Facing Deportation, Lucio Perez Adapting To Life In Amherst Church Sanctuary

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By Diane Lederman for Mass Live – Living at First Congregational Church for the last month, he misses his wife and children. But with the help of the greater faith community, he has adapted to a new way to be. The church has given sanctuary from deportation to Perez, a Springfield resident who entered the U.S. illegally from Guatemala in 1999. He moved into the church Oct. 19, the same day he had been ordered to fly back to Guatemala. Leaders of Amherst’s First Congregational Church pledged Thursday to provide Springfield immigrant Lucio Perez sanctuary from deportation. Through translator Margaret Sawyer from the Pioneer Valley Workers Center, Perez said, “The first few days were hard but now I’m getting used to it.” Perez has a small apartment in the church and a portable shower. He attends Pentecostal services three days a week. He reads the Bible. He lifts weights and rides an exercise bicycle. He has a TV and watches movies or listens to music. And he has been helping the church get ready for its Nov. 18 cranberry fair. Perez has lots of visitors, including Amherst College students and a recent guest lecturer from Guatemala. The church has screened and trained a stable of volunteers to help Perez and keep him company. “There are lots of really nice people here,” he said through Sawyer. “They give me courage and strength.”

Cities Are Providing Free Legal Representation To Residents Facing Deportation


By Aimée Lutkin for Life Hacker – To say that the current administration has been pushing extremely harsh immigration policies would be putting it mildly. Trump even went so far as to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was intended to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children. The country has experienced sweeping raids that have imperiled many, and as such, American cities are now working together to protect people from dangerous federal policies. The Vera Institute of Justice has just awarded grant money to support an enterprise called the SAFE Cities Network. Cities in eight states have banded together to build a fund that will pay for legal representation for immigrants facing deportation. All cities in the network had to apply to the Vera Institute with a proposal to prove they are committed to spending public dollars on deportation defense, which will then be matched by the institute. In conjunction with the announcement of the SAFE Cities Network, the Vera Institute released a new study that shows having access to a lawyer makes all the difference when it comes to keeping families together. The study highlights the “common misperception” that only illegal immigrants face deportation proceedings…

Mass Protest For DREAM Act on Capitol Hill

Dream Act Protest in Hart Senate Office Building, November 9, 2017

By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. A large crowd of protesters came to Washington, DC and gathered on Capitol Hill on Thursday taking over the Hart Senate Office Building in a mass protest as well as at events around the country. They are urging lawmakers to pass legislation to help “Dreamers” with a permanent fix for the status of young immigrants who came to the country as children without documents. These youth have been able to remain in the U.S. as part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program which President Trump promises to halt. We Are Here To Stay called for the November 9th protest writing that they have one month to resolve the issue in Congress: DACA provided a pathway for undocumented immigrant youth to achieve their dreams. Those dreams are now on the line. If you’re outraged at Trump for killing DACA, for fulfilling a sick white supremacist scheme to terrorize immigrant youth and their families, join us on November 9th and be a dream defender where hundreds of Immigrant youth, allies, business leaders, and people of faith are descending on the Capitol to resist Trump’s attacks on immigrants and to demand a clean Dream Act.

Child With Cerebral Palsy Detained By Border Agents After Surgery Reunited With Family

Rosamaria Hernandez, a 10-year-old unauthorized immigrant, in a photograph provided by her family. She was detained after undergoing emergency gall bladder surgery.  (FAMILY HANDOUT VIA NEW YORK TIMES)

