Well, I'm not saying I told you so but...
Four of the 11 day laborers charged last month with immigration violations after a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement sweep near Kennedy Park are back home in Danbury after a hearing at a Boston immigration court.Bingo! Oh, but there's more...
"As far as I know, they are back home at this point," said Simon Moshenberg, of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at the Yale Law School legal clinic. The clinic is representing the four men, and perhaps all 11, for free. The organization links law students with individuals and organizations in need of free legal help.
ICE arrived in Danbury on Sept. 19 at about 6:30 a.m. and rounded up the 11 men who were among the many there that morning waiting for jobs. ICE claims that all 11 are illegal immigrants.Ahem.
However, Moshenberg said that he and his supervisor at the clinic, Michael Wishnie, will defend the men on a variety of issues, including whether they are "undocumented."
"I don't want to preview our legal argument too much," Moshenberg said.
Also, the legal team is looking at whether the men were captured in an illegal manner, Moshenberg said.
Now, I'm in a rush so I'll have to be quick here.
The police told the day laborers that they were causing a traffic problem and to stop "darting" in the street. The day laborers didn't get the message and in an act that can only be considered "boneheaded," continue to cause a problem by running into the street whenever some contractor was looking for people.
Okay fine. At that point, the police had every right to take action but, what happened next had nothing to do with the local police.
Baker and Mayor Boughton requested the assistance of ICE who later came in undercover as contractors and at random, picked up 11 day laborers.
Again, that is a brief rundown of the whole episode. Now, ask yourself this very simple question...how did the ICE know that the 11 people were illegal? Remember, the ICE didn't target certain people, they did a sweep and picked up 11 day laborers.
Return to Sender is a program focused on illegals who were deemed dangerou (felons, gang members, etc). Again, how did they know the people they were picking up were illegal if they were picking up people at random. If they were all here illegally, why are four back home in Danbury? Why weren't they deported?
Moshenberg said that these men did not do anything criminal. What they are charged with -- being in the country without proper documentation -- is a civil violation.You see where I'm going with this. The whole episode, which cause a huge outcry, placed Danbury BACK in the media, and ended with a rally, a march to City Hall, and brought out the most racist a-hole in the area who held a huge cradboard sign that said "Speak English or DIE" brings us to a point where several of the people who were picked up were released, NONE of the eleven arrested were held on a CRIMINAL CHARGE, and NOW questions are raised over whether or not these people were picked up legally.
"It's a civil procedure," Moshenberg said.
Re-entering the country illegally after being deported is a criminal charge, Moshenberg said, but none of these men was arrested on that charge.
It is unclear why the men were arraigned and had to post bond for a civil violation, but immigration procedures differ from federal criminal law. Also, the names of the four who were released were not known as of Thursday.
Oh the insanity!
At the rally, I was able to conduct a number of interviews but because my harddrive was full, I was unable to process the video.
That's until now.
Here's an interview I conducted with Attorney James Welcome, one of the lawyers who representing a number of the day laborers who were picked up. Now this interview was conducted before this story broke but he talks about what happened before these guys were released in Boston.
Grr...it would have been nice to have this interview posted before the News-Times came out with their story. I'll scoop them some other time :-)
(NOTE: If the video is blank, it's because I just uploaded the file and YouTube is stil processing the clip).
Remember what I said before and keep a close eye on this story.
BTW: I have more video interviews from last Saturday's rally and I'll have them posted later. Sorry for the delay but archiving over 100 gig of files takes a little time.
UPDATE: Good grief, I shouldn't type so early in the morning. Sorry 'bout that.