imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Immigrants Neglected and Abused During San Diego Wildfires

by José I. Fusté Saturday, Oct. 27, 2007 at 1:44 PM

It is important that people know that the government’s response to this has not been as benevolent as the news media has made it out to be. For immigrant families, this is in no way an ‘anti-Katrina.’ Immigrants in San Diego county are being neglected by emergency evacuators, put in danger by their employers, treated rudely by authorities and volunteers, refused aid at evacuation sites, and racially profiled by police and deported by the Border Patrol.

Immigrants neglected and abused during San Diego wildfires

by José I. Fusté

Friday Oct 26th, 2007 2:46 PM

It is important that people know that the government’s response to this has not been as benevolent as the news media has made it out to be. For immigrant families, this is in no way an ‘anti-Katrina.’ Immigrants in San Diego county are being neglected by emergency evacuators, put in danger by their employers, treated rudely by authorities and volunteers, refused aid at evacuation sites, and racially profiled by police and deported by the Border Patrol.

It is important that people know that the government’s response to this has not been as benevolent as the news media has made it out to be. For immigrant families, this is in no way an ‘anti-Katrina.’ Immigrants in San Diego county are being neglected by emergency evacuators, put in danger by their employers, treated rudely by authorities and volunteers, refused aid at evacuation sites, and racially profiled by police and deported by the Border Patrol.

There are two important sides to this story that show has this has been a recurrent pattern for the past week:

1. Immigrants are being neglected by authorities and forced to work in farms adjacent to fires

The San Diego Union Tribune reported today that many immigrants living in remote canyons and fields near the fires are not evacuating. In some cases, authorities have not informed them of mandatory evacuations in their areas of residence. Others don’t want to leave their homes either because they are afraid of losing their jobs or scared of getting caught by the Border Patrol.[i]

Today, Border Patrol agents found the charred bodies of four people—three men and a woman—in a canyon in Potrero.[ii] Authorities presume them to be immigrants and are trying to determine how they died. Some are saying they might have been border crossers but some are speculating they may have been canyon dwellers who failed to evacuate. Up until today, these amount to roughly one quarter of all deaths directly and indirectly caused by the fires.

This afternoon, I spoke with Enrique Morones (619) 269-7865; enriquemorones [at] founder and director of Border Angels. He and other volunteers have been touring rural areas trying to convince immigrant families to evacuate. He reports that there have been numerous instances in which immigrant laborers are being forced to stay working in farms adjacent to evacuated areas. Employers are threatening to dismiss laborers who refuse to work under precarious conditions. This poses a great health risk for them primarily because of the polluted air they are breathing. This was confirmed both in the Union-Tribune article I just mentioned[iii] and an ABC news story.[iv]

I also spoke to Greg Morales from Border Angels and the Mexican American Poets Associaton (619.266.9067; mapa_sandiegocounty [at] He is the person in charge of receiving food and water donations for immigrants at the historic Chicano Park in the community of Barrio Logan. He reports that authorities are neglecting and in some instances impeding their efforts to bring critical supplies to immigrants in the affected areas. In the past three days, they have loaded about two hundred vehicles full of supplies. Volunteers have been trying to transport these goods to the immigrant communities that need them most. According to Mr. Morales, one of them, Adrián del Río (619.849.9713) attempted to take these supplies to Potrero, a rural community in the fire zone near the Tecate crossing of the U.S. Mexico Border. Authorites there tried to prevent him from entering and reportedly told him: “why do you want to go into Potrero? There’s nothing but drug dealers there.” I haven’t spoken to Mr. del Río yet but one person told me he was able to make it in there eventually and found many immigrant families in need of supplies (and evacuation).

This morning, volunteers gathering donations at Chicano Park received an unwelcome visit from seven members of the Minutemen. They have also received visits from people accusing them of distributing supplies stolen from other evacuee shelters, something that everybody working there emphatically denied. Volunteers have also been intimidated by police officers who have scrutinized their operation all day. When I asked Mr. Morales what help if any they had received from authorities, he responded: “the only thing we’ve gotten from the government is police harassment this morning, giving us grief for being here.”

2. Immigrant evacuees at Qualcomm Stadium are threatened with deportation and mistreated by authorities and volunteers

Yesterday, the Union-Tribune reported that six illegal immigrants who were suspected of stealing relief supplies from Qualcomm Stadium—the largest of all evacuation sites—and were arrested by Border Patrol agents. According to the article, a woman who saw them loading supplies unto a pickup truck reported them to police Sgt. Jesse Cesena. “They were stealing a lot of stuff,” Cesena said. The article claims that when officers intervened, one of the suspects confessed they were being paid to take things of value from the stadium.

“We took the stuff back and we escorted them out. They were stealing from the people in need.” The article then states that “because some members of the group spoke Spanish, officers called Border Patrol agents who were at the stadium for relief efforts. They determined the people were in the country illegally and arrested them.”[v]

Today, the Union-Tribune wrote a new article clarifying what actually transpired (they have yet to make a formal correction). The article reveals that the people the Border Partrol apprehended and deported on Wednesday were two couples, one with three children. Originally they tried to deport a third family that was with them but because they produced documentation, they were released.[vi]

According to a Union-Tribune reporter who spoke with some of the deportees over the phone from Tijuana, they claim that contrary to initial reports by authorities, they did not confess to stealing anything. They said that they were taking items donated to them as they prepared to return home.[vii] This was also confirmed by eyewitnesses I spoke to today.

This incident caused a great deal of anxiety for immigrant families staying at Qualcomm. It prompted immigrant rights activists to go to the site and serve as legal observers and translators. Today, I spent half a day today working as a legal observer and a volunteer translator for the San Diego Coalition for Immigrant Rights. I spoke to Andrea Guerrero (619.405.0620; aguerrero [at] an ACLU immigration rights lawyer and one of the people in charge of legal observers at the evacuation sites. Guerrero claims that the apprehensions and deportations of these immigrants are potentially illegal since San Diego Police Officers are not supposed to report undocumented immigrants to Border Patrol agents unless they are formally arrested and charged with a crime. I should note that none of the individuals deported were charged with robbery by San Diego police. She and other ACLU lawyers consulted this issue with the local police chief at the stadium. He admitted that the ordeal was poorly handled.

All of the ACLU lawyers and immigrants rights volunteers I spoke to today suspected that the arrest and deportation of these six immigrants was prompted by racial profiling. Today, I was able to observe how one African-American woman was accused of stealing supplies as she loaded her belongings unto her SUV. I asked her what was happening and she assured me that all the things in her car belonged to her and her children. I could tell she was telling the truth because none of the things I saw in her car were the same as the items that were being distributed at the site. This did not stop several overzealous European-American onlookers from writing down her license plate, taking digital camera pictures of her car, and commenting on her ‘audacity’ for taking so many things.

Wednesday’s arrests and deportations together with what I witnessed at Qualcomm today reminded me of Katrina. We all know how in the aftermath of the hurricane, the media portrayed white residents of New Orleans who were taking supplies from destroyed shops as ‘scavengers’ while simultaneously criminalizing African Americans doing the same as ‘looters.’ That same type of racial profiling and criminalization is clearly occurring in San Diego during this catastrophe.

The deportation of these six immigrants was followed by a security crackdown at Qualcomm. Authorities set up ID verification checkpoints at all gates. They began to patrol the stadium asking people for proper identification. The city of San Diego claims this was done to prevent those who were not supposed to be staying there from taking donations, food, and drink. According to many people I spoke to, this scared a lot of immigrants staying at the site. Guerrero estimates that about 25 immigrant families left in fear of being apprehended. Many others were also forced out of the stadium last night for not showing proper identification. It is hard to tell how many but Guerrero estimates that up to a thousand were told to leave. We are assuming that this disproportionately affected immigrant families who were hesitant to show their ID. It also affecting people who did not have a chance to bring their identification with them when they were being evacuated.

At Qualcomm, I spoke to about six immigrant families (approx. 30 people) most of whom confessed to me they were undocumented. All of them said that after the arrest of the six immigrants suspected of stealing supplies, they all felt extremely frightened they too would be deported. Most of them also complained of being treated rudely and unfairly by authorities and volunteers. One undocumented Mexican evacuee from Ramona I spoke to said that volunteers refused to give her a 12 pack of juice boxes as they gave the same pack to white evacuees. The Union-Tribune reports another similar incident: a woman said that “she asked a volunteer for diapers for her 2-year-old son, who had diarrhea, and was handed three individual diapers. Then when I was leaving, they gave an American woman a whole box, she said.”[viii] Legal observers/translators I spoke to today confirmed that they intervened in similar incidents. Another undocumented Mexican evacuee I spoke to said she has been staying in Qualcomm but after Wednesday’s arrest, she is too afraid to ask for food and supplies. Her husband—who is Guatemalan and also undocumented—reported that on Wednesday night, authorities threatened to evict his father-in-law from the stadium for not having proper identification. It was only after he intervened and showed them his driver’s license that they allowed him to stay.

Lastly, I heard unconfirmed rumors that the Border Patrol has been randomly checking people’s documentation status in the northern and northeastern areas of San Diego county. I will try to find out more information about this but it was brought to my attention by several evacuees at Qualcomm as well as Border Angel volunteers. This contradicts the Border Patrol’s claim that they are not actively seeking out undocumented immigrants but rather assisting with emergency management and law enforcement duties.

Right now, all Qualcomm evacuees are being relocated to Del Mar Fairgrounds. The San Diego Chargers need Qualcomm Stadium for their game this weekend so the city is forcing everybody there out. Tomorrow, I will go work as a volunteer at the new site and find out more about what’s happening there. I will send you another update tomorrow evening.

People need to know that the same way that the government doesn’t care about black people in New Orleans, it also doesn’t care about immigrant families in California.


Report this post as:

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy