Tag Archives: Children

14,237 Unaccompanied Minors Detained at the US-MX border, 2/13-2/20

22 Feb
Mexico's ICE

Mexico's ICE

Nearly 15,000 unaccompanied minors detained at the Mexico-US border annually, Fox News Latino, 2.13.12
_____Mexico’s version of ICE, the National Institute of Migration (INM) released an astounding figure early last week. In 2011, 14,237 minors travelled by themselves and were detained at the Southern border. That translates to about 40 children a day who are caught trying to cross into the US. This number does not include the children who are not detained when crossing the border, suggesting that the number of minors traveling by themselves is much higher. The 14,237 includes 11,520 minors from Mexico and another 2,717 minors from other Latin American countries such as Colombia, Panama, Spain, and Argentina. The report is not clear on whether these are minors without parents, crossing on their own, or minors who are trying to reunite with family in the US. The INM report also mentions that, within their agency, 386 officials work in the “Children’s Protection” unit where they screen for maltreatment, abuse, and trafficking. These children have been lured to the opportunities that may be available when they arrive in the US, despite the dangerous border conditions and the widespread discrimination.
_____The push and pull factors of immigration do not occur by chance: 11 million undocumented people in the United States is not a random statistic. In a recent Nation article David Bacon successfully at describes how US foreign policy has been a major contributor to the push of Mexicans out of Mexico.  NAFTA has eliminated many agricultural jobs, it hasn’t created enough manufacturing jobs, and both of these contribute to a 50% poverty rate in Mexico. In such a poor economic environment, it should be no wonder that there are so many trying to come to the US, including nearly 15,000 children who were detained at the border. If young people searching for better opportunities are able to make it to the border, we should not expel them from our country to an uncertain fate. Given that these minors may be orphans of have family in the US of Latin America, US’s first priority should be to ensure their safety, NOT their deportation. After all, US foreign policies are part of the reason they were pushed away from their homes in the first place.

In other news
March for Dignity a Success, Oakland Local, 2.18.12
Several hundred marchers stood in solidarity with workers who were laid-off from Pacific Steel Casting after an ICE audit. The resilient worker-organizers along with their allies marched through Berkeley on Friday, reminding the public that the immigrant persecution in this country is not limited to Arizona and Alabama.
Alabama’s Immigration Law Could Cost Billions Annually, Business Week, 2.14.12
An economic analysis of anti-immigrant laws in Utah, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, and Indiana find that these laws are having a tremendous economic impact. In Alabama, the study estimates that the economy will shrink by 2.3 billion dollars and 70,000 jobs every year. The majority of the decline is attributed to goods and services that would have been used by immigrants who have fled the state to avoid the laws.
Arizona business leaders drive a new approach to unauthorized immigration, WSJ, 2.13.12
A republican legislator in the state described the new approach: “In Arizona, we’re no longer willing to throw illegal-immigration bills against the wall to see what sticks.” The push is backed by the business groups such as the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and the Arizona Farm Bureau, which indicates that the state’s nativist streak may concede to a desire for a healthy economy. State legislators Alabama is also re-considering repealing elements of it’s anti-immigrant law.
Immigrants are slowly returning back to Alabama despite repressive HB56, USA Today, 2.19.12
After the dust of HB56 has settled, immigrants who initially left the state in large numbers are starting to return. Jobs are difficult to find elsewhere, rumors of mass deportations proved to be untrue and many families just want to return to a place they consider home. Still wary of the changes in Alabama law, many immigrants remain vigilant.

Idle hands at the Border Patrol, 1/15-1/22

24 Jan
Border Fence with a  Border Patrol Agent

Photo by: Leo Ortiz

A tougher stance for the border patrol, AP, 1.17.12

A downward trend in apprehensions has left the border patrol (BP) twiddling their thumbs, but rather than scale back the 21,000 agents, the agency has new plans for its idle time. The BP will soon outline punitive measures to take against immigrants who are detained and are to be deported. Yes, they have decided that deportation isn’t punitive enough, and that they need to make the lives of undocumented immigrants even more difficult. The thought is that if the border patrol makes the process more difficult for immigrants from Mexico, then there will be overall less immigration. Of course, the US immigration will continue to avoid acknowledging the contribution of undocumented immigrants on the economy, that should go without saying.

