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News Briefs: NY Licenses; McDonald's Raids; Texas Rally; LI Raids
by Weekly News Update (wnu [at]
Saturday Oct 6th, 2007 10:17 AM
On Sept. 27, at least 50 immigrants and immigration advocates gathered in Hempstead, Long Island, to protest the raids that took place in Latino communities in the towns of Hempstead, Westbury, Brentwood and Central Islip. "We cannot continue terrorizing families and breaking families apart," said Omar Henriquez, board president of the Hempstead-based Workplace Project.
Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 10, No. 25 - September 30, 2007

(Note: Immigration News Briefs will skip the next two weeks;
the next issue should come out the weekend of Oct. 20.)

1. NY Expands Driver's License Access
2. Raids at McDonald's in Nevada
3. Texas: 2,000 Rally Against Deportation
4. Long Island Raids Protested
5. Arizona Sheriff Raids Day Labor Sites
6. Farm Labor Contractor Fined

Immigration News Briefs is a weekly supplement to Weekly News
Update on the Americas, published by Nicaragua Solidarity
Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012; tel 212-674-9499;
fax 212-674-9139; wnu [at] INB is also distributed free via
email; contact nicajg [at] for info. You may reprint or
distribute items from INB, but please credit us and tell people
how to subscribe.


On Sept. 21, New York governor Eliot Spitzer announced new rules under
which the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will issue driver's
licenses without regard to federal immigration status. The new rules
reverse a policy change adopted four years ago under governor George
Pataki that made it virtually impossible for immigrants to obtain driver's
licenses if they could not prove legal status. Under the new rules, the
DMV will accept a current foreign passport as proof of identity without
also requiring federal immigration documents. The policy does not require
legislative approval and will be phased in starting in December. It will
be tied to new antifraud measures including the authentication of foreign
passports and the use of photo comparison technology to ensure that no
driver has more than one license. The State Department of Insurance
estimates that the new rules will save New York drivers $120 million each
year by reducing premium costs associated with uninsured motorists by 34%.

Implementation of the new policy is to start at the end of 2007 with a
relicensing process for some 152,000 residents who have had New York state
licenses but couldn't renew them under the Pataki rules, said motor
vehicles commissioner David J. Swarts. A second phase, to begin in April,
will allow people to seek first-time licenses. This phase will involve
more rigorous screening, Swarts said, including a four- to six-week
process of authenticating foreign passports and other foreign identity
documents. [New York Times 9/22/07]


Early on Sept. 27, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents
arrested at least 56 people in raids at 11 McDonald's restaurants in the
northern Nevada towns of Reno, Sparks and Fernley. "They are people
suspected of being in the country illegally," said ICE spokesperson
Richard Rocha. "As far as I know, they were all McDonald's employees." In
Reno ICE also raided the franchise corporate headquarters for Sierra
Golden Arches, which operates the restaurants. The agents had search
warrants for all the raided sites. The franchise company is owned by
Luther Mack, who told News 4 that "as an employer, I do not knowingly hire
or employ undocumented or unauthorized workers." Lisa Howard, a
spokesperson for McDonald's Corp., said the company had no comment on the
arrests. "This is a local situation with a local operator," she said.

Rocha said the investigation into the restaurants began five months ago
and was sparked by an identity theft complaint. A local law enforcement
agency then gave ICE information that unauthorized workers were employed
at specific McDonald's restaurants, Rocha said. ICE was working with
Washoe County social services to help provide care for children whose
parents were arrested in the raids, Rocha said. The workers arrested would
be transferred to an unidentified local detention center to await
deportation proceedings, Rocha said.

The raids drew immediate criticism from Reno mayor Bob Cashell and local
immigrant rights activists, who estimated the number of people arrested to
be closer to 100. The Republican mayor joined a news conference in front
of the federal courthouse late on Sept. 27, called by local Latino leaders
and members of the American Civil Liberties Union. "We don't approve of
the Gestapo methods ICE is using," said Gilbert Cortez, a Latino leader
who urged area residents to stay home from work in protest the next day,
Sept. 28.

Cashell said he opposed the strike call and is against "illegal
immigration," but"there has to be a better way to do this." He said he
would contact Nevada's congressional delegation and ask the city council
to look into the raids. "Think of some of the people who were arrested and
picked up; they have children. They don't know where their mama or their
daddy is. That's not right." [AP 9/28/07; 9/28/07]


On Sept. 26, some 2,000 people rallied at City Hall in Irving, Texas, a
suburb west of Dallas, to demand that Irving officials stop handing over
people held at the city's jail to immigration authorities. Demonstrators
waved US flags and chanted "We are America."

Irving police have turned over at least 1,600 people to ICE since June
2006 under the"Criminal Alien Program," which targets immigrants accused
of crimes. Opponents of the program say the Irving police engage in racial
profiling; that people stopped for minor traffic infractions are being
handed over to ICE; and that the policy has made local residents fear
contacting police. The week of Sept. 17, Mexican Consul Enrique Hubbard
Urrea warned immigrants from his country to avoid Irving. Community leader
Carlos Quintanilla said he would organize a boycott of Irving businesses
if the city persisted in the policy.

A few counter-demonstrators carried signs in support of the deportation
program. Two counter-demonstrators were arrested for attacking protesters
at the rally; police said Jerry Don Grayson put his hands around a
demonstrator's neck and Teresa Williams scratched at other protesters.
They each face a misdemeanor assault charge and were out on bond on Sept.
27. [Dallas Morning News 9/27/07; AP 9/27/07]


ICE agents raided homes on Sept. 24 in the Nassau County towns of
Westbury, Glen Cove, Hicksville and Port Washington on New York's Long
Island, with support from two sergeants and six officers of the Nassau
County police. On Sept. 26, ICE raided homes in Freeport and Hempstead,
assisted by four Nassau County police officers. A total of 82 immigrants
were arrested in the raids.

On Sept. 27, at least 50 immigrants and immigration advocates gathered in
Hempstead to protest the raids that took place in Latino communities in
the towns of Hempstead, Westbury, Brentwood and Central Islip. "We cannot
continue terrorizing families and breaking families apart," said Omar
Henriquez, board president of the Hempstead-based Workplace Project.

Also on Sept. 27, Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey
complained that his department had been "misled" by ICE about the nature
of the raids. ICE had asked Nassau police to be present during the
execution of arrest warrants for Nassau County residents who were
affiliated with gangs, Mulvey said. The Nassau County police department
had repeatedly asked ICE to share a list of suspected gang members
targeted with arrest warrants, Mulvey said, but the request was only
granted on Sept. 27-- four days after the raids started. "We had asked for
a list of the targets on the warrants because we have a very accurate and
up-to-date database on gangs in Nassau County," Mulvey said. "It was
promised and not delivered." According to Mulvey, the ICE agents appeared
to have outdated intelligence on where some of the suspects were located.

Only three of those picked up in the raids were suspected gang members,
said Mulvey. It was not clear whether the three were named in the
warrants; Mulvey had earlier stated that none of those arrested were named
in the warrants. Most or all of those arrested were out-of-status
immigrants discovered at the raided homes--including a father who was
caring for his four-month-old daughter while his wife was at work. The man
was forced to leave the baby unattended when ICE arrested him on Sept. 24
in Westbury, his wife said at the Sept. 27 press conference criticizing
the raids.

Mulvey said that if he thought the goal of ICE had been to arrest
undocumented immigrants, the department would not have assisted. The
presence of police during the raids erodes the trust developed between
police and the community, which is crucial to getting victims and
witnesses to cooperate in investigations, Mulvey noted. "This sets us
back," he said. "We suffer the consequences of the mistrust that
develops." Mulvey also said the ICE agents who took part in the operations
appeared to have come from various locations across the country and didn't
even wear the same uniforms.

"We withdrew from any involvement in any further operations,"Mulvey said.
"There will be no future cooperation unless these issues are ironed out."
[Newsday 9/28/07; AP 9/28/07]


Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies arrested nine day laborers on Sept. 27
near the Good Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church in the town of Cave
Creek, Arizona, north of Phoenix. For more than six years the church has
been a safe haven for laborers looking for work. Sheriff Joe Arpaio
ordered the arrests after the town passed two new ordinances on Sept. 24
targeting day laborers: one toughens the town's ban on loitering; the
other prohibits cars from stopping on town streets. The new laws are set
to take effect on Oct. 24. Arpaio praised the new regulations, but said:
"We're not waiting for the 30 days for these ordinances to be

In the Sept. 27 arrests, agents from Arpaio's Illegal Immigration
Interdiction ("Triple I") Unit stopped two vehicles as they exited the
church's parking lot, one for speeding and the other for a broken
taillight, Arpaio said. The drivers were given warnings; the day laborers
riding in the vehicles were arrested. No citations were issued. "The
drivers were legal, but the passengers were illegal," said Arpaio. "We've
been doing this all over the Valley." [Arizona Republic (Phoenix) 9/28/07;
KPHO (Phoenix) 9/28/07]

On Sept. 25, Arpaio announced that his deputies had arrested 34
out-of-status immigrants that day in Maricopa County's West Valley area.
"We're up to over 730 that we have arrested under that state law that
nobody else is enforcing," Arpaio bragged, referring to a 2005 Arizona law
that makes smuggling people a felony. Arpaio claimed that he's getting a
90% conviction rate. "And my message to all these illegals--stay out of
this county," he said. [KTAR News (Phoenix) 9/25/07] Maricopa County
sheriff's deputies have been trained by ICE to enforce immigration laws;
in addition to arresting immigrants under state laws, they have detained
more than 4,200 people under federal immigration laws. [KPHO 9/28/07]

On Sept. 20, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas signed an agreement
with Arpaio to cooperate in enforcing a new state law that will impose
sanctions on employers who knowingly or intentionally hire undocumented
immigrants. Thomas said he chose to partner with Arpaio's office because
of its "track record of enforcing our immigration laws and not caving in
to political correctness." Thomas will assign up to $1 million of the $1.4
million budget that the legislature gave him to enforce the new law to pay
for the Sheriff's Office investigations. [Arizona Republic 9/21/07]


On Sept. 27, following a two-week trial and five days of deliberations, a
federal jury in US District Court in Yakima, Washington, ordered the Los
Angeles-based international labor contractor Global Horizons to pay
$317,000 in damages for violating federal labor laws and discriminating
against workers. The amount includes $17,000 in compensatory damages to
three farmworkers and $300,000 in punitive damages to hundreds of workers.

The award comes in a class-action lawsuit filed in 2005 by Columbia Legal
Services of Yakima, seeking damages of $1.6 million on behalf of about 600
farm workers who worked for Global Horizons in 2005 and other workers the
company declined to hire. The jury found the contractor violated the
federal Farm Labor Contractors Act by failing to provide the jobs promised
to the workers, and discriminated by failing to hire the workers or by
firing them and replacing them with "guest workers" under the federal H2A
program. Workers said their jobs were given to "guest workers" from

"This is a victory for farm workers everywhere who have been harmed by the
unlawful practices of Global Horizons," said Lori Isley of Columbia Legal
Services. Liability for Green Acre Farms of Harrah and Valley Fruit
Orchard of Wapato, local growers who used workers supplied by Global
Horizons, will be determined in a later hearing by Judge Robert Whaley.
[Yakima Herald 9/28/07]


Contributions toward Immigration News Briefs are gladly accepted:
they should be made payable and sent to Nicaragua Solidarity
Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012. (Tax-deductible
contributions of $50 or more may be made payable to the A.J.
Muste Memorial Institute and earmarked for "NSN".)

ORDER "The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers," a new book by
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