Archive for the ‘detention’ Category

ZILLAMOD -This is the god’s to honest truth. At the end of the day – it’s not a partisan matter. It’s a family matter. You use whatever you have to protect your family from harm. I am the same. This is my story as well.

This is a repost by Linda Vega.

Being an American citizen is one of the most powerful manifestations of our constitutional tradition as a nation and as a government. These constitutional rights and obligations reserved strictly for citizens have made man want to die to protect our nation, because they know that as citizens they have unalienable rights. However, the Department of Homeland Security under the Obama Administration is now stripping American citizens of their citizenship. More importantly, these attacks on a population where American citizens are being denied their constitutional rights are mainly aimed at a group: elder Latino Texans who were too poor to go to a county hospital and opted, instead, to use a midwife because there was no hospital in the poor rural areas of Texas. As a result, the Obama Administration is now incarcerating and stripping some seniors of their citizenship because they are unable to “properly” prove their birth occurred on U.S. soil.

According to immigration attorney Jaime Diez, along the Rio Grande River in Texas, there are cases where Elderly Latinos have to relinquish their U.S. Citizenship because they cannot provide enough evidence to substantiate their birth on U.S. soil by either a hospital or a credible midwife.

Prior to 2009, a few cases of maybe 20-30 would arise where elderly Latinos had to produce evidence of their U.S. Citizenship. Usually a baptismal record or a birth certificate would suffice to prove their U.S. citizenship birth. However, under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, (“WHTI”), which came into full force and effect on June 1, 2009, changes implemented under this new law, have caused overzealous U.S. agents and officers to litigate case after case that seeks to strip U.S. Citizenship from Latinos that now number over 1000.

With only limited exceptions, WHTI makes it illegal for U.S. citizens to “depart from or enter the United States” without a valid U.S. passport. 8 U.S.C. §1185(b); 22 C.F.R. §53.1(a). While this may be a necessary application of law, for a group of people who did not have the conveniences of modern day hospitals or record keeping when they were born, it has become a nightmare and a loss of identity.

Long before there was a dispute regarding the demarcated boundary that separates the U.S. and Mexico, descendants of Mexicans lived along the border on the U.S. side for years without fear of having to leave their country of choice. When Texas became the 28th state under the Presidency of Polk in 1845, those who lived along the border were annexed into the U.S.

Additionally, when the two countries were unwilling to reach a compromise as to where the boundary would be set, the Mexican-American war broke out on April 25, 1846. The result of that war fixed the southern boundary between the two countries at the Rio Grande River. For generations, the people living along the Rio Grande River into Mexico where their relatives were left in their undisturbed Mexican residency and those in the U.S. were granted U.S. Citizenship. It was a matter of convenience and understanding that those U.S. Citizens who were instantly acquiesced into the U.S. territory had travel privileges back and forth between the two countries. In the years that followed, children were born through midwives and clinics who would record the births as credible state records. In 1925, more than 50 percent of babies born in Texas were delivered by midwives. However, by 2004, the number had dropped to 6.6%. Much of the change was brought about because as rural areas integrated more clinics into the area, many along the border were receiving more prenatal care and healthcare during births.

The earliest known hospital in the valley was in Harlingen, Valley Baptist medical Center, founded in 1925. Surrounded by rural areas and colonias, the hospital is at least a 25 mile distance to these areas. At present, it is not uncommon for women to give birth to children in clinics or hospitals as these facilities are not as scarce as previous years prior to 1950. The births were not the problem, it was an industry norm for registering births that had unintended consequences on what the government is now terming, “delayed birth certificate” fraud.

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), many of these births recorded by midwives are either fraudulent or not legal as they were not recorded according to standards. Those affected by this new application of law, now find themselves having to defend their birth certificate and passports granted to them by the U.S. State Department.

Additionally, those affected are between the ages of 60 and older born in the 1940-50s. This is the age group that is most affected as they were more likely to be born by the assistance of a midwife and at home.

While Texas is approximately 25 million in total, it is populated by a large Latino community in the rural areas, and in South Texas where about 90% of the total population is Latino.

Texas and South Texas Population by Ethnicity, 2007

When broken down into the counties most affected by the passport requirement see the following:

Consequently, immigration attorneys in the Rio Grande Valley have noticed that these cases requiring elderly Latinos to prove their citizenship has spiked within the last two years. Attorney Jaime Diez argues that over 1000 cases have been reported but many more are not for the sake of keeping the peace. However, these are only the cases of those with financial resources to fight DHS, or USCIS in court; but many more surrender their citizenship fearing a long battle in a court that is estimated to cost between $15,000 to $20,000. Many of the elderly, living on a fixed income cannot imagine this long battle or the expense, and instead relinquish their U.S. Citizenship and leave for Mexico, a land not their home.

Immigration Attorneys, like Jaime Diez, in the Rio Grande Valley accept the cases on a pro bono capacity, but have been overwhelmed recently with unnecessary discovery requests by the government and oftentimes face over 5 U.S. attorneys for a simple case of birth certificate verification. In one such case, Jaime Diez in Brownsville. States that five U.S. Attorneys were flown in from Washington D.C. to appear in Federal District Court to ask women questions regarding her childhood in the valley. The U.S. Attorneys asked to be taken to the many places the woman played as a child and other places where she and her brother remembered family gatherings. This was not only inefficient use of government money and resources, it provided little if any comfort thinking that securing the border means stripping Latinos of their U.S. Citizenship rather than apprehending those who are “terrorists” in all aspects at the border crossing.

In 2008, Obama promised Latinos change. Unfortunately, one of these promised changes includes having to lose your birthright identity because you were born at a time when a system was inefficient and antiquated. According to the present Obama policies, if you were born in 1950 and beyond, you are expendable in the U.S. Your absence, along the Rio Grande Valley where you have lived most of your life, will be overlooked. According to this Administration, Latinos have an apathy and will not participate in elections, and so invalid deportations and stripping on U.S. Citizenship will go unnoticed because no one will dare to speak up to this injustice. It is a quiet secret that many will chose to ignore. But Latinos are strong in family ideals and are compassionate protectors for the less fortunate. And now that many do know about what is happening to the elderly along the border, I hope that this Administration is placed on alert to immediately cease and desist this action. It is a shameful way to protect the border, and frankly this behavior is anything but American or decent, it is Mr. President, monstrous.

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BTC – Two activists from the Fully Informed Jury Association or FIJA were assaulted and unlawfully detained by federal agents agents while video taping an outreach effort on public property in Allentown, PA.  Their video equipment was aggressively seized by the agents as bystanders witnessed the altercation.   According to the Libertarian Examiner, the interaction escalated as one FIJA member  “chose to argue” with a female US Marshall.

As 911 report  followed, dispatched as a “robbery in progress”.  The camera operator, George Donnely, has been detained since the incident.  The charges to continue to hold him in a local Federal Detention Center are obscured.  

Military blogger Michael Yon, detained, handcuffed by TSA in Seattle Airport

c/o BigGovernment

Award winning war correspondent Michael Yon was detained and handcuffed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Yesterday by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel.

Yon was returning to the United States from Hong Kong to visit family when TSA officials stopped him during a routine security checkpoint. “Officials asked me what was in my bag—nothing wrong with this question,” Yon said in an interview with BigGovernment.com. “I told them it was normal stuff, clothes and toothbrushes.”

At this point the TSA officials escorted Yon to a designated screening area where they examined the contents of his bag. “Then they asked me how much money I make,” Yon said. Yon suggested to the TSA officials that the question was inappropriate and unrelated to transportation security. The award-winning blogger noted another TSA officer approached Yon: “he asked who do I work for.” ”I did not answer the question which clearly was upsetting to the TSA officers.”

Yon was escorted to a room elsewhere in the airport where he said he remained silent during much of the questioning. According to Yon, “they handcuffed me for failing to cooperate. They said I was impeding their ability to do their job.”
Yon described the TSA officials as noticeably frustrated by his refusal to answer their questions: “I always assume everything is being recorded. I was trying to be professional.”

Yon continued, “They said I wasn’t under arrest, but I’m handcuffed. In any other country, that qualifies as an arrest.”

Ultimately Port Authority police released Yon; according to Yon, the police were “completely professional.”
In January of 2009, Yon’s article “Border Bullies” detailed a Homeland Security officer coercing a friend to give up her e-mail password so that he could read private email correspondences between her and Yon.

Regarding the incident in Seattle, Yon was adamant the TSA agents had overstepped their bounds: “If I am the guy on that passport and I don’t have any contraband in my luggage, it is a matter for the FBI, not the TSA.”

“TSA people are out of control,” he said. “They are not doing their jobs, they are harassing people, creating animosity. They ask you ‘what time is your connective flight?’ and they bully you until you miss the flight.”

At around noon on July 5, EST, a phone call, from a verifiable source, was received by a member of former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney’s camp indicating that the American prisoners in Israel have been moved to a detainment facility closer to the Ben Gurion Airport.

McKinney’s imprisonment has shed additional light upon the plight of Gaza – which is one of two possible results of her trip – the other one being that supplies and a little joy for the children might have actually been delivered. 

Either way, it’s a step toward healing Gaza. And the Palestinians, observing the commitment of the humanitarians to delivering aid, see that some of the world cares.::MORE HERE::

A Grits For Breakfast Commentary by Scott Henson 

Finally, the committee approved a bill, SB 1175, that would allow police to give a Class C ticket for “failure to identify” when they detain a suspect. (Discussion of the bill begins at the 1:32:00 mark.) Currently, Texans don’t have to identify themselves unless they’re actually arrested, and it’s not a crime if you don’t do so. In practice, of course, police can’t write a ticket without the identifying information, so this would give them cause to arrest you and cart you off to jail (under authority affirmed by the US Supreme Court in Atwater v. Lago Vista, a Texas case).

What kind of situations are we talking about? Under what circumstances might you be “detained” when police have no cause to arrest you? The examples given were things like “taking pictures in front of a nuclear power plant,” but I think the new power would be used more widely than that, and mostly in non-terrorism related cases.

I wrote about a situation last year where I was detained on the street for, essentially, “babysitting while white.” Some busybody called 911 because they saw me walking down the street with a two-year old of a different race. Three police cars were sent to detain and question me over this grave matter. That was a formal “detention” and Sen. Patrick’s statute would have applied. More than a few commenters were offended that I wasn’t more cooperative with police – though I did give my name and address when asked, I refused to answer detailed or personal questions. I thought a lot afterward about why I reacted the way I did. Mostly it’s because the officer precisely didn’task for my name at first, but instead asked a series of questions aimed at determining whether I was some sort of child molester or kidnapper.

Sen. Whitmire asked why any law abiding citizen would refuse to identify themselves, and while I can’t speak for others, I know why I wouldn’t answer questions that day. As I said in reply to a commenter in that post, “Talking to cops who want to investigate you for false allegations of sex crimes has many potential negatives that simply refusing to speak to them wholly avoids.” When the conversation starts out with an accusation, it’s wholly justified and probably wise from the perpective of a potential defendant to not give police any information at all.

Whitmire himself identified another reason someone might not want to tell police who they were – if they were having an affair or some other “domestic situation.” There are many possible scenarios where someone might not want their spouse, their job, etc., to know their whereabouts, but that wouldn’t imply a crime was committed. The point is, in a free society, that person has free will to make bad choices as long as they don’t harm others or violate the law. “None of your business” is still a valid response.

To demand, “if you don’t have cause to arrest me, let me go” IMO is a reasonable exercise of one’s rights and shouldn’t require subjecting yourself to a check in the warrants database, which is the main thing this is really about at the end of the day. With more than 10% of adult Texans having outstanding traffic warrants, every time someone walks away without running them through the system, police miss a 10% chance they’ll owe money that can be leveraged from them with a trip to the jail.

This is not a slippery slope toward a police state but a straight chute. I’ve joked before how, during the Cold War, we used to consider it the height of totalitarianism that Communist police might stop an average citizen on the street, demand to see their papers, and arrest them if they didn’t comply. But that’s exactly the kind of power Sen. Patrick’s legislation would give police in Texas: Identify yourself or go to jail. “Can I see your papers, comrade?” That’s unnecessary. The law’s just fine like it is.