How Israel’s war industry profits from violent US immigration “reform”April 10, 2014
Immigrant rights advocates in the US organized a national day of action on 5 April, the day they expected President Barack Obama’s record-breaking rate of deportations to reach a total of 2 million during his administration.
But scant attention has been paid to the list of global benefactors awaiting the profits from legislation escalating border militarization.
Israel, America’s closest ally, tops the lineup of patrons eager for rewards while advocates demanding a meaningful overhaul of US immigration and border enforcement continue their defiant battle in the streets. In this setting, rights supporters must know which global partners stand beside the US in repressing undocumented im/migrant communities.
But how does the situation in Palestine — thousands of miles away — affect US immigration reform and vice versa? What does one have to do with the other?
Quite a lot, actually.
“Border security on steroids”
Take the recent news that Israeli arms manufacturing giant Elbit Systems won a USDepartment of Homeland Security (DHS) contract to provide surveillance technology along the southern divide with Mexico, initially in Arizona.
Specifically, Elbit will provide its sensor-based Peregrine surveillance system for Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Integrated Fixed Tower project, which consists of ground radar and camera technology mounted on towers strewn throughout the borderlands. Congress approved the plan earlier this year.
A Bloomberg trade analyst estimated that Elbit’s $145 million award “may eventually reach $1 billion if legislation to rewrite US immigration laws passes Congress and helps fund the project’s expansion in the Southwest” (“Israel’s Elbit wins US border work after Boeing dumped,” 27 February 2014).
The little-discussed Corker-Hoeven amendment attached to the 2013 Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) is the key legislation referenced by the Bloomberg analyst. The Senate passed the bill last June; the House of Representatives has stalled on voting on the package in any form.
Promoted as “border security on steroids” by the bill’s co-author, Republican Senator from Tennessee Bob Corker, the measure sets aside $46 billion for security “triggers” that must be in place in areas including Arizona before a pathway to citizenship can be opened for an estimated 11 million people living undocumented in the US today.
No wonder that DHS’s $145 million payment to Elbit could skyrocket by 700 percent. And that’s just one bid by one Israeli company. There could be many more to come.
Israel and the “homeland security” industry
Journalist Todd Miller, author of the book Border Patrol Nation (City Lights Books), interviewed numerous corporate leaders and scoured boundary-enforcement security fairs and expos across the Southwest.
Miller described to The Electronic Intifada his constant encounters with Israeli security peddlers in the borderlands.
During his research for the book, Miller wasn’t looking for Israel anywhere. Yet the state’s agents kept surfacing at every turn, he said.
Israeli companies, specialists and top military brass have become an increasingly visible presence at border and “homeland security” trade shows in the years since the 11 September 2001 attacks.
The US has spent $100 billion on immigration enforcement in the decade since then.
In that time, Israel became the world’s sixth-largest defense exporter and a leading supplier and consumer in the budding border-security industrial complex (“Israel ranks as the world’s sixth largest arms exporter in 2012,” Haaretz, 25 June 2013).
Companies large and small such as Elta Systems, Elbit Systems and NICE Systems have provided technologies including radar, virtual fencing and CCTV surveillance for Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Phoenix, Arizona department, as Jimmy Johnson has reported (“A Palestine-Mexico Border,” North American Congress on Latin America, 29 June 2012).
The Golan Group (founded by former Israeli special forces officers) provided training sessions for the US Border Patrol, as Naomi Klein notes in her 2007 book The Shock Doctrine.
Israel aids deadly “deterrence” strategy
Elta Systems got a boost in late 2012 when, Haaretz reported, the US Border Patrol hired the company to provide radar along the border “to protect the US-Mexico border against illegal migrant infiltration.” US Border Patrol’s deal offered the company “a potential market worth hundreds of millions of dollars.”
The US partnership with Israel is reciprocal: where the US has the finances, Israel has the expertise.
On the company’s end, according to Raanan Horowitz, CEO of Elbit Systems of America, the Peregrine system “will meet the demanding mission requirements of the Customs Border Protection (CPB) while enhancing its agents’ safety” (“Elbit Systems of America awarded contract for US Customs Border Protection integrated fixed towers project,” Elbit Systems, 8 March 2014).
But what does this situation look like in terms of human consequences? In CBP’s statedmission of “keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the US,” under the pretext of personal safety, Border Patrol agents have killed at least 19 persons in recent years, often under the alleged threat of rock-throwing (“Border Patrol’s use of deadly force criticized in new report,” Los Angeles Times, 27 February 2014).
In this deadly equation, the reform legislation’s amendment calls for a “military-style surge” of 700 more miles of “border fencing” and doubles the current number of Border Patrol agents to 40,000 (“Border security: Boost for Senate immigration bill,” Associated Press, 20 June 2013).
Two decades of border militarization
Increased deployment of military-style resources to strategic areas along the border has mushroomed since the early 1990s, as Joseph Nevins documents in his book Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the “Illegal Alien” and the Making of the US-Mexico Boundary.
President Bill Clinton, expanding on past boundary security-enforcement trends under his predecessors Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, instituted a new “deterrence” strategy designed to “reroute” migrants away from urban areas and into “geographically harsher,” more “remote and hazardous border regions” where the treacherous terrain would potentially kill them (“656 Weeks on the Killing Fields of Arizona,” The Huffington Post, 12 November 2012).
In such a way, planners devised, the “mortal danger” of the “geography would be an ally to us.”
This aggressive shift came less than a decade after the last immigration overhaul. In 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act opened the door to citizenship for three million people of extra-legal status and increased border controls for those continuing to come, but without addressing the US-based economic and political policies driving migration.
Predictably, within a decade of the “deterrence” policy’s onset, “Arizona had become a killing field,” Tucson-based journalist Margaret Regan describes in her book The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona Borderlands.
Israel continues to reap the benefits from US border militarization as the levels of death and suffering grow in line with an enriching investment climate.
Border death rate doubles
A June 2013 study by scholars and forensics specialists at the University of Arizona’s Binational Migration Institute and the local county medical examiner’s office found that the rate of migrant deaths had nearly doubled in the previous two years (“A continued humanitarian crisis at the border: undocumented border crosser deaths recorded by the Pima County office of the medical examiner, 1990-2012” [PDF]).
As more and more bodies are recovered, government and media continue to report all-time lows in apprehensions by the Border Patrol. Yet the simultaneous increase in border deaths remains enormously underreported.
But this is all good news to Senator Corker, who urged those concerned with border security not to worry because the bill is so tough that it’s “almost overkill.”
In fact, the package “is not only sufficient, it is well over sufficient,” Arizona Republican Senator John McCain concurred. “We’ll be the most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall,” McCain boasted.
More drones
One provision in S. 744 would add 18 more unmanned aerial vehicles (also known asdrones or UAVs) to the already ballooning fleet operated by Customs and Border Protection.
Israeli-built “Hermes” drones were the first deployed along the southern border with Mexico as early as 2004. Currently, the fleet buzzing throughout the borderlands skies is wholly comprised of US-made Predator B drones, according to a CBP spokesperson.
Rivaling the US as the world’s leader in such technology, Israel can still view immigration reform as a hefty bounty for its “battle-proven” military technology that is “tried and tested on the West Bank and Gaza.”
As proposed in the legislation, the path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people in the US would take at least 13 years. Even then, the measures would benefit only those who are able to afford the mounting fees associated with the process, according to an analysis by Coalición de Derechos Humanos.
Though it won overwhelming approval in the Democrat-controlled Senate, the bill has stalled for nine months in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
Many House members are hostile to any pathway to citizenship for undocumented people. Worse, House Republicans, like their Senate counterparts, have shown a penchant for fueling the fantasy of border security as a sound solution to US immigration issues.
A new military occupation
The US and Israel both continue to dispossess indigenous people of their lands, and even of their existence.
In the US, Native peoples are left out of the “immigration reform” discourse altogether. Even though some are US-born, they are “undocumented” in every sense of the term, since they were born at home and lack a birth certificate.
The ancestral lands of the Tohono O’odham people span from modern-day Sonora, Mexico into southern Arizona — bisected by the Mexico-US border wall. Some were born on one side of the divide but grew up or spend most of their time on the other side and are therefore considered suspect by Border Patrol.
Miller writes in Border Patrol Nation: “While it may seem that the days of killing or corralling Native Americans and annexing their territories are an ancient and forgotten chapter in US history, the experience of the Tohono O’odham Nation show us that nothing can be further from the truth.” O’odham people regularly face abuse, harassment and even death at the hands of US Border Patrol.
Some of the country’s largest Border Patrol stations (and at least one US military outpost in a remote location, known as a “forward-operating base”) surround the Tohono O’odham Nation as the second-largest reservation in the US, and military-style checkpoints control all movement entering and leaving the nation. According to Miller, this presence of federal forces occupying permanent positions on Tohono O’odham lands is the largest in US history.
The extra layers of militarized infrastructure isolates the nation while still in Arizona, Miller observes, “as if the nation itself were a foreign country under a new, post-9/11 form of military occupation.”
Full article

How Israel’s war industry profits from violent US immigration “reform”
April 10, 2014

Immigrant rights advocates in the US organized a national day of action on 5 April, the day they expected President Barack Obama’s record-breaking rate of deportations to reach a total of 2 million during his administration.

But scant attention has been paid to the list of global benefactors awaiting the profits from legislation escalating border militarization.

Israel, America’s closest ally, tops the lineup of patrons eager for rewards while advocates demanding a meaningful overhaul of US immigration and border enforcement continue their defiant battle in the streets. In this setting, rights supporters must know which global partners stand beside the US in repressing undocumented im/migrant communities.

But how does the situation in Palestine — thousands of miles away — affect US immigration reform and vice versa? What does one have to do with the other?

Quite a lot, actually.

“Border security on steroids”

Take the recent news that Israeli arms manufacturing giant Elbit Systems won a USDepartment of Homeland Security (DHS) contract to provide surveillance technology along the southern divide with Mexico, initially in Arizona.

Specifically, Elbit will provide its sensor-based Peregrine surveillance system for Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Integrated Fixed Tower project, which consists of ground radar and camera technology mounted on towers strewn throughout the borderlands. Congress approved the plan earlier this year.

A Bloomberg trade analyst estimated that Elbit’s $145 million award “may eventually reach $1 billion if legislation to rewrite US immigration laws passes Congress and helps fund the project’s expansion in the Southwest” (“Israel’s Elbit wins US border work after Boeing dumped,” 27 February 2014).

The little-discussed Corker-Hoeven amendment attached to the 2013 Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) is the key legislation referenced by the Bloomberg analyst. The Senate passed the bill last June; the House of Representatives has stalled on voting on the package in any form.

Promoted as “border security on steroids” by the bill’s co-author, Republican Senator from Tennessee Bob Corker, the measure sets aside $46 billion for security “triggers” that must be in place in areas including Arizona before a pathway to citizenship can be opened for an estimated 11 million people living undocumented in the US today.

No wonder that DHS’s $145 million payment to Elbit could skyrocket by 700 percent. And that’s just one bid by one Israeli company. There could be many more to come.

Israel and the “homeland security” industry

Journalist Todd Miller, author of the book Border Patrol Nation (City Lights Books), interviewed numerous corporate leaders and scoured boundary-enforcement security fairs and expos across the Southwest.

Miller described to The Electronic Intifada his constant encounters with Israeli security peddlers in the borderlands.

During his research for the book, Miller wasn’t looking for Israel anywhere. Yet the state’s agents kept surfacing at every turn, he said.

Israeli companies, specialists and top military brass have become an increasingly visible presence at border and “homeland security” trade shows in the years since the 11 September 2001 attacks.

The US has spent $100 billion on immigration enforcement in the decade since then.

In that time, Israel became the world’s sixth-largest defense exporter and a leading supplier and consumer in the budding border-security industrial complex (“Israel ranks as the world’s sixth largest arms exporter in 2012,” Haaretz, 25 June 2013).

Companies large and small such as Elta Systems, Elbit Systems and NICE Systems have provided technologies including radar, virtual fencing and CCTV surveillance for Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Phoenix, Arizona department, as Jimmy Johnson has reported (“A Palestine-Mexico Border,” North American Congress on Latin America, 29 June 2012).

The Golan Group (founded by former Israeli special forces officers) provided training sessions for the US Border Patrol, as Naomi Klein notes in her 2007 book The Shock Doctrine.

Israel aids deadly “deterrence” strategy

Elta Systems got a boost in late 2012 when, Haaretz reported, the US Border Patrol hired the company to provide radar along the border “to protect the US-Mexico border against illegal migrant infiltration.” US Border Patrol’s deal offered the company “a potential market worth hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The US partnership with Israel is reciprocal: where the US has the finances, Israel has the expertise.

On the company’s end, according to Raanan Horowitz, CEO of Elbit Systems of America, the Peregrine system “will meet the demanding mission requirements of the Customs Border Protection (CPB) while enhancing its agents’ safety” (“Elbit Systems of America awarded contract for US Customs Border Protection integrated fixed towers project,” Elbit Systems, 8 March 2014).

But what does this situation look like in terms of human consequences? In CBP’s statedmission of “keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the US,” under the pretext of personal safety, Border Patrol agents have killed at least 19 persons in recent years, often under the alleged threat of rock-throwing (“Border Patrol’s use of deadly force criticized in new report,” Los Angeles Times, 27 February 2014).

In this deadly equation, the reform legislation’s amendment calls for a “military-style surge” of 700 more miles of “border fencing” and doubles the current number of Border Patrol agents to 40,000 (“Border security: Boost for Senate immigration bill,” Associated Press, 20 June 2013).

Two decades of border militarization

Increased deployment of military-style resources to strategic areas along the border has mushroomed since the early 1990s, as Joseph Nevins documents in his book Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the “Illegal Alien” and the Making of the US-Mexico Boundary.

President Bill Clinton, expanding on past boundary security-enforcement trends under his predecessors Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, instituted a new “deterrence” strategy designed to “reroute” migrants away from urban areas and into “geographically harsher,” more “remote and hazardous border regions” where the treacherous terrain would potentially kill them (“656 Weeks on the Killing Fields of Arizona,” The Huffington Post, 12 November 2012).

In such a way, planners devised, the “mortal danger” of the “geography would be an ally to us.”

This aggressive shift came less than a decade after the last immigration overhaul. In 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act opened the door to citizenship for three million people of extra-legal status and increased border controls for those continuing to come, but without addressing the US-based economic and political policies driving migration.

Predictably, within a decade of the “deterrence” policy’s onset, “Arizona had become a killing field,” Tucson-based journalist Margaret Regan describes in her book The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona Borderlands.

Israel continues to reap the benefits from US border militarization as the levels of death and suffering grow in line with an enriching investment climate.

Border death rate doubles

A June 2013 study by scholars and forensics specialists at the University of Arizona’s Binational Migration Institute and the local county medical examiner’s office found that the rate of migrant deaths had nearly doubled in the previous two years (“A continued humanitarian crisis at the border: undocumented border crosser deaths recorded by the Pima County office of the medical examiner, 1990-2012” [PDF]).

As more and more bodies are recovered, government and media continue to report all-time lows in apprehensions by the Border Patrol. Yet the simultaneous increase in border deaths remains enormously underreported.

But this is all good news to Senator Corker, who urged those concerned with border security not to worry because the bill is so tough that it’s “almost overkill.”

In fact, the package “is not only sufficient, it is well over sufficient,” Arizona Republican Senator John McCain concurred. “We’ll be the most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall,” McCain boasted.

More drones

One provision in S. 744 would add 18 more unmanned aerial vehicles (also known asdrones or UAVs) to the already ballooning fleet operated by Customs and Border Protection.

Israeli-built “Hermes” drones were the first deployed along the southern border with Mexico as early as 2004. Currently, the fleet buzzing throughout the borderlands skies is wholly comprised of US-made Predator B drones, according to a CBP spokesperson.

Rivaling the US as the world’s leader in such technology, Israel can still view immigration reform as a hefty bounty for its “battle-proven” military technology that is “tried and tested on the West Bank and Gaza.”

As proposed in the legislation, the path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people in the US would take at least 13 years. Even then, the measures would benefit only those who are able to afford the mounting fees associated with the process, according to an analysis by Coalición de Derechos Humanos.

Though it won overwhelming approval in the Democrat-controlled Senate, the bill has stalled for nine months in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Many House members are hostile to any pathway to citizenship for undocumented people. Worse, House Republicans, like their Senate counterparts, have shown a penchant for fueling the fantasy of border security as a sound solution to US immigration issues.

A new military occupation

The US and Israel both continue to dispossess indigenous people of their lands, and even of their existence.

In the US, Native peoples are left out of the “immigration reform” discourse altogether. Even though some are US-born, they are “undocumented” in every sense of the term, since they were born at home and lack a birth certificate.

The ancestral lands of the Tohono O’odham people span from modern-day Sonora, Mexico into southern Arizona — bisected by the Mexico-US border wall. Some were born on one side of the divide but grew up or spend most of their time on the other side and are therefore considered suspect by Border Patrol.

Miller writes in Border Patrol Nation: “While it may seem that the days of killing or corralling Native Americans and annexing their territories are an ancient and forgotten chapter in US history, the experience of the Tohono O’odham Nation show us that nothing can be further from the truth.” O’odham people regularly face abuse, harassment and even death at the hands of US Border Patrol.

Some of the country’s largest Border Patrol stations (and at least one US military outpost in a remote location, known as a “forward-operating base”) surround the Tohono O’odham Nation as the second-largest reservation in the US, and military-style checkpoints control all movement entering and leaving the nation. According to Miller, this presence of federal forces occupying permanent positions on Tohono O’odham lands is the largest in US history.

The extra layers of militarized infrastructure isolates the nation while still in Arizona, Miller observes, “as if the nation itself were a foreign country under a new, post-9/11 form of military occupation.”

Full article

Ride for Freedom: An anti-deportation internationalist motorcade demonstration in NYC
April 8, 2014

A caravan of NYC activists –in solidarity with immigration resistance– rode in “Ride for Freedom: an Anti-deportation Internationalist motorcade”, to arrive to the Immigration and Costumes Enforcement Detention Facility at 182-22 150Avenue, Queens, NY for a noise demonstration on Sunday.

The demo was a success, there were no arrests and we made our voices heard loud and clear against the cruelty of the prison complex and against the massive deportations taking place recently. The demonstration was also in solidarity with the hunger strikes: “This month alone, 1,000 immigrant detainees in Washington state launched a hunger strike against inhuman conditions and deportation. Demonstrators outside chained themselves together and blocked deportation busses bound for the border.”

We were joined by class traitors such as: the riot police from the prison, the prison guards (who in their confusion and not knowing what to do started filming us, even though we were fully aware there is CCTV everywhere outside the prison in plane sight.) There was also a white van apparently used for prison transport, a few cop cars and a police van to carry arrestees.

This is the call for the noise demo:

“Immigrants across the country are standing up. This month alone, 1,000 immigrant detainees in Washington State launched a hunger strike against inhuman conditions and deportation. Demonstrators outside chained themselves together and blocked deportation busses bound for the border. In San Diego, 150 previously deported Mexican immigrants re-crossed the U.S-Mexico border to rejoin their families in an act of civil disobedience. And in Texas, immigrant detainees have declared a second hunger strike against detention and deportation.

In New York City, the American Dream remains a nightmare. After crossing militarized borders, immigrants arrive to find only brutal exploitation, racist cops, cruel bosses, and dilapidated housing. The state government refuses to provide financial aid for undocumented college students, robbing immigrant youth of a future.

Against these obscenities, the recent wave of immigrant resistance offers hope to everyone who is poor, exploited, policed or incarcerated. Stand with the rebels in Washington, California and Texas! Together we can demolish every jail and every border, and share the wealth and freedom that belongs to us all.”

Source

TW: Suicide - Eight year old commits suicide after deportationMarch 22, 2014
An eight year old reportedly committed suicide last week after border patrol authorities caught her with a migrant smuggler as they attempted to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the Associated Press. Mexico’s Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (National Human Rights Commission) released a press statement on Monday, saying that it would investigate her death and find her parents who live in the United States.
Federal authorities turned the young girl over to Chihuahua state authorities who put her in a private shelter, “instead of one run by the state’s child protective services,” in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. State prosecutors said that the girl hanged herself inside the bathroom of the private shelther, “La Esperanza,” but that “there was no foul play.”
While it’s unknown how many children commit suicide after they are picked up by federal authorities and returned to their countries of origin, children who make the treacherous journey often face traumatic experiences in both countries. In 2006, at least 3,000 unaccompanied children were deported to Ciudad Juarez, which some call “ground zero” for the violence raging in Mexico, after they were apprehended while trying to cross into the United States, according to a Journal of the Southwest report.
Of the 404 children interviewed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in a March 2014 report, 58 percent of children crossed the border because they faced violence by organized armed criminal actors and violence in the home. The same report found that 40 percent of the children from Mexico are exploited to be part of a human smuggling ring, by “facilitating others in crossing into the United States unlawfully.”
Once caught at the border, children end up in deportation proceedings where they are “mixed with adult detainees and exposed to human and contraband trafficking, exploitation, and labor abuses before they are deported from the United States.” Children often spend the night in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office before they face an “interview” the next day where they are asked the “same questions they’ve been asked since the first moment they were apprehended in the field,” fingerprinted, and made to describe the smuggler they were with. Children who remain in deportation proceedings can spend anywhere between one week to four months, with an average of 61 days in the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) custody, an agency responsible for children after they are apprehended by border agents. What’s more the Border Patrol has in the past deported minors expeditiously and only informed the consulate of the incident after the fact.

Last year alone, minors accounted for one in 13 people caught by Border Patrol and 17 percent of them were under the age of 13. According to the Los Angeles Times, up to 120 unaccompanied children cross the border each day. And the Vera Institute of Justice found that 40 percent of unaccompanied children may be eligible for “statuses that exempt them from deportation. Among the most likely possibilities: asylum, because they fear persecution in their home country, or a special immigrant juvenile status for children abused or abandoned by a parent.”
Source
Next month, President Obama is expected to hit 2 million deportations.
With an average of 395,689 deportations each year since the beginning of his 2009 term, he has deported more people than any other president. 

TW: Suicide - Eight year old commits suicide after deportation
March 22, 2014

An eight year old reportedly committed suicide last week after border patrol authorities caught her with a migrant smuggler as they attempted to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the Associated Press. Mexico’s Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (National Human Rights Commission) released a press statement on Monday, saying that it would investigate her death and find her parents who live in the United States.

Federal authorities turned the young girl over to Chihuahua state authorities who put her in a private shelter, “instead of one run by the state’s child protective services,” in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. State prosecutors said that the girl hanged herself inside the bathroom of the private shelther, “La Esperanza,” but that “there was no foul play.”

While it’s unknown how many children commit suicide after they are picked up by federal authorities and returned to their countries of origin, children who make the treacherous journey often face traumatic experiences in both countries. In 2006, at least 3,000 unaccompanied children were deported to Ciudad Juarez, which some call “ground zero” for the violence raging in Mexico, after they were apprehended while trying to cross into the United States, according to a Journal of the Southwest report.

Of the 404 children interviewed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in a March 2014 report, 58 percent of children crossed the border because they faced violence by organized armed criminal actors and violence in the home. The same report found that 40 percent of the children from Mexico are exploited to be part of a human smuggling ring, by “facilitating others in crossing into the United States unlawfully.”

Once caught at the border, children end up in deportation proceedings where they are “mixed with adult detainees and exposed to human and contraband trafficking, exploitation, and labor abuses before they are deported from the United States.” Children often spend the night in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office before they face an “interview” the next day where they are asked the “same questions they’ve been asked since the first moment they were apprehended in the field,” fingerprinted, and made to describe the smuggler they were with. Children who remain in deportation proceedings can spend anywhere between one week to four months, with an average of 61 days in the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) custody, an agency responsible for children after they are apprehended by border agents. What’s more the Border Patrol has in the past deported minors expeditiously and only informed the consulate of the incident after the fact.

Last year alone, minors accounted for one in 13 people caught by Border Patrol and 17 percent of them were under the age of 13. According to the Los Angeles Times, up to 120 unaccompanied children cross the border each day. And the Vera Institute of Justice found that 40 percent of unaccompanied children may be eligible for “statuses that exempt them from deportation. Among the most likely possibilities: asylum, because they fear persecution in their home country, or a special immigrant juvenile status for children abused or abandoned by a parent.”

Source

Next month, President Obama is expected to hit 2 million deportations.

With an average of 395,689 deportations each year since the beginning of his 2009 term, he has deported more people than any other president. 

Immigrant hunger strikers threatened with force-feedingMarch 14, 2014
Immigrant detainees who started a hunger strike last Friday at Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash., are reporting increased retaliation by guards — including threats of force-feeding — according to a lawyer backing the group.
As the hunger strike entered its sixth day Wednesday, attorney Sandy Restrepo told Al Jazeera that the detainees have vowed to continue their strike in the face of threats until adequate negotiations take place between strikers and the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
ICE denied that it was retaliating against the strikers.
The detainees are demanding safer working conditions, better treatment by guards, more sanitary food options, and for President Barack Obama to sign an executive order halting deportations until the U.S. immigration system is overhauled.
As of Tuesday evening, five strikers had been placed under medical observation. ICE said that one of the detainees had broken the fast Wednesday morning and was allowed to “return to the general population.” 
Maru Mora Villalpando, an immigration reform advocate and founder of Latino Advocacy, told Al Jazeera that her group is in contact with elected officials to push for “a monitored negotiation process to prevent further abuse by detention center officials.”
Restrepo, who met with some of the hunger strikers on Tuesday, described guards as armed and dressed in riot gear. “Immigrants on hunger strike are being placed in solitary confinement, coerced into signing deportation forms, and threatened with forced-feeding if they continue their protest. Asylum seekers are being threatened with denial of their cases,” Restrepo said.
ICE rejected the allegations of retaliation. “There have been no punitive actions taken against individuals who are participating in the protest,” ICE officials said in an emailed statement. “ICE fully respects the rights of all people to express their opinion without interference.”
Although ICE did acknowledge that strikers were advised that they may be force-fed, it said that it was looking out for the strikers’ well-being.
“Detainees are being advised of the health consequences of remaining on a hunger strike,” the ICE statement said. “This includes the fact that going without food for a prolonged period of time could put their life in danger, and if that point is reached ICE may be forced to obtain a court order to force feed an individual.”
Villalpando, who has communicated with some of the strikers, said that guards were also threatening strikers with deportation, and in some cases forcing them to sign consent forms authorizing immediate deportation.
In one case, she said that a detainee was dragged into a room before guards and told to end his strike or sign a form authorizing deportation. “When he refused to do either, one of the guards pulled his arm and forced his fingerprint,” Villalpando said.
Strike leaders in particular, she said, are being targeted and placed in solitary confinement. “They are being told that they cannot rejoin the general population unless they end their hunger strike,” she said.
While ICE confirmed reports that some strikers were separated from the general population, it said that the basis for its decision to do so was “medical observation.”
The Washington state detainees are the latest to join a nationwide campaign to protest deportations, with similar actions recently taking place in Arizona, Illinois, California and Virginia. The coordinated protests represent a new strategy in the battle to halt deportations after a bipartisan immigration reform bill stalled in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
Immigration activists have shifted their focus from Congress to Obama, demanding that he issue an executive order to end deportations until the immigration system is overhauled for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.
Under Obama, U.S. deportations have hit record highs, immigration advocates point out.
"For us, this president has been the deporter-in-chief," said Janet Murguia, a former Obama ally and president of the National Council of La Raza, the largest Hispanic advocacy group in the United States. "Any day now, this administration will reach the 2 million mark for deportations. It is a staggering number that far outstrips any of his predecessors and leaves behind it a wake of devastation for families across America."
On Tuesday, family members of the Washington hunger-strikers attended solidarity rallies organized outside of the detention facility. Veronica Noriega, the wife of one of the hunger strike leaders, told Al Jazeera that her husband was placed in solitary confinement with three other strikers for his role in organizing the protest.
Noriega attended Tuesday’s rally with her three children, ages 5, 11, and 13. She is currently working three jobs to make ends meet following her husband’s detainment in September 2013, she said.
Restrepo said the government’s inability to pass immigration reform is taking its worst toll on families. “These are fathers and mothers in there, people who will one day be eligible to stay under any new immigration law. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to return to their families, to challenge their case from the outside,” she told Al Jazeera.
Source

Immigrant hunger strikers threatened with force-feeding
March 14, 2014

Immigrant detainees who started a hunger strike last Friday at Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash., are reporting increased retaliation by guards — including threats of force-feeding — according to a lawyer backing the group.

As the hunger strike entered its sixth day Wednesday, attorney Sandy Restrepo told Al Jazeera that the detainees have vowed to continue their strike in the face of threats until adequate negotiations take place between strikers and the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

ICE denied that it was retaliating against the strikers.

The detainees are demanding safer working conditions, better treatment by guards, more sanitary food options, and for President Barack Obama to sign an executive order halting deportations until the U.S. immigration system is overhauled.

As of Tuesday evening, five strikers had been placed under medical observation. ICE said that one of the detainees had broken the fast Wednesday morning and was allowed to “return to the general population.” 

Maru Mora Villalpando, an immigration reform advocate and founder of Latino Advocacy, told Al Jazeera that her group is in contact with elected officials to push for “a monitored negotiation process to prevent further abuse by detention center officials.”

Restrepo, who met with some of the hunger strikers on Tuesday, described guards as armed and dressed in riot gear. “Immigrants on hunger strike are being placed in solitary confinement, coerced into signing deportation forms, and threatened with forced-feeding if they continue their protest. Asylum seekers are being threatened with denial of their cases,” Restrepo said.

ICE rejected the allegations of retaliation. “There have been no punitive actions taken against individuals who are participating in the protest,” ICE officials said in an emailed statement. “ICE fully respects the rights of all people to express their opinion without interference.”

Although ICE did acknowledge that strikers were advised that they may be force-fed, it said that it was looking out for the strikers’ well-being.

“Detainees are being advised of the health consequences of remaining on a hunger strike,” the ICE statement said. “This includes the fact that going without food for a prolonged period of time could put their life in danger, and if that point is reached ICE may be forced to obtain a court order to force feed an individual.”

Villalpando, who has communicated with some of the strikers, said that guards were also threatening strikers with deportation, and in some cases forcing them to sign consent forms authorizing immediate deportation.

In one case, she said that a detainee was dragged into a room before guards and told to end his strike or sign a form authorizing deportation. “When he refused to do either, one of the guards pulled his arm and forced his fingerprint,” Villalpando said.

Strike leaders in particular, she said, are being targeted and placed in solitary confinement. “They are being told that they cannot rejoin the general population unless they end their hunger strike,” she said.

While ICE confirmed reports that some strikers were separated from the general population, it said that the basis for its decision to do so was “medical observation.”

The Washington state detainees are the latest to join a nationwide campaign to protest deportations, with similar actions recently taking place in Arizona, Illinois, California and Virginia. The coordinated protests represent a new strategy in the battle to halt deportations after a bipartisan immigration reform bill stalled in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Immigration activists have shifted their focus from Congress to Obama, demanding that he issue an executive order to end deportations until the immigration system is overhauled for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.

Under Obama, U.S. deportations have hit record highs, immigration advocates point out.

"For us, this president has been the deporter-in-chief," said Janet Murguia, a former Obama ally and president of the National Council of La Raza, the largest Hispanic advocacy group in the United States. "Any day now, this administration will reach the 2 million mark for deportations. It is a staggering number that far outstrips any of his predecessors and leaves behind it a wake of devastation for families across America."

On Tuesday, family members of the Washington hunger-strikers attended solidarity rallies organized outside of the detention facility. Veronica Noriega, the wife of one of the hunger strike leaders, told Al Jazeera that her husband was placed in solitary confinement with three other strikers for his role in organizing the protest.

Noriega attended Tuesday’s rally with her three children, ages 5, 11, and 13. She is currently working three jobs to make ends meet following her husband’s detainment in September 2013, she said.

Restrepo said the government’s inability to pass immigration reform is taking its worst toll on families. “These are fathers and mothers in there, people who will one day be eligible to stay under any new immigration law. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to return to their families, to challenge their case from the outside,” she told Al Jazeera.

Source

Full families challenge US-Mexico border with mass reentryMarch 11, 2014
Any day now, President Obama, whom immigrant groups call the “deporter in chief,” will make history by surpassing the two million mark — separating two million families through deportation during the course of his administration’s five-year reign.

In response, migrant families are making history of their own.
On March 10, 250 migrants, who have lived in the United States most of their lives, attempted to reenter the country after being deported. Many entire families are returning, while others are coming to rejoin family members still living in the United States. The group is chanting “undocumented and unafraid” as they cross through the U.S. portal that separates Tijuana from San Diego. This action, part of the #not1more campaign, marks the third mass border crossing organized by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance. The action comes as immigrant justice groups are increasingly moving beyond advocating for legislative reform and are instead turning to direct action to protest the record deportations. The group says that these actions are calling attention to the immigration crisis and the way millions of families are separated by an arbitrary boarder.
Last year, 150,000 U.S.- born children were separated from at least one parent. The majority were under the age of 10. One of these stories is that of Manuel, who spent 10 years living in Ohio with his U.S.-born children and wife. According to the National Immigrant Youth Alliance’s Facebook page, “Manuel was placed in deportation proceedings after he hired an immigration attorney who he later found out was a fraud.”
All 250 families participating in yesterday’s action have lived in the United States for a large portion of their lives, creating homes and community in this country.
Source

Full families challenge US-Mexico border with mass reentry
March 11, 2014

Any day now, President Obama, whom immigrant groups call the “deporter in chief,” will make history by surpassing the two million mark — separating two million families through deportation during the course of his administration’s five-year reign.

In response, migrant families are making history of their own.

On March 10, 250 migrants, who have lived in the United States most of their lives, attempted to reenter the country after being deported. Many entire families are returning, while others are coming to rejoin family members still living in the United States. The group is chanting “undocumented and unafraid” as they cross through the U.S. portal that separates Tijuana from San Diego. This action, part of the #not1more campaign, marks the third mass border crossing organized by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance. The action comes as immigrant justice groups are increasingly moving beyond advocating for legislative reform and are instead turning to direct action to protest the record deportations. The group says that these actions are calling attention to the immigration crisis and the way millions of families are separated by an arbitrary boarder.

Last year, 150,000 U.S.- born children were separated from at least one parent. The majority were under the age of 10. One of these stories is that of Manuel, who spent 10 years living in Ohio with his U.S.-born children and wife. According to the National Immigrant Youth Alliance’s Facebook page, “Manuel was placed in deportation proceedings after he hired an immigration attorney who he later found out was a fraud.”

All 250 families participating in yesterday’s action have lived in the United States for a large portion of their lives, creating homes and community in this country.

Source

La Santa Cecilia - Ice El Hielo
Produced by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network as part of the #Not1More series found here

El hielo handa suelto por esas calles

Nunca se sabe cuando nos va a tocar

Lloran, los niños lloran a la salida

Lloran al ver que no llegará mamá

Uno se queda aquí

Otro se queda alla

Eso pasa por salir a tabajar

—-

ICE is on the loose out on the streets

You never know when your number’s up

Cry, Children cry when they get out

They cry when mom’s not coming to pick them up

Some of us stay here

Others stay there

That happens for going out to find work.

Israel approves detention without charges for African immigrantsDecember 11, 2012
Israel’s parliament has approved a law which allows undocumented immigrants from Africa to be detained for up to a year without trial in the latest in a series of measures aimed at reducing the numbers of African migrants in the country.
The new bill passed by 30 votes in favor to 15 against during a late-night vote in the 120-member Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and was announced Tuesday. A previous law, which was overturned by the Supreme Court in September, had set a maximum detention period of three years.
Supporters of the bill in the government see the migrants as illegal job-seekers, but critics say many of the migrants are asylum-seekers fleeing hardship and persecution in their homelands.
Members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party praised the new legislation. Interior Minister Gideon Saar said it would “allow us to keep illegals away from our cities.”
Miri Regev, another Likud Knesset member, said Israel should “send them all back to their countries.” 
"This law is needed in order to deter potential infiltrators. The present reality is a human ticking time bomb," Regev, who also heads the Knesset’s Interior Committee, told parliament.
Full article

Israel approves detention without charges for African immigrants
December 11, 2012

Israel’s parliament has approved a law which allows undocumented immigrants from Africa to be detained for up to a year without trial in the latest in a series of measures aimed at reducing the numbers of African migrants in the country.

The new bill passed by 30 votes in favor to 15 against during a late-night vote in the 120-member Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and was announced Tuesday. A previous law, which was overturned by the Supreme Court in September, had set a maximum detention period of three years.

Supporters of the bill in the government see the migrants as illegal job-seekers, but critics say many of the migrants are asylum-seekers fleeing hardship and persecution in their homelands.

Members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party praised the new legislation. Interior Minister Gideon Saar said it would “allow us to keep illegals away from our cities.”

Miri Regev, another Likud Knesset member, said Israel should “send them all back to their countries.” 

"This law is needed in order to deter potential infiltrators. The present reality is a human ticking time bomb," Regev, who also heads the Knesset’s Interior Committee, told parliament.

Full article

During the week that Congress will close for 2013 without having passed an immigration reform bill, a group of Jersey residents locked themselves together in the street that serves as an entrance to the Elizabeth Detention Center (625 Evans St.) to protest the President’s deportation arbitrary quota policy and call on him to stop removals and expand deferred action instead.

“We can’t let more families to be separated. We can’t wait for Congress. After what I saw my family go through I want to help other families that are in the same situation,” explains Rosa Santana, who migrated to the US after Hurricane Mitch hit her home country of Honduras and who’s aunt and uncle were deported.

The action is the latest in a series of civil disobediences that have exposed the harm caused by current immigration policy and urged the President to act.  In the midst of a pending snowstorm and on International Human Rights Day, they say they want to bring visibility to those in the Detention Center and to the people suffering from current policies like the Secure Communities deportation program.
Without further executive action, the President will hit the record of 2,000,000 people deported in the near future. But participants say there is still time for Obama to turn his policies around.
“We’re doing everything in our power to stop deportations,” says Carlos Canales of Casa Freehold. “We’re out here in the cold hoping I that President Obama’s heart softens, and understands that immigrants are here to work and help our families.”
National Immigrant Youth Alliance infiltrates EP Immigration Center: Finds hundreds of cases of wrongly detained immigrantsDecember 9, 2013
Organizers working with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA) have intentionally allowed for themselves to be detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, in order to gain access to the El Paso Processing Center. A NIYA organizer has been embedded within the El Paso center for nearly three weeks now; the organizer has helped uncover nearly 100 instances of ICE officials refusing to release parole eligible individuals.
The El Paso Detention Center houses nearly 800 immigrants, many of which are detained after surrendering themselves at the U.S. Port of Entry, seeking asylum. “The stories in here are crazy; there are some people in here who passed their [credible fear] interviews back in June or July, and they still haven’t been released.” An unidentified NIYA Organizer inside the El Paso Detention Center. “I’ve only been here for a couple of weeks; I think 2 out of the 3 people I talk to every day are in this category, they’ve passed credible fear but they aren’t being released.”
On Tuesday, December 10th, the NIYA will identify the name of the organizer embedded within the detention center, as well as delivering 12,000 petition signatures calling for a facility wide review.
When: Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 @ 12:00 P.M.
Where: Front of the ICE Field Office (USCIS) @ 1545 Hawkins Blvd, El Paso, TX 79925
What: Local immigration attorneys, organizations and undocumented families w petitions & signs.
According to the, Islas-Muñoz Law Firm: “ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton issued a memo in 2009 which took effect in January 2010 [directive no.: 11002.1], providing for the consideration of release on parole for individuals who were arriving aliens and who had passed a credible fear interview, the initial prima facie vetting of an applicant’s asylum claim. There are countless instances here in El Paso, including 6 between the 3 of us [immigration attorneys], of individuals who have passed a credible fear interview, have documentation to provide ICE officials as to their identity and ties in the US, but have been denied release on parole.” Attorneys from the firm report that one such client was recently deported.
With the help of the NIYA organizer inside, we’ve identified the following:
- Over 100 cases where detainees are granted Credible Fear, provide sponsorship documents, and ICE officials still refuse to parole them;
- Six cases of pregnant women detained in conditions detrimental to the health of their unborn babies, including one women who suffered a miscarriage, inside the center;
- 12 instances of detainees, eligible for parole, deported;
- Instances of male and female detainees being refused proper medication, despite diagnosed conditions;
As a result of these clear abuses, NIYA has launched a petition asking that, Washington D.C. ICE officials, initiate a full review, on a case-by-case basis, of the entire facility. In July of 2012, NIYA organizers infiltrated the Broward Detention Center, there they uncovered nearly 300 abuses of a similar discretion memo. Calls for a review of the Florida facility were echoed by 26 members of Congress, who signed onto a letter asking for a similar investigation. In the aftermath of the Florida infiltration, nearly 160 immigrants were released; it is NIYA’s hope that, Washington D.C. will take a similar approach to our findings in El Paso.
Source

National Immigrant Youth Alliance infiltrates EP Immigration Center: Finds hundreds of cases of wrongly detained immigrants
December 9, 2013

Organizers working with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA) have intentionally allowed for themselves to be detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, in order to gain access to the El Paso Processing Center. A NIYA organizer has been embedded within the El Paso center for nearly three weeks now; the organizer has helped uncover nearly 100 instances of ICE officials refusing to release parole eligible individuals.

The El Paso Detention Center houses nearly 800 immigrants, many of which are detained after surrendering themselves at the U.S. Port of Entry, seeking asylum. “The stories in here are crazy; there are some people in here who passed their [credible fear] interviews back in June or July, and they still haven’t been released.” An unidentified NIYA Organizer inside the El Paso Detention Center. “I’ve only been here for a couple of weeks; I think 2 out of the 3 people I talk to every day are in this category, they’ve passed credible fear but they aren’t being released.”

On Tuesday, December 10th, the NIYA will identify the name of the organizer embedded within the detention center, as well as delivering 12,000 petition signatures calling for a facility wide review.

When: Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 @ 12:00 P.M.

Where: Front of the ICE Field Office (USCIS) @ 1545 Hawkins Blvd, El Paso, TX 79925

What: Local immigration attorneys, organizations and undocumented families w petitions & signs.

According to the, Islas-Muñoz Law Firm: “ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton issued a memo in 2009 which took effect in January 2010 [directive no.: 11002.1], providing for the consideration of release on parole for individuals who were arriving aliens and who had passed a credible fear interview, the initial prima facie vetting of an applicant’s asylum claim. There are countless instances here in El Paso, including 6 between the 3 of us [immigration attorneys], of individuals who have passed a credible fear interview, have documentation to provide ICE officials as to their identity and ties in the US, but have been denied release on parole.” Attorneys from the firm report that one such client was recently deported.

With the help of the NIYA organizer inside, we’ve identified the following:

Over 100 cases where detainees are granted Credible Fear, provide sponsorship documents, and ICE officials still refuse to parole them;

- Six cases of pregnant women detained in conditions detrimental to the health of their unborn babies, including one women who suffered a miscarriage, inside the center;

- 12 instances of detainees, eligible for parole, deported;

- Instances of male and female detainees being refused proper medication, despite diagnosed conditions;

As a result of these clear abuses, NIYA has launched a petition asking that, Washington D.C. ICE officials, initiate a full review, on a case-by-case basis, of the entire facility. In July of 2012, NIYA organizers infiltrated the Broward Detention Center, there they uncovered nearly 300 abuses of a similar discretion memo. Calls for a review of the Florida facility were echoed by 26 members of Congress, who signed onto a letter asking for a similar investigation. In the aftermath of the Florida infiltration, nearly 160 immigrants were released; it is NIYA’s hope that, Washington D.C. will take a similar approach to our findings in El Paso.

Source

Dear President Obama,
I am Ju Hong, the “heckler” that interrupted your speech at the Betty Ong Center in San Francisco last week. I spoke up not out of disrespect, however, either for you or our country. No, I spoke up — and am writing to you now — to ask that you use your executive order to halt deportations for 11.5 million undocumented immigrant families.
My family came to the United States from South Korea when I was 11 years old. Like many immigrants, my mother brought me to this country to seek a better life for her children.
I graduated from UC Berkeley, and am now pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Administration at San Francisco State University. I have lived in America now for 13 years. I consider this country as my home. During my senior year in high school, however, I learned that my family had overstayed a tourist visa. We are undocumented immigrants.
As an American without papers, I was not able to get a job, obtain a driver’s license, or receive governmental financial aid. When my mother was sick and in severe pain, she did not visit a doctor because she cannot procure medical insurance. And when my family’s home was burglarized, she refused to call the police because she was afraid that our family would be turned over to immigration officials and deported.
Like many other undocumented immigrants, I was living in the shadows and living in fear of deportation. However, I have decided to speak out and stand up.
Immigration reform is not only a Latino issue, it’s also an Asian and Pacific Islander issue — in fact, it is a human rights issue. Currently, two million of the estimated 11.5 million undocumented immigrants in our country come from Asia. Under your administration, 250,000 undocumented Asian/Pacific Islander immigrants have been deported. While we only make up five percent of the country, we are disproportionately impacted by your immigration policies.
Last week, I was formally invited by White House staff to hear your remarks on immigration reform in San Francisco. As I stood in the stands behind you, I was hoping to hear about your plan to address the lives of 11 million undocumented people living in this country, like my family. And while you expressed your support for comprehensive immigration reform, you did not address how an average of 1,100 immigrants are deported every single day under your administration. You did not address how you deported 205,000 parents of U.S. citizens in the last two years. You did not address how, because of your administration’s record number of deportations—nearly two million immigrants in five years, a record—families are being torn apart: spouses are being separated from each other, parents are being separated from their children, and our brothers and sisters are being separated from one another. You did not to address how your administration would end the anti-immigration deportation programs like “Secure Communities." You’ve deported more people than any other president in the U.S. history.
Interestingly, you talked about Angel Island during your speech. What you did not mention, however, is that more people are detained every single day in detention today than were detained yearly at Angel Island. You recognized Angel Island as a dark period in Chinatown’s history, but you failed to recognize that more Asians and Pacific Islanders are in detention today than were in detention under the Chinese Exclusion Act. In fact, your administration detains up to 34,000 people per day, a record number of detainees in U.S. history.
Because you failed to address these issues, I was compelled to address the concerns of our community.
You claim that the President of the United States has no authority to stop the deportations. And yet, in June 2012, before the 2012 election, which you won with the help of Latino and Asian voters, you implemented Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. With the stroke of a pen, you dramatically changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people like me who can now live without the daily threat of deportation, and can legally work in this country for the first time in our lives.
I know that you support comprehensive immigration reform. But I also know that you have the power to stop the deportations, and that you have the power to stop the suffering, fear, and intimidation facing millions of immigrants like my family.
Your fellow American,
Ju Hong

Dear President Obama,

I am Ju Hong, the “heckler” that interrupted your speech at the Betty Ong Center in San Francisco last week. I spoke up not out of disrespect, however, either for you or our country. No, I spoke up — and am writing to you now — to ask that you use your executive order to halt deportations for 11.5 million undocumented immigrant families.

My family came to the United States from South Korea when I was 11 years old. Like many immigrants, my mother brought me to this country to seek a better life for her children.

I graduated from UC Berkeley, and am now pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Administration at San Francisco State University. I have lived in America now for 13 years. I consider this country as my home. During my senior year in high school, however, I learned that my family had overstayed a tourist visa. We are undocumented immigrants.

As an American without papers, I was not able to get a job, obtain a driver’s license, or receive governmental financial aid. When my mother was sick and in severe pain, she did not visit a doctor because she cannot procure medical insurance. And when my family’s home was burglarized, she refused to call the police because she was afraid that our family would be turned over to immigration officials and deported.

Like many other undocumented immigrants, I was living in the shadows and living in fear of deportation. However, I have decided to speak out and stand up.

Immigration reform is not only a Latino issue, it’s also an Asian and Pacific Islander issue — in fact, it is a human rights issue. Currently, two million of the estimated 11.5 million undocumented immigrants in our country come from Asia. Under your administration, 250,000 undocumented Asian/Pacific Islander immigrants have been deported. While we only make up five percent of the country, we are disproportionately impacted by your immigration policies.

Last week, I was formally invited by White House staff to hear your remarks on immigration reform in San Francisco. As I stood in the stands behind you, I was hoping to hear about your plan to address the lives of 11 million undocumented people living in this country, like my family. And while you expressed your support for comprehensive immigration reform, you did not address how an average of 1,100 immigrants are deported every single day under your administration. You did not address how you deported 205,000 parents of U.S. citizens in the last two years. You did not address how, because of your administration’s record number of deportations—nearly two million immigrants in five years, a record—families are being torn apart: spouses are being separated from each other, parents are being separated from their children, and our brothers and sisters are being separated from one another. You did not to address how your administration would end the anti-immigration deportation programs like “Secure Communities." You’ve deported more people than any other president in the U.S. history.

Interestingly, you talked about Angel Island during your speech. What you did not mention, however, is that more people are detained every single day in detention today than were detained yearly at Angel Island. You recognized Angel Island as a dark period in Chinatown’s history, but you failed to recognize that more Asians and Pacific Islanders are in detention today than were in detention under the Chinese Exclusion Act. In fact, your administration detains up to 34,000 people per day, a record number of detainees in U.S. history.

Because you failed to address these issues, I was compelled to address the concerns of our community.

You claim that the President of the United States has no authority to stop the deportations. And yet, in June 2012, before the 2012 election, which you won with the help of Latino and Asian voters, you implemented Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. With the stroke of a pen, you dramatically changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people like me who can now live without the daily threat of deportation, and can legally work in this country for the first time in our lives.

I know that you support comprehensive immigration reform. But I also know that you have the power to stop the deportations, and that you have the power to stop the suffering, fear, and intimidation facing millions of immigrants like my family.

Your fellow American,

Ju Hong

#Not1more strikes again: California youth protest for-profit immigration detention centerNovember 25, 2013
Three young adults chained their necks with bicycle locks to the front gates of the newly reopened Adelanto Detention Center, a for-profit immigrant prison in California.
Since its reopening in 2011, Adelanto has become the largest immigrant detention center in California. It’s privately owned and run by GEO Group Inc., a for-profit prison corporation. Adelanto is already known for its “segregation cells,” a form of solitary confinement. The privately-owned prison has 1,200 beds to hold migrants who are either waiting for a ruling on their immigration cases or to be deported from the country.
The three young women are part of the Empire Inland-Immigrant Youth Coalition. The action was organized to support three family members currently detained inside the prison, with the broader demand to end inhumane incarceration and release everyone detained in time for the holiday season.
“We need a moratorium on deportations, deferred action for all, and the end of inhumane treatment,” said Luis Serrano of the Coalition.
Today’s action is part of the broader national #Not1more campaign intended to pressure President Obama to take administrative relief and halt deportations. Since he has taken office in 2008, nearly two million people have been deported, more than during any other time in U.S. history. The #Not1more campaign is behind the escalating national movement to use direct action to stop deportations, which include shutdowns of ICE detention centers across the country.
Source

#Not1more strikes again: California youth protest for-profit immigration detention center
November 25, 2013

Three young adults chained their necks with bicycle locks to the front gates of the newly reopened Adelanto Detention Center, a for-profit immigrant prison in California.

Since its reopening in 2011, Adelanto has become the largest immigrant detention center in California. It’s privately owned and run by GEO Group Inc., a for-profit prison corporation. Adelanto is already known for its “segregation cells,” a form of solitary confinement. The privately-owned prison has 1,200 beds to hold migrants who are either waiting for a ruling on their immigration cases or to be deported from the country.

The three young women are part of the Empire Inland-Immigrant Youth Coalition. The action was organized to support three family members currently detained inside the prison, with the broader demand to end inhumane incarceration and release everyone detained in time for the holiday season.

“We need a moratorium on deportations, deferred action for all, and the end of inhumane treatment,” said Luis Serrano of the Coalition.

Today’s action is part of the broader national #Not1more campaign intended to pressure President Obama to take administrative relief and halt deportations. Since he has taken office in 2008, nearly two million people have been deported, more than during any other time in U.S. history. The #Not1more campaign is behind the escalating national movement to use direct action to stop deportations, which include shutdowns of ICE detention centers across the country.

Source

On November 19, twelve undocumented immigrants and allies temporarily stopped a bus that was headed toward O’Hare Airport to drop off a group of people set to be deported that day. Six of the participants stopped the bus by attaching ourselves to one another and to the vehicle with lock-boxes. 
Inside the bus was Octavio Nava-Cabrera, who several participants in the action had gotten to know through the work and support they had provided for his anti-deportation campaign. Also on the bus was Brigido Acosta, who has a decades-old removal order. 
After an hour, the participants were detached and the bus made its way to O’Hare. Octavio and Brigido, along with the others on the bus, were deported. We will continue to support our families and continue to demand deportations stop. 

On November 19, twelve undocumented immigrants and allies temporarily stopped a bus that was headed toward O’Hare Airport to drop off a group of people set to be deported that day. Six of the participants stopped the bus by attaching ourselves to one another and to the vehicle with lock-boxes.

Inside the bus was Octavio Nava-Cabrera, who several participants in the action had gotten to know through the work and support they had provided for his anti-deportation campaign. Also on the bus was Brigido Acosta, who has a decades-old removal order.

After an hour, the participants were detached and the bus made its way to O’Hare. Octavio and Brigido, along with the others on the bus, were deported. We will continue to support our families and continue to demand deportations stop. 

San Francisco activists, undocumented youth block deportation busOctober 19, 2013
Some 100 people—many of them undocumented youth—blocked a deportation bus Thursday evening outside immigration headquarters in San Francisco. For the next two hours or so, about 20 people placed themselves in front of and in back of the bus. Many of those involved recently attended a convergence in Arizona, which included trainings and civil disobedience actions, including the blocking of another deportation bus. 
Federal immigration police told demonstrators that they would face felony charges if they didn’t clear the way—but activists held their ground. They were eventually escorted away from the bus, which was packed with immigrants preparing to be deported or heading to detention centers, and the bus took off.
It’s likely that demonstrators will hold similar actions in various cities in the coming days, as they demand President Obama halt record-setting deportations.  
Source

San Francisco activists, undocumented youth block deportation bus
October 19, 2013

Some 100 people—many of them undocumented youth—blocked a deportation bus Thursday evening outside immigration headquarters in San Francisco. For the next two hours or so, about 20 people placed themselves in front of and in back of the bus. Many of those involved recently attended a convergence in Arizona, which included trainings and civil disobedience actions, including the blocking of another deportation bus. 

Federal immigration police told demonstrators that they would face felony charges if they didn’t clear the way—but activists held their ground. They were eventually escorted away from the bus, which was packed with immigrants preparing to be deported or heading to detention centers, and the bus took off.

It’s likely that demonstrators will hold similar actions in various cities in the coming days, as they demand President Obama halt record-setting deportations.  

Source

inkdefense

SOLIDARITY WITH THE NATIVE AND LATIN@ YOUTH CURRENTLY BLOCKING THE ROAD AT ELOY DETENTION CENTER IN ARIZONA

stillflyboy:

zeroanaphora:

Sí se puede.

It looks like this (courtesy of Danielle Villareal):

image

A few dozen protesters chained themselves Monday morning in front of an immigration detention center in Eloy, according to members of the group National Day Labor Organizing Network. 

Several hundred people began marching to the Phoenix offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement later in the afternoon, hoping to shut down deportations for the day.

The protesters chanted “not one more” as they marched to the Central Avenue offices of ICE.

"We are heading to ice to shut down ICE to make sure that not one deportation happens today," said Carlos Garcia, an organizer with Puente Arizona.

The protesters danced and sang at Hance Park for two hours before starting to march. They plan to stay at ICE all afternoon and night.

Sending lots of love

Agribusiness exploitation & new bracero Program will hurt farm workers
September 19, 2013

Most media coverage of immigration today accepts as fact claims by growers that they can’t get enough workers to harvest crops. Agribusiness wants a new guest worker program, and complaints of a labor shortage are their justification for it. But a little investigation of the actual unemployment rate in farmworker communities leads to a different picture.

There are always local variations in crops, and the number of workers  needed to pick them. But the labor shortage picture is largely a  fiction. I’ve spent over a decade traveling through California valleys and I have yet to see fruit rotting because of a lack of  labor to pick it. I have seen some pretty miserable conditions for workers, though.

As the nation debates changes in our immigration laws, we need a  reality check. There is no question that the demographics of farm labor are changing. Today many more workers migrate from small towns in southern Mexico and even Central America than ever before. In the  grape rows and citrus trees, you’re as likely to hear Mixtec or  Purepecha or Triqui - indigenous languages that predate Columbus - as  you are to hear Spanish.

These families are making our country a richer place, in wealth and culture. For those who love spicy mole sauce, or the beautiful  costumes and dance festivals like the guelaguetza, that’s reason to  celebrate. In the off-season winter months, when there’s not much  work in the fields, indigenous womenweavers create brilliant  rebozos, or shawls, in the styles of their hometowns in Oaxaca,

But the wages these families earn are barely enough to survive. As Abe Lincoln said, “labor creates all wealth,” but farmworkers get precious little of it. Farmworkers are worse off today than they’ve been for over two decades.

Twenty-five years ago, at the height of the influence of the United Farm Workers, union contracts guaranteed twice the minimum wage of  the time. Today, the hourly wage in almost every farm job is the minimum wage — $8.00 an hour in California, $7.25 elsewhere under the Federal law. If wages had kept up with that UFW base rate, farmworkers today would be making $16.00 an hour. But they’re not.

If there were a labor shortage so acute that growers were having a hard time finding workers, they would be raising wages to make jobs  more attractive. But they aren’t.

And despite claims of no workers, rural unemployment is high. Today’s unemployment rate in Delano, birthplace of the United Farm Workers, is 30 percent. Last year in the Salinas Valley, the nation’s salad bowl, it swung between 12% and 22%.

Yet growers want to be able to bring workers into the country on visas that say they have to work at minimum wage in order to stay, and must be deported if they are out of work longer than a brief time. The industry often claims that if it doesn’t have a new contract labor program to supply workers at today’s low wages, consumers will have to pay a lot more for fruit and vegetables. But low wages haven’t kept prices low. The supermarket price of fruit has more than doubled in the last two decades.

Low wages have a human cost, however. In housing, it means that families live in cramped trailers, or packed like sardines in apartments and garages, with many people sleeping in a single room. 

Indigenous workers have worse conditions than most, along with workers who travel with the crops. Migrants often live in cars, sometimes even sleeping in the fields or under the trees.

Housing is in crisis in rural California. Over the last half-century, growers demolished most of the old labor camps for migrant workers. They were never great places to live, but having no place is worse.

In past years I’ve seen children working in fields in northern Mexico, but this year I saw them working here too. When families bring their kids to work, it’s not because they don’t value their education or future. It’s because they can’t make ends meet with the labor of adults alone.

What would make a difference?

Unions would. The UFW pushed wages up decades ago, getting the best standard of living California farmworkers ever received. But growers have been implacably hostile to union organizing. For guest workers and undocumented workers alike, joining a union or demanding rights can mean risking not just firing, but deportation.

Enforcing the law would better workers’ lives. California Rural Legal Assistance does a heroic job inspecting field conditions, and helping workers understand their rights. But that’s an uphill  struggle too. According to the Indigenous Farm Worker Survey, a  third of the workers surveyed still get paid less than the minimum. Many are poisoned with pesticides, suffer from heat exhaustion, and  work in illegal conditions.

Give workers real legal status. Farmworkers need a permanent  residence visa, not a guest worker visa conditioned on their work status. This would ensure their right to organize without risking  deportation. Organization in turn would bring greater equality,  stability and recognition of their important contribution. It would  bring higher earnings.

But growers don’t want to raise wages to attract labor. Instead, they want workers on temporary visas, not permanent ones - a steady supply of people who can work, but can’t stay, or who get deported if they become unemployed. This is a repeat of the old, failed bracero  program of the 1940s and 50s, or the current failures of today’s H2A  visa program that succeeded it.

With a temporary labor program, farm wages will not rise. Instead, farmworkers will subsidize agribusiness with low wages, in the name of keeping agriculture “competitive.” Strikes and unions that raise family income will be regarded as a threat.

We’ve seen this before. During the bracero program, when resident workers struck, growers brought in braceros. And if braceros struck, they were deported. That’s why Cesar Chavez, Ernesto Galarza and Bert Corona finally convinced Congress to end the program in 1964. The UFW’s first grape strike began the year after the bracero law was  repealed.

Today immigrant workers who already live in the U.S., like those who recently went on strike at Washington State’s Sakuma Berry Farms, are being pitted against modern-day braceros brought in under the H2A  program. The H2A wage sets the limit on what growers will pay. 

Workers fear that if they protest, they won’t get hired for next year’s picking season, and others will take their places.

Farmworkers perform valuable work and need better conditions and security, not an immigration reform that will keep them in poverty.  Giving employers another bracero program is a failed idea, one we shouldn’t repeat. Farm labor that can support families is a better  one.

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