Monday, August 24, 2009

Find the Illegal Downloader: The Game

I posted this in my old blog a couple years ago. Just bringing it back...

Biometrics Part of Immigration Reform?

How soon will it be that anyone who refuses to submit to an iris scan will end up in a detention center? Or at least we'll be unemployed...

I mentioned the biometrics as part of immigration reform in my "Freedom Not Reform" article recently, but i didn't even take it as seriously as i think it now needs to be taken.

Some promoters of immigration reform are insisting that biometrics technology will be necessary to keep everyone in line. Man, what a great way to get all those who value civil liberties to unite against giving undocumented immigrants a way to become legal- even those who would like to see legalization. Is Schumer getting kickbacks from the biometrics industry? Someone needs to look into this. And what's the status of the Real ID, anyway?

So what is this going to look like: will there be an anti-biometrics movement?

I found some interesting commentary on a blog called "Of America": "This national ID move is either a labrynthine charade designed to give Obama and the Democrats a way out of their commitment to immigration reform-even the conservative, punitive “get tough approach of CIR”- or a very dangerous move to continue the Bush surveillance project under the guise “immigration reform.”

Biometric technology opens new security frontiers
And it could become the dominant way for Americans to identify themselves if Congress moves ahead with efforts to create a biometric employee-verification system to ensure that only U.S. citizens and legal immigrants get jobs.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who chairs the Senate's immigration subcommittee, has said that a verification system based on fingerprints, iris scans or some other form of biometrics must be part of any comprehensive immigration-reform bill.

The plan is controversial with civil libertarians, who say it poses a threat to Americans' privacy. But supporters say it is the only reliable, tamperproof way to stop the identity theft and fraud that plagues the current E-Verify system.

For such a proposal to work, Americans would need to provide their fingerprints or other biometric information to the government to help create a federal database that employers could use to identify would-be workers as legal U.S. residents...

Eloy Detention Center: Hightest Number of Inmate Deaths

Privately-run Eloy Detention center in Arizona had the highest number of immigrant detainee deaths of all facilities that house immigrants. The Corrections Corporation of American (CCA) is notorious for bad conditions in their private prisons and other facilities.

Nine dead: Eloy tops list of immigration detainee deaths

More immigrants have died in custody at the detention center in Eloy than at any other facility in the country.

Records from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency show that nine immigrants have died while in custody at Eloy since 2003, two more than reported at any other facility where immigrants have died.

The nine deaths represent about 9 percent of the total 104 immigrants who have died while in government custody since 2003, according to an analysis by The Arizona Republic. More..."

Note: if you are looking for information about detention centers please check out: Detention Watch Network.
If you're looking for information about the Eloy Detention Center, the official page is
Eloy Detention Center

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Freedom, not Reform: If we don’t demand it, it can’t happen

The Comprehensive Immigration Reform that is thus far being optimistically put forward stinks of the racism that has been intentionally spread by wealthy and powerful men and other white supremacists. This is a racism that intentionally ignores the root causes of “illegal” immigration, and promotes and excuses the exploitation, imprisonment, and even deaths of migrants. This is certainly not a consensus, and it is not an attitude developed organically, but politically and economically. Another voice must be heard: one that demands freedom, not reform.

Accepting a shoddy “solution” to the “immigration problem” is akin to fighting to get Sheriff Arpaio to stop his sweeps, but allowing everything else: the exploitation of labor, the poverty, the discrimination, along with all the other problems that people face. I have seen what appears to be some uncritical support for comprehensive immigration reform, despite the uproar about Sensenbrenner’s proposed ideas a few years back.

Looking closely at what is being proposed by democratic senator Charles Schumer, you can see that it is highly shaped by the rhetoric and attitudes that have become popularized by the Minutemen and other such people. “…illegal immigration is wrong—plain and simple. When we use phrases like ‘undocumented workers,’ we convey a message to the American people that their Government is not serious about combating illegal immigration, which the American people overwhelmingly oppose.”

Examining the wording describing proposed reform so far, it might as well be called Compromise-with-the-racists Immigration Reform. As a matter of fact, the ideas I’ve seen so far seem to be a good compromise between business interests, the rule of law, and white supremacists (not that these are mutually exclusive).

Who’s Wrong?

The position on “illegal” immigration being wrong is far too often left uncontested. Comprehend this: Illegal immigration is not wrong. What is wrong is the criminalization of people because of their class and countries of origin, and of the actions they have taken as a result of the decimation of economies and human rights by US business interests. What is wrong is that American businesses in and outside of the US have benefited from the cheap labor of Mexicans in particular, and others as well.

Business interests, in the form of the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the North American Free Trade Agreement, with the cooperation of the rich and powerful in their respective countries, have contributed to reducing or maintaining low wages, keeping countries in worse and worse debt, lowering environmental protections, diminishing labor safety protections, and taking land and other resources out of communal or national hands and into the private possession of the rich. This got far worse with the implementation of NAFTA, which has since caused a major drop in wages even with an increase in productivity. Let us not forget that Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution was changed to appease the authors of NAFTA, which allowed the land to be sold off to the highest bidder, causing loss of land, work, and sustenance for millions of Mexicans. These impacts that American citizens benefit from are ignored, buried, denied, or shrugged off. The primary goal of any real solution to the “immigration problem” must be to dramatically change the economic and legal impact neo-liberal projects (and capitalism in general) make on other countries.

Did the authors of NAFTA really believe that employment issues would be improved on the whole North American continent? Is it a coincidence that Operation Gatekeeper, the construction of the wall on the California/Mexico border, was begun right around the implementation of NAFTA? Obviously the ruling class does not care about the consequences of its actions, except to maintain its power by turning its citizens against the scape-goated immigrants. Instead of being accountable for the results of their pillaging and profiting, they turn around and criminalize those who are trying to escape.

Keep in mind too, that here, we’re only talking about the last few decades. It goes without saying that there’s a long history of colonization and imperialism that must also be addressed.


Being proposed by the folks who think they have their finger on the pulse of the public are more border security and tighter controls on employment. Operational control of the borders costs more money, further divides the native communities whose land spans area on both sides of the border, adds to a militarized climate that endangers human and animal life, and causes environmental damage. A biometric-based employer verification system and enforcement is costly and flawed, an invasion of privacy, and a pain in the ass for everyone. A guest worker program, or anything like it, is meant to benefit businesses only. It leads to increases in regulation and control of workers so that they remain vulnerable to exploitation. This also only allows opportunities for some, not the many who are currently in this country.

Schumer wants us to believe that “the American people want their Government to be serious about protecting the public, enforcing the rule of law,” when in fact their means of doing so up until now has resulted in the largest prison population in the world, a majority of people of color behind bars, police brutality, racial profiling, the poisoning of people who have no choice but to live by waste dumps or other toxic materials, exploitation in the workplace, poor education, lack of health care, losing housing, and on and on. This is the government we expect to protect us, and to provide a reasonable approach to immigration?

The main reason the government would seek to create reform that appears to value migrants’ lives and dignity (which this one hardly even attempts) is to avoid an uprising by the many who value these principles and who showed our massive numbers in the giant marches a few years ago.

Beyond this, there is also a demand by businesses to have access to cheap labor, not to have everyone deported or detained. But what makes the labor cheap (besides often being considered unskilled) other than it is still vulnerable? We are therefore suspect of any reform that is influenced largely by business.

What must be understood is that no matter how many people are offered a path to legal status, there will always be undocumented immigrants. Especially as long as the root causes are not addressed—uprooted in fact—the violence (economic or otherwise) will continue that is faced by Mexicans, Haitians, Guatamalens, all of those impacted by neoliberalism to the point where they would be drawn to where survival is more likely. If we settle for whatever bone we’re tossed now, what about those who haven’t yet crossed the line in the sand? In fact, what was gotten from the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act that granted amnesty to over 2 million migrants? What happened was that some things got worse for migrants, some got better, but in the end, the root problems were not settled, and here we are again.

We must also understand that even if many become legalized, they will still face the increasing measures to criminalize people. This problem is described in The Criminal Alien Problem of Secure Communities (
Secure Communities follows ICE’s broad definition of criminal alien to include any noncitizen convicted of an offense. Falling within Secure Communities’ priorities are “individuals who have been convicted of other offenses,” so broad to presumably include all misdemeanor violations or immigration violations. While this broad sweep approach to securing communities will certainly capture immigrants who do represent a threat to public safety, it extends the immigrant crackdown far deeper into the immigrant community, legal and illegal, and will likely result in widespread personal, family, and community insecurity.
Secure Communities involves an extensive consolidation in communication between various law enforcement agencies: local, state, FBI, ICE, etc... The private prison industry’s business has also been booming due to all the detention facilities that they run. With there Do you think they’re going to give this up easily?

Clearly no reform can be acceptable that the US Government, the perpetrator of violence against the people, will allow. That doesn’t mean we give up- it means we must fight harder for that which we envision for the world’s citizens.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Minutemen Not Concerned with Rule of Law

If anyone hadn't been convinced yet that the anti-immigrant folks are in fact not concerned with the rule of law except for when it benefits them, you ought to check out the letters to the editor in the latest Phoenix New Times.

Well, of course the story that the letters respond to is the main example, but since that could have been seen as an extreme isolated case (and i hope it is), the attitude is reflected in a couple of the letters. The story is that of Shawna Forde and two others and their home invasion and murder that resulted in the death of a man, a seven year old girl, and the injury of the mother. This story was covered in one of the last few New Times.
I would like to personally thank Shawna Forde for doing the job the U.S. government won't do itself. We can all sleep a little better at night knowing that at least one Mex drug trafficker scumbag is gone for good.

Too bad we do not have 100,000 more Shawna Fordes in America. And it is a shame that Shawna has to make the ultimate sacrifice in exchange for this civic deed to transpire.

Instead of getting locks and cold steel bars, Shawna should be presented with the key to the city where she took out the trash. She is a true American tragedy. Victim of ZOG [Zionist Occupation Government] since she was a little girl; a blonde preyed upon for her young body on the streets just to survive.

[For] being imprisoned for eradicating a foreign terrorist who deals in chemical warfare against our populace, she deserves all of our sympathy and adulation as both a brave lady and a strong American patriot.
J.T. Ready, neo-Nazi, Mesa (do a search for this guy, he's all over the place: friends with senator russell pearce, for one)

I see nothing wrong with Shawna Forde's actions, if you want to know the truth. Robbing and killing drug-dealing scum should get her a medal from the president.

The money these drug dealers make might as well go for a good cause — securing our borders.
Randal Randolph, Gila Bend

Of course there were several that were somewhat neutralized the disturbing effect of the others.
[Shawna Forde's] just another name to add to the long list of hypocritical "patriots" who also have sordid pasts (Minuteman leader Chris Simcox, state Senator Russell Pearce, neo-Nazis J.T. Ready, and Thomas Coletto).

I'll take all 14 of those Lindstrom's Car Wash employees over these people anytime.
Chad Snow, Peoria

See also:
How a Teen Prostitute and Beautician Morphed Into a Minuteman American Defense Leader and Alleged Killer

More Shawna Fordes in the Making? Violent Rhetoric and Unbalanced Actions from Phoenix Nativists