I am now posting links to articles on justice issues primarily at my Raising Cain @ wordpress blog. I hope to post more of my own writing on these subjects here at Raising Cain on Typepad. Lots going on. Much to write about. Much to heal in this country and on this planet.
Thousands of people awaiting immigration hearings in the US detention system are routinely held in solitary confinement. We know that this cruel and unusual practice causes serious and lasting psychological and physiological harm. The sometimes irreversible consequences — including panic attacks, paranoia, hallucinations, weight loss, and self-harm — are exacerbated for people who have endured torture, which is common among immigration detainees who have fled violence or persecution in their home countries.
Placing anyone in solitary confinement for prolonged periods is an outrage — in some cases even torture — but this practice is especially abhorrent in the immigration setting, where detainees are not being held as punishment for a crime and are usually unable to challenge their detention.
Urge Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to end solitary confinement in all immigration detention facilities. By ending this practice, the United States would send a strong signal to the international community that it does not tolerate torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading practices in its detention policy.
The Associated Press has dropped the phrase “illegal immigrant” from its stylebook, a victory for immigrant advocates who argue that the term is biased against the people it describes.
“The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term ‘illegal immigrant’ or the use of ‘illegal’ to describe a person,” a blog post from AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explains. “Instead, it tells users that ‘illegal’ should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.”
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has a new report on how suggestions (see related article links below the clip) to expand the US guestworker program to ensure plenty of cheap labor may take us to a place we really don't want to be:
In the debate over comprehensive immigration reform, various policymakers and business groups have suggested that Congress create a new or expanded guestworker program to ensure a steady supply of foreign workers for industries that rely on an abundance of cheap labor.
Congress should look before it leaps. The current H-2 program, which provides temporary farmworkers and non-farm laborers for a variety of U.S. industries, is rife with labor and human rights violations committed by employers who prey on a highly vulnerable workforce. It harms the interests of U.S. workers, as well, by undercutting wages and working conditions for those who labor at the lowest rungs of the economic ladder. This program should not be expanded or used as a model for immigration reform.
The mountains near here rise as jagged and unforgiving obstacles on the horizon for immigrants and smugglers who cross the border by moonlight and make their way northward along the foothills, stopping in the cypress groves for rest. It’s a natural passage and the easiest route to travel.
But it was also here, on April 8, that a group of what was described as four white men wearing camouflage opened fire on a packed truck carrying immigrants illegally into the country, killing two of them. The victims, Gerardo Perez-Ruiz from the central Mexican city of Toluca and another man believed to be from Guatemala, were part of a group of 20 to 30 immigrants driving through a remote desert wash near Eloy when the group of gunmen suddenly appeared.
Last week the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released a report that outlines the current state of U.S. government collection of biometric information and the problems that could arise from these growing databases of records. According to the report there is a growing push to link biometric collection with immigration enforcement and immigrant communities are already affected by the way this data is collected, stored, and shared.
Several of the Republican candidates have surprisingly moderate records and/or positions on immigration, but they are trying to obscure this in order to cater to hardcore anti-immigrant voters or generally come off as extremely conservative. Ironically a hardline anti-immigration message is out of step with the majority of Americans across the political spectrum, according to an analysis of five recent polls by the Center for American Progress.
As the delegation met undocumented residents and activists working with them, one thing that stood out was a broad climate of fear that will be familiar to those who lived through Alabama’s first Jim Crow era. Mary Bauer of the Southern Poverty Center spoke to us at the opening session of the delegation. She retold the story of someone who went to make a cash purchase at Walmart and was asked for identification. That isn’t in the HB-56 law. There isn’t any provision that you can’t make a cash purchase. But when the law of the land is prejudice, it creates vigilante immigration policing. People feel empowered to police anyone they think isn’t documented in any way they feel is reasonable.
Key Findings: There are at least 5,100 children currently living in foster care who are prevented from uniting with their detained or deported parents.
If nothing changes, 15,000 more children may face a similar fate in the next 5 years.
This is a growing national problem, not one confined to border jurisdictions or states-- ARC identified at least 22 states where these cases have emerged.
Families are more likely to be separated where local police aggressively participate in immigration enforcement.
Immigrant victims of domestic violence are at particular risk of losing their children
ICE detention obstructs participation in Child Protective Services' plans for family unity.
Most child welfare departments lack systemic policies to keep families united when parents are detained or deported.
Federal, state and local governments must create explicit policies to protect families from separation.
These polices should stop the clock on the child welfare process and the immigration enforcement process to ensure that families can stay together and allow parents to make the best decisions for the care and custody of their children.