March 29, 2012
By Michael Martinez and Gustavo Valdes
Latinos, immigrants and Native Americans experience “a pattern of human right violations” in the American Southwest under U.S. immigration policies, Amnesty International said in a new report.
A two-year study focusing mostly on Arizona and Texas found that “communities living along the border — particularly Latinos and individuals perceived to be of Latino origin, and indigenous communities — are disproportionately affected by a range of immigration control measures, resulting in a pattern of human rights violations,” Amnesty International said.
The report cited the failure of federal and state laws to respect immigrants’ right to life and found that U.S. citizens of Latino descent and Native Americans are subjected to “discriminatory profiling by federal, state and local law enforcement officials, that result in their being disproportionately targeted for police stops and searches.”
Other breaches of international human rights standards occurred in the access to justice for immigrant survivors of crime and in accountability for state officials and private individuals accused of abusing immigrants’ rights, the group said.
“All immigrants, irrespective of their legal status, have human rights. Amnesty International’s report shows that the USA is failing in its obligations under international law to ensure these rights,” the report said.
The group’s report, which urged a suspension and a federal review of all immigration enforcement programs, was criticized and dismissed by U.S. officials.
“Amnesty International’s report is based almost entirely on either outdated information or anonymous anecdotes that can be neither investigated nor resolved,” Department of Homeland Security spokesman Matt Chandler said.
“Moreover, the report does not offer thoughtful, actionable recommendations for improvement but instead calls for the wholesale suspension of immigration enforcement programs nationwide,” Chandler said.
Federal and Arizona authorities disputed the report’s accusations of racial profiling and other findings. The Texas Department of Public Safety declined to comment on an dvance copy of the report until it is formally published, said spokesman Tom Vinger.
“The Amnesty International Report makes a rather general statement of criticism toward all law enforcement in Southern Arizona,” said Bart Graves, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Public Safety. “The Arizona Department of Public Safety does not take part in racial profiling.”
The federal Secure Communities initiative was designed to prevent racial profiling by having the fingerprints of every person arrested and taken into custody checked against FBI criminal records and federal immigration records, Chandler said.
That initiative reduces “the risk of discrimination or racial profiling because the program applies to all who are arrested and booked for a crime, including U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents,” Chandler said.
The Amnesty International report said monitoring and accountability of immigration and law officers who practice discriminatory profiling is “lacking,” and those officials are “rarely held to account, with the result that such practices have become both commonplace and entrenched,” the report said.
FBI statistics show that bias crimes against Latinos have increased 40% from 2003 to 2007, and about 56% of bias victims don’t file police reports because they often believe police won’t help them, Amnesty International said.
“The fact that local law enforcement officials are used to implement federal immigration programs has exacerbated this problem. Those who do decide to report crimes may still be denied access to justice because law enforcement officials see them not as the victims of crime, but as criminals,” the report said.
“Immigrant victims of crimes such as human trafficking and domestic violence also face obstacles when attempting to access justice and remedies, while the proliferation of recently enacted state laws in Arizona and other states across the country obstructs immigrants’ ability to access education and essential health care services,” the report added.
But the federal government said that under a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy, officers exercise “appropriate discretion to ensure victims and witnesses to crimes are not penalized by removal,” Chandler said. The federal agency also developed a policy to protect victims of domestic violence and other offenses and to ensure the crimes are prosecuted, Chandler said.
The rights group criticized U.S. border policy for pushing undocumented immigrants to use deadly desert routes as a way to enter the country. Amnesty International reported as many as 5,287 migration deaths along the border from 1998 to 2008.
“Increasingly, state laws and local policies are creating barriers to or discouraging immigrants from accessing their rights to education and essential health care services, impacting their U.S. citizen children,” the report said.
At the same time, the U.S. government has reported that 14,500 to 17,000 people are trafficked into the country for sexual or labor exploitation, and while the federal government offers so-called T-visas for such trafficking survivors, only 6% of such visas were actually utilized in 2009, Amnesty International said.
The report also recommended that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection should consult with the 26 Indian nations along the border and respect and facilitate the use of tribal passports, identification papers and immigration documents for travel across the international lines.
For example, the Tohono O’odham nation straddles both countries, including 76 miles of the international line, with 28,000 members in Arizona, the report said. The tribe uses identity cards listing one of five districts to which a U.S.-born member belongs, while the cards for members born on the Mexico side list “ND” for “No District,” the report said.
Customs and Border Protection said it is working with tribes to develop forms of identification, and as of January, the federal government has approved six of 12 tribes’ memoranda of understanding to develop tribal identification that is valid for crossing the border, Chandler said.
Of the six, two tribes, the Kootenai of Idaho and the Pascua Yaqui of Arizona, have fully approved Enhanced Tribal Cards that are accepted as documents to enter the United States, Chandler said.
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August 2nd, 2010
Investors Business Daily
By: Ernest S. Christian
The Internet is a large-scale version of the “Committees of Correspondence” that led to the first American Revolution — and with Washington’s failings now so obvious and awful, it may lead to another.
People are asking, “Is the government doing us more harm than good? Should we change what it does and the way it does it?”
Pruning the power of government begins with the imperial presidency.
Too many overreaching laws give the president too much discretion to make too many open-ended rules controlling too many aspects of our lives. There’s no end to the harm an out-of-control president can do.
Bill Clinton lowered the culture, moral tone and strength of the nation — and left America vulnerable to attack. When it came, George W. Bush stood up for America, albeit sometimes clumsily.
Barack Obama, however, has pulled off the ultimate switcheroo: He’s diminishing America from within — so far, successfully.
He may soon bankrupt us and replace our big merit-based capitalist economy with a small government-directed one of his own design.
He is undermining our constitutional traditions: The rule of law and our Anglo-Saxon concepts of private property hang in the balance. Obama may be the most “consequential” president ever.
The Wall Street Journal’s steadfast Dorothy Rabinowitz wrote that Barack Obama is “an alien in the White House.”
His bullying and offenses against the economy and job creation are so outrageous that CEOs in the Business Roundtable finally mustered the courage to call him “anti-business.” Veteran Democrat Sen. Max Baucus blurted out that Obama is engineering the biggest government-forced “redistribution of income” in history.
Fear and uncertainty stalk the land. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says America’s financial future is “unusually uncertain.”
A Wall Street “fear gauge” based on predicted market volatility is flashing long-term panic. New data on the federal budget confirm that record-setting deficits in the $1.4 trillion range are now endemic.
Obama is building an imperium of public debt and crushing taxes, contrary to George Washington’s wise farewell admonition: “cherish public credit … use it as sparingly as possible … avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt … bear in mind, that towards the payment of debts there must be Revenue, that to have Revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised, which are not … inconvenient and unpleasant … .”
Opinion polls suggest that in the November mid-term elections, voters will replace the present Democratic majority in Congress with opposition Republicans — but that will not necessarily stop Obama.
A President Obama intent on achieving his transformative goals despite the disagreement of the American people has powerful weapons within reach. In one hand, he will have a veto pen to stop a new Republican Congress from repealing ObamaCare and the Dodd-Frank takeover of banks.
In the other, he will have a fistful of executive orders, regulations and Obama-made fiats that have the force of law.
Under ObamaCare, he can issue new rules and regulations so insidiously powerful in their effect that higher-priced, lower-quality and rationed health care will quickly become ingrained, leaving a permanent stain.
Under Dodd-Frank, he and his agents will control all credit and financial transactions, rewarding friends and punishing opponents, discriminating on the basis of race, gender and political affiliation. Credit and liquidity may be choked by bureaucracy and politics — and the economy will suffer.
He and the EPA may try to impose by “regulatory” fiats many parts of the cap-and-trade and other climate legislation that failed in the Congress.
And by executive orders and the in terrorem effect of an industrywide “boot on the neck” policy, he can continue to diminish energy production in the United States.
By the trick of letting current-law tax rates “expire,” he can impose a $3.5 trillion 10-year tax increase that damages job-creating capital investment in an economy struggling to recover. And by failing to enforce the law and leaving America’s borders open, he can continue to repopulate America with unfortunate illegals whose skill and education levels are low and whose political attitudes are often not congenial to American-style democracy.
A wounded rampaging president can do much damage — and, like Caesar, the evil he does will live long after he leaves office, whenever that may be.
The overgrown, un-pruned power of the presidency to reward, punish and intimidate may now be so overwhelming that his re-election in 2012 is already assured.