Trump Administration Arrests Of Noncriminal Immigrants Up 150 Percent

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By Kali Holloway for AlterNet – For the most part, the Trump campaign was transparent in its xenophobia, playing to the anti-immigrant sentiments of Trump’s base with promises to increase deportations of the undocumented. But on one point, Trump pretended to care about nuance: He would not, he stated on multiple occasions, target undocumented immigrants indiscriminately, but would focus on those with criminal records—the “bad hombres,” to use the president’s own ridiculous words. Predictably, this has not been the case in practice. A new report shows that amidst a staggering increase in undocumented immigrant deportations overall, arrests of law-abiding undocumented immigrants shot up the most, by a whopping 150 percent. A report by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement boasts that between January 29 and April 22, agents arrested 41,318 undocumented immigrants. That figure, which breaks down to roughly 400 arrests per day, represents an increase of 37 percent over arrests made during the same period under President Obama, who previously held the title of Deporter-in-Chief. Seventy-five percent of those taken into custody have criminal convictions, but even that notation is potentially misleading.

Trump’s New DHS Appointment Previously Called For Rounding Up Protesters

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By Derrick Broze for Activist Post – “I’m both honored and humbled to be appointed to this position by Secretary Kelly, working for the Trump administration,” Clarke told McKenna. He said he plans to leave Milwaukee County in June to work with Office of Partnership and Programs as “a liaison with state, local and tribal law enforcement.” The DHS has not confirmed Clarke’s new position, but in a tweet they did acknowledge that the job does not require Senate confirmation. Clarke has been mentioned as a possible appointment to the DHS since the moment Trump was elected. However, the possibility of Clarke working with the feds has not been without controversy. The Human Rights Campaign blasted the news, calling Clarke’s appointment “a grave mistake.” “His homophobic, transphobic, racist and sexist views have absolutely no place anywhere, including and especially in law enforcement agencies or the federal government,” the HRC wrote. What makes Clarke so dangerous? For starters, Sheriff David Clarke is responsible for a prison in which four people have died and been tortured. At least one prisoner died of dehydration after the water in his cell was shut off for seven days.

TrumpBeat: Immigration Arrests Are Swamping The Court System

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By Kathryn Casteel, Ben Casselman and Anna Maria Barry-Jester for FiveThirtyEight – Trump’s agenda may have gotten off to a slow start in Congress, but his administration has moved quickly in another area: immigration enforcement. Immigration arrests during Trump’s first 100 days were up 37.6 percent from the same period a year ago, according to a report released this week by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Roughly 75 percent of those arrested had been convicted of non-immigration offenses, but approximately 10,800 were noncriminal arrests, up more than 150 percent percent from 2016. Trump hasn’t just vowed to arrest undocumented immigrants, however. He has promised to deport them. And that could be a challenge: The big increase in noncriminal arrests could create frenzy in immigration courts that are already overloaded with cases. “On one hand the administration is saying they have these priorities and they’re going on the worst of the worst,” said Joshua Breisblatt, a policy analyst at the American Immigration Council. “When they came out with these executive orders, all they actually did was make everybody a priority.” When Trump took office, he inherited an immigration court system with a backlog of more than half a million pending cases, with proceedings often taking years to be completed.

Immigrants In Georgia Detention Centers Put In Solitary For Hunger Strikes

Photo from report by Project South and the Penn State Law Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic. Credit: Steven Rubin.

By Kevin Gosztola for Shadow Proof – Georgia immigrant detention centers frequently put asylum seekers and other migrants into solitary confinement as punishment for going on hunger strike. In a report [PDF] produced by Project South and the Penn State Law Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, human rights abuses at Stewart Detention Center and Irwin County Detention Center are examined. Twenty-four year-old Somali asylum seeker Sadam Hussein Ali describes how he was punished in 2016 at the Stewart Detention Center. “The staff put me in segregation for several days because I participated in the hunger strike that happened around Thanksgiving. They also fired me from my kitchen job for participating in the strike,” Ali said. “About twenty other Somali detainees were put in segregation. In segregation, I couldn’t see outside. I lost track of whether it was day or night. I had to request to use the bathroom every time; then I was chained; and then a guard would walk me to the bathroom in chains. I participated in the hunger strike because we have been detained for far too long. The nurses actually threatened to force-feed all of us on the hunger strike.”

Here To Stay: Immigrant Workers Demand Justice, Respect On May Day

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By Anne Meador and John Zangas for DC Media Group – Thousands of people marched in the streets of Washington, DC to celebrate May Day, the holiday often known as International Workers’ Day, with defiant calls for a living wage, benefits, and safe working conditions. In light of President Trump’s assault on immigrants and refugees, the rallies and marches also became protests against refugee bans, deportations and raids on immigrant communities. Crowds filled Dupont Circle, Malcolm X Park, Freedom Plaza, and Courthouse in Arlington, then converged into marches to the White House. American flags mingled with Mexican flags and bright red socialist flags. Many of the large number of Hispanic participants were immigrants from Mexico and Central American countries, and, in spite of risks, even undocumented immigrants were present and vocal. While some might expect recent Trump initiatives, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids and efforts to build a wall on the border of Mexico, to intimidate those born in another country, there was an unmistakable tone of defiance in every speech, chant and sign. “No papers, no fear!” they cried. Some signs advertised the hashtag #heretostay.

May Day Strikes Hit Cities Around The Country

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Protesters in San Francisco denounced President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.

By Dave Jamieson , Kate Abbey-Lambertz for Huffington Post. Workers in cities from coast to coast took the day off Monday to hit the streets and protest the Donald Trump administration for what organizers hoped would be the largest May Day demonstration in the U.S. in years. The mass protest ― coordinated by labor, immigration and other progressive groups ― served as another early test of the grassroots momentum against the new White House and its right-wing policies. It came on the heels of a climate march that drew tens of thousands to Washington, D.C., on Saturday. Backers of the May 1 protests saw the day as an ideal opportunity to challenge the Trump administration over its immigration crackdown. The president has promised to ramp up deportations of undocumented workers, strip federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities, and build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. Zeferina Perez, a 59-year-old who came from Mexico two decades ago, said she wanted to show that American businesses cannot function without immigrant labor. She said it stung to see her community vilified on the national stage when immigrants were working hard for meager wages and often exploited to begin with. “We need to demonstrate to everyone that immigrants are important to this country,” said Perez.

Over 100 Thousand Join “Day Without Immigrants” Strike

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By Staff for Cosecha. Immigrant workers in over 30 states across the country joined a national strike billed as a “Day Without Immigrants” today to demonstrate that the country depends on the labor of immigrants and working class people of color. Immigrant rights groups, worker centers and unions joined together for the largest national strike since the immigrant-led Mega Marches of 2006. The Cosecha movement was the first group to call for the “Day Without Immigrants” May Day strike, with a public launch in early February. Cosecha led strikes and marches in over 40 cities across the country, where thousands of businesses closed their stores. “This Day Without Immigrants is the first step in a series of strikes and boycotts that will change the conversation on immigration in the United States,” said Maria Fernanda Cabello, a undocumented leader and the May 1st campaign coordinator with Cosecha. “We believe that when the country recognizes it depends on immigrant labor to function, we will win permanent protection from deportation for the 11 million undocumented immigrants.”

We Asked ICE About Prank Calls To Their Anti-Immigrant Hotline

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By Rafi Schwartz for Fusion – Adding to the frenzy was the fact that VOICE’s launch date of April 26 was also “Alien Day”—a reference to the moon featured in James Cameron’s 1986 classic, Aliens (LV-426. Get it?). Marine veteran Alexander McCoy told Buzzfeed News that he was inspired to call VOICE’s hotline after seeing #AlienDay trending on Twitter. “I told them I’d been abducted by a UFO,” he told the site. “There was a long pause. I heard them do a big sigh. And they closed out the conversation saying that they’d make a note of it and I should wait for the DHS to investigate my report.” As VOICE itself notes on its website, and in a recorded message to hotline callers, the line is not meant as a tip-line to report crimes. And the influx of hoax callers appears to have already taken its toll.

Terrorizing The Vulnerable

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By Chris Hedges for Truth Dig – The acceleration of arrests by the Trump administration among the estimated 11 million undocumented people in the United States is spreading panic throughout communities such as Elizabeth, where at least half of the population is foreign-born. Elizabeth police officers in February joined ICE agents in raiding a popular small business in an unsuccessful attempt to arrest a woman, who at the time was there with her two small children. The February raid, especially because of the participation by the police, along with the call by the Trump administration for widespread deportations, has radically reconfigured life in this depressed New Jersey city outside of New York City, as it has in many other immigrant communities. Undocumented parents of U.S. citizens are signing power-of-attorney papers so that if they are seized by ICE agents someone will have the legal authority to care for the children they leave behind. Businesses in immigrant communities have seen a precipitous drop in sales as families hoard what little money they have so they will have some resources if they are deported.

Once Again, Trump Attack On Immigrants Rebuked By Federal Court

"Once again, the courts have spoken to defend tolerance, diversity and inclusion form the illegal threats of the Trump administration," said Faiz Shakir, national political director for the  ACLU, in a statement. "Once again, Trump has overreached and lost."  (Photo: Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)

By Jon Queally for Common Dreams – ‘Under our system of government, the President cannot coerce cities, counties and states to become agents of federal immigration enforcement by threatening the loss of funds appropriated by Congress.’ In the latest rebuke of President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, a federal court judge on Tuesday ruled the administration’s threat to withhold funds from so-called “sanctuary cities”—which offer modest safer harbor for immigrants and undocumented residents in the face of federal detention and deportation requests—as unconstitutional. Issuing a temporary injunction against a move by the U.S. Justice Department to refuse grant money from California municipalities, U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick said the Trump administration’s effort to withhold more than $1 billion in federal grants from Santa Clara and San Francisco counties was illegal. Though the ruling affirmed the government may have some authority to seek local compliance with federal law…

