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.”
Media requests should be directed to email@example.com.
I just supported #BringThemHome campaign, to expose the plight of detainees and deportees. Immigration activists — Lulu Martinez, Marco Saavedra and Lizbeth Mateo — are coming home on July 22. Please share to support them.
Mohammad Abdollahi, known as Mo, is a tall, brash 27-year-old Iranian with thick eyebrows and a Beatles-mop hairdo. He speaks frenetically, as if he’s always running out of time. His parents brought him to the country when he was three, and they settled in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His aha moment came after he applied to Eastern Michigan University and was accepted. “The counselor said, ‘You’re the perfect student we want for this university,’” he remembers. “They handed me an acceptance letter. I was super excited. And then, within like two minutes, they came back and said, ‘We missed this spot on your application where you wrote you weren’t a citizen.’ And they took the acceptance away. And that’s when I realized, I can’t stay silent.”
He has more to risk from deportation than most. He’s gay, and Iran has been known to throw gays in jail—it even has the death penalty for “repeated acts” of homosexuality. But Abdollahi seems to wear the risk as a badge of honor. He was first arrested at a protest in May 2010, and shortly afterward Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) showed up at his house and briefly detained his parents. “For folks from a Middle Eastern background, being undocumented is very embarrassing, so that was especially humiliating,” he says. “So I’ve got a personal vendetta against ICE. It’s one thing to come after me, but why go after my family?”
His parents have since legalized their status; their U.S.–born daughter was able to file a visa petition for them when she turned 21. They do not support his activism. “My mom has said, ‘You’re not Mexican,’” Abdollahi says, laughing. “That’s true. But this affects all of us.”
If you read anything this month, read this