Thursday, December 31, 2015

Immigration Detention Bed Quotas: Private Prison Corporations, Government Collude to Keep Contracts Secret; Undue Corporate Influence Seen in FOIA Redactions, Attorneys Say

Center for Constitutional Rights Press Release
December 23, 2015
Contact: press@ccrjustice.org

Revolving Door: Former Head of ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Office, Now High-Level Official at Major Detention Contractor, Asks Court to Support Secrecy

December 23, 2015, New York – In a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case related to the federal immigration detention bed quota, advocates today pointed to the government’s inclusion of several affidavits from private prison corporations who are not parties to the case as evidence of undue corporate influence. Detention Watch Network (DWN) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) brought the case against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to seek more information about a controversial measure by Congress to guarantee the funding of 34,000 beds each night to detain immigrants. The government has redacted substantive portions of the contracts with the private companies, claiming exemptions to protect trade secrets.

“Private corporations that profit off detentions have grown to have enormous influence over how and where immigrants are detained,” said Center for Constitutional Rights Senior Staff Attorney Ghita Schwarz. “Now they are controlling what information the public can get about the immigration detention system. The government is using what are supposed to be narrow FOIA exemptions to protect the interests of private corporations.”[...]

Read the full press release:
http://ccrjustice.org/home/press-center/press-releases/immigration-detention-bed-quotas-private-prison-corporations

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Petition: Operation Streamline punishes immigrant families. Don’t vote it a success.

By Norlan Flores, Coalicion de Derechos Humanos
December 23, 2015

A few months ago, my wife gave birth to our beautiful daughter. After the birth, I rushed home to change clothes and shower, but on my way I was stopped by a police officer. I was undocumented at the time, and when he learned this the officer turned me in to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who sent me to an immigration processing center.

I had been deported from the U.S. six years earlier and because I came back, I was charged with “illegal reentry” and processed under a little-known program called Operation Streamline.

Operation Streamline punishes immigrant families for trying to be together and wastes taxpayer dollars. Please sign my petition asking both the Senate and the House to vote that this program is not a success.

Even though my only crime was crossing the border without authorization, under Operation Streamline I was processed through the court in minutes and then sent to federal prison, where I spent three months away from my wife and newborn daughter. As the primary provider for our family, this was not only emotionally painful but economically devastating.

This expensive program denies wastes taxpayer money by incarcerating people who have made valuable contributions to our country and denying immigrants the due process to which they have a right under the Constitution. These “en masse” proceedings give people fewer rights than someone charged with a speeding ticket. According to the Office of the Inspector General, it has not even proven effective in reducing migration, yet the Senate is currently considering a resolution that would call it a “success.” By prosecuting people with potentially valid asylum claims, we might even be in violation of international treaties. If this resolution passes, it will become much more difficult to stop these senseless prosecutions and easier to expand Operation Streamline.

Tell the Senate and the House that Operation Streamline is bad for taxpayers and bad for families.

I came to the U.S. to make a better life for my family; I work hard to provide for my children and send money home to my parents in Nicaragua. No one should go to prison for that.

Norlan Flores, End Operation Streamline and Coalición de Derechos Humanos

Sign the petition:
https://www.change.org/p/don-t-vote-operation-streamline-a-success

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Former ICE prosecutor may face criminal charges over document forgery in deportation case

A former Immigration and Customs Enforcement prosecutor could face criminal charges for allegedly forging court documents in a 2008 deportation proceeding against a Mexican construction worker.

By Mike Carter, Seattle Times
December 21, 2015

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is investigating possible criminal charges against a former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prosecutor accused of forging court documents in a 2008 deportation proceeding against a Mexican construction worker.

Recent court filings in a 2014 civil-rights lawsuit by Ignacio Lanuza reveal that Jonat M. Love, formerly an assistant chief counsel for ICE in Seattle, is under investigation for his handling of Lanuza’s removal proceedings in Immigration Court. The quasi-judicial administrative process handles immigration and refugee issues and is overseen by the Department of Justice.

“This case presents the issue of whether a federal official may … be held accountable for indisputably corrupt actions taken in order to strip a noncitizen of his right to a full and fair hearing in immigration proceedings,” wrote Lanuza’s attorneys from the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/ice-prosecutor-may-face-criminal-charges/

Monday, December 28, 2015

Trump’s Vegas Hotel Refuses To Recognize Its Workers’ Union

The workers — more than 80 percent of whom are immigrants and more than 50 percent of whom are women — are now attempting to negotiate with a boss known for making statements offensive to women and immigrants on the campaign trail

By Alice Ollstein, Think Progress
December 15, 2015

LAS VEGAS, NV — Just 24 hours before billionaire frontrunner Donald Trump took the stage for the fifth GOP debate, the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas launched a legal challenge to its 500-odd workers’ effort to form a union.

After a year of organizing, much of it in secret, a narrow majority of the workers voted earlier this month to join the Culinary Workers Union and Bartenders Union, which are part of the national hospitality workers union Unite Here. The text of the company’s complaint — filed with the National Labor Relations Board in D.C. — is not yet public, and multiple calls to the hotel’s management were not returned by the time of publication. But Trump hotel workers told ThinkProgress that their company is “objecting to the outcome of the vote and want it thrown out.”

“Mr. Trump has said repeatedly that he expects and insists on being treated fairly as he campaigns to be the next president of the United States of America,” said Jeffrey Wise, a food server at the hotel. “I also want to be treated fairly. My coworkers and I participated in a democratic election process, just like the one Mr. Trump is preparing for right now.”[...]

Read the full article:
http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2015/12/15/3732445/trump-hotel-union/

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Trade Efficiency and Border Security at Odds on the U.S. Mexico Border

Through technological fixes and greater collaboration, the U.S.-Mexico border prepares for a smoother interchange of goods, while becoming an even more dangerous barrier for everyday people.

By Paul Ashby, NACLA Report on the Americas
December 10, 2015

While Republican presidential candidates make outrageous statements regarding refugees, unauthorized migrants, and a supposedly under-resourced U.S. boundary policing regime, many pundits paint the Democrats as the party of reason. However, this simplified dichotomy, while no doubt reflecting certain truths and real disagreements, obscures how Republicans and Democrats are singing from the same hymn sheet with regard to a new reality for the policing of U.S. boundaries. This applies especially to the U.S.-Mexico border, and the movement of migrants moving northward from Central America and through Mexico and across the country’s divide with the United States, one result being ever-more dangerous barriers to human mobility.[...]

Read the full article:
https://nacla.org/blog/2015/12/10/trade-efficiency-and-border-security-odds-us-mexico-border

Friday, December 25, 2015

Bernie Sanders: Central American refugees should not be 'cast out'

By John Wagner, Washington Post via Tico Times
December 25, 2015

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said Thursday that he is “very disturbed” by reports that the Obama administration has begun preparing for a series of raids that would target for deportation families who fled violence in Central America.

“Our nation has always been a beacon of hope, a refuge for the oppressed,” the Vermont senator said in a statement. “We cannot turn our backs on that essential element of who we are as a nation. We need to take steps to protect children and families seeking refuge here, not cast them out.”

The Washington Post reported Wednesday night that the nationwide campaign, to be carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents as soon as early January, could affect hundreds of families who have flocked to the United States since the start of last year. The ICE operation would target only adults and children who have been ordered removed from the United States by an immigration judge.

As he competes against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, Sanders has pledged, if elected president, to aggressively use executive action to offer protections to undocumented immigrants against deportation as he seeks comprehensive reform from Congress.

Read the full article:
http://www.ticotimes.net/2015/12/25/bernie-sanders-central-american-refugees-should-not-be-cast-out

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Banks Reject New York City IDs, Leaving ‘Unbanked’ on Sidelines

By Michael Corkery and Jessica Silver-Greenberg, New York Times
December 23, 2015

Nearly a year ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio proclaimed that a new municipal identification card would help thousands of New Yorkers “lead fuller lives, better lives, lives full of respect and recognition.”

More than 670,000 people have obtained the identification cards since the program began in January. One of the program’s goals is to help many of those people obtain bank accounts.

But some of the biggest banks in the city — including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup — will not accept the cards as a primary source of identification, even though their federal regulators and some smaller banks have approved their use.

The banks’ reluctance threatens to leave thousands of undocumented immigrants and others on the margins of the financial system. For now, many are stuck with costly alternatives like check cashing services that take out a big chunk of a worker’s pay. Or they carry wads of cash around, potentially jeopardizing their safety.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/24/business/dealbook/banks-reject-new-york-city-ids-leaving-unbanked-on-sidelines.html

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Refugee Dilemma What do we owe those we take in?

“In recent years, we’ve seen this trend of people who survived the big civil wars of the nineties—Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone—come to the U.S. as refugees, and now, many years later, are struggling with the traumas they endured.” Immigration detention, [Heidi Altman] said, is even less suited for the mentally ill than are jails and prisons, which have become the default provider for Americans who need psychiatric care.

By Rachel Aviv, New Yorker
December 7, 2015

Nelson Kargbo was eleven years old when rebel soldiers attacked his village, Kamalo, in northern Sierra Leone. He was playing soccer on a dirt field at the edge of the village. When he saw houses on fire, he and his best friend, Foday, ran toward the jungle, following Foday’s mother and dozens of other people. They walked until late at night, when they came across a cluster of abandoned mud houses. Foday’s mother, who used to cook for the boys after their soccer games, told them to sleep under a grove of mango trees. “Tomorrow, we’ll keep walking,” she said. “We’ll make it to the city.”

The country’s civil war, which had begun five years earlier, in 1991, had seemed remote to Kargbo. He’d considered it only when he overheard his adoptive father, Lennard, a pastor who had assumed custody of him when his parents died, talking about it with members of his congregation. Kargbo was the youngest child in the family—he had seven brothers and sisters, who were all the biological children of the pastor—and he was accustomed to being ignored. He was reserved and nearly invisible, except when he played soccer. He hoped to play for the national team.

At 3 A.M., he and the others were woken by soldiers from the Revolutionary United Front, an army that was fighting to overthrow the government.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/12/07/the-refugee-dilemma

Monday, December 7, 2015

For Undocumented Women Seeking Reproductive Healthcare, Policing and Politics Create a Maze of Barriers

By Xatherin Gonzalez, Bitch Media Bitch Magazine
November 16, 2015

In September 2015, an undocumented woman arrived at a healthcare clinic outside of Houston, Texas for a routine follow-up exam. Blanca Borrego handed a false driver’s license to the receptionist at the Memorial Hermann women’s clinic upon check-in and waited to be called into the examination room with her two daughters at her side. They sat in that waiting room for two hours. Finally, when her name was called, her daughters stayed behind as she was led to an exam room where a Harris County Sheriff’s deputy was waiting for her. He handcuffed her and brought her through the clinic’s office, where her daughters waited and her eight-year-old burst into tears when she saw her mother under arrest. Her 22-year-old daughter, who has an open application for legal status through Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, told The Houston Press that the sheriff’s deputy turned to her and said they were arresting her mom for false papers: "She's going to get deported.”

Borrego has been released from Sheriff’s custody, and it’s likely that the arrest violates federal patient-doctor privacy laws, but charges are still pending and she risks being turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). As Borrego’s case works through the courts, reproductive health experts in Texas are concerned that her highly publicized arrest will prevent many undocumented immigrants from seeking medical attention, with fears that they will also be delivered into ICE custody by their medical providers.[...]

Read the full article:
https://bitchmedia.org/article/undocumented-women-seeking-reproductive-healthcare-policing-and-politics-create-maze

Monday, November 30, 2015

Safety Lapses and Deaths Amid a Building Boom in New York

An increase in fatalities and injuries has mostly affected undocumented immigrant laborers and far exceeds the rate of new construction.

By David W. Chen, New York Times
November 26, 2015

Manuel Colorado, a 36-year-old construction worker, was installing decking last year at a new building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, when he lost his balance and fell 19 feet to his death.

A few weeks later, a guest at the Dream Hotel in Midtown Manhattan heard someone screaming outside. Gurmeet Singh, a 58-year-old Indian immigrant doing facade work on the building, had tumbled eight stories off a scaffold and landed atop a sidewalk shed.

Twelve days after Mr. Singh’s death, Lukasz Stolarski, 33, plummeted 110 feet from the roof of an office building in Midtown where he had been attaching plywood to the parapet ledge.

New York City is experiencing a building boom that has transformed barren blocks and led to a frenzy of construction on commercial and residential buildings across all five boroughs. But that activity has come at a sobering cost: In the last two years, the number of workers hurt and killed in construction accidents has surged.

The rise in deaths and injuries — mostly among undocumented immigrant laborers — far exceeds the rate of new construction over the same period. It is stark evidence of the view increasingly held by safety inspectors, government officials and prosecutors, that safety measures at these job sites are woefully inadequate.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/27/nyregion/rise-in-new-york-construction-deaths-strikes-the-poor-and-undocumented.html

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Statement by Miriam Padilla on the killing of her cousin Nohemi González in Paris

Distributed by the Freedom Socialist Party
November 25, 2015

Miriam Padilla

My cousin, Nohemi González, was one of the victims killed during the attacks in Paris on November 13. Nohemi was a bright shining light in our family, a proud, outspoken, and talented first-generation Mexican American and first-generation college student, studying abroad for a semester at a French school of design.

Miriam Padilla
For my family and me and those who knew my cousin, this act of violence is heartbreaking. And as part of an attack on unarmed civilians to publicize a political objective, apparently by ISIS, it is not only a personal tragedy, but also a crime against humanity.

But it is shameful that the terrorism in Paris is being used by politicians in imperialist countries like the U.S. and France as an excuse to call for slamming the doors on refugees who are desperately fleeing violence and repression in their own countries.

Nohemi herself was the child of immigrants. My aunt and uncle migrated from Mexico to give my cousins better opportunities to educate themselves and to give back to the community. In recent years many refugees have come to the U.S. from Mexico and all over Latin America to escape the violence of the drug wars or the consequences of economic policies imposed by the U.S. People leave their homelands to come to the U.S. in the hope of having a better future — sometimes in the hope of having any future at all.

It should be remembered that most of the victims of ISIS are themselves Muslims and Arabs, many of them independent young women like my cousin. Thousands of children are dying as the result of wars and terrorism in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other parts of the world.

My cousin wanted a more just and more humane world — just as many others of my generation do. I believe, and the Freedom Socialist Party believes, that workers and oppressed people can’t let violence like the terrible assaults in Paris turn us against each other. We need to do everything we can to make sure the outcome isn’t more racism and bigotry and fear of one another.

We who are the world’s majority, the 99 percent, must work together to make the whole world safer and saner, because there is no place to hide. There have been many, many tragedies in these past few weeks in many places. It’s important not to rank oppressions or tragedies or to ignore one in favor of another. It doesn’t matter if you are in Beirut or Paris; the problems of one region are the problems of all of us.

We also must do everything we can to stop our governments from using terrorism and the fear of terrorism as an excuse for anti-Muslim and anti-Arab and anti-immigrant hysteria. U.S. wars and policy are directly responsible for much of the tragedy in the Middle East. And the U.S. government has immense resources. It should be taking in many more refugees from Syria and elsewhere, not fewer. Washington, the state I live in, has said it will not start rejecting Syrian or Muslim refugees, and should stick to this commitment.

The United States should open its borders, not close them. It should make real the sentiment on the Statue of Liberty, which was given to the U.S. by France: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Nohemi and I grew up together, and she was like a sister to me. But we working and poor people all over the world are family too. It is up to us as workers, students, immigrants, and feminists — of every color, religion, and nationality — to come together and unite to end all the violence against us everywhere, by ending the wars and oppression and exploitation that are its root causes. This is the only response that will do anything real to stop terrorism.

###

Miriam Padilla, the mother of a young daughter, is a student at Washington’s Evergreen State College and coordinator of the Freedom for Nestora Salgado Committee there. This statement was delivered at a rally countering an anti-refugee demonstration at the state Capitol in Olympia, Wash., on Nov. 20, 2015.

Read the Freedom Socialist Party analysis “The ISIS Crisis, Made by Imperialism.”

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Another Wave of Hunger Strikes Launched at 3 Detention Centers

By #Not1More
November 25, 2015

While many will enjoy the company of their loved ones tonight, 110 detainees in 3 different detention centers will be on a hunger strike demanding they be released immediately from immigration detention.

Take a minute to sign this petition in support of the hunger strikers and tell ICE to release them from detention.

Last night asylum seekers and detainees at the Theo Lacey, Otay, and Etowah Detention Centers began a hunger strike to demand their release. The 110 hunger strikers are putting their bodies on the line, refusing food to denounce the inhumane treatment they endure in these facilities, where their human dignity is ignored by ICE agents and the immigration detention system.

Many of the men taking part in the hunger strikes came to this country seeking protection and fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries only to face the injustice of the immigration system here. In multiple cases, hunger strikers passed their credible fear interviews making them eligible to fight their asylum case outside detention, but ICE refuses to release them. Other hunger strikers have been detained for up to 2 years and are asking for the opportunity to be united with their families and communities.

The conditions at the Theo Lacey, Otay, and Etowah Detention Centers have pushed some of the men to attempt suicide for fear of deportation to countries where they will face persecution from the goverment.

The character of who we are in this country is being tested. As President Obama says that we can't turn away refugees and candidates take varying positions, the hunger strikers make the political debate real, concrete, and human. Sign and share this petition, support the 110 hunger strikers by sending a message to ICE demanding their release from immigration detention.

Thank you
#Not1More

Sign the petition:
http://www.notonemoredeportation.com/2015/11/26/freedomgiving/

For more news on recent hunger strikes:
http://thepoliticsofimmigration.blogspot.com/2015/11/women-face-retaliation-at-texas.html
http://thepoliticsofimmigration.blogspot.com/2015/11/hundreds-launch-hunger-strike-at.html
http://thepoliticsofimmigration.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-hunger-strike-you-havent-heard-about.html

Friday, November 27, 2015

Sanders Introduces ‘Families First’ Immigration Plan

PRESS RELEASE
November 24, 2015
https://berniesanders.com/press-release/sanders-introduces-families-first-immigration-plan/

BURLINGTON, Vt. – As he returned home to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a bold plan to reform our immigration system. Sanders’ plan puts families first, focuses on common sense reforms to build the middle class and embraces our nation’s diversity.

“As we gather with our loved ones to give thanks, we should reflect on the fact that not all families will be so lucky,” Sanders said. “Millions of families are torn apart by our broken immigration policies. We cannot forget about the aspiring Americans who continue to live in the shadows. As the son of an immigrant, I can tell you that their story – my story, your story, our story – is the story of America: the story of hardworking families coming to the United States to create a brighter future for their kids. We have an obligation to enact policies that unite families, not tear them apart.”

If elected, Sanders would:

* Dismantle inhumane deportation programs and private detention centers.
* Offer humane treatment and asylum to victims of domestic violence and minors fleeing from dangerous circumstances in Latin America.
* End policies that discriminate against women and ensure that mothers and wives who come into the United States with their families have the same right to work as their partners.
* Pave the way for a swift legislative path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.
* Close loopholes that allow federal agencies to use racial and ethnic profiling at the border.
* Ensure our border remains secure and protects local communities.
* Make it easier for immigrants to access the judicial system.
* Increase oversight of key Department of Homeland Security agencies to guard against waste, fraud and abuse.

Sanders pledged to make immigration a top priority of his administration, even if Congress refuses to act. He will take executive action to allow all undocumented people who have been in the United States for at least five years to stay in the country without fear of being deported. Under Sanders’ plan, close to 9 million aspiring Americans will be able to apply to stay in the United States.

“As president, I will fight for comprehensive immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship and is grounded in civil, humane and economic rights. But let me be clear: I will not stand idly by waiting around for a dysfunctional Congress to act. Instead, during the first 100 days of my administration I will take extensive action to accomplish what Congress has failed to do and to build upon President Obama’s executive orders.”

Click here to read Sanders’ plan.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Maquiladora Workers Of Juarez Find Their Voice

Low pay, abusive conditions, no union representation—employees are fed up and fighting back.

By David Bacon, The Nation
November 20, 2015

Ciudad Juárez—After more than a decade of silence, maquiladora workers in Ciudad Juárez have found their voice. The city, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, is now the center of a growing rebellion of laborers in the border factories. At the gates to four plants, including a huge 5,000-worker Foxconn complex, they have set up encampments, or plantons, demanding recognition of independent unions, and protesting firings and reprisals.

“We just got so tired of the insults, the bad treatment, and low wages that we woke up,” explains Carlos Serrano, a leader of the revolt at Foxconn’s Scientific Atlanta facility. “We don’t really know what’s going to happen now, and we’re facing companies that are very powerful and have a lot of money. But what’s clear is that we are going to continue. We’re not going to stop.”

About 255,000 people work directly in Juarez' 330 maquiladoras, about 13% of the total nationally, making Juarez one of the largest concentrations of manufacturing on the U.S./Mexico border. Almost all the plants are foreign-owned. Eight of Juarez' 17 largest factories belong to U.S. corporations, three to Taiwanese owners, two to Europeans, and two to Mexicans. Together, they employ over 69,000 - over a quarter of the city's total.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.thenation.com/article/the-maquiladora-workers-of-juarez-find-their-voice/

Sunday, November 22, 2015

More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to the U.S.

Net Loss of 140,000 from 2009 to 2014; Family Reunification Top Reason for Return

By Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, Pew Hispanic
November 19, 2015

More Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico from the U.S. than have migrated here since the end of the Great Recession, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of newly available government data from both countries. The same data sources also show the overall flow of Mexican immigrants between the two countries is at its smallest since the 1990s, mostly due to a drop in the number of Mexican immigrants coming to the U.S.

From 2009 to 2014, 1 million Mexicans and their families (including U.S.-born children) left the U.S. for Mexico, according to data from the 2014 Mexican National Survey of Demographic Dynamics (ENADID). U.S. census data for the same period show an estimated 870,000 Mexican nationals left Mexico to come to the U.S., a smaller number than the flow of families from the U.S. to Mexico.[...]

Read the full report:
http://www.pewhispanic.org/2015/11/19/more-mexicans-leaving-than-coming-to-the-u-s/

Saturday, November 21, 2015

What Americans thought of Jewish refugees on the eve of World War II

By Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post
November 17, 2015


The results of the poll illustrated above by the useful Twitter account @HistOpinion were published in the pages of Fortune magazine in July 1938. Fewer than 5 percent of Americans surveyed at the time believed that the United States should raise its immigration quotas or encourage political refugees fleeing fascist states in Europe — the vast majority of whom were Jewish — to voyage across the Atlantic. Two-thirds of the respondents agreed with the proposition that "we should try to keep them out."

To be sure, the United States was emerging from the Great Depression, hardly a climate in which ordinary folks would welcome immigrants and economic competition. The events of Kristallnacht — a wave of anti-Jewish pogroms in areas controlled by the Nazis — had yet to take place. And the poll's use of the term "political refugees" could have conjured in the minds of the American public images of communists, anarchists and other perceived ideological threats.[...]

Read the full article:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/11/17/what-americans-thought-of-jewish-refugees-on-the-eve-of-world-war-ii/

Thursday, November 19, 2015

As Asylum Seekers Swap Prison Beds For Ankle Bracelets, Same Firm Profits

By John Burnett, NPR
November 13, 2015

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been under fire for opening three detention centers to hold Central American immigrant families who fled to this country seeking asylum.

Under the pressure of a federal court order, ICE is now exploring ways to release the mothers and children with alternatives to detention — but human rights activists are unhappy that the same for-profit prison company that locked up the families now manages their cases after release.

A dozen young Central American mothers in jeans and sneakers wait in a corner of the Greyhound station in downtown San Antonio. Each of them has a chunky, black, blinking device about the size of an olive jar strapped to her ankle: an electronic monitor.

An adult immigrant from El Salvador who entered the country illegally wears an ankle monitor July 27 at a shelter in San Antonio. Lawyers representing immigrant mothers held in a South Texas detention center say the women have been denied counsel and coerced into accepting ankle-monitoring bracelets as a condition of release, even after judges made clear that paying their bonds would suffice.

The women can't take off the devices — even to shower, they have to keep them charged, and they have to check in regularly with compliance officers. If they break any of these rules, they're in trouble.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.npr.org/2015/11/13/455790454/as-asylum-seekers-swap-prison-beds-for-ankle-bracelets-same-firm-profits

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The dark, complex history of Trump's model for his mass deportation plan

At a time when the U.S. and Mexico were promoting a guest-worker system for agricultural workers, "this was about frightening employers and the immigrants into getting with the program," [Kelly Lytle Hernandez] said.

By Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times
November 13, 2015

Esteban Torres was 3 years old when his father was sent back to Mexico by U.S. immigration authorities.

"One day, my father didn't come home," remembers Torres, who lived with his family in a mining camp in Arizona at the time. "My brother and I were left without a father. We never saw him again."

Torres, 85, who went on to become a congressman representing the Pico Rivera area, was part of a generation of people whose lives were changed dramatically by large-scale deportation campaigns during the 1930s, '40s and '50s in which millions of Mexican nationals were rounded up and sent across the border on buses, trains and ships.

During Tuesday night's Republican debate, Donald Trump hailed one of those campaigns — the Eisenhower administration effort known by the outdated, racist name Operation Wetback — as a model for the "deportation force" he says he would deploy to swiftly remove the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. without legal status.

"They moved 1.5 million out," Trump said, responding to rivals who said his plan would not work. "Dwight Eisenhower, good president, great president, people liked him," achieved it, he said.

The record, however, portrays a darker and more complicated picture, suggesting that a mass deportation effort many times larger than any conducted before would be much harder than Trump indicates.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-trump-deportation-20151113-story.html

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Border agency still struggling with body camera deployment

By Kevin Johnson and Alan Gomez, USA Today
November 12, 2015

WASHINGTON — The sprawling U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, in a continuing attempt to respond to controversial physical force incidents involving its agents, announced Thursday that it needed more time to test its body-camera program, indicating that it will eventually deploy the technology to border checkpoints, vessel-boarding units and for outbound operations at ports as part of an expanded review.

But CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske said Thursday that a "full-scale deployment is not necessary.'' He said an existing network of thousands of fixed cameras is providing adequate coverage at some Border Patrol stations and remote crossings.

The expanded testing, not expected until at least next year, represents a cautious step for an agency still struggling to reconcile the technology's "significant'' costs, internal labor strife and camera durability in extremely harsh border environments.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/11/12/body-camera-customs-and-border-protection/75649832/

Monday, November 16, 2015

Key takeaways on U.S. immigration: Past, present and future

By Anna Browns, Pew Research Center
September 28, 2015

It has been a half-century since the enactment of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which dramatically changed patterns of immigration to the U.S. by replacing long-standing national origin quotas that favored Northern and Western Europe with a new system allocating more visas to people from other countries around the world. A new Pew Research Center study explores how much the face of immigration has changed – and changed the country – and how much more it will do so by 2065.

Here are some of the key findings:

1. Nearly 59 million immigrants have arrived in the U.S. since 1965, and accounting for deaths or those who have left, 43 million of them live here now. When their children and grandchildren are included, these immigrants added 72 million people to the nation’s population, accounting for 55% of population growth from 1965 to 2015. Immigrants and their descendants are projected to account for 88% of the population increase over the next 50 years.

2. A near-record 13.9% of the U.S. population today is foreign born, with 45 million immigrants residing here. This compares with 5% in 1965, when the immigration law was changed. The current share of the population that is foreign born is only slightly below the record 14.8% that was seen during the waves of European-dominated immigration in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This foreign-born share is projected to rise to 17.7% in 2065 as immigration continues to drive U.S. population growth.[...]

Read the full report:
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/09/28/key-takeaways-on-u-s-immigration-past-present-and-future/

Friday, November 13, 2015

Red Tape Slows U.S. Help for Children Fleeing Central America

By Michael D. Shearnov, New York Times
November 5, 2015

WASHINGTON — President Obama vowed a year ago to give Central American children fleeing violence a new, legal way into the United States by allowing them to apply for refugee status while in their own countries instead of accepting help from smugglers or resorting to a dangerous trek across Mexico.

But not a single child has entered the United States through the Central American Minors program since its establishment in December, in large part because of a slow-moving American bureaucracy that has infuriated advocates for the young children and their families.

More than 5,400 children, most of them trying to escape street gangs, extortion and sexual assault in El Salvador, have applied to join their parents, who are already in the United States legally. So far the Department of Homeland Security has interviewed only 90 of them, and lengthy procedures for getting airplane tickets and processing paperwork have delayed those whose applications were approved.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/06/us/politics/red-tape-slows-us-help-for-children-fleeing-central-america.html

Read our April article, "US Program to Resettle Central American Minors Likely to Help Few":
http://thepoliticsofimmigration.blogspot.com/2015/04/us-program-to-resettle-central-american.html

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Undocumented Youth Are Here Through No Fault of Their Own. But It’s Not Their Parents’ Fault, Either

Using the phrase “no fault of their own” in discussing undocumented young people does not encourage us to look at the roots of the poverty and violence their families experience.

By David Bacon, In These Times
November 5, 2015

When President Obama introduced his executive order in 2012 to defer deportation for young people (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA), the White House website said it would “stop punishing innocent young people brought to the country through no fault of their own by their parents.”

Last year, in the Republican assault on the President's next order that would have extended DACA to include other family members (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, DAPA), Jeff Denham, a right-wing Republican Congressman from California's San Joaquin Valley, used the same phrase. Taking pains to explain that opposing President Obama did not mean he supported deporting young people, he explained, “I have voted repeatedly in Congress to protect children who were brought into this country by their parents or guardians through no fault of their own.”

The phrase “no fault of their own” sounds sympathetic. Using it to justify halting deportations implies good intentions towards at least some young people without papers. Yet the idea has other troubling implications as well.

If young people came here “through no fault of their own,” then whose fault was it?[...]

Read the full article:
http://inthesetimes.com/article/18568/dreams-deported-undocumented-unafraid-dream-act

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Justicia para Todos/Justice for ALL

Justicia para Todos
Por Elvira Arellano, Familias Unidas
5 de Noviembre, 2015

Los medios masivos informan que, de los presos federales que ya van a ser puestos en libertad, serán arrestados de nuevo y deportados. Esta triste realidad hace destacar la política migratoria contradictoria que intenta deportar a todas personas que tienen un “record” delictivo.

La temprana puesta en libertad de miles de reos federales cuyas sentencias por delitos relacionados con la droga se habían considerado excesivamente largas viene precisamente en el medio de la coyuntura en que la nación se está despertando a la realidad de los excesos de su política de encarcelamiento masivo. A menudo se repite de que este país tiene más personas encarceladas que cualquier otro país, o sea 25 por ciento de los prisioneros pero solo 5 por ciento de la población del mundo. La “guerra” fracasada en contra de las drogas es la causa de la gruesa del encarcelamiento de los afronorteamericanos y latinos.[...]

Justice for ALL
By Elvira Arellano, Familias Unidas
November 5, 2015

I am informed through the media that hundreds of federal prisoners now winning early release will be arrested again by ICE and deported. This sad reality just makes clear the contradictory i8mmigration policy which moves to deport anyone with a criminal record.

The early release of thousands of Federal inmates who had been given overly long sentences for drug related crimes comes as the nation is waking up to the reality of this nation’s policy of mass incarceration. Again and again it is being repeated that the U.S. has more people in prison than any other country, that the U.S. has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prison population. The nation’s failed war on drugs is responsible for most of the mass incarceration of the African American and Latino community.[...]

Lea el artículo completo/read the full article:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/sanctuarymovement/gv8gWMfBssQ

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Out of the Shadows

Unboxed Voices, 2012
A short documentary about growing up undocumented, by Juan Galindo, produced by John Howard, featuring Katherine Chua.

Watch the film:
https://vimeo.com/61496205

Monday, November 9, 2015

Former NY Gov. Spitzer: Hillary Clinton Opposed Driver's Licenses for Immigrants

In a statement from the Dream Action Coalition, the organization said Latinos and Dreamers are "truly disappointed" that Clinton "would throw the immigrant community under the bus, especially since she had criticized other[s] for doing the same." According to DRC, many immigrants have been deported for not having a driver's license.

By Michael Oleaga, Latin Post
October 30, 2015

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is under the spotlight for her stance on providing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

During a Democratic presidential primary debate in 2007, Clinton was questioned if she supported then-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's proposal to give undocumented immigrants driver's licenses. Clinton said she did not think Spitzer's plan was the appropriate approach at addressing the immigration issues that the George W. Bush administration failed to address.
"What Gov. Spitzer is trying to do is fill the vacuum left by the failure of this administration to bring about comprehensive immigration reform," Clinton told debate moderator Tim Russert in the October 2007 debate. "In New York, we have several million at any one time who are in New York illegally. They are undocumented workers. They are driving on our roads. The possibility of them having an accident that harms themselves or others is just a matter of the odds. It's probability."

Clinton added, "Gov. Spitzer is trying to fill the vacuum. We need to get back to comprehensive immigration reform because no state, no matter how well intentioned, can fill this gap. There needs to be federal action on immigration reform." [...]

Read the full article:
http://www.latinpost.com/articles/91159/20151030/former-ny-gov-spitzer-hillary-clinton-opposed-drivers-licenses-immigrants.htm

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Hellish Conditions Facing Workers At Chicken Processing Plants

In a report released on Tuesday, Oxfam America is launching a new campaign to address what it says are rampant health and safety issues, as well as low pay and few benefits, that face the people who process chicken in the country’s plants.

By Bryce Covert, Think Progress
October 27, 2015

Pedro started getting worried when his hands were so swollen he needed a larger size of plastic gloves.

Pedro (which is not his real name) would arrive at the chicken processing plant for Tyson in North Carolina at 5 p.m. to clock in for the second shift. For the next three hours, he says he wouldn’t get a single break from breaking down slaughtered and defeathered chickens, cutting the shoulders and pulling out the tenders, until he was allowed to take a half-hour lunch at 8 p.m. Then it was back to the line until all of the chickens were processed, sometimes at 5 or 6 in the morning.

He says the line moved so quickly that he was processing 45-50 chickens every minute, or nearly one each second. The fast, repetitive motions soon started affecting his hands, which swelled up painfully. They got so large he had to wear 3XL sized plastic gloves. But when he was sent to the plant’s infirmary, he says the nurse simply told him to take ibuprofen and soak his hands in epsom salts and hot water. “The infirmary nurse told me it was nothing to worry about, just your body getting used to it, like when you lift weights and your muscles swell up,” he said on a call with media.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2004/sep/18/classics.grahamgreene

Download the Oxfam report:
http://www.oxfamamerica.org/explore/research-publications/lives-on-the-line/

Women Face Retaliation at Texas Detention Center Following Hunger Strike

By Tina Vasquez, RH Reality Check
November 6, 2015

Ten days after news broke of a hunger strike at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, reports are emerging from inside Hutto that six women are being rounded up for transfer by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as retaliation for participating in the hunger strike.

Grassroots Leadership, an organization that forms part of a larger umbrella group known as Texans United for Families (TUFF), confirms two of the initial hunger strikers, Francisca and Amalia, have been moved to a remote majority men’s detention center in Pearsall, Texas. The organization also reports that Francisca’s family has verified that she has been placed in solitary confinement there.

Last weekend, Insis, a Garífuna woman from Honduras participating in the hunger strike, was placed in “medical solitary confinement” for two days.

Cristina Parker, the immigration programs director for Grassroots Leadership, told RH Reality Check that this type of solitary confinement is a common tactic used by ICE. Hutto doesn’t have what might be considered a traditional solitary confinement area, so women are placed in the medical section alone under the guise of needing medical attention.[...]

Read the full article:
http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2015/11/06/women-face-retaliation-texas-detention-center-following-hunger-strike/

Saturday, November 7, 2015

A 'No Haitians' job ad shows discrimination is not dead

By Monica Campbell, PRI's The World
October 21, 2015

A healthcare company this month placed an ad in a New York pennysaver newsletter, seeking a female nurse. In addition to needing to be laid back and have experience with respiratory management, the woman needed to not be Hatian.

“I thought it was a hoax,” says WLRN reporter Nadege Green, when she first saw the ad.

The company, Interim Healthcare, is based in Florida, and one of its franchisees placed the ad in New York. As word of the ad spread through social media, outrage grew, especially among Haitian Americans across the United States.

Green followed the reaction from South Florida, with its large Haitian immigrant community. "People started talking about how, in 2015, you have what appears to be this type of discrimination happening," she says.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-10-21/no-haitians-job-ad-shows-discrimination-not-dead

Friday, November 6, 2015

Hundreds launch hunger strike at immigrant detention center in Adelanto, Calif.

By Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times
November 6, 2015

Immigrant advocates say hundreds of men have launched a hunger strike at an immigrant detention center in the high desert city of Adelanto, Calif., making it the fourth immigrant detention facility in the U.S. where protesting detainees have refused food in recent weeks.

Attorneys for some of the men and advocates with a detention center visitation group say more than 300 men stopped eating Oct. 30 to protest conditions at the center. They said another group of detainees joined them in the strike on Wednesday.

Shannah Abdulluah, an asylum-seeker from Ghana who has been in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody since he asked for amnesty at the Mexican border 11 months ago, said he and about 90 other men joined the hunger strike this week.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-immigrant-hunger-strike-20151106-story.html

Sign a petition supporting immigrant detainees organizing for their rights:
http://www.notonemoredeportation.com/portfolio/asylumseekersdetained/

For earlier hunger strike coverage, go to:
http://thepoliticsofimmigration.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-hunger-strike-you-havent-heard-about.html

Thursday, November 5, 2015

B&H Photo and Video Warehouse Workers Win in Union Vote

For Immediate Release, November 4, 2015

Spanish and English:
Rosanna Rodriguez, Laundry Workers Center, ‪347-652-5724, rosaran18@gmail.com
Mahoma Lopez, Laundry Workers Center ‪347-488-6936 garfiasdf@gmail.com

B&H Photo and Video Warehouse Workers Vote Overwhelmingly to Join United Steelworkers

Workers Vote 200 to 88 to Join Union; Demand an End to Hazardous Working Conditions and Discrimination in Brooklyn Warehouses

BROOKLYN, NY – Workers in B&H’s two Brooklyn warehouses voted overwhelmingly today for union representation with the United Steelworkers, in an election administered by the National Labor Relations Board. The vote comes on the heels of a weeks-long anti-union campaign waged by B&H management, with workers alleging daily threats, harassment, and intimidation in the workplace. Lawyers for the union have filed multiple charges with the NLRB, alleging B&H engaged in unlawful anti-union activity during the course of the campaign.

Workers remained strong in the face of management’s tactics, confident in the widespread support for unionization in the workplace. "We knew we would win our vote today by a large margin, which of course the company did not expect”, said Jorge Lora, B&H Warehouse Worker of 5 years. “Today we won because the workers voted with their conscience”.

Workers publicly announced their intent to organize with the United Steelworkers on October 11th, after receiving training and support from the grassroots, worker-led community organization Laundry Workers Center. Since the campaign launch, a groundswell of support has grown amongst community, faith and labor groups, as well as thousands of photo/video professionals and B&H customers. On the eve of the union vote, the Photo/Video Alliance for Fair Labor released an open letter to B&H management with over 1,000 signers in journalism, fine art and commercial photography, film, television, and academia, calling on B&H “to end the hazardous working conditions and discrimination workers report at B&H’s Brooklyn warehouses”. Supporters used the campaign slogan #BHExposed to increase awareness of the worker’s campaign, garnering extensive coverage of the working conditions in B&H’s warehouses, including the New York Times, Al Jazeera America, The Nation, WNYC, and numerous photo-video websites and blogs.

The news of the landslide victory was welcomed by dozens of supporters who waited outside of both Brooklyn warehouses to congratulate workers coming off of their shifts. “We want to share this moment with other workers so they also know that they longer have to feel exploited”, said Alberto Sánchez, B&H employee, 7 years. “We were taught our rights, and now we have to pass that on to other workers so they can fight back against the exploitation and discrimination they face.”

“After a year of hard work organizing, today the workers are victorious. This is a huge step for the workers’ movement, and for the Laundry Workers Center, as it continues to develop worker power and leadership in New York City and beyond, said Rosanna Aran, Co-Director of the Laundry Workers Center, said.

###

For additional coverage, go to:
http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2015/bh-photo-warehouse-employees-vote-to-join-usw-union
http://hyperallergic.com/250959/in-landslide-vote-bh-photo-workers-decide-to-unionize/

For earlier coverage of the B&H unionization drive, go to:
http://thepoliticsofimmigration.blogspot.com/2015/10/photo-retailer-b-faces-unwanted.html

Friday, October 30, 2015

Report: ICE ‘complicit’ in hiding violations at detention centers

Inspections of immigrant detention centers often facilitate good ratings despite alleged rights violations, report says

By Renee Lewis, AlJazeera America
October 21, 2015

Inspections of immigrant detention centers overseen by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are ineffective and often facilitate favorable ratings at centers with reported human rights abuses, according to a report released Wednesday by rights advocacy groups.

Detention center inspections matter because they generate ratings that determine whether ICE continues using taxpayer dollars to fund public and private entities that detain immigrants, the report said.

“The failures of the inspection system ... really do make ICE complicit in obscuring human rights violations in detention facilities,” said Claudia Valenzuela, the director of detention at the National Immigrant Justice Center, which published the report with the Detention Watch Network (DWN).
Inspections of immigrant detention centers overseen by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are ineffective and often facilitate favorable ratings at centers with reported human rights abuses, according to a report released Wednesday by rights advocacy groups.

Detention center inspections matter because they generate ratings that determine whether ICE continues using taxpayer dollars to fund public and private entities that detain immigrants, the report said.

“The failures of the inspection system ... really do make ICE complicit in obscuring human rights violations in detention facilities,” said Claudia Valenzuela, the director of detention at the National Immigrant Justice Center, which published the report with the Detention Watch Network (DWN).[...]

Read the full article:
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/10/21/ice-immigrant-center-reviews-inadequate-report.html
Read or download the report:
http://immigrantjustice.org/lives-peril-how-ineffective-inspections-make-ice-complicit-detention-center-abuse-0

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Hunger Strike You Haven’t Heard About

By Esther Yu-Hsi Lee, Think Progress
October 21, 2015

Bangladeshi asylum seekers ended a week-long hunger strike at the El Paso Processing Center in Texas this week after they protested their potential deportation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. The strikers began to eat on Tuesday after ICE brought in the Bangladeshi Consul General to pressure the group to break their strike, according to the Bangladesh-based outlet News Next BD.

The hunger strike began on the morning of October 14, when 54 South Asian asylum seekers from Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan refused food and water at the El Paso detention center. Five days later, another 14 Indian and Bangladeshi immigrants began a solidarity hunger strike at the Lasalle Detention Center in Louisiana. It’s unclear whether non-Bangladeshi detainees have ended their strike at both facilities.

All of the men on hunger strike were approved for their credible fear findings, a preliminary step in the asylum review process. The ICE agency established policies in 2010 stating that asylum seekers who pass their credible fear interview should be automatically considered for parole from detention. Nonetheless, some of the hunger strikers have been held in immigration detention anywhere between nine months and two years, even though the average detention time hovers around 31 days.[...]

Read the full article:
http://thinkprogress.org/immigration/2015/10/21/3714277/south-asian-immigrants-detention-hunger-strike/

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Dump Trump Gains Momentum

Movement to Get Saturday Night Live to Dump Trump Gains Momentum

By Dennis Romero, LA Weekly
October 16, 2015

Latino groups are turning up the volume on efforts to get NBC's Saturday Night Live to drop Donald Trump as the scheduled host Nov. 7.

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, an umbrella group representing 40 of the largest Latino organizations in the nation, including the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the L.A.-based National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), is preparing to send a letter to NBC today urging the network to reconsider the controversial booking, according to multiple people involved with the nonprofit.

In the meantime, Alex Nogales, president of the NHMC, told us he's trying to get longtime SNL producer Lorne Michaels on the phone in order to express the Latino community's frustration over the Trump booking. "They told me he was not going to talk," Nogales said.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.laweekly.com/news/movement-to-get-saturday-night-live-to-dump-trump-gains-momentum-6173506

Sign a petition telling NBC to dump Trump:
http://act.americasvoice.org/page/s/trumpsnl

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Part of “Illegal” They Don’t Understand: Book Review

By David L. Wilson, Monthly Review
October 2015

Aviva Chomsky, Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal (Boston: Beacon Press, 2014), 256 pages, $16, paperback.

Anyone who really wants to understand U.S. immigration policy needs to read the brief history of the U.S.-Mexico border in Aviva Chomsky’s often-brilliant new book on immigration.1

Politicians constantly tell us we have lost control of the border. In fact, as Undocumented demonstrates, never in the 166 years since the border was established by the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo has it been so tightly controlled as it is now. For nearly half its history it was exactly the thing immigration opponents say they fear most—an open border. The first serious restrictions did not come until a head tax and a literacy requirement were imposed in 1917, and even then there was an exemption for Mexican workers, the people most likely to enter the country from the south. The creation of the Border Patrol in 1924 was mainly a Prohibition Era measure to keep alcohol out.

Far from trying to control the border, U.S. businesses and politicians were trying to get people to cross it.[...]

Read the full article:
http://monthlyreview.org/2015/10/01/the-part-of-illegal-they-dont-understand/

Monday, October 26, 2015

Three Years Ago, These Chicago Workers Took Over a Window Factory. Today, They're Thriving

When Republic Windows and Doors closed down without giving workers notice, the issue drew national attention. Since then, they’ve turned the factory into a worker-owned co-op—where they hold the power.

By Sarah van Gelder, Yes! Magazine
October 9, 2015

Back in the day, factory workers at the Chicago-based Republic Windows and Doors were simply told what to do. That wasn’t unusual. Workers might have seen ways to improve the production process, but at Republic their supervisor wasn’t interested, said former employee Armando Robles.

“Whatever the bosses want, we do it. We’d say, ‘Look, this is a better way,’ and they say, ‘No, we say you have to do it this way.’ Even when they make a mistake, they just continue,” Robles explained.

Things are very different today. Employees of what is now called New Era Windows and Doors are also the owners. And their ideas matter. Any of them can propose improvements, and if they can convince a majority of their co-workers, things can change quickly.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.yesmagazine.org/edge-of-change/three-years-ago-these-chicago-workers-took-over-a-window-factory-today-theyre-thriving-20151009

Monday, October 19, 2015

US government deporting Central American migrants to their deaths

Guardian investigation into consequences of Obama’s migration crackdown reveals US deportees have been murdered shortly after return to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, with study saying as many as 83 killed since 2014

By Sibylla Brodzinsky and Ed Pilkington, The Guardian
October 12, 2015

The US government is deporting undocumented immigrants back to Central America to face the imminent threat of violence, with several individuals being murdered just days or months after their return, a Guardian investigation has found.

The Guardian has confirmed three separate cases of Honduran men who have been gunned down shortly after being deported by the US government. Each was murdered in their hometowns, soon after their return – one just a few days after he was expelled from the US.

Immigration experts believe that the Guardian’s findings represent just the tip of the iceberg. A forthcoming academic study based on local newspaper reports has identified as many as 83 US deportees who have been murdered on their return to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras since January 2014.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/12/obama-immigration-deportations-central-america?CMP=

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Photo retailer B&H faces unwanted exposure over worker safety

Employees report injuries, abuse, long hours at the company's New York City warehouses

By Laura Gottesdiener, Aljazeera America
October 12, 2015

NEW YORK — At night, when Oscar Orellana arrives home after his 13-hour shifts in the warehouse of B&H Photo Video, a national electronics retailer, he is often in such pain, he can barely lift his 2-year-old daughter.

“He can’t bend at all,” said one of his older daughters, Odalys. “My sisters want to play hide and seek, or tag, but he can’t because his back is really injured.”

In 2014, Orellana fell from the top of an eight-foot-high pallet in the warehouse and severely injured his upper spine. He says he never received any training on how to operate the forklift he was instructed to use to unload the inventory. He was never even provided a hard hat, he says.

That’s why on Sunday, Orellana joined nearly 200 of his co-workers in publicly denouncing B&H Photo Video, the largest non-chain photo store in the United States, with more than a quarter of a billion dollars in annual revenue and a lengthy history of alleged discrimination and workplace safety complaints.[...]

Read the full article:
http://america.aljazeera.com/multimedia/2015/10/bh-workers-claim-discrimination-unsafe-standards1.html

Saturday, October 17, 2015

U.S. and Dominican Immigration Policies: Is There a Difference?

By David L. Wilson, Upside Down World
October 16, 2015

Texas officials have now found a way to circumvent the long-established understanding that children born in the United States are automatically U.S. citizens.

Over the past year some state officials have been refusing to provide copies of Texas-born children’s birth certificates to their undocumented parents. The Texas bureaucrats don’t try to deny that the children are citizens; instead, they simply demand that the parents produce certain types of identification documents—-documents which many unauthorized immigrants from Mexico and Central America are unable to obtain. The result is that the kids are being denied their rights as U.S. citizens—-including, in some cases, the right to enroll in kindergarten—-and may end up stateless.

This subterfuge must sound familiar to many Dominicans of Haitian ancestry. The current threat by the Dominican Republic to expel tens of thousands of Dominican-born Haitian descendants evolved over the past decade out of an unofficial practice very much like the one in Texas.[...]

Read the full article:
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/caribbean-archives-45/5495-us-and-dominican-immigration-policies-is-there-a-difference

Friday, October 16, 2015

Toys ‘R’ Us Brings Temporary Foreign Workers to U.S. to Move Jobs Overseas

The Toys “R” Us employees in New Jersey, many of whom had been at the company more than a decade, were laid off.

By Julia Preston, New York Times
September 29, 2015

WAYNE, N.J. — When Congress designed temporary work visa programs, the idea was to bring in foreigners with specialized, hard-to-find skills who would help American companies grow, creating jobs to expand the economy. Now, though, some companies are bringing in workers on those visas to help move jobs out of the country.

For four weeks this spring, a young woman from India on a temporary visa sat elbow to elbow with an American accountant in a snug cubicle at the headquarters of Toys “R” Us here. The woman, an employee of a giant outsourcing company in India hired by Toys “R” Us, studied and recorded the accountant’s every keystroke, taking screen shots of her computer and detailed notes on how she issued payments for toys sold in the company’s megastores.

“She just pulled up a chair in front of my computer,” said the accountant, 49, who had worked for the company for more than 15 years. “She shadowed me everywhere, even to the ladies’ room.”[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/30/us/toys-r-us-brings-temporary-foreign-workers-to-us-to-move-jobs-overseas.html

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Unnecessary Measures

Public and native lands advocates say McCain’s proposed legislation gives Border Patrol unrestricted access that is unnecessary and detrimental

By María Inés Taracena, Tucson Weekly
August 27, 2015

Nellie David is concerned for the Native American youth growing up in what she sees as an increasingly militarized Tohono O'odham Nation.

These days, a walk or drive around her hometown of Ajo almost always leads to being questioned by U.S. Border Patrol agents roaming the tribal land. David remembers the time she and two friends were surrounded by a handful of Border Patrol trucks in a remote area of the reservation merely over their presence there. Another example is a recent evening when she took her dog on a walk in the desert, and "all of the sudden a helicopter comes up and gets really close to me, checking us out," she says.

"The rez (reservation) is surrounded by checkpoints," says David, who currently lives in Tucson, while finishing law school at the UA. "We are indigenous people, and for them to ask, 'Where are you from? Where are you going?' It's like, 'who are you?'"

When she heard about a border security bill that U.S. Sen. John McCain recently introduced—which would waive laws on all federal public land within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, and essentially grant law enforcement immediate access to every corner of the borderlands—she says she thought the bill is going to make things worse. Most law enforcement, already, has no respect for things such as burial grounds and other places on the reservation that are considered sacred, she says. How much more freedom can they get, she wonders.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/unnecessary-measures/Content?oid=5905178

To write to your senators to oppose the bill, go to:
http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/7315/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=21390

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

In 1965, A Conservative Tried To Keep America White. His Plan Backfired

By Tom Gjelten, NPR
October 3, 2015

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a new immigration law that would change the face of the nation. But that dramatic impact, ironically, was in good part the result of a major miscalculation by those who actually wanted to limit the bill's effect.

The Immigration and Nationality Act, signed at the foot of the Statue of Liberty on Oct. 3, 1965, abolished the national origin quota system, under which immigrants were chosen on the basis of their race and ancestry. The quotas set aside tens of thousands of visas each year for immigrants from Northern and Western Europe, while many countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East were allocated barely 100 slots each. It was a blatantly discriminatory system.

Under the new law, immigrants were to be selected on the basis of their family connections in the United States and the skills and training they could offer, with all nationalities treated more or less equally.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.npr.org/2015/10/03/445339838/the-unintended-consequences-of-the-1965-immigration-act

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Agent Indicted in 2012 Border Killing

U.S. Border Patrol agent indicted in fatal 2012 shooting of teenager along Arizona-Mexico border.

By Astrid Galvan, Associated Press
September 24, 2015

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Federal authorities have charged a U.S. Border Patrol agent who killed a Mexican teenager in a cross-border shooting with second-degree murder.

Luis Parra, the attorney for the mother of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, told The Associated Press that a federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted agent Lonnie Swartz.

"The Elena Rodriguez Family is grateful to the DOJ (Department of Justice) for this first step in the pursuit of justice, and remain steadfast in their resolve to seek full transparency from the U.S. Border Patrol on behalf of Jose Antonio," Parra said.

Sean Chapman, Swartz's attorney, did not respond to a late call seeking comment. He told The Arizona Daily Star that he expects his client to plead not guilty at an Oct. 9 arraignment. The U.S. Attorney's Office also has not responded to a request for comment.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2015/09/24/border-patrol-agent-is-indicted-in-2010-fatal-shooting

Monday, October 5, 2015

Sanders Hires Arturo Carmona of Presente.org for Latino Outreach

By Suzanne Gamboa, NBC News
October 2, 2015

Democrat Bernie Sanders, who still faces a long road for recognition and support in the Latino community, has hired a Latino Outreach director for the campaign.

Sanders, a Vermont senator, hired Arturo Carmona, executive director of Presente.org, a Latino advocacy group based in Los Angeles. Carmona also will serve as Southwest political director. The group, which is largely an online group, is considered more left than other more established Latino organizations.

As an activist on civil rights, Carmona, 37, said he never saw himself joining a political campaign, but "when I saw the political campaign and Sen. Sanders calling for a political revolution and people from all walks of life joining this movement, I said 'Hey, this is something I've seen that can make a difference.' I decided to join because I see a great need," he said. [...]

Read the full article:
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/sanders-hires-arturo-carmona-presente-org-latino-outreach-n437836

Monday, September 28, 2015

It's Time for Bernie Sanders to Step Up on Immigration

If immigration is a problem, it's because US policies have made it one. For someone like Bernie Sanders, there should be no difficulty finding a solution.

By Jane Guskin and David L. Wilson, Truthout
September 28, 2015

As the presidential primary races heat up, Donald Trump has gotten a lot of attention for spouting racist diatribes against Mexicans and proposing to deport all undocumented immigrants.

On the other end of the spectrum, Democratic contender Bernie Sanders has a record of supporting rational immigration policies. He backs legalization for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living here now. He supports efforts to make sure immigrant workers have the right to organize and to earn a decent wage. He opposes guest-worker programs, which bring foreigners here to work for low pay with limited labor rights and then boot them out of the country when the job's done - or whenever they try to organize or speak out about abuses.

Yet in an interview with the news website Vox, Sanders dismissed "open borders" as "a Koch brothers proposal," referring to the notoriously right-wing billionaires Charles and David Koch.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/32975-it-s-time-for-bernie-sanders-to-step-up-on-immigration

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Kindness of Strangers: The Refugees in Budapest, and my Father's World War II Refugee Story

The refugee influx struck a strong emotional chord with me, as a Hungarian-American visiting my parents' homeland. I had arrived in Hungary on August 25 with my wife Debi, to visit my late Catholic mother's relatives, and retrace the stories of my Jewish father who had survived the genocide of World War II.

Zoltán Grossman, Portside
September 20, 2015

Hungary is becoming the Arizona of Europe. It is the main country where war refugees and other immigrants first set foot in the North -- in this case the contiguous states of the European Union. Just like in the American Southwest, immigrants are dying in sweltering trucks, officials are erecting border walls and detention camps, and far-right hate groups are targeting the immigrants as a threat to national identity.

Yet also like in the Southwest, many individual Hungarian citizens have stepped forward, providing water, food, medical aid, and encouragement to the Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan, and other refugees who are fleeing repression and war. Despite their right-wing government's opposition to immigration (at least by brown, Muslim immigrants), some Hungarians understand that any refugees who are returned home face violence or even death. A few even compare the Syrians to the refugees who fled across the Austrian border after their own failed 1956 revolution.[...]

Read the full article:
http://portside.org/2015-09-21/kindness-strangers-refugees-budapest-and-my-fathers-world-war-ii-refugee-story

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Civil Rights Commission: Detention centers violate immigrants' constitutional rights

The Commission's report adds to calls for the Department of Homeland Security to release detained children and mothers.

By Molly Jackson, Christian Science Monitor
September 20, 2015

The US Commission on Civil Rights released a report Thursday strongly criticizing the Obama administration’s immigration detention centers, which, for the past two years, have housed record-setting numbers of families and unaccompanied minors fleeing violence in Central America.

The commission, an independent government body created in 1957 and tasked with ensuring that the federal government fairly enforces civil rights laws, calls on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to release all detained families, reduce its reliance on long-term detention, and improve detainees’ legal access and protection from abuse.

The report follows months of confusion about how to efficiently yet humanely process asylum claims from tens of thousands who have entered illegally along the US-Mexican border in a sudden uptick that many blame on drug-related violence.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/USA-Update/2015/0920/Civil-Rights-Commission-Detention-centers-violate-immigrants-constitutional-rights

Friday, September 25, 2015

Poll: 62% say birthright should be continued in the United States

Issues 2016: Immigration Reform and Race Relations

By Marist Poll
September 14, 2015

Immigration reform and race relations continue to be hot-button issues in the headlines and for the 2016 presidential campaign. When it comes to U.S. immigration policy, many Americans, including more than eight in ten Latinos, think that birthright should remain in place so that children born in this country receive U.S. citizenship, regardless of whether or not their parents are undocumented immigrants. Americans divide about whether or not the term “anchor baby” is offensive. And, a plurality of residents say undocumented immigrants should be deported which would eliminate the need for so-called “sanctuary cities.” Not surprisingly, a majority of Latinos consider the description “anchor baby” to be insulting, and about two-thirds support maintaining “sanctuary cities.”

On the issue of police-community relations, nearly two-thirds of Americans say minorities are treated the same as anyone else. However, one in four U.S. residents, including 31% of Latinos, believe authorities treat minorities more harshly.

What do Americans and Latinos think of the Black Lives Matter movement? When compared with another movement in the United States, the Tea Party, more Americans view “Black Lives Matter” positively. 37% of Americans have a positive impression of “Black Lives Matter” compared with one in four Americans who says the Tea Party conjures up positive feelings for them. [...]

Read the full article:
http://maristpoll.marist.edu/914-issues-2016-immigration-reform-and-race-relations/

Download the poll:
http://maristpoll.marist.edu/wp-content/misc/usapolls/us150826/Immigration/MSNBC_Telemundo_Marist%20Poll_National%20Release%20and%20Tables_September%202015_Immigration.pdf

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Huge Majority of Latinos Concerned About the Air Pollution, Environmental Issues - Poll

By Roberto Ontiveros, Latin Post
August 30, 2015

According to a new poll conducted by Latino Decisions, a majority of Latinos think that going green is a good idea.

The poll, which gathered responses from 1,200 registered Latino voters, states that 85% of those surveyed saw that reducing smog and air pollution was an “extremely” or “very important” thing to do and that 78% supported state mandated clean energy standards in order to prevent global warming and climate change.

A press release from the Environmental Defense Fund suggests that this information should come as no surprise as “Latinos have rich ties to the outdoors, but are too often the first and worst impacted by pollution.”

Gary Segura, a co-founder of Latino Decisions, describes the reasons behind the results to NPR, saying, "A lot of Latino households in the United States are in locations that are adversely affected by particulate pollution, by poor water quality."[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.latinpost.com/articles/75540/20150830/huge-majority-of-latinos-concerned-about-the-air-pollution-environmental-issues-poll.htm

Download the poll:
http://earthjustice.org/sites/default/files/files/National%20Release%20Polling%20Memo%20Formatted.pdf

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hillary Clinton Defends Call To Deport Child Migrants

But legal groups say virtually all unaccompanied minors from Central America qualify for humanitarian relief.

By Roque Planas, The Huffington Post
August 19, 2015

Hillary Clinton this week defended her call to deport children from the U.S. who are fleeing violence in Central America.

Speaking at a press conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday, the former secretary of state and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination said that deporting the children, many of whom are seeking asylum, would send a “responsible message” that would deter Central American families from sending their children to the United States.

“Specifically with respect to children on the border, if you remember, we had an emergency, and it was very important to send a message to families in Central America: Do not let your children take this very dangerous journey,” Clinton said.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hillary-clinton-child-migrants_55d4a5c5e4b055a6dab24c2f

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Life as Donald Trump’s guestworker

By Saket Soni, The Hill
August 8, 2015

What’s it like being a guestworker for Donald Trump?

I don’t know firsthand. But as director of the National Guestworker Alliance, I’ve met and organized thousands of guestworkers in the same federal visa programs Trump used to apply for over 1,000 foreign workers for his companies since 2000. So I’ve got some pretty good guesses.

If Trump’s guestworkers are like the overwhelming majority of workers in the H-2A, H-2B, and H-1B programs, they were lured by recruiters in their home countries who promised them steady work, good pay, and the chance to provide for their families.

Maybe they’d heard stories from friends and relatives who’d gone to the U.S. as guestworkers with high hopes, only to face brutal conditions, stolen wages, threats of physical violence by bosses, sexual harassment and even assault.

But they must have decided it was worth the risk—likely because the prospects at home were even grimmer. Many guestworkers, especially in the H-2A and H-2B programs, come from areas wracked by economic desperation and violence, such as Mexico’s Sinaloa region, home to the drug cartel that U.S. authorities call the most dangerous in the world.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.guestworkeralliance.org/2015/08/life-as-donald-trumps-guestworker/

Monday, September 21, 2015

US failing kids fleeing Central America

By Philippa Garson, IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks)
July 17, 2015

NEW YORK, 17 July 2015 (IRIN) - Fleeing gang violence in his hometown near San Pedro Sulas in Honduras, 14-year-old Gredys Alexander Hernández tried to reach safety in the United States, only to be intercepted in Mexico and sent back. Two days later, just as he was about to re-attempt the journey, masked gangsters burst into his house and shot him dead.

Honduran police say Hernández was murdered because he had witnessed gangsters killing his sister’s boyfriend. The authorities in Honduras say he failed to tell staff at the migrant processing centre there that his life would be in danger if he was sent home.

Hernández’s story illustrates how mechanisms put in place to stop an unprecedented influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America to the southern US border – which peaked last summer – are failing scores of children fleeing violence in their native countries.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.irinnews.org/report/101762/us-failing-kids-fleeing-central-america

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Media Run With Discredited Nativist Group's Research To Claim More Than Half Of Immigrant Households Receive "Welfare"

More Questionable Research From the SPLC-Labeled Nativist Group, the Center tor Immigration Studies

Craig Harrington and Cristina Lopez, Media Matters
September 3, 2015

Numerous conservative media outlets are parroting the misleading conclusions of a September 2015 report by an anti-immigrant nativist group, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which claims that "immigrant households use welfare at significantly higher rates than native households." Like previous flawed CIS studies, these findings have been called into question by immigration experts for failing to account for the economic hardship of some immigrant families, lumping American-born beneficiaries into "immigrant household" categorizations, and conflating numerous anti-poverty programs with so-called "welfare."[...]

Read the full article:
http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/09/03/media-run-with-discredited-nativist-groups-rese/205368

Friday, September 11, 2015

Report: The Educational, Psychological, and Social Impact of Discrimination on the Immigrant Child

By Christia Spears Brown, Migration Policy Institute
September 2015

The past 15 years have seen a surge in research examining how and when the children of immigrants experience discrimination, and what the psychological and educational consequences are. Discrimination—simply defined as harmful actions toward others because of their ethnicity, nationality, language ability and accent, or immigration status—may take place at an institutional or individual level, and can have considerable consequences for the developmental outcomes of young children.

Experiencing discrimination can provoke stress responses similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. Children who experience discrimination from their teachers are more likely to have negative attitudes about school and lower academic motivation and performance, and are at increased risk of dropping out of high school. In fact, experiences of teacher discrimination shape children’s attitudes about their academic abilities above and beyond their past academic performance. Even when controlling for their actual performance, children who experience discrimination from teachers feel worse about their academic abilities and are less likely to feel they belong at school, when compared against students who do not experience discrimination.

This report focuses on incidents of direct discrimination, as perceived and noticed by the child—incidents with identifiable educational, psychological, physical, and social repercussions. While discrimination can be difficult to counteract, the report also presents a number of recommendations on how to prevent these negative interactions, through anti-bullying policies, communicating effectively with immigrant families, and carefully evaluating services targeting immigrant children.

Download the report:
http://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/educational-psychological-and-social-impact-discrimination-immigrant-child

Thursday, September 10, 2015

¿Refugiados?/Refugees?

¿Refugiados?
Por Elvira Arellano, Sanctuary Movement
9 de Septiembre, 2015

(English version follows below)

Esta semana las noticias han estado repletas con fotos de los decenas de miles de refugiados que pretendan llegar desde Irak y Siria a los países ricos de Europa. Las historias de los viajes peligrosos sobre 30 kilómetros del mar incluyen reportes de la muerte de niños jóvenes. En general los gobiernos europeos parecen simpatizar hasta cierto punto más allá del enfrentamiento inicial en Hungría. Estos mismos gobiernos, no obstante, han dejado bien claro que solo aceptarán admitir cierto número de refugiados. Pero aun con esos límites, los movimientos derechistas en Europa se están movilizando.

Me parece interesante que nuestro propio gobierno ha hecho caso omiso a los llamamientos de aceptar algunos de los refugiados. Me acuerdo que hace apenas unos cuantos meses los republicanos insistían que la administración de presidente Obama rechazara los miles de niños hondureños y guatemaltecos que se presentaban en la frontera sureña de los Estados Unidos.[...]

Refugees?
By Elvira Arellano, Sanctuary Movement
September 9, 2015

This week the news has been filled pictures of tens of thousands of refugees attempting to make their way from Iraq and Syria to the wealthy countries of Europe. The reports of the dangerous journey over twenty miles of a turbulent sea included reports of the deaths of young children. In general, the governments of Europe have seemed sympathetic after the initial stand-off in Hungary. These same governments have also made it clear that they will only accept a limited number. Even with these limits the right wing anti-immigrant movements throughout Europe are already mobilizing.

I find it interesting that calls on the United States to take some of the refugees have mostly fallen on deaf ears in the government. I recall that only a few months ago how the Republicans demanded that the Obama Administration turn back thousands of Honduran and Guatemalan children who were presenting themselves at the southern border.[...]

Read the full article:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/sanctuarymovement/dVIoRdRRA4I

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Evidence suggests that amnesty for undocumented immigrants in 1986 significantly reduced crime in the US

Scott Baker, London School of Economics Blog
August 27, 2015

In 2015, the role of undocumented immigrants in US society has become much more prominent, with many arguing for a full amnesty for the 11 million currently in the country. In new research, Scott R. Baker finds that a 1986 amnesty for nearly 3 million undocumented immigrants led to a 3-5 percent persistent fall in crime. He writes that this fall in crime is linked to the much improved labor market prospects of previously undocumented immigrants, which led to a decreased motivation to commit crimes for economic gain.

Beginning in the late 1970’s, rates of undocumented immigration into the United States began to increase dramatically. Fearing negative labor market and social effects, Congress passed the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). The primary purpose of the bill was to enhance controls on the hiring and recruiting of undocumented immigrants. However, the legislation also represented a near-universal legalization of undocumented immigrants in the United States, a group comprising almost 3 million people, about 1 percent of the nation’s population.

This widespread legalization drove a persistent decline in crime of approximately 3-5 percent, equivalent to 120,000-180,000 fewer crimes committed each year across the nation, primary due to a large fall in property crimes. This decline cannot be explained by pre-existing trends, economic conditions, declines in drug crimes, changes to police forces and prison populations, or other common explanations of changes in crime rates during this period.[...]

Read the full article:
http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/usappblog/2015/08/27/evidence-suggests-that-amnesty-for-undocumented-immigrants-in-1986-significantly-reduced-crime-in-the-us/