Tuesday, August 31, 2010

DOJ Sues Arizona College for Discriminating Against Non-Citizens During Hiring Process

"Justice Department sues Arizona school system"
By SCOTT WONG
8/31/10
 
"Keeping the heat on Arizona’s immigration policies, the U.S. Justice Department has sued a Phoenix-area community college system for allegedly discriminating against non-citizens by requiring them to show extra paperwork before they could be hired.

The suit, filed against the Maricopa County Community College District on Monday, comes less than two months after the Justice Department sued Arizona over the state’s tough new law targeting illegal immigrants. The department also is investigating possible civil-rights abuses by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a border hawk who calls himself “America’s toughest sheriff.” ...

The latest lawsuit followed a yearlong Justice Department probe that officials say revealed “a pattern or practice of discrimination” by the community college system. During an 18-month period, nearly 250 non-citizen job applicants were required to present green cards and other work-eligibility documents beyond those required by federal law.

The Immigration and Nationality Act’s anti-discrimination clause “makes it unlawful to treat authorized workers differently during the hiring process based on their citizenship status,” Thomas E. Perez, the assistant attorney general who heads the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.

College officials declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.”

Read the complete article: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0810/41626.html#ixzz0yDKd7FMm

Sri Lankan Maid Tortured by Saudi Arabian Employer

"Nails removed from 'tortured' Sri Lankan maid"

"LP Ariyawathie, 49, told staff at Kamburupitiya Hospital her employer inflicted the injuries as a punishment.

X-rays showed that there were 24 nails and needles in her body. Doctors said those remaining inside her body posed no immediate threat to her life...

Ms Ariyawathie travelled to Saudi Arabia in March to become a housemaid.

Doctors say this X-ray shows nails embedded in the housemaid's hand Last week, she flew back to Sri Lanka and was admitted to hospital in the south of the island, where she told doctors she had undergone abuse for more than a month.

The doctors found 24 metal pieces in her legs and hands.

She could not sit down or walk properly, doctors said.

They said Ms Ariyawathie was deeply traumatised and unable to give full details of her experience.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan authorities have launched an investigation.

"We have launched a strong protest with the Saudi government through the external affairs minister, but there has been no response yet," Kingsley Ranawaka, chairman of Bureau for Foreign Employment, told the BBC.

Around 1.8 million Sri Lankans are employed abroad, 70% of whom are women.

Most work as housemaids in the Middle East, while smaller numbers work in Singapore and Hong Kong."

Read the complete article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11109726

Human-Trafficking of Men Broken Up in Spain

"Spain Breaks Up Male-Prostitute Trafficking Gang"
DANIEL WOOLLS
08/31/10

"MADRID — Spanish police say that for the first time they have broken up a human-trafficking gang that brought men to the country to work as prostitutes, providing them with Viagra, cocaine and other stimulant drugs to be available for sex with other men 24 hours a day.

Authorities arrested 14 people, mainly Brazilians, on suspicion of running the organization and another 17 alleged prostitutes for being in Spain illegally, the National Police said in a statement Tuesday.

Police inspector Jose Nieto said the case involving the Brazilians was the first in which Spanish authorities dismantled a ring in which traffickers brought in men, rather than women, to toil as sex workers.

The victims, men in their 20s and estimated to number between 60 and 80, were mainly recruited in northern Brazil and saddled with debts of up to euro4,000 ($5,000) as the cost of bringing them to Spain.

Some were duped into thinking legitimate jobs awaited them as go-go dancers or models; others knew they would be working in the sex industry, but not that they had to be prepared for sex around the clock and would be moved from one province to another depending on demand for their services, Nieto told a news conference.

The men had to give half their earnings to the gang, and pay for rent and food in the apartments where they worked.

"If the men complained or caused any kind of problem, the gang leaders would threaten them, even with death," the police statement said."

Read the complete article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/31/spain-breaks-up-male-pros_n_700334.html

Rule Change Regarding Customs Broker Exam and Citizenship Requirement Effective September 27th

"Customs Broker Exam Requires Citizenship"

"WASHINGTON (CN) - U.S. Customs and Border Protection is allowing 18-year-olds to take the written exam for a customs broker's license, but requiring that they be U.S. citizens by the day of the test. Previously, the rule required citizenship by age 21 or more, when the person applied for the license itself. The rule is effective Sept. 27.

The amendment "will merely align the requirement for taking the examination with the existing statutory requirement of citizenship for obtaining a license," and ensures an applicant will "not be precluded from obtaining a license upon turning 21 due to citizenship...status," writes U.S. Customs and Border Protection, introducing the new rule. When the agency proposed the changes, it "also noted that limiting the examination to U.S. citizens is a reasonable security measure that conforms to the existing citizenship requirement for obtaining a license," according to the introduction to the new rule.

The amendment additionally requires that a potential customs broker is not a U.S. officer or employee on the day of the test, instead of upon application for the license. The potential broker also must apply for the license within three years of passing the exam."

http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/08/31/Federal_Regulations.htm#29980

Eighth Circuit Finds No Discrimination by School That Provided Substandard Education to African Refugees

"Refugees Fail to Prove School Discrimination"
By ANNIE YOUDERIAN

"Thirteen African refugees failed to prove that a Minnesota high school for immigrants discriminated against them with substandard educational programs and services, the 8th Circuit ruled.

In 2005, a group of immigrants complained about the allegedly substandard education they were receiving at Abraham Lincoln High School, an alternative school for immigrants in Minneapolis.

After investigating, the Minnesota Department of Education found that the students "are in need of something more than is being provided."

More specifically, the department cited the school's low passage rate on statewide exams, inadequate special education testing and services, and high number of students who "age out," or reach 21 without graduating.

The school eventually completed certain remedial actions in April 2007.

Meanwhile, a group of 13 former students -- all refugees from Somalia or Ethiopia -- sued the school and its operator, the Institute for Americans, claiming the substandard services were discriminatory and violated their human and civil rights.

The federal appeals court in St. Louis upheld the lower court's ruling for the school, explaining that "deficient programming in and of itself is not evidence of intentional discrimination based on national origin."

"A policy that treats students with limited English proficiency differently than other students in the district does not facially discriminate based on national origin," Circuit Judge Steven Colloton wrote.

The 8th Circuit also said the former students lack standing to sue under the Equal Education Opportunities Act, because any order against the school would no longer affect them.

"None of the plaintiffs currently attends ALHS and none will ever return, because all have graduated high school or aged out of the public school system," Colloton wrote.

"An order that the school must close or conform to certain legal requirements will not redress the injuries alleged by these students.""
 
http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/08/27/29938.htm
 
Read the Opinion: http://www.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/10/08/083041P.pdf

Monday, August 23, 2010

UK's Charity Commission Rules Catholic Adoption Agency's Policy Against Placing Children with Gay Families is Discrimination

"Gay Adoption To Proceed: UK Catholic Agency Loses Fight Over Same-Sex Parents"

08-22-10

"LONDON (RNS) A Roman Catholic adoption agency has lost its fight for the right to continue its policy of refusing to place children with same-sex couples based on religious principles.

The agency, Catholic Care, saw its battle to limit its adoption services to heterosexual-only parents collapse in a ruling Thursday (August 19) by the powerful Charity Commission, an independent watchdog in England, although funded by the British government.

After a lengthy legal wrangle, the Charity Commission decreed that Charity Care's stance amounted to discrimination based on sexual orientation because it "departs from the principle of treating people equally."

Charity Care had been targeted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which insisted such discrimination, was in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Britain is a signatory.

Charity Care officials had said earlier that if it lost the case, it would shut down its adoption service rather than risk weakening or even losing its Catholic affiliation, but has yet to make a final decision.

Britain passed gay rights legislation in January 2009 that ordered 12 Catholic adoption services to either close down or cut their ties with the church.

Eleven have chosen one option or the other, leaving Charity Care the last to continue the fight."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/22/catholic-adoption-agency-_n_689711.html

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mexico Supreme Court: "It is not a question of sexuality that determines whether a person is qualified or not to adopt."

"Mexico Gay Adoption Law Upheld By Supreme Court"
E. EDUARDO CASTILLO
Associated Press Writer Mark Stevenson contributed to this report.
08/16/10

"MEXICO CITY — Mexico's Supreme Court voted Monday to uphold a Mexico City law allowing adoptions by same-sex couples, drawing jubilant cheers from gay advocacy groups and angry protests from Roman Catholic Church representatives.

The justices voted 9-2 against challenges presented by federal prosecutors and others who had argued the law fails to protect adoptive children against possible ill effects or discrimination, or to guarantee their right to a traditional family.

"Today, institutionalized homophobia has been buried," said Jaime Lopez Vela, a leader of the group Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transsexual and Transgender Agenda. "We are happy, because now we have the same rights and responsibilities of any other married couple."

Monday's decision followed earlier Supreme Court rulings that same-sex marriages performed in Mexico City are constitutional and that other Mexican states must respect them.

