March to Stop Raids and Deportations

Press Statement from El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition Concerning Recent Raids and Anti-Immigrant Bills.



MEDIA ADVISORY

For Immediate Release: Friday February 18, 2011

Contact: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition, 206.324.6044.

Immigrant Community and Allies to Mobilize Against ICE Repression and Washington State Anti-Immigrant Legislation.

SEATTLE – El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition are mobilizing for an action on February 25, 2011 in Seattle (details on time and location are forthcoming) to protest the recent escalation of attacks against the immigrant communities in Washington, on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and anti-immigrant legislation proposed in Olympia. This will be one of many actions to take place in anticipation of the annual march set for May 1st, 2011.

In a recent ICE operation in Central Washington, agents descended upon the small city of Ellensburg, Washington under the pretext of targeting presumed “criminals.” The resulting raid in Ellensburg saw ICE agents use strong-arm tactics to forcibly enter homes without consent and remove hard-working immigrants from their families at gunpoint of a semi-automatic weapon. In Yakima, Washington, ICE agents stationed themselves in grocery store parking lots, in a show of intimidation not seen in the area in many years.

In Olympia, there are presently six proposed bills that impact the immigrant community. One example is SB 5407 that would force new drivers to present a Social Security Number to be issued a license. The hearing itself had little to do with transportation and much to do with political pandering as supporting details failed to take transportation safety and cost of implementation (in wake of a budget crippling recession) in consideration.

The sponsor, Sen. Haugen (D-Camano Island) presided over a session replete with fictitious information and xenophobic grandstanding that failed to afford many witnesses the opportunity to testify. The resulting audience dissent forced her to shut down the proceedings, silencing those who came to speak.

Given the complex nature of the discussion around immigrant rights in wake of congressional inaction, immigrant organizers and allies from various social justice organizations throughout the Puget Sound region will employ a two-fold organizational campaign to address the situation as it plays out with ICE and the State Legislature. As done the previous eleven years, organizers will continue to fight to secure the basic rights of all, regardless of place of origin.

For more information, contact the following: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition, 206.324.6044.

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What’s behind the ICE arrests of 30 after an immigration raid in Ellensburg, WA? (Courtesy of NNIR)

Map of Washington State (Ellensburg marked with red balloon)



What’s behind the ICE arrests of 30 after an immigration raid in Ellensburg, WA?

By Arnoldo Garcia, NNIRR

(Originally published for the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights on January 22, 2011)

[http://nnirr.blogspot.com/]

The news of an ICE immigration raid is always devastating. The ICE raid in Ellensburg, WA, was a crushing and traumatic blow to the families of those arrested and their co-workers, forcing the separation of families and intimidating the community.

However, the ICE raid against the Ellensburg community is just the tip of the iceberg of immigration policing.
On Thursday, January 20, ICE agents stormed into local businesses and homes in Ellensburg, Washington and arrested 30 persons, for using false documents to work, among other charges. The ICE raid did exactly what immigration policing is meant to do:
  • Relatives, neighbors and co-workers of those arrested were terrorized and many reported going into hiding.
  • The ICE raid also sent the community into a tailspin; but community members and groups across the region took action to expose the impacts.
College Town, Community of Communities
Described by the media as a small college town, Ellensburg is midway between Seattle and eastern Washington state, nestled in a valley created by the slopes of Northwest mountains. 

Ellensburg is also surrounded by prime farm land. Ellensburg’s local businesses and workers service a mainly university community, with restaurants and other shops. But not everyone is at the university, studying, teaching, researching or administrating. Ellensburg is home to more than a college. There are food service workers, janitors, mechanics, clerks, waiters and waitresses and farm workers. Many of these jobs are held by “immigrants,” which usually means Mexicans, Mexican Americans and other Latinos and people of color, citizens and non-citizens.

