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Summer 2011 National Immigrant Solidarity Network Monthly News Digest and News Alert!

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Summer 2011 U.S. Immigrant Alert! Newsletter
Published by National Immigrant Solidarity Network

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Fighting injustice:



Anti-immigrant laws blocked in Arizona, Utah, Indiana, and Georgia!

In This Issue:

1) GA Immigration Protest (Pg 1)
2) Fighting injustice  
(Pg 2)
3) TX Gov Perry's anti-Hispanic Agenda Goes Down  (Pg 3)

4) Lessons from the struggle  (Pg 3) 
5) Jerry Brown betrays farm workers  (Pg 4)
9) Updates, Please Support NISN! Subscribe the Newsletter!
(Pg 6)


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Georgia Immigration Law: Thousands Protest For Reform At State Capitol

July 2, 2011 Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) -- Thousands of marchers stormed the Georgia Capitol on Saturday to protest the state's new immigration law, which they say creates an unwelcome environment for people of color and those in search of a better life.

Men, women and children of all ages converged on downtown Atlanta for the march and rally, cheering speakers while shading themselves with umbrellas and posters. Capitol police and organizers estimated the crowd at between 8,000 and 14,000. They filled the blocks around the Capitol, holding signs decrying House Bill 87 and reading "Immigration Reform Now!"

Friends Jessica Bamaca and Melany Cordero held a poster that read: "How would you feel if your family got broken apart?"

Bamaca was born in the U.S., but her mother and sister are from Guatemala. She said she fears they will be deported.

"I would be here by myself," said Bamaca, 13. "I have a feeling (the governor) doesn't know the pain affecting families. If he were to be in our position, how would he react?"

Adelina Nicholls, executive director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, said the crowd was sending a message.

"They are ready to fight," Nicholls said. "We need immigration reform, and no HB87 is going to stop us. We have earned the right to be here."

Azadeh Shahshahani of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia called the rally inspiring and said she hoped lawmakers would recognize the law's potential to damage the state.

"I think it's going to have an impact," she said. "Unfortunately, the damage has already been done as far as people of color having second thoughts about moving to Georgia."

Several different groups stood with the largely Latino crowd, including representatives from the civil rights movement. The Rev. Timothy McDonald, an activist who has been supportive of immigration protesters, was among the speakers showing his solidarity.

"You are my brothers and my sisters," McDonald told the crowd. "Some years ago, they told people like me we couldn't vote. We did what you are doing today. We are going to send a message to the powers that be ... that when the people get united, there is no government that can stop them. Don't let them turn you around."

MiLi Lai, a student at Emory who is Chinese, also attended the rally because the immigration law doesn't just apply to Latinos, but "all non-American people."

"We are the same community," Lai said. "We have to fight for our rights."

Bellanira Avoytes came to the rally with her husband and three children. Although she is a legal resident and her children were born in Georgia, she does not see herself as separate from undocumented Latinos.

"I have family who are not residents," she said. "I am together with the Latin people. I love Georgia. I have stayed here for 18 years. I want to buy a house here."

Saturday's rally follows a "day without immigrants" organized Friday, when some parts of the law took effect. It was organized by the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights. The organization asked businesses to close and community members not to work or shop to protest the law.

On Monday, a judge temporarily blocked key parts of the law until a legal challenge is resolved. One provision that was blocked authorizes police to check the immigration status of suspects without proper identification. It also authorizes them to detain undocumented immigrants. Another penalizes people who knowingly and willingly transport or harbor undocumented immigrants while committing another crime.

Parts of similar measures in Arizona, Utah and Indiana also have been blocked by the courts.

Provisions that took effect Friday include one that makes it a felony to use false information or documentation when applying for a job. Another provision creates an immigration review board to investigate complaints about government officials not complying with state laws related to undocumented immigration.

Lessons from the struggle to defeat racist anti-immigrant amendments to the Massachusetts State Budget for FY 2012

By Sergio Reyes
Boston May Day Committee

3-Jul-2011.- This year again the Massachusetts Budget was the field that anti-immigrant politicians chose to include their nasty venom. We had a similar experience last year that was met with fierce resistance by immigrant rights advocates lead by the young people of the Student Immigrant Movement (SIM). Just like last year most of the racist, anti-immigrants amendments were either withdrawn or rejected but some elements remained. Therefore the victories were significant but partial.

The strategies used in this grassroots campaign however are very important for the movement nationwide. SIM took the initiative to carry out direct action by setting a 24/7 vigil in front of the State House to call attention to the amendments and to express a strong opposition to them. Once the direct action was initiated a support coalition was organized, this time called Mass Hope 2011. The vigil continued to be the main focus of struggle but at the same time SIM organized lobbying sessions following press conferences.

Meanwhile an electronic petition was initiated in and a Facebook established. Friendly listservs carried out a request to call each member of the committee that was discussing the amendments. While all the activists who advocate for immigrant rights supported the action, the stronger and weakest link was maintaining a constant presence at the vigil, which at one critical point counted with only one member. Later on the numbers increased again. We recognize the commitment, seriousness and responsibility of the young people who kept this alive.

Ironically many of our organizations that advocate direct action as an strategy in the struggle for immigrant rights were not able to support the direct action with bodies. Also some larger organizations whose job is based on lobbying also didn't mobilize their forces for that aspect of the action.

Another lesson is the lack of interest of the printed, radio and TV media. The Fox News studios is right smack in front of the State House but they didn't cover the action. None of the major newspapers covered the event either. The shining exception for commercial media was the New England news group Univision. This means that those of us who where not directly involved in the vigil should have worked on the local media to force them to provide coverage for this event but we failed to do so.

Likewise in reference to the detailed information about what these racist amendments were all about we needed to have some of the immigrant advocacy groups that count with lawyer teams make a better job at explaining them. Even after the event, there are still doubts as to what was that was won and what was not rejected. Below there is an attempt, using the very confusing, to explain what amendments were withdrawn, rejected or approved.

34 - Bars US citizen children from state public housing if their parents do not have, do not yet have or cannot prove a lawful immigration status. (Withdrawn)

64 - Allows police to seize your car if they suspect you are undocumented and to keep it and sell it if you are deportable. (Withdrawn)

82 - Increases penalties for using or creating false documents. (Withdrawn)

122 - Requires any business providing any service to the state including subcontractors to use E-Verify
- Requires the state to investigate any tip relating to a violation of immigration law
- Increases the amount of times the state must verify immigration status
- Fine for fraudulent driving learner’s permit
- Most benefits programs would have to document legal status
- Bars instate for undocumented
- Limits the receipt of all medical benefits to lawfully present residents including emergency Medicaid, Healthy Start and the Health Safety Net

Sections 145A, B repealed, C, D to take effect in 2012 and 2013 respectively. (Adopted)
125 - Poll workers may ask for state ID from anyone before voting (Rejected)  
166 - Requires all health services applications to be verified via federal database. (Withdrawn)
353 - Creates 24 hr AG hotline to anonymously report suspected undocumented workers
       - Implement E-verify for all state contractors and vendors, and any subcontractors working with them. (Withdrawn)  
385 - Requires a license or state ID to register a vehicle; increases the penalties associated with using, creating, selling, or distributing an altered or false ID. (Withdrawn)
407 - Increases penalties for driving without a license (Withdrawn)
447 - Requires a Social Security number for all medical applications (Withdrawn)

Finally, we need to reiterate our gratitude and appreciation to the Student Immigrant Movement for this victory, which they won sacrificing their comfort for all immigrants and the non-immigrants who cannot stand the ugly face of injustice.

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Useful Immigrant Resources on Detention and Deportation

Face Sheet: Immigration Detention--Questions and Answers (Dec, 2008) by:

Thanks for GREAT works from Detention Watch Network (DWN) to compiled the following information, please visit DWN website:

Tracking ICE's Enforcement Agenda
Real Deal fact sheet on detention
Real Deal fact sheet on border

- From Raids to Deportation-A Community Resource Kit
- Know Your Rights in the Community (English, Spanish)
- Know Your Rights in Detention
- Pre-Raid Community Safety Plan
- Raids to Deportation Map
- Raids to Deportation Policy Map

More on Immigration Resource Page


Useful Handouts and Know Your Immigrant Rights When Marches
Immigrant Marches / Marchas de los Inmigrantes

Immigrants and their supporters are participating in marches all over the country to protest proposed national legislation and to seek justice for immigrants. The materials available here provide important information about the rights and risks involved for anyone who is planning to participate in the ongoing marches.

If government agents question you, it is important to understand your rights. You should be careful in the way you speak when approached by the police, FBI, or INS. If you give answers, they can be used against you in a criminal, immigration, or civil case.

The ACLU's publications below provide effective and useful guidance in several languages for many situations. The brochures apprise you of your legal rights, recommend how to preserve those rights, and provide guidance on how to interact with officials.

Know Your Rights When Encountering Law Enforcement
| Conozca Sus Derechos Frente A Los Agentes Del Orden Público

ACLU of Massachusetts - Your Rights And Responsibilities If You Are Contacted By The Authorities English | Spanish | Chinese

ACLU of Massachusetts - What to do if stopped and questioned about your immigration status on the street, the subway, or the bus
| Que hacer si Usted es interrogado en el tren o autobus acerca de su estatus inmigratorio

ACLU of South Carolina - How To Deal With A 287(g)
| Como Lidiar Con Una 287(g)

ACLU of Southern California - What to Do If Immigration Agents or Police Stop You While on Foot, in Your Car, or Come to Your Home
| Qué Hacer Si Agentes de Inmigración o la Policía lo Paran Mientras Va Caminando, lo Detienen en su Auto o Vienen a su Hogar

ACLU of Washington - Brochure for Iraqis: What to Do If the FBI or Police Contact You for Questioning English | Arabic

ACLU of Washington - Your Rights at Checkpoints at Ferry Terminals
| Sus Derechos en Puestos de Control en las Terminales de Transbordadores

Immigrant Protests - What Every Worker Should Know:
| Manifestaciones de los Inmigrantes - Lo Que Todo Trabajador Debe Saber

ACLU of Florida Brochure - The Rights of Protesters
| Los Derechos de los Manifestantes

Washington State - Student Walkouts and Political Speech at School
| Huelgas Estudiantiles y Expresión Política en las Escuelas

California Students: Public School Walk-outs and Free Speech
| Estudiantes de California: Marchas o Huelgas y La Libertad de Expresión en las Escuelas Públicas


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