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Quick Hits

Here are some links that don't warrant a longer post, but are worth a look:

Workers Not CriminalsNYC won't comply with all ICE detention requests. Hooray! 

Govt-Created Black Markets in Everything: NY lawyer pleads guilty in immigration case and Report ties 2006-10 Arizona fires to immigrants

State Immigration Law Fallout: U.S. sues Utah over new immigration law and Tough US immigration law questioned

Holiday Posting

We will be taking a break for the Christmas and New Year's holidays, so posting will be lighter than usual until the week of January 3rd. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Arpaio is a Rights Violator

It comes as no surprise to me that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office  has been found to have committed a variety of Arpaiorights violations against Latinos. The federal government issued a "scathing" report of his office's activities.  From this AP article on

Latino inmates with limited English skills were punished for failing to understand commands in English by being put in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day or keeping prisoners locked down in their jail pods for as long as 72 hours without a trip to the canteen area or making nonlegal phone calls.

The report said some jail officers used racial slurs for Latinos when talking among themselves and speaking to inmates.

And the list goes on and on. 

Fortunately, it looks like there will finally be some repercussions for Arpaio's actions:

If the sheriff's office doesn't turn around its policies and practices, the federal government could pull millions of dollars of federal funding.

Arpaio's office did not immediately respond to AP requests for comment.

The report will require Arpaio to set up effective policies against discrimination, improve training and make other changes that would be monitored for compliance by a judge. Arpaio faces a Jan. 4 deadline for saying whether he wants to work out an agreement. If not, the federal government will sue him and let a judge decide the complaint.

Ouch. Arpaio's not going to like that, but the simple fact of them matter is, when you violate the individual rights of others, you deserve to be punished accordingly. Hopefully the federal grand jury that has also has been investigating Arpaio's office will be able to come up with the evidence it needs to put this angry, hateful man away for the rest of his life!

Weekly Quote

This week's quote was spoken during a lecture, so my apologies if it's not exactly what Dr. Lewis said, word-for-word.

Illegal immigrants are not criminals (as conservatives often claim) but the victims of unjust laws. - Dr. John David Lewis

(H/T to Diana Hsieh)

US Citizens Detained by ICE

The ACLU is dealing with more and more cases of American citizens being swept up in ICE's and Obama's Secure CommunitiesJail Bars with Flag program (that Obama said would only deport dangerous criminals.  Yeah, right.)

In jail, no one believed he was a citizen, Montejano recounted, because he speaks with an accent. He said he has split his time between Mexico and the U.S.

He was released after the ACLU sent ICE Montejano's passport and birth certificate.

You can read the rest of the story on here.

US Builds Sea Fence to Keep Out Migrant Workers from the South

This story is so preposterous, it's hard to believe it's true!  Leave it to the US government to be so creative (and expensive!) when it comes to violatingLA 169027.ME.1121.border-ocean.01.DPB.jpg individual rights!

From this LA Times article:

Pounding surf and corrosive sea air have stymied efforts for years to erect a sturdy fence at the westernmost edge of the U.S.- Mexico border.

Now, the U.S. Border Patrol is trying again, with a $4.3-million project that would extend a nearly quarter-mile barrier 300 feet into the Pacific Ocean and remake one of the more scenic spots on the border.

When completed early next year, a steel fence 18 feet tall will replace a teetering, gap-riddled barrier that did little to discourage people from crossing back and forth on a wide beach linking Tijuana and Imperial Beach.

I think my favorite part is at the very end though:

Longtime beachgoers think the agency better keep the warranty paperwork. Netza Tapia, 40, said he remembers the days when he would slip through the corroded section of the fence to continue his family walks on the Imperial Beach side of the beach. Jonathan Parra and his friends used to breach the wave-battered gaps regularly to play soccer on Imperial Beach's relatively empty stretch of sand.

The sea, Parra said, doesn't recognize borders. "The strength of the ocean will eventually knock the fence down," Parra said.

Hopefully, the strength of individuals fighting for their rights will eventually knock our current, immoral US government down too!

Famous Immigrant of the Week

Albert V. Baez was not only the father of folks singers, Joan Baez and Mimi FariƱa, but he was also the co-investor of the X-ray reflection microscopeAlbert_BaezFrom his obituary in the New York Times:

Born in Puebla, Mexico, and reared in Brooklyn, Dr. Baez earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Drew University, a master’s in math from Syracuse University and a doctorate in physics from Stanford University. He taught physics at several universities, including Stanford.

In 1948, while he was still a graduate student at Stanford, Mr. Baez and Paul Kirkpatrick developed the X-ray reflection microscope, which could examine living cells. The imaging technique is still used, particularly in astronomy to take X-ray pictures of galaxies and in medicine.

You can read more about Dr. Baez on his Wikipedia page here.

A Sign of Improvement? Same-Sex Deportation Case Dropped by Judge

I sure hope we see a lot more of this!  From The Huffington Post:Same-Sex Marriage

The U.S. government has dropped its New York deportation case against an Argentine lesbian who married a U.S. citizen, marking an improvement in the treatment of cases of same-sex couples involving a legal alien and a U.S. citizen, a lawyer for the woman said Tuesday.

The Argentinean, Monica Alcota, was supposed to be in U.S. Immigration Court in Manhattan Tuesday, but her lawyers were notified Monday that Immigration Judge Terry Bain signed an order Nov. 30 dismissing the case because "good cause has been established," said Alcota's Los Angeles attorney, Lavi Soloway.

Weekly Quote

If you destroy a free market you create a black market. If you havewinston churchill ten thousand regulations, you destroy all respect for the law.

- Winston Churchill

OWS and Three Immigrants by J. Brian Phillips

Brian Phillips was kind enough to let me post his Interview with an Immigrant Seattlehere in its entirety.  As a result of that post, I subscribed to his newsletter.  Last week, I received the following newsletter from Brian and have again posted  it with his permission.  The first part is about his experience with Occupy Wall Street in Seattle, but the second half is about three immigrants he interviewed while there. 

Last week my wife and I traveled to Seattle to attend a

wedding. We expected the weather to be cold and rainy,

but Thursday was a beautiful day, and we decided to visit

Occupy Seattle, which was about 15 blocks from our hotel.

We didn't know the specific location for the protest, so

when we got close we went into a grocery store to get the

exact location. The clerk we spoke to was a thin, wrinkled

lady of about 60, and she rolled her eyes as she gave us the

location. I asked her why she reacted that way, and she

proceeded to denounce the anarchists and WTO leftovers.

There are some who understand what they are protesting,

she said, but many are simply looking for handouts and trying

to cause trouble. She seemed sympathetic to the occupy

movement, but not the impact it was having on her neighborhood.

We found the camp about 2 blocks away from the store.

The camp covered about half of a city block. Apparently

they were using the park at the city community college. The

camp was packed with tents, which included a library, a "hospital,"

and a "spiritual center." When we arrived, a tour was in progress,

so we tagged along for a brief time. At the library, we were told

that we could donate a book, borrow a book, exchange a book,

or donate a book. Donations--for money, books, and tobacco--

were a constant theme during our brief visit. At the "spiritual center"

we were told that occupiers could spend quiet time contemplating.

My first thought was, if I had been a resident of the camp, I would

be contemplating what the hell I was doing there. But I suppressed

my thought.

We clearly did not look like the typical occupier, and I noticed at

least one person give us a look that did not appear friendly. Most

of the "residents"--one made it clear that the camp was his home--

were under 30, scruffy looking, and many displayed an abundance

of facial piercings. The atmosphere made me think of a giant,

permanent slumber party.

In general, the camp was cleaner than I expected, though we didn't

venture very far into the interior. There were several portable toilets.

The signs displayed were similar to those I've seen from other

occupations--they denounced the banks, they called for "economic

justice," and they expressed a variety of other leftist sentiments. In

the 10 minutes or so we were there, we saw signs or heard at least

4 different appeals for some form of donation--books, cash, or

tobacco. A block away we encountered an individual begging for

marijuana--I don't know if he was an occupier, but he certainly

looked the type.

A few blocks further away, we can upon a man who was shouting

at a well-dressed couple. While his diatribe was largely incoherent,

he was clearly unhappy that they appeared to be a part of the 1

percent. Again, I do not know if this man was/is a part of the occupy

movement, but his appearance, sentiments, and actions were

certainly consistent with it. As we have seen repeatedly, the

occupy movement is not content to merely express their ideas.

They have taken over parks and other spaces, caused property

damage, invaded banks and other businesses, and impeded

traffic. In word and in action, they have demonstrated no respect

for individual rights. At the same time, they demand to be

absolved of responsibility for their own actions, such as having

all debts forgiven. They are little more than brats throwing a

temper tantrum, and if they won't get their way, they will disrupt

the lives of the rational and productive.

Some of the occupiers spend a portion of the day in the financial

area of Seattle. In that area, we saw less than a dozen protestors

there. Most were the bedraggled, unkempt types that we saw at

the camp. Interestingly, across the street from these protestors,

2 middle-aged men were holding signs denouncing the banks.

They appeared to want to distance themselves from the rougher

looking occupiers. Apparently, even some leftists have standards.

I didn't really learn anything from the experience. But it did

make the whole occupy movement more real to me, particularly

when the weather turned cold and rainy on Friday. While I sat in

the warmth of the hotel bar, enjoying many of the values made

possible by the capitalism the occupiers are denouncing, they got

to huddle in their tents for meager protection from the elements.

They were living in the environment they want and so was I. I

hope that they enjoyed their environment; I enjoyed mine.

* * *

On a different note, one evening I stepped out for some fresh

air and struck up a conversation with a valet at the hotel. It turns

out that he immigrated from Ethiopia about 25 years ago. I asked

him about the difficulty of the immigration process. He said at that

time it wasn't too bad, but it certainly was becoming more difficult.

He expressed some sympathy for illegal aliens, but seemed to

generally support America's immigration policies. When I said

that virtually anyone who wants to come to America should be

free to do so, he became very interested. Unfortunately, he was

called to work before we could finish the conversation.

This was my third conversation with an immigrant on the topic of

immigration in the past few months. My first conversation was

with one of my employees. He illegally entered the country from

Mexico as a child. He is now a citizen. At first, he was very

hesitant to speak with me about the topic. I suspect that he

thought I might have an anti-immigrant attitude. He eventually

said that he thought those opposed to illegals were racist, and

he seemed genuinely pleased with my position on immigration.

My third conversation involved the bride in the wedding we

attended. She is a Filipino. She was in the process of being

deported when she met her husband--the company that was

sponsoring her was no longer sponsoring immigrants due to

tighter government restrictions. Ironically, when they met, he

was about to embark on a year in Thailand. So they actually

got to spend a year together in Asia, and during that time they

labored to get her back into the country. I won't go into the

details here, but it was a stressful and expensive endeavor.

Last month I interviewed them for my blog. They were

generally supportive of the government's immigration policies

and only complained that those policies are not efficient.

The contrast between these 3 immigrants is interesting. The

Mexican had the most rational ideas. Today, Mexicans are

the scapegoats, just as the Chinese, the Irish, and other

immigrant groups have been before them. So they are feeling

the heat more than other immigrants, and I suspect they are

seeing the irrationality of our immigration policies more

easily than others.

The Filipino was the most accepting of restrictions on

immigration. During my time in Seattle, I learned that most

Filipinos worship America. The bride's father, who was at

the wedding, spoke highly of Douglas MacArthur, even

though he (the bride's father) was not born until after WWII.

I got the sense from him, and from the groom, that Filipinos

believe that America can do no wrong. That would explain

the bride's acceptance of our immigration policies. Also,

she is an accountant with significant experience in international

accounting. So she has more economic opportunities than

the Mexican or the Ethiopian.

The Ethiopian fell in between the Filipino and the Mexican.

He didn't like Arizona's anti-immigration law, properly saying

that he felt threatened by it. I told him that I too felt threatened

by it.

When I later shared these experiences with a friend, she

remarked that many immigrants are probably scared to "rock

the boat." They want to come to America, and if they complain

too loudly about the unjust process, they will likely be denied

entry. I suspect that she is correct. But I also suspect, as she

did, that the problem goes deeper.

Most Americans do not have a proper understanding of rights.

Progressives regard rights as a gift from society, while conservatives

regard rights as a gift from God. Both of these views are flawed.

If rights are a gift, then that gift may be withdrawn at any time.

While this is true, no matter the alleged source of this alleged

"gift," I find the conservative position more interesting and


If, as conservatives claim, our rights are a gift from God,

why are those rights denied to those not born in America? Is

God a racist? Are Americans God's chosen people? That is

certainly the implication of the conservative position.

While conservatives are quick to say that they are not

anti-immigrant, they are equally quick to deny rights to

immigrants and would-be immigrants. They want to build

fences, check papers, and deny freedom of association.

On one hand, conservatives claim that rights come from God;

on the other hand, they seek to deny certain individuals those

rights through man-made laws.

Conservatives also claim that they aren't opposed to immigration,

but they want people coming through the "front door." They

evade the fact that the front door is essentially locked, and it

will only be opened when certain arbitrary criteria are met.

I had the good fortune to be born in America. But if I hadn't

been, I would be willing to do nearly anything to get to this great

country. Just as slaves had a moral right to flee their masters, and

those who harbored them had a moral right to do so, those who

come to America illegally have a moral right to live where they

choose. I do not advocate breaking the law, but I do not fault

those who break immoral laws. The abolitionists of the nineteenth

century fought to eradicate a gross injustice. Those who love

America and the principles upon which it was founded--individual

rights--must fight to change America's immigration policies. We

must demand the repeal of any law that denies an individual--

any individual--his moral right to his own life, his own liberty,

and the pursuit of his own happiness.

You can subscribe to Brian's newsletter in the right-hand column of his blog here.

Another Auto Industry Migrant Worker Arrested in Alabama

As a follow up to this earlier post, now a Honda worker has been caught in HondaAlabama's immigration net.  From Reuters:

A Honda worker on assignment at the company's Lincoln, Alabama, factory was issued a citation.

The immigration law requires proper identification to be produced during routine traffic stops. People suspected of being in the country illegally can be detained.

"We understand he is working with authorities to resolve this matter," said Ted Pratt, spokesman for Honda Manufacturing of Alabama. He described the worker as "a Japanese associate on assignment."

And it looks like other foreign companies are thinking twice about setting up shop in Alabama.  From The Wall Street Journal:

In March, a Chinese company, Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tube Group, announced plans to build a $100 million plant in Thomasville that would mark the first foray by a Chinese manufacturer into the state. While the company remains committed to the project, it has expressed unease to local leaders about the immigration law, according to a person familiar with the matter.

"They're concerned about moving employees to Alabama in the future" and worry that the company's reputation might be affected by locating in the state, this person said.

While Alabama Governor, Robert Bentley, tries to put a positive spin on his state's awful law by saying, "We are not anti-foreign companies. We are very pro-foreign companies," the fact is, his legislation is anti-immigrant.  Bentley likes to ignore the fact that immigration creates jobs and strengthens economies.

Famous Immigrant of the Week


This week's famous immigrant is ornithologist Jean-Jacques Audubon (or John  James Audubon).  Audubon was born to a French merchant in 1785, in Les Cayes, West Indies.  Audubon came to the US with a false passport in 1803 to avoid conscription into the Napoleonic Wars.  From the Audubon Society website:

John James Audubon was a daring and colorful character renowned for his adventurous nature, his artistic genius, and his obsessive interest in birds. Learn about his life by reading "John James Audubon -The American Woodsman: Our Namesake and Inspiration". He explored the Audubon Roseate Spoonbillnatural history of much of the central  and eastern United States, painted almost 500 species of the 700 or so regularly occurring North American species, worked tirelessly to promote his project, and set a new standard for artistry and printing. Perhaps above all else, Audubon was a lover and observer of birds and nature.

Politically speaking, I am not an environmentalist and I disagree with the Audubon society on a number of issues; however, I thoroughly enjoy their field guides while I'm out and about enjoying nature.  If you're interested in observing and identifying wildlife, plants, rocks and minerals or fungi, these books are a wonderful and easy to use resource.  I am thankful that Audubon came to America and that his books have taught me so much about the world around me.

Woman Must Prove She's a Citizen, Yet Government Makes That Impossible


Whorton arrived in the United States in April 1948, the 16-month-old child of a war bride married to an American who had served overseas and who raised Whorton as his daughter. Whorton's Austrian-born mother was naturalized in 1952 and her mother told Whorton that she had been as well.

Whorton said local Citizenship and Immigration officials denied her request to see the file, even though, she pointed out, they had allowed her to look at her birth father's immigration file and even gave her photographs from it. At that point, she said they denied ever giving her access to her father's file or photographs. She's still not certain why.

She said immigration officials told her that her mother's file did not clear up her citizenship status and that they could provide no further assistance.

So if you're brought into the US as an infant and the government won't allow you to view your parent's records, how in the world do they expect you to be able to prove your citizenship?! 

Leave it to government to harass a peaceful, productive member of society over something as arbitrary and silly as having to prove she's in this country legally.  If she's not violating anyone else's rights, leave her alone and let her live her life!

Weekly Quote

Inviting immigrants in to create jobs may seem counterintuitive, but the facts are clear. Immigrant-led innovation is key to creating U.S. jobs. According to statistics from Partnership for a New American Economy, 40% of Fortune 500 companies were created by immigrants or their children. Further, between 1995 and 2005, 25% of high-tech startups in the United States had at least one immigrant founder, and these companies have created more than 450,000 jobs.
- Amy M. Wilkinson

Deportations Continue to Fuel Corruption, Abuse and Rights Violations

From USA Today and The New York Times comes two stories of government corruption and violations of individual rights regarding the record number of deportations under the ObamaLily Ramos administration.

From USA Today:

After living for 21 years in the U.S., Ramos, 39, was deported to Mexico in September, separated from the two daughters and son she has raised as a single mother since her ex-husband left them seven years ago.

She had lacked legal immigration status since crossing the border into the U.S. as a teenager with her parents, so the threat of arrest and deportation was always there. Even so, Lily, as she is known to friends, had hoped her clean record and two decades of work, paying taxes, going to church and providing for her U.S.-born children would allow her a path to legal status or at least avoid deportation.

Like hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants, her hopes rose with the Obama administration. In July 2010, President Obama said mass deportation of all illegal immigrants would be "intolerable" to most Americans because so many have established deep family roots, often with children who are citizens. He said they should be given a route to legal status: "Our laws should respect families following the rules instead of splitting them apart."

And from The New York Times:

A recent American Civil Liberties Union report, based on documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, uncovered almost 200 accusations of sexual abuse of immigrant detainees. The A.C.L.U. has urged the Department of Justice to abandon a proposed rule that would exempt immigration detention centers from the Prison Rape Elimination Act, a federal law that sets standards for detecting and preventing sexual abuse of people in custody.

It should be of great concern to all Americans that our government is so willing to trample on the very individual rights it's charged with protecting.  Although the US government violates the rights of its citizens every day, the sheer hell it's putting peaceful, hard-working immigrant families through is nothing less than evil and disgusting. 

New Startup Hopes to House Immigrants in International Waters

From this USA Today article:Blueseed-Seasteading-Concept-Vessel

A California start-up company may have found a way to get around  those time-consuming, hard-to-get visas. The company is planning to anchor a ship capable of holding 1,000 people off California's shore — far enough away to be in international waters but close enough to Silicon Valley so occupants, using easier-to-obtain tourist visas and short-term business visas, can hop a quick ferry ride to meet with tech employers and investors on shore.

I am not sure whether to think this is a great idea or a pitiful one.  I guess it's both.  It's great that people are trying to find ways to solve America's problems without the government, but pitiful that the government is actively ruining our economy and people's lives! 

Here's another great article about this startup.  (H/T to Diana Hsieh)

Famous Immigrant of the Week

In case you can't tell, I love old, classic movies.  As such, one of my favorite directors is famous immigrant, Alfred Hitchcock!Alfred Hitchcock 2

Alfred Joseph Hitchcock (August 13, 1899 – April 29, 1980) was born in Leytonstone, England.  He became a US citizen in 1956.  From his page on

The son of a London poultry dealer, Hitchcock attended St. Ignatius College, London, and the University of London, where he studied engineering. In 1920 he began to work in the motion-picture industry, designing title cards for the Famous Players-Lasky Company. Within a few years he had become a scenario writer and an assistant director, and he directed his first film (The Pleasure Garden) in 1925. With The Lodger (1926), the story of a family who mistakenly suspect their roomer to be Jack the Ripper, Hitchcock began making the “thrillers” with which he was to become identified.

During the next three decades Hitchcock usually made a film a year in the Hollywood motion-picture system. Among the important films he directed during the 1940s were Suspicion (1941), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Lifeboat (1944), Spellbound (1945), and Rope(1948). He began functioning as his own producer in 1948, and he went on in the 1950s to make a series of big-budget suspense films starring some of the leading actors and actresses of Hollywood. These films include Strangers on a Train (1951), Dial M for Murder(1954), Rear Window (1954), To Catch a Thief (1954), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1955; a remake of the 1934 film), Vertigo(1958), and North by Northwest (1959). In the 1960s Hitchcock turned to making thrillers with new and original emphases, among them Psycho (1960), The Birds (1963), and Marnie (1964). His Torn Curtain (1966) and Topaz (1969) are conventional espionage stories, while in his last films, Frenzy (1972) and Family Plot(1976), he returned to his original themes. From the 1940s on Hitchcock usually made a fleeting, wordless appearance in a bit part in each of his films.

It's difficult for me to decide which Hitchcock film is my favorite, but it's a close race between North by Northwest, To Catch a Thief and Rear Window.  Here's a remarkably romantic and intimate scene from Rear Window in which Grace Kelly and Jimmy Stewart manage to get our hearts racing while discussing a possible murder:

California Vineyard Tries to Hire Americans

But once again, they don't want the job.  From the article:

With a nearly 12 percent unemployment rate statewide, you'd imagine most job openings would have applicants lined up around the block, but Vineyardsone local man says he had a difficult time keeping almost any workers on the job.

John Salisbury owns Salisbury Vineyards in Avila Valley and Paso Robles. He needed 32 grape pickers fast for the harvest season in late September and put the call out for anyone to apply, even if they didn't have any experience, advertising on his website and on the radio.

As the saying goes, no wine before its time, but when they're ready, they're ready.

"The idea is to be able to pick them in that one day and get them while they're perfect, but if you have to wait two or three more days, you've maybe missed a peak time," he said.

Workers had to be able to lift 35 pounds, keep up with crews and provide all necessary documentation.

Salisbury now calls his experience a social experiment gone awry. It was ill-fated from the beginning; Salisbury started with 40 applicants, but only seven actually finished the job.

We need to stop this senseless war against peaceful people looking for work and the employers who need and want to hire them.  The workers have a right to work wherever they are hired, and business owners have a right to hire whom they please to work on their property.