The Disdain of a Formidable Neighbor: The U.S. in Guantanamo

Cuban intellectual José Martí lived in the United States for a number of years, giving him a broad perspective from which to consider U.S. relations with Cuba and, by extension, Latin America. In his frequently cited essay, “Nuestra America,” Martí – whose Cuban homeland was still part of the Spanish Empire – worried about a threat that was much closer than Europe.

Pero otro peligro corre, acaso, nuestra América, que no le viene de sí, sino de la diferencia de orígenes, métodos e intereses entre los dos factores continentales, y es la hora próxima en que se le acerque demandando relaciones íntimas, un pueblo emprendedor y pujante que la desconoce y la desdeña. […]

El deber urgente de nuestra América es enseñarse como es, una en alma e intento, vencedora veloz de un pasado sofocante, manchada sólo con sangre de abono que arranca a las manos la pelea con las ruinas, y la de las venas que nos dejaron picadas nuestros dueños. El desdén del vecino formidable, que no la conoce, es el peligro mayor de nuestra América.

[But our America may also face another danger, which does not come from within it, but from the differing origins, methods, and interests of the continent’s two factions. The hour is near when she will be approached by an enterprising and forceful nation that will demand intimate relations with her, though it does not know her and disdains her.[…]

Therefore the urgent duty of our America is to show herself as she is, united in soul and intent, fast overcoming the crushing weight of her past, and stained only with the fertilizing blood shed by hands that do battle against ruins, or by veins opened by our former masters. The disdain of the formidable neighbor who does not know her is the greatest danger that faces our America.]

Contrasting “our America” with the other America looming to the north, Martí feared U.S. influence would rival that of Spain. Martí himself died in an armed uprising against Spain in 1895 but his words would prove prophetic. While the United States publicly supported Cuban independence, the resulting Spanish-American War led to the imposition of a new imperial authority over the formerly “Spanish” Caribbean and the Philippines. Unlike Puerto Rico, Cuba was not subjected to outright colonialism but forced to agree to the Platt Amendment, allowing the United States to interfere directly in the affairs of the island. Soon after, the United States negotiated very favorable terms for the use of Guantanamo Bay as a continuing naval presence in the Caribbean. Cuba tolerated the U.S. presence on the island and, for several decades, little changed.

With the Cuban Revolution, came the demand for the U.S. to leave Guantanamo, but for 60 years now there has been no international legal forum with the force to vacate the lease and require the U.S. to leave. The United States continues to send lease payments to Cuba (since 1974 an absurd $4,000 a year) – though not a single payment has been deposited by Cuba’s government since 1959.

Incarceration in Guantanamo

Following a military coup in 1991, a large number of Haitian refugees took to the sea to escape the violence and seek asylum in the United States. Tens of thousands of Haitians were provided what was called “safe haven” in Guantanamo Bay while they were being screened for asylum. This practice, essentially detaining potential asylum seekers in large camps, was initiated in the administration of George H.W. Bush, paused briefly, then was resumed in the Clinton administration. Indeed, the limited capacity at Guantanamo Bay, where Clinton stated that 14,000 Haitians were interned, was a contributing factor to the decision to reinstate Aristide in the presidency of Haiti. At nearly the same time, the Clinton administration began to detain Cubans who wished to immigrate as well – also in Guantanamo –although this policy was relatively brief and impacted somewhat fewer persons. The detention practice was declared unconstitutional by a Federal District Court in 1993 (the ruling later vacated) – the last Haitian detainees left Guantanamo in 1995.

For a few years, Guantanamo was not known to be holding any detainees, but this door would not stay closed for long. On January 11, 2002, George W. Bush re-established the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, this time to house a population who were being described as “enemy combatants” in the “War on Terror.” The people in Guantanamo now are detained indefinitely, without trial, and many of the detainees have been tortured. Today these men – for they are all men – are 40 in number and a few have been charged and convicted but only in the Guantanamo Military Commission system, a tribunal of dubious legality. Indeed, the Supreme Court has sided with detainees in all four cases that arrived to the highest court. One of Obama’s first executive orders when he became president was a commitment to close the Guantanamo detention camp. He failed. One of Trump’s first executive orders was a commitment to keep Guantanamo open, indefinitely. 

January 11, 2019 marks 17 years since this detention center was established as part of the War on Terror but this is only the latest episode in the long story of U.S. imperial tactics in this place. In 2005, a group of concerned activists traveled to Cuba to attempt to visit the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and this trip gave birth to Witness Against Torture (WAT). Since 2007, WAT has been organizing actions in Washington, D.C. and around the nation leading up to the January 11 anniversary. In solidarity with the hunger strikes that have been started and maintained by detainees in Guantanamo and elsewhere to protest unjust treatment and living conditions, participants fast all week as a sign of their commitment to close down Guantanamo. This year, I have joined their number. Yet we know that our collective hunger pains are only a small reminder of the suffering of those held captive by our government in a foreign land. 

Taking our calls for justice one step further, once the closure of the detention center is finally complete, it is doubtless long past time to return full sovereignty of Cuba to its own people and vacate this base. Indeed, if we are serious about wanting to reduce the root causes of migration, we might revisit some aspects of U.S. foreign policy rather than build more spaces to hold humans captive.

In closing, I would like to leave you with a few lines from the Versos sencillos, also by Martí. These words have been immortalized in the classic Cuban song “Guantanamera,” a title referring to a woman from the Guantanamo region of Cuba, and they speak of a deep longing for an idyllic Guantanamo of the past, a land the poetic voice loves as his home. 

Con los pobres de la tierra
Quiero yo mi suerte echar:
El arroyo de la sierra
Me complace más que el mar.

[With the poor of the earth,
I cast my lot:
The mountain stream pleases me
More than the sea.]

 

 

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Local Action on Immigration Policy

Immigration policy is the responsibility of the federal government. However, in the deeply polarized times we live in, achieving comprehensive immigration reform at the national level has not been achieved. Indeed, the last comprehensive legislation passed was in 1996 – and it was not good legislation, paving the way for mandatory detention.

While there have been a number of bills introduced into congress with the aim of overhauling the immigration system, the good bills have languished in committee, and the more problematic compromise bills have failed to gain enough support on the House or Senate floors.

In the absence of a reform bill, and amidst the ongoing war against immigrants being waged by the Trump administration, local action is an important way to push back against the system, while building networks and relationships that can become the foundation for a political alliance to ultimately transform the system. This past weekend the Quixote Center presented some ideas about local action in a workshop at Call to Action in San Antonio. While not comprehensive, we did offer a few examples of ways people can get engaged in local action to support immigrant communities. We offer a summary of these ideas below:

Rapid Response Networks

If you have a flexible schedule and are able to mobilize at a moment’s notice, volunteering with a rapid response network is worth considering. Response networks take on a variety of roles, the most common being mobilizing to be a witness to (and/or at times to disrupt) ICE activity in your community.

How to get started!

Labor Notes has a brief guide to creating a rapid response network here: http://www.labornotes.org/2018/08/building-rapid-response-network-defend-immigrant-workers

Before launching the process to create a rapid response network, first see what might already exist in your community. This is not an exhaustive list, but a few places to check:

National: United We Dream, Here to Stay Network https://actionnetwork.org/forms/immigrants-are-heretostay/

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (list of hotlines): https://www.nnirr.org/drupal/sites/default/files/immigration_hotlines_pdf.pdf

 

Visitation Programs

Being held in detention is very isolating experience. People often have no idea how long they will be held, and can be moved at any moment. Visiting people in detention can make a huge difference for those being held.

Creating a visitation program requires meeting ICE guidelines and the specific rules of the facilities. They do not make it easy!

The best place to start is Freedom for Immigrants, which provides detailed information on how to create a program, and will help guide local groups in creating a visitation program.

To see a list of visitation programs around the country and learn more: https://www.freedomforimmigrants.org/visitation-network/

 

Local Policy Actions

There are a variety of ways in which people have organized campaigns to resist immigration enforcement measures at the local level. Until there is a comprehensive reform at the federal level, such efforts create important means of support, and help to build a broader network of public officials working in support of more humane policies. We offer a few examples below.

SAFE Cities Network

The Vera Institute for Justice coordinates the SAFE Cities Network, which provides legal assistance to immigrants who are facing deportation. SAFE Cities Network is a year old, and includes 12 cities and 8 counties in the United States. Through the first year, 38% of the people who received legal assistance were able to stay in the U.S., compared to the national average of 3% of people who face these proceedings without assistance. For more information about the SAFE Cities Network: https://www.vera.org/spotlights/safe-expansion-and-success

Freedom Cities

Trump has made Sanctuary Cities a target, by threatening to suspend federal funding in some cases. In addition, some states like Texas have passed state laws that attempt to obligate cities to enforce immigration laws. In response, new strategies have evolved for localities to push back. In Austin, for example, the City Council passed a resolution that police must inform people that they have the right to refuse to answer questions related to immigration status.

Background: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/crackdown-sanctuary-cities-gives-birth-freedom-cities-n909606

287(g) Campaigns

287(g) refers to a section of the Immigration and Naturalization Act that allows the federal government to enter into formal agreements with localities in order to, in essence, deputize local law enforcement to take on the roles normally reserved for ICE. Over the past several years, there have been numerous campaigns by local activists for their communities to withdraw from 287(g) agreements.

Background (map and explanation): https://www.ilrc.org/national-map-287g-agreements

 

Shutdown ICE

There are a variety of actions community groups can take to challenge ICE, raise awareness about conditions in detention facilities located in their area, or work to block the opening of new detention facilities. There is no specific model to follow here, but we provide a few examples of campaigns.

Using inspections to end abusive detention

This is an initiative coordinated by Detention Watch Network. They have a detailed guide on how to use ICE contracts and inspections to build campaigns to challenge detention policies. The guide includes creation of visitation programs and ways to use the media and other grassroots actions to build local campaigns. You can connect to the toolkit and other information here:  https://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org/issues/detention-oversight

Occupy ICE

A grassroots movement which has adopted some of the strategies of the Occupy Wall Street movement to protest ICE activity in cities around the country. The first encampment was in Portland in June this year. In Philadelphia protests led to the city canceling its arrest database sharing agreement with ICE. There have been Occupy ICE actions in many cities, mostly during the peak of the family separation crisis. Follow at hashtag #OccupyICE. Website: https://occupyice.org/

Background article (Guardian): https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jul/06/occupy-ice-movement-new-york-louisville-portland

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Daily Dispatch 11/13/18


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Daily Dispatch

November 13, 2018


Top Stories:

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen likely out before the end of the week. This is looking all the more likely now, with the news that her WH defender, Chief of Staff Kelly, will also be on the chopping block.

Iowa gem, Steve King, calls immigrants “dirt” on tape. <sarcasm>Keepin’ it classy as always, Steve.</sarcasm>

ICE awards $200 million contract to MVM Inc., a private prison company that held separated children overnight in vacant office buildings.

Updates:

An update on separated children from Jacob Soboroff, who has been covering this story for months:

Remember that caravan – the one that caused a “national emergency” until, for some reason, election day? Well, here’s an update from Newsweek: “LGBT members of a caravan of Central American migrants heading toward the U.S. border appear to have reached the California border after leaving the main group behind over alleged discrimination from other migrants” … read more.

And here’s a bonus video for making it this far – Colbert on Fox’s vanishing caravan coverage:

Other Worthy Reads:

From Sojourners: “An Open Letter to White Evangelicals” (dated December 2018, so it comes to us from the future).

From the New York Times: “The Very Busy Life of an Immigrants’ Rights Priest in 2018.”

From Politico: “Trump preps for border wall fight with Dems”

 


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Sessions calls recitation of Scripture an “attack,” touts new Religious Liberty Task Force

The state of our union continues to deteriorate. Today, just as the United Methodist General Board released a statement opposing military deployments to the southern border, a United Methodist minister and a Baptist minister were ejected from a Boston event on (ironically) religious freedom featuring Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  

After reciting Matthew 25:42-43, the minister was met with boos and shouts of “GO HOME!”

Sessions then referred to the words from the Bible as an “attack.”

The video is chilling if it portrays what I fear it does portray: that Trump’s abduction and dislocation of the Republican party can (and perhaps, sadly, already has) spread to the church. Now, admittedly, this was not a crowd of religious leaders, but rather of (mostly) libertarian lawyers. Still, how odd to watch an audience of lawyers at an event in support of religious liberty boo at the words of the Bible and at the act of reciting them.

In light of the events in Pittsburgh and in Kentucky targeting religious communities, following on the heels of the most expansive assassination attempt in US history and the escalating rhetoric around immigration and the free press, we must be watchful and mindful as we pass each of the signposts on the road to Hell. Soon, it will be too late to turn back. 

Here is a rough transcript of the exchange (video below):

Methodist Minister: “I was hungry and you did not feed me. I was a stranger and you did not welcome me. I was naked and you did not clothe me. I was a stranger and you did not welcome me.” Brother Jeff, as a fellow United Methodist I call upon you to repent, to care for those in need, to remember that when you do not care for others, you are wounding the body of Christ.

Sessions: Well, thank you for those remarks and attack, but I would just tell you we do our best every day to fulfill my responsibility to enforce the laws of the United States.

Baptist Minister: But if I may, brother Jeff, [inaudible] …

Audience Member(s):  GO HOME! GO HOME!

Baptist Minister: … [inaudible] in the Methodist Church exercising his free exercise of religion…

[Audience boos]

… is a person who represents the Christian tradition, the faith that everyone here professes to believe in

Audience Member: How would you know?!

Baptist Minister: … I thought we were here to protect religious liberty…

[Audience boos]

… You are escorting me out for exercising my religious freedoms. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s very hypocritical for this group of people to be wanting to protect religious freedoms while you are escorting me out.

 

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Church reform is a necessary, but insufficient response to abuse

As most know by now, a grand jury investigated allegations of abuse of children by priests in 5 dioceses in Pennsylvania. Their report was released last month. After years of repeated incidents and revelations about abuse in the church, the report was on one level not surprising. And yet, the details of incidents are very disturbing. The report contains an appendix that documents allegation against 300 priests and illuminates a pattern whereby the priests were shielded from public exposure, moved to new positions, rarely disciplined, and only in a handful of cases prosecuted. It is hard to draw any other conclusion than that church leadership put concern for the institution, both its reputation and material resources, above the people they are expected to serve. Because the instrumental view of parishioners exhibited by this response is so diametrically opposed to the servant leader notion that buttresses the idea of the church, many have simply had enough – once again – with the hypocrisy.

Calls for reform abound, many of which call upon the “culture” of the church to change: These include confronting the clericalism of the church, calling into question celibacy and the requirement that priests be unwed, and demanding transparency from an institution too often clouded in mystery. From the traditionalists in the church, there are accusations of a “cult of homosexuality” in the hierarchy, and, at least in Archbishop Vigano’s charges, an accusation that Pope Francis shields those priests. These latter calls mistakenly equate homosexuality with a tendency to pedophilia, a claim for which there is no empirical standing.  

In discussing the events that have occurred since the grand jury report was issued, it is important to re-center the victims of abuse in the conversation. And here we must also look outside the church itself. In the United States 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18. Nearly 60,000 children were sexually abused last year alone and we know that reporting of sexual abuse undercounts significantly it’s actual occurrence – indeed it is estimated that only 12% of childhood sexual abuse is ever reported. In almost every case, the perpetrator of sexual abuse is someone known to the child, and one in three is a family member. Boys are more likely to be abused at a younger age – 28% of male victims are abused for the first time before the age of 10, compared to 12.3% of girl victims. 96% of the people who sexually abuse children are male, 80% are adults.

Given the hidden nature of abuse it is hard to know definitively what the trends are. Certainly, as little as it is reported, it is reported more now than in the past. There is more of an effort to provide services to victims and to train caregivers about signals to watch for as indicators of possible abuse. Yet, it still occurs, is still not reported, and often, when reported to those closely connected, it may well be covered up by institutions and families.

With this in mind, it is important to point out that most of the reform ideas put forward have little to do with addressing underlying causes of abuse, or the victims themselves.  The reforms speak more to institutional incentives to cover up abuse. Certainly, on those grounds alone, demanding transparency, demanding that church officials be required to report suspected abuse to civil authorities, and challenging the clericalism that permeates church culture are all important things to do in response to the crisis. But we are still left with men who abuse children, and the reality is that there is nothing exceptional about the men in the Catholic Church on this count.

When I was 13 a male teacher offered me oral sex – not the first teacher to make such offers, but the most direct. I felt like I was marked. Another teacher at the same school had a sexual relationship with a close female friend of mine that lasted over a year – she was 14 when it ended he was 28. Yet another friend was raped by a football player in (a different) high school. She reported it. When she grew angry with the school administration that nothing was done, she was suspended. I could go on. Most of us could, either from personal experience or those of people close to us. Think about that.

And so, I am admittedly bemused by the reform agenda on the Church as a primary response to the abuse “scandal.” As a friend noted a couple of days ago, as we prepared for a demonstration, perhaps that first demand should not be “end patriarchy,” or “woman priests now,” or “down with the hierarchy” (all laudatory goals I would support), but just this:

Stop abusing children!!

And after the demonstration at the Cathedral, we can carry that sign to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility, local public and private schools, and the police department, with a stop at the Baptist Church along the way. Then maybe bring the sign home and hang it in living room.  

 

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Catholics Call for Truth and Action in Nationwide Protests this Weekend

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Catholics Call for Truth and Action in Nationwide Protests this Weekend

Catholics in eight cities nationwide will witness this weekend (September 8, 9, and 10) outside of their local Cathedrals and the Apostolic Nunciature to protest widespread sex abuse in the Church and demand truth and accountability from the Catholic hierarchy complicit in covering up clergy sex abuse.

The campaign, “Time’s Up: Catholics Demand Truth,” is sponsored by nine Catholic reform organizations and calls for: survivor justice and civil recourse; church transparency and accountability; dismantling patriarchy in all its forms; and dismantling clericalism in all its forms.

“This is a crisis moment in our Church,” said Kate McElwee, executive director of the Women’s Ordination Conference. “While the bishops pull together their PR strategy, Catholics are heartbroken and angry. We need a transformation of leadership willing to rebuild trust through transparency and accountability.”

“Prayers and fasting are not enough. Clerics must work alongside lay people and survivors to implement the recommendations of the Pittsburgh Grand Jury report and cooperate with civil authorities,” said Zach Johnson, executive director of Call To Action.

Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA added: “The hate-speech and blame placed on ‘homosexuality’ as the root cause of the sexual abuse of children is incredibly damaging to the LGBTQI community and a blatantly transparent continuation of the Church officials’ policy of hand-washing and hiding.”

“We will not let the crimes and scandals of the hierarchy define our faith,” said Deborah Rose-Milavec, executive director of FutureChurch. “As Catholics, we will gather this weekend to witness for a Church that models justice, dignity for all people, and the safety of our children above all else.”

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Baltimore, MD: Sunday, September 9 @ 10am, The Baltimore Basilica, 320 Cathedral Street.

Cleveland, OH: Sunday, September 9 @ 10:30am, Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 1007 Superior Ave. E.

Denver, CO: Sunday, September 9 @ 10am, Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, 1530 Logan St.

Louisville, KY: Monday, September 10 @ 11:30am, Cathedral of the Assumption

Philadelphia, PA: Saturday, September 8 @ 2:45 – 4:30pm, Sister Cities Park

Rochester, NY: Saturday, September 8 @ 11am, SSJ Motherhouse, 150 French Road.

Seattle, WA:Saturday, September 8 @ 12 noon – 2pm, St. James Cathedral, 9thAve and Marion Street

Washington, D.C.: Sunday, September 9 @ 11am, Apostolic Nunciature, 3339 Massachusetts Avenue NW

To learn more and see information and pictures from local events go to: http://catholictoo.org/join-a-prayer-service-demonstration-in-your-area/

Additional demonstrations will take place the weekend of October 6 and 7th in:  Boston, MA; Dallas/Fort Worth, TX; Minneapolis, MN; and Richmond, VA.

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Sponsoring organizations:

Call To Action

DignityUSA

FutureChurch

New Ways Ministry

Quixote Center

RAPPORT (Renewing and Priestly People Ordination Reconsidered Today)

Roman Catholic Women Priests

Southeastern Pennsylvania Women’s Ordination Conference

Women’s Ordination Conference

  Contacts:

Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director, DignityUSA

617-669-7810 (mobile) execdir@dignityusa.org

Zach Johnson, Executive Director, Call to Action

773-988-2352, zach@cta-usa.org

Kate McElwee, Executive Director, Women’s Ordination Conference

607-725-1364 (USA), +39 393 692 2100 (Italy) kmcelwee@womensordination.org

Deborah Rose-Milavec, Executive Director, FutureChurch

(mobile) 513-673-1401, (office) 216-228-0869 debrose@futurechurch.org

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Daily Dispatch 8/25/18

A new series in which we (will aspire to) offer a sampling of today’s headlines on immigration, race, and related stories.

August 25, 2018

Saturday Edition

 

Top Story:

Trump administration officials are meeting weekly at CBP headquarters in DC to draft new plans for separating families and/or detaining them indefinitely – but in a way that avoids the recent PR disaster at the border. “We need to be smarter if we want to implement something on this scale,” is the attitude of officials, implying that it was not the policy itself but the incompetence of the roll-out that caused the public backlash. Because these are preliminary, officials have been instructed to disregard current laws and protections (yikes) as they develop proposals. Asked if the negative public reaction to this summer’s round of family separations surprised them, one current official said:

“The expectation was that the kids would go to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, that the parents would get deported, and that no one would care” (… yikes).

 

The Churches:

A New Yorker profile of a Pakistani family offered sanctuary in a Connecticut church, living in the church basement for 159 days now in an effort to avoid deportation.

TIME profiles Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Humanitarian Respite Center, an organization in McAllen Texas that helps asylum families that have been released from ICE detention centers.

 

The Courts:

American Muslim woman files suit against CBP for seizing her iPhone and keeping it for 130 days without explanation.

Trump administration appeals Judge Sabraw’s injunction against family separation.

Emails reveal conflicts between federal agencies during intense debate over the terminations of Temporary Protected Status programs. The emails were obtained as part of a lawsuit to halt the termination of TPS for Nicaragua, Haiti, El Salvador, and Sudan.

 

The Policies:

A deeper dive on the proposed controversial rule-change that would expand the definition of “public charge” for determining eligibility of legal immigrants for citizenship.

 

The Talking Heads:

Bump corrects the record after FOX News host Tucker Carlson’s misleading rhetoric on immigration, crime, and federal prisons.

Conservatives have been quick to politicize the recent murder of an Iowa college student, with FOX News leading the charge. But even FOX’s own Geraldo Rivera is chastising the network for its coverage. “This is a murder story, not an immigration story,” Rivera demanded, adding “I’m begging you to have compassion and not brand this entire population by the deeds of this one person.”

 

 

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Daily Dispatch 8/20/2018

A new series in which we (will aspire to) offer a sampling of today’s headlines on immigration, race, and related stories.

August 20, 2018

An article in The Hill discusses the impact of Attorney General Session’s recent decisions to reopen 8,000 immigration cases, which had been administratively closed, on judicial independence.  

ICE, ICE Baby: Trump is planning an event to celebrate the “heroes” of Immigration Customs Enforcement amidst growing calls for the agency to be dismantled by some Democrats.

Highlighting the political dog-whistling underneath this celebration, hard-line immigration sheriff Richard Jones, of Butler County, Ohio has been invited as well – Butler once sent a bill to Mexico for immigration enforcement costs.

Meanwhile, some of the “heroes” of ICE, detained a man while he was driving his pregnant wife to the hospital. The detention was caught on video. Maria del Carmen was left to fend for herself. ICE later claimed the man was wanted in Mexico on homicide charges, but released no details. Arrona has been in the United States for over 10 years.

A new study shows that the lack of Congressional action on immigration reform is creating a host of state and local initiatives that are undermining federal authority. 

Relatedly, Gaurav Madan, a volunteer with Sanctuary DMV, writes in the Washington Post that, in light of recent ICE enforcement actions, the District of Columbia needs to step up its commitment to being a sanctuary city and push back against the narrative of criminality that is cast upon immigrants. Local organizers sent a letter to the mayor demanding a public hearing of the steps the city was going to take.

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Daily Dispatch 8/17/18

A new series in which we (will aspire to) offer a sampling of today’s headlines on immigration, race, and related stories.

August 17, 2018:

More than 9,000 families apprehended at the border last month despite Trump’s attempted “deterrents.”

A lengthy but informative piece from Sojourners on Central American asylum seekers.

Judge Sabraw of the Southern District of California halts family deportations indefinitely and hints at a court order allowing children to pursue asylum claims independent of their parents.

Federal lawsuit moves forward against ICE agent who forged a long-time resident’s signature on a voluntary deportation form, an act described by federal appeals court this week as an “egregious constitutional violation.”

AG Sessions tries to limit judicial discretion in order to speed up deportation process.

ICE lawyers reactivating previously closed deportation cases at twice the rate under Trump as under Obama.

ACLU and DOJ nearing agreement on plan to reunite families.

ACLU responds to Customs and Border Protection commissioner Kevin McAleenan’s recent interview with NYT – it’s all about PR. 

SDNY judge rules that head of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division must testify under oath in lawsuit challenging 2020 census citizenship question.

Court battle continues in Michigan over FOIA filings asking that University of Michigan allow access to 10 boxes of John Tanton’s archives. Tanton is founder of the Center for Immigration Studies and a life-long anti-immigration activist.  

Bipartisan Senate committee releases a report on the “oversight of the care of unaccompanied alien children” by Health and Human Services, stating that HHS and DHS “still do not take sufficient responsibility for guarding their safety and ensuring they appear at their immigration court proceedings.” But HHS’s Jonathan White says the agencies are not responsible for keeping tabs on kids once released to sponsors.

A poll of independent voters shows that, more than any other topic, independents see immigration as a partisan issue and the defining characteristic of GOP and Dems, viewing Democratic party as pro-immigration by a 62 point spread.

And, finally…

Of course they are: White House planning a special event: “Salute to the Heroes of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs [sic] Border Protection” to be held in the East Room on August 20.
Of course they do: Center for Immigration Studies applauds the planned event.

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Daily Dispatch 8/16/18

A new series in which we (will aspire to) offer a sampling of today’s headlines on immigration, race, and related stories.

August 16, 2018:

Americans donate frequent flier miles to migrant families separated under Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy.

This story of a Filipino family demonstrates the decades long effects of family separation.

California Senate will be debating a joint resolution today that will ask Trump and Congress to formally apologize to victims of family separation. Resolutions in Idaho are having a harder time getting passage.

UNICEF report indicates that families separated/deported by Trump will likely return to the U.S. because the situation they return to is made worse by efforts to flee. Here is more information and a link to the full UNICEF report, “Uprooted: Central America and Mexico.”

The Kaiser Family Foundation releases a study on toxic stress in immigrant families under the Trump administration.

A new study examines why so many DACA recipients are choosing not to renew their status.

Senators send a letter to DHS Sec asking the agency to crack down on privately operated detention centers using immigrants as forced labor. Several lawsuits are currently pending around the country against two of the largest contractors, GEO Group and CoreCivic, alleging human trafficking and other state and federal violations.

For viewers of Showtime’s The Affair (or other pop-culture aficionados), actress Catalina Sandino Moreno discusses her character’s complicated and timely immigration storyline in the series’ fourth season.

Continuing coverage of the Trump effort to denaturalize U.S. citizens through a new task force led by Frank Cissna, head of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

In addition to recently removing“ nation of immigrants” from the agency’s mission statement (see yesterday’s Daily Dispatch), USCIS’s Frank Cissna spoke yesterday at the Center for Immigration Studies – an SPLC designated hate group. I would suggest that the agency vet such groups before agreeing to appear, but, sadly, I’m guessing they did.  

Trump immigration goon Stephen Miller’s plan to expand the phrase “public charge” to include even the Earned Income Credit and to apply to all household members (including US citizens) is aimed at preventing legal immigrants from gaining citizenship, a policy shift that deviates from core conservative principles, says Raul Reyes.  

House Majority Leader and Trump supporter Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was confronted by protesters during talk at Public Policy Institute of California. After claiming that Trump will “solve immigration,” the protesters began chanting “where’s your heart?” – leading McCarthy to lament the elected officials who seek to sow division ( = irony?).

Speaking of discord and irony, Sarah Sanders avoided uncomfortable questions at yesterday’s WH briefing by making the shocking announcement that John Brennan has been stripped of his security clearances due to his “erratic conduct” and “sow[ing] division and chaos” (wow, the country was full of irony yesterday, wasn’t it) and because of Russia – though we all know, thanks to the July date on the August release, that the announcement was intended to distract media attention – and Trump! – from a losing battle with Omarosa Manigault Newman over his use of racial slurs and misogynistic language. This distraction effort is not helped, however, by his threats to go after Susan Rice next, nor by the release of this recording in which Trump suggests a “blacks against whites” season of The Apprentice, nor by his asking for AG Sessions to have Omarosa arrested!! (It’s getting worse…)

 

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  • 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)