Saturday, February 28, 2015

Americas Program Policy Report: Border Drones a Financial and Policy Bust

By Tom Barry, CIP Americas
February 10, 2015

MQ-1 PredatorPresident Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson are committed to more drone surveillance of U.S. borders – despite mounting evidence from the government’s own investigators that the border drone program is a monumental bust.

The DHS Office of the Inspector General released a report in January whose startling title, “CBP Drones are Dubious Achievers,” understates the extent of the drone program’s waste, ineffectiveness, and deception. While claiming that drones patrol the entire southwestern border, the report revealed that drone surveillance has been limited to small stretches of the nearly 2,000 mile border and that the costs of its flights were four times higher than drone officials had reported.[...]

Read the full article:

Friday, February 27, 2015

Prepararse o Quedar Dependiente/Getting Ready or Getting Dependent?

Prepararse o Quedar Dependiente
Necesitamos la ayuda de los abogados en muchas batallas migratorias, pero el proceso de solicitar aplazamientos y permisos de trabajo no requiere el servicio de abogado

Por Elvira Arellano, La Opinión
12 de Febrero, 2015

[English below]

La historia de nuestra América Latina ha sido en gran medida una de lucha en contra de la dependencia, y a favor de la independencia. Al lograr su independencia de España y Portugal, los países latinoamericanos muy pronto cayeron en una situación de dependencia de los Estados Unidos. La naturaleza absoluta de la "doctrina de Monroe", la afirmación de parte de los Estados Unidos de que puede hacer lo que le da la gana con los países y gobiernos de América Latina es una fantasma que ha atormentado las Américas durante un siglo. La inestabilidad causada por las intervenciones militares y políticas, que ha perpetuado pobreza que tiene a su raíz el desarrollo económico desequilibrado, mientras que América Latino ha producido para el bien de su patrón en el norte y no para las necesidades de su propia gente.[...]

Lea el artículo:

Getting Ready or Getting Dependent?

We need lawyers' help in many immigration battles, but the process of applying for deferrments and work permits doesn't require a lawyer's services.

By Elvira Arellano, Sanctuary Movement
February 11, 2015

The history of Latin America, our history, is in great part a history of struggle against dependence, the struggle for independence. Independence from Spain and Portugal soon left Latin America dependent on the United States. The absolute nature of the Monroe Doctrine, the U.S. assertion that it could do with the countries and the governments of Latin America as it pleased has haunted the Americas for a century. The Instability caused by military and political intervention maintained the poverty caused by unbalanced economic development as Latin America produced for its northern sponsor instead of for its people. The latest phase of this, the production of drugs for the massive illegal drug market in the United States, has made violence a way of life for once peaceful peoples.

Dependency affects us as individuals and families as well. It affects the relationships between women and men, between children and their parents. Latinos in the United States face the same dynamic once faced by their countries of origin. It is made worse because in our cultures humility is a virtue, while in the dominant culture of the United States, humility is seen as weakness.

In the midst of all this our community has struggled mightily against an unjust immigration system and the dissection of our families by cruel deportations. We have won at least a temporary victory with the President’s executive orders that could mean security and lives of dignity for as many as five or six million people. The vision that millions of children need no longer fear their parents will be gone when they come home from school should bring us a sense of empowerment. Even those of us whom the new orders won’t cover have a feeling of satisfaction.

The task remains ahead of us, beginning in May, to sign up millions of people for these deferments and work permits that the law now permits. The success of these sign ups is not only important for the families it is our best defense against future injustice, our best offense to ultimately change the immigration law and make legalization permanent. Here again the spectre of dependency haunts our community.

Everywhere I go I find that organizations are “getting ready” for the executive order applications. Sadly, most of our Latino organizations are dependent on financial support from grants, either from the government or from liberal foundations. In their “superior wisdom” our financial sponsors have determined that we need lawyers in charge of the application process. Meanwhile private attornies are preparing the make millions this year.

Let me be clear – we need lawyers in many of our immigration battles. I am thankful for the many dedicated attorneys that have helped our community. But the application process for the deferments and work permits – for what they call DACA and DAPA – does not require lawyers. You can get an application from the internet, collect your documents and fill it out yourself. Most of us will need some help – and we should be preparing to help each other. If we are made to be dependent on lawyers for this process it will limit the number of people who can apply and endanger our whole movement.

When Jesus told his disciples to feed the 5,000 with a few fish and loaves of bread he began a movement of sharing. It is said that all 5,000 were fed and 12 baskets were left over. The disciples today are planning to tell the five million to wait until they get enough attorneys – because that is what the people with the money are telling them. That is dependency. That is not getting ready. I’ll write more about this next week.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Judge Blocks Obama Administration From Detaining Asylum-Seekers As Immigration Deterrent

By Mollie Reilly, Huffington Post
February 20, 2015

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg issued a preliminary injunction Friday blocking the Obama administration from detaining individuals seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying the policy illegally aims to deter others from immigrating to the U.S.

"Such detention harms putative class members in myriad ways, and as various mental health experts have testified, it is particularly harmful to minor children," wrote Boasberg, of the District of Columbia.

More than 66,000 "family units," in addition to 57,000 unaccompanied minors, were apprehended at the border last summer while attempting to enter the U.S. Many of the women and children, coming from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in Central America, said they were fleeing violence.[...]

Read the full article:

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Shame of America’s Family Detention Camps

For [paralegal] Sischo, seeing the families struggle — families much like her own — was almost more than she could stand. On visits to her parents in Oregon, she struggled to maintain composure. “Every time I’ve gone home, I’ve just cried pretty much nonstop,” she said. “It’s grief and anger and hopelessness and confusion as to how this could happen and whether we’re making a difference.”

By Wil S. Hylton, New York Times Magazine
February 4, 2015

Christina Brown pulled into the refugee camp after an eight-hour drive across the desert. It was late July of last year, and Brown was a 30-year-old immigration lawyer. She had spent a few years after college working on political campaigns, but her law degree was barely a year old, and she had only two clients in her private practice in Denver. When other lawyers told her that the federal government was opening a massive detention center for immigrants in southeastern New Mexico, where hundreds of women and children would be housed in metal trailers surrounded by barbed wire, Brown decided to volunteer legal services to the detainees. She wasn’t sure exactly what rights they might have, but she wanted to make sure they got them. She packed enough clothes to last a week, stopped by Target to pick up coloring books and toys and started driving south.

As she pulled into the dusty town of Artesia, she realized that she still had no idea what to expect. The new detention center was just north of town, behind a guard station in a sprawling complex with restricted access. Two other volunteers had been in town for about a week and had permission from federal officials to access the compound the following day.[...]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

AFL-CIO Report Blames US Policies for Honduran Migration

Report: US trade and migration policies feed crisis in Honduras
By Vinnie Rotondaro, National Catholic Reporter
January 28, 2015

WASHINGTON Failed trade and migration policies of the United States have exacerbated political problems in Honduras, leading to greater poverty and violence, says a recent report by the AFL-CIO.

The report identifies "two essential elements to understanding the current crisis" in Honduras, which is referred to in many media accounts as "the murder capital of the world" because of the extent of violence in society.

The two elements the report cites are:

--"Recent political and economic developments" in the country, including a 2009 military coup d'état, which unseated a left-leaning government and unsettled a period of relative peace in Honduran society;
--The "unfulfilled promise" of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

Read the full article:

How US ‘Free Trade’ Policies Created the Central American Migration Crisis
By Michelle Chen, The Nation
February 6, 2015

When tens of thousands of Central American migrant children streamed across the US-Mexico border last year, some in this country received them as refugees fleeing violence and poverty; others demonized the “invasion” from the south with bigoted panic. What many overlooked was that these “unaccompanied minors” weren’t just coming in search of new homes—they were actually sent; their migration had been sponsored by some of the biggest corporations in the hemisphere.

A new report from the AFL-CIO examines the migrant influx in the context of global trade programs, tracing the the migration from one key “trading partner,” Honduras, back to the chaos wrought by years of transborder economic exploitation. Labor activists say that as the United States exports misery to the south, “free trade” has plunged a generation of youth into free fall.[...]

Read the full article:

Unions Call for a New Chapter in US-Honduras Relations
by David Bacon, Equal Times
February 10, 2015

A new report by US trade unions has strongly criticised the US government’s policies in Honduras.

AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre led a delegation of US labour leaders to meet with their Honduran counterparts.

“What we witnessed was the intersection of our corporate-dominated trade policies with our broken immigration system,” he said.

The delegation’s report, Trade, Violence and Migration: The Broken Promises to Honduran Workers, offers a frank assessment of the history and impact of US foreign policy in Honduras.[...]

Read the full article:

Friday, February 20, 2015

Central America "Aid" Won't Slow Migration

If we want Central Americans to have the right to stay home and make change in their own communities, we'll have to - at the very least - stop making things worse for them with unfair trade pacts and military "aid."

Photo: Cristina Chiquin, Mujeres Ixchel
By Jane Guskin and David L. Wilson, Truthout
February 20, 2015

On January 29, the Obama administration announced a proposal to provide $1 billion in aid to help El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras "address the lack of economic opportunity, the absence of strong institutions, and the extreme levels of violence that have held the region back at a time of prosperity for the rest of the Western Hemisphere."

According to an op-ed by Vice President Joe Biden in The New York Times the same day, these measures are needed to prevent problems like "the dangerous surge in migration" that occurred "last summer when thousands of unaccompanied children showed up on our southwestern border."[...]

Read the full article: