Latino Voices

Latino Voices

LA MESA CHURCH LAUNCHES PETITION TO HELP REFUGEE CHILDREN; MEETS WITH CONGRESSWOMAN DAVIS

 

“We  expressed our concern over the current debate that is focusing on sending the children back while we believe it should be focusing on the care and safety of the children.”—Doug Brunson, UCCLM Committee on Border Justice

View or sign petition: http://tableucc.com/witness/sign-the-petition-central-american-refugee-crisis/

Over 50,000 young children have crossed the border to seek refugee status in the U.S. this year.  Some are fleeing gang violence and drug trafficking, others are escaping grinding poverty or trying to reunite with family already in the United States.  Many have paid large sums to smugglers and made dangerous journeys atop trains to get here from Central America, only to be placed in overcrowded, often unhealthy holding facilities while awaiting determination of their status by understaffed courts.  Some have also endured the verbal abuse of militant protestors seeking to banish them back to the horrors from which they fled.

Inspired by The Rev. Kaji Douŝa’s sermon on Sunday, July 13, members of the United Church of Christ of La Mesa gathered to discuss the child immigration crisis and how the congregation, as a justice-oriented church, should respond.

TWO GOVERNORS, TWO POLAR OPPOSITE APPROACHES TO CHILD REFUGEES

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 22, 2014 (San Diego)--How should America deal with the tens of thousands of children fleeing violence in Central America, arriving at our borders?  Many are traveling alone, trying to reach family members in the U.S.  Most are teens, but some are as young as three years old.

BORDER ANGELS LAUNCHES TEDDY BEAR DRIVE FOR IMMIGRANT CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

 

Photos by Maria Teresa Fernandez and Miriam Raftery

July 10, 2014 (San Diego) – Border Angels, a nonprofit San Diego organization, has received over 10 tons of donated clothing, toys, diapers and food for the Central American refugee families coming to our region.  Now the group has launched a teddy bear drive to “share the love with our refugee children,”  said Enrique Morones, founder of Border Angels.  Donated items can be dropped off at the Border Angels office at 2258 Island Avenue in San Diego.  The group also seeks an East County drop-off location.

This is not the group’s first effort to help people in need locally.  Border Angels successfully raised donations to help wildfire survivors in our region, as well as to help victims of the Easter Sunday earthquake just over our border several years ago. 

The wave of Central American immigrants fleeing violence and risk of death in their homelands have been the subject of controversy.  Anti-immigration protesters blocked several busloads of the refugees in Murrietta, chanting racial slurs. Five of the protesters were arrested after some tackled law enforcement officers.  Now, as people across the nation and around the world have seen video of the controntation, many have stepped forward to help the immigrant children and their families.

BORDER ANGELS CALL FOR ACTION, HELP FOR IMMIGRANT FAMILIES AFTER PROTESTERS BLOCK BUSES

 

Hear our podcast  on the Central American immigrants:

Updates on Murrietta, Congressman Juan Vargas' visit with immigrants in El Centro, and our interviews from this rally, including Enrique Morones of Border Angels. Rev. Beth Johnson from the Palomar Unitarian Universalist congregation and Everard Meade, Trans-Border Institute at USD, providing historical background on the Central American situation.

Listen here: http://kiwi6.com/file/hp9656gewn

 

By Nadin Abbott

“What we need is humanitarian solutions. Sending the children back to sure death is not humanitarian.” – Enrique Morones, Border Angels

“This is a failure to enforce federal law at the federal level.” Murrieta Mayor Alan Long

July 2, 2014 (San Diego)—Yesterday, dozens of anti-immigrant protesters blocked buses carrying 140 immigrants from Central America, mostly women and children. Shouting racial slurs and carrying signs demanding the migrants be sent home, the protesters forced the buses bound for Murrieta to turn around and go to San Ysidro instead.  The buses carried migrants from Texas, where holding cells are over flowing due to a massive influx of families and children.

Today, Border Angels held a rally in support of the immigrants and began a donation drive for toys, clothing, diapers to welcome the immigrants, most of whom were fleeing violence and threats of death in their homeland.

But what’s fueling the surge in immigration from Central America?  To understand what’s happening today, we have to look back several decades into the history of the region and the role of U.S. foreign policy in Central America.

CENTRAL AMERICAN IMMIGRANTS BOUND FOR SAN DIEGO

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 29, 2014 (San Diego) – The Border Patrol has announced that starting this week, it will bring undocumented Central American immigrants from Texas to California.  The first groups will include families, not unaccompanied minors, to ease overcrowding of facilities due to an influx of children fleeing violence in Central America.

The families will be brought to San Diego and El Centro to ease what President Barack Obama has called a humanitarian crisis. 

ABC News this week interviewed a 17 year old girl who was among those immigrants apprehended attempting to cross into the U.S.   In a tearful voice, she told them that she fled her home in Central America after her brother was murdered and a gang threatened her with harm if she would not join.  On her journey here, she was gang-raped by several men before reaching the U.S. She was  detained after reaching the U.S. but eventually released into custody of a relative in Florida, where she awaits an asylum hearing to determine if she can stay in the U.S. or not.

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TAKING MEASURES TO DEAL WITH INFLUX OF IMMIGRANT MINORS

 

 

By Trevor Hill

June 11, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--This year, the number of minors illegally crossing the border north through Mexico into the United States has increased to approximately 48,000 (92% higher than last year) and is projected to reach over 60,000 by the end of the 2014 fiscal year. The vast majority of these children is not coming from Mexico, but in fact is fleeing Central American countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

To deal with the influx, immigrant minors and adults alike are being shipped to warehouses and other facilities in order to hold them until they can be deported or granted a green card. About 700 minors are currently being held in a warehouse Nogales, Arizona, where living conditions have become deplorable due to overcrowding and lack of supplies. Fortunately, this is only a temporary housing for the children who will spend only enough time in Nogales to receive vaccinations and be checked medically before being sent to facilities in Ventura, California; San Antonio, Texas; and Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

This overcrowding is due to a lack of legal representatives willing and/or able to represent these children in Immigration Court. Because courts are not required to fund lawyers for the children, they must find a legal representative through advocacy groups or pro bono law programs.

LAWSUIT ALLEGES MISTREATMENT OF DETAINEES AT BORDER PATROL FACILITIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 8, 2014 (San Diego) – Alba Quiñones  fled domestic abuse in El Salvador, hoping to seek asylum in the United States.  But after enduring abusive conditions in a U.S. Border Patrol detention facility, she has now filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government—the latest in a string of such lawsuits, Mother Jones magazine reports.

BORDER PATROL FINALLY RELEASES CRITICAL REVIEW OF FORCEFUL TACTICS, RESPONDS WITH POLICY CHANGES

 

By Trevor Hill

June 5, 2014 (San Diego)--Last week, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) finally released a report written by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) in February of 2013, which criticized the Border Patrol’s Use of Force policies. The release comes after months of public pressure applied by faith leaders, border communities, and law enforcement since the leakage of some of the report’s findings last November. This event marks a significant victory for those who oppose excessive use of force and support increased transparency in government agencies.

LATINO POLICYMAKERS CONVERGE AT NATIONAL CONFERENCE IN SAN DIEGO JUNE 26-28

 

 

Largest gathering of Latino policymakers in nation: speakers include CA Gov. Jerry Brown, CA Attorney General Kamala Harris and Mexican Ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora

 

May 22, 2014 (San Diego) – Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and less than five months before the upcoming midterm elections, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) will assemble the largest gathering of Latino policymakers in the country for NALEO’s 31st annual conference June 26-28 at Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego.

This year’s conference will feature more than 1,000 Latino public officials and supporters from communities across the country.  Conference participants will join policy leaders for panel discussions on various issues on the national agenda, including immigration reform, education (with an emphasis on STEM), healthcare, voting rights, Latina political leadership, U.S.-Mexico bi-national issues, water, pensions and an in-depth overview of the influence of Latinos in the upcoming midterm elections.  The program will also include a track specifically designed for newly elected officials.

In addition, national leaders will join NALEO for a special plenary on June 26 that will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act by addressing the evolution and future of the civil rights movement for Latinos and all Americans. 

JAIME CAMIL'S 200 CARTAS, COMEDY OPENS FRIDAY! (APRIL 18 - 24)

 

April 17, 2014 (San Diego) – This is the one-year anniversary of the Digital Gym Cinema, the only venue in San Diego where you can watch the best in Latino film every month. Starting this Friday, 200 Cartas, the gut-busting comedy starring Jaime Camil and former Miss Universe, Dayanara Torres, will be back in San Diego for a very special one-week engagement of one of the highest-grossing films of San Diego Latino Film Festival's history!

BORDER PATROL ASKS PUBLIC TO BE ON ALERT FOR ULTRALIGHT AIRCRAFT

 

April 13, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Drug smugglers have been using ultralight aircraft to smuggle narcotics over the border.  The U.S. Border Patrol asks the public to report sightings of suspicious ultralight aircraft.

BORDER PATROL AGENT SHOOTS, KILLS MAN AFTER BEING STRUCK IN FACE BY A ROCK

 

Updated February 24, 2014 with identities of agent and suspect

February 18, 2014 (Otay)—A U.S. Border Patrol agent who was struck by a thrown rock shot and killed Jesus Flores-Cruz, 43 , who died at the scene.  The shooting occurred at 6:40 this morning in the White Cross area of the Otay Mountain Range. The identity of the deceased, who sustained two gunshot wounds, was confirmed by comparing fingerprints from a 1996 arrest by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

According to San Diego Sheriff Homicide Lt. Glenn Giannatonio, the agents were attempting to detain a group of suspected illegal aliens.  “The two agents were out of sight of each when one of the agents was struck in the face by a rock thrown by one of the suspects. Fearing for his safety, the agent fired,” he said, adding that the agent suffered minor injuries.

BORDER PATROL RESPONDS TO TARGET SHOOTING CONTROVERSY

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 6, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (SDIRC) issued a press release last week headlined “Disturbing images show border agents encouraging children to shoot at migrant effigy.”

 In response, U.S. Border Patrol Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Rosario “Pete” Vasquez called statements in that release “unfortunate and false propaganda.”

DEPORTATIONS UP, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION CONTENDS

 

Critics dispute administration figures

By Miriam Raftery

January 26, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – The Obama administration is on track to deport over 2 million people, according to a new report from the University of California-Merced.  That’s about the same number deported under the Bush administration, but more than the U.S. deported during over a century from the late 1890s to the late 1990s.

On average, those deported had lived in the U.S. for 14 years, leading to concerns that the Criminal Alien Program is tearing apart families.  A quarter of all people deported since mid-2010 are parents with children in the U.S., including parents of American citizens, the report concludes.

U.S. CITIZEN DIES IN BORDER PATROL CUSTODY IN PINE VALLEY

 

January 1, 2013 (Pine Valley ) – Steven Brian Keith, 58, died in a holding cell on Christmas morning shortly after midnight  after being detained for possession of three pounds of marijuana at a Border Patrol checkpoint near Pine Valley.  A pipe with methamphetamine traces was also found in the trunk.

According to the County Medical Examiner, Keith was found unresponsive in his holdng cell. Paraemedics were summoned and CPR was initiated, but he failed to respond.

POT DROPS: SMUGGLERS BUSTED WITH ULTRA-LIGHT AIRCRAFT

 

November 28, 2013 (San Diego)-- Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Air and Marine (OAM) and the Border Patrol interrupted a drug smuggling attempt involving air drops of marijuana bales from  an ultra-light aircraft Monday.  Authorities seized over 260 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $157,000. Two suspects were arrested, said Mary Beth Caston with the Border Patrol.

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS WANT ANSWERS ON BORDER PATROL ABUSES

 

November 27, 2013 (San Diego) – This week, led by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), 20 members of Congress wrote to the Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requesting a meeting to discuss the agency's use of force policies.

Their letter (see below) comes a week after it was reported that CBP has elected not to implement a key recommendation made by the Police Executive Research Forum.  The widely respected law enforcement policy organization had urged the agency to restrict the use of deadly force in situations involving rock throwers and people in vehicles.  CBP also continues to resist full public disclosure of its use of force policies despite a series of deaths and widespread allegations of abuse involving CBP personnel.

U.S. BORDER PATROL AGENTS ASSAULTED BY LARGE CROWD FROM MEXICO

 

View a video at 10 News

November 27, 2013 (San Diego) --Border Patrol agents working near the U.S. /Mexico International Border yesterday were assaulted with rocks and bottles after pepper spray was used in an effort to stop a large crowd trying to enter the U.S.

According to the Border Patrol, on November 24, more than 100 people illegally crossed the International Border from Mexico one-quarter-mile west of the San Ysidro Port of Entry in the Tijuana River channel. 

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OFFERS HELP TO PROTECT FAMILIES OF MILITARY AND RESERVISTS FROM DEPORTATION

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 21, 2013 (Washington D.C.) The U.S.  Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a memo aimed at halting the automatic deportation of “spouses, children and parents of active-duty military members, reservists who may be called up as part of the 'Ready Force.'"  Family members of U.S. troops can now apply for parole, allowing them to stay in the U.S. while Congress continues delaying action on comprehensive immigration reform.

SECOND DEFENDANT SENTENCED IN MURDER OF U.S. BORDER PATROL AGENT ROBERT ROSAS

 

November 18, 2013 (San Diego) – Marcos Rodriguez-Perez was sentenced today to 56 years in prison for his participation in the July 2009 robbery and murder of United States Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas, Jr. Rodriguez-Perez, a 28-year-old Mexican national, pleaded guilty in August, admitting he was one of three gunmen who lured the agent into a trap to steal his night-vision goggles and then fatally shot him during a struggle. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and kidnaping, robbery of personal property of the United States, and use and carrying of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence.

GOVERNOR SIGNS LAWS TO PROTECT IMMIGRANT WORKERS FROM ABUSE

 

October 17, 2013 —California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law AB 263, a bill designed to stop employers from retaliating against immigrant workers who stand up for their rights. AB 263 provides the strongest anti-retaliation protections for immigrant workers in the country.  

Brown previously signed two other bills, SB 666 and AB 524, as parts of a package sponsored by the California Labor Federation to protect workers from abuse regardless of immigration status. AB 263 and SB 666  prohibit employers from using immigration-related threats when workers speak out about unfair working conditions. AB 524 clarifies that making immigration threats in order to get away with stealing workers’ wages may constitute criminal extortion.

GOVERNOR VETOES BILL THAT WOULD HAVE ALLOWED LEGAL RESIDENTS WHO ARE NOT CITIZENS TO SERVE ON JURIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 7, 2013 (Sacramento) – Governor Jerry Brown today vetoed Assembly Bill 1401, which would have allowed permanent lawful residents who are not citizens to serve on juries. 

“Jury service, like voting, is quintessentially a prerogative and responsibility of citizenship,” Brown wrote in his veto message. “This bill would permit lawful permanent residents who are not citizens to serve on a jury. I don’t think that’s right.”

GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL GRANTING DRIVER’S LICENSES TO UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 3, 2013 (Sacramento )— Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed AB 60, making California the tenth state in the U.S. to grant undocumented immigrants the right to obtain driver’s licenses.

Studies done by the DMV and AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that unlicensed drivers were more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than validly-licensed drivers. Advocates believe that AB 60 will help make the roads safer by broadening the state’s effort to ensure that all California drivers are properly trained, tested, licensed and insured.

SPRING VALLEY LIBRARY BRANCH’S 8TH ANNUAL FIESTA SEPT. 21

September 7, 2013 (Spring Valley) – The San Diego County Library celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with the 8th annual Spring Valley Library Fiesta on Sept. 21 from 1 – 4 p.m, at the Spring Valley Library, 836 Kempton Street.  The Fiesta will offer free entertainment and activities for all ages.

GONZALEZ BILL PROVIDES IMMIGRANTS PROTECTION FROM FRAUD

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 20, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez has announced plans to introduce legislation to prevent payment for immigration reform services until federal immigration reform is enacted and to ensure that other consumer protections are provided to immigrants pursuing a pathway to U.S. citizenship under the federal immigration reform act pending in Congress.

"DREAMERS" DENOUNCE MILITARIZATION OF THE BORDER

 

By Nadin Abbott

August 1, 2013 (San Diego) – Dreamers, children of immigrants led by Carolina Valdivia of the San Diego Dream Team, held a press conference just outside San Diego Sheriff’s Department central booking on July 29.

The Dreamers contend that Border Patrol used force to break-up a peaceful demonstration at Friendship Park on the U.S.-Mexico border.  They provided media with a video showing Border Patrol, U.S. Customs enforcement, trolley security personnel, and private contractors holding back a noisy crowd of demonstrators on July 28.

IMMIGRATION BILL PASSES U.S. SENATE WITH LARGE MAJORITY, FACES BATTLE IN HOUSE

 

By Nadin Abbott

June 27, 2013 (San Diego)—The United States Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill today with 68 Senators voting for it, and 32 Senators voting against it.

In addition to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants and other provisions, the bill contains many provisions that would impact many in East County, including businesses, agriculture, and bolstering medical personnel.

It also calls for a border security “surge” including hundreds of miles of new border fencing and 18,000 additional federal agents on the U.S.-Mexico border.  Former Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who supports the bill, said it would create “the most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

ACLU CLASS ACTION SUIT ALLEGES U.S. OFFICIALS DUPED IMMIGRANTS INTO GIVING UP RIGHTS IN VOLUNTARY DEPORTATIONS

 

June 23, 2013 (San Diego)--Using misinformation, deception, and coercion, Border Patrol and ICE officers have pressured hundreds, if not thousands, of Mexican nationals with deep roots in the United States into forfeiting their right to a fair hearing and a chance to live here lawfully, alleges the ACLU in a lawsuit filed June 4 in federal court in Los Angeles.  

Plaintiffs include the mother of an autistic son who is an American citizen, a grandmother of U.S. citizens, a man with an American wife and children, and a man engaged to marry a U.S. citizen who has since wed his fiance in Mexico. All are barred from returning to the U.S. for at least 10 years.

JACUMBA HIKERS PLAN BORDER FENCE HIKE SATURDAY JUNE 8

June 6, 2013 (Jacumba) – Looking to get some exercise with a hike rated “easy”?  Jacumba Hikers and Walkers plan a walk along the border fence separating the U.S. and Mexico on Saturday, June 8.

Meet at 7:30 a.m. at the Jacumba Lounge on Old Highway 80 in downtown Jacumba Hot Springs.   Walk will include the Jacumba Airport and Old Rock House for a total of 3.5 miles round trip. Dogs on leashes are also welcome.  Be sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and comfortable walking shoes.

For more info, contact walk leader Sonia Kara   (soniakara1@hotmail.com).

Full schedule of additional hikes.

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