Suspending the Law to Build a Wall

Sagaro_Cactii_at_Organ_Pipe_Cactus_National_Monument

Saguaro cacti at Organ Pipe National Monument. This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Drax Delton at the Q52 project.

The Trump administration has unilaterally suspended more than two dozen laws in border areas in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and California to allow border wall construction to proceed without any legal limitation. These laws  include:

  • The National Environmental Policy Act
  • the Endangered Species Act
  • the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly referred to as the Clean Water Act
  • the National Historic Preservation Act
  • the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
  • the Migratory Bird Conservation Act
  • the Clean Air Act
  • the Archeological Resources Protection Act
  • the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act
  • the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act of 1988
  • the Safe Drinking Water Act
  • the Noise Control Act
  • the Solid Waste Disposal Act
  • the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
  • the Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act
  • the Antiquities Act
  • the Historic Sites, Buildings, and Antiquities Act
  • the Farmland Protection Policy Act
  • National Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956
  • the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act
  • the National Trails System Act
  • the Administrative Procedure Act
  • the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899
  • the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act
  • the Eagle Protection Act

The Trump administration also suspended the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. Continue reading

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Immigration Policy as Child Abuse

Cruelty Is Not a Family Value

From photo by Fibonacci Blue, published under Creative Commons license.

The stories break your heart. Two Honduran sisters, eight and eleven years old, were scheduled for deportation back to Honduras, where they have no family to care for them. Eight years old and eleven years old. Think about that. Continue reading

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People Helping People: Relief for Immigrants

Immigrant Family Fund

Solidarity efforts across the country help immigrants barred from official government relief programs. Federal programs bar undocumented immigrants (and their U.S. citizen spouses and children) from COVID-19 relief benefits, even though these immigrants pay taxes. Some have lived, worked, and paid taxes in the United States for decades.

In Minnesota, the MN Immigrant Families COVID-19 Fund has raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars to support “immigrant families who don’t qualify for local, state or federal support,  and for those who, because of COVID-19, may be pushed even deeper into the shadows with little or few resources available to meet their immediate needs.” The fundraising is a collaborative effort with Asamblea de Derechos Civiles- St Cloud Chapter, Asian American Organizing Project (AAOP), Awood Center, Black Immigrant Collective (BIC), Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL), ISAIAH, Navigate MN and National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) St. Cloud chapter and Release MN8. Yes, you can still donate, and donations are tax-deductible. Continue reading

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ICE Detention Death Sentences

Fence_of_Prison-BPO

Federal courts have ordered ICE to provide minimal safety precautions to immigrants in detention. Soap. Water. Toilet paper. Reducing overcrowding to allow minimal social distancing. Detained immigrants still report lack of soap and sanitation supplies and dangerous overcrowding.

Now two immigrants have died of COVID-19 in detention. The first, 57-year-old Carlos Escobar Mejia, had lived in the United States for 40 years, died at Otay Mesa Detention Center: Continue reading

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Meatpacking and Moral Responsibility

1193px-SARS-CoV-2_without_background

*UPDATED 5/13/2020 with more MN data—More than a century ago, Upton Sinclair’s described dangerous and dirty meatpacking plants in The Jungle. Congress responded to public outrage by enacting the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act.

Neither law protected workers. Public outrage focused not on brutal working conditions but on food safety.  “I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident hit it in the stomach,” Sinclair later said. Today, as thousands of meatpacking workers are infected with COVID-19 and dozens have already died, public policy still prioritizes our stomachs (and profits) over protection of workers. Continue reading

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The Thanks Essential Workers Need: Paychecks and Protection

picking lettuce in Salinas CA

Picking lettuce in California. Photo by yaxchibonam, published under Creative Commons license.

Nancy Silva, a 43-year-old woman who picks clementines in California, carries a letter from her employer saying that the Department of Homeland Security considers her “critical to the food supply chain.” A 25-year-old father of two young daughters in Mankato carries the same kind of letter. His work: cleaning food manufacturing plants. Like many other essential workers, they are immigrants. Continue reading

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Pulling Back the Curtain: Justice Subverted

gavel

As Senator Mitch McConnell calls the Senate back into session to shove through more Trump judicial nominations, Roll Call reported again on the continuing subversion of immigration courts. Continue reading

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