8/1-8/7 – Activists infiltrate detention center; CAD walker’s father is held by ICE; deportation industrial complex; and DREAMers’ deferred status

8 Aug

DREAM Activists infiltrate Broward County, Florida detention center
A group of DREAM Activists infiltrated a detention center last week to bring attention to the many individuals who continue to face deportation despite President Obama’s prosecutorial discretion policy issued in 2011.  One of the activists, Vidriana Martinez, spoke with Democracy NOW, explaining that she and the other activists are demanding a review of cases of all of these individuals.  She shared the stories of women who qualify for prosecutorial discretion, but find themselves in detention, living under poor conditions and without proper medical care.  This action has helped to bring attention to the many individuals who will not be eligible for the deferred action for young people, but who, under the Obama administration’s current policies, should not be held in detention.

Campaign for an American Dream Walker, Jonatan Martinez, fights to free his father from detention
1800 miles into his walk across the country, Jonatan Martinez has had to fight against his father’s possible deportation.  His father, Antonio Martinez, was arrested for driving without a license in Georgia.  He has been placed on an ICE hold and is currently in ICE custody.  Jonatan has launched a petition and phone campaign to pressure ICE Director John Morton to free his father.  The petition and phone numbers can be found on the DreamActivist website: http://action.dreamactivist.org/georgia/antonio.

Deportation is big business for private prison companies
The Associated Press reported that the business of deportation is booming and for-profit prison companies are reaping the profits.  In 2011, not only were half of the nation’s 30,000+ detention center beds in privately run centers, but private prison companies also ran the health centers, transportation and other services associated with the detention industrial complex.  As the AP reports, politicians have even acknowledged that private centers are no cheaper than government-run centers.  However, the real problem with private detention centers is not that they cost more.  The problem is that, as deportation becomes a profitable business, there is increasing pressure to add fuel to the fire of the deportation industrial complex.  Private prison companies, such as Corrections Corporation of America and The Geo group, have poured over $45 million into state and federal lobbying over the last 10 years.  Privately run detention centers receive very little federal oversight.  As a result, immigrants facing detention are placed in perilous conditions for indeterminate amounts of time while companies receive an average daily payment of $166 per individual.  For more information on how the privatization of detention centers affects the health of immigrants, check out The Curious Ostrich’s fact sheet on our resources page.

As young immigrants await information about deferred status application, immigrant  rights groups are providing legal advice and support
The guidelines for applying for deferred status will be released on August 15th.  In preparation, many immigrant rights groups, such as the National Immigrant Law (NILC), have produced fact sheets to make sure that young people are fully informed about the process.  Other groups, such as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center are hosting free legal clinics.  NILC and the United We Dream Network are launching a campaign, “Own the dream,” to support young people through the process.  Some young undocumented immigrants are concerned about how the process will unfold and what may happen if Mitt Romney becomes president.  The concerns that young immigrants are expressing are an important reminder that Obama’s June 15th policy announcement is a stop-gap measure and does not provide individuals with the protections of Citizenship.  Furthermore, the policy is only eligible for a small group of immigrants.  For example, the policy came too late for Sergio Garcia, a Californian law school graduate who passed the famously-challenging California Bar exam and will be barred from practicing law.

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