Be the first on your block to sport one of our stylish new Sanctuary badges, designed by XOLAGRAFIK.
With two different slogans available, in three tasty color schemes, even the most discerning blogger should find a Sanctuary badge just right for their little patch of Blogtopia™
Here's just a little taste of what we're talking about:
To get one of these fine peices of graphic art to display with pride in your little corner of the blogosphere, simply go to:
Sanctuary badge page
and copy the little snippet of code provided.
Then paste it anywhere you want to display your solidarity with the cause and pride of being a member of the Pro-Migrant SanctuarySphere
In Shenandoah, PA, the community is inching its way toward justice.
Three federal indictments that include commission of a hate crime, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, official misconduct, and extortion have been recently handed down by a federal grand jury in the case of the fatal beating of Luis Ramirez. On July 12, 2008, Ramirez was beaten to death when his alleged assailants attacked him in the street on their way home from a town festival, kicking and hitting him while members of the group yelled racial slurs. Ramirez died from the injuries he sustained in that hateful attack, leaving behind his partner and their two children, whose interests the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) represented in court soon thereafter.
In spite of the horrific details of the crime, damning evidence, and a number of serious criminal charges, the state trial released the defendants with little more than a slap on the wrist. This was not a trial for a petty infraction mind you, but rather a case whose outcome should have found justice for a man's death and for his surviving family. Therefore, MALDEF called upon the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the fatal beating and the accounts of police misconduct that were brought forth in testimony at the trial.
The indictments, just unsealed yesterday after being returned on December 10, 2009, allege that Derrick Donchak and Brandon Piekarsky--the primary defendants in the murder trial--and others, including some members of the Shenandoah Police Department, conspired to obstruct the investigation of Ramirez's murder. An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence of guilt, so justice still has yet to be served.
"Is it ever 'the right time' to pass immigration reform and a path to legalization?" asks Maribel Hastings at New America Media. The short answer? Yes. Our national economic situation dictates that we are smart about the resources available to us all. It's also a moral imperative to adjust our laws to protect the most vulnerable of us.
Hastings runs through the complications, campaign promises, and opportunities facing the Obama administration in regards to immigration reform. While acknowledging the nature of our government as "a complex organism," Hastings nonetheless signs off with a warning: There are many awaiting action today, people "who voted for Democrats with the expectation that they would make comprehensive immigration reform a reality."
This year is primed for immigration reform. Activists worldwide are pushing for a "record number of ratifications" to The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Families (ICRMW), as Oneworld.net reports. The ICRMW was adopted by the United Nations in 1990, and "sets standards for humane working and living conditions for migrants." To date, 42 countries have are signatory to the ICRMW and 15 more have taken "preliminary steps to approve the convention." While the U.S. debates reform, protecting and supporting migrants should be at the front of the list.
The Washington Independent looks back at 2009, a year in which immigration was never center stage, and yet it managed to impact every other major issue on the table, from health care reform to the economy. Daphne Eviatar profiles five individuals who shaped the immigration debate for good or bad in 2009. Characters such as the infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona, and commentator Lou Dobbs, formerly of CNN are included in the list, but admirable women like Dr. Dora Schriro also made the cut. Dr. Schriro's reports on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention system led directly to "a major commitment" to overhaul it.
In the light of policy and compacts, it is important to remember that there is a dark and often violent side to the immigration reform debate. Luis Ramirez was beaten to death by multiple local youth in Shanendoah, PA. The local police worked to obscure the facts of the murder and thwart justice, but their complicity and hand in the judicial process has been uncovered, as RaceWire reports.
Former Shenandoah mayor Thomas O'Neill's description of the police department reads, essentially, as a gang felled by hubris: "If they want to help somebody, they will, If they want to hurt somebody, they'll hurt them. There's nothing they could do that they couldn't get away with. That's what they thought."
Another incident that exposes the inadequacy of current immigration laws can be found in the case of Haitian community activist Jean Montrevil, who now faces deportation, as Democracy Now! reports. Montrevil is a working father of four, married to an American woman, a "longtime community leader," is very involved with local immigrants rights groups and checks in with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regularly and voluntarily. During one such check in Montrevil was detained and marked for deportation.
ICE is removing a tax-paying and productive member of society for a 20 year-old drug conviction for which Montrevil did his time-11 years in prison. There is no chance of a legal appeal, though ICE has the power to defer the deportation. If it isn't halted, Montrevil's wife Jani will be left alone with their four children. Before 1996 immigration reforms passed by Congress and signed into law by Bill Clinton, a judge would have had discretion to consider the effect of such a deportation on the children.
Melissa del Bosque reports for the Texas Observer on the violent fallout from Mexican President Felipe Calderón's continued drug war "on the Mexican side of the [U.S.-Mexico] border." del Bosque notes a disturbing trend: A growing number of uninvolved people in the proximity of State- or cartel-initiated violence in Mexico are being impacted by the violence. This is an important balance to mind, as law and State forces are designed to help the populace thrive. Various sources place the death toll in Mexico between 9,000 and 13,000.
We conclude this week's Diaspora with a big shout out to Wiretap, which is closing its doors. Wiretap was a well-written, vibrant, and relevant collection of writing by younger people. Their writing on immigration was original, provocative, and useful. We wish them well. You will be missed!
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Diaspora for a complete list of articles on immigration issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, and health care issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Pulse. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.
"If there was ever a doubt about the need for this legislation, I think that has been pretty much done away with by the events that we've seen in our nation here in Washington, DC... I think the time is right, the time is now for the passage of this legislation," he said.
We couldn't agree more. The FBI reports that hate crimes against Latinos have risen 40% over the past four years. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that the number of hate groups targeting Latinos and immigrants has increased by 54% since 2000.
These are not just statistics. People are being beaten to death simply because they are Latino. Luis Ramirez, a 25-year-old immigrant, was beaten to death in July of last year by a group of teenagers in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. One witness said that they told Ramirez's friends to get out of Shenandoah, "or you're gonna to be laying effin next to him."
On this day in 1982, Chinese American immigrant Vincent Chin was beaten to death with a baseball bat, at his own bachelor party, by racist white auto workers in Detroit who blamed Japan for layoffs in the US auto industry. The murderers, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz, were convicted of manslaughter. They served no jail time, were given three years probation, fined $3,000 and ordered to pay $780 in court costs. Wayne County Circuit Judge Charles Kaufman said, "These weren't the kind of men you send to jail."
On July 14, 2008, Mexican immigrant Luis Ramirez was beaten to death by racist white teens shouting anti-Mexican epithets, in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. The murderers, Brandon Piekarsky and Derrick Donchak, were convicted of simple assault. Two days ago, they were respectively sentenced to 6 and 7 months in county jail. Piekarsky's lawyer Frederick Fanelli said, "You would be proud to have any of these kids in your classroom, and any of them as your children."
The Latino/a community has had ample reason to hope that President Obama would take on immigration reform in a humane manner. While Obama is undeniably centrist in his political approach, and has long been fond of language stressing punitive solutions to the immigration issue, he certainly seems to understand that "America is changing and we can't be threatened by it." Enforcement policies are becoming a threat, not only to immigrants, but the country at large.
Three things immediately shock the conscious soul upon learning about the murder of Luis Ramirez. The simple manner in which he died is the first of those.
Ramirez, a father of three, was beaten to death in the streets of Pennsylvania by as many as seven young men who were at the end of a night of drinking. The motive? Judging by the slurs heaped upon him along with the many blows to his body: apparently nothing more than being out at night while Mexican. The teens who ganged up on Ramirez came upon him walking with a young woman, reportedly his girlfriend's sister. Obviously bringing threat, they asked him what he was doing out at that time of day. Then they set upon him. In the end it was a final hard kick to the skull which left the 25-year-old father convulsing on the concrete with fatal brain damage.
The Pennsylvania Latino community is planning a Peaceful Prayer Vigil to Pray for Unity in Shenandoah. In a recent interview, Dr. Agapito Lopez, a member of the Governor's Advisory Committee on Latino Affairs and vice president of the Hazleton Latino Association said, "Everyone is concerned about this decision. Not only in the community here, but the whole Hispanic community in the United States."
On May 16, a vigil is planned to "Pray for Unity in Shenandoah." Dr. Arroyo said, "This will be a very Peaceful Prayer Vigil."
I could go through recent and not so recent history and clearly see a pattern and practice of hate that has been growing. A pattern and practice of racism, nativism, fueled by the media and government, eaten up by the mainstream public.
People in Shenandoah celebrated, went out into the streets and rejoiced after an all-white jury found Brandon J. Piekarsky, 17, and Derrick M. Donchak, 19, guilty of lesser charges and acquitted them of criminal homicide and aggravated assault.
And then people have the nerve to ask why are more Latinos not more active in the fight for immigration change?
This week's Wire focuses on the opportunities for change that crisis can introduce. From the H1N1 "Swine" flu's declining fervor to 2009's May Day marches for worker rights and immigrant solidarity; from the tragic killing of Luis Ramirez to legislative movement on immigration, these are tumultuous times. But it is precisely such conflict and challenge that provides the best opportunities to make lasting change.
the weight of evidence against the accused was so powerful that it's clear the all-white jury -- like similar juries in the South during the Civil Rights struggle -- was not going to convict two young white men of murdering a Mexican. Even if, as Friedman [in the video above] says, "the only reason he is dead is because he was Mexican."
If you, like me, are outraged by verdict, please sign this petition from MALDEF, asking the Department of Justice to thoroughly investigate the case, to ensure justice is served.
Also, be sure to read the full piece by Neiwert, which gets the heart of the issue - bigotry and racism that is going unchecked and unpunished.
This September 1st, it is only fitting to laud the accomplishments of the unnoticed and disenfranchised of America's workforce - the Immigrant. In a nation that is still bent on building a wall and has popular public figures campaigning for mass deportation, immigrants still managed to excel in 33 of the spots on the American Olympic team.
Foucault also lays out a population/people distinction in Security, Territory and Population that is worthy of further exploration. Population has two meanings -- one denotes a group of subjects with rights or subjects to a sovereign etc. but the one we are interested in is population as a process that needs regulation and management
One year ago, Juan Gomez, the Killian High School grad who was saved from deportation, traveled to the nation's capital to advocate for undocumented students. Gomez headed for Washington again Thursday, but for a different reason: Next week he starts at Georgetown University.
Postville at Western MA Coalition for Immigrant & Worker Rights. From the Democracy Now story:
For those left behind, namely the wives and children of the men taken away, the town has been turned into what some have described as an open-air prison. Dozens of immigrant women remain in Postville without status or a means of support. Many of them are even forbidden from leaving and have been made to wear electronic monitoring bracelets (story covered by Democracy Now!)
Luis Ramirez was murdered in mid July by a group of white teenagers. His story is one that should concern us all. While being beaten, the six teenagers, all whom were on the local football team, were allegedly yelling racial epitaths. Luis Rameriz was left on the street, bloodied, battered, and foaming at the mouth. He died two days after the attack, leaving behind a wife and two small children.
Despite her 4.0 grade point average, Laura, an aspiring engineer and a recent graduate from Charlotte high school in North Carolina will not be able to go to college. The land of opportunity has denied her access to a college education.
I wrote a post a while back on a video released and promoted by the Heritage Foundation titled "Demographic Winter" which states the world's population is falling. However, listen closely and you'll hear that it's really just a call stating heterosexual whites will be a minority soon. Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family.
In a newly created video, "Hidden System," Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) documents the impact the enforcement practices that are currently putting an undue emotional and physical hardship on families and children.
ANYWHERE THE PEOPLE GATHER to express their voice, their government-be it communist, democratic or otherwise-will be infiltrating and disturbing the cohesion and strength of that voice, ultimately using violence with no hesitancy or remorse. The unsettling juxtaposition of profit, spotlight, and ignored oppressions will always cause this confluence of energy and tumult. This is our modern-day Olympic Games Carnival settling down uneasily into a world where war and class divides are hurting so many.
Sadly, even with these deaths, new stories of workers being misled, taken advantage of, forced to live in squalor conditions, deprived of sufficient water, breaks and shade, exposed to lethal pesticides and dangerous equipment are heard every week.
not because I perversely enjoy revelling in victimhood but because this is the hard truth, this is what happened, and we need to look at it and ourselves squarely if we’re going to make things right in this country, not only for Chinese Americans but also with regard to the current wave of Latin@ migration which faces similar backlash from nativist reactionaries.
had it not been for the conscience-stricken federal interpreter who came forward to reveal how the federal government railroaded these undocumented workers into deportation, the height of the injustice of the system would not have been brought to light.
White Supremacists See Their Imminent Defeat As A Good Thing at Orcinus. It seems that white supremacist groups are banking on an Obama presidency to divide the nation and bring more to their side. I say they're a bunch of hatest wackadoos who are getting the clear message that the majority doesn't prescribe to their hate.
Today's top story in the Sanctuarysphere is about the anti-migrant group ALIPAC.US. It's been alledged by members of a forum on the watchdog site, ALIPAC.Net, that they weren't paying their payroll taxes. In a beautiful twist of irony, the person who claims to have alerted the IRS says he will use any reward money to help the people in Postville. Read Anti-Immigration Group Caught Not Paying Taxes and What's Going on Mr. Gheen? at Damn Mexicans for the details of this story.
No matter how carefully orchestrated, deportation dehumanizes people who come to this country to work hard to produce the many luxuries to which many like Jon Justice and Sheriff Joe Arpaio have grown accustomed - clean offices and classrooms, the food that is prepared for them at the restaurants they frequent, the food that is ready to buy at their local grocery stores, the homes they live in, and keeping this nation safe by serving the military.
Receive information on the latest action items, media campaigns, and legislative initiatives from ProMigrant
No spam or press release dumps from DC advocacy groups, lobbyists, or politicos. No requests for donations, or re-directs to astroturf groups looking to harvest your e-mail information.
Just real action for real change from real grassroots activists.