Tag Archives: La-migra

A new Colombia is being christened in blood

que lastima At ten o’clock last Wednesday night (July 4, 2018) a group of masked assassins entered the house of Darío Dovigama (30), a leader of the Embera indigenous reservation of Cañabravita in southern Colombia. Dovigama was shot and killed without hearing a single word. His father, Francisco Dovigama (59) grabbed a hunting rifle and fired back. […]

“God willing, someone will take pity on me soon.”

My name is Maria*. I have been living in the U.S. for 14 years, but now I am in immigration detention in Illinois. It is painful and exhausting when you don’t have anyone’s support. Being incarcerated because of this country’s immigration laws can be terrifying, and people, out of fear, can be scared to help you. On top of that, it is very expensive to hire an attorney. This is what I am going through now. I need an attorney because my court date is soon and I have no idea what I am going to do. My daughters are what I live for and our separation is painful to me. Especially because I have an 8 month-old baby. My daughters need me! I feel so abandoned because the only family I have are my daughters. They are suffering and cry every day for me because I don’t have the money to pay for an attorney or for bail. Oh my God, this is so hard, because I just want to be with my daughters.

My story is a long one, but the nightmare began on January 11th, 2018 when I had to go to court in Kankake, Illinois. Coming out of the judge’s room, Immigration officers were waiting for me. They took me into a room to arrest me. They asked if I had children and I told them I did. But I was in shock. I couldn’t comprehend what was happening. At that time I had left my 10 year-old daughter and my 7 month-old baby at the house, because I thought I was going to go back home, that everything would go the same way it had in the past. But it wasn’t like that. I pleaded with the agent to let me speak to someone so that they could go and pick up my daughters, but they were rude and didn’t care. They were heartless. The man was Filipino and I thought to myself, how could someone who is also an immigrant have so much hate, or racism, to deport a fellow immigrant from this country?

I am a single mother and I work 7 days week. Everything that one does is just so that their children can have a better life than one’s self. Anyway, later they took me to Chicago and there they took my fingerprints, etc. After their routine search — a horror — I began to realize what was happening and started to cry. I called my Consulate, but they were no help. On the contrary, they told me I’d soon be deported. Wow, what a thing to say.

But the nightmare didn’t end there. I was able to speak to my daughter by telephone and I told her to call our neighbor so that she could come and get her and my baby. From that moment I haven’t been able to see my little girls, even my little one. That very same day I was taken to the McHenry jail, supposedly only temporarily. I started to cry again, and to this day I am praying for my release. The food isn’t the best but I don’t complain because our Father blesses me every day. I ask that I will see my daughters soon. I am looking for a lawyer to take my case here, but it is very slow. My court date is soon and it scares me to think what will happen in court without anyone to represent me. But God is my rock and my protector in the face of this situation. I only ask for a miracle and for some mercy for this mother that is suffering every day, as are all of my companions in here with me so far from their children.

I don’t have money to buy things, like shampoo, but I don’t need it because I know soon I will be getting out of here. I just need help taking up a collection for when I am released on bail, because I need to get back and see my daughters. My heart breaks when I have money to call them and they cry and tell me they love and me and want me to come back soon. My littlest one is with her father (or with my second relationship) but he won’t answer the phone. All I want to know is how she is. I don’t have any control over this because I am in the hands of the enemy.

At times I feel like what I imagine the Jews felt in the times of Hitler because you don’t know what is going to happen to you or where they will take you. When the immigration officials come they are almost like devils, and no one wants to ask about their case out of fear that they will be deported as a result. This is what they have told me happens: that if a girl asks any sort of question about her case she is then deported within days. It’s painful to see all of these cases. We are not criminals. I did not kill anyone; I am only a mother, one who wants to see her daughters grow, to raise them and shape them into respectable women. Please, help us immigrants — we are all brothers and sisters. What brought us here was family, our children. Blessed God, I give my case over to you. You are love; give us strength to overcome this suffering. I hope someone will help me.

Sincerely,

Maria

*Not her real name

Translated by Katherine Guillen from a letter written to us in Spanish.

Editors note: We’ve attempted to follow up with Maria, but she no longer appears in the ICE Detainee Locator. We are hopeful that she has been released on bond.

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“God willing, someone will take pity on me soon.” was originally published in IMM Print on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Massacre at Newspaper a Result of Trump’s Words

By Arturo Castañares / La Prensa San Diego Publisher and CEO

Thursday’s shooting rampage at the Virginia Capital Gazette left five people dead and the world of journalism in fear of continuing to do its job of reporting the news of the day in today’s America.

A disgruntled man that had unsuccessfully sued the paper for libel in 2012 walked into the newspaper’s offices with a shotgun and began shooting employees, finally surrendering to police when confronted.

Although no one is sure yet of the killer’s true motives, journalists everywhere feared something like this would happen in our current political environment where the President nearly daily criticizes the media as purveyors of fake, misleading, and flat out slanderous news he’s labeled as “fake”’simply because he disagrees with the stories.

From the very first press briefing held by the Trump White House in January 2017, then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer aggressively confronted the media like adversaries, that day repeatedly making the obviously false claim that the crowd for Trump’s Inauguration was the largest ever. Period.

Spicer’s confrontational style was so bombastic and rude that Saturday Night Live famously spoofed him with comedian Melissa McCarthy playing an over-the-top version of the real press secretary’s dismissive interactions with White House correspondents.

Trump’s early morning tweets have often called out media outlets he detests, especially CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. Trump calls them “fake news” for reporting the everyday happenings in politics, only agreeing with those outlets when they report news Trump likes.

Two days after his summit with the North Korean dictator, Trump claimed the greatest threat to our country is fake news. Not the nuclear missiles still held by the unpredictable Kim Jong-on, not terrorists, nor even Russian hackers that meddled in our elections.

No. The press. But not all the press, it seems.

Trump personally tweets glowingly about the news coverage from Fox News, and even promotes their upcoming shows with anchors he likes, and sometimes even tweets policy changes based on Fox News broadcasts that have just aired. Completely biased (admittedly so) hosts like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham are fine, in the world according to Trump.

And just like he did during his presidential campaign in 2016, Trump continues to attack the mainstream media at every rally he attends, usually wrongly decrying that the media will misquote him, not show the rally, or in some way spin his message, even as CNN carries the event live.

As we’ve seen in other aspects of Trump’s messaging, his followers adopt his rhetoric and share his views in ways that very few politicians have ever experienced.

This week, during a campaign rally in South Carolina for the Republican governor seeking re-election, the crowd turned against CNN’s Jim Acosta, a constant presence at the White House briefings who often spars with current Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

People in the crowd chanted “Go home Jim” and called the well known reporter “Fake News Jim.” One person held up a huge cardboard sign that read “CNN SUCKS.”

Granted, some news outlets have made mistakes, gotten stories wrong, and a few have even made stories up from hole cloth, but to dismiss serious professional journalists from distinguished outlets as a whole is against all that this country stands for.

From the inception of what would later become the United States of America, probing and critical journalists have helped shape the outcome of this country.

Benjamin Franklin, who wrote letters in his brother’s newspaper that strongly criticized England’s tyrannical rule over the colonists, signed them under the pen name Silence Dogood, a fictional widow.

Some of Franklin’s Dogood letters upset the English Colonial Assembly so much that his brother James was jailed for months for refusing to identify the author of the letters.

Franklin would, of course, go on to print his own newspaper and humbly signed his letters “B. Franklin, Printer.” His letters would lay the foundation for the revolt that ultimately led to the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the founding of this great country we all call home.

Since Franklin’s time, newspapers, radio, TV, and now all forms of digital media have continued the important work of not only criticizing, but also challenging our leaders.

A free press is so ingrained in our political DNA that it is enshrined in the protections of the First Amendment, along with our individual freedom of speech and religion.

The First Amendment protects the press from government censorship and control, but that’s only from official laws or actions of the government that would limit or control the press.

What Trump has done is far more dangerous.

Instead, Trump has set out to discredit the media, and make anything journalist say questionable to the general public. He has sown distrust in the media and has made everyday citizens suspicious of any story, especially ones that disagree with his views.

Now he has debased journalists so much that average Americans are openly cynical of the news media in a way never before seen in our country.

It was investigative reporting that discovered and exposed the Watergate scandal. In that case, when a sitting president said the stories were not true, an informed public and, eventually, Congress found out the truth only through the diligent work of tireless reporters.

Since Nixon’s resignation because of Watergate, dozens of other politicians from both parties have been exposed for wrongdoing, from Reagan’s Iran-Contra affair, Senator Gary Hart’s actual affair, John Edwards love child, and Governor Sanford’s illicit trip to Argentina. In each case, it was news reporting that ultimately surfaced hidden secrets that voters rightfully should have known.

In the nearly 300 years since Benjamin Franklin first used the power of the pen to check government’s actual power over its citizens, the press has continued to question, prod, and provoke our leaders to ensure a more transparent and accountable government.

In Trump’s world, that kind of examination of him, his administration, and his actions is a direct threat to his political and economic survival.

In his form of zero-sum politics, the press is the enemy. And in only 18 months in office, one of his most successful campaigns has been to pin Americans against the media.

We may not always agree with all news reports, but there is no denying that, as a whole, professional journalists try to get the facts out to the public.

Not counting political commentators, bloggers, and Internet trolls, the media is not the enemy, and reporters should not be harassed, threatened, or, as happened this week, killed.

Reporters have been killed in war zones, by drug cartels, and even by terrorist. But this week, it was a fellow American. That is unacceptable.

A misinformed public is far greater danger to the long-term survival of our democracy than any false news reports.

It’s our job as Americans, and more importantly as voters, to find out what’s going on, from whatever reliable source we can find. And always, always ask questions.

A. Castanares. Printer.

  • PUBLISHED THURSDAY, JUNE 28 AT 7:47 P.M.

Legislation Introduced to Allow Farm Workers Overtime Pay

YES!

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

Photo / Holger Hubbs

Earlier this week, democratic leaders introduced a bill that would strengthen labor protections for farm workers by amending a previous law that excluded this group from overtime pay.

The Fairness for Farm Workers Act would grant overtime protections to individuals who work more than 40 hours a week and eliminate “most” exemptions to minimum wage.

The new requirements would be phased in over four years beginning in 2019 – allowing smaller farms to comply – according to the legislation language.

Led by Sen. Kamala Harris, the bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which originally excluded farm workers from overtime pay protections.

Harris said the bill addresses a “long standing inequity” in terms of who we are protecting as workers in America.

“One it’s about fairness and equality for all workers. Two it’s about the fact that farmworkers do some of the most difficult work. They work long hours, they face exposure to the sun and they risk injury,” Harris said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 100 farm workers suffer injury each day and face the possibility of missing work due to injuries. They are not guaranteed pay for days lost.

Harris introduced the bill Monday, June 25, with democratic leaders like Dianne Feinstein, Cory Booker, Jeff Merkley, Richard Blumenthal, Mazie Hirono, Elizabeth Warren, and Chris Van Hollen.

“America’s farm workers deserve to be paid for the work they do – often under physically demanding, dangerous conditions that contribute to exploitation,” Sen. Hirono said in a statement. “By ending the discriminatory denial of overtime pay, this bill would help ensure farm workers can earn a living wage.”

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which established overtime pay for most American workers, excluded agricultural workers who were mainly African American.

By 1966, many farm workers were given minimum wage protections, however, overtime protections were not included.

California adopted a 2016 overtime pay law, however, farm workers nationwide did not have those protections.

Arturo Rodriguez, president of the United Farm Workers, worte in a statement following the introduction of the bill that 80 years of discriminatory exclusion from overtime pay is long enough.

“It’s easy to understand why farm workers were written out of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938, but it is hard to believe overtime wage exclusions still persist 80 years later,” Rodriguez said in the statement. “It was wrong then and it is wrong now.”

Harris said that in 1938, southern democrats left out farm workers because they did not want their black field workers to receive those protections.

She said the bill highlights the discrimination that African Americans, Mexican, and immigrant workers face and the need to band together to fight that discrimination.

“I’m proud to be a daughter of California and do this not only in honor of Cesar Chavez but do it in the way I think he would want it done, which is it’s not only the farm workers we know it’s about farm workers around the country that’s what the movement that he created was all about,” Harris said.

The legislation would also remove overtime exemptions for individuals employed in irrigation projects, livestock auctions accompanying farm work, small country grain elevators, certain sugar processing, certain types of intra-state transportation and preparation for transportation of fruits, vegetables, cotton ginning and cotton compression, according to language in the legislation.

Sen. Harris Visits Detention Center, Rallies Against Family Separation

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

Kamala Harris, Oray Mesa Detention Center, Family Separation

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris toured the Otay Mesa Detention Center on Friday, June 22. She said her heart was broken after speaking with three mothers detained in the facility. Mario A. Cortez/La Prensa San Diego

To kick off a weekend of nationwide demonstrations against the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris joined immigrant rights supporters to rally against family separation on Friday.

Harris toured the Otay Mesa Detention Center, while several dozen supporters poured off the sidewalk onto the street and denounced the treatment of immigrant families.

The center is the only immigration detention facility in the county and is owned by the private prison company CoreCivic, which contracts to hold individuals in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The senator spoke to three mothers detained at the center during her tour and after exiting, Harris shared with attendees that her heart was broken.

“These mothers have given testimony, have given the stories, have shared their personal stories that are a story of a human rights abuse being committed by the United States government,” Harris said.

Harris spoke to the injustice of the separation of parents and children and expressed sympathy for parents who believed it was safer to endure the trip to the U.S. rather than staying home.

Harris shared with supporters that as a U.S. Senator, she was informed that parents are given free phone calls with their children, however, after her visit she discovered they are charged 85 cents a minute.

“I ask this administration, why would we think these parents to be any different than any one of us when we understand that nothing can comfort our children more at the end of their day than knowing they can speak with their parent and receive a kiss and a hug,” Harris said. “We are depriving over 2,000 children of the benefit of that.”

The senator also said the center resembles a prison and has been outspoken about the need for oversight in immigration detention facilities.

Harris and U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) introduced a bill last month that aims to increase the oversight of ICE detention centers.

The Detention Oversight Not Expansion Act or DONE Act was introduced to the Senate on May 15 and was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. The DONE Act would also establish that federal funds not be used for the construction or expansion of immigration detention facilities.

Harris and immigrant rights supporters at the rally echoed that President Donald Trump’s executive order to suspend the practice of family separation does not deal with reuniting families who have already been separated.

Local leaders of immigrants’ rights organizations joined Sen. Harris on Friday.

Leaders of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, Casa Cornelia, San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, San Diego Organizing Project and Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles were among those in attendance.

Immigrant rights supporters rallied against the separation of families and insisted that family separation is not over until the administration can prove that every child has been reunited with their parent(s).

Trump’s act of state terrorism against children

State terrorism comes in many forms, but one of its most cruel and revolting expressions is when it is aimed at children. Even though U.S. President Donald Trump backed down in the face of a scathing political and public outcry and ended his administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents, make no mistake: […]

Nebraska Farmers Return Land to Ponca Tribe in Effort to Block Keystone XL

In a move that could challenge the proposed path of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline—and acknowledges the U.S. government’s long history of abusing Native Americans and forcing them off their lands—a Nebraska farm couple has returned a portion of ancestral land to the Ponca Tribe. At a deed-signing ceremony earlier this week, farmers Art and Helen […]

Trump Seems to Love Dictators, Tyrants, and Autocrats

By Arturo Castañares / Publisher and CEO

The United States has now abandoned its place as the world leader advocating for democracy, economic freedom, and human rights.

In just 18 months in office, President Donald Trump has flipped the script, and has insulted, dismissed, and antagonized our traditionally close allies like Germany, France, and Canada, while at the same time has praised and coddled old adversaries like Russia, China, and now North Korea.

At a recent meeting of the G7, made up of the leading economic powers of the world, including England, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, Italy, and the US, Trump spurned the leaders by unilaterally deciding not to sign on to the summit’s final declaration, the group’s statement of agreements reached during their annual gathering.

Instead, Trump suggested at the G7 meeting that Russia should be included in the summits, after having been kicked out of the group in 2014 for invading Crimea in defiance of UN resolutions.

It didn’t go over well.

The current G7 states are also all members of NATO, the alliance set up after World War II for the specific goal of protecting themselves from who? Russia.

Before last week’s summit, Trump clashed with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when Trump announced trade tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum imports, citing national security. Trudeau said Canada would impose retaliatory tariffs and objected to Trump’s claim that Canadian imports pose a threat to the US, but Trump responded by calling Trudeau “weak” and “dishonest”, and one of Trump’s economic advisers, San Diego’s own Peter Navarro, said “there’s a special place in Hell” for Trudeau for opposing Trump.

Trump’s past comments about Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, as well as England’s Prime Minister Theresa May, always carry a negative slant and aggressive tone, probably because they’re both powerful women that tell Trump what they really think, something he doesn’t seem to like.

And these are our friends.

But, Trump always seems to strike a more favorable tone when dealing with international leaders that have a less friendly past with the US, with some having been out-right enemies not too long ago.

Last year, Trump said that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was doing a great job fighting drugs in his country, when Duterte has been accused of ruthlessly killing more than 7,000 drug users through non-judicial actions. When Trump finally met with Duterte at an Asian summit in Manila, Trump bragged about his great relationship with Duterte and barely even raised the issue of human rights in their face-to-face meeting.

Since Trump’s election, he has also gone out of his way to praise and promote Russian President Vladimir Putin, one of the US’s most staunch rivals.

Trump has argued publicly against our intelligence community’s unanimous conclusion that Russia meddled in our presidential elections. Trump refuses to acknowledge that our adversary worked to skew the election because he believes it would cast doubt on the legitimacy of his own victory, but his denial may allow Russia or other foreign actors to disrupt our elections again in the future.

Putin is known to be a professional spy, a former KGB officer, and a fierce opponent of the US’ standing as the world super power. For years, Putin has worked to gain political and military strength around the world to counter our influence, and Trump seems eager to help him, even if its inadvertent.

And this week, Trump finally committed what may be his biggest diplomatic fail.

After months of alternating between flirting and threats, Trump finally pulled off his much-hyped summit with North Korea’s dangerous and unpredictable leader, Kim Jong-un.

Kim, like his father and grandfather before him, has ruled the secretive Asian country with an iron fist, killing many that posed a real or perceived threat to his rule.

He had his uncle eaten by dogs. He had foes blasted to pieces by anti-aircraft cannons. He is accused of having his half-brother killed with poison VX gas in a Malaysian airport.

Even worse, Kim has been pursuing a nuclear weapons program for years in order to forcibly join the exclusive club of the world’s seven counties with the power to incinerate millions of people with the push of a button.

In recent years, Kim has tested nuclear bombs and intercontinental missiles that could deliver those warheads to neighboring countries, US allies, Hawaii, and even the US mainland.

Earlier this year, Kim was threatening to launch a preemptive nuclear attack against the US and our allies in the region, triggering a bombastic back and forth with Trump about whose nuclear button was bigger like teenaged bullies on the playground.

This week’s summit was the culmination of recent overtures by Kim to seemingly normalize relations with South Korea and the US, after first having visited China.

Kim and his family have long sought to be taken seriously on the world stage. They have carried out a military-first agenda that diverted money to their military at the cost of feeding his citizens and growing their economy.

What for years seemed like a failed plan has now been rewarded by Trump. No US President had met with the Kims before because none of the North Korean leaders were willing to agree, as a pre-condition to the meeting, to end their development of weapons of mass destruction that have been pursued against UN resolutions and international non-proliferation agreements.

This week, Trump granted Kim the legitimacy he’s always wanted without any guarantees the young ruler will give up anything for it. Kim got a photo opportunity with the most powerful man in the world, a peek into the presidential limo, and even an invitation to the White House.

The Philadelphia Eagles football team was disinvited over the national anthem, but Kim was invited even though he’s killed people and threatened to bomb us.

Kim did agreed to repatriate the remains of soldiers from the 1950s Korean conflict and to destroy a missile engine testing site that already accomplished its goal of delivering functional ballistic missiles. No skin

off his nose.

At the end of the summit, both Trump and Kim signed a toothless statement to continue talking about denuclearization, but with no guarantees such a long-sought goal to make the world a safer place will happen, and with no concrete next steps.

Kim’s pledge to talk about denuclearization is similar to other promises made for decades by his family, but not once have they lived up to the deals. The nukes are the only protection Kim has to stay in power.

Kim Jong-un was treated like royalty at the summit, with Trump saying he was “honored” to meet the maniacal thug that has threatened, killed, and abused his own population.

Trump said Kim is loved by his own people, a statement that sounded more like it came from North Korea’s state-run media than from the leader of the free world, and ignored the starvation, rapes, murders, and imprisonment that Kim sanctions.

This week, the world was witness to nothing more than another episode of a reality show where strangely opposite characters are thrown together in front of live cameras to see what kind of mischief will come of it. It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.

There’s a reason Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama didn’t grant a meeting with any of the North Korean leaders, and it wasn’t because they weren’t smart enough to negotiate or committed enough to peace.

US leverage over North Korea was squandered because diplomacy lost out to publicity. It will be a lot more difficult, if not impossible, to find a real solution to the nukes hidden somewhere in the hills of North Korea now that Kim is viewed as a legitimate leader on par with the President of the United States, and he didn’t have to give anything up to get it.

Now, that makes two Kims that got what they wanted from Trump in just one week; Jong-un and Kardashian.

What a world we live in.

Held for 16 Months, a Detained Immigrant Recounts His Experience After Hurricane Irma

Ibrahim*, an African asylum seeker, has been in ICE detention for 16 months. He’s been held at the Krome SPC near Miami, FL, the Broward Detention Center in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and also in regular prisons. Here, in his own words, is his story as translated by Barbara Woshinsky.

I was transferred from Krome in Florida to New Mexico. In that prison, the water was not drinkable, nor was the water we washed with; that water had a strange smell. When I washed, my body turned white and I itched all over. From there I was transferred to BDC [Broward Detention Center] where I am now, but what happened during the transfer was horrible and risked our lives.

We had taken off in a plane that didn’t have enough fuel and had mechanical problems, for the plane hadn’t yet reached normal altitude when there was a change in pressure that blocked everyone’s ears followed by a violent shaking, as if we were in a turbulent zone, even though we had just taken off. This went on for half an hour until we landed again. We were told we would take off again in an hour.

That hour became 10 hours in the plane, shackled. We’d had nothing to eat since that morning. We spent all day at the airport until around 6:30 p.m., when they told us we couldn’t travel that day because the plan had problems and we had to go back to detention in New Mexico where another flight would be scheduled. So we were taken back to detention in a minibus and finally transferred to BDC.

All in all, the conditions we live under in detention are unacceptable. We live in hell because we have no rights. Everything that’s written down about detainees’ rights is only words, because none of it is respected.

We are treated like criminals.

* not his real name

Editors note: We recently learned that Ibrahim has been deported.

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Held for 16 Months, a Detained Immigrant Recounts His Experience After Hurricane Irma was originally published in IMM Print on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Indigenous land defender killed in Mexico

Malditos Last week, May 14, Manuel Gaspar Rodríguez was taken from the offices of the MIOCUP (Movimiento Independiente Obrero, Campesino Urbano y Popular) and brutally stabbed to death by unknown assailants. He had been the subject of repeated death threats for his work against large-scale mining and hydroelectric projects in the Sierra Norte de Puebla in […]