Guide coaches il­le­gal aliens on how to han­dle raids

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Jerry Seper

A Mary­land-based im­mi­grantad­vo­cacy group is dis­tribut­ing guide­books in­struct­ing those tar­geted by fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion agents dur­ing job-site raids not to co­op­er­ate with au­thor­i­ties if they are ar­rested or de­tained.

The eight-page, two-color il­lus­trated book lists what rights “peo­ple who are not United States cit­i­zens” have if de­tained by im­mi­gra­tion agents, de­tails what to do if served with a war­rant or charged with a crime, and urges them to re­main silent if they are ar­rested.

The book also says they should refuse to pro­vide au­thor­i­ties with any in­for­ma­tion about their im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus.

In­cluded in the book is a “Know Your Rights” card to be cut out and pre­sented to ar­rest­ing agents, show­ing that those de­tained choose to ex­er­cise their “right to re­main silent, the right to refuse to an­swer your ques­tions” and to “refuse to sign any­thing un­til I con­sult with my at­tor­ney.”

The book, which fea­tures car­toon­like draw­ings of armed black and white po­lice of­fi­cers es­cort­ing His­panic men in hand­cuffs and shows ba­bies cry­ing be­cause their fa­thers are be­hind bars, is the prod­uct of CASA of Mary­land Inc., work­ing with other or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Gus­tavo Tor­res, CASA’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, has not been avail­able for com­ment.

Lo­cally, the or­ga­ni­za­tion has been in­volved in the es­tab­lish­ment of day­la­borer sites for il­le­gal aliens, and helped mo­bi­lize more than 500,000 demon­stra­tors at the Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment last year for what it called a “his­toric im­mi­grant rights march.”

Kim Pro­peack, the group’s di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity or­ga­niz­ing and po­lit­i­cal ac­tion, said CASA has “be­come aware that some seg­ments of our com­mu­nity” are fright­ened about the prospect of im­mi­gra­tion raids and may avoid in­ter­act­ing with gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tions even if they have noth­ing to do with im­mi­gra­tion.

“We con­sider pro­vid­ing peo­ple with ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion about their rights fun­da­men­tally im­por­tant to the peo­ple we serve, the lo­cal com­mu­nity con­cerned about pub­lic safety, and to the na­tional com­mu­nity, which has adopted a bill of rights,” she said.

CASA, orig­i­nally known as the Cen­tral Amer­i­can Sol­i­dar­ity and As­sis­tance of Mary­land, is a 501(c)(3) tax-ex­empt, char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tion es­tab­lished in 1985. Ac­cord­ing to its latest IRS pub­lic-dis­clo­sure re­port filed on April 24, 2006, it re­ceived $1.14 mil­lion in private do­na­tions and $1.64 mil­lion in gov­ern­ment fees and con­tracts — $2.78 mil­lion in rev­enue in the year end­ing June 30, 2005.

Its gov­ern­ment funds came from the cities of Bal­ti­more and Takoma Park, Mont­gomery and Prince Ge­orge’s coun­ties, the state of Mary­land, the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, and the U.S. De­part­ment of Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment.

U.S. Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment (ICE), in an ef­fort to gain op­er­a­tional con­trol of the border, has tar­geted for ar­rest il­le­gal aliens and the em­ploy­ers who hire them, de­scrib­ing the strat­egy as key in the fight against il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and pro­tect­ing the home­land.

The agency re­moved nearly 200,000 il­le­gals from the coun­try in fis­cal 2006, a 10 per­cent in­crease over fis­cal 2005. There were more than seven times as many job-site en­force­ment cases last year than in 2002. Be­tween 12 mil­lion and 20 mil­lion il­le­gal aliens are thought to be in the United States.

“No one is above the law, and we will con­tinue to ag­gres­sively and pro­fes­sion­ally pro­tect pub­lic safety and na­tional se­cu­rity by en­forc­ing the na­tion’s im­mi­gra­tion and cus­toms laws,” ICE spokesman Marc Rai­monde said.

Rep. Dana Rohrbacher of Cal­i­for­nia, rank­ing Repub­li­can on the House in­ves­ti­ga­tions and over­sight sub­com­mit­tee, said dis­tribut­ing ma­te­ri­als that teach il­le­gal aliens “how to cir­cum­vent the law” sug­gests that CASA is “aid­ing and abet­ting crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity.”

Mr. Rohrbacher called the CASA book pro­gram “harm­ful to Amer­ica.”

De­mos Chrissos, who co-founded Cit­i­zens Above Party in Mary­land to in­ves­ti­gate sus­pected links be­tween il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and wide­spread voter fraud, said the book’s dis­tri­bu­tion war­ranted an in­ves­ti­ga­tion to de­ter­mine whether tax­payer funds were be­ing used to ad­vance CASA’s agenda.

“Is CASA us­ing the peo­ple’s money to fund their own agenda and is that not wor­thy of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion?” Mr. Chrissos said. “I’d like to see how they jus­tify putting out a pub­li­ca­tion on how to skirt U.S. im­mi­gra­tion law.”

The CASA book ad­vises those fac­ing ar­rest not to lie to im­mi­gra­tion agents, warns against us­ing false doc­u­ments and urges them not to carry pa­pers from an­other coun­try be­cause they could be used in a de­por­ta­tion pro­ceed­ing.

The book says that dur­ing a job­site raid, im­mi­gra­tion agents need to have a war­rant signed by a judge and urges those at the site: “Stay calm. Do not run. This may be viewed as an ad­mis­sion that you have some­thing to hide.”

It says im­mi­gra­tion agents and po­lice can­not make ar­rests un­less they have a war­rant or ev­i­dence of non­res­i­dency, adding: “Do not tell im­mi­gra­tion your im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus or where you were born.” If con­fronted with a search war­rant, the book ad­vises: “Do not open the door. Ask the of­fi­cer to slip the war­rant un­der­neath the door” to avoid giv­ing agents the im­pres­sion that they have “con­sent” to en­ter.

The book says those ar­rested should de­mand their right to a tele­phone call, con­tact their for­eign con­sulate, and be aware that for­mal charges have to be brought within 48 hours or they have to be re­leased.

It also says gov­ern­ment agents may try to “in­tim­i­date” those de­tained into sign­ing doc­u­ments and warns: “Don’t let your­self be tricked. You may be sign­ing away your right to a hear­ing be­fore an im­mi­gra­tion judge.”

As­so­ci­ated Press

Break­ing the law: Rene Martinez, right, holds his son Ro­drigo Martinez, 4, as Susan Armer, rec­tor of St. Matthew/San Ma­teo Epis­co­pal Church, looks on dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in the sanc­tu­ary of St. Mark’s Epis­co­pal Cathe­dral in Seat­tle on May 9. Rene Martinez was ar­rested in March in a raid on his work­place at Emer­ald Downs race­track, in nearby Auburn, Wash. Churches in five big U.S. cities plan to pro­tect il­le­gal im­mi­grants from de­por­ta­tion, of­fer­ing sanc­tu­ary if need be, as they pres­sure law­mak­ers to cre­ate a path to cit­i­zen­ship for the na­tion’s es­ti­mated 12 mil­lion il­le­gal im­mi­grants.

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