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.”
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.
Those asylum seekers include Mahbubur Rahman, the leader of #FreedomGiving, the nationwide hunger strike that spanned nine detention centers last year and ended when an Alabama judge ordered one of the hunger strikers to be force fed.
Protesters are demanding action from Sen. Marco Rubio and “all elected officials who have contributed to the discrimination and violence” that plagues communities of color, according to a press release.
“Given the pain and the suffering immigrants have been facing with family separation—the minimum the president can do is stop deportations," said Tania Unzueta, policy and legal director at #Not1More, a campaign to stop anti-immigrant laws.
“We need to have a national conversation about racism, homophobia, and transphobia,” said Alan Pelaez Lopez, a member of the organization Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement. “If these things do not happen, the nation, by definition, will have done nothing to support our communities.”
Undocumented people can board commercial airlines for flights within the United States, but if they live outside of Washington, D.C. or the 12 states that provide undocumented people with IDs accepted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), they must obtain a foreign passport from their country of origin’s consulate.
"The individuals and their families impacted by this horrific tragedy aren’t getting any special treatment or cutting the line," said Immigration Equality Client Programs Director Pamela Denzer, "they are eligible for something that was already established many years ago.”
Recently, Porter spoke with Rewire about the inaccurate framing of abortion as a “moral” issue and the conditions that have created the current crisis facing providers and patients alike. Her film will air nationally on PBS’ Independent Lens Monday.
“This decision rightly puts a stop, for now, to an indefensible order that could have exposed tens of thousands of blameless youth to privacy and safety threats,” National Immigration Law Center Legal Director Karen Tumlin said.
“[The Obama administration] should not make a major piece of its immigration legacy the largest trend in locking up families since Japanese internment," said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership. "I think President Obama has the power to stop doing this and his administration should stop families from being locked up in for-profit prison camps.”
The same white supremacy that declared Black men and women to be hypersexual also subjected troubled or abused white girls to incarceration and state-sponsored sterilizations to make sure the teens did not pass on "bad" genes and "ruin the race."
In an emailed press release from Familia: TQLM (Trans Queer Liberation Movement), a spokesperson said, “the fight to end the ICE contract with the city of Santa Ana is not over. We will continue to organize and escalate.”
“Detention has to end because transgender women, globally, are in a crisis. We are being targeted, we are being murdered, we are being discriminated against and denied basic access and rights," said transgender activist Jennicet Gutiérrez. "Putting us in detention isn’t the solution to that."
“The targeting of refugee mothers and children is outrageous and diametrically opposed to our values as a nation," said Rep. Judy Chu. "To deport these individuals and tear apart families is inhumane."
From May 7 to May 15, events nationwide are encouraging participants to reimagine safety in Asian and Pacific Islander communities and to push back against any police presence at June LGBTQ Pride events, which advocates argue would create a safer space for trans and gender-nonconforming people, undocumented folks, and other vulnerable communities.
Grassroots Leadership, along with two mothers who are detained in Texas with their children, filed paperwork Tuesday seeking an injunction and restraining order after the Department of Family and Protective Services quietly granted Karnes—another family detention center—a child-care license on April 29.
To her immigration attorney, Nicole Ramos, M’s case is troubling because like many of her clients, M did exactly what she was supposed to do in accordance with U.S. law. But still, her rights were trampled on.
Some of the deported men, a bulk of whom are Muslim, are from the same group who participated in the #FreedomGiving hunger strike, a nationwide protest action that began the day before Thanksgiving at various detention centers nationwide.
Fahd Ahmed, executive director of Desis Rising Up and Moving, said the South Asian and Muslim populations being targeted for the "mass deportation" have “always suffered an elevated level of scrutiny, restriction, and obstacles” within the U.S. immigration system.
A new report from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Detention Watch Network, and the National Immigrant Justice Center shines a light on how 2009 immigration detention reforms have failed to quell in-custody deaths.
A lot has been written about how Texas' reproductive health-care restrictions codified into law in 2013 disproportionately hit low-income women of color and Latinas in particular. What's not been covered by the media, or covered enough, is how HB 2 affects undocumented people.
Immigration was a major focus during MSNBC and Telemundo’s Democratic town hall event in Las Vegas on Thursday, and those most affected by immigration policies were able to ask former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) some of the questions.
The timing of the task force's multi-city tour may seem unusual, given that it follows on the heels of federal immigration raids that advocates have called “unconstitutional," but the administration actually established the task force in November 2014.
Georgia is one of three states, along with Alabama and South Carolina, to institute an admissions ban against undocumented students in public higher education. On Monday, more than 30 students staged classroom sit-ins at the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
A new generation can now hear from some of the women coerced into sterilization at Los Angeles County General Hospital in the 1970s in the documentary No Más Bebés ("No More Babies"), airing on PBS tonight.
Organizations like the Women’s Refugee Commission seem to have conflicting feelings about President Obama’s new program, saying they’re pleased to see the administration recognize that Central Americans seeking safety in the United States is a refugee situation, but that the program does not negate the United States' other responsibilities.
The Supreme Court announced Tuesday it would hear United States v. Texas, the case challenging an executive action by the Obama administration designed to expand protections to millions of undocumented immigrants currently residing in the United States.
The raids seem to have started in the Atlanta area on January 2, according to immigration rights advocates, who report that “ICE agents barged into homes, even when asked for warrants at the door, removing mothers and children as young as four years old.”
It should concern us all that conservative candidates are conflating terrorism with immigration. This sort of rhetoric breeds hysteria that targets already vulnerable populations—not to mention it’s simply irresponsible and intellectually lazy.
Dozens of advocates gathered at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services on Wednesday for a public hearing regarding a proposed rule to license two family detention centers as child-care facilities.
When pressed for details about who of the nearly 90,000 Muslims who immigrate to the United States each year would be banned, Trump's campaign manager told the Associated Press the ban would apply to "everybody."
While there are systems in place in the United States that purport to help all women suffering from violence, what is rarely said is that these systems primarily benefit women who are citizens. Migrant women face multiple hurdles when it comes to accessing help, and U.S. immigration policies only put them in more danger.
Bob Libal of Grassroots Leadership said that the state didn't want to license detention centers as child-care facilities because there was an actual “emergency”; it sought to expedite the process and reduce the standards to meet the facilities' needs.
While Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has implemented policy changes to avoid detaining asylum seekers for long periods of time, immigrant rights advocates are raising concerns about their methods and the "false choices" the government has forced itself into.
A coalition of organizations on Wednesday launched what the Transgender Law Center is calling a “new immigrant leadership initiative” that seeks to build leadership and capacity within transgender immigrant communities.
More than two dozen events are being held across 17 different states this week in protest against, according to a press release from the organization Grassroots Leadership, "the unjust enforcement and deportations that have continued in the year since the President's immigration announcement."
A detainee participating in the weeks-long hunger strike at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, confirmed women are being transferred to other detention centers as punishment for participating in the strike, according to audio released Wednesday by Grassroots Leadership.
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