The Austin Chronicle

Cross-Border Craziness

No 'no match' for now, LAPD owns up, Senate approves Frankenfence construction

By Cheryl Smith, October 19, 2007, News

On Wednesday, Oct. 10, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer issued an injunction to temporarily block the Department of Homeland Security's plan to use "no match" Social Security letters as an immigration-enforcement tool. "Under the [proposed] rule, businesses with employees whose names and Social Security numbers didn't match would have three months to correct the mistakes or fire the employees. If not, they could face government prosecution," reports the Associ­ated Press, also noting, "Breyer said the proposal would likely impose hardships on businesses and their workers. Employ­ers would incur new costs to comply with the regulation that the government hasn't evaluated, and innocent workers unable to correct mistakes in their records in time would lose their jobs, the judge wrote." The DHS says the purpose of the letters is simply to remind employers of the consequences of hiring undocumented workers. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AFL-CIO, and American Civil Liberties Union are among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit requesting the injunction.

In other immigration-related news, on Tuesday, Oct. 9, the Los Angeles Police Department admitted to using "excessive force to disperse a May Day demonstration for immigration reform that left dozens injured," Agence France-Presse notes. A report by police investigators blames the debacle, during which batons and rubber bullets were used inappropriately on the crowd, on underestimates of the march's size, insufficient crowd-control training, and a general "breakdown in command." "The investigators determined that 146 rubber bullets were fired and police batons were used 100 times during the clash injuring 246 civilians, including nine journalists, and that 18 police officers were treated for cuts and bruises," AFP reports. The Los Angeles rally was one of dozens planned for that day nationwide, including in Austin.

Finally, on Sept. 28, the U.S. Senate approved 80-19 a bill that authorizes construction of a large chunk of the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, which people on Capitol Hill apparently think will stop immigrants from entering the country illegally. "The Republican-written bill authorizing construction of about 700 miles of fence was one of the last bills to clear Congress as lawmakers prepared to leave Washington to campaign for the congressional elections," Reuters reports. On Oct. 3, the Senate passed another bill authorizing funding for the Frankenfence. Hmmm, wonder who's going to build it.

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