Tag Archives: Border Militirization

“Reform” for whom?; deportation is the problem; DACA update; and the 10 worst detention centers 11/12-11/18

18 Nov

Senators Charles Schumer and Lindsay Graham

What’s really in immigration “reform”?  
Seth Freed Wessler of Colorlines.com posses the question: “What qualifies as “reform,” for whom and at what price?“ Those who are concerned about the well-being of immigrants should be wary of the political rhetoric starting to fly about the halls of Congress and the airwaves of the mainstream media. The dominant narrative in the US is that the immigration system is broken.  This narrative helps perpetuate the view that undocumented people are criminals or lawbreakers.  As a result, the policy “solutions” that are likely to be re-introduced in the next Congress focus heavily on enforcement measures.  Senators Charles Schumer and Lindsay Graham, who co-authored a bill that failed in 2010, are likely to take the lead.  In interviews after the election, both stated that their plan would be “heavy on enforcement and avoid anything that sounds like amnesty.” As Colorlines.com reports, immigrant advocates are prepared to take a stand against so-called reform measures that increase enforcement.

Deportation the problem, not immigration courts
A report by the Inspector General of the Justice Department highlights our nation’s broken enforcement and deportation policies. The report determined that the backlog of cases in immigration courts are due to increased deportations, not problems with the court system.  Currently, immigration judges are ruling on an average of 1,200 deportation cases each year and the system still has a backlog of over 300,000 cases of individuals awaiting to see whether or not they face deportation.

Over 50,000 individuals approved under DACA
In total, over 300,000 applications have been filed.  Data released by USCIS show that over 80,000 applications have been submitted by individuals in California, almost 50,000 from Texas, and almost 20,000 from New York.  It is predicted that as many as 100,000 individuals will be approved by the end of the year.  The New York Times predicts that the number of applicants is likely to increase now that President Obama’s re-election ensures that the policy will continue.

“Expose and Close” campaign pushes for closure of 10 detention centers
Detention Watch Network’s campaign to end the nation’s detention system has released a report highlighting the conditions in 10 of the worst detention centers in the US.  They document the chronic human rights violations in these 10 centers as a means of drawing attention to the rampant abuses and lack of oversight across all 250 of ICE’s detention facilities.


Women Farmworkers and Sexual Violence, 5/7-5/16

17 May

Report Cover Cultivating Fear

Cultivating Fear: A Report on Farmworker Women and Sexual Violence
Human Rights Watch’s  new report details the abuses suffered by farmworker women in fields by compiling interviews with farmworker women, social service providers, health workers, police, and others in New York, California, and North Carolina. The interviews describe the toxic social environments the fields can become. These conditions are a result of weak labor protections and immigration laws. With few protections, sexual assault and sexual violence are a common experience for farmworker women.

Civil Right Organizations Oppose House GOP version of Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization
VAWA is up for its third reauthorization. It is a bill that provides money to prevent domestic violence and protect victims. One important component of VAWA is the U-Visa which gives temporary legal status to victims of certain crimes, including domestic violence. The senate version of the bill passed 68-31 with 15 Republicans voting for it. The house measure has been modified by the GOP to reduce provisions concerning confidentiality of immigrant women applying for the U-Visa, eliminating provisions for LGBT individuals, and eliminating a provision that would allow abusers to be held accountable in Native American courts. Planned Parenthood and other civil rights organizations strongly oppose the GOP version of the reauthorization for VAWA.

US Border Patrol unveils 2012-2016 Strategy
The US Border Patrol has released a new strategic plan to prevent immigrants from entering the United States. With immigration reaching a net-zero, the Border Patrol may have felt pressured to rebrand its mission. The strategy continues a policy of border militarization using sophisticated weaponry, pushing migrants into the most dangerous border crossing areas.

Immigration Reform: Auction for Work Permits
This week UC Davis economist Giovanni Peri proposed an alternative to comprehensive immigration reform by auctioning work-permits. Instead of deciding visas by family connections, the visas would be purchased by employers. Highest bidder wins the workers. There would be a set quota of visas given out every quarter. Permits would start at $1,000 for low-skilled workers (farmwork, poultry processing, etc.), and $7,000 for high-skilled workers (tech).  Peri argues “It (work permits) would certainly generate more awareness and clarity on the economic value of immigrants.” Visas given to family members, and thus, family reunification would decrease with Peri’s proposal.