Sunday, December 31, 2017

Blitzer on MS-13, Lind on “Chain Migration”

Two excellent articles from the mainstream to close out the year.—TPOI editor

The Teens Trapped Between a Gang and the Law
On Long Island, unaccompanied minors are caught between the violence of MS-13 and the fear of deportation.

By Jonathan Blitzer, New Yorker
January 1, 2018
Juliana grew up with a single memory of her father. He was sitting in the half-light of evening on the porch of their home, in a small town in El Salvador, while her mother cooked dinner in the kitchen. A man in a black mask emerged from the darkness. Juliana heard three gunshots, and saw her father fall off his chair, vomiting blood. She was three years old at the time, and afterward she wondered if the killing had actually happened. The most tangible detail was the man in the mask, who came to seem more present in her life than her father ever was. Juliana used to find her mother by the windows, pulling back a corner of the curtains to be sure that he had not returned. “It was like that man went on living with us,” Juliana told me. One day when she was older, her mother said that a gang called the Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13, had killed her father for refusing to pay a tax on a deli that he operated out of the house.[…]

Read the full article:

What “chain migration” really means — and why Donald Trump hates it so much
Family-based immigration” doesn’t sound as scary — or get at the fear of losing control.

By Dara Lind, Vox
December 29, 2017
Over the course of President Donald Trump’s first year in office, his administration’s top immigration priority has shifted subtly. He’s talking less about deporting “bad hombres” and talking more — a lot more — about how “chain migration” is bad for the United States.

“We have to get rid of chainlike immigration, we have to get rid of the chain,” Trump told the New York Times’s Mike Schmidt in an impromptu interview at his West Palm Beach golf club in December.[…]

Read the full article:

Monday, December 25, 2017

Updates: Dreamer Protests, Separating Kids From Parents

Congress has passed its short-term spending bill in time to go on Christmas vacation. The politicians managed to forget their promises to protect DACA recipients, despite a week of militant protests by Dreamers at the Capitol. Meanwhile, journalist Todd Miller reminds us via tweet that “separating children from their parents has been part of the policy/strategy for quite a while”; he adds a link to a November 2011 report by the Applied Research Center. Still, we’ve been seeing an intensification of the practice under the Trump administration, and we can expect things to get worse if we don’t respond forcefully.—TPOI editor

DACA Recipients’ Message to Democrats: Stop Playing with Our Lives, and Pass a Clean DREAM Act Now

Dreamers protest in Schumer's office. Photo: The Intercept
Democracy Now!
December 21, 2017
As Congress passes a massive rewrite of the U.S. tax code that could mean the largest transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top in history, it is also negotiating a stopgap spending measure that will not include the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. This comes as seven young DACA recipients and one ally were released from jail Wednesday after six days in jail on hunger strike. The eight were arrested Friday during nonviolent sit-in protests inside the offices of Democratic lawmakers, demanding they commit to voting “no” on the spending bill this month unless it includes a version of the DREAM Act without concessions for funding for the border wall or enhanced border security. We are joined by Erika Andiola, one of the eight activists just released and a nationally known immigrant activist who served as a spokesperson for Bernie Sanders and helped him craft immigration policy. She is the political director for Our Revolution. She is a DACA recipient who grew up in Arizona, where her house was raided in 2013 and immigration agents picked up her mother and brother.[...]

View the segment or read the transcript:

Pathetic”: Democratic Leaders Called Out for Betraying Vow to Fight for Dreamers

By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams
December 22, 2017
In September, Democratic leaders assured 800,000 young immigrants that they would make use of their leverage in year-end spending battles to pass a clean Dream Act. On Thursday, Democrats folded on this promise without much of a fight, allowing a continuing resolution to pass both houses of Congress and heading home for the holidays while leaving thousands of immigrants in "legal limbo."

“Quite frankly, it's a pathetic way for the Democratic Party’s leadership to close out a year in which millions of Americans fought back and resisted the Trump regime’s racist, xenophobic, and dangerous agenda with an inspiring wave of grassroots activism from coast to coast,” CREDO political director Murshed Zaheed said in a statement following Thursday's vote. “This is a monumental failure.”[…]

Read the full article:

The Trump Administration Is Separating Children From Asylum-Seeking Parents at the Border

By Katie Shepherd, Immigration Impact
December 11, 2017
José Demar Fuentes and his son. Photo: PBS News Hour
An alarming trend along the U.S.-Mexico border has escalated within the last year: the inhumane practice of separating immigrant children from their parents at the hands of U.S. immigration officials. Not only is this practice deeply traumatic for the families involved, it flies in the face of established U.S. and international law.

In response to this grave violation, the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the Women’s Refugee Commission and several other immigration rights organizations, filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), demanding an investigation into this uptick in family separation.[...]

Read the full article:

Migrant seeking asylum says his toddler was taken away at the U.S. border

PBS News Hour
Dec 22, 2017
At least four Central American men in this California detention facility say U.S. immigration officials took their children after they arrived at the border, asking for asylum. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says the agency separated the children for their safety, because the men didn't have enough proof they were the fathers. Special correspondent Jean Guerrero of KPBS in San Diego reports.[...]

View the segment or read the transcript:

Friday, December 22, 2017

Next Up: Separating Migrant Kids From Their Parents

The security threat on our borders?  Photo: Jennifer Whitney/NY Times           
The Washington Post reports that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is again considering former department head John Kelly’s proposal to separate Central American children from their parents, supposedly in order to deter a “surge” in entries by asylum seekers. In November, 7,018 families were detained at the southwestern border, a 45 percent increase over October's figure; the number of “unaccompanied alien children” rose by 26 percent. The families and unaccompanied children were largely from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

Post reporter Nick Miroff (Twitter @NickMiroff) did a great job in breaking the story. Still, we have to wonder why he gave two paragraphs to the far-right Center for Immigration Studies’ Andrew R. Arthur (email to explain why the policy only seems heartless. And the story itself raises a lot of questions:

1. Republicans blamed the Obama administration for a similar uptick in entries by Central American families and children during the first half of 2013. The claim then was that Obama policies such as DACA encouraged the increase. Now we have a new uptick following Trump’s decision to end DACA. Are Republicans going to say the Trump administration is too soft on immigration?

