I stopped by the Immigration Reform Rally yesterday at the City County Building in downtown Salt Lake. Here are photos and links to news articles.
In Utah, DHS Raids Raise Concerns
By Justin Rood – December 13, 2006, 1:16 PM
A troubling report from the DHS immigration raids yesterday, from the Salt Lake (Utah) Tribune. In this case, DHS agents allegedly separated workers by their skin color — light-skinned were considered citizens, dark-skinned got scrutiny. Predicatably, they swept up at least one dark-skinned U.S. citizen up with immigrant workers:
If only for a few minutes, Maria felt like an ”illegal alien” in her homeland – the United States of America. Continue reading →
All across the U.S., including here in Utah, thousands of arrests of immigrants have been made this week in a Homeland Security Secretary “Operation Wagon Train”.
While poor working people have been carted off, leaving their small children and other family members frightened and alone, the rich owners of the companies that employed the immigrants, who are claimed to be undocumented, sit comfortably in their homes without facing any penalties for not following proper procedure in hiring workers.
To top this off, the owner had been told of the upcoming raid, but was told not to inform the workers.
Further, families are not being allowed contact with their arrested loved one. Workers in the raids were placed on “administrative arrest”. A day after his wife was arrested in the Hyrum raid at Swift & Co., Tony Ivarra hadn’t heard about her. The couple has a 9-year-old daughter. “I don’t know how she is, I don’t know anything,” he said in Spanish at a community informational meeting, which was conducted mostly in Spanish, for families affected by Tuesday’s raid. Leo Bravo, director of the Multicultural Center of Cache Valley, said that the arrests had left many broken families and his Logan center will be open 24 hours a day to help those in need. Families and friends took in children who were left stranded when their parents were arrested.
It’s likely that many of those arrested will face deportation.
Now there’s some passionate conservatism for you – good ‘ol family values. Protect the rich business owner and hisfamily while his workers and their families incur inhumane charges and detainment.
The House of Representatives has approved three measures to “control” the illegal immigrnat issue.
One of those measures includes building a 700 mile border fence.
All three of Utah’s representatives voted in approval of the Illegal Immigrant Deterrence and Public Safety Act and the Effective Immigration Enforcement and Community Protection Act.
Some of the bills’ provisions are: allowing local and state authorities to enforce immigration law; creating criminal penalties for building tunnels across the border; and making it easier to deport alien gang members.
Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, voted for the measures. Cannon has been targeted by activists against illegal immigration, and faced a primary election challenge, because of his role as President Bush’s point man on comprehensive immigration reform.
“These three bills can make an immediate impact in securing our borders and strengthening our nation. They are a step in the right direction, but more still needs to be done,” Cannon said in a statement. “Congress needs to actually fix our broken immigration system, by solving the entire problem.”
The measures all still need Senate approval.
Having seen “the fence” in El Paso and visited Tuscon where I heard personal accounts about immigrants crossed the desert in an effort to seek out a better life, I would urge our elected officials to stop doing what they continually do in an effort to “fix” problems – that is providing “band-aid solutions” that end up costing taxpayers a lot of money and don’t really solve problems.
I mean after all, we are dealing with human beings here. Human beings who need help and come to America, the land of opportunity, to seek a better life. That’s the story for most of those folks who illegally or otherwise cross the border into our land.
We are being fenced in while others are being fenced out. That is not a solution and it doesn’t make me feel more “secure”.
As I see the increasing incidences of flag displays and fireworks sales as Independence Day approaches, I cannot help but wonder of people acutally really know what the significance of July 4 is.
Ruben Navarrette has had a piece published in today’s Salt Lake Tribune from SignOn San Diego, entitled Being an American by a technicality.
I’m an American because I love and appreciate freedom, and I want people around the world to have the chance to experience it firsthand.
I’m an American because I don’t believe in isolationism or disengaging from the rest of the world.
