Daily Dispatch 3/21/2019

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Daily Dispatch

March 21, 2019

ICE Issuing Deportation Orders for U.S. Citizens…

From the Miami News Times:

Two American citizens who live in South Florida— Miamian Garland Creedle and Keys resident Peter Sean Brown — sued Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties after being wrongly held in jail and nearly deported thanks to mistaken paperwork from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Frighteningly, those two people are not alone. According to a report released today by the American Civil Liberties Union, ICE erred in issuing 420 “detainer requests” for U.S. citizens in Miami-Dade from 2017 to 2019 alone. It’s unclear how many of those 420 people were actually detained by county police or jails, but it’s possible tens or hundreds of Americans have been sitting behind bars in the Magic City awaiting wrongful deportation.

The ACLU obtained Miami-Dade’s ICE detainer documents as part of Creedle’s lawsuit against the county. According to the group’s report, ICE voluntarily rescinded 83 of those requests after likely realizing the orders were mistakes.

This following a CNN report documenting that ICE agents will forge warrants and other paperwork for people they consider to be here illegally.

Lawyers and advocates interviewed by CNN expressed surprise about the improperly signed warrants, which could be used to challenge individual deportation orders at immigration hearings.

“If there’s evidence of that, that’s a big deal,” said Jeremy McKinney, a member of the executive committee of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, whose members represent clients in deportations and immigration matters. “That’s the root of an illegal arrest.”

More broadly, improperly signed warrants could become a point of contention in several ongoing lawsuits over ICE’s practice of asking law enforcement to hold undocumented immigrants in detention up to 48 hours longer than they otherwise would. With each such request, called a detainer, ICE sends along a warrant.

Circumventing Sanctuary Policies

All of the above are good reasons not to cooperate with ICE. State or, more often, local authorities often seek to push back against federal immigration enforcement, usually by refusing to cooperate with ICE on data sharing or refusing ICE access to jails. Where these sanctuary laws have been implemented, however, they can also be undermined by informal networks linking police and federal agents. From the Associated Press:

Two years after New Mexico’s largest county barred local law enforcement from cooperating with immigration authorities, its leaders learned that the policy was being subverted from within.

Staff members at the Bernalillo County jail in Albuquerque were still granting immigration authorities access to its database and, in some cases, tipping them off when a person of interest was being released.

“I was surprised and horrified,” said Maggie Hart Stebbins, chairwoman of the Bernalillo County Commission. “Individual employees do not have the freedom to pick and choose what they want to observe.”

The disclosure last month cast a spotlight on an often-overlooked way in which immigration officials around the U.S. may be getting around local “sanctuary” policies — through informal relationships with police and others willing to cooperate when they’re not supposed to. Immigration activists say they have seen it places like Philadelphia, Chicago and several communities in California, which has a statewide sanctuary law.


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Daily Dispatch 3/20/19

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Daily Dispatch

March 20, 2019

Immigration News:

According to an article in the LA Times, border patrol agents have started the process of releasing detained immigrants, not because it is cruel and unjust to imprison families for seeking help, but because there is NO MORE SPACE in these facilities,

“Normally, the Border Patrol would transfer the migrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be “processed” and in many cases placed in detention facilities. But officials said that both agencies have run out of space due to a recent influx of Central American families…

… A Border Patrol official — who spoke on the condition that he not be identified — denied that the release was a political stunt and said that crowding the facilities would threaten the safety of agents and migrants. “It is a crisis,” he said. “It’s not a self-proclaimed crisis.”The agency plans to make similar releases along other parts of the border, he said”…

For immigration court cases, language barriers could be causing “unfair deportation trials” for migrants. In a recent article by The Marshall Project,  the author states that, 

“Now the Justice Department has ordered the judges to use more translators who work over the phone because of what the agency says are budget problems. But judges and lawyers say the quality of the telephone translations suffers and may be leading to unfair deportation trials.”


Detention Centers + Health:

While images of migrant children and families being detained is quite saddening, what’s even more heartbreaking is the long term effect, both physically and emotionally, that these individuals will experience after being treated which such disdain. In two separate facilities, it has been reported that a “youth detainee has shown symptoms of having scabies” (Fox13Memphis) and that in a facility in Texas, 186 people have contracted mumps. 

Even with backlash from community members and nonprofit organizations, private corporations such as GEO Group and Immigration Centers of America (ICA) are still working to have for-profit immigration prisons in these communities. And if that isn’t bad enough, a recent article by Common Dreams states that the Office of Refuge Resettlement has been sending youth migrants to “off-the-book facilities”,

“An investigation by Reveal on Monday showed that at least 16 young immigrants—as young as nine years old and in need of mental or behavioral health treatment—have been sent by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to “off-the-books” facilities outside the network of federally-funded detention centers. The administration is housing immigrant children with an even greater degree of secrecy than was previously known, in violation of U.S. law.”

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Daily Dispatch 3/19/19

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Daily Dispatch

March 19, 2019

Immigration News:

The U.S. Supreme Court has recently made another disappointing ruling regarding immigration policies. Today’s ruling states that the U.S. government has the “authority to detain immigrants awaiting deportation anytime – potentially even years – after they have completed prison terms for criminal convictions” (Reuters).  

Along with being unethical, this ruling also points to the fact that the U.S. government prefers to punish and create avenues for private corporations to profit off of marginalized communities instead of creating proactive and just immigration policies… 

At the border, families continue their fight with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency as the latter continues to work to move landowners off of their property to extend the border wall; “More than 570 landowners in two counties, Hidalgo and Starr, have received right-of-entry letters from the government asking to survey their land for possible border wall construction” (NPR). The fact that the government is pressuring (almost seizing) the private property of landowners, makes their action teeter on the borderline of violating the #FifthAmendment which states that “private property cannot be taken for public use, without just compensation”…

Recently on MSNBC, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) expressed InAlienable’s philosophy beautifully, “Immigration is not a security issue,” Gillibrand said. “It is an economic and a humanitarian and a family issue. So there is no such thing as an illegal human.”  

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Daily Dispatch 3/18/19

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Daily Dispatch

March 18, 2019

Immigration News:

ICE continues to employ unethical strategies to satisfy the Trump administration’s toxic immigration tactics, without truly understanding the negative ramifications of their actions on a social and economical level. The New York Times, recently posted an article about farmers in Upstate New York who now have a shrinking labor pool due to predatory actions of ICE agents in the area:

“We are seeing that the immigration enforcement is having a tremendous enforcement impact on farm workers, on farms,” said Mary Jo Dudley, director of the Cornell Farmworker Program. “For many farmers, there’s no alternative labor force.” To search private property like a farm, ICE needs a warrant that shows reason to believe a particular undocumented immigrant is living or working there. But if undocumented workers leave the farm to go to a grocery store, they can be approached by ICE agents in a parking lot or a roadside checkpoint, detained and deported.”

And in California, through local police departments and the private company, Vigilant Solutions, ICE is being provided with residents’ license plate information in order to track whether or not they are undocumented. 

In an effort to protect communities of colors, the Sacramento Immigration Coalition, a local advocacy group, have started a campaign to teach families “What to do If ICE Comes Knocking.”  

Bills Making Moves:

In legislation news, the Mississippi Senate has passed the Criminal Justice Reform Act (House Bill 1352). The bill will:

“help those leaving looking to gain employment after serving their time in the state’s prison system along with expanding drug courts. Additionally, it would prevent automatic suspension of driver’s licenses for nonpayment of fines or simple drug possessions.”

Local organizations such as Empower Mississippi as well as Senate members are confident in the bill becoming a law. 

Also, the Dream and Promise Act (HR 6) was recently introduced by House Democrats. The bill will “allow as many as 2.5 million people to apply for legal status and put them on a path that could ultimately lead to US citizenship” (VOX).  If passed, the bill will address the legal status needs of DACA and TPS recipients. 

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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.


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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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)