By Kerry Cardoza for Truth Out – “Everybody who is here illegally is subject to removal at any time,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday, confirming the assault that the Trump administration is waging against undocumented people in the US. Earlier that day, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had shed light on how immigration laws might be enforced under Trump by issuing two new memos on the topic. Immigrant communities have been on high alert since Monday, February 6, when US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began what they called a “national targeted fugitive operation enforcement effort.” By week’s end, 680 immigrants across the country had been rounded up for deportation. Grassroots organizations across the country were quick to react, providing legal support and community education, and taking to the streets to call out the government’s targeted attacks.
By Renee Feltz for The indypendent. On March 9, Trinidadian immigrant Ravi Ragbir is scheduled to appear for his annual check-in with a deportation officer at the federal building in lower Manhattan. “I will go in,” he says. “Even though I suspect this may be the day I won’t be coming out.” No matter what happens, he will not go alone. “You can easily disappear,” he notes.” So it’s best to have people witness.” Ragbir knows the power of accompaniment. As executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC, he has worked to connect members of 30 congregations, faith communities and other groups with hundreds of undocumented immigrants seeking refuge and support.
By Staff for New American Economy. New American Economy (NAE) released Map the Impact, an interactive showcasing the contributions of immigrants in all 435 Congressional districts, the 55 largest U.S. metro areas, all 50 states, and industry sectors across the economy. With information on immigrant tax contributions, spending power, entrepreneurship, workforce, home ownership, demographics, voting power, and more, Map the Impact shows that the foreign-born are helping to grow the economy everywhere. Map the Impact also features hundreds of stories and videos featuring local leaders in all corners of the country talking about why immigration matters to them. Today, business, mayoral, conservative, and cultural leaders are sharing the data and calling on Congress to pass immigration reform via 141 events and actions.
By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. One of the ugliest policies in the move to privatize public services has been the private prison industry. We have reported on the abuses of private prisons, riots at them and how they put profit ahead of prisoners as these shocking photos show. The private prison industry is a corrupting influence in US politics. We have reported on how “Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is striking deals with private prison companies to lock up a “guaranteed minimum” of mothers with their children in euphemistically-termed family detention centers” and how they are getting wealthy abusing immigrants. Corporations are turning the US justice system into a profit making venture at every step in the process. This decision to continue to use private prisons by the Trump administration ensures that the profit of private prisons will come before treating prisoners humanely. The trend toward corporate profiteering from what is becoming a prison-industrial complex will continue. Injustice will thrive while justice is diminished.
By Nelson Lichtenstein for Dissent – Last Thursday’s “Day Without Immigrants” work stoppages, which closed hundreds of restaurants, grocery stores, garages, retail shops, and other businesses, offered a taste of the capacity for militant action wielded by immigrant America. Led in many cities by Latino activists calling for a “huelga general,” the February 16 coast-to-coast walkouts augur well for an even larger set of strikes and demonstrations, including a March 8 “Day Without a Woman” and quite possibly a May Day general strike, already endorsed by one of the Service Employees International Union’s biggest and most active California locals. This year’s May Day mobilization looks to replicate or even exceed the stupendous success of the original May 1, 2006 “Day without Immigrants,” which shut down agribusiness fields, poultry processing plants, warehouses, and the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Newark.
By Tim Butterworth for Other Words – A century and a half before Trump’s refugee ban, cities like Boston rebelled against the Fugitive Slave Act. Shortly after Donald Trump’s order to ban thousands of documented, vetted immigrants and refugees from our shores, crowds rushed to airports all over the country to protect those who’d just arrived. Soon after, crowds in Phoenix and other cities surrounded federal immigration enforcement vans during raids on immigrants, in an attempt to block deportations. In Boston, which was home to many of these actions, I was reminded of another time citizens rejected an odious federal law to protect refugees seeking shelter here. On May 24th, 1854, Anthony Burns — a 19-year-old man who’d escaped slavery in Virginia — was captured in the city and held under armed guard by federal marshals.
By Students for a Democratic Society Tallahassee. “We are very glad to see our efforts were rewarded tonight, after weeks collecting over 700 petition signatures and campaigning on campus. However, the fight is not over. We need the FSU administration and President John Thrasher to acknowledge our referendum and declare FSU a sanctuary campus. Immigrants on campus are uncertain about their futures and worried about how Trump’s policies will affect them. Declaring our campus a sanctuary is the first step to showing that immigrants are cared for and will be protected here” said Katherine Draken, President of the FSU chapter of Students for a Democratic Society.
By Lauren McCauley for Common Dreams – New Homeland Security guidelines constitute a sweeping rewrite of Obama-era policies on immigration. The Trump administration on Tuesday issued new guidelines that constitute a “sweeping rewrite” of Obama-era policies on immigration, greatly expanding the number of individuals that can be forcibly deported and further emboldening the current crackdown. The memoranda on implementation (pdf) and enforcement (pdf) of President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders on immigration, which were dated Monday and published by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), were leaked to news agencies over the holiday weekend and sparked wide concern among immigrants and civil liberties organizations. The official guidelines, signed by DHS Secretary John Kelly, “expand raids and the definition of criminal aliens, while diminishing sanctuary areas and enlisting local law enforcement to execute federal immigration policy,” The Hill reported.
By Maurice Goldman for The Hill – As U.S. citizens why should we care about the deportation of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos? Guadalupe was the focus of a highly publicized deportation that took place in Phoenix a little over a week ago. Many have heard the humanitarian reasons why someone like Guadalupe should remain: Coming to the U.S. as a minor; living in the U.S. for 21 years; two U.S. citizen children; and her crime was that she wanted to work and make a better life for herself and her family. Several have asked me, “Why didn’t she fix her immigration status?” Realize that most undocumented immigrants cannot simply fix their status and most face a 10-year-bar if they leave the U.S. to try and get lawful permission to re-enter. It’s a disincentive to leave the country. Our immigration laws make no sense.
By Nikhil Agarwal for AP – Millions of people living in the United States illegally could be targeted for deportation – including people simply arrested for traffic violations – under a sweeping rewrite of immigration enforcement policies announced Tuesday by the Trump administration. Any immigrant who is in the country illegally and is charged or convicted of any offense, or even suspected of a crime, will now be an enforcement priority, according to Homeland Security Department memos signed by Secretary John Kelly. That could include people arrested for shoplifting or minor offenses – or simply having crossed the border illegally. The Trump administration memos replace more narrow guidance focusing on immigrants who have been convicted of serious crimes, are considered threats to national security or are recent border crossers.
By Bill Quigley for Popular Resistance. Resistance to unjust government action is the duty of all people who care about human rights As Dr. King reminded us in his letter from a Birmingham jail, “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.” It is now clear that Latinos and Muslims are Trump’s first target for government actions. The orders just released put ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and US Customs and Border Protection on steroids. These new policies also will have a devastating impact on LGBTQ , as well as Black and Muslim communities.
By Dorothy M. Ehrlich for ACLU – Seventy-five years ago, in one of the darkest moments in American history, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. Immediately, the federal government began forcing 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry into concentration camps for fear they posed a threat to national security. For many years, we have recognized the infamous date of the order, February 19, 1942, with a “Day of Remembrance” at ceremonies throughout the nation designed to ensure that this indelible stain on our democracy is never forgotten. It is ordinarily a solemn occasion and a day of reflection. But on this day, the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, our current anti-Muslim crisis sounds a chilling echo of that earlier injustice, which must not be ignored. This year we are called to transform our quiet reflection into a fierce resistance.
By Anne Meador for DC Media Group – Immigrant workers around the country on February 16 flexed their economic muscle with a strike called “Un Dia Sin Inmigrante,” or “A Day Without Immigrants.” Planned at a three-day conference in Boston on February 10, the series of boycotts and strikes are intended to gain leverage for foreign-born immigrants, visa holders and undocumented immigrants at a time when migrant communities are scapegoated and discriminated against. Recently, Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids have swept through cities, detaining and deporting many people who allegedly lack proper documentation to reside in the U.S. “Now more than ever, it is important for the immigrant rights movement to have an offensive strategy,” said Maria Fernanda Cabello, a spokesperson for Movimiento Cosecha, in a press release.
By Staff of Tele Sur – “We call for grassroots movements to resist, resist and rebel against the persecution, the arrests and deportations.” The Zapatista Army of National Liberation, EZLN, called on all of its members and supporters to rally behind the immigrants currently facing arrest, deportation and human rights abuses at the hands of U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration. “We call for grassroots movements to resist, resist and rebel against the persecution, the arrests and deportations … Because every human being has the right to live in freedom and dignity in the place he finds the best for himself, and has the right to fight to stay there,” said the communique, calling resistance an act of “duty.” Signed by Subcomandante Moises and Subcomandante Galeano, the document reinforced the idea that migrants and refugees are “not alone” and that the Zapatistas, “even with our limited possibilities,” fully support their struggle.
By Deirdre Fulton for CommonDreams. More than 120 businesses are closed in Wisconsin on Monday to protest Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s immigration crackdown. From work strikes to legal campaigns, multiple efforts have been mounted to resist the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown, which has instilled fear and panic in communities across the United States. Recent raids have impacted “nearly 200 people in the Carolinas and Georgia, more than 150 in and around Los Angeles, and around 40 in New York,” according to the Associated Press on Sunday. Raids also reportedly took place in Arizona and Chicago. President Donald Trump on Saturday said the raids were “merely the keeping of my campaign promise.”