Mexico City's groundbreaking same-sex marriage law, enacted in March, extends to wedded gay couples the right to adopt children, to jointly apply for bank loans, to inherit wealth and to be covered by their spouses' insurance policies.

Outside the court building, dozens of gay-rights activists erupted in cheers and chanted "Now we've won!", while a similar number of opponents of the Mexico City law chanted "Man plus woman equals marriage," and "Father, Mother, that's what children need!"

Justices voting with the majority argued that once same-sex marriages had been approved, it would be discriminatory to consider those couples less capable of parental duties than heterosexual couples.

"There is no reliable evidence that sexual orientation determines, by itself" any other type of behavior, said Justice Arturo Saldivar, adding "the preferences of the parents do not determine (a child's) sexual orientation ... that is a discriminatory argument."

But church representatives strongly opposed the ruling.

Father Hugo Valdemar, the spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mexico, said the court had "treated children as if they were pets, to be adopted by whoever wants one, and that violates their rights."

Armando Martinez, the leader of the Catholic Lawyers' Association, said his group will ask for the impeachment of the justices who voted to uphold the Mexico City law, adding "the justices are not God. They make a lot of mistakes." ...

Justices who sided with the majority stressed that potential adoptive parents, gay or straight, are checked for suitability as part of the adoption process.

"It is not a question of sexuality that determines whether a person is qualified or not to adopt," said Justice Margarita Luna.

The Roman Catholic Church heatedly opposed the law, and the court voted unanimously Monday to condemn comments by Cardinal Juan Sandoval, the archbishop of Guadalajara, who suggested over the weekend that justices may have been paid off by the Mexico City government to favor the law.""

Read the complete article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/16/mexico-gay-adoption-law-u_n_683926.html

Chatino Indian Woman Alleges Mississippi Dept of Human Srvcs Removed Her Child, Placed for Adoption without Due Process

"Zapotec Woman Claims Hospital & State Conspired to Give Her Baby to White Couple"
By TRACEY DALZELL WALSH
 
"JACKSON, Miss. (CN) - A Zapotecan woman from Oaxaca claims Mississippi state officials and a hospital's "patient advocate" conspired to take away her newborn daughter "to place the infant in the custody of a white local attorney couple who were seeking to adopt and who frequently practiced before the same judge who sanctioned the removal."

In her federal complaint, Cirila Baltazar Cruz, a Chatino (Zapotec) Indian who "speaks limited Spanish and virtually no English," claims the Mississippi Department of Human Services conspired with the Singing River Hospital and "took advantage of (her) indigence, inability to speak or understand English, and lack of familiarity with the U.S. legal system in order to attempt to remove R.J.M.B. [her baby] permanently from her mother."

Baltazar Cruz, who has the equivalent of a first-grade education, claims the Mississippi Department of Human Services and one of its employees conspired with the Singing River Health System and two of its employees to "effectuate a nonconsensual adoption" by providing "deliberately false information" about her that caused her to lose custody of her daughter for more than a year.

The mother claims that Singing River Hospital and Mississippi DHS refused to provide her with a Chatino-speaking interpreter while she was in the hospital and when her second cousin offered to translate, defendants' employees told him to "keep his mouth shut" and then kicked him out of her room.

Baltazar claims that Singing River Hospital's "patient advocate," defendant Abigail Medina, told her second cousin that Baltazar admitted she had traded sex for housing and intended to give the baby up for adoption. Baltazar claims she never said anything of the sort. She adds: "Medina's fabricated allegations and willful misrepresentations to MDHS set in motion a chain of events that she knew or reasonably should have known would lead to the deprivation of plaintiffs' substantive due proves rights to family integrity. Defendant Medina's reporting of known falsehoods to MDHS, which initiated unjustified intervention in plaintiffs' family life, was arbitrary and egregious."

Baltazar claims that defendant Vicki Hayes, a DHS caseworker, and her supervisor, defendant Ralph Matthews, with the Jackson County DHS, "refused to conduct any independent investigation into these obviously flawed allegations before removing R.J.M.B. from her mother's custody."

The complaint continues: "In violation of plaintiffs' due process rights, defendants Hayes and Mathews continued to forcibly separate R.J.M.B. from her mother despite their awareness that the original allegations against plaintiff Baltazar Cruz were false. Defendants Hayes, Mathews, and Medina, in concert with the Youth Court judge and the foster parents, manipulated the child welfare system in at attempt to deny plaintiffs equal protection of the laws and to effectuate a nonconsensual adoption. Defendants' arbitrary and oppressive actions caused Ms. Baltazar Cruz and her daughter to be separated for over a year, resulting in significant trauma and damage to their familial relationship."

Baltazar claims the hospital and its employees would not let her see her newborn baby and told her she would not be permitted to take her daughter home. She claims that upon being discharges from the hospital, Medina told her and her cousin to check into a Salvation Army shelter for the night and return the next day. She says that when they arrived at the hospital the next morning, they were told the baby was no longer there.

Baltazar claims that her daughter was given to Douglas and Wendy Tynes, a local white couple, who took the newborn girl home. She claims this violates state law, which requires that when MDHS "takes custody of a child, it is required to give first priority in placement to the child's relatives."

Baltazar claims MDHS made no attempt to contact any of her relatives. She says that during the yearlong separation from her daughter, She was allowed to see her child just four times, for one-hour visits, and always in the presence of (nonparties) Douglas and Wendy Tynes...

She adds that after the final hearing, "the Youth Court judge entered a sweeping 'gag' order against all parties and witnesses to the case, prohibiting the disclosure of the facts of the Youth Court case. This ordered was entered over the strenuous objection of Ms. Baltazar Cruz, who sought leave to speak truthfully about her own experiences in the case. Ms. Baltazar Cruz, on her own behalf and as sole legal custodian of her daughter, has appealed that order to the Mississippi Supreme Court and contends that, under the circumstances of that case, the gag order is unconstitutional."

Baltazar's attorney adds, however, that "out of an abundance of caution," significant portions of Baltazar's story have been redacted in the complaint...

She claims the defendants failed to investigate the false allegations against her, refused to communicate with her about her daughter, denied her access to hearings and reported her to immigration authorities, all in an attempt to separate her permanently from her daughter...

Baltazar Cruz is represented by Vanessa Carroll with the Southern Poverty Law Center of Jackson, and its Immigrant Justice Project in Atlanta."

Read the complete article: http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/08/16/29608.htm
 
Read the Complaint: http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/08/16/Chatino.pdf

Friday, August 13, 2010

Seventh Circuit Finds Columbian Humanitarian Suffered Political Persecution in Asylum Review

"Humanitarian Worker Wins Asylum Review"
By JOE CELENTINO

"Immigration authorities will reconsider the political asylum case of a Colombian woman who said she received death threats from a band of violent revolutionaries for providing medical services to impoverished communities.

The 7th Circuit granted asylum review to Doris Martinez-Buendia, who ran an organization called the Health Brigades in Barranquilla, Colombia. The group provided medical care and other services to rural, impoverished communities.

She said she began receiving threatening phone calls and notes at her home and office two years before she fled Colombia. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, a fiercely militant anti-government group, allegedly demanded that she publicly credit her organization's humanitarian activities to the FARC.

Martinez-Buendia said the threats escaladed as she ignored the demands. On the way to a rural village, a Health Brigade caravan was stopped by FARC members, who kidnapped Martinez-Buendia's sister, according to Martinez-Buendia.

She said FARC continued to harass her, threatening to kill her sister unless she complied. She explained that she refused to cooperate with the FARC "because they have harmed a lot of Colombia and my beginnings would not let me or allow me to do this."

Though her sister escaped capture after being beaten, Martinez-Buendia claimed, her brother-in-law was later kidnapped and died in a FARC camp.

Martinez-Buendia said she finally left Colombia after a FARC member followed her into a cab and held a gun to her head, threatening death if she did not agree to cooperate within 30 days.

The Board of Immigration Appeals denied her petition for asylum, saying the militant group's actions were "motivated by the FARC's own political agenda and not by a desire to punish Martinez-Buendia for her political opinion."

The 7th Circuit reversed, however, finding that Martinez-Buendia had suffered political persecution."

Read the complete article: http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/08/13/29586.htm
 
Read the Opinion: http://www.ca7.uscourts.gov/tmp/071FFOYK.pdf

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

India Claims Discrimination in Bill that Recommends Increasing Visa Fees to Foreign Workers in U.S.

"India protests US Senate bill to raise visa fees"

By ERIKA KINETZ
Associated Press Writer Charles Babington contributed to this report in Washington.


"MUMBAI, India — India is protesting a bill in the U.S. Congress that would increase visa fees for foreign workers in the U.S. as discriminating against Indian companies.


"It is inexplicable to our companies to bear the cost of such a highly discriminatory law," the Commerce Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that included excerpts of a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

The legislation would raise fees for H1B and L1 visas, which outsourcing companies use to send workers to the U.S. for project work. The fee increases would only be levied on companies where over half of U.S.-based employees use work visas.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York, passed in the Senate last week and in the U.S. House on Tuesday. President Barack Obama is expected to sign it into law. The money the fee increases would raise would be used to pay for heightened security on the U.S.-Mexico border.

India's Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said in his letter to Kirk that the bill would cost Indian companies over $200 million a year.

He argued the bill unfairly targets Indian companies because U.S. companies like IBM, Microsoft and Intel — which he says use more foreign-worker visas than Indian companies — would not be liable for the increased fees because a greater proportion of their workers are American.

Sharma also said Indian software services companies pay over $1 billion each year to the U.S. government in the form of Social Security, "with no benefit or prospect of a refund," an issue that has long irritated New Delhi."

Read the complete article: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gKJV0QvzU7zYm9d96t9AR9UBr3EAD9HGN7FO0

Couple Sued for Human Trafficking

"World Bank Economist Put Her to Forced Labor in U.S., African Woman Says"
By RYAN ABBOTT

"A World Bank employee and her husband lured a young Tanzanian woman to the United States, where they subjected her to "slavery-like practices, involuntary servitude, and forced labor," the woman claims in Federal Court.

Sophia Kiwanuka claims Anne Bakilana and Raymond Rwehumbiza promised her the opportunity to attend American schools while performing "reasonable" work in their home. But when she made the trip from Tanzania to the couple's Rosslyn, Va. apartment, Kiwanuka says, Bakilana seized her passport and forced her to work around the clock, cleaning and cooking separate meals for Bakilana, Rwehumbiza and their infant son.

"The defendants were very meticulous and demanding about the chores Ms. Kiwanuka was forced to perform, requiring for example that she rise at dawn to soak lentils rather than allowing them to soak overnight," Kiwanuka says in her complaint.

They repeatedly threatened her, exploiting her "fear of deportation in order to manipulate and control her," she says.

Kiwanuka says Bakilana also reneged on her promised wages, paying her just $300 a month through a bank account of which she only had partial control. She says her wages worked out to be roughly 55 cents per hour.

Kiwanuka says she was shipped back to Tanzania after a few years, but was lured back into servitude by the two defendants, who led her to believe there was a new employment opportunity with Rwehumbiza's brother.

Kiwanuka says these promises turned were bogus, and she again found herself under the control of Bakilana and Rwehumbiza.

She says a neighbor finally reported the situation to authorities, and Bakilana ultimately pleaded guilty to two counts of lying to the FBI during its human trafficking investigation."
 
Read the complete article: http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/08/11/29485.htm
 
Read the Complaint: http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/08/11/Indentured.pdf

BIA Affirms Denial of Asylum to Pakistani Christian

"Asylum Denied to Pakistani Christian"
By JOE CELENTINO
 
"The 7th Circuit refused to reopen the asylum case of a Christian man who claims he was beaten and charged with blasphemy by an Islamic cleric in Pakistan, the world's second largest Muslim nation.

Augustine Victor, his wife and two children applied for U.S. asylum in 2001 after an altercation at his niece's wedding in Hyderabad, Pakistan.

The celebration was halted when a mullah, or Islamic cleric, and several followers arrived to complain that the music was interfering with evening prayer. Victor said he and his brother were beaten and threatened with charges of blasphemy, a capital offense in Pakistan.

Victor stayed briefly at his pastor's home and then fled to the United States, where he sought protection from religious persecution.

The immigration judge determined that the wedding incident was isolated, and that Victor will not necessarily face persecution if sent back to Pakistan. The judge pointed out that Victor's brother was still able to live in Pakistan, despite his involvement.

On appeal, Victor argued that the judge had failed to see the dispute as anything more than a personal altercation and had overlooked his likelihood of being tortured once in police custody.

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) upheld the judge's decision, later rejecting Victor's bid to have his case reopened.

The Chicago-based federal appeals court affirmed.

"In short, Victor's motion to reconsider did not present a change of law or point out additional legal arguments that were erroneously overlooked by the BIA," Judge Ilana Rovner wrote. "Thus, the BIA did not abuse its discretion when it denied Victor's motion to reconsider.

Christians make up about 1.6 percent of Pakistan's population."
 
http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/08/11/29512.htm
 
Read the Opinion: http://www.ca7.uscourts.gov/tmp/050R35QU.pdf

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Trial Begins for Canadian Guantanamo Detainee, Captured as Teen

"Guantanamo's Youngest Prisoner, Captured At 15, His Trial Begins Today "
MIKE MELIA
08/10/10
 
"GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba — Eight years after his capture as a teenager on an Afghan battlefield, a long-delayed trial began Tuesday for Guantanamo's youngest detainee.

A U.S. military judge ruled Monday that purported confessions by Canadian detainee Omar Khadr can be used against him, dismissing arguments they were tainted by mistreatment and dashing the defense's last hope for derailing the trial in the slaying of an American soldier.

His age – Khadr was only 15 when he was captured in 2002 – has exposed President Barack Obama's administration to criticism from child advocates. The prosecution will receive added scrutiny as this is the first trial under the embattled war-crimes tribunals inherited from the administration of former President George W. Bush...

While military prosecutors describe Khadr as a clear-eyed al-Qaida fighter, defense lawyers say he was himself a victim, forced into war by a family with close ties to Osama bin Laden. His father, Ahmed Said Khadr, was an Egyptian-born Canadian citizen and alleged terrorist financier.

"He's not a real Taliban warrior. He's a kid who was put in an unfortunate situation," said Dennis Edney, a Canadian lawyer for Khadr...

His attorneys contend the case relies on confessions extracted following abuse in Afghanistan and Guantanamo, but the judge in the case, Army Col. Pat Parrish, said Monday that he would allow Khadr's statements as evidence.

Defense attorneys say they will counter the statements with testimony from interrogators including former Army Sgt. Joshua Claus, who said at a pretrial hearing that he scared Khadr into confessing by making up a story about an uncooperative detainee who was sent to an American prison to be raped.

Some officials in Washington were reportedly reluctant to see the case advance to trial in the face of criticism from opponents such as UNICEF head Anthony Lake, a former Obama adviser, who warned it could set a dangerous international precedent and lead to more youths being victimized by war.

Negotiations on a plea agreement broke down, however, when Khadr rejected an offer of 30 years in prison – five more years in Guantanamo, plus 25 in Canada – in exchange for pleading guilty to all charges, according to Edney, the Canadian lawyer.

Where other Western countries have successfully lobbied for the return of their nationals from Guantanamo, Canada has refused to intervene despite a recent federal court ruling that ordered it to remedy its failure to protect Khadr's rights."

Read the complete article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/10/guantanamos-youngest-pris_n_676682.html

Monday, August 9, 2010

California Couple Indicted on Kidnapping and Other Charges for "Deporting" Woman

"Feds Say SoCal Couple Kidnapped and 'Deported' a Filipina Woman"

"A married couple from Hemet [CA] kidnapped and "deported" a Filipina woman who they claimed was in the United States illegally, federal prosecutors say...
Greg Denny, 38, and Karen Denny, 52, are charged with conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping, and "impersonator making arrest or search and aiding and abetting." Greg Denny also is charged with entering the security area of the airport under false pretenses, and making false statements to a federal officer.

Kidnapping is punishable by up to life in prison.

The 5-count indictment does not state why the Dennys deported the woman, Cherriebelle Magada Gabalonos Hibbard.

It claims that on Jan. 15 the Dennys showed up at Hibbard's home in Hemet, where Greg Denny "falsely announced that he was a law enforcement officer."

According to the... indictment, Greg Denny "placed handcuffs on Cherriebelle Magada Gabalonos Hibbard, stated that Cherriebelle Magada Gabalonos Hibbard was in the United States illegally, and that he was there to deport her, and then escorted her from the residence."

After subjecting her to a "pat down" search, the Dennys took Hibbard to the Border Patrol station in Murrieta, where Greg Denny "falsely informed U.S. Border Patrol agents that he was a Deputy U.S. Marshal and that Cherriebelle Magada Gabalonos Hibbard was the subject of a fugitive arrest warrant issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement," according to the indictment.

The Border Patrol refused to take her into custody, so the Dennys drove her back to their home in Hemet, called her husband on the phone and demanded that he buy her an airplane ticket to the Philippines, the complaint states. While they drove Hibbard to the airport, Greg Denny told her "that if she did not leave the United States he would arrest her and her husband, Craig Hibbard, and they would go to jail for 5 years," the indictment states.

Still according to the indictment, once they got to San Diego International Airport, Greg Denny lied his was past security, "identified himself as a U.S. Marshal, presented credentials and a badge, and informed Transportation Security Administration personnel that he was escorting a prisoner to a flight." Then he "escorted" her to the boarding gate.

The indictment claims that the Dennys "did unlawfully seize, confine, inveigle, decoy, kidnap, abduct and carry away and hold for ransom, reward, and otherwise, Cherriebelle Magada Gabalonos Hibbard, who willfully was transported in foreign commerce from San Diego, California to the Philippines".

Hemet and its environs, including Murrieta and Temecula, are hotbeds of anti-immigrant sentiment. The Los Angeles Times, however, said the incident "may have involved a family feud." The Times reported that Greg Denny, who appears to be quite a hefty fellow, is a former bounty hunter.""
 
Read the complete article: http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/08/09/29402.htm
 
Read the Indictment: http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/08/09/Deported.pdf

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lawyer Who Represented Woman Sentenced to Stoning Requests Asylum After Fleeing Iran

"Iran stoning case lawyer arrested in Turkey after escaping across borderMohammad Mostafaei, lawyer for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, woman charged with adultery, held on immigration offences"
Saeed Kamali Dehghan guardian.co.uk,
Wednesday 4 August 2010

 
 
"Turkish police have arrested an Iranian lawyer who represented Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.

Mohammad Mostafaei went into hiding after Iranian authorities detained three of his relatives and issued a warrant for his arrest. Mostafaei's brother-in-law and father-in law were subsequently released, but his wife remains in solitary confinement in Evin prison, although she has not been charged with any offence.

Mostafaei was apparently smuggled into Turkey but was arrested on immigration charges on Monday.

Human rights activists expressed concern for Mostafaei's safety and the possibility that Turkey, an ally of Iran, might return him. "He was treated very poorly by the Turkish police and was threatened that they might send him back to Iran," said Shadi Sadr, an Iranian human rights activist who spoke with Mostafaei by phone today. Mostafaei was concerned about his seven-year-old daughter who is with his wife's family in Iran.

The Guardian understands Norwegian and US officials met Mostafaei in prison and offered him asylum, but he was forced by Turkish officials to claim asylum with the UNHCR in Turkey or face extradition.

Amnesty International also expressed concern for his safety. Drewery Dyke of Amnesty's Iran team said: "We call upon the authorities to expedite Mostafaei's asylum request as he had a death threat in Turkey and is a target of the Iranian officials because of his involvement with Mohammadi Ashtiani's case.""

Read the complete article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/04/iran-stoning-lawyer-arrest-turkey

California Foster Care Kids Seek to Stop $80 Million Cuts to Child Welfare System

"Better Foster Care: A Child-Powered Movement"
by Daniel Heimpel,
Project Director, Fostering Media Connections
August 4, 2010

"August 13 will mark a turning point in the battle to set the foster care system right in California and the rest of the nation. What will be your role?

Over the past decade, through ceaseless political reform and human effort, the foster care system in California, and the nation as a whole, has undergone massive positive and definitive change. The movement to set the system right has been largely driven by the people who work in or around it and has grown in force as current and former foster youth have stepped into the legislative process, advocating forcefully for what they are due...

Right now, a bill that would set California on the leading edge of national child welfare policy sits in the state senate's appropriations committee. If it is not moved out of that committee by August 13 it will, after jumping innumerable hurdles, die.

It all started last year when Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed $80 million from the child welfare services budget. A host of programs that had contributed to decreasing the number of children in foster care, and better their experiences while in and coming out of the system, were eviscerated or disbanded. In addition, hundreds of social workers were fired driving caseloads dangerously high. Further, the cuts cost as much as $53 million in matching federal funds...

Then, early in 2010, the governor's office, in a wild attempt to stymie a $20 billion projected deficit in fiscal year '10-'11, threatened the elimination of the $40 million transitional housing program (THP-Plus). This would have spilled 1,400 emancipated foster youth, ages 18-24, along with 200 of their babies, onto the street...

The May budget spared THP-Plus, but the $80 million in child welfare services cuts was sustained. This leaves the youth driven movement in the tough position of having to remobilize and mop up the hard fought gains in the $80 million battle."

Read the complete article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-heimpel/better-foster-care-a-chil_b_670430.html

Human Rights Commission Finds US Deportation Policy Fails to Consider Best Interest of Children, Etc.

"US Deportation Law Violates Human Rights "
Annette M. Martínez-Orabona, Esq.
MALD, International Public Law & Human Security
Wednesday, 04 August 2010

"An International Organ of the OAS Finds that US Deportation Policy Violates Human Rights of Children and Families"

"The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States, made public on August 02, 2010, its groundbreaking decision in the case Wayne Smith and Hugo Armendariz et al, v. United States. The Commission found that U.S. deportation policy violates fundamental human rights because it fails to consider evidence concerning the adverse impact of the destruction of families, the best interest of the children of deportees, and other humanitarian concerns.

Mr. Wayne Smith and Mr. Hugo Armendariz, lawful permanent residents of the United States for 25 and 35 years respectively, were deported from the United States for non-violent criminal offenses that had occurred many years prior. They were deported without any opportunity to present evidence of their rehabilitation, their family situation, and the equities in their favor. The refusal to consider this evidence led to substantive violations of the rights of their U.S. citizen family members to establish a family. The United States government also violated the special protections that should be accorded to children who are affected by deportation proceedings."

Read the complete Press Release: http://www.nomoredeaths.org/Press-Releases/
 
Read the Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Wayne Smith and Hugo Armendariz et al, v. United States: http://cejil.org/sites/default/files/Final%20Report_CIDH_Wayne_Smith.pdf

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

News

This blog has been featured on ImmigrationLawyers.net as 1 of 48 of the Best Immigration Law Sites.  Check out the article for our ranking, as well as to see other informative blogs from immigration attorneys around the country: http://www.immigrationlawyers.net/?p=7.

Israeli Child Advocacy Group Vows to Fight Deportation of Children of Immigrant Workers

"Group vows to fight for 'all children'"
By RON FRIEDMAN
08/03/2010 03:39

"Less than 24 hours after the government voted to deport some 400 children of foreign workers, while allowing 800 to stay, children’s advocacy group Israeli Children began making phone calls Monday searching for people who would be willing to provide accommodations to foreign worker families who face deportation.

For the last year, Israeli Children and its director, Rotem Ilan, have been at the forefront of the public campaign opposing the children’s deportation.

The group has organized rallies ranging from dozens to thousands of people, enlisted political support for the cause and, in general, attempted to put a human face to an issue that for many, is a matter of abstract numbers.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Ilan expressed pride that the organization had built up enough pressure on the government so that some 800 children and their families could remain, but at the same time vowed to continue the battle to allow all 1,200 children to stay.

“We will continue doing everything we can so that all the children will be able to stay.

Right now, we are working intensively on providing assistance to those families who do meet the criteria in order to make sure that they have all the paperwork in order to file the applications. It would be a terrible shame if children who meet all the requirements will be deported because of a misplaced document or an incorrectly filled form,” said Ilan.

“At the same time we are looking for Israeli families that can provide the children and their parents who don’t meet the criteria and are subject to deportation, with a semblance of normality in their last days here. We are not seeking to hide the families or break the law in any way, we just think that it’s better for them to be in a comfortable environment, rather than in a cramped apartment in the south of Tel Aviv.

“Besides, we believe that if they are with Israeli citizens, there is a better chance that their rights will be respected. It’s much easier for Oz inspectors to bend the laws when they come at night to the slums of Tel Aviv than in the homes of Israeli citizens.”

Referring to Sunday’s cabinet decision, Ilan said she thought it was absurd that the government was nitpicking over the fate of 400 children and that the smart move would be to let all 1,200 stay.

“All in all we are talking about 1,200 children and their families. When you think about it, it is really a small number, especially compared to the number of foreign workers Israel imports every year, yet the ministers presented it as such a dire threat, a threat to the Jewish character of the country no less, that you’d think that we were talking about hundreds of thousands of people,” said Ilan.

“If the leaders think that the deportation of 400 children is a solution to Israel’s immigration problem, they are fooling themselves and the public. It’s like putting a Band-Aid on a gushing wound.

“The only solution is to set up a comprehensive immigration policy and stop importing more foreign workers. It’s ridiculous, In the same meeting that they approved the children’s deportation, they approved the import of 300 new foreign workers from Sri Lanka to work in agriculture.”"

Read the complete article: http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=183454

Iran Says Brazil's Asylum Offer to Woman Facing Stoning is Based on Emotion

"Iran dismisses Lula's 'emotional' stoning asylum offer"
August 3, 2010

"Iran says the Brazilian president did not have enough information when he offered refuge to an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning.

A foreign ministry spokesman said President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was an "emotional" person and that details of the case would be made clear to him.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, was sentenced to death for adultery, but her stoning was suspended pending a review. She could still be hanged.

The case has caused international fury.

President Lula offered refuge to Ashtiani during a campaign rally for his party in southern Brazil on Saturday.

Speaking at a news conference in Tehran on Tuesday, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman said Ashtiani had been sentenced in accordance with Iranian law.

"As far as we know, [President Lula] is a very humane and emotional person who probably has not received enough information about the case," Ramin Mehmanparast said.

"What can be done is to let him know about the details of the case of this person who has committed a crime and has been convicted accordingly," he added."

Read the complete article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-10854204