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:

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.[...]

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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.[...]

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Study: Deportations don’t lead to lower crime rates

By Kirk Semple,  New York Times
September 3, 2014

Six years after the federal government opened an immigration enforcement program intended to improve public safety, deporting hundreds of thousands of people, many of them convicted criminals, a new study has concluded that the program has had “no observable effect on the overall crime rate.”
The finding “calls into question the long-standing assumption that deporting noncitizens who commit crimes is an effective crime-control strategy,” said the study, conducted by two law professors at the University of Chicago and New York University.

The analysis, scheduled for publication in the November issue of The Journal of Law and Economics, a journal for peer-reviewed research, coincides with the Obama administration’s internal review of the program, known as Secure Communities. Jeh Johnson, the Homeland Security secretary, has suggested that he might overhaul the program, saying it needs “a fresh start.” [...]

Read the full article:

The paper is available at:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Why Immigration Reform Has to Go Hand-in-Hand With Stronger Labor Rights

...Maybe Washington fears immigration reform not only because it might damage their electoral prospects but because it might set in motion a process of social reckoning. Just imagine if the country’s most dispossessed workers finally got a chance to stand up and lay claim to what they’re owed. Instead of seeing the law as a force of oppression, they’d wield it as a tool for seeking justice....

By Michelle Chen, The Nation
September 8, 2014

This weekend, President Obama again pushed away the issue of immigration. Despite growing pressure to take executive action to curtail deportations, Obama again swept the lives of millions of immigrants off this fall’s agenda—enraging advocacy groups by heeding his party’s fears of angering right-wing voters before key mid-term elections.

But while politicians dismiss immigration as a third rail, they cruelly ignore the fact that another major election issue, the economic woes plaguing workers, is also an immigration issue. [...]

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

16 Reasons Why Opening Our Borders Makes More Sense Than Militarizing Them

By Roque Planas, Huffington Post
September 2, 2014

What would happen if the United States suddenly stopped building walls and instead flung open its borders, not unlike the European Union has done among the member countries of the common market? Conservatives malign the notion and liberals, even radical ones, haven't exactly embraced the "open borders" concept.

But the idea isn't as radical as it may seem. For most of its history, the United States has had, for all practical purposes, open borders, according to University of San Francisco law professor Bill Hing.

"Really, the United States was an open-border situation, worldwide, up through the early 1900s -- except for Asians," Hing told The Huffington Post. "There were Asian-exclusion laws. But if you put that aside, it was open borders for the rest of the world." [...]

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Helping Young Migrants Navigate Immigration Court

By Nancy Ayala, Voices of NY
August 25, 2014

For the thousands of recently arrived Central American migrant children now in New York, avoiding deportation begins when the juveniles show up for their first immigration hearing in federal court.

“It’s a very complicated law and no pro se or unrepresented child should be asked to try to navigate the complexity of at least three or four agencies in courts [without a lawyer],” Lenni Benson, director of the nonprofit Safe Passage Project and a professor of law at New York Law School, told Voices of NY.

On Friday, August 22, Safe Passage Project offered a two-hour evening training session, “Getting Started Representing Child Migrants,” in an auditorium at the New York Law School, where the pro bono advocacy group is based. [...]

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tomgram: Aviva Chomsky, What's at Stake in the Border Debate

By Aviva Chomsky, TomDispatch
August 24, 2014

The militarization of the police has been underway since 9/11, but only in the aftermath of the six-shot killing of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, with photos of streets in a St. Louis suburb that looked like occupied Iraq or Afghanistan, has the fact of it, the shock of it, seemed to hit home widely. Congressional representatives are now proposing bills to stop the Pentagon from giving the latest in war equipment to local police forces. The president even interrupted his golfing vacation on Martha’s Vineyard to return to Washington, in part for “briefings” on the ongoing crisis in Ferguson. So militarization is finally a major story.

And that’s no small thing. On the other hand, the news from Ferguson can’t begin to catch the full process of militarization this society has been undergoing or the way America’s distant wars are coming home. We have, at least, a fine book by Radley Balko on how the police have been militarized. Unfortunately, on the subject of the militarization of the country, there is none. And yet from armed soldiers in railway stations to the mass surveillance of Americans, from the endless celebration of our “warriors” to the domestic use of drones, this country has been undergoing a significant process of militarization (and, if there were such a word, national securitization). [...]

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Five Children Murdered After They Were Deported Back To Honduras

By Esther Yu-Hsi Lee, Think Progress
August 19, 2014

Between five and ten migrant children have been killed since February after the United States deported them back to Honduras, a morgue director told the Los Angeles Times. Lawmakers have yet to come up with best practices to deal with the waves of unaccompanied children apprehended by Border Patrol agents, but some politicians refute claims that children are fleeing violence and are opting instead to fund legislation that would fast-track their deportations.

San Pedro Sula morgue director Hector Hernandez told the Los Angeles Times that his morgue has taken in 42 dead children since February. According to an interview with relatives by the LA Times, one teenager was shot dead hours after getting deported. [...]

Read the full story:

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Judy Ancel: Never mind the border — President Obama should visit Honduras

By Judy Ancel, Kansas City Star
Auguest 5, 2014

After a meeting with Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently, President Barack Obama said that politics, not philosophy, divided him from Republicans on how to respond to the mounting numbers of children fleeing Central America and Mexico.

Both men want more border patrol and quicker processing for expulsion. Obama calls the situation a humanitarian crisis, but his solution is to “humanely” deport the kids back to the disaster areas from whence they came.

Neither Republicans nor Obama ask why the kids come. Instead, Obama smugly blames their parents saying, “I’ve asked parents across Central America not to put their children in harm’s way in this fashion. [...]

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Friday, September 5, 2014

How US Intelligence Distorted Its Own Data on Child Migration

The claim that the child migrants came because of DACA and the possibility of immigration reform has met with a vigorous response.

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
September 4, 2014

On July 14 the Tea Party-oriented website Breitbart.com published what it said was a leaked July 7 document from the US government's El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) assessing the recent increase in unauthorized immigration by unaccompanied minors and adults with young children.

Entitled "Misperceptions of US Policy Key Driver in Central American Migrant Surge," the EPIC report seemed intended to contradict claims by immigrants and human rights workers that violence and poverty in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are the main forces behind the rise in border crossings. Citing interviews with 230 Central Americans detained at the Texas border, the report blamed the current influx on "misperceptions of recent US immigration policies," notably the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) memorandum, President Obama's program suspending deportations for many young immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.[...]

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Creciendo con la Verdad/Growing Up With Truth

Creciendo con la Verdad
Por Elvira Arellano, Sanctuary Movement
14 de Agosto, 2014

(English version follows below)

Esta semana en Chicago pudimos reunificar un muchacho hondureño de 14 años de edad con su familia. Hizo el larguísimo viaje desde Honduras a la frontera de los Estados Unidos en Tejas donde lo detuvieron durante semanas hasta ser transportado a Waukegan, Illinois con su familia. En nuestra iglesia su familia se paró con el delante de la prensa, y luego, acompañado por sus abogados, el muchacho compareció en la corte de inmigración donde se le concedió un plazo breve para formular su caso para recibir una visa humanitaria.

Tuvo la buena fortuna de contar con los servicios de un abogado. En demasiados casos, estos jóvenes carecen de representación legal. En demasiados casos los están devolviendo, separados de nuevo de sus familias aquí.

La historia de esta muchacha es como muchísimos que hemos oído.[...]

Lea el artículo:

Growing Up With Truth
By Elvira Arellano, Sanctuary Movement
August 14, 2014

This week in Chicago, we reunited a fourteen year old boy from Honduras with his family. He had made the long journey from Honduras to the U.S. border in Texas where he was held for weeks before being transported to Waukegan, Illinois, with his family. His family stood with him before the press in our church and then, with his lawyers, he appeared in immigration court and received a short continuance to prepare a case for a humanitarian visa.

He was fortunate to have an attorney. Too many of these children do not have representation. Too many are just being sent back – separated again from their family members here.

The boy’s story is one we have heard over and over again.[...]

Read the full article:

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Debunking the myths about immigration: Ronald Reagan, Central America and everything Ted Cruz doesn’t understand

By Adam Gaffney, Salon.com
August 2, 2014

There seems to be a general consensus that we should be addressing not only the symptoms, but also the “root causes” of rising emigration from Central America. But what are they? On the right, the influx of children from the region is said to be the predictable result of our allegedly lenient immigration policy; mass deportation, therefore, is supposedly the obvious solution. “[I]mmediately deport these families, these children,” demands Rep. Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho, in “plane loads,” specifies Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Closer to the center, the causes of immigration from the region are typically said to be rising gang violence, the drug trade and the drug war and – to a lesser extent – poverty.

With the exception of our immigration policy, it’s obvious these factors are playing a major role in encouraging emigration from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. But if we are to speak of true “root causes,” we have to look deeper still: first, to the gross inequality from which these social maladies arise, and second, to the political forces that have maintained and enforced this economic status quo, decade after decade. The implications of Thomas Piketty’s “Capital” for the developed world have been much discussed, but the meaning of inequality for poor countries is no less: The crisis of Central American immigration, I would argue, is a crisis of inequality, tragically manifested.[...]

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Child Migrants Testify Before Congress: Video

Meeting on Unaccompanied Immigrant Children, C-Span
July 29, 2014

Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus convened a meeting to hear about humanitarian concerns surrounding the flood of unaccompanied Central American immigrant children crossing the Mexico border into the U.S. Three children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador described the violence they experienced in Central America, their treatment at U.S. immigration facilities, and their hope for a better life in the U.S. Representatives of organizations involved in the safety and care of refugees also testified.

Watch the video:

Monday, September 1, 2014

Survey: Nearly 7-in-10 Americans See Unaccompanied Children at Border as Refugees, Not Illegal Immigrants

By Monthly Religion News Surveys
July 29, 2014

Roughly half (49%) of Americans report hearing a lot about the growing numbers of children arriving in the United States from Central America, while 31% report only hearing a little, and 20% report hearing nothing at all.

More than one-third (36%) of Americans view the number of children now coming from Central America as a crisis, while 43% see the situation as a serious problem but not a crisis. About 1-in-5 (19%) say the situation is a minor problem.

A majority (69%) of Americans say that children arriving from Central America should be treated as refugees and allowed to stay in the U.S. if authorities determine it is not safe for them to return to their home countries. In contrast, 27% say that children arriving from Central America should be treated as illegal immigrants and deported back to their home countries.[...]

Read the full article: