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    News and Updates


    End Private Tacoma Prison for Undocumented Immegrants


    U.S. Border Agency’s Head Of Internal Affairs Removed From Post
    for failing to investigate hundreds of allegations of abuse and use of force by armed border agents

    Ready article in The National Memo

    See comments on our facebook page

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    Orcas Island tries to protect skilled immigrant facing deportation

    Ready article in Seattle Times
    See comments on our facebook page

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    "Prison Needs Accountability" - Herald of Everett, WA

    Support the 1,200 detainees on hunger strike


    Shutdown Tacoma Detention Center
    Read article by Maru Mora Villalpando

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    Mexican national jailed for 2 months following routine traffic stop. NWIRP lawsuit claims Border Patrol lied to justify racist arrest.


    NWIRP was in the news yesterday for our defense of an Anacortes artist who was wrongfully arrested and then detained for 2 months.

    Worse yet, the Border Patrol fabricated events to conceal its racial profiling and unlawful arrest.

      "Our client was arrested despite the fact that there was no legal basis to detain him, let alone to transfer him to the custody of the Border Patrol. Moreover, the police reports demonstrate that the Border Patrol sought to create justification after the fact in order to cover up the unlawful arrest and imprisonment." - NWIRP Legal Director Matt Adams

    You can learn more about how NWIRP is fighting the Border Patrol's unlawful practices from Seattle PI's full story here.

    As always, thank you for standing with us in defending the rights of immigrants.

    In solidarity,

    Michelle S. Muri
    Development Director

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    A story of harassment in Arizona

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    King County Council Passes Ordinance Limiting ICE Detainer Requests
    From: Ann Benson

    As outlined in the OneAmerica press release below, after more than two years of work, today the King County Council (Seattle) passed ordinance 2013-085. Under this ordinance, King County will only honor ICE hold (detainer) requests for individuals that have been CONVICTED (not simply charged) with serious, violent, sex and gun crimes, or 2 or more serious traffic (primarily DUI) offenses. Individuals with qualifying convictions will only have an ICE hold request honored if they have been convicted of a qualifying conviction, or been released pursuant to such conviction, within the previous 10 years. No ICE hold requests will be honored for individuals under 18 years of age.

    This was a terrific collaborative effort with all the groups highlighted in the press release below. It is a tremendous victory and we look forward to moving forward this effort in other Washington counties.

    You can view the ordinance in its entirety at the WDA website.

    Ann Benson, Directing Attorney
    WDA’s Immigration Project, Seattle, WA
    Tel: 360-385-2538 Web: www.defensenet.org

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    Justice Department reaches settlement over Border Patrol traffic stops on Olympic Peninsula

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    Immigration Reform
    Are we Going Forward or Backwards?
    This video - in English or Spanish - gives details of the current Senate bill not completely reported in the media - including its harmful impacts on immigrant families daily lives.

    Police and Border Patrol Incident Report
    Port Townsend police and Border Patrol cooperating?

    Immigration Reform
    Where Things Stand Now and What's Next - an ACLU report

    Border Patrol braces for budget cuts

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    Mass Release of Immigrants Is Tied to Impending Cuts

    Federal immigration officials have released hundreds of detainees from detention centers around the country in recent days in a highly unusual effort to save money as automatic budget cuts loom in Washington, officials said Tuesday. - Read article in the New York Times.

    May be a good opportunity to take a close look at these private prisons - in Arizona and in Port Angeles.

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    Federal Agencies' Meet on Border Patrol Policy

    Representatives from three federal agencies will take input at a meeting tonight on a new Border Patrol policy under which agents no longer provide language assistance to local law enforcement agencies, according to the Peninsula Daily News. The meeting is open to the public from 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. at the Longhouse at Peninsula College in Port Angeles

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    Legal Clinics
    Sponsored by the Skagit Immigrant Rights Council a Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Legal Clinics will be held at Skagit Valley College on March 21

    Also, there is a Citizenship legal clinic on Saturday, April 27. For details, please contact Donna Rieper at 416-7095 Ext 226.

