April 8, 2008
I was under the impression that I was aware of all types of visas offered by the United States government. But I’ve only recently discovered an option offered to those that are victims of crime: U visa.
The U-visa provision was created in the federal Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. To qualify for the visa, authorities must verify that a victim of a crime such as domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking participated in the investigation and⁄or prosecution of a suspect. (Gazette)
No more do undocumented immigrants need to suffer in silence, and afraid to speak up due to fears of deportation.
A Montgomery Village woman, a victim of domestic violence, is one of the nine U-visa candidates who have worked with the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office this year.
Manuel Donis Davilla, who was the woman’s live-in boyfriend, was found guilty of attempted murder and related charges during a four-day trial in Circuit Court in January. He will be sentenced Thursday and faces life in prison.
In her opening statement during the trial, Assistant State’s Attorney Deborah Feinstein said Davilla planned to beat the woman unconscious. ‘‘He then planned to tie her up. After that he planned to pour paint thinner all over her body and to set her on fire,” she said. (Gazette)
Finally, a human side to this immigration debate. But apparently I’m not the only one who learned of the U visa so late, since it was created almost 8 years ago.
Edma Castañeda endured repeated beatings, cigarette burns and other abuse through three years of marriage because she was afraid that if she called police, she would be deported.
The Riverside woman did not know that some undocumented immigrants can gain legal residency if they prove they were victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes. The immigration laws sheltering them were enacted to help overcome the fear that prevents many undocumented abuse victims from reporting crimes. (PressEnterprise)
As you read the stories of these victims’ ordeal, you begin to appreciate the dire need for this type of visa. The victims are primarily female put in an uncmpromising situations by male in power — be it husband, boss, trafficking agent or as in the following scenario: immigration agent.
The calls from the agent started three days later. He hinted, she said, at his power to derail her life and deport her relatives, alluding to a brush she had with the law before her marriage. He summoned her to a private meeting. And at noon on Dec. 21, in a parked car on Queens Boulevard, he named his price — not realizing that she was recording everything on the cellphone in her purse.
“I want sex,” he said on the recording. “One or two times. That’s all. You get your green card. You won’t have to see me anymore.”
She reluctantly agreed to a future meeting. But when she tried to leave his car, he demanded oral sex “now,” to “know that you’re serious.” And despite her protests, she said, he got his way. (NYT)
The above stories continues to tell the agonizing tale of many other victim and perpetrators. But what’s even more unfortunate is that despite enduring such torment these injured parties have a very tough time obtaing the U visa.
For more information on the U visa please click here.
November 26, 2007
I swear that ICE, or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, must be the most unconstitutional federal agency ever created in the United States. They keep getting away with violating basic human rights everyone agrees we’re born with.
What’s worse is that local police assist them in doing so. When was border patrol added to their job description?
The latest of these unlawful violations in today’s Times. I was left with a knot in my stomach after reading the first paragraph.
It was still dark the morning of Sept. 27 when armed federal immigration agents, guided by local police officers, swept into this village on the East End of Long Island. Within hours, as the team rousted sleeping families, 11 men were added to a running government tally of arrests made in Operation Community Shield. (NYT)
The details of this ordeal is most horrifying. The agents arrested
Omar Lopez, 25, a Shelter Island landscaper, who had been asleep with his fiancée and infant son. Valentin Rudy Escobar Montenegro, a Guatemalan carpenter, also was with his wife and baby.
But first a little back ground on this “Operation Community Shields” from the official Web Site.
In February 2005, ICE began Operation Community Shield, a national law enforcement initiative that targets violent transnational street gangs through the use of ICE’s broad law enforcement powers, including the unique and powerful authority to remove (deport) criminal aliens, including illegal aliens and legal permanent resident aliens. (ICE)
“Broad law enforcement power?” Damn. ICE seems to me to be the most connected gang. I mean isn’t their tactics illegal? and the organization itself, too? Where do I go to report them? Then deport them?
“We’re not here stomping all over anybody’s rights,” said Peter J. Smith, the special agent in charge of the Long Island operation. “We’ve got immigration powers.”
Maybe I’m a bit harsh with my criticism. I know they are just doing their job. But wait…
Only one of the 11 men taken away that morning was suspected of a gang affiliation, according to the Southold Town police. The 10 others, while accused of immigration violations, were not gang associates and had no criminal records.
Possibly, the argument half of you reading this will back is that, “well those arrested were still breaking the law. They were here illegally.” Or something close to it. Am I in the ballpark?
I understand what you’re saying. But tell me something. Had they broken any other law, let’s say, dealing couple of kilos of cocaine, wouldn’t the government still need a warrant to enter their home? These folks’ “illegal activity” isn’t the least bit comparable to dealing hard drugs, but they’re treated worse.
If some of you still remain lost for compassion, I understand. I can’t change your mentality if you’re set on your beliefs. But you couldn’t possibly disagree that something is wrong when someone legally can break into a house in the middle of the night and break up families sleeping together.
November 4, 2007
(Megan) Williams (second from right) was found by police at a home in Logan County in early September. She says she was held against her will, sexually assaulted, stabbed and even threatened with death. All six people charged in connection with the incident are white and face charges of kidnapping and sexual assault. (link)
But the six alleged attackers aren’t being charged for hate crime, despite the pleas of the 400 who marched to Charleston, W.Va. on Saturday. Williams’ lawyer, Brian Williams, said it’d be difficult to prove this to be a hate crime because she had a “social relationship” with one of the attackers before the alleged incident.
“Hate crimes are out of control in America,” Malik Shabazz, pictured above, a legal adviser to Williams and her family and a founder of Black Lawyers for Justice, told the group at a rally before the march. “Nooses are being hung and our women are being raped by white mobs. What happened to Megan Williams was a hate crime and we want this prosecuted as a hate crime.” (link)
A hate crime carries an additional sentence of ten years. Although if convicted for kidnapping, the alleged attackers could face a life sentence.
Zayid Muhammad, the national minister of culture for the New Black Panther Party, came to the rally from Newark, N.J.
“As a father of a daughter and a child of African ancestry, the idea that I can sit by idly, (in) the face of one of the most violent and obscene acts committed against a black woman in my life, was too appalling,” Muhammad said. “I had to come.”
A one on one interview with Megan Williams describing the assault in detail is available here.
October 28, 2007
He a young, striving Muslim, she a fabulously wealthy Hindu, both daring to marry despite her family’s archresistance and, in the end, paying a terrible price. (link)
Rizwanur Rahman and Priyanka Todi seem like the protagonists of that famous Shakespeare play, don’t they? Unfortunately, it’s a similar tragedy as well.
On a Friday in September, barely a month into their marriage, the body of Mr. Rahman, 29, turned up on the railroad tracks, his head mangled almost beyond recognition.
Whether murder or suicide, that is up for debate. But what’s more controversial are the events that lead up to the death.
First, her father came to urge her to leave. Then the police summoned the couple to the headquarters of the “anti-rowdy” division. On one occasion, Rukbanur Rahman recalled, police officers threatened to chain-gang the entire Rahman family to the police station if the couple refused to come with them for questioning.
In Mr. Rahman’s family home, police interrogated the couple no fewer than three times, apparently at the request of Ms. Todi’s family. The police chief at the time, Prasun Mukherjee, justified his officers’ intervention by saying, at a news conference, that he found resistance to the marriage by the bride’s family “natural.”
The likely bribed police department is what’s coming under fire by both the press, and the city’s community — which considers itself one of the most historically tolerant of religions in India. Although, even community leaders agree that is changing.
“Money didn’t make a difference in this city,” said Bonani Kakkar, founder of a citizens’ group that calls itself Public, an acronym for People United for Better Living in Calcutta “Today it does.”
The police chief expectedly was transferred. But the community remains in mourning and demands justice to be served.
For three weeks, students, families and ordinary people of all faiths flocked there every evening, signing giant banners and lighting up a narrow sidewalk with hundreds of small white candles. “Candles of conscience,” read a banner. “Why is Todi so cozy?” asked another, referring to the bride’s father, Ashok Todi, a prominent businessman and a men’s underwear baron.
[UPDATE] The father is the prime suspect and is being interrogated. He’s to take a lie detector test soon. (link)
Two men, real estate developer, Hasan and his associate Majid, who allegedly had threatened Rizwanur Rehman at the behest of Ashok Todi, have come out in the open and have confessed that they had pressurised the couple for a divorce.
It’s learnt that both the men were roped in by the Todi’s to negotiate with Rehman’s family and were sent by the Todi’s to negotiate a settlement at the behest of their solicitors. Majid confessed that he was asked to convince the Rehman family to agree to a divorce so that Priyanka could go back to her family. (link)
[UPDATE 3] Rizwanur’s last words.
“My father-in-law spoke to me. He told me that I would have to convert to Hinduism to which I agreed.
“I engaged myself in making new creatives for my father-in-law’s company, hoping that I would show it to him and things would take a positive shape.”(link)
October 24, 2007
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African reggae star Lucky Dube was shot and killed in front of his son and daughter, SABC radio reported on Friday.
Dube, 43, was killed on Thursday night in an apparent car hijacking attempt and police were searching for three suspects, the radio said. (link)
Dube was more that a ‘South African reggae star.’ And it’s no justice to his life dedication of addressing poverty and promoting brotherhood to only refer to him as such.
Dube sang in English about social issues, racism, justice and poverty. With “Together As One” he was the first black person in South Africa whose songs were aired on a white radio station.
President Thabo Mbeki described him as “a great South African artist”, promoting efforts against crime in a country where, in 2006 alone, as many as 20,000 counts of murder have been recorded.(link)
October 14, 2007
Last year WaPo did a fascinating multimedia series on black men. (It seems) video interviewing mostly in the Washington metro area. But online responses likely from around the world.
It’s very curious that they chose to highlight black men, and not the entire race. Or even other minority races, for that matter. I suppose the stereotype of a black man is the most pronounced — you know, scary gangster, super athlete, lazy, among others. But I would like to see the world through a black woman’s eyes too.
I have always subscribed to the belief that the African American community has had it the worst of all other races in America. Allow me to explain (rant about, to some) why I think that in detail:
While certainly all immigrants have had their fair share of obstacles to overcome, one factor, the African American immigration history, sets this community apart. The English, the Irish, the Italians, the Mexicans and the South Asians all came to this country with family. Or kept in touch with them because they knew of them. But in black folks’ cases the family structure was non existent. The families were separated and sold (similar to puppies today) and resold — for 400 years.
October 9, 2007
The two masked assailants cornered da Costa and began raking him with the whirring chain-saw blades. They slashed one arm to the bone, nearly sliced off his left thumb and hacked his face, neck and chest (link)
Too bad the author of the passage above doesn’t know he plagiarized from one of the most gangster-classic film in the United States. Remember the rawest scene in Scarface? “ChiChi! Get the yayo!” Oh you know how it goes.
Well that was no work of fiction. That was the WaPo this morning.
Across Switzerland, anti-foreigner and anti-Islamic attitudes have become so pervasive on the streets, in politics and within governmental institutions that the United Nations, European Union, Amnesty International and Switzerland’s own Federal Commission Against Racism have expressed alarm in recent months.
The theme is dominating the campaign for national parliamentary elections Oct. 21 and is crystallized in a controversial campaign poster showing three white sheep kicking a black sheep off a Swiss flag above the slogan, “For more security.”