Monthly Archives: January 2011

Hundreds of Indian Students Duped by Fake University Face Deportation

Hundreds of students of Tri-Valley University face the prospect of deportation after a university in California was charged with immigration fraud.

The Tri-Valley University (TVU) in Pleasanton, California, has been charged by immigration authorities with being part of an effort to defraud, misuse visa permits and indulge in money laundering and other crimes. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement department (ICE) allege that while the students were admitted to the university and resided in California on paper, they were working without status in other parts of the country.

The university is said to have 1,555 students, 95 percent of whom are from India. In their defense, the students point out that they believed Tri-Valley was a bona fide and legitimate university as it was registered with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a database of all foreign students in the United States, which is managed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

While Fox News is already disparaging the students as “illegals,” DHS is primarily at fault for not requiring better accreditation from the educational institutions registered with the program. If it was a fake university, DHS should not have issued visas and allowed the institution to dupe so many students. In fact, the situation warrants a lawsuit against both the school and the Department of Homeland Security. As such, the students should not be penalized with deportation from the United States, especially without the right to due process.

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The End of An Era For Homeland Security

Homeland Security Advisory System scale.

Image via Wikipedia

It’s about time Homeland Security got rid of the color-coded terror alerts that helped protect our freedoms and preserve our liberties. Our lives are going to be empty and boring for a little while but I’m sure we’ll find something new and entertaining soon enough.

The Obama administration plans to replace the widely mocked color-coded terror warnings with a simpler, two-tier system: “imminent threat” or “elevated threat,” with more detailed information.

“The alerts will be specific to the threat,” a senior administration official told POLITICO. “They may ask you to take certain actions, or to look for specific suspicious behavior. And they will have an end date. …. [The Department of Homeland Security] will implement this new system on a clear and simple premise: When a threat develops that could impact the public, we will tell you. ”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/48286.html#ixzz1DNHBXYZH (If you want to)

RIP: Terror Alerts

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Black Mom Sentenced to Jail for Sending Kids to a Better School District

With the stroke of a pen, Ohio judge Patricia Cosgrove made a felon out of Ms. Williams-Bolar, a single black mother with no previous criminal record. Her crime? She dared to send her children to a more affluent (and white) school district that offered them a better education.

Now, the naysayers may disagree that this has anything to do with race. The prosecutor’s theory is that Ms. Williams-Bolar falsified documents pretending that her kids lived with their father in another district so that they could attend a better school and in doing so, cost taxpayers in the school district a considerable amount of money. The judge determined that sending her children to the wrong school was worth $30,500 in tuition!

But it is altogether naive to think Ms. Williams-Bolar is being jailed for improper paperwork. This is a draconian sentence for an infraction where many are never penalized. When other people commit the same infraction, they aren’t investigated – worst case scenario, their children are simply unenrolled . If it was up to Akron, Ohio and Judge Patricia Cosgrove, many parents who make similar mistakes or send their children to better schools would become felons overnight.

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ICE Set to Deport University of Arkansas Honors Student

Jonathan Chavez, an honors student at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, was on his way home to visit his parents when immigration authorities nabbed him on a bus and hauled him to a private detention facility in Florida. His crime? Despite the fact that his parents have legal status in the United States, Jonathan does not possess legal status because his naturalization process was stalled when he turned 18.

Jonathan came from Peru as a minor under his parents’ work visas. He grew up like any other American kid in Rogers, Arkansas. Jonathan sang solos in the church choir and graduated from high school with a 4.0 grade-point-average. Not only was he accepted to the University of Arkansas, he is a member of their celebrated Honors College and is only two semesters away from graduating. Besides being a sharp student and beautiful singer, Jonathan is a young man who wants to give back to his community. Everyone who knows Jonathan speaks about him in glowing terms. His community is waiting for him to come home and his friends started a petition at Change.org on his behalf requesting immigration authorities for deferred action.

As President Barack Obama continues to turn his back on immigrant communities, thousands of students stand on trial for their lives, awaiting deportations to countries that they do not know. Jonathan has his deportation hearing this Thursday.

Tell Immigration and Customs Enforcement to let Jonathan return to school and to stop deportation proceedings against him.

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Los Angeles Continues Crackdown on Immigrant Rights Supporters

The City of Los Angeles is facing a projected deficit of $360 million for the coming fiscal year and City Attorney Carmen Trutanich means business. He wants to jail all immigrant rights protesters who engaged in direct actions for up to a year at taxpayer expense.

We already wrote about Trutanich’s attack on young citizen immigrant rights protesters who shut down Wilshire Boulevard last year in support of the DREAM Act. But there seems to be a pattern here. Members from Todos Somos Arizona who blocked buses from entering a federal detention in May are also on trial. So are five Cal State Northridge students who protested last March against tuition fee hikes. It seems like Trutanich has no love for protesters in Los Angeles. Instead of fining them and putting them on probation, the city has decided to try locking up the protesters in jail.

The hypocrisy is aggravated when one considers the fact that the Los Angeles City Council has passed unanimous resolutions in support of the DREAM Act and immigration reform. Mayor Villaraigosa and the City Council also denounced the anti-immigrant Arizona law and supported the boycott of Arizona. But when immigrant rights advocates took to the streets to show their opposition to anti-immigrant practices in Los Angeles, they were arrested, cited and now face criminal charges along with jail time. With support like this, who needs nativists?

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To Attack Day Laborers, Herndon City Council Even Bans Cheerleader Fundraisers

Victory! Under pressure from Latino and immigrant advocates, the Herndon City Council has done away with the discriminatory measure.

Once upon a time, Herndon, a small town in Virginia, could no longer tolerate the sight of Latino men soliciting jobs in public places.

It made an ordinance, specifically forbidding day laborers from finding jobs. The law was nothing more than an ugly and xenophobic attempt to get rid of the Latinos on the sidewalk looking for work. A Fairfax County judge rightly struck it down as unconstitutional.

Herndon did not learn its lesson. At a time when unemployment is soaring through the roof, Herndon would rather prevent people from finding jobs and making ends meet. The outgoing city council moved to enact a broader ordinance, banning all solicitation on streets and sidewalks. The result? Now cheerleaders, non-profit fundraisers by community groups, and panhandlers are banned from soliciting money, too.

The law continues to quash free speech with the sole intent of discriminating against mostly Latino laborers seeking day-to-day employment. Indeed, the original draft of the ordinance proposed to “eliminate the visual blight of Latino workers.” This has not set well with some Herndon residents who complain that the measure is anti-immigrant and has nothing to do with the public safety concerns raised by its proponents.

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D.C. Could Abolish SSN Requirement for Driver’s Licenses

Washington, D.C., is the capitol of the United States, with thousands of diplomats and international students working and traveling in the district who have absolutely no way of getting a driver’s license since they cannot obtain a social security number. At the same time, D.C. law requires people who live in the city and who operate a vehicle to obtain a driver’s license. The D.C. DMV does not make exceptions to this rule and it has become impossible for a sizable segment of the population to actually get driver’s licenses or even ID cards.

A small piece of legislation introduced by D.C. Councilmember Phil Mendelson would fix that by abolishing the social security number requirement. Mendelson told The Examiner that he was inspired to introduce the bill after hearing from perfectly legal U.S. residents living in the District of Columbia who were opposed to having Social Security numbers.

“There’s no rational reason for saying in order to drive a car, you have to have a Social Security number,” Mendelson said. “I’m much more interested in whether you’re texting while driving, paying attention and know how to drive.”

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