Spooky but TRUE Tales from the News…

So many scary stories, so little time to blog! Here’s the most frightening things I’ve read in the news lately:

Harvard’s “Conquistabros and Navajos” Frat Party

First Annual Salon Baity Awards for Excellence in the Field of Race-Baiting

The Most Racist Campaign in Decades, and What It Demands of Us

School Board Vice President Who Wants All Gay Youth to Die Resigns

Prison Economics Help Drive Arizona Immigration Law

Documents Released by WikiLeaks Confirm Massive US Human Rights Violations

Finally, Some Good, Common-Sense Legislation

Florida Republican state legislator William Snyder has proposed a great new immigration law for his state, modeled on that one in Arizona. But this one — which GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott supports, of course — has a special twist: White people are exempt!

Those Republican problem-solvers, they can always be counted on to do what’s best for (white) America!

Read all about it.

National Week of Actions Everywhere against SB1070

Against SB 1070I had a hard time finding much in the MSM, or even the bigger liberal or progressive media sources about the week of actions in Arizona and across the United States against SB1070 and for immigrant rights.

So much went down! So here is an assemblage of news:

Timeline of protests across Arizona on July 29.

Great info page on Indymedia.org.

Dozens Arrested in Protests of AZ Immigration Law on CommonDreams.org

AZ immigration-law protests lead to arrests, street closures from the Arizona Daily Star

SB 1070 Rage: Salvador Reza, Alfredo Gutierrez, Scores of Others Arrested in Phoenix from the Phoenix News

Photos gracias a Puente Arizona

And interestingly, the judge who placed on injunction on part of SB1070 is receiving threats.

Brown and Proud sign is held by a woman at a pro-immigrant action.

Photo by Anita Sarkeesian

Please add anything I missed in the comments.

The Man at the Center of Anti-Immigrant Hate Orgs

John TantonThe Southern Poverty Law Center calls him “The Puppeteer”. Michigan doctor John Tanton is behind more of America’s anti-immigration organizations than you would think. It is really creeping me out how the animus of one person could spawn such a powerful hate movement. The more I read and see of the current anti-immigrant movement, the clearer it becomes that it is simply where old-school racists have come to shelter in a society that is hostile (well, more than previously at least) to open statements of racial animosity. Their race-based fears are given the cover of a supposedly race-neutral patriotic intent, and a professed concern for the “law” hides a concern for racial purity and cultural hegemony.

Then you have John Tanton. According to the SPLC, he founded, funded, or provided leadership to a who’s who list of nationalistic hate groups: American Immigration Control Foundation, American Patrol/Voice of Citizens Together, California Coalition for Immigration Reform, Californians for Population Stabilization, Center for Immigration Studies, Federation for American Immigration Reform, NumbersUSA, Population-Environment Balance, Pro English, ProjectUSA, The Social Contract Press, U.S. English, U.S. Inc.

Along with a small handful of wealthy donors and sympathetic politicians (Tom Tancredo!), he has crafted a movement which if not massive in membership is at least massive in influence.

Read this article about Mr. Tanton to learn more than you ever wanted to know about the inner workings of the anti-immigration movement in America.

Jan Brewer Gives Her Top 3 Imaginary Reasons for Hating Undocumented Immigrants

Jan Brewer, AWESOME governor of Arizona, recently explained on TV some little-known and untrue reasons to hate and fear immigrants:

1. They’ve been beheading people in Arizona.

2. A whopping 87% of illegal border crossers have prior criminal records.

3. The majority of ALL undocumented workers who come to America work as drug couriers for Mexican drug cartels.

She forgot to mention that 96% of “illegal border crossers” are also terrorists associated with Al-Qaeda forming sleeper-cells of Latino crypto-Muslims ready to strike our heartland at any moment, but I’ll forgive her that omission because she is very busy saving real Americans from the brown menace in so many other ways.

The Arizona Guardian did some fact-checking and wasn’t able to verify any of these claims, and since they are part of the liberal media, that only makes me all the more certain that what Brewer says is true.

Kris Kobach, Is that You?

Kris KobachOF COURSE IT IS! Long-time bigoted Kansas politician Kris Kobach took his racism across state lines to help craft the controversial Arizona anti-immigrant law, SB1070. TOTAL SURPRISE.

Kobach, an Oxford and Yale-educated lawyer, has been bumping around politics for a few years, yet to get a real (strangle) hold on my fair homeland of Kansas, but not for lack of trying. As a matter of fact, he is running for Kansas Secretary of State right now, which I’m sure in no way affected his decision to get involved in this Arizona immigration hooey. To wit: “Kobach said he didn’t believe his involvement in creation of the law would have any impact on running for secretary of state.” Allow me to register my skepticism.

Kobach has an interesting and extensive history in anti-immigrant litigation, specifically, on the losing side. See for yourself. He also has ties to FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform), a white-supremacist, anti-immigrant hate group whom he has worked for in the past.

“There are some things that states can do and some that states can’t do, but this law threads the needle perfectly,” Kobach has said. Whatever that means.

He’s also said he’s doing this because, “I believe in the cause.”

I don’t doubt that a minute.

UPDATE 5/1/10: Kris Kobach shares his totally reasonable, non-bigoted thoughts with the New York Times.

UPDATE #2 5/3/10:

Republican secretary of state candidate Kris Kobach not only helped write Arizona’s new immigration law, but he has been working for $300 per hour to train law enforcement officers there on procedures in arresting suspected illegal immigrants.

Kobach, an attorney, was hired as an immigration expert to help the Maricopa County sheriff’s office in immigration enforcement activities and policy. The contract, signed in October, calls for a minimum payment to Kobach of $1,500 per month, plus expenses and travel.

From the Lawrence Journal-World.

Jan.16: March on Phoenix for Immigrant Human Rights! Be There.

Arpaio’s America is not my America!

Joe Arpaio

Organizers in Arizona are planning a huge action next Saturday in Phoenix against shithead Sheriff Joe Arpaio, pictured above. Be there if it is at all possible! It’s going to be awesome.

The lead organizers are the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

The march starts at 10:00am in Falcon Park at 3420 W. Roosevelt St. in Phoenix and ends at Tent City. To get fired up, take a gander at this delightful video. (For some reason, I can’t embed vimeo videos.)

Day of Action Against Joe Arpaio March Poster

Starting at 5pm there will be a huge concert at 2nd Ave & Grant in downtown Phoenix.
Pachanga for Justice

Here’s how you can find out more, get involved, and/or make donations.

Stop the Hate March Poster

Ah Geez News

Here’s some reading for ya!

BBC: Saddam’s rule ‘better’ for gay Iraqis

All the LGBT Iraqis interviewed for Gay Life After Saddam maintained that life was easier for them when Saddam Hussein was in power, from 1979 to 2003.

Some spoke fondly of an underground gay culture that flourished before the war in Baghdad.

Seattle Times: Israel deports activists detained going to Gaza

Israel on Monday deported a former U.S. congresswoman, a Nobel peace prize laureate and other activists who were arrested and jailed after trying to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli navy commandeered their boat last week as it tried to sail from Cyprus to Gaza.

…There were 21 passengers and three tons of medical aid on board, and most of the activists were quickly expelled. But Nobel laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire and former U.S. congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, along with six other activists, remained in Israeli custody while the government arranged flights for them…

Marwa SherbiniBBC: Egypt mourns ‘headscarf martyr’

Marwa Sherbini, 31, was stabbed 18 times by Axel W, who is now under arrest in Dresden for suspected murder.

…Ms Sherbini had sued her killer after he called her a “terrorist” because of her headscarf.

…Medics were unable to save Ms Sherbini who was three months pregnant with her second child.

Tanveer AhmadMore on death in US immigration detention. New York Times: Piecing Together an Immigrant’s Life the U.S. Refused to See

Tanveer Ahmad, it turns out, was a longtime New York City cabdriver who had paid thousands of dollars in taxes and immigration application fees… His only trouble with the law was a $200 fine for disorderly conduct in 1997: While working at a Houston gas station, he had displayed the business’s unlicensed gun to stop a robbery.

It would come back to haunt him.

And now, a Day Brightener after all this shitty news:

Continue reading

JoJo Tran Won Asylum in the US

PhotobucketEdited 7/20/16 to add:

JoJo has contacted me and let me know that he successfully obtained asylum! Congratulations JoJo.

My friend Ally writes:

“Just a moment of your time could save my friend JoJo Tran’s life.

JoJo’s attempts at gaining asylum after being in the US for over 13 years have been denied. At this point, his only hope of staying here and safe from prosecution in Vietnam is if ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) reopens his case. A team of volunteers in Seattle is trying to collect as many signatures as possible to convince them and our local politicians to lean on ICE to do this.”

More info on JoJo.

Here’s the petition.

JoJo’s story:

We are calling for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to reopen Dung Anh “JoJo” Tran’s asylum case.

JoJo Tran fled Vietnam in 1996 fearing politically motivated persecution after helping American military veterans as a guide to view sites that the Vietnamese authorities claimed were not authorized, and being called in, questioned and threatened by the Vietnamese intelligence agency.

Since moving to Seatle shortly after his arrival in America in 1996, JoJo has been busy working and volunteering for numerous organizations in the Puget Sound area.

Our updated information from JoJo’s attorney is that March 28 is the last day of his voluntary departure period unless ICE consents to grant him some sort of stay while his petition is being considered.

Help us help this amazing man who has turned adversity and a fourteen year effort to become an American into thousands of hours of volunteering in the community he wants to call home.

Arpaio in Hot Water for Abuse of Latin@ Prisoners

John Conyers

For Immediate Release
February 13, 2009
Contact: Jonathan Godfrey (Conyers)
Pedro Riberio (Lofgren)
Ilan Kayatsky (Nadler)
Larry Dillard (Scott)

WASHINGTON – House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), and Immigration Subcommittee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Constitution Subcommittee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Crime Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.) called on Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to investigate allegations of misconduct by Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Sheriff Arpaio has repeatedly demonstrated disregard for the rights of Hispanics in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Under the guise of immigration enforcement, his staff has conducted raids in residential neighborhoods in a manner condemned by the community as racial profiling. On February 4, 2009, Arpaio invited the media to view the transfer of immigrant detainees to a segregated area of his “tent city” jail, subjecting the detainees to public display and “ritual humiliation.” Persistent actions such as these have resulted in numerous lawsuits; while Arpaio spends time and energy on publicity and his reality television show, “Smile… You’re Under Arrest!”, Maricopa County has paid millions of dollars in settlements involving dead or injured inmates.

“Racial profiling and segregation are simply not acceptable.” said Conyers. “Media stunts and braggadocio are no substitute for fair and effective law enforcement.” Continue reading

Broken Families & Millions of Tax $$

h/t Wellsmus

From the New York Times:

Federal immigration officials had repeatedly told Congress that among more than half a million immigrants with outstanding deportation orders, they would concentrate on rounding up the most threatening — criminals and terrorism suspects.

Instead, newly available documents show, the agency changed the rules, and the program increasingly went after easier targets. A vast majority of those arrested had no criminal record, and many had no deportation orders against them, either.

Internal directives by immigration officials in 2006 raised arrest quotas for each team in the National Fugitive Operations Program, eliminated a requirement that 75 percent of those arrested be criminals, and then allowed the teams to include nonfugitives in their count.

In the next year, fugitives with criminal records dropped to 9 percent of those arrested, and nonfugitives picked up by chance — without a deportation order — rose to 40 percent. Many were sent to detention centers far from their homes, and deported.

Bush’s attempts to appear “tough” on immigration where just that, appearance. But his cosmetic needs created two sets of victims.

The first is immigrants and those suspected of being immigrants.

[R]andom arrests of low-level violators in residential raids not only raised a new set of legal and humanitarian issues, including allegations of entering private homes without warrants or consent and separating children from their caretakers, but was “dramatically different from how ICE has sold this program to Congress.”

The second is taxpayers.

“If we just want to arrest undocumented people,” [Michael Wishnie] said, “we can do it much more cheaply.”

Congressional financing for the fugitive operations program rose to $218 million in the 2008 fiscal year, from $9 million in 2003, as the number of seven-member teams multiplied to 104 from 8.

It’s so obvious that harassing immigrants and racially profiling brown people is totally making America safer!

Immigrant Dies of Medical Neglect in Detention

Guido Newbrough died of an untreated staph infection in his heart. He was being held at the Piedmont Regional Jail in Farmville, VA.

[G]uards should have noticed that Mr. Newbrough was in critical condition as the bacteria colonizing his heart broke loose, creating abscesses in his brain, liver and kidneys.

…Several detainees interviewed by telephone last week said that in the two weeks before Thanksgiving, Mr. Newbrough’s back pain grew so bad that he began sobbing through the night, and some in the 90-man unit took turns making him hot compresses. By the Sunday before Thanksgiving, he was desperate, two detainees said, and banged at the door of the unit’s lunchroom, yelling for help. They said by the time guards responded, he was seated at a table.

“They told him to get up, and he said he couldn’t get up because he was in a lot of pain,” said Salvador Alberto Rivas, who identified himself as Mr. Newbrough’s bunk mate, awaiting deportation to El Salvador. “Because of the pain, he started crying, and he was trying to tell them he had put in requests for medical and didn’t get any. And then one of the guards threw him to the floor.”

“They drag him by his leg, in front of about 30 people,” said another detainee, who gave his name only as Jose for fear of retaliation, adding that many witnesses had since been transferred to other jails or deported.

“We didn’t know that he was dying,” added Jose, who wrote about the case in a letter published online by a Spanish weekly. “They took him to the hole. He was yelling for help in the hole, too.”

The New York Times has reported on other deaths in immigration detention due to medical neglect, including the Piedmont facility:

Hiu Lui Ng, died 8/08

Francisco Castaneda, died 2/26/08

Boubacar Bah, died 6/07

Abdoulai Sall, died 12/06

Young Sook Kim, died 9/11/06

Sandra M. Kenley, died 2005

There are many others. The Washington Post wrote recently that “Some 83 detainees have died in, or soon after, custody during the past five years…Actions taken — or not taken — by medical staff members may have contributed to 30 of those deaths…”

People United, the ACLU and Human Rights Watch have been active in calling for accountability and change.

These are human lives we’re talking about. But somehow, when a person ends up in immigration detention, the value of their life declines. Jailers and immigration officials have been consistently cavalier about the deaths. From the NYT article: “Ernest L. Toney, the jail superintendent, denied accounts that Mr. Newbrough had been mistreated…” From CBS: Gary Mead, a senior immigration official, told the Congress that ICE provides “state-of-the-art medical care,” and “the best possible healthcare.”

I think my definition of “best possible healthcare” and Gary’s diverge.

Reality No Match for Australian Department of Immigration

Identical twins not related for purposes of Australian immigration

Australia’s Department of Immigration is really taking a page right out of USCIS’s book. One of the women pictured above is a citizen of Australia. The other, allegedly her “twin sister”, is a threat to the security of every good Australian.

From Perth Now:

A WA woman has been told by Australian authorities that she’s not related to her identical twin sister.

…Adopted by different families shortly after their birth in Malaysia, Mrs Glasby and Dorothy Loader were separated for almost 50 years before finally meeting last September.

…In a letter to Mrs Glasby last month, DIAC state director Paul Farrell explained that despite the circumstances, the present laws meant Ms Loader would not be eligible for family migration.

Clearly, Paul Farrell can see right through these women’s nefarious plot. As my roommate pointed out, and as the above photo makes clear, the Malaysian “sister” is none other than Osama bin Laden with radical facial reconstruction and fake papers!

Heckuva job, Farrell. You have masterfully detected a fake “family” that shouldn’t, no- mustn’t, be reunited. Australians can take a deep sigh of relief that their way of life has been successfully protected from terrorist, Australia-hating immigrants.

4 Methods of Immigrant Integration


Multiculturalism, by Jeremyville

I was inspired by a discussion over at Immigration Talk with a Mexican American to look at the different models of cultural integration of immigrants available to countries.

I learned that there are four models:

Monoculturalism: In some European states, culture is very closely linked to nationalism, thus government policy is to assimilate immigrants, although recent increases in migration have led many European states to experiment with forms of multiculturalism.
Leitkultur (core culture): A model developed in Germany by Bassam Tibi. The idea is that minorities can have an identity of their own, but they should at least support the core concepts of the culture on which the society is based.
Melting Pot: In the United States, the traditional view has been one of a melting pot where all the immigrant cultures are mixed and amalgamated without state intervention.
Multiculturalism: A policy that immigrants and others should preserve their cultures with the different cultures interacting peacefully within one nation.

Which do you think we use most often in the US? Which do you think is the best model, or can you envision one better than these options?

I of course grew up with the Melting Pot image seared into my brain. Immigrants come, they accept the clearly superior, far advanced mainstream American culture into their bosoms, and they give up all but the most harmless and amusing of their foreign-y culture that they grew up in. The fun bits of culture that they kept are then available for co-opting by any other American, and will, if the immigrant group is lucky, be commodified into new consumer goods! You give some, you get some.

I think my ideal would be similar to the multi-cultural model. As an immigrant, you aren’t required to give up any part of yourself. You can remain a whole person, and absorb new experiences however you wish. This model gives the immigrant complete freedom to choose their lifestyle within the new country. The only price is to respect others cultures as you would have them respect yours.

I imagine that a criticism of this model would be that immigrants won’t have to “assimilate.” I am not bothered by immigrants who “don’t assimilate”. As long as we all treat each other with respect and human dignity, I don’t care what language you prefer to speak, what clothing you like to wear, when and how and how often you pray, what kind of family you build. As neighbors, we will still interact with each other, and through our interactions, learn. Your personhood, your identity, should not be the price of a move across a border. Of course, I don’t believe in borders either. But that’s another post.

Your thoughts on these models of immigrant integration are encouraged!