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:

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Organizers: 'Border Encuentro’ gained momentum in its second year

Photo: Kendal Blust/Nogagles International
By Kendal Blust, Nogales International
November 14, 2017
Under a canopy of large white flags printed with the Veterans for Peace logo, a group of activists and protestors from across the country marched through downtown Nogales on Saturday carrying signs and chanting slogans in opposition to U.S. military intervention in Latin America.

A weekend of events in Ambos Nogales and Southern Arizona that included vigils, concerts, workshops and the protest march, the second annual Border Encuentro is the re-imagining of longstanding School of the Americas Watch protests in Fort Benning, Ga., with organizers calling for an end to U.S. policies that they say are the root causes of migration and have had devastating effects on refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants.

“We’ve been at this for 25 years before coming to the border last year. We realized it was time to continue to call for the closing of the school but to make a closer connection to our solidarity with the issues of our country’s cruelty dealing with immigration,” said Rev. Roy Bourgeois, who helped found SOA Watch, the organization behind the protests. “The detention centers, the wall, which we see as a symbol of racism, especially now, with (President Donald Trump).”

Read the full article:

Friday, November 10, 2017

DACA Update #4: Thousands Protest in DC, Deported Dreamer Detained

Protesters in the Senate Office Building. Photo: Getty Images
Over 8,000 Immigrant Youth Take Over Nation’s Capitol & Walkout From Schools in CA, TX, OK, DC, MD, VA
Tell Paul Ryan & Mitch McConnell: “Pass Dream Act Now”

Dream Act is Urgent — 7,901 Young People Have Already Lost DACA Since September 5th
For Immediate Release
November 9th, 2017
National: Bruna Bouhid || 202-850-0812
Sheridan Aguirre | | 202.793.2267
Texas: Chris Valdez | | 713-352-8197

Washington, DC & cities nationwide – Today, just over two months after Trump killed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, over a thousand immigrant youth and people of conscience took over the Hart Senate Building at the nation’s Capitol to demand Congress pass a clean Dream Act before the end of this year: a path to citizenship with permanent protection and no dangerous enforcement add-ons.

New data released today underscores the urgency for a clean Dream Act now as 7,901 undocumented youth have already lost DACA protections since September 5th of this year.

Over 1,500 young people walked out of DC Capitol area schools and traveled from Oregon, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Georgia, Massachusetts, California, New York, Kansas, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Oklahoma.[...]

Read the full press release:

‘Undocumented, unafraid.’: DACA recipients storm the U.S. Capitol
'Dream Act now:' Students lead protest inside Hart Senate Office Building

Photo: Astrid Riecken/Washington Post)
By Perry Stein, Washington Post
November 9, 2017
They ditched school and marched to Capitol Hill en masse, then filled four floors of balconies in the vast atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. Silent at first, fists raised in the air, they soon erupted into bellowing chants that echoed through the massive marble-clad room.

“Dream Act. Dream Act.”

“Sí se puede. Sí se puede.”

The demonstration Thursday involving high school and college students from the Washington region and beyond was the latest attempt by undocumented immigrants and their advocates to keep Congress focused on their plight.[…]

Read the full article:

First DREAMer deported under Trump arrested again for trying to enter U.S.

Alan Gomez, USA Today
November 8, 2017
The first known DREAMer to allege he was improperly deported by U.S. Border Patrol agents was arrested for trying to illegally re-enter the country for the second time this year, authorities said Wednesday.

Juan Manuel Montes, 23, was caught late Monday after he was spotted on the U.S. side of the border by agents monitoring video feeds near Calexico, Calif., where he had lived for most of his life, according to a Border Patrol statement. Montes ran for about 200 yards, dropped to the ground, tried to flee again as Border Patrol agents approached him, but was quickly caught and arrested.

Read the full article:

Saturday, November 4, 2017

EXPOSED: the “Anchor Baby” Hypocrisy

For years anti-immigrant pundits and politicians have been denouncing undocumented women they say come here to have “anchor babies”—U.S. citizen children who supposedly will protect them from deportation. For example, during the 2016 campaign Donald Trump claimed that birthright citizenship was “the biggest magnet for illegal immigration.”

Of course, it’s hard to imagine anything more absurd than the idea that actual women would risk their lives crossing deserts and mountains in order to have children who would have to wait 21 years before applying for legal status for their parents. And as Yale student Viviana Andazola Marquez’s powerful New York Times op-ed reminds us, the immigration authorities can still turn grown children’s applications down and put their parents in deportation proceedings.

Then there’s the case of the 17-year-old undocumented “Jane Doe” being detained in Texas. After arriving here, she learned that she was pregnant. She opted for an abortion, but the immigration authorities tried to deny her access to the procedure—that is, they tried to force her to have a so-called “anchor baby.” Could there be any greater hypocrisy? Maybe. The ACLU sued on the girl’s behalf, and eventually she was allowed to terminate the pregnancy. Now Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department is looking for a way to punish the ACLU’s lawyers for helping the girl.—TPOI editor

[For two other recent examples of immigration officials abusing their powers in order to deny the rights of young women and girls, go here and here.]
Photo: Courtesy Viviana Andazola Marquez
I Accidentally Turned My Dad In to Immigration Services

By Viviana Andazola Marquez, New York Times
October 24, 2017
This month my father and I drove to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Centennial, Colo., for a routine visit. I offered to drive because my dad was too nervous and excited to take the wheel. “How long have we waited for this day?” he asked me. He had been told to come in for a final interview before he could get approved for legal permanent residency.

But the meeting turned into a nightmare. Several hours after we arrived, I found myself alone, in disbelief. My dad had been detained and was facing deportation proceedings.[...]

Read the full article:
Photo: Michael S. Williamson /Washington Post via Getty
The Trump Officials Making Abortion an Issue at the U.S.’s Refugee Office

By Jonathan Blitzer, New Yorker
October 26, 2017
The Department of Health and Human Services has a trillion-dollar operating budget, a staff of close to eighty thousand, and more than a hundred programs under its watch, including Medicare, Medicaid, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also oversees the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a relatively small program tasked with caring for recently arrived refugees. During the past month, O.R.R., in defiance of state and federal court orders, tried to keep a seventeen-year-old girl in its custody from having an abortion. Identified only as “Jane Doe,” she was living in an O.R.R.-funded shelter in Texas, where state law prohibits abortions after twenty weeks. At issue wasn’t the use of federal money (a nonprofit raised the funds necessary for the abortion) or logistics (the girl’s legal guardian had offered to transport her to and from a medical facility). The matter was political.[…]

Read the full article:

Jane Doe Speaks

By Antonia Hylton, VICE
October 25, 2017
A drawn-out court battle between the Trump administration and an undocumented teenager over her right to get an abortion ended Wednesday morning, when the teen received an abortion after weeks of legal wrangling. VICE News Tonight on HBO exclusively interviewed the 17-year-old immigrant, known in court papers as Jane Doe, in Texas last Thursday after she received state-mandated counseling about the procedure.[…]

Read the full article:

Justice Department Accuses A.C.L.U. of Misconduct in Abortion Case

By Adam Liptak, New York Times
November 3, 2017
WASHINGTON — In an extraordinary Supreme Court filing on Friday, the Justice Department accused the American Civil Liberties Union of misconduct in the case of an undocumented teenager in government custody known as Jane Doe. The teenager obtained an abortion last month over the government’s objection after an appeals court allowed it.[…]

Read the full article:

Friday, November 3, 2017

Child With Cerebral Palsy Detained by Border Agents After Surgery Reunited With Family

November 3, 2017
Inga Sarda-Sorensen, ACLU National, 347-514-3984,
Stephen Wilson, ACLU of Texas, 713-325-7010,

SAN ANTONIO — The federal government has released 10-year-old Rosa Maria Hernandez. The American Civil Liberties Union brought a lawsuit seeking to release her from government custody and reunite her with her family.

“Rosa Maria is finally free. We’re thrilled that she can go home to heal surrounded by her family's love and support,” said Michael Tan, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “Despite our relief, Border Patrol’s decision to target a young girl at a children’s hospital remains unconscionable. No child should go through this trauma and we are working to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”[…]

Read the full press release:

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Update on Detained Child With Cerebral Palsy

Photo: The Independent/courtesty of family
We’re Suing the Government for Its Detention and Abuse of Rosa Maria, a 10-Year-Old Child With Cerebral Palsy

By Amrit Cheng, ACLU
October 31, 2017
At this very moment, the Office of Refugee Resettlement is detaining Rosa Maria Hernandez, a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who recently underwent gallbladder surgery, and is refusing to release her into the care of her family, despite her doctor’s advice. How exactly did this child become the Trump administration’s target for deportation? It’s an egregious case of government overreach, and now the subject of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit.[...]

Read the full article:

Here are just a few of the suggested actions currently online:

Call the Office of Refugee Resettlement: petition: Let 10-year-old Rosa Maria go!
Dream Activist Petition: Tell ICE to Close Rosa Maria's Deportation Case!

Upside Down World Has Relaunched; Now Let’s Help It Expand

Dear friends,

As you know, many immigrants to the United States come from Latin American and the Caribbean, and understanding developments in those regions is an important part of understanding how to address immigration policy.

Recently Upside Down World, an indispensable source for news from the Latin American grassroots, relaunched after a brief hiatus. Upside Down World is now looking for ways to continue and expand its coverage. The site is seeking monthly subscribers, as described below. Please join us in supporting this important effort.

TPOI authors

Since launching in 2003, Upside Down World has received no funding or support from any government or corporation; our reporting is free of state or corporate influence, allowing us to share analyses and follow stories without constraint. So we depend on you, our readership, to sustain and expand this grassroots media outlet. Your monthly subscription will help provide fair compensation for everyone’s work at Upside Down World—the only way to guarantee quality on-the-ground reporting, analyses, and translations.

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