Friday, March 31, 2017

More ICE Abuse: Agents Jail U.S. Citizen

Rony Chavez Aguilar’s case isn’t that unusual. According to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Clearinghouse, from 2008 to 2012 ICE asked local jails to detain 834 U.S. citizens for possible deportation. The Daily Beast notes that with Trump trying to speed up deportations, “it’s likely more American citizens like Aguilar will be caught in the dragnet.”

American Citizen Trapped in ICE Jail
A man spent three weeks in ICE detention without seeing a judge. 

By Betsy Woodruff, Daily Beast
March 31, 2017
A U.S. citizen who ICE detained for weeks is suing the agency, alleging it violated his Constitutional rights.

The lawsuit holds that Rony Chavez Aguilar was held in ICE custody for nearly three weeks without being able to see a judge, and without knowing why he was being detained.

Those officers initially arrested Aguilar on drug charges, according to Roth. He pleaded guilty, and spent about two weeks in county jail for the offense. After the two weeks were up, he would have been free to go. But ICE thought he was undocumented, and wanted to deport him.

The officers kept him in the county jail so agents with ICE’s Chicago field office could take him into custody. According to the complaint, they picked him up on or around March 7 and moved him to the Boone County Jail in Burlington, Kentucky, where they contract out space to detain people facing deportation.

Read the full article:

Thursday, March 30, 2017

ICE Raids Update: Dreamer’s Released, Legal Resident’s Shot, and Sessions Rants

The good news is that DACA recipient Daniel Medina Ramirez has finally been released on bail, although the government is still pushing for his deportation. And there’s plenty of bad news. On Monday ICE agents shot and wounded a legal resident during one raid and dragged out a partially paralyzed man in another. Both raids took place in Chicago, which is one of the “sanctuary cities” ICE seems to be targeting. Also on Monday, anti-immigrant attorney general Jeff Sessions threatened to cut off funds from these cities—although activists feel that actually the localities cooperate too much with federal immigration authorities.—TPOI editor

DREAMer smeared as a ‘gang member’ by ICE released after judge finds he poses no threat

By Esther Yu Hsi, ThinkProgress
Daniel leaves detention. Photo: AP/Ted S. Warren
March 30, 2017
A 24-year-old undocumented immigrant protected under President Obama’s deportation relief program has been released, six weeks after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents detained him during an enforcement operation near Seattle, Washington.

Daniel Ramirez, a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiary, hugged his brother after his release on Wednesday outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. Ramirez said in a public statement that he was thrilled to go home and thanked his supporters.

“I’m so happy to be reunited with my family today and can’t wait to see my son. This has been a long and hard 46 days, but I’m so thankful for the support that I’ve gotten from everyone who helped me and for the opportunity to live in such an amazing country,” Ramirez said. “I know that this isn’t over, but I’m hopeful for the future, for me and for the hundreds of thousands of other Dreamers who love this country like I do.”[…]

Read the full article:

What a Brutally Violent ICE Raid Can Tell Us About Trump's Creeping Police State
A Chicago shooting shows immigration agents and police officers are part of the same violent apparatus.

By Sarah Lazare, AlterNet
March 29, 2017
On March 27, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents unleashed terror on residents of a northwest Chicago home when an agent shot and seriously wounded a man in a house where eight family members were present, including a child as young as one.

“They didn't say anything. They just came in and pointed pistols in our faces and dragged us out,” Carmen Torres, the daughter of the wounded man, Felix Torres, told local news outlet DNA Info. "We didn't even have time to dress or grab milk for the baby."

Torres’ lawyer, Thomas Hallock, said in an interview with CBS Chicago, “He was shot immediately, or almost immediately, upon opening his door to see what the commotion was outside of his residence.”

ICE claimed an unidentified man pointed a gun at agents during the course of an arrest, but produced no evidence and admitted that Torres, 53, was not the individual targeted by the invasion. "It's a lie when they say he was holding a gun. He doesn't even own a gun," Carmen Torres said. "They shot my dad. They shot him, and I don't know why."[...]

Read the full story:

Monday's ICE Raids Should Be Investigated, Politicians Say After Man Shot
Reports surfaced of a second raid in Chicago Monday. Wilmer Catalan Ramirez, who is partially paralyzed, was dragged from his home by ICE agents, according to a spokesman for Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

By Josh McGhee,
March 29, 2017
CHICAGO — The son of a man shot by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officers in Belmont Cragin Monday pleaded not guilty to gun charges filed previous to the ICE raid.

Felix Torres Jr. entered a not guilty plea on nine counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon stemming from a traffic stop Feb. 24 in Belmont Cragin, according to court records. He posted $5,000 bond.[…]

Read the full article:

Here's what Atty. Gen. Sessions got wrong about the law in his attack on sanctuary cities
There are several problems with Trump’s words, and Sessions’. To begin with, Trump misrepresents the rationale for sanctuary policies in many jurisdictions.

Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times
March 28, 2017
U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions sounded passionate, wrathful and confident when he appeared at the White House press room Monday to deliver a blistering attack on sanctuary jurisdictions across the nation.

States and cities that thwart the federal government’s policies against illegal immigrants, Sessions said, would face severe consequences. He talked as though jurisdictions across the nation were actively violating federal immigration laws, pumping undocumented immigrants back onto the streets even after their convictions for serious crimes.

Sessions threatened to withhold or terminate federal grants from cities that do so or declare them ineligible for future funding. He even threatened to “claw back” funds that already have been advanced.[...]

Read the full article:

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Will Trump’s Wall Hit a Wall?

Photo: David Bacon
The Trump administration’s proposed budget includes $999 million for 62 miles of the president’s promised border wall. But Republicans legislators, facing opposition from Democrats, may leave the wall request out of the budget Congress passes next month, creating another big loss for the real estate magnate right after his team’s failure to push Trumpcare through the House of Representatives.

