Arizona Updates: Rebel Diaz Arts Collective Drops New Song-DOJ Visits Ground Zero


This weekend over 100 thousand people from all over the country came to Arizona for a Human Rights festival where they protested the unjust immigration law SB 1070.  They also came and protested the cutting of ethnic studies in Arizona colleges and the proposal to criminalize children born to immigrant parents. Thus far lots of songs have been penned addressing this issue. This is the latest cut courtesy of  Marcel Cartier of the REBEL DIAZ ARTS COLLECTIVE….The name of the cut is called Arizona Apartheid.

In other news..Arizona Immigration news…From the ImmigrationProf Blog

DOJ Visits the Valley of the Sun, “Preliminary” Assessment of Arizona Law Released, and SG Kagan


News keeps coming from Arizona, including the news of protests over the Memorial Day weekend of the state’s new immigration law..  On Friday, U.S. Department of Justice officials visited the state and informed the Arizona Attorney General and aides to the Governor over grave concerns with the new Arizona law. By the way, four Arizona professors, Jack Chin, Carissa Hessick, Toni Massaro, and Marc Miller, have prepared a “preliminary” assessment of Arizona’s latest effort at immigration regulation.

On Friday, the U.S.  government filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the granting a writ of certiorari in a legal challenge to the constitutionality of the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA).  The Department of Justice focused on preemption, which is a central issue with respect to the constitutionality of Arizona’s new-if-not improved immigration law..

The U.S. Solicitor General filed a brief as Amicus Curiae in Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America v. Candelaria; the Acting Solicitor General,Neal Katyal, and head of the Civil Rights Division, Tom Perez, are the two lead counsel on the U.S. government’s brief — Elena Kagan, now a Supreme Court nominee but formerly the Solicitor General, not listed.  Download Candelaria[1]

There are three questions presented in the petition for certiorari,  The Solicitor General addressed each separately, concluding that the Supreme Court should hear the express preemption issue, but should not hear the E-Verify and implied preemption issues:

(1) Whether 8 U.S.C. 1324a(h)(2) — which “preempt[s] any State or local law imposing civil or criminal sanctions (other than through licensing and similar laws) upon those who employ, or recruit or refer for a fee for employment, unauthorized aliens” — expressly preempts the provisions of the Legal Arizona Workers Act (Arizona statute), Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. Sec. 23-211 et. Seq., that sanction employers for knowingly or intentionally employment unauthorized aliens.

The U.S. Solicitor General concxluded that this question warrants Supreme Court review. The Department of Justice (DOJ) argued that the Legal Arizona Workers Act, “at bottom” is not a licensing law, but a law that prohibits the hiring of unauthorized aliens. The DOJ also argued that the Ninth Circuit’s decision violates the maxim “that exceptions should not be permitted to ‘swallow the rule.” A state is prohibited from imposing even a tiny monetary fine, but LAWA allows the State of Arizona to terminate an employer’s entire business license. The Solicitor General also cites case law holding that courts should not give broad effect to the savings clause “where doing so would upset the careful regulatory scheme established by federal law” and argued that LAWA upsets the careful balance in IRCA between preventing discrimination and employer sanctions.

(2) Whether a state or local government may require employers to enroll and participate in the federally created and administered E-Verify program.

After making several statements suggesting that the Ninth Circuit holding regarding the E-Verify requirement in LAWA was incorrect, the Solicitor General nonetheless concludes the Supreme Court review of the E-Verify question is not warranted. In support of this conclusion, the Solicitor General pointed out that there is no enforcement mechanism if employers fail to use E-Verify. The DOJ then suggested that due to the evolving nature of E-Verify and the potential for federal Congressional action, that the Court allow the possibility that political action will address the E-Verify question.

(3) Whether the Arizona statute is impliedly preempted because it undermines what Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB, 535 U.S. 137, 147 (2002), describes as a “comprehensive scheme” to regulate the employment of unauthorized aliens.

The Solicitor General concluded that the implied preemption issue does not warrant Supreme Court review, arguing that Hoffman is irrelevant because it did not involve preemption or state regulations. But more importantly, the Solicitor General stated that addressing implied preemption was not necessary because IRCA expressly preempts the employer sanctions provisions of IRCA.

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Alternet: We’re in a Recession & President Obama is Putting More Money Into Prisons


The Last Thing We Need is More Money for Prisons, But That Is What Obama Wants

 At the same time the Obama administration is talking about a dramatic “spending freeze” on any and all projects unrelated to war-making, this is exactly what’s in store, it is quietly increasing the federal budget for even more prisons.

