Witnesses testify in case of death by Border Patrol agents; Texas Voter ID law challenged in court; Chicago moves to block SComm, 7-10-7/16

17 Jul

Anastasio Hernandez Rojas

Grand jury hears testimony in case of 2010 Border Patrol death
Witnesses of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas’ death have told reporters that they testified last week to a Grand Jury in San Diego.  The proceedings are supposed to be secret, therefore, there are still no details of who is under investigation.  It is also unclear whether or not this trial will result in criminal charges, or if it is another form of investigation.  However, this is an indication that the case is being examined, an important step in obtaining justice for Rojas and increasing transparency about Border Patrol policies and actions.
Voter ID laws threaten voting rights of communities of color and immigrants
The federal government and the state of Texas went to court last week over the legality of a Texas law that requires all voters to present photo ID when voting. The ruling will have a major impact on other states, such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that have passed similar laws. These laws disproportionately create barriers for low-income Latinos and African Americans voting, as Latinos and African Americans are less likely to have ID and more likely to live in counties with no DMV.  These laws have been advanced, in great part, through claims that there is a major problem of individuals, such as undocumented immigrants, voting fraudulently by impersonating a registered voter.  However, they are a thinly veiled attempt to disenfranchise voters of color.
Chicago Mayor moves to block undocumented immigrants from being turned over to ICE    A week after the TRUST Act passed in California, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel held a press conference to present a proposed ordinance that would prevent Chicago police from turning over undocumented immigrants (with no  criminal conviction or warrants) to ICE.  The state of Illinois has been at the forefront of state and local efforts to stop S-COMM, or at least mitigate its impact. Grassroots movements all over the country are bringing attention to how S-COMM is being forced on communities, continuing to result in deportations and causing fear in communities. Michelle Fei, Director of the Immigrant Defense Project in New York City, wrote last week on NACLA blog about the grassroots efforts in New York state to block SComm.  Many have pointed out that S-COMM functions similarly to Arizona SB1070’s “papers please” provision.  Yet, under mounting pressure, the Obama administration continues to move forward with S-COMM.

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