Making Sense Of The Deportation Debate

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By Aviva Chomsky for Tom Dispatch – Ever since he rode a Trump Tower escalator into the presidential race in June 2015 and swore to build his “great wall” and stop Mexican “rapists” from entering the country, undocumented immigrants have been the focus of Donald Trump’s ire. Now that he’s in the Oval Office, the news has been grim. A drumbeat of frightening headlines and panicked social media posts have highlighted his incendiary language, his plans and executive orders when it comes to immigrants, and the early acts of the Border Patrol and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents when it comes to round-ups and deportations. The temperature has soared on the deportation debate, so if you think we’re in a completely unprecedented moment when it comes to immigration and immigrants, you’re in good company. Trump has repeatedly claimed that immigrants, especially undocumented ones, are flooding the United States, causing crime waves, and depleting social service budgets. Never mind that the number of such immigrants has been in steady decline since 2008, that immigrant crime rates are lower than citizen crime rates…

Meet Organizers Behind The Next ‘Day Without An Immigrant’ Strike

Activists carry a banner for the strike at a march on February 16 in New York City. (Facebook/Cosecha)

By Sarah Aziza for Waging Nonviolence – When 26-year-old Catalina Adorno hit the road on March 28, she knew it would be at least six weeks before she’d sleep again in her own bed. Since that day, Adorno, a Mexican-born New Jersey resident with a strong voice and bright laugh, has criss-crossed from Pennsylvania to Maine as part of a regional support team for Movimento Cosecha, a national immigrant rights coalition. Her stops have included major cities and small towns, as she and her three teammates work to mobilize Cosecha’s vast network of “local circles” ahead of a massive day of coordinated action slated for May 1. On April 3, Adorno’s team stopped off in Washington, D.C. to hear Cosecha spokesperson Maria Fernanda Cabello make the formal call for a May 1 nationwide strike. The planned action, billed as “A Day Without an Immigrant,” is set to be the largest immigrant rights action for at least a decade, with hundreds of thousands already pledging to stay home from work for a day in protest of systemic discrimination towards the immigrant and undocumented communities. At the press conference, Cabello pointed to the massive labor and capital power represented by the immigrant community, including 11 million undocumented residents.

Fighting Fear, Hundreds Join Border Caravan For Migrant Rights

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By Laura Carlsen for Counter Punch – The Federal Building looms overhead like a threat as the protesters gather. Washington policies have brought them here to Sacramento, to push the state government to protect its citizens and communities from the anti-immigrant orders of the 45th president. Union members, migrants, government officials and grassroots organizers—the categories often overlap—chant and march before stepping up to the mike to tell their stories and make their promises. Matching t-shirts read “Caravan Against Fear” with dates in April and a graphic of a child, her arms spread in a welcoming gesture, her face turned upward in hope. It’s the launch of an unusual caravan for unusual times. One sign reads “Somos el pueblo. Respeta nuestra humanidad”—We are the people. Respect our humanity. Since when do the residents of an advanced democracy have to plead for respect for their humanity? Apparently, since the election of Donald Trump. Although deportations and fear existed before, since November 2016 and the orders of the Trump administration to arrest, detain and deport up to 3 million undocumented workers the atmosphere has gotten much uglier.

Is Trump Waging A Stealth War Of Retaliation Against Sanctuary Cities?

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By Sarah Lazare for AlterNet – General Jeff Sessions doubles down on President Donald Trump’s threats to crack down on sanctuary cities, evidence is mounting that the administration has already made them the target of retaliatory immigration raids as part of a backdoor effort to force compliance. The term “sanctuary city” refers to the hundreds of jurisdictions across the United States that, to one degree or another, limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities. CNN reported on March 25 that an unnamed “senior U.S. immigration official with direct knowledge of ongoing ICE actions” testified that federal authorities have descended upon sanctuary cities to pressure them to cooperate.

May Day Mass Action Will Be Historic 'Strike From Below'

Participants in 2006's A Day Without Immigrants protest marched on May 1 in Washington, D.C. That action is part of the inspiration behind a general strike set for May 1 of this year that will focus on immigrants and other marginalized workers. (Photo by Elvert Barnes via Flickr.)

By Sue Sturgis for Facing South – Hundreds of thousands of service workers across the South and the rest of the nation are planning to take part in a general strike for human rights and equality on May Day, which marks International Workers’ Day. Organizers say the May 1 Strike, which aims to express the collective power of the country’s most marginalized workers and to stop attacks by the Trump administration and its corporate allies, is the biggest general-strike organizing effort in the U.S. in over 70 years. “The Trump administration’s dangerous attacks against food worker families and all marginalized people continue a centuries-long history of oppression,” the organizers said in a statement.