Ellensburg is also the gateway into eastern Washington state, also known for its rich farmland that stretches from Yakima to Harrah, Toppenish, White Swan, Wapato, Granger, Grandview, Sunnyside, Euphrates, Pasco and the Tr-Cities area. Eastern Washington’s rich soil has been created over thousands of years from close by volcanoes. The last major eruption took place back in May 1980, whenMt. St. Helens exploded, sending volcanic ash rich in nutrients streaming into the valleys. The other volcano, immigrant labor, has also made eastern Washington’s farm lands and their corporate and local owners, rich.
ICE Raids Destabilize Communities and the Economy 

Right after the news of the raid erupted, Ellensburg community members and rights groups mobilized, held meetings and demanded answers and accountability. The fight to to stop ICE — or at least push back — has only begun. Yet there is a deep challenge whenever there is an ICE raid.
ICE raids like the one that just took place in Ellensburg are the exception, not the rule. If ICE arrested 30 workers, setting in motion their jailing and deportation, then imagine what it took to arrest, jail and eventually deport some 393,000 persons in fiscal year 2010?
According to NNIRR’s on-going tracking and documentation of immigration policing abuses, detentions and deportations, in the last three fiscal years, ICE used Ellensburg-style raids to deport less than two percent of all those deported. 

Operation Endgame:
Deport Everyone Who Can Be Deported

Everyday the U.S. Department of Homeland Security deports about 1200 persons from the U.S. interior. If these thirty were part of this daily, monstrous figure, how were the other 1170 detained, jailed and deported?

During the Bush Administration’s years (2000-2008), and bleeding into the Obama Administration, the Department of Homeland Security and Operation Endgame, its initial plan were created in 2003 and implemented. Endgame is a ten-year plan set to end in 2012 with the central goal of creating the policing and staffing, policies and jails to deport everyone who can be deported. Right now DHS is working off a four-year bridge plan that sketches out the transition to Endgame’s next move.

Through Endgame and other legislative means, the U.S. government has doubled the number of Border Patrol agents (during Bush’s regime) and almost tripling the number of interior ICE police. DHS has increased exclusive jail-bed space for immigrants to the tune of almost 40,000 per day. DHS has also waived laws and environmental and labor protection regulations to implement the militarization of immigration control and border communities, with regard for the health and well-being of communities and the natural world. By early 2010, DHS had already build more than 600 miles border walls and other types of military equipment and strategy to detect movement on the border. 

The momentum and policies for further integrating interior and border policing of migrants continues growing at alarming levels. How did we get this point of criminalizing “immigrants,” where SB-1070 laws and ordinances across the country, in tandem with federal policies for immigration police collaboration, being implemented in county after county, dominate the political agendas of dozens of states and other localities?

Immigration Police Collaboration Is Killing Our Constitution

Immigrant rights and other civil rights and liberties organizations opposed immigration policing and collaboration in any form because they undermine community safety and erode Constitutional protections. This fight has continued taking the front-line as immigration policing continues spiraling out of control. Legislators who are building their power on an anti-immigrant agenda and sentiment have used this controversy to attack on the 14th Amendment.

In 2003, Congressmember Charles Norwood introduced the Clear Law Enforcement Alien Removal Act (CLEAR) that sought to deputize ALL police to enforce immigration laws. Although the CLEAR Act didn’t make it pass the House of Representatives, this created pressure on the Administration to become more creative in unconstitutionally using local police to do the dirty work of immigration control.

During 2001-2003, ICE also began more successfully implementing 287(g) agreements with local and state police. Florida was one of the first states to sign a 287(g) agreement with ICE, in the aftermath of 9/11. Named after a provision in the 1996 immigration law, 287(g) allows ICE to train and supervise units of state and local police to work with their field agents to go after persons for immigration status violations.
In 2008, the DHS, under President Bush, started the “Secure Communities” program that allows police to send the fingerprints of persons they arrest to be checked against a DHS immigration database. If the fingerprints match with those in the DHS database, ICE will quickly order local police to hold the person until ICE can pick them up.
No charges, no lawyer, no court and the person jailed and not convicted of anything will automatically continue in jail until they are turned over to ICE for deportation?
As part of Endgame, the U.S. government plans to have “Secure Communities” agreements in every county of the U.S. by the end of 2012.
So how are the other 98% being arrested, jailed and deported?
  • Through E-verify (employer sanctions), where employers wield power workers because workers must provide documentation to their employer that they are “authorized” to work in the U.S. And since 2009, the Obama Administration has upped the ante and is extending E-verify rapidly.
  • Through diverse immigration policing programs and collaboration that are either illegal or fine-line — like 287(g) and “Secure Communities — or through local, county and state ordinances and laws like Arizona’s infamous SB-1070 or its Prop 200 that gives additional power to police and other public officials and employees to detain persons even for suspecting them of being “undocumented.”
When ICE raids and other immigration policing hit, communities everywhere, like Ellensburg just found out, are threatened with destabilization and division. When ICE and other police detain someone for immigration status offenses, community members will not hesitate to avoid the police, will not report crimes, for fear of being deported. After a raid, parents will stop sending their children to school, because they fear separation. Workers will stop going to work; others won’t even go shopping, stop going to church. ICE immigration policing is bad for communities and the economy.
ICE Destroys Rights and Destabilized Communities
Over the next few days and weeks, groups in Washington state and elsewhere will offer assistance to the families in Ellensburg that are now suffering the trauma of an ICE action and separation. And Ellensburg will join hundreds of communities across the country that are now more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation because of ICE.
Read NNIRR’s HURRICANE human rights report Injustice for All: The Rise of the U.S. Immigration Policing Regime and other reports documenting abuses and rights violations at www.nnirr.org

