Thursday, April 26, 2018

DACA Update #5: What Does the Latest Ruling Mean?

On April 24 DC District Court John D. Bates issued a complicated decision on DACA which many people seem to misunderstand. The short version is that the judge ordered a complete reinstatement of DACA unless the Trump administration comes up with a better reason for ending it. The government has 90 days to improve its original claims, and of course a higher court could overrule Bates. So the decision definitely doesn’t mean DACA recipients are safe.
DACA supporters march in San Francisco. Photo: David Bacon
Bates objected to errors in the grounds Jeff Sessions gave last September for rescinding DACA (see DACA Update #2 for other issues with Sessions on DACA). Basically Sessions' problem was that the DACA termination was going to be unpopular, so he wanted to find statutory and constitutional objections to the program instead of admitting the administration just didn't want it. But he botched the job.

Presumably the administration could use the 90 days to find a competent lawyer who could construct a better case for ending DACA.

Here’s a link to Bates’ decision, which is long and closely reasoned:

And here’s the letter Sessions wrote in September to justify ending DACA:

This is a news article on the decision from Vox’s Dara Lind:

And here’s a news article on the administration’s response initial response to Bates; it’s as sloppy as Sessions’ original memo:

Finally, this is TPOI  co-author Wilson’s comment on the New York Times article about Bates’ rejection of  Sessions’ rationale for terminating DACA: 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Hundreds of Immigrant Children Have Been Taken From Parents at U.S. Border

Officials presented Mr. Trump with a list of proposals, including the plan to routinely separate immigrant adults from their children. The president urged Ms. Nielsen to move forward with the policies, the person said.
Photo: Jennifer Whitney/NY Times 
By Caitlin Dickerson, New York Times
April 20, 2018
On Feb. 20, a young woman named Mirian arrived at the Texas border carrying her 18-month-old son. They had fled their home in Honduras through a cloud of tear gas, she told border agents, and needed protection from the political violence there.

She had hoped she and her son would find refuge together. Instead, the agents ordered her to place her son in the back seat of a government vehicle, she said later in a sworn declaration to a federal court. They both cried as the boy was driven away.[…]

Read the full story:
Also see: 

Monday, April 16, 2018

NYC, 4/18/18 and 4/19/18: Migrants, Justice and Solidarity

Trump calls for militarizing the border—how should we answer him? School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch) and local organizations are sponsoring two events in New York City this week about ways to build solidarity with Mexican and Central American migrants and activists.

Justice for Migrants:
From Central America and Mexico to the Border
Wednesday, April 18th, 7pm
Holyrood Episcopal Church
(at 179th St. & Ft. Washington Avenue, Washington Heights)

Eduardo Garcia, a national organizer of the School of the Americas Watch, will discuss the transnational solidarity being built around the Observatorio de Derechos Humanos de los Pueblos in Oaxaca, which is an initiative of more than 100 organizations grassroots and popular organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean that seeks to monitor, document, disseminate, promote and demand the exercise of Peoples' Human Rights, Democracy and Social Justice from a perspective of construction and deepening of resistance, rebellion, memory and popular power.

Eduardo will show about 10 minutes of his documentary project, being co-produced with Samantha Demby, about the People’s Observatory and its caravan to the 2017 Border Encuentro in Nogales Sonora-Arizona, highlighting the importance of indigenous and women’s leadership in Observatory and its national and international solidarity actions. He will also talk about a delegation of observers for the upcoming Mexican elections, being co-organized by SOAW and the Observatorio, and how to be a part of it.

Sponsored by: NYC SOA Watch & NY CISPES. For more info., call 917-214-4870

Solidarity Knows No Borders!
From SOA Watch to the People's Human Rights Observatory

Thursday, April 19th, 7:00pm
War Resisters League
168 Canal Street, #600, Manhattan
(6, J, Z, N, R, Q, W trains to Canal Street)

The People's Human Rights Observatory is an initiative of grassroots and popular organizations in Latin America, the Caribbean and Palestine that seeks to monitor, document, disseminate, promote and demand the protection of Latin American communities Human Rights, Democracy and Social Justice from a perspective of constructing and deepening of resistance, rebellion, memory and popular power. This is an effort of more than 100 organizations, with representation from indigenous leaders, Nobel Peace Prize recipients, feminist groups, agrarian movements, academics and journalists. SOA Watch’s presence in the Observatory is the materialization of active solidarity with Latin American movements and an example of resistance against the oppressive systems perpetuated by the US imperialism. This collective effort is an example of the dignity that unites free peoples protecting their historic memory and autonomy.

With Eduardo ‘Lalo' García, Organizer with School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch), speaking against border militarization and for cross border solidarity

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Anti-Immigrant Agenda Advances: Don’t Be Distracted by Trump’s Rants

Prayer vigil in Morristown, TN, elementary school after raid. Photo: CNN
Update 4/26/18: At an April 25 congressional hearing, Jeff Sessions announced that he had changed his mind and wouldn't suspend the Legal Orientation Program, at least for now.

