Photography exhibit

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A tour of a new photography exhibit featuring Hispanic artists.

José Cárdenas:
Good evening, I'm Jose Cardenas. Welcome to "Horizonte". A high-profile Latina activist caught last week trying to smuggle into the country two undocumented Phoenix residents from Mexico. Tonight, she talks about why two brothers were in the trunk of her car as she crossed the border. Also, we take you on a tour of a new photography exhibit featuring Hispanic artists.

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>> José Cárdenas:
Tonight on "Horizonte", an interview with a woman accused of a crime she says was a decision coming from her heart. We invited the Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and the City of Phoenix officials to give their side of the story. ICE officials did not return any of our calls. The City of Phoenix will not comment until the investigation of Lizabeth Roman is completed. However, I talked to the head of ICE on "Horizonte" last week about immigration issues, among them, Roman's case. Here's portions of the interview from Michael Garcia, Assistant Secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

>>Michael Garcia:
We came across a Phoenix police officer who had stopped some people suspected gang members and was questioning them. An officer on the street. As we would, pulled up to see if he needed assistance as a public safety, issue. It turned out these were declared gang members who were illegally in the country. We work often with local police departments across the country to tackle the gang problem. I think we have a public safety obligation on that front. We took custody of these gang members.

>> José Cárdenas:
You took custody because they are gang members?

>>Michael Garcia:
No, because they're immigration violators. We work with the locals in this area because we can remove gang members from the street. In this case it was fortuitous that we came across a police officer that was working but who had come across gang members, they were declared gang members or told the folks out there they were. More important, looking at the profit, we are scrupulous how we adhere to the rules and regulations. We called the Mexican consul. I got the name of the official who came out and talked to these gang members and we called the parents of the gang members and they didn't come. Rather than take these gang members to the border, we turned them over to Mexican authorities on the other side of the border with the full participation of the Mexican consulate on this side of the border. It was all done very much following procedures but a story gets out that we're going through neighborhoods, profiling, picking young men or boys and we're dropping them off the other side of the border without notifying Mexican authorities and the parents, that wasn't the case here.

>> José Cárdenas:
As I understand it, with respect to the incident in question, there were a series of arrests, the first group of juveniles, who had been detained by the Phoenix police officer, he was not going to arrest them but then they were detained by ICE agents. Do you know anything about that?

>> Except what you say, we have a different jurisdiction. If a police officer has reasonable suspicion in the case -- but we come across people who are being questioned by the police who are gang members, stated gang members, known gang members, we are going to take action.

>> José Cárdenas:
Even if the local authorities have no plan --

>>Michael Garcia:
Absolutely, that's what we bring to the table, where some local authorities can't act, we can act. I met with the mayor, the chief of police, we have a good relationship with the mayor and police force. We have very different missions. We are not asking, nor is the Phoenix police department offering to enforce immigration law. To go out and the first question when they come to a crime scene, we don't them to ask first, what's your immigration status. We have a role enforcing many laws, including immigration laws. The Phoenix police department has a responsibility, police officers, to enforce the local laws.

>> José Cárdenas:
You may have heard of Liza Roman. She has been active for years in the immigrant community and politics. She plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of conspiracy after initially being charged with felony smuggling for hiding two brothers who had been deported in the trunk of her car. Joining us now is Liza Roman. Thank you for joining us on "Horizonte".

>>Liza Roman:
Thank you.

>> José Cárdenas:
Tell us a little about your background.

>>Liza Roman:
I moved to Phoenix about nine years ago. I was hired by Paradise Valley School District and worked for palomino elementary school for the past six years, I was a liaison, and my job was to help the immigrant community being bilingual, help to translate, how the system works, encourage them to participate and volunteer in the schools.

>> José Cárdenas:
Tell us a little about the Palomino neighborhood.

>>Liza Roman:
It's little less than a square mile. Between Bell and Greenway, Cave Creek and 32nd Street. It's 18,000 people, last census living in the square mile. The population is about 38% Hispanic. What makes a difference is the school, Palomino Elementary School has 85% Hispanic. That's, the decisions being made in the community, it doesn't match what we have in the school.

>> José Cárdenas:
The population as I understand is fairly diverse. Croatian, native American. About 40, 45% Anglo. The area has been recently described as a high crime rate. Do you agree?

>>Liza Roman:
Not necessarily. We have a condensed population and the numbers are going to show higher compared to the rest of the different communities.

>> José Cárdenas
What about the level of gang activity?

>>Liza Roman:
There is some gang activity. The officer was saying these kids were gang members. So far they were not charged with anything. They continue to say this to continue to breed people's frenzy. They have to remember they have not been charged by police or INS of any crime.

