Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Obama's Arizona Immigration Law Hypocritical Lie

President Obama told a crowd in Ottumwa, Iowa:
Now,suddenly, if you don't have your papers, and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you're going to get harassed -- that's something that could potentially happen... That's not the right way to go.
A lie, actually, unless you steal the ice cream or commit some other crime while doing so, and are here illegally, in which case, you have every reason to expect the federal government Obama heads to "harass" you as well.

The federal government's Secure Communities Program checks the fingerprints of suspects during the process of a normal arrest, even when they are arrested by police officers in Arizona.

President Obama's 2010 budget expands the Secure Communities program.

More on Secure Communities here; read a case of the nasty Arizona Maryland law enforcement authorities using it here.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:39 AM

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bill to Make Illegal Activity Illegal Reminds Roman Catholic Cardinal of Nazis and Communists

Los Angeles Roman Catholic Cardinal Roger Mahony says the premise underlying an Arizona immigration bill is not only "false," but also "nonsense," thus distinguishing it from other bills with premises that are true but nonsense, and other legislation that is false but sensible.

An article reporting on the Cardinal's sentiments, in the Los Angeles Times by Teresa Watanabe, says "the Arizona legislation, which has yet to be signed by Gov. Jan Brewer, would make it a crime to be in the state illegally..."

Up to now, evidently, it has been legal to be in the state illegally.

Mohony is upset over legislation that, according to Watanabe, would:
...make it a crime to be in the state illegally and require law enforcement officers to check the legal status of those they suspect are undocumented. The legislation would also bar people from soliciting work or hiring workers under certain circumstances, a provision aimed at the day-labor trade.
Mohony implies this law is comparable to children being required to call 911 to report the immigration status of illegal-alien parents, and says "I can't imagine Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation."

The Los Angeles Times says the proposed law "would not require people to report suspected illegal immigrants to authorities, as Mahony intimated."

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:26 AM

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What's Happening Now

A secret meeting. Others are not-so-secret anymore.

Opposed to government-run health care? Join the bus tour.

We need a special prosecutor.

Surprise! A letter to the Senate (pdf) on Sotomayor.

The House Democrats' health care bill and illegal aliens.

Bill Cosby is shocked at Barack Obama.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:32 PM

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Novel Approach to Requesting a Pardon for Ramos and Compean

David Almasi shares an idea for a novel approach to a pardon request to President Bush for Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean:
"Mr. President, I am honored and grateful that you have invited me to your ranch on the wedding day of your daughter. And may their first child be a masculine child."

Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie has been a long-standing advocate of a presidential pardon or commuting of the prison sentences of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean. In fact, Project 21 has successfully enlisted the support of black churches across America for a special "National Day of Prayer for Jailed Border Agents and All Law Enforcement" on Sunday, May 11. More information on the case and the need for a pardon can be found in Mychal's Washington Times column, is available here.

Saturday is Jenna Bush's wedding. Since previous pleas have for clemency have fallen on deaf ears, perhaps a page can be taken from Mario Puzo's The Godfather. Someone who's been invited to the Crawford, Texas nuptials needs to put the question of freedom for Ramos and Compean to President Bush tomorrow. Since, according to Puzo's story, "no Sicilian can refuse a request on his daughter's wedding day," maybe something similar can be arranged with the President.

I know he's not Sicilian, but it's worth a try. Patriotism and logic have failed thus far.
To contact author David Almasi directly,
write him at [email protected]


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:30 AM

Monday, January 28, 2008

Pardon Ramos and Compean, Says Project 21 Chairman

Advocates of pardons for incarcerated border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean have an ally in Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie, who called on President Bush to pardon Ramos and Compean in an op-ed published by the Washington Times:
Justice for two

by Mychal Massie

President Bush has disappointed his staunchest supporters no few times during his presidency, but nothing — not even his failed attempt to force a flawed immigration bill upon the nation — has been more disappointing than his refusal to pardon or commute the sentences of incarcerated border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean.

On Dec. 11, 29 convicted criminals received presidential pardons. They included persons convicted of tax evasion and bank fraud, and drug smugglers and dealers and a moonshiner. However, while Mr. Bush was willing to extend the ultimate gift of the season to corrupt criminal elements, he stubbornly refuses to show the same forgiveness to Ramos and Compean. Unquestionably criminal elements are now free to enjoy Christmas with their families, while the two border agents languish in prison, separated from theirs.

Ramos and Compean are serving 11 and 12 years, respectively, after being convicted of assault, obstruction of justice and civil rights violations related to the wounding of Mexican drug-smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila. On Feb. 17, 2005, the agents chased Mr. Aldrete-Davila near the U.S.-Mexican border outside of El Paso, Texas, after Mr. Aldrete-Davila abandoned a van containing 743 pounds of marijuana with an estimated value of more than $1 million.

As the border agents attempted to apprehend Mr. Aldrete-Davila, he wrestled with Compean, ultimately escaping. As he fled, Mr. Aldrete-Davila produced and pointed an object that Ramos thought was a gun. Ramos fired at the fleeing Mr. Aldrete-Davila, but thought he had missed. In reality, Mr. Aldrete-Davila had been wounded in the buttocks, yet still managed to escape across the Rio Grande, where be met an accomplice who then drove him into Mexico.

Prosecutors claimed the agents had violated Border Patrol policy when they pursued Mr. Aldrete-Davila without supervisor approval, that Compean moved shell casings, and that both did not properly report the shots fired. Testifying against Ramos and Compean, under the veil of immunity from prosecution for his actions on the night in question, was none other than Mr. Aldrete-Davila himself.

T.J. Bonner of the National Border Patrol Council noted in Senate testimony that jurors were not told of Mr. Aldrete-Davila's continued drug trafficking after he was granted immunity (something for which he has since been indicted), nor that an agent who testified against Ramos and Compean is a life-long friend of Mr. Aldrete-Davila (a clear violation of agency policy). Mr. Bonner also testified that the shooting was justified by both Department of Justice and Border Patrol policies — and that a medical examination of Mr. Aldrete-Davila had supported the agents' description of events. Still, Ramos and Compean went to jail.

From the beginning of the agents' prosecution there has been a bitter public outcry, and wide-ranging, bipartisan congressional support for the border agents — all of which has fallen on deaf White House ears.

It can be argued that the agents may have dispensed their duties in a way that on some level inadvertently abrogated the strict letter of their proper protocol. It cannot be argued that they are being punished proportionately for the offense.

Mr. Bush has made a habit of letting his penchant for brash bravado cause himself and his party embarrassment. He did it standing on the deck of the USS Lincoln when he declared "mission accomplished." He did it when he tired to convince his base and the nation that Harriet Miers was the quintessential best pick as the nominee to be a Supreme Court justice — leaving us to ask in retrospect: "if said were true, what did that make replacement nominee Samuel Alito?" He did it when he stood before a global media in Sofia, Bulgaria, and boasted, "I'll see you at the bill signing," in reference to the flawed immigration bill that subsequently suffered a much-deserved ignominious defeat. Now he purposes to make an even more egregious error in judgment by ignoring the pleas for forgiveness for two of the agents responsible for securing our borders. This is something one could be forgiven for assuming he has little real interest in doing.

Mr. Bush is no longer owner of a baseball team. The futures of the now-tortured and oft-threatened lives of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean are not subject to contract negotiations. They cannot simply sell their services to the highest bidder. However, as president of the United States, Mr. Bush can offer them new contracts — contracts that at the very least show them the same mercy and level of forgiveness the president has seen fit to bestow upon those who, statistics show, are very likely to return to lives of crime. Yet the chances of Ramos and Compean being anything but committed assets to their communities and country are remote.

In the spirit of Christmastime, Mr. Bush should immediately pardon Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, or at the very least, commute their sentences. His failure to do so can only be viewed as a flagrant abrogation of support for the superior and often dangerous work Americans in uniform do throughout the world to protect our freedoms.

Tell us again, Mr. President, exactly how much you value those who are charged with protecting us? Better still, as you gather with your family, and the drug smugglers you pardoned gather with theirs this Christmas, tell the families of Ramos and Compean.
Apologies for not posting this earlier. It ran in the Times on December 28.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:49 PM

Friday, November 02, 2007

Environmentalists Seek to Protect Environmental Degradation

From Peyton Knight:
The environmental agitators over at Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club are up in arms over a recent decision by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to waive a U.S. District Court Judge's decision that blocked construction of a border fence in Arizona. The environmental groups had successfully sued for a restraining order to halt the fence's construction in early October, claiming the fence would harm the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA).

In waiving the judge's decision, Chertoff cited the "unacceptable risks to our nation's security" should the fence project be delayed.

"I have to say to myself, 'Yes, I don't want to disturb the habitat of a lizard, but am I prepared to pay human lives to do that?" said Chertoff.

But Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife, claims that building a border fence through a portion of the SPRNCA will "rob America of one of its most important wildlife areas."

Someone should inform Ms. Clark that Americans are already being robbed of the area and a border fence might put a halt to the thievery.

According to Chertoff:
The SPRNCA has been a high traffic area for smugglers for several years. In fact, last year over 19,000 illegal entrants were apprehended in the area - 11 percent of whom had criminal backgrounds. Unfortunately, among these illegal entries, there were also 14 deaths. So there is a clear need to establish effective control of this part of the border for security, as well as humanitarian reasons.

But there are also environmental reasons to stop illegal crossings in the SPRNCA. Illegal entrants leave trash and high concentrations of human waste, which impact wildlife, vegetation and water quality in the habitat. Wildfires caused by campfires have significantly damaged the soil, vegetation, and cultural sites, not to mention threatened human safety. Indeed, illegal entry in and around the SPRNCA is such a problem that the Bureau of Land Management has had to impose restrictions on public recreation due to high levels of smuggling activity, vehicle thefts, and assaults.
Indeed, the environmental assessment that was performed for the border project determined:
No significant adverse effects to air quality, water quality, cultural resources, unique areas, soils, threatened or endangered species, protected species, wetlands or land use are expected.
The assessment also found that failing to build the fence would have the following negative impacts:
- "[I]llegal traffic would continue to damage vegetation thereby causing synergistic impacts on wildlife."

- [I]llegal traffic would continue to damage unique and sensitive areas by causing accidental wildfires, creating trails, and discarding trash."

- "Indirect impacts due to illegal traffic trampling habitat and threatened and endangered plant species."
The assessment also concludes that, if the fence is built, "beneficial impacts to wildlife populations are anticipated by protecting habitat from drive throughs" and "protection of threatened and endangered species is likely to occur."

The threat that illegal border crossings pose to the wildlife in southern Arizona is nothing new, as experts have sounded off on this before.

Apparently, Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club prefer the current method of protecting wildlife at SPRNCA. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which oversees the SPRNCA, has posted bilingual signs in the area that ask illegal immigrants not to litter.

As Bill Childress, BLM manager of the SPRNCA, told the Associated Press in 2003: "We're letting [illegal immigrants] know they're entering a protected resource. We're hoping they will treat our protected areas with respect."

And why wouldn't they? It's not like they have any prior record of breaking our laws.
To contact author Peyton Knight directly,
write him at [email protected]

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:31 AM

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Elvira Arellano No Rosa Parks

Elvira Arellano, the illegal immigrant who claimed sanctuary in a Chicago church for a year, has been arrested.

Project 21's Mychal Massie had some harsh words about Arellano -- and those who compare her to Rosa Parks -- in the Philadelphia Tribune.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:52 PM

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Joe Hicks Testifies About Cesar Chavez

Project 21's Joe Hicks testified today before the House Natural Resources Committee's Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands about H.R. 359, "The Cesar Estrada Chavez Study Act," introduced by Representative Hilda Solis (D-CA).

Rep. Solis apparently wasn't too thrilled. She waved a copy of Project 21's press release about, calling it "inflammatory," and saying she was going to enter it into the Congressional Record.

All I can say about that is: "Thanks!"

I also think it is funny that someone who wants to honor Cesar Chavez thinks a mere press release is "inflammatory." Perhaps Rep. Solis is too young to remember the Sixties?

I wonder if the liberal politicians who so ardently support honoring Cesar Chavez now are aware of Chavez's views on illegal immigration? As Joe recounts in his testimony (reprinted below), Chavez didn't quite follow the modern liberal line.
Testimony of Joe R. Hicks
U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Natural Resources
Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands

March 29, 2007

I thank you for this opportunity to testify in opposition to H.R. 359. I do not think that the proposed special resource study of sites associated with the Life of Cesar Chavez would be a wise use of public funds. Unlike other Americans honored in such a manner, there has normally been a consensus on the contributions of such persons among the American people. No such consensus exists regarding the life and legacy of Cesar Chavez. In fact, no such consensus on Chavez's contributions exists even among farm workers, the population it is claimed that he and the United Farm Workers (UFW) represented.

I am not before you to argue that Chavez accomplished nothing, or that he is not a person of significance. He clearly is. However, what remains disputable is whether or not his work and his beliefs are worthy of recognition by all Americans.

The Bill under discussion today appears to presume this to be the case, but may in fact be based on biased information. The Bill also appears at a time when many supporters of Chavez are agitating for a national holiday in his honor. In this light, H.R. 359 may be simply a way to pave the road for such a national holiday.

Honoring national figures in this way is something that should be carefully considered. The obvious comparison is with the decision to make the birthday of Martin Luther King a national holiday. This was done after contentious national debate about the character and contributions of Dr. King. Questions were raised about King's personal life and the politics of some of his close aides. King's legacy survived this test because there was a consensus that King's life-long commitment to nonviolence and equal opportunity was unassailable. Whenever violence broke out at demonstrations he presided over, Dr. King rebuked transgressors to his non-violent stance in the strongest of terms - as he did of Black Power radicals who challenged his vision of a color-neutral society.

This, however, must be compared and contrasted with how Cesar Chavez dealt with violence as his UFW organizers often made use of strong-arm tactics against field workers in California's Central and Coachella Valleys. One field organizer said he remembers seeing "loyal Chavez followers bash the heads of reluctant field laborers." He said the organizers "visited the fields, intimidating peasants with threats and violence." Despite the public persona as a man of peace and nonviolence, Chavez did or said little to reign in the violence, which may explain why it's difficult to find farm workers who have anything good to say about him or the UFW. In fact, labor leaders who lead non-UFW farm worker associations hotly dispute the notion that Chavez or the UFW ever represented their views and challenge what they see as "mythology" surrounding Chavez.

Oddly, as Chavez has become an iconic figure among elements of the nations left activists, "immigrant's rights" organizers, and purveyors of identity politics, his views on illegal immigration are also in dispute. Despite his hero status among activists and those advocating on behalf of La Raza, Chavez often complained that the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) wasn't tough enough.

As Ruben Navarrette Jr. reported in the Arizona Republic: "Cesar Chavez, a labor leader intent on protecting union membership, was as effective a surrogate for the INS as ever existed. Indeed, Chavez and the United Farm Workers he headed routinely reported, to the INS, for deportation, suspected illegal immigrant workers who served as strike breakers or refused to unionize."

In fact, Chavez led a march in 1969 from the Coachella and Imperial Valleys to the Mexican border to underscore his position of opposition to undocumented labor.

I must be clear that I am not opposed to private efforts to commemorate or honor the life of Cesar Chavez. Privately-funded museums, or other such forms of recognition, would not be opposed by the vast majority of the American people. However, in this case, the record is too murky, the politics too contentious, the life contributions too shrouded in mythology to justify expending scarce public funds to study national sites associated with Chavez's life.

I come before you as someone intimately familiar with the organizing work and the tactics of the UFW and its leader Cesar Chavez. During the 1970s, the height of the UFW's efforts to organize field workers throughout the Southwest, I was a member of this nation's leftist political forces. In 1976, I spent time in the then-Soviet Union and was a member of the Communist party USA. I was in the company of Chavez on several occasions, interacted with his organizers on a routine basis, trained UFW activists in my "revolutionary theory" classes, and saw Chavez's organizers as simply another arm of our movement to radicalize and overthrow the existing political order in our nation.

While still a leftist in 1993, I marched arm-in-arm with the Reverend Jesse Jackson at the funeral of Chavez in Delano, California. At the well-attended event, I remembered thinking that, while Chavez was laid to rest and eulogized as a man of peace and nonviolence, almost none of his followers - those that I had known and worked with - has eschewed the use of violence against those who opposed them and their tactics. It was also clear to me that they believed that Chavez quietly approved of their heavy-handed tactics - in the main employed against impoverished agricultural field workers.

I don't say this to infer that Chavez was himself a violent man or ideologically a communist, but raise this only as additional context for a labor leader that presided over an organization that harbored deep hostility and resentment about the American nation.

All sides of the debate regarding the Cesar Estrada Chavez Study Act must be considered. It is critical that this Committee not be swayed by those arguing for some larger recognition of Cesar Chavez based on grounds of ethnic pride or that he be honored because of the growing Latino population nor the growing political clout of this nation's diverse Hispanic communities.

When Chavez's life is examined in closer detail, a darker side emerges. Free from the leftist prism through which I viewed the world for all-too-many years, I see his contributions in a far more clear and balanced way. How should the life of Cesar Chavez and the UFW be viewed by the American people? Is there a settled opinion on this? I argue that there is not. Therefore, I come today to state my opposition to the special resource study. Thank you.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:54 PM

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