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!
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.
February 6, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - A zapateado will be performed by Ballet Folklorico en Aztlan on February 9th at 2:00 p.m. at the Muevete Dance Studio in Lemon Grove.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Miriam Raftery
May 9, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- For the first time, the United States government will offer legal counsel to immigrant detainees with mental disabilities facing deportation hearings. This is the first expansion of the right to counsel in 30 years – the result of an ACLU lawsuit. Before to last week's federal court ruling, these individuals were not guaranteed legal representation even though they clearly demonstrated tremendous difficulty in representing themselves in the complicated legal proceedings against them.
José Gonzalezis a 33-year-old man who doesn't know his own age and, in many aspects of his life, has the cognitive ability of a two-year-old. Both his parents are lawful permanent residents of the United States, and José had a pending petition for residency. Until last week's historic ruling, the government expected José to represent himself in a deportation hearing – after holding him for five years in a detention facility.
May 4, 2013 (El Cajon) – Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District’s Board of Trustees voted on April 16 to adopt a resolution calling on Congress to enact the comprehensive immigration reforms being hammered out by a bipartisan “gang of eight” legislators (four Republicans and four Democrats).
The resolution was introduced by trustee Mary Kay Rosinski and passed with five votes in favor. The action comes on the heels of similar resolutions adopted by San Diego Unified School District and the San Diego City Council.
April 25, 2013 (Crest) – The County library in Crest will hold El Dia de los Niños/El Dia de los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) on Tuesday, April 30 at 4:30 p.m. The celebration includes bilingual story times in Spanish, French and Arabic. In addition, you can enjoy music and refreshments, plus learn how to make paper flowers.
The library is located at 105 Juanita Lane in the Crest community of El Cajon. For more information on county library events, visit www.sdcl.org.
By Miriam Raftery
April 19, 2013 (San Diego) – A jury today has acquitted U.S. Border Patrol agent Luis Fonseca of using unreasonable force. Fonseca was shown on Border Patrol video strangling a migrant to unconsciousness while the undocumented migrant, Adolfo Cesar Escobar, tood with his hands against a wall waiting to be fingerprinted at the Imperial Beach Border Patrol station. Jurors found the video evidence inconclusive.
“This sends the wrong message to Border Patrol and fuels a culture of impunity in the agency,” said Andrea Guerrero, Executive Director of Alliance San Diego in a statement released today. The rights activist added, “It should never be acceptable to strangle someone who poses no threat, then kick him while he is down and walk away as if no harm had been done.”
By Nadin Abbott
Photos by Tom Abbott
April 9, 2013 (San Diego)—At the cusp of the U.S. Senate taking on immigration reform, the San Diego City Council today sent a bipartisan message to Washington. With a unanimous vote, the San Diego City Council passed a resolution asking for comprehensive, common sense, immigration reform. The partisan divide in Washington was not evident in San Diego, where Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues to stand united on this issue.
Council Member David Alvarez chaired the effort with Council Member Mark Kersey. Before the vote, Alvarez said, “The language is meant to send a message to Washington DC...This is a united message.” He noted that almost everybody is affected by this issue; immigration touches all of us.
CONGRESSMAN VARGAS CALLS FOR EMERGENCY AMNESTY MEASURE TO PROTECT THREATENED WORKERS, VISITS WITH “SAN DIEGO NINE” ON HUNGER STRIKE
By Nadin Abbott
April 7, 2013 (San Diego) Updated April 8 with statement by Evolution Hospitality—East County residents and Congressman Juan Vargas (D-51), whose district includes the border areas in East County, turned out yesterday in support of low wage workers staging a hunger strike at the Mission Valley Hilton. Vargas spoke with ECM on immigration reform and how it applies to this situation.
The workers want the right to organize a union and collectively bargain for a labor contract. Employees contend that management is using immigration status to selectively threaten union organizers—while at the same time outsourcing housekeepers’ work to undocumented workers paid more than long-time employees.
Proposed resolution calls for pathway to citizenship and respect for human and civil rights in enforcement
April 4, 2013 (San Diego) --Following the lead of the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) and the San Diego City Council, the Board of Trustees of the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) may also add their voice to the immigration reform discussion taking place around the City and the nation.
Festivities, friendship and food are the order of the day as the Downtown El Cajon Library at 201 E. Douglas Avenue hosts its fourth annual Multi-cultural Family Fiesta. The event is Saturday, April 13, from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Bring the family and enjoy musical entertainment, food, community information and free admission.
By Janis Mork
April 1, 2013 (San Diego)- In honor of César Chávez day, all state administrative offices, most local government offices and schools will be closed today, and all trash/recyclables will be delayed by one day. For a full list of closures and the businesses that will remain open, visit: http://fox5sandiego.com/2013/04/01/closures-for-cesar-chavez-day/#axzz2PEZ9g7Tf.
Chávez was born March 31, 1927. He became active with the Community Service Organization, which helped fight racial and economic discrimination against Chicanos. He co-founded the National Farm Workers Association in the 1960’s. He believed in non-violence and organized strikes and boycotts to gain rights for migrant farm workers, gaining support to have his organization be the first successful farm workers’ union in the United States. Up until his death on April 23, 1993, he remained president of United Farm Workers of America (AFL-CIO).
March 13, 2013 (San Diego)-- In separate incidents this week, two U.S. Border Patrol agents were assaulted while performing patrol duties in San Diego County, the Border Patrol reports.
The first assault occurred Monday at approximately 8 p.m. in the Otay Mountain area, when a Border Patrol agent attempted to arrest a male undocumented Mexican national who had entered the U.S. illegally. During the arrest, the suspect became assaultive and struck the agent in the face and head, according to a release issued by the U.S. Border Patrol today. After a brief struggle, the agent was able to detain the man. The suspect is being held by the Department of Homeland Security pending charges for assault on a federal agent.
February 28, 2013 (San Diego)—San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante officially opened a San Diego City office south of the border on Friday, February 22, in a show of unity and commitment to encouraging both economic growth and cultural respect.
“Somos dos ciudades pero una region. We are two cities, but one region. This office opening is not just a symbolic gesture, we are going to solidify our relationship and work together to build a great border community,” said Mayor Filner.
FILMS, SCHEDULE & TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE FOR MARCH 7-17, 20TH ANNIVERSARY SAN DIEGO LATINO FILM FESTIVAL
February 20, 2013 (San Diego)--As San Diego comes together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the San Diego Latino Film Festival (SDLFF), mix and mingle with celebrities, filmmakers, and civic and community leaders.
Showcasing the latest in Latino cinema, from the highly anticipated documentary Hecho en Mexico featuring Diego Luna, the historical drama Cinco de Mayo: La Batalla; to Colosio, the film that delves into the life and mystery shrouded murder of the Mexican presidential candidate.
February 11, 2013 (Juchitan) –A wind farm worker was slain and the facility’s general manager injured by gunshots, a Mexican media outlet reported on February 8, 2013. Witnesses reportedly told police that four hooded persons walked into a party in a residential neighborhood “with both pistols and rifles, straight to the two people.” The assailants escaped in a black vehicle.