Summer Report: People Rise to Fight Against Mass Detention & Deportations
our latest newsletter: http://www.immigrantsolidarity.org/Newsletter/Spring14.pdf
Why Immigrant Detainees Are Turning to Civil Disobedience
Reform legislation has stalled, and the private-prison industry is making obscene profits from a captive population
Max Blumenthal - May 23, 2014 The Nation
On a cool autumn night eight months ago, Ramon Mendoza Pascual ambled out of a bar in a blue-collar suburb outside Tacoma, Washington, and slumped into the passenger's seat of his car. He had had a few beers and was not about to risk it all. So Mendoza Pascual did what he thought was the right thing: He called his wife to ask for a ride, then waited around as revelers poured out of the bar and carried their banter into the street. Mendoza Pascual was an accomplished builder who had just remodeled his family's new home to perfection. When he was not on the job site, he volunteered his skills to Rampathon, a local charitable program that constructs wheelchair ramps for low-income disabled residents. His three children were born and raised around Tacoma and knew the United States as their only home. For his years of hard work and dedication to his community, Mendoza Pascual had a lot to show for himself. However, his status as an undocumented immigrant cast a shadow over his future. When Mendoza Pascual's wife, Veronica Noriega, pulled up to the bar in the family minivan, the sidewalk was eerily empty. Her husband had vanished without a trace. A half-hour later, she was informed that he had been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Some neighbors had called the police to complain about the ruckus outside the bar, the cop swept loiterers up in arbitrary, over-aggressive fashion and now her husband was in a jail cell. And his nightmare had only begun. As soon as she appeared at the court to pay her husband's $1,000 bail, Noriega was told that he would not be leaving prison anytime soon. Though a judge had cleared him of driving under the influence of alcohol, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) placed an immigration hold on his case. That meant that Mendoza Pascual would be immediately transferred to the Northwest Detention Center, a vast immigration detention facility in Tacoma operated by a private prison firm called GEO Group. .
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President Obama's Backhanded Maneuver Targets Anti-Deportation Movement
The Political Committee of Solidarity - May 29, 2014
Earlier this week, a number of organizations claiming to support immigration reform—including SEIU (Service Employees International Union), National Immigration Forum, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Sojourners, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights—signed a letter to President Obama asking him to delay executive action against deportations until at least the end of summer, arguing that Congress needs one last chance to pass reform. Within hours, the administration publicly agreed to delay action as "requested." This is an outrageous and transparent attempt to undo the gains of the powerful movement against deportations.
This maneuver by the White House comes at a time when grassroots organizations have turned up the heat on President Obama to use his executive power to stop deportations.
The Democratic Party strategy on immigration has always been to focus the debate on Congressional legislation and paint the Republicans as the real obstacle, thereby winning a political battle without taking any meaningful action. But we know and Obama knows that the President has always had the power to prevent deportations and end programs like Secure Communities without Congressional action, and the administration has already proven their ability to act under pressure by granting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and putting an end to new 287(g) agreements. Earlier this year, mounting pressure from the militant and growing anti-deportation movement forced President Obama to agree to a review of deportation practices and to promise changes by early summer. Even after the announcement, pressure has continued to grow with many Congressional Democrats publicly stating that the administration needs to take executive action to significantly change deportation policies.
This recent development is clearly an attempt to reverse some of that pressure, buying time for the administration and putting the focus back on Congress and the Republicans. Not long after the story broke, an anonymous staffer for a DC immigration advocacy group told activists that their organization had been approached by a White House adviser and asked to sign this letter in order to give the administration cover. The President, who has deported a record two million people during his time in office, is making a desperate last attempt to avoid action and to shift blame back onto the Republicans just in time for the mid term elections.
It is also an attempt to divide a movement. The militant youth who have built and led the contemporary movement against deportations have only recently been finding support from more mainstream and well-resourced organizations, including labor unions. A united movement poses a serious threat to the administration and to ruling class interests. This backhanded maneuver can be read as an attempt to drive a wedge between undocumented youth activists and the broader forces that might support them, thereby weakening a powerful movement and keeping much of that movement under the influence of the Democratic Party.
It remains to be seen how well the strategy will work. There is certainly a fight back: organizers have loudly called out SEIU and the other groups who decided to sell out the 90,000 or more people who will be deported during the window granted to the administration. Some mainstream immigrant rights groups that have long supported reform have released statements denouncing the administration's decision. Even the New York Times published a strongly worded statement from its editorial board that identified the real political dynamics and called the President's bluff.
A more accurate rendering of the strategy advanced by organizations like the National Immigration Forum.
At the same time, Reform Immigration for America, one of the largest and most influential immigration, NGOs has released a strongly worded statement pushing for a renewed fight for legislative reform: "starting today, this country will see activism around immigration reform on a massive scale," their latest E-mail states. Other large and powerful groups are sure to follow. These groups will attempt to reorient grassroots forces toward reform, while saying nothing about the decision to delay administrative action. SEIU and other groups whose reputation in the movement matters little can take the heat for selling out tens of thousands of people, and RIFA and their like can complete the job.
We must resist and fight back against this two-faced strategy. We need a united movement demanding an end to deportations, an end to programs like Secure Communities, and legalization for all. SEIU and their allies have willingly acted as the administration's lapdogs in an attempt to divide this movement and grant cover to politicians who want to avoid action yet again. And so we call on everyone who believes in justice to see this move for what it is, to support the activists who are tirelessly fighting against the deportation regime, and to fight to ensure that no progressive organizations take the bait by backing down from the demands for executive action and returning to yet another round of futile lobbying for reform. We must ensure that immigrant organizers have the active support of other working class movements and that the ruling class attempt to divide us fails.The Political Committee is a leadership body of Solidarity, composed of members elected at the biyearly National Convention.
5/29 Edward Snowden Interview With NBC
In the interview, Snowden spoke to NBC's Brian Williams at length about a variety of topics, many of which he has discussed in conversations with foreign and print journalists. Among them, Snowden refuted claims that he is a traitor, denied suggestions that is he is being controlled by the Russian government and expressed a desire to return to the United States.
Watch the Videos at http://www.ActivistVideo.org
Part Three: http://www.activistvideo.org/views.asp?id=3577
The Full Article
5/30: Texas Releases Hundreds of Immigrants Due to Lack of Space in Detention Centers
5/15: Dialing with Dollars: How County Jails Profit From Immigrant Detainees
5/16: Judge Rules to Limit Mandatory Detention of Immigrants in California Immigration
5/17 Hugo Carrasco: I live in fear of deportation: My life as an undocumented worker
5/16: U.S. Setting Up Emergency Shelter in Texas as Youths Cross Border Alone
5/14: HRW: Thousands of Children Work in U.S. Tobacco Fields
5/1: Entrepreneurs Reaffirm Need for Immigration Reform
5/1: TFWP Moratorium: Mass deportation, racism Canadian-style
Please download our latest newsletter: http://www.immigrantsolidarity.org/Newsletter/Summer14.pdf
Thanks for GREAT works from Detention Watch Network (DWN) to compiled the following information, please visit DWN website: http://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org
Raids to Deportation-A Community Resource Kit
Useful Handouts and Know Your Immigrant Rights When Marches
Immigrant Marches / Marchas de los Inmigrantes
Immigrants and their supporters are participating in marches all over the country to protest proposed national legislation and to seek justice for immigrants. The materials available here provide important information about the rights and risks involved for anyone who is planning to participate in the ongoing marches.
If government agents question you, it is important to understand your rights. You should be careful in the way you speak when approached by the police, FBI, or INS. If you give answers, they can be used against you in a criminal, immigration, or civil case.
The ACLU's publications below provide effective and useful guidance in several languages for many situations. The brochures apprise you of your legal rights, recommend how to preserve those rights, and provide guidance on how to interact with officials.
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