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Lou Dobbs “Drop the Hate” ad airs on MSNBC!

CNN is feeling the heat because of its primetime anchor – Lou Dobbs. New York Times headlines. Front page of El Diario. Blogs abuzz with news.

Using its four-hour documentary “Latino in America” as a political rallying cry, groups including Drop Dobbs and Basta Dobbs have been laying the pressure on the channel to stop allowing Lou Dobbs from broadcasting hate politics. One example of many: Dobbs falsely reported an explosion of 7,000 cases of leprosy in the United States in the past three years, and blamed Latino immigrants for the perceived increase, a statistic which was been thoroughly debunked.

Now America’s Voice has raised enough money (16,000 dollars!) to produce and air an ad, “Drop the Hate”, that urges CNN to drop Dobbs and his one-sided “news” show. Unfortunately CNN has refused to air the ad.

As America’s Voice puts it, “By refusing to deal with Lou Dobbs and his nightly tirade against immigrants, Latinos, and people of color, CNN is quickly losing credibility as the “Most Trusted Name in News.” As people become aware of the network’s one-sided coverage of immigration, they will start changing the channel.”

And the channel did change to MSNBC where the “Drop the Hate” ad aired on the Rachel Maddow show across Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, and Washington, DC.

Meanwhile, Lou Dobbs announced yesterday that gunshots were fired at his New Jersey home 3 weeks ago, linking it to “threatening phone calls tied to the positions I have taken on illegal immigration”, but police believe the shots were just from hunters.

Tell CNN’s president Jonathan Klein that he needs to take notice of this growing movement.

Growing insecurity in immigrant communities

Guest Blogger: Joan Friedland from the National Immigration Law Center

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It was refreshing to hear the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) acknowledge something activists have been saying for years: the immigrant detention system operates like the punitive criminal incarceration system, even though the vast majority of detainees have committed no crime. Missing from their announcement, however, was a plan to keep its newly-expanded enforcement programs from increasing the number of immigrants detained in this broken system.

Secure Communities” is DHS’s latest attempt to use local law enforcement to push people into the immigrant detention system. All local law enforcement has to do is arrest someone on a traffic or other offense – even if the arrest is based on racial profiling – and their fingerprints will be checked against immigration databases during booking.  When the fingerprint scan gets a “hit,” immigrants can end up getting carted off by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to an immigration detention center.  If they get out on bond, ICE can take them into custody, leaving their criminal cases unresolved.  It doesn’t matter if the person was innocent of a criminal charge or if the arrest was a pretext to check immigration status.

Sound scary? Consider this: ICE plans to have the program in every jail and prison in the country by 2013.

ICE isn’t lifting a finger to keep local police from using arrests on minor charges as an excuse to get immigrants into custody.  The available evidence shows that only a small percentage of immigrants caught through Secure Communities were convicted of serious crimes.  But calling all of them “criminal aliens” masks what’s really going on and lets ICE and Congress – which is allocating a whopping $200 million for Secure Communities – look tough on enforcement.

Accountability and transparency are not hallmarks of Secure Communities.  Since the program’s inception in 2008, ICE has reduced the public information about it on the agency website, adding graphics but eliminating details about enforcement priorities. ICE has given conflicting information about whether a community can opt out of the program or just use it to target people convicted of violent crimes.  And ICE doesn’t appear to be collecting the kind of data that would prevent the program from being misused.

The government’s admission that the immigrant detention system is flawed is a step in the right direction. They now need to keep this monstrous system from growing.  Secure Communities will only ensure that the opposite will happen.

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Advocacy Groups Demand End to 287(g)

Juana Villegas’s story is a shocking example of what happens when local law enforcement is endowed with the authority to enforce immigration law.

One of the fastest growing programs under this scheme is the 287(g) program. With its growth, we are also seeing an increase in reports highlighting its failures, including an almost complete lack of oversight and as we have seen in Juana’s story, numerous instances of unlawful racial profiling and human rights violations.

On a more important note, the program hinders the ability of law enforcement to accomplish their primary goal – to protect the safety and security of the communities they police. Communities become less safe when crime victims are afraid to cooperate with police, especially victims of violent crimes, because they are afraid of deportation. And we all become at risk when people are afraid of police.

While the Department of Homeland Security has even acknowledged some of its failures, and made some changes, none of this has actually improved the program. This is why a coalition of 500 advocacy groups sent a letter to President Obama last week demanding an end to the 287(g) programs that violate human rights and lead to racial profiling.

Take action now. Send a letter to Secretary Napolitano and stand up for the rights of all people in the United States.