Friday, January 18, 2008

Houston conference begins on immigrant rights with 'under-seige' report

January 17, 2008 Contact:
Arnoldo García, cell (510) 928-0685;
Lillian Galedo, cell (510) 409-1679;
National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights

Report condemns human rights abuses against immigrant communities; calls for respect for civil, labor, and human rights

Unprecendented report released to mark start of national conference in Houston

By Arnoldo Garcia

HOUSTON -- The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) released today Over-Raided, Under Siege: U.S. Immigration Laws and Enforcement Destroy the Rights of Immigrants, a new report detailing over 100 stories of human rights abuses against immigrants during 2006 - 2007, including those arising from 206 immigration raids. (See links below to view and download copies of the report and immigration raids chronology.)
According to Catherine Tactaquin, NNIRR Executive Director, "Over-Raided, Under Siege plainly demonstratez that systematic abuses are being perpetrated against immigrant and refugee families and workers by the U.S. government, including the Department of Homeland Security, as well as by the local and state police." She added, "These abuses and anti-immigrant government policies are a form of 'collective punishment' that undermine our rights and make our communities even more vulnerable to abuse by unscrupulous employers, elected officials and anti-immigrant hate groups."
Over-Raided, Under Siege identifies several troubling trends in rights violations in immigration services and enforcement, including:
The exploitation of immigrant workers in violation of labor rights protections by employers who take advantage of anti-immigrant government policies to intimidate immigrant workers;Arbitrary detention of immigrants by local and state police;Denial of services by state, county and local governments and the racial profiling of anyone that "looks or sounds foreign;"High profile raids of communities and workplaces by the DHS in order to intimidate immigrant communities; The deepening humanitarian crisis at the border resulting from the ongoing militarization of U.S. immigration and border control, producing record numbers of immigrant deaths and widespread rights violations.The 92-page report was launched to mark the beginning of NNIRR's national conference, taking place January 18 - 20, 2008, in Houston, Texas. The conference, "Claiming Our Rights, Envisioning Our Future: Communities Organizing for Justice," will bring together over 500 participants from across the country, including those from immigrant rights, community and faith-based organizations, unions, workers' centers, and many others. They will attend general sessions, over 70 workshops and a cultural program and banquet Friday evening January 18.
Monami Maulik, director of the New York-based Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM) and NNIRR Board Member, stated, "Over the next few days, our conference will deliberate over how to rollback the climate of hate and impunity created by official U.S. immigration policies and laws."
Over-Raided, Under Siege calls on the federal government to take immediate steps to cease and prevent human rights violations, such as the arbitrary detention and deportation of individuals, and local and state collaboration with immigration policing. The report also calls for the demilitarization of immigration and border control, the restoration of due process rights for all individuals, and respect for the human rights of immigrants.
Over-Raided, Under Siege makes multiple recommendations to policy makers, including Congressional action to strengthen protections for worker rights and civil rights, and to provide a rational and fair system of immigration that provides options and access to citizenship and permanent residency, clears the backlog of immigration petitions, reunifies families and stops the expansion of guest worker programs.
Ms. Maulik added, "Most recent immigration reform packages would have compromised away key protections for immigrants. We need a new immigration reform effort for positive policy changes, and we should make sure that policy makers and the Administration take steps to integrate immigrant and refugee communities as full, participating members."
To read or download an executive summary of Over-Raided, Under Siege, please click on:
To view or download NNIRR's immigration raids chronology, click on:
The full report, Over-Raided, Under Siege, is available at:
The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) is a national organization composed of local coalitions and immigrant, refugee, community, religious, civil rights and labor organizations and activists. The report is the first produced by the new "HURRICANE" initiative organized by NNIRR (HURRICANE: The Human Rights Immigrant Community Action Network), which plans to issue annual reports on the human rights situation of immigrants and refugees in the U.S.
Immigrant community organization members and leaders from across the country are available for media interviews before and during the conference. Please contact NNIRR for more information on the conference and to arrange media interviews.

To obtain a print copy of the full report, Over-Raided, Under Siege: U.S. Immigration Laws and Enforcement Destroy the Rights of Immigrants, please contact NNIRR or send a check or money order payable to "NNIRR," $20.00 per copy, includes shipping and handling and mail to:
NNIRR-Hurricane * 310 8th Street STE 303 * Oakland, CA 94607
Tel (510) 465-1984 ext 305
Fax (510) 465-1885
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