“Immigrant guide on raids, deportations stirs debate Pamphlet advises students of their rights; some authorities say it?s too one-sided”

Hi Gang:
The news article I have attached below appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune this past Saturday, September 25 and reports on a pamphlet that has been distributed to some 2,800 students attending schools in San Diego, California.
The tone of the pamphlet clearly implies that the special agents of ICE and other law enforcement officers who may engage in aspects of immigration law enforcement are the "bad guys!"

Here is some of the points of advice provided by the pamphlet:

The guide is headlined, “WARNING! PROTECT YOURSELF FROM IMMIGRATION RAIDS!” It provides several lists of do’s and don’ts for migrants who are detained or receive a visit from immigration officials at home or in the workplace. Among the advice to illegal immigrants:

•?Don’t lie. Don’t give false testimony.

•?Don’t give government officials information about your immigration status.

•?Don’t say anything, or say only: “I need to speak to my lawyer.”

•?Don’t carry papers from another country because the government can use this material in a deportation proceeding.

•?Stay calm and don’t run. These actions may be viewed as an admission that you have something to hide.

• ?Government officials may try to intimidate you or trick you into signing documents. You may be signing away your right to a hearing before an immigration judge.

•?You have the right to see a search warrant. Don’t open the door; ask authorities to slip the document underneath the door.

According to the news article:

ICE spokeswoman Lauren Mack said the agency supports efforts to inform people about their legal rights.

“Generally this pamphlet, which has been distributed in other major metropolitan areas, offers sound and practical information about the enforcement process,” she said. “For their part, our officers are trained to treat those they encounter with dignity and respect, and we would hope that cooperation and understanding are reciprocated.”
Isn't it interesting that the article provided insight offered by a local police chief as noted in this excerpt:
Escondido Police Chief Jim Maher said the guide presents a one-sided view of law enforcement and may trigger even more fear.

“It astounds me that another governmental agency, the Office of Education, would be giving out information that doesn’t give the whole picture. It’s an example of not telling the whole truth,” Maher said. “It’s inappropriate. I don’t think the pictures they used in that flier are appropriate.”

As a former INS senior special agent I am certainly aware that anyone who is encountered by law enforcement authorities has a right to not make incriminating statements, however, what law enforcement agency would tacitly sanction a pamphlet that portrays its officials as the "bad guys" and warns possible law violators to be careful to not be tricked into signing documents provided by those law enforcement officers?
Consider this bit of advice contained in the pamphlet:
• ?Government officials may try to intimidate you or trick you into signing documents. You may be signing away your right to a hearing before an immigration judge.
While individuals cannot be compelled to offer self-incriminating statements under the aegis of the Fifth Amendment, it is wrong headed to provide advice to law violators to conceal their identities by telling them:
 •?Don’t carry papers from another country because the government can use this material in a deportation proceeding.
It is also interesting that the officials of the school district believe that there are a sufficient number of illegal aliens in attendance in their schools that this sort of effort is appropriate.
Would the same administrators provide similar advice to those who are driving stolen vehicles or are fugitives wanted for any other crimes?
Individuals who shield, harbor or encourage aliens to enter our country in violation of law or remain here illegally thereafter is committing a felony!  While the pamphlet does not appear to cross the line, it certainly would appear to do as much as possible to educate illegal aliens about how they may avoid detection and arrest.  Perhaps the letter of law is being followed, but I would argue that this pamphlet violates the spirit of the law!
The immigration laws were promulgated to protect our nation and our citizens.  What message is being sent to school children who are legally present in the United States and may even be United States citizens?  Does this not convince these children that our immigration laws must be inherently wrong?  Does this not teach all of the students to take a defensive posture when dealing with law enforcement and learn how to circumvent laws and evade law enforcement officers?
Doesn't this provide a very dangerous message that the citizens of our nation can elect to decide what laws should be obeyed and what laws should be willfully ignored?
Should this really be the way that schools should be education children?
Wouldn't it be interesting if the parents of lawful immigrants and United States citizen children who receive these booklets and are subjected to this sort of education that encourages children to evade the laws sued the school for nonfeasance, misfeasance and/or malfeasance?

If our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the "American Dream" the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!
We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm's way in defense of this nation and our citizens.  
My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.
The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.
Any politician on the federal, state or local level who refuses to work to secure our borders and create an immigration system that has integrity is either corrupt or too dumb to keep his (her) job.  

If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same.  We need to create a "Bucket Brigade of Truth!"
In just 6 weeks each and every member of the House of Representatives is up for reelection and more than one third of the members of the United States Senate will have to face their constituents. They need to be reminded that they work for us, We the People!
However, the practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.

The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!

The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians.I implore you to get involved!

If this situation concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional "Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation! 

All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!

We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.

This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!

You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!

Democracy is not a spectator sport!

Lead, follow or get out of the way!

-michael cutler- 

Please check out my website:
Click on the links below to RePatriot Radio and listen to the internet radio show I host on Friday evenings from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM Eastern Daylight Savings Time:
"Bordering on Insanity!"

 

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Immigrant guide on raids, deportations stirs debate

Pamphlet advises students of their rights; some authorities say it’s too one-sided

By J. Harry Jones and Morgan Lee

Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 10:40 p.m.

The first page of the immigrant-rights guide produced by CASA de Maryland.

The first page of the immigrant-rights guide produced by CASA de Maryland.

