Petition: Stop funding ICE detention centers

Sign the petition to Congress: Stop funding ICE detention centers IMMEDIATELY!

The Trump administration is cruelly jeopardizing the lives of immigrants who are in custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The already life-threatening conditions of immigration detention have worsened during the COVID pandemic, and reckless deportations have spread the virus abroad.

The pandemic risks turning immigration detention into a death sentence for many, yet Trump has rejected calls for mass humanitarian release.

We must have community-based alternatives to immigration detention that are not driven by profit.

Sign the petition: Demand Congress defund ICE detention centers NOW!

SIGN THE PETITION
Community-based and community-supported alternative programs have operated successfully throughout the world, including the U.S., where nonprofit organizations have stepped in to provide the legal orientation and social service supports asylum seekers and immigrants are not receiving from the government. Additionally, community-based alternatives to detention are often cheaper and have better outcomes, including lower recidivism rates.

We must demand Congress act now. We have to stop lining the pockets of private industries profiting from detention centers and create a humane system immediately.

Sign the petition to Congress: Reduce funding to those responsible for separating families and putting lives at risk. No more ICE detention centers!

SIGN THE PETITION
Thanks for all you do,
Erin Tulley, Daily Kos

 

Daily Kos, PO Box 70036, Oakland, CA, 94612.

Petition: Support the New Way Forward Act

editor-2019-05-14

the New Way Forward Act to help immigrants.

SIGN THE PETITION
It’s no secret that immigrant communities have been

criminalized and surveilled by ICE, CBP, and local and state
law enforcement agencies across the country. Our country has a cruel history of persecuting and targeting our immigrant neighbors. And in 1996, anti-immigrant laws passed continue to fuel mass
incarceration and deportation machines, tearing apart
families across the country.

We cannot continue down the path of xenophobia and

racism. It’s time for a New Way Forward.

Sign if you agree: We cannot continue to criminalize

SIGN THE PETITION
With the direction from immigrant community leaders and organizations, progressive members of Congress have
introduced the New Way Forward Act. If passed, this
groundbreaking legislation would end mandatory
immigration detention and decriminalize the act of
migration to the U.S.

Now that 2020 is here, we are calling on Democratic

candidates to sign the New Way Forward Act into law
within the first 100 days of office if elected president.

Sign the petition: Let’s get the New Way Forward Act

passed and signed into law.

SIGN THE PETITION
In solidarity,
Ntebo Mokuena, Daily Kos

Petition: Dignity and compassion for all migrants. – Oxfam

Add your name to stand with Oxfam and demand all 2020 presidential candidates commit, in a meaningful way, to treating migrants and asylum-seekers with dignity and compassion. 

ADD YOUR NAME
Every year, tens of thousands of people in Central America are forced to flee their homes. Gang violence, corruption, gender-based violence, and food insecurity are leaving some families with no other choice.

At the same time, the Trump administration has taken every imaginable action to try to keep asylum-seekers out, irrespective of whether it is legal, humane, effective, or consistent with our American values.

This is wrong. We all deserve to be treated equally and with dignity and compassion. Asylum-seekers are doing what generations of Americans have done—come to America full of aspirations to build better lives and give their children the chance to thrive.

Sign your name now in support of asylum-seekers.

ADD YOUR NAME >>
Women, children, and men who survived arduous journeys fleeing for their lives should be met with compassion and civility, not weapons and hostility. Until the situation in their home countries improve, many will continue to have no choice but to migrate in search of a safer and better life.

The US must invest the necessary resources to fulfill our legal obligations and hear the claims of asylum-seekers, as well as take steps to address the root causes of migration from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. They deserve a fair shot at their legal right to asylum.

That’s why Oxfam is asking Americans to demand all 2020 candidates rise to the moment and ensure that the United States lives up to our ideals. We need to address the root causes of forced migration from Central America. And we need to treat migrants and asylum-seekers with compassion, offer them help when they need it, and protect their rights.

Sign your name now in support of asylum-seekers.

ADD YOUR NAME >>
Gina Cummings
Director of Campaigns
Oxfam America Action Fund

Native Americans host ‘National Day of Mourning’ on Thanksgiving

United American Indians of New England has held the solemn remembrance on every Thanksgiving Day since 1970.

A solemn remembrance has been held every Thanksgiving Day since 1970 in Plymouth where the Pilgrims landed [Lisa Poole/AP]
A solemn remembrance has been held every Thanksgiving Day since 1970 in Plymouth where the Pilgrims landed [Lisa Poole/AP]

“Happy Thanksgiving to you in the land your forefathers stole.”

That’s the in-your-feast message Native Americans are preparing to send as they convene their 50th annual National Day of Mourning in the seaside town where the Pilgrims settled.

United American Indians of New England has held the solemn remembrance on every Thanksgiving Day since 1970 to recall what organisers describe as “the genocide of millions of native people, the theft of native lands, and the relentless assault on native culture”.

But Thursday’s gathering will have particular resonance – and, indigenous people say, a fresh sense of urgency.

Plymouth is putting the final touches on next year’s 400th-anniversary commemorations of the Pilgrims’ landing in 1620.

And as the 2020 events approach, descendants of the Wampanoag tribe that helped the newcomers survive are determined to ensure the world doesn’t forget the disease, racism and oppression the European settlers brought.

“We talk about the history because we must,” said Mahtowin Munro, a co-leader of the group.

“The focus is always on the Pilgrims. We’re just going to keep telling the truth,” she said. “More and more non-native people have been listening to us. They’re trying to adjust their prism.”

‘The border crossed us’

As they have on every Thanksgiving for the past half-century, participants will assemble at noon on Cole’s Hill, a windswept mound overlooking Plymouth Rock, a memorial to the colonists’ arrival.

Beneath a giant bronze statue of Massasoit, the Wampanoag leader in 1620, Native Americans from tribes around New England will beat drums, offer prayers, and read speeches before marching through Plymouth’s historic district, joined by dozens of sympathetic supporters.

Organisers say they’ll also call attention to the plight of missing and murdered indigenous women, as well as government crackdowns on migrants from Latin America, and the detentions of children. Promotional posters proclaim: “We didn’t cross the border – the border crossed us!”

Past gatherings have mourned lives lost to the nationwide opioid addiction crisis, shown solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and condemned environmental degradation.

The tradition was born of Plymouth’s last big birthday bash in 1970 – a 350th-anniversary commemoration that triggered angry demonstrations by native people excluded from a decidedly Pilgrim-focused observance.

Since then, the National Day of Mourning has become a louder, prouder and increasingly multi-ethnic affair in the community nicknamed “America’s Hometown”.

‘Come a long way’

Although mostly peaceful, there has been tension. In 1997, 25 protesters were arrested after their march through town erupted into a melee with police.

There have also been colourful moments. Over the decades, activists have ceremonially buried Plymouth Rock in sand, boarded the Mayflower II – a replica of the ship that carried the English settlers to the New World – and draped Ku Klux Klan garb on a statue of William Bradford, a Pilgrim father who eventually became governor of the Plymouth Bay Colony.

In a like-minded tradition dating to 1975, tribes in the San Francisco area hold a similar ceremony called “Unthanksgiving Day”, gathering at sunrise on Alcatraz Island to recall how Native Americans occupied the island in protest for 19 months starting in November 1969.

Francis Bremer, a Pilgrim scholar and professor emeritus of history at Pennsylvania’s Millersville University, said the nation is becoming more receptive “to a side of the story that’s too often been ignored”.

“Fifty years ago, for non-native people, these were uncomfortable truths they didn’t want to hear. Now, they’re necessary truths,” he said.

To help right old wrongs, Munro’s coalition is pushing what it calls the Massachusetts Indigenous Legislative Agenda. Among other things, the campaign includes a proposal to redesign the state flag, which critics say is repressive. It depicts a muscular arm wielding a sword over a Native American holding a bow.

Paula Peters, a Wampanoag writer and activist who is not a member of the group that organises the public mourning, sees progress in getting Americans to look past the Thanksgiving myth of Pilgrims and natives co-existing peacefully.

“We have come a long way,” she said. “We continue to honour our ancestors by taking our history out of the margins and into the forefront.”

Ex-Border Patrol Agent Matthew Bowen Sentenced to Probation for Running Over Migrant

H5 ex border patrol agent sentenced probation running over migrant tucson matthew bowen guatemalan antolin rolando lopez aguilar

Meanwhile, a federal judge in Tucson sentenced former Arizona Border Patrol agent Matthew Bowen Wednesday to three years of supervised release and an $8,000 fine for intentionally running over a Guatemalan migrant with a pickup truck in 2017 — and then falsifying records about the assault. The man he struck, Antolin Rolando López-Aguilar, survived. Court filings show Bowen had sent a slew of racist text messages on his phone, referring to immigrants as “mindless murdering savages” and “beaners,” among other insults.

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#PrimariesSoWhite: Why Do Two of the Whitest States Vote First for Presidential Candidates?

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As the United States becomes increasingly diverse, the presidential nomination process remains heavily weighted by two states that are among the whitest in the nation: Iowa and New Hampshire. Candidates, in some cases, spend more than a year making frequent, extended campaign swings through both Iowa and New Hampshire, which, critics say, gives the concerns of the first states a disproportionate impact on the agenda for the entire race. During the first-ever Presidential Forum on Environmental Justice earlier this month in South Carolina, Senator Elizabeth Warren refused to criticize the primary schedule, saying, “I’m just a player in the game on this one.” Fellow 2020 presidential contender Julián Castro, however, has been a vocal critic of the existing system, noting that the demographics of the country have shifted significantly in the last several decades. “I don’t believe that forever we should be married to Iowa and New Hampshire going first,” he told MSNBC last week.

‘Greatest Nation on Earth,’ US has world’s highest rate of children in detention: UN study

More than 100,000 children are being held in migration-related detention in the US, a new UN study finds.

Child migrants are seen outside the US Border Patrol McAllen Station in a makeshift encampment in McAllen, Texas in May [File: Loren Elliott/Reuters]
Child migrants are seen outside the US Border Patrol McAllen Station in a makeshift encampment in McAllen, Texas in May [File: Loren Elliott/Reuters]

The United States has the world’s highest rate of children in detention, including more than 100,000 in immigration-related custody that violates international law, the author of a United Nations study said on Monday.

Worldwide more than seven million people under age 18 are held in jails and police custody, including 330,000 in immigration detention centres, independent expert Manfred Nowak said.

More:

Children should only be detained as a measure of last resort and for the shortest time possible, according to the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty.

“The United States is one of the countries with the highest numbers – we still have more than 100,000 children in migration-related detention in the (US),” Nowak told a news briefing.

“Of course separating children, as was done by the Trump administration, from their parents and even small children at the Mexican-US border is absolutely prohibited by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. I would call it inhuman treatment for both the parents and the children,” he added.

There was no immediate reaction from US authorities. Novak said US officials had not replied to his questionnaire sent to all countries.

‘Inhuman treatement’

Novak said the US had ratified major international treaties such as those guaranteeing civil and political rights and banning torture, but was the only country not to have ratified the pact on the rights of children.

“The way they were separating infants from families only in order to deter irregular migration from Central America to the United States to me constitutes inhuman treatment, and that is absolutely prohibited by the two treaties,” said Nowak, a professor of international law at the University of Vienna.

Child immigration - US
Protesters hold signs outside of the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children while members of Congress tour the facility [File: Lynne Sladky/AP Photo]

The US detains an average of 60 out of every 100,000 children in its justice system or immigration-related custody, Nowak said, the world’s highest rate, followed by countries such as Bolivia, Botswana and Sri Lanka.

Mexico, where many Central American migrants have been turned back at the US border, also has high numbers, with 18,000 children in immigration-related detention and 7,000 in prisons, he said.

The US rate compared with an average of five per 100,000 in Western Europe and 14-15 per 100,000 in Canada, he said.

At least 29,000 children, mainly linked to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) fighters, are held in northern Syria and in Iraq – with French citizens among the biggest group of foreigners, Nowak added.

Even if some of these children had been child soldiers, he said, they should be mainly treated as victims, not perpetrators, so that they could be rehabilitated and reintegrated in society.

Trump’s immigration policy

Since coming to office, US President Donald Trump has implemented a crackdown on immigration. As part of his “zero-tolerance” policy at the border, his government implemented a practice of separating families. Following public outrage, Trump formally ended the practice in June 2018, but immigration advocates say family separation continues in other ways.

Last week, an analysis of US government data by The Associated Press and PBS’s Fronline showed 69,550 migrant children were held in US government custody over the past year.

AP and Frontline also found that children held in government custody spent more time in shelters and away from their families than in previous years.

ICE Family Separation protest file photo
US President Donald Trump has escalated a crackdown on immigration since coming to office [File: Stephanie Keith/Reuters]

In September, a judge blocked new Trump administration rules that would have enabled the government to keep migrant children in detention facilities with their parents indefinitely.

The judge said the rules conflict with a 1997 settlement agreement that requires the government to release immigrant children detained along the border as quickly as possible to relatives in the US and says they can only be held in facilities licensed by a state.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has repeatedly said that detention is not suitable for children, who may suffer numerous negative physical and emotional symptoms.

The Trump administration has faced harsh criticism of its temporary border patrol stations, where lawyers and internal government watch-dogs reported hundreds of children and families were held in squalid conditions.

New England lawmakers question border patrol checkpoints far from the border

Federal law allows Customs and Border Protection to conduct the checkpoints within 100 miles of the international border.

MONTPELIER, Vt.  —Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, joined members of Congress from Vermont and New Hampshire in questioning Customs and Border Protection about temporary highway checkpoints that are set up away from the Canadian border.

In a letter to Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan dated Wednesday, the lawmakers including both senators from New Hampshire and Vermont asked whether the lack of arrests from the random stops justifies what they called the harmful economic impact.

The lawmakers specifically cited a June checkpoint on Interstate 93 near Woodstock, New Hampshire, that resulted in no arrests, but caused severe traffic congestion.

They also asked about four checkpoints in South Hero, Vermont, that stopped 4,200 vehicles and resulted in one arrest for a visa overstay.

Federal law allows CBP to conduct the checkpoints within 100 miles of the international border.

CBP spokesman Michael McCarthy said the agency would respond directly to the members of Congress.

Dresden: The German city has declared a ‘Nazi emergency’

Supporters of the Pegida movement march through Dresden with German flags on 27 July, 2015.The anti-Islam Pegida movement began in Dresden in 2014

A city in eastern Germany has declared a “Nazi emergency”, saying it has a serious problem with the far-right.

Dresden, the capital of Saxony, has long been viewed as a bastion of the far-right and is the birthplace of the anti-Islam Pegida movement.

Councillors in the city – a contender for the 2025 European Capital of Culture – have now approved a resolution saying more needs to be done to tackle the issue.

But opponents say it goes too far.

What is a ‘Nazi emergency’?

“‘Nazinotstand’ means – similar to the climate emergency – that we have a serious problem. The open democratic society is threatened,” local councillor Max Aschenbach, who tabled the motion, told the BBC.

Mr Aschenbach, from left-leaning satirical political party Die Partei, said he believed it was necessary to take action because politicians were not doing enough to “position themselves clearly” against the far-right.

“The request was an attempt to change that. I also wanted to know what kind of people I’m sitting with in the city council of Dresden,” he said.

The resolution acknowledges that “right-wing extremist attitudes and actions… are occurring with increasing frequency” and calls on the city to help victims of far-right violence, protect minorities and strengthen democracy.

Mr Aschenbach said adopting the motion showed the city council’s commitment to fostering “a free, liberal, democratic society that protects minorities and resolutely opposes Nazis.”

How was a ‘Nazi emergency’ declared?

Mr Aschenbach’s resolution was put to a vote by Dresden’s city council on Wednesday night and approved by 39 votes to 29, according to local media reports.

Germany’s governing Christian Democrats (CDU) were among those to reject the resolution.

“From our point of view, this was primarily an intended provocation,” Jan Donhauser, chairman of the CDU City Council Group, told the BBC.

“‘State of emergency’ means the collapse or a serious threat to public order. That is not given rudimentarily. Furthermore, the focus on ‘right-wing extremism’ does not do justice to what we need. We are the guardians of the liberal-democratic basic order and no violence, no matter from which extremist side it comes, is compatible with it,” he said.

Mr Donhauser added that the “vast majority” of Dresdeners were “neither right-wing extremists nor anti-democratic”.

Mr Aschenbach said the city was not obliged to take any action following the adoption of his resolution, but that “theoretically, existing measures should be given a higher priority and future decisions should follow this.”

While opposing the resolution, the CDU said it hopes to “strengthen the institutions that are best suited to combating politically motivated violence.”

Kai Arzheimer, a German politics professor who has written extensively on far-right extremism, said the resolution’s main impact was symbolic, but that it could mean that more money would be allocated to programmes combating extremism in the future.

“I don’t think that any other German city has declared a ‘Nazi emergency’. Resolutions against right-wing extremism are not so uncommon, however,” he said.

What is Dresden’s connection to the far-right?

Dresden has long been known for its links to the far right.

In the early 1990s, neo-Nazi groups began staging rallies there to remember what they called “the bombing Holocaust”, when the city was bombed by British and American forces in 1945, Mr Arzheimer said. These groups went on to become active in surrounding areas and in southern Saxony.

The state of Saxony has also long been a stronghold of the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) and later the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

In state elections in September, support for the AfD surged, up 17.8% from 2014 to finish on 27.5%.

Dresden is also where the anti-Islam Pegida (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West) movement began in 2014, and where it continues to hold rallies.

Media captionWhat is the Pegida movement?

Pegida supporters say people need to “wake up” to the threat of Islamist extremists. They want Germany to curb immigration and accuse the authorities of failing to enforce existing laws.

The movement has spurred large counter-rallies in the city.

Trump official revises Statue of Liberty poem to defend migrant rule change

Statue of Liberty

A top US immigration official has revised a quote inscribed on the Statue of Liberty in defence of a new policy that denies food aid to legal migrants.

The head of Citizenship and Immigration Services tweaked the passage: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”.

The official added the words “who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge”.

It comes as Trump officials debuted a regulation that denies aid to migrants.

Ken Cuccinelli, the Trump administration’s acting head of Citizenship and Immigration Services, announced on Monday a new “public charge” requirement that limits legal migrants from seeking certain public benefits such as public housing or food aid, or are considered likely to do so in the future.

The New Colossus plaque and Emma LazarusThe New Colossus was written by New York-born poet Emma Lazarus in 1883

The new regulation, known as a “public charge rule”, was published in the Federal Register on Monday and will take effect on 15 October.

The rule change is intended to reinforce “ideals of self-sufficiency”, officials said. Critics argue that it will prevent low-income US residents from seeking help.

What did the official say?

On Tuesday, Mr Cuccinelli was asked by NPR whether the 1883 poem titled The New Colossus at the Statue of Liberty on New York’s Ellis Island still applied.

“Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus’s words etched on the Statue of Liberty, ‘Give me your tired, give me your poor,’ are also a part of the American ethos?” asked NPR’s Rachel Martin.

Ken CuccinellKen Cuccinelli, the acting head of US Citizenship and Immigration Services

“They certainly are,” Mr Cuccinelli responded. “Give me your tired and your poor – who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.”

“That plaque was put on the Statue of Liberty at almost the same time as the first public charge [law] was passed – very interesting timing,” he added.

The actual passage reads in part: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

In the interview, he added that immigrants are welcome “who can stand on their own two feet, be self-sufficient, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, again, as in the American tradition”.

Top immigration official says public charge rule will not target “any particular group”

After the host asked if the policy “appears to change the definition of the American dream,” he said: “We invite people to come here and join us as a privilege.

“No one has a right to become an American who isn’t born here as an American.”

Who will be affected by the new rule?

Immigrants who are already permanent residents in the US are unlikely to be affected by the rule change.

It also does not apply to refugees and asylum applicants.

But applicants for visa extensions, green cards or US citizenship will be subject to the change.

Those who do not meet income standards or who are deemed likely to rely on benefits such as Medicaid (government-run healthcare) or housing vouchers in future may be blocked from entering the country.

Foreign-born population by legal status

Those already in the US could also have their applications rejected.

An estimated 22 million legal residents in the US are without citizenship, and many of these are likely to be affected.

President Trump has made immigration a central theme of his administration. This latest move is part of his government’s efforts to curb legal immigration.

What has reaction been?

The Democratic led House Homeland Security Committee condemned Mr Cuccinelli’s revision in a tweet, calling the words “vile and un-American”.

“It’s clear the Trump Administration just wants to keep certain people out,” the committee wrote, calling Mr Cuccinelli “a xenophobic, anti-immigrant fringe figure who has no business being in government”.

Others pointed to his background as the attorney general of Virginia, in which he led a conservative campaign against immigration and homosexuality.

Asked about Mr Cuccinelli’s remarks on Tuesday, President Trump did not directly respond to the Statue of Liberty quote, but said: “I don’t think it’s fair to have the American taxpayer pay for people to come into the United States.”

“I’m tired of seeing our taxpayer paying for people to come into the country and immediately go onto welfare and various other things.

“So I think we’re doing it right.”