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).