Brad Jones Answers Your Questions
Do you have your own questions for the state representative? Let us know.
By Matt Casey, Ashley Troutman, and William Laforme
May 31, 2011
North Reading Patch, in corporation with Reading Patch and Lynnfield Patch, have introduced a feature where we bring your questions to State Rep. Brad Jones.
What are you and the GOP doing about limiting government funds going to illegal immigrants?
I have been a long time supporter and frequent sponsor/co-sponsor of a variety of initiatives to ensure taxpayer resources are utilized for the benefit of persons here legally be they citizens or non-citizens here under color of law.
To be certain under the United States Constitution and federal law, we are required to provide certain services regardless of immigration status, most specifically in regard to public education for K-12 students and emergency health care services.
Recent legislative attempts have focused on putting in place protocols and requirements to check on the status of applicants/recipients of other public benefits.
While unsuccessfully in the most stringent efforts, last year saw the inclusion of tougher policies in the state budget which were a by-product of the increase in public advocacy in a time of scarce resources. Similar efforts to ensure even tougher guidelines failed narrowly during the recent House budget debate.
On the related topic, I co-sponsored an amendment to the FY12 budget relative to the Secure Communities Act, an initiative introduced by the Obama Administration to remove level one criminals who are illegal aliens from the US. The amendment to the budget would have directed the Governor to join this federal initiative. However, this most recent attempt by the Republican caucus to enact upon secure communities was defeated during the House budget debate by a vote of 73-84.
If the Secure Communities Initiative was enacted, fingerprints of everyone arrested and booked into local law enforcement custody will not only be checked against FBI criminal history records, but they are also checked against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) records. If fingerprints match DHS records, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) determines if immigration enforcement action is required, considering the immigration status of the alien, the severity of the crime and the alien's criminal history.
The program would have significant fiscal ramifications to the commonwealth – there were 806 illegal immigrants in Massachusetts Correctional Institutions (MCI) in 2008, incarcerated for an average of 241 days. Thus, the cost per inmate in 2008 was $46,000, a total cost of over $30 million to the commonwealth.
In the city of Boston, where Secure Communities was first piloted, Immigration and Customization Enforcement (ICE) has put 268 felons on the path to removal to their home countries. According to state statistics, the commonwealth of Massachusetts spends $30 million a year to incarcerate illegal immigrants.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Brad Jones Answers Your Questions
COLUMBIA POLICE DEPARTMENT ARRESTS AND SUMMONSES
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Authorities made the following arrests and issued summonses from 7 a.m. May 27 to 7 a.m. May 28.
Juan Raymundo Flores-Ramirez, 28, of Kitty Hawk Drive, driving without a valid driver’s license, driving while intoxicated, possession of a controlled substance, $5,300 bond; immigration detainer, no bond set.
Illegal immigrant is found hidden in toolbox
U.S. Custom inspectors and Border Patrol agents arrested a man who hid in the toolbox of a truck trying to cross the border.
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
By: Special to The Laredo Sun
LAREDO, TX .- According to the report, Carlos Villegas was discovered where he was hidden in a metal container in a truck, intending to escape the vigilance of Custom officers.
The truck in question was a 2003 Dodge Ram model that was at the revision booths of the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge.
In reviewing the unit, a 29-year-old man was found who on April 18 had been deported to Mexico after being identified as an illegal immigrant.
It was not reported as to what happened to the driver of the truck.
Immigrant Arrested In AZ Was On 'Most Wanted'
POSTED: 5:15 pm MST May 31, 2011
CASA GRANDE, Ariz -- Arizona border agents have arrested in illegal immigrant who was profiled on "America's Most Wanted" in an Iowa hit-and-run that killed a man and his horse.
The Border Patrol said Tuesday that 25-year-old Feliciano Diaz of Chiapas, Mexico, was arrested in the Casa Grande area south of Phoenix on Monday for being an illegal immigrant.
As he was being processed, agents discovered an active warrant for his arrest in Des Moines on charges of vehicular homicide, unlawful flight to avoid prosecution and other related charges.
Diaz was on an August 2009 episode of "America's Most Wanted" about the Sept. 26, 2008, hit-and-run of a horseback trail guide and his mount.
Extradition arrangements are being made.
It's unclear whether Diaz yet has a lawyer.
Illegal immigrant seeks to avoid deportation as abuse victim
6:01 PM, May. 26, 201
Written by Peter Smith
A Kentucky woman who faces deportation to her native Mexico is seeking asylum, saying she fears domestic violence from her ex-partner and that Mexican authorities can’t be counted on to protect her.
Ana Lilia Alanis-Paulin entered the U.S. illegally in 1997 at age 17. She is in an Illinois jail after being arrested May 5 in Lexington, where she lives, for driving without a license. She was turned over to federal immigration authorities.
A legal brief filed on her behalf alleges the father of her youngest child has threatened to harm her if she returns to Mexico, where he now lives. Alanis-Paulin had called Lexington police three times to report abuse allegations in 2008 and 2009 when he lived there.
The 30-year-old mother of three, who previously lived in Louisville, "is terrified of being abused and likely killed if she is forced to return to Mexico where her abuser remains," said the motion filed on her behalf with the Office of the Immigration Judge in Memphis, Tenn. Earlier this month, the office put a temporary stay on her deportation while it considers her petition to reopen her case so she could seek legal status. She is currently in the McHenry County, Ill., Jail, her lawyer said.
The motion contends that Alanis-Paulin deserves protection as a member of a persecuted social group — Mexican women threatened by domestic abuse in a male-dominated society where laws against such violence are weak and largely unenforced.
Her lawyer, Eleni Wolfe-Roubatis of the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago, cites a federal law allowing a special class of visas for crime victims who have cooperated with law enforcement. By filing reports with Lexington police, her client met that qualification, Wolfe-Roubatis said.
People in her predicament are "exactly why this law was made," the attorney said.
Leticia Zamarripa, public affairs officer for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said she couldn't comment on any case without a signed waiver from the detainee, which could not be obtained as of Thursday.
Man pulled over for DUI had six aliases
by Lydia Senn, staff writer
A North Carolina man remained in jail Tuesday after a weekend DUI turned led to the discovery that the man had six aliases, reports state.
According to Floyd County Jail records:
Cesar Silverio Martinez, 40, of 3001 Woodway Circle, Mathews, N.C., was pulled over by police at the intersection of 411 and College Park Drive Sunday morning. But when Martinez was taken to booking deputies found that he reportedly had six aliases and had given police a false name.
He is charged with felony forgery and misdemeanor giving a false name to police and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
He is being held for immigration and customs enforcement.
Read more: RN-T.com - Man pulled over for DUI had six aliases
Two men face possible deportation after making threats in Ypsilanti, police say
Posted: Tue, May 31, 2011 : 11:50 a.m.
By Lee Higgins
Two men were arrested Monday after investigators said they showed up at a South Grove Street apartment in Ypsilanti, seeking to collect money owed to them, and threatened to get guns and hurt someone.
The men, ages 27 and 30, are from Mexico and await possible deportation because they are believed to be in the U.S. illegally, Ypsilanti police Det. Sgt. Troy Fulton said.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are investigating. Police said both men were intoxicated and made threats in front of officers.
Published: Tuesday, May 31, 2011, 5:49 PM
By Stephen Smith/ The News of Cumberland County
- Rosemberg Roman, 26, of Cedar Street, was arrested Monday and charged with aggravated arson, obstruction of justice, terroristic threats, and making false reports to police. The crimes occurred during a domestic violence incident and police would not release any further information. Roman was also in the country illegally. He was committed to the Cumberland County Jail on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer.
- Edwin Vasquez, 23, of Bridgeton Avenue, was arrested Saturday and charged with driving while intoxicated. Officers responded to a call about a hit and run crash on East Avenue, during which a car had struck a parked vehicle and then fled. They caught up with the car and found that Vasquez was driving it while intoxicated. He was also in the country illegally. He was committed to the Cumberland County Jail on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer.
Veteran fights mother's deportation to Mexico
10:32 PM, May 30, 2011
Written by Nadia Gedeon, Will Ripley
DENVER - An Iraq war veteran is fighting a new battle but this time it's against his own country.
His mother was deported after more than two decades of legal residency in the United States. This is just one of thousands of immigration cases in Denver, which ranks among the top ten overloaded immigration courts in the country, according to the Denver Post.
Lance Corporal Miguel Valenzuela served four years in the United States Marines and a tour of duty in Iraq.
"It was a great honor to be able to say I served my country," Valenzuela said. "I feel like I got out of the Marine Corps just to turn around and face this."
Lance corporal Miguel Valenzuela is now fighting a legal battle against the United States immigration policy which called for his mother's deportation in April, after what he calls more than two decades of legal residency in this county.
"It really is like a slap in the face," Valenzuela said.
Valenzuela's mother, Celia Novak, has called the US home for 25 years.
"I think I've been a good asset to the United States of America," she said in a telephone interview from Juarez, Mexico.
A registered nurse, Novak says her work visa allowed her to live here "for many years." She had children, married an American man, and planned to become a US citizen. Those plans fell apart when the marriage ended and her work visa expired.
"It was devastating," Novak said. "It was terrible news."
A letter in March from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement changed everything. On April 4th, Novak was deported from Greeley, CO to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico - a border city 690 miles from the place she called home for nearly half her life.
"In the month and a half that my Mom has been where she's at now, she's seen way more messed up stuff than I saw that that whole time, seven months in Iraq," Valenzuela said.
Cartel violence is Novak's reality. Ciudad Juarez is Mexico's most violent city, according to government statistics which show more than 9,000 people have died in drug cartel violence in Juarez since 2008. Novak witnessed a murder on Mother's day.
"I'm always afraid for my life," she said.
Novak's family has hired an immigration lawyer, but her appeal could take months or even years. The Denver Post reports there are 7,200 pending immigration cases in Denver, with an average wait of 501 days for a hearing. Her lawyer is hoping to take the case to federal court.
"My children need me, my family needs me," Novak said.
Valenzuela thinks his mother should be allowed back in the country he fought for in the Marines.
"People like her are exactly what this country needs," Valenzuela said. "If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have done the things that I did."
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Breaking: Veteran's Parade Says No to Viet Nam Veterans in Deportation
Author: Tim Paynter
Published: May 28, 2011 at 7:53 am
The Denver Memorial Day Parade, organized to honor the men who fought to keep our nation free, has censored the free speech rights of two Viet Nam Veterans who are in deportation proceedings. Manuel Valenzuela was notified late yesterday not to bring posters asking for the return of deported veterans, a fate Manuel is facing along with his brother, Valente Valenzuela.
Valenzuela Brothers Pay Tribute To Fallen Veterans
The Valenzuela Brothers, who are inseparable, have become national figures in the fight for immigration reform after each brother was independently notified he was the latest target under the aggressive removal policy by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Neither brother wanted to tell the other he may soon have to leave the US, and one of the brothers was so distraught he considered suicide.
Since Barak Obama came into office, ICE has deported a record number of undocumented workers. The Valenzuela Brothers never considered themselves undocumented, being the children of a US citizen, and having offered their lives for the country they love while fighting in Viet Nam. Each brother could easily have lost his life and Valente served special duty in clandestine endeavors he still refuses to speak about. Both brothers returned to civilian life suffering post traumatic Stress disorder.
Al Munis, head of the Veteran's Affair's Committee for the Denver Parade, advised the brothers through an emissary they were not to bring the banner they planned to carry. The brothers are speaking out about an estimated 3,000 veterans who have been deported, including Hector Barajas, despite prior promises their military service would qualify them to be citizens.
"Is this what you call freedom?" Manuel Valenzuela asked during an exclusive interview with immigrants2free reporter Tim Paynter.
"I could have died in Viet Nam!" Valenzuela said.
Jerry Duran, squadron commander for the American GI Forum, was unable to negotiate a resolution.
Meanwhile, Sen. Dick Durban, (D-Ill.), along with other senators including Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), introduced the Dream Act which will give undocumented youth the opportunity to go to college or serve in the military. After attendance in college or completion of military service, some of the youths will qualify for permanent resident status.
ACLU-Michigan seeks ICE records on illegal detention of U.S.citizen
Saturday, 05.28.2011, 02:56pm
DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a Freedom of Information Act request this week seeking records from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding the illegal detention of a U.S. citizen and his mother who is a legal permanent resident. The Grand Rapids residents, who are Latino, were handcuffed and assaulted by ICE agents even though they produced driver's licenses to prove their identities.
"Fairness and equality are the most fundamental values we share as Americans. There's nothing fair or equal about arresting citizens because of the color of their skin," said Miriam Aukerman, ACLU of Michigan staff attorney. "We are deeply concerned that this mother and son were victims of racial profiling. It's imperative that we understand what led to this abuse of power and what policies are in place to protect Michigan residents."
In February, Telma Valdez, who has lived in the United States for almost 22 years, and her son, Luis Valdez, a college student at Grand Rapids Community College who was born in the U.S., drove to the home of relatives to allow their 6-year-old cousin to play with Luis's new puppy. As they pulled the car into the driveway, unidentified ICE agents ran toward them. An agent pointed a gun at Luis and ordered him to show ID. Both Luis and Telma produced their valid driver's license and ICE agents demanded that they get out of the car.
Telma was handcuffed and escorted to the back of the car where an agent held a gun to her back and repeatedly banged her head into the trunk of the car yelling at her to admit she was "Irma." Telma screamed out in pain and fear. Luis was handcuffed, and both Luis and Telma were escorted into an apartment.
Inside the apartment, Luis again tried to explain that he was a U.S. citizen and Telma told agents that she had her green card with her. Soon after retrieving the card, agents realized that they had arrested a U.S. citizen and legal permanent resident. Agents released the two, but not before one agent threatened Telma that she risked losing her legal status if she told her story to anyone.
"ICE agents take an oath to uphold the law, not violate people's rights," said Kary L. Moss, ACLU of Michigan executive director. "It's not a crime to be Latino in this country. However, from Arizona to Michigan, the stories of racial profiling, intimidation and illegal detention are proof that what happened to Luis and Telma is not unique."
The FOIA request asks ICE to hand over all records relating to the coordination and execution of the February raid. In addition, the ACLU requested all supervision and training materials, as well as all policies and protocols related to racial profiling, and the procedures and standards for interrogating individuals or verifying their identity and immigration status.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
School fight leads to student deportation (in Spanish)
25 to 31 May 2011
h/t Twitter user @RespectRespeto [send your tips to @ICE_Raid_Report on Twitter]
After a fight at school, Matías Cabrera, an undocumented student went from being suspended from school, arrested, tried for the 287 (g), moved to Atlanta in a few days to be deported to their country of origin.
The family of the boy who was 17 last October, when the fight occurred and was enrolled in the eleventh grade in high school, did not imagine that their lives would change overnight.
"As parents we always want the best for our children, but a fight can change everything and the world will come down. A few days before the incident I had told him not to meddle in trouble and he told me not to worry, but a few days not imagine what happened, "said tearful Sonia, his mother.
The charges were dropped in February, but that did not stop immigration officials from doing their job and a month ago in late April, just days after 18 years, Matthew was arrested the next day sent a immigration jail in Atlanta.
"We have said that it sent back to Argentina this or next week," said Sonia.
The whole family lives in Charlotte, at home only found his maternal grandmother. "He's going to a country not known because it came when he was 7 years. We will be very hard to start again in a country where he was born but it is completely unknown, "said his mother.
Students and deportations
Andres Lopez, an immigration lawyer with the firm of Immigration Law Firm Forsythe said that a minor incident for a student resident or citizen can mean a community service work or a fine, but for an illegal alien an incident of this nature could cost even deportation .
"In the case of Matthias, to be deported soon be 18 years and six months, no penalty will return to the country, but must qualify for a visa or a working family," Lopez said.
"If deportation occurs at a young man aged 18 years and six months to 19 years triggers a punishment of up to three years in which the immigrant can not return to the U.S. and after 19 years on, the punishment is ten years, "says Lopez.
The lawyer has seen cases in which young people are arrested and carried to jail and go through the 287 (g) and others that are brought to juvenile court.
"It depends on the police, is always the option of them and also depends on the severity of the case and the student's age," said an immigration specialist.
According to the Police Department Charlotte Mecklenburg School System, any student more than seven years may be arrested and taken to a juvenile court or a civil or criminal, according to the offense and the student's age.
In some cases students are not deprived of education so they send them to alternative schools, while others do not give them no chance and sent to jail.
"That is so important for parents to know who they link their children to avoid being taken by inadequate roads and if they are good students, remind them out of trouble that will lead to an arrest and possible deportation and suffering and separation of families" he added.
Deportee charged in village stabbing
11:55 PM, May. 27, 2011
— Shawn Cohen
— Leslie Korngold
— Terence Corcoran
OSSINING — An Ecuadorian man accused of repeatedly stabbing his village housemate Monday is wanted by federal authorities for sneaking into the United States after being deported, police said. Ubaleino Quezada, 30, of 26 William St., was charged with second-degree assault, a felony, after he used two kitchen knives to stab the 52-year-old victim in the chest and arm and slash his face and back, Ossining Detective Lt. William Sullivan said. The victim, whose wounds were not life-threatening, was taken to the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla following the 3:30 p.m. incident in their home. Quezada is being held without bail, pending a hearing in Village Court on Tuesday. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed a detainer on him; he has also been charged as a fugitive from justice. The stabbing was the village's fifth of the month. Four men have been arrested for the unrelated crimes, Sullivan said.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
BROKEN LIGHT, BROKEN DREAM: Illegal immigrants in Aurora
SARA CASTELLANOS The Aurora Sentinel
Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 9:53 pm
A gallon of milk, a burnt out car light, and Aurora will likely have one less illegal immigrant.
Everyday life led to the worst that can happen for Gerardo Noriega, who was living illegally in Aurora when the never-ending fear of being deported became a reality.
Noriega, 20, was driving from his Aurora home to a grocery store in April 2010 when an Arapahoe County Sheriff pulled him over for a broken license plate light. The Mexican-born graduate of Smoky Hill High School was arrested for driving without a license and detained in Aurora’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement jail for three days.
“You drive with the risk of knowing this could happen to you,” Noriega said. “But at the same time, I was going for milk.”
There are thousands of people like Noriega across the country. People who aren’t drug dealers, murders or sex offenders are deported every day. Immigrant rights groups say it’s inhumane because of the fear it breeds among productive, non-criminal immigrants. But critics of mass immigration say the government’s responsibility should be to deport immigrants who are in the country illegally without making a distinction between those who have committed grave acts and those who have not.
Noriega is a member of Rights for All People, an Aurora-based immigrant rights group that launched a campaign in late April to put a human face on deportations. The group’s goal is to separate the blurred lines between the two types of illegal immigrants: those who have been convicted of heinous crimes and the immigrant community leaders who have tried to fit in and make a living.
Since he graduated from high school two years ago, Noriega has been living in the shadows.
“It’s not really living, it’s more of just surviving,” Noriega said. “It’s about trying to stay positive and continue trying to go on, look ahead, look forward to something better.”
His ambition is to become an auto mechanic but neither colleges nor employers will accept him without a state-issued ID. He became particularly disheartened when he had to turn down a plum job with auto giant BMW last year. And now, the notion that he could be sent back to Mexico — a country that he broke ties with at 10 years old — has taken an emotional toll on his parents, who are permanent U.S. citizens.
“Personally, I feel very anguished, sad and desperate,” said his mother, Aracely Noriega, through a translator. “We understand they want to deport criminal people, but they are taking the most innocent people.”
But the term “innocent” is subjective, especially when referring to illegal immigrants.
All illegal immigrants are breaking Colorado’s laws in one way or another, said Stan Weekes, state director for the Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform, a group dedicated to educating the public and state lawmakers about the economic and social impacts of illegal immigration.
“Just because they are not indicted and charged criminally doesn’t mean they aren’t actually criminals,” Weekes said. “Much of the way they get by in this world has to do with a counterfeit ID, which is a crime, or if they’re driving on the road without a license, that is a crime.”
Driving without a license, ergo without car insurance, is also a public safety problem, Weekes said. If an illegal alien causes a hit-and-run accident, it’s up to the victim to front the insurance and medical costs. It’s also important, Weekes said, to remember that if immigrants enter the country illegally or overstay their work or study visas, they are breaking the law and are at risk of being deported whether they have committed criminal acts or not.
“Once they are here and living in the state, every day they get up they are committing fraud in one way or another,” he said. “To think that somehow they are identifying themselves as non-criminal is really a stretch of the imagination on their part.”
But Mexican immigrant Jeanette Vizguerra, 39, refuses to take on the guise of a criminal. She spent 34 days at Arapahoe County jail and an ICE detention center after she was stopped by police for an expired license plate and arrested for driving without a license.
Vizguerra, a volunteer with Rights for All People, is due in court in July after a deportation hearing on May 16 was postponed. She says it’s unfair for people to label immigrants like her as criminals just because she left her home country 14 years ago in search of a better life.
“People are not seeing us as human beings with feelings, with families, with dreams,” she said in Spanish through a translator. “We’re just numbers.”
With three small children, including a newborn baby, and a husband with testicular cancer, she can barely pay her bills. But she says things could be worse. She could be back in Mexico, in the midst of drug violence, human trafficking, a substandard economy and subpar doctors. Since her three children were born in the U.S., they are citizens, but for Vizguerra, going through the legal quagmire of obtaining citizenship is futile. It can take up to 28 years for an immigrant to become a citizen of the United States under current immigration laws, according to the National Foundation for American Policy.
Vizguerra says it would be difficult for her family to fend for themselves if she were to be deported. But why, then, did she choose to have children in the face of that threat? Why take that risk?
“People need to understand that just because a person migrates doesn’t mean they don’t have any future plans in life,” she said. “Some people have plans for families that are a bit bigger, but just because you’re an immigrant doesn’t mean you stop all of your life plans.”
In order to win their cases, at their next deportation hearings Vizguerra and Noriega’s lawyers will try to prove that they’ve been productive people with good moral character who don’t deserve deportation.
But people who haven’t been convicted of crimes are deported every day, and national statistics show that more non-criminals are being deported than criminals, although the gap is getting smaller.
At the behest of President Barack Obama, the total number of illegal immigrants who have been deported has increased by 35 percent since 2007, according to statistics from ICE. But in his most recent immigration speech on May 10 in El Paso, Texas, President Obama said those deportations are not being made “haphazardly.”
“We’re focusing our limited resources and people on violent offenders and people convicted of crimes — not just families, not just folks who are just looking to scrape together an income,” Obama said.
While it’s true that the deportation of criminal illegal aliens has risen in recent years, it’s also true that more people like Noriega and Vizguerra, without criminal records, are being deported more often.
National ICE deportation statistics show that last year, about 1,300 more non-criminal illegal immigrants were deported than criminal immigrants. The gap is larger in years past. In 2009, more than 253,500 non-criminal aliens were deported compared with about 136,300 criminals. In 2008, about 254,800 non-criminals were deported, compared with 114,400 criminals, and in 2007, about 189,000 non-criminals were deported, compared with 102,000 criminals.
“The lion’s share of people who are being picked up haven’t been convicted of anything,” said Hans Meyer, legal and policy director for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. “The statistics about that are pretty abysmal. It has been wildly destructive.”
Last year, according to ICE statistics, 67 percent of about 6,600 immigrants who were deported from Colorado and Wyoming had criminal records. But in 2009, 40 percent of deported immigrants had criminal records. In 2008, 59 percent were criminals, and in 2007, 39 percent were criminals.
It’s unclear whether the number of criminal deportations will one day outpace the number of non-criminal deportations. But it is evident that federal lawmakers from Colorado want a change in immigration law.
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, says he is committed to passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill that secures the U.S. border, punishes employers who break the law and requires undocumented immigrants to “become legal, learn English, pay a fine and go to the back of the line.”
“We ought to focus our efforts at enforcement on immigrants who have committed serious crimes, something the Administration has said it is committed to doing,” Bennet said in an e-mail.
He has also urged his fellow lawmakers to grant deferred action to students who are at risk of deportation but meet the rigorous requirements for eligibility under the DREAM Act. The acronym stands for “Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors” and allows illegal immigrant students who get good grades and are of good moral character to obtain permanent residency status.
But the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform are still being debated by both parties in Congress. In Aurora, immigrants will be more at risk of being deported when the Secure Communities program is implemented throughout the city within the next two weeks. The program, run by ICE, prioritizes the removal of illegal immigrants convicted of crimes such as homicide, rape, kidnapping and threats to national security, according to ICE.
Under the system, which Arapahoe County is already using, every person who is booked into jail will have their fingerprints forwarded to informational databases run by ICE, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, to determine whether someone is in the country illegally.
City and county law enforcement officials like the program.
“What’s good about it is that everybody that comes into the jail is being booked into the jail for a criminal act and we’re just really forwarding this information to ICE so there’s no sense of profiling in any regard,” said Dave Walcher, under sheriff of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office.
In the past few months, the program has been fraught with technological problems. But when the program is accurate, it will be better than the method law enforcement officers are currently using under Senate Bill 90, which was passed in 2006, said Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson in March. Under Senate Bill 90, law enforcement officers in the state are required to notify ICE if they have any “reasonable suspicion” that the person is an illegal alien.
But critics of the “Secure Communities” program and Senate Bill 90 say those tools foster an environment of fear among illegal immigrants and children of immigrants who are in the country not by their own volition.
“We refuse to sit by and watch our politicians and elected officials talk about border security and Secure Communities when the real cost of what is happening is that families are being ripped apart,” said Julie Gonzales, director of organizing at the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition at a rally before Vizguerra’s deportation hearing May 16. “It is absolutely barbaric and inhumane.”
Fewer deportations put 287(g) immigration program at risk
Immigrants' fear, economy drive decline, critics say
Written by Brian Haas | The Tennessean
4:24 AM, May. 26, 2011
The number of immigrants detained in Nashville’s deportation program has been nearly halved. Federal dollars earned by the program have been cut by almost two-thirds.
Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall, whose 287(g) immigration program has been the subject of years of complaints, said its days are numbered if the declines continue.
“If we continue to trend this way… clearly our resources in the Sheriff’s Office could be better used in areas like mental health,” Hall said. “That’s what we would hope, which would be able to focus in a direct way in other areas.”
Deportation proceedings of jailed Nashville immigrants have dropped 40 percent since 2008 to fewer than 1,500 last year, with federal funding dropping more. Hall said the decline signals success, that immigrants deported for even the most minor crimes don’t return. But critics say a troubled economy and a cautious immigrant community are more likely to blame for the drop.
“The fact that it slows doesn’t suggest to me that the program is working any better or worse,” said Katharine Donato, professor and chair of Vanderbilt University’s Department of Sociology. “The program, yes, has been effective, it’s led to thousands of deportations. But if the population locally isn’t growing at the rate it once was, let’s say two years ago, of course you’re going to get a slowdown.”
Davidson County joined the 287(g) program in 2007, which allows deputies to screen and interview inmates to determine whether they are U.S. citizens. Suspected illegal immigrants are then turned over to immigration officials for possible deportation proceedings.
Hall has come under consistent criticism from advocates who say that far too many minor offenders are deported when the program was designed to target dangerous criminals.
Though the number of immigrants caught in the program has declined, a Tennessean analysis of 287(g) data shows that the top five charges immigrants faced in 2010 continued to be traffic or minor crimes. Driving without a license, DUI, implied consent violations, failing to show up to court and misdemeanor warrants made up 56 percent of the charges filed, higher than in prior years.
Hall has countered that he doesn’t determine who is arrested for what charge or who ends up deported.
“When we started we were adamant that we wanted to screen all people,” Hall said. “Everyone who is criminally arrested, taken off the streets of Nashville.”
That isn’t a surprise to immigration attorney Elliott Ozment. Ozment is suing Hall on behalf of two legal immigrants caught up in the 287(g) program, one of whom was held for days.
“I have never seen any evidence of him backing off that policy. If he has, I’m certainly not aware of it,” he said. “The sheriff still hasn’t straightened out the priorities of the 287(g) program.”
Attorney Gregg Ramos, who was on Hall’s 287(g) advisory board before it was dissolved, suspects some of the decline can be attributed to immigrants afraid to be driving Nashville’s streets out of fear of being deported.
“I know people are still scared to come out. They get stopped for playing their music too loud, they get stopped for a tail light allegedly out, they get stopped for tinted windows that are maybe too dark,” Ramos said. “Parents are afraid to engage in their children’s education.”
Donato said the decline can largely be traced to an overall drop in immigration from Latin American countries because of the lagging U.S. economy and a lackluster job market. Immigration from some smaller countries, such as El Salvador, has completely dried up, she said.
“Migration has slowed from Mexico and Latin America related to the economy. It hasn’t disappeared, but it has slowed,” she said.
Whatever the reason, Hall has already scaled back his 287(g) program. He started out with 15 detention deputies and a supervisor. Today, he’s cut back to 12 employees and is already mulling over what it would take to shrink the team even more. And he’s convinced that each cut is another sign of success.
“I think it’s pretty simple,” Hall said. “What’s wrong with ‘It’s worked?’ ”
Internal investigation concludes no racial profiling by officers
By SARAH SUTSCHEK
Created: Thursday, May 26, 2011 5:30 a.m. CDT
The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office has concluded after an internal investigation that Hispanic drivers are not disproportionately pulled over and there is no evidence of racial profiling.
The investigation was launched because of a civil rights lawsuit filed by former deputy Zane Seipler, who said he was fired for being a whistle-blower. Seipler has accused deputies of deliberately misidentifying Hispanics to hide racial profiling.
As part of the sheriff’s department investigation, a review of traffic statistics from 2007 to 2009 was conducted, looking at each ticket individually.
According to the findings, 13.6 percent of Hispanics – including apparent Hispanics who were marked as Caucasian – were given citations in 2007. That figure was 12.4 percent in 2008 and 11.2 percent in 2009.
Data from the 2010 census put the Hispanic or Latino population in McHenry County at 11.5 percent, up from 7.5 percent in 2000.
Assuming all citations with no race marked were issued to Hispanic drivers, the number of Hispanics ticketed would be 20.6 percent, 17.5 percent, and 15.8 percent for the years 2007 through 2009, respectively. There were other significant findings in the Sheriff’s Office investigation, including:
• Four deputies routinely “mismarked” drivers with Hispanic surnames as Caucasian.
• Sixteen deputies failed to consistently complete racial data.
• Deputies generally lack uniform guidelines on how to determine a driver’s race for purposes of completing racial data.
Seipler’s attorney, Blake Horwitz, said that he and his client were thankful that an investigation was performed, but that the conclusions fell short.
“Misidentifying the race of hundreds of individuals who are obviously Hispanic, based on their facial characteristics and language, for example, obviously demonstrates racial profiling and the desire to hide information,” Horwitz said.
Those who misidentified drivers’ races should be disciplined, he said.
“Instead they are promoted,” Horwitz said. “And that’s absurd.”
An immigrant advocacy group, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, has written to the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil division asking for it to conduct an investigation. The organization has accused the sheriff’s office of “hunting Mexicans” and systematically misclassifying Latinos as white.
ICIRR Executive Director Joshua Hoyt didn’t lend any credence to the internal investigation.
“This is like the fox certified that while he drinks chicken blood, he doesn’t eat chicken,” Hoyt said. “We’ll wait for an independent evaluation.”
Sheriff Keith Nygren said that the data spoke for itself.
“The truth has a nice ring to it because it is the truth,” he said.
A total of 51 current deputies were flagged for interviews based on benchmarks for filling out traffic stop information.
For example, deputies who ticketed more than 5 percent of the department’s average of Hispanic drivers were asked why, but were unable to explain. They said they did not stop vehicles based on the driver’s race, and most said they worked primarily at night and could not see the driver’s race until making contact.
When it came to deputies with the highest percentage of tickets written to drivers with Hispanic surnames marked as Caucasian, one said he was taught to only mark people as Hispanic if they said or showed documentation that they were – otherwise he would mark them as Caucasian.
Others said no one ever went through the requirements that explained how to determine a driver’s race, or that they might have made mistakes, but denied trying to hide any wrongdoing.
Sheriff Keith Nygren said that “I don’t know” wasn’t an acceptable answer to him, but that some of their explanations were viable.
“We’re asking police officers to make subjective judgments,” he said. “You can’t ask [the drivers], ‘Are you Latino?’ That violates the law.”
With regard to incomplete information on tickets, one reason commonly given during interviews was that when a traffic citation resulted in an arrest, deputies thought the information would be completed during booking or forgot about it once the person was turned over to booking. Some deputies also filled out the back of the ticket at the end of their shift, rather than after the stop.
“What we need to do is audit the tickets,” Nygren said. “Make sure that the names match the races, but make sure that information is being submitted by everyone. ... We can do better in terms of auditing and training.”
Recent media attention to the accusations likely has increased the perception within the Hispanic community that racial profiling is happening. Outreach needs to continue to show that this is not the case, Nygren said.
“The accusation was that racial profiling was rampant,” he said. “That wasn’t true, and it’s not true today.”
Royal Oak police log
Published: Thursday, May 26, 2011
W. Eleven Mile and Center, 5-19-11: Officers conducted a traffic stop and found the driver to be an illegal immigrant. The United States Border Patrol was contacted and they arrested the suspect.
High court sustains Ariz. employer sanctions law
AP | May 26th, 2011
PHOENIX - The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld an Arizona law that penalizes businesses for hiring workers in the country illegally, buoying the hopes of supporters of state crackdowns on illegal immigration.
They predicted the ruling would lead to many other states passing laws that require employers to use the federal E-Verify system to check that workers aren't illegal immigrants. And some said the ruling bodes well for the prospects of a much broader and more controversial immigration law in Arizona, known as SB1070, to be found constitutional.
The state is appealing a ruling blocking portions of that law from taking effect.
But some legal experts said the ruling should not be read as a broad validation of such tactics. While they acknowledge that other states will now pass similar employer sanctions, they cautioned that the court did not make any sweeping endorsement of states' rights to enforce federal immigration laws.
``It's a very careful and narrowly reasoned opinion, so it doesn't really tip the court's hand one way or the other with respect to SB1070,'' said Peter Spiro, a Temple University law professor who specializes in immigration law. ``That being said, the court here is validating a state measure that implicates immigration enforcement. The court today has rejected an argument that the states have no business in immigration enforcement. That's off the table.''
Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, a Republican who was a prime sponsor of the legislation that became the 2007 employer sanctions law, said his reaction to the ruling was ``jubilation.''
``This is not only good for Arizona, it's good for America,'' Pearce told The Associated Press. ``Finally, American workers are treated the way they ought to be. We're going to put the profits-before-patriotism crowd in the back seat.''
Pearce said the ruling bodes well for an eventual Supreme Court decision on SB1070.
``I'm very confident we'll win a 5-4 or possibly a 6-3 decision,'' he said. ``States have never been pre-empted from enforcing federal law.''
Both laws were written with the assistance of Kris Kobach, Kansas' secretary of state and a former law professor. He said they were constructed to only use federal immigration law definitions, and the ruling upholding the first could mean success for the second.
``That language will vastly assist the state in defending SB1070,' Kobach said.
Others aren't so sure. Arizona State University constitutional law professor Paul Bender said Chief Justice John Roberts went out of his way to say the employer sanctions law was being enforced in conjunction with the federal government because its provisions mimic federal law.
That's not the case with SB1070, Bender said. With that Arizona law, police decide who to detain, and illegal immigrants can be prosecuted in state court.
``If they really mean that this is OK but only because there are safeguards here to make sure the states don't go crazy and start doing things contrary to federal policy, that would bode ill for 1070,'' Bender said. ``Because 1070 does not have these safeguards and there's a real danger.''
Dozens of other states have taken up immigration-related measures since Arizona passed its first law. Most have gone nowhere, but several have passed laws similar to the one found constitutional on Thursday.
``So far Mississippi and South Carolina have followed Arizona in requiring E-Verify,' Kobach said. ``Alabama is about to ... and I think you'll see many other states jumping on the bandwagon and requiring E-Verify.''
Thursday's 5-3 ruling placed the court's five Republican-appointed justices on the side of the state and against the Chamber of Commerce, which challenged the law along with the American Civil Liberties Union.
Roberts, writing for the majority, said Arizona's employer sanctions law ``falls well within the confines of the authority Congress chose to leave to the states.''
Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, all Democratic appointees, dissented. The fourth Democratic appointee, Justice Elena Kagan, did not participate in the case because she worked on it while serving as President Barack Obama's solicitor general.
Breyer said the Arizona law upsets a balance in federal law between dissuading employers from hiring illegal workers and ensuring that people are not discriminated against because they may speak with an accent or look like they might be immigrants.
Employers ``will hesitate to hire those they fear will turn out to lack the right to work in the United States,'' he said.
The Obama administration backed the challenge to the law. The measure was signed into law in 2007 by Democrat Janet Napolitano, then the governor of Arizona and now Obama's Homeland Security secretary.
The employer sanctions law has been infrequently used. It was intended to diminish Arizona's role as the nation's hub for immigrant smuggling by requiring employers to verify the eligibility of new workers through a federal database. Employers found to have violated the law can have their business licenses suspended or revoked.
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, praised the high court's decision. ``Not only is this law constitutional, it is commonsense. American jobs should be preserved for Americans and legal workers,'' Smith said.
Lower courts, including the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, previously upheld the law.
The ACLU's Cecillia Wang said the Supreme Court decision was disappointing, but narrow. ``The decision has nothing to do with SB1070 or any other state and local immigration laws,'' said Wang, director of ACLU's immigrant rights project.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer called the decision gratifying and said it upheld states' rights.
``Despite the Obama Administration's opposition at the U.S. Supreme Court, Arizona and all states are now free to take down the `Help Wanted' sign for illegal aliens in their states,'' she said in a statement. ``Arizona's employer sanctions law allows the vast majority of businesses that want to play by the rules to comply with federal and state laws against hiring illegal aliens, and seeks to punish those employers who take advantage of the federal government's immigration failures.''
Last month, a three-judge panel of that same appeals court upheld a trial judge's ruling blocking enforcement of parts of SB1070. The provisions that were blocked include a requirement that police, while enforcing other laws, must question a person's immigration status if officers have reasonable suspicion the person was in the country illegally.
Other provisions that are on hold include: requiring all immigrants to obtain or carry immigration registration papers; making it a state criminal offense for an illegal immigrant to seek work or hold a job; and allowing police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without a warrant.
Brewer said she is hopeful the latest ruling means the high court will also uphold SB1070.
Most NY illegal immigrants rounded up on minor offences, says human rights campaigner (Antigua Observer)
Most NY illegal immigrants rounded up on minor offences, says human rights campaigner
By CMC - Thursday, May 26th, 2011.
NEW YORK – Most of the illegal Caribbean immigrants rounded up for deportation by the US federal government under a new campaign were deemed “non-criminals”, according to data gathered by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU).
Since the end of March, more than 70 percent of undocumented immigrants across the state who were detained after cops shared their fingerprints had neither been charged with or convicted of serious crimes and were considered “noncriminals” by the federal government, the human rights campaigner said.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported eleven immigrants from New York state since it began an enforcement programme two months ago, but only one had been charged with or convicted of a felony, the NYCLU said.
“Eleven New Yorkers is eleven too many who have fallen victim to this misguided and unjust federal immigration enforcement programme,” said Udi Ofer, NYCLU advocacy director.
An NYCLU analysis of data from several counties said 125 of 136 deportees were not charged with or convicted of a felony.
The NYCLU said that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo should suspend the state’s involvement in the federal Secure Communities information-sharing programme, a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s immigraton enforcement efforts.
New York City is expected to join 27 other counties in the State that share their immigration databases with federal immigration authorities.
Washington has argued that the programme boosts public safety by identifying criminals and deporting them.
In a letter to Cuomo, a group of 38 New York State legislators, urged him to withdraw the state from the national programme.
The legislators’ call came two months after 19 New York City Council members sent a similar letter to Cuomo.
The letters are part of a growing national chorus of disapproval of the enforcement initiative, observers have said.
Last week, the Midwest state of Illinois became the first state to withdraw entirely from the programme. In their letter, the New York legislators applauded Illinois’s move.
“Given New York’s immigrant heritage and our leadership role in the nation, we firmly believe that our state, too, must immediately end this destructive programme,” the letter said.
Under the programme, the fingerprints of everyone booked in a local or county jail are automatically sent to the Department of Homeland Security and compared with prints in the agency’s databases.
If officials discover that a suspect is in the country illegally, or is a noncitizen immigrant with a criminal record, they may seek to deport the person.
A spokesman for Governor Cuomo said he and his staff are still reviewing the programme.
The Bush administration began Secure Communities in 2008, intending to have it fully in place around the country by 2013.
A year ago, then New York Governor David A. Paterson, the grandson of Jamaican and Grenadian immigrants, signed agreements to cooperate with the programme.
Immigration advocates say the new data-sharing system has contributed to a surge in deportations to the Caribbean and other places.
Opponents also express concern that the programme could deter illegal immigrants from coming forward as witnesses to help law enforcement officers fight crime.
29 illegal immigrants are found in a house
Federal agents raided a residence where they found 29 illegal immigrants from Mexico
Friday, May 27, 2011
By: Special to The Laredo Sun
LAREDO, TX .- Authorities arrested two men in charge of housing the individuals.
According to the report, elements of Immigration and Customs Enforcement received confidential reports on suspicious activity at a house in the 2300 block of Geronimo Street.
When officers arrived and entered the house, they found 29 illegal immigrants apparently all from Mexico, who were hiding and waiting to be transported north.
Foreigners identified Martín González and Carlos Rocha as those responsible for feeding and housing the 29 individuals.
The two arrested by federal agents made no more statements and confirmed that they were to receive $200 for the job.
Whatcom County Jail report for May 25
ISABELLE DILLS - THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
POSTED: Thursday, May. 26, 2011
Miguel Angel Chavez-Avalos, booked by the Bellingham Police Department for first-degree driving with a suspended license, driving without ignition interlock, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold and failure to appear for disorderly conduct.
Police raid Cental Falls brothel
Tips prove individual responsible
Updated: Thursday, 26 May 2011, 8:26 PM EDT
CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) - On Monday, the Central Falls Police Department raided a brothel operating on the 1st floor of 34 Watson Street.
The Central Falls Special Investigations Unit received information proving an individual was utilizing females for sexual acts in exchange for money.
The individual distributed business cards with his phone number, similar to the one involved in the 435 Pine Street investigation from March 1st.
Collaborating with the Agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an undercover police officer called the number and managed to positively identify the address. The caller on the line informed the undercover officer that he was open for business from 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
With the surveillance teams in place, the undercover was met by a Hispanic male, whom police later identified as Steven Castillo, 27. Castillo confirmed that the undercover was there regarding "sex for money".
He was then escorted to the apartment's living room where a Hispanic woman, Patricia Gonzalez aka Norma Guzman-Hernandez, 32, was waiting on the couch.
Once the transaction took place, detectives and ICE agents were signaled to enter the apartment. All occupants were arrested and a search found numerous punch cards, a hole punch; $827 in cash, both unopened and used condoms; ledgers and other items pertinent to the investigation.
Castillo and Gonzalez were arraigned in 6th District Court on Thursday. Castillo of Central Falls is a Superior Court violator and is being held on that violation from a previous delivery charge, which he received a five year sentence. He was held with a $10,000 surety bail on the new charge of Pandering. He has a prearrangement conference scheduled for July 28th.
Gonzalez of Union City, New Jersey has an ICE detainer for illegal reentry under the name Hernandez. She was given a pretrial date of June 7th on the new charge or prostitution. Her bail was set at 5,000 with surety; however, she is being held on the ICE detainer.
Undocumented immigrants released from prison after workplace raid
Posted by Rebekah L. Cowell on Wed, May 25, 2011 at 4:44 PM
Six undocumented immigrants who had served six months in federal prison on immigration charges were released yesterday. They were released into the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcements officers after posting immigration bonds in Charlotte. The bond amounts ranged from $5,000—$6,000.
The men—Rafael Garcia-Tiscareno, Jose Guadalupe Rodriguez, Lucio Huerta-Ponce, Luis Humberto Huerta-Ponce, Luis Raul Huerta-Ponce, Juan Manuel Martinez, Rodriguez, Jorge Alberto Ruiz-Ponce—were employees of Durham-based J&A Framers and had been arrested during several workplace raids in the Triangle last November.
A seventh man, Victorino Gutierrez-Licona, is scheduled to appear at a bond hearing next month; he received a seven-month sentence. Two of the former employees were not eligible for an immigration bond.
All of the men pled guilty in March to entering the United States illegally.
In January, eight other employees pled guilty to misdemeanor immigration charges. They served 30 days in jail and were later released on immigration bonds.
“What happened to these men and their families is really sad, and yet another example of how the Obama administration is saying one thing about what their immigration policy is and doing the opposite,” said Marty Rosenbluth, executive director of the N.C. Immigrant Rights Project. “We hear over and over ICE officials saying that they are doing work place raids anymore. These guys were caught up in an investigation targeted at their employer. But instead of offering them the option of just returning voluntarily, or even just putting them into deportation proceedings, Obama’s Justice Department charged them with felony re-entry and they ended up in jail for six months. The only crime they committed was trying to feed their families”
Rosenbluth argued for the former workers' immigration bonds. He said that the next step is to get the men hearings in immigration court where they will try to show that they have the right to stay in the United States.
The men's employers, J&A Framing owners Jose Alfredo Lopez Ponce and Juan Antonio Lopez Ponce, were indicted Dec. 15 on charges including smuggling and harboring and recruiting immigrants to work.
On April 6, the men, who are brothers, pled guilty to illegal alien harboring and conspiracy; they are awaiting sentencing by Chief United States District Court Judge Louise Flanagan in New Bern. Each man could receive a maximum of five years in prison, three years of supervised release and at $500,000 in fines.
10 Alabama counties join federal program to deport illegal aliens who have criminal records (The Birmingham News)
10 Alabama counties join federal program to deport illegal aliens who have criminal records
Published: Wednesday, May 25, 2011, 4:05 PM
By Jeremy Gray -- The Birmingham News
Shelby and Talladega counties are among 10 latest statewide that have joined a program to find and deport illegal aliens with criminal records, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Wednesday.
The others are Calhoun, Cherokee, Clay, Colbert, Coosa, Cullman, Franklin, and Jackson.
Alabama joined the Secure Communities system in April when Autauga, Baldwin, Blount, Chilton, Elmore, Escambia, Etowah, Jefferson, Lee, Limestone, Marshall, Mobile, Morgan, Tallapoosa, and Tuscaloosa counties came on board.
The program helps federal immigration officials identify illegal aliens in state prisons and jails by running their fingerprints against federal immigration databases when they are booked into custody.
ICE is using the system in 1,315 jurisdictions in 42 states and hopes to have it in place nationwide by 2013.
The agency said nationwide it has led to the removal of 77,000 criminal aliens -- more than 28,000 had been convicted of violent felonies.
Grand Island man files civil suit against Hall County
Story Created: May 25, 2011 at 6:20 PM CDT
What would you do if you were detained for days in jail without an explanation and then lost your job because of it? That's what one Nebraska man says happened to him and he's now suing Hall County.
In a letter delivered to the Hall County Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning, Heriberto Sanchez's lawyer Mark Porto said Sanchez was taken into civil protective custody by the Grand Island PD after allegedly being intoxicated in January of this year.
He said Sanchez was kept at the jail for nearly 3 days without being charged with any crime.
"As a direct and proximate result of his incarceration" Porto says, "Sanchez was terminated from his employment at Swift and Company."
Sanchez is now seeking $50,000 from the county for loss of income and mental anguish.
The Hall County Board of Supervisors has filed that claim and will refer to its insurance company for an investigation. However, the allegations do have us asking what is the proper protocol for Civil Protective Custody? Are there situations that would keep somebody in that custody for two or three days?
"The reason someone is taken into civil protective custody is when we have no other place to place an intoxicated person," said Hastings Police Department Sgt. Steven Murphy.
Nebraska state statute says "civil protective custody shall be used only as long as is necessary to preserve life or to prevent injury, and under no circumstances for longer than twenty-four hours."
"You're usually talking maybe four to six hours, eight hours at the most," said Murphy.
But Porto says Sanchez was held for two and a half days.
Observers of law enforcement said an order to keep someone in CPC could come from the federal level - Immigration and Customs Enforcement could detain someone pending confirmation of citizenship.
Porto said Sanchez is a U.S. citizen and presented four forms of identification, but was told by officers that the IDs were likely fakes.
If Hall County doesn't take action or make a settlement within 6 months Sanchez could take the issue to court.
108 People Found in Phoenix Drop House
Published : Wednesday, 25 May 2011, 11:57 AM MST
PHOENIX - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says 108 people have been discovered in a 1,300 square foot, 4-bedroom drop house in Phoenix.
The home is near 91st Avenue and Encanto Boulevard.
ICE spokesman Vincent Picard says among the people found in the drop house were five teenage males and 14 women, and they are attempting to identify a number of human smugglers.
"They seemed mostly to be good..they're thirsty, so we've got assistance from ICE and Phoenix police department to make sure they get some water, that they get fed until they get to the ICE facility," he added.
The men and women came from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and ICE agents say this is the biggest drop house they've seen in five years.
Most of the illegal immigrants arrived at the home Wednesday morning.
Authorities were tipped off by neighbors who reported seeing vehicles quickly entering and leaving the garage, which is indicative of a drop house.
ESCONDIDO: Police, ICE partnership credited with 477 arrests in its first year
By EDWARD SIFUENTES | Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 7:30 pm
After one year in operation, a joint effort by the Escondido Police Department and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has resulted in 477 illegal immigrant arrests, officials announced Wednesday.
As part of the partnership, three ICE officers work side by side with Escondido police officers to detect and arrest illegal immigrants who commit crimes in the city, officials said. The program, which has been criticized by immigrant and Latino rights advocates, began in May 2010.
Escondido police Chief Jim Maher said the program, called Operation Joint Effort, helps his department take criminals out of the community.
"The ultimate goal of this program is to rid this criminal element from our community and not have them return," Maher said Wednesday. "However, if they do return to this country they will think twice about returning to Escondido because we will find them and deport them as many times as it takes to get the message."
Critics of the program say that having police officers working directly with immigration agents makes it less likely that illegal immigrants will report crimes, fearing they could be deported and making the city less safe for everyone.
"What about the cost to the community of all the crimes that haven't been reported because they are afraid of being turned over to ICE?" Victor Torres asked.
Torres is a spokesman for the North County-based El Grupo, an umbrella organization of human rights groups. Torres said the majority of people arrested under the program were people who are not criminals or whose crimes were minor infractions.
Of the 477 people, 126 were arrested for drunken driving violations, 65 for drug-related charges, 44 for assault, 37 for theft, 11 for sex crimes and 16 for gang-related violations, according to the Police Department. The other 178 individuals were arrested on a variety of charges, such as false documents and traffic violations, Lt. Craig Carter said.
Officials said many of the individuals would not have been deported without the partnership between the Police Department and immigration authorities.
The San Diego County Sheriff's Department participates in the federal Secure Communities program, which helps local law enforcement agencies detect illegal immigrants once they are booked into county jails. Suspects booked into local jails have their fingerprints checked against federal databases to verify their immigration status.
Immigration agents also interview people booked into county jails to determine if they are illegal immigrants.
However, many of the people arrested under Operation Joint Effort would not have been identified through the Secure Communities program, Carter said. That is because many of these people would never have made it to jail.
In other words, their offenses, such as running a stop sign, were not serious enough to land them in jail, Carter said. Some of those individuals have more serious criminal records, he added.
For example, police officers responding to a report of a disturbance two months ago came across Pedro Trejo Ramos. Working with ICE agents, police officers determined that Ramos was an illegal immigrant with an extensive criminal history and two prior deportations. He had two drug arrests, two domestic violence arrests and one arrest for welfare fraud, police said.
Police also credit the program with helping to capture a suspected robber and rapist last week. The suspect, Jugo Elmer Garcia, an 18-year-old illegal immigrant, was spotted by two ICE officers after he allegedly sexually assaulted and robbed a woman at an Escondido store on May 18.
Garcia had been ordered to leave the country in January and failed to comply with the order.
Bill Flores, a retired assistant sheriff who is also affiliated with El Grupo, said the program's benefits were not worth the fear it creates in the community. He said serious criminals who are illegal immigrants are identified by ICE or the Secure Communities program in jail.
"Like other cities in San Diego County, Escondido saw a small dip in property crimes and a small rise in violent crimes," Flores said. "The only difference is that those other cities did not engage in enforcing federal immigration laws."
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Federal officers raid wrong hotel room
Updated: Thursday, 19 May 2011, 2:30 PM CDT
Published : Wednesday, 18 May 2011, 10:19 PM CDT
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The Emerald Palm Hotel on Government Blvd. looked like a good place to rest for James Mitchell, his wife and two small children.
However, Mitchell said his family was terrified when law enforcement officers burst into their room around 5 a.m. Tuesday.
"Our door gets beat on, and he said, 'Security.' And I said, 'What's security doing here?' He said, 'No, it's the police,' and I open - cracked the door - and he just pushed the door open and comes walking up in my room ... out of no where with flash lights on my kids and my wife," Mitchell said.
Mitchell's children were frightened, his wife embarrassed, and he still doesn't know what agency raided the room or why.
"Finally, I'm like, 'I want to get to the bottom of this and find out who was responsible for humilating my wife, kids and family at five in the morning, while we're under dressed.' It was very humiliating," Mitchell said.
It didn't take FOX10 News long to discover the officers were members of Immigration's ICE Unit, who found the man they were looking for in the back parking lot of the hotel.
Hotel employees said 47-year-old Anatoly Polishchuk was recently evicted because he was behind on the rent.
Jail records show Polishchuk has an arrest history dating back to 2004, and that immigration wanted him detained.
FOX10 also wanted to know if Polishchuk's arrest is part of a sweep for illegal immigrants in the area.
That question came up after another man who lives in a west Mobile apartment complex told FOX10 News a mysterious group of officers came to his apartment recently looking for someone with a foreign name who didn't live there.
In both cases, the people agree it's unnerving to have police at your door if you haven't broken the law.
They may feel a little better now that they at least know who was behind the raids.
Immigration officials in Miami confirmed both raids were the result of operations involving criminal aliens.
Immigrant 'holds' at jail rise for past three years
2:25 AM, May. 25, 2011
Written by Trevor Hughes
The number of "holds" being placed on immigrants at the Larimer County Detention Center has risen consistently in the past three years.
All inmates booked into the jail are asked where they were born, and anyone who says they were born outside the United States is reported to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said county sheriff's Lt. Patrick McCosh.
Then ICE investigates whether to place an immigration detainer on each reported person. The jail reports 500 to 600 foreign-born people annually to ICE. An ICE detainer means an inmate or convict may ultimately be taken before an immigration judge and possibly deported, but only after serving any criminal punishment meted out by a local judge.
In 2008, ICE placed holds on 128 inmates, rising to 153 in 2009 and 198 in 2010, according to jail statistics. About 60 holds have been placed this year by ICE, jail officials said.
"ICE is just reacting to the numbers that we present them. ... We are required to report to ICE anybody who reports to us that they are foreign-born," McCosh said. "ICE, using their combined data resources, starts looking at whether there is any indication he is or is not here legally."
McCosh said jail-booking workers don't demand proof of legal residency from incoming inmates, but everyone gets fingerprinted, and those fingerprints and other identifying information are ultimately entered into a federal database. He said inmates sometimes lie about their identity. And it rarely works, he said.
"Given time, we can figure out who the heck you are," McCosh said.
As of Tuesday, the jail held 456 inmates, out of a theoretical capacity of 557. Current funding levels, however, mean jail managers have capped the number of inmates around 460.
University's student leader in immigration limbo
By Lynn Brezosky
Updated 03:51 a.m., Wednesday, May 25, 2011
BROWNSVILLE — When University of Texas at Brownsville student government association President Jose Arturo Guerra, 21, faces an immigration judge today, he'll be hoping his lawyer can buy him time to graduate.
Chances are just as likely he'll find himself with a one-way ticket out of the country, to Ciudad Victoria, Mexico, where he has a father living with a wife and family he barely knows.
But Guerra's striving for degrees in management and international business — and the sentiment that has spurred some in Congress to push several failed versions of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act — might work in his favor.
In a pattern noted and decried by congressional Republicans as a de facto amnesty, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has refrained from deporting high-achieving students to birth countries they barely know.
Those who oppose the DREAM Act, which would give students brought to the United States illegally as children a path to citizenship, say Guerra falls into a gray area that should give its proponents pause. He was 15 the last time he snuck across the border, not an infant or toddler.
And even some who support the measure say dropping or delaying cases only keeps the students in limbo.
“They can be removed at any time,” said Lee Teran, a law professor at St. Mary's University. “ICE can give it, and they can take it away. ... It sounds like it's in the judge's lap, but it's really not. It's in ICE's.”
“Every year at this time of year we get calls from counselors saying, ‘How can I get this kid to college? How can I get him a scholarship? He's the valedictorian. Why can't you help him?'” she said.
An ICE spokeswoman said she could not comment on pending litigation.
A graduate of Brownsville's Pace High School, Guerra qualified for a full scholarship at UT-Brownsville.
Immigration status wasn't talked about in a high school about five miles from the border, though it stung when he won an accounting competition but couldn't compete in the finals for fear of immigration checks on the way to Austin.
It looms as more of an issue when he graduates ineligible to work in the United States.
The DREAM Act version introduced in the Senate last fall, where it died after a House version passed, called for legal residency for unauthorized immigrants who have completed two years of college or military service, provided they were brought to the country before age 16, are under 35 and have no criminal record.
“How do you prove when you entered the country without anybody noticing?” said Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which lobbied against the Act.
“It was so susceptible to fraud that it would have encompassed far more people than anybody would have possibly estimated.”
Proponents said the senators who rejected it, including Texas Republicans Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, sacrificed the hopes of some of their constituencies' best and brightest to appease their conservative voter base.
The act has already been refiled, but with a Republican-controlled House, it has even dimmer chances this time.
Yet the debate has brought students like Guerra out of the woodwork, and in case after case the students have been allowed to stay.
Guerra's sisters and mother had entered the United States on visas and with his mother's remarriage to a U.S. citizen were able to get papers. He was not, and the act of trying exposed his illegal status by December.
He'd first come across in 2003, lawyer Jaime Diez said, on a visitor visa that expired in 2005. He went back to see his father in Mexico, who'd promised to help him renew his visa but reneged. He decided to sneak across. The first time he was caught. The second time he was not.
According to Diez, the case comes down to allegations that Guerra claimed to be a U.S. citizen during that first failed attempt, which could forever keep him from immigrating to the United States. Diez contends that as a minor Guerra could not have declared himself a citizen.
“You cannot buy a car. You cannot sign a contract,” he said. “For them to say that someone that is 15 can do something that the whole state of Texas would not recognize is crazy.”
Guerra has been gathering support.
“The plight of these bright, young students that are prepared to become productive contributors to our society has become a human tragedy,” UT-Brownsville President Juliet Garcia wrote when asked about the case.
Roy Beck, executive director of the immigration reduction group Numbers USA, said he sympathized with Guerra but felt “you can't create policy based on individuals.”
Guerra, he said, “will be a tremendous asset to the Mexican people.”
“He's bright, he's been allowed to get his education in the United States, he's benefited from the taxpayer education and high school,” Beck said.
Begging to differ is Guerra himself, who thinks he can “make a difference” in the United States.
“I don't see why they would educate people here in the United States and spend like thousands and thousands of dollars and then send just them back,” he said.
Joe Arpaio Deputy Accused of Human Smuggling Served on Anti-Human-Smuggling Task Force (Phoenix New Times)
Joe Arpaio Deputy Accused of Human Smuggling Served on Anti-Human-Smuggling Task Force
Detention Officer Pregnant With Cartel "Kingpin's" Baby
By James King, Tue., May 24 2011 at 6:00 PM
The arrests of three Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies is even juicier than imagined.
One of those arrested, a detention officer, is the baby-mama of a cartel "kingpin" and another is a former member of the sheriff's anti-human-smuggling task force who's himself an alleged human smuggler.
The three officers, Deputy Alfredo Navarette and detention officers Sylvia Najera and Marcella Hernandez, were arrested this morning after a nearly year-long investigation into their connections to drug- and human-smuggling cartels.
The three officers may just be the tip of the iceberg -- Arpaio says at least seven other MCSO deputies are under investigation for possible ties to cartels.
In May of last year, Arpaio says his office received a tip that the officers may be connected to the cartels. He wasn't certain of it, however, until today.
"We came up with the information, and we clean up our own house," America's self-proclaimed "toughest" sheriff grumbled at a press conference this afternoon. "We confirmed our concerns today when [Navarette] admitted to going to our command center and getting information to give to the cartels."
But Navarette, an MCSO deputy since 2000, wasn't just tipping off the cartels about Arpaio's anti-human-smuggling campaigns, he was smuggling humans himself.
When MCSO deputies stormed the west Valley home of Navarette this morning, there were two illegal immigrants in his house (as well as 10 pounds of heroin). According to Arpaio they'd been smuggled into the country illegally and were waiting for the deputy to transport them to California.
Navarette, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement-trained member of Arpaio's anti-human-smuggling task force, was not on human-smuggling detail for the year he was under investigation, Arpaio says, and recently was suspended for unrelated procedural violations.
Hernandez also admitted to having ties to the cartels, and that she is currently eight months pregnant with the baby of Lorenzo Arce-Torres, a known cartel "kingpin" based in Phoenix. When she was arrested, deputies found more than $16,000 in her purse.
Unlike Navarette and Hernandez, Najera, an MCSO detention officer since 2004, refused to cooperate with investigators.
Arpaio says Hernandez and Najera were working together -- it's unclear, however, whether they were connected to Deputy Navarette.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery applauds the MCSO because the officers' alleged involvement with the cartels "wasn't swept under the rug."
"This shows that nobody is above the law, and nobody's beyond the reach of the cartels," he says.
When asked why the public should continue to trust him to be sheriff when the cartels have managed to infiltrate his agency, Arpaio scolded reporters with the following (while inexplicably referring to himself in the third person):
"This sheriff, when something comes to his attention, he doesn't sit back, he takes action," which is debatable/a lie.
During the press conference, Arpaio rambled about his time investigating federal agents for similar offenses.
"I do have some experience in corruption and illegal activity," he says.
We won't dispute that.
Navarette was booked on 24 counts of drug- and human smuggling-related crimes, including assisting in a criminal syndicate, operating a drophouse, and human smuggling. Hernandez was booked on six counts, including narcotic drug transport, conspiracy narcotics transportation, and illegal control of an enterprise. Najera was booked on four counts, including money laundering and participating in a criminal syndicate.
Arpaio says the investigation is ongoing.
Hailey man arrested on ‘citizenship’ charge
Suspect accused of falsifying documents and perjury
By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Boise has reported that a Hailey man was arrested last week for allegedly obtaining U.S. citizenship by unlawful means.
The man was identified as 33-year-old Americo De La Cruz. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in Boise last week on charges of "false swearing in an immigration matter," "unlawful procurement of citizenship" and perjury.
According to a news release, De La Cruz allegedly gave false information in a sworn interview with immigration officials, provided erroneous information in applications for citizenship and obtained U.S. citizenship through fraudulent means.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.
"The defendant in this case falsely believed that he could obtain U.S. citizenship through deceitful means," Brad Bench, deputy special agent for Homeland Security Investigations in Idaho, stated in the news release. "However, the outcome of this investigation clearly demonstrates that our nation's immigration laws are to be respected and not flaunted."
