Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Trump Welcomes Immigrants, but Only if They Can Be Exploited

After three years of telling his base that he “puts American jobs first,” surely Trump wouldn’t try to expand the guest worker programs — or would he?

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
July 31, 2018
The US mainstream media had two competing events to cover the night of April 28: the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, DC, and a Trump rally in Macomb County, Michigan, a predominantly white working-class suburb of Detroit. Journalists mainly focused on the dinner, but the more important story may have been a remark President Trump made in the course of his 80-minute speech at the rally.

As reported by the immigration-restrictionist Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), around 33 minutes into his talk, Trump began praising guest worker programs. “For the farmers it’s going to get really good,” he started.[...]

Read the full article:

An H-2A guest worker picks oranges. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Families For Freedom: “Ears to the Ground”

"We can't always check in with everybody, but if we have our ears to the ground and the people in our hearts, we have to use all of our senses to stay accountable to them.”

July 13, 2018
The calls to abolish ICE are long overdue, though the how-to is far from being clear. And while some have audaciously placed themselves as the ones who have the answer(s), it is going to take substantially more than just talk to get where we need to be. When we operate outside of movement yet impose demands or otherwise try and assert "leadership," we replicate systems of oppression by negating the reality of the people we pretend to lead. Conscious or not, this arrogance is rooted in disdain for those at the bottom because it serves those at the top.

The people who don't get their hands dirty are the most presentable to the ones in the big house, but
by staying clean they remain out of touch. With no desire to get dirty—either because they don't know how or because they wish to 'escape' those conditions without working to change them—their representation of what needs to be done is limited, always skewed by their seeking approval from those in power. Then they assume the role of getting the folks in line (sometimes called education) in order to be acceptable to those in power. These intermediaries work to corral those who are sweaty and messy and sometimes have dirty hands, to get in alignment with those above. This is the opposite of supporting those below to build collective power so that they are well-positioned to make demands and force those above to get in alignment with them.

Before we open our mouths about where we are going in the struggle, how we think we should get there, and what we think a win or victory would look like, we should imagine saying those words to the most stigmatized and marginalized people in whose names we are being paid or in whose names we get some type of "movement status," and imagine the looks on their faces, their responses to our plans. We can't always check in with everybody, but if we have our ears to the ground and the people in our hearts, we have to use all of our senses to stay accountable to them.

It gives strength to those who are still under the thumb, in the internment centers and in jails and prisons, to see and hear of the many who are in the streets marching and laying siege to the system. But the laying of sieges is among the least effective of strategies if the masses are unprepared to endure to the end. This does not mean not to siege, but rather that ample resources must be allocated to the besiegers. Legal, physical, and mental are among the most necessary resources needed. Now is the time for sincere leadership to engage the masses and guide them forward to not only the abolition of ICE and the entire prison industrial complex, but to the end of the white supremacist resurgence permeating this country and many others around the world.

[This is an excerpt from the latest Families For Freedom newsletter. To subscribe to the newsletter, write info@familiesforfreedom.org. You can contribute to FFF here.—TPOI editor.]

Monday, July 23, 2018

Two Reports Describe Abuses at Detention Center

'Terrorized': Report Details Conditions at Child Detention Centers
A report filed in federal court details hunger, dehydration and forced sleeplessness at child detention centers in the Southwest.

By Alfonso Serrano, ColorLines
July 18, 2018
Frigid cells with foul-smelling drinking water. Children given rotten food and forced to sleep on concrete floors. No showers or clean clothes for days. Overflowing toilets in “dog houses.” These are just a few of the things detained children highlighted about the facilities where they were held.

“It was cold, very cold. I only had a t-shirt so I pulled my hands inside my t-shit to try to keep warm. There were no mattresses. We slept directly on the floor,” said Justin, a 13-yer-old immigrant from El Salvador. “I haven’t been able to call my father since I was locked up. I want to tell him where I am, and I want to talk to him.”

Justin’s description of United States detention centers, and testimony from interviews with 200 other immigrant children and adults, are part of an extensive report filed in federal court this week in Los Angeles by the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law.[…]

Read the full article:
Read the report:

Report finds more than 800 complaints of hate-related abuse in immigration detention

ImmigrationProf Blog
July 19, 2018
“Shut your black ass up. You don’t deserve nothing. You belong at the back of that cage.” - Warden to M.C. at the West Texas Detention Facility in Sierra Blanca, TX

“[Go] look in the mirror to see King Kong.” - Officer to A.B. at Bristol County House of Corrections, North Dartmouth, MA

“No one will believe baboon complaints.” - Officer to A.B. at Bristol County House of Corrections, North Dartmouth, MA

These are a few of the comments discussed in a report published by Freedom for Immigrants, a California-based nonprofit that visits people held in immigration detention.[...]

Read the full post:
Read the report:

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Farm Work Can Be a Skilled and Permanent Job

A Salinas grower and the union bet that a new contract will become an alternative to employing guest workers

By David Bacon, The American Prospect
July 11, 2018
Up and down the Pacific coast, many of the largest growers are rapidly increasing their use of guest workers recruited in Mexico as temporary harvest labor. Farm labor, in their view, is unskilled. The workers who perform it should show up at harvest time, work as hard as possible, and then effectively disappear until the next season.

This has been the common view for over a century. It is the justification for a renewed Republican push to establish a vastly expanded guest worker program. But is the road to improving the lives of farmworkers to legislate even more massive contract-labor programs? Or is it to treat farm labor as skilled and permanent work, and provide security and decent wages to those who do it? […]

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Farm workers in Salinas protest immigration raids. Photo: David Bacon

Thursday, July 19, 2018

A Century of U.S. Intervention Created the Immigration Crisis

Boston protest, 1981. Photo: John Tlumacki/Boston Globe via Getty
At the margins of the mainstream discursive stalemate over immigration lies over a century of historical U.S. intervention that politicians and pundits on both sides of the aisle seem determined to silence.

By Mark Tseng-Putterman, Medium
June 20, 2018
A national spotlight now shines on the border between the United States and Mexico, where heartbreaking images of Central American children being separated from their parents and held in cages demonstrate the consequences of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance policy” on unauthorized entry into the country, announced in May 2018. Under intense international scrutiny, Trump has now signed an executive order that will keep families detained at the border together, though it is unclear when the more than 2,300 children already separated from their guardians will be returned.

Trump has promised that keeping families together will not prevent his administration from maintaining “strong — very strong — borders,” making it abundantly clear that the crisis of mass detention and deportation at the border and throughout the U.S. is far from over. Meanwhile, Democratic rhetoric of inclusion, integration, and opportunity has failed to fundamentally question the logic of Republican calls for a strong border and the nation’s right to protect its sovereignty.[…]

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What Does It Mean to Abolish ICE?

Activists and politicians want a total overhaul of immigration enforcement—but do we have a real plan?

By Julianne Hing, The Nation
July 11, 2018
On July 4, when Therese Patricia Okoumou scaled the pooled drapes of the Statue of Liberty, fellow protesters below her held up cards that spelled out, “Abolish ICE.”

Four days earlier, at the more than 700 rallies against the separation and detention of families at the US border, those same words were echoed again and again on homemade signs, in chants, and on T-shirts. Encouraged by a groundswell of anger, even national-level politicians are endorsing the elimination of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a shadowy law-enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security.[…]

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CQ Roll Call via AP Photo / Bill Clark

Monday, July 9, 2018

Central American Immigrants Aren’t Invading Us. We Invaded Them.

What chain of events has caused parents to flee at great risk to themselves, only to see their children ripped from them and tossed into cages?
Hondurans resisted the 2009 coup. Which side was the US on?

By John Tarleton, The Indypendent
July 2, 2018
Children locked in dog kennels, crying by the sides of roads at night, wrapped in glittering Mylar blankets on the floors of Border Patrol processing centers, stowed away in an abandoned Walmart, flown thousands of miles from their parents. The sounds of their wails an “orchestra” to the ears of a border guard, who is heard quipping in audio captured at a child detention center that all that is “missing is a conductor.”

But there is a conductor.[...]

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Sunday, July 8, 2018

It’s Time to Decriminalize Immigration

Photo: US Customs and Border Protection via AP
Congress should repeal the law that allows for kids to be ripped away from parents and for migrants to be criminalized en masse at the border.

By Bob Libal and Judy Greene, Texas Observer
June 20, 2018
This week, the news has been dominated by horrifying scenes from the border of children being ripped apart from their parents who the federal government is criminally prosecuting. The best solution is to repeal the laws that allow for this injustice in the first place. That’s a far cry from the administration’s announcement today that families would be detained together in family detention centers during and following any criminal prosecution.[…]

Read the full article:

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Zombie Guest Worker Bill

Republican immigration reform proposals may be dead, but Republican guest worker proposals live on...

By David Bacon, Capital and Main
June 2, 2018
On Wednesday, June 27, the Republican effort to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill went down in flames for the second time in a month, due to divisions within their own party. The Republican effort to create a vast new guest worker program, however, has not ended.

That effort has been headed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and is supported by many growers around the country, particularly on the west coast. Originally Goodlatte introduced a stand-alone bill in 2017, the Agricultural Guestworker Act. Although that bill didn't get a vote in Congress, its main provisions were folded into a much larger, comprehensive bill Goodlatte tried to pass this spring, the Securing America's Future Act.[…]

Read the full article:

Photo: David Bacon

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Fun Facts on the “Border Crisis”

The US median age is now about 38, and border apprehensions are at their lowest levels since the early 1970s. So there's probably less unauthorized border crossing now than ever before in the lifetimes of a majority of US citizens.

And they call this a border crisis! 
Graph by Washington Office on Latin Ameica (WOLA), from US Border Patrol
A few notes: Apprehension figures don’t necessarily tell us how many people crossed the border without authorization; they may just reflect how many resources have been put into apprehending them. There are now some 20,000 Border Patrol agents, more than five times the number in the early 1970s, so it’s possible that the agents are apprehending a higher percentage of the crossers—which would mean that border crossing 45 years ago was actually greater than now. And we need to remember that apprehensions don’t account for people crossing the other way. Estimates of the undocumented population have remained stable—around 11 million—for nearly a decade, which indicates that some immigrants are heading back home at the same rate that others are coming here.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

After the Protest: Mijente and AFSC Have Proposals

Hundreds of thousands turned out around the country for the June 30 protests against the administration’s immigration policies—the movement is growing still stronger. But what are our demands? #KeepFamiliesTogether and #AbolishICE are great hashtags, but groups are looking for ways to develop a full program for immigration reform. Below are links to two important efforts in this direction. If you know of other proposals, please email us at thepoliticsofimmigration@gmail.com.

Free Our Future: An Immigration Policy Platform for Beyond the Trump Era (PDF). Mijente, which describes itself as “a digital and grassroots hub for Latinx and Chicanx movement building,” calls for abolishing ICE and the Border Patrol, for ending detention, repealing laws criminalizing unauthorized entry, and much more.

What Would Fair, Humane Reform Look Like? The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker organization that works on immigration along with other issues, has a more general program that addresses issues like foreign policy and labor rights as well as immediate enforcement matters.
For New Yorkers: a number of immigrant rights groups are meeting on Tuesday, July 3, to discuss plans for future actions and campaigns. The meeting will be at 6 pm at 40 Washington Square South (NYU Law School’s Vanderbilt Building), in the Golding Lounge (second floor).