>> José Cárdenas:
You're talking about the comments from Mike Garcia on the videotape?

>>Liza Roman:
Yes.

>> José Cárdenas
: Let's talk about what you understand happened that night. And then his comments and your reaction. You investigated a short time after this all occurred?

>>Liza Roman:
Yes. I received some phone calls from the parents, they keep in touch with me even though I don't live in the neighborhood or work in the neighborhood, I just volunteer there.

>> José Cárdenas:
What did they tell you happened?

>>Liza Roman:
The police department had come and with INS and raided in the neighborhood and take some of the students.

>> José Cárdenas:
Did you talk to the parents of the children taken to Mexico?

>>Liza Roman:
Yes.

>> José Cárdenas:
Did you talk to any of the children who were taken other than the two brothers we're going to talk about later?

>>Liza Roman:
We had a meeting.

>> José Cárdenas:
What did they tell you about the involvement of the police department and the ICE agents?

>>Liza Roman:
Well, Officer Robles which is a community action officer in our neighborhood, keeps coming up, the kids know him because he worked in the community for the past three years.

>> José Cárdenas:
We're talking about the night that everything happened?

>>Liza Roman:
Yes. The 27th of last month. He calling my name, you, come over here, show me you papers. If not, I'm going to send you to Mexico.

>> José Cárdenas:
Were ICE agents with him?

>>Liza Roman:
One van, and two cars behind the police officer. That night, he did three stops. So it wasn't just one group of kids, he went to three different places and INS follow him. They just happened to be helping him.

>> José Cárdenas:
What you were told is that Officer Robles what, stopped -- my understanding is the first stop was some teenagers who were in a car.

>>Liza Roman:
Yes.

>> José Cárdenas:
Was it at that point that he asked them to produce proof of citizenship?

>>Liza Roman:
Yes. One of the things, when you ask the kid, tu papeles, we know they are speaking about the green card. We have spoke and said if you ask for the papeles, you are asking the kids for green card, not regular ID.

>> José Cárdenas:
Kids in the car asking for their citizenship or proof of residency documents.

>>Liza Roman:
And he knows these kids. They live in the neighborhood, because he has been there three years.

>> José Cárdenas:
What happened next?

>>Liza Roman:
He put in the sidewalk, he was asking them questions and, show me your papers or I send you back to Mexico. When he did not charge them with anything, he sent to immigration and immigration asked questions and took them into custody.

>> José Cárdenas:
You as I understand were in a meeting in the mayor's office where the police gave their version of this incident, correct?

>>Liza Roman:
Yes.

>> José Cárdenas:
I understand, officer Robles didn't arrest these individuals and was prepared to release them and it was that point that the ICE agents intervened. Is that your understanding of what happened?

>>Liza Roman:
That's not what the kids say, he said he passed to the two INS agents.

>> José Cárdenas:
Did the same thing happen in connection with the other two stops?

>>Liza Roman:
Yes.

>> José Cárdenas:
Were they people in cars or did they go up to houses?

>>Liza Roman:
INS asked Mr. Robles to hold two students in the back of the patrol cars because they had not enough transportation. They were waiting for a van to come pick up the students.

>> José Cárdenas:
From the first group?

>>Liza Roman:
From the first group. He assisted INS agents to hold these kids, to be taken to the INS headquarters.

>> José Cárdenas:
What do you know about the second group of kids who were detained?

>>Liza Roman:
The same thing, it was a hit-and-run, so he assisted in that phone call. He received the phone call, Robles, and he went over there. He talked to the kids. He found no grounds to hold them or to arrest them and then they were passed to INS and they did the same. It was shots fired in the neighborhood. He responded to the phone call and the thing happened, INS followed him and they passed custody to INS.

>> José Cárdenas:
The third incident is one he was responding to a call of shots being fired?

>>Liza Roman:
Yes.

>> José Cárdenas:
It was the same pattern?

>>Liza Roman:
Exactly.

>> José Cárdenas:
What was that, that he was asking them to come forward with their papers?

>>Liza Roman:
He was telling them he was going to send them back.

>> José Cárdenas:
And he had done this on other occasions.

>>Liza Roman:
Yes.

>> José Cárdenas:
Were there ICE agents involved in the other incidents?

>>Liza Roman:

Not as far as I know.

>> José Cárdenas:
On these occasions he said if you don't have papers I'm going to send you back. Did he actually turn all of them over to the ICE agents?

>>Liza Roman:
to INS.

>> José Cárdenas:
Was it the case that none of them had papers?

