Sunday, February 26, 2017

Immigrants Strike Around the Country

Arkansas poultry workers, Brooklyn warehouse workers and house cleaners, Twin Cities roofers, and thousands of students in places like Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Charlotte, North Carolina. They were all among the tens of thousands who stayed home from work or school across the country during Thursday, February 16’s “Day without Immigrants.”
The action, largely spread over social media and informal networks in working-class immigrant communities, was a response to President Donald Trump’s promise to dramatically expand immigration enforcement and the wave of raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement the prior week.


In a Facebook post, Minnesota worker center CTUL suggested sample language for workers who planned to strike:
"My co-workers and I are going on strike to show that immigrant workers are a crucial part of the economy. We want our employers to declare that they will not discriminate against workers based on national origin or religion. We also want our employer to call the White House to oppose Donald Trump’s immigration policies. We are on a one-day strike on February 16, 2017 and we will come back to work the next day, on February 17, 2017."
"Submit this message by letter, text, or email to your boss," wrote CTUL. "Keep a copy and document any response you get from your boss. If you are a member of a union, contact your union rep first."
Workers thinking about participating in similar strikes may also want to consult the NLRB's Guideline Memorandum Concerning Unfair Labor Practice Charges Involving Political Advocacy, issued in the wake of the mass strike by immigrant workers on May 1, 2006.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

ICE Agents Deport Widely

In Virginia, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents waited outside a church shelter where undocumented immigrants had gone to stay warm. In Texas and in Colorado, agents went into courthouses, looking for foreigners who had arrived for hearings on other matters.

At Kennedy International Airport in New York, passengers arriving after a five-hour flight from San Francisco were asked to show their documents before they were allowed to get off the plane.

The Trump administration’s far-reaching plan to arrest and deport vast numbers of undocumented immigrants has been introduced in dramatic fashion over the past month. And much of that task has fallen to thousands of ICE officers who are newly emboldened, newly empowered and already getting to work.

Gone are the Obama-era rules that required them to focus only on serious criminals. In Southern California, in one of the first major roundups during the Trump administration, officers detained 161 people with a wide range of felony and misdemeanor convictions, and 10 who had no criminal history at all.

NYTimes. Feb. 25, 2017
See the High Cost of Trump's Deportations.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Trump Double Talk on Immigration

Photo: David Bacon 
IMMIGRATION DOUBLE TALK: President Donald Trump touted his immigration enforcement record during a roundtable Thursday with manufacturing executives. "You see what's happening at the border, all of the sudden for the first time, we're getting gang members out, we're getting drug lords out, we're getting really bad dudes out of this country," Trump said. He called his deportation efforts "a military operation," a loaded phrase in view of a draft government memo that last week floated the idea of using National Guard to enforce immigration laws.
Even as Trump boasted about tough enforcement, one of his top immigration officials insisted not much had changed. Speaking in Mexico City, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said: "There will be no - repeat - no mass deportations." And also: "No - repeat - no use of military force in immigration operations. None."
Welcome to the Trump administration's duelling realities about immigration policy. Trump touts his new iron-fisted approach ("The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise," he tweeted earlier this month. "Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!"). Kelly and federal immigration officials insist it's business as usual (DHS "doesn't have the resources to go into communities and start rounding people up. That's entirely a fiction of folks' imagination," an anonymous DHS official said earlier this week). Is Trump all bluster? Or is Kelly downplaying some dramatic policy changes? We'll find out soon enough.
From Politico's Morning Edition 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Civil Rights Groups Condemn New Deportation Rules

LULAC Condemns DHS Memos That Set the Stage for Mass Deportations

Enforcement Priorities Apply to Almost Every Undocumented Immigrant. Feb. 20, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a series of memos detailing the enforcement procedures for President Trump’s executive orders on immigration and border security.

Under the new guidance, the Department of Homeland Security has effectively ended the Obama-era focus on deporting the most dangerous criminal aliens and has replaced it with a policy that makes almost every undocumented immigrant an enforcement priority. Those accused or even suspected of breaking the law will now be targeted for deportation without a trial. Due process protections and access to our judicial system are dramatically eroded with the expansion of “expedited removal” to the entire country.

“The new guidelines could result in the deportation of millions, including the non-threatening hardworking immigrants that President Trump has said he wants to help,” said LULAC National President Roger C. Rocha, Jr. “Without prioritization, criminal felons will be lost in the hunt for harmless undocumented immigrants whose only infraction is seeking a better life for themselves and their families.”

Although the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program (DAPA) remain intact, the memo indicates that further guidance for these programs will be provided in the future and notes that the DAPA program is currently blocked by the courts. In addition, the memo establishes the Victims of Immigration Crime Enforcement (VOICE) Office in order to report crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.

We Will Not Be Doing Mass Deportations -Yet, says ICE !

Major John Kelly: Secretary of DHS
“We do not have the personnel, time or resources to go into communities and round up people and do all kinds of mass throwing folks on buses. That’s entirely a figment of folks’ imagination,” said the official, who was joined on the call by two others, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity to answer questions. “This is not intended to produce mass roundups, mass deportations.”     Washington Post.

The new regulations,

Currently, deportation depend upon persons arrested agreeing to be quickly deported.  DHS will be significantly increasing the number of Border Patrol and Immigration Hearing Officers. Unless they have convicted of prior felony,  persons arrested are immediately offered a “voluntary” departure.  If you sign it, most people will be deported within 2-3 days. ( In California it is usually the same day.)
The new rules call for the immediate deportation of  "undocumented immigrants who have been charged with crimes but not convicted, those who commit acts that constitute a “chargeable criminal offense,” and those who an immigration officer concludes pose “a risk to public safety or national security.”

These rules changes make it possible to deport millions of  immigrants. Have you used a false social security number ?  Have you accepted a “voluntary departure”, and then returned to the U.S. to be with your family ?  Does the arresting officer think that you might be a risk to public safety or national security ? Any one of these issues could make it possible to deport you- although you have a good reason to be in this country.
One  strategy to defeat these mass deportations is for those arrested to refuse to sign the “voluntary” departure.  Note; This is a serious decision.. Each individual will have to make their own decision.  Persons refusing to sign may have to remain in jail for months.
The jails will fill within days- even the private prisons.  And, the courts will be overloaded. 
Then what?  Those arrested must ask for attorneys.  Under the current system, over 90%  arrested sign the “voluntary “ departure.  They do not receive attorney’s or legal counsel.

Myth: Immigrants Do Not Pay Taxes

MYTH: "Immigrants don't pay taxes"

On average, undocumented immigrants contribute more in taxes than they consume in public benefits, and are estimated to have contributed nearly $50 billion in federal taxes between 1996 and 2003. They also contribute between $7-8 billion in social security funds annually--that's $100 billion in the past 15 years that they will never claim.
By legalizing the undocumented workforce, we will bring these workers out of the underground economy and increase social security and federal tax revenue. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that if the 2007 immigration reform bill had passed, legalizing 12 million undocumented immigrants, it would have generated $48 billion in new federal revenue through 2008-2017.5 Likewise, legalizing immigrants will contribute significantly to the social security system since immigrants tend to be younger than the native-born.

Monday, February 13, 2017

We Can Resist Trump's Deportation Orders - Here is How

By Duane Campbell. Feb. 13, 2017

The chaos created by Donald Trump’s ban on refugees is only the beginning of a crisis that Trump and his allies are creating.  Less noticed was Trump’s rollout of executive actions on immigration and the border wall  on Jan. 25. These executive orders were the opening act of what is certain to be an aggressive crackdown on unauthorized immigration.  The left responded quickly to the Jan. 27 ban on refugees with important protests and significant legal challenges.  However, Trump has created so many crises in his first weeks  that it would be easy to miss the long-term train wreck being created by Trump’s earlier executive  actions on the border wall and the expansion of arrests and deportations.

On Jan. 25 Trump signed an executive order on immigration
that directs ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents to use a  broadened definition of  “criminal” and focus deportation efforts not only on those who have been convicted of crimes, but also those who have been charged, or “have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense. This order will increase the number of persons subject to deportation by at least 2 million and the order will triple the number of agents in the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations office and give them broad power to ultimately decide who should be deported. Increased deportations have already begun under this new executive order.
See the numerous posts below. 

Past use of aggressive interior enforcement, then called “Secure Communities,” was an abject failure. ICE agents conducted raids and arrested people at work sites, schools, and on the streets.  Often they jailed complete families.  In most cases, these arrests and deportations depended upon the cooperation of local police and social service agencies (see sanctuary cities, below). The campaigns deported parents of U.S. citizens, disrupting families, schools, and workplaces. The raids were too often done without proper warrants and other procedural safeguards.

The Wall (or Fence)

We should not assume that each of the Trump executive orders will be accepted and implemented.  On the contrary.  The orders produce contradictions and will produce resistance.

Yes, the U.S. can build a wall or fencing on the U.S. side of the border, except for that portion of the border that is on the Tohono O’odhom reservation in Arizona.   But the wall will be an expensive failure. 

Trump’s demand to build the wall and to impose tariffs is producing a reaction in Mexico.   The U.S. not only imports from Mexico, U.S. corporations also exported to Mexico  $267  billion dollars worth of goods  in 2015. Mexico is the U.S.’s second largest export market.  A tariff on the U.S. side will likely produce a tariff on the Mexican side that could cost some 1 million jobs in the U.S.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Immigrants and Allies Fight Back

During his first weeks as President, Donald Trump has enacted some alarming and draconian executive orders. The most alarming has been his executive orders attacking immigrants.
This executive action, among other things, affects deportation policy and priorities. One of the main things that this executive order does is broaden its definition of ‘priority’ for deportation (a priority is the people that the Department of Homeland Security focuses its resources to deport). Priorities now include anyone that has been accused of a crime, regardless if they were convicted or not, as well as anyone who has previously had an encounter with the immigration system.
This broad definition of a ‘priority’ has put millions of people under the threat of deportation. Which is why now, more than ever, it is important for immigrants to know and exercise their rights in case they were to come into contact with an immigration agents and local law enforcement.
Here are the rights that immigrants must know during a Trump presidency:
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) cannot come into your home without a warrant signed by an immigration court judge. With your door shut, ask them to slide the signed warrant under the door or push it up against a window. They cannot come in unless you let them.
I.C.E can and will use anything you say against you in court. It’s important for you to remain silent and ask to speak to your attorney. Simply tell the immigration officer: “I am exercising my fifth amendment right and choosing to remain silent until I speak to my attorney”.
Many times, I.C.E. and Customs and Border Protection (C.B.P.) will attempt to trick and make you sign your own deportation. This is also known as a voluntary departure. Do NOT sign anything that they give you without first speaking to an attorney.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Ariz. mom deported under Trump executive order

Phoenix Immigrant Mother - Arrested, Deported . New ICE Policies

Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) - An immigrant mother in Phoenix granted leniency during the Obama administration was deported to Mexico Thursday in what activists said was an early example of how President Donald Trump plans to carry through on his vow to crack down on illegal immigration.
The case of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos became a rallying cry for immigrant groups who believe Trump's approach to immigration will unfairly tear apart countless families.
Her arrest prompted a raucous demonstration in downtown Phoenix late Wednesday as protesters blocked enforcement vans from leaving a U.S. immigration office. Seven people were arrested.
Garcia de Rayos said on Thursday evening that she didn't regret her decision to report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement despite knowing she'd risk getting arrested.
Garcia de Rayos spoke from the Kino Border Initiative, a soup kitchen and shelter in Nogales, Mexico, where many migrants go after being deported. Her U.S.-citizen children were by her side, their first time in Mexico, their mother said.
"I'm doing this for my kids so they have a better life. I will keep fighting so they can keep studying in their home country," she said. "We're a united family. We're a family who goes to church on Sundays, we work in advocacy. We're active."
Garcia de Rayos was deported around 10 a.m. from a Nogales border crossing and ICE worked with Mexican consular officials to repatriate her, agency spokeswoman Yasmeen Pitts O'Keefe said in a statement. She said her case underwent a thorough review that determined the 35-year-old mother of two children with U.S. citizenship had no "legal basis to remain in the U.S."
"ICE will continue to focus on identifying and removing individuals with felony convictions who have final orders of removal issued by the nation's immigration courts," Pitts O'Keefe said.

The Mexican government said in a statement on Thursday that Garcia de Rayos' deportation is the "new reality" immigrants face in the United States.
Mexico's foreign relations department said that her removal is an example of more severe immigration enforcement.
Officials warned other Mexicans in the U.S. to be cautious, aware of their rights and to stay in contact with their local consulate.
She came to the U.S. from the Mexican state of Guanajuato when she was 14 and has two children who are U.S. citizens, said the Puente Arizona immigrant advocacy group based in Phoenix.

Associated Press writers Paul Davenport and Bob Seavey in Phoenix contributed to this report.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

The Power of " Immigrant Welcoming Congregations"

Photoessay by David Bacon
The Progressive, February 1, 2017

Five years ago, the Reverend Deborah Lee of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity began organizing church vigils outside the West County Detention Center in Richmond, California. Vigil participants have won the ability to meet with detainees inside the prison, offered sanctuary, and have found legal help for families.

"Solidarity is our protection," says Reverend Lee. "We ask faith communities to consider declaring themselves 'sanctuary congregations' or 'immigrant-welcoming congregations.'"

In 2011 people of faith began holding a vigil outside the West County Detention Center, where immigrants are incarcerated before being deported.

A Jewish activist blows the shofar, or ram's horn, outside the detention center, as a call to resist oppression and as part of a prayer service called during a time of communal distress.

One vigil was sponsored by members of the Unitarian Universalist Church, which developed a slogan for its work to halt deportations, "Standing on the Side of Love."

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Trump's Executive Order Puts Millions At Risk

The chaos created by Donald Trump’s ban on refugees is the beginning of a crisis that Trump and his allies are creating.  The Trump administration’s dramatic rollout of executive actions  on immigration on Jan, 25 was the opening act of what is certain to be an aggressive crackdown on unauthorized immigration.  

On Jan. 25 Trump signed an Executive Order on immigration

that directs ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement ) agents to use a  broadened definition of  “criminal” and focus deportation efforts not only on those who have been convicted of crimes, but also those who have been charged, or “have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense”.  His order will triple the number of agents in the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations office and  would give them broad power to ultimately decide who should be deported.

As editor, I agree with this position of Roque Planas on The Huffington Post.
Buried in President Donald Trump’s executive order for a crackdown on so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions, signed Wednesday, is his administration’s first official statement of which undocumented immigrants it will classify as a deportation priorities. 
The short answer is: almost anyone. 
“It’s pretty much designed to include whoever they want to include,” immigration attorney David Leopold told The Huffington Post. “It’s written by a smart lawyer. It’s written to include everybody, while looking like it’s chasing criminals. It’s carte blanche for Trump’s deportation force to pick up anyone they want to.” 

Call the Legislature. Support Immigrant Rights Bills

CA Capitol office numbers:  De Leon 916-651-4024; Hueso 916-651-4040; Lara 916-651-4033; Bonta 916-319-2018; Kalra 916-319-2027

SB 54 California Values ActSenate President Pro Tem Kevin De León
SB 6  (HUESO -D-SAN DIEGO); Immigrants: removal proceedings: legal services
SB 29 (Lara-D-Bell Gardens): Law enforcement: immigration
SB 31 (Lara – D Bell Gardens) Religious Freedom Nondisclosure Act: state agencies: disclosure of religious information.
AB 3 (BONTA -D -OAKLAND):  Public defenders: legal counsel: immigration consequences: grants.
AB-21 Public postsecondary education: Access to Higher Education for Every Student – Ash Kalra (D-San Jose)
Locate your legislators and find out more information about the bills .