Morning News, 1/21/10

By Bryan Griffith, January 21, 2010

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1. 200K TPS applications expected
2. Agents break down hunger strike
3. 'Ellis Isl. of the West' celebrates
4. NM state senator calls for amnesty
5. USBP agents fire at assailants

U.S. expects 200,000 Haitians to apply for protected status
South Florida hospitals treat 154 Haitians
By Ken Kaye
The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale), January 20, 2010

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services expects up to 200,000 undocumented Haitians nationwide to apply for Temporary Protected Status, which would allow them to obtain temporary work permits within 90 days instead of the usual six months.

That likely would include thousands from South Florida, although how many is unknown, officials said.

USCIS director Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday said the agency might hire extra workers to handle the crowds. The agency will waive some fees for those who can show hardship.

"This is a disaster of historic proportions and this designation will allow Haitian nationals in the U.S. to continue living and working in our country," Mayorkas said.

Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security secretary, granted the protected status on Friday, two days after halting all deportations to the earthquake-stricken island.

Paralegals will help Haitians fill out applications on Thursday at the Oakland Park office of Catholic Legal Services.

Relief flights

Relief flights continue between South Florida and Haiti. Flying transports from Homestead Air Reserve Base, the Air Force plans to deliver 50,000 hand-held emergency solar-powered, hand-cranked radios to survivors this week.

The Salvation Army in Broward County dispatched a cargo plane carrying supplies and rescue workers from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

The American Red Cross also has been shipping supplies to Haiti every day, including medical supplies, tarps, blankets, hygiene items, buckets, shelter supplies and kitchen sets.


As of Wednesday, hospitals from Jupiter to Key West had treated 154 injured or diseased Haitians. At least one of them died from injuries, disaster planners said Wednesday.

About 80 percent of the patients had serious trauma injuries, such as broken bones. A growing number were not given basic medical attention while in Haiti and became ill, said Jeanne Eckes-Roper, head of health disaster planning in the southern Florida region.
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Jail Protest by Immigrant Detainees Is Broken Up by Agents
By Nina Bernstein
The New York Times, January 20, 2010

Agents in riot gear from Immigration and Customs Enforcement tried to break up a hunger strike by detainees at the Varick Federal Detention Center in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday, three detainees at the center said Wednesday in telephone interviews.

Matthew Chandler, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, denied that there was “a sustained hunger strike” at Varick, but said immigration agents entered and searched a jail dormitory when detainees complaining about conditions refused to leave it.

A Jamaican detainee in one dorm said “all hell broke loose” after about 100 inmates refused to go to the mess hall on Tuesday morning and gave guards a flier declaring they were on a hunger strike to protest detention policies and practices.

The detainee, who asked that his name not be published for fear of retaliation, said a SWAT team used pepper spray and “beat up” some detainees, took many to segregation cells as punishment and transferred about 17 to immigration jails in other states. The 20 detainees remaining in his dorm were threatened with similar treatment if they continued the hunger strike, he said.

But Mr. Chandler, in a written statement, said, “No pepper spray was used at any time during this search, and any allegations of threat or intimidation are simply untrue.”

Two detainees in another dorm said they had seen eight immigration agents in riot gear dragging two detainees from the far side of the jail, while at least eight other detainees were escorted toward the segregation unit.

“After we started the hunger strike yesterday the SWAT team came into the other side,” Chao Chen, 36, a chef who is fighting deportation to China, said as his immigration lawyer, Chunyu Jean Wang, translated. “On our side a gentleman from immigration came and told them not to strike.”
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Angel Island, landmark of U.S. diversity
By Carl Nolte
The San Francisco Chronicle, January 21, 2010

Today is the 100th anniversary of the U.S. immigration station on Angel Island - a place of hope and despair, and a landmark symbolizing the rich history of immigration in this country.

The anniversary will be noted by looking both back and forward, by recalling the complex history of the immigration station and with a 10 a.m. ceremony at the San Francisco Civic Center naturalizing 100 citizens from 44 countries.

Today's commemoration is fitting, because the immigration station on the island was designed to admit new immigrants and to keep others - mainly Chinese and other Asians - out.

There will be talks by old men and women who became Americans only after an ordeal on the island, and there will be a proud moment when 100 younger men and women take an oath to become the country's newest citizens.

"Angel Island is a symbol of both inclusion and exclusion," said Judy Yung, a retired professor of American studies who is writing a book on the immigration station.

"It's a story of persistence to overcome obstacles to becoming part of this country," said Eddie Wong, executive director of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation. "It is the classic American immigrant story."
The Asian gateway

More than 500,000 people passed through Angel Island between 1910 and 1940, about a third of them Asian. It was the Asian gateway to the United States - the Ellis Island of the West. Now, many generations later, the several million people who are their descendants have left their mark on this country.

"It is an important part of our story," Yung said.
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Garcia seeks immigration reform
The Las Cruces Sun News (NM), January 21, 2010

Santa Fe -- Close to 200 immigrant students, workers and families traveled to Santa Fe on Wednesday to renew their call for comprehensive immigration reform and to encourage state legislators to support a joint Senate memorial introduced by Sen. Mary Jane Garc'a, D-Doña Ana.

The memorial calls on the New Mexico congressional delegation to help pass legislation this year that would create a path to legalization for immigrant families, protect workers and help with economic recovery, create millions of new taxpayers, keep families together, and protect the due process rights of all.
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Editor's Note: If you enjoyed this article, please visit our HR 4321 overview page.


U.S. Border Patrol agent fires gun at people throwing rocks
By Daniel Borunda
The El Paso Times (TX), January 21, 2010

El Paso, TX -- A gunshot was fired by a U.S. Border Patrol agent being attacked with rocks thrown from Mexico, an agency spokesman said Wednesday.
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