Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Washington Narrative on Migration

Todd Miller, Border Wars, NACLA
November 24, 2011

We should’ve figured that going to Capitol Hill to talk about the connections between free trade agreements (FTA) and migration in Latin America wouldn’t go over well with our congressional representatives.

I was with Nicaraguan Uriel Carazo who was travelling in the United States to speak about how the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) was exacerbating already dire conditions in Nicaragua and pushing people to look for economic alternatives - mainly, of course, via migration (see video of his talk at Occupy Wall Street in New York). With all the buzz around the subject, particularly in GOP debates, you’d figure folks would be keen on hearing what Carazo had to say about why people were migrating. On that rainy Washington morning, we were there to meet with the offices of Rep. Katherine Castor (D-FL), Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), and Dennis Cardoza (D-CA). Problem was, they didn’t seem too interested. In Sires office, we didn’t even get past the couch in the waiting room. [...]


Monday, November 28, 2011

Suprise: Jonathan and Isaac Released from Detention . . . Round 2 Coming Soon

By Mohammad Abdollahi, DreamActivist.org
November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, however you may celebrate it. So we have one piece of good news for the day, Jonathan and Isaac were released very early in the morning today. They spent a total of 10 days in the Basile immigration detention center, the first five days they were in a New Orleans prison.

The action they took part in was an intentional action to get involved with immigration authorities. We know many of you think it’s crazy but why not? Immigration thinks it has some power over our communities, they think they can hold us hostage with the threat of detention. So why not take the power away from them and let them know we can go to detention on our own terms. If we take the fear card away from them then what do they have to hold over us? What would it look like the next time a bill like HB56 were proposed and the community was actually willing to stand up to the racist legislators? That is a future we want to see. We eliminate the fear. We empower the community to stand up for themselves. We then demand change, our own change.

If you organize you are safe.

More information:

Raw footage from inside the Mobile, Alabama Border Patrol office:

Ways to support Isaac and Jonathan:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thousands Rally for Repeal of Alabama’s Extreme Anti-Immigrant Law

By Seth Hoy, Immigration Impact
November 22, 2011
Thousands gathered outside the historic 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama yesterday to demand the repeal of the state’s harsh anti-immigration law, HB 56. Religious, community and civil rights leaders, as well as a special Congressional delegation, urged state legislators to bring an end to Alabama’s immigration law—a law which continues to slow state businesses, separate families and drive immigrants from the state. The Congressional delegation also held an ad hoc hearing at Birmingham City Hall to hear how the controversial law is effecting state residents, especially the Latino and immigrant communities where, according to Rep. Luis Gutierrez, “the feeling of danger and despair is palpable.” One Congressional member, Rep. Al Green of Texas, commented that the law “deserves to be placed on the trash heap of history.”

During yesterday’s hearing, Birmingham Mayor William Bell told 11 Congressional members that Alabama’s law “smacks of apartheid and Jim Crow laws,” places financial burdens on cities and could force police officers to employ racial profiling. Echoing the mayor’s economic concerns, Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona forewarned that much like Arizona’s SB1070, Alabama’s immigration law “is going to hurt the economy and the social fabric of the state.”[...]

Read the full article:

See also:

11/21 "One Family, One Alabama" Campaign Launch / Rally (photos)

Black Leaders Get Closeup View of Alabama’s New Jim Crow

Achtung Baby: Alabama's Immigration Crackdown Causes Arrest of Mercedes-Benz Executive (video)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Immigration from Mexico in fast retreat, data show

By Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times
November 15, 2011

Reporting from Mexico City— North of the U.S.-Mexico border, Republican presidential candidates are talking tough on illegal immigration, with one proposing — perhaps in jest — an electrified fence to deter migrants.

But data from both sides of the border suggest that illegal immigration from Mexico is already in fast retreat, as U.S. job shortages, tighter border enforcement and the frightening presence of criminal gangs on the Mexican side dissuade many from making the trip. [...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Undocument​ed. Unafraid. Undercover​.

From Mohammad Abdollahi, DreamActivist.org
November 18, 2011

We are undocumented, unafraid and now undercover. For a while we organized the traditional way thinking things would change. Then we realized we had push a little harder, so we started escalating and demanding change. President Obama was onto us, he came out with a big announcement to get support from the Latino community. We knew it was a lie and many of you knew it was a lie but others fell for the trap. You know the NCLR, CHIRLA, Reform Immigration for America crowds . . .

This week we set out to show it was a lie by intentionally getting undocumented youth into a detention center. After all, if Obama was true to his word we wouldn't be successful, right?


Meet Isaac Barrera and Jonathan Perez, youth from California. You actually know both of them, they were participants in a San Bernardino civil disobedience action. This past Thursday both of them walked into a Mobile, Alabama Border Patrol office protesting against HB56. Both were detained and, within hours, transferred to the Basile immigration detention center in Southern Louisiana.

Isaac and Jonathan are now doing what they do best, organizing from within the detention center where they are gathering stories of others detained, those not connected to a larger network.

Take action and support the work of Isaac and Jonathan from within the detention center. Think we can have them home by Thanksgiving?

Immigration thinks it can go after us, well we have news for them, we can go after them too. We can enter their detention centers on our own terms and, with your support, we can come out. Let's bring Jonathan and Isaac home for Thanksgiving!

Much love,
Mohammad Abdollahi

Saturday, November 19, 2011

ICE is trying to deport an Occupy Oakland protester

By Presente.org
November 17, 2011

[Update 11/17/11: Pancho has been released -- INCREDIBLE NEWS. Unfortunately he's not out of the woods yet.]

