Wednesday, February 27, 2013



Note: Inbox Deluge Warning - catch up time. Forget the minor fact
that there have been no budget cuts so far.

300 immigrants released in state since Thursday
9 hours ago • Perla Trevizo Arizona Daily Star

About 300 people have been released from immigration detention
centers in Arizona since Thursday, when the federal government
started to review each case in anticipation of widespread budget cuts.

"As fiscal uncertainty remains over the continuing resolution and
possible sequestration, ICE has reviewed its detained population to
ensure detention levels stay within ICE's current budget," said
agency spokeswoman Amber Cargile.

All of them remain in deportation proceedings, she said. About 2,280
people remain in immigration detention in Arizona.

The move took many by surprise, and not everyone was happy to hear
about it.

Gov. Jan Brewer said in a news release she was "appalled." "This is
pure political posturing and the height of absurdity given that the
releases are being granted before the federal 'sequestration' cuts
have even gone into effect," she said.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake called it a "deeply misguided move by DHS."
"With more than $1 trillion in budget deficits, there are many
opportunities to rein in federal spending. Releasing hundreds of
detainers who have violated the law is most certainly not one of
them," he said in a written statement.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said there was "a mass release" in
his county. "ICE agents were paid overtime Saturday and Sunday to
release over 500 detainees in Pinal County alone," he said in a news

All of the five immigration detention centers in Arizona are in the
county, including the Pinal County Adult Detention Center, operated
by the Sheriff's Office.

Babeu's numbers come from ICE supervisors in Arizona who called him
directly, said Tim Gaffney, spokesman for the Sheriff's Office.
"Neither law enforcement nor any of our citizens were notified of
this decision until over a dozen ICE employees and supervisors
notified Sheriff Babeu privately," he wrote in an email.

It costs ICE about $164 per day per detainee at a capacity of 32,800
detention beds nationwide, according to the National Immigration
Forum, an organization that advocates for immigrants.

Gaffney said the rate at the Pinal County Adult Detention Center is
nearly $60 per day per detainee.

Details on who exactly is being released were not provided, but
Cargile said, "Priority for detention remains on serious criminal
offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to
public safety."

Caroline Isaacs, local program director for the American Friends
Service Committee, said, "To me, it's simply a more honest revelation
of the fact that most of the people in detention don't need to be
there in the first place." The committee is a national non-profit
social justice organization.

"Eighty percent of prosecutions in the federal judicial system are
for crossing the border and crossing the border again," she said.

Comment: Interesting story, PRI in ongoing reassertion of
authority. "Between 2008 and 2012" yes, of course. Like Chicago,
get out of line, and unauthorized corruption not tolerated.
Parallels to the fall of the Daly clan? Still remains to be seen how
the cartels vs. PRI power sharing works out. Several opinions that
the cartels will no longer content to be junior partners.

Authorities arrest head of Mexico's powerful teachers' union on
embezzlement charges
Published February 26, 2013
Associated Press

FILE - In this Friday July 14, 2006 file photo, teachers' union head
Elba Esther Gordillo gestures as she arrives to attend a meeting with
education workers a day after being expelled from Mexico's
Institutional Revolutionary Party in Mexico City. Gordillo, the head
of Mexico's powerful teachers' union, was arrested at an airport
outside Mexico City on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, for alleged
embezzlement, with federal officials accusing her using union funds
to pay for plastic surgery, buy a private plane and even pay her bill
at Neiman Marcus. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, file) (The Associated

MEXICO CITY – The head of Mexico's powerful teachers' union was
arrested at an airport near Mexico City Tuesday for alleged
embezzlement, with federal officials accusing her of using union
funds to pay for plastic surgery, to buy a house in San Diego and
even to pay her bill at Neiman Marcus.
Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said that Elba Esther Gordillo,
who has led the 1.5 million-member National Union of Education
Workers for 23 years, was detained in Toluca on charges that she
embezzled 2 billion pesos (about $160 million) from union funds.
The office didn't say whether Gordillo, a colorful woman long seen as
a kingmaker and power-behind-the-scenes in Mexico, was arriving or
leaving Toluca airport, or whether she was handcuffed. Murrillo said
two other people were also arrested by did not name them.
The arrest of the 68-year-old Gordillo marks the downfall of a woman
who rose from being a school teacher to one of Mexico's most powerful
political operators, displaying her opulence openly with designer
clothes and bags, bodyguards, expensive cars and properties including
a penthouse apartment in Mexico City's exclusive Polanco
neighborhood. She has been widely lampooned for her many plastic
surgeries and depicted in political cartoons as ghoulish.

Meanwhile, Mexico's teachers are poorly paid and public education has
long been considered sub-par.
"We are looking at a case in which the funds of education workers
have been illegally misused, for the benefit of several people, among
them Elba Esther Gordillo," Murillo Karam said.
Gordillo did not respond publicly to the accusations against her and
was reportedly en route to Mexico City to appear before a judge.

Her detention came a day after President Enrique Pena Nieto signed
Mexico's most sweeping education reform in seven decades into law,
seeking to change a system dominated by Gordillo in which teaching
positions could be sold or inherited.

Prosecutors said they had detected nearly $3 million in purchases at
Neiman Marcus using those funds, as well as $17,000 in U.S. plastic
surgery bills and the purchase of a million-dollar home in San Diego.
Assistant Attorney General Alfredo Castillo displayed a series of
charts at the press conference with arrows detailing the allegations
of illicit transfers from teachers' union accounts to personal
accounts in the names of three union workers, Nora Guadalupe Ugarte
Ramirez, Isaias Gallardo Chavez and Jose Manuel Diaz Flores, as well
as a real estate company.
None were authorized to deal with finances. It wasn't clear if they
were among those arrested.
"Between 2008 and 2012, there was systematic embezzlement of union
accounts," Murillo Karam said.

Some funds eventually ended up in bank accounts in Switzerland and
Liechtenstein. Castillo said that in one case they transferred $1
million to a Swiss account for a company owned by Gordillo's mother.
Those funds were then used to buy a million-dollar house in the
island of Coronado in San Diego.
The overhaul of Mexico's education system was Pena Nieto's first
major proposal since taking office Dec. 1 and was considered a
political blow to Gordillo.
Gordillo had organized a string of protests by teachers against the
reform, which moves much of the control of the education system to
the federal government from the teachers' union. Gordillo was elected
to another six-year term as union leader in October.
The reform creates a system of uniform standards for teacher hiring
and promotion based on merit instead of union connections. It also
allows for the first census of Mexico's education system, which
Gordillo's union has largely controlled for decades, allegedly
padding the payroll with thousands of phantom teachers.
So great is the union's control that no one knows exactly how many
schools, teachers or students exist in Mexico.
For years, she has beaten back attacks from union dissidents,
political foes and journalists who have seen her as a symbol of
Mexico's corrupt, old-style politics. Rivals have accused her of
corruption, misuse of union funds and even a murder, but prosecutors
who investigated never brought a charge against her.
She was expelled from Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party
in 2006 for supporting other parties' candidates and the formation of
her own New Alliance party.
Gordillo's arrest recalled the 1989 arrest of another once-feared
union boss, Joaquin Hernandez Galicia, known as "La Quina." The
longtime head of Mexico's powerful oil workers union, Hernandez
Galicia was arrested during the first months of the new
administration of then-President Carlos Salinas.
Like Gordillo, Hernandez Galicia's power was believed to represent a
challenge to the president, and his arrest was interpreted as an
assertion of the president's authority. He was freed from prison
after Salinas de Gortari left office.
In 1988, he criticized Salinas' presidential candidacy and threatened
an oil workers' strike if Salinas privatized any part of the
government oil monopoly, Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex. On Jan. 10,
1989, — about a month after Salinas took office — soldiers used a
bazooka to blow down the door of Hernandez' home in the Gulf Coast
city of Ciudad Madero.

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