BIG NEWS. One of the El Paso 37 has been paroled and is now with his family members in Washington, D.C. Two more are in proceedings to get parole, so they can continue pursuing their asylum cases.
The pressure we’ve been putting on ICE is working! Please sign, share, and signal boost the good news!
Full text: “That awkward moment when you run away from your home country due to discrimination for being queer…Only to be locked up in the land of the free with a lot of machista, and sexist, homophobic, transphobic ICE officers.” – Alejandro Aldana
Yesterday, I received this bittersweet postcard from my dear friend, Alex Aldana, who is currently detained at the Otay Detention Facility in San Diego.
Alex lived with his family in California for ten years, where he graduated from high school and worked hard to make his community a better place. He left the U.S. to go back to Mexico five months ago to care for his sick grandmother.
Over these past few months, Alex discovered how crime and corruption made life particularly difficult for the LGBTQ community in Mexico. In Guadalajara alone, 128 gay and lesbian people have been killed, and none were reported as hate crimes. Now, Alex wants to return to California, where his mother and sibling reside so that he can continue to take care of them, and lead a life that does not entail the amount of violence he would face if he remained in Mexico.
Even with the heightened standard for credible fear instituted by the new Lafferty memo in light of the numerous claims for asylum from Mexico and Central America, Alex has already passed his credible fear interview. This means that according to Immigration and Customs officials, Alex has established a clear and convincing chance of winning asylum before an Immigration Judge based on his fear of persecution in Mexico. According to ICE guidelines, Alex should be released from detention to pursue his asylum case as he is neither a threat nor a flight risk. However, he has been detained at Otay for more than a month for no real reason, and subjected to abuse inside the facility.
Undocumented LGBTQ people are caught in a double bind of belonging neither in white mainstream LGBTQ narrative nor in the mainstream immigrant narrative.
“We are feeling like homosexuality is a crime everywhere … there is not any protection here,” said one of the men.Their yearlong journey across more than 10 countries to seek asylum in the United States.
The drawbacks of the comprehensive immigration legislation currently drafted are well-documented by many in the community. Advocates at the Detention Watch Network lament that the legislation would do nothing for immigrant detention, and instead, make matters worse. In his new book, Reform Without Justice, Professor Alonso Gonzales points out how reform further criminalizes Latinos by punishing undocumented presence with a one year prison sentence for illegal entry and three-year prison sentence for illegal re-entry. Investigative reporters have documented how increased border enforcement will lead to more migrant deaths. Race Forward has exposed how millions would be left out of reform. The criticisms are many to the point where the legislation has fractured support from the community for immigration reform, and instead, pushed organizations to pursue other actions, such as the Not One More and Bring Them Home campaigns.
“‘Dreamers’ Activists Cross Mexico-U.S. Border in Bid to Stay in United States”
#DREAM30 - #BRINGTHEMHOME - SIGN THESE PETITIONS
On Monday, 30 Dreamers, previously deported or departed, will attempt to return home to the U.S. via Laredo, Texas. Applications for humanitarian parole have already been filed.
Support them by signing and sharing the following petitions:
For the past few weeks, self-proclaimed supporters of comprehensive immigration reform, including various immigration attorneys, have put my home address online repeatedly in order to intimidate and harass me. My former law firm and I were falsely accused of perpetrating fraud to the U.S. Supreme Court. They have also accused me of committing tax fraud, and several other crimes of dishonesty in order to discredit me and my work. These are serious, baseless and defamatory allegations. I have repeatedly tried not to engage because as a rule, you do not engage with people trying to repeatedly stalk and bully you. You report them to the authorities and you try to stay away from them.
President Obama tortures the #DREAM9 - SIX of the #DREAM9 are now in solitary confinement
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” - Martin Luther King Jr.
Six of the Dream 9 are in solitary confinement at Eloy Detention Center as of Friday afternoon. At first, they refused food because of their restricted phone access, and now they are refusing food until they are released. The six in solitary confinement are Lizbeth Mateo, Claudia Amaro, Ceferino Santiago, Lulu Martinez, Marco Saavedra, and Mario Felix.
This is utterly despicable, alas routine practice in detention nowadays.
Solitary confinement is considered by many to amount to torture. UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E. Méndez has reported that “considering the severe mental pain or suffering solitary confinement may cause, it can amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment…” On many occasions, the solitary confinement of political activists in other countries has been considered grounds for asylum in the United States. Alas, this is how the U.S. treats our young civil rights leaders trying to seek refuge, humanitarian parole, and asylum in a country that is their home but considers them ‘illegal.’
Conditions at Eloy Detention Center are particularly horrific and ground zero for immigrant suicides. The Corrections Corporation-run detention center is under investigation already after Jorge Garcia-Mejia, 40, and Elsa Guadalupe-Gonzales, 24, were found hanging and lifeless in their cells earlier this year. John Ferron, a U.S. veteran and father of eight, who has suffered in prolonged mandatory detention at the Eloy Detention Center, went on a hunger-strike and was subject to force-feeding just this month. Our friends could suffer the same fate if they are not released soon.
ICE officials are probably taking these atrocious actions because they are petrified at the prospect of the undocumented youth leaders organizing inside the detention facility. Before they were placed in confinement, the DREAM 9 were able to interview and collect stories from at least 7 people who were also detained at Eloy, even though they had committed no crimes.
Thus far, we have heard nothing but silence from those who are part of the non-profit immigration reform complex. Even if you disagree with the tactics of our friends who risked their lives to effect change in a brutal immigration system, silence at this point is not just complacency. Silence is support for President Obama’s 1.7 million deportations and broken families. Silence is support for the detention of Dreamers trying to come home. Silence is support for torture.
It is perplexing why advocates are silent considering this is turning out to be a PR nightmare for the Obama Administration. You’d think they would use their all-access White House pass to tell the President to end this nightmare before every single immigration reform townhall for the month of August turns into a BRINGTHEMHOME event. Alas, they aren’t every bright — if they were smart, they wouldn’t be trying to pass the same bill for the past decade. There should be no doubt that we will take to the streets, storm offices, refuse to leave, get arrested, and detained ourselves, if our friends are tortured any longer.
And do not forget — this torture is your tax dollars at work, more than $11,000 to detain 9 peaceful activists for 5 days and counting.
Please keep calling your Representatives and ask them to sign on to the Rep. Honda letter requesting for parole for the #DREAM9. When you call, please let your Representative know that the Dreamers are being held in solitary confinement.
If you are part of an organization, consider signing on in support of bringing them home.
Early next week, the officials will conduct “credible fear interviews” with the DREAM 9 to ascertain their fear of returning to Mexico. If officials turn them down, the DREAM 9 have the option to request review by an Immigration Judge (IJ). If they don’t seek review, ICE would remove them from the United States.
Time is of the essence.
"This is a movement about peoples’ lives. Now is not the time for silence.”
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