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News ::
BTL:Undocumented Immigrants Arrested by U.S. Authorities Face Increasingly... (english)
01 Nov 2003
...Harsh Penalties. Interview with Jennifer Rodriguez, immigration attorney, conducted by Between the Lines' Melinda Tuhus
Undocumented Immigrants Arrested by U.S. Authorities Face Increasingly Harsh Penalties

Interview with Jennifer Rodriguez, immigration attorney, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

Federal immigration officers raided Wal-Mart stores across the country on Oct. 23, arresting 300 cleaning-crew workers they suspect of being undocumented foreign workers. The raids, at 61 stores in 21 states, were part of an investigation into whether the world's largest retailer or its subcontractors knowingly hired illegal immigrants.

Issues surrounding immigration -- how many immigrants enter the U.S. every year, whether or not they take jobs from American citizens and whether they hurt or help the economy -- have been the focus of much political conflict. But several in-depth studies have revealed certain facts. For example, eight out of 11 immigrants enter the country legally, either to join a close family member or on student, tourist or worker's visas. Many visa holders then overstay their visas, putting them at risk for deportation. Only a small minority arrive in the U.S. with no paperwork whatsoever -- and these individuals make up the most exploited group of immigrants.

Studies show that immigrants do not substantively take jobs away from U.S. workers. Rather, they do the work few others are willing to do, or they set up businesses in their own immigrant communities, generating jobs. Immigrants as a group pay more in taxes than do U.S.-born citizens, and receive less in government services. Even undocumented immigrants pay about the same in taxes as they receive in benefits. Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Jennifer Rodriguez, an immigration attorney in Connecticut. She explains what is likely to happen to the immigrant workers arrested at Wal-Mart and the harsh penalties facing many undocumented immigrants arrested by U.S. authorities.

For more information on immigrants' rights or call the AFL-CIO at (202) 637-5018 or visit their website at Related links "AFL-CIO Immigrant Workers resource page,"

"The Wal-Mart Raid," Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 27, 2003

"Immigrant Workers' Freedom Ride Aims to Raise Awareness of Low Pay, Dangerous Working Conditions," Between The Lines interview with David Glaser, national director of the Immigrant Workers' Freedom Ride, Oct. 3, 2003 Between The Lines Under-Reported News Summary Oct. 31, 2003 ("Haitians Trapped by War on Terrorism," Amnesty Now, Fall 2003.

"Patriot Raid," by Jason Halperin,, April 29, 2003

LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below:
"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
betweenthelines (at)
Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions
2003 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.
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