Cuentos Inmigrantes: April 7, 2011

Washington, D.C., Oct. 2, 2010. Flickr photo by ep_jhu

Cuentos Inmigrantes is a weekly collection of immigration news and views, from there to here and back

The Wall Street Journal reports that the FBI is questioning Libyans living in the U.S. in an attempt to identify spies or terrorists. The article says agents, who began conducting interviews this week, are particularly interested in Libyans staying in the U.S. on visas. In 2003 the FBI conducted a similar action, called "Operation Darkening Clouds", took place, interviewing an estimated 11,000 Iraqi immigrants living in the U.S. The New York Civil Liberties Union strongly objected and eventually sued the government, calling it “invasive and coercive".

A delegation of more than 50 people from Bay Area immigrant rights organizations and their allies visited Sacramento Monday to support AB1081, a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco). AB1081 would make participation in Immigration and Customs Enforcement's “Secure Communities” program optional in California. Under S-Comm, the fingerprints of anyone arrested by law enforcement are shared with ICE. The Assembly Committee of Public Safety will hold a hearing on the bill April 26.

On Tuesday, the Assembly Judiciary Committee rejected AB26 and AB1018, both sponsored by Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks) who is founder of the Minuteman group in California. AB1018 would have required a citizenship check for anyone applying for public benefits. AB26 would have banned public agencies from adopting policies that limit immigration enforcement. It also would have also allowed residents to sue so-called sanctuary city governments over lax enforcement and would have punished employers who knowingly hire undocumented immigrants.

A suspected serial killer and alleged white supremacist Jason Bush was sentenced to death Wednesday by a Pima County jury for the murder of 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father, Raul Flores. He joins Shawna Forde on Arizona’s death row for the deadly home invasion in 2009 in Arivaca, AZ. You can read more about this case in a previous blog here.

Thousands of U.S. citizens married to Mexican nationals try to work their way through the immigration process legally. To do so they have to apply for their immigration visa in Juarez, Mexico —that’s the only U.S. consulate out of nine there that handles the visas. In 2009 more than 94,000 Mexicans came to Juarez to apply for permanent resident status. A long-standing U.S. policy requires visa applicants to wait outside of the country to get the documents. These visas allow foreigners to live in the U.S. until they are granted permanent legal residency. But, as Osha Gray Davidson reports in Mother Jones magazine, it’s a hazardous endeavor. Some applicants are murdered, as detailed in Davidson’s article. According to Davidson, Juarez has seen about 7,000 killings in less than three years.