Austin, Texas - Last weekend, an activist from Austin was detained at the Austin airport by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) upon reentry to the U.S. after traveling abroad. They were held for about 3 hours and questioned about their political beliefs and associations and their protest activities. CBP also searched their phone and likely copied the entire contents of the phone for later analysis. We are releasing this statement to shed light on this aspect of government surveillance, harassment, and repression, and to provide important lessons for other activists to better protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities in the future. CBP is a large but seldom discussed federal law enforcement agency with broad powers at the border and ports of entry, including all international airports. The more notorious Border Patrol is a division within CBP, whereas ICE is a separate agency.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that we need to think about the problems of the climate crisis and borders together. Environmental breakdown displaces millions of people every year, while states respond by militarizing their borders, causing further suffering and death. It is no accident that climate breakdown and state borders are linked. Historically, the nation-state was born out of a logic that also saw nature – and colonized peoples – as things to be conquered and dominated. Now, from the war-torn border regions of South Asia to the Amazon rainforest, people are questioning whether sustainability can ever be achieved through the framework of nation-states. They are turning to other ways of organizing society based on Indigenous worldviews and practices that respect all humans and the rest of nature.
“Have you ever been arrested for a crime?” I wasn’t surprised that was the first question. I’ve said consistently over the past eight years that I wear my conviction for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program like a badge of honor. I said so on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and NBC’s Today Show. It’s no secret. “I’m going to tell you guys exactly the same thing that I tell your friends at Dulles Airport when they harass me. I’m represented by counsel. I don’t talk to cops. You have no right to detain me. I’m a journalist and I’m going to write about this incident using your true names. And you have no legal right to keep me from entering my own country.” Again they looked at each other. Finally, Oh said, “you’re free to go.”
A US citizen who participated in the Venezuelan Embassy Protection Collective was detained, searched and interrogated for the second time by US government agents about his political beliefs and participation in the anti-war movement. On his way back from a Christmas visit to his family in Nicaragua, 31-year-old US citizen Sergio Lazo Torrez was detained by Customs and Border Patrol officers.
We can’t reckon with the extreme inequalities and inherent injustices of immigration policy without an analysis of how borders, the state and capitalism function to create them. Current liberal immigration news is often centered on reducing current harm — resisting Trump’s “border wall” and expansion of concentration camps, advocating for immigration reform and countering attacks on the asylum process. All of these efforts are critical to preventing more unnecessary death and suffering and should not be dismissed. We need more of them.
My God, they put Jesus and his parents in cages, as though that’s what U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents would do — you know, keep the spirit of love and compassion from entering the United States of America. Are they suggesting there’s an equivalence here between the divine family and a bunch of illegals . . . drug dealers, rapists, possible killers of American citizens? The Claremont (California) United Methodist Church has tossed a shock bomb into the season of wreaths and holiday shopping.
One year ago this week, as families across the country were preparing to sit down together for a Thanksgiving (or Day of Mourning) meal, families at the U.S.-Mexico border were facing a potentially deadly threat; just one day prior, Donald Trump had authorized U.S. troops to use lethal force against migrants and asylum seekers. Since then, the militarization of the southern border has only intensified. Approximately 7,000 military service members are now stationed there, operating under continued unclear rules of engagement and nebulous legal authority to surveil, detain, and even kill.
Federal court jurors in Tucson drew a line between harboring and help on Wednesday, when they acquitted border aid worker Scott Warren on felony charges for the assistance he gave to two Central American men last year. The not guilty verdict came after just 2.5 hours of deliberation, and it was greeted with cheering, laughter and tears from Warren’s supporters and fellow aid workers, including a contingent of clergy members from across the country. “The government failed in its attempt to criminalize basic human kindness,” Warren told the crowd outside the downtown courthouse after it was over.
The southern border region is a place of hope and opportunity, where more than 15 million people live in peace and harmony with our southern neighbors, and work hard to provide for our families, just like countless communities across the country. But our states have been subjected to decades of deadly border policies that have torn apart the very fabric of our communities. As leaders of environmental and human rights groups based in the southern border states, we are calling on Congress to reject the profit-driven, dangerous push for endless border militarization.
BOSTON—In a major victory for privacy rights at the border, a federal court in Boston ruled today that suspicionless searches of travelers’ electronic devices by federal agents at airports and other U.S. ports of entry are unconstitutional. The ruling came in a lawsuit, Alasaad v. McAleenan, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and ACLU of Massachusetts, on behalf of 11 travelers whose smartphones and laptops were searched without individualized suspicion at U.S. ports of entry.
International accompaniers must work to undo the power dynamics they rely on to increase the safety of their local partners and learn when to say "no." There is only one migrant shelter in Agua Prieta, a town on the south side of the United States’ border with Mexico. The Centro de Atención al Migrante “Exodus,” or CAME, has offered hospitality to migrants for the past 19 years. With a shift in patterns of migration that led hundreds of asylum-seeking families to Agua Prieta in the first months of 2019, CAME has housed over 150 people at a time in a space built for 50 people — with a wait list of nearly 500 more.
Criminal misconduct by US border officers has reached a five-year high, according to an internal US government report obtained exclusively by Quartz. The offenses range from fraud to capital murder. The 68-page document covers disciplinary actions within US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the US Border Patrol for the federal government’s 2018 fiscal year, which ended Oct. 1, 2018. The unredacted data provides the most comprehensive look yet at the agency’s disciplinary apparatus.
EARLIER THIS MONTH, Ben Watson, a news editor for Defense One, an Atlantic Media site, found himself the subject of an uncomfortable interview. He was held up at passport control in Dulles International Airport by a Customs and Border Protection officer, who repeatedly asked him, “You write propaganda, right?” Watson was allowed to pass only after he agreed. (He has since filed a civil rights complaint with the Department of Homeland Security.) It was a notable display of hostility by a government agent toward an American journalist—and an act that is becoming increasingly common.
The Trump Administration Will Start Sending Most Immigrant Families Arrested At The Border Back To Mexico
DHS says it marks the end of “catch and release.” Starting next week, the Trump administration will begin sending most immigrant families arrested along the southern border back to Mexico to await their immigration court hearings. This policy is being presented as an alternative to detaining asylum seekers indefinitely but it raises concerns about the safety of the people involved. The policy change signals a significant expansion of the administration’s program requiring immigrants who fear persecution and are claiming asylum to wait in Mexico until their cases can be heard.
The most successful of Trump’s anti-immigrant measures up until now — and possibly the most vicious — hasn’t been getting the attention it deserves. In operation since late January, Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), originally called “Remain in Mexico,” allows the U.S. government to push most non-Mexican asylum seekers into Mexico once immigration officials have cleared them to make an asylum claim. As of early September, the number of people forced into Mexico under MPP had reportedly risen to more than 42,000. Immigration authorities say that these migrants are able to pursue their asylum cases while waiting in Mexico, but this is nonsense.