Thursday, September 22, 2016

Is Trump an Aberration? The Dark History of the “Nation of Immigrants”

The policies he’s promoting are, in an eerie way, a logical continuation of centuries of policymaking that sought to create a country of white people.

By Aviva Chomsky,
September 13, 2016.

Liberal Americans like to think of Donald Trump as an aberration and believe that his idea of building a great wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent immigrants from entering the country goes against American values. After all, as Hillary Clinton says, “We are a nation of immigrants.” In certain ways, in terms of the grim history of this country, they couldn’t be more wrong.

Donald Trump may differ from other contemporary politicians in so openly stating his antipathy to immigrants of a certain sort. (He’s actually urged the opening of the country to more European immigrants.) Democrats like Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton sound so much less hateful and so much more tolerant. But the policies Trump is advocating, including that well-publicized wall and mass deportations, are really nothing new. They are the very policies initiated by Bill Clinton in the 1990s and -- from border militarization to mass deportations -- enthusiastically promoted by Barack Obama. The president is, in fact, responsible for raising such deportations to levels previously unknown in American history.

And were you to take a long look back into that very history, you would find that Trump’s open appeal to white fears of a future non-white majority, and his support of immigration policies aimed at racial whitening, are really nothing new either.[...]

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Why unions embraced immigrants – and why it matters for Donald Trump

In his speech on immigration, the Republican presidential candidate echoed hardline stances once voiced by unions. But decades of union campaigns have drawn immigrants and minority voters into their fold.

By David Iaconangelo, Christian Science Monitor
September 2, 2016

After seeming to debut a more forgiving stance on immigration last week, Donald Trump arrived in Phoenix on Wednesday brandishing a resolutely hardline plan, warning of an undocumented criminal menace and promising deportations on an unprecedented scale.

"We will begin moving them out Day One. As soon as I take office. Day One. In joint operation with local, state, and federal law enforcement," he said, according to transcripts.

As he has in the past, Mr. Trump tied his promise to carry out deportations to anti-globalist economic ideas. But he also drew a direct line between the fortunes of the country's native-born laborers and the presence of undocumented immigrants – a connection he has rarely made in his remarks on the topic.[...]

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

No Other Way Than to Struggle: The Farmworker-Led Boycott of Driscoll's Berries

By Felimon Piñeda, interviewed by David Bacon, Truthout
August 31, 2016

Felimon Piñeda is vice president of Familias Unidas por la Justicia, the independent farm workers union in Washington State. He was one of the original strikers when the union was organized in 2013. The union, together with the union of striking farm workers in Baja California, Mexico, has organized a boycott of Driscoll's Berries, the world's largest berry company. They demand that Driscoll's take responsibility for the conditions and violations of labor rights by the growers whose berries they sell. Piñeda describes the life of a farm worker producing Driscoll's berries, and his own history that brought him into the fields of Washington State. He told his story to David Bacon during an interview in Linden, Washington.

Our town in Oaxaca is Jicaral Coicoyan de las Flores. We speak Mixteco Bajo. I am 33 years old, but I left at a very young age. In 1996 I got to San Quintin [in Baja California] with my older brother. After four nights in Punta Colonet, we found a place to stay in a camp. There were a lot of cabins for people and we stayed there for six months. We planned to go back to Oaxaca afterwards, but when we'd been there for six months we had no money. We were all working -- me, my sister, my older brother and his wife and two kids -- but we'd all pick tomatoes and cucumbers just to have something to eat. There was no bathroom then. People would go to the bathroom out in the tomatoes and chiles. The children too.[...]

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Neighbors Question Cuba Migration Policy

“Encouraged by the U.S. ‘wet foot, dry foot’ policy, Cuban migrants often become victims of trafficking, sexual exploitation and violence.... It is time for the United States to change its outdated policy for Cuban migrants, which is undermining regular and safe migration in our continent.”

Editorial, New York Times
August 31, 2016

Nine Latin American governments this week called on the United States to end its preferential immigration policy for Cubans, calling it “discriminatory” and a boon to human smuggling networks in the region.

In a rare public letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, the foreign ministers of Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru requested a high-level meeting to discuss a policy that they said is fueling the “disorderly, irregular and unsafe” migration of Cubans through their countries.[...]

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

La Confusión Calculada de Trump/Trump’s Calculated Confusion

La Confusión Calculada de Trump
Por Elvira Arellano, Familias Unidas
30 de agosto, 2016

(English Version follows below)

No Sr. Trump, no somos tontos.

El hecho de que la mayoría de los votantes latinos no apoyan a Trump, sino que se oponen a él, ha producido una reacción de su parte de rodear su ‘plan migratorio” en una neblina de confusión. Con esto piensa confundir, no a los latinos, sino a los votantes republicanos no extremistas de raza blanca quienes se han opuesto a su plan de deportación masiva. Este hecho es un tributo a nuestro movimiento que ha ganado los corazones de la mayoría de los ciudadanos norteamericanos, a causa de nuestro esfuerzo de mantener unificadas a nuestras familias.

Esta “neblina migratoria” de Trump no es otra cosa que el mismo mecanismo de la derecha republicana ha empleado para estancar todo progreso en el Congreso. La diferencia es que si Trump fuera el presidente, los resultados serían desastrosos.[...]

Trump’s Calculated Confusion
By Elvira Arellano, Familias Unidas
August 30, 2016

No Mr. Trump. We are not Stupid!

Trump’s lack of support – indeed his opposition – by Latino voters is driving him to surround his “immigration plan” in a fog of confusion. His target is not Latinos – it is white moderate Republican voters who opposed his mass deportation plan. That is a tribute to our movement which has won the hearts of the majority of U.S. citizens with our effort to keep our families together.

Trump’s “immigration fog” is really the same stall that right wing Republicans have been using in Congress. The difference is that if Trump were President the results would be disastrous.[...]

Lea el artículo completo/read the full article:!topic/sanctuarymovement/rl468APdgFw

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Being a Mexican Migrant Worker and Female, a Recipe for Double Discrimination

During the 2015 financial year - which runs from October 2014 to September 2015 – the United States government issued a total of 108,144 H2A visas and 69,684 H2B visas. Male Mexican workers benefitted from 94 per cent of the H2A visas and 74 per cent from the H2B visas.

By Emilio Godoy, Equal Times
August 26, 2016

“I want to go back but they won’t let me. When I called the employer, they told me the quota had already been filled,” forty-five year old Leonor Rodríguez, from Ixtacuixtla (in the state of Tlaxcala, some 11 kilometres south of Mexico City), tells Equal Times. This Mexican woman is not able to work in Canada. Each time she submits an application for the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP), established by Canada and Mexico in 1974, she is denied a place.

On 2 February, Rodríguez went to the National Employment Service of Tlaxcala to request a place on the SAWP. An employee informed her that she couldn’t work in Canada, because “there were no requests for women” and that, if she wanted, he would put her “on reserve in case any places for women came up”.

A single mother with five children, she had worked under the SAWP between 2005 and 2011 in greenhouse floriculture and strawberry growing in the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Alberta and British Colombia.[...]

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

22 Migrant Women Held in Pennsylvania Start a Hunger Strike to Protest Detention

On Wednesday Ms. Alberto and 21 other women who call themselves “Madres Berks,” or “Berks Mothers,” restarted a hunger strike they had conducted for 16 days in August.

By Liz Robbins, New York Times
September 2, 2016

Margarita Alberto cannot forget the tantrum her 6-year-old son threw several months ago. One afternoon he started shouting that he wanted to leave the Pennsylvania immigration detention center for families, where they have been held since Oct. 28, 2015, “He said, ‘It’s your fault that we’re here, your fault!’” Ms. Alberto said.

And then, she recalled, he tightened the lanyard holding his ID card around his neck, threatening to choke himself if they didn’t get out.

Ms. Alberto and her son, migrants from El Salvador seeking asylum in the United States, are still detained, along with 65 other women and children at the Berks County Residential Center in Leesport, Pa., about 70 miles northwest of Philadelphia.[...]

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Harvard. Debate Briefs on Immigration. 1898-1908

[This blog posting shows how little the immigration "debate" has changed in the last century.--TPOI]

By Irwin Collier, Economics in the Rearview Mirror
September 1, 2016

A few posts ago I provided a short selection from Harvard Professor Thomas Nixon Carver’s autobiography that reminded me of the current Republican U.S. Presidential candidate’s immigration policy. I must still have had Donald Trump on the mind when I stumbled upon a book of model debate briefs for issues of the late 19th/early 20th century. One might want to first watch the speech Donald Trump gave on immigration policy last night (August 31, 2016) in Phoenix, Arizona and then examine the debate briefs below for the following three resolutions:

Resolved, That immigration should be further restricted by law.

Resolved, That a high tax should be laid on all immigrants to the United States.

Resolved, That the policy excluding Chinese laborers from the United States should be maintained and rigorously enforced.

Zombie ideas are everywhere.

Briefs for Debate on Current Political, Economic, and Social Topics.

Edited by
W. Du Bois Brookings, A.B. of the Harvard Law School
Ralph Curtis Ringwalt, A.B.
Assistant in Rhetoric in Columbia University

With an introduction by Albert Bushnell Hart, Ph.D.
Professor of Harvard University.


[From the Preface:]

“The basis of the work has been a collection of some two hundred briefs prepared during the past ten years by students in Harvard University, under the direction of instructors. Of these briefs the most useful and interesting have been selected; the material has been carefully worked over, and the bibliographies enlarged and verified….

…” the brief is a steady training in the most difficult part of reasoning; in putting together things that belong together; in discovering connections and relations; in subordinating the less important matters. The making of a brief is an intellectual exercise like the study of a disease by a physician, of a case by a lawyer, of a sermon by a minister, of a financial report by a president of a corporation. It is a bit of the practical work of life.[...]

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

What Donald Trump Knew About Undocumented Workers at His Signature Tower

He has long denied knowingly using undocumented workers to demolish the building that would be replaced with Trump Tower

By Massimo Calabresi, Time
August 25, 2016

In the summer of 1980, Donald Trump faced a big problem. For six months, undocumented Polish laborers had been clearing the future site of Trump Tower, his signature real estate project on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, where he now lives, maintains his private offices and hosts his presidential campaign.

The men were putting in 12-hour shifts with inadequate safety equipment at subpar wages that their contractor paid sporadically, if at all. A lawyer for many of the Poles demanded that the workers be paid or else he would serve Trump with a lien on the property. One Polish worker even went to Trump’s office to ask him for money in person, according to sworn testimony and a deposition filed under oath in a court case.

For help, Trump turned to Daniel Sullivan, a 6-ft. 5-in., 285-lb. labor consultant, FBI informant and future officer of the Teamsters Union. “Donald told me he had difficulties …,” Sullivan later testified in the case. “That he had some illegal Polish employees on the job.”

Sullivan had been helping Trump negotiate a casino deal in New Jersey at the time, and he testified that he was shocked by Trump’s admission. “I think you are nuts,” Sullivan testified that he told Trump. “You are here negotiating a lease in Atlantic City for a casino license and you are telling me you have got illegal employees on the job.”[...]

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Friday, September 9, 2016

On Immigration Policy, Partisan Differences but Also Some Common Ground

Relatively few express negative views of undocumented immigrants

By Pew Research Center
August 25, 2016

The public is divided over many aspects of U.S. immigration policy. However, when asked about the priorities for policy toward illegal immigration, more Americans say better border security and a path to citizenship should be given equal priority than favor either approach individually.

The new national survey, conducted August 9-16 among 2,010 adults, also finds that a large majority (76%) says that undocumented immigrants are as hard-working and honest as U.S. citizens, while 67% say they are no more likely than citizens to commit serious crimes. The survey also finds continued public opposition to building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border: 61% oppose this proposal, which is little changed from earlier this year.

Overall, 29% of the public prioritizes “creating a way for immigrants already here illegally to become citizens if they meet certain requirements,” while (24%) say the focus should be on “better border security and stronger enforcement of immigration laws.” However, when given the option, a 45% plurality does say that both should be given equal priority.[...]