2. Is there really a “surge,” or is this just deferred immigration? Entries were significantly down at the beginning of the year as potential immigrants waited to see how bad the Trump policies might be. Have people who put off the journey back then now decided they can’t wait any longer?

3. What are factors in the main sending countries that might have pushed more people to leave in November? For example, Honduras was to hold elections at the end of the month. Many people might have left because they feared that violence would break out during the election period—as actually happened.

4. Much of the violence in the sending countries is connected to the drug trade. The U.S. has been engaged in a so-called “war on drugs” since the Nixon administration, including military aid to Central American countries. The results haven’t been encouraging: U.S. drug overdose deaths rose from less than 10,000 in 1980 to about 64,000 in 2016. Why aren’t we reconsidering our militarized strategy for curbing drug abuse?

5. Two of the three sending countries—Honduras and Guatemala—happen to be among the nine countries that supported the United States in a December 21 UN General Assembly vote on Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. On November 28 the Trump administration certified the Honduran government’s record on human rights, and on December 22 the administration recognized the Honduran regime’s widely disputed “victory” in the November elections. Isn’t it interesting that so many people are fleeing countries whose governments seem to be so close to the current White House?

6. Is the increase in entries by a few thousand children and families really a serious crisis? More than 200,000 U.S. citizens have moved from Puerto Rico to Florida alone since hurricane Maria struck their homes in September. Why does this large increase in the mainland population get comparatively little attention? Is it because it highlights inadequacies in the Trump administration’s relief efforts for Puerto Rico, or because it might focus attention on climate change denialism in the White House?

7. In short, even if the arrival of Central American asylum seekers is actually a problem—which is questionable—why try to solve it by traumatizing children and parents? Why not just end the U.S. government policies that force them to flee here?—TPOI editor

To curb illegal border crossings, Trump administration weighs new measures targeting families

By Nick Miroff, Washington Post
December 21, 2017
The Trump administration is considering measures to halt a surge of Central American families and unaccompanied minors coming across the Mexican border, including a proposal to separate parents from their children, according to officials with knowledge of the plans.

These measures, described on the condition of anonymity because they have not been publicly disclosed, would also crack down on migrants living in the United States illegally who send for their children. That aspect of the effort would use data collected by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to target parents for deportation after they attempt to regain custody of their children from government shelters.[...]

Read the full article:

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Postville Boss Gets Out of Jail. What About His Immigrant Workers?

Didn't Postville workers' families suffer too? Photo:  Stephen Mally/NY Times
On December 20 President Trump commuted the 27-year prison sentence of former kosher meatpacking magnate Sholom Rubashkin for bank fraud. Rubashkin had headed the Agriprocessors Inc. company, whose plant in Postville, Iowa, was the scene of a massive military-style workplace raid in May 2008. Federal agents arrested 389 immigrant workers, including 18 ranging in age from 13 to 17; most of the detained workers spent five months in prison on charges related to their immigration status and were then deported. The raid took place as the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) was trying to organize the plant.

Rubashkin had a number of prominent supporters, including more than 30 current members of Congress from both mainstream parties. His backers noted that Rubashkin’s sentence was exceptionally severe, raising suspicions that it was influenced by his ethnic background—he’s a member of the Jewish Hasidic Chabad-Lubavitch group. They also stressed his close relationship with an autistic son. There are certainly reasons to question the length of Rubashkin’s sentence, but we have to wonder why so little is said about his mostly Latino former employees, who were subjected to multiple labor violations at the plant and then jailed and exiled for the supposed crime of working to support themselves and their families. And what about the suffering of their children? As for Rubashkin’s sympathizers in Congress, they can take the time to write letters supporting commutation of one man’s prison sentence but apparently can’t be bothered to pass legislation for nearly 700,000 current DACA recipients, who are now losing their protection from deportation at a rate of 122 each day.—TPOI editor

President Commutes Sentence of Iowa Meatpacking Executive

By Mitch Smith, New York Times
December 20, 2017
President Trump on Wednesday commuted the prison sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, whose Iowa meatpacking plant was the target of a huge immigration raid in 2008, and whose 27-year prison sentence angered many Orthodox Jews.

Mr. Rubashkin made national headlines nine years ago after federal agents arrived by helicopter at the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa, and detained nearly 400 undocumented immigrants, including several children, who were working there. Mr. Rubashkin was the company’s chief executive, and the plant had been the largest kosher meatpacking operation in the country. He was later convicted of bank fraud in federal court.[…]

Read the full article:

Republicans are misleading everyone — including themselves — about how long they have to fix DACA
How the DACA deadline actually works — and why Trump and Congress can’t just punt on it.

By Dara Lind, Vox
December 20, 2017
Congress is moving to clear off most of its urgent business before leaving for the holidays, with one exception: a bill that would address the 690,000 unauthorized immigrants protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

GOP leadership has refused to concede it was a priority. And Democrats — for whom a DACA fix once seemed important enough to withhold votes on key spending bills, potentially risking a government shutdown on Friday — appear to be backing down.

So if DACA doesn’t need to be taken care of now, when does Congress need to act on it?[...]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Updates: Dreamers on Hunger Strike, New Petition for ICE Out of the Courts

As of 4 pm today, December 19, Dreamers are sitting in at the offices of a number of Congress members. For live coverage from inside the office, go here:

Seven Dreamers in jail are on hunger strike to press for vote on DACA

By CBS News
December 18, 2017
A group of Dreamers -- including a former Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign staffer, Erika Andiola -- have been on a hunger strike since they were arrested Friday after a sit-in at the Capitol, at the office of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The Dreamers are vowing to continue their hunger strike until Schumer and GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Florida win enough votes in the Senate and the House to delay a vote on the spending bill and force a vote on a clean DREAM Act. They're pushing for a vote on such a bill on Dec. 22, the date when lawmakers must pass a new spending bill in order to avert a government shutdown.

