Antonio Vanegas has worked at a pita shop in the food court of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., for three years, and recently joined 150 workers on a one-day strike to protest low wages and other labor law violations. He spoke at the protest and asked the federal government to be a “good landlord” and only house businesses that follow the laws of the land.
However, Vanegas ran into a bit of a problem: He’s an undocumented immigrant, his place of employment was housed in the same building as United States Customs and Boarder Protection and he is facing deportation after being apprehended by a federal office at work just a few days after his protest.
According to The Huffington Post.
“Vanegas said his immigration status was never an issue on the job -- at least until he claimed publicly that his boss had been violating labor law. Not long after that, he said, he was detained for four days, and now has an immigration hearing scheduled for August.
“'This country is a country of laws,’ Vanegas, 26, told HuffPost through an interpreter. ‘Regardless of my status, I should have some protections based on the labor laws that have been violated.’"
Venegas claims that he was paid under the table and below minimum wage, worked beyond federal overtime limits without compensation and simply wrote his hours on a piece of paper and was subsequently paid in cash.
The report continued, “During Vanegas' detainment, the Latino advocacy group Presente.org circulated an online petition calling the situation "outrageous."
Kyle de Beausset, senior campaigner with the group, told HuffPost he felt Vanegas was ultimately punished for doing a brave thing.
"When undocumented workers are trying to organize, they're threatened with deportation, and that keeps everyone's wages down," de Beausset said. "We're hopeful this will help people realize that when folks are here in the country and unable to organize, it hurts everyone."
Source: The Huffington Post
President Barack Obama, last week, assured Latinos that information used to file for health insurance coverage under the nation’s new healthcare laws — sometimes called “Obamacare”— won’t be shared with other government agencies or lead to possible deportation.
Last year, a story in the National Journal reported that Latino families remained skeptical of the new healthcare laws. Many families, the story reported, are of mixed immigration status, meaning the children were born in this country and here legally while the parents were still considered illegal. Such a situation, it is believed, made parents reluctant to seek coverage for their children because they fear that information, revealed through the application process, could lead to their deportation and the family being torn apart.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a letter assuring people that the information would not be shared. Many, though, believe such assurances haven’t been enough.
"I think something from the president himself would be helpful,” Daniel Zingale was quoted as saying in the National Journal story. Zingale is senior vice president with California Endowment, an organization which has fought to get Latinos signed up for health coverage.
At last week’s town hall meeting, hosted by Telemundo and Univision, the president sought to provide that personal assurance. According to a story in the Weekly Standard, when asked, as part of the questioning, "Will we hear from you a pledge, a personal promise, that the information provided in the registration process will not be used for deportation purposes in this country?” Obama responded, “Aboslutely.”
In finishing up his answer, the president further reassured Latinos, particularly those in mixed-status families.
“So for everybody out there who is in a mixed family, there is no sharing of the data from the health care plan into immigration services,” the president said. “They should feel confident.”
Obama has faced skepticism from the Latino community recently as deportation efforts along the southern border of the country have increased. The Detroit Free Press reports that the president attempted to push back against those worries at the meeting, saying that he believes the Latino community knows, “I’ve got their back.”
A woman in McAllen, Texas, is facing deportation after being arrested for failing to get her son proper medical treatment for a broken foot, reports KGBT in Texas.
Mely Saldana’s 15-year-old son was injured in January during an argument with the boy’s step-father over what to watch on television. The altercation led to the teen's being pushed to the floor and landing in an awkward position on his foot.
Saldana, who is in the country illegally, did not take her son to the hospital because she feared being deported.
The woman did leave her husband and moved to a home in South McAllen where, with no money, she struggled to get by.
"She didn't have money and she was scared," a friend of Saldana’s, who did not want to be identified, told KGBT.
As the condition of the boy’s foot worsened, the mother took him to a masseuse and a doctor at a clinic. Both advised her that the foot was likely fractured. Unable to pay for further treatment and still scared to go to a hospital, the mother treated the broken foot with nothing but Tylenol for 25 days.
In extreme pain for days, the teen resorted to getting around on crutches. He was eventually taken to a nearby hospital and underwent surgery for a broken ankle on Feb. 13.
Upon investigation into the incident, Saldana was arrested for injury to a child and failing to report a felony. She was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after posting bond and is facing deportation.
There is no news on the condition of the son and his foot. Similarly, there is no news on whether the step-father of the boy has been charged with a crime.
The situation casts new light on the plight of illegal immigrants who face abuse and neglect. The problem is of particular interest in Texas. In 2010, the Texas-based Center for Public Policy Priorities found the situation so dire that it used Texas as a case study to explore how the needs of abused children could be better addressed under existing laws.
A Pakistani exchange student, who has been in a coma in a Duluth, Minn. hospital, will not be deported, reports the Associated Press.
According to Pioneer Press, Shahzaib Bajwa has been hospitalized since a November car accident. He had been a student at University of Wisconsin-Superior and in the country on a student visa. That visa expires on Feb. 28.
Until Wednesday, Bajwa’s family was concerned that difficulty getting his visa renewed, coupled with his mounting hospital bills, would lead officials to have him deported back to Pakistan.
Bajwa’s bills amount to $350,000 so far and continue to grow every day. Bajwa’s brother, Shahraiz Bajwa, told NBC News that the hospital will not help convert the patient’s student visa to a medical one because they don’t believe the family can pay the bills.
“There is one doctor at this hospital who has put a lot of effort in sending my brother back, and he must be very heartbroken that we are still here. He is doing it because my brother is costing them money,” Shahraiz Bajwa said. “When we asked the hospital to convert his student visa into a medical visa, first they said they would help us. Then they took that offer from the table.”
“We are working collaboratively with Mr. Bajwa’s family and caregivers along with the U.S. and Pakistani governments to reach the best possible outcome for the patient and for his family,” hospital spokeswoman Maureen Talarico said in the same news story, adding she could not directly address Bajwa’s claims because of patient privacy laws.
The issue has shed new light on growing concerns of “medical repatriations.” Such maneuvers allow for de-facto deportations when a hospital is concerned an immigrant cannot pay medical bills. According to NBC, a 2012 study released by two advocacy groups tracked 800 such cases. In one case, a patient was removed through a hospital’s garbage-disposal doors. In another, a patient was flown to a foreign airport and abandoned on the tarmac.
Such a grim fate does not await Shahzaib Bajwa, it seems. His brother has said the family has been contacted by Pakistan’s consul general in Chicago. The office there told him that the expiring visa will no longer be problem. The consul general also informed the family that the exchange program’s insurance company will pay to move Bajwa to a long-term care facility and pay for his care for a short time. The family will have to pay expenses after that.
An online fundraising campaign the family launched last week has raised about $131,000.
Nearly half of immigrants who choose to fight their deportations are winning their cases. That is the analysis of a study conducted by the Transactional Records Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, reports website AllGov.com.
The Associated Press, reporting on the same study, points out that the government has been losing these deportation cases at an increasing rate since 2009. That number may be accelerating. In the 2013 fiscal year, the government won 52 percent of its cases. The success rate has dropped by two percent since the beginning of the 2014 budget year, with judges ruling in favor of nearly half of the defendants in the 42,816 cases heard so far.
The study also reveals that the location of the trial has a lot to do with the outcome. Defendants in Oregon, California and New York tend to be more successful. Oregon defendants have a success rate over 77 percent. If tried in Georgia, immigrants have only a 19 percent chance of beating the charges. Louisiana and Utah also have low success rates for defendants.
Fox News reports that in 2011, the government reviewed a backlog of some 300,000 cases. A good deal of those cases, some many years old, were eventually dismissed. Furthermore, in 2012, the Obama administration created a program called Deferred Action for Childhood that allowed some illegal immigrants to apply to stay in the country for two years on a work permit. Kathleen Campbell Walker, an immigration lawyer in Texas, told Fox that those and other reasons could be behind the government’s slouching success rate.
"The true implications of these numbers are murky and people shouldn't jump to conclusions yet," Walker said.
The study comes at a time when immigration is a hot topic in the nation. President Barack Obama pledged in his State of the Union address last month to use executive power to address many issues. The Senate passed a large immigration reform bill last year, but efforts in the House of Representatives to pass legislation have stalled.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have detained and may deport Edgar Javier Marin, an Ecuadorian immigrant from East Haven, Conn.
Marin, a legal resident, is a father, youth soccer coach and immigrant-rights advocate. His detainment and possible deportation likely stems from an incident with East Haven police on June 28, 2011.
On that day, Marin’s partner and mother of his child, Bianca Torres, had been involved in a car accident. Marin was on the scene to assist her. Police and a tow truck operator arrived and wanted her car towed to a police impound until the car was deemed safe to drive. Marin protested, stating he wanted to remove some tools from the car and possibly just have the car towed to his home. A physical altercation erupted that resulted in Marin's being stun-gunned by East Haven police officer Dennis Spaulding.
Accounts of the altercation differ, but many witnesses claim that the officer brutally beat Marin before using the stun gun. Others say the officer used justified force. Marin left the dust-up with a charge of assault on a police officer.
Instead of a lengthy legal battle, he chose to plead guilty to the charge in exchange for two years' probation.
“When it’s your word against the police’s word, the court will always side with the police,” said John Lugo, an organizer at La Unidad Latina en Accion, an immigrant advocacy group. “Two years on probation sounds a lot better than up to 10 years in prison.”
Officer Spaulding has since been convicted on multiple counts of civil rights abuses and was sentenced Jan. 23, to five years in prison by a federal judge. His conviction was not a result of the incident in 2011.
Supporters of Marin argue that he was unfairly targeted, even profiled, by the East Haven Police and Spaulding. Consequently, his guilty plea should have no bearing on his immigration status, they say. Furthermore, many in the community believe the East Haven Police turned him in to ICE.
Not so, says Police Lt. David Emerman.
“ICE was likely notified and began proceedings for deportation due to his felony conviction,” Emerman said. “However, it is not the police department that makes the notification after conviction.”
Alex Meyerovich, a Bridgeport, Conn. immigration attorney, said Marin has a long year in front of him while he fights deportation.
“It will come down to this man’s history,” Meyerovich added. “But this man will need both a good criminal defense attorney and an immigration lawyer who knows immigration issues.”
If convicted for egging in his luxurious Calabasas, Calif. neighborhood, pop star Justin Bieber could face deportation.
The Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department raided Bieber’s home Tuesday in search of surveillance footage that would serve as evidence of his participation.
After the search, one member of Bieber’s entourage was arrested on suspicion of cocaine possession.
The arrested man was later identified as Lil Za, or Xavier Smith, with bail set at $70,000.
"California does not take vandalism lightly,” L.A. based lawyer Anahita Sedaghatfar. “If the damage is $400 or more, the person can be charged with a felony and the person can face anywhere between one to three years in jail.”
If convicted, and because Bieber is not a U.S. citizen, he could be deported to Canada in a worst-case scenario.
However, it seems the teen heart throb wouldn’t take the news too harshly.
“You guys are evil,” Bieber said in a Rolling Stones interview in 2011. “Canada’s the best country in the world. We go to the doctor and we don’t need to worry about paying him, but here, your whole life, you’re broke because of medical bills.”
Faced with potential deportation back to Germany, a large evangelic Christian family with six children is battling for its right to stay in the U.S.
In Germany in 2006, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike pulled their children out of public schools and began to homeschool them. However, the practice of homeschooling has been illegal in Germany since 1918, and the Romeikes were soon fined by the government and threatened with legal action. In 2008, the Romeikes fled to the U.S. in hopes of being able to continue their homeschooling practice.
An immigration judge granted the parents and children asylum in 2010. The U.S. government, however, appealed, arguing that laws against homeschooling don’t constitute human rights infractions, and, as such, cannot be ground by granting asylum.
The deportation order was issued by Eric Holder’s Department of Justice. Now, Holder has again been asked to weigh in on the situation as it develops.
The Romeikes are joined in their case by The Home School Legal Defense Association, an organization that protects homeschooling rights. Together, have they have appealed a previous court decision that ruled in favor of the Obama administration.
The family claims that being expelled from the U.S. and being forced to return to Germany would mean fines and potential jail time, not to mention potential loss of custody of their children.
“We hope that the Supreme Court will hear our appeal and that we may be able to stay here. America is a land of freedom and we cannot go back to Germany where our children will be taken from us just because we homeschool,” said Uwe Romeike.
The family is currently awaiting a hearing in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Sources: Insquistr, theblaze.com
Photo Source: http://radio.foxnews.com
A Texas family says justice has not been served in the shooting death of Jesse Benavides, who was gunned down at a family birthday party in front of his 8-year-old son in 2011.
Seven weeks before the murder, his attacker, Santana Gaona was in jail in Dallas County accused of raping and beating his wife. Gaona was flagged as an illegal immigrant and scheduled to be deported.
ICE officials later canceled and released Gaona because “another law enforcement agency” asked them to remove the detainer, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Gaona was reportedly an informant for multiple federal agencies, including the FBI, according to TheBlaze.
Benavides, 33, tried to break up a fight between Gaona and his estranged wife on Oct. 22, 2011, when Gaona fatally shot him.
“It shouldn’t have happened,” said the victim’s brother, Juan Benavides. “If someone was an illegal immigrant and had a history of violence, for him to just slip through and open up the murder situation — nobody understands that.”
The Benavides family told TheBlaze they haven’t found any closure. They are in the process of filing a complaint with the FBI and have considered filing suit.
“I still can’t go a day or minute without thinking of my brother Jesse,” Juan Benavidas said. “Jesse isn’t the only person whose been killed unnecessarily by criminals like Gaona, who shouldn’t be here to begin with. Where’s the FBI now? Why haven’t they ever said anything to our family — since it was their guy who killed my brother. Why wasn’t he deported when he was arrested the first time?”
Unnamed ICE officials told TheBlaze that ICE officers rarely deport people who haven’t commited a crime after their illegal entry into the U.S., adding that deportation is a complicated matter.
After his arrest for murder, Gaona was again flagged for deportation. It is unclear whether he has been prosecuted or deported since 2011. The FBI told TheBlaze it cannot comment on informants.
“I’m sure that this is not a weekly or daily thing, but there is negligence on the part of our government for not enforcing their own laws,” Juan added. “These illegal immigrants need to be incarcerated or deported — he took an 8-year-old child’s father. Who’s going to explain to Micah what happened and why? This is a huge weight and it still doesn’t make sense to him. I’d like to see something that’s public that will require a higher level of responsibility when it comes to informants and illegal immigrants. At work I’d be fired for this level of irresponsibility — it’s baffling to me.”
An Arizona prison inmate told investigators he choked his cellmate to death, stomped his head and then bit him in the groin so he could stay in prison, according to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.
Roberto Venegas Fernandez, 43, reportedly told detectives that he liked prison and was afraid of being released so he killed Michael Patrick McNaughton, 55, on Nov. 16. The Sheriff’s office is now asking that a first-degree murder charge be filed against Fernandez, said spokesperson Tim Gaffney.
Investigators originally investigated the death as the result of a fight between the cellmates after being housed together in the Corrections Corporation of America in Florence while awaiting their transfer to the Bureau of Prison, Gaffney said.
But Fernandez later told homicide detectives he committed the crime to ensure “he got ‘first degree’ murder.”
“Roberto wanted to find a way to stay in jail, so while the victim was sitting on his bed, he choked him until he fell onto the ground, then on his head and continued to choke the victim until he was presumed dead,” Sheriff Paul Babeu said.
Fernandez, from Mexico, originally committed a sex crime in the U.S. and was sent to prison.
“Now as he is approaching his release from prison and would be deported back to Mexico, he brutally murdered a U.S. citizen to ensure that he’s not deported,” Babeu said.