On the morning of October 16, counter-terror police in Glasgow Airport detained journalist, whistleblower, human rights campaigner, and former British diplomat Craig Murray upon his return from Iceland. After grilling him intensively about his political beliefs, officers seized Murray’s phone and laptop. Murray, a proud Scottish nationalist, flew back to Glasgow after several days in Reykjavik, where he attended a popular Palestine solidarity event, and also met with high-ranking representatives of the Assange Campaign, which raises awareness about the plight of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Last weekend, hundreds of people detained at the Stewart Detention Center announced plans for a hunger strike in response to inedible food and inhumane conditions inside the notorious Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in rural southwest Georgia. Though detainees have continued to eat while they negotiate with the facility’s staff, as many as 800 people are set to refuse food starting this week if their demands are not met. On the morning of Saturday, Aug. 26, roughly 300 people held inside the Stewart Detention Center were brought out of their holding cells for their morning meal.
Previously confidential records from within the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) confirm years of inadequate medical care, extensive use of solitary confinement, mistreatment of transgender individuals, shortcomings in rape and sexual assault prevention and response, inaccessible services, and other problems disclosed by people detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is making dozens of these reports public after a nearly five-year Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) legal battle ended with a judge ordering the department to release the records.
At two Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers in California’s Central Valley, a cycle of resistance and retaliation has been intensifying over the past three years. Detainees at the facilities, which are operated by for-profit prison company GEO Group, have organized against abysmal conditions, prompting detention center authorities to respond with increasing levels of punitive action. A motion was filed with the Eastern District Court of California on May 18 as part of an ongoing class-action lawsuit against GEO pertaining to the facilities. The filing marked a major escalation in a multipronged campaign being waged by current and former detainees, and outside advocates, to hold ICE and GEO accountable for their mistreatment.
Across Florida, protests are taking place to mark the beginning of an immigrant labor stoppage that is scheduled to last until at least July 3rd. Large crowds are being reported in Orlando, Tampa, and various areas in South Florida and as far away as Chicago and California. As SB 1718 goes into effect, the anger and economic concerns felt by many across the state forced Republican legislators to backpedal earlier this week. (See more about the new law in our last report.) Despite spin from elected state officials claiming the law “has no teeth,” thousands of undocumented immigrants and mixed-status families have already fled the state, leaving job sites and agricultural fields nearly empty.
Around 500 Palestinians currently incarcerated in Israel under the illegal policy of administrative detention have been boycotting Israeli military courts to protest their detention since January 1. The detainees have since refused to appear for court hearings and sessions regarding the approval or renewal of their administrative detention orders. They are also boycotting appeal hearings, including those in higher courts. According to Palestinian prisoners’ rights groups, among those participating in the boycott are three minors and one woman. All of them are being detained without charge or trial by the Israeli authorities. Detainees in several prisons and detention centers in Israel launched this novel form of protest against the illegal administrative detention policy on January 1.
Steve Sweeney, the international editor of the British socialist newspaper, was detained in Mexico City on Friday as he traveled to Nicaragua to cover the presidential election being held today. Sweeney is anti-imperialist and a founder of Media Workers for Palestine. His detention follows a multi-platform social media ban on independent journalists, activists and websites in Nicaragua, as detailed by Ben Norton of The Grayzone. There is also a corporate media disinformation campaign targeting Nicaragua and the current election. Sweeney's detention must be viewed in this context as an effort to prevent readers in the United Kingdom from having access to factual reporting.
The Biden-Harris administration is opening multiple detention camps to warehouse migrant kids. Thousands of unaccompanied children will go to military barracks at Fort Bliss, as the president seemed proud to announce to the press. The McAllen border patrol outpost where the Trump administration infamously separated families is currently closed—but not forever. For renovations. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has custody of 11,800 minors, at more than 100 sites nationwide. HHS receives children from the Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a component of the Department of Homeland Security. The HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement quarantines unaccompanied minors, and then holds these kids until they turn 18 or are deported, unless relatives or other sponsors can be found to house them for the duration of their immigration court cases.
It’s no surprise that there are claims of a new crisis on our border. A new year, a new administration, new policies in regard to who can cross and how they are processed will always bring a crisis claim from one side or the other. Depending on which side you are on politically often determines how you feel about migrants coming to our country. Conservatives usually feel we allow too many migrants to enter; liberals believe we should allow more. That is a generalized statement of course. There are all sorts of nuances about our immigration policies and what we believe to be the best course of action. In my activism, I have come across few who believe we should have completely closed or completely open borders. Most want humane immigration laws, but with some reasonable amount of precautions to protect Americans from truly dangerous people.
Maher al-Akhras, who has been on a hunger strike since his administrative detention on July 27, is waging a battle against the mighty Israeli occupation apparatus. Every day brings him closer to death, as Israel seems to be trying to prove through his case that the life of Palestinians, like their freedom and human rights, are worth nothing. But the formidable insistence of his hunger strike against the principle of administrative detention, and his determination that the strike will end only once he is free or becomes a martyr, is mobilizing more and more people to his support.