Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Immigration Enforcement Gone Bad

Posted in immigration, politics, prison by allisonkilkenny on February 22, 2009

New York Times

09The failures of the immigration system are many and severe, but the main problem is not that the country is catching too few undocumented immigrants. It is catching too many. Since the early 1990s, you could write the federal government’s immigration strategy on a cardboard sign: Deport Them All.

A report last week from the Pew Hispanic Center laid bare some striking results of that campaign. It found that Latinos now make up 40 percent of those sentenced in federal courts, even though they are only about 13 percent of the adult population. They accounted for one-third of federal prison inmates in 2007.

The numbers might suggest we are besieged by immigrant criminals. But of all the noncitizen Latinos sentenced last year, the vast majority — 81 percent — were convicted for unlawfully entering or remaining in the country, neither of which is a criminal offense.

The country is filling the federal courts and prisons with nonviolent offenders. It is diverting immense law-enforcement resources from pursuing serious criminals — violent thugs, financial scammers — to an immense, self-defeating campaign to hunt down … workers.

The Pew report follows news this month that even as a federal program to hunt immigrant fugitives saw its budget soar — to $218 million last year from $9 million in 2003 — its mission went astray. According to the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute, of the 72,000 people arrested through last February, 73 percent had no criminal record. Border Patrol agents in California and Maryland, meanwhile, tell of pressure to arrest workers at day-labor corners and convenience stores to meet quotas.

The country needs to control its borders. It needs to rebuild an effective immigration system and thwart employers who cheat it. It needs to bring the undocumented forward and make citizen taxpayers of them.

For all the billions spent on fences, raids, patrols and prisons, the number of illegal immigrants has steadily grown to about 12 million last year from four million in 1992. So has the need to overhaul the many parts of a festering, broken system: to clear out backlogs in legal immigration, to rescue families from limbo, to throw sunlight on the shadow economy, to deter unlawful hiring, to replace chaos with lawfulness and order. All those priorities have languished in the deportation era.

US Set to Deport More Than 30,000 Haitians

Posted in human rights, immigration by allisonkilkenny on February 19, 2009



(AFP image)

MIAMI (AFP) — The United States is set to deport more than 30,000 Haitians to their impoverished homeland, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Deportation orders have been processed for 30,299 Haitians and they are starting to be implemented, with hundreds of Haitians put in camps awaiting the return home, and others under house arrest, the ICE spokeswoman said.

“Last week we had nationally 30.299 Haitians on final order of removal, meaning that an Immigration judge ordered them to be deported from the United States,” said spokeswoman Nicole Navas.

Meanwhile “598 Haitians are detained and 243 (are under a form of house arrest) with electronic monitoring,” Navas explained.

Haiti is the Americas’ poorest nation. In recent months it was lashed by four deadly hurricanes that killed 800 and worsened food shortages.

On an October visit to Miami, Haitian President Rene Preval once again urged the United States to grant Haitians in the country temporary protection status to avoid their deportation.

VIDEO: America’s Craziest Sheriff

Posted in Barack Obama, human rights, immigration, politics, racism by allisonkilkenny on February 18, 2009

Democracy Now


Joe Arpaio: Crazy

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County has forced prisoners to march through the streets of Phoenix dressed in just pink underwear, housed prisoners in tents in the searing heat, and appears on a Fox reality-TV show. Now he could be facing a federal investigation for civil rights abuses and a trial on charges of racially profiling Latinos. He’s also been accused of focusing on immigration enforcement at the expense of other law enforcement duties. 


Ryan Gabrielson, reporter with the East Valley Tribune. He’s just won the 2008 George Polk Award for Justice Reporting along with Paul Giblin for their five-part series on Sheriff Arpaio called “Reasonable Doubt.”

Salvador Reza, member of the Puente movement in Phoenix that grew out the spate of arrests and deportations under Sheriff Arpaio in 2007. He is part of a large group of organizations calling for a national demonstration in Phoenix next Saturday against 287(g) agreements.