The Immigration Bill: A Path to Citizenship, the Berlin Wall at the Border or Both?

Advocates from across the country talk about the good, bad and ugly of the immigration bill that is making its way through congress. Guests include Kyle de Beausset (presente.org), Isabel Garcia (Coalicion De Derechos Humanos), Kathy Bird (Florida Immigrant Coalition) & Gaby Pacheco (Bridge Project)

IMMIGRATION BILL:BERLIN WALL AT THE BORDER, PATH TO CITIZENSHIP OR BOTH? by Lets Talk About It! is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.

Derechos Opposes Hoeven-Corker Amendment: New Immigration Bill is a Step Backward for Border Communities and Many Immigrant Families

Arizona Groups Call on National Immigrant Rights Advocates to Not Sell Out the Border

For the past 20 years border communities have disproportionately suffered from an “enforcement first” approach to immigration policy. The size of the Border Patrol has grown more than five-fold. Residents within 100 miles of the border now live within a “constitution-free zone,” where their civil rights and liberties are consistently ignored. In their zeal for “border security,” the Department of Homeland Security has recklessly implemented the largest waiver of law in American history, disregarding laws that protect the environment, cultural and historic sites, Indigenous sacred sites and America’s public lands. What is worse, the enforcement build-up is directly responsible for the more than 2,500 men, women and children who have died in the Arizona desert.

On June 21 the Senate “Gang of 8” introduced the Corker-Hoeven amendment, a massive overhaul of S. 744, the immigration reform bill that congress had been debating for months. This replacement bill is being railroaded through the congressional process, with Senate leaders declaring they hope to have a full vote on the legislation by the end of this week (June 28th). Among other things, the bill will now include the following provisions:

• 18,000 new Border Patrol agents, almost doubling the size of the agency (and more than triple the number that would have been added under the widely condemned Cornyn amendment)
• Hundreds of new miles of single or double-layered border fencing
• $3.6 billion to expand the use of drones and other surveillance technology along the border
• Full implementation of an entry-exit visa verification system at all U.S. ports of entry as a trigger to allowing registered provisional immigrant status (even Senator Cornyn questions whether this is realistic in the reasonably foreseeable future)
• 100% implementation of E-verify for all U.S. employers and employees
• Expansion of the waiver of all laws for construction of physical infrastructure, including a series of forward operating bases at the border
• Postponed implementation of a pathway to citizenship until all of the above are completed
• Increased fees that immigrants would have to pay to normalize their status
• Tripling of criminal prosecutions for border crossers (to 210 people daily at the Tucson Federal Courthouse) through “Operation Streamline” mass hearings
• Expansion of the prison population and private prison profits. Through Operation Streamline and related efforts, 82,250 individuals were criminally prosecuted for immigration violations in 2011 alone, constituting over 50% of all federal prosecutions, costing $1,023,615,633.60 and resulting in Latinos now representing more than half of the federal prison population (while only 16% of the national population).

In public statements celebrating the Corker-Hoeven replacement bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham has exuberantly proclaimed: “we have practically militarized the border.” Graham’s boasting indicates the Senator’s lack of concern regarding the already severe impacts of border militarization on the over 6 million U.S. citizens, immigrants, and indigenous peoples who live in the southwest borderlands, and the environment that sustains us.

The Senate’s replacement bill exacerbates all of these trends, to unthinkable proportions. If this proposal moves forward, we feel that the damage to our communities will be so great that we will no longer be able to support this bill. National advocates need to be honest about the state of negotiations. Republicans have made the pathway to citizenship so onerous and restricted that millions will never qualify. Prior to the Corker-Hoeven amendment the bill’s enforcement provisions and “triggers” were already unreasonable and burdensome. At what cost will we continue to make concessions? Thousands more border deaths? Our communities turned into a war zone or a police state? Massive destruction of our borderland environment? This price is too high to pay, and we ask our allies and supporters to join us in denouncing this “compromise” and demanding that the Senate begin again on a genuine reform effort, one that doesn’t play politics with our lives.

Make no mistake: this bill will lead to more deaths on the border. It is bad public policy, and it is a giant step backward for our communities and for many immigrant families. Our communities and families deserve better, and if this is the best that the Senate can offer we feel that our only option is to withdraw our support and demand that Congress begin again on crafting a genuine reform bill.

Coalición de Derecho Humanos

Alliance for Global Justice

No More Deaths / No Más Muertes

Tucson Samaritans

The Repeal Coalition

Humanitarian Border Solutions

Phoenix Allies for Community Health

Keep Tucson Together Clinica Legal Comunitaria

Corazón de Tucson

Occupy Tucson

Community of Christ of the Desert

American Friends Service Committee – Arizona

Southside Workers’ Center

Tucson Solidarity Organizing Network

Casa Mariposa

Community Potluck: In the Shadow of the Wall:A Community Report Back

Derechos Humanos
invites you to a
Community Potluck: 

In the Shadow of the Wall:

A Community Report Back

Friday, May 17th

6:30pm
Armory Park Community Center

220 S. 5th Avenue

Photo by Murphy Woodhouse

A new academic study has analyzed the experiences of deportees all along the U.S. Mexico border. Please come to the presentation of a new report entitled “In the Shadow of the Wall” where we will discuss how Border Patrol and ICE operate, the conditions and impacts of specific enforcement programs and how this enforcement is tearing apart families and failing to accomplish any stated objectives.

The report has been features in the New York Times, the Associated Press, USA Today, PBS, CNN, NPR and Al Jazeera among others and was recently presented before Congress.
You can download a copy at: las.arizona.edu/mbcs
$5.00 suggested donation.

Please bring a dish to share

For more information: 520.770.1373

Action Alert! Demand the Prosecution of the Border Patrol Agent that Murdered Carlos Lamadrid!

Action Alert! 

Demand the Prosecution of the Border Patrol Agent that Murdered Carlos Lamadrid!

On March 21, 2011, 19 year-old Carlos Lamadrid was killed by Border Patrol Agent Lucas Tidwell in broad daylight.  Despite the fact that Carlos had his back to the agent and was halfway up a ladder at the time, the agent opened fire, hitting Carlos four times in the back.
After being shot, Carlos, who was still alive at the time, was handcuffed and dragged by Border Patrol agents.  It took more than 45 minutes for help to arrive, and Carlos Lamadrid died as a result of his injuries.
We have been told that the U.S. Attorney is seriously considering NOT moving forward with the prosecution of Agent Tidwell, despite the fact that there are numerous witnesses and video on both sides of the border of the events of that afternoon.
We need YOU to take a moment to send a letter to the U.S. Attorneys, demanding justice for Carlos Lamadrid.
Below is the letter that Derechos Humanos has submitted.  We invite you to use our language or modify it to send your own message.  Please join us in demanding justice for yet another victim of Border Patrol violence!
=========
April 19, 2013
Eric Holder, Jr.
United States Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001
John S. Leonardo
United States Attorney
District of Arizona
405 W. Congress Street, Suite 4800
Tucson, AZ 85701-5040
RE: Carlos Reynaldo Lamadrid
Dear U.S. Attorney General Holder,
As a human rights organization based in Tucson, Arizona, we are reaching out to you about a matter that has recently been brought to our attention.  We have been made aware that the Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Justice is currently considering whether to prosecute Border Patrol Agent Lucas Tidwell for the murder of 19 year-old Carlos Lamadrid on March 21, 2011.  We are writing you to urge to you to do your due diligence and pursue justice in this case.
Carlos Lamadrid was shot four times in the back by Agent Tidwell.  At the time of the shooting, he was halfway up a ladder, with his back to the agent.  Although he was unarmed, we are told by witnesses that after he was shot, he was handcuffed and dragged, and that the agents may be responsible for a delay of more than 45 minutes for medical assistance to be rendered to him.  There are multiple witnesses and video evidence on both sides of the border that can shed light on the events of that day.  Even from the available evidence, it is blatantly clear that this was an unjustified shooting. To choose not to move forward with prosecution is unacceptable.
Our community has long suffered violence at the hands of Border Patrol agents on the border, Attorneys General Holder and Leonardo.  Compounding this murder and the tragic results is the unprecedented secrecy and delay involved in these cases.  Information that the public is entitled to know, as is the standard practice for police agencies across the country for officers involved in incidents, has been repeatedly denied when the perpetrators of the violence are agents of the Department of Homeland Security.  This has created additional tensions within our ravaged communities, who feel that agents often act with a complete disregard for the communities in which they work and impunity when they violate the rights of those they encounter.  This must not be permitted to continue.  
We urge you to move forward with the prosecution of Agent Tidwell for this heinous murder. The Department of Homeland Security operates within our communities.  Border Patrol agents must live and work among our families, schools, and homes.  We must be able to trust that their actions are held to the same standard of justice that any of us would be held to. The events in this case deserve a fair and thorough investigation, and the friends and family of Carlos Lamadrid deserve the closure that only justice can provide.
We thank you for your time and attention in this matter.
Coalición de Derechos Humanos
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Coalición de Derechos Humanos (The Human Rights Coalition) is a grassroots organization which promotes respect for human/civil rights and fights the militarization of the Southern Border region, discrimination, and human rights abuses by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials affecting U.S. and non-U.S. citizens alike.

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We meet every Thursday at 5:30pm at Sam Lena Library 1607 S. 6th Avenue.