Today Walter Lara was granted a one year stay of his deportation.
Tell Secretary Napolitano thank you for exercising her discretion and recognizing the value of students like Walter. Click here to THANK her. The Secretary has acted now it’s up to Congress to act to make the DREAM Act the law of the land.
Walter will deliver the thank you letter to the Department of Homeland Security and you can show your support for Secretary Napolitano and the DREAM Act by co-signing today.
Just how broken is our immigration system? This broken…
From the AP:
Relatives say immigration officials are trying to deport a dead man.
They contend Nasin Mauricio Rivera died last August, but a deportation hearing against the native Salvadoran is still set for a hearing scheduled this summer.
His former wife, Blanca Ramirez, says Rivera is already in El Salvador — his body was shipped back home for burial.
Rivera’s attorney Alberto Lopez says he presented a copy of Rivera’s death certificate, but officials told him it was insufficient proof that Rivera was indeed dead.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice says a certified copy of the death certificate is usually enough, but the agency is responsible for ensuring “the integrity of the process.”
Excellent post from Peter Rachleff on ZNet.
In April 2006, hundreds of thousands of immigrant rights protestors marched in cities across the United States. They countered prolonged debates about the pros and cons of comprehensive immigration reform with a short but sweet affirmation, scrawled on placards: “No Human Being Is Illegal.” Their direct assertion challenged the deeply entrenched practices of our government and a deep wellspring of racism in our culture. Their actions also evoked traditions of protest, organization, and resistance.
Since the days of slavery – well before the establishment of the United States itself – the government, buttressed by popular culture, included some residents as citizens and excluded others as outsiders, as what historian Mae Ngai has called “impossible subjects.” Not only were slaves defined as outside the political and social community, but freed slaves and their children were typically excluded from citizenship. The federal constitution counted slaves as three-fifths of a person. The Naturalization Act of 1790 offered citizenship to “free white persons.” The Alien Act of 1798 authorized the president to order the deportation of any alien “dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States” during peacetime. Once the government began to regulate immigration, argues Professor Ngai, it had begun to create the “illegal” alien.
Race was the central criterion by which such decisions would be made, and thinking about race was shaped by popular prejudices, beliefs, and passions. A dual process cast the racially different as “other,” while securing a place on the inside for all of those accorded “white” status. The outsiders were vulnerable to the worst forms of economic exploitation, from slavery and servitude to sweatshops, in the most dangerous conditions at the lowest wages. Yet they enriched their employers. Just a step above these outsiders on the economic ladder, from their own position of insecurity, simultaneously threatened by the wealth and power of those above them and the lack of power manifested by those below them on the socio-economic ladder, working class whites struggled to hold on to what status and privilege they had. They practiced discrimination and even mob justice at times, and they sought laws, court orders, and enforcement from the state to shield them from competition with the outsiders. And hence a pattern took shape which would be seared into the American body politic. When insecurity spread among working class whites and popular discontent threatened to swell, the elite and the state responded by scapegoating and exorcising “the other,” both people of color and immigrants.
This pattern has dominated our society since its founding to the present day.
Keep reading – you won’t be disappointed…
Our government’s current “enforcement only” policy towards immigration continues detain and deport immigrants across the country. The system used in this policy, however, is extremely secretive. Practices include: blacking out windows on buses transporting immigrants, denying due process during legal proceedings and forbidding families from contact with their detained loved ones. In short, the system is ripe for widespread abuse.
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) has released a video called “A Hidden System”. Our immigration policy is broken and people are suffering abuse and injustice as a result.
From New York’s Daily News, another story of a family separated by our broken immigration system.
Eleven-year-old Fanta Fofana spoke barely above a whisper as she described the day immigration officers burst into her Bronx apartment and took her dad.
“I was sleeping with my sisters and my cousins,” Fanta said, her eyes downcast. “The police came and took my father away from my family. I was born here and I can’t believe my country would do this to me.”
Fanta said she has spoken to her dad, Senegalese national Sory Fofana, 47, many times since his deportation last November. He tells her not to worry and that he’ll come back soon, she said.
Click here to read the full article.
From the Sanctuary today, a powerful post that speaks to the humanity of us all.
What follows are seven news stories, all from different places and times. Some happened only weeks ago … some years. Some are well known … others obscure. But a common thread runs through them all.
Click here to read the seven stories, from the original post on the Sanctuary.
From Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez dying from a lack of water, to Francisco Castaneda of neglect and cancer, to Luz Dominguez losing a job for having the audacity to ask for fair wages and treatment, to Adriana Torres-Flores left in a holding cell for days without food and water… they share a common thread that binds them.
They are part of the silent and forgotten, living in the shadows, unprotected by laws and regulations most take for granted. It matters not if they toiled in fields to put food on our tables, supplied the weapons of war, or cleaned the rooms we sleep in. Nor does it matter if they ran afoul of the law … they share a common thread that binds them.
They are the other.
They are those who go unseen even in the light of day.
We don’t want to know their names or their stories. We don’t want to hear of their suffering, or know about their dreams and aspirations. We don’t want to have to look them in the eye and see their humanity.
Because if we did for only just one moment, then we might be forced to see not only them …but us …for what we really are.
So hide your eyes, walk quickly as you pass. Don’t acknowledge their presence.
Don’t look at the mother holding her child and see the love between them. Don’t admire the workers, laboring to supply the goods and services on which you rely, for their industriousness. Don’t stop for a moment to smile or even nod a quick hello.
Because if you did, for only just one a moment, you might be forced to see …. the common thread that binds us.
A headline in the San Francisco Chronicle screams, 900 Nabbed in State on Immigration Charges. The Seattle Times reports, Feds Combing Jails for Illegal Immigrants. An AP article declares, Immigration Raid in Iowa Largest Ever in US and reports 390 arrests. In 2007, more than 276,912 US residents were deported. Thanks to a recent Bush Administration crackdown, the net cast by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) is wide–so wide, it turns out, that some of those being deported are US citizens.
Is ICE an efficient law enforcement agency? Or, in the words of Robert, 38, a US citizen twice deported to Mexico, is ICE “just throwing us out for nothing”?
Consider what happened to Peter Guzman. Last year Guzman, a US citizen born in Los Angeles in 1977, drove onto the tarmac of a regional airport in his hometown of Lancaster, about eighty miles northeast of Los Angeles, boarded a charter plane without a ticket and refused to get off. Guzman was arrested and sentenced, and served forty-one days in a Los Angeles County jail. According to his lawyer, Mark Rosenbaum of the Southern California ACLU, Guzman was excited about being released in time for his brother’s July wedding in Las Vegas. “It was a big deal to Peter. He was going to be the best man.” It never occurred to Guzman that in July he’d be eating garbage and bathing in the Tijuana River.
But on May 11, 2007, he called his family and said he’d been deported. According to the ACLU lawsuit, before his sister-in-law could find out exactly where he was and give him instructions, the line was cut. She overheard him ask, “Where am I?”
Read the full article here.
Over 30,000 people are housed within detention centers across the United States and last year, over 276,000 immigrants were deported.
Since the American government has failed to comprehensively reform the failed immigration system, it has placed pressure on ICE to ramp up its deportation activities. This is being played out in the rash of recent raids terrorizing communities.
Among the many prisons where immigrant families are housed is the T. Don Hutto “residential center”. Many families (including women, children and infants) are subjected to inhumane conditions during detention. Check out this video from The Real News Network detailing detention and its impact thousands of families and their loved ones.