There’s another embarrassment for Trump’s promised wall: the 62 miles of fencing and wall in the budget request—48 miles of new construction and 14 miles of work on existing barriers—would come with a price tag of $16 million per mile. At that rate, a wall for the whole 2,000-mile border, including upgrades to the existing 651 miles of fencing and other barriers, would cost far more than the $12 billion Trump has claimed at various times, and more even than the $21 billion a government report projected earlier this year. And none of this counts the maintenance costs for the giant structure, which could pass $70 billion over the next quarter century.

So where does the administration propose finding the funds for the Great Wall of Trump? From cutbacks in areas like medical research and bridge construction. No wonder the pledge to “build the wall”—a big crowd-pleaser during Trump’s campaign last year—isn’t so popular anymore. A CNN/ORC poll found that just 39 percent of 1,025 adults surveyed earlier this month approved the wall; 61 percent were opposed.—TPOI editor

Congress may stiff Trump on wall funding
“The Trump administration can't have another disaster on its hands. I think right now they have to show some level of competence and that they can govern.”

By Burgess Everett and Rachael Bade, Politico
March 28, 2017
Congressional Republicans might deliver some more bad news for President Donald Trump, fresh off their embarrassing failure to scrap Obamacare: No new money is coming to build his wall.

Trump hoped to jump-start construction of a massive wall on the U.S.-Mexico border with money in a must-pass government funding bill. But Democratic leaders are vowing to block any legislation that includes a single penny for the wall.

With the GOP consumed by its own divisions, the White House and Hill Republicans will have to rely on Democratic votes to avoid a government shutdown next month in what would be another disaster for Trump’s fledgling presidency.[…]

Read the full article:

First on CNN: Border wall ask: $1 billion for 62 miles

By Tal Kopan, Curt Devine, Scott Bronstein and Drew Griffin, CNN
March 28, 2017
Washington (CNN)The Trump administration wants the first $1 billion of border wall funding to cover 62 miles -- including replacing some existing fencing along the southern border.

The $999 million requested by the White House in its budget supplement for just defense and border security spending would cover just 48 miles of new wall, according to justification documents from the Department of Homeland Security obtained by CNN.

The documents describe exactly where the administration hopes to put its first installment of the border wall, as it described its modest 2017 funding ask.

The money will fund 14 miles of new border wall in San Diego, 28 miles of new levee wall barriers and six miles of new border wall in the Rio Grande Valley region and 14 miles of replacement fencing in San Diego. The fencing would likely include concrete elements, a source familiar with the plans told CNN.[...]

Read the full article:

Here’s what the Trump White House wants to cut to fund his border wall, military spending spree
The suggested cuts are not official White House proposals, but they suggest the thrust of administration thinking

By Matthew Rozsa, Salon
March 28, 2017
On the same day that Department of Homeland Security justification documents were reported that indicate President Donald Trump wants nearly $1 billion to pay for his proposed border wall, the White House has sent a list of $18 billion worth of suggested spending cuts to Capitol Hill.

The cuts are wide-ranging but include programs like medical research, community development grants, and building new roads and bridges, according to a report by The New York Times. Because the list of suggested cuts are not being presented as official administration proposals but rather as “options” for congressional Republicans, they tell us more about where Trump would like to cut spending in order to pay for his border wall and Pentagon spending increases — as well as the fact that the administration is flexible in its approach to what it cuts.[…]

Read the full article:

CNN/ORC poll: Most back boost in infrastructure spending, oppose growing military budget

By Jennifer Agiesta, CNN Polling Director
March 8, 2017
Washington (CNN)—President Donald Trump last week floated the first kernels of his budget proposal for the coming year, and a new CNN/ORC poll finds the public sides with the President on tax cuts for the middle class and increased spending on infrastructure.

They disapprove, however, of his plans to increase military spending and fund the construction of a border wall with Mexico.

The poll results come about a week after Trump outlined some of his budget proposals in an address to a joint session of Congress. A budget request for 2018 is expected to reach Congress on March 16.[…]

Read the full article:

Monday, March 27, 2017

ICE Continues to Detain DACA Recipients

In the latest case, ICE agents detained Francisco J. Rodriguez Dominguez at his home in Portland, allegedly because of a misdemeanor conviction last year for DUI. Meanwhile, Daniel Medina Ramirez remains in detention after more than a month. –TPOI editor

Portland 'Dreamer' arrested by immigration agents, advocates say
He worked at Latino Network, where he coordinated a food pantry for low-income families. The organization on Sunday asked supporters to call immigration authorities and demand that Rodriguez Dominguez be released: "FAMILIA. One of our own needs your help - Call ICE to demand Francisco's release at (503) 326-3302."

By Elliot Njus, The Oregonian/OregonLive
March 26, 2017
Francisco J. Rodriguez Dominguez
An undocumented Portland man granted a deportation reprieve in 2014 was arrested by federal immigration agents early Sunday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon said.

Francisco J. Rodriguez Dominguez was arrested by Immigrations and Custom Enforcement agents at his Southeast Portland home, the group said.

The arrest would make him one of a handful of reported immigrants recently arrested despite their participation in the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, which has not been revoked by President Donald Trump's administration.[...]
Read the full article:

Daniel Ramirez Medina: I’m a ‘dreamer,’ but immigration agents detained me anyway
For more than a month, I've been in an immigration detention center.

By Daniel Ramirez Medina, Washington Post
March 13, 2017
Last week, I spent my 24th birthday in detention.

I’ve been in an immigrant detention center in Tacoma, Wash., for more than a month. That’s a month away from my family, a month further away from doing everything I can to support my 3-year-old son and a lifetime away from the future my parents wished for me when I was brought here from Mexico at age 7. I’ve spent nearly my whole life in the United States — as a child, a teenager and now an adult with a child of my own. This country is my home.

I was detained and brought here on Feb. 10, just over a month after moving from the Central Valley in California to the Seattle area to find a better job to support my family. It has been difficult to keep a positive outlook. It’s gray here, and I mostly keep to myself, except for the prayer group I attend twice a day. To pass the time, I recently started learning how to make origami animals to give to my son when I see him again.[...]

Read the full article:

Saturday, March 25, 2017

CBP Out of Control Update: More Reports of Murder, Sexual Assault

16-Year-Old's Death After Coerced Meth Ingestion Underscores Violence of Immigration System
ICE's haste to portray Acevedo as a "dangerous" drug trafficker skirts the issue of ICE's own culpability: Neither of the officers was disciplined, and both remain on the force today.

By Natascha Uhlmann, Truthout
March 24, 2017
In November of 2013, US Border patrol agents pulled aside 16-year-old Cruz Marcelino Velázquez Acevedo for questioning around a suspected illicit substance in his possession. He didn’t survive the exchange.

While in federal custody, Acevedo stated that the substance in question was apple juice. The agents, unconvinced, coerced the teen into drinking the liquid. Acevedo succumbed to violent convulsions and died two hours later. A test kit, readily available on the premises, would have confirmed the contents as liquid meth within three minutes.

Read the full article:

US border agent sexually assaulted teen sisters in Texas, ACLU says
US Customs and Border Protection officer allegedly took sisters into ‘closet-like room’, told them to remove their clothes and sexually assaulted them

Sam Levin, The Guardian
March 22, 2017
Two teenage sisters fleeing violence in Guatemala were sexually assaulted by a US Customs and Border Protection officer in Texas after crossing the Mexican border, according to claims filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The sisters, aged 17 and 19 at the time of the incident in July 2016, were in a field office in Presidio when an agent took them into a “closet-like room” one at a time, told them to remove their clothes and sexually assaulted them, the ACLU reported on Wednesday.

“We had fled Guatemala for fear, and then this happened to us,” the older sister, now 20, said in a phone call with reporters. In tears, she added: “The purpose and reason why we’re sharing our story today is to prevent this from happening to any women and to ask the agents to have sympathy.”

Read the full article:

Friday, March 24, 2017

ICE Arrests: Are Activists and Trump Opponents the Target?

Evidence is emerging that the February ICE raids and more recent detentions reveal what reporter Sam Knight calls “a pattern of deportation as retaliation.” Immigrant rights activists need to consider the most effective ways to expose and resist this maneuver by the Trump administration. Note the link below to a petition calling for the release of two Vermont activists detained last week.—TPOI editor

Source: ICE is targeting 'sanctuary cities' with raids
Administration is unhappy with local agencies that limit cooperation on detentions
One case study is Travis County, Texas

By Maria Santana, CNN
March 24, 2017
(CNN)Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been targeting so-called "sanctuary cities" with increased enforcement operations in an effort to pressure those jurisdictions to cooperate with federal immigration agents, a senior US immigration official with direct knowledge of ongoing ICE actions told CNN.

A sanctuary city is a broad term applied to states, cities and/or counties that have policies in place designed to limit cooperation or involvement in the enforcement of federal immigration operations. More than 100 US jurisdictions -- among them New York, Los Angeles and Chicago -- identify as such.

High-ranking ICE officials have discussed in internal meetings carrying out more raids on those locations, said the source.[…]

Read the full article:

In Trump Era, a Pattern of Deportation as Retaliation Is Emerging

By Sam Knight, The District Sentinel via Truthout
March 22, 2017
Recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement actions raise questions about the Trump Administration using deportation proceedings to punish political opponents -- both institutions and individuals.

Three undocumented activists in Vermont were arrested over the past week by ICE agents -- two of them, while leaving the office of an organization that advocates for immigrants' rights. In Texas, meanwhile, a federal magistrate judge on Monday confirmed that immigration agents were conducting raids in response to policy changes carried out by the county seat of Austin.

The Texas-based federal magistrate, Judge Andrew Austin, recalled how ICE officials had told him to "expect a big operation" and that it was "a result of the [Travis County] sheriff's new policy." This assertion was confirmed by the testimony of an ICE Agent named Laron Bryant.

Fifty-one people were netted in the raids. Twenty-eight of them had no criminal record whatsoever.

Read the full article:

U.S. judge: ICE said Austin raid was because of ‘sanctuary’ policy

By Tony Plohetski,  American-Statesman/KVUE News
March 20, 2017
Federal agents privately alerted two magistrate judges in late January that they would be targeting the Austin area for a major operation and that the sting was retribution for a new policy by Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez that dramatically limited her cooperation with them, according to one of the judges.

The revelation — made Monday in open court by U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin — conflicts with what Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials told local leaders after the sweep, when ICE characterized the operation as routine and said the Austin area was not being targeted. It also provides evidence after weeks of speculation that Hernandez’s policy triggered ICE’s ire.

Read the full article:

Demand the release of detained human rights leaders Enrique and Zully!

Petition from Migrant Justice/Justicia Migrante
March 19, 2017

Sign the petition below to #FreeKike and #FreeZully

Enrique “Kike” Balcazar, is a seasoned human rights leader in Vermont. Kike has lived in the state since 2011, when he became one of the many migrant dairy workers who make Vermont’s iconic dairy industry possible....Zully Palacios is an active member of Migrant Justice. Zully has participated in Migrant Justice Assemblies, learning about the reality that dairy farmworkers face in Vermont....

On Friday, March 17, Enrique and Zully were leaving the Migrant Justice office in Burlington, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents targeted and arrested them. They are now in detention awaiting a court date. Neither has a criminal record. Their targeting appears to be political retaliation for their effective work in defending the human rights of workers and immigrants in this country.

Please sign to send the following letter to ICE Boston Field Office Director Todd Thurlow demanding the immediate release of Enrique and Zully, and calling for their deportation proceedings to be terminated!

Sign the petition:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

CNN/ORC poll: Americans break with Trump on immigration policy

Although this is just one poll, it’s in line with other recent surveys showing a majority of the population supporting legalization—despite the anti-immigrant rhetoric from government and much of the media. However, a majority also continue to back the deportation of “criminal aliens”—pointing to an area where the immigrant rights movement needs to work harder.—TPOI editor

By Tal Kopan and Jennifer Agiesta, CNN
March 17, 2017

Washington (CNN)Americans disagree with President Donald Trump's immigration priorities, according to a new CNN/ORC poll, with nearly two-thirds of Americans saying they'd like to see a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants rather than deportations.

Trump has made tough border security and strict enforcement of US immigration laws a focal point of his campaign and presidency -- using some of his first executive orders to pave the way for far more deportations and detentions as well as ordering the construction of a Southern border wall.
But a CNN/ORC poll released Friday finds that the public is actually moving in the opposite direction since Trump has won election.[...]

Read the full article:

Read the poll results:

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Foreign Workers of Mar-A-Lago

Srinivas Kuchibhotla, murdered H-1B worker

Trump opposes the use of guest workers “as cheap labor”—except for his own use of guest workers as cheap labor. This article is a good exposé of Trump’s hypocrisy, but the writer buys into the arguments of guest worker proponent Giovanni Peri that tech H-1B workers are “good for the economy.” No doubt these workers are much better paid than Trump’s hotel workers, but they’re still basically exploited in the same way as less skilled guest workers. And they too can be victims of violence-prone U.S. racists—TPOI editor

By Sheelah Kolhatkar, New Yorker
March 20, 2017 Issue
When it comes to America’s technology industry, Donald Trump takes a dim view of foreign workers. “I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program”—it provides visas for technical and skilled employees—“and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers for every visa and immigration program,” he said in a statement a year ago. “No exceptions.”

When it comes to the hospitality industry, though, Trump is much more, well, hospitable. His Administration recently made it harder to get H1-B visas, but he has expressed no objection to the visa category that hotels and resorts use—the H-2B—to attract low-cost, low-skilled seasonal labor. In fact, at Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach club, the visas are still in active use. Why the exception to the no-exception rule?[…]

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

¿Ha llegado el momento para la desobediencia civil?/Time for Civil Disobedience?

¿Ha llegado el momento para la desobediencia civil?

Elvira Arellano
Por Elvira Arellano, Sanctuary Movement
14 de Marzo, 2017
(English version follows below)
Muchas de las tácticas de desobediencia civil que se empleaban en el contexto del movimiento pro derechos civiles y en el movimiento para acabar con el “apartheid” en Sudáfrica no se han empleado mucho en la lucha para los derechos de los indocumentados. El motivo es que, por supuesto, los indocumentados no han querido exponerse a las acciones represivas de los que los pretenden deportar. El “santuario” debe considerarse como una excepción, y no se olviden que las acciones de santuario se tomaron conjuntamente entre personas sin y con papeles.

Este lunes pasado el congresista Luis Gutiérrez y mi pastora Emma Lozano, juntaron ocho lideres para reunirse con el director de ICE (la Migra) en Chicago. Como no pudieron conseguir respuestas satisfactorias a sus preguntas sobre el futuro del programa DACA y los resultados de varios casos de personas amenazadas con la deportación, el Congresista y los otros integrantes de la delegación optaron por permanecer y llevaron a cabo un plantón en la mera oficina de la Secretaría de Seguridad Interna.[...]

Time for Civil Disobedience?

By Elvira Arellano, Sanctuary Movement
March 14, 2017
Many of the tactics of civil disobedience which were used in the civil rights movements and in the movement to end apartheid in South Africa have not been used in the struggle of the undocumented. The reason is that the undocumented have not wanted to put themselves in the hands of those who would deport them. Sanctuary was an exception – and sanctuary was an action taken jointly by those with and those without papers.

This Monday, Congressman Luis Gutierrez and my pastor, pastora Emma Lozano, assembled eight leaders to meet with the Director of ICE in Chicago. Unable to get answers to their questions about the future of DACA and the outcome of several deportation cases, the Congressman and the delegation determined to stay, staging a sit in in the midst of Homeland Security offices.[….]

Monday, March 13, 2017

Update: Illinois Congressman Ends Chicago Immigration Office Sit-in

“They were scared to arrest us because they know our cause is just. We ended our sit in but we will #resist,” Rep. Gutierrez tweeted.

By Odette Yousef, Associated Press via WBEZ
March 13, 2017
CHICAGO (AP) — U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez has ended a sit-in at a federal immigration office in Chicago where about a dozen activists demanded no future raids and reconsideration on a deportation case.

Gutierrez and others stayed several hours beyond Monday's scheduled meeting with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.[...]

Read the full article:

Chicago Sit-in Opens CD Campaign Against ICE Raids, Mass Deportations

Chicago activists, local religious leaders, and Rep. Luis Gutierrez have been sitting in at the Chicago ICE offices today to protest the mass deportation policy. They reportedly expect to be arrested after 5 pm. We’re posting a statement below from Familia Latina Unida/Sin Fronteras along with links to news articles.—TPOI editor

The campaign of civil disobedience begins today.
Statement of Familia Latina Unida/Sin Fronteras, March 13, 2017

Rev Emma Lozano, Co-chair of Familia Latina Unida and pastor of the first sanctuary church in the nations today joins with Congressman Luis Gutierrez and a group of committed religious leaders, elected officials and community leaders to begin a new phase in the struggle against mass deportations and separation of families. We cannot simply sit by, march and hold press conferences while this administration tears apart our families and our communities.

As in the days of the civil rights movement we find ourselves up against a white nationalist power structure which seeks to drive Latinos from the country or into submission. This is an administration which has no moral compass to guide them. The fate of families, of U.S. citizen children deprived of a mother or father, is not regretted, it is celebrated by this administration.

Years of negotiation with the Republican Congress have brought us often to the brink of a solution – but each time they pulled back. This is not a matter of law it is a matter of humanity – and the lack of it. We believe that we speak for the majority of people in this country who oppose these deportations and separation of families. Only the peculiar states rights structure of elections has put us in the hands of those without compassion or a sense of justice. When the actions of government no longer reflect the will of the people then people of conscience must act.

We have no alternative now but to begin mass campaigns of civil disobedience across this country. Those of good conscience will join the U.S. citizen family members and neighbors of the undocumented. We will explore a full range of tactics to bring the deportations to a halt.

We are not criminals. We are not terrorists. We are workers and we are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. If we have to fill up the jails of this country to remind this nation of its basic humanity – then that is what we will do.

The campaign of civil disobedience begins today.

Rep. Gutierrez Handcuffed After Refusing to Leave Meeting with ICE

By Shelby Bremer, NBC Chicago
Photo: Rep. Gutierrez's office
March 13, 2017
Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez was briefly handcuffed after refusing to leave a meeting with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in Chicago, saying he planned to risk arrest by staying at the agency’s office in The Loop until demands are met.

The Democratic congressman led a sit-in following a meeting that began around 10 a.m. Monday with a delegation of activists that included about 22 advocates, attorneys, community leaders and other local elected officials, according to Gutierrez's spokesman Douglas Rivlin.[...]

Read the full article:

Congressman Gutierrez, activists stage sit-in at Chicago ICE office

By Tony Briscoe, Chicago Tribune
March 13, 2017
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez and a delegation of activists and lawyers have staged a sit-in at the regional offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement after their demands were not met during an hourlong meeting Monday with agency officials.

Gutierrez met with ICE's acting regional director Monday morning to discuss immigrants living illegally in the Chicago area and around the nation. The meeting was Gutierrez's first with ICE officials under the Trump administration, and he hoped to get details about the agency's enforcement policy as well as to advocate against deportation orders for several detained immigrants.[...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Local Activists Continue to Organize Resistance to ICE Raids

Media attention has shifted away from the government’s deportation campaign since the well-publicized raids in mid-February. However, ICE agents continue to detain people, and the resistance movement appears to be consolidating on the local level.—TPOI editor
Photo:Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire
Organized resistance is forming to Trump's immigration crackdown

Kate Morrissey, San Diego Union-Tribune
March 1, 2017
Organized resistance to President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown is coming to San Diego, as advocacy groups are beginning to organize a rapid response network that could include hotlines, “solidarity teams" and even safe houses.

Meant to protect unauthorized immigrants, the network would be similar to what activists in other cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, are working to implement.

Unauthorized immigrants have dealt with increased fear and anxiety since Trump signed his first executive orders on the subject, revising the policy of former President Barack Obama to focus on those who had committed crimes other than illegal entry. San Diegans forming a support network hope to ease fears.[…]

Read the full article:

In Trump Strongholds, An Effort Is Underway to Keep Immigrants Safe

By Cristian Benavides, NBC News
March 10, 2017
NEW YORK - In historically conservative Staten Island, where President Donald Trump won 57 percent of the vote, residents are readying their homes to keep immigrants protected from being deported.

People like Ruth, a local educator who didn't want her full name used so Immigration and Customs Enforcement could not identify her, are becoming part of a network to offer refuge to families at risk of deportation and do so in areas where Trump enjoyed strong political support.

“It's immoral to take children away from their parents,” Ruth said. “People came here illegally because there was no decent pathway to come here any other way.”[…]

Read the full article:

San Francisco restaurant owners offer employees sanctuary workplace

By Joshua Sabatini, San Francisco Examiner
March 10, 2017
San Francisco restaurants are joining a national movement to establish sanctuary workplaces for undocumented employees and ensuring business owners know their rights if federal immigration officials raid their establishments.

In less than three months in the White House, President Donald Trump has increased fears of mass sweeps by federal immigration officials and penned an executive order to slash federal funding for cities like San Francisco that provide sanctuary laws to not cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.[…]

Read the full article:

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Sustained Efforts of Activists Pay Off as Daniela Vargas Is Released From ICE Custody

Daniela Vargas
The release of Daniela Vargas is a victory for the immigrant rights movement, but Daniel Ramirez Medina, a Dreamer and father from Seattle, remains in detention. United We Dream has already delivered over 50,000 petitions to Secretary Kelly to demand Daniel’s release. The organization is calling for supporters to circulate the petition and gather still more signatures.TPOI editor

By Yara Simón, Remezcla
March 10, 2017
Last week, the story of Daniela Vargas – a 22-year-old woman possibly facing deportation without a trial – rallied the activist community. Today, immigration advocates are celebrating her release from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. Vargas, who arrived in the United States at age 7, saw her dad and brother arrested by ICE officials a few weeks ago. She hid in her closet, but ICE broke into her house and handcuffed her. They eventually let her go. But because she was awaiting the renewal of her Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status – which grants immigrants brought to the United States at a young age the right to work and attend school – Vargas felt shaken.

Daniel Ramirez
She went into hiding, but re-emerged last week to publicly speak about ICE targeting her family at a press conference. As a friend drove her away from the event, immigration officials stopped the car and detained her – a move many saw as retaliatory.[...]

Read the full article:

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Las históricas manifestaciones de 2006: rescatando la memoria

¿Qué pasó al final? ¿Qué se ganó? De hecho, las protestas de ese entonces lograron frenar una propuesta nefasta del Congreso, muy parecida a los castigos anti migrantes que emanan hoy de Washington.

Jane Guskin, MX Sin Fronteras
Marzo 2017
Hace 11 años presenciamos un fenómeno sin precedente en la historia de Estados Unidos (EU): un movimiento de millones de personas —en su mayoría mexicanos, pero también, asiáticos, árabes, afroamericanos, anglosajones, centroamericanos, colombianos, ecuatorianos, dominicanos, haitianos y de muchas nacionalidades más— que surgió del rechazo a una propuesta de ley anti migrante (del congresista republicano por Wisconsin Jim Sensenbrenner), que pronto adquirió el objetivo de defender la dignidad de los migrantes como trabajadores, estudiantes, consumidores y, sobre todo, como seres humanos que forman parte inseparable de este país.

Los integrantes del movimiento se expresaron de varias formas. Mucha gente recuerda las marchas multitudinarias que hubo en ciudades grandes como Chicago, Los Ángeles y Nueva York. Y con razón. Los números de participantes sorprendieron incluso a los organizadores.[...]

Lea el artículo completo:

[Jane Guskin is co-author of The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers] 

Hundreds Turn Out for NY Immigrant Organizer Ravi Ragbir

Photo: Democracy Now!
U.S. immigration authorities maintained a stay of removal for New Sanctuary Coalition organizer Ravi Ragbir today as local politicians and hundreds of supporters gathered outside the Federal Building in New York City. But the activist needs to check in again next month in order to get travel papers.

It seems ICE wasn’t happy with the publicity. Reporters and photographers tried to follow Ragbir to the building to get a picture of the popular organizer as he entered the ICE offices, but federal security officers refused to let Ragbir or any other immigrant in until everyone with a camera had backed away.—TPOI editor

Prominent Trinidadian Immigrant Activist Staves Off Deportation—For Now

By Madina Toure, Observer
March 9, 2017
New York City pols rallied outside Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s New York City office ahead of a prominent Trinidadian-born immigrant activist’s annual check-in—a meeting in which he feared, but ultimately escaped, getting deported to his native land.

Dozens of advocates and elected officials joined Ravi Ragbir, an organizer for the New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC—a an interfaith organization that helps undocumented individuals fight detention and deportation—near the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building in Lower Manhattan before his yearly conference with authorities.[…]

Read the full article:

Exclusive: Facing Possible Deportation, Immigrant Activist Ravi Ragbir Speaks Out Before ICE Check-in

Democracy Now!
March 9, 2017
UPDATE: Ravi Ragbir was released after his ICE check-in after arriving at the meeting surrounded by hundreds of supporters. Watch live coverage on our Facebook page

One of New York’s best-known immigrant rights advocates joins us on what might be his last day as a free man in the United States. Ravi Ragbir is executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City. This morning, right after our broadcast, Ravi heads for a check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He plans to go to the meeting, even though he may not be released.

Ravi legally immigrated to the United States from Trinidad and Tobago more than 25 years ago, but a 2001 wire fraud conviction made his green card subject to review. Even though he is married to a U.S. citizen and has a U.S-born daughter, the government refuses to normalize his status. Just last month, Ravi was recognized with the Immigrant Excellence Award by the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, given to those who show "deep commitment to the enhancement of their community."[...]

Read the transcript or watch the segment:

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

NYC Solidarity Rally Against Deportation, Thursday, March 9, 2017

Updates for March 9 Solidarity Rally Against Deportation

TEXT “DEMOAID648” to 41411. 


New York City families deserve dignity and respect. The President’s recent actions on immigration are tearing our communities apart. Each day, dozens of New Yorkers facing deportation must check-in with ICE Officers at 26 Federal Plaza. When they enter the building, they don’t know if they will be able to see their families again. Now more than ever it is important to show solidarity in the face of policies that threaten our communities.

Join us for a Jericho Walk to stand with individuals and families facing deportation. This interfaith act of solidarity will bring together advocates and supporters to show immigrants that they are not alone. 

Please note the following about March 9th:
#1 Meet at Foley Square at 9 AM on Thursday (unless you are a volunteer, in which case we ask that you please arrive at 8am)
#2. The press conference will begin at 9 AM sharp so please be on time if you can. 
#3. The press conference will lead directly into the Jericho Walk - an interfaith act of silent solidarity. People of all faiths/no faith are welcome, but we ask that you all respect the tradition of the Jericho Walk, which involves silence and other instructions we will share with you on the day of. 
#4 Feel free to make and bring signs but we ask that your signs do not mention any specific individuals who may be facing detention/deportation. Keep signs general. 
This goes for social media as well—please keep hashtags, tweets, Facebook posts, etc. general. Do not name specific people. 
#5. Do not bash ICE, and please keep the references to Sanctuary to a minimum. This event is designed in solidarity with those most vulnerable, and we do not want to invite backlash against them. 
March 9 Organizers

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Now It’s Clear: Trump Isn’t Really After Terrorists and “Bad Hombres”

The following three reports make it hard to believe the Trump administration is sincerely interested in protecting U.S. citizens.

  • Trump claims ICE will just be deporting “the bad ones,” on the questionable assumption that deporting felons actually makes us safer. In reality, ICE agents are now free to meet their quotas by detaining just about any undocumented immigrant they run into, without having to spend time looking for actual felons.
  • Homeland Security head Kelly is considering plans to split up Central American families crossing the border. He claims—without evidence—that this would deter asylum seekers who are fleeing their countries to save their children’s lives.
  • The administration claims that the deportations, the Muslim ban and the useless border wall will guarantee our security. But Trump expects to pay for this costly expansion by cutting funds for the Coast Guard, the TSA, and FEMA—agencies that with all their faults actually do at least something to protect us.
So what are Trump, Bannon, and company really up to? Their deportation policy looks more and more like an effort to gratify the extremists in Trump’s base and to terrify the rest of us—who happen to be the majority of the population. Certainly separating immigrant children from their parents will accomplish nothing except pleasing the most sadistic racists in the “alt-right.’ And what could be the purpose of cutting back security procedures at airports while simultaneously inflaming anti-U.S. sentiment in the Muslim world? Is the White House hoping to provoke a major terrorist attack? After all, national emergencies are a proven opportunity for unstable regimes to expand their powers.—TPOI editor

ICE isn’t just detaining “bad hombres.” They’re scooping up anyone in their path.
Immigrants are being uprooted from communities every day. Here are their stories.

By Dara Lind, Vox
March 3, 2017
President Donald Trump has promised the only immigrants being deported now that he’s in office are “bad hombres”: convicted criminals, threats to American safety and the national interest.

News reports from across the country are making clear that’s not true.[...]

Read the full article:

Kelly confirms he's considering program to separate migrant children and parents

Migrant kids at the border. Jennifer Whitney/NY Times
By Madeline Conway, Politico
March 6, 2017
Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly confirmed Monday that the Trump administration is considering separating migrant parents from their children who cross the U.S.-Mexico border together illegally.

Speaking to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer late Monday afternoon, Kelly confirmed the gist of a recent Reuters report, saying that he is “considering exactly that” as a way to deter people from Central America from traveling up through Mexico with the goal of entering the U.S.[...]

Read the full article:

Trump plan pays for immigration crackdown with cuts to coastal, air security
The proposed budget cuts for the Coast Guard, TSA and FEMA would be 'devastating' and undermine the fight against terrorism, smuggling and illegal immigration, critics say.

By Jeremy Herb and Bryan Bender, Politico
March 7, 2017
The Trump administration wants to gut the Coast Guard and make deep cuts in airport and rail security to help pay for its crackdown on illegal immigration, according to internal budget documents reviewed by POLITICO — a move that lawmakers and security experts say defies logic if the White House is serious about defending against terrorism and keeping out undocumented foreigners.

The Office of Management and Budget is seeking a 14 percent cut to the Coast Guard's $9.1 billion budget, the draft documents show, even as it proposes major increases to other Department of Homeland Security agencies to hire more border agents and immigration officers and construct a physical barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The budget numbers mark the most detailed breakdown yet about how President Donald Trump envisions restructuring DHS to meet his pledge to halt illegal immigration and deport some of the millions already here.[...]

Read the full article:

Monday, March 6, 2017

“Decade of Betrayal”: How the U.S. Expelled Over a Half Million U.S. Citizens to Mexico in 1930s

By Democracy Now!
February 28, 2017

President Donald Trump is slated to give his first presidential address to Congress today. Democratic lawmakers have begun giving their tickets away to immigrants as a protest against Trump’s push to increase deportations and to block residents from some Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. Well, this is not the first time people of Mexican descent have been demonized, accused of stealing jobs, and forced to leave the country. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, more than a million people residing in the United States were deported to Mexico—about 60 percent of them were U.S. citizens of Mexican descent. We speak to the preeminent scholar on this often overlooked chapter of American history: Francisco Balderrama, professor of American history and Chicano studies at California State University, Los Angeles. He is co-author of Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s. […]

Watch segment or read full transcript:

Saturday, March 4, 2017

What Does an ICE Arrest Look Like?

Hundreds of thousands of people have now seen the video of Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez being detained by ICE agents as his 13-year-old daughter cries. Trump claims he’s just deporting “bad hombres,” but this is the reality—children traumatized by the threat of being separated from their parents. Interestingly, the rightwing trolls have been gloating on social media over what the Huffington Post describes as a “harrowing video.” The anti-immigrants may think they’re helping their cause; what they’re actually doing is exposing themselves as sadistic racists.—TPOI editor
ICE agents detain a father of four as his family watches
Harrowing Video Captures Teen Sobbing as ICE Arrests Her Dad on the Way to School
The father of four U.S. citizens was detained over a nearly decade-old DUI

By Carolina Moreno, Huffington Post
March 3, 2017
Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez was dropping off his daughters at school in Los Angeles on Tuesday when he was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. His 13-year-old daughter, Fatima, sobbed as she recorded her father being handcuffed in front of her and her mother.

Avelica-Gonzalez, 48, who has been living in the United States for over 20 years, had just finished dropping off his 12-year-old daughter in the Highland Park neighborhood when he was detained. His 19-year-old daughter, Jocelyn, who was at work during the incident, told the LAist that a car had been following her father since the moment he left the house. […]

Read the full article:
Watch the video:

This Is What Trump’s Immigration Crackdown Is Doing to School Kids
Children struggle to understand why the president wants to take away their parents

By Roque Planas and Jessica Carro, Huffington Post
February 27, 2017
AUSTIN, Texas ― After an immigration sweep this month led to dozens of arrests here, a group of elementary school students looked to their teacher for an explanation. The teacher, who is forbidden from taking political stances in the classroom, asked them to write or draw what they were feeling.

The children all drew and wrote about President Donald Trump or his first major deportation operation.[…]

Read the full article:

Friday, March 3, 2017

"We Can't Organize Out of Fear": Undocumented Organizer Aly Wane on Resisting ICE

This is why I think, in many ways, the immigration conversation is a racial justice conversation.… I think that it would be a lie to have an analysis of the immigration system that doesn't speak very directly about the influence of race in this country.

Aly Wane at  SOA protest. Photo: Stephen Pa
By Sarah Jaffe, Truthout
March 2, 2017
Today we bring you a conversation with Aly Wane, an undocumented organizer based in Syracuse, New York. Originally born in Senegal, Wane works with a range of groups, including the Syracuse Peace Council, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, the Undocumented and Black Network and Black Lives Matter Syracuse.

Sarah Jaffe: Everybody is posting this story on Facebook of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) taking an immigrant with a brain tumor out of the hospital, and most people are posting this with "That is not normal," "I can't believe this is our new normal." Your response was, "I see ICE is getting back to its old tactics." Can you talk a little bit about what "normal" has been for immigrants?

Aly Wane: I think those of us who have been undocumented organizers for years are struggling with two energies right now. On the one hand, we are so excited to see so many new folks come into organizing spaces, realize what ICE and Border Patrol, with the cooperation of police, have been doing for so many years and really want to fight that. However, so much of this stuff was happening under both Obama and President Bush Jr., and we were not getting the same responses.[…]

Read the full article:

What Do ICE Raids Mean for the Rest of Us?

By David L. Wilson, MR Online
March 2, 2017 
The national sweeps by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in the second week of February drew a great deal of media attention. Some of the coverage was devoted to analyzing whether the arrests of about 680 immigrants marked the start of a massive deportation campaign by the Trump administration. Some focused on the impact the raids had on the immigrants themselves and on their families, which often include U.S. citizens and green card holders. But there wasn’t much discussion about the impact of the raids on other working people—on citizens without immigrant friends or relatives.

For example, how much did these raids cost taxpayers?[...]

Read the full article:

And They Ask Why Hondurans Flee Their Own Country…

March 2 marked the anniversary of Honduran activist Berta Cáceres’ assassination. The suspects appear to be linked to the country's corrupt and violent military, which is trained and funded by the U.S. government. Meanwhile, the U.S. media and political class raise alarms about Hondurans fleeing to the United States to escape the violence. “Why don’t these people stay and fix their own country?” the politicians and pundits ask. A better question would be: “Why are we enabling the forces behind the violence?”—TPOI editor

Assassinated Honduran activist Berta Cáceres
Berta Cáceres court papers show murder suspects' links to US-trained elite troops
The Honduran environmental activist’s killing a year ago bears the hallmarks of a ‘well-planned operation designed by military intelligence’ says legal source

By Nina Lakhani, The Guardian
February 28, 2017
Leaked court documents raise concerns that the murder of the Honduran environmentalist Berta Cáceres was an extrajudicial killing planned by military intelligence specialists linked to the country’s US–trained special forces, a Guardian investigation can reveal.

Cáceres was shot dead a year ago while supposedly under state protection after receiving death threats over her opposition to a hydroelectric dam.

The murder of Cáceres, winner of the prestigious Goldman environmental prize in 2015, prompted international outcry and calls for the US to revoke military aid to Honduras, a key ally in its war on drugs.[…]

Read the full article:

An Idealist’s Martyrdom Fails to Move Honduras
But our taxpayer dollars continue to flow to Honduras to support the government of Juan Orlando Hernández, thus enabling the climate of terror that is fed by his party’s corruption.

By Silvio Carrillo, New York Times
March 2, 2017
LA ESPERANZA, Honduras — Precisely a year ago, I awoke to a garbled text message from my mother. She was too distraught to write clearly, but I understood her immediately, and my heart dropped. Murderers had finally gotten to my aunt Berta Cáceres, who, as a child, had been young enough to be my playmate Bertita, and later, as a woman, was courageous enough to stand up to evil in Honduras.

As we mark this sad anniversary in the town where Berta died, there is no solace for my family. Neither Honduras nor the United States seems to have learned anything from this loss.[...]

Read the full article:

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Authorities Arrest 22-Year-Old Dreamer After She Speaks To Media

 “I feel like I am an American,” Daniela Vargas said.

By Dana Liebelson and Elise Foley, Huffington Post
March 1, 2017
WASHINGTON ― Federal immigration authorities arrested a 22-year-old woman in Jackson,
Mississippi, on Wednesday shortly after she spoke to the media about the detention of her family. Law enforcement had initially declined to arrest Daniela Vargas, who was previously granted deportation reprieve under the Obama administration’s deferred action program.

On Feb. 15, Vargas was half-asleep at home when Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents came for her family. Her father, a house painter, kissed her goodbye on his way to work and was apprehended in the driveway, Vargas told The Huffington Post last week. She says she never saw her brother, a construction worker who was also detained.

Vargas’ family came to the U.S. from Argentina over 15 years ago. She’d previously had protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The program now has an uncertain future under President Donald Trump.[…]

Read the full article:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Detainee Class Action Suits Threaten Private Prisons

Trump wants to expand use of private prisons, but a ruling by a federal judge in Texas could present a big problem. “The judge’s ruling could encourage similar lawsuits against other immigrant detention centers,” the Daily Beast notes. “That, in turn, that could have significant implications for President Donald Trump’s immigration enforcement plans.” –TPOI editor

Detainees Sue Private Prison for ‘Forced Labor'
As many as 60,000 current and former detainees may join a class-action suit against one of the nation’s largest private prison companies over unpaid labor.

By Betsy Woodruff, Daily Beast
February 27, 2017
The nation’s second largest private prison company is facing some serious legal challenges—and other companies may soon be in the same situation.

On Monday, a federal judge ruled that current and former detainees held at an immigrant detention center in Colorado can join a class-action lawsuit against GEO Group, a private prison company. The plaintiffs allege that the GEO Group forced detainees to work for extremely low wages or for no wages at all, and in some cases threatened detainees with solitary confinement as punishment if they refused to work. The center holds undocumented immigrants facing deportation.[…]

Read the full article:

Former Detainees Can Sue Private Prisons for Forced Labor
Up to 60,000 people could join a class-action against prison companies they say paid them little or nothing for their work, and threatened solitary confinement if they objected.

By Rhonda Fannin, Texas Standard
February 28, 2017
In an unprecedented case, a federal judge ruled Monday that a private prison company can be sued under federal laws prohibiting what amounts to slave labor.

The ruling allows current and former detainees at a privately-run immigrant detention center to join a class-action suit alleging that the contractor running the prison forced detainees to work for low or no wages, threatening solitary confinement for those who refused.

GEO Group, one of the nation’s largest private prison companies, runs facilities in Colorado and in Texas. Betsy Woodruff with the Daily Beast reports as many as 60,000 current and former detainees could act as plaintiffs in the case.[...]

Read the full article:
Photo: Bob Jagendorf/Flickr