Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dramatic Rise in Deportations

Mapping the Shift from Border to Interior Enforcement of Immigration Laws during the Obama Presidency

Social Scientists on Immigration Policy
January 25, 2013

Between 1892 and 1997, a total of 2.1 million people were deported from the United States. A change in laws in 1996 permitted the number of deportees to increase from 70,000 in 1996 to 114,000 in 1997. In 1998, the number of deportees rose to 173,000. The numbers stayed fairly steady until 2003, when the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) infused more money into immigration law enforcement and 211,000 people were deported. From there the numbers have continued to rise – peaking at just over 400,000 in 2012.

These numbers are unprecedented: by 2014 President Obama will have deported over 2 million people - more in six years than all people deported before 1997. [...]

Read the full article:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Release of DREAMer Erika Andiola’s Family Highlights Youth Movement’s Power

By Julianne Hing, ColorLines
January 11, 2013

Within hours of an immigration raid on her family’s home last night, the mother and brother of undocumented immigrant activist Erika Andiola’s family were released from immigration detention this morning. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has indicated that it will likely exercise prosecutorial discretion in their cases, the Huffington Post reported. The swift response came even though Andiola’s mother Maria Arreola and brother Heriberto Andiola Arreola are undocumented, and faced likely deportation.

The flurry of public outrage and social media attention around the case—see the steady stream of tweets on the hashtag #WeAreAndiola—has highlighted two things: the power of the immigrant youth movement and the striking regularity and cruelty with which immigration agents break up everyday families in the country. [...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nearly $187 Billion Spent on Federal Immigration Enforcement over Past 26 Years

U.S. Spends More on Immigration Enforcement than on FBI, DEA, Secret Service & All Other Federal Criminal Law Enforcement Agencies Combined

Migration Policy Institute, Press Release
January 7, 2013
Contact: Michelle Mittelstadt
(202) 266-1910

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government spends more on federal immigration enforcement than on all other principal federal criminal law enforcement agencies combined, with the nearly $18 billion spent in fiscal 2012 approximately 24 percent higher than collective spending for the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a new Migration Policy Institute (MPI) report finds.

The nation’s main immigration enforcement agencies, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), refer more cases for federal prosecution than all Justice Department law enforcement agencies.

And a larger number of individuals are detained each year in the immigration detention system (just under 430,000 in fiscal 2011) than are serving sentences in federal Bureau of Prisons facilities for all other federal crimes.

“Today, immigration enforcement can be seen as the federal government’s highest criminal law enforcement priority, judged on the basis of budget allocations, enforcement actions and case volumes,” said MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner, who co-authored the report, Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery. [...]

Read the full press release:

Download the report:

A briefer version is also available:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Making a Life: Two Stories From Immigrant Workers

The Only Job I Can Do--A Young Mother’s Farm Work Story
By David Bacon, New America Media
December 30, 2012

Editor's Note: Lorena Hernandez is a young farm worker and single mother from Oaxaca, Mexico. Today she lives in Madera, Calif., with her daughter and aunt. She told her story to David Bacon.

MADERA, Calif.--To go pick blueberries I have to get up at four in the morning. First I make my lunch to take with me, and then I get dressed for work. For lunch I eat whatever there is in the house, mostly bean tacos. Then the ritero, the person who gives me a ride to work, picks me up at 20 minutes to five.

I work as long as my body can take it, usually until 2:30 in the afternoon. Then the ritero gives me a ride home, and I get there by 3:30 or 4 in the afternoon. By then I'm really tired. [...]

Read the full article:

Making a Life, but Not a Living in the Fields: Lucrecia Camacho's Story
By David Bacon, Truthout
January 3, 2013

Lucrecia Camacho comes from Oaxaca, and speaks Mixtec, one of the indigenous languages and cultures of Mexico that was hundreds of years old before the arrival of the Spaniards. Today she lives in Oxnard, California. Because of her age and poor health, she no longer toils as a farmworker, but she spent much of her life in Oxnard's strawberry fields, and before that, in the cotton fields of northern Mexico. She told her story to David Bacon.

I was born in a little town called San Francisco Higos, Oaxaca. I've worked all of my life. I started to work in Baja California when I was a little girl. I've worked in the fields all of my life, because I don't know how to read or write. I never had an opportunity to go to school. I didn't even know what my own name was until I needed my birth certificate for the immigration amnesty paperwork after I'd come to the US.

When I was seven, my mother, stepfather and I hitchhiked from Oaxaca to Mexicali, and I lived there for two years. I spent my childhood in Mexicali during the bracero years. I would see the braceros (Mexican guest workers) pass through on their way to Calexico, on the US side. I would beg in the streets of Calexico and they would throw me bread and canned beans on their way back home. I also begged in Tijuana. I'm not ashamed to share that because that is how I grew up. [...]

Read the full article:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What Are 'Peacekeepers' Doing in a Haitian Industrial Park?

By David L. Wilson, Upside Down World
January 14, 2013

The big industrial park near the international airport north of Port-au-Prince actually does look like a nature park. Thousands of Haitians may be inside the complex’s 47 buildings hurriedly stitching tens of thousands of T-shirts for the North American market, but the wide, tree-lined streets between the factory seem peaceful when you drive along them in mid-morning on a workday. It’s as if you were in a gated community in the United States, a thousand miles from the noisy chaos of the Haitian capital.

As in many gated communities, there’s a security force at the Metropolitan Industrial Park, which is identified in Haiti as SONAPI, the acronym for Société Nationale des Parcs Industriels, the semi-governmental agency that runs the park. Haitian guards check you out before they allow you to enter, and once inside you find the grounds patrolled by a white car with a big “UN” painted in black on the side. [...]

Read the full article:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Immigration Reform for My Mom

By Kandace Vallejo, Never Neutral
Posted on January 10, 2013

When nationally syndicated CNN columnist Ruben Navarrette declared last month that DREAMers (you know, the kids who brought us Deferred Action last year) “deserve a scolding,” people responded strongly to Navarrette’s analysis of the DREAMers as a group of “entitled” brats who were risking the movement for everyone else (including their parents). For many people, DREAMers are viewed as heroes, aligned with Martin Luther King and others as the potential vanguard of the civil rights revolution for Latinos. And I think these folks are right. DREAMers absolutely do need to be congratulated, placed in leadership roles, and listened to.

But the fact of the matter is, the battles they’ve won so far aren’t enough. Any version of DREAM Act, any amount of Deferred Action approvals, any number of Provisional Stateside Waivers granted – will still leave out thousands. Thousands of sisters, grandmothers, uncles, and brothers who won’t qualify for these piecemeal protections. My mother is among those. [...]

Read the full article:

Friday, January 11, 2013

In $7-Per-Day Fight, Haitian Workers Call for North American Support

By David Wilson, Working In These Times
January 9, 2013
Haitian workers rally for a living wage outside an industrial park on October 8, 2012. (Marty Goodman/Socialist Action)

The small workers’ center in Port-au-Prince’s Delmas district was hot and the electricity had gone out, but about three dozen workers from the city’s apparel plants were willing to sit in the dark and the heat for nearly two hours after work one evening in early October to tell a group of U.S. activists about the struggle for better wages in Haiti.

“We have to pay for our transportation,” said “Jean” (not his real name), an employee at the Multiwear Assembly plant in the big industrial park near the airport. “We can’t do anything with our salary. We start work at 6 a.m. and finish at 5 p.m. The quota is huge. We don’t even have time to eat because we can’t meet the quota.”

Protests had broken out at the end of September and the beginning of October, the workers said, after factory owners stepped up production quotas to circumvent an increase in the minimum wage that went into effect on October 1. [...]

Read the full article:

Haiti Three Years After the Earthquake: NYC, 1/12/13

For immediate release

Contact: Haiti Anti-Sweatshop Committee, 212-781-5157 • 347-792-7091

Haiti Three Years After the Earthquake: A Labor Perspective

When: Saturday, January 12, 2013, 6 pm
Where: CWA Local 1180, 6 Harrison Street, basement, Manhattan (between Hudson Street and Greenwich Street, 1 to Franklin St or A, C, E, 2 or 3 to Chambers St)
What: Forum on Haiti three years after the earthquake

New York, Jan. 10—Three New York-based activist journalists are marking the third anniversary of Haiti's 2010 earthquake this Saturday with a report-back on their visits to the country last October. The forum, held at a union hall in Lower Manhattan, will focus on grassroots organizing by Haitians, especially in the garment assembly plants.

The anniversary has brought a run of articles in the media here. While the coverage notes the failure of international aid to help Haiti “build back better,” it also claims there has been “some progress,” in the words of a New York Times editorial. The paper’s example is “a new industrial park north of Port-au-Prince, the capital, providing the first 1,300 of what are supposed to be many thousands of manufacturing jobs.”

The three New Yorkers got a very different perspective in talks with Haitian assembly workers, who are currently struggling just to be paid the new legal minimum wage of $7 a day. They are looking for grassroots solidarity from the United States, they said--not projects like the new industrial park, built largely with $124 million in U.S. tax money170 miles from the earthquake zone, and mostly benefiting multinationals like Walmart..

The forum will include a photo projection from photojournalist Tony Savino and talks by David Wilson and Marty Goodman. Savino, who visited the northern city of Ouanaminthe in October, has photographed Haiti regularly for a quarter century; a sample of his work can be found at http://www.tonysavino.com/. Wilson was in Port-au-Prince when the earthquake struck, and has written about that experience and about the economics of the assembly sector. Goodman, a retired transit worker and former member of the TWU Local 100 Executive Board, began covering Haiti in 1986 with reports on the overthrow of Jean-Claude Duvalier (“Baby Doc”); an article on his most recent trip appeared in the November Socialist Action.

The forum has been organized by the Haiti Anti-Sweatshop Committee and is endorsed by One Struggle (NY) and the Batay Ouvriye Solidarity Network. The presenters are available for interviews. For more information, call 212-781-5157 or 347-792-7091, or visit http://www.facebook.com/events/512833625416529/