Saturday, June 28, 2014

Tea Party and Border Patrol Spin the Story of Children in Detention

By David Bacon, CounterPunch
June 26,2014

Journalist Laura Carlsen, writing from Mexico City, has published on the Americas Program website an important article about the way the U.S. media covers the migration of children to the U.S. – Child Migrants and Media Half-Truths. Carlsen raises key questions – the cause of the displacement that leads to migration, and the way the story of migrating children is used for political purposes in the debate over immigration policy.

The story of children in detention is being manipulated by the Border Patrol and the Tea Party to kill any possibility that moderate Republicans will introduce any reform bill with legalization, to attack Obama’s executive action for the Dreamers (and any possibility he might expand it – the demand of many immigrant rights advocates), and to push for more resources for enforcement, the Border Patrol and expanded detention facilities. [...]

Read the full article:

Friday, June 27, 2014

Immigration and U.S. Policy: Making the Connections

By David L. Wilson, NACLA Report
Summer 2014

David Bacon’s The Right to Stay Home explores how the United States pushes free trade agreements such as NAFTA that drive so many Mexicans out of their home countries. In response, more Mexican activists today are advocating for the right to not migrate.

The article is available at:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why 90,000 Children Flooding Our Border Is Not an Immigration Story

Virtual cities of children are fleeing their homes. This is a lot bigger than U.S. border control, a United Nations protection officer explains.

By Brian Resnick, National Journal
June 16, 2014

The numbers are astounding.

Just a few weeks ago, the United States was projecting 60,000 unaccompanied minors would attempt to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border by the end of the year. That projection is now 90,000, and it may be surpassed.

Virtual cities of children are picking up and fleeing El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala—some of the most dangerous places in this hemisphere. In Washington, the story has stoked the longstanding debate over border policy. But U.S. immigration policy is just a small part of this story. [...]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Humanitarian Crisis at the Border Is Actually a Foreign Policy Crisis

By Arturo J. Viscarra, SOA Watch
June 19, 2014

The heartbreaking stories emanating from the immigration detention centers near the border have rightly been making the news. However the U.S. media has largely ignored the real lessons from the increasing number of Unaccompanied Minors being detained near the U.S. border. This “humanitarian crisis” has not been caused by the criminal nature of the people of Central America, irresponsible parenting, or the clich├ęd pursuit of the “American Dream”. Children and their families are coming to the U.S. to survive. At its root, they are too often trying to escape the devastating consequences of past and present U.S. foreign policy in the region.

The number of children attempting to cross the border into the United States has risen dramatically in the last five years: In FY 2009, roughly 6,000 unaccompanied minors were detained near the border. Credible estimates project that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will detain as many as 74,000 unaccompanied minors by the end of FY 2014. Approximately 28% of the children detained this year are from Honduras, 24% from Guatemala, and 21% from El Salvador.The particularly severe increases in Honduran migration are a direct result of the June 28, 2009 SOA-graduate led coup, the abusive policies of the resulting Honduran regimes, and the shameful U.S. support for these corrupt governments that emerged after dubious elections in 2009 and 2013. [...]

Read the full article:

Sign a petition to President Obama and the U.S. Congress urging them to end the counterproductive funding of the Drug War and the corrupt Honduran regime:

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Child migrants may be refugees seeking asylum, experts say

The Catholic World Report
June 19, 2014

Washington D.C., Jun 19, 2014 / 10:24 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Two migration experts have said that many unaccompanied child immigrants to the U.S. from Mexico and Central America could qualify as refugees fleeing violence, and thus be granted asylum.

Rick Jones, a Catholic Relief Services official who has lived in Central America for 27 years, told CNA the “epidemic of violence” in the region is behind the massive spike of migrants from those countries.

“If this were a declared war, you would consider them refugees. And the homicide rates in Central America fit the definition of war.” [...]

Read the full story:

Friday, June 20, 2014

Waves of immigrant minors present crisis for Obama, Congress

Mark Lagon, who coordinated the George W. Bush administration’s efforts to combat human trafficking, tied the sharp increase in unaccompanied minors to both U.S. economic factors and escalating violence in Central America.

By Richard Cowan, Reuters
May 28, 2014

(Reuters) - Tens of thousands of children unaccompanied by parents or relatives are flooding across the southern U.S. border illegally, forcing the Obama administration and Congress to grapple with both a humanitarian crisis and a budget dilemma.

An estimated 60,000 such children will pour into the United States this year, according to the administration, up from about 6,000 in 2011. Now, Washington is trying to figure out how to pay for their food, housing and transportation once they are taken into custody. [...]

Read the full article:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

U.S. Using Jailed Migrants as a Pool of Cheap Labor

By Ian Urbina, New York Times
May 24, 2014

HOUSTON — The kitchen of the detention center here was bustling as a dozen immigrants boiled beans and grilled hot dogs, preparing lunch for about 900 other detainees. Elsewhere, guards stood sentry and managers took head counts, but the detainees were doing most of the work — mopping bathroom stalls, folding linens, stocking commissary shelves.

As the federal government cracks down on immigrants in the country illegally and forbids businesses to hire them, it is relying on tens of thousands of those immigrants each year to provide essential labor — usually for $1 a day or less — at the detention centers where they are held when caught by the authorities.

This work program is facing increasing resistance from detainees and criticism from immigrant advocates. In April, a lawsuit accused immigration authorities in Tacoma, Wash., of putting detainees in solitary confinement after they staged a work stoppage and hunger strike. In Houston, guards pressed other immigrants to cover shifts left vacant by detainees who refused to work in the kitchen, according to immigrants interviewed here. [...]

Read the full article:

Monday, June 16, 2014

La Fuerza For Justice! DACA 4 ALL!

As Elvira Arellano once said, “We did not come here for the American Dream; we came here because of what the American nightmare did to our countries.”

By Familia Latina Unida
May 20, 2014

This film documents the efforts of Familia Latina Unida and La FuerZa Juventud to get President Obama to use his executive authority to stop the deportations while the Congress remained politically paralyzed.

The dreamers, encouraged by Democratic politicians, had pursued a bill that would have given only them a road to legalization. We were encouraged to say that we were "innocent" while our parents were guilty of breaking the law and so we only should get legalization. Many of the dreamers bought into this saying, "Don't blame us for what our parents did." We were being told we could have "the American Dream" but our parents would have to be deported like criminals."

To reunify the movement, Familia Latina Unida organized the Campaign for American Children and Families. The spearhead for this movement was a youth organization, La FuerZa Juventud, which included both Dreamers and U.S. citizen sons and daughters of undocumented parents. [...]

Watch the video:

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Story of Eulogio Solanoa

Photographs and Oral History

By David Bacon, New Labor Forum
May 2014

Eulogio Solanoa is a Mixteco migrant from Oaxaca and was a farmworker for many years. After leading strikes and community protests, he went to work as an organizer for the United Farm Workers. Today, he lives in Greenfield, California where he told his story to David Bacon. Thanks to Farmworker Justice for the support for this project of documenting the lives of farmworkers.

I have been here in Greenfield since 1992, so that is twenty years. But I am from a small town called San Jose de las Flores in the Putla district in Oaxaca. My family has ejido land there—not a lot of land, just what they call a cajon, less than a quarter of an acre. That is about the amount of land everyone has there. We only have enough to live but not enough to buy a house or car. My father did not even own any land—the land we have comes from my mother. [...]

Read the full article:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dominican Naturalization Law Met With Hope, Skepticism

By Voices of NY, from El Diario-La Prensa
May 22, 2014
Translated by Karina Casiano

Legal experts and Dominicans living in New York expressed hope as the Dominican Senate Wednesday approved a law to legalize the status of thousands of people of Haitian descent who are currently in legal limbo, El Diario/La Prensa reports.

A story by Juan Matossian says that the naturalization law presented by President Danilo Medina seeks to bring a “fair resolution” to a “cycle of irregularities” created by the Constitutional Court’s ruling in September of 2013. The law stripped people born in 1929 or later to undocumented foreign parents of their birthright to Dominican citizenship.

“This is a great advance in our quest for solutions to the problem of respecting the citizenship of people of Haitian descent and to solve the problem of migration in a fair manner,” said Milagros Ricourt, professor of Latin American and Puerto Rican Studies at Lehman College. [...]

Read the full story:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Book Review: Learning from Latin America’s Social Movements

By David L. Wilson, Upside Down World
June 10, 2014

Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein, editors. Until the Rulers Obey: Voices from Latin American Social Movements. PM Press, 2014.

One thing most social movements have in common is a striking ability to take the experts by surprise.

At a forum in New York last year, a senior analyst from a leading DC-based progressive research group admitted that until a June 2009 coup forced former Honduran president Manuel Zelaya out of office, “Honduras wasn’t on our radar.” The analyst’s organization was one of the best sources of information on the country in the months following the coup, but before the headline-grabbing event it overlooked one of the most interesting political developments in the hemisphere.

A mass movement had grown up in Honduras over the previous decades based on militant unions, increasingly assertive organizations of indigenous and African-descended Hondurans, campesinos demanding effective agrarian reform, and rapidly growing feminist and LGBT groups. [...]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Victor Toro can stay in U.S., but with no ID

By John Catalinotto, Workers World
May 10, 2014

At an April 30 immigration hearing in New York for Chilean activist Victor Toro, the U.S. government changed its stance and stopped trying to show that Toro was a “terrorist,” but at the same time refused to honor his appeal for political asylum.

The hearing itself showed that Toro has strong support, as nearly 40 people came out to be with him and show their solidarity during the hearing. [...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Why Is This Farm Using Guest Workers as Strike Breakers?

By law, a company can’t hire H-2A guest workers if it is in a labor dispute with its US workforce. But that is exactly what this Washington State berry grower is trying to do.

By David Bacon, The Nation
May 2, 2014

In 2001 Rosario Ventura came to the United States from Mexico and went to work in Washington State, picking blueberries for Sakuma Farms. “I was expecting a different type of work here,” she recalls, “but this is all there is. I thought I would save up something here and go back, but I haven’t been able to do it. It is too difficult.”

The first job she had was pruning blueberry bushes. “It was really hard. After cutting the branches, they’d spring back and hit me in the face or all over. It really hurt.” She stuck it out though, working summers in Washington, and in the winter trying to find work further south in California, near Fresno. [...]

Read the full article:

Friday, June 6, 2014

Old Economic Policies Shape Today’s Migration Tragedies

This is the thing that is so frustrating about our immigration policy debate. We hold it as though it is domestic policy only, as though it has no relationship to U.S. foreign policy and global economic behavior.

By Rinku Sen Share, ColorLines
May 1, 2014

In “The Accidental American,” I write about Apolinar Salas, who had been a dishwasher and prep cook in New York City restaurants for more than a decade when I met him. Salas had grown up on his family’s two-acre farm in Puebla, Mexico, where they grew beans, corn and peanuts. They used to grow just what they needed to eat and to sell at local markets to earn enough for school clothes, supplies, medicine and other necessities. The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) changed Salas’ life forever, bringing subsidized corn products from the U.S. into Mexico, raising the price of food, and pushing 2 million small farmers like Salas out of business. The government offered subsidies for growing sugar cane instead, but, as Salas told me, “you can’t eat sugar cane.” So he left for New York City, where he joined many people from the state of Puebla working in restaurants. [...]

Read the full article: