Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Immigration and Customs Enforcement’

Trey Gowdy, the Congressman behind the SAFE Act, is a Moron

Rep. Trey Gowdy, Certified Moron.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, Certified Moron.

Trey Gowdy is a Republican Congressman from South Carolina who wants to prioritize deportation over just about everything else.

He is the mastermind behind the or Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act (“SAFE ACT”), which he introduced to the House on June 6, 2013.

If passed, the bill would allow any State or Locality to act as ICE agents. The most deleterious effect of this certifiably moronic bill would be to severely endanger the lives of vulnerable individuals, such as victims of domestic violence or other serious crimes.

On more than occasion we have seen victims of domestic violence not go to police for help because they are afraid that they or their children may be deported. In fact, the abusers often use the ever-present threat of deportation as a weapon to control and further the abuse of the victim. We have seen the same dynamic in cases involving sexual abuse of minor children.

Trey Gowdy offered up this gem of wisdom to justify the bill: “If you are good enough to solve homicide cases, then I trust you to solve immigration cases.”

The problem is that if local police are solving immigration cases they will not be good enough to solve homicide cases and other crimes. Communities with immigrant populations will cower–and justifiably so–at the sight of any police officer because they will be seen as arms of an agency that can literally destroy their family in one-fell-swoop.

Immigration enforcement is not synonymous with public safety. In fact, common sense dictates that immigration enforcement is  antonymous to public safety because it has and will continue to undermine the trust that communities have in police officers.

According to VOXXI, the SAFE ACT has 21 Republican Co-Sponsors and the support of Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who masks his support of the neanderthalish bill in good governance gobbledygook.

Goodlatte defends the piecemeal strategy, saying it allows more time to analyze proposed immigration legislations.

“For far too long, the standard operating procedure in Washington has been to rush large pieces of legislation through Congress with little opportunity for elected officials and the American people to scrutinize and understand them,”

The SAFE Act has nothing to do with a piecemeal approach. Rather, it is a nativist-inspired barb designed to derail serious debate on the serious issue of immigration reform.

Memo to Gowdy and similarly challenged minds in Congress: Stop hating and start thinking.

Our U.S. citizen client’s story of illegal deportation and exile at the hands of the U.S. Government.

Below is the English translation of the Pilar Marerro’s article for La Opinion that was published today:

Blanca Alfaro, a U.S. citizen born in Houston, Texas,  with 3 of her children in El Salvador

Blanca Alfaro, a U.S. citizen born in Houston, Texas, with 3 of her children in El Salvador

Blanca Maria Alfaro, who is 33-years-old, has a birth certificate issued in Houston, Texas, vaccination documents from when she was a child, a social security card, and she has been issued two United States passports. But that has not been enough to dissuade the government of the United States from believing that she is lying and that in reality she is a Salvadoran who has tried to enter the country illegally.

Alfaro has had to retain at least two attorneys to represent her in in her intent to prove that she is a citizen of the United States, as her documents show. The path has been complicated and full of obstacles.

“I am from here. This is my country because I was born here”, said Alfaro in an interview by phone from the office of her attorney on Long Island, New York.

“The last time I entered through Hidalgo, a huge amount of officials detained me, and one pushed me into a room and later they interrogated me.”

On at least two occasions, once in 1998 at the Kennedy airport in New York and the other time in Hidalgo, Texas, she was detained and interrogated. On the last occasion, she was detained for eight days in Texas and another seven days at the La Salle Detention Facility in Jena, Louisiana.

In 1998, CBP confiscated her passport, which was recently issued in San Salvador, and deported her, but not before they interrogated her extensively, detaining her for hours and tying her feet and legs. Later, she was issued another passport and she was arrested again briefly when she traveled again to the United States in 1999. Subsequently, she entered the United States in 2001 and 2004 without any problems.

This Kafkasque comedy continued again in 2005 when she went to the United States embassy in El Salvador to request residency for her husband and four children, who live in that country. Again, her passport was confiscated for “not being a citizen”. Since 2006, the family has been working with attorneys to obtain another passport for her and in 2007 the Department of State advised her that they were investigating. To this moment, they have not informed her of a decision.

“How can they take 7 years to conduct an investigation like this one?”, said her attorney Bryan Johnson, of Long Island, New York.

Alfaro, according to her declaration and according to a copy of her birth certificate, provided by Johnson, was born in Houston in 1979 and lived there her first years of live until she reached the age of 5, when her father brought her to El Salvador, the country where her ancestors are from. There she has lived up until recently and there she married and had four children, who continue to reside in a household in La Union. Her husband is an farmer in the area.

On two occasions, Alfaro states that she was treated harshly and suspiciously by federal agents. “I do not know why they do not want me to come, if this is my country”, added the woman, whose oldest child now lives in the United States and who wants her husband and her other children to be able to come and live with them in the United States.

The attorney Johnson noted that after 14 days of being detained, that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recognized that there was evidence that she “was a citizen.”

Part of the problem stems from what happened in 1998, when Alfaro was 18-years-old and attempted to enter the U.S. with her United States Passport issued in San Salvador, she was interrogated for hours and her hands and feet were tied and they repeatedly insisted that she tell them “her real identity.” Exhausted, said Alfaro in a recent sworn statement, she gave them the name of her sister and they let her go, deporting her.

Nevertheless, after this, she received another passport and entered the United States two times without any problems.

“All of the evidence, which the authorities have had to have seen, indicates that she is a citizen of the United States”, said Johnson, who currently represents her. “In 1998 they did not believe her because she did speak any English. The problem was that there was not one bit of due process.

Blanca Alfaro is waiting to see if her latest request will bear fruit so that she is given her passport which, she alleges, she has a right to have.

United States citizens deported. 

On other occasions it has been reported that United States citizens have been deported by the authorities. Just this last week the New Yorker magazine published an extensive profile on the mentally disabled man named Mark Lyttle, who was deported to Mexico because of a “bureacratic error.”  The man had no Mexican ancestry and did not even speak Spanish yet he was detained for 51 days before being deported and wandered around Mexico and Central America for 125 days, before he was able to return to Texas. Finally, the government gave him monetary compensation without admitting wrongdoing.

Jaime Diez, an immigration attorney in South Texas, told La Opinion, that he has represented at least 10 cases in the area where individuals were persecuted by the authorities because they were delivered by midwives and not in hospitals, which is common in certain parts of Texas. “We have seen many cases where the government has confiscated passports and deported them or have forced them by intimidation to admit that they were not born here.”, said Diez. “I have at been successful in 10 cases but I have seen many more of these types of cases.”

According to TRAC, Transaction Records Acces Clearinghouse, an institution dedicated to the analysis of government data, the United States Government has issued orders to detain “suspected noncitizens” for more than 800 U.S. citizens between 2008 and 2012.

Will The Real Prison Profiteers Please Stand Up?

F. William Mcnabb II, CEO and Chairman of The Vanguard Group, which owns close to $590 million private prison shares.

F. William Mcnabb II, CEO and Chairman of The Vanguard Group, which owns close to $590 million in private prison shares.

Abigail Johnson, leader of Fidelity Investments, which owns over $520 million in private prison shares.

Abigail Johnson, leader of Fidelity Investments, which owns over $520 million in private prison shares.

The GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) have been active in the press as of late. Most recently, Florida Atlantic University announced that it would name its new stadium the “GEO Group Stadium” in recognition of a $6 million donation from the private prison giant.

The CEO of CCA recently assured investors that there was no need to worry about immigration reform, as Colorlines reported: 

There is always going to be strong demand regardless of what is being done at the national level as far as immigration reform.

Although it is tempting to apportion the moral outrage of immigration detention upon ostensibly evil entities such as CCA, GEO, or ICE, one must be vigilant in following the money.

Who really owns GEO and CCA? A handful of the biggest investment funds in the world. You might even have a stake in one of the companies if you invest in mutual funds.

Fidelity Investments, one of the largest mutual funds and financial services groups in the world, owns over $520 million in shares between CCA and GEO.

The Vanguard Group, another giant investment fund that manages close to $2 trillion in total assets, owns over $580 million in shares between CCA and GEO.

There are several other investment funds and banks that have a substantial amount of money invested in private prisons. For example, Scopia Capital Management, which manages a more modest $3.5 billion in total assets, owns $299,518,488 in GEO shares. That is a staggering 8 percent of their entire holdings.

Scopia would have a lot to lose if immigration reform drastically reduced the need for the detention of human beings  unlucky enough to not be endowed with the golden ticket of U.S. citizenship.

Money corrupts. It creates an impermeable barrier between those that profit and those that the profit is made off of. Profiting off of detaining immigrants is particularly pernicious. The shareholders of GEO and CCA are earning money off of the destruction of immigrant families. They are earning money by contributing to a child losing her father or mother or both forever.

Moreover, the shareholders are earning money from the systematic violation of immigrants’ human rights, which includes but is not limited to the illegal detention of U.S. citizens , rapeundernourishment, and inadequate healthcare of the detainees.

We should not let these profiteers ignore the harm that their profits are causing. Let the public know. Below are the leaders of the funds with the most invested in GEO and CCA. The groups listed below have at least $50 million in ownership of GEO and/or CCA.

F. William Mcnabb II is the CEO and Chairman of Vanguard.

Abigail Johnson leads Fidelity along with her father, Edward C. Johnson III.

Matt Sirovich and Jeremy Mindich run Scopia Capital Management.

Richard McGuire heads Marcato Capital Management.

Stephen M. Goddard is the founder and CFA of London Company of Virginia.

Kenneth M. Jacobs is the Chairman and CEO of Lazard Asset Management.

Keith A. Meister is the founder of Corvex Management LP.

Chris Wallis is the CEO president and CEO of Vaughan Nelson.

Paul Trowbridge Gillepsie Jr. is Co-founder, principal, and president of New South Capital Management, Inc.

Guy Monson is the Managing Partner, Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Investment Officer of Sarasin & Partners LLP.

Joseph L. Hooley is the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of State Street Corporation.

Richard Rossi is the President and Co-Chief Operating Officer of Eagle Asset Management, Inc.

R. Andrew Beck is the President and CEO of River Road Asset Management LLC.

David G. Booth is Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Dimensional Fund Advisors LP.

Jay B. Abramson is the CEO of Cramer Rosenthal Mcglynn LLC/Adv.

John G. Stumpf is Chairman, President, and CEO of Wells Fargo & Company.

Lawrence D. Fink is Chairman Chief Executive Officer of Blackrock Fund Advisors.