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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”