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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

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By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

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By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

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By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

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Most 2011 federal prisoners are Hispanic

By Nicolas Mendoza | 09.08.11 | 7:30 am

A majority of people imprisoned by the federal government for felonies in 2011 have been Hispanic, according to a report by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

The Associated Press reports:

Hispanics reached a new milestone for the first time this year, making up the majority all federal felony offenders sentenced in the first nine months of fiscal year 2011, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

Hispanics comprised 50.3 percent of all people sentenced in that time period, blacks 19.7 percent and whites 26.4 percent.

In comparison, last year Hispanics made up just 16 percent of the whole U.S. population.

The commission’s statistics also reveal that sentences for felony immigration crimes — which include illegal crossing and other crimes such as alien smuggling — were responsible for most of the increase in the number of Hispanics sent to prison over the last decade.

The reason that a majority of new federal prisoners are Hispanic is because the offenses which the federal government is most involved in policing are disproportionately enforced against Hispanics and other minorities, said Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, a group that works towards reform of the criminal justice system.

“A lot of it is a function of policy and practice,” Mauer told The  Independent. “Both immigration cases and drug cases are fairly discretionary in terms of enforcement. If there’s a bank robbery or a murder it doesn’t really matter where it happens, there will be a serious attempt at enforcement. When it comes to immigration and drug-related offenses, there will be a decision as far as how much enforcement there should be.”

In the case of drug laws, Mauer said, although it’s been shown that drug use is fairly evenly spread throughout the population, enforcement is much more likely to impact “low-income communities of color.”

As for immigration, the past decade has seen an unprecedented amount of federal enforcement of immigration-related offenses, resulting in both record numbers of deportations and a backlog of cases in immigration courts. Huge racial disparities in federal prisons and detention centers have followed as a result.

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