Thursday, July 19, 2018

Religious Leaders Condemn Family Separation

July 19, 2018
Dear Members of Congress,

As 500 faith leaders and 111 faith-based organizations across traditions, we write to express our unequivocal opposition to the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that separates families and detains and prosecutes parents. We also stand against any proposal that would expand immigration detention, as family incarceration is not a solution to family separation. We are committed to humane immigration policies that reflect the values and expression of our faith to welcome the stranger and treat all human beings with dignity and respect. Instead of continuing unnecessary and immoral detention, deportation, and border militarization policies, we must carry on our nation’s proud history of hospitality and moral leadership.
As people of faith, our concern stems from shared values rooted in our sacred texts that remind us to love our neighbor and welcome the sojourner among us. As Leviticus 19:34 (CE) reminds us: “Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.”
In many faith traditions, family is the fundamental unit in society through which individuals are able to grow and experience the love of God. Many of our faith traditions also call on us to safeguard the well-being of children in particular. Tearing children away from their parents, absent a documented child protection concern, is unconscionable. Equally troubling is the inhumane and cruel expansion of family incarceration that is plagued with systemic abuse and life-threatening inadequate access to health and medical care, especially for children, pregnant or nursing mothers, and others with serious medical conditions.

Counties Cancel ICE Detention Contracts

Counties Cancel ICE Detention Contracts

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Hate Bias against Immigrants

Abuse motivated by hate and bias in U.S. immigration detention

Freedom for Immigrants (formerly known as CIVIC) released the first national study focusing on abuse motivated by hate and bias toward asylum seekers and other individuals in U.S. immigration detention.
“We are releasing this report at a critical moment in our nation’s history, when more parents and children are being thrown into immigrant prisons than ever before.  While the Trump administration is seeking to expand immigration detention by 15,000 new jails cells for mothers, fathers, and their children, abuse motivated by hate is flourishing with impunity,” said Christina Fialho, the co-founder/executive director of Freedom for Immigrants.
In its report, “Persecuted in U.S. Immigration Detention: A National Report on Abuse Motivated by Hate,” Freedom for Immigrants documented at least 800 complaints of abuse motivated by hate or bias in 34 immigrant jails and prisons since the inauguration of Donald Trump. For example, an individual detained in Southern Texas was called a “monkey” before being thrown into solitary confinement. In Louisiana, a woman reported that she received poor medical care as a result of her hijab and practicing her faith. A man detained in California reported not being let out of his cell and forced to shower in front of male officers due to his sexual orientation. As these stories show, often hateful language is accompanied by physical abuse, sexual harassment and denial of access to vital resources.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Judge Temporarily Halts Deportation of Reunified Families

Donde Están los Niños ?

JUDGE HALTS DEPORTATIONS OF REUNIFIED FAMILIES: U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw on Monday issued a temporary freeze on deportations of migrant parents who have been reunified with their children, POLITICO's Ted Hesson reports. 
The ACLU, which represents plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit over the separations, called on the judge earlier in the day to halt deportations of parents for seven days from the date of reunification. The Justice Department opposed that, and Sabraw ruled that deportations of parents must stop pending the resolution of the matter. The DOJ will have until July 23 (next Monday) to file a response.
The judge also vacated an earlier order that required the administration to provide the ACLU with 12-hour advance notice for every parent-child reunification. Sabraw said providing an initial list of "cleared" parents would be sufficient, but that the government should inform the plaintiffs of an imminent reunification when possible. 
Sabraw — who blasted a Friday court filing from Chris Meekins, deputy assistant secretary of preparedness and response for HHS — appeared satisfied with an updated reunification plan that HHS issued Sunday. The federal judge also praised Commander Jonathan White, a department official who traveled to San Diego to answer the judge's criticisms. "I have every confidence that you are the right person to do this," Sabraw told White in court. "When I hear your testimony and look at the plan, it provides a great deal of comfort."
What's next: The parties must submit a status report by Thursday at 6 p.m. EDT (3 p.m. PDT). They'll meet next in court on Friday at 4:30 p.m. EDT (1:30 p.m. PDT). Read more here.
Related case: U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman ordered the Trump administration on Monday to keep a Guatemalan migrant in the U.S. until she can be reunited with her nine-year old son, part of a case in which three Central American migrants held in Texas are suing the administration over its "zero tolerance" immigration policy, Renuka Rayasam reports for Morning Shift. An immigration judge last week found the woman didn't have a valid reason for asylum and ordered her deportation. Read the order here.
EXCLUSIVE: HARRIS LEADS REUNIFICATION BILL: Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) will introduce a bill today that would require the Trump administration to reunite children separated from parents at the border. Its odds of passage in the Republican-controlled Senate are slim, but for Harris and Merkley — both mentioned as possible 2020 presidential contenders — it's another way to protest Trump's immigration crackdown. 
The measure calls for immediate reunification of children split apart from a parent or legal guardian and the establishment of a federal office to oversee the process. In addition, it would require parents' release from detention unless they pose "a substantial risk" to themselves or others. The legislation stipulates that DNA samples used to determine parentage should not be employed to any other end, including immigration enforcement. In a blow to ICE, the measure would redirect $50 million in appropriations for its Enforcement and Removal Operations arm to pay for the reunification efforts. 
"Government should be in the business of keeping families together, not tearing them apart," Harris said in a related announcement. The three senators will hold a press conference at 12:30 p.m. today with Wendy Young, president of Kids in Need of Defense, at the Senate Radio and TV Gallery. Read the bill here and watch a livestream of the press event here.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Response to Trump's Immigration Policy

Trump's Policy at Work 

The greatest experiment in democracy in human history is now being run like a gangster-state. And so we protest, not because we want to spend our days this way, but because now we have to spend our days this way. We protest in the same way the brave rescue teams in Thailand have repeatedly dived into the dangerous waters of the flooded cave, not because they relish danger but because to do otherwise would be a moral failing.
In the eruption of protests this past month, outside federal buildings in cities large and small around the country, along the border, at detention facilities, there are at last the stirrings of redemption. There is a moral outrage percolating now throughout this great land, a sense that, with the taking of the children, with the stealing of the Supreme Court, with the destruction of environmental regulations and the rolling back of 60 years of civil rights advances, everything is on the line.

In ever-increasing numbers, and with ever-increasing urgency, as our own political flood waters rise, so we will keep protesting, keep fighting, keep pushing back, until bit by bit we redeem this wondrous democracy from rule by thugs.
Sasha Abramsky is a Sacramento writer who teaches at UC Davis. His latest book is “Jumping at Shadows: The Triumph of Fear and the End of the American Dream.” He can be reached at

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Families Belong Together March - Sacramento

Where are the children?
Donde están los Niños ?

DSA Contingent in the Demonstration

Thank you!  All who participated in the  Families Belong Together marches across the nation. Thank you for showing up!  It is a tremendous statement. 
Having worked in the immigration fight for years, this is a peak moment.  It is humbling to see the millions and the families uniting to find the children taken by ICE.  Thank you for standing with the immigrants’ rights movements.  
See Bee video.

It was a reminder that, for all the chaos and cruelty of those in power, a massive and growing movement exists in every corner of the nation that still believes in fundamental decency. It was a reminder that—at the ultimate wellspring of power in the American political system—the core values of we, the people blaze, undiminished, indivisible.
The horror that so many of us feel about the devastating policies of our government won't go away due to a march. But we are here, we are ready to fight, and we won't go away. This administration hopes to crush our will to resist. Today, we made clear that they will fail. 
In the days ahead, we'll be sharing more actions we, together, can take next to build upon this momentum, end these terrorizing and traumatizing policies, hold abusers accountable, and reunite families. Our movement needs to:
  • Keep up the heat on decision-makers everywhere. We'll organize more in-person actions to create pressure to reunite families, close family prisons, and end indefinite detention—working with Indivisible, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and other organizations.
  • Hold corporations accountable for profiting off this system—companies such as Wells Fargo must be held accountable for their role in funding family separation infrastructure.
  • Rein in the excesses of the brutal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers who are terrorizing communities and tearing apart families across the country.
And we need to make sure everyone who is eligible registers to vote—a critical way to get involved with all the issues that matter to all our communities and families. 

More on all of that soon. Watch your email for opportunities to take action, or join MoveOn's SMS list to get text messages with alerts about clear, impactful actions by texting FAMILY to 668366. 

NYT Editorial Board
The marches taking place across the country this weekend are really about the soul of America. Forcibly separating children from their parents is not about “deterrence,” or the legal technicalities of law, or illegal immigration, or anything else President Trump has claimed to justify his latest and most odious outrage. It’s about “Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation,” to borrow from the Declaration of Independence.
No, the United States does not have clean hands: It has tolerated many inequities and atrocities throughout its history, toward Native Americans, blacks, Japanese and women, among others. Yet against that is the tradition in American law, culture and practice to defend the weak, to welcome the other, to give refuge to the oppressed and to refuse to acquiesce when a government acts against basic dictates of conscience.
The Trump administration has committed a gross offense. It is the duty of every decent American to demand that it promptly reunite these children with their parents.

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