Amid renewed fear mongering about an “invasion” at the U.S.-Mexico border, this week’s 175th anniversary of the 1846–1848 war the U.S. government instigated with Mexico is a reminder that throughout U.S. history, invasions have gone almost exclusively from north to south, not vice versa. A near-continuous series of invasions—military, political, and economic—moving from north to south has helped produce the poverty, violence, and insecurity driving people to migrate from south to north. The current humanitarian crisis at the border, with record numbers of unaccompanied minors desperately fleeing violence, insecurity and poverty, reveals the consequences of an interventionist policy that’s even older than the U.S.-Mexico war.
Much of the public discussion of our southern border today is one-sided. It is most often created by those with the most power and the loudest bullhorn; those in search of power, authority and money. So, it should come as no surprise to you that much of what we have been told about the border and of those who come to it are either not true or are highly exaggerated. It is after all the result of nearly a hundred years worth of the Border Patrol’s racist rhetoric and racist politicians creating ever more unfair and biased laws and policies. Many of which have little to do with creating an immigration system and more about scapegoating migrants for political and racist purposes while trying to make money off it. For more on this history, please take a look at this recent amicus brief on the history of our immigration laws.
We are torn by images of unaccompanied minors and overcrowded facilities at our southern border, but few in the United States are asking why so many Central American families are so desperate to escape their own countries that they are willing to risk everything — including family separation. These migrants are not fleeing some Act of God — drought or hurricanes or the like — that could not be anticipated or prevented. Rather, they are fleeing cartel violence and governmental corruption. As CNN recently noted, “poverty, crime, and corruption in Latin America have long been drivers of migration.” Indeed, many Central Americans have concluded that the risks of the journey, of the smugglers, and of the possibility of losing their children are outweighed by the near certainty of violence or death at home.
Joe Biden entered the White House with some inspiring yet contradictory positions on immigration and Central America. He promised to reverse Donald Trump’s draconian anti-immigrant policies while, through his “Plan to Build Security and Prosperity in Partnership with the People of Central America,” restoring “U.S. leadership in the region” that he claimed Trump had abandoned. For Central Americans, though, such “leadership” has an ominous ring. Although the second half of his plan’s name does, in fact, echo that of left-wing, grassroots organizations like the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), its content highlights a version of security and prosperity in that region that’s more Cold War-like than CISPES-like. Instead of solidarity (or even partnership) with Central America, Biden’s plan actually...
The images of kids in cages will be one the more enduring legacies of the Trump administration. However, it is also the case that Democrat and Republican administrations both contributed to the militarization of the border and amped up deportation mechanisms of the state for the last several decades. While, for example, former President Obama is widely known as the “deporter in chief” for deporting 3 million undocumented persons, there is a false sense among many that former President Trump and his administration is solely responsible for migration injustices. Part of this has to do with branding and image: Obama as the “cool” president, and Trump as the “tell-it-like-it-is-racist” president. But mostly, it has to do with the perception that Democrats and Republicans differ more than they actually do on policy, especially on defense, security and surveillance.
File it in the rapidly-brimming "biggest-stories-of-2020-you-haven’t-heard-about" folder. Amidst the madness merger of pandemic and protests – both of which Trump’s minions have blamed on China – there’s been scant attention paid to a brewing conflict between two of the world’s nine nuclear-armed powers (accounting for some 430 warheads between them). One is a rather flighty proxy – India – that Washington has long pursued with the oft-hopeless passion of a smitten suitor. The other, an "enemy" of "freedom," America, and apple pie everywhere: a Chinese dragon to whom new cold war enthusiasts – no doubt with visions of (defense contract) dollar signs dancing in their heads – have ascribed near preternatural ability and ambition.
Customs and Border Protection is in the news with the recent article in the New York Times on the lowered morale among CBP officers. Much of it stems from public opposition to the detention and separation of families and mistreatment of adults and children, whether it be crowded cells with unsanitary conditions and inadequate food or sexual and physical abuse of children and deaths. Immigrant detention is being compared to concentration camps. We speak with Jenn Budd, a former CBP officer turned whistleblower, who speaks about the reality of CBP from the inadequate training to the compromising and corruption of officers, from the misogyny to the racism and what happens to officers who speak out. Budd describes the dysfunctional culture of the CBP in detail and shares her wisdom on whether or not CBP should continue to exist.
The Pentagon released a statement on Wednesday saying it has authorized $3.6 billion in military construction funds to help fund 175 miles of Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall. This money was originally allocated for roughly 127 Defense Department projects, which included schools and daycare centers for military families. “The wall is being built. It’s going up rapidly. And we think by the end of next year, which will be sometime right after the election actually, but we think we’re going to have close to 500 miles of wall, which will be complete,” claims Trump.
A pair of college professors have built pink seesaws to place across the U.S.-Mexico border in order for people “on both sides” to create a connection with each other. Ronald Rael of the University of California, Berkeley, and Virginia San Fratello of San José State University — who designed the initial fulcrums in 2009 — teamed up to create the fluorescent pink seesaws. Rael posted photos and a video of kids swinging up and down on the toys on both sides of the border wall in an event he said generated “joy, excitement and togetherness” at the divide.
This week we wrote about the need to transform US immigration policy beginning with closing the immigrant detention camps in Stop Immigrant Arrests, Close The Camps, Transform Immigration Policy. We are calling on all people of conscience to shut down the concentration camps on the US-Mexico border through any nonviolent means necessary. From Abolitionism to Standing Rock, Americans have come together time and again to defy horrific injustice. Now, as the government tries to normalize concentration camps, it is time like never before to target those responsible.
A publishing company in New Brunswick, Canada, has terminated its contract with cartoonist Michael de Adder after a drawing he did of President Donald Trump standing over the bodies of two drowned migrants went viral on social media. The drawing, which was posted on de Adder's Twitter account on June 26, shows Trump standing beside a golf cart, golf club in hand, looking down at the bodies of a father and daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande while trying to cross from Mexico into Texas. Trump asks, "Do you mind if I play through?"
It was just before 3 p.m. on a recent Tuesday and Magistrate Judge Barbara L. Major of the Southern District of California had been waiting all afternoon to arraign 37 people arrested for illegally entering the country. The arrests followed the Trump administration’s enactment of a new “zero-tolerance” policy, under which anyone caught crossing the border illegally—even first-time offenders—would be federally prosecuted for a misdemeanor and face a possible six months in prison. But the defendants never appeared in the San Diego courthouse that day.
Donald Trump, head of a political party whose symbol is an elephant, accuses Mexico of taking advantage of the United States for decades, allowing an “invasion” of people and drugs, and he says there is nothing to talk about with his Mexican counterparts unless they fulfill his orders. This is nothing but the same storyline he used for his presidential campaign and which seems to work for his internal political electoral purposes. This has nothing to do with facts, data and reasons about one the most complex bilateral relations in the world.
A look at the worsening emergency in the borderlands – hint: the migrants aren't the ones creating the emergency. Next up, they say dissent is patriotic – but they clearly haven't met the 'Muricans pushing hardcore totalitarian legislation that criminalizes protest. And finally, we speak with a doctor from Physicians for Reproductive Health about the recent escalation in anti-reproductive rights legislation.
Armed right-wing militias have been systematically detaining asylum-seekers at gunpoint along the US-Mexico border in operations that are apparently coordinated with the federal Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agency. The role of one particular group in detaining immigrants, the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP), came to light this week after the group uploaded several videos on social media, showing its members masked, dressed in camouflage, heavily armed and walking with dogs as they “patrolled” the border and corralled several hundred asylum seekers in Sunland Park, New Mexico, just outside El Paso, Texas.