A
countywide public school network for at-risk children is encouraging
teachers to address students’ concerns about immigration raids and
deportations — an effort that’s receiving mixed reviews from law
enforcement agencies.

Police are objecting to one key element: an
illustrated guide on how to protect yourself from raids by not saying
too much, not carrying certain documents and not signing forms without
consulting a lawyer.

The guide, which was distributed to teachers
and students at two recent events, depicts burly police officers in
sunglasses and fear-stricken immigrants in handcuffs who refuse to give
information before speaking to an attorney.

It includes a wallet-sized “know your rights” card.

The
guides were handed out in response to evidence that students from
families living illegally in the United States are having a hard time
concentrating on academics, said Mary Glover, executive director of
Juvenile Court & Community Schools.

“I thought long and hard
about it when I was approached by individuals who felt they needed some
help in getting to know what are the civil rights involved in this,”
said Glover, who oversees about 2,800 students — including foster
children, youths in juvenile hall and those at risk of dropping out —
enrolled in the system under the county Office of Education.

“My purpose is to educate staff so they can inform students of their civil rights,” she added.

The
guide is headlined, “WARNING! PROTECT YOURSELF FROM IMMIGRATION RAIDS!”
It provides several lists of do’s and don’ts for migrants who are
detained or receive a visit from immigration officials at home or in the
workplace. Among the advice to illegal immigrants:

•?Don’t lie. Don’t give false testimony.

•?Don’t give government officials information about your immigration status.

•?Don’t say anything, or say only: “I need to speak to my lawyer.”

•?Don’t carry papers from another country because the government can use this material in a deportation proceeding.

•?Stay calm and don’t run. These actions may be viewed as an admission that you have something to hide.


?Government officials may try to intimidate you or trick you into
signing documents. You may be signing away your right to a hearing
before an immigration judge.

•?You have the right to see a search warrant. Don’t open the door; ask authorities to slip the document underneath the door.

Escondido Police Chief Jim Maher said the guide presents a one-sided view of law enforcement and may trigger even more fear.

“It
astounds me that another governmental agency, the Office of Education,
would be giving out information that doesn’t give the whole picture.
It’s an example of not telling the whole truth,” Maher said. “It’s
inappropriate. I don’t think the pictures they used in that flier are
appropriate.”

The guide shows square-jawed white and
African-American agents leading away a mustachioed suspect, among other
images. The stylized sketches are reminiscent of hugely popular Mexican
“historieta” comic books. Mexico’s government has taken to printing
public service announcements, including legal and safety tips for
migrants, in comic-book format.

One drawing in the American guide
depicts an agent from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The
agency said last week that the guide offers good advice.

ICE spokeswoman Lauren Mack said the agency supports efforts to inform people about their legal rights.

“Generally
this pamphlet, which has been distributed in other major metropolitan
areas, offers sound and practical information about the enforcement
process,” she said. “For their part, our officers are trained to treat
those they encounter with dignity and respect, and we would hope that
cooperation and understanding are reciprocated.”

The guide was written by attorneys at CASA de Maryland, a nonprofit support group for Latino and immigrant communities.

Mauricio
López, a spokesman for the organization, said schools and other groups
as far away as Hawaii have requested the material.

“It reflects
clearly the fear that the immigrant community faces,” he said. “It was
because of these uncertainties and fear of abuse that these pamphlets
were drawn up by our legal department.”

Jim Esterbrooks, spokesman for the San Diego County Office of Education, defended the wording in the guide.

“There is nothing in here that is encouraging our children to break laws or be defiant,” he said.

Glover,
director of the alternative county school network, said teachers came
to her worried that some of their immigrant students couldn’t focus on
academics.

The experience of one teenage mother in particular convinced her of the need for teacher guidance.

“A
pregnant and parenting teen living with her family came home from
school and her parents were not there,” Glover said. “They had been
deported and she was the oldest of three siblings, plus she had her own
child. …

“So who does she call? She calls her teacher.”

Dawn
Miller, a teacher at Lindsay Community School in downtown San Diego,
which is part of Juvenile Court & Community Schools, said
immigration issues affect many of her students, yet there was a dearth
of information available to them about their rights.

“This is just
one more thing they’re having to deal with — the deportation of their
parents, their family, their friends,” said Miller, who makes the guide
available to her classes.

But Elizabeth Wells of Chula Vista, a
parent who describes herself as a political conservative opposed to
illegal immigration, said teachers shouldn’t get involved.

“The
instructors are very well-meaning, I’m sure,” Wells said. “What troubles
me is that by offering the guides, they’re sending a message that
illegal immigration is an acceptable thing. They become advocates for
people who are violating the law.”

Copies of the guide were handed
out during a Sept. 14 meeting attended by 60 teachers and staff members
and a few students at the county Office of Education’s offices in Linda
Vista. The group also was told about the website where the document
could be downloaded.

And the guide was distributed to students and
teachers at a meeting in June by a speaker who pushes for immigrant and
family rights.

That speaker was Benjamin Prado, a program
coordinator at the American Friends Service Committee of San Diego. He
believes public school teachers have an obligation to inform students
about their fundamental rights when confronted by law enforcement.

“Schools
have begun to see that this issue of immigration enforcement is tearing
families apart and is impacting the ability of students to concentrate
on their school work,” Prado said.

Prado wouldn’t describe his presentation, but said schools are a crucial venue for discussions about immigration enforcement.

J. Harry Jones: (760) 752-6780; jharry.jones@uniontrib.com

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