Thursday, February 23, 2017

It’s 1984: ICE Raids Are--and Aren’t--a Military Operation

Today President Trump announced that his administration is “getting really bad dudes out of this country,” adding that “it’s a military operation.” Hours later Homeland Security John Kelly was in Mexico announcing that there will be “[n]o—repeat—no use of military force in immigration operations.” He also scolded the press: “At least half of you try to get that right because it continually comes up in the reporting.”

War is peace, freedom is slavery, and a military operation isn’t a military operation. Why can’t reporters “get that right”? —TPOI editor.

Trump: Removal of undocumented immigrants is ‘military operation’

By Matthew Nussbaum, Politico
February 23, 2017
President Donald Trump said Thursday that his administration’s efforts to remove undocumented immigrants is a “military operation.”[…]

Read the full article:

DHS chief softens Trump's talk on immigration
Kelly says there will be 'no use of military force' in deportation actions.

By Nolan D. MccCaskill, Politico
February 23, 2017
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly softened the administration’s rhetoric on immigration Thursday, contradicting President Donald Trump’s characterization of his deportation plan as he and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sought to repair the strained relationship between the U.S. and Mexico.[…]

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Photo: ICE

Protest and Urgent Action: ICE Arrests Homeless Men Outside Virginia Church

ICE claims that it’s not carrying out sweeps. The operations target specific individuals, according to the agency, and avoid “sensitive areas” like places of worship. But ICE agents reportedly arrested six homeless men on February 8 as they were leaving a church-run shelter in Alexandria, a DC suburb in Virginia. Religious organizations are protesting the arrests and asking for phone calls to ICE (888-351-4024), the Department of Homeland Security (202-282-8000), and members of Congress (202-224-3121).

ICE Agents Arrest Men Leaving Fairfax County Church Shelter

By Julie Carey, NBC4 (Washington, DC)
February 15, 2017
Some are questioning the way Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are handling arrests in Fairfax County after at least two men were arrested near a church shelter.

Oscar Ramirez said he had just left the hypothermia shelter at Rising Hope Mission Church on Russell Road in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County, Virginia, when about a dozen ICE agents surround him and other Latino men.

"'Stop right there. Stop right there. Stop right there. Stay by the wall, where we can see your hands,'" the agents said, according to Ramirez.[…]

Read the full article:

Faith leaders protest ICE raid outside Church

By Peggy Fox, WUSA-9 (Washington, DC)
February 17, 2017

FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA (WUSA9) - Faith leaders protested at ICE offices in Fairfax County
infuriated over news of a raid outside a church in Alexandria along the Route One corridor.

"[ICE has] no business arresting people en mass without reasonable suspicion to think that they may have committed some kind violation of the law," said Nicholas Marritz with the Legal Aid Justice Center.

A fewer dozen Faith leaders and legal advocates for immigrants are demanding answers from the federal government about the ICE raid that happened outside the Rising Hope United Methodist Mission Church on February 8th.[...]

Read the full article:

URGENT ACTION from Interfaith Immigration Coalition

Call the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration Customs Enforcement
Tell them to Stop ICE Raids and Respect Places of Worship

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently detained six men coming out of the hypothermia shelter at Rising Hope Mission Church in Alexandria, Virginia. Places of worship are considered a “sensitive location” by ICE, which means that it is not ICE policy to make arrests or other enforcement actions at or near sensitive locations, such as houses of worship, schools or hospitals. ICE’s arrests of individuals leaving the church’s ministry of shelter clearly violates that policy.[...]

Read the full action alert:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Border Patrol Out of Control: Guns Down Mexicans Inside Mexico, Invades US Citizens’ Privacy

On February 21 the Supreme Court heard arguments in Hernández v. Mesa, a suit by the parents of a
CBP victim Sergio Hernandez. Photo: AP
Mexican teenager killed by a Border Patrol agent as the unarmed boy stood on the Mexican side of the border. The U.S. government claims its agents have the right to gun down foreign civilians inside their own country if the agents happen to “feel threatened.” Meanwhile, Border Patrol agents continue to violate the privacy rights of people entering the U.S. In a recent incident, they insisted on searching the cellphone of a U.S. citizen who works for NASA; in the process they may have compromised the security of another government agency.

Two memos released on February indicate that Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is working to expand the size and the powers of this obviously lawless agency. –TPOI editor.

The Border Is A Constitution-Free Zone For Agents Who Shoot And Kill. But Maybe Not For Long.
A Mexican teen’s death will force the Supreme Court to decide if there can be justice for cross-border violence.

By Roque Planas and Cristian Farias, Huffington Post
February 20, 2017
CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico — María Guadalupe Güereca wanted to hold her son.

Instead, Mexican police held her back from the crime scene. So she watched him from above the canal that carries the Rio Grande between the American city of El Paso, Texas, and the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez.

Her 15-year-old son, Sergio Hernández, had been playing with a group of boys along the river, when U.S. Border Patrol agent Jesús Mesa Jr. went to apprehend them, apparently viewing them either as drug smugglers or people trying to cross the border illegally. He grabbed one of the boys on the U.S. side of the river canal, as the rest fled. Sensing that someone was throwing rocks, he turned toward Sergio, who had taken cover behind the bridge piling on the Mexican side of the river, and shot him in the face.[...]

Read the full article:

A US-born NASA scientist was detained at the border until he unlocked his phone

By Loren Grush, CNBC
February 12, 2017
Two weeks ago, Sidd Bikkannavar flew back into the United States after spending a few weeks abroad in South America. An employee of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Bikkannavar had been on a personal trip, pursuing his hobby of racing solar-powered cars. He had recently joined a Chilean team, and spent the last weeks of January at a race in Patagonia.

Bikkannavar is a seasoned international traveller — but his return home to the US this time around was anything but routine. Bikkannavar left for South America on January 15th, under the Obama Administration. He flew back from Santiago, Chile to the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas on Monday, January 30th, just over a week into the Trump Administration.

Bikkannavar says he was detained by US Customs and Border Patrol and pressured to give the CBP agents his phone and access PIN.[...]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The White House Leaves No Doubt: It Plans Mass Roundups

Photo: Bryan Cox/AP
The raids earlier this month were no fluke. Two memos released on February 21 make it clear that Donald Trump was serious when he promised to deport millions of immigrants. The memos plan for adding 10,000 agents to the bloated enforcement apparatus, for drastically expanding the number of immigrants targeted for deportation, and for rushing asylum applicants back to their home countries. The policies were bad under the Obama administration; they will be worse now.

The memos are available here (pdf) and here (pdf) .

We can expect resistance to go on growing—but how will we protect protesters from retaliation? Some 100 workers seem to have been  fired for leaving their jobs to participate in the “Day Without Immigrants” on February 16. People have tweeted calls for boycotting the employers who did this, but it’s not clear how effective boycotts would be, especially for local businesses in areas with strong support for the anti-immigrant crackdown.–TPOI editor

Trump lays groundwork for mass deportations
DHS will hire 10,000 new immigration officers and reverse a number of Obama administration policies.

By Josh Dawsey and Ted Hesson, Politico
February 21, 2017
President Donald Trump pledged during his campaign to create a deportation force. Now, he’s equipped federal immigration agents with the tools to potentially remove millions of immigrants from the country.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a pair of guidance memos Tuesday that gives federal immigration agents wide latitude to arrest, detain and deport undocumented immigrants and legal immigrants with criminal records.[...]

Read the full article:

New Trump Deportation Rules Allow Far More Expulsions

By Ron Nixon and Michael D. Shear, New York Times
February 21, 2017
WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday released a set of documents translating President Trump’s executive orders on immigration and border security into policy, bringing a major shift in the way the agency enforces the nation’s immigration laws.

Under the Obama administration, undocumented immigrants convicted of serious crimes were the priority for removal. Now, immigration agents, customs officers and border patrol agents have been directed to remove anyone convicted of any criminal offense.

That includes people convicted of fraud in any official matter before a governmental agency and people who “have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits.”

Read the full article:

Day Without Immigrants: More than a hundred US employees sacked for taking part in protest
The Day Without Immigrants protest shut down businesses across the US last week, but it didn’t come without consequences for employees who decided to take part in the demonstrations

By Zlata Rodionovam, The Independent
February 21, 2017

More than a hundred workers across the US were reportedly fired for taking place in the “Day Without Immigrants” protests against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

The demonstrations, for which support was largely drummed up online, urged foreign-born workers to refuse to participate in the US economy for a day.[...]

Read the full article:

Monday, February 20, 2017

Grassroots Resistance Mounts in Response to ICE Raids

The Trump administration’s deportation raids in the second week of February seem to have galvanized activists. Groups around the country have responded by trying to develop action plans for resistance to the raids; an especially encouraging sign is what appears to be growing support among people who aren’t directly impacted by the threat of deportation.

The three articles below report mostly on resistance efforts in Austin, Chicago, Kansas City and Phoenix, but similar planning is undoubtedly under way in other areas. If you have information on resistance networking, please send it to us at (Be sure to indicate whether the information should be made public.) –TPOI editor
Photo: Kristi Sandord/Chicago Sun-Times
How immigration activists mobilized to thwart deportation raids last weekend
With communities on edge as crackdowns begin, grassroots groups are acting quickly to form information-sharing networks and raise awareness of legal rights

By Tom Dart and Ed Pilkington, The Guardian
February 14, 2017
The rumour began spreading around noon last Saturday: immigration officials were set to conduct raids near churches in Kansas City. Local activists immediately reacted by forming a resistance plan.

Forty-five people – attorneys, faith leaders, volunteers – showed up at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in downtown Kansas City at 6am the following morning.[...]

Read the full article:

Neighbors Joining Together to Block Trump Deportations

By Mark Brown, Chicago Sun-Times
February 17, 2017
In neighborhoods across Chicago with large immigrant populations, people are banding together to form rapid response networks to support their neighbors in the event of expected deportation raids by President Donald Trump’s administration.

In the 35th Ward on the city’s Northwest Side, Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa has started what he calls the Community Defense Committee.

In Rogers Park, home to an extremely diverse immigrant population, volunteer organizers have chosen to dub their effort Protect RP.

In Little Village, the Mexican capital of the Midwest, they have picked the name La Villita Se Defiende, which translates to Little Village Defends Itself.

Read the full article:

Blocking Deportation With Your Life: A Conversation With Arizona Activist Maria Castro

By Sarah Jaffe, Truthout
February 14, 2017
Last week, on February 8, Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos went to her yearly check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Phoenix, Arizona, something she has done every year since 2008, when she was arrested in a raid by notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio and convicted of using a fake Social Security number to work (and pay Social Security taxes that she would never be able to collect). This time, instead of being sent home to her family, she was loaded into a van and deported to Mexico, despite a group of her friends and family and supporters placing their bodies in the way of the van. Her 14-year-old daughter had to pack her things for her; she, along with her brother and father, would be staying behind.

Maria Castro -- a community organizer for People United for Justice and a member of Puente Arizona -- was one of the people putting her body on the line to try to prevent Garcia de Rayos's deportation. We asked her to talk about what will be necessary to prevent more families like Garcia de Rayos's from being split up.[...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, February 19, 2017

News Update 2/18/17: Fallout Continues From Previous Week’s ICE Raids

One of Trump's "bad hombres"
More than a week later, immigrant communities are still suffering from the effects of the Trump administration’s nationally coordinated arrests of some 680 immigrants. DACA recipient Daniel Ramirez Medina remains in custody; his lawyers say ICE may have altered a document. Another detainee is a transgender woman seized after she filed for a protection order—and her abuser may be the one who tipped ICE off that she’d be in court that day. Meanwhile, a pro-Trump community in Missouri finds that one of the detained “bad hombres” is a respected local restaurateur.

‘Psychological warfare’: immigrants in America held hostage by fear of raids
After a week of raids and an alarming government leak, uncertainty hangs over immigrant communities as they wait to see what Trump will do next

By Julia Carrie Wong, The Guardian
February 18, 2017
Immigrant communities across the United States are in a state of fear and uncertainty after a week of immigration raids and leaks from the Trump administration that have raised the specter of a mass deportations.[…]

Lawyers for 'Dreamer' detained in Seattle allege authorities tampered with client's note

By Nina Shapiro, The Seattle Times
February 18, 2017
Lawyers for a detained "Dreamer" went to court Friday seeking his immediate release and calling his arrest unconstitutional, but a federal magistrate ruled he wasn't empowered to free the man without giving an immigration judge a "first crack."[...]

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Customs arrest in courthouse sends “horrible” message, official says

By CBS/Associated Press
February 17, 2017
EL PASO, Texas -- Local Texas officials said a review of courthouse security footage shows federal immigration agents detained a transgender woman seeking a protective order for alleged domestic violence while she was inside the courthouse.[...]

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Friends, family rally behind West Frankfort restaurant manager detained by ICE

By Molly Parker, The Southern
February 18, 2017

WEST FRANKFORT — For more than a week, a popular West Frankfort businessman and community leader has been in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a detention facility in Montgomery City, Missouri, as his neighbors, family and friends work to bring him home.

Carlos Hernandez Pacheco, 38, from Mexico, was arrested at his home in West Frankfort on Feb. 9 and has since been held in the Montgomery County Jail, which is also an ICE detention facility about an hour west of St. Louis.[…]

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Memos signed by DHS secretary describe sweeping new guidelines for deporting illegal immigrants

So much for claims that Trump's deportations only target “bad hombres.”—TPOI editor

By David Nakamura, Washington Post
February 18, 2017

Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly has signed sweeping new guidelines that empower federal authorities to more aggressively detain and deport illegal immigrants inside the United States and at the border.

In a pair of memos, Kelly offered more detail on plans for the agency to hire thousands of additional enforcement agents, expand the pool of immigrants who are prioritized for removal, speed up deportation hearings and enlist local law enforcement to help make arrests.

The new directives would supersede nearly all of those issued under previous administrations, Kelly said, including measures from President Barack Obama aimed at focusing deportations exclusively on hardened criminals and those with terrorist ties.[...]

Read the full article: