Sunday, December 10, 2017

Border News: Migrant Killed, “Kate’s Wall” Hyped, Drugs Mailed, Profits to Be Made

Photo: David Bacon
A Border Patrol agent shot an apparent border crosser dead on November 29 in the Tohono O’odham Native American Nation, which has had many problems with the Border Patrol in the past. The government promised an investigation of the latest shooting, and the incident quickly dropped out of the news. In contrast, Kate Steinle’s tragic death continues to get media coverage—it’s become an argument for Trump’s border wall, even though it had absolutely nothing to do with failures in border security.

And why would we want a wall? The New York Times reveals that even the best border security isn’t going to stop drug dealers. The main reason for the wall obsession is undoubtedly the psychological appeal of walls to some personality types, but we shouldn’t forget that certain people stand to make a killing—the financial kind—on the Great Wall of Trump.—TPOI editor

Arizona: Border Patrol Kills Migrant on Tohono O’odham Reservation

Democracy Now!
December 1, 2017
In Arizona, a Border Patrol agent shot and killed an undocumented migrant in a remote mountainous region on the Tohono O’odham Nation on Wednesday. The shooting occurred about 20 miles away from the U.S.-Mexico border. The chief of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson sector is claiming, without evidence, that the shooting occurred after the man grabbed the gun of one of the agents. Migrant justice groups are demanding the killing be investigated.

View the original article:
Read “Border communities condemn Border Patrol murder of migrant”:

The fraudulent case for 'Kate's wall'
[C]alls to name Trump’s intended border fortification “Kate’s wall”… would make it the world’s largest free-standing non sequitur. Garcia Zarate’s presence in the United States does not prove the weakness of our border security. Just the opposite.

By Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune
December 6, 2017
One night last month, a Border Patrol officer in Southwest Texas was killed and his partner seriously hurt while on patrol near the Mexican border. What quickly emerged was a gruesome tale. The officers were “ambushed by a group of illegal aliens” who smashed their heads with rocks, according to the head of the union representing Border Patrol agents.[…]

Read the full article:

Heroin in Soups and Lollipops: How Drug Cartels Evade Border Security
Instead of smuggling heroin through ports of entry or across the border, the cartel’s traffickers exploited weaknesses in border security: parcels shipped through the mail, UPS and FedEx; air cargo; and travel on transit systems with relatively little security, like Amtrak.

By Ron Nixon, New York Times
December 2, 2017
BALTIMORE — The tip came on the last day of January 2014 to special agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement: A drug courier was about to land at the Baltimore airport with a large shipment.[…]

Read the full article:

Wall Street Stands to Make a Killing From Building Trump's Border Wall: Report
Hate is profitable for the Mercers, BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo.

By Ilana Novick AlterNet
November 16, 2017
The border wall with Mexico, Donald Trump's proposed monument to nativism and bigotry is, according to an October story from NBC News, at least 10 months away from "meaningful construction." It currently has no funding from Congress nor from Mexico, contrary to reports from Trump's fever dreams. This reality hasn't dimmed the visions of dollar signs in the eyes of America's largest corporations, which, according to a new report from Make the Road New York, the Center for Popular Democracy, New York Communities for Change, and the Partnership for Working Families, are behind a company making one of the wall prototypes and stand to benefit handsomely.[…]

Read the full article:
Download the report:

Friday, December 8, 2017

Border communities condemn Border Patrol murder of migrant

SOA Watch
December 6, 2017
On November 29, 2017, Border Patrol agents from the Tucson Sector shot and killed a migrant in a remote region of the Baboquivari mountains on the Tohono O’odham Nation. Rodolfo Karisch, Chief Patrol Agent of the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector, justified the killing, saying that after two agents chased and tried to detain a group, one individual became “assaultive.” There is no independent corroboration of this version of events.

We recognize this as murder, and part of a larger trend of Border Patrol acting with impunity in remote desert regions. Border Patrol tactics of chase and scatter are violent and regularly result in death and disappearance.

The shooting happened on Tohono O’odham land, high in the mountains, over 20 miles from the border. This is a direct result of border militarization where urban crossings have been sealed and internal checkpoints have been implemented, pushing people further into the mountains where agency accountability and oversight is impossible.

We reject the categories of criminalization that puts every migrant and refugee in the borderlands directly in the crosshairs of Border Patrol sights. These boundaries and borders were drawn by the imposition of a white settler nation and US imperialism. Border enforcement is genocide. This impunity to kill will not go unchallenged.

We demand the opening of investigations of the 55 people murdered directly by Border Patrol and we demand justice for all the victims and their families.

No one deserves to die this way. We grieve this life, and all lives lost in the militarized borderlands.

With rage,
Coalición de Derechos Humanos / SOA Watch / Border Patrol Victims Network/  No More Deaths / Chukson Water Protectors / L.U.P.E. Action Committee / Alliance for Global Justice / PanLeft / Split Seeds Productions / Tuell Consulting / Tucson Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ) / Casa Mariposa / Borderlinks / LUCHA / Spoken Futures / La Pilita / Observatorio de Derechos Humanos de los Pueblos / Soldepaz – Pachakuti / Red de  Colectivos La Araña Feminista de Venezuela / Corriente Revolucionaria Bolívar y Zamora de Venezuela / Movimiento Agro Comunal Bolivariano de Venezuela / Comisión Multisectorial del Uruguay / Red de Integración Orgánica – Rio – Por la Defensa de la Madre Tierra y los Derechos Humanos de Guatemala / Confederación Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas, Indígenas y Negras (FENOCIN) de Ecuador / Confederación Sindical Única De Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB) / Stop the Wall /Palestinian Farmers Union / Palestinian New Federation of Trade Unions / Palestine Youth Forum / Association for Farmers’ Rights and for the Preservation of the environment / Women Center for Social Development / Association Jadayel / Palestinian Center for Culture, Arts and creativity / Palestinian Farmers Society-Tulkarem / Ni’lin Society for Development and Community Work / Popular Council to Protect the Jordan Valley / Movimiento Nacional del Poder Popular – México / Movimiento Nacional del Poder Popular Zacatecas / Movimiento del Magisterio Democrático Nacional, Comité Ejecutivo Nacional Democrático del Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación en Lucha (CEND del SNTE en Lucha) / Asamblea de los Pueblos en Defensa del Territorio, la  Educación Pública, Laica, Gratuita y los Derechos Humanos / Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra en San Salvador Atenco (FPDT-Atenco) / Consejo de Defensa de los Derechos del Pueblo (CODEP-MNPP) / Consejo de Organizaciones Interdisciplinarias Vinculadas por Oaxaca (COIVO) / Coordinación de Comunidades Indígenas de la Sierra Sur (COCISS) / Comité de Defensa Ciudadana (CODECI) / Contingentes del Comité Ejecutivo Nacional Democrático del SNTE en Lucha (CEND SNTE en Lucha) / Congreso Nacional de Bases / Movimiento del Magisterio Democrático Nacional: Sección III de Baja California Sur /  Sección V de Campeche/ Sección X de la Ciudad de México / Sección XIII y XLV de Guanajuato / Sección XIV de Guerrero / Sección XV de Hidalgo / Movimiento Magisterial Jalisciense, Secciones XVI y XLVII de Jalisco / Sección XVIII de Michoacán / Movimiento Magisterial de Bases / Sección XIX de Morelos / Consejo Democrático Magisterial Poblano: Secciones XXIII y LI de Puebla / Movimiento Magisterial de Bases de Querétaro, Sección XXIV de Querétaro / Bases Magisteriales Democráticas de Quintana Roo, Sección XXV de Q. Roo / Bases Magisteriales de Tabasco, Sección XXIX de Tabasco, Trabajadores del Colegio de Bachilleres de Tabasco / Comité Estatal Democrático, Sección XXXII y LVI de Veracruz / Sección XXXVI del Valle de México / Consejo Nacional de Sistematización; Escuelas Integrales de Educación Básica de Michoacán / Colectivo Pedagógico “Francisco Javier Acuña Hernández” / Promotora del Poder Popular de Michoacán / Caja Popular de Ahorro “Emiliano Zapata” / Colectivo de Estudios “Ricardo Flores Magón” / Barzón Federación: Estado de México, Querétaro, Morelos, Veracruz, Guerrero y Distrito Federal / Organización Nacional del Poder Popular (ONPP) / Organización Nacional del Poder Popular de Morelos (ONPP-MORELOS) / Organización Nacional del Poder Popular del D.F. / Asamblea Permanente de los Pueblos de Morelos / Instituto Mexicano de Desarrollo Comunitario (IMDEC) / Centro de Atención en Derechos Humanos a la Mujer y el Menor Indígena (CADHMMI) / Centro Regional Indígena en Derechos Humanos “Ñuu-Savi” (CERIDH).

Attorneys Hold Chilly Protest as Immigration Arrests at Court Surge

"ICE out of the courts": protest, Brooklyn Borough Hall. Photo: Phil Josselyn
By Amanda Ottaway, Courthouse News Service
December 7, 2017
BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) – A week after public defenders staged a walkout in protest of immigration agents carrying out courthouse arrests, attorneys joined a throng of several hundred protesters Thursday on the chilly front steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall.

“Hey, hey, ho, ho, ICE has got to go,” they chanted, using the abbreviation for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that appeared in many of the home-made signs dotting the crowd.

“Melt ICE,” one said. Against a backdrop of these signs, and more official placards that carried the names of groups like the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, the Osborne Association and New York City Public Defenders, several speakers addressed the crowd in both Spanish and English.[…]

Read the full article:

Modern Courts releases Report on ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and New York Courts
Protecting the Administration of Justice in New York State: Impact of ICE Arrests on New Yorkers’ Access to State Courthouses

December 5, 2017
Press Release : New York, NY – The Fund for Modern Courts today released a report entitled, Protecting the Administration of Justice in New York State: Impact of ICE Arrests on New Yorkers’ Access to State Courthouses, which proposes four new policies and protocols to ameliorate the significant increase of enforcement actions by U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (“ICE”) in state courthouses and to ensure the proper administration of justice.

Amelia T.R. Starr, Esq., Vice Chair of the Fund for Modern Courts and one of the authors of the report, said, “Immigrants are intimidated by ICE’s deliberate decision to target New York’s courthouses for enforcement actions. They fear ICE retaliation at the courthouse steps. Every time fear of ICE keeps a New Yorker from entering the courthouse, access to justice is compromised.”[…]

Read the report:

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Resistance at Tule Lake Screens at the Austin Asian American Film Festival!

Resistance at Tule Lake is having its Texas Premiere!
JOIN US at the Austin Asian American Film Festival (AAAFF) where we are IN COMPETITION for Best Documentary Feature!
 "While the dominant narrative of the mass incarceration of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II has been one of general cooperation, filmmaker Konrad Aderer (ENEMY ALIEN) explores the much-suppressed history of those who protested their unjust imprisonment. When forced to pledge their unconditional loyalty to the United States government, many refused. Some were deported to Japan, and over 12,000 were deemed “disloyal” and relocated to what came to be known as the Tule Lake Segregation Center, a militarized camp where resistant citizens faced further abuse and torture. Aderer combines rare historical footage with emotional oral histories from survivors and their descendants to uncover the overlooked stories of Japanese American citizens who protested racism, immigrant scapegoating, and white supremacy. RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE sheds light on a dark period in American history and offers a reminder of the dangers of fear, hate, and the marginalization of immigrant and minority communities."
– D. Mauro

AFS Cinema
#Suite 3100
Austin, TX 78752

Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 3:15PM
*Screening preceded by short film Cliff, Superfan! 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Emergency Rally, Brooklyn, 12/7/17: #ICEOut of the Courts Now!

Update, 12/16/17: There will be another protest for immigrant rights in the evening. RALLY Against Muslim Ban + Tax Scam and Fight for DREAM Act @ Washington Square Park, Dec 7 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm,

Thursday, December 7, 2017
1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Brooklyn Borough Hall
209 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201

On Tuesday, dozens of public defenders walked out of Brooklyn Criminal Court after a Legal Aid client was detained by Immigration & Customs Enforcement in Brooklyn Criminal Court in collaboration with Court Officers and the Court Administration. They marched to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, demanding that the Office of Court Administration and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore implement a policy to would prevent New York Court staff from collaborating with ICE officers or entering Court property.

Please join us on Thursday, December 7th, at 1pm at Brooklyn Borough Hall for a mass rally with our union, other attorneys, and community and immigrant organizations to demand that the Office of Court Administration and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore implement a policy to bar ICE agents from entering NY Court property.

For more information and a list of endorsers:

Legal Aid Lawyers Stage Walkout After Yet Another ICE Court Arrest
Court officers threaten to arrest any attorneys who don’t comply with deportation actions

By Noah Hurowitz and Felipe De La Hoz, Village Voice
November 28, 2017
Photo: Association of Legal Aid Attorneys
Chaos erupted at Brooklyn Criminal Court Tuesday morning after agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement snatched a defendant in the hallway, prompting a walkout by public defenders and accusations from court officers that Legal Aid attorneys had physically attacked them.

Genaro Rojas Hernandez, thirty, was in court to face charges of violating a restraining order. Just after 11 a.m., after a judge asked him and his court-appointed attorney to step into the hallway with a Spanish interpreter, Hernandez was arrested by ICE agents, according to his lawyer, Rebecca Kavanagh. After the arrest, attorneys with the Legal Aid Society stormed out of the courthouse on Schermerhorn Street and held a noisy picket line outside the building, calling on immigration officials to stay out of the courthouse.[…]

Read the full article:

Why Is ICE Arresting Immigrants in New York City’s Courts?
Despite New York’s being a sanctuary city, ICE is prowling the courtrooms.

By Michelle Chen, The Nation
December 5, 2017
Last week, a Brooklyn court building became the latest flashpoint in Trump’s border war: Genaro Rojas-Hernandez, an undocumented immigrant, was at a criminal court for an unrelated assault charge, when he was arrested by ICE agents. The clash between federal immigration agents and a local criminal-justice process spoke to a new constitutional crisis unfolding in the city’s criminal-justice system.[…]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Want to limit migration? We can start by supporting democracy in Honduras.

This Washington Post op-ed is one of the few pieces in the mainstream U.S. media to note the link between immigration from Honduras and the corrupt and repressive U.S.-backed government there. Far from connecting the dots, most U.S. media are downplaying the current electoral crisis. By contrast, there’s excellent reporting from Allan Nairn and others on the ground on Democracy Now! for December 5.—TPOI editor

By Kendra McSweeney and Sarah Chayes, Washington Post
December 5, 2017
The news out of Honduras has taken dizzying turns since the Nov. 26 presidential election — some predictably sickening, but some so exceptional as to startle even veteran analysts of this Central American country. A partial recount of disputed ballots now puts the incumbent, Juan Orlando Hernandez, ahead by a whisker – after inexplicable halts and delays in the counting.

That Hernandez should seek to doctor the numbers is no surprise. What is remarkable — and what deserves the support of democracies everywhere — is the civic patriotism of everyday Hondurans, who braved the odds to vote massively against a power grab Hernandez has been engineering for years.[…]

Read the full article:
Police tear-gas protesters in Tegucigalpa. Photo: Reuters

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Jury Acquits in Trump’s Favorite “Immigrant Crime” Case

After six days of deliberation, on November 30 a San Francisco jury acquitted Mexican immigrant José Inez García Zárate of murder and manslaughter charges in the July 2015 shooting death of Kate Steinle. Prosecutors said García Zarate (AKA Juan Francisco López-Sánchez and Francisco Sánchez) had purposely shot into a crowd of tourists, while the defense claimed the bullet, which hit Steinle on a ricochet, was fired accidentally. The jurors found the prosecution case open to reasonable doubt, although they convicted the defendant of felonious possession of a firearm.
José Inez García Zárate. Photo: Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle
President Trump and rightwing propagandists like Ann Coulter had tirelessly exploited Steinle’s death as an example of violent crime by undocumented immigrants against U.S. citizens—and as a justification for border walls, mass deportations, and a cutoff of funds to so-called “sanctuary cities.” Naturally, the president and his supporters tweeted furiously against the jury’s decision.

Sloppy media coverage of the case has tended to provide cover for Trump’s side. For example, there’s been almost no discussion of how a revolver fell into the hands of a homeless immigrant in San Francisco. An agent of the Bureau of Land Management had left the loaded weapon inside a car parked in a high-crime part of the city—a violation of BLM policy and an invitation to theft. It's not clear whether the BLM, an obscure federal agency, has disciplined the careless officer—or explained why its employees would ever need to carry arms.

Meanwhile, media outlets repeat endlessly that García Zarate had seven felony convictions and was deported five times. Sources rarely mention that four of the convictions involved drug possession and the remaining convictions were for illegal re-entry of the U.S. None of the convictions were for violent crimes, although Trump and others dishonestly called the immigrant violent. García Zarate seems to be a mentally disturbed person with a drug problem; at one point a federal court recommended sending him to a medical facility. And if anything, his record of deportations should make people question the wisdom of shipping immigrants out of the country as a way to stop crime. They can come back, and no amount of border security guarantees that they won’t. Wouldn’t it have been better to keep García Zarate here and try to deal with his drug issues?

Actually, what would happen if we provided drug addicts treatment instead of imprisonment, tried to rehabilitate foreign-born convicts instead of deporting them, and limited the number of irresponsible government employees roaming the streets heavily armed? Probably Kate Steinle would be alive today, along with many others, including a large number of the more than 59,000 who died of opioid overdoses last year.—TPOI editor 

Kate Steinle trial: Garcia Zarate acquitted in San Francisco pier killing

By Vivian Ho, San Francisco Chronicle
November 30, 2017
A jury handed a stunning acquittal on murder and manslaughter charges to a homeless undocumented immigrant whose arrest in the killing of Kate Steinle on a San Francisco Bay pier intensified a national debate over sanctuary laws.

In returning its verdict Thursday afternoon on the sixth day of deliberations, the Superior Court jury also pronounced Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty of assault with a firearm, finding credence in defense attorneys’ argument that the shot that ricocheted off the concrete ground before piercing Steinle’s heart was an accident, with the gun discharging after the defendant stumbled upon it on the waterfront on July 1, 2015.[…]

Read the full article:

Trump Is Outraged an Undocumented Immigrant Just Got Acquitted of Murder
The president called the verdict "disgraceful" after making Kate Steinle's killing a centerpiece of his border wall proposal.

By Drew Schwartz, Vice
December 1, 2017
A murder case that helped fuel Donald Trump's call for a border wall ended in an acquittal on Thursday when a San Francisco jury found undocumented immigrant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty in the shooting death of 32-year-old Kate Steinle, the Washington Post reports.[…]

Read the full article:

Federal agent’s loaded gun, left unsecured in a car, killed Kate Steinle
So why is all the attention on an immigrant who was at the end of an unfortunate chain of events?

By Matt Gonzalez, 48 Hills (San Francisco)
July 21, 2017
Kate Steinle was killed two years ago in San Francisco after a gun stolen from a car was discharged on Pier 14, a popular tourist attraction. Homeless immigrant Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez handled a discarded bundle that contained the firearm, resulting in the unintentional shooting. A single bullet ricocheted off the ground, travelling 100 feet before striking Steinle.[…]

Read the full article:

The Scapegoating of Sanctuary Cities
San Francisco has become an anti-immigration punching bag in the wake of a grisly killing. But there’s little evidence that the city’s sanctuary law was to blame.

By Daniel Denvir, CityLab
July 9, 2015
An undocumented immigrant named Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez allegedly shot and killed Kathryn Steinle on San Francisco's Embarcadero last Wednesday. And it turns out that the city's Sheriff's Department had released Lopez-Sanchez earlier this year after refusing an Immigration and Customs Enforcement request to detain him—all to comply with a city policy protecting everyday undocumented immigrants from deportation.[...]

Read the full article: