Thursday, November 29, 2018

Immigration Dialogues: Fall 2018 Calendar

Immigration history with Columbia University professor Mae Ngai, a national authority on the subject,. The three-part series is an exploration into our immigration laws and how they have been applied over the years, the role immigration has played in our country, and the reality of immigration today.

Monday, October 29, 6:00 pm-7:30 pm, at Forest Hills Public Library, 108-19 71st Avenue, Forest Hills, NY 11375, 718-268-7934Sponsored by Let's Talk Democracy         

November 2: Immigrant Rights: Dialogue in a Time of Crisis
Bring your questions and thoughts about immigration to this participatory workshop facilitated by Jane Guskin and David Wilson, authors of The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers.  Together we will strengthen our skills to engage more effectively in productive dialogue.

[UPDATED] Friday, November 2, 6:30 pm, at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Soul Cafe, 7420 4th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11029. RSVP: Southwest Brooklyn Lutheran Council,

November 8: Deep Dive Into Immigration, Part 2
“Getting at the Roots, with Jane Guskin and David Wilson, authors of The Politics of Immigration. The three-part series is an exploration into our immigration laws and how they have been applied over the years, the role immigration has played in our country, and the reality of immigration today.

Thursday, November 8, 6:00 pm-7:30 pm, at Forest Hills Public Library, 108-19 71st Avenue, Forest Hills, NY 11375718-268-7934.  Sponsored by Let's Talk Democracy    

November 15: Deep Dive Into Immigration, Part 3
“The Money Question," with Jane Guskin and David Wilson, authors of The Politics of Immigration. The three-part series is an exploration into our immigration laws and how they have been applied over the years, the role immigration has played in our country, and the reality of immigration today.

Thursday, November 15, 6:00 pm-7:30 pm, at Forest Hills Public Library, 108-19 71st Avenue, Forest Hills, NY 11375718-268-7934.  Sponsored by Let's Talk Democracy    

November 29: To be announced   .

Earlier this Fall...
October 10Immigration Dialogue at Suffolk County Community College
Delve into tough questions about immigration with the authors of The Politics of Immigration.

Wednesday, October 10, 9:30 am-10:45 am and 11:00 am-12:15 pm, at I-115, Islip Arts Building, Suffolk County Community College, Ammerman Campus, 533 College Rd, Selden, NY 11784. 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 or the Center for Social Justice and Human Understanding,        

For more on immigration dialogues:

Monday, October 29, 2018

Deep Dive Into Immigration, Part 1: Mae Ngai on the History of Immigration

Please join us for an important and timely exploration into our immigration laws and how they have been applied over the years, the role immigration has played in our country, and the reality of immigration today.

Monday, October 29, 2018, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
At Forest Hills Public Library
(718) 268-7934
E F M R to 71/Continental Ave.
LIRR | Q23 Q60 Q64

Mae Ngai, a national authority on the history of immigration and professor at Columbia University, will kick off our three-week series on immigration.

Sponsor: Let's Talk Democracy

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Immigrant Rights: Dialogue in a Time of Crisis/ Los Derechos de los Migrantes

 A participatory workshop [Español abajo]

Friday, November 2, 2018, 6:30 pm
Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd

Bring your questions and thoughts about immigration to this participatory workshop facilitated by Jane Guskin and David Wilson, authors of The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers.  Together we will strengthen our skills to engage more effectively in productive dialogue when people ask questions such as:

·        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?

The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers (Second Edition)
“The Politics of Immigration brilliantly interrogates this urgent subject that defines our time.”
—Ron Hayduk, San Francisco State University

(Event organized by Southwest Brooklyn Lutheran Council sub-committee)

Dialogo y taller participativo en medio de esta crisis

 Viernes, Noviembre 2, @ 6:30 pm
 Iglesia Luterana del Buen Pastor
7420 4th Avenue, Soul Café, Brooklyn, NY  11209

Comunidad, traigan sus inquietudes, preocupaciones y participen en este taller facilitado por  Jane Guskin y David Wilson, escritores del libro Las politicas Migratorias: Preguntas y Respuestas. A través de este taller fortaleceremos de una manera más efectiva nuestras habilidades, conocimientos y diálogos cuando se nos pregunte:

  • Por qué viene migra gente a los Estados Unidos de manera ilegal? Por qué no se forman y esperan su turno?
  • Sí alguien ha cometido un crimen en este país -Estados Unidos-, por qué no deberían ser deportados?
  • Cómo los inmigrantes sin autorización de empleo afectan negativamente el salario de los demás trabajadores? 
  • Es sustentable para nuestra economia tener tantos inmigrantes con nosotros?

 The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers (Second Edition)
Las Politicas Migratorias brillantemente da contestacion a interrogaciones de suma relevancia en nuestro tiempo” —Ron Hayduk, San Francisco State University
Mas información:
(Evento organizado por el comite del Consejo de Iglesias del Suroeste de Brooklyn)

For more on immigration dialogues:

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Deep Dive Into Immigration, Parts 2 and 3: With Jane Guskin and David Wilson

Please join us for an important and timely exploration into our immigration laws and how they have been applied over the years, the role immigration has played in our country, and the reality of immigration today.

Forest Hills Public Library
(718) 268-7934
E F M R to 71/Continental Ave.
LIRR | Q23 Q60 Q64

Thursday, November 8, 2018, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Getting at the Roots - Jane Guskin and David Wilson, authors of The Politics of Immigration, will discuss immigration today, including the global, political, and economic forces that shape migration; the racial and political implications of U.S. immigration law, policy, and practice; and related issues.

Thursday, November 15, 2018, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
The Money Question - Jane Guskin and David Wilson continue the immigration discussion with an examination of the relationship of immigrants to jobs and the economy.

Sponsor: Let's Talk Democracy

For more on immigration dialogues:

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

October 10: Immigration Dialogue at Suffolk County Community College

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?

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
I-115, Islip Arts Building
Suffolk County Community College
A program of the Suffolk County Community College Undocumented Student Task Force, sponsored by Office of Campus Activities, Student Leadership Development, and Foreign Languages and ESL

For information, call 631-451-4117 or the Center for Social Justice and Human Understanding,
Email the authors at

For more on immigration dialogues:

Saturday, October 6, 2018

WashPo “Migration ‘Crisis’” Piece Could Use Some Context

In a September 30 article, the Washington Post’s Nick Miroff (@NickMiroff) covers a visit to Central America by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) head Kevin McAleenan. Miroff reports that border apprehensions of migrant families along the southwest border increased by 38 percent in August over the month before; he also notes that the number of Guatemalan families apprehended in fiscal 2018 is nearly double the number from the previous fiscal year.

Miroff is an excellent reporter who has broken a number of stories, notably on the child separation policy. But in common with most of the corporate media, his reporting often lacks context.

“Trump erupted earlier this year when border arrests skyrocketed,” he writes. It’s true that there was a major increase in asylum seeker arrests, but terms like “skyrocketed” reinforce the impression that alien hordes are pouring across the border. The rise in these arrests actually turns out to be a blip if we view it historically. Even with the new arrests, border apprehensions remain—and have remained for a decade—at their lowest level since before the majority of the current U.S. population was born.

Migration crisis? Washington Office on Latin America, from Border Patrol
The article also discusses push factors in Central America’s Northern Triangle, and warns that “[n]ew instability and political polarization in Guatemala could make things worse in the coming year” because of actions by corruption-prone President Jimmy Morales. “American officials have been hesitant to criticize Morales,” Miroff writes. He doesn’t mention that “American officials” have in fact backed every corrupt regime in Guatemala at least since a CIA-backed coup in 1954.

The biggest push factor in Guatemala appears to be poverty and malnutrition in the western highlands, a “crisis…exacerbated by consecutive years of drought and meager harvests.” There’s no mention of the serious possibility that global warming is behind the drought in Guatemala. Ironically, just two days earlier the Washington Post noted that the Trump administration has now admitted that, in the words of scientist Michael MacCracken, “human activities are going to lead to [a] rise of carbon dioxide that is disastrous for the environment and society. And then they’re saying they’re not going to do anything about it.”

All this context could have been added in a few words, with links. Its absence will lead less informed readers to assume that the flight of Central Americans from their own countries is “not our problem.” 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Great Reporting on Devin Nunes’s Family Farm, But the Analysis Falls Short

On September 30 Esquire posted a fascinating article by reporter Ryan Lizza about the Iowa farm
operated by the family of California Congress member Devin Nunes, a major Trump supporter. The family quietly moved most of its California dairy operations to this farm, located in the small town of Sibley, more than a decade ago. Lizza wondered why they had been so careful to avoid publicity about the move, so he went to Sibley to investigate.

His investigation quickly turned into something out of the old hardboiled detective genre, with sources suddenly clamming up and mysterious vehicles tailing Lizza as he drove around town. Eventually the mystery was solved: dairy farmers and others in the area seemed to be heavily dependent on undocumented labor to carry out their operations. Lizza was unable to establish anything about the Nunes family’s farm, but the presumption is that they too relied on unauthorized workers.

Rep. Nunes himself appears to be a moderate on immigration issues, but he’s been an important enabler of the Trump regime, which is committed to a ferocious anti-immigrant agenda. Sibley farmers seem to maintain a similar duality: they disagree with Trump and their Congress member, white supremacist Steve King, about immigration policy, yet they vote overwhelmingly for these men. “There is massive political hypocrisy at the center of this: Trump’s and King’s rural-farm supporters embrace anti-immigrant politicians while employing undocumented immigrants,” Lizza writes.

Lizza’s reporting is great, but his analysis isn’t especially deep. He notes that Iowa’s dairy farmers use undocumented labor to save money—“workers start at fourteen or fifteen dollars an hour, the first farmer said. If dairies had to use legal labor, they would likely have to raise that to eighteen or twenty dollars”—but he doesn’t explore how “illegality” forces these workers to accept lower wages. And he fails to ask who ultimately benefits from the exploitation of undocumented farm workers.

Following the Money

It’s actually not the farmers, Lizza notes: “many dairies wouldn’t survive” if they had to pay authorized workers. In other words, the farmers underpay their workforce because they are being squeezed by the large food processing and distribution corporations, which pocket the extra profits. So an obvious question would be whether these corporations or their CEOs make contributions to anti-immigrant politicians like Trump and King. Unfortunately, Lizza doesn’t raise this.

He also seems uninformed about guest worker programs. As Iowa’s farmers see it, the best option is bringing in H-2A workers; farmers can exploit these laborers just as easily as the current undocumented force but without the risk of fines or jail sentences for violating immigration law. However, dairy farming requires year-round employees, while the current H-2A programs only allow seasonal hiring. The farmers want to remove this limitation.

Lizza dismisses the idea as “a fantasy in the current environment; Trump, King, and their allies describe such policies as ‘amnesty.’” Apparently Lizza hasn’t been paying attention. It’s true that King opposes the H-2A expansion, but Trump’s all for it. “Guest workers, don’t we agree?” he ranted at an April rally. “We have to have them.”

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Researchers Claim the U.S. Has 22 Million Undocumented Immigrants

Authors of a controversial population study describe their methods
An academic paper published on September 21 by the academic journal PLOS One claims that as of 2016 the unauthorized population was between 16.2 million and 29.5 million. The number, proposed by three scholars associated with the Yale School of Management, is about twice as high as the estimated range of 10.8 million to 12.1 million used by most demographers, including those at the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), the Pew Research Center, and the government’s own Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

PLOS One simultaneously published a paper by MPI researchers sharply criticizing the Yale study.

Most demographers estimate the undocumented population’s size by applying a residual method to data from the Census Bureau, DHS, and DHS’s predecessor, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The data is compared to other public records to adjust for the well-known phenomenon of underreporting by undocumented immigrants. The Yale study takes a different approach: the researchers use government records and projections to estimate the inflow of unauthorized immigrants over the border and through overstays and then subtract an estimate of the immigrants’ outflow. (Some of the government’s estimates are discussed here and here.)

But as the MPI paper notes, it’s only in the past few years that DHS has been providing enough data on unauthorized inflows and outflows to justify estimates. The Yale study projects current estimates back to 1990, ignoring some of the major changes in immigration patterns that resulted from increased border enforcement over the 26 years from 1990 to 2016. The backwards projection method also means that any errors in the estimates for an earlier year are compounded in each subsequent year—in contrast to the residual method, which allows for researchers to make a fresh estimate each year.

The MPI study notes that the “residual method was put to the real-world test successfully in the 1980s,” when “estimates generated with this methodology” turned out to be “largely similar to the actual number of unauthorized immigrants who came forward to get legalized” through the 1986 amnesty. (We make the same point in the first chapter of The Politics of Immigration’s second edition.)

How Will the Right Use the New Study?

Anti-immigrant forces have been relatively silent so far—probably because of the current media attention to various crises for the Trump administration—but it seems likely they’ll be citing the Yale study in the future: anti-immigrant groups and rightwing pundits have spent years exaggerating the size of the undocumented population. For example, author and TV personality Ann Coulter regularly puts the number of undocumented immigrants at 30 million.

The rightwing position already gets a good deal of popular support because of widespread misperceptions about immigration. In 2011 Transatlantic Trends researchers asked people in the United States to estimate the proportion of immigrants here. On average, U.S. respondents thought immigrants—naturalized, documented and undocumented—made up 37.8 percent of the U.S. population at a time when the actual proportion was under 14 percent. (If we used the Yale study's estimates, the total foreign-born population would still be less than 18 percent.)

Inflated rhetoric by politicians leads to inflated numbers in people’s minds, and the media often fail to counter this with coverage of some important statistics. How do Coulter and fellow pundit Michelle Malkin get away with their claim that the 11 million figure must be wrong? Their supposed evidence is that the number hasn’t changed over the last decade. This seems convincing because the media constantly report figures on border apprehensions. So the public knows that unauthorized migrants are continuing to enter the country, and it seems like a common-sense conclusion that the undocumented population must be increasing. The media rarely note that undocumented immigrants are also leaving, at the about same rate as they’re entering.

Interestingly, one leading immigration-restrictionist organization, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), immediately rejected the Yale study. A September 22 CIS article expressed agreement with the MPI’s critique and added some additional points. For example, CIS estimates that if the Yale figure was correct, the Department of Education’s 2014 count of children enrolled in schools would have been about 1 million higher. (The Southern Poverty Law Center lists CIS as an anti-immigrant hate group; however, CIS statistics tend to be accurate, although the group’s analysis of them is often questionable.)

Who Are the Study’s Authors?

The study’s authors seemed a little defensive in a September 21 video presentation posted by Yale Insights to explain their methods The authors insisted that they had no political agenda to promote. Co-author Edward H. Kaplan pointed out that the study could be used to counter efforts to depict undocumented immigrants as criminals, since if the undocumented population was doubled, the undocumented crime rate would fall in half.

(This might actually undercut the report. Based on statistics from Texas, the Cato Institute’s Alex Nowrasteh has determined that undocumented immigrants are convicted of crimes at a lower rate than the native born but at a higher rate than immigrants with legal status, who tend to be older, more affluent and less likely to be arrested. The Yale study would have the improbable result that undocumented immigrants have same conviction rate as authorized immigrants.)

Between them the Yale authors have expertise in statistics, management, economics and engineering, but none seem especially knowledgeable about demography or immigration issues. Publications by Kaplan and Jonathan S. Feinstein include studies on terrorism and counter-terrorism. Kaplan seems especially interested in the subject. One article “presents staffing models for covert counterterrorism agencies such as the New York City Police Department, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, Britain's Security Service or the Israeli Shin Bet,” according to its abstract.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

No More Compromises: We Need Immigration Amnesty Now!

  A daughter hugs her immigrant mother. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images
By David L. Wilson, Truthout
September 6, 2018
In mid-April, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) carried out a six-day operation in the New York metropolitan area, detaining a total of 225 people.

One month later, a young US citizen named Augustina stood in Manhattan’s Foley Square, a few hundred feet from ICE’s regional headquarters, and told a crowd of journalists and supporters how the series of raids — code-named “Operation Keep Safe” — had impacted her and her family. Claiming they were police, ICE agents “welcomed themselves in” at the family’s East Harlem apartment, she said, and led away her diabetic mother, who had lived in the United States for more than 30 years. As the oldest citizen left in the family, Augustina was now having to file for guardianship of her 12-year-old sister.

The media had covered the number of immigrants arrested in the April raid, Augustina noted, but not how it had affected their friends and relatives. “We’re not just numbers,” she said. “When will our undocumented families be recognized as human beings?”[...]

Read the full article:

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Yes, We Make Mistakes!

We’ve spotted a few mistakes in the first printing of The Politics of Immigration's second edition, so we’ve added an errata page to the website. If you see any other factual errors, we’d be grateful if you notify us—and even more grateful if you include a link to your source.

You can write us at

Saturday, September 1, 2018

DACA’s Still Alive—For Now

In a surprise move, on August 31 Judge Andrew S. Hanen, a U.S. district judge in Texas, denied a request by Texas and nine other states for a preliminary injunction to block Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications and renewals. However, Judge Hanen made it clear in his 117-page ruling that he opposed DACA on legal grounds, as he did in the past with a DACA expansion and Deferred Action for Parents of American (DAPA).

Photo: David Bacon
Observers had expected Hanen to grant the injunction. This would have brought him into conflict district judges in California, DC, and New York who issued injunctions supporting DACA, probably forcing the Supreme Court to take up the issue in the near future. Now it’s more likely—although not certain--that the issue will remain open until some time next year, giving DACA activists as many as nine months to campaign for a legislative fix.

Read United We Dream’s advice about Judge Hanen’s ruling:

1. DACA Renewals are still open: That’s the good news, Judge Hanen’s rejection of  Texas’ request means that Texas lost and DACA renewals are still in place. You should apply to renew your DACA now, if it expires before 2020. Go to or and we’ll walk you through the process.

 2. The fight is not over: In his decision, Judge Hanen confirmed that he believes DACA is unlawful. This is no surprise since he was the one that killed DAPA/DACA+. Texas now has 21 days to appeal Hanen’s decision. We’ve yet to see how Texas will respond. Stay tuned for updates on anything that could impact you!  

3. New applications are NOT being accepted at this moment, and no one knows for sure whether they will be accepted in the future.

Read the full ruling:

Read the analysis by Vox’s Dara Lind:

Friday, August 24, 2018

Farm Worker Update: Organizing in NY, Protesting in WA

Farm workers in upstate New York constantly face hurdles in their efforts to organize. As reported in an important article from Documented, the workers, who tend to be immigrants, are currently suing to have the state include them in labor protections afforded other workers. But if some industry groups have their way, these farm employees will eventually be replaced by guest workers. Much of the state’s farming is in dairy, and there’s a lot of pressure to have the H-2A program extended so that dairy farmers can take advantage of it. David Bacon’s recent article in The American Prospect describes some of the abuses H-2A guest workers are subjected to, in this case by farm owners in Washington state.

New York’s diary farmers and others are in fact suffering economically, but it’s not because their workers are getting paid too much or have an excess of labor rights. The causes, according to the New York Times, are global warming, Trump’s tariffs, and a shortage of immigrant workers intimidated by the threat of ICE raids.—TPOI editor

Farmworkers Struggle to Unionize in New York. Crispin Hernandez May Change That
Crispin Hernandez and the NYCLU are taking on the New York Farm Bureau

By Clara McMichael, Documented
August 17, 2018
Crispin Hernandez doesn’t want to talk about his personal life. He’s originally from Mexico. He’s 23. Everyone asks him about his favorite food, he says, but he doesn’t want to talk about that either, because you can’t find it here in New York.

What he does want to talk about is the potentially groundbreaking court case that has dominated his life for the past two years. Hernandez is fighting the New York Farm Bureau, which represents agricultural interests, to win the right for farmworkers to organize for collective bargaining without retaliation. State Supreme Court Judge Richard J. McNally, Jr. dismissed his case at the state Supreme Court in Albany in January, but the New York Civil Liberties Union, which represents Hernandez, has appealed the judgment.[…]

Read the full article:

August 5 farm worker protest in Washington state. Photo: David Bacon
What Was the Life of This Guest Worker Worth?
While Washington state agencies reduce farmworker pay and find employers faultless for a death in the fields, Trump and congressional Republicans back proposals to turn farmworking into permanent indentured servitude.

By David Bacon, American Prospect
August 15, 2018
On Sunday, August 5, a group of 200 farmworkers and supporters began walking at sunrise along the shoulder of Benson Road, heading north from Lynden, Washington, toward Canada. When they reached O Road, the marchers turned right to walk along the border. Unlike the frontier with Mexico, with its walls, floodlights, and patrols, the border line here is no line at all—simply a road on each side of a weed-choked median.

The procession, chanting and holding banners, passed a succession of blueberry fields for the next 14 miles, finally reaching the official border crossing at Sumas. Pausing for a protest in front of the local immigrant detention center, it then continued on until it reached its objective one mile further on—the 1,500-acre spread of Sarbanand Farms. There, in front of the ranch’s packing and warehouse facilities, participants staged a tribunal.[…]

Read the full article:

How to Organize Against ICE Raids, and Why We Need to Do It

May 1, 2018 demo. Photo: Pioneer Valley Workers Center
Building a Rapid-Response Network to Defend Immigrant Workers

By Dan DiMaggio and Pioneer Valley Workers Center Staff, Labor Notes
August 16, 2018
As the Trump administration cracks down on undocumented immigrants, it’s urgent for worker centers and unions to organize to defend immigrant members.

In Western Massachusetts, the Pioneer Valley Workers Center has created a rapid-response network it calls “Sanctuary in the Streets” (SiS). The worker center, founded in 2014, organizes restaurant workers and farmworkers in the area. Worker committees set the network's priorities.[…]

Read the full article:
Immigration Raid in Nebraska Devastates Local Agriculture Industry and Families

By Melissa Cruz, Immigration Impact
August 13, 2018
A small town in Nebraska was rocked last week when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents raided multiple businesses, arresting 133 undocumented immigrant workers in an operation which has already created upheaval in the community and its local agriculture industry.

This raid is the latest amid a series of enforcement operations conducted by the Trump administration, including raids in Tennessee and Ohio. In addition to the workers, 17 employers were served arrest warrants last week for allegedly exploiting undocumented labor, among other crimes.[...]

Read the full article:

Friday, August 17, 2018

Resistance at Tule Lake Now Available for Schools!

Our film is now live on the Third World Newsreel catalogue for educational distribution - on DVD and via streaming!

The real history of Japanese American incarceration is minimized in most school curricula. As a result, the general American public does not know nearly enough about these experiences, and most have never heard of Tule Lake.

Why is it important for young people to learn about this shameful chapter of American history, and how thousands of Japanese Americans risked everything to stand up for their civil rights?

"Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it."

Today, we are seeing similar government-sponsored abuse of immigrant communities, as well as the same tactics that were used to soften the reality of the experience. Breaking this cycle has been foremost in the conversations this film has sparked across the country, and our educational distribution is an opportunity to inspire the next generation.

Bringing Resistance at Tule Lake to classrooms across the country will empower students and educators to fully engage with this urgent, hidden history. This meticulously crafted and researched documentary is driven by powerful first-hand accounts, illuminated by expert commentary. It is accompanied by a comprehensive curriculum guide that invites students to delve deeply into this history, and draw connections to current issues faced by immigrants, refugees and communities of color.

Our hope is that instead of asking "what is Tule Lake?" more people will ask "what can we learn from Tule Lake?"

Read more:

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Update on Ravi Ragbir’s First Amendment Case

Photo by Erik McGregor

From: Ravi’s Defense Committee
August 16, 2018

On August 14, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit heard oral argument in Ragbir v. Homan, the First Amendment case filed by Ravi and immigrant rights groups, CASA, Detention Watch Network, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, New York Immigration Coalition and New Sanctuary Coalition (the “plaintiffs”).

William Perdue of Arnold & Porter deftly argued before a packed courthouse that Ravi and the New Sanctuary Coalition should receive a stay of deportation. Perdue stated that there is strong evidence that the government retaliated against Ravi because he has been outspoken about the injustices of our current immigration system and he, the New Sanctuary Coalition, and the community have exposed ICE’s cruel and unjust practices.[...]

Read the full update:

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 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.[…]

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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.[...]

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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? […]

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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.[…]

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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.[…]

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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.[...]

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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.[…]

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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.[…]

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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

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).