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Operation Lone Star Has Cost Texans Nearly $4.5 Billion

Gov. Greg Abbott’s misguided Operation Lone Star is costing Texans $2.5 million a week — that’s about $4.5 billion since it began in March 2021. The money being misspent on Operation Lone Star could instead be going to more urgent needs for Texans — an updated power grid, infrastructure in rural communities, and it could even be invested in improving the lives of those in custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). Operation Lone Star was ostensibly created to deter migration through arresting, jailing and prosecuting migrants on illegal trespassing charges.

Biden’s Harshest Immigration Policy Yet Makes Impossible Demands

On Tuesday, February 21, US President Joe Biden announced a policy proposal that would largely bar migrants who passed through other countries on their way to the US from securing asylum. This “transit ban” was proposed by the Trump administration but struck down by courts multiple times. This newest policy proposal is set to go into effect on May 11, after a 30-day public comment period if it is not similarly struck down. May 11 is a significant date as it is when the Trump-era Title 42 immigration restrictions will expire, which used the COVID-19 health emergency as an excuse to allow immigrants to be swiftly expelled to Mexico.

Employers Steal Up To $50 Billion From Workers Every Year

In recent years, mainstream media has been dominated by stories of increased crime, but rarely do outlets cover one of the most common and insidious offenses in our society: wage theft. Employers steal billions of dollars from workers every year by paying less than minimum wage, making employees work off the clock, not paying earned overtime, misclassifying workers as independent contractors and more.

Workers At Hooters-Style Restaurant Go On Strike

Brentwood, Tennessee - Latino immigrant kitchen workers and a group of racially diverse women servers walked out at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Brentwood, Tennessee, on Saturday, January 14. They say their employer is serving up of a toxic brew of racism and sexism. “We went on strike to fire a manager because he is mistreating my co-workers verbally and physically,” Juan Carlos Mendoza, a barback with six years at the restaurant, told the Spanish-language news channel Nashville Noticias. “The manager is a racist… and that’s why we raised our voices.” Eighteen workers walked out, accusing general manager Andrew “Hunter” Kirkpatrick of racist and abusive behavior, including throwing away their lunches, berating them for speaking Spanish, and threatening to call the police on them. The kitchen workers are indigenous people from Mexico and Guatemala.

Immigrant Communities Mobilize For ‘Drivers License For All’ Bill

Minneapolis, Minnesota - Over 100 immigrants and supporters gathered at the Waite House Community Center on Saturday, January 21 to hear from grassroots leaders in the struggle to win drivers license access for all, and from elected officials that are advancing the bill in the state legislature. The event was organized by the Minnesota Immigrant Movement (MIM), a grassroots organization that’s been fighting for drivers license equality in Minnesota for many years. The Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC) was also present and spoke at the event. The event, which was conducted in Spanish, started with an explanation of how the state legislative process works. The drivers license bill needs to pass through several committees in both the state House and Senate, then to a vote of the full House and Senate. After reconciling any differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, it goes to the governor to approve it or veto it.

With The Delay Of Vacating Title 42, The Death Toll Will Only Rise

Janine Jackson interviewed the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies’ Melissa Crow about asylum policy for the January 6, 2023, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

A New Book Of Migrant Stories Exposes Europe’s War On Refugees 

Over the past 20 years, the Mediterranean Sea has become a graveyard as the EU’s brutal “Fortress Europe” policies unleash brutal hostility against migrants and refugees. While mainstream media has often sensationalized the problem as a “migrant crisis” or “refugee crisis,” little scrutiny has been placed on the role of Europe and other countries of the Global North in producing this crisis of mass displacement through the War on Terror or the historic underdevelopment of the former colonial world. Authors Helen Benedict and Eyan Awwadawnan join The Chris Hedges Report to discuss their book, Map of Hope and Sorrow: Stories of Refugees in Greece. Helen Benedict is a novelist and journalist. Her previous books include The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq, and Wolf Season.

Legalization For All Network Condemns Anti-Immigrant Supreme Court Ruling

The Legalization for All Network condemns the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on December 27 to force the government to keep the terrible Trump-era ‘Title 42’ policy in place that closed the US-México border to asylum-seekers.  Trump invoked Title 42 more than two years ago, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to close the border to asylum-seekers attempting to present themselves at the US-México border to request asylum. It is a right under international law to request asylum and have that request considered. That has not happened at the US-México border since Title 42 was imposed. Trump’s implementation of Title 42 at the US-México border has unjustly and indefinitely trapped desperate people in makeshift camps, parks and shelters on the México side of the border.

Progressives In Belgium Protest Detention Of Migrants

On Saturday, December 24, progressive groups in Belgium protested at the Vottem detention center in Liège, denouncing the state’s unfair policy on migrants. The protest was organized by the Collective of Resistance to Centers for Foreigners (CRACPE). Hundreds of people including Wallonian MP Julien Liradelfo from the Workers Party of Belgium (PTB/PVDA) and activists from the PTB and the Communist Party of Belgium (PCB/CPB) participated in the protest. The protesters asked the federal government to close down migrant detention centers across the county and release and regularize the incarcerated migrants. Progressives and migrants’ rights activists have gathered and protested in front of the Vottem detention center on every Christmas Eve over the last decade to express their opposition to the opening of the detention center in 1999.

Citizenship, Not Surveillance, For Farmworkers

This week, I joined farmworkers across the country in sounding the alarm on legislation that would make us even more vulnerable. We have defeated it for now. However, the agricultural lobby has been pushing for this legislation since 2019, and we know they will continue to propose legislation that ties immigration reform to labor exploitation. I know just how grueling year-round agricultural work is and how difficult it can be to make ends meet as an undocumented farmworker. After coming to the United States from Oaxaca, Mexico, I spent years picking grapes and after that, working on dairy farms. Farm work wasn’t my first choice, but as an undocumented person, there weren’t any other options for me. In just 10 years of farm work, my body was broken, leaving me unable to support myself.

Incarcerated Organizers Who Won Their Freedom Now Facing Deportation

One of Borey “Peejay” Ai’s earliest memories is the sound of gunfire. “My mom would put us under the table,” he recalled. Ai was too young to understand what was happening, but he remembered being afraid like his mother. “Because I felt her fear, I felt fear too,” he said. Ai was born in a refugee camp in Thailand after his mother fled Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide. As a small child, he would climb a hill to water a pepper plant he had been growing. From the vantage point, he would look across the border and see people shooting at one another. Nearly 40 years later, after surviving the brutality of the U.S. prison system, Ai now faces the possibility of deportation back to Cambodia, where he has never set foot. And he’s not the only one.

A Quiet Retreat: Hundreds Of Shipping Containers Hauled To State Prison

Southern Arizona – Starting Tuesday, along I-10 in Southern Arizona, observant commuters may have noticed a peculiar uptick in the interstate’s westbound traffic — dozens, maybe even hundreds, of empty shipping containers were hauled one-by-one down the highway. From unincorporated land in Cochise County to the Arizona State Prison Complex in the southern reaches of Tucson, this curious cavalcade marked what may be the next phase of the monthslong saga that has resulted in the destruction of miles of Southern Arizona wilderness and has cost the State of Arizona over $108 million dollars for what amounts to four miles of discarded scrap metal. Since the project began in late October, workers have feverishly placed hundreds of shipping containers along the Arizona/Sonora border in Southern Cochise County, forming a precarious barrier and a gash through this otherwise pristine stretch of encinal or oak grassland.

Protests Along Arizona Border Halts Construction Of Governor’s Wall

Former CEO of Cold Stone Creamery and current Republican Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, is attempting to flood several miles along the Arizona-Mexico border with shipping containers, citing an “invasion” from asylum seekers. As the AZ Mirror reported. The strip of land on the border, which has been the subject of recent disputes between Ducey and federal agencies, is known as the Roosevelt Reservation, established in a proclamation issued in 1907 by President Theodore Roosevelt as “necessary for the public welfare.” Right now: protestors have successfully shut down construction of Doug Ducey's illegal Arizona border wall for a week straight. The contractors tried to restart work at midnight tonight but were immediately halted again by some determined night owls. The haphazard wall of trash has generated both protest and condemnation from local residents, tribal governments, environmentalists, and anti-border activists.

Number Of Immigrants Under Punitive Surveillance Quadrupled Under Biden

Over the past two years, despite President Joe Biden’s campaign promises to bring fairness to the immigration system, the current administration has quadrupled the number of people enrolled in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) so-called “alternatives to detention” (ATD) surveillance program, and has doubled the number of people held in immigration jails. There is no acceptable justification for this rapidly growing surveillance dragnet. As advocates working toward the abolition of immigration detention, we are outraged that the Biden administration is increasingly turning immigrants’ homes and communities into an extension of prison cells. Our vision must extend beyond abolishing immigration jails themselves, as they are only one part of a larger racist, exclusionary system that targets and harms our communities.

Nicaraguan Migrants At US border – Are They Being ‘Pushed’ Or ‘Pulled’?

Why are more Nicaraguans heading north to the United States looking for jobs? Until July 2020, numbers were tiny. But in the last 1½ years numbers have increased sharply. Suddenly this has become a story, and government detractors argue, with little evidence, that people are fleeing political repression. “They’d rather die than return to Nicaragua,” is a typical headline. Manuel Orozco, a Nicaraguan based in Washington who strongly opposes the Sandinista government, told The Hill that “Nicaragua’s dictatorship is criminalizing democracy and fueling migration to the U.S.” Then, on September 20, this became the official explanation when White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said Nicaraguans are “fleeing political persecution and communism.”
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