07/03/11— Thousands of people took to the streets in Georgia on Saturday to protest the state’s new anti-immigration law, commonly referred to HB47, which went into effect on Friday. Police and civil organizations estimate that between 8,000 and 14,000 men, women, and children turned out for the protest in front of the capitol building in Atlanta. Many protestors argue that the law creates an unwelcoming environment for immigrants and minorities. On Monday, a federal judge blocked a portion of HB47, which would have allowed police to check the immigration status of people who they suspect do not have proper documentation. This same judge also blocked another portion of the law that would punish people who knowingly harbor and transport illegal immigrants. Parts of the law that did pass include making it illegal to apply for a job with false information, and the creation of a review board that will investigate complaints of whether government officials are abiding by state laws on illegal immigration.
Many of the participants attended the protest for personal reasons. Jessica Bamarca, a 13-year old, carried a banner during that read, “How would you feel if they separated your family?,” which brought to light the possible effects that HB47 will have on some families residing in the United States. Her mother and sister are illegal immigrants from Guatemala and she fears that if they are deported, she would be left in the United States alone.
Four other states aside from Georgia have also initiated an anti-immigration law, including Alabama, Arizona, South Carolina, and Utah, saying that their similar laws derived from the lack of action from the federal authorities to address illegal immigration.
“Marea humana contra ley antiinmigrante de Georgia.” La Crónica de hoy. July 3, 2011.
“Miles repudian ley migratoria de Georgia.” El Universal. July 3, 2011.
07/03/11—Texas authorities have released a travel warning advising U.S. citizens not to travel to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, a city located on the U.S.-Mexican border. Steven McCraw, the director of the Department of Public Security in Texas, stated that due to information that his department recently received, it appears that Los Zetas- a notoriously violent criminal organization- is planning to increase its criminal activity, possibly through robbery, extortion, and kidnappings, and specifically targeted towards U.S. citizens. In response to the U.S. warning, the chief operating officer Mexico’s Tourism Board, Rodolfo López Negrete, stated that “some of the warnings are ridiculous and misinformed.” The government of Mexico added that most of the violence in Mexico happens outside of tourist destinations.
Nuevo Laredo is a twin city to Laredo, Texas and has long been an attraction for U.S. citizens. In large part due to the escalation of violence in Mexico since President Calderón launched his anti-narcotics strategy in 2006, tourism in border cities like Nuevo Laredo has decreased in recent years. “The State Department reported that 111 U.S. citizens died last year in Mexico, up from 35 in 2007,” stated BBC Mundo, however the cause of each death was not specifically given.
“Las autoridades de Texas instan a los estadounidenses a no cruzar a México.” EFE. June 3, 2011.
“Texas advierte a residentes no viajar a Nuevo Laredo, México.” Univision. June 3, 2011.
“Texas pide a estadounidenses no ir a Nuevo Laredo, México.” BBC Mundo. June 3, 2011.
07/02/11— Along with threats issued to local and state governments, decapitated bodies were left at the offices of two local, but separate, newspapers in Mazatlán, Sinaloa earlier today. The first body was discovered alongside blankets and tarps at Noroeste at 1:40 am. On the blankets was a note allegedly written by the Beltrán Leyva and Los Zetas criminal organizations and directed toward Sinaloa State Governor Mario López Valdez and Mazatlán Mayor Alejandro Higuera Osuna. A similar scene was discovered moments later at the offices of El Debate, a second newspaper located in the city.
Both notes issued similar threats: retaliation against Governor López and Mayor Higuera if the so-called Elite Police- the special unit of the police force- are allowed to return to the municipality. The Ministry of Public Security (Secretaría de Seguidad Pública) announced that the operations of such forces would continue indefinitely in the area despite allegations, like those highlighted in the notes found at the crime scenes, that the units are responsible for killing innocent people. Following the discovery of the bodies, Higuera issued a statement that the threats against him and López will “collapse the activities of both levels of government,” according to Noroeste. However, the mayor also noted that work at the city level would continue as normal, saying the threats will not “change the dynamics of attention to the public” in Mazatlán.
The victims were later identified as a 32-year-old local man from the Infonavit Jabalíes district in Mazatlán and a 16-year-old boy from the Francisco Villa district. While unrelated, both victims were kidnapped earlier this week in Francisco Villa. The offices of Noroeste and El Debate have been previous targets of violence linked to organized crime, with separate instances occurring in the fall of 2010.
“Arrojan cuerpos decapitados en diarios de Mazatlán.” El Universal. July 2, 2011.
“Arrojan dos cuerpos mutilados en Noroeste y El Debate, en Mazatlán.” Noroeste. July 2, 2011.
“Descarta el Alcalde de Mazatlán que amenazas colapsen al gobierno.” Noroeste. July 2, 2011.
“Identifican a víctimas dejadas en diarios.” El Debate. July 2, 2011.