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

As the Private Immigrant Detention Business Persists, Families Fight Back

Moussa's family was one of thousands torn apart by policies like the detention quota, which is a federal policy that mandates that 34,000 spaces for immigrant detainees be maintained every day.... [P]rivate prison companies -- which run 62 percent of ICE detention facilities -- receive millions of dollars in federal funds as a result.

By Mich P. Gonzalez, Truthout
August 23, 2016

Moussa came to the United States nine years ago seeking asylum. He lost his asylum case, but while appealing the decision, he fell in love with Victoria. The two were married and have three beautiful children together. Moussa also adopted Victoria's two children from a prior relationship. When Victoria filed for a family petition on his behalf in April 2015, they thought their immigration struggles were finally over. Sadly, they had just begun.

The last time I wrote about Moussa, he was sitting in a detention center in New Orleans and his family was praying that immigration authorities would exercise their discretion to stop his deportation and release him. At that time, Moussa was enduring his 10th month of incarceration. The following afternoon, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) denied Moussa's request without informing his family or his attorneys at the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).

Three days later, ICE forcibly attempted to put Moussa on a plane to Chad. That Monday morning, June 27, 2016, Moussa called his advocates at AFSC to tell the story of his near-deportation. His voice was cracked and muffled over the phone as he explained how he was woken up gruffly at dawn, shackled at his ankles and handcuffed. How he was transported by van to an airport in Houston, where four ICE officers attempted to force him onto a plane without explanation. How he cried out for help and resisted permanent separation from his family by refusing to walk. How the officers aggressively attempted to strap him into a wheelchair and how he refused to sit still. How his deportation officer punched him in the neck with a closed fist and told him to "stop screaming like a pregnant woman."[...]

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Don't deport my husband: Petition to Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Representative Lee Zeldin

Update, September 10, 2016: I am so happy to announce that Rony is no longer being detained in Texas. He is home with Ava and Teddy and I, his wife, in NY. We are enjoying each moment, grateful for all of the support and prayers and stories we have received. It is beyond wonderful to be together again after eight long months. Thank you everybody!!! XOXO Rony, Kristina, Ava and Teddy.

[This petition had 25,207 signatures as of September 6, 2016.]

Petition by Kristina Granados
East Setauket, New York

My husband, Rony, lost most of his male relatives to the drug cartels in Honduras. Rony’s father owned land that he would not hand over, so his family was brutally murdered. My husband came to the US looking for a safer life but is currently in deportation proceedings that would send him back to the extortion and violence he fled.

Our daughter, Ava Lily, is about to turn one -- and as she starts taking her first steps, Rony is sitting in a detention center in Texas. He has been an amazing father to his disabled step-son and he is a hardworking man who supported us with his landscaping business. The consequence of sending him back to Honduras and the murderous drug cartels will likely be his demise -- leaving me a widow and his children without a father.

Rony has other family here who sought asylum in the US after hurricane Mitch hit Honduras in 1998. They’ve remained a big part of our lives and we all want him safely with us.

In cases where there are extenuating circumstances, immigration officers can pardon a detainee under prosecutorial discretion. Please join me in asking Immigration and Customs Enforcement to grant prosecutorial discretion to Rony Francisco Granados Hernandez based on the extortion and murder of his family.

Please help Rony return to his loving family. Thank you for your support.

Sign the petition:

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

390 Human Rights, Social Justice, Faith-Based, Labor, and Immigrant Rights Groups are Calling for an International Convergence at the U.S./Mexico Border from October 7-10, 2016

Activists will gather at the border in the lead-up to the November elections, to highlight U.S. foreign policy as one of the root causes of migration, and to stage protests and nonviolent direct action against racism, xenophobia and U.S. militarization at home and abroad.

Contact: Hendrik Voss, 202-425-5128,
Olmeca, 323-646-2762,
Eduardo García, 484-663-1163,
María Luisa Rosal, 202-710-2343,

Nogales, AZ – Thousands of activists throughout the United States and Mexico will gather on both sides of the border since the School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch) is moving its annual vigil to the line between Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora from October 7-10, 2016.

After holding an annual vigil at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia, for 26 years, SOA Watch and partner groups, based on broad-based grassroots power, will push back against militarization of the border, against criminalization of migrants and refugees, and to name the root causes of migration. SOA Watch and the endorsing organizations will stand on the side of mutual aid and solidarity, and build power for a culture shift.

Communities are being targeted for assassination and state repression throughout the Americas by U.S. trained military and police forces. People from Latin America continue to be forced to flee from U.S. trained repressive security forces, only to be confronted with a militarized border, racist laws, and xenophobic rhetoric in this election cycle. Black and Brown bodies in the U.S. continue to be targeted, systematically imprisoned and killed in the same way. We can no longer separate the issues and today we say enough! We cannot look at immigration reform without looking at its root cause. We cannot discuss police brutality or the prison industrial complex in the U.S. without discussing its root purpose. State violence is used to exert control and oppress our communities in order to maintain an exploitative racist system that benefits the few. Today we say enough!

The convergence will include workshops and events on both sides of the U.S./ Mexico border, as well as art, music, and resistance. We invite you to join us. To learn more about why SOA Watch is moving from the gates of Fort Benning to the border, visit


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Monday, September 5, 2016

Latino immigrants are unnoticed casualties of US 'war on terror' – study

By Alan Yuhas, The Guardian
August 21, 2016

The war on terror has inordinately affected Latino immigrants for the last 15 years, according to two sociologists who say Donald Trump has simply made explicit fears that long linked linked terrorism with anxieties about migrants and Muslims.

In a research paper presented on Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Seattle, Luís Romero and Amina Zarrugh, sociologists at the University of Texas at Austin, argued that since the attacks of September 11 2001, the US has increasingly merged terrorism and immigration in official policy and the daily work of its government agencies.

“Trump is articulating, in its most explicit terms, a connection that’s been insinuated and elaborated perhaps less colorfully and less explicitly, but that’s been going on for quite some time,” Zarrugh said. “The American public has been primed for these connections for at least a decade.”

She and Romero pored over 15 years’ worth of speeches and government documents to chart the merger and its effect on Latinos. Months after the attack, congressmen started warning of “porous borders”, and years of false claims and alarming ads about terrorist activity at or near the border followed.[...]

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Friday, September 2, 2016

No Need to Build The Donald's Wall, It’s Built

Trump’s America Already Exists on the Border

By Todd Miller, TomDispatch
August 23, 2016

At the federal courthouse, Ignacio Sarabia asks the magistrate judge, Jacqueline Rateau, if he can explain why he crossed the international boundary between the two countries without authorization. He has already pleaded guilty to the federal misdemeanor commonly known as “illegal entry” and is about to receive a prison sentence. On either side of him are eight men in the same predicament, all still sunburned, all in the same ripped, soiled clothes they were wearing when arrested in the Arizona desert by agents of the U.S. Border Patrol.

Once again, the zero tolerance border enforcement program known as Operation Streamline has unfolded just as it always does here in Tucson, Arizona. Close to 60 people have already approached the judge in groups of seven or eight, their heads bowed submissively, their bodies weighed down by shackles and chains around wrists, waists, and ankles. The judge has handed out the requisite prison sentences in quick succession -- 180 days, 60 days, 90 days, 30 days.

On and on it goes, day-in, day-out. Like so many meals served in fast-food restaurants, 750,000 prison sentences of this sort have been handed down since Operation Streamline was launched in 2005.[...]

Read the full article:,_the_great_mexican_wall_deception/

Thursday, September 1, 2016

It’s Children Against Federal Lawyers in Immigration Court

By Fernanda Santos, New York Times
August 20, 2016

TUCSON — After a long, scary trek through three countries to escape the gang violence in El Salvador, a 15-year-old boy found himself scared again a few months back, this time in a federal immigration court here. There was an immigration judge in front of him and a federal prosecutor to his right. But there was no one helping him understand the charges against him.

“I was afraid I was going to make a mistake,” the boy said in Spanish from his uncle’s living room, in a modest cinder-block house on the south side of this city. “When the judge asked me questions, I just shook my head yes and no. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing.”

Every week in immigration courts around the country, thousands of children act as their own lawyers, pleading for asylum or other type of relief in a legal system they do not understand.[...]

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