By Sarah Lazare for AlterNet – For more than 600 days and two Christmas holidays, Marlene and her seven-year-old son Antonio have languished in indefinite detention at Pennsylvania’s “Berks Family Residential Center,” a glorified term for an immigrant prison. Her child has been granted Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), which the U.S. government says is supposed to “help foreign children in the United States who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected.” But instead of sanctuary, or even a fair hearing, Marlene and her son face open-ended incarceration and “expedited removal” orders, compounding the trauma they endured when they were forced to flee their home in El Salvador under threat of gang violence.
By Dave Johnson for Nation of Change – The event, which attracted hundreds to downtown Palo Alto, was co-organized by Silicon Valley Rising, a coalition of community, faith-based and labor organizations that represent tech’s service workers. “We hope the event not only sends a message, but creates new opportunities for the low-wage, largely immigrant subcontracted janitors, security officers, cafeteria workers and shuttle drivers,” said Derecka Mehrens, Silicon Valley Rising’s co-founder. Participants carried signs like “Silicon Valley is powered by diversity” and “No ban, no wall -welcome all.”
By Stephen Dinan for The Washington Times – Nearly 500 jurisdictions are now sanctuary cities, according to a group that’s tracked the issue for more than a decade, and who said there’s been a massive surge in the number of places trying to thwart federal immigration agents since President Trump’s election. The Ohio Jobs & Justice Political Action Committee has added more than three dozen new cities and counties to its list in 2017 alone, as jurisdictions rush to try to shield illegal immigrants from what they expect to be a new push for deportations under Mr. Trump. “More will be coming,” said Steve Salvi, founder of OJJ. “A lot of communities now, there’s resolutions in the works and citizens groups encouraging city councils to pass them.”
By Nelson Lichtenstein for Jacobin Magazine – The brilliance of strikes and stoppages like the Day Without Immigrants and the Women’s Strike lies in organizers’ willingness to halt business as usual. In mid-February, as thousands of people were pondering what to do about a midweek “Day Without Immigrants,” one of them called up a union office in Chicago to ask if he should call in sick when going on strike for the day. “You can’t say you are calling in sick. You’re on strike!” replied an agitated union official. “If you are calling in sick, you’re just sick.” This little bit of confusion illuminates larger and more important questions facing all those seeking the best way to protest President Trump…
By Jacinta Gonzalez for Mijente – As many community members start to plan out emergency response teams and community defense, there is a need to think out short and long term organizing strategies that we can use so that we do not fall into patterns of solely doing individual deportation cases, press and mobilizing work, but are also thinking about long-term power building. While enforcement under the new regime represents an expansion and escalation, it is built upon past practices that can provide us with key lessons now. In 2013, the New Orleans community was facing an increasing ICE presence in immigrant neighborhoods including raids
By Rebekah Barber For Facing South – Dating back thousands of years, the concept of sanctuary stems from the custom of offering hospitality to the stranger. In ancient Greek cities, slaves and thieves took sanctuary at the shrines of the gods. During biblical times, those who had killed someone accidentally could take asylum in cities designated for refuge. In recent years, dozens of U.S. cities and counties became part of this tradition by adopting so-called “sanctuary policies” that bar local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. The policies aim to build safer communities by strengthening undocumented immigrants’ trust in local police.
By April M. Short for AlterNet – As many as 60,000 immigrants detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement could play a role in a class-action lawsuit accusing a private prison company of violating federal anti-slavery laws. The lawsuit alleges that detained immigrants awaiting court dates were forced to work for $1 per day or for free, on threat of solitary. The suit was initially filed on behalf of nine immigrant plaintiffs in 2014 for $5 million in damages, but was recently moved to class action status. Now, attorneys expect damages to grow substantially, maybe involving tens of thousands of plaintiffs, as Kristine Phillips reports in a March 5 Washington Post piece detailing the lawsuit.
By Emma Niles for Truthdig. Palantir Technologies, a software company founded by Silicon Valley conservative Peter Thiel, has almost finished creating a $41 million program for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The new technology, called Investigative Case Management (ICM), will greatly help ICE and the Trump administration deport undocumented immigrants. Palantir won the government contract in 2014 and is expected to complete the project this fall. Spencer Woodman of the Intercept explained ” It allows ICE agents to access a vast “ecosystem” of data to facilitate immigration officials in both discovering targets and then creating and administering cases against them. … can provide ICE agents access to information on a subject’s schooling, family relationships, employment information, phone records, immigration history, foreign exchange program status, personal connections, biometric traits, criminal records, and home and work addresses. …
By Sarah Jaffee for Truth Out – Last week, on February 8, Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos went to her yearly check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Phoenix, Arizona, something she has done every year since 2008, when she was arrested in a raid by notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio and convicted of using a fake Social Security number to work (and pay Social Security taxes that she would never be able to collect). This time, instead of being sent home to her family, she was loaded into a van and deported to Mexico, despite a group of her friends and family and supporters placing their bodies in the way of the van. Her 14-year-old daughter had to pack her things for her; she, along with her brother and father, would be staying behind.
By Jefferson Morley for AlterNet – As the detention of law-abiding undocumented U.S. residents spreads across the country and throughout the nation’s airports, no small part of the blame (or credit) belongs to two union leaders who have backed Trump to the hilt. They are Chris Crane, the president of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council, a union that represents some 5,800 ICE officers nationwide, and Brandon Judd, head of the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Council, which represents 16,000 CBP agents. Both men were early Trump supporters who associate with nativist groups founded by a white supremacist. In his February 2016 endorsement of Donald Trump, Crane falsely charged that President Obama’s executive order on immigration required ICE officers to ignore “cartel members, gang members, weapons traffickers, murder suspects, drug dealers, suspects of violent assault.”
By Spencer Woodman for The Verge – Beginning last April, and picking up in the weeks following the November election, dozens of detainees at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in rural Georgia went on hunger strike in protest of their detention. The private prison corporation that runs the facility, CoreCivic — formerly Corrections Corporation of America — responded swiftly to the expanding demonstration: as immigrant detainees refused to eat, CoreCivic staff began immediately locking them in solitary confinement for their participation in the non-violent protest. According to ICE detainment logs obtained by The Verge through a Freedom of Information Act request, more than two dozen detainees were put in solitary confinement for hunger striking — some simply for declaring they would refuse to eat, even if they hadn’t yet skipped a meal. The logs also show that CoreCivic may have attempted to gather information on hunger strike organizers through cultivating detainee informants, who were later locked in solitary confinement themselves for protection.
By Kyung Lah, Alberto Moya and Mallory Simon for CNN – Los Angeles (CNN)A hammer pounds away in the living room of a middle class home. A sanding machine smoothes the grain of the wood floor in the dining room. But this home Pastor Ada Valiente is showing off in Los Angeles, with its refurbished floors, is no ordinary home. “It would be three families we host here,” Valiente says. By “host,” she means provide refuge to people who may be sought by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE. The families staying here would be undocumented immigrants, fearing an ICE raid and possible deportation. The purchase of this home is part of a network formed by Los Angeles religious leaders across faiths in the wake of Donald Trump’s election.
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.