[While NY state is wisely authorizing drivers licenses for undocumented aliens, Bushdom in the form of the ICE (renamed INS) is staging illegal raids on New Yorkers.

Why is it wise to authorize drivers licenses for for the undocumented — both to ensure that they are qualified to drive and that accident insurance will be in place to protect any injured in an accident?  I worked for my former employer, Brooklyn College, to assist new arrivals in gaining naturalization status.  Thus, I learned that the undocumented were not simply those who had snuck into the country.  We were assisting many legitimate people in working through the hold-ups of the immigration bureaucracy — refugees with legitimate claims to sanctuary, family members of citizens (e.g. new wives or husbands or children of same), workers with visas that needed renewal (one of my finest new colleagues at Brooklyn was facing such a delay), and many others with legitimate claims to get on board.  Even those without such a status should not be victimized by criminal exploiters when they are in residence here.  So go for it NY.

As for the illegal raids by ICE — we scarcely need more violations of our Constitution than we are seeing already in so many spheres.  It was the Nazis and Stalin’s guys who specialized in middle of the night terror raids.  To see them being implemented here is outrageous to any and all of us who opposed both totalitarian regimes as horrors.  Those running such things seem to be our draft dodgers of the Viet Nam era.  They never suffered from the battlefield and they seem not to have learned basic respect for our American Constitution.  Too damned many war criminals and criminals at home are running things for my taste.

Read the following NY Times article circulated by the American Friends who work with new immigrants.  This stuff is un-American.  Needless to say, Hispanics are unlikely terrorists.  More damned ethnic prejudice here.  Shame!  Ed Kent]

…………………..

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/21/nyregion/21raids.html?ref=nyregion

September 21, 2007
Immigration Raids Single Out Hispanics, Lawsuit Says
By NINA BERNSTEIN

A federal lawsuit filed yesterday charges that agents of Immigration and
Customs Enforcement unlawfully force their way into the homes of
Hispanic families in the New York area without court warrants or other
legal justification, sometimes pushing down doors in the middle of the
night, in search of people who do not live there.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court in Manhattan as a
class action, accuses the immigration agency of conducting the raids in
violation of the Fourth Amendment’s protection from unreasonable
searches, harming citizens and legal residents of the United States as
well as foreigners here illegally.

The 15 plaintiffs – all but one are residents of Suffolk County and
seven of them are United States citizens – describe abusive predawn
raids on their homes this year by armed immigration agents. They seek an
order prohibiting I.C.E. from conducting home raids until the agency
develops clear guidelines to end unlawful entries, and unspecified
damages.

According to the complaint, the raids are part of a program called
Operation Return to Sender that was started in 2006 to arrest and deport
“fugitive aliens” or immigrants previously ordered to leave the country.
But, the lawsuit contends, “the agents regularly raid homes where the
fugitive is not present and could not reasonably have been believed to
be present.”

The complaint contends that “the unstated goal of these raids is to gain
access to constitutionally protected areas in hope of seizing as many
undocumented persons as possible” to meet annual arrest quotas recently
increased by the agents’ superiors to 1,000 per fugitive team, up from
125 arrests in 2003. Mark Thorn, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs
Enforcement in the New York region, said that he was not familiar with
the lawsuit, and that the agency does not comment on litigation.

But earlier this year, agency officials vigorously defended the program,
while acknowledging its imperfections, in response to questions about
the early-morning raid on Feb. 20 on the East Hampton, N.Y., home of the
Aguilar and Leon family. All members of that family are either United
States citizens or, in the case of one of the children, a legal resident
awaiting naturalization.

Five members of the family, including Adriana Aguilar and her mother,
Elena Leon, are now lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

“We would like to find fugitive aliens at 100 percent of the locations
we go to, but it’s not an exact science,” Christopher Shanahan, director
of the New York field office of the agency’s Detention and Removal
Operations, said at the time. Mr. Shanahan, who could not be reached
yesterday, is a defendant in the lawsuit along with his superiors in
Washington.

The lawsuit, filed by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund
and the international law firm of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae,
contends that Mr. Shanahan was either personally involved in the raids,
or “grossly negligent in managing the training and activities” of the
agents under his supervision.

It cites recent reports by the Office of the Inspector General of
Homeland Security that criticized Immigration and Customs Enforcement
for the inaccuracy of its database of fugitives and lack of agent
training. In 2004, agency officials required that 75 percent of the
fugitives each team arrested be “criminal aliens.” But that requirement
was dropped in January 2006, when the goal was changed to 1,000 arrests
per team.

In the case of Ms. Aguilar’s family, immigration agents burst into their
home in East Hampton to hunt for an illegal immigrant without a criminal
record – Ms. Aguilar’s ex-husband, who had not lived in the house since
2003, when they divorced and he was ordered deported.

After detaining and questioning the frightened family members, including
Ms. Aguilar’s 12-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son, the complaint
said, the agents threatened to return.

In an account disputed by agents at the time, the complaint contends
that another plaintiff, Nelly Amayo, was arrested in her East Hampton
home when she demanded to see a search warrant. It says agents twisted
her arm and eventually left her in her nightclothes in Manhattan.

Another raid was in a rooming house in Mount Kisco, N.Y., where David
Lazaro Perez and other residents were awakened about 4 a.m. March 18 by
agents who did not show a search warrant. The complaint said agents took
his wallet containing $700 and that it was returned without the money.
————————————————————————–
American Friends Service Committee welcomes you to share any information you have on LOCAL immigrant and refugee-related news, events, related position openings and volunteer needs (ie. interpreters, translators, visitors for detainees) in New York and New Jersey.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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