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Access Washington: Ice Raids Continue, Reid Discusses Reform

New America Media, News Report, Wendy Sefsaf Posted: Jun 30, 2008

Editors Note: NAMs Access Washington Weekly Immigration Update is a column summarizing key developments in the immigration debate. This column is produced by New America Medias Washington, D.C., office and is available in Spanish, Chinese and Korean.

Senator Majority Leader Discusses Immigration Reform at NALEO Conference

Last week in Washington, in a speech before the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., discussed immigration reform.

We have to do something to bring people out of the shadows, he said. We have ten to twelve million people here who have papers that arent in good shape. We have to put these people on a pathway to legalization; a pathway to citizenship.

Discussing prior failed efforts in Congress he noted, We tried in good faith to get it done, but conservative Republicans blocked us from doing anything. Remember we only got 12 votes for immigration reform from the 41 members of the Republican Party in the Senate. Unfortunately, despite President Bush and Senator McCains proclamations of support, neither one showed the leadership or expended the political capital necessary to actually get it done.

In discussing the Republican nominee for president he said, Senator McCain has gone so far as to announce in the Republican debates that he would vote against his own bill. His new position on immigration is so divisive and wrongheaded that it has won him the endorsement of Tom Tancredo.

However in the same week, Tom Tancredo published an open letter to his party's presumptive nominee stating, Recently in Chicago, you had a closed door meeting with a group of Hispanic leaders. Strangely, the closed door meeting was not on your official events calendar, no press was invited and no press release appears to have been issued. Yet, according to several news reports, you promised the group that you plan to pursue 'comprehensive immigration reform.'

ICE Continues Raids and Arrests

In Houston last week, U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) executed a federal search warrant at a Texas used-clothing and rag-exporting company. ICE arrested more than 160 Action Rags USA employees for administrative immigration violations. The individuals arrested were from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

A 24-hour toll-free hotline has been established for family members to find out more information about the detention status of those arrested today. The toll-free phone number is: 1-866-341-3858. According to ICE, they have contacted local community groups and foreign consular offices to provide accurate information about the operation.

Also last week (ICE) agents executed a federal civil search warrant at an aircraft manufacturing plant in Washington state arresting 32 of the company's workers on administrative immigration violations. The search warrant was executed at Aerospace Manufacturing Technologies, Inc. (AMT), a leading supplier of frame and interior parts for commercial and military aircraft. AMT provides many of the parts used in some of aviation's most popular airplanes, including the Boeing 737 and Boeing 777. The workers included 30 Mexican and two Salvadoran nationals; the group was half men and half women.

ICE has also set up a local phone number for family members of the arrested workers to get more information about their relative's detention status and the removal process. The phone number is: 206-553-5657.

Immigrant Rights Groups Use Video to Organize and Inform

Groups like the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and Detention Watch Network are using multimedia and web mapping to inform and engage the public about immigration. CHIRLA has posted a Know Your Rights video which illustrates what to do in case of a raid. NCLR is mapping hate crimes and featuring video, MALDEF is dispelling myths and Detention Watch Network has an interactive map of detention centers.

New America Media also recently produced a video of immigrants who were caught up in ICE raids in Iowa.

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