Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Day of Action/Day of Shame: Nov 25th, 2018- At the Border

Credit: Jeff Valenzuela

Written by Maya Flores (DSA Immigrant Rights Committee & DSA-Fresno)
November 25th, 2018 should be remembered as the day we, the United States and the Trump administration, gassed women and children in a sovereign nation. It should also be remembered as the day that those still aligned with constitutional and international law stood up for human rights. Those of us who organized the rallies, the marches, and the demonstrations had no idea that Nov. 25thwould end in tear gas attacks, injuries, and stampedes. Some were at the border just to show solidarity, but would end up being tear gassed as well, others held events, while others watched in horror as the events unfolded November the 25th. It will be forever etched in our minds as both a Day of National Action and as a Day of National Shame.
DSA chapters nationwide organized for a day of action on November 25th, 2018, to stand with the asylum seekers and to reject the false narrative of “invasion” and “illegitimacy”, to remind everyone of the long history of US political and economic interference that has acted as a catalyst for the mass exodus, and to declare “let them all in! Dejalos entrar!”
In San Diego, DSA-San Diego teamed up with Otay Mesa Detention Resistance, the Migrant and Refugee Solidarity Coalition, People Over Profits-SD, Union del Barrio, and other orgs to hold a rally and a march to the border. According to local news reports, there were over 600 attendees standing up for the rights of the asylum seekers! They held an initial rally with speakers, during which time multiple US helicopters buzzed low over their heads several times prior to the gassing at the border. After the speeches, the activists marched to the border en mass to show solidarity for the refugee caravan. San Diego is the closest to the border and DSA San Diego members felt it was their crucial duty to show up to declare “let them in! Dejalos entrar!” What nobody expected was the unprecedented and illegal use of violence against asylum seekers who were in a sovereign country at the hands of the US government. 
Steven Nieder (DSA-San Diego) was at the border near the front of the crowd when the US tear gassed the crowds, including many women and children. Steven was kind enough to not only give DSA his personal narrative, but to also get permission from an on-the-ground photographer so DSA can publish his startling, vivid, and shocking photographs from that day, November 25th. Here is his narrative, written in the first person, which he sent to me:
[Steven Nieder’s narrative]: I was there doing human rights observing and trying to help those who had been teargassed, as there were multiple barrages. The Mexican police had funneled everyone that tried to go to the port of entry into the canal next to the border. The caravan members involved were a rather small contingent of the group in TJ, and it was made up mostly of middle school and high school aged boys. I was staying back to where the teargas from the previous waves was manageable. I went up to the border fence, which in this particular area is just a few barbwire rolls on top of each other, when I thought everything was coming to an end. There was a layer of media next to the border, followed by a handful of policia in riot gear that was getting the caravan members to leave. I thought the events were over and was facing away from the border when I heard shots starting to go off. As I turned around, I found myself in a good 50 foot cloud of teargas. I started running and immediately was struggling to breathe and see. I wanted to drop into the canal, but knew if I ran onto an uneven surface I'd fall, so I kept running through the smoke. I, along with most others, was running with my eyes closed. I opened them when I started running into people. People were trampling over a girl probably ~10-12 years old due to having their eyes closed. A few of us were able to block her from the running crowd and get her to her feet again. I don't think I've fully processed it all yet, there were kids crying and a few women vomiting uncontrollably. It was pretty much just the media and policia who were actually next to the border at that time. It caught me completely off guard, as we were just standing there and they gassed us with our backs to them. [End of narrative]
(Photographs graciously provided by Jeff Valenzuela, all rights reserved)
Credit: Jeff Valenzuela

Monday, November 26, 2018

Conflict at the Border

What’s happening with asylum-seekers at the border?Nation Nov 26, 2018 6:45 PM EST. pbs newshour

The busiest port of entry along the southwest border was shut down by U.S. immigration officials this past weekend after hundreds of Central American migrants hoping to declare asylum attempted to cross fencing that separates Mexico and the U.S.

U.S. agents responded to the breach, as well as reports of rocks and bottles thrown by protesters at the border, by firing tear gas at the thousands of Central American migrants who had gathered near the San Ysidro border crossing in Tijuana, Mexico, for a demonstration.

Images showing families fleeing tear gas prompted outrage from some American lawmakers and advocates about the growing violence against migrants seeking asylum in the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security said it was responding to “lawlessness.” And President Donald Trump urged Mexican officials to move the migrants away from the border.

Here’s a closer look at what’s happening at the border.
What happened

Migrants cover their faces, as they run from tear gas, thrown by the U.S border patrol near the fence between Mexico and the United States in Tijuana, Mexico. Photo by Hannah McKay/Reuters

The number of Central American migrants seeking asylum from their home countries has been growing in Tijuana. Since the first members of the caravan arrived a couple weeks ago, the group amassed in the border city has grown to about 5,000 people.

This is the same group — made up of migrants who originally started their journey together in Honduras — that Trump characterized as an “invasion” ahead of the U.S. 2018 midterm elections. Having traveled northward toward the border for weeks, the caravan has grown increasingly frustrated with long wait times for their asylum claims since arriving in Tijuana. The waiting list for asylum claims had 3,000 names on it before the caravan arrived, the Associated Press reported, adding the San Ysidro center is processing fewer than 100 claims a day.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Potential Deal With Mexico Could Impact Thousands Of Migrants Stalled In...

 NYT. MEXICO CITY — Leaders of the incoming Mexican government are in talks with American officials to allow migrants applying for asylum in the United States to remain in Mexico while they await a decision — a drastic overhaul of current policy that President Trump suggested Saturday night was as good as a done deal.
While Mexican officials said no decision has been made, leaders of the incoming government are under immense pressure to deal with thousands of migrants lined up along the border between the two countries. The top officials of the incoming administration plan to meet as early as Sunday to discuss the proposal, according to the new foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, who will take office on Dec. 1.
Ciudad de México. Olga Sánchez Cordero, futura secretaria de Gobernación, desmintió que exista un acuerdo entre el futuro gobierno de México y el de Estados Unidos para exigir a los solicitantes de asilo que esperen en México mientras se procesan sus casos en los tribunales de aquel país, como reportó el diario The Washington Post.
“El futuro gobierno no considera en sus planes que México asuma la condición de tercer país seguro para la atención de los migrantes centroamericanos o de otros países que se encuentran en territorio de México, o para los que lo hagan en un futuro”, señaló en un comunicado.
Dijo que para el equipo de transición lo más importante en el tema de las caravanas de migrantes centroamericanas que han ingresado a México es la protección de sus derechos humanos y el auxilio para asegurarles condiciones para su alimentación, salud y alojamiento.
Sostuvo que mantienen comunicación constante con las autoridades mexicanas federales y locales en las que rechace la responsabilidad de prestar ayuda humanitaria a los migrantes y definir su situación migratoria.

La Jornada, D.F. 

California State University's Executive Orders

Friday, November 23, 2018

Activists Support the Migrant Exodus

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Join DSA in supporting the Refugee Exodus! #MigrantCaravan #CaravanaMigrante

The Democratic Socialists of America and the national Immigrants' Rights Working Group are supporting the migrant caravan; those traveling in the caravan with demands for asylum in the US, and the groups providing material, legal, and organizational support. We need you, as individual members and as chapters, to help us with these efforts!
DSA has joined border organizations in the International Call to Action for the Refugee Caravan and Central American Exodus. Chapters across the country will be participating in actions on November 25th in solidarity with the caravan!

Read the statement here & reach out to us if you plan to organize or participate in a local action. 
So, what can you do? 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Solidarity With Honduran Exodus

International Call to Action for the Refugee Caravan and Central American Exodus

As thousands of our refugee relatives—children, elders, brothers, sisters, LGBTQI+ siblings and people with disabilities—make their way to the border, we are calling for an InternationalDay of Action in Solidarity with the Caravan and Exodus from Central Americaon Sunday, November 25th, 2018.We, an ad-hoc Migrant and Refugee Solidarity Coalition, composed of migrant rights and social justice groups, invite individuals and organizations across the country and globe to organize demonstrations in their cities, and if they have the capacity, to join our rally and march to the border.  
We call for an action on November 25th to commemorate the anniversary of the 2017 Honduran election stolen by the US government-backed, right-wing military dictator Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH). We are demonstrating on this day to acknowledge and draw attention to the current social and political crises driving the exodus from Central America. We understand that these crises—drug wars, military coups, destruction of indigenous lands for the benefit of corporations, and environmental catastrophe in the region—are all symptoms of US foreign policy, corporate profiteering and war-making. 
Moreover, we see that the Trump administration is creating a warlike atmosphere against the caravan. It should be clear that they are not just acting with the support of a cabinet of white supremacists and a majority GOP in the Senate but are also emboldened by the last few decades of bipartisan militarization of the border, mass raids, expansion of for-profit detention centers, and mass deportations—with more than 2.5 million migrants under Obama and Trump alone. Further, these policies are a continuation of a long history of anti-Indigenous colonial violence and genocide.
These attacks have been complemented by decades of pushback against the migrants’ rights movement and years of terror against all who participated in the mega marches for Migrant’s Rights back in 2006 and since. We must continue to build and consolidate our gains no matter how large or small. 
Legal precedent, “civility,” regard for life: the administration has no respect for any of it. The only thing that it responds to is resistance from below.
The US government, as with all governments, and the people of the United States have a choice: We can reject the humanity of the refugees and buy into the racist anti-migrant rhetoric of the Administration and the media. OR, we can do what humans have an obligation to do and what the US government owes the people of Central America: insist on allowing all the refugees the right to seek asylum!
  1. Respect for the right of asylum for all members of the Central American Exodus. Stop the profiling and criminalization of refugees; lift the executive order limiting access to asylum. 
  2. Process all asylum claims made at Ports of Entry with expediency. We reject Custom and Border Protection’s claim that Port of Entries lack capacity to let in refugees. We also reject the shift away from decades of international asylum agreements that allow for requests to be made anywhere on the border.
  3. The US government must publicly acknowledge a) its role in Honduran Coup in 2009, b) that the Honduran government is a US supported dictatorship, and c) recognize the political and social crises throughout Central America as caused by US foreign policy. 
  4. Call for international solidarity beyond the US and Mexico. The United Nations and Red Cross must also recognize the Humanitarian crisis at the US/Mexico Border.
  5. We demand freedom for incarcerated migrants now and free movement for asylum seekers. No incarceration of migrants in shelters or for-profit detention centers.
  6. No impunity for governments that violate international asylum agreements and processes. Prosecute officials who violate the human right to seek asylum in any country of their preference.

Endorsing Organizations: 
Pueblo Sin Fronteras
Otay Mesa Detention Resistance
Union Del Barrio 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

When ICE Comes Calling


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Trump Admin Opposes U.N. Resolution on refugees

The United States was the only country Tuesday to vote against a U.N. General Assembly resolution on refugees, Reuters' Michelle Nichols reports. U.S. officials opposed the annual measure "because it said elements of the text ran counter to the Trump administration's sovereign interests," according to Reuters. More here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: 'We Have To Keep Organizing, We Can Not Stop' ...

DSA's newest Congress Woman

In a galvanizing victory speech to an electrified crowd of admirers, Ocasio-Cortez waved away the latest criticism—of her admittedly skeletal plan to pay for an expensive agenda—with the assurance that will finds a way. "They will always call the ambitious naive, they will always call the ambitious uninformed," she said, but the overwhelming excitement her primary win engendered matters—precisely because it was not partisan. Neither party does enough for its constituents, and her victory emphasized a widespread readiness for a fresh political approach, and the possibility of real change that new course presented. 
"Our deepest challenges are not left and right, they are not red and blue; they are top and bottom, they are right and wrong," she said. "It is not good enough to throw a rock at our neighbor's yard, we need to clean up our own house."
She also acknowledged disappointment at the evening's mixed bag of returns: Democrats won the House, but lost key gubernatorial races across the country to Donald Trump-approved candidates: Georgia Representative Stacey Abrams seemed poised to lose, narrowly, to Brian Kemp (although Abrams had not conceded at time of writing); progressive Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum lost to the same windbag who underestimated Ocasio-Cortez.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Sending Troops to the Border is an Election Tactic-

Sending the troops is not about the caravan.
It’s about an election.
It’s a culture war being waged by the Trump Administration.
The migrant caravan is 800 miles away from our southern border. These Central American families will literally walk for months with small children in tow. Some humanizing reports are already showing stories of burnout and fatigue among asylum-seekers.

These are families – mothers, daughters, sons, and fathers – who are walking in horrendous conditions, unlikely to reach the border.
The Trump Administration is exploiting the vulnerability of these families as part of his culture war, entirely for political gain.

The reality is, the families are:
  • fleeing violence and lack of economic opportunity
  • traveling to the U.S. to seek asylum, which is legal
  • in no way a national security threat
Despite articles sensationalizing “record migration,” net migration to the U.S. is on the decline and has been since 2005.

And the caravans are nothing new and in no way are a “crisis.” Humanitarian groups have been organizing similar caravans since 2010.

Like the Irish "coffin ships" of before, these caravans are made up of families escaping horrors. They are simply families trying to go through our legal application process for asylum.

This election is going to end, but the fight for the soul of America will continue. And we must continue to fight. 
"Dear America" by Jose Antonio Vargas is now available at HC.com/DearAmericaand available wherever books are sold. The author will donate a portion of his proceeds to Define American.