Monday, February 12, 2007

Immigration News Roundup: Feb 5 - Feb 11, 2007

As immigration related news flies past pretty fast and furious at times, I figured it might be helpful to do a weekly recap of some of the more significant or over-looked stories from the week past.

Welcome to the first installment of Immigration News Roundup:

  • Immigration Debate Fuels Resurgence of KKK

  • California Citrus Town Wants Undocumented Migrants to Stick Around

  • Government Gives Media Tour of T. Don Hutto Family Detention Center

  • Three Migrants Killed: Third Border Attack in Two Weeks

  • Panel Says Government Mishandling Asylum Seekers

  • DHS Office of Inspector General Releases Report on Case of Two Border Patrol Agents

Immigration Debate Fuels Resurgence of KKK

The Anti-Defamation League released on Tuesday a report on the resurgence of the Klu Klux Klan that has resulted from the debate over immigration.

The League, which monitors the activities of racist hate groups and reports its findings to law enforcement and policymakers, has documented a noticeable spike in activity by Klan chapters across the country. The KKK believes that the U.S. is "drowning" in a tide of non-white immigration, controlled and orchestrated by Jews, and is vigorously trying to bring this message to Americans concerned or fearful about immigration.

"If any one single issue or trend can be credited with re-energizing the Klan, it is the debate over immigration in America," said Deborah M. Lauter, ADL Civil Rights Director. "Klan groups have witnessed a surprising and troubling resurgence by exploiting fears of an immigration explosion, and the debate over immigration has, in turn, helped to fuel an increase in Klan activity, with new groups sprouting in parts of the country that have not seen much activity."

Anti-Defamation League

Related: The Charlotte Observer interviews Imperial Wizard of KKK.

The Imperial Wizard of the Mount Holly-based chapter of the Klan in Gaston County says he has not seen membership grow so fast since the 1960s, when he joined.

"People are tired of this mess," said Virgil Griffin, 62. "The illegal immigrants are taking this country over."


Griffin is known for his participation in the 1979 Greensboro clash that started as an anti-Klan rally. Five people were killed. The Klan members said they fired their guns in self-defense and were acquitted.

Griffin, who met the Observer in a Mount Holly park with three members of his security team, recounted 1960s Klan rallies when dozens, sometimes hundreds, marched through towns such as Mount Holly, Salisbury and Wilmington.

"We were strong in the '60s," he said. "We're not that strong now. We're hoping to get there."

Immigration is the No. 1 issue among the younger members, he said.

Edward Fincher, 21, a colonel in the Griffin Knights, echoes much of what Griffin says. He worries about illegal immigrants taking over. He's worried about his two kids being forced to learn Spanish in school and it's getting more difficult to find work.

Griffin wouldn't disclose how many members his chapter has, but the Southern Poverty Law Center says most chapters have between 10 and 40 members.

Griffin said he sends members throughout the region to recruit at stores, flea markets and military bases.

California Citrus Town Wants Undocumented Migrants to Stick Around

The packing houses here in the heart of California's citrus belt are generally hopping the first week of February.


But by mid-April, when the good fruit runs out, all activity, from picking to trucking, will stop, and there will be no more work until late October. If workers leave town — and if those who stay are jobless — the city's economy will collapse.

Seeking to avert an economic meltdown, officials have come up with an innovative plan to not only address joblessness but to keep the workforce from abandoning the town. Invoking the memory of Franklin D. Roosevelt's Depression-era Works Projects Administration, the city's elected officials — all of whom are Republicans — are seeking federal aid to put the idle labor force to work on local improvement efforts.


Lindsay Mayor Ed Murray says the worst-case scenario is that the town could lose up to 30% of its labor force. "Regardless of whether they're legal or illegal, it's imperative that we have workers here for next year's harvest," he said. Murray hopes that the federal government will find a way to not only aid his town's residents in the short term but to legalize the undocumented.

LA Times

Government Gives Media Tour of T. Don Hutto Family Detention Center

Responding to complaints about conditions at the nation’s main family detention center for illegal immigrants, officials threw open the gates on Friday for a first news media tour.


It now holds about 400 illegal immigrants, including 170 children, in family groups from nearly 30 countries, Mr. Mead said. He called it a humane alternative to splitting up families while insuring their presence at legal proceeding

New York Times

Dallas Morning News
Houston Chronical
Mother Jones

Three Migrants Killed: Third Border Attack in Two Weeks

Three illegal immigrants were shot to death, three were wounded and others were missing Thursday near Tucson after gunmen accosted them as they traveled north from the Mexican border, the authorities said.

The shootings came a day after gunmen in ski masks and carrying assault-style rifles robbed 18 people who had illegally crossed the border 70 miles to the south, near Sasabe. On Jan. 28 a man driving illegal immigrants from the border several miles from the scene of Thursday’s killings was ambushed and shot to death as the immigrants fled.

New York Times

ArizonaDaily Star
Chicago Sun Times

Panel Says Government Mishandling Asylum Seekers

A bipartisan federal commission warned on Wednesday that the Bush administration, in its zeal to secure the nation’s borders and stem the tide of illegal immigrants, may be leaving asylum seekers vulnerable to deportation and harsh treatment.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, which Congress asked to assess asylum regulations, found two years ago that some immigration officials were improperly processing asylum seekers for deportation. The commission, which also found that asylum seekers were often strip-searched, shackled and held in jails, called for safeguards in the system of speedy deportations known as expedited removal, to protect those fleeing persecution.

New York Times

DHS Office of Inspector General Releases Report on Case of Two Border Patrol Agents

A federal report released Wednesday on the shooting of a suspected drug smuggler by Border Patrol agents concurs with prosecutors that the men committed obstruction of justice by failing to report the shooting, destroying evidence and lying to investigators.

Herald Democrat


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