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Saturday, June 19, 2004

Immigration sweeps stir cheers, protests North County Times - North San Diego and Southwest Riverside County News

Immigration sweeps stir cheers, protests North County Times - North San Diego and Southwest Riverside County News

"This is something that we've traditionally done," he said. McPartland said the areas are not targeted based on ethnicity, but on specific "intelligence" provided by law enforcement and citizens. He declined to elaborate.

Since the operations began two weeks ago, the 12-officer squad has nabbed over 400 illegal immigrants. Most of them ---- about 250 ---- were caught in Escondido, McPartland said. Most were Latinos, he said.

Immigrant rights advocates said the strategy offers clear evidence of racial profiling.

"From all accounts, it seems that the Border Patrol has given its agents in San Diego a license to stop and interrogate anyone who 'looks Mexican' ---- a description that easily fits more than a third of the people in this county," wrote David Valladolid, a local Latino leader in a letter dated June 17 addressed to Commissioner Robert Bonner, who heads the Border Patrol.

The letter, written on behalf of several of the county's most prominent Latino organizations, called on the Border Patrol chief to "immediately reassess the rash of so-called 'interior enforcement activities.' "

But not everyone wants the Border Patrol to ease up. Advocates for stricter immigration enforcement cheered the sweeps.

"I couldn't be happier," said Ben Seeley, executive director of the Border Solution Task Force, a group that favors stricter immigration enforcement. "Their job is to deport people who are in the country illegally. I hope they are not going to back off."

Officials for the Border Patrol said the officers are not arresting people based on race. McPartland said the arrests are based on "consensual conversations" with individuals.

The officers approach people to speak with them based on "demeanor, clothing, where they are, time of the day and aspects of human behavior that can raise suspicions," he said.

In Escondido, where many of the immigration arrests have taken place, a group of day laborers chuckled at the notion of "consensual conversations" with immigration officers.

Ramiro Solorio Alvarado said he was riding his bicycle home June 10, when he was stopped by agents driving a Border Patrol van. He said he admitted being in the country illegally and was deported to Tijuana.

A few days later, he walked back across the border illegally through the mountains east of Tijuana. He was in Escondido looking for work last week at the Interfaith Community Services day-labor center on Quince Street on Thursday morning.

"We just want to work," he said.

Across the street from Interfaith is the Escondido swap meet, where many other arrests have occurred, the workers said. El Tigre Foods, a popular grocery store catering to Latinos, has been another target, workers there said.

Shoppers at the grocery store Friday said they have noticed fewer people there. Some customers said they have no choice but to risk being caught in order to buy food and other necessities.

"We just have to trust in God," said Monica, who declined to give her last name, while leaving the store with her friend Luisa. Both women purchased groceries and bouquets of flowers to celebrate their children's graduation from grade school Friday.

Local activists say some people are afraid to leave their homes.

"I had a client come in and tell me that her sister asked her to buy milk for her because she was scared to leave the apartment," said Magdalena Gonzalez, who owns an immigration service business on East Valley Parkway.

Gonzalez said she and others in the community are organizing a grass-roots effort to try to address the immigration arrests.

Other advocates are beginning to organize community meetings.

"These are not criminals, these are people going to work, to shop," said Jose Gonzalez, a coordinator for Frente Indigena Oaxaqueno Binacional, a group of Oaxacans that works to protect Mexico's indigenous communities on both sides of the border.

"They are raiding places like El Tigre. That's not where they are going to find any criminals," he complained.

Gonzalez' group is looking to organize a community meeting with representatives of the American Friends Service Committee's office in San Diego.

Gonzalez said he would also be traveling to Tijuana to provide assistance, such as food and shelter, to several Oaxacans who had been deported from Rancho Bernardo recently.

Many of the advocates have questioned the legality of the way the raids have been conducted. They charge that the Border Patrol has targeted people solely on Latino appearance.

"The raids being conducted in San Diego are growing rasher by the day," said Claudia Smith, an immigration attorney with the Oceanside office of the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation. She is director of the foundation's Border Project.

The sweeps "have become virtual dragnets," she said.

Drivers who are approached by immigration officials must pull over if asked to do so. Agents may ask questions about immigration status, nationality and travel plans. People in the car have the right to remain silent when questioned.

Contact staff writer Edward Sifuentes at (760) 740-5426 or esifuentes@nctimes.com.

Murder suspect claims death accidental- 06/19/20

Venice Gondolier - 06/19/20

06/19/20
Murder suspect claims death accidental


A 25-year-old Venice man accused of murdering a Sarasota prostitute told police the woman attacked him and that he didn't mean to kill her.

An updated arrest probable cause affidavit said that Eustorgio Leonides Facundo told investigators that he was drunk when prostitute Theresa Knight, 41, of Sarasota tried to take his wallet before attempting to hit him in the head with a bottle. Facundo and pregnant girlfriend, Heather Joslin, 20, are accused of dumping Knight's body and setting it on fire on Karney Street in Gulf Cove.

According to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, Facundo told investigators on May 24, he had gone to 1656 Ninth St. in Sarasota with Knight. Facundo said he believed Knight wanted money for sex and she attempted to take his wallet. Facundo said the woman nearly overpowered him, but he bit her on the arm in order to get away from her. He said after Knight tried to hit him in the head with a bottle, she also tried to choke him with a cable, but he was able to take it away and wrap it around her neck until he realized she was choking.

Facundo told police he then realized Joslin was outside the residence and heard the disturbance, so he placed his hand around Knight's neck until she became still.

The report said Facundo then told his friend "Fadul," who was outside, what happened. The two checked Knight, and upon realizing she was dead, agreed to burn down the house. Facundo told police he also showed the body to Joslin, and had her drive him to a 7-Eleven convenience store where they bought a 1-gallon container of water. The container was emptied and filled with gasoline at a Hess station.


Change of plans

Once they returned to the residence, the couple decided not to burn the house down, but to get rid of the body instead. Facundo said "Fadul" helped him place Knight's body in a black plastic bag and into Joslin's vehicle. Facundo then painted over where Knight's blood had stained the bedroom carpet.

Facundo and Joslin then took Knight's body to a wooded area of Gulf Cove, where they poured the gasoline on top of the corpse and set it on fire. The report said Facundo wore a rubber glove on one hand to keep the blood off.

Charlotte County Fire & EMS responded to the fire, where the badly burned body was discovered. The report said the body was observed to have bled from the mouth and nostrils, and ligature marks were found around the neck.

On May 26, Charlotte County Sheriff's Office investigators said they had received information that Facundo had killed Knight and Joslin had helped him dump the body.

A day later, Facundo and Joslin were contacted by the Sarasota Police Department. Facundo was detained because of his illegal alien status. Joslin told investigators she had driven her boyfriend and the body to Charlotte County. She also told investigators that Facundo had scratch marks on his upper arm from Knight's fingernails.

Joslin was released from the Sarasota County Jail on $1,000 bond. Facundo remains in the jail, awaiting arraignment on July 2.

MetroWest Daily News - Movie Coverage

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Award-winning film focuses on a New York community's immigration struggles
By Frank Eltman / Associated Press Writer
Saturday, June 19, 2004

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. -- They're the ones running the power mowers and leaf blowers over manicured lawns. You see them hauling tiles and paint cans to construction sites, or washing pots and pans at a restaurant.

They're also the ones subjected to derision or worse, because of their skin color, language or some perceived notion that they've come to take jobs away.

"Farmingville," a documentary honored at this year's Sundance Film Festival, focuses on the anxiety, violence and fear that enveloped one Long Island community caught up in a national debate over the influx of undocumented aliens, many from Mexico and Latin America.

An issue once seen primarily in the Southwest, it evolved into a national phenomenon in the late 1990s, said filmmakers Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini. The two spent nearly a year examining Farmingville, a suburb halfway between Manhattan and the Hamptons.

"We wanted the film to be part of the debate on immigration as we go forward," Tambini told The Associated Press. "We think this will be an election issue this fall and we want the film to contribute to that discussion."

"Farmingville," which kicks off the 17th season of the documentary series "P.O.V.," chronicles the arrival of about 1,500 Mexicans over several years and their impact on the community. It airs at 10 p.m. EDT Tuesday on PBS's WGBX, Channel 44.

Many longtime residents became alarmed when dozens -- then hundreds -- of men started showing up on street corners and at strip malls, seeking work. Long Island landscapers, builders, painters and other contractors soon began hiring them as day laborers, paying cash.

And citizens soon complained that as many as 20 or 30 immigrants were cramming into one- and two-family houses, creating neighborhood health and safety concerns.

While Tambini lived in nearby Hampton Bays, Sandoval -- a lawyer and writer with homes in Manhattan and on eastern Long Island -- rented a home in Farmingville in order to "tell this story from the inside out."

Farmingville attracted national attention in September 2000, when two men drove from Queens and lured two Mexican day laborers to an abandoned factory with the promise of work. Once there, the immigrants were severely beaten. The attackers, who wore neo-Nazi and white supremacist tattoos, were convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

More recently, a group of area teenagers pleaded guilty to firebombing a house they targeted last summer specifically because it was inhabited by a Mexican family.

"It felt a little scary at first, especially since there had already been a hate crime," said Sandoval, a man of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent who experienced some bias firsthand. "I was walking home one day from a restaurant and a car veered right at me and somebody yelled" a racist slur.

But, he added, "part of that dissipated when people got to know me. The majority of residents of Farmingville are actually quite wonderful people."

The film chronicles the lives of the immigrants, mostly men who send large chunks of their earnings to relatives in places like Hidalgo, Mexico, and the concerns of local residents and politicians.

Some residents united with national anti-immigration organizations. Others sought instead to get the men off the street and into a county-sponsored hiring hall -- an effort that had early support but was later nixed by local officials.

The Rev. Allan Ramirez, pastor of the Brookville Reformed Church and a spokesman for day laborers, said the documentary "takes us to the core of the struggles...and helps us to understand the dynamics involved. Even though it is shown through the local level, there are national dynamics at work here."

The struggles of Farmingville's day laborers "mirror the experience of hundreds in communities across the country," Ramirez said.

"The anger against the day laborers is still very present and very much a part of the community," he added, recalling that five teenagers were arrested last summer for using fireworks to set fire to a Mexican family's home.

Earlier this year, President Bush proposed a temporary worker program open to foreigners and people working illegally in the United States. They could work for three-year renewable periods under the plan, but must return home once their jobs are completed. The plan would allow them to apply for permanent residence.

Tambini said Bush's plan was not perfect, but added: "I applaud him for having raised the issue. I think they really need to get together and work out the details...Clearly, something must be done."

Love Acted Out

Love Acted Out
Chaplain Unger is from MCCDC Doctrine Division. He's been in Iraq for the past four months.
30 May 2004

Dear Friends,

This is my third letter from Iraq. I have been working myself into the right mood to do this. Today is the day. In my last two letters I have leaned toward being as upbeat as possible. This time will be different; today I want to talk about Memorial Day, but I will start off by giving my perspective on the Abu Ghraib prison problem.

First off, the investigation into the abuses at Abu Ghraib began back in January. That is why the first court martial was ready for trial in May. The senior people here knew about the investigation; the rest of us didn't. By the time the media "broke" the story, the investigation was almost done and the soldiers who had committed the abuses had already been rotated home.

Second, I (we) don't see all the news coverage that you in the states see. I do see some Fox News and CNN. Fox editorializes toward the right wing; CNN is the voice of the anti-war movement. I wonder that if CNN had been around in 1942 we might all be speaking German and Japanese. I can tell you this, everything I have heard on CNN is so biased, negative, and out-of-touch that I will never watch CNN for the rest of my life. That being said, when the rest of us found out about the abuses we were shocked and sickened. I think maybe more so than people back home because we are here; these are the people I see every day. The people I see every day who are going out to fix: schools, hospitals, reservoirs, power plants, and sewer systems. They do these things risking sniper fire and hidden explosives. These soldiers are not a handful of bad apples like those at Abu Ghraib, these soldiers number into the thousands. Now think for a second, how much have you seen about that on the news? I believe Abu Ghraib should have been reported, but when I see the fixation of the media on the actions of a few, when the courage shown in reconstruction and the restraint shown in combat by thousands of our people is never shown, I believe this is inexcusable. For the real story of what our people are doing here, go to www.cjtf7.com/index.htm. Click on Coalition News and then Humanitarian Efforts.

Third, what happened on that cellblock of Abu Ghraib is what happens when leadership is not out walking around. That is true in the military or in college dorms. I haven't seen it reported in the news, but other soldiers turned in the soldiers who did this. If the dirt bags that committed those abuses had been turned loose among the troops here it would've been ugly. I haven't heard any comments about them coming from soldiers that didn't express a hope that they would get the maximum punishment. A few leaders need to get demoted too.

As per the "outrage", if you were "outraged" by this, good. I was. However, I would like to ask Arab governments and our own media elites, "Were you just as outraged by what happened under Saddam? If so, you didn't show it."

Here is what people need to understand: the interrogation of prisoners of war is a little tougher than what the typical thug gets by the local police. I went to Survival, Evasion, Rescue, and Escape (SERE) School back in 1995. I am more proud of completing that course than anything I have ever done. Also, I would never do it again. After playing hide and seek with "bad guys" in California in March, we all got caught, knocked around, froze, went hungry, sleep deprived, threatened with worse, and then interrogated. Here's the deal: when interrogation is done correctly, people don't break so much as they leak. (The purpose of SERE is to teach you how not to leak. That is the classified part of the school.) The interrogator wants them to leak in a way so that the prisoner doesn't even know he is leaking. When someone breaks, as opposed to leaking, they usually give out a data dump of gibberish and then physiologically shuts down. A good interrogator avoids that. If you hurt them or scare them too badly, they quit leaking. Interrogators ask the same question about ten times, ten different ways. Disoriented people leak and they don't even know it.

What most Americans think of when they think of POWs being interrogated is what they remember of our pilots in North Vietnam. The abuse our people went through in Vietnam wasn't to get intelligence; it was to exploit them for propaganda purposes. I mention this to put the term "abuse" in context. When a terrorist here in Iraq or jaywalkers back in the states report jailhouse "abuse," what does it mean? When we catch a guy red-handed restocking his weapons stock and question him, withholding his TV privileges isn't enough. He won't be happy, but neither will he be destroyed or scared for life. He will tell his buddies, "I didn't tell them anything." In fact he will have told us a lot.

As I said, I had to work myself into a mindset to talk about this. To work around horror without out letting the horror seep into your soul is a spiritual battle. This week I worked with a National Guard soldier who had to clean up after a convoy of civilian aid workers were killed when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) went off on the road into Baghdad. He is a carpenter in civilian life, but this week he was out on a highway picking up arms and legs while watching out for snipers. He was cleaning up after monsters. Some other young Americans were put in charge of guarding monsters and then became monsters. Care of the soul is serious business. That is part of the reason why I became a Navy Chaplain.

The other reason is the people. The folks I have known in the military are more interesting to be around than anybody else I know. This leads me to Memorial Day. Earlier this month I went to Camp Cooke at Taji. (To lend perspective, Taji is really north Baghdad; I am in west Baghdad.) The 39th Brigade (Arkansas National Guard) is stationed there. I didn't know any of them, but I wanted to see my home-state Guard here in Iraq. So I badgered my way into flying up there for two days. They are stationed in the old Iraqi army air defense school. Unlike downtown Baghdad, the old air defense school was turned into rubble. It is getting better, but it was like living in a junkyard.

Their first month in Iraq was tough. These soldiers patrol the roughest part of Baghdad. While I was there, the Chaplain of the 39th told me this story: One of the old troopers who came was a 52 year-old Sgt. who had already done his 20+ years and had retired. But his son was in the 39th, and when the father found out they were coming over here, he reenlisted. On their first week in country, Camp Cooke was attacked by rockets and the first rocket that landed killed the father.

I was born in 1958 and came of age when the Vietnam War and the anti-war movement were both in full swing. It has taken me years to put this into words, but I believe that as bad as that war was, the legacy of the anti-war movement was worse. The anti-war movement gave rise to the moral superiority of non-involvement and non-commitment. While that may have worked to help draft-dodgers sleep at night, it's not much of a strategy of how to go through life. Taken to its logical conclusion the message is: don't commit to your county, don't commit to your spouse, and don't commit to your kids, church, or community. Don't commit to cleaning up your own mess or any cause that demands any more from you than rhetoric. This was the mindset in which our country was firmly stuck. Until 9/11, some woke up. Kids came down and joined the service. To the dismay of some of their teachers, parents, and the media elites, they came down here and raised their hand in front of the flag. And they are still coming to the shock of the non-commiters. The Marines have more enlisting than their two boot camps can handle.

And we are all here together for Memorial Day 2004. Old National Guardsmen, grandfathers, and single moms, Texans and Mexicans, Surfers and Rednecks. A few weeks ago an Illinois National Guardsman, mother of three, was hit six times, saved by her body armor, but lost part of her nose. She stayed on her 50 caliber, firing on the bad guys, protecting the convoy. She said she was thinking of her kids and the guys she was with. Commitment is love acted out. It is sad that the non-commiters missed that. They and their moral high-ground haven't been near a mass grave. The kids I see and eat with every day still want to help this country, in spite of getting shot at while doing it. That is love acted out. You either get it, or you don't.

During my time in Iraq I won't be able to see any of the Biblical sites that are here. But a few weeks ago in Taji I got to stand on some holy ground, where a father died when he went to war just to be with his son.

Sincerely yours,
Steven P. Unger

LCDR, CHC, USN

Multi National Corps-Iraq

WCCO: Fox Wraps Up MN Visit

WCCO: Fox Wraps Up MN Visit

Jun 19, 2004 9:26 am US/Central
Minneapolis (AP) Mexican President Vicente Fox met with dignitaries, community and business leaders in Minnesota on Friday and said he would work to open a consulate's office in the state.

Fox made the announcement on the final leg of a three-day trip that included stops in Illinois and Michigan. The trip was designed to highlight the economic and cultural relationships between his country and the Midwest.

"It's really momentous for the head of Mexico to pay attention to what is really relatively a small community," said David Samuels, an associate professor of political science at the University of Minnesota. "I mean, when you think about it, why isn't he going to L.A. ... or Houston?

"I think the point is for Fox to play up these places in the U.S. where you might not expect to find Mexicans or Mexican Americans," said Samuels, who specializes in Latin American politics.

Fox announced he would work toward establishing a consulate in Minnesota. He made his comments while speaking at Academia Cesar Chavez, a charter school in St. Paul with a 95 percent Hispanic population. He also said Mexico wants to work more closely with the United States.

At an evening state dinner, Fox called for a broadening of the spirit of the North American Free Trade Agreement. He called for more cooperation on policies relating to energy, counterterrorism, education and human development.

Fox said increased cooperation among North American countries is the only way for them to compete with Asian economies.

"We need to unite our resources," he told the crowd of about 750. "We need to pull together our visions and be able to meet the challenges of the future."

After a dinner of crusted walleye and wild rice, Gov. Tim Pawlenty toasted Fox, saying: "May your dream for a new Mexico become a reality."

State officials said Fox chose to visit Minnesota in part because of increasing trade. Mexico is Minnesota's eighth-largest trading partner and Minnesota exports to Mexico have increased 80 percent since 1997, according to the state. Last year, Minnesota shipped $342 million in manufactured goods to Mexico, including about $75 million in electronic products and $74 million in food products.

But economics aside, Samuels said the visit to the Midwest also could help Fox politically: Fox has offered a proposal that would permit Mexicans living abroad to vote in Mexican elections.

"Politically, for him, he's made a big point of trying to appeal to the migrant community and try to protect the rights of immigrants," Samuels said.

Indeed, much of Fox's dinner speech was focused on the needs of Mexicans living in the United States.

"We came here to listen," he said. "We came here to make sure that all of your rights are guaranteed and protected -- labor rights, human rights."

The crowd cheered the mention of the new consulate, but also cheered when Angel Morales, advisor to the Institute for Mexicans Abroad directly challenged Pawlenty in an introductory speech to change the state's policy of not accepting the Matricula Consular, a form of identification issued by Mexican consulates, as legal form of identification in the state.

Pawlenty responded that he believes undocumented immigrants should be able to get identification cards, but he said security concerns need to be addressed.

Across the United States, the number of Mexican immigrants nearly doubled in the last decade from 4.3 million in 1990 to an estimated 9.9 mill in 2002, according to the census data.

Workers in the United States sent a record $13.3 billion back to Mexico last year, according to statistics from the Bank of Mexico.

Many of the reforms that Fox had worked toward were squashed by the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Samuels said.

The Midwest visit was about forging relationships, and bringing renewed emphasis to immigrant issues and economic partnerships.

In Chicago, Fox helped commemorate the opening of a new consulate's office. He shook hands, smiled for photos and met with community and business leaders. He also spoke at a school in Cicero, Ill., about the need for Mexicans in the United States to look out for one another as they work toward a better life.

He also went to Lansing, Mich., where he urged people to get a better education so more Hispanics can gain prestigious roles at work and in their communities. He urged them to help each other and other Mexican-Americans succeed in their adopted homeland, and said he will continue to work with President Bush on issues affecting the two countries.

Fox, was elected president in 2000, ending 71 years of rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. Many Mexicans blamed nearly all their problems on the PRI.

As a campaigner, Fox vowed to create jobs. But his economy has been hurt by the United States' own economic problems and by increased competition from Asia. Meanwhile, Fox's National Action Party has remained a minority in Congress, so he's had little success in passing reforms.

Radio warns of 'la migra'

PE.com | Inland Southern California | Inland News

"La migra is at the corner of Eastern and Whittier Boulevard," warns the caller to a Spanish-language radio station. "Stay away if you don't have papers."

Almost instantly, the alert goes over the airwaves, reaching thousands of Latinos in Southern California and sending many into hiding. The broadcasts, which have become almost as frequent as freeway traffic alerts since immigration sweeps began earlier this month, are meant to warn illegal immigrants of locations where Border Patrol agents are operating.

Many of the sightings, however, are not confirmed before they're aired. The Whittier Boulevard broadcast was aired on Oye! 97.5 FM on Saturday morning and referred to a heavily Latino area in the heart of East Los Angeles. The Border Patrol denied conducting a sweep there over the weekend.

The alerts, which use code words for the Border Patrol - such as "la migrana," or migraine - are being heard on numerous Spanish-language radio stations, including several that broadcast in the Inland area. Besides Oye! 97.5, the radio stations that have previously broadcast alerts include La Raza 97.9 FM, La Sabrosa 93.5 FM and El Sol 96.3 FM. None returned phone calls seeking comment.

Pomona resident Jorge Reyes, member of the Latino advocacy group Estamos Unidos - "we are united" - said the warnings have protected immigrants but they've also fueled fear in the Latino community and caused people to shutter themselves in their homes.

The organization began calling Spanish-language radio stations asking them to air the alerts after more than 100 people were arrested in Ontario and Corona earlier this month.

"There is panic all over California," Reyes said. "Maybe these alerts are helping people locally but they may also be scaring people in other areas."

Reyes' group will no longer ask radio stations to broadcast alerts unless members have confirmed that the Border Patrol is operating in that area.

Providing pertinent news

For years, the radio alerts have been common in states such as Texas but were rare in Southern California until recently when the Border Patrol began targeting cities away from the Mexico-U.S. border.

While some Latino advocates say the alerts serve to thwart the deportation of immigrants, Border Patrol officials said they have no impact on the federal agency's operations.

"They're quite common whenever we operate away from the border," said Border Patrol spokesman Steve McPartland. "We can't control that. But they really don't affect the way we operate."

The alerts aren't keeping illegal immigrants out of the Border Patrol's grasp, McPartland said. Sweeps are just as effective since they're "based on intelligence," McPartland said.

Still, radio stations that broadcast the "migra alerts" are helping lawbreakers, said Glenn Spencer, president of the anti-immigrant American Border Patrol based in Arizona.

"That's aiding and abetting in the commission of a crime," Spencer said by phone from Sierra Vista, Ariz. "They're telling people how to avoid detention and apprehension."

Radio stations are doing nothing illegal but simply fulfilling their mission to inform the public, said Kim Holt, spokeswoman for Entrevision Radio, a Santa Monica-based corporation that owns Oye! 97.5 FM.

"As a licensee of the public airwaves, Entrevision and other radio broadcasters are required to provide news and information that is pertinent to their listeners," Holt said by phone. "The immigration sweeps in California certainly qualify as an event that is of the utmost importance to the Hispanic community."

On the surface, it sounds like what the radio stations are doing is "rather benign," said Michael Epstein, a law professor at Southwestern University. If radio stations are merely relaying information from their listeners, "it doesn't sound to me they're obstructing justice."

Epstein said it's not any different from radio stations getting calls from listeners about the locations of DUI checkpoints and then broadcasting those locations.

"It's refreshingly activist in a way," he said.

One listener, who did not want to be identified because she is in the country illegally, said she heard an alert on the radio last week and ignored it even though it reportedly took place in an area of Ontario that she frequents.

"It was warning us to avoid certain streets because 'la migra' was there detaining people," said the woman, who came to California a year ago from Mexico. "I'm not going to let that force me into hiding. I can't live my life that way."

John Kobylt, the outspoken co-host of "The John and Ken Show" on Los Angeles radio station KFI, wondered about the reliability of the information that Spanish-language radio stations are broadcasting.

Opposing the alerts

The issue of Border Patrol sweeps has been a hot topic for the hosts, who openly oppose illegal immigration.

Last week, they encouraged listeners to complain to the Federal Communications Commission after they received reports from listeners that Spanish-language radio stations were telling people how to avoid getting picked up if confronted by Border Patrol agents.

"A lot of our crowd supports the sweeps," he said in a phone interview Tuesday. "Illegal immigration is a huge drain on the treasury."

Officials at the FCC were unable to confirm Tuesday whether they had received any complaints.

The hosts encouraged listeners on Monday to call the Ontario-based Hermandad Mexicana Nacional to oppose the protest they helped organize over the weekend. More than 1,500 protesters marched in Ontario and Pomona against the recent Border Patrol raids.

The nonprofit agency was inundated with threatening phone calls from listeners of the John and Ken show, said Saraí Ferrer, membership coordinator for Hermandad.

"They are almost inciting (listeners) to attack us," she said.

Kobylt said he didn't believe claims by Hermandad officials that they had been receiving intimidating and threatening calls.

La Prensa staff writer Jazmin Ortega Morales contributed to this report.

This is the fight of our lives

portland imc - 2004.06.18 - Moyers on the Class War

Editor's Note: This was a speech given at the Inequality Matters Forum on
June 3, 2004 at New York University.

It is important from time to time to remember that some things are worth
getting mad about.

Here's one: On March 10 of this year, on page B8, with a headline that
stretched across all six columns, The New York Times reported that tuition
in the city's elite private schools would hit $26,000 for the coming school
year -- for kindergarten as well as high school. On the same page, under a
two-column headline, Michael Wineraub wrote about a school in nearby Mount
Vernon, the first stop out of the Bronx, with a student body that is 97
percent black. It is the poorest school in the town: nine out of ten
children qualify for free lunches; one out of 10 lives in a homeless
shelter. During black history month this past February, a sixth grader
wanted to write a report on Langston Hughes. There were no books on Langston
Hughes in the library -- no books about the great poet, nor any of his
poems. There is only one book in the library on Frederick Douglass. None on
Rosa Parks, Josephine Baker, Leontyne Price, or other giants like them in
the modern era. In fact, except for a few Newberry Award books the librarian
bought with her own money, the library is mostly old books -- largely from
the 1950s and 60s when the school was all white. A 1960 child's primer on
work begins with a youngster learning how to be a telegraph delivery boy.
All the workers in the book -- the dry cleaner, the deliveryman, the
cleaning lady -- are white. There's a 1967 book about telephones which says:
"when you phone you usually dial the number. But on some new phones you can
push buttons." The newest encyclopedia dates from l991, with two volumes --
"b" and "r" -- missing. There is no card catalog in the library -- no index
cards or computer.

Something to get mad about.

