Daily Dispatch 3/15/2019: Immigration Is Not Just a Domestic Issue


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Daily Dispatch

March 15, 2019


What David Frum Gets Wrong About Immigration

In November last year Hillary Clinton gave an interview to the Guardian in which she said:

“I think Europe needs to get a handle on migration, because that is what lit the flame…I admire the very generous and compassionate approaches that were taken, particularly by leaders like Angela Merkel, but I think it is fair to say Europe has done its part, and must send a very clear message—‘We are not going to be able to continue to provide refuge and support’—because if we don’t deal with the migration issue, it will continue to roil the body politic.”

David Frum pulled this quote out in a lengthy article in April’s print edition of the Atlantic (online this week here) to say that Hillary was, despite the many criticisms she received, correct. Immigration is socially and politically divisive, and if liberals don’t figure this out and start advocating for what he seems to consider “responsible” immigration enforcement, the fascists will. While Clinton was speaking about Europe, Frum is speaking to a U.S. audience. He wants us to know that immigration has both positive and negative consequences, and that “the left” is in denial about the negative. The failure to come to terms with this and get serious about enforcement will cost Democrats elections, and the country, in the worst case scenario, its democracy.

Frum concludes his article:

Many Americans feel that the country is falling short of its promises of equal opportunity and equal respect. Levels of immigration that are too high only enhance the difficulty of living up to those promises. Reducing immigration, and selecting immigrants more carefully, will enable the country to more quickly and successfully absorb the people who come here, and to ensure equality of opportunity to both the newly arrived and the long-settled—to restore to Americans the feeling of belonging to one united nation, responsible for the care and flourishing of all its people.

For Frum, and many in the centrist camp he represents, immigration is a domestic management problem, a function of border control and legal remedy. There is no real sense in his argument that we need to assess why people migrate, or the ways in which U.S. policy contributes those reasons.

The world is facing the largest refugee crisis it has faced in 70 years. This is no secret. The primary reasons for this crisis are war and climate change. These “push” factors register not at all in Frum’s account. Indeed, he claims people migrate more now because the world is relatively more wealthy and thus more people have the means to move. Implicit in this argument is an assumption that we can conduct business as usual around the world, while simply being more selective about who gets in when the people displaced by that business come knocking.

According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, there are 68.5 million people in the world today displaced by violence and human rights violations. 24.5 million have crossed borders and are considered refugees – the highest number ever recorded. 3.1 million are seeking asylum. The sources of the conflicts displacing the most people are directly tied to U.S. foreign policy. The number of refugees from the Middle East has risen dramatically since the U.S. invasion of Iraq set off a regional conflict that has rippled out to Syria, Libya and Yemen. In 2017 the top two countries of origin for refugees worldwide were Syria (6.3 million) and Afghanistan (2.6 million).

Closer to home, U.S. policy in Central America has contributed greatly to the current refugee crisis. The Obama administration’s support for the consolidation of the 2009 coup d’etat against President Zelaya in Honduras is directly tied to the exodus fleeing ongoing violence and political instability there. The historic role of the United States as a defender of right-wing governments and movements in Guatemala and El Salvador is directly tied to ongoing violence in those countries. In a survey of refugees from Central America in 2015, 40% reported the murder of a family member within the previous two years.

The U.S. response has been to offer a wall: a physical barrier at the border as well as legal barriers to entry meant to deter refugees. Obama and Trump have both leaned on Mexico to stop the flight of refugees heading north, offering military assistance to “secure” Mexico’s southern border and currently pressing for asylum seekers to be held in Mexico rather than permitted entry into the United States. None of this is working to stop people fleeing Central America. 90% of asylum seekers in Mexico are from the northern triangle of Central America. The number of people engaged in irregular border crossings has actually increased in recent months, despite some of the most draconian policies ever implemented by the United States to deter them.

So, for folks like Frum and Hillary Clinton, the question they need to address is what Europe and the United States should do to de-escalate the conflicts they have been instrumental in creating. U.S. foreign policy is too often exercised in a moral vacuum, where the consequences for people on the receiving end of our quest for global hegemony are ignored. I don’t expect this to change anytime soon. But until it does, people will continue to flee the violence visited upon them. To argue that we need to be more selective in our entry processes without addressing the underlying causes of migration about which we can actually do something, is disingenuous at best.

 

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Daily Dispatch 3/14/2019


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Daily Dispatch

March 14, 2019


Feds Set Up Fake University to Go After Students….because….?

At the end of January Federal authorities announced that the Department of Homeland Investigations, part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, had set up a fake university as part of sting operation:

“Beginning in 2015, the university was part of a federal law enforcement undercover operation designed to identify recruiters and entities engaged in immigration fraud,” said a federal indictment. “The University was not staffed with instructors/educators, it had no curriculum, no actual classes.”

In January, indictments were issued against 8 individuals involved in recruiting students to the university.

[The indictments] allege that from February 2017 through January 2019, the defendants “conspired with each other and others to fraudulently facilitate hundreds of foreign nationals in illegally remaining and working in the United States by actively recruiting them to enroll into a metro Detroit private university that, unbeknownst to the conspirators, was operated by HSI (Homeland Security Investigation) special agents as part of an undercover operation.”

In addition to the 8 indictments issued against those who allegedly conspired to break the law, hundreds of students have been detained, and some already deported. The Detroit Free Press followed up on the story earlier this week.

[M]any of the students who enrolled at the university created by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are now in the process of being removed from the U.S. as Indian-American advocates grapple with what they say is an unprecedented number of arrests of Indian students.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrested 161 foreign students from the University of Farmington on civil immigration violations, ICE spokesman Khaalid Walls said this week…

….About 600 students, mostly from India, were enrolled at the university in Farmington Hills, a majority of them in master’s degree programs in engineering or computer-related fields. The students had arrived in the U.S. legally through approved student visas and didn’t have criminal records, said immigration attorneys. (emphasis added)

Trump’s Budget Request Dramatically Expands Immigration Enforcement

#DefundHate (a project of the Detention Watch Network, of which the Quixote Center is a member) released its assessment of Trump’s budget request, and, not surprisingly, it is bad. Very bad. Remember that the context is a budget that otherwise slashes social programs. The budget still has to come before congress, where there will be a fight over all of this. But it signals that Trump’s priorities still remain skewed toward deterrence as an immigration strategy. From the coalition document:

Overall 2020 funding for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ($18.2 billion) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ($8.8 billion) is 19 percent higher than the FY 2019 level.

Increases in funding for CBP:

  • $5 billion to construct approximately 200 miles of border wall along the U.S. Southwest border (Note: $5 billion wall funding through CBP + $3.6 billion of wall construction funding through DOD/military construction = $8.6 billion total request for wall construction);
  • $192 million to hire 750 Border Patrol agents, 171 CBP Officers, and support staff;
  • $367 million for aircraft, vessels, surveillance technology, and equipment.

Increases in funding for ICE:

  • $314 million to hire an additional 1,000 ICE law enforcement officers, 128 immigration court prosecuting attorneys, and 538 support staff
  • Funding to detain 54,000 people per day (from 40K in FY19; 45K in FY20) with a stated goal of increasing to 60,000 of whom 10,000 are in family jails
  • Significant expansion of the number of people under electronic or other surveillance (funding requested for 120K people per day, up from 53K in FY17, 79K in FY18 and 100K in FY19)
  • Increases in transportation accounts (for often-retaliatory transfers between detention facilities and for deportations) but doesn’t say by how much

Creation of a new slush fund:

  • Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Fund aims to accomplish these goals:
    • Expand immigration detention capacity to 60,000—including 10,000 family detention beds (which would constitute a 300% increase);
    • Hire 15,000 DHS law enforcement officers, 600 new ICE immigration court prosecuting attorneys, 100 new immigration judge teams and associated support, and 50 new Federal prosecutors at DOJ’s Offices of the United States Attorneys–likely to ramp up immigration-related prosecutions
  • We are extremely worried that this will be funded by the “surcharge” on all immigration services which is anticipated to yield $466 million dollars in FY20, as well as other massive increases in fees on processes like naturalization and DAC

Increases in deployment of harmful technology:

  • $367 million in CBP aircraft, vessels, surveillance technology, and equipment [doesn’t specify which technologies]
  • $7.8 billion to support the TSA employees and technology that ensure the free movement of people and commerce, including the deployment of new technologies [doesn’t specify which technologies]
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Daily Dispatch 3/13/2019


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Daily Dispatch

March 13, 2019


USCIS Set to Close Field Offices Overseas

In a new effort to make legal immigration even more difficult, the Trump administration is looking to close U.S. immigration offices overseas and transfers some of those responsibilities to the State Department.  

The Trump administration is seeking to close nearly two dozen U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services field offices around the world in a move it estimates would save millions per year. But critics argue the closures will further slow refugee processing, family reunification petitions and military citizenship applications.

USCIS spokeswoman Jessica Collins announced on Tuesday the agency is in “preliminary discussions” to delegate its international responsibilities to the State Department, or to its own personnel in the U.S. In some cases, the workload would be absorbed by U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.

Such measures may save money (the stated goal) but will ensure that backlogs for processing of visas, family reunification efforts and other normal immigration functions will be further delayed – likely increasing pressure for irregular border crossing.

Update on Arrests in Haiti

 

A couple of weeks ago we put out a dispatch focused on the arrest of five heavily armed, U.S. Americans in Haiti. Yesterday, Jake Johnston from the Center for Economic and Policy Research published a detailed investigative report about the arrests and the controversy that has ensued in Haiti over their release.

On February 17, Haitian police arrested seven Blackwater-like security contractors a few blocks from the country’s Central Bank. They claimed to be on a government mission, and had a cache of weapons. Four days later the US “rescued” them. What happened? Read the whole story here.

 

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Daily Dispatch 3/12/2019


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Daily Dispatch

March 12, 2019


Together Rising, others, work to reconnect families

During the peak of the family separation crisis last year, hundreds of immigrant parents were deported without their children. Last weekend, 29 parents presented themselves at the border, once again seeking asylum with the hope of be reunited with their children.

Background, Washington Post:

In most of the 2,700 cases from when the Trump administration separated families at the border last year, both the parents and children remained in the United States, sometimes held in shelters and detention centers thousands of miles apart. Almost all of those families have now been reunified and are in the process of pursuing their asylum claims.

But the cases of about 430 parents deported without their children were particularly difficult. Often, the government lost track of which child belonged to which parent, and it did not link their immigration cases, sending parents back to Central America without telling them where their children were….

After Trump signed an executive order officially ending the family separation policy on June 20, lawyers launched a legal battle to reunify many of the deported parents and their children in the United States. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit demanding that the government allow 52 parents back into the United States to pursue their asylum claims, which the lawyers argued had been stymied after the parents were separated from their children at the border.

But the government has not responded to that appeal and later said it needed more information about the parents from the ACLU. It remains unclear when, or if, the U.S. government will invite those parents back to the United States to launch new asylum claims.

Sojourners:

Saturday evening….29 parents were at the U.S. border with legal advocates, reapplying for asylum and attempting to get back the children that had been taken from them into U.S. custody. At the same time, Glennon Doyle and her nonprofit group Together Rising sent out an email giving more background on how those 29 parents were found and brought together to the border. Two of Together Rising’s board members, Liz Book and Glennon’s sister Amanda Doyle, were there with the families and sending live video updates. Initially, they were told that there was no capacity to process the asylum seekers — but around 8 p.m. Saturday they began allowing all 29 parents and their families to enter…Saturday night’s action at the border was the result of intense, on-the-ground work organized and funded by Together Rising and Al Otro Lado, along with Matthew 25 Southern California, ACLU, Families Belong Together, and clergy partners.

RAICES Sets Up IceBox at SXSW (from RAICES announcement)

RAICES, in cooperation with Austin-based artists Yocelyn Riojas and Jerry Silguero, will recreate a hielera during South by Southwest this weekend and next. The 8 x 20 foot storage pod turned hielera will be kept at approximately -10 degrees Fahrenheit to recreate what most migrants face after apprehension by ICE agents. Though visitors are not expected to stay the one to three days migrants report they are forced to stay in these rooms, guests will leave with a small taste of what it is like to be immersed in the immigration process as a migrant.

Outside the hielera, visitors can observe the community painted mural, “Asylum Is A Human Right,” but only from outside a wire fence placed at a distance from the artwork symbolizing the barriers our immigration system imposes on that internationally-recognized right. Bandanas will be tied to the fence with messages written by any and all who wish to comment on our country’s approach to immigration.

RAICES hopes that visitors will feel moved to join us in calling on ICE and CBP to stop the practice of holding migrants in freezing temperatures and inhumane conditions as part of this country’s immigration process. After having experienced it first hand, perhaps guests will feel as we do that this is an unnecessary and cruel practice that must end.

The hielera installation can be viewed in a parking lot at 308 Guadalupe St. in Austin at the following times:
12 PM to 6 PM Friday, March 8
11 AM to 2 PM Saturday, March 9
11 AM to 6 PM Friday, March 15
11 AM to 2 PM Saturday, March 16

Southwest Key Founder and Chief Executive Officer Resigns

After decades of making millions from government contracts to detain children, Southwest Key’s founder and CEO is out. From the New York Times:

For months, Juan Sanchez was at the center of the national uproar over family separations at the Mexican border because the nonprofit he founded, Southwest Key Programs, was housing migrant children taken from their parents. On Monday, facing intense scrutiny from his own organization and federal investigations over alleged financial improprieties, he stepped down after 32 years at the helm.

The charity’s chief financial officer, Melody Chung, left last month after a New York Times article outlined allegations of mismanagement and possible malfeasance at the charity.

Southwest Key began an internal investigation after the article was published in December. The Justice Department also started investigating.

The Southwest Key shelter in a former Walmart superstore in Brownsville, Tex., known as Casa Padre, became a symbol of the Trump administration’s family separation policy, with immigration advocates likening it to a warehouse for children. But it was also a generator of millions of dollars in federal grants at a nonprofit unusually concerned with its bottom line.

Worth noting that Juan Sanchez leaves under suspicion of financial mismanagement. Decades of documented abuse at facilities, failure to complete background checks, even the temporary suspension of Southwest Key’s Arizona license, was not enough to get him out. Of course, none of these violations actually threatened federal contracts: Money matters. Immigrant kids, not so much.

 

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Daily Dispatch 3/11/2019


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Daily Dispatch

March 11, 2019


National Call in Day to block new detention facility near Chicago. Today!

Alert from #CommunitiesNotCages

This evening, the Dwight, IL Village Board will be voting on three proposals presented by Immigration Centers of America (ICA) to build a 1,200 bed detention center just 90 miles south of Chicago. This proposal, which has faced a consistent and public rebuke from the community, as well as, faith, legal, and grassroots organizations from across the state, has moved forward to this final stage. Earlier last month, the Dwight Planning Commission issued a three to two vote to recommend a ‘yes’ vote to the Village Board regarding this ICA proposal.

Late last week, facing pressure from the Mayor, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church cancelled a planned information session regarding the proposal. This move, which shocked community members, is emblematic of the secrecy that ICE detention center agreements are always shrouded in. Given today’s timeline for the vote, it is crucial to flood the phone lines of the Dwight Village Board, who need a majority vote to approve this toxic proposal.

Take 5 minutes today to urge the Dwight Village Board to vote no to ICA’s proposed immigrant jail. Call the members of the Dwight, IL Village Board and urge them to vote no on this destructive proposal.

Step 1: Call Justin Eggenberger, 815-584-0010, and Randy Irvin, 815-474-9795. We believe they are persuadable targets. Additional members of the Village Board to call can be found here.

Step 2: Use the following script as a guide, we encourage you to add an example of why this is important to you:

Hello, my name is [first and last name] and I’m calling to urge you to please vote NO to all proposals presented by Immigration Centers of America to build a detention center in your community. ICA is a company that is no different from ICE’s other private prison contractors and will yield the same results that immigrant detention has created since its inception. The jobs this jail will create are low-wage, non-union jobs. This detention center, like all others, will largely be run on forced labor as people detained are paid at most $1 a day to work and maintain the jail running. Currently, there are seven different lawsuits across the country because of the coerced labor people detained are forced to perform. Lastly, detention centers are deadly, in the past two years, 22 people have died inside of them largely due to the medical negligence and abuses rampant in the immigrant detention system. Dwight needs a sustainable way to thrive as a community, not a jail that will create unstable, low wage jobs, legal liabilities, and carry out extensive human rights abuses. We urge you to vote NO on all ICA proposals. Thank you.”

A Border Energy Corridor?

Turning the border into an energy corridor that would offer employment and many long-term benefits to people on both sides is an interesting idea. This idea draws life from the idea that the ecological features of the border can be re-imagined as shared resources, and that cooperative management of those resources would offer a path to a more peaceful relationship between the United States of America and Mexico. Read more about the idea in Scientific American.

The idea is more than a pipe dream. A consortium of 27 engineers and scientists from a dozen U.S. universities has developed a plan. Last week they delivered it to three U.S. representatives and one senator. “Let’s put the best scientists and engineers together to create a new way to deal with migration, trafficking—and access to water. These are regions of severe drought,” says Luciano Castillo, a professor of energy and power at Purdue University who leads the group. “Water supply is a huge future issue for all the states along the border in both countries.”

The devil is in the details, of course, and no doubt many issues would arise to complicate this scenario. But a different kind of conversation about the border is desperately needed. One that emphasizes both sides of the border and shared benefits would be much better than the current debate about walls and security cameras.

 

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Daily Dispatch 3/8/2019: Murder, etc.


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Daily Dispatch

March 8, 2019


Murder Etc. investigates the murder of Frank Looper, Charles Wakefield’s innocence

On January 31, 1975, Frank Looper and his father, Rufus Looper ,were shot dead in Rufus’s garage. Frank Looper was the head of the narcotics unit in Greenville, South Carolina. The murder was declared an armed robbery gone bad, and shortly afterward Charles Wakefield was accused of the crime. In February of 1976, Wakefield was convicted of the double murder and sentenced to death. In 1978, South Carolina’s death penalty was overturned in federal court and Wakefield’s sentence was commuted to life in prison. Over the next 40 years, he would fight for his freedom, claiming innocence of this crime. In 2010, he was paroled. He is still fighting to clear his name.

Brad Willis is a reporter from Greenville, South Carolina and has been investigating this case for the last 17 years. Last week, he launched a podcast called Murder, etc. in which he details elements of the case through extensive interviews. The first two episodes are already available and you can learn much more by listening to them. 

Claudia and Charles

Claudia Whitman, the director of National Capital Crime Assistant Network (NCCAN), was the long-time coordinator of the Quixote Center’s Grassroots Investigation Project (GRIP), during which time she worked with Charles. They remain close. Charles currently serves on the board of directors of NCCAN.

The Quixote Center’s support for Claudia’s work through GRIP was always supplemental to the core support she received from her own network of donors and NCCAN. We are nevertheless happy to see the work carrying forward and hopeful that Charles may one day get the full pardon so many people familiar with the case – including members of Looper’s own family – believe he deserves.  

 

To follow and/or support the work of NCCAN, visit their website here.

Charles Wakefield is now living in North Carolina and, among other pursuits, is an gifted artist. You can visit his website, and view some of his work here.

To keep up with podcast, Murder, etc. visit the site and subscribe through whichever platform you prefer to listen. The podcast itself is free.

 

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Annual Report 2018

The Quixote Center’s Annual Report for 2018 is now available. If you like the work we are doing, please consider a tax-deductible contribution. You can designate funds to a specific program, or put it toward general funds that support all of our work. 

 

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Daily Dispatch 3/7/2019


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Daily Dispatch

March 7, 2019


When we fight, we win (at least sometimes!): JP Morgan to Cut Ties with Private Prison Companies

JP Morgan has decided to stop financing private prison companies involved in immigration detention. The two largest companies, GEO Group and CoreCivic are deeply reliant on periodic bond issues to finance operations. Both companies are structured as real estate investment trusts, and thus required to deliver the bulk of profits over to shareholders. This leaves the companies in need of regular access to credit to fund activities. Though profitable firms, their operations are also highly dependent on changes in public policy. Geo Group’s share value shifts every time Trump opens his mouth. Which, one might imagine, could scare investors.

Fluctuations in stock prices  for GEO Group correlated with policy discussions in 2018

From U.S. News’ Business Report on JP Morgan decision:

“We will no longer bank the private prison industry,” a company spokesman told Reuters. The decision is a result of the bank’s ongoing evaluations of the costs and benefits of serving different industries, he said.

JPMorgan is one of several banks that have underwritten bonds or syndicated loans for CoreCivic Inc and GEO Group Inc, the two major private prison operators in the United States. In 2018, banks, including Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co, raised roughly $1.8 billion in debt over three deals for CoreCivic and GEO Group, according to Refinitiv data.

Wells Fargo said in January it was reducing its relationship with the prison industry as part of its “environmental and social risk management” process.

“Our credit exposure to private prison companies has significantly decreased and is expected to continue to decline, and we are not actively marketing to that sector,” Wells Fargo said in its “Business Standards Report” for 2018.

JP Morgan and others have been the target of campaigns trying to cut funding sources to private prison companies for some time. For more information check out Corporate Backers of Hate.

Guardian Investigation of Homestead Facility for Immigrant Teens

The largest detention facility for teenagers is located in Homestead Florida, just outside of Miami. Today, The Guardian has a detailed report on the facility, run by for profit company, Comprehensive Health Services. From the report:

Mixed with the children’s artwork pinned to the walls are notices of procedures for reporting sexual abuse – a reminder of last month’s bombshell claim that thousands of migrant children had been abused in US custody (the programme director insisted there had been no incidents at Homestead in the 12 months it has been open).

There is a strict no-touching rule, meaning that even a child who hugs a sibling could be written up and face disciplinary action. All the children must wake at 6am, seven days a week (lights out is at 10pm), and they are monitored from a central control room 24 hours a day through smart cards they wear on lanyards and that they must scan every time they change location.

They have no access to cellphones or the internet, and personal phone calls, which shelter managers insist are not monitored, are limited to two 10-minute calls a week.

The average length of each child’s stay, during which case workers attempt to locate and vet sponsors, is 58 days – almost three times longer than the 20-day limit for child migrant detention imposed by the 1997 Flores settlement, which Homestead is not obliged to honor because of its designation as a temporary shelter instead of a permanently sited detention facility.

Has the U.S. government been tracking immigration advocates? Apparently, yes

From NBC 7 in San Diego:

“Source: Leaked Documents Show the U.S. Government Tracking Journalists and Immigration Advocates Through a Secret Database,” by NBC 7 San Diego’s Tom Jones, Mari Payton and Bill Feather: “Documents obtained by NBC 7 Investigates show the U.S. government created a secret database of activists, journalists, and social media influencers tied to the migrant caravan and in some cases, placed alerts on their passports. At the end of 2018, roughly 5,000 immigrants from Central America made their way north through Mexico to the United States southern border. The story made international headlines.

As the migrant caravan reached the San Ysidro Port of Entry in south San Diego County, so did journalists, attorneys, and advocates who were there to work and witness the events unfolding. But in the months that followed, journalists who covered the caravan, as well as those who offered assistance to caravan members, said they felt they had become targets of intense inspections and scrutiny by border officials.” NBC San Diego

 

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Daily Dispatch 3/6/2019


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Daily Dispatch

March 6, 2019


 

Deterrence as an immigration strategy is not only inhumane; it doesn’t work!

Though irregular crossings into the United States are well below peak years during the 1990s, February had the highest number of arrests for illegal entry in a single month in almost 10 years. The arrests are increasingly of family units or unaccompanied children, and the Trump administration’s crackdown at the border is making the situation worse. By restricting access for asylum seekers through regular points of entry, the administration’s policy may be encouraging more people to cross outside of official points, thus leading to the increase in arrests. More detail on the numbers from NPR.

A detail analysis of migration conducted a few years ago documented that deterrence strategies do not work. The primary reason people are fleeing Central America is violence and they will continue to flee as long as the violence continues, whatever is done at the border.

In June last year, the Vera Institute released a report on Operation Streamline that similarly found that prosecutions at the border had no effect on decisions to migrate:

The analysis reported here found no evidence to suggest that Operation Streamline had any impact on migrants’ decisions to enter the United States. Operation Streamline succeeded only in clogging federal courts, eroding due process, and incarcerating tens of thousands of people.

The failure to address the root causes of migration and new policies making it harder for people to cross into the country legally are driving the recent spike in arrests.

Spike in white supremacist propaganda

The Anti-Defamation League released a report documenting a dramatic expansion of white supremacist propaganda last year. The report covers new tactics that try to mainstream messaging in posters and flyers. There has also been an increase in public demonstrations, though they are often organized as “flash mobs” to avoid counter-protests. NPR on Anti-Defamation League Report:

ADL counted 1,187 incidents of propaganda in 2018, up from 421 incidents in 2017. While college campuses remain a primary target, most of that increase occurred off of college campuses, with 868 incidents in 2018, up from 129 the year before. The alt-right also uses banners to promote its message, the ADL said, counting 32 instances of white supremacist banners hung in high-visibility locations such as highway overpasses.

Increased propaganda efforts “allow them to maximize media and online attention, while limiting the risk of individual exposure, negative media coverage, arrests and public backlash,” the ADL wrote.

A second report on Murder and Extremism by the ADL documents an increase in killings by political extremists last year over 2017, documenting that in nearly all of 50 cases of extremist murder in 2018, the perpetrator had a connection to some white supremacist organization. From the executive summary:

In 2018, domestic extremists killed at least 50 people in the U.S., a sharp increase from the 37 extremist-related murders documented in 2017, though still lower than the totals for 2015 (70) and 2016 (72).  The 50 deaths make 2018 the fourth-deadliest year on record for domestic extremist-related killings since 1970.

The extremist-related murders in 2018 were overwhelmingly linked to right-wing extremists.  Every one of the perpetrators had ties to at least one right-wing extremist movement, although one had recently switched to supporting Islamist extremism. White supremacists were responsible for the great majority of the killings, which is typically the case.

Deadly shooting sprees were a major factor in the high death toll. Five of the 17 incidents involved shooting sprees that caused 38 deaths and injured 33 people.

 

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Daily Dispatch 3/5/2019


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Daily Dispatch

March 5, 2019


Technology Edition…

The Nation released an article today on the impact of ICE and DHS’s outdated methods of tracking files and communication on people, who are ultimately held accountable for ICE’s failure. From the article:

Lost files, poor communication, faulty technology, and seemingly endless delays: federal audits show that Mikhail and Bayley’s experiences weren’t unusual for the agency, which spends $300 million per year on paper and has disastrously mismanaged a 13-year effort to go digital—often leaving immigrants to deal with the consequences.

And what used to be a time-sucking, stress-inducing inconvenience is now a question of visa denials and possible deportation: a new USCIS policy automatically initiates removal proceedings for many whose applications are denied, which means minor errors—even the agency’s—can have serious consequences. That’s especially threatening for immigrants who lack legal representation and language skills, or who just don’t know how to navigate a convoluted immigration system that runs on hefty application fees.

Behind the delays and inefficiencies may lie an intentional effort to cause problems for immigrants:

But Michael Jarecki, former chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Chicago chapter, isn’t sure the agency wants things faster or simpler–especially under a government that doesn’t hide its hostility to immigrants. “Part of my cynical response, knowing what we’re going through now in the last year and a half, would be an invisible wall type of thing,” Jarecki said, “where the agency wants to slow things down, and actually is happy to slow things down.”

Amazon “backbone” of ICE data mining operations

Though this report came out in October 2018, it seems relevant to juxtapose ICE’s difficulty with delivering mail, with the billions spent on data storage and processing – and that Amazon is raking in big money as a result. From MIT Technology Review:

In 2017, an Intercept investigation found that ICM pulled together data from an array of federal and private law enforcement entities to create detailed profiles that were then used to track immigrants. That data could include a person’s immigration history, family relationships, personal connections, addresses, phone records, biometric traits, and other information.

All of that data and the algorithms powering ICM are now being migrated to Amazon Web Services (AWS) in their entirety; Palantir pays Amazon approximately $600,000 a month for the use of its servers, according to the report’s authors.

Though the money doesn’t flow directly from ICE to Amazon, the tech giant had the right incentives in place for Palantir to choose AWS. In order for Palantir to secure its contract with the government, ICM had to be hosted on a federally authorized cloud service. An online government database shows that Amazon holds the largest share, 22%, of federal authorizations under the FedRAMP program, which verifies that cloud providers have the necessary security requirements to process, store, and transmit government data. More important, Amazon holds 62% of the highest-level authorizations, usually needed to handle data for law enforcement systems.

Nothing speaks more clearly to the underlying agenda and orientation of our immigration laws than the simple fact that billions are spent on technology to monitor miles of desert, build walls, and track people through government databases, but those same agencies’ software can’t handle a zip code with a dash in it when it comes to processing an immigration claim from someone in the country legally.

#abolishice

 

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Contact Us

  • Quixote Center
    7307 Baltimore Ave.
    Ste 214
    College Park, MD 20740
  • Office: 301-699-0042
    Email: info@quixote.org

Direction to office:

For driving: From Baltimore Ave (Route 1) towards University of Maryland, turn right onto Hartwick Rd. Turn immediate right in the office complex.

Look for building 7307. We are located on the 2nd floor.

For public transportation: We are located near the College Park metro station (green line)