Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Trump Welcomes Immigrants, but Only if They Can Be Exploited

After three years of telling his base that he “puts American jobs first,” surely Trump wouldn’t try to expand the guest worker programs — or would he?

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
July 31, 2018
The US mainstream media had two competing events to cover the night of April 28: the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, DC, and a Trump rally in Macomb County, Michigan, a predominantly white working-class suburb of Detroit. Journalists mainly focused on the dinner, but the more important story may have been a remark President Trump made in the course of his 80-minute speech at the rally.

As reported by the immigration-restrictionist Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), around 33 minutes into his talk, Trump began praising guest worker programs. “For the farmers it’s going to get really good,” he started.[...]

Read the full article:

An H-2A guest worker picks oranges. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Families For Freedom: “Ears to the Ground”

"We can't always check in with everybody, but if we have our ears to the ground and the people in our hearts, we have to use all of our senses to stay accountable to them.”

July 13, 2018
The calls to abolish ICE are long overdue, though the how-to is far from being clear. And while some have audaciously placed themselves as the ones who have the answer(s), it is going to take substantially more than just talk to get where we need to be. When we operate outside of movement yet impose demands or otherwise try and assert "leadership," we replicate systems of oppression by negating the reality of the people we pretend to lead. Conscious or not, this arrogance is rooted in disdain for those at the bottom because it serves those at the top.

The people who don't get their hands dirty are the most presentable to the ones in the big house, but
by staying clean they remain out of touch. With no desire to get dirty—either because they don't know how or because they wish to 'escape' those conditions without working to change them—their representation of what needs to be done is limited, always skewed by their seeking approval from those in power. Then they assume the role of getting the folks in line (sometimes called education) in order to be acceptable to those in power. These intermediaries work to corral those who are sweaty and messy and sometimes have dirty hands, to get in alignment with those above. This is the opposite of supporting those below to build collective power so that they are well-positioned to make demands and force those above to get in alignment with them.

Before we open our mouths about where we are going in the struggle, how we think we should get there, and what we think a win or victory would look like, we should imagine saying those words to the most stigmatized and marginalized people in whose names we are being paid or in whose names we get some type of "movement status," and imagine the looks on their faces, their responses to our plans. We can't always check in with everybody, but if we have our ears to the ground and the people in our hearts, we have to use all of our senses to stay accountable to them.

It gives strength to those who are still under the thumb, in the internment centers and in jails and prisons, to see and hear of the many who are in the streets marching and laying siege to the system. But the laying of sieges is among the least effective of strategies if the masses are unprepared to endure to the end. This does not mean not to siege, but rather that ample resources must be allocated to the besiegers. Legal, physical, and mental are among the most necessary resources needed. Now is the time for sincere leadership to engage the masses and guide them forward to not only the abolition of ICE and the entire prison industrial complex, but to the end of the white supremacist resurgence permeating this country and many others around the world.

[This is an excerpt from the latest Families For Freedom newsletter. To subscribe to the newsletter, write info@familiesforfreedom.org. You can contribute to FFF here.—TPOI editor.]

Monday, July 23, 2018

Two Reports Describe Abuses at Detention Center

'Terrorized': Report Details Conditions at Child Detention Centers
A report filed in federal court details hunger, dehydration and forced sleeplessness at child detention centers in the Southwest.

By Alfonso Serrano, ColorLines
July 18, 2018
Frigid cells with foul-smelling drinking water. Children given rotten food and forced to sleep on concrete floors. No showers or clean clothes for days. Overflowing toilets in “dog houses.” These are just a few of the things detained children highlighted about the facilities where they were held.

“It was cold, very cold. I only had a t-shirt so I pulled my hands inside my t-shit to try to keep warm. There were no mattresses. We slept directly on the floor,” said Justin, a 13-yer-old immigrant from El Salvador. “I haven’t been able to call my father since I was locked up. I want to tell him where I am, and I want to talk to him.”

Justin’s description of United States detention centers, and testimony from interviews with 200 other immigrant children and adults, are part of an extensive report filed in federal court this week in Los Angeles by the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law.[…]

Read the full article:
Read the report:

Report finds more than 800 complaints of hate-related abuse in immigration detention

ImmigrationProf Blog
July 19, 2018
“Shut your black ass up. You don’t deserve nothing. You belong at the back of that cage.” - Warden to M.C. at the West Texas Detention Facility in Sierra Blanca, TX

“[Go] look in the mirror to see King Kong.” - Officer to A.B. at Bristol County House of Corrections, North Dartmouth, MA

“No one will believe baboon complaints.” - Officer to A.B. at Bristol County House of Corrections, North Dartmouth, MA

These are a few of the comments discussed in a report published by Freedom for Immigrants, a California-based nonprofit that visits people held in immigration detention.[...]

Read the full post:
Read the report:

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Farm Work Can Be a Skilled and Permanent Job

A Salinas grower and the union bet that a new contract will become an alternative to employing guest workers

By David Bacon, The American Prospect
July 11, 2018
Up and down the Pacific coast, many of the largest growers are rapidly increasing their use of guest workers recruited in Mexico as temporary harvest labor. Farm labor, in their view, is unskilled. The workers who perform it should show up at harvest time, work as hard as possible, and then effectively disappear until the next season.

This has been the common view for over a century. It is the justification for a renewed Republican push to establish a vastly expanded guest worker program. But is the road to improving the lives of farmworkers to legislate even more massive contract-labor programs? Or is it to treat farm labor as skilled and permanent work, and provide security and decent wages to those who do it? […]

Read the full article:
Farm workers in Salinas protest immigration raids. Photo: David Bacon

Thursday, July 19, 2018

A Century of U.S. Intervention Created the Immigration Crisis

Boston protest, 1981. Photo: John Tlumacki/Boston Globe via Getty
At the margins of the mainstream discursive stalemate over immigration lies over a century of historical U.S. intervention that politicians and pundits on both sides of the aisle seem determined to silence.

By Mark Tseng-Putterman, Medium
June 20, 2018
A national spotlight now shines on the border between the United States and Mexico, where heartbreaking images of Central American children being separated from their parents and held in cages demonstrate the consequences of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance policy” on unauthorized entry into the country, announced in May 2018. Under intense international scrutiny, Trump has now signed an executive order that will keep families detained at the border together, though it is unclear when the more than 2,300 children already separated from their guardians will be returned.

Trump has promised that keeping families together will not prevent his administration from maintaining “strong — very strong — borders,” making it abundantly clear that the crisis of mass detention and deportation at the border and throughout the U.S. is far from over. Meanwhile, Democratic rhetoric of inclusion, integration, and opportunity has failed to fundamentally question the logic of Republican calls for a strong border and the nation’s right to protect its sovereignty.[…]

Read the full article:

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What Does It Mean to Abolish ICE?

Activists and politicians want a total overhaul of immigration enforcement—but do we have a real plan?

By Julianne Hing, The Nation
July 11, 2018
On July 4, when Therese Patricia Okoumou scaled the pooled drapes of the Statue of Liberty, fellow protesters below her held up cards that spelled out, “Abolish ICE.”

Four days earlier, at the more than 700 rallies against the separation and detention of families at the US border, those same words were echoed again and again on homemade signs, in chants, and on T-shirts. Encouraged by a groundswell of anger, even national-level politicians are endorsing the elimination of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a shadowy law-enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security.[…]

Read the full article:
CQ Roll Call via AP Photo / Bill Clark

Monday, July 9, 2018

Central American Immigrants Aren’t Invading Us. We Invaded Them.

What chain of events has caused parents to flee at great risk to themselves, only to see their children ripped from them and tossed into cages?
Hondurans resisted the 2009 coup. Which side was the US on?

By John Tarleton, The Indypendent
July 2, 2018
Children locked in dog kennels, crying by the sides of roads at night, wrapped in glittering Mylar blankets on the floors of Border Patrol processing centers, stowed away in an abandoned Walmart, flown thousands of miles from their parents. The sounds of their wails an “orchestra” to the ears of a border guard, who is heard quipping in audio captured at a child detention center that all that is “missing is a conductor.”

But there is a conductor.[...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, July 8, 2018

It’s Time to Decriminalize Immigration

Photo: US Customs and Border Protection via AP
Congress should repeal the law that allows for kids to be ripped away from parents and for migrants to be criminalized en masse at the border.

By Bob Libal and Judy Greene, Texas Observer
June 20, 2018
This week, the news has been dominated by horrifying scenes from the border of children being ripped apart from their parents who the federal government is criminally prosecuting. The best solution is to repeal the laws that allow for this injustice in the first place. That’s a far cry from the administration’s announcement today that families would be detained together in family detention centers during and following any criminal prosecution.[…]

Read the full article:

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Zombie Guest Worker Bill

Republican immigration reform proposals may be dead, but Republican guest worker proposals live on...

By David Bacon, Capital and Main
June 2, 2018
On Wednesday, June 27, the Republican effort to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill went down in flames for the second time in a month, due to divisions within their own party. The Republican effort to create a vast new guest worker program, however, has not ended.

That effort has been headed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and is supported by many growers around the country, particularly on the west coast. Originally Goodlatte introduced a stand-alone bill in 2017, the Agricultural Guestworker Act. Although that bill didn't get a vote in Congress, its main provisions were folded into a much larger, comprehensive bill Goodlatte tried to pass this spring, the Securing America's Future Act.[…]

Read the full article:

Photo: David Bacon

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Fun Facts on the “Border Crisis”

The US median age is now about 38, and border apprehensions are at their lowest levels since the early 1970s. So there's probably less unauthorized border crossing now than ever before in the lifetimes of a majority of US citizens.

And they call this a border crisis! 
Graph by Washington Office on Latin Ameica (WOLA), from US Border Patrol
A few notes: Apprehension figures don’t necessarily tell us how many people crossed the border without authorization; they may just reflect how many resources have been put into apprehending them. There are now some 20,000 Border Patrol agents, more than five times the number in the early 1970s, so it’s possible that the agents are apprehending a higher percentage of the crossers—which would mean that border crossing 45 years ago was actually greater than now. And we need to remember that apprehensions don’t account for people crossing the other way. Estimates of the undocumented population have remained stable—around 11 million—for nearly a decade, which indicates that some immigrants are heading back home at the same rate that others are coming here.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

After the Protest: Mijente and AFSC Have Proposals

Hundreds of thousands turned out around the country for the June 30 protests against the administration’s immigration policies—the movement is growing still stronger. But what are our demands? #KeepFamiliesTogether and #AbolishICE are great hashtags, but groups are looking for ways to develop a full program for immigration reform. Below are links to two important efforts in this direction. If you know of other proposals, please email us at thepoliticsofimmigration@gmail.com.

Free Our Future: An Immigration Policy Platform for Beyond the Trump Era (PDF). Mijente, which describes itself as “a digital and grassroots hub for Latinx and Chicanx movement building,” calls for abolishing ICE and the Border Patrol, for ending detention, repealing laws criminalizing unauthorized entry, and much more.

What Would Fair, Humane Reform Look Like? The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker organization that works on immigration along with other issues, has a more general program that addresses issues like foreign policy and labor rights as well as immediate enforcement matters.
For New Yorkers: a number of immigrant rights groups are meeting on Tuesday, July 3, to discuss plans for future actions and campaigns. The meeting will be at 6 pm at 40 Washington Square South (NYU Law School’s Vanderbilt Building), in the Golding Lounge (second floor).

Friday, June 29, 2018

Escraches Come North: “Incivility” or an End to Impunity?

"Jail for the Torturer!" Photo: Clarin/AFP
It’s hard to say now what direction the protests will take, but they could turn out to be the U.S. version of Argentina’s escraches. Someday members of our political elite may finally have to answer for their crimes in front of a judge and a jury.

By David L. Wilson, MR Online
June 29, 2018
Seven years of military dictatorship in Argentina ended in 1983, but the regime’s officers remained a powerful force. The newly formed democratic government tried to appease them by passing two laws that granted almost total impunity for the junta’s many crimes: the “disappearance” of as many as 30,000 people, systematic torture, the dumping of live detainees from airplanes, and the practice of seizing the children of murdered activists and handing them over to childless military couples.

In the mid-1990s many of the survivors began fighting back against the impunity.[...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Families For Freedom: “Keep the Heat On”

The activists at Families For Freedom sent out this email on June 22. We’re reposting their important message in full as a reminder that the immigrant rights movement now has the initiative and we can’t afford to let it slip away. (You can contribute to FFF here.)—TPOI editor.

Keep the Heat On

June 22, 2018
In angered response to the images and recordings of children and babies torn from their parents at the border, the media and political discourse on immigration has leapt forward in the past two weeks. We have seen previously marginalized analysis enter the mainstream, with cable news pundits making connections between family separation, residential schools and slavery, commentators discussing the inextricable links between the immigration and criminal punishment systems, and political candidates running with #AbolishICE in their platforms.

The blinders are lifting but those who have been on the front lines have seen this coming. However, being right is only meaningful if it both motivates and directs action. As more people grow more confident calling for the abolition of ICE, we need to ensure that our efforts are in alignment and focused about our objectives just as we have been about ending the separation of families. Our goal is freedom, point blank and unequivocal. This means ending all forms of detention, including the electronic shackles. 

We are clear about our goals and actions. Families for Freedom maintains two mottos that inform our strategy: Name the Oppressor, and Make Them Bleed.

We  are laser focused on the two ghouls that have led the Trump administration’s acceleration of the detention and deportation system: Stephen Miller and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. They are the ones pushing the buttons on the present terror. They are organized and they have detailed plans to carry out their program of ethnic cleansing in pursuit of a white country. We know what kind of people they are: white supremacists with clear and unambiguous histories. Targeting them directly means also targeting the networks that support them and that have been  critical to their growth, including the fascist anti-immigrant foundations NumbersUSA, Center for Immigration Studies, and FAIR. These groups can be fought. Sessions can be brought down.

There is no question that the current nightmare predates Trump, that the legal and carceral apparatus inherited by these goons was built and maintained by Clinton, Bush, and Obama. But as long as Sessions and Miller are close to power, our most urgent task is taking them out.

As the folks at Grassroots Leadership pointed out yesterday, it is also a matter of stripping them of their tools.The mechanism Sessions employed to separate children from their families is the criminalization of immigration—specifically the prosecution of all migrants arrested crossing the southern border. Almost half of all federal criminal prosecutions in 2017 were for the crime of crossing the border. This is a piece of the many ways immigrants end up in the crosshairs of the detention and deportation system: from the arrests of asylum seekers at the border to the detention and deportation of long-time residents due to criminal convictions. If the Democrats in Congress who believe themselves to be allies of immigrants are serious about ending this violence, they need to bring about the end of the prosecution of illegal entries. They also need to bring about the removal of Steven Miller, seeing that “those who are appointed, can be disappointed.”

With the targets and the horizons defined, the actions we take to make ‘em bleed in the short term have more clarity. As Bayard Rustin said: “The only weapon we have is our bodies and we need to tuck them in places so wheels don’t turn.” The recent actions in Portland, D.C., New York, and all the others exemplify this.

Families for Freedom remains strong in the call to end the criminalization of immigration, to abolish ICE, and to destroy the detention and deportation machine. To end business as usual we need to step outside our comfort zones and take action. Below are just a couple of things that you can do right away and there will be more as things unfold, so stay vigilant and see you in the streets!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Family Separations Inspire Fresh Resistance: Two, Three, Many Portlands?

There’s major pushback against Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting family units seeking asylum—protests at ICE offices, a new sanctuary action, public shaming of rightwing officials. The resistance doesn’t seem to be letting up, and street protests are planned across the nation for June 30.—TPOI editor

Mothers and babies occupy the New York City ICE Office to protest Trump administration 'zero tolerance' immigration policy
Inside the Manhattan Federal Building. Photo: ACT.tv
By Victoria Bekiempis and Janon Fisher, NY Daily News
June 21, 2018
Angry moms, some rocking infants in Baby Bjorns, crowded onto the ninth floor of the federal building Thursday in downtown Manhattan to air their grievances against the Trump administration’s “zero policy” toward border crossing.

Though the policy of separating children from their parents was reversed Wednesday with an executive order, the group of mad moms said they were still upset.[…]

Read the full article:

Guatemalan-born mother Debora Barrios-Vasquez fights deportation from Upper West Side church
The 32-year-old has two children, who are U.S. citizens.

Debora Barrios-Vasquez. Photo: Abigail Weinberg
By Abigail Weinberg, amNewYork
June 21, 2018
A Guatemalan-born woman facing deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement is taking physical sanctuary in an Upper West Side church, the New Sanctuary Coalition announced at a news conference Thursday.

Debora Barrios-Vasquez, 32, fled Guatemala in 2005 and has been living in New York ever since. Her children, 10 and 2, are both United States citizens. She was pulled over for a traffic violation in 2011 and had regular check-ins with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement since then, but in February, ICE ordered her deportation.[…]

Read the full article:

[Barrios-Vasquez denies that there was a traffic violation; she says she was racially profiled.—TPOI editor]

ICE Shuts Down Its Portland Office After Protest Camp Blocks the Entrance
The federal immigration agency closed its building because of "safety concerns resulting from the ongoing protests."
Photo: Icon Sportswire Via Getty Images
By Katie Shepherd, Willamette Week
June 20, 2018
The Portland demonstrators protesting the Trump administration's family separation policy have achieved a small victory.

After several days of protests blocking the front entrance, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has temporarily shut down its operations at its Portland office.[…]

Read the full article:

Kirstjen Nielsen Is Confronted by Protesters at Mexican Restaurant: ‘Shame!’

By Sarah Mervosh, New York Times
June 20, 2018
Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of homeland security, got an earful while she was eating dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Washington on Tuesday night.

With tensions continuing to escalate over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy that separates children from their families after illegal crossings at the border, a group of protesters confronted her.[…]

Read the full article:

Stephen Miller called 'fascist' by protester at Mexican restaurant

By Brooke Seipel, The Hill
June 21, 2018
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller was called a fascist earlier this week while dining at a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C., according to the New York Post.

The encounter took place on Sunday at Espita Mezcaleria. The Post reports that a patron of the restaurant called out Miller — an immigration hard-liner — over the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy that separates migrant families caught crossing the border illegally.[…]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Roseanne, Immigration, and the Unasked Question

[T]here’s a second way the elite can exploit immigrant workers—as scapegoats. When people like Dan and Roseanne complain about their economic problems, the superrich and their hired propagandists point their fingers at undocumented immigrants.

By David L. Wilson, MR Online
June 18, 2018
On May 8, a few weeks before its cancellation, the popular sitcom Roseanne devoted an episode to immigration.

The main focus was on the title character’s anit-Muslim prejudices, but the plot hinged on a problem for Roseanne’s husband, a construction contractor: his loss of drywall installation work to a rival who employs undocumented immigrants. “I got underbid on Al’s job,” Dan, the husband, explains to Roseanne. “He’s using illegals… It ain’t right, Rosie. These guys are so desperate they’ll work for nothing, and we’re getting screwed in the process.”

This scene got its share of pushback.[…]

Read the full article:

Monday, June 18, 2018

A New Item at “Immigration and the Law: A Chronology”

We have now added the Immigration Act of 1929 to Immigration and the Law: A Chronology. This was the first law making it a crime to cross the border without authorization.

1929: Immigration ActFor the first time makes it a crime to enter the country by fraud or anywhere other than at an official port of entry. This becomes a misdemeanor punishable by fine or imprisonment or both. Reentry of a previously deported alien is now a felony. The act adds two deportable classes: immigrants convicted of carrying any weapon or bomb and sentenced to any term of six months or more, and immigrants sentenced to a year or more for violation of Prohibition laws. Known as “Blease’s Law,” for the white supremacist senator who sponsored it.

Here is a link to an article by Kelly Lytle Hernandez giving some more history on the law, which was proposed by a white supremacist from South Carolina.

We weren’t able to find the text of the law online. If any reader knows how to access the text, please write us at thepoliticsofimmigration@gmail.com. Also, we welcome suggestions about other additions to the chronology, or any corrections you feel are necessary. We want this chronology to be a useful tool for people trying to understand the origins of today’s immigration system.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Book Excerpt: What’s the Flores Settlement?

No, Flores doesn’t mandate this. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images
As outrage rises over the Trump administration’s family separation policy, Republican leaders have been trying to put the blame elsewhere—for instance, on the 1997 Flores agreement. In fact, on June 14 the GOP’s House leadership announced that it had a “moderate” bill that would end the family separations. It turns out the actual text would only end the Flores agreement.

We explain a little about the settlement and its history in Chapter 11 of The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers.

Locking Up Kids
In July 1985, four girls ages thirteen to sixteen seeking refuge from war-ravaged El Salvador sued the U.S. government and two private for-profit contractors over their detention. One of the plaintiffs was detained at a facility run by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) in Laredo, Texas, where authorities subjected her to strip search procedures—including vaginal and anal inspections—every time her attorney visited. The other girls, including lead plaintiff Jenny Lisette Flores, were held at a detention center in Pasadena, California, operated by Behavioral Systems Southwest. The children were not allowed to see visitors, and were not provided with any opportunities for education or recreation.

At the time, U.S. border and immigration authorities were detaining immigrant children—as many as 2,000, according to advocates—together with unrelated adults under prisonlike conditions. The numbers had grown after the government changed its policy in September 1984 and began releasing unaccompanied minors only to a parent or guardian; previously children could be released to any responsible adult. Advocates said the new policy scared away unauthorized parents, who feared arrest if they tried to claim their children.

Flores v. Reno was finally resolved in 1997 with the legally binding “Flores Settlement Agreement,” mandating specific protections for minors in immigration custody. Some of the settlement’s rules were codified into law over a decade later with the passage of the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. Under the Flores settlement rules, unaccompanied minors from Canada or Mexico are generally returned home “voluntarily” after a few days in custody. Children from other countries must be transferred within seventy-two hours to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which releases them to a sponsor or a shelter and provides support services through its Division for Unaccompanied Children’s Services.

[We’re occasionally posting excerpts from the new edition of The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers. You can order here or from your favorite bookseller.]

Friday, June 15, 2018

Emergency Request From Families For Freedom

Families For Freedom
June 14, 2018

A longtime member of Families For Freedom is in danger of being removed.

In protest of his prolonged detention, Pius Iyamu has been on hunger strike since May 11, 2018. In what appears to be retaliation for his strike, ICE and jail officials at Irwin County Correctional Facility indicated yesterday their intent to put Pius on a plane to Texas to facilitate his deportation in the coming days. As of this morning, neither Pius's wife nor Families For Freedom are aware of Pius's location.

In addition to the threat of removal, these officials told Pius that they would pursue criminal charges against him if he did not break his hunger strike. They are using the threat of further incarceration in an attempt to force him to relent to his removal after a period of brave and solitary resistance.

Families For Freedom has been in consistent contact with Pius and his family since 2013, when he was first detained by ICE. We supported Pius during his incarceration then, eventually helping him get released. He was arrested and incarcerated again in 2016, and has spent the intervening two years separated from his wife and daughters and detained in some of the worst facilities in the country.

He was arrested and incarcerated again in 2016, and has been separated from his wife and daughters since. One year ago, Pius filed a habeas corpus petition to challenge his prolonged detention, which the government has dragged its heels on despite no travel document being issued for his removal. Now, after keeping Pius in the dark about the status of his case for months, the government is acting suddenly in what appears to be retaliation for his hunger strike.

On the phone with us yesterday, Pius said the following: "I started this hunger strike because of the situation I am in. I have been held by ICE for two years with no court date. They have pushed me around from state to state, facility to facility, east to west coast. I have decided to go on hunger strike because I feel like someone needs to know what's going on with me... I am a father with a wife and daughters at home. They have a lot of medical issues and I am just trying to get back to them. It's hard. This is hard. All I am worried about now is my freedom. Any help and support that anyone can give to me will mean a lot. I just want to get free."

Please support Pius and his family by sharing this with your networks and contacting the Atlanta field office by phone and email.

Ask ICE to stop its coercive intimidation of Pius and demand he be released to his family.

Atlanta ERO Field Office Phone: 404-893-1210
Field Office Director Sean Gallagher sean.gallagher@ice.dhs.gov
Deputy FOD George Sterling george.sterling@ice.dhs.gov
Deportation Officer Michael Taylor michael.taylor@ice.dhs.gov

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Sessions’ Attempt to End Asylum for Victims of Domestic and Gang Violence

U.S. asylum policy in 1939: the MS St. Louis

On June 11 Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned a 2016 Board of Immigration Appeals decision supporting asylum for an abused Salvadoran woman. The decision was expected but is still shocking in the breadth of its effort to undo two decades of immigration decisions.—TPOI editor
Matter of A-B-, Respondent
Decided by Attorney General June 11, 2018
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of the Attorney General

(1)Matter of A-R-C-G-, 26 I&N Dec. 338 (BIA 2014) is overruled. That decision was
wrongly decided and should not have been issued as a precedential decision.[…]

Read Sessions’ full ruling:

Retired Immigration Judges and Former Members of the Board of Immigration Appeals Statement in Response to Attorney General’s Decision in Matter of A-B

June 11, 2018
“[T]he Attorney General today erased an important legal development that was universally agreed to be correct... We hope that appellate courts or Congress through legislation will reverse this unilateral action and return the rule of law to asylum adjudications.”

Read the full statement:

First They Came for the Migrants
We still talk about American fascism as a looming threat, something that could happen if we’re not vigilant. But for undocumented immigrants, it’s already here.

By Michelle Goldberg, New York Times
June 11, 2018
The sci-fi writer William Gibson once said, “The future has arrived — it’s just not evenly distributed yet.” In America in 2018, the same could be said of authoritarianism.[…]

Read the full article:

Statement of Coretta Scott King on the Nomination of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III for the United States District Court Southern District of Alabama

Senate Judiciary Committee
Thursday, March 13, 1986
In 1986 Coretta Scott King strongly opposed Jeff Sessions’ appointment to the federal bench. Here is an excerpt from her testimony:

I do not believe Jefferson Sessions possesses the requisite judgment, competence, and sensitivity to the rights guaranteed by the federal civil rights laws to qualify for appointment to the federal district court. Based on his record, I believe his confirmation would have a devastating effect on not only the judicial system in Alabama, but also on the progress we have made everywhere toward fulfilling my husband’s dream that he envisioned over twenty years ago. I therefore urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to deny his confirmation.

Read her letter and full statement:

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Two Pieces from David Bacon

Migrant farm workers protest immigration raids. Photo: David Bacon
We Can Change an Unjust Immigration Policy
Testimony given by David Bacon at the People's Tribunal at the West County Detention Center in Richmond, CA

By David Bacon, 48 Hills
June 4, 2018
We've heard the living experiences of people who have had no alternative to leaving home to escape violence, war and poverty, who now find themselves imprisoned in the detention center in front of us.  And we have to ask, who is responsible?  Where did the violence and poverty come from, that forced people to leave home, to cross our border with Mexico, and then to be picked up and incarcerated here? 

Overwhelmingly, it has come from the actions of the government of this country, and the wealthy elites that it has defended.[…]

Read the full testimony:
Growing Pains: Guest farm workers face exploitation, dangerous conditions

By David Bacon
Capital and Main, June 6, 2018
The American Prospect, June 8, 2018
Many migrant workers in California on H-2A temporary agricultural visas are forced to contend with unsafe working conditions, wage theft and other labor law violations. The H-2A temporary agricultural program allows employers to bring workers from other countries, mainly Mexico, for temporary farm labor in the U.S. The workers are given visas that allow them to work in the U.S. but tie them to the employer that recruits them. Part 2 of this story documents migrant workers housed like sardines, and the use of immigration enforcement to expand the H-2A visa program

Tomato grower Harry Singh had an idea for speeding up the harvest in the fields he rents at the Camp Pendleton Marine Base near San Diego. His foreman told Serafín Rincón, 61, to pick beside two imported contract workers in their 20s. In the summer heat, Rincón was told to run. He could hardly keep up.

Rincón had come to work with his friends Santiago Bautista and Rufino Zafra They were all longtime farm workers in the area. Bautista had been working in San Diego since 2003, and Zafra since 1975. All day they had to listen to gritos(shouting) and insults from their boss Celerino when they fell behind. "Stupid donkey, you're old now," he shouted at them. "You can't make it anymore!"[…]

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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Family Separation Update: UN Human Rights Condemns, KIND Deplores, Judge Question, Father Found Dead After Separation

Cartoon: Rob Rogers, http://robrogers.com/
Press briefing note on Egypt, United States and Ethiopia

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani
Location: Geneva
Date: 5 June 2018
Subject: (1) Egypt, (2) United States and (3) Ethiopia
(2) United States

We are deeply concerned that the zero tolerance policy recently put in place along the US southern border has led to people caught entering the country irregularly being subjected to criminal prosecution and having their children – including extremely young children -taken away from them as a result.

The practice of separating families amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child. While the rights of children are generally held in high regard in the US, it is the only country in the world not to have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We encourage it to accede to the Convention and to fully respect the rights of all children. […]

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I work with children separated from caregivers at the border. What happens is unforgivable.
The policy has a devastating emotional impact on kids.

By Katie Annand, Vox
June 6, 2018
Helplessness. It’s what I feel when children are faced with forced separation from their parent or caregiver at the US border. Anger, sadness, uncertainty, and dismay all follow closely behind.

I work as an attorney with an organization called Kids in Need of Defense, or KIND, devoted to working with unaccompanied children. I hear firsthand stories that illustrate the severe impact of family separation on children; to say they are terrorized and completely devastated is an understatement. This new terror is compounded by the trauma already experienced by these children — the violence, persecution, and other harm they faced in their home country that caused them to seek protection in the US in the first place.[...]

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Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images
Family Separation at Border May Be Subject to Constitutional Challenge, Judge Rules

By Miriam Jordan, New York Times
June 6, 2018
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in San Diego on Wednesday refused to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s practice of taking children from immigrants when they arrive at the border to seek asylum, ruling that the “wrenching separation” of families may violate the Constitution’s guarantees of due process.

“Such conduct, if true, as it is assumed to be on the present motion, is brutal, offensive, and fails to comport with traditional notions of fair play and decency,” Judge Dana M. Sabraw of the Southern District of California wrote in his 25-page opinion.[…]

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A family was separated at the border, and this distraught father took his own life

That’s when Muñoz “lost it,” according to one agent, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the incident.
“The guy lost his s---,” the agent said. “They had to use physical force to take the child out of his hands.”

By Nick Miroff, Washington Post
June 9, 2018
A Honduran father separated from his wife and child suffered a breakdown at a Texas jail and killed himself in a padded cell last month, according to Border Patrol agents and an incident report filed by sheriff’s deputies.

The death of Marco Antonio Muñoz, 39, has not been publicly disclosed by the Department of Homeland Security, and did not appear in any local news accounts. But according to a copy of a sheriff’s department report obtained by The Washington Post, Muñoz was found on the floor of his cell May 13 in a pool of blood with an item of clothing twisted around his neck.[…]

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Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Delusion of Deporting the Country’s Troubles Away by Banishing “Criminal Aliens"

[T]he Court’s decision presents the nation with a chance to address a more fundamental issue: Is there really any reason for the US government to deport non-citizens with criminal records?

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
June 6, 2018
On April 17 the Supreme Court handed down a ruling that limited some of the excuses the government can use for deporting people. At issue in the case, Sessions v. Dimaya, was the meaning of “crime of violence” in immigration law; immigration judges have relied on this very broad category to order some non-citizens deported as “criminal aliens.” The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2015 that the category was unconstitutionally vague and therefore not a basis for deportation, and the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision upheld the Ninth Circuit’s ruling.

The decision got a good deal of media attention. Time ran a headline claiming that the Court had “Dealt the White House a Big Blow on Immigration.” But this type of coverage probably exaggerates the ruling’s practical effect.[...]

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ICE arrest in New York, April 2018. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Reports on #EndFamilySeparation Protests

Protest in NYC’s Foley Square. Photo: NYU Immigrant Defense Initiative
Trump migrant family separations protested as U.S. is accused of violating human rights
The U.S. is violating "well established Inter-American standards," such as rights to family and to seek asylum and protection," said petitioners.

By Suzanne Gamboa, NBC News
June 1, 2018
Dagoberto A Melchor Santacruz hasn’t seen his 16-year-old partially deaf son since the two came to the U.S. border to ask for asylum. Maria Andrés de la Cruz awaits reunification with her three young children that agents separated from her and put in an icy cold cell. Antonio Bol Paau has been unable to find out where his 12-year-old son is for days.

Migrant advocates and attorneys accused the United States of human rights violations in an official complaint filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Thursday. The complaint came as activists protested in cities around the country against the Trump administration's latest tactic aimed at curtailing immigration.[…]

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Protesters Across the U.S. Decry Policy of Separating Immigrant Families

By Joel Rose and Marisa Peñaloza, NPR
June 1, 2018
Protesters gathered in more than two dozen cities across the country on Friday to condemn the Trump administration's practice of separating immigrant parents and children at the Southern border.

At least 600 children were taken from their parents last month as part of the administration's crackdown on illegal immigration.

"The stories are horrific," said Jessica Morales Rocketto, with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, who helped organize the protest in Washington, D.C.[…]

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Saturday, June 2, 2018

Enforcement Updates From Cato, Urban Institute, ACLU

The State of Immigration Enforcement

By Alex Nowrasteh, Cato Institute
May 16, 2018
President Trump’s administration is ramping up immigration enforcement in the interior of the United States and along the border.  However, the near-half-century low in illegal border crossers, the longer-settled illegal immigrant population inside of the country, and resistance by state and local governments are hampering his administration’s efforts to boost deportation.  Try as he might, his administration will not be able to ramp up removals to the level seen in the first term of the Obama administration.[…]

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ICE worksite raids are back. Here’s what we know about them

By Juan Pedroza and Molly M. Scott, Urban Institute
May 9, 2018
Last month, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted a large-scale worksite raid at a meat processing plant in Bean Station, Tennessee, arresting 97 immigrants and grabbing national headlines. This action represents one of the Trump administration’s pushes to broaden immigration enforcement rather than target serious criminal offenders. But this type of enforcement isn’t new.

May 12 marks the 10-year anniversary of a massive raid at another meatpacking plant called Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa. It was the largest, single-site enforcement action conducted by ICE, which arrested and processed 389 workers in the 2,200-person town. In just four days, most of these workers were sentenced to five months in prison and deportation.[...]

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ACLU Report: Neglect and Abuse of Unaccompanied Immigrant Children by U.S. Customs and Border Protection

ImmigrationProf Blog
May 26, 2018
A new ACLU report (Neglect and Abuse of May 2018 Unaccompanied Immigrant Children by U.S. Customs and Border Protection) is attracting attention.  As the ACLU summarizes the report, "Documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union featured in a new report released today show the pervasive abuse and neglect of unaccompanied immigrant children detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The report was produced in conjunction with the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School.[…]

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Read the report: