BDS Supervising Immigration Attorney Andrea Sáenz speaks out at a rally co-organized by the Legal Aid Society of New York calling for enactment of a law passed by the Legislature that would end the arrests of working New Yorkers for possession of utility knives they need for their jobs. The reality is that our clients suffer the serious and lasting harm of so-called gravity knife arrests before we even meet them. We fight like hell in court, but they can still lose their jobs, homes, and children, and – now more than ever – be deported for simple possession of a utility knife they’re required to carry for work. Working New Yorkers of color are particularly likely to be arrested. Many are detained on bail at Rikers Island, the horrors of which are well-documented. Governor Cuomo can finally end this injustice by signing legislation to affirm that manual labor is not a crime. Moreover, he can take a stand for immigrant New Yorkers by protecting them from the damning label of ‘criminal alien’ — and that is what this rally was calling for. Video Rating: / 5
An American aid worker who crashed his car killing his translator is facing manslaughter charges in the former Soviet republic of Georgia.
Loren Wille from Iowa is currently out on bail, recovering in a Tbilisi hospital.
Georgian officials say the 54-year-old employee of Catholic Relief Services may have to face court despite pleas from his family and supporters.
Loren Wille is recovering in a Georgian hospital.
He broke his collar bone in the car accident which claimed the life of his translator.
Wille, from Iowa, careered off a road during bad weather in a village around 130 kilometres from the Georgian capital Tbilisi on July 21.
“The weather was rainy, though it wasn’t raining at that particular moment. The rain was slick, but there were hundreds of other vehicles on that road that day and the only accident occurred was this one. Probably the driver was not very experienced, this together with the not perfect weather conditions and the accident happened.”
SUPER CAPTION: Zurab Devadze, traffic officer
Wille’s interpreter, Manana Tsomashvilli, was killed in the accident.
Wille says the Georgian woman was his good friend.
“When I was returning I had a tragic accident and my very good friend who I have known for many years was killed in the accident. I feel very sad for her, very sad for myself also being here. I want to get back to my work. I don’t feel very productive. My time is being robbed.”
SUPER CAPTION: Loren Wille
Wille’s relations and supporters in the United States have been quoted as saying they fear Georgian authorities will deal harshly with him to retaliate for what happened to Georgian diplomat – Gueorgui Makharadze – who’s currently in a U-S jail.
Makharadze, then number two at the republic’s embassy in Washington, was imprisoned for at least seven years in 1997 after his car collided with traffic killing a 16-year-old girl – Joviane Waltrick.
Makharadze could have been shielded form prosecution because of his diplomatic status, but the president of Georgia waived his diplomatic immunity to allow him to be tried in the U-S.
Makharadze pleaded guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter and four counts of aggravated assault.
He’s serving his sentence in a federal prison in Butner, North Carolina.
“At the time of his arrest, Mr Wille was told by one of the investigators that it’s payback time. And I think there are also a lot of rumours surrounding the Makharadze and the Wille cases. Typically when there are that many rumours and there is so much being discussed, there is likely to be some legitimacy to those rumours.”
SUPER CAPTION: Tom O’Malley, deputy director of Catholic Relief Services
But Georgian officials say Wille should be treated like anyone else and the handling of his case will be unaffected by Makharadze’s conviction.
They say the demands being made by family and supporters that he be sent home immediately are unreasonable.
“The demands that we’ve been getting from American officials are not very usual. They are demanding that Georgian police close the investigation, close the case, do not go further into details and let him go just like that. I don’t know any country in the world that would accept this kind of legal procedure.”
SUPER CAPTION: Michael Saakashvilli, Georgian MP, expert in international law
The U-S State Department has said it doesn’t believe there is any linkage between the two cases.
And it says the Georgian government has assured it that it doesn’t see a linkage.
Wille is currently free on bail, but cannot leave Tbilisi until an investigation is completed.
He could face trial.
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Growing numbers of undocumented children are facing deportation proceedings in U.S. immigration courts. Some, from Central America, were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border. Others, from Europe or Africa, came to the United States as tourists, but have overstayed their visas. A New York law project works to provide attorneys to these youths in immigration court — where minors facing deportation usually have no advocate.Carolyn Weaver reports.