A spokesperson for Andiola, Candice Fortin, told The Slot that the group was arrested for staying at the building after-hours, technically for what was considered unlawful entry. Neither Schumer nor Curbelo was in his office during the protest.[…]

Read the full article:

Jailed Immigrants Launch Hunger Strike Until Congress Passes a ‘Clean’ Dream Act

By Carlos Ballesteros, Newsweek
December 19, 2017
A group of Dreamers claim to have gone on hunger strike in a Washington, D.C., jail until Congress commits to forego passing an end-of-the-year spending bill without a "clean" DREAM Act.

According to a statement provided to The Slot, the seven Dreamers and an ally to their cause were arrested on Friday during sit-ins at the offices of Senator Chuck Schumer, the leading Democrat in the chamber, and Representative Carlos Curbelo, a pro-immigrant Republican.[…]

Read the article:

New Petition to End ICE's Courthouse Arrests in New York

In addition to the online petition from New York City Democratic Socialists of America (NYC DSA), has started its own petition demanding that New York Chief Judge DiFiore bar ICE from courthouses to prevent further detentions of immigrants when they try to appear in court.—TPOI editor

Sign the petition here:

Saturday, December 16, 2017

BREAKING: Dreamers arrested fighting for the Dream Act

This is the text of an email from Presente Action about the arrests of seven activists at the Capitol on December 15 for sitting in at congressional offices to demand inclusion of the Dream Act in the upcoming federal spending bill. Strangely, no major media seem to have covered this action so far except for Sputnik News, which is connected to the Russian government news agency. For additional coverage, go to Latino Rebels.—TPOI editor
By Presente Action
December 16, 2017
Last night, seven DACA recipients were arrested on Capitol Hill demanding that Congress pass a clean Dream Act as part of the year-end spending bill. Erika, Belen, Cata, Hector, Barbara, Li and Juan Carlos are now in custody and are refusing to identify themselves — attempting to remain in jail — until Congressional leaders confirm that they will block any spending bill without protection for DREAMers.

This is a powerful demand and an unprecedented sacrifice from undocumented youth that needs to be amplified and supported across the country! Will you help?

This is urgent. We have until December 22nd to ensure Congress passes a clean Dream Act and grants permanent protection to undocumented youth as part of the spending bill. And with brave DACA recipients risking deportation in D.C., we are building the momentum to make that possible!

From December 18th-22nd, undocumented immigrants and allies will be taking action in Washington, D.C. and around the country. Can you join an action or organize an action near you?

More than 3 months have passed since the White House repealed DACA, and Congress says there’s no urgency to act by the end of the year. But every day the Dream Act does not pass, undocumented youth are at risk of detention and deportation. Thousands have already lost their work permits, jobs, and sense of safety.

Right now in Washington, D.C., DACA recipients are making a deep sacrifice — staying in jail and risking deportation — as a call to action to the nation. Will you heed their call?

This is the moment to stand firmly with undocumented immigrants. Please join us in D.C. or attend an action near you.

December 18th is the 7th anniversary of when the original Dream Act died in the Senate. The #OurDream alliance is 10 years in the making. We have a real opportunity to make 2017 the year that the Dream Act finally passes. But to win, we need to make tons of noise and demand #NoDreamNoDeal. All the politicians who claim to “stand with the DREAMers” must do more — they must commit to rejecting any spending bill that does not include the Dream Act.

The plan is that Erika, Belen, Cata, Hector, Barbara, Li and Juan Carlos will refuse to identify themselves — attempting to remain in jail — until Congressional leaders confirm that they will block any spending bill without protection for DREAMers. Courageous, undocumented youth are taking on tremendous risk.

Can we count on you to get out there and support them?

Thank you for all you do and ¡adelante!

– Matt, Favianna, Erick, Reetu, Oscar, Erica and the Presente Action team.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Are Democrats Deserting the Dreamers?

Democratic Congressional leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi still claim they’ll get “something on immigration” before the year ends, but they’ve backed off their threat to shut the government down if Congress doesn’t move to protect DACA recipients. Meanwhile, 12,000 of these Dreamers have already lost their DACA protection, and at least one is now in detention.—TPOI

Update, 12/15/17: Osman Enriquez was released from detention on December 14, following the publication of the Vox article on his case the day before. 

February protest in Seattle. Photo: Ted S. Warren A
Democrats back off DACA shutdown threat

By Ted Hesson, Politico
(with help from Ian Kullgren, Andrew Hanna and Timothy Noah)
December 13, 2017
DEMS BACK OFF DACA SHUTDOWN THREAT: “Democratic leaders aren’t going to shut down the government to save DREAMers in December,” POLITICO’s Heather Caygle and Elana Schor report. “Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi haven’t stopped fighting to deliver something on immigration by the end of the month. But they’ve subtly shifted their rhetoric in recent days and aren’t insisting that deportation relief be paired with a government funding bill this year.”[...]

Read the full article:

Exclusive: the Postal Service kept him from renewing his DACA. Now he’s in immigration detention.
Pennsylvania father Osman Enriquez was waiting for a letter telling him to reapply.

By Dara Lind, Vox
December 13, 2017
A former DACA recipient who was waiting to reapply for deportation protections, after his initial application was rejected due to postal service delays, is currently in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Pennsylvania, Vox has exclusively learned.

Osman Enriquez, who was picked up by ICE Monday morning after a routine traffic stop, is one of the estimated 12,000 immigrants who have lost their DACA protections since the Trump administration started winding down the program in September.[…]

Read the full article:

Monday, December 11, 2017

Demand an End to ICE's Courthouse Arrests in New York

New York City Democratic Socialists of America (NYC DSA) has started an online petition to demand that New York Chief Judge DiFiore bar ICE from courthouses to prevent further detentions of immigrants when they try to appear in court. Please sign and circulate the petition.—TPOI editor
On November 28, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents collaborated with court officers and administrators to detain a public defender’s client at the Brooklyn Misdemeanor Court. In response, dozens of public defenders marched out, demanding that Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and the Office of Court Administration implement policies to prevent New York courthouses from collaborating with ICE.

This is the seventieth time this year that federal agents have detained undocumented immigrants at New York courthouses as they perform their civic duties.

It's time to turn up the pressure on Chief Judge DiFiore and make our voices heard. Send her a letter demanding she bars ICE from courthouses NOW!

For more information on ICE's courthouse arrests:

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Border News: Migrant Killed, “Kate’s Wall” Hyped, Drugs Mailed, Profits to Be Made

Photo: David Bacon
A Border Patrol agent shot an apparent border crosser dead on November 29 in the Tohono O’odham Native American Nation, which has had many problems with the Border Patrol in the past. The government promised an investigation of the latest shooting, and the incident quickly dropped out of the news. In contrast, Kate Steinle’s tragic death continues to get media coverage—it’s become an argument for Trump’s border wall, even though it had absolutely nothing to do with failures in border security.

And why would we want a wall? The New York Times reveals that even the best border security isn’t going to stop drug dealers. The main reason for the wall obsession is undoubtedly the psychological appeal of walls to some personality types, but we shouldn’t forget that certain people stand to make a killing—the financial kind—on the Great Wall of Trump.—TPOI editor

Arizona: Border Patrol Kills Migrant on Tohono O’odham Reservation

Democracy Now!
December 1, 2017
In Arizona, a Border Patrol agent shot and killed an undocumented migrant in a remote mountainous region on the Tohono O’odham Nation on Wednesday. The shooting occurred about 20 miles away from the U.S.-Mexico border. The chief of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson sector is claiming, without evidence, that the shooting occurred after the man grabbed the gun of one of the agents. Migrant justice groups are demanding the killing be investigated.

View the original article:
Read “Border communities condemn Border Patrol murder of migrant”:

The fraudulent case for 'Kate's wall'
[C]alls to name Trump’s intended border fortification “Kate’s wall”… would make it the world’s largest free-standing non sequitur. Garcia Zarate’s presence in the United States does not prove the weakness of our border security. Just the opposite.

By Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune
December 6, 2017
One night last month, a Border Patrol officer in Southwest Texas was killed and his partner seriously hurt while on patrol near the Mexican border. What quickly emerged was a gruesome tale. The officers were “ambushed by a group of illegal aliens” who smashed their heads with rocks, according to the head of the union representing Border Patrol agents.[…]

Read the full article:

Heroin in Soups and Lollipops: How Drug Cartels Evade Border Security
Instead of smuggling heroin through ports of entry or across the border, the cartel’s traffickers exploited weaknesses in border security: parcels shipped through the mail, UPS and FedEx; air cargo; and travel on transit systems with relatively little security, like Amtrak.

By Ron Nixon, New York Times
December 2, 2017
BALTIMORE — The tip came on the last day of January 2014 to special agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement: A drug courier was about to land at the Baltimore airport with a large shipment.[…]

Read the full article:

Wall Street Stands to Make a Killing From Building Trump's Border Wall: Report
Hate is profitable for the Mercers, BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo.

By Ilana Novick AlterNet
November 16, 2017
The border wall with Mexico, Donald Trump's proposed monument to nativism and bigotry is, according to an October story from NBC News, at least 10 months away from "meaningful construction." It currently has no funding from Congress nor from Mexico, contrary to reports from Trump's fever dreams. This reality hasn't dimmed the visions of dollar signs in the eyes of America's largest corporations, which, according to a new report from Make the Road New York, the Center for Popular Democracy, New York Communities for Change, and the Partnership for Working Families, are behind a company making one of the wall prototypes and stand to benefit handsomely.[…]

Read the full article:
Download the report:

Friday, December 8, 2017

Border communities condemn Border Patrol murder of migrant

SOA Watch
December 6, 2017
On November 29, 2017, Border Patrol agents from the Tucson Sector shot and killed a migrant in a remote region of the Baboquivari mountains on the Tohono O’odham Nation. Rodolfo Karisch, Chief Patrol Agent of the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector, justified the killing, saying that after two agents chased and tried to detain a group, one individual became “assaultive.” There is no independent corroboration of this version of events.

We recognize this as murder, and part of a larger trend of Border Patrol acting with impunity in remote desert regions. Border Patrol tactics of chase and scatter are violent and regularly result in death and disappearance.

The shooting happened on Tohono O’odham land, high in the mountains, over 20 miles from the border. This is a direct result of border militarization where urban crossings have been sealed and internal checkpoints have been implemented, pushing people further into the mountains where agency accountability and oversight is impossible.

We reject the categories of criminalization that puts every migrant and refugee in the borderlands directly in the crosshairs of Border Patrol sights. These boundaries and borders were drawn by the imposition of a white settler nation and US imperialism. Border enforcement is genocide. This impunity to kill will not go unchallenged.

We demand the opening of investigations of the 55 people murdered directly by Border Patrol and we demand justice for all the victims and their families.

No one deserves to die this way. We grieve this life, and all lives lost in the militarized borderlands.

With rage,
Coalición de Derechos Humanos / SOA Watch / Border Patrol Victims Network/  No More Deaths / Chukson Water Protectors / L.U.P.E. Action Committee / Alliance for Global Justice / PanLeft / Split Seeds Productions / Tuell Consulting / Tucson Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ) / Casa Mariposa / Borderlinks / LUCHA / Spoken Futures / La Pilita / Observatorio de Derechos Humanos de los Pueblos / Soldepaz – Pachakuti / Red de  Colectivos La Araña Feminista de Venezuela / Corriente Revolucionaria Bolívar y Zamora de Venezuela / Movimiento Agro Comunal Bolivariano de Venezuela / Comisión Multisectorial del Uruguay / Red de Integración Orgánica – Rio – Por la Defensa de la Madre Tierra y los Derechos Humanos de Guatemala / Confederación Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas, Indígenas y Negras (FENOCIN) de Ecuador / Confederación Sindical Única De Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB) / Stop the Wall /Palestinian Farmers Union / Palestinian New Federation of Trade Unions / Palestine Youth Forum / Association for Farmers’ Rights and for the Preservation of the environment / Women Center for Social Development / Association Jadayel / Palestinian Center for Culture, Arts and creativity / Palestinian Farmers Society-Tulkarem / Ni’lin Society for Development and Community Work / Popular Council to Protect the Jordan Valley / Movimiento Nacional del Poder Popular – México / Movimiento Nacional del Poder Popular Zacatecas / Movimiento del Magisterio Democrático Nacional, Comité Ejecutivo Nacional Democrático del Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación en Lucha (CEND del SNTE en Lucha) / Asamblea de los Pueblos en Defensa del Territorio, la  Educación Pública, Laica, Gratuita y los Derechos Humanos / Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra en San Salvador Atenco (FPDT-Atenco) / Consejo de Defensa de los Derechos del Pueblo (CODEP-MNPP) / Consejo de Organizaciones Interdisciplinarias Vinculadas por Oaxaca (COIVO) / Coordinación de Comunidades Indígenas de la Sierra Sur (COCISS) / Comité de Defensa Ciudadana (CODECI) / Contingentes del Comité Ejecutivo Nacional Democrático del SNTE en Lucha (CEND SNTE en Lucha) / Congreso Nacional de Bases / Movimiento del Magisterio Democrático Nacional: Sección III de Baja California Sur /  Sección V de Campeche/ Sección X de la Ciudad de México / Sección XIII y XLV de Guanajuato / Sección XIV de Guerrero / Sección XV de Hidalgo / Movimiento Magisterial Jalisciense, Secciones XVI y XLVII de Jalisco / Sección XVIII de Michoacán / Movimiento Magisterial de Bases / Sección XIX de Morelos / Consejo Democrático Magisterial Poblano: Secciones XXIII y LI de Puebla / Movimiento Magisterial de Bases de Querétaro, Sección XXIV de Querétaro / Bases Magisteriales Democráticas de Quintana Roo, Sección XXV de Q. Roo / Bases Magisteriales de Tabasco, Sección XXIX de Tabasco, Trabajadores del Colegio de Bachilleres de Tabasco / Comité Estatal Democrático, Sección XXXII y LVI de Veracruz / Sección XXXVI del Valle de México / Consejo Nacional de Sistematización; Escuelas Integrales de Educación Básica de Michoacán / Colectivo Pedagógico “Francisco Javier Acuña Hernández” / Promotora del Poder Popular de Michoacán / Caja Popular de Ahorro “Emiliano Zapata” / Colectivo de Estudios “Ricardo Flores Magón” / Barzón Federación: Estado de México, Querétaro, Morelos, Veracruz, Guerrero y Distrito Federal / Organización Nacional del Poder Popular (ONPP) / Organización Nacional del Poder Popular de Morelos (ONPP-MORELOS) / Organización Nacional del Poder Popular del D.F. / Asamblea Permanente de los Pueblos de Morelos / Instituto Mexicano de Desarrollo Comunitario (IMDEC) / Centro de Atención en Derechos Humanos a la Mujer y el Menor Indígena (CADHMMI) / Centro Regional Indígena en Derechos Humanos “Ñuu-Savi” (CERIDH).

Attorneys Hold Chilly Protest as Immigration Arrests at Court Surge

"ICE out of the courts": protest, Brooklyn Borough Hall. Photo: Phil Josselyn
By Amanda Ottaway, Courthouse News Service
December 7, 2017
BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) – A week after public defenders staged a walkout in protest of immigration agents carrying out courthouse arrests, attorneys joined a throng of several hundred protesters Thursday on the chilly front steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall.

“Hey, hey, ho, ho, ICE has got to go,” they chanted, using the abbreviation for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that appeared in many of the home-made signs dotting the crowd.

“Melt ICE,” one said. Against a backdrop of these signs, and more official placards that carried the names of groups like the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, the Osborne Association and New York City Public Defenders, several speakers addressed the crowd in both Spanish and English.[…]

Read the full article:

Modern Courts releases Report on ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and New York Courts
Protecting the Administration of Justice in New York State: Impact of ICE Arrests on New Yorkers’ Access to State Courthouses

December 5, 2017
Press Release : New York, NY – The Fund for Modern Courts today released a report entitled, Protecting the Administration of Justice in New York State: Impact of ICE Arrests on New Yorkers’ Access to State Courthouses, which proposes four new policies and protocols to ameliorate the significant increase of enforcement actions by U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (“ICE”) in state courthouses and to ensure the proper administration of justice.

Amelia T.R. Starr, Esq., Vice Chair of the Fund for Modern Courts and one of the authors of the report, said, “Immigrants are intimidated by ICE’s deliberate decision to target New York’s courthouses for enforcement actions. They fear ICE retaliation at the courthouse steps. Every time fear of ICE keeps a New Yorker from entering the courthouse, access to justice is compromised.”[…]

Read the report:

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Resistance at Tule Lake Screens at the Austin Asian American Film Festival!

Resistance at Tule Lake is having its Texas Premiere!
JOIN US at the Austin Asian American Film Festival (AAAFF) where we are IN COMPETITION for Best Documentary Feature!
 "While the dominant narrative of the mass incarceration of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II has been one of general cooperation, filmmaker Konrad Aderer (ENEMY ALIEN) explores the much-suppressed history of those who protested their unjust imprisonment. When forced to pledge their unconditional loyalty to the United States government, many refused. Some were deported to Japan, and over 12,000 were deemed “disloyal” and relocated to what came to be known as the Tule Lake Segregation Center, a militarized camp where resistant citizens faced further abuse and torture. Aderer combines rare historical footage with emotional oral histories from survivors and their descendants to uncover the overlooked stories of Japanese American citizens who protested racism, immigrant scapegoating, and white supremacy. RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE sheds light on a dark period in American history and offers a reminder of the dangers of fear, hate, and the marginalization of immigrant and minority communities."
– D. Mauro

AFS Cinema
#Suite 3100
Austin, TX 78752

Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 3:15PM
*Screening preceded by short film Cliff, Superfan! 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Emergency Rally, Brooklyn, 12/7/17: #ICEOut of the Courts Now!

Update, 12/16/17: There will be another protest for immigrant rights in the evening. RALLY Against Muslim Ban + Tax Scam and Fight for DREAM Act @ Washington Square Park, Dec 7 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm,

Thursday, December 7, 2017
1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Brooklyn Borough Hall
209 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201

On Tuesday, dozens of public defenders walked out of Brooklyn Criminal Court after a Legal Aid client was detained by Immigration & Customs Enforcement in Brooklyn Criminal Court in collaboration with Court Officers and the Court Administration. They marched to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, demanding that the Office of Court Administration and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore implement a policy to would prevent New York Court staff from collaborating with ICE officers or entering Court property.

Please join us on Thursday, December 7th, at 1pm at Brooklyn Borough Hall for a mass rally with our union, other attorneys, and community and immigrant organizations to demand that the Office of Court Administration and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore implement a policy to bar ICE agents from entering NY Court property.

For more information and a list of endorsers:

Legal Aid Lawyers Stage Walkout After Yet Another ICE Court Arrest
Court officers threaten to arrest any attorneys who don’t comply with deportation actions

By Noah Hurowitz and Felipe De La Hoz, Village Voice
November 28, 2017
Photo: Association of Legal Aid Attorneys
Chaos erupted at Brooklyn Criminal Court Tuesday morning after agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement snatched a defendant in the hallway, prompting a walkout by public defenders and accusations from court officers that Legal Aid attorneys had physically attacked them.

Genaro Rojas Hernandez, thirty, was in court to face charges of violating a restraining order. Just after 11 a.m., after a judge asked him and his court-appointed attorney to step into the hallway with a Spanish interpreter, Hernandez was arrested by ICE agents, according to his lawyer, Rebecca Kavanagh. After the arrest, attorneys with the Legal Aid Society stormed out of the courthouse on Schermerhorn Street and held a noisy picket line outside the building, calling on immigration officials to stay out of the courthouse.[…]

Read the full article:

Why Is ICE Arresting Immigrants in New York City’s Courts?
Despite New York’s being a sanctuary city, ICE is prowling the courtrooms.

By Michelle Chen, The Nation
December 5, 2017
Last week, a Brooklyn court building became the latest flashpoint in Trump’s border war: Genaro Rojas-Hernandez, an undocumented immigrant, was at a criminal court for an unrelated assault charge, when he was arrested by ICE agents. The clash between federal immigration agents and a local criminal-justice process spoke to a new constitutional crisis unfolding in the city’s criminal-justice system.[…]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Want to limit migration? We can start by supporting democracy in Honduras.

This Washington Post op-ed is one of the few pieces in the mainstream U.S. media to note the link between immigration from Honduras and the corrupt and repressive U.S.-backed government there. Far from connecting the dots, most U.S. media are downplaying the current electoral crisis. By contrast, there’s excellent reporting from Allan Nairn and others on the ground on Democracy Now! for December 5.—TPOI editor

By Kendra McSweeney and Sarah Chayes, Washington Post
December 5, 2017
The news out of Honduras has taken dizzying turns since the Nov. 26 presidential election — some predictably sickening, but some so exceptional as to startle even veteran analysts of this Central American country. A partial recount of disputed ballots now puts the incumbent, Juan Orlando Hernandez, ahead by a whisker – after inexplicable halts and delays in the counting.

That Hernandez should seek to doctor the numbers is no surprise. What is remarkable — and what deserves the support of democracies everywhere — is the civic patriotism of everyday Hondurans, who braved the odds to vote massively against a power grab Hernandez has been engineering for years.[…]

Read the full article:
Police tear-gas protesters in Tegucigalpa. Photo: Reuters

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Jury Acquits in Trump’s Favorite “Immigrant Crime” Case

After six days of deliberation, on November 30 a San Francisco jury acquitted Mexican immigrant José Inez García Zárate of murder and manslaughter charges in the July 2015 shooting death of Kate Steinle. Prosecutors said García Zarate (AKA Juan Francisco López-Sánchez and Francisco Sánchez) had purposely shot into a crowd of tourists, while the defense claimed the bullet, which hit Steinle on a ricochet, was fired accidentally. The jurors found the prosecution case open to reasonable doubt, although they convicted the defendant of felonious possession of a firearm.
José Inez García Zárate. Photo: Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle
President Trump and rightwing propagandists like Ann Coulter had tirelessly exploited Steinle’s death as an example of violent crime by undocumented immigrants against U.S. citizens—and as a justification for border walls, mass deportations, and a cutoff of funds to so-called “sanctuary cities.” Naturally, the president and his supporters tweeted furiously against the jury’s decision.

Sloppy media coverage of the case has tended to provide cover for Trump’s side. For example, there’s been almost no discussion of how a revolver fell into the hands of a homeless immigrant in San Francisco. An agent of the Bureau of Land Management had left the loaded weapon inside a car parked in a high-crime part of the city—a violation of BLM policy and an invitation to theft. It's not clear whether the BLM, an obscure federal agency, has disciplined the careless officer—or explained why its employees would ever need to carry arms.

Meanwhile, media outlets repeat endlessly that García Zarate had seven felony convictions and was deported five times. Sources rarely mention that four of the convictions involved drug possession and the remaining convictions were for illegal re-entry of the U.S. None of the convictions were for violent crimes, although Trump and others dishonestly called the immigrant violent. García Zarate seems to be a mentally disturbed person with a drug problem; at one point a federal court recommended sending him to a medical facility. And if anything, his record of deportations should make people question the wisdom of shipping immigrants out of the country as a way to stop crime. They can come back, and no amount of border security guarantees that they won’t. Wouldn’t it have been better to keep García Zarate here and try to deal with his drug issues?

Actually, what would happen if we provided drug addicts treatment instead of imprisonment, tried to rehabilitate foreign-born convicts instead of deporting them, and limited the number of irresponsible government employees roaming the streets heavily armed? Probably Kate Steinle would be alive today, along with many others, including a large number of the more than 59,000 who died of opioid overdoses last year.—TPOI editor 

Kate Steinle trial: Garcia Zarate acquitted in San Francisco pier killing

By Vivian Ho, San Francisco Chronicle
November 30, 2017
A jury handed a stunning acquittal on murder and manslaughter charges to a homeless undocumented immigrant whose arrest in the killing of Kate Steinle on a San Francisco Bay pier intensified a national debate over sanctuary laws.

In returning its verdict Thursday afternoon on the sixth day of deliberations, the Superior Court jury also pronounced Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty of assault with a firearm, finding credence in defense attorneys’ argument that the shot that ricocheted off the concrete ground before piercing Steinle’s heart was an accident, with the gun discharging after the defendant stumbled upon it on the waterfront on July 1, 2015.[…]

Read the full article:

Trump Is Outraged an Undocumented Immigrant Just Got Acquitted of Murder
The president called the verdict "disgraceful" after making Kate Steinle's killing a centerpiece of his border wall proposal.

By Drew Schwartz, Vice
December 1, 2017
A murder case that helped fuel Donald Trump's call for a border wall ended in an acquittal on Thursday when a San Francisco jury found undocumented immigrant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty in the shooting death of 32-year-old Kate Steinle, the Washington Post reports.[…]

Read the full article:

Federal agent’s loaded gun, left unsecured in a car, killed Kate Steinle
So why is all the attention on an immigrant who was at the end of an unfortunate chain of events?

By Matt Gonzalez, 48 Hills (San Francisco)
July 21, 2017
Kate Steinle was killed two years ago in San Francisco after a gun stolen from a car was discharged on Pier 14, a popular tourist attraction. Homeless immigrant Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez handled a discarded bundle that contained the firearm, resulting in the unintentional shooting. A single bullet ricocheted off the ground, travelling 100 feet before striking Steinle.[…]

Read the full article:

The Scapegoating of Sanctuary Cities
San Francisco has become an anti-immigration punching bag in the wake of a grisly killing. But there’s little evidence that the city’s sanctuary law was to blame.

By Daniel Denvir, CityLab
July 9, 2015
An undocumented immigrant named Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez allegedly shot and killed Kathryn Steinle on San Francisco's Embarcadero last Wednesday. And it turns out that the city's Sheriff's Department had released Lopez-Sanchez earlier this year after refusing an Immigration and Customs Enforcement request to detain him—all to comply with a city policy protecting everyday undocumented immigrants from deportation.[...]

Read the full article:

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Republicans Are Commodifying Immigrants at the Expense of US Students

A House tax bill could push thousands of US graduate students out of careers in science and technology, weakening the US edge in those fields. Are Republicans hoping to replace them with immigrant scientists and tech workers already educated by their countries of origin?

Photo: Michele Piacquadio / Getty Images
By David L. Wilson, Truthout
November 29, 2017
One of the many outrages in the tax bill passed by the House of Representatives on November 16 is the elimination or reduction of tax breaks for many college and graduate school students. Probably the most drastic measure is one that could affect approximately 145,000 grad students now working as low-paid research or teaching assistants. These students might see their federal tax payments rise to as much as $10,000 a year, enough to force many of them to drop out of school. About 60 percent of the students are in the fields known collectively as STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math.

What is especially striking about this measure is that the same Republican politicians that pushed it through the House claim they want to "make America great again."[...]

Read the full article:

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Texas Detention Center Faces Allegations of Widespread Sexual Abuse—Again

Abuse of this nature is "very widespread" at Hutto, said one woman who has accused a guard at the detention facility of repeatedly sexually assaulting her. "It is a big problem in this place," she said.

Photo: John Moore/Getty Images
By Tina Vasquez, Rewire
November 22, 2017
More women have made public allegations of sexual abuse at the T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, Texas, after Laura Monterrosa came forward earlier this month with claims that a guard at the facility had sexually abused her over several months. Monterrosa continues to be detained at Hutto and says the guard is still employed at the facility.

In a Rewire interview conducted Friday through an interpreter, Monterrosa claimed that she had seen her abuser just moments prior. “When was the last time you saw her,” the interpreter asked Monterrosa in Spanish. “Now, just about 20 minutes ago,” Monterrosa responded.[...]

Read the full article:

@Rewire_News tweeted out a link to the article with this timely comment:
Even as the movement shines a light on sexual abuse by public figures, state-sanctioned abuse is happening in broad daylight at US immigrant detention centers

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Border News: New Suit Over CBP Abuses, No Need for More Agents, the Art of the Border, Trumpist Illiteracy

“Not Forgotten”: Graves of people who died trying to cross the border. Photo: David Bacon
U.S. Illegally Denying Immigrants Their Right to Seek Asylum at the Mexican Border, According to Lawsuit

By Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept
November 16, 2017
The Trump Administration may be engaged in widespread violations of U.S. and international law at the southern U.S. border, according to new filings in a California lawsuit. The filings offer the latest piece of evidence of a systematic campaign aimed at turning away asylum-seekers, actions linked to the embrace of hard-line immigration enforcement policies at the heart of the president’s rise to power.[…]

Read the full article:

The Border Patrol Doesn’t Know What to Do With the Thousands of Agents Trump Wants to Hire

By Kathryn Casteel, FiveThirtyEight
November 15, 2017
President Trump signed two executive orders soon after his inauguration calling for the Department of Homeland Security to hire thousands of new Border Patrol and immigration agents. But now, two new government analyses show that there may be major obstacles to meeting those expectations. The department has not only fallen short on hiring efforts even before Trump issued his orders but also can’t provide data to show how it would use additional agents — or that there’s even a need for them.[…]

Read the full article:

The Art of the Border: Looking for Kikito
[T]he way the border is objectified and used can make people in Mexico suspicious about how people on the other side of the wall see them, when they see them at all. 

By David Bacon, Capital and Main, American Prospect
October 26, 2017
For almost an hour Laura, Moises and I drove through the dusty neighborhoods of Tecate, looking for Kikito.  Tecate is a small city in the dry hills of Baja California, next to the U.S. border.  It's famous for a huge brewery, although today most workers find jobs in local maquiladoras.

When we asked for directions, a couple of people had heard of Kikito, but couldn't tell us where he was.  Most didn't know who we were talking about. […]

Read the full article:

Immigration Reform Law Institute's Brian Lonergan: "America has seen enough tragedies result from its open boarders"

The White House, Office of the Press Secretary
November 14, 2017

That’s right—with all of Trump’s ranting about borders, his White House press office doesn’t know how to spell the word.—TPOI editor

Read the press release:

Friday, November 17, 2017

Are Trump’s Attacks on Immigrants Backfiring?

The Trump administration is forging ahead with its assault on immigrants. For example, White House chief of staff John Kelly, a man the New York Times once labeled “sensible,” continues to display the vicious tendencies he revealed during his brief tenure as Homeland Security head. The latest instance is his unsuccessful effort to terminate Temporary Protected Status for tens of thousands of Hondurans (see below). But the Trump program is generating renewed resistance to the anti-immigrant agenda:

  • Some Trump supporters are getting upset when they learn that the “bad hombres” being detained may actually be friends and neighbors.
  • Grassroots activism has resulted in the release on bond of a detained Cambodian domestic violence survivor; the government is attempting to “repatriate” her to Cambodia, a country she’s never seen.
  • A dozen cities are developing programs to provide free legal counsel to help people caught up in the immigration court system.
  • A media organization is pushing television networks to end their negative portrayal of immigrants. (A study finds that 50 percent of Latino immigrant characters were depicted as criminals in programs from 2014 to 2016—which could have a lot to do with public belief in a nonexistent immigrant crime wave.)
 The administration’s anti-immigrant policies may be starting to backfire.—TPOI editor

White House chief of staff tried to pressure acting DHS secretary to expel thousands of Hondurans, officials say

By Nick Miroff, Washington Post
November 9, 2017
On Monday, as the Department of Homeland Security prepared to extend the residency permits of tens of thousands of Hondurans living in the United States, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly called acting secretary Elaine Duke to pressure her to expel them, according to current and former administration officials.[…]

Read the full article:

Two children video chat a deported friend. Photo: Erika Schultz/Seattle Times
A Washington county that went for Trump is shaken as immigrant neighbors start disappearing

By Nina Shapiro, Seattle Times
November 9, 2017 (updated November 15, 2017)
LONG BEACH, Pacific County — Named after a character in a cowboy book, Police Chief Flint Wright describes himself as pretty conservative.

A portrait of Ronald Reagan hangs in his office, along with photos of John Wayne, and his father and grandfather on horses — capturing the rural lifestyle of Pacific County, which curves around Willapa Bay in the state’s southwest corner.[…]

Read the full article:

ICE Releases Asian American Sexual Assault Survivor After Viral Social Media Protest

By Carl Samson, NetShark
November 15, 2017
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released Ny Nourn, the sexual assault survivor it plans to deport to Cambodia, after an extensive social media campaign.

Nourn, who immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 5 after spending her early childhood in a Thai refugee camp, is out on bail after organizations and individual supporters rallied for her release, crowdsourcing more than $10,000 to meet her bond. The remainder of the money will be used to support her transition to freedom.[…]

Read the full article:

A New York courtroom gave every detained immigrant a lawyer. The results were staggering.
And now a dozen more cities are getting on board.

By Dara Lind, Vox
November 9, 2017
Omar Siagha has been in the US for 52 years. He’s a legal permanent resident with three children. He’d never been to prison, he says, before he was taken into Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention — faced with the loss of his green card for a misdemeanor.

His brother tried to seek out lawyers who could help Siagha, but all they offered, in his words, were “high numbers and no hope” — no guarantee, in other words, that they’d be able to get him out of detention for all the money they were charging.[…]

Read the full article:

Why are half of Latino immigrant TV characters portrayed as criminals?
Research shows that half of characters were shown in a negative light, but with a new generation of showrunners, the tide could soon turn

Eva Recinos, The Guardian
November 14, 2017
When the current administration announced that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) would be coming to an end, Hollywood reacted. Ava DuVernay, Shailene Woodley, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Cristela Alonzo and many others used social media and other platforms to voice their concern.

DuVernay called the move a “disgusting display of prejudice, ignorance and heartlessness”. Celebrities including Woodley tweeted information about the impact of Daca with the hashtags #DefendDACA and #HeretoStay. Miranda kept it short and simple: “Okay. The Bad Man continues to do bad. Your move, Congress.”[…]

Read the full article: