Tag: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano

Immigration News

Questions Raised Over New Rules Governing Local Enforcement of U.S. Immigration Laws

PHOENIX, Arizona –The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office leads the nation when it comes to the number of local officers deputized by the federal government to enforce U.S. immigration laws. Now the program known as 287 (g) is about to change. But the impact of those changes, announced on Friday by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, is unclear here and around the country. Napolitano announced an expansion of the 287 (g) program while making apprehension of criminal immigrants its priority.

Reza

Salvador Reza leads a demonstration in Arizona for immigrant rights. Photo:Valeria Fernandez

The news brought mixed reaction in Arizona, where use of the program has raised concerns over alleged racial profiling and abuse by deputies under the command of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Some applauded the changes to the federal-local agreement as a positive step that would ensure civil rights protections for undocumented immigrants. Others argued the program should end because it has caused local law enforcement go after undocumented immigrants with no criminal record, a deviation from its traditional role of fighting crime.

“If she wants to show good faith she should have suspended the agreement (in Maricopa),” said Salvador Reza, a member of PUENTE a local pro-immigrant movement that opposes 287 (g). “Unless they implement immigration reform that works, what is going on right now is going to keep on dividing our families,” he added. (more…)

Immigration News

In Arizona, Immigrants Stage Hunger Strike to Protest Conditions in County Jails

2009-05-06-079

A candlelight vigil outside the Sandra Day O’ Connor Federal Courthouse in Phoenix on Wednesday in support of prisoners on a hunger strike in Maricopa County jails. Photo: www.josemunozphotos.com

PHOENIX, Arizona – A movement to protest alleged mistreatment of immigrants being held in Maricopa County jails gathered momentum this week as jail detainees initiated a series of hunger strikes, and protests were held in various parts of the county.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) confirmed several instances of inmates refusing food over the past week.

“We’re surprised, we never expected this. But we’re supporting them,” said activist Salvador Reza, an organizer from the pro-immigrant movement PUENTE. His group held a candlelight vigil Wednesday night with relatives of inmates.

The county jail system, administered by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, houses about 9-thousand inmates. On average, undocumented immigrants make up 20 percent of the prison population.

Last Saturday PUENTE led a 6 mile-march to the Durango jail complex to denounce alleged abuse of immigrant women in the county jails. Sheriff Arpaio was the first to report that 43 women in the Estrella Jail had gone on a hunger strike to support the protesters. Citing security reasons, Arpaio had ordered all prisoners to be placed in lock-down during the march.

On Tuesday, May 5th Spanish-language TV station Univision 33 reported on another strike in the Durango jail through an interview with family members of inmates. MCSO confirmed to Feet in Two Worlds that 900 inmates refused their evening meal that same day. Arpaio said Wednesday that the strike was over. But later on Wednesday evening his office reported that 245 inmates had again refused dinner. (more…)

CommentaryImmigration News

Immigration Detention System Under Fire: News Analysis from Feet in Two Worlds

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
Immigrant women at a detention center - Photo: Human Rights Watch

Immigrant women at a detention center . (Photo: Human Rights Watch)

The immigration detention system has been under fire from all sides in the past few weeks. Let us count the ways:

  • All of this came after high-profile detainee deaths in Rhode Island and Virginia called attention to the treatment immigrants receive while they await to be deported.

As with other aspects of immigration policy, the Obama Administration has hinted that it may address the issue of immigrant detention soon, but it has yet to announce any concrete measures on the matter.

(more…)

Immigration News

Napolitano Orders Review of First Work-Site Immigration Raid Under Her Watch

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
Napolitano (Photo: Washington Times/AP)

Napolitano (Photo: Washington Times/AP)

When Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided an engine remanufacturing plant in Bellingham, Wash. on Tuesday, it looked like the Bush administration policy of work-site enforcement would continue under the new White House. This, despite President Barack Obama’s campaign statement that “communities are terrorized by ICE immigration raids.”

“The Obama administration decided against ‘change we can believe in’ and, instead continued the Bush legacy,” the Standing Firm pro-immigrant blog said. “I CANNOT believe the administration is allowing this to happen.”

Today, the mood is much lighter among immigration advocates, after the director of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, late yesterday ordered a review of the operation, the first work-site raid to take place since she took office:

This is a great victory and the first step to winning Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

(more…)

Immigration News

New Homeland Security Chief Napolitano To Focus On Employers Who Hire Undocumented Immigrants

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
New York Times.

Napolitano - Photo: New York Times.

Hours after President Barack Obama was sworn in, the Senate confirmed now-former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano to head the Department of Homeland Security, an agency created in response to the attacks of 9-11.

Napolitano’s confirmation did not face any opposition: only a voice vote was taken on the Senate floor — no need for a roll call, according to Azstarnet.com.

The former governor succeeds Michael Chertoff as Secretary of Homeland Security, and is the first Democrat to head the agency. She comes to the job pledging to get tougher with “the demand side” of illegal immigration, namely employers who hire undocumented workers.

“You have to deal with illegal immigration from the demand side as well as the supply side,” she told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee during her confirmation hearing last week.

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Immigration News

Immigration Implications: What Does Janet Napolitano at Homeland Security Mean for Reform?

Barack Obama and Janet Napolitano -- Getty Images

As Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano appears ready to become the first Democratic secretary of Homeland Security, pro- and anti-immigration observers are trying to decipher what her designation will mean for the future of immigration laws under President Barack Obama.

Napolitano, Spanish wire Agencia EFE remembered today, declared a state of emergency on the U.S.-Mexico border and was the first governor to ask for National Guard troops to be deployed to secure the border between the two countries. She has also vetoed tough immigration enforcement bills put forward by state Republicans and advocated measures like the prosecution of companies that hire undocumented workers. Overall she is seen as more of a hardliner on immigration than most Democrats.

Napolitano’s approach on immigration is fundamentally pragmatic, her friend and think tank founder Fred DuVal told the Christian Science Monitor, adding her philosophy is, “Drop the ideology and let’s talk about what we need to both make the border secure and the relationship with Mexico functional.”

“Napolitano is probably the closest the Democrats could get to an immigration hawk,” Mark Kirkorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank advocating low immigration rates, told reporter Matthew Bell of nationally-syndicated radio show The World. [You can hear Bell’s report here.]

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