Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Are Democrats Deserting the Dreamers?

Democratic Congressional leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi still claim they’ll get “something on immigration” before the year ends, but they’ve backed off their threat to shut the government down if Congress doesn’t move to protect DACA recipients. Meanwhile, 12,000 of these Dreamers have already lost their DACA protection, and at least one is now in detention.—TPOI

Update, 12/15/17: Osman Enriquez was released from detention on December 14, following the publication of the Vox article on his case the day before. 

February protest in Seattle. Photo: Ted S. Warren A
Democrats back off DACA shutdown threat

By Ted Hesson, Politico
(with help from Ian Kullgren, Andrew Hanna and Timothy Noah)
December 13, 2017
DEMS BACK OFF DACA SHUTDOWN THREAT: “Democratic leaders aren’t going to shut down the government to save DREAMers in December,” POLITICO’s Heather Caygle and Elana Schor report. “Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi haven’t stopped fighting to deliver something on immigration by the end of the month. But they’ve subtly shifted their rhetoric in recent days and aren’t insisting that deportation relief be paired with a government funding bill this year.”[...]

Read the full article:

Exclusive: the Postal Service kept him from renewing his DACA. Now he’s in immigration detention.
Pennsylvania father Osman Enriquez was waiting for a letter telling him to reapply.

By Dara Lind, Vox
December 13, 2017
A former DACA recipient who was waiting to reapply for deportation protections, after his initial application was rejected due to postal service delays, is currently in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Pennsylvania, Vox has exclusively learned.

Osman Enriquez, who was picked up by ICE Monday morning after a routine traffic stop, is one of the estimated 12,000 immigrants who have lost their DACA protections since the Trump administration started winding down the program in September.[…]

Read the full article:

Monday, December 11, 2017

Demand an End to ICE's Courthouse Arrests in New York

New York City Democratic Socialists of America (NYC DSA) has started an online petition to demand that New York Chief Judge DiFiore bar ICE from courthouses to prevent further detentions of immigrants when they try to appear in court. Please sign and circulate the petition.—TPOI editor
On November 28, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents collaborated with court officers and administrators to detain a public defender’s client at the Brooklyn Misdemeanor Court. In response, dozens of public defenders marched out, demanding that Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and the Office of Court Administration implement policies to prevent New York courthouses from collaborating with ICE.

This is the seventieth time this year that federal agents have detained undocumented immigrants at New York courthouses as they perform their civic duties.

It's time to turn up the pressure on Chief Judge DiFiore and make our voices heard. Send her a letter demanding she bars ICE from courthouses NOW!

For more information on ICE's courthouse arrests:

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Border News: Migrant Killed, “Kate’s Wall” Hyped, Drugs Mailed, Profits to Be Made

Photo: David Bacon
A Border Patrol agent shot an apparent border crosser dead on November 29 in the Tohono O’odham Native American Nation, which has had many problems with the Border Patrol in the past. The government promised an investigation of the latest shooting, and the incident quickly dropped out of the news. In contrast, Kate Steinle’s tragic death continues to get media coverage—it’s become an argument for Trump’s border wall, even though it had absolutely nothing to do with failures in border security.

And why would we want a wall? The New York Times reveals that even the best border security isn’t going to stop drug dealers. The main reason for the wall obsession is undoubtedly the psychological appeal of walls to some personality types, but we shouldn’t forget that certain people stand to make a killing—the financial kind—on the Great Wall of Trump.—TPOI editor

Arizona: Border Patrol Kills Migrant on Tohono O’odham Reservation

Democracy Now!
December 1, 2017
In Arizona, a Border Patrol agent shot and killed an undocumented migrant in a remote mountainous region on the Tohono O’odham Nation on Wednesday. The shooting occurred about 20 miles away from the U.S.-Mexico border. The chief of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson sector is claiming, without evidence, that the shooting occurred after the man grabbed the gun of one of the agents. Migrant justice groups are demanding the killing be investigated.

View the original article:
Read “Border communities condemn Border Patrol murder of migrant”:

The fraudulent case for 'Kate's wall'
[C]alls to name Trump’s intended border fortification “Kate’s wall”… would make it the world’s largest free-standing non sequitur. Garcia Zarate’s presence in the United States does not prove the weakness of our border security. Just the opposite.

By Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune
December 6, 2017
One night last month, a Border Patrol officer in Southwest Texas was killed and his partner seriously hurt while on patrol near the Mexican border. What quickly emerged was a gruesome tale. The officers were “ambushed by a group of illegal aliens” who smashed their heads with rocks, according to the head of the union representing Border Patrol agents.[…]

Read the full article:

Heroin in Soups and Lollipops: How Drug Cartels Evade Border Security
Instead of smuggling heroin through ports of entry or across the border, the cartel’s traffickers exploited weaknesses in border security: parcels shipped through the mail, UPS and FedEx; air cargo; and travel on transit systems with relatively little security, like Amtrak.

By Ron Nixon, New York Times
December 2, 2017
BALTIMORE — The tip came on the last day of January 2014 to special agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement: A drug courier was about to land at the Baltimore airport with a large shipment.[…]

Read the full article:

Wall Street Stands to Make a Killing From Building Trump's Border Wall: Report
Hate is profitable for the Mercers, BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo.

By Ilana Novick AlterNet
November 16, 2017
The border wall with Mexico, Donald Trump's proposed monument to nativism and bigotry is, according to an October story from NBC News, at least 10 months away from "meaningful construction." It currently has no funding from Congress nor from Mexico, contrary to reports from Trump's fever dreams. This reality hasn't dimmed the visions of dollar signs in the eyes of America's largest corporations, which, according to a new report from Make the Road New York, the Center for Popular Democracy, New York Communities for Change, and the Partnership for Working Families, are behind a company making one of the wall prototypes and stand to benefit handsomely.[…]

Read the full article:
Download the report:

Friday, December 8, 2017

Border communities condemn Border Patrol murder of migrant

SOA Watch
December 6, 2017
On November 29, 2017, Border Patrol agents from the Tucson Sector shot and killed a migrant in a remote region of the Baboquivari mountains on the Tohono O’odham Nation. Rodolfo Karisch, Chief Patrol Agent of the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector, justified the killing, saying that after two agents chased and tried to detain a group, one individual became “assaultive.” There is no independent corroboration of this version of events.

We recognize this as murder, and part of a larger trend of Border Patrol acting with impunity in remote desert regions. Border Patrol tactics of chase and scatter are violent and regularly result in death and disappearance.

The shooting happened on Tohono O’odham land, high in the mountains, over 20 miles from the border. This is a direct result of border militarization where urban crossings have been sealed and internal checkpoints have been implemented, pushing people further into the mountains where agency accountability and oversight is impossible.

We reject the categories of criminalization that puts every migrant and refugee in the borderlands directly in the crosshairs of Border Patrol sights. These boundaries and borders were drawn by the imposition of a white settler nation and US imperialism. Border enforcement is genocide. This impunity to kill will not go unchallenged.

We demand the opening of investigations of the 55 people murdered directly by Border Patrol and we demand justice for all the victims and their families.

No one deserves to die this way. We grieve this life, and all lives lost in the militarized borderlands.

With rage,
Coalición de Derechos Humanos / SOA Watch / Border Patrol Victims Network/  No More Deaths / Chukson Water Protectors / L.U.P.E. Action Committee / Alliance for Global Justice / PanLeft / Split Seeds Productions / Tuell Consulting / Tucson Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ) / Casa Mariposa / Borderlinks / LUCHA / Spoken Futures / La Pilita / Observatorio de Derechos Humanos de los Pueblos / Soldepaz – Pachakuti / Red de  Colectivos La Araña Feminista de Venezuela / Corriente Revolucionaria Bolívar y Zamora de Venezuela / Movimiento Agro Comunal Bolivariano de Venezuela / Comisión Multisectorial del Uruguay / Red de Integración Orgánica – Rio – Por la Defensa de la Madre Tierra y los Derechos Humanos de Guatemala / Confederación Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas, Indígenas y Negras (FENOCIN) de Ecuador / Confederación Sindical Única De Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB) / Stop the Wall /Palestinian Farmers Union / Palestinian New Federation of Trade Unions / Palestine Youth Forum / Association for Farmers’ Rights and for the Preservation of the environment / Women Center for Social Development / Association Jadayel / Palestinian Center for Culture, Arts and creativity / Palestinian Farmers Society-Tulkarem / Ni’lin Society for Development and Community Work / Popular Council to Protect the Jordan Valley / Movimiento Nacional del Poder Popular – México / Movimiento Nacional del Poder Popular Zacatecas / Movimiento del Magisterio Democrático Nacional, Comité Ejecutivo Nacional Democrático del Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación en Lucha (CEND del SNTE en Lucha) / Asamblea de los Pueblos en Defensa del Territorio, la  Educación Pública, Laica, Gratuita y los Derechos Humanos / Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra en San Salvador Atenco (FPDT-Atenco) / Consejo de Defensa de los Derechos del Pueblo (CODEP-MNPP) / Consejo de Organizaciones Interdisciplinarias Vinculadas por Oaxaca (COIVO) / Coordinación de Comunidades Indígenas de la Sierra Sur (COCISS) / Comité de Defensa Ciudadana (CODECI) / Contingentes del Comité Ejecutivo Nacional Democrático del SNTE en Lucha (CEND SNTE en Lucha) / Congreso Nacional de Bases / Movimiento del Magisterio Democrático Nacional: Sección III de Baja California Sur /  Sección V de Campeche/ Sección X de la Ciudad de México / Sección XIII y XLV de Guanajuato / Sección XIV de Guerrero / Sección XV de Hidalgo / Movimiento Magisterial Jalisciense, Secciones XVI y XLVII de Jalisco / Sección XVIII de Michoacán / Movimiento Magisterial de Bases / Sección XIX de Morelos / Consejo Democrático Magisterial Poblano: Secciones XXIII y LI de Puebla / Movimiento Magisterial de Bases de Querétaro, Sección XXIV de Querétaro / Bases Magisteriales Democráticas de Quintana Roo, Sección XXV de Q. Roo / Bases Magisteriales de Tabasco, Sección XXIX de Tabasco, Trabajadores del Colegio de Bachilleres de Tabasco / Comité Estatal Democrático, Sección XXXII y LVI de Veracruz / Sección XXXVI del Valle de México / Consejo Nacional de Sistematización; Escuelas Integrales de Educación Básica de Michoacán / Colectivo Pedagógico “Francisco Javier Acuña Hernández” / Promotora del Poder Popular de Michoacán / Caja Popular de Ahorro “Emiliano Zapata” / Colectivo de Estudios “Ricardo Flores Magón” / Barzón Federación: Estado de México, Querétaro, Morelos, Veracruz, Guerrero y Distrito Federal / Organización Nacional del Poder Popular (ONPP) / Organización Nacional del Poder Popular de Morelos (ONPP-MORELOS) / Organización Nacional del Poder Popular del D.F. / Asamblea Permanente de los Pueblos de Morelos / Instituto Mexicano de Desarrollo Comunitario (IMDEC) / Centro de Atención en Derechos Humanos a la Mujer y el Menor Indígena (CADHMMI) / Centro Regional Indígena en Derechos Humanos “Ñuu-Savi” (CERIDH).

Attorneys Hold Chilly Protest as Immigration Arrests at Court Surge

"ICE out of the courts": protest, Brooklyn Borough Hall. Photo: Phil Josselyn
By Amanda Ottaway, Courthouse News Service
December 7, 2017
BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) – A week after public defenders staged a walkout in protest of immigration agents carrying out courthouse arrests, attorneys joined a throng of several hundred protesters Thursday on the chilly front steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall.

“Hey, hey, ho, ho, ICE has got to go,” they chanted, using the abbreviation for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that appeared in many of the home-made signs dotting the crowd.

“Melt ICE,” one said. Against a backdrop of these signs, and more official placards that carried the names of groups like the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, the Osborne Association and New York City Public Defenders, several speakers addressed the crowd in both Spanish and English.[…]

Read the full article:

Modern Courts releases Report on ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and New York Courts
Protecting the Administration of Justice in New York State: Impact of ICE Arrests on New Yorkers’ Access to State Courthouses

December 5, 2017
Press Release : New York, NY – The Fund for Modern Courts today released a report entitled, Protecting the Administration of Justice in New York State: Impact of ICE Arrests on New Yorkers’ Access to State Courthouses, which proposes four new policies and protocols to ameliorate the significant increase of enforcement actions by U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (“ICE”) in state courthouses and to ensure the proper administration of justice.

Amelia T.R. Starr, Esq., Vice Chair of the Fund for Modern Courts and one of the authors of the report, said, “Immigrants are intimidated by ICE’s deliberate decision to target New York’s courthouses for enforcement actions. They fear ICE retaliation at the courthouse steps. Every time fear of ICE keeps a New Yorker from entering the courthouse, access to justice is compromised.”[…]

Read the report:

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Resistance at Tule Lake Screens at the Austin Asian American Film Festival!

Resistance at Tule Lake is having its Texas Premiere!
JOIN US at the Austin Asian American Film Festival (AAAFF) where we are IN COMPETITION for Best Documentary Feature!
 "While the dominant narrative of the mass incarceration of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II has been one of general cooperation, filmmaker Konrad Aderer (ENEMY ALIEN) explores the much-suppressed history of those who protested their unjust imprisonment. When forced to pledge their unconditional loyalty to the United States government, many refused. Some were deported to Japan, and over 12,000 were deemed “disloyal” and relocated to what came to be known as the Tule Lake Segregation Center, a militarized camp where resistant citizens faced further abuse and torture. Aderer combines rare historical footage with emotional oral histories from survivors and their descendants to uncover the overlooked stories of Japanese American citizens who protested racism, immigrant scapegoating, and white supremacy. RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE sheds light on a dark period in American history and offers a reminder of the dangers of fear, hate, and the marginalization of immigrant and minority communities."
– D. Mauro

AFS Cinema
#Suite 3100
Austin, TX 78752

Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 3:15PM
*Screening preceded by short film Cliff, Superfan! 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Emergency Rally, Brooklyn, 12/7/17: #ICEOut of the Courts Now!

Update, 12/16/17: There will be another protest for immigrant rights in the evening. RALLY Against Muslim Ban + Tax Scam and Fight for DREAM Act @ Washington Square Park, Dec 7 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm,

Thursday, December 7, 2017
1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Brooklyn Borough Hall
209 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201

On Tuesday, dozens of public defenders walked out of Brooklyn Criminal Court after a Legal Aid client was detained by Immigration & Customs Enforcement in Brooklyn Criminal Court in collaboration with Court Officers and the Court Administration. They marched to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, demanding that the Office of Court Administration and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore implement a policy to would prevent New York Court staff from collaborating with ICE officers or entering Court property.

Please join us on Thursday, December 7th, at 1pm at Brooklyn Borough Hall for a mass rally with our union, other attorneys, and community and immigrant organizations to demand that the Office of Court Administration and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore implement a policy to bar ICE agents from entering NY Court property.

For more information and a list of endorsers:

Legal Aid Lawyers Stage Walkout After Yet Another ICE Court Arrest
Court officers threaten to arrest any attorneys who don’t comply with deportation actions

By Noah Hurowitz and Felipe De La Hoz, Village Voice
November 28, 2017
Photo: Association of Legal Aid Attorneys
Chaos erupted at Brooklyn Criminal Court Tuesday morning after agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement snatched a defendant in the hallway, prompting a walkout by public defenders and accusations from court officers that Legal Aid attorneys had physically attacked them.

Genaro Rojas Hernandez, thirty, was in court to face charges of violating a restraining order. Just after 11 a.m., after a judge asked him and his court-appointed attorney to step into the hallway with a Spanish interpreter, Hernandez was arrested by ICE agents, according to his lawyer, Rebecca Kavanagh. After the arrest, attorneys with the Legal Aid Society stormed out of the courthouse on Schermerhorn Street and held a noisy picket line outside the building, calling on immigration officials to stay out of the courthouse.[…]

Read the full article:

Why Is ICE Arresting Immigrants in New York City’s Courts?
Despite New York’s being a sanctuary city, ICE is prowling the courtrooms.

By Michelle Chen, The Nation
December 5, 2017
Last week, a Brooklyn court building became the latest flashpoint in Trump’s border war: Genaro Rojas-Hernandez, an undocumented immigrant, was at a criminal court for an unrelated assault charge, when he was arrested by ICE agents. The clash between federal immigration agents and a local criminal-justice process spoke to a new constitutional crisis unfolding in the city’s criminal-justice system.[…]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Want to limit migration? We can start by supporting democracy in Honduras.

This Washington Post op-ed is one of the few pieces in the mainstream U.S. media to note the link between immigration from Honduras and the corrupt and repressive U.S.-backed government there. Far from connecting the dots, most U.S. media are downplaying the current electoral crisis. By contrast, there’s excellent reporting from Allan Nairn and others on the ground on Democracy Now! for December 5.—TPOI editor

By Kendra McSweeney and Sarah Chayes, Washington Post
December 5, 2017
The news out of Honduras has taken dizzying turns since the Nov. 26 presidential election — some predictably sickening, but some so exceptional as to startle even veteran analysts of this Central American country. A partial recount of disputed ballots now puts the incumbent, Juan Orlando Hernandez, ahead by a whisker – after inexplicable halts and delays in the counting.

That Hernandez should seek to doctor the numbers is no surprise. What is remarkable — and what deserves the support of democracies everywhere — is the civic patriotism of everyday Hondurans, who braved the odds to vote massively against a power grab Hernandez has been engineering for years.[…]

Read the full article:
Police tear-gas protesters in Tegucigalpa. Photo: Reuters

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Jury Acquits in Trump’s Favorite “Immigrant Crime” Case

After six days of deliberation, on November 30 a San Francisco jury acquitted Mexican immigrant José Inez García Zárate of murder and manslaughter charges in the July 2015 shooting death of Kate Steinle. Prosecutors said García Zarate (AKA Juan Francisco López-Sánchez and Francisco Sánchez) had purposely shot into a crowd of tourists, while the defense claimed the bullet, which hit Steinle on a ricochet, was fired accidentally. The jurors found the prosecution case open to reasonable doubt, although they convicted the defendant of felonious possession of a firearm.
José Inez García Zárate. Photo: Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle
President Trump and rightwing propagandists like Ann Coulter had tirelessly exploited Steinle’s death as an example of violent crime by undocumented immigrants against U.S. citizens—and as a justification for border walls, mass deportations, and a cutoff of funds to so-called “sanctuary cities.” Naturally, the president and his supporters tweeted furiously against the jury’s decision.

Sloppy media coverage of the case has tended to provide cover for Trump’s side. For example, there’s been almost no discussion of how a revolver fell into the hands of a homeless immigrant in San Francisco. An agent of the Bureau of Land Management had left the loaded weapon inside a car parked in a high-crime part of the city—a violation of BLM policy and an invitation to theft. It's not clear whether the BLM, an obscure federal agency, has disciplined the careless officer—or explained why its employees would ever need to carry arms.

Meanwhile, media outlets repeat endlessly that García Zarate had seven felony convictions and was deported five times. Sources rarely mention that four of the convictions involved drug possession and the remaining convictions were for illegal re-entry of the U.S. None of the convictions were for violent crimes, although Trump and others dishonestly called the immigrant violent. García Zarate seems to be a mentally disturbed person with a drug problem; at one point a federal court recommended sending him to a medical facility. And if anything, his record of deportations should make people question the wisdom of shipping immigrants out of the country as a way to stop crime. They can come back, and no amount of border security guarantees that they won’t. Wouldn’t it have been better to keep García Zarate here and try to deal with his drug issues?

Actually, what would happen if we provided drug addicts treatment instead of imprisonment, tried to rehabilitate foreign-born convicts instead of deporting them, and limited the number of irresponsible government employees roaming the streets heavily armed? Probably Kate Steinle would be alive today, along with many others, including a large number of the more than 59,000 who died of opioid overdoses last year.—TPOI editor 

Kate Steinle trial: Garcia Zarate acquitted in San Francisco pier killing

By Vivian Ho, San Francisco Chronicle
November 30, 2017
A jury handed a stunning acquittal on murder and manslaughter charges to a homeless undocumented immigrant whose arrest in the killing of Kate Steinle on a San Francisco Bay pier intensified a national debate over sanctuary laws.

In returning its verdict Thursday afternoon on the sixth day of deliberations, the Superior Court jury also pronounced Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty of assault with a firearm, finding credence in defense attorneys’ argument that the shot that ricocheted off the concrete ground before piercing Steinle’s heart was an accident, with the gun discharging after the defendant stumbled upon it on the waterfront on July 1, 2015.[…]

Read the full article:

Trump Is Outraged an Undocumented Immigrant Just Got Acquitted of Murder
The president called the verdict "disgraceful" after making Kate Steinle's killing a centerpiece of his border wall proposal.

By Drew Schwartz, Vice
December 1, 2017
A murder case that helped fuel Donald Trump's call for a border wall ended in an acquittal on Thursday when a San Francisco jury found undocumented immigrant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty in the shooting death of 32-year-old Kate Steinle, the Washington Post reports.[…]

Read the full article:

Federal agent’s loaded gun, left unsecured in a car, killed Kate Steinle
So why is all the attention on an immigrant who was at the end of an unfortunate chain of events?

By Matt Gonzalez, 48 Hills (San Francisco)
July 21, 2017
Kate Steinle was killed two years ago in San Francisco after a gun stolen from a car was discharged on Pier 14, a popular tourist attraction. Homeless immigrant Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez handled a discarded bundle that contained the firearm, resulting in the unintentional shooting. A single bullet ricocheted off the ground, travelling 100 feet before striking Steinle.[…]

Read the full article:

The Scapegoating of Sanctuary Cities
San Francisco has become an anti-immigration punching bag in the wake of a grisly killing. But there’s little evidence that the city’s sanctuary law was to blame.

By Daniel Denvir, CityLab
July 9, 2015
An undocumented immigrant named Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez allegedly shot and killed Kathryn Steinle on San Francisco's Embarcadero last Wednesday. And it turns out that the city's Sheriff's Department had released Lopez-Sanchez earlier this year after refusing an Immigration and Customs Enforcement request to detain him—all to comply with a city policy protecting everyday undocumented immigrants from deportation.[...]

Read the full article:

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Republicans Are Commodifying Immigrants at the Expense of US Students

A House tax bill could push thousands of US graduate students out of careers in science and technology, weakening the US edge in those fields. Are Republicans hoping to replace them with immigrant scientists and tech workers already educated by their countries of origin?

Photo: Michele Piacquadio / Getty Images
By David L. Wilson, Truthout
November 29, 2017
One of the many outrages in the tax bill passed by the House of Representatives on November 16 is the elimination or reduction of tax breaks for many college and graduate school students. Probably the most drastic measure is one that could affect approximately 145,000 grad students now working as low-paid research or teaching assistants. These students might see their federal tax payments rise to as much as $10,000 a year, enough to force many of them to drop out of school. About 60 percent of the students are in the fields known collectively as STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math.

What is especially striking about this measure is that the same Republican politicians that pushed it through the House claim they want to "make America great again."[...]

Read the full article:

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Texas Detention Center Faces Allegations of Widespread Sexual Abuse—Again

Abuse of this nature is "very widespread" at Hutto, said one woman who has accused a guard at the detention facility of repeatedly sexually assaulting her. "It is a big problem in this place," she said.

Photo: John Moore/Getty Images
By Tina Vasquez, Rewire
November 22, 2017
More women have made public allegations of sexual abuse at the T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, Texas, after Laura Monterrosa came forward earlier this month with claims that a guard at the facility had sexually abused her over several months. Monterrosa continues to be detained at Hutto and says the guard is still employed at the facility.

In a Rewire interview conducted Friday through an interpreter, Monterrosa claimed that she had seen her abuser just moments prior. “When was the last time you saw her,” the interpreter asked Monterrosa in Spanish. “Now, just about 20 minutes ago,” Monterrosa responded.[...]

Read the full article:

@Rewire_News tweeted out a link to the article with this timely comment:
Even as the movement shines a light on sexual abuse by public figures, state-sanctioned abuse is happening in broad daylight at US immigrant detention centers

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Border News: New Suit Over CBP Abuses, No Need for More Agents, the Art of the Border, Trumpist Illiteracy

“Not Forgotten”: Graves of people who died trying to cross the border. Photo: David Bacon
U.S. Illegally Denying Immigrants Their Right to Seek Asylum at the Mexican Border, According to Lawsuit

By Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept
November 16, 2017
The Trump Administration may be engaged in widespread violations of U.S. and international law at the southern U.S. border, according to new filings in a California lawsuit. The filings offer the latest piece of evidence of a systematic campaign aimed at turning away asylum-seekers, actions linked to the embrace of hard-line immigration enforcement policies at the heart of the president’s rise to power.[…]

Read the full article:

The Border Patrol Doesn’t Know What to Do With the Thousands of Agents Trump Wants to Hire

By Kathryn Casteel, FiveThirtyEight
November 15, 2017
President Trump signed two executive orders soon after his inauguration calling for the Department of Homeland Security to hire thousands of new Border Patrol and immigration agents. But now, two new government analyses show that there may be major obstacles to meeting those expectations. The department has not only fallen short on hiring efforts even before Trump issued his orders but also can’t provide data to show how it would use additional agents — or that there’s even a need for them.[…]

Read the full article:

The Art of the Border: Looking for Kikito
[T]he way the border is objectified and used can make people in Mexico suspicious about how people on the other side of the wall see them, when they see them at all. 

By David Bacon, Capital and Main, American Prospect
October 26, 2017
For almost an hour Laura, Moises and I drove through the dusty neighborhoods of Tecate, looking for Kikito.  Tecate is a small city in the dry hills of Baja California, next to the U.S. border.  It's famous for a huge brewery, although today most workers find jobs in local maquiladoras.

When we asked for directions, a couple of people had heard of Kikito, but couldn't tell us where he was.  Most didn't know who we were talking about. […]

Read the full article:

Immigration Reform Law Institute's Brian Lonergan: "America has seen enough tragedies result from its open boarders"

The White House, Office of the Press Secretary
November 14, 2017

That’s right—with all of Trump’s ranting about borders, his White House press office doesn’t know how to spell the word.—TPOI editor

Read the press release:

Friday, November 17, 2017

Are Trump’s Attacks on Immigrants Backfiring?

The Trump administration is forging ahead with its assault on immigrants. For example, White House chief of staff John Kelly, a man the New York Times once labeled “sensible,” continues to display the vicious tendencies he revealed during his brief tenure as Homeland Security head. The latest instance is his unsuccessful effort to terminate Temporary Protected Status for tens of thousands of Hondurans (see below). But the Trump program is generating renewed resistance to the anti-immigrant agenda:

  • Some Trump supporters are getting upset when they learn that the “bad hombres” being detained may actually be friends and neighbors.
  • Grassroots activism has resulted in the release on bond of a detained Cambodian domestic violence survivor; the government is attempting to “repatriate” her to Cambodia, a country she’s never seen.
  • A dozen cities are developing programs to provide free legal counsel to help people caught up in the immigration court system.
  • A media organization is pushing television networks to end their negative portrayal of immigrants. (A study finds that 50 percent of Latino immigrant characters were depicted as criminals in programs from 2014 to 2016—which could have a lot to do with public belief in a nonexistent immigrant crime wave.)
 The administration’s anti-immigrant policies may be starting to backfire.—TPOI editor

White House chief of staff tried to pressure acting DHS secretary to expel thousands of Hondurans, officials say

By Nick Miroff, Washington Post
November 9, 2017
On Monday, as the Department of Homeland Security prepared to extend the residency permits of tens of thousands of Hondurans living in the United States, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly called acting secretary Elaine Duke to pressure her to expel them, according to current and former administration officials.[…]

Read the full article:

Two children video chat a deported friend. Photo: Erika Schultz/Seattle Times
A Washington county that went for Trump is shaken as immigrant neighbors start disappearing

By Nina Shapiro, Seattle Times
November 9, 2017 (updated November 15, 2017)
LONG BEACH, Pacific County — Named after a character in a cowboy book, Police Chief Flint Wright describes himself as pretty conservative.

A portrait of Ronald Reagan hangs in his office, along with photos of John Wayne, and his father and grandfather on horses — capturing the rural lifestyle of Pacific County, which curves around Willapa Bay in the state’s southwest corner.[…]

Read the full article:

ICE Releases Asian American Sexual Assault Survivor After Viral Social Media Protest

By Carl Samson, NetShark
November 15, 2017
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released Ny Nourn, the sexual assault survivor it plans to deport to Cambodia, after an extensive social media campaign.

Nourn, who immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 5 after spending her early childhood in a Thai refugee camp, is out on bail after organizations and individual supporters rallied for her release, crowdsourcing more than $10,000 to meet her bond. The remainder of the money will be used to support her transition to freedom.[…]

Read the full article:

A New York courtroom gave every detained immigrant a lawyer. The results were staggering.
And now a dozen more cities are getting on board.

By Dara Lind, Vox
November 9, 2017
Omar Siagha has been in the US for 52 years. He’s a legal permanent resident with three children. He’d never been to prison, he says, before he was taken into Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention — faced with the loss of his green card for a misdemeanor.

His brother tried to seek out lawyers who could help Siagha, but all they offered, in his words, were “high numbers and no hope” — no guarantee, in other words, that they’d be able to get him out of detention for all the money they were charging.[…]

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Why are half of Latino immigrant TV characters portrayed as criminals?
Research shows that half of characters were shown in a negative light, but with a new generation of showrunners, the tide could soon turn

Eva Recinos, The Guardian
November 14, 2017
When the current administration announced that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) would be coming to an end, Hollywood reacted. Ava DuVernay, Shailene Woodley, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Cristela Alonzo and many others used social media and other platforms to voice their concern.

DuVernay called the move a “disgusting display of prejudice, ignorance and heartlessness”. Celebrities including Woodley tweeted information about the impact of Daca with the hashtags #DefendDACA and #HeretoStay. Miranda kept it short and simple: “Okay. The Bad Man continues to do bad. Your move, Congress.”[…]

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Organizers: 'Border Encuentro’ gained momentum in its second year

Photo: Kendal Blust/Nogagles International
By Kendal Blust, Nogales International
November 14, 2017
Under a canopy of large white flags printed with the Veterans for Peace logo, a group of activists and protestors from across the country marched through downtown Nogales on Saturday carrying signs and chanting slogans in opposition to U.S. military intervention in Latin America.

A weekend of events in Ambos Nogales and Southern Arizona that included vigils, concerts, workshops and the protest march, the second annual Border Encuentro is the re-imagining of longstanding School of the Americas Watch protests in Fort Benning, Ga., with organizers calling for an end to U.S. policies that they say are the root causes of migration and have had devastating effects on refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants.

“We’ve been at this for 25 years before coming to the border last year. We realized it was time to continue to call for the closing of the school but to make a closer connection to our solidarity with the issues of our country’s cruelty dealing with immigration,” said Rev. Roy Bourgeois, who helped found SOA Watch, the organization behind the protests. “The detention centers, the wall, which we see as a symbol of racism, especially now, with (President Donald Trump).”

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Friday, November 10, 2017

DACA Update #4: Thousands Protest in DC, Deported Dreamer Detained

Protesters in the Senate Office Building. Photo: Getty Images
Over 8,000 Immigrant Youth Take Over Nation’s Capitol & Walkout From Schools in CA, TX, OK, DC, MD, VA
Tell Paul Ryan & Mitch McConnell: “Pass Dream Act Now”

Dream Act is Urgent — 7,901 Young People Have Already Lost DACA Since September 5th
For Immediate Release
November 9th, 2017
National: Bruna Bouhid || 202-850-0812
Sheridan Aguirre | | 202.793.2267
Texas: Chris Valdez | | 713-352-8197

Washington, DC & cities nationwide – Today, just over two months after Trump killed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, over a thousand immigrant youth and people of conscience took over the Hart Senate Building at the nation’s Capitol to demand Congress pass a clean Dream Act before the end of this year: a path to citizenship with permanent protection and no dangerous enforcement add-ons.

New data released today underscores the urgency for a clean Dream Act now as 7,901 undocumented youth have already lost DACA protections since September 5th of this year.

Over 1,500 young people walked out of DC Capitol area schools and traveled from Oregon, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Georgia, Massachusetts, California, New York, Kansas, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Oklahoma.[...]

Read the full press release:

‘Undocumented, unafraid.’: DACA recipients storm the U.S. Capitol
'Dream Act now:' Students lead protest inside Hart Senate Office Building

Photo: Astrid Riecken/Washington Post)
By Perry Stein, Washington Post
November 9, 2017
They ditched school and marched to Capitol Hill en masse, then filled four floors of balconies in the vast atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. Silent at first, fists raised in the air, they soon erupted into bellowing chants that echoed through the massive marble-clad room.

“Dream Act. Dream Act.”

“Sí se puede. Sí se puede.”

The demonstration Thursday involving high school and college students from the Washington region and beyond was the latest attempt by undocumented immigrants and their advocates to keep Congress focused on their plight.[…]

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First DREAMer deported under Trump arrested again for trying to enter U.S.

Alan Gomez, USA Today
November 8, 2017
The first known DREAMer to allege he was improperly deported by U.S. Border Patrol agents was arrested for trying to illegally re-enter the country for the second time this year, authorities said Wednesday.

Juan Manuel Montes, 23, was caught late Monday after he was spotted on the U.S. side of the border by agents monitoring video feeds near Calexico, Calif., where he had lived for most of his life, according to a Border Patrol statement. Montes ran for about 200 yards, dropped to the ground, tried to flee again as Border Patrol agents approached him, but was quickly caught and arrested.

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Saturday, November 4, 2017

EXPOSED: the “Anchor Baby” Hypocrisy

For years anti-immigrant pundits and politicians have been denouncing undocumented women they say come here to have “anchor babies”—U.S. citizen children who supposedly will protect them from deportation. For example, during the 2016 campaign Donald Trump claimed that birthright citizenship was “the biggest magnet for illegal immigration.”

Of course, it’s hard to imagine anything more absurd than the idea that actual women would risk their lives crossing deserts and mountains in order to have children who would have to wait 21 years before applying for legal status for their parents. And as Yale student Viviana Andazola Marquez’s powerful New York Times op-ed reminds us, the immigration authorities can still turn grown children’s applications down and put their parents in deportation proceedings.

Then there’s the case of the 17-year-old undocumented “Jane Doe” being detained in Texas. After arriving here, she learned that she was pregnant. She opted for an abortion, but the immigration authorities tried to deny her access to the procedure—that is, they tried to force her to have a so-called “anchor baby.” Could there be any greater hypocrisy? Maybe. The ACLU sued on the girl’s behalf, and eventually she was allowed to terminate the pregnancy. Now Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department is looking for a way to punish the ACLU’s lawyers for helping the girl.—TPOI editor

[For two other recent examples of immigration officials abusing their powers in order to deny the rights of young women and girls, go here and here.]
Photo: Courtesy Viviana Andazola Marquez
I Accidentally Turned My Dad In to Immigration Services

By Viviana Andazola Marquez, New York Times
October 24, 2017
This month my father and I drove to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Centennial, Colo., for a routine visit. I offered to drive because my dad was too nervous and excited to take the wheel. “How long have we waited for this day?” he asked me. He had been told to come in for a final interview before he could get approved for legal permanent residency.

But the meeting turned into a nightmare. Several hours after we arrived, I found myself alone, in disbelief. My dad had been detained and was facing deportation proceedings.[...]

Read the full article:
Photo: Michael S. Williamson /Washington Post via Getty
The Trump Officials Making Abortion an Issue at the U.S.’s Refugee Office

By Jonathan Blitzer, New Yorker
October 26, 2017
The Department of Health and Human Services has a trillion-dollar operating budget, a staff of close to eighty thousand, and more than a hundred programs under its watch, including Medicare, Medicaid, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also oversees the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a relatively small program tasked with caring for recently arrived refugees. During the past month, O.R.R., in defiance of state and federal court orders, tried to keep a seventeen-year-old girl in its custody from having an abortion. Identified only as “Jane Doe,” she was living in an O.R.R.-funded shelter in Texas, where state law prohibits abortions after twenty weeks. At issue wasn’t the use of federal money (a nonprofit raised the funds necessary for the abortion) or logistics (the girl’s legal guardian had offered to transport her to and from a medical facility). The matter was political.[…]

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Jane Doe Speaks

By Antonia Hylton, VICE
October 25, 2017
A drawn-out court battle between the Trump administration and an undocumented teenager over her right to get an abortion ended Wednesday morning, when the teen received an abortion after weeks of legal wrangling. VICE News Tonight on HBO exclusively interviewed the 17-year-old immigrant, known in court papers as Jane Doe, in Texas last Thursday after she received state-mandated counseling about the procedure.[…]

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Justice Department Accuses A.C.L.U. of Misconduct in Abortion Case

By Adam Liptak, New York Times
November 3, 2017
WASHINGTON — In an extraordinary Supreme Court filing on Friday, the Justice Department accused the American Civil Liberties Union of misconduct in the case of an undocumented teenager in government custody known as Jane Doe. The teenager obtained an abortion last month over the government’s objection after an appeals court allowed it.[…]

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Friday, November 3, 2017

Child With Cerebral Palsy Detained by Border Agents After Surgery Reunited With Family

November 3, 2017
Inga Sarda-Sorensen, ACLU National, 347-514-3984,
Stephen Wilson, ACLU of Texas, 713-325-7010,

SAN ANTONIO — The federal government has released 10-year-old Rosa Maria Hernandez. The American Civil Liberties Union brought a lawsuit seeking to release her from government custody and reunite her with her family.

“Rosa Maria is finally free. We’re thrilled that she can go home to heal surrounded by her family's love and support,” said Michael Tan, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “Despite our relief, Border Patrol’s decision to target a young girl at a children’s hospital remains unconscionable. No child should go through this trauma and we are working to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”[…]

Read the full press release:

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Update on Detained Child With Cerebral Palsy

Photo: The Independent/courtesty of family
We’re Suing the Government for Its Detention and Abuse of Rosa Maria, a 10-Year-Old Child With Cerebral Palsy

By Amrit Cheng, ACLU
October 31, 2017
At this very moment, the Office of Refugee Resettlement is detaining Rosa Maria Hernandez, a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who recently underwent gallbladder surgery, and is refusing to release her into the care of her family, despite her doctor’s advice. How exactly did this child become the Trump administration’s target for deportation? It’s an egregious case of government overreach, and now the subject of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit.[...]

Read the full article:

Here are just a few of the suggested actions currently online:

Call the Office of Refugee Resettlement: petition: Let 10-year-old Rosa Maria go!
Dream Activist Petition: Tell ICE to Close Rosa Maria's Deportation Case!

Upside Down World Has Relaunched; Now Let’s Help It Expand

Dear friends,

As you know, many immigrants to the United States come from Latin American and the Caribbean, and understanding developments in those regions is an important part of understanding how to address immigration policy.

Recently Upside Down World, an indispensable source for news from the Latin American grassroots, relaunched after a brief hiatus. Upside Down World is now looking for ways to continue and expand its coverage. The site is seeking monthly subscribers, as described below. Please join us in supporting this important effort.

TPOI authors

Since launching in 2003, Upside Down World has received no funding or support from any government or corporation; our reporting is free of state or corporate influence, allowing us to share analyses and follow stories without constraint. So we depend on you, our readership, to sustain and expand this grassroots media outlet. Your monthly subscription will help provide fair compensation for everyone’s work at Upside Down World—the only way to guarantee quality on-the-ground reporting, analyses, and translations.

To support Upside Down World, go here:
(If you don’t get the subscription page immediately, click on “Overview.”)

Friday, October 27, 2017

Immigration, the Drug War and Big Pharma: Where’s the Outrage?

Here are three stories that have been in the news recently. The corporate media have presented them as unrelated; nothing could be further from the truth .

An article in the New Yorker details how the Sackler family’s privately owned Purdue Pharma was a major force in creating the current opioid epidemic, thanks to deceptive marketing and a suspiciously cozy relation with the FDA. The multibillionaire family also played a role in promoting the overuse of Valium and Librium starting in the 1960s. Purdue has had to pay some fines and a few of its officers have been punished with brief probation periods, but these are slaps on the wrist considering the billions the Sacklers have raked in over the years. Until recently the family’s members have been best known for their philanthropic work.

While looking the other way as de facto drug cartels like the Sackler family operate freely here, the US government continues to spend billions of dollars on a decades-long “drug war” that has created chaos and caused tens of thousands of deaths in Latin America and the Caribbean. One example is an operation in Honduras five years ago that killed four civilians. Agents of the US Drug Enforcement Administration were involved, and the agency dishonestly and typically blamed the victims—including two pregnant women and a 14-year-old boy. A video obtained by the New York Times reveals the absurdity of the DEA’s claim.
Juana Jackson, right, a victim of the DEA's operation in Ahuas. Foto: dickemahonduras
Inevitably, thousands of people, including large numbers of children, try to flee here from the crime and violence the US government has created in their own countries. Many of the children have been incarcerated in detention centers and then shipped back home to face more drug-induced violence. This was the policy under the Obama administration, but it’s not good enough for the Trump regime. In September Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the kids are “wolves in sheep's clothing” who “prey upon our communities” and “decapitate individuals with machetes, baseball bats and chains.” In response to the supposed problem, the White House wants to make the asylum system even more difficult than it is currently.

What is the result of waging a “drug war” in other countries and tolerating drug pushing here by Big Pharma? A Times graph gives us a good idea: the US had less than 10,000 deaths from drug overdoses in 1980; in 2016 the number was more than 59,000.

We have to wonder how outraged the US population would be if the media explained the links between these stories. But if the media won’t do it, it’s up to activists to get out to the public and connect the dots.—TPOI editor

The Family That Built an Empire of Pain
The Sackler dynasty’s ruthless marketing of painkillers has generated billions of dollars—and millions of addicts.

By Patrick Radden Keefe, New Yorker
October 30, 2017
The north wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a vast, airy enclosure featuring a banked wall of glass and the Temple of Dendur, a sandstone monument that was constructed beside the Nile two millennia ago and transported to the Met, brick by brick, as a gift from the Egyptian government. The space, which opened in 1978 and is known as the Sackler Wing, is also itself a monument, to one of America’s great philanthropic dynasties. The Brooklyn-born brothers Arthur, Mortimer, and Raymond Sackler, all physicians, donated lavishly during their lifetimes to an astounding range of institutions, many of which today bear the family name: the Sackler Gallery, in Washington; the Sackler Museum, at Harvard; the Sackler Center for Arts Education, at the Guggenheim; the Sackler Wing at the Louvre; and Sackler institutes and facilities at Columbia, Oxford, and a dozen other universities.[...]

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D.E.A. Says Hondurans Opened Fire During a Drug Raid. A Video Suggests Otherwise.
“The D.E.A. convinced themselves of a false version of events due to arrogance, false assumptions, and ignorance,” said Tim Rieser, an aide to Senator Patrick J. Leahy.

By Mattathias Schwartz, New York Times
October 23, 2017
WASHINGTON — The Drug Enforcement Administration has for five years steadfastly defended the behavior of its agents in a late-night drug seizure carried out with Honduran forces on the remote Mosquito Coast, a mission that resulted in the deaths of four Honduran civilians.

In the D.E.A.’s view, the dead — one man, two women and a 14-year-old boy — were among those on a boat that shot at a canoe carrying a joint D.E.A.-Honduran antidrug team. The D.E.A. said it had evidence in the form of night-vision video taken from a surveillance plane showing an “exchange of gunfire” between the two vessels after the larger boat collided with the canoe carrying the agents.[...]

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Sessions: Many unaccompanied minors are 'wolves in sheep's clothing'

By Lauren Dezenski, Politico
September 21, 2017
BOSTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions is warning that many unaccompanied minors trying to enter the U.S. across its southern border are gang members whom the country should view as “wolves in sheep's clothing.”

In a speech to local and national law enforcement this afternoon in Boston, Sessions said transnational gangs like Central America-based MS-13, use what’s known as the ‘unaccompanied refugee minors’ program to “as a means by which to recruit new members.”[...]

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