The crimes of false swearing in an immigration matter and unlawful procurement of citizenship are each punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Perjury is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
The case is the fourth federal immigration case to surface from Blaine County this month. In the other three cases, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced last week that three men had pleaded guilty to involvement in "sham" marriages to help Peruvian women obtain legal residency in the U.S.
In plea agreements, Joshua Lee Buell, 29, of Ketchum, Daniel Casado, 33, of Austin, Texas, and Byron Thomas Bain, 33, of Friday Harbor, Wash., admitted to the misdemeanor crime of "aiding and abetting making fraudulent statements in an application for immigration registration."
According to the U.S. Attorney General's Office, Bain was fined $3,500 at sentencing on May 18. Sentencing for Buell and Casado is scheduled in federal court for July 20.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Federal judge tosses Kansas immigration indictment
Posted on Tue, May. 24, 2011
By ROXANA HEGEMAN
WICHITA, Kan. - A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed charges against a man accused of falsely claiming U.S. citizenship in a case that upholds the right of immigrants to remain silent under questioning from immigration authorities.
U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren granted the government's motion to dismiss charges against Jose Manuel Ortiz-Del Rio with prejudice, meaning the same charges cannot be filed again.
Prosecutors had sought the dismissal in the wake of Melgren's ruling last month that suppressed statements Ortiz-Del Rio made during questioning by immigration agents. The agents had gone to an apartment in November to arrest another man for deportation proceedings after a drug trafficking conviction. The agents did not have a warrant.
The judge ruled in April that armed federal agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement lacked reasonable suspicion when they detained Ortiz-Del Rio in what amounted to custodial questioning after happening to find him in the apartment. Melgren noted that Ortiz-Del Rio was ordered out of a bedroom, asked to sit on the floor and repeatedly questioned about where he was born.
Any responses Ortiz-Del Rio gave at the time - in the absence of the Miranda warning about self-incrimination - must be suppressed, Melgren ruled. He also said any subsequent statements the suspect made when taken to the ICE station for processing must also be suppressed as "fruit of the poisonous tree."
"In our view, the ruling in this case is based on a unique set of circumstances that are not likely to occur again in other cases," Jim Cross, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Kansas, said in an email.
Assistant public defender Syovata Edari said the judge determined that the statement was the product of an "unconstitutional interrogation." She said in an email that her client's alleged statement was the sole basis for the charges in the superseding indictment.
"Since the statement was ordered suppressed the prosecution no longer had the evidence it needed to prove its case," Edari said.
None of the facts presented by the government established that authorities had reasonable suspicion to believe any person at the apartment other than the man they were seeking would be violating the law, Melgren wrote in his ruling.
"Moreover, the agents had no reason to suspect that Ortiz-Del Rio had committed or was in the process of committing a crime," the judge said. "Any indicia of a consensual encounter ended when Ortiz-Del Rio was questioned five times, a clear indication that the agent was rejecting his prior answers, and ordered to answer a question about his birth place orally."
Prosecutors noted in a filing earlier this month that even if the government moved to dismiss the criminal charges, Ortiz-Del Rio would go into ICE custody as his civil immigration case.
Chattanooga Officer Hits Immigration Van
May 24, 2011 2:30 PM
A Chattanooga police officer crashed into a U.S. Immigration van Tuesday afternoon.
It happened at 2112 Stein Drive. According to investigating officers, a prisoner transport van carrying two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents and one prisoner was hit by a Chattanooga Police patrol unit. The van was rolled by the impact.
Police spokesperson Sgt. Jerri Weary said all three occupants of the van were taken to a hospital as a precaution however their injuries are believed to be minor.
The Chattanooga police officer, who hasn't been identified, was not injured.
Investigators said the officer ran a stop sign. A police supervisor on the scene said some disciplinary action against the officer is likely.
Documents: Former cop to plead guilty to ID theft
RACHEL D'ORO / Associated Press
Published: May 23rd, 2011 01:54 PM
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A former Anchorage police officer accused of being an illegal immigrant living under a stolen identity plans to plead guilty to federal charges, according to court documents.
Mexico-born Rafael Mora-Lopez, who lived for more than two decades in Alaska as Rafael Espinoza, said in court papers he will plead guilty to charges of passport fraud and false claim of U.S. citizenship.
The documents filed Thursday say the real Rafael Espinoza is a legal U.S. citizen. Authorities say he also holds citizenship in another unspecified country.
Mora-Lopez, 47, worked as a well-regarded police officer for six years until his arrest in April. He initially pleaded not guilty to passport fraud and has been out on bail under home confinement and electronic monitoring.
He has declined to comment. His attorney, Allen Dayan, did not immediately respond Monday to a telephone call seeking comment.
The court papers say Mora-Lopez's wife, Margarita Cynthia Espinoza, had been a neighbor of the real Espinoza in Guadalajara, Mexico, in the 1980s. But it's not clear how the identity was obtained, Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Russo said.
Mora-Lopez used Espinoza's name, Social Security number and date of birth to apply for an Alaska driver's license in June 1989, presenting a birth certificate and Social Security card as evidence of his identity, the court papers say.
Mora-Lopez repeatedly used the assumed identity to vote in local and national elections and receive over the years more than $27,000 in dividends issued to Alaska residents out of investment profits from the Alaska Permanent Fund, the documents state.
State prosecutors did not immediately respond to a call asking if the state was pursuing the dividend payouts.
According to the court papers, Mora-Lopez used the false citizenship and identity to bring his future wife to Alaska and help her obtain naturalization as a U.S. citizen "based on her marriage to him as a citizen." Authorities have said the couple has a child.
Mora-Lopez's true identity was discovered after he applied for a passport renewal and the State Department noted someone else appeared to have a passport under the same identity, according to the plea filing. Police and federal authorities say neither Espinoza nor Mora-Lopez have any known criminal records, so a pre-employment criminal background check on Mora-Lopez turned up empty. He also passed a polygraph test.
A court hearing was scheduled for June 1.
Mora-Lopez could face as much as 13 years in prison, Russo said.
The former officer's arrest leaves the Police Department juggling various complications, such as potential challenges to Mora-Lopez's testimony in past criminal trials and pension earned under the identity.
The case is similar to one involving a Mexican national who took the identity of a dead cousin who was a U.S. citizen in order to become a Milwaukee police officer. The man was deported to Mexico in 2007.
Mora-Lopez's arrest came two months after another Anchorage police officer, Anthony Rollins, was convicted of sexually assaulting women while on duty.
Wethersfield Police Blotter
The Wethersfield Police Department reports the following arrests:
May 15 - Gabriel Velazquez-Esquivel, 35, of 26 Roosevelt St., 2nd Floor, Hartford, was charged with second-degree forgery, criminal impersonation and interfering with a police officer. Police say he gave a false identity when originally charged with driving under the influence. When police realized who he was, he was rebooked and turned over to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.
U.S. Holds Beloved Husband, Local Hero in ICE Detention
by Danny Rangel · May 23, 2011
March 30th was a seemingly ordinary Wednesday for Nazry Mustakin, who awoke and got ready for work just as he'd done many times before. Then, Nazry (his wife and his friends call him Naz) heard an authoritative knock on the door of his Waco, Texas home. Four armed agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stood on his front porch, dressed in riot gear.
Naz's wife, Hope, was baffled as officers entered her home only to inform the newlywed couple that Naz's green card had been revoked. As federal agents took Naz away, Hope was left alone, confused and terrified. Naz is a model citizen, beloved in his community for his commitment to service, his dedication to the indigent, and his deep faith in God. Now, Naz faces deportation proceedings as he waits in a federal detention facility 60 miles away from home.
No doubt, this event would strain anyone's marriage, but Naz and Hope have not given up. The 25-year-old Hope has made a remarkable new life out of fighting for her husband's release. Hope's website, WeSupportNaz.com is the focal point of her struggle to keep Naz from being deported to his native Singapore. The website is essentially an online grassroots campaign that features support letters, fundraising tools, supporter videos, local news coverage, an active newsfeed, and a petition sponsored by Change.org.
What Hope has done is truly inspirational, and the support she's received is a testament not only to her work ethic, but to the kind of man Naz Mustakin is. An active member of his local church, Naz has taken the lead on several faith-based community service programs. He is active in both local and regional Narcotics Anonymous groups. He has earned associate degrees from a local technical college. He is a homeowner, an active volunteer in his community, a valued employee and a beloved husband to a United States citizen.
So why is Naz facing this crisis? Earlier in his life, Naz was the unfortunate victim of peer pressure and the irresponsibility of youth. Alcohol and recreational drugs became Naz's outlet from the troubles of life as an outsider in a "predominantly white" area, where Naz struggled to fit in. When Naz was caught and arrested, he was sentenced to six months of rehabilitation. Naz took the opportunity to put his life back together, and he soon began volunteering and working for the organization that had once helped him turn his life around. Years into his comeback, Naz met his wife (in 2009), and together they built the strong foundation for their future together.
Naz has long since been fully rehabilitated and has become a true asset to his community. If immigration officials would stop and listen to Naz's wife and Church, they would see the picture a man giving of himself to better his surroundings. They would see that Naz is an upstanding man who deserves to stay home with his family and his community. Stand in solidarity with Naz Mustakin and Tell D.H.S. to keep Naz in the U.S.