Thursday, February 4, 2010

The down payment's been paid, when will the goods to be delivered?

For years, all we've heard from those opposed to immigration and immigration reform is that until the government could prove that it was "serious" about border security and enforcement, no meaningful discussion of immigration reform was going to take place. The mantra of "we can't reform immigration laws until we control immigration, and we can't control immigration unless we control our borders" has been the guiding principle behind every obstructionist attempt to derail systematic reform. And attempts to appease restrictionists, by adopting "enforcement first" policies" have become the accepted framework from which all discussions were forced to start.

But most of those working for positive change have known all along that "enforcement first" is just a catch-22. It's an ever-moving target that was never intended to be reached. The ultimate goal of those opposed to reform has never been to "control" immigration...but rather to end it.

Yet despite these obvious facts, both the Bush and Obama administrations dived head first into the enforcement waters.

The last few years have been marked by hugely escalating enforcement budgets, increased apprehension, deportation and detention, increased use of local law enforcement, raids, and employer audits.

Programs like "Operation Streamline", "Secure Communities", "287G", "Operation Community Shield", and "Rapid REPEAT", (to name a few) have all been ramped up to locate, and remove the undocumented population. And while the human suffering caused by these and other programs has been immeasurable, no one can deny their effect on both illegal entry and presence.

So the question now becomes; At what point can we say enough is enough?

At what point will the forces that demand strict enforcement before any discussion of reform can begin, be content? Immigrant communities across this nation have paid the price, they've made their down payment on reform ...when do they finally see something in return?

A couple of new studies demonstrate just how effective and massive these programs and operations have become. Both examining just one aspect of enforcement ...federal prosecutions for immigration related crimes ... which have increased 459% in the last ten years.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) and Warren Institute at the University of California at Berkeley recently released reports highlighting the dramatic increase in federal immigration prosecutions and the link to Operation Streamline, a DHS program which mandates federal criminal prosecution of all persons caught crossing the border unlawfully.

The Warren Institute report highlights the impact of Operation Streamline on immigration enforcement and the TRAC report shows that federal immigration prosecutions rose to record levels during fiscal year 2009 and how a shift in priorities has created the largest number of federal immigration prosecutions of non-violent border crossers ever.

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during the first nine months of FY 2009 the government reported 67,994 new immigration prosecutions. If this activity continues at the same pace, the annual total of prosecutions will be 90,659 for this fiscal year. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this estimate is up 14.1 percent over the past fiscal year when the number of prosecutions totaled 79,431.

Number Year-to-date67,994
Percent Change from previous year14.1
Percent Change from 5 years ago139
Percent Change from 10 years ago459
Percent Change from 20 years ago973

The comparisons of the number of defendants charged with immigration-related offenses are based on case-by-case information obtained by TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys

Compared to five years ago when there were 37,884, the estimate of FY 2009 prosecutions of this type is up 139 percent. Prosecutions over the past year are much higher than they were ten years ago. Overall, the data show that prosecutions of this type are up 459 percent from the level of 16,219 reported in 1999 and up 973 percent from the level of 8,448 reported in 1989.

While the TRAK report looked at record increase in all federal immigration prosecutions, the Warren Institute looked at the effect of just one Operation along the US/ Mexico border: Operation Streamline.

The Department of Homeland Security(DHS) began implementing OperationStreamline along the U.S.-Mexico border in2005. The program has fundamentally transformed DHS’s border enforcement practices. Before Operation Streamline began, DHSBorder Patrol agents voluntarily returned first-time border crossers to their home countries or detained them and formally removed them from the United States through the civil immigration system. The U.S. Attorney’s Office reserved criminal prosecution for migrants with criminal records and for those who made repeated attempts to cross the border. Operation Streamline removed that prosecutorial discretion, requiring the criminal prosecution of all undocumented border crossers, regardless of their history.

Operation Streamline has generated unprecedented caseloads in eight of the eleven federal district courts along the border, straining the resources of judges, U.S. attorneys, defense attorneys, U.S. Marshals, and court personnel. The program’s voluminous prosecutions have forced many courts to cut procedural corners. Magistrate judges conduct en masse hearings, during which as many as 80 defendants plead guilty at a time, depriving migrants of due process. Indeed, in December 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that Operation Streamline’s en masse plea hearings in Tucson, Arizona violate federal law.By focusing court and law enforcement resources on the prosecution of first-time entrants, Operation Streamline also diverts attention away from fighting drug smuggling, human trafficking, and other crimes that create border violence
Assembly-Line Justice: A Review of Operation Streamline

  • Immigration prosecutions make up 54 percent of all federal criminal prosecutions. The most prosecuted federal immigration crimes in FY 2009 were for immigrants caught entering the United States at an improper time or place, totaling approximately 40,000. Between 2002 and 2008, prosecutions for first time illegal entry in border district courts increased 330% from 12,411 to 53,697

  • Illegal reentry of a deported alien accounted for nearly 22,000 prosecutions in FY 2009.

  • In contrast, potential smuggling charges were brought less frequently. TRAC found 2,980 prosecutions for bringing in and harboring certain aliens, and 106 prosecutions for aiding and abetting an illegal entry.

  • 85% of the prosecutions originated with Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) accounted for 13% of the prosecutions.

  • Before 2005, CBP voluntarily returned first time border crossers or formally removed them through the civil system. Federal prosecutions were used almost exclusively for individuals with previous criminal records or repeat crossers. Operation Streamline --instituted in Del Rio, Texas in 2005 and later expanded to other areas -- shifted this practice by eliminating prosecutorial discretion and requiring that all unlawful border crossers be prosecuted in federal criminal court and imprisoned if convicted, regardless of their immigration history.15 Those who are caught entering the U.S. illegally for the first time are prosecuted for misdemeanors punishable by up to 6 months in prison.

  • Most Operation Streamline defendants are migrants from Mexico or Central America who have no prior criminal convictions and who have attempted to cross the border in search of work or to reunite with family in the United States.

  • The link between Operation Streamline and federal prosecution rates can be seen in the judicial districts near these enforcement zones. The Southern District of Texas prosecutes the most immigration crimes, with 23,000 in FY 2009, up 22.1% from FY 2008.1819 The District of Arizona was second with 16,477, up 39.7% from FY 2008.

If we add the fact that President Obama's proposed budget for 2011 includes additional increases in spending along the border and for interior enforcement it becomes obvious that the enforcement juggernaut has far from reached it's end.

So we must now ask ourselves ... when in fact will the border ever be "secure" enough?

We have long heard about the failures of 1986 and how if only the laws were enforced, then we could start to look at reforming the dysfunctional and broken system that only feeds the growing prison-industrial complex.

Well, the laws have been enforced.

There's been a nearly 1000% increase in immigration prosecutions since 1990. In 2009 alone, the U.S. government had held over 440,000 people in immigration custody – more than triple the number of people in detention just ten years ago - and deported 387,000 immigrant workers, the highest recorded number in U.S. history.

So, how much longer are the "sins" of 1986 to hang over everyone's heads? Is there some secret magic number that needs to be reached? Is it a 2000% or 3000% increase in prosecutions? One Million in detention or deported?

How large a price must be paid by immigrant communities before there is a remedy? How many more mothers must be separated from their children? How many families torn apart? Communities terrorized? How many more lives destroyed and futures taken away?

When will the down payment paid in suffering and sorrow be acknowledge ... and the promise of reform finally be honored.?

I think it's fair to say ...NOW!!!!!!


RonF said...

For years, all we've heard from those opposed to immigration and immigration reform is that until the government could prove that it was "serious" about border security and enforcement, no meaningful discussion of immigration reform was going to take place.

Actually, the problem you have is that you haven't made the case to the American electorate that any reform is needed. Remember that the object of immigration laws is to benefit the country, not to benefit immigrants. What need is there to change the number or nature of immigrants into the U.S.? People come into the U.S. legally every day. That's not going to change, nor should it. But they need to enter on our terms, not theirs, to meet our needs, not theirs.

The ultimate goal of those opposed to reform has never been to "control" immigration...but rather to end it.

I can't think of anyone who wants to end immigration. I'm sure you can find a few nutballs online who hold that position, but the mainstream position is that a sovereign nation should and must control who does and does not cross it's borders and what any aliens within it's borders are there for.

The United States has immigration laws that permit people to enter the U.S. legally. Nobody that I know of has proposed to rescind them and block immigration into the U.S. People who follow our laws are welcome to enter. People who do not follow our laws are not. If you disagree, please tell me who has proposed to stop legal immigration into the U.S.

So we must now ask ourselves ... when in fact will the border ever be "secure" enough?

When anyone attempting to cross the border illegally either fails to do so or is caught, and when everyone who has already crossed illegally is punished for their crime.

Immigrant communities across this nation have paid the price, they've made their down payment on reform ...when do they finally see something in return?

Immigrant communities across this nation have for the most part lived peaceably in their homes and have enjoyed the benefits of living in the U.S. The price they paid was to go through the process of following American law, and they now reap the benefit of doing so. Only that subset of immigrant communities made up of people who came here illegally have seen consequences from an emphasis on enforcement.

Nice try on conflating "illegal aliens" with "immigrants", BTW. There are plenty of immigrants that are resident aliens with every right to be here. There are even a great number of them that are American citizens, including the woman who works in the cubicle two cubicles from mine. Only a fraction of immigrants are here illegally, so talking about "immigrants" as though they were all the same and all faced consequences from these policies is lying.

Vicente Duque said... Videos :

Several Shakira Videos : Singer goes to Phoenix Arizona and talks with the Mayor and the Chief of Police ( they are worried ) - She talks to the victims of Racism and is praised by Phoenix Councilman Tom Simplot

Shakira is becoming the Super Symbol of Latinos in USA :

Shakira is in Phoenix Arizona with the victims of Racism ( and Imbecility ! ) ... The abuse against Latinos in Arizona, harassed, stalked, victimized and insulted.

Shakira speaks out against Racism and joins the Boycott against Arizona - She talks with many victims that will have to abandon the state, even American Citizens are harassed and insulted.

April 29, 2010 — CNN
Arizona Governor Signs Controversial Immigration Law - The Boycott against Racism - Racial profiling - SHAKIRA ARIZONA BOYCOTT

Shakira Joins Arizona Boycott!


Rachel Maddow shows the Big Magnitude of the Boycott - Phoenix Councilman Tom Simplot talks to Rachel, Tom Simplot praises Shakira, and underlines her importance - Great Damage to Phoenix during the past Martin Luther King Boycott

goog2k — April 28, 2010 — Rachel talks with Phoenix city councilman, Tim Simplot, about the Mayor's suit against the Arizona law and boycotts. Shakira's coming to Phoenix Thursday. From MSNBC &

Phoenix Mayor sues Arizona. Oops!!! Shakira will weigh in - Rachel Maddow


Betunosy — April 30, 2010 — La cantante fue a Phoenix, Arizona el jueves para mostrar su rechazo a la ley SB1070.



People in Seattle ( State of Washington ) joining to battle against the Racism in Arizona

ChangedTheWorldToday — April 30, 2010 — Seattle is boycotting Arizona in an attempt to voice their opposition to the new immigration reform.

Boycott on Arizona

Look for these Videos in or here :

Vicente Duque

Vicente Duque said... : How to Win the Arizona Boycott : Recruit Enthusiastic Youngsters and Students for a Summer Boycott and continue the Boycott activities beyond the season - Call the conventions and ask cancellations

Adrenaline, Youth, Enthusiasm :

A triumph of the Arizona Boycott would be a Great Wonderful Beautiful Political Stunt with many repercusions not only for Immigration Politics but also for Democratic and Liberty Politics. - Those that want to invade private life and police human beings for their color or facial features would be rebuked.

The Arizona Boycott is a wonderful golden opportunity for youngsters and students that are considering a political career. They would learn what a grassroots movement filled with enthusiasm is ( from the inside ! )
How to Win the Arizona Boycott
May. 11‚ 2010

by Randy Shaw‚
Randy Shaw is the author of Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Century, which will be out in paperback in July.

How to Win the Arizona Boycott

Some excerpts :

In the past two weeks, the call for an economic boycott of Arizona has spread far beyond the political arena. In addition to labor and immigrant rights groups, it quickly won support from such unusual suspects as pop singers Shakira and Ricky Martin, the NBA’s “Los Phoenix Suns,” and the Major League Baseball Players Association. Polls show African-Americans are even more hostile than Latinos to the racist Arizona law, and conventions from multiple groups are already being switched out of state. But boycotts typically start with a flurry of activity. Most then dissipate without building the boycott infrastructure necessary to achieve their original goal. For the Arizona boycott to succeed, activists must follow the lessons of the UFW grape and lettuce boycotts of the 1960’s and 1970’s, the South Africa divestment campaign of the 1970s and 1980’s, and the UNITE HERE “Hotel Rising Boycott” of 2006. And the timing is perfect for a “Boycott Summer,” which would boost immigrant rights activism both in Arizona and nationally.

“Boycott Summer”

The critical distinction between successful and failed boycotts is the creation of a boycott infrastructure. In other words, a campaign operation that continues after the media launch event ends, and that builds the boycott through continually harnessing and recruiting volunteers.

The Center for Community Change, its network of affiliated groups, and its labor allies collectively has the staff capability to build an Arizona boycott infrastructure. And while some might argue that focusing on Arizona is a distraction from comprehensive federal reform, at this point the only way a breakthrough can happen on the latter is by activists showing clout on the state boycott.

With summer approaching and many colleges already out, the timing is perfect for a massive “Boycott Summer” campaign in Arizona. Whether this occurs depends on the commitment of boycott groups to build such an infrastructure, which appears to be a golden opportunity to keep immigration reform on the national radar during hearings on proposed Supreme Court Justice Kagan, the ongoing oil spill, financial reforms, and other news.

Recruitment for a Boycott Summer campaign will keep the issue alive across the nation, nationalizing a local struggle in the same way that the UFW used grape and lettuce boycott recruitment to spread word of its struggle with growers in California’s Central Valley. Recruits also become troops in the larger battle for federal reform, so their value extends beyond Arizona and will likely continue when they return to school in the fall.

Youth, Minorities, Demography and Politics :

Vicente Duque