In a major raid on April 5, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents detained 97 employees at a family-owned meat-processing plant in Bean Station, Tennessee. The detentions devastated the rural area’s immigrant community. Local sources reported that some 600 children failed to attend school the next day, and churches were providing shelter for dozens of minors left without caregivers. More than 1,000 people gathered at a local elementary school on April 8 to show support for the detainees’ families. This was reportedly the largest workplace raid since the administration of George W. Bush, which carried out a number of massive raids, culminating in the May 2008 detention of 389 workers at a meat-processing plant in Postville, Iowa

The dramatic raid in Tennessee was hardly more than a blip in most national media. Immigration coverage that week had been overwhelmed by a burst of incoherent and fact-free rants from Donald Trump about borders and what he called “ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release.” But the raid is an important example of the extent to which the Trump administration has already been able to implement a hard-line anti-immigrant agenda without the need for Congressional approval—and without attracting a lot of attention from the media or the groups that focus on lobbying and electoral politics.

Making Bad Courts Worse

One area where the administration has concentrated its efforts is the immigration court system.

Despite the name, these courts aren’t part of the U.S. judiciary system; they’re administrative courts operated by the Department of Justice. In other words, an immigration judge is employed by the same executive branch which comes to the court seeking an immigrant’s deportation. This essential unfairness has been detailed neatly by TV satirist John Oliver. But now Attorney General Jeff Sessions is working to make the system even worse.

The immigration courts suffer from a massive backlog of more than 650,000 cases, one aggravated by the administration’s decision to step up detentions and deportations. Congress has provided funds to hire 100 additional immigration judges to help with the backlog, but this isn’t enough for Sessions. In a memo sent out at the end of March, the attorney general set a quota for immigration judges: starting in October each judge is expected to clear 700 cases a year. What this will produce is “an assembly line, not a judicial system,” according to a Los Angeles Times editorial, with “the very real risk of subverting due process rights as individual judges place their job security ahead of justice.”

Jeff Sessions. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Since the cases brought before immigration courts are civil, not criminal, the government isn’t required to provide the immigrant defendants with lawyers. Since 2003 the Justice Department has sponsored a program (the Legal Orientation Program, LOP) which gives  some relief by offering legal advice to about 50,000 immigrants each years. A 2012 Justice Department study found that the LOP actually saves the government money and helps reduce the courts’ backlog, but as of April 10 the department had suspended the program, ostensibly in order to audit its cost-effectiveness. “This is a blatant attempt by the administration to strip detained immigrants of even the pretense of due-process rights,” Mary Meg McCarthy, executive director of the National Immigrant Justice Center, told the Washington Post.

Sessions is also working to reduce the independence of the immigration court system’s appellate unit, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). The attorney general has the authority to rule on cases and even to overturn BIA decisions, but Sessions’ predecessors used the powers sparingly. In contrast, the current AG has taken over three cases this year alone and has already decided one in a way that threatens the due process rights of asylum seekers. Stephen Legomsky, a former lead counsel for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, calls the attorney general substituting his decisions for those of the BIA “analogous to a prosecutor in a criminal case deciding the case.”

Republican “Family Values”

The executive branch also has a great deal of leeway in how it handles the detention and deportation of immigrants it targets. There have been many abuses of this power in the past, but the present administration seems on track to set a record.

On April 10 the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a class action suit in federal court in Boston challenging what it charged was a pattern of the government detaining immigrants as they were applying to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)  to gain legal status as spouses of U.S. citizens. The suit cites seven cases in January alone of immigrants arrested while they were visiting USCIS offices in Massachusetts or Rhode Island while engaged in the application process.

The government can be equally harsh in the way it treats immigrants once they are detained. Before last December, immigration authorities released most pregnant immigrants while their cases were pending. The Trump administration ended the policy in December, and 506 pregnant women were placed in detention during the first three months of this year. Meanwhile, advocates say the Border Patrol has instituted a policy of separating the families of asylum seekers, leaving even very small children in isolation from their parents.

The Department of Homeland Security denies that there is a policy “that encourages the separation of parents from their children as a punitive or deterrence measure,” but advocates say there are “hundreds of cases.” This is from an administration led by a political party claiming that “family is the bedrock of our nation.”

“Thank You for Your Service”

But Trump’s immigration apparatus follows policies still more incompatible with his party’s supposed values. Sometimes it’s hard to see any motive for the government’s actions other than an eagerness to meet arrest quotas—or maybe just nastiness on the part of empowered bureaucrats.

The president claims to want “merit-based” immigration, but his immigration agents seem to have no problem targeting well-educated professionals who are already living here. In early April ICE seized a New Jersey physics teacher named Ahmed Abdelbasit and threw him into detention. If deported, Abdelbasit would face a death sentence in his native Egypt resulting from political activism. Earlier in the year ICE agents detained Syed Jamal, a chemistry teacher in Kansas, and an Illinois doctor, Lukasz Niec. Both are longtime residents with U.S. citizen children.

Deported veteran Miguel Perez
Republicans routinely call for “supporting our troops,” but this apparently doesn’t include Miguel Perez, a Mexican-born green card recipient, who served two tours in Afghanistan. Diagnosed with PTSD after his return, Perez fell into drug abuse, was convicted for an attempted cocaine sale, and served half of a 15-year sentence. The Obama administration began deportation proceedings against Perez in 2016, but the Trump administration finished the job—despite pleas from supporters, including Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). The veteran was deported to Mexico on March 24 with little more than the clothes on his back.

And what about the president’s claim to be protecting U.S. citizens from the MS-13 gang? In 2015 a Salvadoran youth on Long Island decided to quit the gang and help the authorities arrest other members. We might expect the U.S. government to shield the teenager, possibly putting him in the witness protection program in order to encourage future cooperation from others. Instead, immigration authorities placed him in detention and are now attempting to deport him to El Salvador, where he feels sure he’ll be murdered as an informant.

Such practices have of course met a great deal of criticism. Last year White House chief of staff John Kelly, then the DHS head, had an answer for critics in Congress: “If lawmakers do not like the laws they’ve passed and we are charged to enforce, then they should have the courage and skill to change the laws,” he said. “Otherwise, they should shut up and support the men and women on the front lines.”

Monday, April 9, 2018

Grassroots Resistance to the Deportation Machine: Further Considerations

 Joana Toro /VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images
An April 5 Los Angeles Times opinion piece explains some of the avenues for large-scale, coordinated grassroots resistance to Trump’s immigration agenda. In “The case for non-governmental sanctuary for immigrants,” law professors Rose Cuison Villazor and Pratheepan Gulasekaram note the “bold steps” that “many institutions of everyday life — churches, schools, employers, businesses and nonprofits of every stripe — are taking…to protect undocumented immigrants.”

In a draft article last revised on April 4, law professor Bill Ong Hing, the author of Defining America Through Immigration, notes that many major corporations have denounced the Trump government’s rescission of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Could they follow through on their denunciations by continuing to employ DACA recipients after their work permits expire?  Professor Hing considers the legal and moral implications of civil disobedience by employers.—TPOI Editor

The Case for Nongovernmental Sanctuary for Immigrants

By Pratheepan Gulasekaram and Rose Cuison Villazor, Los Angeles Times
April 5, 2018
The Trump administration intensified its fight with California last month when the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit arguing that the state's so-called sanctuary laws undermine federal immigration enforcement and are therefore unconstitutional. A few cities and counties in California have also opposed the policies in recent weeks. Despite all the bluster, California is likely to prevail. The Supreme Court's governing interpretation of the 10th Amendment protects the autonomy of states and prevents them from being conscripted into federal enforcement programs.

Whatever the outcome of the lawsuit, a new development could undercut the DOJ's anti-sanctuary campaign. Across California and the country, many institutions of everyday life — churches, schools, employers, businesses and nonprofits of every stripe — are taking bold steps to protect undocumented immigrants.[…]

Read the full article:

Beyond DACA – Defying Employer Sanctions Through Civil Disobedience

By Bill Ong Hing (draft essay)
Last revised April 4, 2018
The fact that DACA recipients — and essentially all Dreamers — have become part of the conscience of the country and a critical part of the economy is illustrated by the strong support for them exhibited by major businesses in the United States. Dozens of CEOs from companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, AT&T, Wells Fargo, Google, and Facebook urged the president to preserve the program. After the Trump Administration announced the rescission of the DACA program on September 5, 2017, even more companies denounced the action and called on Congress to pass the Dream Act before the DACA termination date of March 5, 2018.

Although the statements of support for DACA recipients and Dreamers, and calls for passage of the Dream Act are important, are employers willing to do more?[…]

Read the full draft article:

Friday, April 6, 2018

Honduras and Immigration: An Unfortunate Prediction

Hondurans in this year’s caravan. AP Photo/Felix Marquez
In November 2009 Monthly Review’s blog carried an article by Politics of Immigration co-author David Wilson about the likely impact of the June 2009 coup in Honduras on immigration from that country to the U.S.:

So far the military coup that removed Honduran president José Manuel Zelaya Rosales from office on June 28 hasn’t produced any noticeable increase in immigration from the Central American country — probably because Honduran workers and campesinos are actively organizing against the coup regime and so far have held it in check.  But the situation could change quickly if repression against these grassroots movements increases.  More than a half million people fled to the United States from the region during the 1980s, when the U.S. government was funding rightwing forces during civil conflicts in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.  And people may remember the effects of a very similar coup in Haiti in 1991: the repression that followed the overthrow of President Jean Bertrand Aristide drove tens of thousands of Haitians to undertake the dangerous sea journey to Florida in overloaded boats.

The article went on to discuss the anti-immigrant rants of James DeMint, then a senator from South Carolina and a favorite of the immigration restrictionist Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). DeMint was a strong supporter of the Honduran coup.

If the coup regime manages to hold on to power, Wilson wrote, and refugees start fleeing their country for exile in the United States, we can be sure Senator DeMint and FAIR will be among the first to ask what part of “illegal” these Hondurans don’t understand.

DeMint has passed into relative obscurity, but his co-thinkers now dictate the White House’s immigration policies. And Honduras' coup regime has held on, solidifying its power last November with an electoral victory questioned by international observers but backed by the government of Donald Trump. This week the rightwing media learned from BuzzFeed that hundreds of Hondurans were fleeing their country’s repressive government in a caravan passing through southern Mexico. Trump reacted with tweets and rants that even the corporate media qualified as “unhinged.” Now he’s moving to send National Guard forces to the border to stop what he incoherently called a “journey coming up” in which he apparently thinks “women are raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before.”

Just as predicted, unfortunately. The names have changed, but the hypocrisy hasn’t.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Stand Up, Fight Back: The Rising Militancy of the Immigrant Rights Movement

“The only way we can stop the deportations now is to demonstrate, to commit mass civil disobedience, over and over again. Sanctuary in churches must become militant mass sanctuary in the streets.”

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
April 2, 2018
Activism for immigrant rights may be about to get much more militant.

Some 1.1 million undocumented people -- beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) -- are slated to lose their protection against deportation over the next two years, along with the possibility of obtaining work permits or aid for higher education. The result will of course be devastating for them and for their relatives, friends and communities, but there will also be repercussions for the society as a whole, especially in areas with large immigrant populations.[...]

Read the full article:
May 1, 2017, in San Francisco. Photo: Peg Hunter

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Politics of Immigration Newsletter #5: Dialogues, Blog Posts, and the Gun-Immigration Connection

Dear friends,

On March 15 we facilitated an interesting and informative workshop at Northern Manhattan’s Word Up Community Bookshop. The session included a presentation on the sanctuary that the neighborhood’s Holyrood Episcopal Church has provided for Amanda Morales Guerra and her children since August 2017, and a discussion about ways to answer the sometimes uncomfortable questions people have about immigration. Many thanks to Word Up for giving us this opportunity! The bookstore is a valuable local resource for people who live in the New York area, sponsoring cultural and political events in both Spanish and English; read more about it here and here. And you can pick up a copy of The Politics of Immigration there while supporting an independent bookseller.

New Yorkers who want to show support for Amanda Morales Guerra can attend a vigil held each Friday beginning at 4:30 pm at 181st Street and Fort Washington Avenue in Northern Manhattan.
Suffolk County Community College invited us to facilitate two immigration discussions on March 22, but the event had to be cancelled because of the snowstorm that closed the college for two days. The sponsors are hoping to reschedule for later for this semester.
Jane will be facilitating a daytime class and an evening event in Champaign-Urbana, IL, on April 5 and then attending the Labor Notes Conference in Chicago from April 6 to April 8. David expects to be in the DC area for an event sometime this spring. If you’re interested in connecting with us in any of these areas, please write us at

Finally, with the renewed focus on gun violence in the United States, it’s important to remember that the U.S. arms industry also profits from gun violence in Mexico and Central America, and that this is major force driving unauthorized immigration here. Two of the blog posts below link to articles about this connection, including the role of a former head of the Border Patrol in transforming the NRA from an organization promoting gun safety to what it is today.

Some recent blog posts:
Gun Control Is an Immigration Issue: A Note on the NRA, March 27, 2018

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Gun Control Is an Immigration Issue: A Note on the NRA

And let’s not forget that the current NRA was created by a "law-abiding citizen" who gunned a Mexican teen down in cold blood and later headed the Border Patrol as it carried out the mass deportations of “Operation Wetback.”—TPOI editor
Harlon Carter in 1984. Photo: Michael Evans/National Portrait Gallery
The man responsible for the modern NRA killed a Hispanic teenager, before becoming a border agent
Harlon Carter led the evolution from sporting advocacy to political juggernaut

By Laura Smith, Timeline
July 6, 2017
In 1931, on the Laredo, Texas side of the arid U.S.-Mexico border, a teenage boy named Harlon Carter came home from school to find his mother upset. Three Hispanic boys had been loitering in front of the house. The family’s car had been stolen a few weeks before, and she thought these boys might know something about it. Racial tensions ran high in this part of the country. The newly-minted Border Patrol was operating in what historian Kelly Lytle Hernández’s Migra! refers to as “a sanctuary of violence.” A few years earlier, the Border Patrol — Carter’s father was an officer — had determined that Laredo was mostly inhabited by Mexican immigrants and had undertaken a “full-scale house cleaning.”

The elder Carter was at work and likely wouldn’t be home for hours, so the son picked up his shotgun and walked out the door….

Read the full article:

Monday, March 26, 2018

Gun Control Is an Immigration Issue

Image: Voice of America
A March 22 New Yorker piece by Jonathan Blitzer makes a connection most corporate media have steadfastly refused to make—the one between loose U.S. gun laws and unauthorized immigration to the United States.

Trump and his rightwing scriptwriters routinely stoke hysteria about the violence they claim comes from the more than 260,000 unaccompanied minors that sought asylum here from 2012 to 2017. But these migrants are themselves fleeing violence in Central America, and that violence is largely fueled by weapons smuggled from the United States. By ensuring easy access to guns here, the U.S. arms industry and its propagandists in the NRA contribute to deaths in places like Honduras just as they do in our own country. “The violence crosses from here, in the U.S., to Central America,” one asylum seeker told Blizter. “It’s the opposite of what the politicians say. Gangs and guns—those all go south.”

Violent deaths in Mexico and Central America are in fact a big business for U.S. gun makers. “Some 2.2 percent of all U.S. gun sales are made to smuggling rings that take firearms to Mexico,” the Miami Herald reported in March 2013, citing a study by University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute and the San Janeiro-based Igarape Institute. An average of about 253,000 weapons bought in the United States were being taken south each year, the report found, representing $127.2 million in annual sales for the U.S. arms industry.

Photo: AR/Jim Cole
This trade in deadly weapons helps explain why so many gun shops are located near the border with Mexico, and why politicians in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas have made sure their states have few restrictions on gun sales. “Of the 51,300 retail gun shops in the United States that hold federal licenses, some 6,700 of them are concentrated in the four U.S. states that border Mexico,” Miami Herald reporter Tim Johnson wrote, citing one of the report’s authors. “On average, there are more than three gun dealers for every mile of the 1,970-mile border between the countries.”

And small arms smuggled from the United States aren’t the only contribution our arms industry makes to the violence south of the border. U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in 2011 showed that drug cartels in Mexico, Colombia, and Central America had obtained quantities of military-grade weapons—hand grenades, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank weapons, anti-personnel mines—from Central American military stockpiles. “At least 90 percent of military-origin weapons (such as grenades and light anti-tank weapons)” seized by security agents in Mexico “are traced to Central American military stocks,” according to one of the cables. Some of these weapons—and probably many or most—were manufactured in the United States and supplied to corrupt rightwing Central American regimes by the U.S. government.

It is “illuminating,” the Mexican daily La Jornada wrote after the December 2012 school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, “that the society of the neighboring country, shocked by the nearly 30 murders carried out [in Newtown], isn’t able to react, on the other hand, to the tens of thousands of homicides committed in Mexico in the past six years with arms sold in the United States. Washington demands that Mexican authorities monitor and block the passage of illegal drugs to the north of the common border, but until now hasn’t shown the political will to proceed in the same way with the firearms, including high-caliber weapons, that proliferate in the Mexican market.”

Mexico and most Central American countries have strict gun control laws, and the populations there don’t seem to mind the restrictions. A September 2016 poll of 1,100 Mexicans showed 60 percent of respondents opposing even possession of firearms at home, which is allowed under current Mexican law. Young immigrants who come here from Central America apparently have similar views. A New Yorker article describes a group of about twenty students and teachers from DC’s Cardozo high school participating in last Saturday’s March for Our Lives. Most were from Central America. One held a sign reading “No necesitas una pistola para sentirte poderoso” on one side, with an English translation on the other side: “You don’t need a gun to feel powerful.”—TPOI editor

Thursday, March 22, 2018

UPDATE: Immigration Dialogue at Suffolk County Community College Postponed

UPDATE, 3/21/18: Suffolk Council Community College will be closed on March 22 due to today's snowstorm. We're hoping to reschedule the dialogue for later in the spring.

Delve into tough questions about immigration with the authors of The Politics of Immigration. 
Why are people in other countries leaving their homes and coming here? What does it mean to be “illegal”? How do immigration raids, prisons, and border walls impact communities? Who suff­ers and who profits from our current system – and what would happen if we transformed it?

Thursday, March 22, 2018, 9:30 am - 10:45 am
Montauk Point Room, Babylon Student Center,
Suffolk County Community College
Free and open to the public

Sponsored by Office of Campus Activities, Student Leadership Development, and Foreign Languages and ESL For information, call 631-451-4117. You can email the authors at

The event is part of “Suffolk Responds: Fight Ignorance, Not Immigrants,” a week-long series of programs at Su­ffolk County Community College to learn how recent decisions concerning immigration policies impact our neighbors, and how you can make a diff­erence, including:
The Impact of Rescinding TPS on Suffolk County
Suff­olk County Legislator Monica Martinez discusses the impact of rescinding Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Monday, March 19, 2018 • 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm,
Mildred Green Room, Babylon Student Center, Ammerman Campus, Selden
Pursuing the Dream
Immigrants share their stories of coming to the U nited States and their fears and hopes for the future. Speaker: France Dufoo. Tuesday, March 20, 2018 • 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm, Montaukett Learning Resource Center, Room 108, Eastern Campus, Riverhead
Know Your Rights: Due Process for TPS Holders and Undocumented People
Irma Solis of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) will explain individual’s rights when TPS holders and undocumented individuals come in contact with police or immigration enforcement officers in New York State. Wednesday, March 21, 2018 • 11:00 am - 12:15 pm, Sagtikos Arts and Sciences Building, Room 259/260, Michael J. Grant Campus, Brentwood
Film Viewing and Discussion
A film viewing and discussion of the award-winning film “Documented,” which follows Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who outed himself as an undocumented immigrant in the New York Times Magazine. Wednesday, March 21, 2018 • 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, Mildred Green Room, Babylon Student Center, Ammerman Campus, Selden
We Are United: Rapid Response Training
Our immigrant neighbors are living in terror due to unjust deportations. It is time for people of goodwill to do something to help them. This training will provide an overview of what is happening to our immigrant friends on Long Island and what you can do to support and end deportations.
Speakers: Victoria Daza and Dick Koubek, Long Island Jobs for Justice, Friday, March 23, 2018 • 10:30 am - 1:30 pm, Mildred Green Room, Babylon Student Center, Ammerman Campus, Selden

Monday, March 19, 2018

ICE/CBP Abuse Update: Targeting Immigrants, Damage Control on Viral Video

Activist Alejandra Pablos. Photo: Pablos' Facebook 
Immigration Advocates Warn ICE Is Retaliating For Activism

By John Burnett, NPR
March 16, 2018
Activists across the country say they are being targeted by federal immigration authorities for speaking out at protests and accusing the government of heavy-handed tactics.

The Trump administration has warned that anyone in the country illegally could be arrested and deported under tough new enforcement rules. And federal officials deny allegations of retaliation.[...]

Read the full article:
Read how to support the No More Deaths volunteers:

Immigrant rights activist ‘targeted’ and detained by ICE during routine check-in in Arizona
ICE says that they do not target individuals for making speaking out against the agency

By Clark Mindock, The Independent
March 8, 2018
An undocumented immigrant rights organiser has been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in what activists say is the latest example of the Trump administration targeting vocal members of the immigrant rights movement.

Alejandra Pablos, 32, was detained early Thursday morning during a routine check-in with ICE officials, just months after she was arrested by immigration officials at what has been described as a peaceful immigration protest outside of an ICE field office in Virginia.[...]

Read the full article:
Sign a petition for Alejandra Pablos’ release

This Mother Was Arrested in Front of Her Screaming Daughters. But She Hasn't Been Charged With a Crime.
Advocates say smuggling accusations are increasingly being used as a pretext for immigration arrests because the Trump administration has made it a priority to deport accused smugglers. But the accusations rarely get heard in a criminal court.

By Adolfo Flores, BuzzFeed News
March 18, 2018
A day after the video of her being detained by Border Patrol had more than 9 million views, Perla Morales-Luna sat in an ICE detention center accused of being part of a criminal smuggling organization.[...]

Read the full article:

Friday, March 16, 2018

Administrative Incarceration: The Paradox of Immigration Detention

According to the Supreme Court, immigration detention cannot legally be classified as punishment: to punish immigrants for simply being in the country unlawfully would be unconstitutional.… Yet the conditions that immigrants face in detention are similar – if not worse – to conditions in penal incarceration systems.

By Elizabeth Bird, ImmigrationProfBlog
March 12, 2018
In 2017, over 320,000 immigrants were placed in detention in the United States, awaiting determination of their immigration status. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can detain anyone who is suspected of being deportable and is deemed to be likely to abscond. This includes a range of noncitizens: individuals who have crossed the border without documentation, have overstayed their visa, or legal residents who have committed certain crimes. According to the government, immigration detention is an administrative procedure. Legally, immigration detention is not punishment, but in practice, it looks a lot like penal incarceration. Furthermore, the non-punitive nature of immigration detention results in fewer protections for immigrants than would be afforded to criminal defendants.[…]

Read the full article:

Protesters support striking detainees, April 2017. Photo: Tacoma Action Collective

Thursday, March 15, 2018

NYC, 3/15/18: Dialogue in a Time of Crisis

Join us for a participatory workshop on immigrant rights by the authors of The Politics of Immigration, as well as an information session and update on the sanctuary at Holyrood Episcopal Church, where AmandaMorales Guerra and her children have been housed since August 2017.

Thursday, March 15, 2018, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
Free admission; $5 suggested donation

We don't want our family members, friends, and neighbors hauled away and deported. Many of us are
actively working to defend community members from deportation, like Ravi Ragbir, leader of the NYC New Sanctuary Coalition, and Amanda Morales Guerra, who has been in sanctuary at Holyrood Episcopal Church in Washington Heights since August.
But do we really understand the system we are fighting against? Do we have the tools to respond effectively to tough questions from family members, co-workers, and others who don't share our views? For example:
  • Why do so many people come here “illegally”? Why don't they just wait in line?
  • If someone committed a crime in this country, why shouldn't they be deported?
  • Don't unauthorized immigrants push down wages for everyone?
  • Can we really afford to have so many immigrants here?
  • Isn't our current immigration system color-blind?
  • What would an alternative system look like, and how do we get there?
Bring your questions and thoughts to this participatory workshop facilitated by Jane Guskin and David Wilson, authors of The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers (Monthly Review Press 2017). Together we will strengthen our skills and deepen our understanding to engage more effectively in dialogue around immigration issues.

The sanctuary information session will be led by Renee Colwell, volunteer coordinator at Holyrood Episcopal Church, who will share with neighbors how they can help.

Word Up:      347-688-4456,            

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Interesting Stats on Immigration, Crime and E-Verify

According to Alex Nowrasteh, an analyst at the right-libertarian Cato Institute, crime statistics from Texas show that immigrants there, both documented and undocumented, have lower conviction and arrest rates than the native-born. In a separate post, he cites a paper suggesting that implementation of E-Verify in Arizona has led to higher rates of criminal activity by undocumented immigrants. —TPOI editor
Criminal Immigrants in Texas: Illegal Immigrant Conviction and Arrest Rates for Homicide, Sexual Assault, Larceny, and Other Crimes

By Alex Nowrasteh, Cato Institute
February 26, 2018
President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to deport most illegal immigrants who encounter law enforcement, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions is attempting to withhold federal funds from local police departments that do not cooperate with DHS in that effort.1 Underlying both actions is the belief that illegal immigrants are a significant source of crime.2 This brief uses Texas Department of Public Safety data to measure the conviction and arrest rates of illegal immigrants by crime. In Texas in 2015, the criminal conviction and arrest rates for immigrants were well below those of native-born Americans. Moreover, the conviction and arrest rates for illegal immigrants were lower than those for native-born Americans. This result holds for most crimes.[…]

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E-Verify Could Have Increased Crime in Arizona

By Alex Nowrasteh, Cato Institute
February 28, 2018
Illegal immigrants who can’t work are more likely to commit crimes in order to support themselves, according to a superb new paper by Matthew Freedman, Emily Owens, and Sarah Bohn that is forthcoming in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.  They examined administrative data from Bexar County, Texas and found an increase in felony charges filed against residents who were most likely to be illegal immigrants after the Immigration Reform and Control Act made it unlawful for illegal immigrants to work in the United States.[…]

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Monday, March 5, 2018

Activist Ravi Ragbir urges West Village churchgoers to help immigrants facing deportation

“So how can you help?…This is where I’m going to start challenging you. You can create a space where you can help someone. You can make a phone call. You can write a letter. You can tweet. You can just talk to someone about a fact, about what they are saying wrong. Talk to someone when they are saying propaganda.”

Ravi Ragbir. Photo: Tequila Minsky
By Edgar Sandoval and Reuven Blau, New York Daily News
March 4, 2018
Immigration rights activist Ravi Ragbir — who is being threatened with deportation — urged churchgoers Sunday to speak up against the anti-immigration wave sweeping the country.

“There are many people with green cards who are facing deportation,” he told a packed Judson Memorial Church in the West Village.[…]

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

ICE Raids Reportedly Blocked in Bay Area

ICE claims that some 800 immigrants were spared detention this week because Oakland’s mayor publicly announced that she’d been tipped off about imminent raids. If this is true, the anonymous source and the mayor have set an example for public officials around the country. Meanwhile, the ACLU charges that ICE is pushing ahead with John Kelly’s plan to separate children from their parents in order to discourage asylum seekers. Does anyone remember when the GOP was the “family values” party?—TPOI editor 
Protesters block entrance San Francisco ICE office. Photo: Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group
US immigration attacks Oakland mayor for warning of raid that arrested 150
Agency chief likens mayor to ‘gang lookout’ over early public alert that helped 800 avoid arrest

The Guardian
February 28, 2013
A day after agents confirmed that more than 150 people in California were arrested in immigration raids, a federal immigration official lashed out at the Oakland mayor who gave a public warning ahead of the raids, saying it was “no better than a gang lookout yelling ‘police’”.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) chief, Thomas Homan, speaking to Fox and Friends on Wednesday, said that the warning from the mayor, Libby Schaaf, helped about 800 people avoid arrest. He also said the justice department was looking into whether Schaaf obstructed justice.[…]

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Update: ICE protests start, Schaaf calls out ‘racist myth’ of Trump administration
“We’re here to stand for justice and due process for all people,” said Anand Singh, president of Unite Here! Local 2 union.

By Julia Prodis Sulek, David Debolt Tatiana Sanchez, Bay Area News Group
February 28, 2018
The Bay Area became ground zero Wednesday for clashes over immigration, with people gathering in San Francisco to protest widespread immigration raids this week while Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf became the target of federal officials considering whether she should be jailed for warning the community that a sweep was coming.[…]

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A mother and child fled Congo fearing death. ICE has held them separately for months, lawsuit says.

By Derek Hawkins, Washington Post
February 27, 2018
For nearly four months, immigration officials have unlawfully held a Congolese asylum seeker and her 7-year-old daughter in detention centers thousands of miles apart, the American Civil Liberties Union alleged in a lawsuit Monday.

The mother arrived with her child in San Diego in November and told border agents she left the Congo in fear for her life, according to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.[…]

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

No More Deaths volunteer indicted on human-smuggling charges

In a separate case, Warren and eight other border activists face misdemeanor charges of driving in a wilderness area and leaving water jugs and food in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in June 2017.

By Curt Prendergast, Arizona Daily Star
February 20, 2018
A federal grand jury has indicted a No More Deaths volunteer on felony human-smuggling charges.

Scott Warren, 35, was charged with one count of human-smuggling conspiracy and two counts of knowingly concealing two border-crossers from law enforcement, according to a Feb. 14 indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Tucson. Warren faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Warren is accused of giving two border-crossers food and water over the course of three days in January at a building near Ajo where the group provides humanitarian aid to crossers in distress.[…]

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For more coverage, go to:

Donate to the legal defense fund for humanitarian volunteers:

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Unions in the Resistance Against ICE

San Francisco workers demonstrate. Photo: David Bacon
How Unions Help Immigrants Resist Deportations
No one knows better than union activists that there's zero chance for this kind of basic immigration policy reform in the present Congress, especially with Trump as president. But many caution that fighting the immediate audits and raids has to be connected to a longer-range direction and goal.

By David Bacon, American Prospect
February 13, 2018
Labor historian Fred Glass, looking at the impact of immigration on California's labor movement, notes that many immigrants have arrived in the state with a long history of labor and left-wing activism. Unions have then called on that history and consciousness to aid in organizing drives among janitors, farm workers, hotel housekeepers, and others. "Because the labor movement has understood this fact and designed its efforts around it," he argues, "California's unionization rate remains at 16 percent while the national average is 11 percent." The state has 2.55 million union members, far more than any other.[…]

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N.Y. Teamsters form ‘sanctuary union’ to fight ICE agents

Ginger Adams Otis, New York Daily News
February 10, 2018
Worried about federal immigration policies, a New York labor organization is taking steps to protect its own.

Across Long Island and throughout the city, some 120,000 Teamsters are getting prepped to become a “sanctuary union.”

In 27 shops, business agents, supervisors and front-line workers are getting schooled on their rights under U.S. law — and when and how to challenge federal immigration agents who show up to search their work sites.[…]

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Trump’s Immigration Ideas Get Even Weirder

Trump: 'I'm thinking about' pulling ICE out of California

By Rafael Bernal, The Hill
February 22, 2018
President Trump said Thursday that he is thinking of pulling federal immigration enforcement officers from California over the state's sanctuary policies.

"Frankly it's a disgrace, the sanctuary city situation," Trump said at a White House meeting on school safety.[…]

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America’s immigration agency removes “nation of immigrants” from its mission statement
The agency’s head also calls on staff to stop calling immigrants “customers.”

By Dara Lind, Vox
February 22, 2018
US Citizenship and Immigration Services isn’t for immigrants anymore.

That’s not an exaggeration. USCIS, the federal agency responsible for issuing visas and green cards and for naturalizing immigrants as US citizens, has unveiled a new mission statement that strips out all references to immigrants themselves — including taking out a line that called the US a “nation of immigrants.” And in an email to agency staff Thursday, as first reported by the Intercept’s Ryan Devereaux, director L. Francis Cissna bragged about the change — saying that USCIS wasn’t supposed to help immigrants and the US citizens seeking to sponsor them, but rather “the American people.”[…]

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Protest Roundup: Is Resistance to ICE on the Rise?

While media attention was focused on the DACA debacle in Congress, a lot seemed to be going on at the local level. Given the paucity of media coverage, it’s hard to tell whether this represents an increase in resistance, but the struggle may be moving from Capitol Hill to Main Street.—TPOI editor

Immigrant rights activists block Homeland Security van from accessing Metropolitan Detention Center
Photo: Marcus Yam/ Los Angeles Times
By Alene Tchekmedyian, Los Angeles Times
February 15, 2018
A crowd of immigrant rights advocates blocked a Homeland Security van late Thursday from accessing the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Video footage showed dozens of people standing in the street, in front of a marked van, chanting, "Drive out ICE!" and "Stop the deportations!" Some held signs.[…]

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View a video:

Austin High School students walk out of school during lunch to support detained classmate

Photo: Rose-Ann Aragon KPRC
By Megan Kennedy, KPRC-TV
February 14, 2018
HOUSTON - During their lunch break Wednesday, Students from Stephen F. Austin High School walked out school around noon for a march and rally outside to show support for a student detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

By the hundreds, classmates of the 19-year-old-detained student, identified as Dennis Rivera-Sarmiento, displayed signs to show solidarity.[…]

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More than 100 New York City attorneys protest after Ice arrests Bronx man
Lawyers protesting outside a Bronx courthouse say immigrations officers are arresting their clients with no distinct pattern

By Associated Press, via The Guardian
February 9, 2018
More than 100 New York City public defenders have walked out in protest of their clients getting detained at the courthouse by federal immigration officials.

The Thursday protest took place outside a Bronx courthouse, where attorneys say Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (Ice) officers are arresting their clients with no distinct pattern. WABC-TV reports the protest was sparked after Ice arrested Aboubacar Dembele Lanier, who was leaving the courthouse.[…]

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Demonstrators protest ICE deal to keep undocumented immigrants in local jails

Photo: Alessandra da Pra/Tampa Bay Times
By Tony Marrero, Tampa Bay Times
February 9, 2018
TAMPA — Two little girls stood under a blazing sun holding a mock check made out to Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister.

The payor: U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. The amount: $50.

That’s the sum that ICE will pay the Sheriff’s Office under a recently-announced contract to hold undocumented immigrants for up to 48 hours in the county jail until federal agents can pick them up.[...]

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Advocates protest immigration policy year after Arizona woman's deportation

By Chris McCrory, Arizona Republic
February 5, 2018
Dozens protested Monday in front of the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services office in Phoenix, calling for change nearly a year after Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos of Mesa was deportedafter she went for a routine check-in with the federal agency.

The arrest and deportation of Garcia de Rayos was a catalyst that stirred protests across the state, said Maria Castro, a community organizer with Puente, a human-rights advocacy group.[…]

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