 

 

Shaping State Laws With Little Scrutiny (Courtesy of NPR)

Shaping State Laws With Little Scrutiny

by LAURA SULLIVAN

[http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130891396]

October 29, 2010

When you walk into the offices of the American Legislative Exchange Council, it’s hard to imagine it is the birthplace of a thousand pieces of legislation introduced in statehouses across the county.

Only 28 people work in ALEC’s dark, quiet headquarters in Washington, D.C.  And Michael Bowman, senior director of policy, explains that the little-known organization’s staff is not the ones writing the bills. The real authors are the group’s members — a mix of state legislators and some of the biggest corporations in the country.

“Most of the bills are written by outside sources and companies, attorneys, [and legislative] counsels,” Bowman says.

Here’s how it works: ALEC is a membership organization. State legislators pay $50 a year to belong. Private corporations can join, too. The tobacco company Reynolds American Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp. and drug-maker Pfizer Inc. are among the members. They pay tens of thousands of dollars a year. Tax records show that corporations collectively pay as much as $6 million a year.

With that money, the 28 people in the ALEC offices throw three annual conferences. The companies get to sit around a table and write “model bills” with the state legislators, who then take them home to their states.

Key Players

Each of these state legislators sat on the ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force, which drafted language of a bill that became Arizona’s SB 1070.

Sen. Russell Pearce, Arizona

Original author of SB 1070. Brought draft of bill to ALEC to create model legislation. If re-elected, Pearce plans to run for president of the Arizona Senate.

Rep. Paul Ray, Utah

Former Staff Director of ALEC and Public Sector Chair. If re-elected, Ray plans to co-sponsor a bill in Utah similar to Arizona’s SB 1070.

Rep. Joe Driver, Texas

If re-elected, Driver expects to support a bill — similar to SB 1070 — that Reps. Debbie Riddle and Leo Berman plan to introduce next session in Texas.

Sen. Margaret “Peg” Flory, Vermont

Was present at the ALEC task force meeting when model bill was drafted. Sen. Flory does not expect a similar law in her state.

Rep. Dan Greenberg, Arkansas

Lost the Republican primary for state Senate.

Rep. Jerry Madden, Texas

Has attempted to pass immigration-related bill, but would not support a bill identical to Arizona’s SB 1070.

Rep. Bill Ruppel, Indiana

ALEC’s Bail Bond Subcommittee Chairman. Lost the Republican primary to a political newcomer.

Rep. Scott Suder, Wisconsin

Suder is very supportive of having a Wisconsin law modeled after Arizona’s, as long as it is ruled constitutional.

Rep. Jordan Ulery, New Hampshire

Signed amicus brief in support of Arizona’s SB 1070, filed in September, 2010, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Rep. Gene Whisnant, Oregon

If re-elected, Rep. Whisnant would likely support legislation similar to SB 1070 if introduced in the future.

Lobbying Or Education?

One of those bills is now Arizona’s controversial new immigration law. It requires police to arrest anyone who cannot prove they entered the country legally when asked. Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants could be locked up, and private prison companies stand to make millions.

The largest prison company in the country, the Corrections Corporation of America, was present when the model immigration legislation was drafted at an ALEC conference last year.

ALEC’s Bowman says that is not unusual; more than 200 of the organization’s model bills became actual laws over the past year. But he hedges when asked if that means the unofficial drafting process is an effective way to accelerate the legislative process.

“It’s not an effective way to get a bill passed,” he says. “It’s an effective way to find good legislation.”

The difference between passing bills and “finding” them is lobbying. Most states define lobbying as pushing legislators to create or pass legislation. And that comes with rules. Companies typically have to disclose to the public what they are lobbying for, who’s lobbying for them or how much they are spending on it.

If ALEC’s conferences were interpreted as lobbying, the group could lose its status as a non-profit. Corporations wouldn’t be able to reap tax benefits from giving donations to the organization or write off those donations as a business expense. And legislators would have a hard time justifying attending a conference of lobbyists.

Bowman says what his group does is educate lawmakers.

“ALEC allows a place for everyone at the table to come and debate and discuss,” he says. “You have legislators who will ask questions much more freely at our meetings because they are not under the eyes of the press, the eyes of the voters. They’re just trying to learn a policy and understand it.”

Much about ALEC is private. It does not disclose how it spends it money or who gives it to them. ALEC rarely grants interviews. Bowman won’t even say which legislators are members.

Is it lobbying when private corporations pay money to sit in a room with state lawmakers to draft legislation that they then introduce back home? Bowman, a former lobbyist, says, “No, because we’re not advocating any positions. We don’t tell members to take these bills. We just expose best practices. All we’re really doing is developing policies that are in model bill form.”

So, for example, last December Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce sat in a hotel conference room with representatives from the Corrections Corporation of America and several dozen others. The group voted on model legislation that was introduced into the Arizona legislature two months later, almost word for word.

Read Part 1 Of This Report

Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce 

Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law

An analysis of documents and records show that private prisons helped draft and pass the measure.

Bowman says that type of meeting is an informational exchange, meant to help legislators understand policy.

But first ALEC has to get legislators to the conferences. The organization encourages state lawmakers to bring their families. Corporations sponsor golf tournaments on the side and throw parties at night, according to interviews and records obtained by NPR.

Bowman says that’s nothing special: “We have breakfasts and lunch. They’re at Marriotts and Hyatts. They’re normal chicken dinner. Maybe sometimes they get steaks. Yeah, we feed the people. We think that it’s OK to eat at a conference.”

Videos and photos from one recent ALEC conference show banquets, open bar parties and baseball games — all hosted by corporations. Tax records show the group spent $138,000 to keep legislators’ children entertained for the week.

But the legislators don’t have to declare these as corporate gifts.

Consider this: If a corporation hosts a party or baseball game and legislators attend, most states require the lawmakers to say where they went and who paid. In this case though, legislators can just say they went to ALEC’s conference. They don’t have to declare which corporations sponsored these events.

‘Scholarships’ For Conferences

Kirk Adams, Arizona’s House speaker, went to ALEC’s most recent gathering in San Diego.

“I have been to ALEC’s conferences and they have been pretty educational — the ones that I’ve been to,” he says, adding that the time he spends with corporate executives does not influence his opinions on the issues.

Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce speaks during a vote on SB 1070, the immigration bill, in April.  

Ross D. Franklin/APArizona state Sen. Russell Pearce speaks in April during a vote on SB 1070, the immigration bill he sponsored. The final version resembled “model legislation” he helped draft during an ALEC conference in Washington, D.C., last year. 

“If we were to believe that a dinner with a lobbyist would purchase a member’s allegiance to an issue, then we have much larger problems than that,” Adams says. “It’s just simply not been my experience at all.”

When asked if he paid his own way to the ALEC conference, Adams acknowledges he accepted money from the group to help pay for the trip. ALEC calls this a “scholarship.”

Many ALEC members receive these scholarships. But it’s not clear who’s really paying.

Michael Bowman initially said state Sen. Pearce, who also accepted a scholarship, would know who paid for his trip. But the Arizona lawmaker said ALEC paid for it. Later, Bowman said Bob Burns, another Arizona state Senator, would know. Burns was in charge of pooling money for the scholarships. He did not respond to NPR’s repeated requests asking where the money came from.

In an office at the Arizona statehouse, a review of records show that not one Arizona legislator who went to the conference reported receiving any gifts of meals, parties, golf outings or banquets tickets from a private corporation.

Pearce and a dozen others wrote that they received a gift of $500 or more from ALEC.

A review of the two dozen states now considering Arizona’s immigration law shows many of those pushing similar legislation across the country are ALEC members.

Copycat Legislation

Since Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law in April, five state legislators have introduced eight bills similar to it. Like SB 1070, four of them were also named “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.” Lawmakers in many more states NPR interviewed have said they would introduce or support a similar bill.

State Bill No. Date Introduced Status
AZ SB 1070 1/13/2010 Signed into law
SC H 4919 4/29/2010 Died in House Judiciary Committee
PA HB 2479 5/5/2010 Active in House Appropriations Committee
MN HF 3830 5/6/2010 Died in House Public Safety Policy and Oversight Committee
SC S 1446 5/13/2010 Died in Senate Judiciary Committee
RI H 8142 5/18/2010 Died in House Judiciary Committee
MI HB 6256 6/10/2010 Active in House Judiciary Committee
MI SB 1388 6/15/2010 Active in Senate Judiciary Committee
MI HB 6366 8/11/2010 Active in House Judiciary Committee

In fact, five of those legislators were in the hotel conference room with the Corrections Corporation of America the day the model bill was written.

The prison company didn’t have to file a lobbying report or disclose any gifts to legislators. They don’t even have to tell anyone they were there. All they have to do is pay their ALEC dues and show up.

Produced by NPR’s Anne Hawke.

Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law (Courtesy of NPR)

Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law

by LAURA SULLIVAN

[http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130833741]

Glenn Nichols, city manager of Benson, Ariz. 

Laura Sullivan/NPRGlenn Nichols, city manager of Benson, Ariz., says two men came to the city last year “talking about building a facility to hold women and children that were illegals.” 

text size A A A

October 28, 2010

Last year, two men showed up in Benson, Ariz., a small desert town 60 miles from the Mexico border, offering a deal.

Glenn Nichols, the Benson city manager, remembers the pitch.

“The gentleman that’s the main thrust of this thing has a huge turquoise ring on his finger,” Nichols said. “He’s a great big huge guy and I equated him to a car salesman.”

What he was selling was a prison for women and children who were illegal immigrants.

“They talk [about] how positive this was going to be for the community,” Nichols said, “the amount of money that we would realize from each prisoner on a daily rate.”

But Nichols wasn’t buying. He asked them how would they possibly keep a prison full for years — decades even — with illegal immigrants?

“They talked like they didn’t have any doubt they could fill it,” Nichols said.

That’s because prison companies like this one had a plan — a new business model to lock up illegal immigrants. And the plan became Arizona’s immigration law.

Behind-The-Scenes Effort To Draft, Pass The Law

The law is being challenged in the courts. But if it’s upheld, it requires police to lock up anyone they stop who cannot show proof they entered the country legally.

Read Part 2 Of This Report

Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce speaks during a vote on SB 1070, the immigration bill, in April.  

Shaping State Laws With Little Scrutiny

Among hundreds of bills drafted by an alliance of business, lawmakers: Arizona’s immigration law.

When it was passed in April, it ignited a fire storm. Protesters chanted about racial profiling. Businesses threatened to boycott the state.

Supporters were equally passionate, calling it a bold positive step to curb illegal immigration.

But while the debate raged, few people were aware of how the law came about.

NPR spent the past several months analyzing hundreds of pages of campaign finance reports, lobbying documents and corporate records. What they show is a quiet, behind-the-scenes effort to help draft and pass Arizona Senate Bill 1070 by an industry that stands to benefit from it: the private prison industry.

The law could send hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to prison in a way never done before. And it could mean hundreds of millions of dollars in profits to private prison companies responsible for housing them.

Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce 

EnlargeJoshua Lott/Getty ImagesArizona state Sen. Russell Pearce, pictured here at Tea Party rally on Oct. 22, was instrumental in drafting the state’s immigration law. He also sits on a American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) task force, a group that helped shape the law. 

Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce says the bill was his idea. He says it’s not about prisons. It’s about what’s best for the country.

“Enough is enough,” Pearce said in his office, sitting under a banner reading “Let Freedom Reign.” “People need to focus on the cost of not enforcing our laws and securing our border. It is the Trojan horse destroying our country and a republic cannot survive as a lawless nation.”

But instead of taking his idea to the Arizona statehouse floor, Pearce first took it to a hotel conference room.

It was last December at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. Inside, there was a meeting of a secretive group called the American Legislative Exchange Council. Insiders call it ALEC.

It’s a membership organization of state legislators and powerful corporations and associations, such as the tobacco company Reynolds American Inc., ExxonMobil and the National Rifle Association. Another member is the billion-dollar Corrections Corporation of America — the largest private prison company in the country.

It was there that Pearce’s idea took shape.

“I did a presentation,” Pearce said. “I went through the facts. I went through the impacts and they said, ‘Yeah.'”

Drafting The Bill

The 50 or so people in the room included officials of the Corrections Corporation of America, according to two sources who were there.

Pearce and the Corrections Corporation of America have been coming to these meetings for years. Both have seats on one of several of ALEC’s boards.

And this bill was an important one for the company. According to Corrections Corporation of America reports reviewed by NPR, executives believe immigrant detention is their next big market. Last year, they wrote that they expect to bring in “a significant portion of our revenues” from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that detains illegal immigrants.

In the conference room, the group decided they would turn the immigration idea into a model bill. They discussed and debated language. Then, they voted on it.

Key Players That Helped Draft Arizona’s Immigration Law

Key Players That Helped Draft Arizona's Immigration Law

Source: NPR News Investigations

Credit: Stephanie D’Otreppe/NPR

“There were no ‘no’ votes,” Pearce said. “I never had one person speak up in objection to this model legislation.”

Four months later, that model legislation became, almost word for word, Arizona’s immigration law.

They even named it. They called it the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.”

“ALEC is the conservative, free-market orientated, limited-government group,” said Michael Hough, who was staff director of the meeting.

Hough works for ALEC, but he’s also running for state delegate in Maryland, and if elected says he plans to support a similar bill to Arizona’s law.

Asked if the private companies usually get to write model bills for the legislators, Hough said, “Yeah, that’s the way it’s set up. It’s a public-private partnership. We believe both sides, businesses and lawmakers should be at the same table, together.”

Nothing about this is illegal. Pearce’s immigration plan became a prospective bill and Pearce took it home to Arizona.

Campaign Donations

Pearce said he is not concerned that it could appear private prison companies have an opportunity to lobby for legislation at the ALEC meetings.

“I don’t go there to meet with them,” he said. “I go there to meet with other legislators.”

Pearce may go there to meet with other legislators, but 200 private companies pay tens of thousands of dollars to meet with legislators like him.

As soon as Pearce’s bill hit the Arizona statehouse floor in January, there were signs of ALEC’s influence. Thirty-six co-sponsors jumped on, a number almost unheard of in the capitol.  According to records obtained by NPR, two-thirds of them either went to that December meeting or are ALEC members.

That same week, the Corrections Corporation of America hired a powerful new lobbyist to work the capitol.

The prison company declined requests for an interview. In a statement, a spokesman said the Corrections Corporation of America, “unequivocally has not at any time lobbied — nor have we had any outside consultants lobby – on immigration law.”

At the state Capitol, campaign donations started to appear.

Thirty of the 36 co-sponsors received donations over the next six months, from prison lobbyists or prison companies — Corrections Corporation of America, Management and Training Corporation and The Geo Group.

By April, the bill was on Gov. Jan Brewer’s desk.

Brewer has her own connections to private prison companies. State lobbying records show two of her top advisers — her spokesman Paul Senseman and her campaign manager Chuck Coughlin — are former lobbyists for private prison companies. Brewer signed the bill — with the name of the legislation Pearce, the Corrections Corporation of America and the others in the Hyatt conference room came up with — in four days.

Brewer and her spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

In May, The Geo Group had a conference call with investors. When asked about the bill, company executives made light of it, asking, “Did they have some legislation on immigration?”

After company officials laughed, the company’s president, Wayne Calabrese, cut in.

“This is Wayne,” he said. “I can only believe the opportunities at the federal level are going to continue apace as a result of what’s happening. Those people coming across the border and getting caught are going to have to be detained and that for me, at least I think, there’s going to be enhanced opportunities for what we do.”

Opportunities that prison companies helped create.

Produced by NPR’s Anne Hawke.

Meet Kris Kobach: Lawyer For The Anti-Immigrant Movement (Courtesy of Political Correction)

Meet Kris Kobach: Lawyer For The Anti-Immigrant Movement

July 15, 2010 12:21 pm ET — Melinda Warner

.
As the debate over immigration reform continues, anti-immigrant forces have offered some downrightheinous solutions on how to deal with the issue and policymakers around the country are starting todance to the nativist beat.  It’s an old pattern, and it’s not limited to Arizona’s notorious show-me-your-papers law.

From Playboy

Many Americans have resisted the flow of immigrants since the country’s inception.  And the rhetoric is always the same: they’re taking our jobs, they commit crime, they’re reproducing faster than us, they’re taking over, they don’t assimilate.  Xenophobic Americans have, over the centuries, scapegoated nearly every racial or ethnic group who migrated here — Irish, Chinese, Italians, Japanese, African-Americans (few of whom came here voluntarily), not to mention American Indians (who were here first).

The arguments coming from the anti-Latino-immigrant brigade are no surprise.  Descendents of some of the very populations that were once vilified are now taking their turn to try and exclude another group.  Like Barry Wong (son of Chinese immigrants) and Tom Tancredo (grandchild of Italian immigrants), these people — who aren’t native to this country by any means — are now fighting against any sort of logical reforms to the current immigration system because they are afraid the Latinos will take our jobs, commit crimes, take over, and refuse to assimilate into American communities.

And their lawyer is Kris Kobach.

Kobach is a Harvard/Yale/Oxford-educated Republican candidate for Kansas Secretary of State who’s become a national figure by hiring himself out to state and local jurisdictions to fight for restrictions on illegal immigrants partly on behalf of his employer, the Federation for American Immigration Reform(FAIR).

He’s currently at the forefront of the battle in Arizona over the bill he co-authored, SB 1070.  But this isn’t his first foray into the immigration policies of cities and states in which he is not a resident.  Kobach has inserted himself into local debates about immigration and left millions of dollars in legal debt in his wake.

Kobach has run up over $6.6 million in legal fees that small communities are responsible for paying.

Hazleton, PA: $2,400,000

Farmers Branch, TX: $4,000,000

Valley Park, MO: $270,000

Maricopa County, AZ: $12,600 (plus expenses)

Kobach has never been shy about speaking out against illegal immigration, in Kansas and around the country.  He has worked to prevent universities from offering illegal immigrant students in-state tuition. He assigned students in his law classes a book with a clear anti-Mexican immigrant message.

As an advisor to Attorney General John Ashcroft, Kobach “reformed” the Board of Immigration Appeals to such an extent that the number of judges who heard cases was reduced by half, thoroughly overburdening the system.

This is a man who struts into America’s communities, convinces them to let him draft legislation, and then runs up astronomical fees to towns with only a few thousand residents.  His agenda isn’t to solve any problem with immigration — it’s to make a name and fortune for himself.

His record may be catching up with him, however.  Fremont, NE decided against hiring Kobach to represent them in the event their newly passed immigration law goes to court. Albertville, AL voted against hiring him at all because of his record in other parts of the country.

Kobach’s record is ugly and underreported. Read about it here:

Kobach Across The Country

Kobach Used Anti-Mexican Immigrant Book In His Course Curriculum

Kobach Is Fighting To Prevent Illegal Immigrant Students From Paying In-State Tuition

Kobach, Arizona & SB 1070

Kobach In Hazleton, PA

Kobach In Farmers Branch, TX

Kobach In Valley Park, MO

Kobach In Fremont, NE

Kobach In Albertville, AL

Your Rights: Police Brutality

Snapshot: Video of a Police Brutality Incident at the hands of the Seattle Police Department in April 2010.

BACKGROUND

Police brutality and misconduct is as intense as ever in Seattle and throughout Washington State, and resistance now is even more important. Laws like 287(g) which empowers local law enforcement agencies to make immigration arrests and SB1070 in Arizona which lead to an increase of racial profiling arrests.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

Regardless of your immigration status, you have rights! If you are treated badly by law enforcement officers write down the officer’s badge number, name or other identifying information. You have a right to ask the officer for this information. Try to find witnesses and their names and phone numbers. If you are injured, seek medical attention and take pictures of the injuries as soon as you can. Call a lawyer or contact your local ACLU office. You should also make a complaint to the law enforcement office responsible for the treatment.

HOW TO FILE A COMPLAINT

A person can file a complaint in person, by telephone, by mail, by e-mail, or via the on-line Commendation/complaint form. Complaints can be filed anonymously or by providing name or personal information. Complaints are also accepted from outside agencies and from witnesses or other third parties reporting on behalf of others.

The complaint process is handled by the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) Director, a civilian position appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. They are responsible for the management and oversight of the investigative process and seek to ensure objective standards for documentation, investigation, reporting, and resolution of complaints.

Information gathered from: www.october22.org, www.aclu-wa.org

Legal Referral Contacts: ACLU-WA 206-624-2184 or NWIRP 206-587-4009

Where to file a complaint in King County?

OPA-IS@seattle.gov or www.seattle.gov/police/opa

OPA – Investigation Section, 206-684-8797

Citizens Service Bureau, 206-684-2489

–Sandy Restrepo