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  1. #1

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    Consuls,advocates meet to address raids,deportations

    Friday, June 13, 2008

    Consuls, advocates meet to address raids, deportations

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    By R. W. Dellinger

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    In response to stepped-up workplace raids by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arm of Homeland Security, a historic "exploratory" meeting sponsored by the Los Angeles Archdiocese's Office of Justice and Peace was held with the consuls of five foreign governments and leaders of local faith-based and community organizations on June 3.

    The consuls of Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Philippines met for nearly two hours with representatives of Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., (CLINIC), Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE), Multi-Ethnic Immigration Workers (MIWON), Pilipino Workers Center, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) along with local pastors.

    Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Solis, vicar for the archdiocesan Office of Ethnic Ministry and director of the Office of Justice and Peace, chaired the meeting at the Archdiocesan Catholic Center on Wilshire Boulevard

    Most of the consuls strongly lamented the recent actions of ICE, both in Southern California and across the nation.

    On May 12, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement executed the largest workplace raid in U.S. history at an Iowa meatpacking plant. The action at Agriprocessors Inc. in Postville arrested nearly 400 workers. Archbishop Jerome Hanus of Dubuque said the raid left families in a "state of terror" and showed the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

    "The main problem with ICE is the lack of notification of rights to the detainees," said Vivian Panting, consul general of Honduras. "ICE says they are providing this information, but the detainees we hear from say they receive no notification. We have suggested to ICE that they have detainees sign a letter stating that they have been notified of their rights, but the people at ICE feel that this is too burdensome.

    "There is no doubt that family separation is going on, and this is a big issue," she added. "Detainees are often times not allowed to talk to the consulate."

    Adilia Somoza, vice-consul of Nicaragua, reported that the number of deported Nicaraguans has dropped from 300 in 2007 to 89 so far this year. But she also stressed that "it is difficult to communicate with ICE."

    The major concern for El Salvador's consul was providing practical information to families on how they can get back their children from ICE. "El Salvador is significantly impacted by this," William Jarquin noted.

    Marco Antonio Fraire, Mexican consul, said his staff visits individuals from his country housed in local detention centers at least three times a week. He outlined Mexico's "prevention approach" where his government hires lawyers to provide free counseling on migration issues, placing a priority on informing people of their rights before they face deportation problems.

    "A huge majority of those detained do not have a case to fight," Fraire said. "They are not married to a citizen and have no children born here.... We act as a bridge between the detainees and their relatives."

    Immigrant advocates also expressed their concerns.

    "CHIRLA's stance is that these raids have to be stopped," declared Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. "Billions of dollars have been invested in this enforcement, while an equal amount has been disinvested in getting people through the legalization process."

    Salas reported that 1,400 people are currently in local detention centers, with the majority having no criminal records. "But ICE states that they are all criminals," she said.

    Julianne Donnelly of CLINIC pointed out that family separation of undocumented families is compounded because children are often released to other parts of the country from where their parents are detained.

    "Enforcement is what is coming down the pipeline, and so parishes are becoming more interested in 'Know-Your-Rights' workshops," said Jose Gutierrez, legalization coordinator of Catholic Charities.

    The Rev. Alexia Salvatierra of CLUE said the new sanctuary movement is a response by religious leaders and congregations to the inhumane reality that immigrant families are being torn apart by deportation. CLUE is sponsoring four such families in Los Angeles through a network of 25 churches. She urged congregations to establish "Ministries of Presence," offering legal and financial support to undocumented families.

    Claretian Father Richard Estrada of Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in Los Angeles said, "People who are detained don't have pastoral care, and they have a right to that. We need to look at this issue. Only by listening do we get the whole human story.... So the question is how the religious sector can best be of help - especially through what we do best, which is pastoral care."

    Consuls and advocates seemed to agree on a number of points: that more pressure should be put on ICE to stop the wide-ranging immigration raids which often round up legal citizens, that more pro-bono legal resources be made available to detainees, that "Know-Your-Rights" workshops be expanded to every local congregation with immigrants and that community organizations and churches must coordinate their efforts in advocating for detainees and their families.

    "I think we observed some common points today: the need for education, the need for outreach services such as pastoral care and the protection of the rights of our people, even if they're criminals," Bishop Solis observed.

    "My point is that immigrants are human persons with dignity," he said. "And that means we have to safeguard them. I think there are transcending values here. It's not only a person's legal rights but his human rights and, most of all, his basic dignity as a human person that's at stake."

    Members of the diverse group promised to meet again to come up with concrete strategies and implement a "common joint action" plan to deal with immigration raids, deportations and family separations.

    http://www.the-tidings.com/2008/061308/raids.htm
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  2. #2
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Moving from News & Releases from Other Groups to News.
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    Senior Member tinybobidaho's Avatar
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    If these countries who all met wanted to correct the problem, they should encourage their people to stay home, instead of jumping to their defense after they're already here.
    RIP TinybobIdaho -- May God smile upon you in his domain forevermore.

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  4. #4
    Senior Member azwreath's Avatar
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    Re: Consuls,advocates meet to address raids,deportations

    Marco Antonio Fraire, Mexican consul, said his staff visits individuals from his country housed in local detention centers at least three times a week. He outlined Mexico's "prevention approach" where his government hires lawyers to provide free counseling on migration issues, placing a priority on informing people of their rights before they face deportation problems.

    Wouldn't it be a better idea to implement this so called "prevention approach" before your people decide to cross our border illegally, touching off the series of crimes they must commit in order to stay and function here?

    I would call it "prevention" to encourage your citizens to remain at home, not break the law and stop publishing "How To" literature. The best "prevention" to deportation problems is to keep them out of that situation to begin with.

    "A huge majority of those detained do not have a case to fight," Fraire said. "They are not married to a citizen and have no children born here.... We act as a bridge between the detainees and their relatives."

    So even they acknowledge that there is no case. Funny though how, with every crackdown measure, they have a much different take on it with every IA having a valid excuse for everything they have done and the "right" to remain here.



    "CHIRLA's stance is that these raids have to be stopped," declared Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. "Billions of dollars have been invested in this enforcement, while an equal amount has been disinvested in getting people through the legalization process."

    Keep dreaming lady. The raids are not going to be stopped. We are not going to stop enforcing our laws. Latino IAs are not going to be permitted the run of the place.

    Further, we do not have to expend billions helping anyone through the legalization process. Those wanting to come here legally must do it correctly, at their own expense. We owe you people nothing.....got it?

    Salas reported that 1,400 people are currently in local detention centers, with the majority having no criminal records. "But ICE states that they are all criminals," she said.

    It is NOT okay to come here illegally. It is NOT okay to steal people's identities, illegally hold jobs, collect benefits, drive without licenses and insurance, obtain credit cards and loans based upon fraudulent information, nor is it okay to commit every other crime IAs commit.

    They commit crimes. Therefore they ARE criminals.
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