>>Liza Roman:
13-year-old is a United States citizen, born in this country. Even though he told them he was a citizen, they chose to take him and held him for five hours.

>> José Cárdenas:
Did he have proof that he was in this country legally?

>>Liza Roman:
The parents provide the proof, the birth certificate. In the meantime, he was hold and questioned in jail. Most of the students from 13 to 17, they don't carry ID. The only thing they have is the student ID. And Robles took some of those student ID and did not give them back to them. When INS ask for the ID, the students cannot provide the student ID. That's some of the allegations the students have presented to us.

>> José Cárdenas:
You heard on the videotape Mike Garcia, the head of ICE, say that these youngsters were declared gang members or told people that they were gang members. You indicated you had a different understanding.

>>Liza Roman:
I work in the community for six years, I think he just visiting here so he doesn't know what's going on in our community or our neighborhood. The students are not gang members. They dress like typical teenagers or preteens, in that rebellious stage. They wear baggy pants, different things. I think that's typical of teenagers in our neighborhood.

>> José Cárdenas:
Were any of the students who were detained gang members?

>>Liza Roman:
As far as I know, no.

>> José Cárdenas:
You did mention one was in fact a U.S. citizen?

>>Liza Roman:
Yes.

>> José Cárdenas:
I understand, on Wednesday, he filed a lawsuit against the city of Phoenix and the federal government; is that right?

>>Liza Roman:
the city of Phoenix, the police department, and Officer Robles, we're going to wait six months because you have to file a statement of claim.

>> José Cárdenas:
Steven Montoya is the attorney for the students?

>>Liza Roman:
Yes.

>> José Cárdenas:
You heard Mike Garcia say the parents were called but they didn't go down to pick up their children. Is that your information, that they were called but didn't have the opportunity to pick up their children?

>>Liza Roman:
One of the citizens, the man was called and then he was looking for the birth certificate of the child.

>> José Cárdenas:
Were any of the other parents called by the authorities?

>>Liza Roman:
Some of the parents say they were called three days later, that they didn't know where the kids were.

>> José Cárdenas:
The parents say that nobody called them? Nobody from INS -- ICE, rather, and nobody from the Phoenix police department?

>>Liza Roman:
Exactly.

>> José Cárdenas:
If they had been called, would they have gone to pick up their kids.

>>Liza Roman:
Some of the kids should have been picked up, yes.

>> José Cárdenas:
But are some of these parents themselves people who don't have papers to be in this country?

>>Liza Roman:
I don't know. I do not ask them. When I work with these people, I don't ask do they have papers, it's not my business. I don't work for INS.

>> José Cárdenas:
The question has been raised that calling the parents, if it had been done, you're saying that didn't occur, but if it had been done, the parents would have been afraid to go down for fear they would have been deported.

>>Liza Roman:
They probably would have sent somebody, been unable to do it.

>> José Cárdenas:
You heard Mike Garcia talk about the cooperation between the ICE agents and the Phoenix police department. What he said in the interview is that they were initially simply assisting the Phoenix police department as backup because this is a high crime rate area. Is your understanding about the relationship between ICE and the Phoenix police department different?

>>Liza Roman:
I have served on the Hispanic advisory board and the policy states that the patrol officers will not engage or work with INS, it's in black and white, in their own policy. The only people that can work with INS is the gang enforcement unit which deals with gang members. That night, it was nowhere to be found.

>> José Cárdenas:
Officer Robles is not a member of that?

>>Liza Roman:
No, he is not. He is patrol and community action officer. And the other is the only way is when it's high crime, a drop house where they have a lot of undocumented people, they have found 50 or 100 people, then INS, the police department will work together.

>> José Cárdenas:
Do you think that's appropriate in those circumstances?

>>Liza Roman:
Yes. We have been having home invasions so that time they can work together. It specifically highlights, it names which areas they're allowed to work with and which areas they are not and states the police will not ask for citizenship or for papers from any other citizen. Jose: Let's talk about your situation. You went down a few days after the students had been sent to Mexico and ended up bringing two of them back?

>>Liza Roman:
Tried.

>> José Cárdenas:
That was Carlos and Juan. What kind of students are they? Are they gang members?

>>Liza Roman:

No.

>> José Cárdenas:
Are they good students?

>>Liza Roman:
Remember we have a first group? This was the second kids deported, on Saturday, the day before Easter. I visited them on Sunday. Carlos is a wonderful person. He graduated from North Canyon High School. He was taking extra credits, he was in the success program, like a bridge between the North Canyon High School and Paradise Valley.

>> José Cárdenas:
How old is Carlos?

>>Liza Roman:
20.

>> José Cárdenas:
And his brother?

>>Liza Roman:
15. He got scholarship, he attended the Paradise Valley High School. He was carrying a full load, which he is going to lose because he is not going to be able to take his final.

>> José Cárdenas:
Why did you try to transport them?

>>Liza Roman:
I saw the desperation. He comes from a single parent home and was helping the mother and brother. This is a family that's been together for 13 years in the United States. Carlos doesn't know his family in Mexico and Juan doesn't know his family in Mexico. They live in Monterrey. They were in Nogales, they don't know what kind of city is there, no relatives.

>> José Cárdenas:
Some people in the Hispanic community have criticized you for what you did. And these are people who are sympathetic with how undocumented workers are treated but feel that your actions were detrimental. What do you say to them?

>>Liza Roman:
Actually, it might happen that some people say that but I have a lot of support and other people, you know, from what I did, but yet it needed to be done to bring these points to light.

>> José Cárdenas:
Is that why you did it?

>>Liza Roman:
No, not necessarily. I went over there, I didn't even knew what I was going to do, I was just dropping some clothes to them, taking some of the money the mother had sent in finding a place to live, maybe a host family can help them.

>> José Cárdenas:
Your situation was resolved pursuant to a plea agreement?

>>Liza Roman:

Yes.

>> José Cárdenas:
What were the terms?

>>Liza Roman:
One year probation and I'm not allowed to travel to Mexico for one year and I have to report to -- what is it called? Probation officer.

>> José Cárdenas:
Do you intend to continue working with immigrants in the Palomino neighborhood?

>>Liza Roman:
Yes. Of course.

>> José Cárdenas:
Despite what happened?

>>Liza Roman:
Yes.

>> José Cárdenas:
Has that become more difficult after the arrest and conviction?

>>Liza Roman:
It might be, but I want to continue to help, it's not an easy job. The only thing I can do is try my best.

>> José Cárdenas:
Liza, that you for joining us on Horizonte and for talking about these issues.

>>Liza Roman:
Thank you for having me here.

>> José Cárdenas:
A photographic tradition emerged in Latin America in the 20th century. Now you can see a local collection of photos at the Phoenix Art Museum. Here's a video tour of the exhibit.

>>Larry Lemmons:
Walking into the gallery, the photos appear to be uniform, sharing a common theme. They are black and white photos neatly framed. You see the photos represent many different places and ideas.

>>Mary Statzer:
We are pleased to show a wide array of photographs from Latin America from a good local collection. It spans 80 years. There are seven countries represented here. And it was a real challenge to only 38 that would fit in the gallery out of the 50 total that are in the collection.

>>Larry Lemmons:
One photo shows famous Mexican revolutionary leader, Zapata, and another speaks to the disappearances of Guatemalans.

>>Judy Zuber:
This very long piece has changed hanging on the wall, photographs of missing people, articles, it is basically saying they are absent from the home and one of the ways you know is the chair at the table is empty. I find that a very powerful piece. One of the photographers deals mainly with women in a small village whose husbands always leave because they can't earn a living to support their family. I think she is showing the strength of these women who stay behind and raise their families alone and tend the fields and keep the family together while the husbands may come home only once a year. I find that showing the strength of the women.

>>Larry Lemmons:
Although the issues and images displayed are different, there's something that connects them all.

>>Mary Statzer:
It's very international. Photographers are really interested in the same kind of thing, they are interested in the politics, the myths, the culture, the values of that culture and what's happening during that period of time.

>>Larry Lemmons:
Socialist and communist movements of the 20th century influenced the expressive photo.

>>Judy Zuber:
Two of the photos, one in particular was a celebration by the Cuban people of the takeover of the United Food Workers farm. Castro wanted a wonderful, exciting photograph that he could use as propaganda.

>>Larry Lemmons:
Newer photos attempt contemporary photo techniques but still carry political and social commentary. A few photos stand out, showing Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

>>Mary Statzer:
They're very personal, they're very introspective and for someone like Kahlo who made it a career to paint her own image, these are personal and much more introspective.

>>Larry Lemmons:
Emmy studied with Diego Rivera, Frida's husband.

>>Mary Statzer:
The two together, and the Frida in her work clothes. Those are also very nice to have in the collection.

>> José Cárdenas:
If you want to see the collection, it's on display at the Phoenix art museum until July 5th. For more information, call 602-257-1222.
Thank you for watching "Horizonte" tonight. I'm your host, Jose Cardenas. Have a good night.

Liza Roman: Latina activist;

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