The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights ("ICIRR") is "sponsoring" a class action lawsuit against Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard over that state's program that tries to stop human smuggling by seizing Western Union wire transfers that meet certain criteria. ICIRR is "sponsoring" three nobody plaintiffs - at least one of whom is a legal resident - who had money seized and couldn't get it back because they couldn't prove that the transfers were legitimate. The attorney is Matt Piers; another attorney who may have just filed the papers is Tim Eckstein (azstar).
As detailed at the first link, ICIRR was one of the organizers of the big March 10 Chicago illegal immigration rally as well as of the one on May 1. And, after the first rally, their president Juan Salgado spoke at Los Pinos, the Mexican White House. They were also involved in the smear against Jim Oberweis. Salgado was also appointed to a state commission by Chicago governor Rod Blagojevich. Another group involved in the suit is the Instituto del Progreso Latino, whose Executive Director is Juan Salgado.
But, wait, there's more:
[ICIRR Executive Director Josh] Hoyt acknowledged his organization has received grants in the past from Western Union, and confirmed that some of the information for the lawsuit came from the company. But he said the interest of his group is solely to protect the rights of individuals.
It's like a giant spider's web of sleaze, isn't it? From this:
...Goddard said the company also sent letters to clients, asking those who had funds seized to contact Instituto del Progreso Latino... "They solicited people" for the federal lawsuit, Goddard said. "It's Western Union trying to protect their profits." ...Sherry Johnson, corporate director of media relations for Western Union, said in an e-mail that "while we do have a long-standing relationship with this group, I can assure you that this is a completely independent action by the ICIRR."
As for the POV of "our" representatives, State Rep. Steve Gallardo - naturally a Democrat - nuances his way into supporting illegal immigration (azstar):
"We should not just be using the $500 threshold," he said, but instead require proof of some sort of pattern or other evidence of criminal activity... Goddard said the state provides that proof to the judge who issues each of the damming warrants... Gallardo also said the state's offer to refund funds improperly taken is insufficient because it requires people to go to a government office to prove their ownership in order to get their money back... "That's intimidating for those folks who perhaps may be here undocumented," he said, and simply want to send money home to relatives.
As for Matt Piers, he appears to be a civil rights-style attorney from Chicago. In 2000 or so he was on the other side: suing money transfer companies over hidden fees. He defended the Benevolence International Foundation on a terrorism-related charge. Daniel Drezner appeared on a TV show with him in relation to that. He was involved in another terrorism-related case in the late 90s (ncarl.org/newsletter2004.html). And, in 2001 he was apparently planning to sue both the U.S. and Mexico over monies due Bracero Program workers that had disappeared.
On a slightly related note, see "Maricopa County Attorney: Mexico trying to block Arizona law".
Immigration · Thu, 10/19/2006 - 19:16 · Importance: 4