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Related Categories: San Francisco | Immigrant Rights
No Soy Criminal
by Carlos X/PNN
Thursday Feb 2nd, 2006 12:15 PM
Anti-immigrant legislation inspired by the "Minutemen" is passed by the House of Representatives. San Francisco passes an ordinance condemning it
no_soy_criminal.jpg

I have been in the Estados Unidos for nine years. Everyday i wake up at 5:00 am and take two buses and a train across town to my job at a Chinese restaurant. Everyday I stand on my feet for twelve hours washing dishes for $6.00 per hour. Everyday as my hands swim through the soap and grease, my mind runs through the rios y playas I used to see in my country. Rios y playas that tourists spend thousands of dollars traveling to see.

Every night I get back on two buses and a train and return to my room. Every night I dream of going home. I am a hard worker. Sometimes I am a dreamer. I am not a criminal. No soy criminal

My POOR Magazine editor told me about a proposed law called “Border Protection, Anti-Terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act” –HR 4437.

On December 16, 2005, the US House of Representatives passed HR 4437, which, among other things, proposes to turn undocumented immigrants like me who live in the US into aggravated felons. It would also criminalize US citizens and legal residents who have routine contact with undocumented immigrants, require day laborer centers and other non-profit organizations to verify workers’ immigration status, gut judicial review of immigration courts; to make detention of immigrants mandatory; and give the government unfettered discretion to designate individuals as gang members and make immigrants deportable as members of supposed gangs even if they have never violated the law.

Ever since the rise of “the minutemen” in the US there has been a nation-wide trend towards targeting Latino immigrants. Living in the Bay Area I am blessed by a conscious citizenry who is not willing to go along with this new brand of fascism. My friends living elsewhere are not so lucky. Last week a friend of mine living in Arizona ( where the “minutemen” are from) was followed down the street by two men in a truck. They called him names and threw rocks at him and told him to “go home”. The funny thing is he and parents were born in Arizona

Last week the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution condemning the Minutemen vigilantes and the “Border Protection, Anti-Terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act” –HR 4437—and committed to a non-compliance of its provisions.

“This Resolution should send a clear message to Washington that our day laborer center will never verify workers’ papers, and that San Francisco will never allow its Police Department to start arresting people who are suspected of being immigrants,” states Luis Herrera, of St Peter’s Housing Rights Committee a member of the immigrant rights coalition “Deporten a La Migra.”

“Immigrant communities in San Francisco are organizing to defeat this egregious proposal. We will go to jail before we turn anyone in,” states Renee Saucedo of the San Francisco Day Labor Program.

HR 4437 is expected to reach the US Senate for debate beginning in late February or early March. I hope for my sake and the safety of thousands of other hard-working migrant raza and Latino Americans that this racist bill is defeated.

Action Alert: Call-In week opposing the Sensenbrenner bill: Monday, February 6 to Friday, February 10

Fighting Conservatives’ Attempts to Criminalize People of Color: Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) recently forced a radical revision of immigration law through the House of Representatives. One of H.R. 4437’s most bizarre provisions is a definition of “alien smuggling” so broad that it would include providing humanitarian aid or legal advice to undocumented immigrants. The bill places nonprofit social services organizations, refugee agencies, churches, legal services and others in the same category as criminal smuggling syndicates and imposes harsh penalties for providing such assistance. Even family members could face federal prison time for assisting undocumented immigrants with housing, food, and other basic human necessities. The bill calls to mind the runaway slave legislation that stains our nation’s history, and reminds us of the persecution faced by the dedicated supporters of the Underground Railroad. H.R. 4437, which is scheduled to be considered by the Senate next month, would also make it a federal felony, rather than a civil immigration violation, to be present in the United States without the current authorization of the Department of Homeland Security. Rather than providing a way for U.S. citizens to help their undocumented family members request permission to stay here legally, the bill seeks to separate spouses, parents, and children through the criminal justice system. Sensenbrenner’s bill was introduced, pushed through committee, and narrowly passed by a floor vote all within two weeks in December. Meanwhile, meaningful attempts to create legislation that promotes civil rights and civil liberties, family reunification, workplace rights and legalization continue to fall by the wayside.

Please call Senator Dianne Feinstein to protest the passing of this harmful bill: Washington, D.C. office: Phone: (202) 224-3841

San Francisco, CA office: 415/393-0707

Please also leave a message for President Bush at the White House: Comments: 202-456-1111 Switchboard: 202-456-1414

Here is an example of what you could say:

Please do not pass the Sensenbrenner bill. This will not only exacerbate the US’s immigration problems, but it will create a human rights crisis on American soil.

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely, Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition


Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Carlos
Saturday Feb 4th, 2006 9:13 AM
Hey Carlos, guess what?

You're being exploited. Minimum wage in CA is $6.75. Except in SF, that is, where it's $8.50.

It's curious that the SF Board of Stupidvisors aren't concerned about this. Maybe it's because they're the ones who own the restaurants that exploit people like you.
by James Holleny
Saturday Feb 4th, 2006 9:27 AM
I support HR4437 100%. Foreign Nationals have absolutely no right to be in this country without the proper legal authorization. Comparing runaway slaves to ILLEGAL
aliens??
Let's get real and not confuse legal immigration with ILLEGAL immigration.
Maybe I missed something in civics class, but when was the law passed that made Americans responsible for Foreign Nationals?
by Not Rich Either
Saturday Feb 4th, 2006 1:30 PM
The authors of HR 4437 have agreed to modify the bill to make it clear that it would not apply to the normal day to day activities of church groups, etc.

The Minutemen are not vigilantes because they do not attempt to apprehend, determine guilt, or punish any suspects. They have a "no contact" policy and only report suspicious activity to the proper sworn law enforcement agencies.

Using phases such as "Criminalize People of Color" and terms such as "racist" and "fascism" is manipulative and, I suspect, intened to inflame rather than inform.

We are to believe that an illegal alien dishwasher who likely would have minimal education in Spanish, let alone the English language and U.S. laws wrote this? If so, he could replace the immigration attorney or whoever likely did write it and we could have alleged cheap law as well as alleged cheap food.

There are 6.5 billion people in the world and at least half of them would probably want to come to the U.S. If the U.S. is not to become what illegal aliens are attempting to get away from, we must have immigration laws and enforce them. To do otherwise will do neither us nor the illegal aliens any good in the long run. How many more acres of farmland, wetlands, and open spaces can California and the U.S. lose to population growth?

Strong measures are needed now because we ignored and allowed ourselves to be manipulated for way too long. It is imperative that we start to think with our heads rather than just allowing our heartstrings to be tugged by this propaganda.






by Ann Marie
Friday Feb 10th, 2006 4:14 PM
How sadly ignorant you are. Because someone is a dishwasher, you assume they can not write? I have worked with many immigrants who were busboys, dishwashers, nurse's aids.. who were doctors, teachers, writers, bankers, in their home country. How arrogantly ignorant you are with your assumptions. My family immigrated to this country over 100 years ago and were vilified by people like you, that is why I will march and rally with immigrants on Sunday. I will make calls to my congress people to stop this immoral bill and will make sure I don't vote for immoral, ignorant Representatives like these men.
by n5667
Saturday Feb 25th, 2006 2:32 AM
...We should focus on Mexico rather than the U.S... Because if millions of Mexicans are migrating from Mexico, it could just be that's where the problem is.

The solution is not flooding America with cheap labor that will ultimatley hurt everyone...
by erica
Saturday Feb 25th, 2006 3:45 AM
Has anyone really asked themselves WHAT americas role in global apartheid causes people to immigrate here? hello have you heard of free trade, nafta, cafta and the like and our admin's support and backing of the worst dictatorships and death squads in most so called developing countries - creating the cheapest labor market in peoples home countries causing them to want to move here - do you think people like to be away from family, and home to work long hours in a racist culture for hardly any money for fun?

also and this is the sickest and most important point being completely missed by you ignorant fools - California. Arizona, Nevada, Texas and New Mexico were all MEXICO you dumbasses! Until the US stole it from Mexico through violence and trickery.

You are the true illegal pilgrim!

why dont you go back to sweden or wherever your white ass family is from. By the way - who cares if people come here "illegaly" or not - its not gods law - its the law of some special interest goverment officials that are only looking out for their friends the exploiters of cheap labor. Hard to get cheap labor without second class citizens, huh.

i am shocked by how many right wing conservatives are posting on this site - why dont you go back to little green nutsacks or whatever that f**ed up site is called.





by n5667
Sunday Feb 26th, 2006 10:09 PM
And Mexicans stole the land from the Spainards, who stole the land from Native Americans?

Your point?

...And I would note that I fine it quite strange that most Californians (that includes those non-whities!) prior to the Mexican-American war actually wanted to secede from Mexico because of... inept governance!

That's right! They've been screwing up for over a century!

Though I find it odd how a nation of 120 million would allow corrupt governments such as the PRI to reign for decades.

Please, do you know how Native Americans in Mexico are treated?

Jesus, nothing but hypocrisy from you, Erica, rather pathetic.

My white ass is happy, right next that yellow ass, that black ass, and that brown ass that are all here legally.

I'd write more, but your obvious lack of understanding about the implications of illegal immigration prove that you are not knowledgable enough to give any more thought to.

All I can say is that people like you are why liberals can't even remain popular even when provided such opportunity as they are being given by the Bush Administration currently.

I'm not conservative, you're just not intelligent.
by TrueNative
Monday Feb 27th, 2006 6:24 PM
get your "mexicans" right, you fuckin idiot. just who do you think was in control of post Spain Mexico???? The "indians"??? yeah, sure. Who took over the United States after the "independence?" FUCKIN WHITE PEOPLE DID!!!

spanish, gachupin, english, protestant -- WHITE IS WHITE!!!

as far as I am concerned, we HAVEN'T BEEN FREE FOR OVER 500+ YEARS~! NOW WHEN IN THE FUCK WILL WE BE ABLE TO DECLARE TRUE FREEDOM??? WHEN ALL YOU MOFOS STOP ACTING LIKE OUR SPOKESPEOPLE! white left, white right, all the same...
by n5667
Monday Feb 27th, 2006 10:07 PM
Did I say I was your spokesperson... No, just pointing out that the argument that suggests Mexico should get back the Southwestern U.S is flawed.

That's what I said, obviously you didn't quite follow the simplicity of my conversation; which is why I assume you masked your ignorance with simple insults.

But hey, that's life, I'm sure I had an ancestor who was wronged at some point too, but you have casinos now so quit your whining.
by erica
Tuesday Feb 28th, 2006 3:37 PM
no one here said that mexicans should go back to the southwest or anywhere else -- that CERTAINLY was NOT my point~

i was more discussing the govts immigration policies that should be abolished - and how ridiculous it is that mexicans are being targeted as well as anyone else - but even more so mexicans since this land is the result if a landgrab. - war occupation - whatever. same thing.

but you are so mired in right wing nationalist thought that your narrow interpretation is laughable at best, but pathetic really.
by n5667
Wednesday Mar 1st, 2006 12:23 AM
How little you understand - it has nothing to do with nationalism, and much more to do with economics.

Consider how many illegal immigrants are here already - this causes a multitude of problems from suppressing wages to increasing government expenditures with no corrosponding increase in tax revenue.

Our prosperity makes us a magnet for those from impovrished regions (and I don't blame them), however, the solution is not opening up our borders and turning the United States into a third world slum - the solution is to fix those third world slums - perhaps you should direct your anger away from the U.S Government and direct it toward the corrupt and inept third world governments that have kept their populace from enjoying prosperity.

Mexico is a perfect example - it is a nation of 120 million people, the solution is not to transplant those 120 million to the U.S, but give those 120 million a government like the U.S (and you can harp on it all you want, but in terms of transparency and efficiency, you'll be amazed to know it's one of the best).

It has nothing to do with nationalism - unless nationalism is not wanting to turn into Mexico - hell, ask any legal hispanic if they want the U.S to become like Mexico, you'd be surprised by the answer, because many are aware of the answer I supplied above.
by Oscar G.
Sunday Mar 12th, 2006 5:13 PM
On a side note, why is it that the most ravenous posters on this site fail to use things like punctuation? Jesus, reading some of these posts takes half a day to decipher.
by Hector M. Bravo
(not2manyrock [at] aol.com) Monday Mar 27th, 2006 8:13 PM
ok, before anyone starts looking for solutions that are obviously unrealistic, one must consider the facts. First, Mexicans are not the only illegal immigrants. As amazing as it may sound, there are undocumented Europeans, Asians, and others. The problem is not just Mexicans. Mexicans are part of the problem, but the problem is not a problem when some sectors of the economy are active thanks to them. So it is odd to demand these people to get the hell out when they are actually helping the country. Yes, there's a big number of them and Americans are not entitled to look after them, but they are here and the only way to solve the "problem" is to make them legal. Many people argue, "oh get a green card or else you can't work here," well, if that's your argument, then you give them a greencard. you're demanding one right? They are here to work and not shit all over America. Most of these people sacrifice a million things. They leave everything behind to start a new beginning and that new beginning turns out to be hell. Let's face it, racism still exist and today's issues have something to do with satisfying groups of people. Re-election for senators and representatives also plays a big role in this whole issue. Americans and politicians must understand that it is not credible to say that is easy to "just get rid all of them." Bush's plan is not comprehensive because bringing more immigrants here and not taking care of the ones already in the states would just cause pandemonium. As it is people are not happy. I believe that in order to secure our borders, we must know our people. Our people as in all, not just Americans. The only way to know them is to make them a part of our system.
All criminals should leave, but those who work hard to build this great country should be given a chance.

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