By Staff of ACLU – SAN ANTONIO — The federal government has released 10-year-old Rosa Maria Hernandez. The American Civil Liberties Union brought a lawsuit seeking to release her from government custody and reunite her with her family. “Rosa Maria is finally free. We’re thrilled that she can go home to heal surrounded by her family’s love and support,” said Michael Tan, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “Despite our relief, Border Patrol’s decision to target a young girl at a children’s hospital remains unconscionable. No child should go through this trauma and we are working to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” Rosa Maria, who has cerebral palsy, was en route to gallbladder surgery from her home in Laredo, Texas, to Corpus Christi, when she was stopped at an immigration checkpoint. U.S. Border Patrol followed her to the hospital and camped outside her room until she was discharged. Agents then immediately seized Rosa Maria — who was still recovering in her hospital bed — and jailed her 150 miles away in a facility for children, alone and without her parents. They had no warrant. Rosa Maria had never been separated from her parents, and her medical condition requires constant attention. She has lived in her parents’ care in the United States since she was 3 months old.

Five Things ‘Safe City’ Raids Can Teach Us About New Era Of Enforcement


By Staff of Mijente – Last week Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released information that they haddetained 450 people across the country in cities and counties that have restrictions on the participation of local police in immigration enforcement, or so-called “Sanctuary” cities. Although this was not the 10K person mass raid that community members were warned about a few weeks ago, there are five elements we thought important to highlight that show us that we are in a new era of enforcement that requires us to track emerging tactics and technologies and have with solid and innovative response. And in an era where any contact with local law enforcement becomes an opportunity to detain, deport, and incarcerate, highlighting the role of local governments in creating real sanctuaries and pushing back against criminalization is key. As we figure out what those responses are, here are five things that we should be paying attention to in responding to Operation ‘Safe City’ and any that follow: This is what mass raids look like. We don’t have to wait for a 10,000 person raid to be announced in order to sound the alarm. This is what a raid and the propaganda that follows it looks like. The numbers and regions will vary, but ICE will always say the people they detained are dangerous and emphasize the stories that reinforce that narrative

School Of Americas Watch Border Encuentro Coming Up


By Katherine Henao for School of Americas Watch. If you’re an immigrant like me, you know how hard it is to be the constant scapegoat of the United States – that those of us who come to these borders are blamed for problems caused by the U.S. and the U.S. alone. It might be hard to comprehend how violent U.S. policies in Latin America are, because we are taught to think that war is the only significant cause of devastation. But economic and trade policies have wreaked significant violence and essentially caused forced migration – something the U.S. is not willing to admit.

Homeland Security Plans To Collect Immigrants’ Social Media Info

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By Alfred Ng and Laura Hautala for CNet – The US Department of Homeland Security quietly introduced a proposed amendment to its records regulations last week that would allow the agency to collect data from all immigrants’ social media history, including posts from their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. It would also affect green card holders and naturalized citizens. The new provision, introduced to the Federal Register on Sept. 18, was first spotted by Buzzfeed News. The update adds to increased government scrutiny of immigrants’ internet activity, scrutiny that’s been growing since the administration of President Barack Obama and has continued into the presidency of Donald Trump. On Sept. 13, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the DHS after 11 travelers had their laptops and phones searched without warrants at US borders. It’s been reported that border agents have also been checking people’s Facebook profiles. The US Department of State said in May that it wanted to search through five years of social media history to grant US visas. (However, border patrol agents said in July that they wouldn’t search through a person’s cloud data.) Last week’s regulatory update appears to continue the collection and retention of data on immigrants’ social media activity long after they’ve crossed the border.

Dozens Arrested After Protesters Block ICE Office In Bid To Halt Couple's Deportation

Hundreds of immigration rights activists gather on June 1, 2017 in front of the White House to denounce the immigration crackdown by the Trump Administration.  (Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/flickr/cc)

By Andrea Germanos for Common Dreams – Dozens of people were arrested Monday morning for blocking the federal building housing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Hartford, Connecticut to denounce the deportation of a couple that’s lived in the U.S. for over twenty years. Meriden couple Giaconda and Franklin Ramos, who came to the U.S. from Ecuador in 1993 and have no criminal record, are scheduled to board a flight back to their home country on Sept. 29. Demonstrators sat on the ground blocking the entrances and held banners reading “Keep the Ramos family together” and “ICE stop your ethnic cleansing.” They, along with other demonstrators gathered to the side of the entrances, chanted “Not one more.” The Record Journal describes the Ramoses as “the most recent family facing separation after policy changes under the Trump administration ceased the automatic renewal of deportation stays resulting in a 60 percent increase in removal orders for residents with work tax identification cards.” As local Fox 61 explains, the couple “got their first deportation notice from ICE in 2005. Their case was then closed but come 2012, they were granted a stay of removal. However, it was this past June when their stay was denied.” Their two sons, 24-year old Jason and 17-year-old Erick, are U.S. citizens and attend Central Connecticut State University.

After Member Is Deported, New York Teamsters Declare Themselves Sanctuary Union


By Sarah Jaffe for In These TImes – Welcome to Interviews for Resistance. We’re now several months into the Trump administration, and activists have scored some important victories in those months. Yet there is always more to be done, and for many people, the question of where to focus and how to help remains. In this series, we talk with organizers, agitators and educators about how to resist and build a better world. George Miranda: This is George Miranda. I am president of the 120,000-member Teamsters Joint Council 16. It’s an umbrella group made up of 27 different local unions in New York City. Sarah Jaffe: Let’s start at the beginning. One of your members was deported last week, right? George: Correct. Eber Garcia Vasquez was deported basically because his asylum case was rejected. He has been a Teamster for 26 years and has been working in this country and raising his family on that. He has been reporting in routinely, as he is required to. This time, he went in, and they kept him and scheduled him for deportation. He left behind his family, including three kids. He married a U.S. citizen, and his three kids are U.S. citizens. He was on his way to a green card. Now he is in Guatemala. That is the story. If it happens to him, it could happen to anybody.

Latino Officials Arrested In Dream Act Protest Outside Trump Tower

By Ilana Novick / AlterNet

By Ilana Novick for AlterNet – While Donald Trump was threatening to destroy North Korea in his first major speech to the United Nations, Reps. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) along with New York City council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito were being arrested outside Trump Tower, according to a statement from immigrant advocacy organization Make the Road New York. The four elected officials were among the large crowd protesting the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and demanding that Congress pass the Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. A group of 12, including the four officials, blocked traffic in busy midtown Manhattan. Espaillat explained that he participated knowing the risk of arrest. “I do not take civil disobedience lightly,” he explained in a statement. “As a member of Congress who was once formerly undocumented, I believe this cause is too monumental to sit idly by.” Rep. Gutiérrez, a member of the Judiciary Committee and the chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, emphasized the importance of participating in this action as part of a larger grassroots movement.

Demonstrators Shout Down Pelosi At San Francisco DREAM Act Event

Doug Sovern‏Verified account/ Twitter

By Staff of CBS – Pelosi unsuccessfully attempted to calm down the chanting students. “You’ve had your say, and it’s beautiful music to our ears,” Pelosi said. But when they interrupted again, she shouted “Just stop it now!” Moments later, she was forced to leave the news conference. Meanwhile in San Francisco federal court, six immigrants brought to the United States as children who became teachers, graduate students and a lawyer sued the Trump administration on over its decision to end a program shielding them from deportation. The lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco alleges the move violated the constitutional rights of immigrants who lack legal status and provided information about themselves to the U.S. government so they could participate in the program. “The consequences are potentially catastrophic,” said Jesse Gabriel, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. “These people can very powerfully and very clearly communicate the extent to which they organized their lives around this program.” The lawsuit joins others filed over President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has allowed nearly 800,000 immigrants to obtain work permits and deportation protection since 2012.

As Dems And Trump Bicker, Dreamers Make Clear: 'No Deal Without Us!'

After President Donald Trump announced he would end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, people took the the streets nationwide to call on Congress to pass immigration legislation. (Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

By Jessica Corbett for Common Dreams – ‘We are not your bargaining chip,’ say activists following late-night meeting between Democratic leaders and president. As Democratic leaders and President Donald Trump make a public display over what was or wasn’t agreed to during a closed-door meeting about the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program Wednesday night, the Dreamers themselves say their demand to lawmakers remains clear: a clean bill enshrining current protections, one that doesn’t further sacrifice immigrant communities to harsh policies and more deeply militarized enforcement. Despite a joint statement, released late Wednesday from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), saying they had agreed to “enshrine” DACA protections quickly along with enacting border security measures that excluded the president’s long-promised border wall between the United States and Mexico, Trump said in a series of Tweets Thursday morning that “no deal was made” and—contradicting comments from the White House legislative director earlier this week—any DACA agreement must include a game plan for the wall.

Trump Pandering To Racists With Repeal Of DACA

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By Abraham for BAJI – NEW YORK, NY – This morning Attorney General Sessions announced that the Trump Administration will rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allowed 800,000 immigrant youth to live, work and remain in the United States without the constant fear of deportation. Established in 2012, the program has transformed the lives of young people, including thousands of Black immigrants, bringing stability, along with economic and educational opportunities to marginalized families and communities. “BAJI is appalled by Trump’s decision to rescind DACA. By canceling the program President Trump is yet again pandering to white supremacists over immigrant, Black, and poor communities, as well as millions of organizations, businesses, and allies that support DACA recipients. It is now up to Congress to come up with a long term solution to our broken immigration system that protects human rights and enables immigrant families to live and thrive in the U.S.,” says Opal Tometi, BAJI’s Executive Director and co-founder of Black Lives Matter Global Network. “BAJI stands with the millions of young undocumented immigrants whose lives are on the line, including those protected under DACA. Until dignity, justice, and human rights protections can be afforded all oppressed communities in the U.S….

Slave Labor Widespread At ICE Detention Centers, Lawyers Say


By Mia Steinle for POGO – There are nearly 200 federal detention centers across the country. Here, people suspected of violating U.S. immigration laws wait for court hearings to find out if they’ll stay in the United States or be deported. While they wait, many detainees work as part of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “voluntary work program.” They clean, they cook, they do laundry, and they garden—some advocates say they keep the facilities running. For their labor, the detainees are supposed to be paid at least $1 per day, or just under $0.13 per hour for an 8-hour work day. This arrangement has the blessings of both ICE and Congress, the latter of which set the rate over a half a century ago and hasn’t changed it since. However, a growing body of legal experts says paying detainees $1 per day not only violates state minimum wage laws, but also violates the 13th Amendment of the Constitution, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude in all instances except as punishment for people convicted of crimes. Experts argue that, because the majority of detainees have not been convicted of crimes, they should be fairly compensated for their labor. From California to Colorado to Massachusetts, detainees have recently taken legal action against the for-profit companies and local governments that operate the majority of ICE detention centers.

ICE Illegally Held a U.S. Citizen in Detention Center for 1,273 Days

Immigrants Make America Great. Milwaukee Protest.

By Jennie Neufeld for Alternet. What happens when ICE wrongly detains a U.S. citizen for almost three and a half years? Well, a whole lot of nothing. Take the case of Davino Watson, who was held in ICE detention facilities for 1,273 days faced with the improbable task of proving his American citizenship without access to a lawyer. According to two United States Court of Appeals judges, his detention was simply business as usual. But unlike his undocumented counterparts, Watson has been a U.S. citizen since 2002. ICE had no legal authority to hold Watson, or any other U.S. citizen. Watson, born in Jamaica, became a citizen under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which allows children under the age of 18 to automatically join their parents in citizenship if they are lawful permanent residents. Sadly, Watson’s story is “far from unusual,” says Chief Judge Katzmann. Thousands of Americans have faced detention or the threat of deportation—nearly 21,000 U.S. citizens and permanent residents have been unlawfully detained in a four-year period. And only 14 percent of detainees are able to acquire legal counsel . . .