The new rules have been given the euphemism “Consequence Delivery System.” This is just another way to make life more difficult for immigrants, not much different from what anti-immigration legislators like Lamar Smith are already doing across the country. The new system includes: longer stays in the immigration detention system, flights to Mexico City with bus ticket to home town, prosecution in the Mexican courts for smugglers, and bus rides to border-towns hundreds of miles away to disconnect migrants from their networks. Essentially, the Border Patrol is institutionalizing the culture of abuse and maltreatment as outlined in the report from No More Deaths “Culture of Cruelty.” Continue reading

Fear is at the Core of Alabama’s Immigration Law- and it’s a Public Health Emergency 11/14-11/21

23 Nov

Last week, the Center for American Progress (CAP) published an article where it outlines the 10 most destructive consequences of Alabama’s law for public health. These consequences include children not getting life-saving immunizations, mothers not obtaining necessary prenatal care, and communities not having access to water services.  It concludes that all people in Alabama will suffer negative health consequences.

The underlying threat to public health is the fear that this law causes. This fear leads to many of the public health consequences outlined in CAP’s article. For example, parents are afraid to go to health clinics for themselves and for their children, leading to lack of immunizations. Mothers are afraid of seeking the necessary prenatal care which puts them at risk during their pregnancy.

Fear does not only affect specific choices or decisions about seeking health services.  This type of fear is chronic – it’s there day after day, year after year in ways not easily measured.  It can result in trauma that can manifest itself in medical and psychological illness. Living in constant fear is unhealthy both for the individual and communities. In addition to the impact on health care, it also shatters the trust with many gatekeepers to health and other services: the government, employers, doctors and providers, teachers, and neighbors. A community and society becomes dysfunctional when the backbone of its policies is to generate fear.

The state of Alabama is already experiencing some of these consequences. For instance, one farmer estimates that he has lost $300,000 due to labor shortages. We have yet to see the longer term effects, and there are many ways in which fear can damage not only the state economy but the health of the community as well.

Instead of destroying the lives of hardworking individuals and communities, decision-makers should develop policies that are fair, that do not violate basic human rights, and that do not instill fear in communities. As public health advocates, we also have the responsibility to expose how these unjust policies affect the health of our communities and populations.

In Other News
Obama: Kids Stuck in Foster Care Due to Deportation a ‘Real Problem’, Colorlines, 11-14-2011
President Obama acknowledges that his administration’s immigration policies break up families. The Applied Research Center’s report finds that at least 5,100 children are currently in foster case because their parents were detained or deported by ICE.

Alabama’s Immigration Laws Are Unconstitutional, Bloomberg, 11-15-2011
The U.S. tells the federal appeals court that Alabama’s anti-immigrant law is unconstitutional. In a separate filing, the ACLU also opposes the law arguing that the laws “are designed to make daily living so difficult for undocumented workers that they will leave the state.”

Immigration from Mexico in fast retreat, data show, Los Angeles Times, 11-15-2011
Fewer people are leaving Mexico and many are also returning to their native country. Lack of jobs and increased border enforcement are cited as responsible factors.

In Alabama, Calls for Revamping Immigration Law, The New York Times, 11-16-11
Lawmakers are becoming more willing to change parts of Alabama’s harsh anti-immigrant law, especially the controversial and illogical provision that requires proof of immigration status for “any transaction between a person and the state or a political subdivision of the state.” Some of these “transactions” have included severe infringements on basic human rights, such as access to water or sewer services.

Oakland Occupier free pending deportation hearing, SF Chronicle, 11-18-11
Oakland activist Francisco “Pancho” Stierle was released after being arrested at the Oakland Occupy police raid and then detained by immigration agents for not having papers. Advocates describe Pancho as one of the more peaceful protesters and one who represents how programs like Secure Communities tend to detain and eventually deport individuals who are convicted of non-violent offenses.

SUCCESS @ Wells Fargo! 10/31-11/6

7 Nov
Action at Wells Fargo Nov.5th, protesting investment in detention centers.

Photo by Roxanne Robledo

On November 5th, an overcast Saturday morning, the group 67 Sueños organized an action at Wells Fargo in Oakland to protest its investment in the nation’s privatized immigrant detention system. As outlined in this helpful flier we created, which can be found on our Resources page, the immigrant detention system is notorious for its abuses.  While learning about these abuses was surprising to some people, what has been more surprising is Wells Fargo’s involvement in our nation’s abusive detention system. Wells Fargo invests in the Geo Group the Corrections Corporation of America, two large corporations that run immigration detention centers for a profit. The profits come at the cost of the health and well-being of individuals caught up in detention and deportation system. Continue reading