Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tribunal Takes Up Mexico's Migrant 'Hell'

By David Bacon, The Progressive
October 8, 2014

Photos of the trains known as "La Bestia" (“the beast”) have become famous around the world, showing young migrants crowded on top of boxcars, riding the rails from the Guatemala border to near the United States. It's a slow train, but many boys and girls have lost arms and legs trying to get on or off, and wind up living in limbo in the Casas de Migrantes—the hostels run by the Catholic Church and other migrant rights activists throughout Mexico.

Last week, as judges heard testimony on migration at the Permanent People's Tribunal in Mexico City, interior secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong told the press that the speed of the trains would be doubled.

Osorio Chong said Mexico would require the companies operating the trains—a partnership between mining giant Grupo Mexico and the U.S. corporation Kansas Southern—to hike their speed to make it harder for the migrants.

Read the full article:
http://www.progressive.org/news/2014/10/187878/tribunal-takes-mexicos-migrant-hell

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Who Profits From Plans to Lock Up More Immigrant Families? Private Prison Companies

By Zoë Carpenter, The Nation
September 30, 2014

Last week, the federal government announced that it will detain as many as 2,400 women and children on property in Dilley, Texas, that is currently used as a “man camp” for oilfield workers. The new facility will be the largest family detention center in the country, and the third to open since the number of children and families crossing the US-Mexico border shot up early in the summer. Since then, the number of minors caught at the border has fallen back below last year’s levels.

Human rights groups are alarmed that the administration is nevertheless planning to double the number of people in family detention. The controversial practice of locking up women and their children, many of whom are awaiting asylum hearings, had been all but abandoned before this year. Calls for closing the two other centers opened this summer in Texas and New Mexico have intensified in recent weeks due to reports of “deplorable” conditions.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.thenation.com/blog/181800/who-profits-plans-lock-more-immigrant-families-private-prison-companies

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Are Central American Kids the New Boat People?

By Bill Frelick, Politico
August 13, 2014

The humanitarian crisis of undocumented Central American children may have faded from the headlines, but the problem has not gone away—not least because Congress failed to pass a bill addressing the issue before it left for the August recess. Both President Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) have floated proposals to process the kids in their home countries and admit a set number to the United States as refugees or with some other humanitarian status. Senator McCain also proposes to quickly deport child asylum seekers who arrive irregularly.

The White House pointed to in-country processing from Vietnam and Haiti in the 1980s and ‘90s as models. But Vietnam and Haiti, in fact, are models for how not to process refugees. These programs demonstrated how in-country processing can be a pretext for blocking access to asylum for people with immediate needs to flee persecution and who can’t wait in the orderly departure line or take the chance of returning to the country they fled. The programs turned basic refugee principles on their head.[...]

Read more the full article:
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/08/the-problem-with-treating-refugees-like-immigrants-109989.html

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Covering Up for Walmart: The Mexico Scandal

Walmart’s various scandals would be an ideal vehicle for raising popular consciousness about capitalist realities if labor organizers, anti-sweatshop activists, human rights workers, and alternative media united around a coordinated campaign focusing on the retailer’s repeated abuses.

By David L. Wilson, WIN Magazine
Summer 2014

[This article appeared in an issue of the War Resisters League magazine focusing on whistle-blowers.]

Early in 2004 a lawyer at Walmart de México, Sergio Cicero Zapata, was passed over for a promotion. Upset by the slight and concerned that he might be held liable for some of the company’s activities, he resigned that September. One year later, he decided to come clean. He sent an email to Maritza Munich, the general counsel for Walmart International, offering to meet with her to discuss “irregularities” at the Mexican subsidiary that he said had been authorized “at the highest levels.”

Munich promptly launched an internal investigation. After interviewing Cicero and studying company documents, Munich’s investigators determined that Walmart de México had spent millions on bribes to speed up building permits for its stores, often circumventing zoning and environmental regulations.[...]

Read the full article:
https://www.warresisters.org/covering-walmart-mexico-scandal

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

DHS Argues It Has Evidence That Locking Up Immigrant Families Deters Migration. One Problem: It’s So Wrong.

By Eunice Lee, ACLU Blog of Rights
September 26, 2014

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to claim both the incredible and the disgraceful: that Central American mothers and children fleeing danger pose a "national security" threat to the United States and must be locked away.

Relying on a decade-old decision of former Attorney General John Ashcroft called "Matter of D-J-," DHS says immigrant families seeking asylum must be imprisoned and denied bond to send a "deterrent" message to others. But the agency isn't content with hiding behind that Bush-era decision: It wants scientific backing, too.

Citing a report out of Vanderbilt University, DHS claims its policy of detaining immigrant families as "deterrence" is supported empirically by painstaking research. The study, according to DHS's reading, demonstrates that if released, women and their young children would supposedly become part of an "active migration network," encouraging others to flood across the Southwest border.

But guess what? The report's own authors vehemently disagree.[...]

Read the full article:
https://www.aclu.org/blog/immigrants-rights/dhs-argues-it-has-evidence-locking-immigrant-families-deters-migration-one

Monday, September 29, 2014

President Obama's Broken Promise on Undocumented Migrants

By David Bacon, Equal Times
September 17, 2014

US President Barack Obama recently announced that he will not take any action to suspend the deportation of undocumented migrants until after the November election.

On 6 September 2014, a White House official told the New York Times: “Because of the Republicans’ extreme politicization of this issue, the President believes it would be harmful to the policy itself and to the long-term prospects for comprehensive immigration reform to announce administrative action before the elections.”

The President has been under pressure from Latino and Asian communities as well as unions to stop the wave of deportations that have totalled more than two million people during his administration, or about 400,000 per year.

He has made repeated promises to provide provisional legal status to some portion of the 11 million people living undocumented in the US.

The latest was a promise this spring that he would act on his own if Congress didn’t pass immigration reform legislation by the end of the summer.

Pressure from conservative Democrats campaigning against right-wing Republicans convinced him to abandon that pledge.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.equaltimes.org/president-obama-s-broken-promise#.VCt4zvldVFY

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Secrecy continues to shroud killings by border agents

By Bob Ortega, The Arizona Republic
September 14, 2014

PHOENIX — Six months after promising greater transparency and accountability when its agents use deadly force, Customs and Border Protection continues to struggle to deliver on both counts.

Since 2004, Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection officers have killed at least 46 people, including at least 15 Americans, while on duty.

On Friday, CBP's acting internal affairs chief, Mark Alan Morgan, in response to a question from The Arizona Republic, told reporters he was unaware of any agent or officer having been disciplined or terminated in any of those deaths.

A CBP spokesman said the agency couldn't immediately confirm or deny Morgan's statement. But, James Wong, who retired in 2011 as CBP's assistant deputy commissioner for internal affairs, separately confirmed to The Republic that none of the 20 agents or officers who killed people while on duty from 2008 through 2011 was disciplined internally or terminated.

Those cases include unarmed teens who were shot in the back by agents as they fled, agents shooting through the border fence into Mexico, and two in which unarmed men died after agents severely beat them, repeatedly pepper-sprayed them, or shocked them multiple times with stun guns.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/09/14/border-deaths-agents-transparency/15629919/