Occupy Protester to be Deported
Sign the petition demanding ICE to release Pancho and cancel his deportation

In less than 48 hours, we may lose a modern day hero. Francisco “Pancho” Ramos-Stierle was arrested on Monday as he was sitting in silent, non-violent protest against the deep inequality that pervades our society and affects so many Latinos and immigrants.

But what makes Pancho different from so many of the "Occupy" protestors who have been arrested is that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is trying to deport him.  Pancho's information was immediately passed from local police to immigration officials through the Secure Communities (S-COMM) program. So even though the charges against him were dropped, he is still under federal immigration hold.  ICE has less than 48 hours to either take him into federal custody or release him and cancel his deportation.
He was bravely standing up for his community, and now we have to stand up for him. Can you take a moment and sign this petition demanding that ICE release Pancho and cancel his deportation immediately? 

And can you forward this email to your friends and family then post to your Facebook and Twitter profiles?

Pancho was arrested during an early morning raid on the Occupy Oakland encampment on November 14th.1  He participated in Occupy Oakland because he was tired of banks and corporations dominating our country's politics.  Our communities have suffered disproportionately as corporations and the wealthiest among us gain more and more power. Latinos across immigration statuses have lost a staggering two-thirds of our wealth in the recession.2  And for the first time in U.S. history, more Latino children are living in poverty than children of any other ethnic group, and more than two-thirds of them have immigrant parents.3 Meanwhile, coorporation such as CCA and GEO are making billions and profiteering by jailing immigrants like Pancho.

Before his arrest, Pancho was pursuing a Ph.D. in astrophysics at UC Berkeley but resigned from the program when he learned that his work would be used to promote “safer nuclear weapons.” His service to community took many forms – whether promoting community gardens or workingfor migrant rights in Arizona.

Although local courts dropped the charges against Pancho, his fingerprints were immediately forwarded to ICE as soon as he was in custody.  This direct pipeline to ICE and deportation is the hallmark of the Obama administration's S-COMM program - a flawed program that fosters racial profiling against Latinos and authorizes local police to act as immigration officers. Now, we must fight to get Pancho's deportation cancelled.  Click here to sign the petition.

Thanks and ¡adelante!
Favianna, Roberto, Laurie, Felipe, Carlos, Kyle and the rest of the Presente.org team
1."Peaceful Occupy Oakland Protester Faces Deportation," Colorlines.com, 11/16/11
2. "The Toll of the Great Recession: Hispanic Household Wealth Fell by 66% from 2005 to 2009," Pre Hispanic Center, 7/26/11
3. "The Toll of the Great Recession: Childhood Poverty Among Hispanics Sets Record, Leads Nation," Pew Hispanic Center,9/28/11

Democracy Now! interview:
Occupy Oakland Protester Pancho Ramos Stierle Faces Deportation After Arrest While Meditating

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Immigration advocates praise Pearce's defeat

By Catalina Camia, USA Today
November 9, 2011

Some immigration advocates are celebrating the ouster last night of Arizona Sen. Russell Pearce, author of the state's controversial immigration law.

Pearce, president of the Arizona Senate, conceded defeat late Tuesday to fellow Republican Jerry Lewis. Early and provisional ballots must be counted, but Pearce trailed Lewis when all precincts had reported. [...]

Read the full article:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Some African-Americans in Alabama see HB 56 as "a giant step backwards"

By Maribel Hastings, Huffington Post
October 27, 2011

Illinois Congressman Luis GutiƩrrez (D) has always said that the fight for immigration reform is a civil-rights issue for the immigrant community in the United States.

That community finds itself in dire straits in Alabama under its new law HB 56, which, even after a court ruling temporarily blocking some provisions from being enforced, continues to wreak havoc among families made up of immigrants, legal residents and citizens, and continues to affect the economy and the image Alabama is projecting to the country and the world. [...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Letter from Oaxaca

David Bacon, The Investigative Fund (The Nation Institute)
October 24, 2011

If there's one experience that Mexicans have in common more than any other, more even than hatred and repudiation of the mutual violence of the narcos and the government, it's migration. In Oaxaca, 18 percent of its 3.7 million people have left for other parts of Mexico, and especially for the United States. Almost half its towns have shrunk, and migration has become part of the daily experience for almost every family.

I just spent three days listening to indigenous people here talk about it, in a unique organization that brings together people from both sides of the border, the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations (FIOB). [...]

Read the full article:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hispanics fight Alabama's immigration law with work stoppage

Montgomery (AL) Advertiser
October 12, 2011

ALBERTVILLE — At least a half-dozen poultry plants shut down or scaled back operations Wednesday and many other businesses closed as Hispanics in Alabama skipped work to protest the state's toughest-in-the-nation immigration law.

The work stoppage was aimed at demonstrating the economic contribution of Alabama's Hispanic immigrants. It was unclear exactly how widespread the protests were, but a poultry company spokesman said officials were reporting unusually high absences at plants in northeast Alabama, where much of the state's chicken industry is based. [...]

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Immigrants Join Protest as Occupy Wall Street Movement Grows

Tania Mattos, Legislative Coordinator at the New York State Youth Leadership Council, believes that the Occupy Wall Street protests are important in putting immigrant issues back on the table. She sees immigrants as making up a strong contingent of the “99%.”

By Rebecca Ellis, Americas Program
November 3, 2011

Sebastian Fernandez, 25, a graduate student born in Colombia, works the Spanish information desk of the Occupy Wall Street camp on the edge of Zucotti Park. At the corner of Liberty and Broadway, flanked by hot dog vendors and police barricades, he sits at a folding table laden with Spanish-language copies of the protest’s newspaper, the “Occupy Wall Street Journal.” [...]

Read the full article: