After 2,000 inmates, mostly immigrants, took over a Texas prison in a riot over poor medical services, federal authorities have decided to relocate all the detainees from the now “uninhabitable” correctional facility. The riot at the Willacy County Correctional Center erupted on Friday afternoon, when prisoners refused to eat breakfast or report for work to protest medical services at the facility. The prison was practically run over by the inmates, who continue to hold down the fort. It still remains unclear what medical service issues had upset the inmates. Only around 800 to 900 inmates have refused to riot in a facility that holds some 2,900 people, most of whom are immigrants with criminal record.
A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction on Monday that will temporarily prevent the Obama administration from moving forward with its executive actions on immigration while a lawsuit against the president works its way through the courts. The order, by Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court in Brownsville, Texas, was an early stumble for the administration in what will likely be a long legal battle over whether President Barack Obama overstepped his constitutional authority with the wide-reaching executive actions on immigration he announced last November. While the injunction does not pronounce Obama’s actions illegal, it prevents the administration from implementing them until the court rules on their constitutionality. The federal government is expected to appeal the ruling.
In an escalating dispute with President Barack Obama, Republican members of the United States House of Representatives have passed a bill which will cut any funding to the Department of Homeland Security for suspending the deportation of undocumented people. In December the President ordered the department, beginning this spring, to defer the deportation of undocumented immigrants with US-born children (who are thus US citizens). A previous Obama order suspended the deportation of young people without documents, brought to the US as children. The Republican bill would rescind both orders. A new, Republican-dominated Congress took office in January. Congress must fund the department by 27 February or it could shut down.
A rally against racism and xenophobia on Saturday drew tens of thousands of people in the eastern German city of Dresden, which has become the center of anti-immigration protests organized by a new grassroots movement called PEGIDA. “We won’t permit that hate will divide us”, Dresden’s mayor Helma Orosz said in front of the 18th-century Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady). Around 35,000 people attended the rally that was jointly organized by the state government of Saxony and the city of Dresden, officials said. The movement Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA) is holding weekly rallies in Dresden with a record number of 18,000 people attending last Monday. Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned the anti-Muslim demonstrations, urging Germans to turn their backs on the movement and calling their organizers racists full of hatred. A recent survey, conducted before Wednesday’s deadly attack on a French satirical magazine, showed that an increasing majority of non-Muslim Germans feel threatened by Islam. The Paris attack has fueled fears that it could boost anti-immigration movements around Europe and inflame a culture war about the place of religion and ethnic identity in society.
The 13th Amendment explicitly prohibits slavery in all forms, except as criminal punishment, yet as many as 60,000 native-born Americans and both lawfully-admitted and undocumented immigrants are forced into bonded labor, sex trafficking, or forced, unpaid servitude. A broken immigration system and a failure to effectively respond to a call for reforms reflect on some hard truths about immigrant life in America — including the fact that slavery still exists in the United States and is as pervasive as it has ever been. The media and the public, however, generally tend to focus on sex trafficking, creating a situation in which the realities of labor trafficking are overlooked or ignored wholesale.
Key security agencies in the United States are expected to be exempted from new Justice Department rules announced by President Barack Obama’s administration to reduce racial profiling by federal law enforcement. The exemptions will permit Homeland Security agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), to continue to use racial profiling, according to The Washington Post. With the militarization and expansion of the region, which the US government considers the “border,” this means, as journalist Todd Miller has highlighted, 197 million Americans or 66 percent of Americans, who live “within the jurisdiction of US Customs and Border Patrol,” will not be protected from racial profiling.
Reports are mounting of a living nightmare in Lumpkin, Georgia, at Stewart, a 1,750-bed detention facility housing immigrants facing potential deportation. According to multiple interviews with detained immigrants at Stewart, they are dealing withmaggots in food, improper medical care, sweltering temperatures, and in many cases no communication with staff due to no translators on site. The Corrections Corporation of America operates the facility for profit, adding fuel to an already roaring fire of opposition. While President Obama’s expanded deportation relief is a welcome move—the truth is that without addressing immigration detention, immigrants will continue to suffer horrifying conditions in detention centers.
The United Nations issued a report on torture by the United States and it should be quite an embarrassment to every American. Not only is the US violating international laws against torture in its military actions and treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo, but the report also criticized the violation of US laws against torture. The report noted the widespread police brutality common in the United States and the lack of accountability for police who mistreat people. The report also criticized the mistreatment of prisoners held in solitary confinement as well as botched executions. The UN also concerns over the mistreatment of immigrants, expedited deportation without adequate due process and lack of adequate protection for asylum seekers. . The report is an indictment of government in the United States at every level. The UN criticized the United States for not cooperating with the investigation and providing full information.
In the wake of the mid-term elections earlier this month, it might have seemed that there wasn’t much hope to hold onto for progressives, what with climate deniers and tea party fundamentalists rising to some of the highest offices in the land. What we’ve seen since, though, has been a string of executive decisions that might be cautiously described as hopeful. Responding to his new-found willingness to take on the GOP, pundits have commented that Obama is attempting to carve out a progressive legacy in the latter half of his second term. This may be true, but this week’s announcements are also evidence of the work grassroots organizers have been doing to put pressure on the White House since well before the 2008 election. In other words, like other presidents, any progressive legacy Obama manages to build between now and 2016 will be a product of the movements that challenged him most.
Love was the strongest emotion felt at a downtown Washington, D.C. office Thursday night as President Obama announced that he would use his executive power to grant deportation relief for millions of undocumented immigrants. At least 50 undocumented immigrants and advocates, many who have been in the immigration fight for years, were scattered at a watch party to view Obama’s speech from a projector. About five million undocumented immigrants are expected to be helped by the executive action. Just as advocates were quick to congratulate immigrants whose family could now come out of the shadows, others also expressed cautious happiness, and even sadness over the family members who were not given deportation cover.
Erika Almiron, Executive Director of Juntos, Philadelphia.“While we are overjoyed for the families that this announcement will support and offer them some relief, our hearts also lay heavy with the many people we love in our community who may not qualify. When we declare Not One More Deportation, we mean just that. We make a commitment in Juntos to ensure those in our community who do qualify can apply and for those who don’t, we will continue fighting until our loved ones are released from detention, until young people from Ayotzinapa to Ferguson can feel safe in their communities and until we are all free.“ Adelina Nicholls, Executive Director of GLAHR, Georgia “While President Obama’s executive order is a significant victory, our struggle for a humane, long-term solution to this country’s broken immigration system will continue. We will continue to demand for an end to local law enforcement’s involvement in federal deportation efforts. And we will continue to fight for all of our community members who will not receive relief from the president’s executive order.”
Today, frustration with the Obama administration’s continued deportations at the rate of 1,000 people a day, plus the humanitarian crisis at the border, has prompted many people of faith to organize more formally, in the spirit of a “new sanctuary movement,” to support new arrivals from Central America as well as undocumented migrants who have long lived in the United States. Noel Anderson, a grassroots coordinator for Church World Service, a faith organization that advocates for immigrant rights, convened the first national conference call in early September that brought together fifty people working in different coalitions to discuss national sanctuary strategy for the first time since the 1980s.
Maru Mora-Villalpando lives in fear of deportation. As a community organizer for #Not1More Deportation and an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, her fears are not unfounded. Her nephew was deported in 2008; her cousin was deported in 2010 and she has seen countless other families separated. “I expect that to happen to me as well,” she said. Mora-Villalpando says her 17-year-old daughter constantly worries that she will be deported, particularly because of her activism, which forces her to travel frequently. “We have to be in constant touch. This is how I protect her and lessen her stress that her mother can be taken at any moment,” she told Truthout. Research shows this kind of fear can be profoundly detrimental for children. The study “The Children Left Behind: The Impact of Parental Deportation on Mental Health” notes the crucial role of parent-child relationships in social skills, emotion regulation and self-concept development.
As recently as June, more than 10,000 children fleeing unchecked gang violence in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala made it here over the course of a month. Then, a major security crackdown in Mexico slowed the pace of their arrivals down to about 3,000 in August — the lowest rate since January and about the same as the pace of arrivals last year. It’s what passes for “normal” in this sad situation. Chief among them: How much did U.S. military intervention, deportation policy, and Drug War blunders contribute to making El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras unstable and dangerous places, especially for tweens and teens? A lot, actually. This growing realization prompted calls for the kids to be treated as legal refugees.
The militarized “solutions” taught at the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC) are also being applied to communities within the US. We need to end the racist system of state violence and militarization at home and abroad. Our Struggles Stand Together: Converge on Ferguson, Fort Benning and the Stewart Detention Center Mass mobilizations in which thousands take to the streets have always been an important part of social change movements. We need to strengthen our organizing and build lasting coalitions with others who are resisting across the Americas. Support our friends in Ferguson and St. Louis! Mobilize your community to converge on Fort Benning, Georgia fromNovember 21-23, 2014, where we will connect the dots between militarization in Latin America and the US. Join the Caravan to the Vigil to Shut Down the Stewart Detention Center, where communities in resistence will come togetheron Saturday, November 22. Stewart is the largest corporate detention center in the US….