Dream 9 launch hunger strike over phone access in detention centerJuly 26, 2013
A group of undocumented immigrants who entered the United States from Mexico through a legal port of entry to protest the Obama administration’s deportation policies launched a hunger strike Thursday over lack of access to telephone service, the activists’ representatives said.
“The facility is preventing them from making phone calls,” Mohammad Abdolahi, an organizer with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, said on a conference call with reporters. “As soon as they begin speaking and start telling us what’s happening, the call just drops.”
The activists, now known as the “Dream 9,” are being held at Eloy Detention Center in Arizona. According to Abdolahi, they have received messages saying their calls to family and fellow activists are restricted. All five women in the group had joined the hunger strike by Thursday afternoon, Abdolahi said, but he was not sure about the men.
A representative for the detention center, a 1,600-bed facility owned and operated by the Corrections Corporation of America under contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, denied that they were blocking the activists’ phone calls.
“I have had no reports that there have been any phone issues,” Eloy Detention Center spokesman Bryan Martin told HuffPost. “So either they’re indigent or they aren’t following the instructions hanging on the wall by the phone.”
Three undocumented immigrants — Lizbeth Mateo, Marcos Saavedra and Lulu Martinez — crossed into Mexico voluntarily earlier this month to reunite with family members. They left with the intention of returning through a legal port of entry and openly declaring their status to officials, in one of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance’s most audacious acts of protest against the Obama administration’s roughly 1.7 million deportations.
“Millions of families like mine have been separated for far too long,” Mateo wrote in a blog post for The Huffington Post on Monday, before presenting herself to U.S. immigration authorities. “I waited 15 years to see my grandfather again, and to meet the rest of my family.”
Once in Mexico, they met up with five others who had either left the United States for personal reasons or had been deported. Together, they crossed into the United States through a legal port of entry at Nogales, Ariz. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol detained them Monday night.
The lawyer representing the activists, Margot Cowan, said immigration authorities have yet to decide whether to admit her clients based on applications for humanitarian parole.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services describes humanitarian parole on its website as a way to “bring someone who is otherwise inadmissible into the United States for a temporary period of time due to a compelling emergency.” Cowan says in practice, U.S. authorities have broad discretion to grant humanitarian parole applications.
If humanitarian parole doesn’t work, Cowan says she’ll request asylum for the activists, based on the argument that they grew up in the United States and face the risk of being targeted by criminals if deported to Mexico.
“They for all intents and purposes are Americans, except on paper,” Cowan said. “And given the instability of Mexico today, they have no idea how to defend themselves and they stick out like a sore thumb.”
Winning an asylum application with that argument may prove difficult. From fiscal years 2007 to 2011 — years that coincide with the onset of Mexico’s bloody war against drug cartels — 21,104 Mexicans filed asylum applications at U.S. ports of entry, according to the Los Angeles Times. Only 2 percent of them were granted, compared to 24 percent for asylum seekers from all countries combined.
Applying for asylum may, however, buy time. Cowan says asylum litigation could last more than a decade. While in limbo, immigration authorities may release her clients from civil detention, provided they do not pose a threat to society or a flight risk, according to Cowan.
“We can go down that road, but it’s wholly unnecessary,” Cowan said. “The right thing to do is to approve these humanitarian parole claims.”
Source

Dream 9 launch hunger strike over phone access in detention center
July 26, 2013

A group of undocumented immigrants who entered the United States from Mexico through a legal port of entry to protest the Obama administration’s deportation policies launched a hunger strike Thursday over lack of access to telephone service, the activists’ representatives said.

“The facility is preventing them from making phone calls,” Mohammad Abdolahi, an organizer with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, said on a conference call with reporters. “As soon as they begin speaking and start telling us what’s happening, the call just drops.”

The activists, now known as the “Dream 9,” are being held at Eloy Detention Center in Arizona. According to Abdolahi, they have received messages saying their calls to family and fellow activists are restricted. All five women in the group had joined the hunger strike by Thursday afternoon, Abdolahi said, but he was not sure about the men.

A representative for the detention center, a 1,600-bed facility owned and operated by the Corrections Corporation of America under contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, denied that they were blocking the activists’ phone calls.

“I have had no reports that there have been any phone issues,” Eloy Detention Center spokesman Bryan Martin told HuffPost. “So either they’re indigent or they aren’t following the instructions hanging on the wall by the phone.”

Three undocumented immigrants — Lizbeth Mateo, Marcos Saavedra and Lulu Martinez — crossed into Mexico voluntarily earlier this month to reunite with family members. They left with the intention of returning through a legal port of entry and openly declaring their status to officials, in one of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance’s most audacious acts of protest against the Obama administration’s roughly 1.7 million deportations.

“Millions of families like mine have been separated for far too long,” Mateo wrote in a blog post for The Huffington Post on Monday, before presenting herself to U.S. immigration authorities. “I waited 15 years to see my grandfather again, and to meet the rest of my family.”

Once in Mexico, they met up with five others who had either left the United States for personal reasons or had been deported. Together, they crossed into the United States through a legal port of entry at Nogales, Ariz. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol detained them Monday night.

The lawyer representing the activists, Margot Cowan, said immigration authorities have yet to decide whether to admit her clients based on applications for humanitarian parole.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services describes humanitarian parole on its website as a way to “bring someone who is otherwise inadmissible into the United States for a temporary period of time due to a compelling emergency.” Cowan says in practice, U.S. authorities have broad discretion to grant humanitarian parole applications.

If humanitarian parole doesn’t work, Cowan says she’ll request asylum for the activists, based on the argument that they grew up in the United States and face the risk of being targeted by criminals if deported to Mexico.

“They for all intents and purposes are Americans, except on paper,” Cowan said. “And given the instability of Mexico today, they have no idea how to defend themselves and they stick out like a sore thumb.”

Winning an asylum application with that argument may prove difficult. From fiscal years 2007 to 2011 — years that coincide with the onset of Mexico’s bloody war against drug cartels — 21,104 Mexicans filed asylum applications at U.S. ports of entry, according to the Los Angeles Times. Only 2 percent of them were granted, compared to 24 percent for asylum seekers from all countries combined.

Applying for asylum may, however, buy time. Cowan says asylum litigation could last more than a decade. While in limbo, immigration authorities may release her clients from civil detention, provided they do not pose a threat to society or a flight risk, according to Cowan.

“We can go down that road, but it’s wholly unnecessary,” Cowan said. “The right thing to do is to approve these humanitarian parole claims.”

Source

Dear educators and allies,
Thank you for being incredible advocates for undocumented youth. As you may know, the NYS Youth Leadership Council is an undocumented youth-led organization built to fight for the rights of undocumented youth. For the past three years, we have been working on advocating for the New York Dream, a bill that would allow undocumented youth to access financial aid for their college education.  One of the key people who can make the New York DREAM Act a reality is Governor Cuomo, who can include the bill in his executive budget which is being finalized next week. Right now, it seems that he is not convinced that including the NY DREAM Act in his budget is the right thing to do, so we need to be united and strong in our demand that he do the right thing and allow young, promising people in NY State to access financial aid.
We believe that the best way to get his attention is by holding a human chain around his midtown New York City office (633 Third Avenue) this Tuesday, March 19, 2013 from 1:00-1:30pm. A human chain is a safe and effective way to show Governor Cuomo that we are united as advocates who believe that all people, regardless of their immigration status, have the right to go to college and realize their full potential. We know that this is very short notice, however there is still time to act to convince Governor Cuomo that this is the right thing to do. Passing the NY DREAM Act would change the lives of thousands of young, promising people in NY who dream of going to college. Please forward this on to your networks.

Let’s work together to pass the NY Dream Act!!!

Sincerely,
Dominique HernandezField OrganizerP | 646-484-8537
—From Dominique Hernandez <dominique@nysylc.org> at YLC - please pass along to your networks and be in touch with her if you can hard confirm.

Dear educators and allies,

Thank you for being incredible advocates for undocumented youth. As you may know, the NYS Youth Leadership Council is an undocumented youth-led organization built to fight for the rights of undocumented youth. For the past three years, we have been working on advocating for the New York Dream, a bill that would allow undocumented youth to access financial aid for their college education.  One of the key people who can make the New York DREAM Act a reality is Governor Cuomo, who can include the bill in his executive budget which is being finalized next week. Right now, it seems that he is not convinced that including the NY DREAM Act in his budget is the right thing to do, so we need to be united and strong in our demand that he do the right thing and allow young, promising people in NY State to access financial aid.

We believe that the best way to get his attention is by holding a human chain around his midtown New York City office (633 Third Avenue) this Tuesday, March 19, 2013 from 1:00-1:30pm. A human chain is a safe and effective way to show Governor Cuomo that we are united as advocates who believe that all people, regardless of their immigration status, have the right to go to college and realize their full potential. We know that this is very short notice, however there is still time to act to convince Governor Cuomo that this is the right thing to do. Passing the NY DREAM Act would change the lives of thousands of young, promising people in NY who dream of going to college. Please forward this on to your networks.

Let’s work together to pass the NY Dream Act!!!

Sincerely,

Dominique Hernandez
Field Organizer
P | 646-484-8537


From Dominique Hernandez <dominique@nysylc.org> at YLC - please pass along to your networks and be in touch with her if you can hard confirm.

Youth activists infiltrate Florida immigrant detention center, find people wrongly heldJuly 31, 2012
Activists with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance intentionally placed themselves in deportation proceedings in order to enter the Broward Transitional Center, an immigration detention facility in Florida &#8212; and they say they found scores of detainees who shouldn&#8217;t be there under the Obama administration&#8217;s revised deportation policies.
Beginning in June 2011, the administration ordered broader discretion in the prosecution of undocumented immigrants, with consideration to be given to age, how the person entered the country and his or her education, military service, criminal history and family circumstances. Then in June of this year, the administration extended the policy to cover undocumented youth brought to the U.S. as children.
But it appears that those policies are not being applied on the ground. Over the course of the past month, seven NIYA activists who themselves are undocumented immigrants entered the facility (in photo) in an effort to organize detainees. They report finding people who should not or need not be there, including:
* people with pending applications for U visas, which give temporary legal status and work eligibility to victims of certain crimes including rape, torture, domestic violence and human trafficking;
* more than a dozen youth eligible for conditional permanent residency under the DREAM Act, federal legislation that has not yet been approved by Congress but which sets out criteria that the Obama administration says it is using in making deportation decisions;
* several cases of immigrants in need of immediate medical care, including one person with a blood clot in his leg and another with a bullet in the spine; and
* more than 60 people with no criminal record or prior deportations who are eligible for discretion under the administration&#8217;s policy.
Many of the detainees have been at the facility for at least five months, with some there for as long as 20 months, the activists report. Among those involved in the undercover investigation was Viridiana Martinez, an immigration-reform activist with the North Carolina Dream Team.
A facility specifically for low-priority immigrant detainees, Broward Transitional Center is operated by the GEO Group, a private correctional services company based in Boca Raton, Fla. Formerly known as Wackenhut Corrections Corp., GEO Group receives an average of about $166 a day in tax dollars for each detainee at the Broward facility, which has a capacity of 600.
NIYA publicized the findings of its undercover investigation in a July 30 press conference held outside the office of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). The group is petitioning Homeland Security officials to undertake a full and immediate review of all detainees at the facility.
"NIYA will no longer allow GEO Group or other private prison corporations to profit off of shattered families and broken lives," the group said in a statement. "We will continue to organize inside their jails until the president lives up to his promises."
Source

Youth activists infiltrate Florida immigrant detention center, find people wrongly held
July 31, 2012

Activists with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance intentionally placed themselves in deportation proceedings in order to enter the Broward Transitional Center, an immigration detention facility in Florida — and they say they found scores of detainees who shouldn’t be there under the Obama administration’s revised deportation policies.

Beginning in June 2011, the administration ordered broader discretion in the prosecution of undocumented immigrants, with consideration to be given to age, how the person entered the country and his or her education, military service, criminal history and family circumstances. Then in June of this year, the administration extended the policy to cover undocumented youth brought to the U.S. as children.

But it appears that those policies are not being applied on the ground. Over the course of the past month, seven NIYA activists who themselves are undocumented immigrants entered the facility (in photo) in an effort to organize detainees. They report finding people who should not or need not be there, including:

people with pending applications for U visas, which give temporary legal status and work eligibility to victims of certain crimes including rape, torture, domestic violence and human trafficking;

* more than a dozen youth eligible for conditional permanent residency under the DREAM Act, federal legislation that has not yet been approved by Congress but which sets out criteria that the Obama administration says it is using in making deportation decisions;

* several cases of immigrants in need of immediate medical care, including one person with a blood clot in his leg and another with a bullet in the spine; and

* more than 60 people with no criminal record or prior deportations who are eligible for discretion under the administration’s policy.

Many of the detainees have been at the facility for at least five months, with some there for as long as 20 months, the activists report. Among those involved in the undercover investigation was Viridiana Martinez, an immigration-reform activist with the North Carolina Dream Team.

A facility specifically for low-priority immigrant detainees, Broward Transitional Center is operated by the GEO Group, a private correctional services company based in Boca Raton, Fla. Formerly known as Wackenhut Corrections Corp., GEO Group receives an average of about $166 a day in tax dollars for each detainee at the Broward facility, which has a capacity of 600.

NIYA publicized the findings of its undercover investigation in a July 30 press conference held outside the office of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). The group is petitioning Homeland Security officials to undertake a full and immediate review of all detainees at the facility.

"NIYA will no longer allow GEO Group or other private prison corporations to profit off of shattered families and broken lives," the group said in a statement. "We will continue to organize inside their jails until the president lives up to his promises."

Source

Two student activists stage sit-in protest, hunger strike at Obama HQJune 7, 2012

“The National Immigrant Youth Alliance is calling for the President to issue an executive order to stop the deportation of DREAM Act-eligible youth. We simply cannot continue to allow our lives to be held up by petty partisanship and congressional gridlock.


We need the strength of an executive order to stop our deportations. Prosecutorial discretion has not stopped them; NIYA has continued to fight tooth and nail for many young people who meet the criteria to have their cases administratively closed under the June 17 Morton Memo. At present, NIYA is fighting over 30 active cases that meet these criteria.


We hope that our call for an executive order has not fallen on deaf ears in the White House. If the Administration does not issue an executive order, we will be forced to respond with direct action in the coming days. The administration, by not taking action by means fully within its power, keeps our lives on hold. That position, for us, is no longer acceptable.”
Source
Undocumented youth Javier &amp; Veronica have staged a sit-in at the Obama for America headquarters in Denver, Colorado. Police have refused to arrest them &amp; the staff has ignored them sitting in the office. They began a hunger strike that will last until the executive order to stop deportations is issued. 
Sign the petition here &amp; reblog.

Two student activists stage sit-in protest, hunger strike at Obama HQ
June 7, 2012

“The National Immigrant Youth Alliance is calling for the President to issue an executive order to stop the deportation of DREAM Act-eligible youth. We simply cannot continue to allow our lives to be held up by petty partisanship and congressional gridlock.

We need the strength of an executive order to stop our deportations. Prosecutorial discretion has not stopped them; NIYA has continued to fight tooth and nail for many young people who meet the criteria to have their cases administratively closed under the June 17 Morton Memo. At present, NIYA is fighting over 30 active cases that meet these criteria.

We hope that our call for an executive order has not fallen on deaf ears in the White House. If the Administration does not issue an executive order, we will be forced to respond with direct action in the coming days. The administration, by not taking action by means fully within its power, keeps our lives on hold. That position, for us, is no longer acceptable.”

Source

Undocumented youth Javier & Veronica have staged a sit-in at the Obama for America headquarters in Denver, Colorado. Police have refused to arrest them & the staff has ignored them sitting in the office. They began a hunger strike that will last until the executive order to stop deportations is issued.

Sign the petition here & reblog.