sites or temporary structures and that each one would hold up to 5,000 people.

At the same time, immigrants are portrayed as the enemy within, a dangerous threat. Listen to the worlds of Congressman Tom Tancredo of Colorado, "[Immigrants] need to be found before it is too late. They're coming here to kill you, and you, and me, and my grandchildren." As we say in the Callf,

Your government enforces a culture of greed, bigotry, intolerance and ignorance.

Immigrants face discrimination, jobs with the lowest pay and most dangerous conditions, the threat of arrest and deportation if they complain or organize for better pay and working conditions, denial of a whole host of government services that they fund through income taxes and Social Security taxes (which, by the way, they pay like everyone else), and the constant fear that when they walk out the door, they will never see their families again. No wonder people in their millions are saying, “¡Ya basta!, Enough already!” and taking to the streets. People refuse to be treated this way. That is why people carried signs that said, “We are not animals.”

Personally, I wholeheartedly welcome the millions of people who have crossed the border, with our without papers. ¡Bienvenidos! They have every right to come here.

This is not a theoretical discussion about a country’s right to protect its borders or determine who is allowed to enter. This is about the right of millions to live in the concrete reality of the world today. And this is about the whole fascist direction of the Bush regime and what stand people will take and what people will do in the face of moves to criminalize the very existence of millions and establish an official apartheid system under so-called “guest worker” or “temporary worker” programs.

Look at history. In 1935, the Nazis passed the Nuremburg Laws that began the legal process of stripping Jews of German citizenship, and leading to the denial of any rights as human beings. Remember the words of Paster Martin Niemoeller, except in this case they first came for the Muslim, Arab and South Asian immigrants after 9/11 and now they are coming for the undocumented immigrants. This is the direction of these proposed laws in Congress and the whole atmosphere being created in this country. Is this the kind of world in which we want to live? No! Whatever you think about immigration and border, in the concrete reality of the Bush regime, to go along with these laws means going along with and supporting the Bush regime’s right to hold people without charges, expand detention centers, declare people “illegal” or “enemy combatant” or whatever with absolutely no legal rights, and institute apartheid for millions.

Much has been written and said about the various Congressional bills. The Sensenbrenner bill (H.R. 4437) that was passed in the House of Representatives last December has received the most attention and the most opposition. Bush praised the Sensenbrenner bill, saying, "This bill will help us protect our borders and crack down on illegal entry into the United States... Securing our borders is essential to securing the homeland." It went to the Senate where the criminalization of the undocumented provision was removed. As things stand now, the Sensenbrenner bill is still the bill that has passed the House, the Senate Judiciary Committee has reported out its own bill (the Specter bill) after making changes in the Sensenbrenner bill, Senator Bill Frist has proposed a bill similar to the Sensenbrenner bill, and there is the McCain-Kennedy bill, that along with the Specter bill, has a so-called “path to legalization and citizenship” for the undocumented and “guest workers.” While there are differences in these bills, some major, they are all bad. See the addendum to this article where some of the horrendous provisions are listed.

We have read a lot about the “guest workers” and “temporary worker” provisions of some of these bills and Bush’s “guest worker” proposal. Enrique Morones of Border Angels, whose members would be felons under the Sensenbrenner bill for placing water stations in the desert, hit the nail on the head. On the O’Reilly Factor he called Bush’s proposal a “rent a slave program.” All of these proposals would codify and legalize a de facto apartheid system for immigrants. Undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and people outside the U.S. would be able to apply for and receive work permits with no guarantee that these will be renewed or that they will be able to obtain permanent residency or citizenship if they want these. They would still be in a very vulnerable position, required to return to their home countries if they go without work for more than 60 days. Just like in South Africa for Black people, immigrants would be able to come here to work but this would be temporary.

Some of the proposals like the Specter bill and the McCain-Kennedy bills contain much touted provisions leading from temporary work permits to permanent residency and citizenship. What is not mentioned is that with all the stipulations very few will qualify. In order to work in the U.S., by law, everyone whether a citizen or non-citizen, must fill out an I-9 form and show certain documents proving they have a right to legally work. The great majority of immigrants have had to use fake Social Security cards and other fake documents so they could work. Under the Specter bill, this great majority of immigrants would be automatically disqualified because they used fake documents and would be guilty of an aggravated felony and face mandatory deportation! And in the meantime, with temporary work permits, millions will still face discrimination, low wages, unsafe working condition, and fear of losing their jobs and being deported. But the difference is that, now, all of this will all be legal.

What about the border and the right of the U.S. government to determine who enters the country? Reality is not so simple. You cannot burn the house down and then barricade the doors as people try to flee. Why do I say this? Because, in their great majority people are fleeing countries dominated economically and politically by the U.S. and this has resulted in hunger, poverty, economic crisis and repressive governments. For example, according to a 2004 report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, at least 1.5 million Mexican farmers lost their livelihoods under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). They cannot compete with U.S. government subsidized agricultural products such as grain and pork that have poured in to Mexico under NAFTA. Hence, their farms go broke, they lose their land or their jobs, and they go north looking for work. There is a reason that people on the East Coast of the U.S. now have fresh fruits and vegetables in the winter when they did not in years past. Land in Mexico that once grew bean and corns to feed the Mexican people is now controlled by U.S. agribusiness who raise fruits and vegetables for export to the U.S.

To be blunt, there are many people who correctly oppose the Bush regime’s unjust and illegitimate wars, torture, concentration camps overseas, massive spying and moves toward a theocracy but get sucked into supporting the militarization of the border on the basis of fighting the “war on terror” and protecting American lives or succumb to the lie that immigrants steal American jobs or go along with the argument that the government just has to something about the “immigration problem.” Well, I have to ask, does anyone really think, given everything the Bush regime is doing, that it really cares about the lives of people in the U.S.? Or full employment? And why can the U.S. government steal entire countries but people cannot come here to survive? There is no “immigration problem.” The problem is persecution of millions of people based upon the color of their skin, the language they speak and where they were born.

Will supporting or even just not opposing the militarization of the border, the criminalization of the undocumented, indefinite detention, “show us your papers” laws and mentality, creation of apartheid conditions for immigrants, and expansion of detention centers strengthen the whole fascist trajectory of the Bush regime? Yes. Do we want to live in a world where desperate and hungry people die in the thousands at the border for the crime of trying to survive? Do we want to live in a world where some people have the right to live and others do not? Do we want to live in a world where people are jailed because they show compassion by giving food and water to those who face death? No, no, no!!!

I know that among people opposing the Bush regime, we have many different views on these questions. But for the millions and millions who are deeply disturbed and angered by all the outrages of the Bush regime, I think we need the following basic orientation if we are going to drive out the Bush regime and not fall prey to its divide and conquer tactics. All people have a right to live and meet basic needs. People should not be declared criminals and those who aid them should not be declared criminals. All of us have the responsibility to defy and resist unjust laws, struggle alongside our sisters and brothers who are facing these outrageous laws and stand with them.

Addendum on the various laws being considered:

At this point, only the Specter and Frist bills are before the Senate. All of these bills have horrible provisions too numerous to detail. The Detention Watch Network, http://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org has summaries of these various bills written by other organization posted on their website. While some of these summaries mistakenly uphold some of the legalization provisions of these bills, they do a good job in detailing the horrible consequences of these bills.

Some of these horrible provisions are:

• The Specter bill, as passed by the Judiciary Committee, bars many people from ever getting “lawful status” – through new programs or through current routes.

Under the Specter bill, any person who simply admits that she put false information or omitted information on documents – for example on I-9 documents required by employers or an adjustment application – would be unable to take advantage of legalization provisions or to ever get a green card through a family member petition. In order to work in the U.S., by law, everyone whether a citizen or non-citizen, must fill out an I-9 form and show certain documents proving they have a right to legally work. The great majority of immigrants have had to use fake Social Security cards and other fake documents so they could work. Under the Specter bill, this great majority of immigrants would be guilty of an aggravated felony and face mandatory deportation!

• Expansion of Term “Aggravated Felony” – leading to mandatory deportation

The Specter and Frist bills would expand the sweeping ‘aggravated felony’ category to include minor crimes such as ‘accessory’ roles in the conduct of others, additional document-related offenses, and suspected gang related offenses where there was no conviction for any crime. The Specter bill expands this term to include minor accessory roles in the conduct of others; drunk driving offenses (even misdemeanors); document-related offenses; and convictions for providing assistance to undocumented employees, family, and neighbors (with very limited humanitarian exception).

• Expanded Expedited Removal – a speedy and rubber-stamped deportation

The Specter and Frist bills would greatly expand the system of ‘expedited removal,’ a system that allows the government to deport an individual without any hearing or access to a lawyer. Department of Homeland Security could remove an immigrant without a court hearing simply by claiming that s/he is not a lawful permanent resident and has been convicted of an aggravated felony or firearm offense. People who may have a basis to fight their deportation will be deported without being able to present their cases. People would be denied fair hearings

• Expansion of Mandatory Detention and Increase in Detention Beds

Congress recently authorized a massive expansion of detention beds, and the Specter bill increases this even more by adding 10,000 more beds and allowing closed military bases to be used to imprison immigrants.

Both bills requires mandatory detention for all immigrants, except nationals of Cuba or Mexico, who attempt to enter the US unlawfully and are apprehended at a port of entry. There is no individual hearing and only a limited exception to parole people.

In the Specter bill, a separate provision would effectively lead to the mandatory detention of many immigrants who fail to file a change of address form with DHS within 10 days.

• Authorizing Indefinite Detention

The Specter bill overturns U.S. Supreme Court decisions and allows the government to indefinitely detain thousands of immigrants with final orders of deportation. Both bills allow the government to jail indefinitely foreign-born individuals who cannot be deported to their country of origin through no fault of their own. The provisions would also limit the ability of non-citizens who are being indefinitely detained to seek a hearing regarding their detention. This would be applied retroactively to individuals that are now out on orders of supervision.



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columbus March 25
by world cant wait Friday, Apr. 07, 2006 at 12:24 AM
cleveland@worldcantwait.org 216-633-6200

columbus March 25...
immig3.jpg, image/jpeg, 1600x1200

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