Thursday, August 16, 2018

Update on Ravi Ragbir’s First Amendment Case

Photo by Erik McGregor

From: Ravi’s Defense Committee
August 16, 2018

On August 14, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit heard oral argument in Ragbir v. Homan, the First Amendment case filed by Ravi and immigrant rights groups, CASA, Detention Watch Network, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, New York Immigration Coalition and New Sanctuary Coalition (the “plaintiffs”).

William Perdue of Arnold & Porter deftly argued before a packed courthouse that Ravi and the New Sanctuary Coalition should receive a stay of deportation. Perdue stated that there is strong evidence that the government retaliated against Ravi because he has been outspoken about the injustices of our current immigration system and he, the New Sanctuary Coalition, and the community have exposed ICE’s cruel and unjust practices.[...]

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Trump Welcomes Immigrants, but Only if They Can Be Exploited

After three years of telling his base that he “puts American jobs first,” surely Trump wouldn’t try to expand the guest worker programs — or would he?

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
July 31, 2018
The US mainstream media had two competing events to cover the night of April 28: the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, DC, and a Trump rally in Macomb County, Michigan, a predominantly white working-class suburb of Detroit. Journalists mainly focused on the dinner, but the more important story may have been a remark President Trump made in the course of his 80-minute speech at the rally.

As reported by the immigration-restrictionist Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), around 33 minutes into his talk, Trump began praising guest worker programs. “For the farmers it’s going to get really good,” he started.[...]

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An H-2A guest worker picks oranges. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Families For Freedom: “Ears to the Ground”

"We can't always check in with everybody, but if we have our ears to the ground and the people in our hearts, we have to use all of our senses to stay accountable to them.”

July 13, 2018
The calls to abolish ICE are long overdue, though the how-to is far from being clear. And while some have audaciously placed themselves as the ones who have the answer(s), it is going to take substantially more than just talk to get where we need to be. When we operate outside of movement yet impose demands or otherwise try and assert "leadership," we replicate systems of oppression by negating the reality of the people we pretend to lead. Conscious or not, this arrogance is rooted in disdain for those at the bottom because it serves those at the top.

The people who don't get their hands dirty are the most presentable to the ones in the big house, but
by staying clean they remain out of touch. With no desire to get dirty—either because they don't know how or because they wish to 'escape' those conditions without working to change them—their representation of what needs to be done is limited, always skewed by their seeking approval from those in power. Then they assume the role of getting the folks in line (sometimes called education) in order to be acceptable to those in power. These intermediaries work to corral those who are sweaty and messy and sometimes have dirty hands, to get in alignment with those above. This is the opposite of supporting those below to build collective power so that they are well-positioned to make demands and force those above to get in alignment with them.

Before we open our mouths about where we are going in the struggle, how we think we should get there, and what we think a win or victory would look like, we should imagine saying those words to the most stigmatized and marginalized people in whose names we are being paid or in whose names we get some type of "movement status," and imagine the looks on their faces, their responses to our plans. We can't always check in with everybody, but if we have our ears to the ground and the people in our hearts, we have to use all of our senses to stay accountable to them.

It gives strength to those who are still under the thumb, in the internment centers and in jails and prisons, to see and hear of the many who are in the streets marching and laying siege to the system. But the laying of sieges is among the least effective of strategies if the masses are unprepared to endure to the end. This does not mean not to siege, but rather that ample resources must be allocated to the besiegers. Legal, physical, and mental are among the most necessary resources needed. Now is the time for sincere leadership to engage the masses and guide them forward to not only the abolition of ICE and the entire prison industrial complex, but to the end of the white supremacist resurgence permeating this country and many others around the world.

[This is an excerpt from the latest Families For Freedom newsletter. To subscribe to the newsletter, write You can contribute to FFF here.—TPOI editor.]

Monday, July 23, 2018

Two Reports Describe Abuses at Detention Center

'Terrorized': Report Details Conditions at Child Detention Centers
A report filed in federal court details hunger, dehydration and forced sleeplessness at child detention centers in the Southwest.

By Alfonso Serrano, ColorLines
July 18, 2018
Frigid cells with foul-smelling drinking water. Children given rotten food and forced to sleep on concrete floors. No showers or clean clothes for days. Overflowing toilets in “dog houses.” These are just a few of the things detained children highlighted about the facilities where they were held.

“It was cold, very cold. I only had a t-shirt so I pulled my hands inside my t-shit to try to keep warm. There were no mattresses. We slept directly on the floor,” said Justin, a 13-yer-old immigrant from El Salvador. “I haven’t been able to call my father since I was locked up. I want to tell him where I am, and I want to talk to him.”

Justin’s description of United States detention centers, and testimony from interviews with 200 other immigrant children and adults, are part of an extensive report filed in federal court this week in Los Angeles by the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law.[…]

Read the full article:
Read the report:

Report finds more than 800 complaints of hate-related abuse in immigration detention

ImmigrationProf Blog
July 19, 2018
“Shut your black ass up. You don’t deserve nothing. You belong at the back of that cage.” - Warden to M.C. at the West Texas Detention Facility in Sierra Blanca, TX

“[Go] look in the mirror to see King Kong.” - Officer to A.B. at Bristol County House of Corrections, North Dartmouth, MA

“No one will believe baboon complaints.” - Officer to A.B. at Bristol County House of Corrections, North Dartmouth, MA

These are a few of the comments discussed in a report published by Freedom for Immigrants, a California-based nonprofit that visits people held in immigration detention.[...]

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Read the report:

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Farm Work Can Be a Skilled and Permanent Job

A Salinas grower and the union bet that a new contract will become an alternative to employing guest workers

By David Bacon, The American Prospect
July 11, 2018
Up and down the Pacific coast, many of the largest growers are rapidly increasing their use of guest workers recruited in Mexico as temporary harvest labor. Farm labor, in their view, is unskilled. The workers who perform it should show up at harvest time, work as hard as possible, and then effectively disappear until the next season.

This has been the common view for over a century. It is the justification for a renewed Republican push to establish a vastly expanded guest worker program. But is the road to improving the lives of farmworkers to legislate even more massive contract-labor programs? Or is it to treat farm labor as skilled and permanent work, and provide security and decent wages to those who do it? […]

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Farm workers in Salinas protest immigration raids. Photo: David Bacon

Thursday, July 19, 2018

A Century of U.S. Intervention Created the Immigration Crisis

Boston protest, 1981. Photo: John Tlumacki/Boston Globe via Getty
At the margins of the mainstream discursive stalemate over immigration lies over a century of historical U.S. intervention that politicians and pundits on both sides of the aisle seem determined to silence.

By Mark Tseng-Putterman, Medium
June 20, 2018
A national spotlight now shines on the border between the United States and Mexico, where heartbreaking images of Central American children being separated from their parents and held in cages demonstrate the consequences of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance policy” on unauthorized entry into the country, announced in May 2018. Under intense international scrutiny, Trump has now signed an executive order that will keep families detained at the border together, though it is unclear when the more than 2,300 children already separated from their guardians will be returned.

Trump has promised that keeping families together will not prevent his administration from maintaining “strong — very strong — borders,” making it abundantly clear that the crisis of mass detention and deportation at the border and throughout the U.S. is far from over. Meanwhile, Democratic rhetoric of inclusion, integration, and opportunity has failed to fundamentally question the logic of Republican calls for a strong border and the nation’s right to protect its sovereignty.[…]

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What Does It Mean to Abolish ICE?

Activists and politicians want a total overhaul of immigration enforcement—but do we have a real plan?

By Julianne Hing, The Nation
July 11, 2018
On July 4, when Therese Patricia Okoumou scaled the pooled drapes of the Statue of Liberty, fellow protesters below her held up cards that spelled out, “Abolish ICE.”

Four days earlier, at the more than 700 rallies against the separation and detention of families at the US border, those same words were echoed again and again on homemade signs, in chants, and on T-shirts. Encouraged by a groundswell of anger, even national-level politicians are endorsing the elimination of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a shadowy law-enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security.[…]

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CQ Roll Call via AP Photo / Bill Clark