Thursday, July 15, 2010

I'll have a cheesesteak with that racial profiling bill, please

Philadelphia's renowned Geno's Steaks was the site of a 4-hour radio fundraiser in support of Arizona's SB1070 law. Organized by Geno's owner, Joey Vento, the event was broadcast by WPHT radio's Dom Giordano.

Citizens, people of faith, comprehensive immigration reform advocates and members of several Catholic religious congregations and organizations gathered across the street from the eatery to protest the Arizona law - which human and civil rights advocates (as well as many Latino citizens) say will institutionalize racial profiling and adversely affect people of Hispanic heritage regardless of documentation status.

A bill modeled a
fter Arizona's has been introduced in Pennsylvania by Rep. Daryl Metcalfe. Like its Arizona counterpart HB2479 states that law enforcement shall verify the immigration status of any person the officer has stopped, arrested or detained and "who is or should reasonably be suspected of being unlawfully present in the state." One of the co-sponsors of the bill, Rep. Tom Creighton said in an interview in Lancaster's Intelligencer Journal that what amounts to reasonable suspicion would be "a real subjective decision by that officer."

Earlier on the 14th, Tucson's Bishop Gerald Kicanas testified before Congress (the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law) on the ethical imperative for reform of the U.S. immigration system.

Immigration is ultimately a humanitarian issue, the bishop said, since it impacts the rights and dignity of millions of persons and their families. "As such it has moral implications." he said. "We cannot accept the toil and taxes of immigrants without providing them the protection of law."

The bishop, whose diocese runs along the whole of the Arizona-Mexico border, said he witnesses every day "the human consequences of our broken immigration system."

Photos of the rally across the street from Geno's Steaks by Sarah Webb for the CS&T.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July 14: Join other people of faith in Philadelphia to decry racial profiling & SB1070

Tomorrow, Joey Vento of Geno's Steaks (you know, the "Speak English, this is America" local merchant and anti-immigration personality who I wrote about here) is hosting a fundraiser to "protect" SB1070 from the Department of Justice lawsuit. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, Sheriff Joe Arpaio (the Arizona sheriff who places detained immigrants in shackles and houses them in tent prisons, see a post about him here), Congressional candidate/Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta all plan to participate (via radio).

Please help us send a message that we do not support laws or policies that encourage racial profiling - here or in Arizona - by joining other people of faith and immigration advocates at 5:30 p.m. at the Capitolo Park, at 9th and Passayunk in South Philadelphia (across the street from Geno's Steaks).

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Prayers for immigrant taxi drivers in Philly

On Wed., June 30, 26 Philadelphia taxi drivers arrived at the Philadelphia Parking Authority's garage on Swanson Street expecting to be paid for credit card transactions still owed to them. When they got there, however, the majority of them were handcuffed and detained by Immigration and Customs enforcement agents for being in the United States without documentation. According to a report filed July 2 by the Philadelphia Daily News' Gloria Campisi, "all but four were released but their names were placed on a deportation list." She added "Two of the three cleared drivers identified themselves as American citizens and said that the experience had been harrowing and humiliating and that they, too, had been handcuffed and interrogated." According to Campisi, the ICE spokesperson said "those arrested were from the United Kingdom, Morocco, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Senegal, Jamaica, Ivory Coast and India." Wed., July 7 at noon, the Unified Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania, members of the New Sanctuary Movement, Juntos-Philadelphia, the IWW, the Media Mobilizing Project and people of faith from throughout the city joined in a prayer vigil
in support of the drivers and their families. One of the apprehended taxi drivers slated for deportation attended the prayer vig
il - wearing an ankle monitoring device. Photos by Sam Williams for the Catholic Standard & Times.