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    Important Victory for Border Communities

    Breaking news! We at NWIRP are SO PROUD to announce an important victory. Today, the Department of Homeland Security announced that they will halt the practice of using Border Patrol agents as "interpreters" in routine law enforcement matters. This policy change won't just affect Washington residents - it will affect border regions throughout the country.

    Earlier this year, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and two cooperating attorneys filed a complaint on behalf of six individuals who had been detained and placed in removal proceedings by Border Patrol agents after the agents had apparently been called to the scene to provide "interpretation" for other law enforcement agencies.

    You may remember the horrifying stories from earlier this spring, through this New York Times article.

    The complaint NWIRP filed was a critical part of the advocacy efforts that prompted this policy change.

    "We are grateful for the courage of the clients who spoke up against this discriminatory practice and who have helped bring about a change of policy that will affect communities throughout the country." said NWIRP Executive Director, Jorge L. Barón.

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    United We Dream
    Young Immigrants Say It’s Obama’s Time to Act

    Full story in the New York Times.

    Locally, an invitation to start a meet and work together with others from Washington state to see that we get comprehensive immigration reform in order to legalize YOUR status and that of family members. Connect with Jim Justice, Chair, Skagit Immigrant Rights Council

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    Election Good News for Immigration Reform
    Exit polls indicate that nearly two-thirds of voters surveyed said that undocumented immigrants should be given the opportunity to pursue legal status. Less than 3 in 10 favored deportation. Read the Washington Post Story.

    Now let's get prepared and organized.

      11/17/12 - Northwest Immigrant Rights Dreamer Project
      Many young people throughout the state need legal assistance to apply for this process so we're again mobilizing with our partners to help. Youth can meet with an attorney for free to have their applications reviewed and questions answered at our next Deferred Action workshop on Saturday, November 17. Find details here.

      November or December, 2012 - The Dept of Justice announced that it will facilitate a meeting at Peninsula College in Port Angeles so that the Border Patrol can announce some new policies. The exact date in November or December has not yet been announced. Stay tuned for details.

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    New Facility in Port Townsend

    Construction has begun for a 1,700 sq.ft office and a secure vehicle impound lot - for a single "customs officer" - at Point Hudson in Port Townsend. "Of course the Border Patrol, a sister agency, could stop in once in a while" we are told, but this huge office and impound lot are for one customs officer who has had a much, much smaller office at the Post Office up town for years.

    "Customs Officer" Office

    Secure Impound Lot

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    Good article by Kathy Mulady in the Equal Voice News on Border Patrol issues in Forks. - Libby

    Fear on the Northern Border: Increased Border Patrol strains Latino community

    from Mike Kane on Vimeo.

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    Obama Administration Relaxes Immigration Policy for Youth
    Reported by:
    Peninsula Daily News
    Washington Post
    New York Times

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    Breaking News: Federal Agency Rules Against Use of Border Patrol Agents as Interpreters
    Excerpted from the PDN and the NYT

    The practice of Forest Service officers’ requesting language interpretation and security backup from Border Patrol agents during stops of Spanish-speaking people is discriminatory, according to a federal administrative ruling made public this week.

    BP "Assist" in Sequim back in February
    The ruling, by Joe Leonard Jr., assistant secretary for civil rights of the Department of Agriculture, said requesting interpretation assistance was "merely an excuse to target Latino individuals for immigration enforcement."

    The ruling came in response to a claim by the companion of a Mexican man who drowned in a river on the Olympic Peninsula last year after a Border Patrol officer, summoned by a Forest Service officer, chased the man into the woods.

    The couple had been stopped on Olympic National Forest land while picking salal, an evergreen shrub used in floral arrangements.

    The ruling included disciplinary actions against some employees, and it ordered the Forest Service to create new guidelines for dealing with people who speak limited English.

    Details on MWIRP Website

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    Border Patrol Ready To Move Into $9.8 Million HQ

    Article in PDN

    and in the NYT

    Matthew Ryan Williams for The New York Times
    Jose Hernandez picking salal, an ornamental shrub, near Forks, WA

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    Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs Meeting in Forks
    Friday June 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm at Quillayute Valley Parks and Recreation, 91 Maple Ave., Forks, WA 98331 Read the Invitation

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    NWIRP and ACLU Class Action Lawsuit Against Border Patrol
    On April 26, 2012 Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) and the ACLU of Washington, with cooperating firm Perkins Coie LLP, filed a class-action lawsuit challenging the U.S. Border Patrol's practice of stopping vehicles and interrogating people without legal justification.

    Through this lawsuit we hope the federal courts will intervene and force the Border Patrol to put a stop to abusive practices that violate our Constitution.

    Details, meet the Plaintiffs, and learn more about the lawsuit at NWIRP

    Nice article by Mike Carter in the Seattle Times too.

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    Report by OneAmerica and U of WA
    Report By Lornet Turnbull, Seattle Times staff reporter, traces tension in Lynden to Border Patrol's greater presence.

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    Why Our Communities Are Less Secure Starting Today
    by Jorge L. Barón, Executive Director, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

    We were deeply disappointed to learn last week that the controversial Secure Communities program will be activated throughout Washington starting today. There has been no public announcement, of course, but this is par for the course for this flawed program that has been shrouded in secrecy and misinformation since its inception.

    Secure Communities or "SComm" is a program that in effect turns local law enforcement into immigration agents and furthers the dangerous notion that immigrants are criminals.This undermines the ability of communities and policymakers to create long-term solutions to the issues actually facing immigrants in our state.The program was initiated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a component of the Department of Homeland Security.

    Large-scale deportation of community members and increasing surveillance of people does not promote public safety. Removing people from their homes and communities breaks apart biological and chosen family, drains resources, and creates a culture of fear. The fear of being referred to ICE can discourage immigrants from accessing supportive services. True safety comes from whole, fully-resourced communities where everyone has the support they need to thrive, not from communities where accessing support can lead to deportation.

    When SComm was rolled out in 2008, ICE told local law enforcement agencies that they could decide whether or not they wanted to participate in the program. However, last year, after a large number of agencies refused to participate, ICE changed its position requiring all agencies to join SComm, whether they wanted to or not. Starting today, all of Washington State will be conscripted into this program.

    Many law enforcement agencies throughout the country and our region have wanted to maintain a separation between policing and immigration enforcement, understanding the problematic nature of this partnership. ICE is not respecting the decisions of local jurisdictions in this regard, and our communities are likely to be less secure as a result.

    In solidarity,
    Jorge L. Barón

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    Occupy Port Townsend brings youth, new ideas and humor to the voice of the 99 and with non violent tactics, like the recent occupation of Bank of America in Port Townsend, in which bank employees and even the armed guards are respected, recruited and supported.

    See the front page of the 3/21/12 Leader.

    "Everybody should be buying them (the guards) cups of coffee." Jack Range, Occupy spokesman, was quoted as saying. "It looks cold out there.”


    Picture from Occupy Port Townsend
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    Father John Topel and Scott Wilson on stage
    Jorge Baron and Michelle Sandoval waiting to speak in first row.


    "Immigration: Why Should I Care?"
    Jim Thomas, Archdiocese of Seattle, Jorge Baron, Northwest Immigration Rights Project and Michelle Sandoval, former Mayor of Port Townsend, spoke to a packed crowd about the morality and legal issues of immigration on Thursday, March 22, at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Port Townsend.

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    Leader Inserts Pro-Border Patrol Propaganda
    The PT Leader, in its 3/14/12 issue, inserted a pro-US Border Patrol article (not produced by the Leader) that looks like something produced by USBP public relations - "Living on the Peninsula, Spring 2012".

    Alex Hepler has written a letter to the leader asking some of the questions we have been asking for years. Leader Editor, Scott Wilson, says he will run the letter in next week's Leader.

    "Most of the content of Living on the Peninsula is produced by the Sequim Gazette," writes Wilson. "The Leader does not have editorial control over those articles, and we do not see them prior to publication."

    Scott Wilson also points out that he has run "editorials in opposition to the Border Patrol's overzealous pursuit of its perceived mission on the Olympic Peninsula, and questioning the expanded station in Port Angeles."

    Maybe, in addition to running Alex's letter next week, the Leader will follow up on Alex's questions about the Border Patrol and do it's own investigative reporting that we know the Leader can do.

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    Border Patrol Announcement
    (in future BP announcements and comments will be posted here)

    This morning the Peninsula Daily News reported that the Border Patrol announced that they arrested 16 people in the Blain Sector last month - two of which were "Mexican nationals in the Forks area" arrested Jan. 21 after a "traffic-stop request for assistance from a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputy and a Quinault Tribal Police Department officer."

    On the surface, at least, the new Chief, Cumbow, appears to be acting on good faith to "engage in community outreach". But we wonder how this admittedly incomplete report relates to reality. What happened to the two "Mexican nationals"? How many others were arrested but not reported? what's the relationship between the Border Patrol and the Sheriff and Tribal Police?

    If you have any details or more information click here. You don't need to be specific about names. Results, however, would be useful. What happened to the people arrested? Did they have legal assistance? Were children involved, etc.?

    Reporting on the BP reporting will tend to make them more honest. They can't not report arrests that they know we know about.

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    Deportation - Shattered Families

    Jennifer Hemsley, an advocate for undocumented persons, asked that we post this powerful Nightline story about the children of the deported. She also sent along a comprehensive Deportation Manual by the AECF which we will keep linked from our resources page

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    This Week in BP News on the Olympic Peninsula

    Paul Gottlieb in the Peninsula Daily News has beed doing a good job reporting on the Border Patrol on the Peninsula. First an article about the very significant job the Forks Human Rights Group has done "with cellphones and cameras" documenting the activities of Border Patrol agents.

    Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
    And then, today, an in depth article about the BP's new chief, Jay Cumbow.

    It's a pretty positive article reporting that Cumbow is "eager to engage in 'community outreach' ... to allay ... criticism".

    We hope so but, as they say, we are from Missouri. With 60 or 70 agents on the Peninsula (including allied federal agents under Homeland Security control) the feds overwhelm local police and sheriff departments.

    We have reported that the Border Patrol has not

    cooperated with the Port Townsend police and sheriff departments. Rather they act more like an "occupying force" which engenders a "visceral" response", according to the sheriff.

    So we don't know if our local police and sheriff can really "partner" with the much larger and much better funded Border Patrol or if the relationship will be one of attempted bribery and cooptation. We do applaud Agent Cumbow's stated willingness to meet with the community.

    BP "Assist" in Sequim
    We would also hope that Agent Cumbow reverses the policy of secrecy that led to the Border Patrol squelching the Freedom Of Information Act request filed by the Peninsula Daily News.

    We will follow the issue, see if the Border Patrol becomes more transparent about their activities and arrests and see if the PDN re-files the FOIA request. Meanwhile we will support and promote the Forks Human Rights Group efforts to document what the Border Patrol is doing.

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    New agent in charge of Port Angeles Border Patrol
    The Border Patrol’s Blaine Sector office last week announced that Jay Cumbow is the new head agent of the Port Angeles station, which covers ­Clallam and Jefferson counties. Read more in the Peninsula Daily News.

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    Forks Human Rights Analysis of Border Patrol Activities

    The Forks Human Rights group has developed an important analysis of recent Border Patrol activities in and around Forks. Read the letter and supporting documents and help support our neighbors in Forks.


    "Immigration as a Moral Issue"

    A class on "Immigration as a Moral Issue" begins Tuesday, 1/24/12, at 4 pm at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2333 San Juan Avenue, Port Townsend, WA. The class is the first in a series of six that will deal with:

    • Understanding the Causes of Migration
    • History of Immigration in the U.S.
    • Economics of (Im)migration
    • Security, Enforcement, and Human Rights
    • Who Benefits from a Broken System?
    • Seeking Solutions
    Some reading would be helpful to do prior to each class and can be downloaded by clicking here.

    If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Kate at 360 385 3705 or katiegagefranco@gmail.com. See you next Tuesday.

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    Current News
    News, 2011
    October, 2010
    April, 2010
    If you have news, pictures or a comment, click click here.

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    Stop Border Patrol checkpoints, raids, surveillance,
    racial profiling, expansion plans & waste of tax dollars

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