I’m an American because my sympathies lie with the little guy (especially when he is being pushed around by the big guy) and because I won’t stomach bullies, foreign or domestic.
I’m an American because I reject protectionism.
I’m an American because I’m convinced that U.S. law exists to protect the rights of minorities — racial, religious, those with a particular sexual preference, etc. — because the majority can protect itself.
‘m an American because I believe the U.S. government can’t run roughshod over civil liberties and simply lock up people and throw away the key.
I’m an American because I believe in the power of public education to change the lives and destinies of individuals and entire families.
I’m an American because I believe that, with personal rights come personal responsibilities.
I’m an American because I believe that the future belongs to the bold, the optimistic and the hardworking.
I’m an American because I believe that immigrants are our most valuable import and that we should welcome as many as possible.
Navarrette is a hispanic american. He lists the reasons why he is an American.
Here is his list – go to the article (linked above) to read his explanations:
Navarrette’s ending intrigued me the most:
an immigration restrictionist – recently took issue with something I’d written and informed me that the fact I was an American citizen was just a “technicality.”
If that’s the case, it’s a technicality for which I’m immensely grateful.
My comment: We are all, by default, then, American citizens by technicality because America was founded by immigrants to a land already inhabited.
Today’s Salt Lake Tribune has published an article on a local Ogden family whose father was deported and is not permitted to return for 20 years.
Humberto “Bert” Fernandez-Vargas came to the U.S. in 1969, ultimately started a trucking business, married and raised a son, and paid his taxes. He was deported in 2004 due to a the retroactive (April 1, 1997) Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, a provision which “drastically reduced the possibility for undocumented immigrants to stop their deportation if they had re-entered the country illegally after having been previously deported.”
Fernandez-Vargas applied to become a permanent legal resident and got authorization to work while the application was pending. Then came his arrest at the immigration interview.
Fernandez-Vargas can apply for a waiver from the U.S. government, but that could take years.
No regard has been considered of Fernandez-Vargas’ longstanding residence in the U.S., his community and family commitments, and the responsibilities he displayed as a business-owner and tax-payer.
This is another example of dividing and conquering on the part of the U.S. which continues to build walls and barriers along the cultural and community divides.
The Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba will be in Salt Lake this Saturday. The Desert Greens Green Party Candidates have endorsed the event. I have a quote in the press release that was issued today. The Green Party of the United States published our press release on its home page under “local news”.
Yesterday I was interviewed by the Deseret News as participant with People for Peace and Justice of Utah. There will be an article in Saturday’s religion section of the D-News about Saturday’s event. HOpefully the press will come to the press conference at 5pm on Saturday to interview the caravanistas.
I am a strong advocate of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I do not believe that our government, or any government for that matter, has the right to forbid its citizens from contributing aid to those in need in other countries, let alone forbid its citizens from free travel across borders.
Pastors for Peace and hundreds of volunteers from the US and 7 other countries are slated to cross the US border into Mexico on July 2nd challenging US restrictions on travel and aid to Cuba. This is the 17th annual Caravan. The Caravan will be stopping in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 24th. People for Peace and Justice of Utah has organized a free public event at Free Speech Zone (2144 South Highland Drive) beginning at 5pm for the Press and 7pm for the public.
Today’s Salt Lake Tribune has an article and photo gallery called Life on the Divide.
One employee in a store on the border stated that folks are calling the border fence as the new “Berlin Wall” and that many see the scenario now as more dangerous than pre-border fence days.
Daniel Beltran, a 30-year-old Mexican truck driver who lives in San Luis Río Colorado, crosses the border legally for work each week. He said he can’t believe the U.S. government is spending millions of dollars on the border when it can use the
“They should be helping the people,” Beltran said in Spanish. “The wall doesn’t help anyone.”
My point exactly.
There is an article in today’s Deseret News on Utahns building the border wall along the U.S./Mexican border in Arizona. The article pretty much glorifies the whole project and soldiers are quoted as “following Bush’s orders”.