On February 1, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the administration would request $2.9 billion for the Department of Justice 2011 budget — “a 5.4 percent increase in budget authority,” according to the DOJ. Approximately $527.5 million would go to the federal Bureau of Prisons, a chunk of which would provide “bed space” to house prisoners currently at Guantanamo Bay (and ostensibly slated for transfer to the supermax prison in Thomson, IL).

“We have an obligation to protect our country in smart, reliable ways at every level,” Holder said, invoking both the “fight against global terrorism” as well as the need to enforce “civil rights and the rule of law.”

Smart and reliable, however, aren’t words many Americans would use to describe our existing prison system, which has grown so rapidly and reached such epic proportions that serious efforts are underway across U.S. states to slash their prison populations out of sheer necessity. Once seen as too politically risky, prison reform is catching on, with more and more local politicians recognizing that locking people up at a rampant pace is untenable and counterproductive. (After all, as James Ridgeway points out at MotherJones: “Keep in mind that federal spending on prisons is dwarfed by state spending. While the BOP’s budget is over $6 billion, the United States as a whole currently spends about $68 billion a year on corrections, mostly at the state

Yet, the Obama administration appears committed to continuing the very same policies that have fueled the prison crisis, and which states are attempting to reform. Last week the D.C.-based Justice Policy Institute issued a fact sheet describing its new DOJ budget in bleak terms. The report, “More Policing, Prisons, and Punitive Policies,” warns that the “funding pattern” represented by Obama’s budget “will likely result in increased costs to states for incarceration that will outweigh the increased revenue for law enforcement, with marginal public safety benefits.”

The report zeroes in on two areas that have been earmarked for more funds: the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grants and the cleverly named Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). The former, a creation of the 1988 Anti-Drug Abuse Act (and referred to as JAG grants), are federal dollars that are awarded to state governments, ostensibly for various possible initiatives, but which, according to the JPI, usually go “to law enforcement rather than prevention, drug treatment, or community services.” The latter, a Clinton-era initiative more broadly referred to as community policing, also provides grants to local jurisdictions to “hire and train community policing professionals, acquire and deploy cutting-edge crime-fighting technologies, and develop and test innovative policing strategies,” according to the official COPS Web site, which boasts that “by the end of FY 2008, the COPS Office had funded approximately 117,000 additional officers to more than 13,000 of the nation’s 18,000 law enforcement agencies across the country in small and large jurisdictions alike.”

The problem is that neither program seems to be particularly effective beyond putting more cops on the street — and both appear to contribute to the already racist nature of the American prison system. In a letter to U.S. representatives last year, which sought to discourage Congress from inserting more law enforcement spending into the stimulus in the absence of measures focusing on prevention, treatment and re-entry, organizations including the ACLU, the Sentencing Project and the National Black Police Association warned that “past Byrnes and COPS grants have had the unintended consequence of perpetuating racial disparities and civil rights abuses.”

What’s more, “Byrne Grants and COPS programs have not been shown to have a significant positive impact on public safety.” Instead, “these programs have often resulted in increased arrests and incarceration of nonviolent drug users.”

Nonviolent drug users are the very prisoners now being slated for early release in states like California, where prison overcrowding is an all too destructive — and costly — reality. In this sense, the Obama administration’s plan and that of U.S. states attempting to reform their local prison systems seem to be working at cross-purposes. As one report in USA Today pointed out earlier this month, “The federal spending plan contrasts with the criminal justice strategies pursued in many cash-strapped states, including California, Kansas and Kentucky, where officials have closed prisons or allowed for the early release of some non-violent offenders.”

Nonetheless, the Obama administration has already provided funding to these programs; $4 billion went to the DOJ via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act last year. If the $29 billion for 2011 is a pretty good indication of the administration’s priorities going forward, it looks like we’ll be seeing a recycling of some of the misguided criminal justice policies of the Clinton years.

According to the JPI, “In the 1990s, COPS grants were part of the reason for the growth in the prison population by 45 percent over 7 years and state corrections spending by 76 percent.”

Re-invigorating this program is likely to further increase the prison population, without a significant drop in crime. It will also likely increase the disproportionate contact communities of color have with the criminal justice system due to concentrated policing in neighborhoods with a high Latino and/or African American composition.

In the meantime, one area where the Obama administration has decided to provide less funding is in programming for juvenile prisoners — bad news for the estimated 100,000 youth behind bars in this country who make up the country’s most vulnerable prison population.

“Juvenile justice programs received $546.9 million in FY 2002,” according to the JPI. “Funding has been dropping almost consistently since then, and the Administration has proposed another $133 million decline in the proposed FY2011 budget, down to $290 million.”

original source:,_but_that_is_what_obama_wants/?page=entire

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