Here's something else: Caroline Payne's face and gums are distorted because
her Medicaid-financed dentures don't fit. Because they don't fit, she is
continuously turned down for jobs on account of her appearance. Caroline
Payne is one of the people in David Shipler's new book, The Working Poor:
Invisible in America. She was born poor, and in spite of having once owned
her own home and having earned a two-year college degree, Caroline Payne has
bounced from one poverty-wage job to another all her life, equipped with the
will to move up, but not the resources to deal with unexpected and
overlapping problems like a mentally handicapped daughter, a broken
marriage, a sudden layoff crisis that forced her to sell her few assets,
pull up roots and move on. "In the house of the poor," Shipler writes
"...the walls are thin and fragile and troubles seep into one another."

Here's something else to get mad about. Two weeks ago, the House of
Representatives, the body of Congress owned and operated by the corporate,
political, and religious right, approved new tax credits for children. Not
for poor children, mind you. But for families earning as much as $309,000 a
year -- families that already enjoy significant benefits from earlier tax
cuts. The editorial page of The Washington Post called this "bad social
policy, bad tax policy, and bad fiscal policy. You'd think they'd be
embarrassed," said the Post, "but they're not."

And this, too, is something to get mad about. Nothing seems to embarrass the
political class in Washington today. Not the fact that more children are
growing up in poverty in America than in any other industrial nation; not
the fact that millions of workers are actually making less money today in
real dollars than they did twenty years ago; not the fact that working
people are putting in longer and longer hours and still falling behind; not
the fact that while we have the most advanced medical care in the world,
nearly 44 million Americans -- eight out of ten of them in working families
-- are uninsured and cannot get the basic care they need.

Astonishing as it seems, no one in official Washington seems embarrassed by
the fact that the gap between rich and poor is greater than it's been in 50
years -- the worst inequality among all western nations. Or that we are
experiencing a shift in poverty. For years it was said those people down
there at the bottom were single, jobless mothers. For years they were told
work, education, and marriage is how they move up the economic ladder. But
poverty is showing up where we didn't expect it -- among families that
include two parents, a worker, and a head of the household with more than a
high school education. These are the newly poor. Our political, financial
and business class expects them to climb out of poverty on an escalator
moving downward.

Let me tell you about the Stanleys and the Neumanns. During the last decade,
I produced a series of documentaries for PBS called "Surviving the Good
Times." The title refers to the boom time of the '90s when the country
achieved the longest period of economic growth in its entire history. Some
good things happened then, but not everyone shared equally in the benefits.
To the contrary. The decade began with a sustained period of downsizing by
corporations moving jobs out of America and many of those people never
recovered what was taken from them. We decided early on to tell the stories
of two families in Milwaukee -- one black, one white -- whose breadwinners
were laid off in the first wave of layoffs in 1991. We reported on how they
were coping with the wrenching changes in their lives, and we stayed with
them over the next ten years as they tried to find a place in the new global
economy. They're the kind of Americans my mother would have called "the salt
of the earth." They love their kids, care about their communities, go to
church every Sunday, and work hard all week -- both mothers have had to take
full-time jobs.

During our time with them, the fathers in both families became seriously
ill. One had to stay in the hospital two months, putting his family $30,000
in debt because they didn't have adequate health insurance. We were there
with our camera when the bank started to foreclose on the modest home of the
other family because they couldn't meet the mortgage payments after dad lost
his good-paying manufacturing job. Like millions of Americans, the Stanleys
and the Neumanns were playing by the rules and still getting stiffed. By the
end of the decade they were running harder but slipping behind, and the gap
between them and prosperous America was widening.

What turns their personal tragedy into a political travesty is that they are
patriotic. They love this country. But they no longer believe they matter to
the people who run the country. When our film opens, both families are
watching the inauguration of Bill Clinton on television in 1992. By the end
of the decade they were no longer paying attention to politics. They don't
see it connecting to their lives. They don't think their concerns will ever
be addressed by the political, corporate, and media elites who make up our
dominant class. They are not cynical, because they are deeply religious
people with no capacity for cynicism, but they know the system is rigged
against them. They know this, and we know this. For years now a small
fraction of American households have been garnering an extreme concentration
of wealth and income while large corporations and financial institutions
have obtained unprecedented levels of economic and political power over
daily life. In 1960, the gap in terms of wealth between the top 20% and the
bottom 20% was 30 fold. Four decades later it is more than 75 fold.

Such concentrations of wealth would be far less of an issue if the rest of
society were benefiting proportionately. But that's not the case. As the
economist Jeff Madrick reminds us, the pressures of inequality on middle and
working class Americans are now quite severe. "The strain on working people
and on family life, as spouses have gone to work in dramatic numbers, has
become significant. VCRs and television sets are cheap, but higher
education, health care, public transportation, drugs, housing and cars have
risen faster in price than typical family incomes. And life has grown
neither calm nor secure for most Americans, by any means." You can find many
sources to support this conclusion. I like the language of a small outfit
here in New York called the Commonwealth Foundation/Center for the Renewal
of American Democracy. They conclude that working families and the poor "are
losing ground under economic pressures that deeply affect household
stability, family dynamics, social mobility, political participation, and
civic life."

Household economics is not the only area where inequality is growing in
America. Equality doesn't mean equal incomes, but a fair and decent society
where money is not the sole arbiter of status or comfort. In a fair and just
society, the commonwealth will be valued even as individual wealth is
encouraged.

Let me make something clear here. I wasn't born yesterday. I'm old enough to
know that the tension between haves and have-nots are built into human
psychology, it is a constant in human history, and it has been a factor in
every society. But I also know America was going to be different. I know
that because I read Mr. Jefferson's writings, Mr. Lincoln's speeches and
other documents in the growing American creed. I presumptuously disagreed
with Thomas Jefferson about human equality being self-evident. Where I
lived, neither talent, nor opportunity, nor outcomes were equal. Life is
rarely fair and never equal. So what could he possibly have meant by that
ringing but ambiguous declaration: "All men are created equal"? Two things,
possibly. One, although none of us are good, all of us are sacred (Glenn
Tinder), that's the basis for thinking we are by nature kin.

Second, he may have come to see the meaning of those words through the
experience of the slave who was his mistress. As is now widely acknowledged,
the hands that wrote "all men are created equal" also stroked the breasts
and caressed the thighs of a black woman named Sally Hennings. She bore him
six children whom he never acknowledged as his own, but who were the only
slaves freed by his will when he died -- the one request we think Sally
Hennings made of her master. Thomas Jefferson could not have been
insensitive to the flesh-and-blood woman in his arms. He had to know she was
his equal in her desire for life, her longing for liberty, her passion for
happiness.

In his book on the Declaration, my late friend Mortimer Adler said Jefferson
realized that whatever things are really good for any human being are really
good for all other human beings. The happy or good life is essentially the
same for all: a satisfaction of the same needs inherent in human nature. A
just society is grounded in that recognition. So Jefferson kept as a slave a
woman whose nature he knew was equal to his. All Sally Hennings got from her
long sufferance -- perhaps it was all she sought from what may have grown
into a secret and unacknowledged love -- was that he let her children go.
"Let my children go" -- one of the oldest of all petitions. It has long been
the promise of America -- a broken promise, to be sure. But the idea took
hold that we could fix what was broken so that our children would live a
bountiful life. We could prevent the polarization between the very rich and
the very poor that poisoned other societies. We could provide that each and
every citizen would enjoy the basic necessities of life, a voice in the
system of self-government, and a better chance for their children. We could
preclude the vast divides that produced the turmoil and tyranny of the very
countries from which so many of our families had fled.

We were going to do these things because we understood our dark side -- none
of us is good -- but we also understood the other side -- all of us are
sacred. From Jefferson forward we have grappled with these two notions in
our collective head -- that we are worthy of the creator but that power
corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Believing the one and
knowing the other, we created a country where the winners didn't take all.
Through a system of checks and balances we were going to maintain a safe, if
shifting, equilibrium between wealth and commonwealth. We believed equitable
access to public resources is the lifeblood of any democracy. So early on
[in Jeff Madrick's description,] primary schooling was made free to all.
States changed laws to protect debtors, often the relatively poor, against
their rich creditors. Charters to establish corporations were open to most,
if not all, white comers, rather than held for the elite. The government
encouraged Americans to own their own piece of land, and even supported
squatters' rights. The court challenged monopoly -- all in the name of we
the people.

In my time we went to public schools. My brother made it to college on the
GI bill. When I bought my first car for $450 I drove to a subsidized
university on free public highways and stopped to rest in state-maintained
public parks. This is what I mean by the commonwealth. Rudely recognized in
its formative years, always subject to struggle, constantly vulnerable to
reactionary counterattacks, the notion of America as a shared project has
been the central engine of our national experience.

Until now. I don't have to tell you that a profound transformation is
occurring in America: the balance between wealth and the commonwealth is
being upended. By design. Deliberately. We have been subjected to what the
Commonwealth Foundation calls "a fanatical drive to dismantle the political
institutions, the legal and statutory canons, and the intellectual and
cultural frameworks that have shaped public responsibility for social harms
arising from the excesses of private power." From land, water and other
natural resources, to media and the broadcast and digital spectrums, to
scientific discovery and medical breakthroughs, and to politics itself, a
broad range of the American commons is undergoing a powerful shift toward
private and corporate control. And with little public debate. Indeed, what
passes for 'political debate' in this country has become a cynical charade
behind which the real business goes on -- the not-so-scrupulous business of
getting and keeping power in order to divide up the spoils.

We could have seen this coming if we had followed the money. The veteran
Washington reporter, Elizabeth Drew, says "the greatest change in Washington
over the past 25 years -- in its culture, in the way it does business and
the ever-burgeoning amount of business transactions that go on here -- has
been in the preoccupation with money." Jeffrey Birnbaum, who covered
Washington for nearly twenty years for the Wall Street Journal, put it more
strongly: "[campaign cash] has flooded over the gunwales of the ship of
state and threatens to sink the entire vessel. Political donations determine
the course and speed of many government actions that deeply affect our daily
lives." Politics is suffocating from the stranglehold of money. During his
brief campaign in 2000, before he was ambushed by the dirty tricks of the
religious right in South Carolina and big money from George W. Bush's
wealthy elites, John McCain said elections today are nothing less than an
"influence peddling scheme in which both parties compete to stay in office
by selling the country to the highest bidder."

Small wonder that with the exception of people like John McCain and Russ
Feingold, official Washington no longer finds anything wrong with a
democracy dominated by the people with money. Hit the pause button here, and
recall Roger Tamraz. He's the wealthy oilman who paid $300,000 to get a
private meeting in the White House with President Clinton; he wanted help in
securing a big pipeline in central Asia. This got him called before
congressional hearings on the financial excesses of the 1996 campaign. If
you watched the hearings on C-Span you heard him say he didn't think he had
done anything out of the ordinary. When they pressed him he told the
senators: "Look, when it comes to money and politics, you make the rules.
I'm just playing by your rules." One senator then asked if Tamraz had
registered and voted. And he was blunt in his reply: "No, senator, I think
money's a bit more (important) than the vote."

So what does this come down to, practically?

Here is one accounting:

"When powerful interests shower Washington with millions in campaign
contributions, they often get what they want. But it's ordinary citizens and
firms that pay the price and most of them never see it coming. This is what
happens if you don't contribute to their campaigns or spend generously on
lobbying. You pick up a disproportionate share of America's tax bill. You
pay higher prices for a broad range of products from peanuts to
prescriptions. You pay taxes that others in a similar situation have been
excused from paying. You're compelled to abide by laws while others are
granted immunity from them. You must pay debts that you incur while others
do not. You're barred from writing off on your tax returns some of the money
spent on necessities while others deduct the cost of their entertainment.
You must run your business by one set of rules, while the government creates
another set for your competitors. In contrast, the fortunate few who
contribute to the right politicians and hire the right lobbyists enjoy all
the benefits of their special status. Make a bad business deal; the
government bails them out. If they want to hire workers at below market
wages, the government provides the means to do so. If they want more time to
pay their debts, the government gives them an extension. If they want
immunity from certain laws, the government gives it. If they want to ignore
rules their competition must comply with, the government gives its approval.
If they want to kill legislation that is intended for the public, it gets
killed."

I'm not quoting from Karl Marx's Das Kapital or Mao's Little Red Book. I'm
quoting Time magazine. Time's premier investigative journalists -- Donald
Bartlett and James Steele -- concluded in a series last year that America
now has "government for the few at the expense of the many." Economic
inequality begets political inequality, and vice versa.

That's why the Stanleys and the Neumanns were turned off by politics. It's
why we're losing the balance between wealth and the commonwealth. It's why
we can't put things right. And it is the single most destructive force
tearing at the soul of democracy. Hear the great justice Learned Hand on
this: "If we are to keep our democracy, there must be one commandment: 'Thou
shalt not ration justice.' " Learned Hand was a prophet of democracy. The
rich have the right to buy more homes than anyone else. They have the right
to buy more cars than anyone else, more gizmos than anyone else, more
clothes and vacations than anyone else. But they do not have the right to
buy more democracy than anyone else.

I know, I know: this sounds very much like a call for class war. But the
class war was declared a generation ago, in a powerful paperback polemic by
William Simon, who was soon to be Secretary of the Treasury. He called on
the financial and business class, in effect, to take back the power and
privileges they had lost in the depression and new deal. They got the
message, and soon they began a stealthy class war against the rest of
society and the principles of our democracy. They set out to trash the
social contract, to cut their workforces and wages, to scour the globe in
search of cheap labor, and to shred the social safety net that was supposed
to protect people from hardships beyond their control. Business Week put it
bluntly at the time: "Some people will obviously have to do with less....it
will be a bitter pill for many Americans to swallow the idea of doing with
less so that big business can have more."

The middle class and working poor are told that what's happening to them is
the consequence of Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand." This is a lie. What's
happening to them is the direct consequence of corporate activism,
intellectual propaganda, the rise of a religious orthodoxy that in its
hunger for government subsidies has made an idol of power, and a string of
political decisions favoring the powerful and the privileged who bought the
political system right out from under us.

To create the intellectual framework for this takeover of public policy they
funded conservative think tanks -- The Heritage Foundation, the Hoover
Institution, and the American Enterprise Institute -- that churned out study
after study advocating their agenda.

To put political muscle behind these ideas they created a formidable
political machine. One of the few journalists to cover the issues of class
-- Thomas Edsall of The Washington Post -- wrote: "During the 1970s,
business refined its ability to act as a class, submerging competitive
instincts in favor of joint, cooperate action in the legislative area." Big
business political action committees flooded the political arena with a
deluge of dollars. And they built alliances with the religious right --
Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority and Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition --
who mounted a cultural war providing a smokescreen for the class war, hiding
the economic plunder of the very people who were enlisted as foot soldiers
in the cause of privilege.

In a book to be published this summer, Daniel Altman describes what he calls
the "neo-economy -- a place without taxes, without a social safety net,
where rich and poor live in different financial worlds -- and [said Altman]
it's coming to America." He's a little late. It's here. Says Warren Buffett,
the savviest investor of them all: "My class won."

Look at the spoils of victory:

Over the past three years, they've pushed through $2 trillion dollars in tax
cuts -- almost all tilted towards the wealthiest people in the country.

Cuts in taxes on the largest incomes.

Cuts in taxes on investment income.

And cuts in taxes on huge inheritances.

More than half of the benefits are going to the wealthiest one percent. You
could call it trickle-down economics, except that the only thing that
trickled down was a sea of red ink in our state and local governments,
forcing them to cut services for and raise taxes on middle class working
America.

Now the Congressional Budget Office forecasts deficits totaling $2.75
trillion over the next ten years.

These deficits have been part of their strategy. Some of you will remember
that Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan tried to warn us 20 years ago, when he
predicted that President Ronald Reagan's real strategy was to force the
government to cut domestic social programs by fostering federal deficits of
historic dimensions. Reagan's own budget director, David Stockman, admitted
as such. Now the leading rightwing political strategist, Grover Norquist,
says the goal is to "starve the beast" -- with trillions of dollars in
deficits resulting from trillions of dollars in tax cuts, until the United
States Government is so anemic and anorexic it can be drowned in the
bathtub.

There's no question about it: The corporate conservatives and their allies
in the political and religious right are achieving a vast transformation of
American life that only they understand because they are its advocates, its
architects, and its beneficiaries. In creating the greatest economic
inequality in the advanced world, they have saddled our nation, our states,
and our cities and counties with structural deficits that will last until
our children's children are ready for retirement, and they are
systematically stripping government of all its functions except rewarding
the rich and waging war.

And they are proud of what they have done to our economy and our society. If
instead of practicing journalism I was writing for Saturday Night Live, I
couldn't have made up the things that this crew have been saying. The
president's chief economic adviser says shipping technical and professional
jobs overseas is good for the economy. The president's Council of Economic
Advisers report that hamburger chefs in fast food restaurants can be
considered manufacturing workers. The president's Federal Reserve Chairman
says that the tax cuts may force cutbacks in social security - but hey, we
should make the tax cuts permanent anyway. The president's Labor Secretary
says it doesn't matter if job growth has stalled because "the stock market
is the ultimate arbiter."

You just can't make this stuff up. You have to hear it to believe it. This
may be the first class war in history where the victims will die laughing.

But what they are doing to middle class and working Americans -- and to the
workings of American democracy -- is no laughing matter. Go online and read
the transcripts of Enron traders in the energy crisis four years ago,
discussing how they were manipulating the California power market in
telephone calls in which they gloat about ripping off "those poor
grandmothers." Read how they talk about political contributions to
politicians like "Kenny Boy" Lay's best friend George W. Bush. Go on line
and read how Citigroup has been fined $70 Million for abuses in loans to
low-income, high risk borrowers - the largest penalty ever imposed by the
Federal Reserve. A few clicks later, you can find the story of how a
subsidiary of the corporate computer giant NEC has been fined over $20
million after pleading guilty to corruption in a federal plan to bring
Internet access to poor schools and libraries. And this, the story says, is
just one piece of a nationwide scheme to rip off the government and the
poor.

Let's face the reality: If ripping off the public trust; if distributing tax
breaks to the wealthy at the expense of the poor; if driving the country
into deficits deliberately to starve social benefits; if requiring states to
balance their budgets on the backs of the poor; if squeezing the wages of
workers until the labor force resembles a nation of serfs -- if this isn't
class war, what is?

It's un-American. It's unpatriotic. And it's wrong.

But I don't need to tell you this. You wouldn't be here if you didn't know
it. Your presence at this gathering confirms that while an America with
liberty and justice for all is a broken promise, it is not a lost cause.
Once upon a time I thought the mass media -- my industry -- would help mend
this broken promise and save this cause. After all, the sight of police dogs
attacking peaceful demonstrators forced America to recognize the reality of
racial injustice. The sight of carnage in Vietnam forced us to recognize the
war was unwinnable. The sight of terrorists striking the World Trade Center
woke us from a long slumber of denial and distraction. I thought the mass
media might awaken Americans to the reality that this ideology of
winner-take-all is working against them and not for them. I was wrong. With
honorable exceptions, we can't count on the mass media.

What we need is a mass movement of people like you. Get mad, yes -- there's
plenty to be mad about. Then get organized and get busy. This is the fight
of our lives.

AP Wire | 06/19/2004 | Federal government to release some immigration detainees in state

AP Wire | 06/19/2004 | Federal government to release some immigration detainees in state

Posted on Sat, Jun. 19, 2004
Federal government to release some immigration detainees in state
Associated Press

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - The federal government plans to release hundreds of illegal immigrants who are detained in Minnesota and elsewhere, using a new home-monitoring program to keep track of them.

The $11 million pilot project, called the intensive supervision appearance program, will start Monday and is expected to last for at least several months, according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

The government wants to see if it can save millions of dollars while also providing less restrictive alternatives to incarceration - such as electronic ankle bracelets, home visits and telephone check-ins - for the estimated 24,000 detainees around the country.

The agency also hopes that being able to monitor illegal immigrants outside of prison will also increase the likelihood that they will show up for hearings and for deportation, which is now called removal.

Besides Minneapolis and St. Paul, the cities where the new supervision measures will be used are Baltimore, Philadelphia, Miami, Denver, Kansas City, San Francisco and Portland, Ore.

If successful, the program could be expanded nationwide and lead to thousands of detainees being released, said Victor Cerda, acting director of detention and removal operations for the agency.

One of the biggest problems confronting federal officials, he said, is that tens of thousands of illegal immigrants each year fail to show up for court hearings or to comply with deportation orders.

As a result, the agency spends about $550 million a year nationally on detention expenses such as housing, meals and health care for the detainees, including about 175 in Minnesota.

The government could save millions if the alternative supervision programs prove successful. "The bracelet is an effective way to monitor," Cerda said Friday from Washington. "We do view this as a compassionate alternative."

Almost all of the detainees are held in county jails or state prisons around the country, including dozens at the Rush City state prison in east-central Minnesota.

Housing civil-law violators with hardened criminals has drawn severe criticism from immigration groups around the country, including many in the Twin Cities area.

"In the jails we see people who have committed no crimes being treated as criminals," said Jorge Saavedra, chief legal officer of Centro Legal, a nonprofit law office that works on immigration issues.

Saavedra questioned the government's motives but did grudgingly welcome the possible easing of incarcerations.

"If the option is between a jail cell and remaining at home, obviously remaining at home is a better option," he said.

Saeed Fahia, executive director of the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota in Minneapolis, welcomed the program regardless of the motivations, because he said it will help detainees and their families.

"It's a good idea," he said. "It saves the government money and it helps many of the people psychologically."

My Congressman Replies - Paula Devlin

My Congressman Replies - Paula Devlin

My Congressman Replies
By Paula Devlin (06/19/2004)

When I was in high school, Jack Kennedy replied to an inquiry and signed the letter himself. Sad to say, I threw that letter out when I went to college.

But this is not about The Antiques Road Show almosts: it is about the rejection (88-331) of the passage of the Undocumented Alien Emergency Medical Assistance Amendment of 2004 (H.R. 3722). This bill was not about denying emergency medical services to these parasites and freeloaders, but about keeping track of them and making someone, other than the much-abused taxpayers, responsible for the tab.

Typical of our out-of-touch politicians, this misguided congressman believed that this legislation would unduly burden physicians. Obviously, when he wants medical attention he simply has a staff member call his personal physician and goes right in for an assessment. This elitist has never gone to an emergency room as an unknown. Seeing a physician takes hours, if it even happens. Mr. Congressman does not make his case. This amendment would not make a physician an immigration officer any more than filing insurance claims makes him an insurance claims representative.

In an emergency room there is an intake person, behind bullet proof glass, passing out clipboards with tedious forms to be completed. This is the key point at which citizenship or legal residency can be determined. Just as bankers and stockbrokers make copies of a picture ID of anyone who wishes to do business, physicians, hospitals and lawyers should be subjected to the same burdensome regulations. Why should these other professionals get a pass?

What the Rohrabacher Amendment proposed was to require the medical service recipient to fill out a form, just like real citizens do, which includes information on citizenship, immigration status, address in the U.S., financial responsibility (including insurance) and the identity of the employer. It also requires an identifier, such as a fingerprint. How different is this from what law-abiding citizens have to do? It is very different from what Congressmen have to do.

Nowhere in this amendment does it say, as my Congressman claims, “to report patients or withhold care”. It does say that providing healthcare to illegals “is appropriate only (A) to protect the health and safety of United States citizens; (B) to save the life of an undocumented alien in a life-threatening medical emergency; and (C) to stabilize an emergency medical condition so that an undocumented alien can be repatriated for medical treatment in the alien’s own country.” What’s wrong with deporting these thieves? They can take their families with them.

Mr. Congressman goes on to say that requiring this information would discourage the miscreant from seeking care for illnesses that could harm others. By time they get around to getting medical attention, one can only wonder how many have been infected with diseases that had been eradicated in the States.

How can free medical services to illegals be justified when and estimated 25% of American citizens are without medical insurance because it is unaffordable?

Without effective border control and careful screening of all passers, this is a self-serving, globalist argument. Thousands come across the borders legally on a daily basis without any medical screenings. We have so much produce shipped in by Mexican trucks, who knows what is coming across? There is certainly nothing to prevent disease from coming in on produce, such as the Mexican scallions that sickened so many people. Who can say that imported produce would not be used to carry biological WMD’s? (They already carry drugs.) Is anyone even checking? The borders should be as tightly controlled as the airports.

Our elected officials are certainly not responsive to their constituents. If the 331 congressmen who voted against the passage of this legislation had been representing their constituents it would have passed.

Are these congressional delegates adhering to another agenda that is inimical to the best interests of the Republic? One might even conjecture that they are recipients of campaign contributions from organizations such as La Raza, which actively advocates the repatriation of the Southwest to Mexico. (La Raza recruits on college campuses and is alleged to have associations with the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO]).

Mr. Congressman goes on to say that the issue of immigration is very important to our state and the United States and waxes poetic about immigration. The whole paragraph completely ignores the issue of illegal immigration, which is conceptually different from immigration. It is modified by the adjective ILLEGAL. It is comparable to the difference between running a state lottery and being a bookie.

Are citizens getting equal protection or are they victims of a massive fraud by our federal and state governments? Shouldn’t these illegals be arrested for theft of services? If medical service providers are not required to keep proper records of their clients, how can the guilty be prosecuted?

Is this welcoming of illegals by giving free medical care, drivers licenses and voting privileges (motor voter registration) part of a hidden agenda?

Why else would three hundred and thirty one Congressmen spit on the Constitution and stick it to the taxpayers?

Paula Devlin is a former New Englander who bolted to the Rocky Mountain West where the air is clear, the stars are brilliant and men still put their pants on one leg at a time.

SAN FRANCISCO / Financier indicted on charges of molesting kids in Thailand, Mexico

SAN FRANCISCO / Financier indicted on charges of molesting kids in Thailand, Mexico

SAN FRANCISCO
Financier indicted on charges of molesting kids in Thailand, Mexico

Bob Egelko and Elizabeth Fernandez, Chronicle Staff Writers
Saturday, June 19, 2004
Federal prosecutors have unsealed an indictment charging multimillionaire San Francisco financier Robert F. White with traveling to Thailand and Mexico to molest and exploit children.

The grand jury indictment, reported by The Chronicle in April, accuses the 68-year-old White of conspiring to violate the so-called child sex tourism law. That law prohibits traveling from the United States to other countries to have sex with minors, even if the sexual activity is legal where it took place. He also is charged with conspiring to produce child pornography.

Besides imprisonment, prosecutors seek forfeiture of homes owned by White in Thailand and Mexico, or if the foreign properties cannot be seized, then of two buildings in San Francisco.

White has been jailed in Bangkok since February 2003 fighting extradition to Mexico, where he is charged with child sex abuse, child prostitution and providing drugs to minors. A ruling on extradition is due from a Thai court next Friday. He also has been sued for damages by some of his alleged victims -- all of them young males -- in U.S. District Court in San Francisco and in state court.

One of those plaintiffs, Daniel Garcia, now 21, said Friday he never thought he would see the day that White was charged in the United States.

"It's been such an uphill battle for two years,'' said Garcia, who helped to set the federal investigation in motion and has traveled the world on behalf of White's alleged victims. "For someone who has such wealth and power as Tom White, it's amazing that this is happening to him. It's good to know that the wheels of justice turn slowly, but they do turn.''

White's attorney, Stuart Hanlon, predicted his client would be acquitted.

"It appears that this is part of the U.S. Justice Department's ... making legal decisions based on what they view as moral,'' Hanlon said. "It's the religious right-wing agenda of John Ashcroft. This administration feels we're the police of the world.''

White, an investor and stockbroker, founded Thomas F. White & Co. in 1978. The Chronicle reported in 2002 that he had apparently funded a children's school and shelter in a Thai resort area and paid to build an orphanage, a school and an adjoining 53-site resort hotel south of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

According to the indictment, dated March 23 and unsealed Thursday, White conspired with unnamed individuals to travel to Mexico between 1999 and 2001, and to Thailand between 2000 and 2003, to molest juveniles.

The conspirators provided "food, shelter, gifts and other material objects'' to the youths in Thailand and made and shared photographs of them, the indictment said. It also described a December 2001 e-mail in which another conspirator allegedly discussed creating a room next to a children's room in Thailand for White to have sex.

The private damage suit against White, which is still pending, alleges that he used food, shelter and gifts to lure poor children - some living on the street, others working as prostitutes - to his house about 50 miles south of Bangkok, where he and his friends would have sex with them.

No one else was charged in the indictment. White's personal assistant, Nathan Lovaas of Modesto, was indicted last September on similar federal charges.


MercuryNews.com | 06/18/2004 | Rumors of S.J. raids on immigration denied

MercuryNews.com | 06/18/2004 | Rumors of S.J. raids on immigration denied

Posted on Fri, Jun. 18, 2004
Rumors of S.J. raids on immigration denied
MANY FOREIGN-BORN ASIANS, LATINOS SCARED BY ARRESTS IN STATE HAVE STAYED AT HOME
By Jessie Mangaliman
Mercury News

Rumors of recent immigration raids in San Jose are just that, officials said Friday, trying to calm ethnic communities worried by the arrest of hundreds of undocumented workers early this month in Southern California.

For the past week, many Latino and Asian immigrants have stayed at home, away from shopping centers and businesses. Dozens will not attend a national labor march scheduled today in San Francisco because they fear la migra, or immigration agents, said Salvador Bustamante, regional vice president for the Service Employees International Union Local 1877 in San Jose.

``The rumors have contributed to an atmosphere of fear and confusion,'' said Cary Sanders, policy director for Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network.

There were rumors of a roundup this week at Tropicana Shopping Center in East San Jose, reports of Mexican day laborers taken by plainclothes immigration agents, and word of another raid at a local grocery store. None of these were true, immigrant advocates said, even though they were widely reported by Spanish-language media.

Early this month, border patrol agents arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants in sweeps in Ontario and Temecula. Those raids, particularly because they were conducted far from the U.S.-Mexico border, struck fear among many immigrants and fueled rumors that similar raids were made last week in San Jose with the help of local police, immigrant advocates said.

``We really and truly want the community to know that we're not acting as agents for the immigration service,'' said San Jose Police Chief Rob Davis, who spoke in Spanish and English at a news conference Friday at the Mayfair Community Center.

``That's not something we do. We're not interested in participating in any such raids or have we been doing so,'' Davis said.

Bruno Figueroa, consul general of the Mexican Consulate in San Jose, said regional border patrol officials told him that no raids have been conducted in Northern California.

``Our community is a safe place to live for all immigrants,'' said Martha Campos, citizenship director for Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network.

Campos said she and other immigrant advocates called the news conference to dispel the rumors about the raids.


U.S. federal district court doings

U.S. federal district court doings


U.S. federal district court doings

Saturday, June 19, 2004




(Ed. Note: Following is a summary of activity in the U.S. Federal District Court in Wyoming. It was prepared by U.S. Attorney Matt Mead's office in Cheyenne. This information will run as part of the Casper Inside Public Record on Saturdays as provided by Mead's office.)

Pleas

*William I. Carney, age 37, of Cheyenne, appeared before Federal District Court Judge Clarence A. Brimmer on June 16, 2004, and pled guilty to theft of government property - embezzlement. This offense is punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment, up to a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. Sentencing has not yet been set. This case was investigated by the Department of Defense, Criminal Investigative Service.

Carney was a former staff sergeant with the National Guard and served as military pay technician and military reservist, who was responsible for inputting pay actions into the Wyoming National Guard computer system, which then allowed the soldiers to be paid. From May through August 2003, Carney made false entries into the pay system which allowed him to receive pay for duty that he did not perform. In addition he made false entries which allowed him to receive incapacitation pay in spite of his being on active duty during the times for which he received the incapacitation pay.

"As soon as we identified the issue, we contacted the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and requested a criminal investigation ensue and then requested prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office," said Maj. Gen. Ed Wright, Wyoming's Adjutant General. "We will continue to aggressively monitor the integrity of our organization and take appropriate action whenever one of our members is potentially engaging in criminal misconduct, as we did so in this case. Will Carney is no longer a member of our National Guard and we are very pleased with the support that the DCIS and the U.S. Attorney's Office provided."

Sentences

*Rogelio Enriquez-Beltran, 53, of Chihuahua, Mexico was sentenced by Federal District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson on June 14, 2004, for illegal re-entry into the United States of a previously deported alien. Enriquez-Beltran received four years, five months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release. This case was investigated by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

*Lauro Hernandez Castillo, 27, of Mexico City, Mexico was sentenced by Federal District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson on June 15, 2004, for being an illegal alien in possession of ammunition and unlawful entry into the United States. Hernandez Castillo received one year, five months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release. This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

*Miguel Gonzalez Ayala, 19, of Guanajuato, Mexico was sentenced by Federal District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson on June 15, 2004, for being an illegal alien in possession of ammunition and unlawful entry into the United States. Gonzalez Ayala received one year, one month of imprisonment and three years of supervised release. This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

*Robert Haygood, 37, of Gillette,was sentenced by Federal District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson on June 14, 2004, for being a felon in possession of ammunition. Haygood received three years, 10 months of years imprisonment, a $250 fine, and three years of supervised release. This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

*Tim Duane Robinson, Jr., 21, of Fort Washakie, was sentenced by Federal District Court Judge Clarence A. Brimmer on June 10, 2004, for assault resulting in seriously bodily injury. Robinson received two years, three months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release. Judge Brimmer also ordered Robinson to pay $11,826.81 in restitution. This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

*Andrew Jay Jordan, 33, of Sheridan, was sentenced by Chief Federal District Court Judge Willaim F. Downes on June 1, 2004, for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Jordan received four years, three months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release. This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

*Shane McMillan, 30, of Frisco, Texas was sentenced by Chief Federal District Court Judge William F. Downes on June 4, 2004, for contempt of court. McMillan received two years, six months of imprisonment and five years of supervised release. This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

*Daniel James Whitebird, 20, of Riverton, was sentenced by Federal District Court Judge Clarence A. Brimmer on May 20, 2004, for sexual abuse. Whitebird received four years, nine months of imprisonment, a $100 fine, and three years of supervised release. This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

*Veronica Francis Martinez a/k/a Veronica Briseno, 26, of Lewiston, Mont., was sentenced by Chief Federal District Court Judge William F. Downes on May 26, 2004, for conspiracy to possess within intent to distribute and to distribute approximately three pounds of methamphetamine. Martinez received 10 years imprisonment, a $500 fine, and five years of supervised release. This case was investigated by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

*Junior Redhouse, 44, of Fort Washakie, was sentenced by Federal District Court Judge Clarence A. Brimmer on May 21, 2004, for abusive sexual contact. Redhouse received six years, six months of imprisonment, a $400 fine, and three years of supervised release. Judge Brimmer also ordered Redhouse to not have unsupervised contact with any persons under the age of 18 and to participate in a sex offender treatment program. This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

*Joshua Roberts, 25, of Glenrock, was sentenced by Chief Federal District Court Judge William F. Downes on June 9, 2004, for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute approximately 33 pounds of methamphetamine. Roberts received nine years of imprisonment, a $250 fine, and five years of supervised release. This case was investigated by the Glenrock Police Department, Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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Eloy growing into migrant smuggling hub

Eloy growing into migrant smuggling hub
Eloy growing into migrant smuggling hub
Daniel González
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 19, 2004 12:00 AM


ELOY - Detective Frank Nolasco pulled his unmarked police cruiser off Arizona 84 and drove straight into the desert.

It was here that one of his fellow officers from the Eloy Police Department pursued a speeding van one Friday night last month and 30 possible undocumented immigrants piled out and escaped into the darkness.

All, that is, but one.



Eloy at a glance

Population in 2000: 10,375.

Latino: 7,717, or 74 percent.

African American: 552, or 5.3 percent.

Native American: 465, or 4.5 percent.

Anglo: 1,649, or 15.8 percent.

Median household income: $26,518.

Median age: 27.5 years.

High school graduates: 24 percent.

Bachelor's degrees: 2.7 percent.

Families living below poverty level: 27.9 percent.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000

• More border news »


The dead man's body, clad only in socks and underwear, was found two days later floating down the Central Arizona Project Canal, which supplies irrigation water to the sprawling cotton fields that surround this dusty, windswept farming community halfway between Phoenix and Tucson.

Easing his cruiser off the highway, Nolasco still could see the van's tire tracks in the sand. At the foot of a steep, 15-foot berm, the tracks ended, and Nolasco climbed out of his car.

"One group ran that way into the desert," Nolasco said, pointing west. "The other group ran straight up the berm."

Hidden from view on the other side was the canal. In their haste to get away, the fleeing migrants most likely didn't know the canal was there when they stumbled up and over the berm. The officer didn't chase them. There were too many. Instead of a rescue crew, he called for a tow truck, unaware that at least one of the migrants had fallen into the deep fast-moving water.

"Look here," Nolasco said, after driving around the berm and pulling up alongside the canal. "You can see where he tried clawing his way out of the canal."

Sure enough, long marks still were visible in the brown algae where the migrant had tried to climb the slippery concrete sides before drowning.


Smuggling is up
Such migrant-related incidents are becoming more commonplace in Eloy, which is growing quickly into a key way station for smuggling organizations transporting undocumented immigrants from the U.S.-Mexican border into the interior of the United States, police and federal immigration officials say.

On Wednesday, U.S. Border Patrol agents rescued 14 undocumented immigrants, one of whom later died, in a remote desert area about 15 miles west of Eloy near Arizona City. Border Patrol agents believe the group had walked 60 miles after crossing the border illegally and their smuggling guide was probably trying to get them to a highway to meet another smuggler with transportation.

"We see them out here a lot," said Albert Ruiz, 17, who lives near where the migrants were found. "A lot of them say, 'Where's Eloy? Where's Phoenix'?' " To be sure, undocumented immigrants for years have been part of the fabric of this largely Hispanic farming community, providing much of the labor that picks cotton.

Lately, police say, they have seen a sharp increase in smuggling activity, which they attribute to tighter enforcement at the border and in Phoenix. The crackdown has forced smuggling organizations to seek new routes for transporting undocumented immigrants through Arizona, the nation's main gateway for illegal immigration, they say.

"It's here. There is no doubt about it. It's a concern," said Nolasco, 51, a native of Eloy and a 13-year police veteran.

Located near the crossroads of Interstates 10 and 8 about 65 miles south of Phoenix, "Eloy is one of the first landing points for commodities coming across the border," including narcotics and undocumented immigrants, said Roger Applegate, an agent based in Sells with the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He oversees immigration enforcement in the Eloy area.


Operation ICE Storm
A crackdown during the past nine months in Phoenix under Operation ICE Storm has created a "bottleneck," Applegate said, forcing smuggling organizations to hold undocumented immigrants for longer periods of time in other parts of the state.

Operation ICE Storm is the federal government's collaborative effort to dismantle smuggling organizations and smuggling-related violence.

Compared with Florence and Casa Grande, two neighboring communities to the north, "Eloy is kind of unique because it's a little bit isolated," Applegate added.

He pointed out that the Border Patrol has a substation in Casa Grande and a large presence in Florence, home to a large federally run detention center for undocumented immigrants waiting to be deported.


Drop houses found
Cruising through the city's streets one morning last week, Nolasco pointed out more than half a dozen buildings where police have called in the Border Patrol during the past several months after discovering groups of undocumented immigrants being warehoused by smugglers waiting for the right moment to move them north.

For instance:

• On Second Place, Nolasco slowed his cruiser outside a housing project where police in April found 30 undocumented immigrants.

• On Mojave Circle, Nolasco pulled up in front of a blue two-room trailer where police recently found 60 more migrants.

• On Phoenix Avenue, Nolasco stopped in front of a house that police are monitoring and believe still is being used by smugglers to harbor migrants. A year ago, a neighbor called to report suspicious activity and police found a van pulling out loaded with undocumented immigrants, Nolasco said.

• On Ninth Street, Nolasco turned into an alley and drove behind a house with a wooden fence and double gates. Two months ago, police acting on a tip found 12 migrants hidden in a sunken room behind the house, Nolasco said.

• On March 24, police also found a body in a park right across from the police station that turned out to be that of an undocumented immigrant, Nolasco said. The dead man was hanging by the neck, his head twisted through the metal bars of a gazebo. Police believe he crossed the border a few days earlier: His arms and legs were covered with scratches from walking through mesquite bushes in the desert, Nolasco said. Some residents believe the man was killed, perhaps by smugglers, but police are calling the death a suicide.

"There is no indication to show he was a victim of a homicide," Nolasco said.


Image tarnished
Byron Jackson, who was sworn in as Eloy's mayor on June 7 after serving eight years on the City Council, finds the increase in smuggling activity troubling.

With speculators buying up farmland and new houses going up on the edge of the city, the economically depressed community is poised to undergo a boom. Still, Jackson worries the increase in smuggling activity could tarnish the city's image.

"I definitely don't want Eloy looked upon this way," said Jackson, who owns a landscaping maintenance business.

The city's Police Department is relatively powerless to combat the growing smuggling trade, Jackson said, because immigration enforcement is the federal government's responsibility, "plus we are a small town with limited resources."


Disappear easily
Of the city's 10,375 residents, 74 percent are Hispanic, according to the 2000 census, with newly arrived immigrants often living side by side with U.S.-born Latinos. Which means, Jackson said, "You can disappear real easy here. You can blend in."

"Then there is the profiling issue. We definitely don't want to follow the likes of the city of Chandler," said Jackson, referring to the 1997 Chandler "roundup," in which, in an effort to arrest undocumented immigrants, police joined forces with U.S. Border Patrol agents and demanded that many native-born and naturalized Latinos produce proof of citizenship.

The five-day roundup sparked several protests and spawned two lawsuits against Chandler.

Other residents say Eloy has a long tradition of welcoming Mexican immigrants to work on farms, and many residents here sympathize with the migrants and resent being stopped by the Border Patrol.

"I've never met anyone who said, 'Oh, wow. It's about time the Border Patrol got here,' " said Manuel Alfonso Gallegos, 22, whose family owns a small general store on Main Street in downtown Eloy that caters to Mexican immigrants.

Like other residents, Gallegos said he has noticed an increase in Border Patrol agents in recent months. It bothers him to see them arresting undocumented immigrants who he says are doing work others won't do.

"I'm not going to go out there in the fields and pick that cotton," Gallegos said. "If they (the Border Patrol) take all those people away, then it's us that are going to have to be out there picking cotton and watermelons."

Meanwhile, the migrant who drowned in the canal still hadn't been identified as of Friday. His 5-foot-5, 142-pound body was taken to the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office in Tucson.

Reach the reporter at (602) 444-8312

The Salt Lake Tribune -- Feds to monitor Utah's 3rd District balloting

The Salt Lake Tribune -- Feds to monitor Utah's 3rd District balloting

Feds to monitor Utah's 3rd District balloting
By Nicole Warburton
The Salt Lake Tribune

Responding to a perceived threat to intimidate voters by a group seeking a crackdown on immigration, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday it will send attorneys to monitor Tuesday's primary election in Utah's 3rd Congressional District.
The Justice Department is responding to ProjectUSA Director Craig Nelsen's statements Thursday that his group might challenge the right of some foreign-born residents to vote.
"This is intimidation -- plain and simple," Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said in a statement.
A short Justice Department announcement said observers and attorneys would monitor the election "to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act."
Incumbent 3rd District Rep. Chris Cannon, who has sponsored legislation that opponents say grants "amnesty" to illegal immigrants, is facing a primary challenge from former state legislator Matt Throckmorton.
Throckmorton has been helped by immigration reform groups who have conducted a vigorous campaign against Cannon. They have distributed a transcript from a Spanish-language radio program in which they alleged the congressman and an aide encouraged illegal immigrants to vote and donate to Cannon's campaign.
"This is good," Throckmorton said when asked about the Justice Department's action. "It highlights the seriousness of what has been stated about the issue" of illegal voting.
But Cannon spokesman Joe Hunter said the transcript circulated to the news media and the subject of talk show chatter was incomplete and did not show that Cannon fully explained voting laws.
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"The idea that anyone is going to encourage illegal immigrants to vote is ridiculous," Hunter said. "The idea that Chris Cannon, an attorney and member of the House Judiciary Committee, would do that is beyond belief."
He called the alleged threat by ProjectUSA to challenge foreign-born voters a "pretty obvious ploy" to intimidate voters.
"There is no evidence that the Utah Election Division and our elections are such that noncitizens could vote, or have voted, or will vote," said Hunter.
State Elections Director Amy Naccarato and Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen agree.
"It's a very unfortunate tactic to single out a group of people like this," Swensen said, adding that in 13 years she has never seen a case of undocumented aliens registering to vote. "I'm very glad to hear that [the Justice Department] is taking this seriously. I think this will give to any group with any intention of disrupting the election a message that it won't be tolerated."
Nelsen said he was "shocked" to be accused of election disruption and voter intimidation.
"We were well within the law," he said. "Here's a congressman on the radio encouraging illegal aliens to vote and we say we're going to look at census and voter records and we're the ones being blamed? Wow."
He says his group was simply encouraging law-abiding behavior and not employing a "tactic" to intimidate voters.
Nelsen and other immigration reform groups object to Cannon's immigration bill, which gives undocumented agricultural laborers a temporary guest worker status.
ProjectUSA, the Coalition for the Future American Worker and other groups have paid for billboards and radio ads in Utah and other states. While Nelsen says his group has spent only around $2,000 in Utah, the combined spending of all the immigration reform groups is upwards of $80,000, according to Hunter.
Republican Sylvia Haro, a member of a Latino legislative task force that helped defeat two anti-immigrant bills earlier this year, said if there's any singling out of voters because of what they look like or because of their last names, "they are going to see a lot of lawsuits."
"I am disappointed," she said. "This is going to be offensive, this should not be going on."
She said Throckmorton has created an atmosphere of division and racism.
Tony Yapias, director of the state Office of Hispanic Affairs, said he welcomed the observers.
"It's great," he said. "It's important to make sure the process is fair. At the end, the polls will show that no [undocumented immigrants] attempted to vote and it will backfire on Throckmorton. I'm not illegal and I'm going to show them I can vote."
Utah allows two types of challenges to voters. One is a document submitted to the county clerk by the Friday before the election that identifies the voters and the basis for the challenge.
The second can be made at the voting precinct when a person tries to put the ballot into the ballot box -- if the person is not the person listed on the official register, is not a resident of Utah, is not a citizen of the United States, or has not resided in Utah for 30 days before the election.
The election judge is to ask the challenged voter for proof of identity and residence and then allow the person to vote with a provisional ballot.
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Tribune reporter Rhina Guidos contributed to this story.