Everybody’s a Target: Children, Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Citizens

what. have we. become

Life imitates art and it all ends badly:

“In the fifth episode of the last season of Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black,” the character Maritza, who has been languishing in an immigrant detention center, finds out about a toll-free hotline she can call to get a free lawyer. As she’s rejoicing, another character, Gloria, cuts her off.

“Gloria warns Maritza: “You have to be careful, though. Apparently if they figure out that you’re using the hotline, Big Brother shuts it down.”

“That’s exactly what happened, advocates say. Immigration and Customs Enforcement shut down a real hotline for detained immigrants run by the California group Freedom for Immigrants less than two weeks after it was prominently featured on the show.” 

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We Must Do Better: Four Immigration Stories


A Minnesota attorney reports on what she saw in Juarez. A lawsuit details medical neglect in immigration detention facilities. Immigrant veterans or immigrant spouses of vets lose rights. A nursing mother is separated from her four-month-old baby.

None of this is necessary. We can do better. Continue reading

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Just Saying No to Asylum Seekers

treating refugees as the problem is the problem

How many ways can Trump say no to asylum seekers? He started as soon as he was inaugurated, with the Muslim ban, then moved on to bar people at the southern border. Among the ways to say no to asylum seekers:  

Courts frequently enjoin these nay-saying executive orders and regulations, but the Ninth Circuit just ruled that one big barrier can stand—except in the Ninth Circuit. Confused? Here’s what happened: Continue reading

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Asylum Delayed, Justice Denied


Nearly nine thousand asylum seekers sit in immigration prisons, despite having shown credible or reasonable fear of persecution: the initial immigration decision that allows them to proceed with their asylum cases in court. They sit in prison for months or years, generating enormous profits for the private prison systems that hold most of them. They sit, separated from families and often far removed from the courts where their cases will be held, from family members in the United States, and from lawyers who might help them prepare their cases—because the Trump administration policy is to punish them for asking for asylum.  Continue reading

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More Restrictions on Legal Immigration: Fear as Public Policy

DACA rally - Portland - Joe Frazier

Photo by Joe Frazier, DACA rally in Portland, published under Creative Commons license.

Not content with sending asylum seekers back to danger and kidnapping, rounding up Mississippi poultry workers and separating them from their children, and posturing about border walls, the Trump administration today announced further moves against legal immigrants, effective October 15, in the so-called public charge rule.  

U.S. officials abroad have been using this rule for months, upping the “public charge” denial rate for visa applicants from Mexico from seven during all of fiscal year 2016 to more than 5,000 in the first ten months of the current fiscal year. Worldwide, the number of “public charge” visa denials escalated from 1,033 in FY 2016 to 12,179 in the first ten months of FY 2019. 

The increase in “public charge” denials comes in spite of all evidence showing that immigrants use public benefits less often and for shorter periods of time than native-born U.S. citizens. Temporary visitors (tourist, students, etc.) are not eligible for any public benefits and most legal permanent residents are not eligible until they have lived in the United States for five years. But  hey—why bother basing public policy on facts?  Continue reading

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Magdalena in Mississippi

Screen Shot 2019-08-11 at 3.56.47 PM.png

You have probably seen her by now: the 11-year-old girl pleading through her tears

“The governments—Government, please put your heart! Let my parents be free and everybody else. Please don’t leave the child with cryingness and everything.” 

The government responds, “This is business as usual for us.”  Continue reading

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Living in Fear in the United States

HPzvJxmxQIWAulXZGMoitwIf you want to know how the El Paso massacre and the hate speech spewing from Trump’s Washington and his thousands of Facebook ads targeting immigrants affects U.S. citizens and immigrants, check out journalist Aura Bogado’s Twitter account. Yesterday, she asked: “Latinxs: how do you feel in public right now? What do you think about? Is there anything you’ve visibly or verbally changed, and if so, why?” The answers are still pouring in:  Continue reading

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