Tina Vasquez is the immigration reporter at Rewire. Previously, she was a freelance writer and editor with almost ten years of experience, focusing on intersectional feminism, racial justice, and immigration. She is the former associate editor at Black Girl Dangerous and she has contributed to the Guardian, Truthout, Jezebel, Bitch Magazine, and Al Jazeera. She is a 2014 VONA/Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation alumna and the winner of the Media Consortium’s 2015 Impact Award for her story “It’s Time to End the Long History of Feminism Failing Transgender Women.”
“At a time when migration from Mexico has been at zero ... and border communities are already experiencing militarization with little accountability and oversight, the question that begs to be asked is why do we need more resources at the border?”
For the past eight years, Minerva Cisneros Garcia has checked in regularly with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But on April 23 everything changed for the North Carolina mother, who is being forced to leave her home of 17 years by bus on June 28.
Opal Tometi, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, called on the administration to "alter its perception of black immigrants as criminals and instead implement long term programs that allow immigrant families to live and thrive in the United States.”
Nearly 2,000 people reportedly attended an event in Orlando where community leaders called for not only an extension of Haitians' temporary protected status, but also an extension of asylum protections to Haiti.
“The Muslim community’s feelings of fear and anxiety ... under Trump are symptoms [that] can be alleviated with beautiful gestures, like sending cards, but to fix the real problem ... we must directly combat Islamophobia, xenophobia, and racism,” said Aneelah Afzali of the Muslim Association of Puget Sound.
"It is liberating for us, as undocumented people, to tell these stories and insist on the complexity of this issue, to make people understand the complexity of this issue," Vargas told Rewire in a recent interview.
“While many officials champion their status as ‘sanctuary cities’ and have taken meaningful steps to protect immigrant communities, sweeping criminal laws in these places leave many immigrants trapped within an arm’s reach of deportation.”
“With things how they are now, I feel very hated. Like my family is hated, like we are not wanted here,” said Lilly, an undocumented person at Monday's march. “Today reminded me that’s not true. That there are people who love us and are in solidarity with us.
The ruling means the government can’t block federal funds from going to sanctuary cities, but the government is not blocked from enforcing conditions on federal grants or from creating a definition of sanctuary jurisdictions.
"The longer you’re undocumented, the more stigma there is. It’s like you’re ‘too undocumented’ for health care; you can’t afford it—not the time off, not the time away from earning, none of it,” Concepcion, an immigrant woman from Chicago, told Rewire.
“Like the three-quarters of a million Dreamers in this country, Daniel was brought to the United States as a child and knows no other home,” said Mark Rosenbaum, a member of Daniel Ramirez Medina’s legal team. “This is an important first step toward justice for Daniel.”
Under Trump’s January 25 executive order, noncitizens who are not green card holders can be subjected to having their names and personal information released and shared without their knowledge or consent.
“President Trump lacks the constitutional authority to broadly cut off funding to states and cities just because they have lawfully acted to protect immigrant families,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.
"It's our stance that this report appears to be a weekly attempt to shame jurisdictions that are refusing to break the law on ICE’s behalf. Asking us to hold people longer than we should is unconstitutional," said Chris Barringer, the chief of staff for Washington's King County Sheriff's Office.
President Trump's publicizing of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants has drawn comparisons to the "black crime" section on white nationalist site Breitbart News, created in response to the Movement for Black Lives.
“This administration appears to be more interested in lining the coffers of its friends at private prison corporations than promoting common sense policies that would reduce the incarcerated population and close troubled prisons,” said Bob Libal, Grassroots Leadership’s executive director.
Considering the disastrous consequences driver's license checkpoints can have for undocumented immigrants—and the recent moves on immigration by the Trump administration—Durham resident Brian Callaway told Rewire the checkpoint was cause for concern.
In this environment, mass detainment—particularly of groups previously protected from deportation, including mothers, vulnerable transgender domestic violence survivors, and DACA recipients—becomes justifiable.
While today’s strike is in direct response to President Trump’s anti-immigrant executive orders and last week’s immigration sweeps that resulted in the detainment of nearly 700 undocumented people nationwide, this isn’t the first Day Without Immigrants.
The low-wage, often no-benefits work common in the food-service industry compromises laborers' ability to plan or provide for their families, get abortion care, and afford other health services. It's especially difficult for undocumented immigrant workers to advocate for their rights.
“Something feels very different and all I can say is that prior to this administration, I don’t ever remember receiving scared phone calls about bus stop raids, or ICE knocking down someone’s door to find someone and then targeting everyone else," said Victor Del Pino, a criminal defense attorney who practices immigration law.
Durham social studies teacher Tracey Barrett recalled to Rewire that a tenth-grade student once told her, “I know Donald Trump is racist against all Mexicans, but it really feels like he personally hates me.”
An official from a union representing U.S. Border Patrol agents suggested the union, which backed President Trump's 2016 campaign, should be credited with the president's executive orders banning travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
Advocates are increasingly concerned about how federal immigration agencies, staffed by anti-immigrant leaders faithfully devoted to Trump, will respond to judicial and legislative attempts to block the president’s executive orders.
Before the Winston-Salem Journal published a five-part series on North Carolina’s eugenics program in 2002, few had ever heard of the issue of coerced sterilization in the state, even though it was hiding in plain sight.
“Now that people feel like it’s OK to be proud of being racist [because of Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail], I think [Border Patrol] agents will be more openly racist,” said Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights. “We will see an increased level of mistreatment and misconduct by Border Patrol agents—and there’s no way to stop it."
Trump is also expected to unveil plans for a temporary refugee ban and the expansion of the detention system for undocumented immigrants. In a press conference, he said: "A nation without borders is not a nation. Beginning today, the United States gets back its borders."
From a flawed database that identified dozens of toddlers as gang members to an application process designed to provide deportation relief to young migrants, here are the systems that could hasten mass deportation efforts if used against immigrant communities.
Made during a December 5 meeting between the team and DHS officials, the request was for information on President Obama's executive orders on immigration sent to agents, “all assets available for border wall and barrier construction,” and DHS’ capacity to expand detention.
Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America is about Serrano coming of age and to terms with his multiple identities as a gay, undocumented Mexican immigrant who grew up in Yadkin County, a rural farming community in North Carolina.
Accusations of being anti-immigrant, racist, and xenophobic have trailed Arpaio throughout his six terms as sheriff, before losing his seat to retired Phoenix police sergeant Paul Penzone in November's election.
A new report highlighting the "crisis of disappearance" in U.S. borderlands says it "is not a natural or inevitable phenomenon but rather is a direct consequence of US border-enforcement policies and practices. This deadly process has ripped holes in families and communities that will last for generations."
In a recent interview with Rewire, the actress discussed her new book and her decision to come forward about her mixed-status family. "Since sharing my story, I have met many people who have thanked me because they also realize they are not alone," Guerrero said. "We are a community that supports one another. And now, more than ever, we have to stick together."
Both the Second and Ninth Circuit courts determined, in separate cases, that immigrants must receive a bond hearing within or after six months of detention, respectively, but the Obama administration has continued to fight the issue.
Since the election, mayors from across the country have stepped forward to reassure undocumented immigrants that they are safe in their cities. An existing ICE program, however, means that may not necessarily be the case.
"If we just continue to mourn without action, we will continue to die at epidemic rates. We have been taking action, but this project is a way to raise awareness about all of the ways we’ve been fighting for our communities,” said artist Wriply Bennet.
Local activists, including the Bazta Arpaio campaign, held community canvassing events and voter registration drives leading up to Election Day in an effort to unseat Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
In a phone interview, Danny Cendejas, the organizing director at Detention Watch Network, told Rewire that uplifting the voices of those most affected by the detention system is of prime importance during the Day of the Dead National Actions, which is why people who have been detained are speaking at events across the country.
“We’re getting international eyes on what’s happening in the United States. It pressures our government to justify how it can continue detaining mothers and children," said Erika Almiron, director of immigrant rights organization Juntos.
The charge came as no surprise. Prosecutors with the U.S. Department of Justice vowed to prosecute Arpaio on October 11, but it became official yesterday when U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton signed the misdemeanor count.
Of the 524,014 naturalization applications pending nationally, the National Partnership for New Americans estimates that 117,112 potential citizens live in “disenfranchisement danger zones,” meaning they are at the highest risk of disenfranchisement this November, because they live in states that have seen more than 50 percent growth in application piles over the last year.
“We really hope people come to understand that these migrants are not just people going to the U.S. or Mexico in search of work; these are people fleeing for their lives and seeking protection," said Maureen Meyer, senior associate for Mexico at the Washington Office of Latin America and a co-author of the report.
“Immigrant communities, Black communities, Black immigrant communities—they’re all overpoliced. What’s needed is resources going into services that actually make communities healthier and safer," Carl Lipscombe of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration told Rewire in an interview.
Advocates want DHS to end immigrant detention center private contracts because for-profit prison companies “lobby for and profit from racist laws and policies that target Black communities, which are disproportionately represented in immigration detention centers they operate."
Advocates told Rewire that it “obviously makes more sense” financially and otherwise to release the teen than to spend more than a hundred dollars a day keeping him detained, but that they anticipated this would be “a fight” with immigration agencies.
The teens were picked up in January raids as part of Operation Border Guardian, an immigration enforcement policy primarily targeting Central American migrants over the age of 18 who came to the United States as unaccompanied children after January 2014.
“We want President Obama, in the little time he has left, to hear us. We want to let him know of the contributions of immigrants. They treat us like criminals, but we are not criminals,” said Adriana Cazorla, a participant in Friday's action.
The idea, an organizer said, is to help the mostly white, mostly affluent people in parts of D.C. acknowledge the racist and Islamophobic policing Black and brown communities have been subjected to for the past decade and a half.
Amid news of widespread rashes and hair loss, advocates interviewed by Rewire are reporting that Flint’s undocumented communities continue to go without access to testing and treatment for lead poisoning.
Private prisons last year increased their share of the immigrant detention industry after the implementation of the “detention bed quota,” which guaranteed 34,000 immigrants would be detained at any given time.
ICE has not stated publicly whether the arrests of teens under Operation Border Guardian will continue, but there is anecdotal evidence suggesting the operation has caused considerable damage in the communities of those placed into detention, noticeable by teachers and students alike.
These processing centers have been found to be unsuitable for overnight detention, as they do not have beds. The centers “are extremely cold, frequently overcrowded, and routinely lack adequate food, water, and medical care," according to a 2015 report from the American Immigration Council.
“This is the first time that a federal agency issued a sweeping—and long overdue—rebuke to the private prison industry. It is time to take a hard look at the outsized role of incarceration in American society, which has shattered lives and communities across the country,” said Silky Shah, co-director of Detention Watch Network.
The hunger strikers at the Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania are responding to recent comments made by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in which he said the average length of stay in family detention is 20 days. The women say they've been in detention with their children between 270 and 365 days.
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