Sunday, February 26, 2017

Hope and decency vs. fear and hatred in the Trump mass deportation

Pilar Marrero sums um Trump's first weeks in office, which have emphasized his mass deportation effort against Latino immigrants (Un mes de Donald Trump: enfoque intenso contra la inmigración La Opinión 24.02.2017):

Un mes y pocos días después de tomar posesión de la Casa Blanca, el presidente Donald Trump ha dictado órdenes ejecutivas amplias para la ampliación de deportaciones, reafirmado su compromiso con el uso de cárceles privadas para inmigrantes, iniciado el proceso de buscar constructores para el muro fronterizo y prácticamente ha eliminado el uso del español en su gobierno, a excepción de una pírrica cuenta de Twitter (@LaCasaBlanca) que no ha tenido una actualización desde hace 24 días.

[A month and a few days after taking possession of the White House, President Donald Trump has issued broad executive orders to increase deportations, reaffirmed his promise to use private prisons for immigrants, initiating the process of looking for builders for the frontier wall and practically eliminating the use of Spanish in his government, with the exception of a Pyrrhic Twitter account that hasn't been updated for 24 days.]
Since private prison companies will be making money and getting lots of new detainees to hold in the Trump mass deportation operation, it's worth remembering always what a truly bad idea that private prisons are in any case. The story gives us a reminder, Private prison deprived inmates of heat and hot water for months, lawmaker finds by Mary Ellen Klas Miami Herald 02/25/2017:

The 284 women housed in C-dorm at Gadsden Correctional Facility lived for months without hot water or heat, faced flooded bathrooms daily and endured water rations when the septic tanks were jammed with food waste.

After state Rep. David Richardson demanded action following a series of surprise visits over the past 18 months, the private prison operator that runs the facility — Management Training Corp. of Centerville, Utah — received approval from the state to repair and replace the water heater, at a cost to taxpayers of nearly $10,000. But Warden Shelly Sonberg never authorized the work.
Religious communities are playing an important part in immigrant support. Here's just one of many local examples: Sarah Tan, Piedmont: Crowd turns out for immigrant-aid workshop The Montclarion/East Bay Times 02/20/2017:

More than 100 people — including Kehilla Community Synagogue members and the general public — turned out Sunday to find out how to support immigrants.

Kehilla Community Synagogue hosted an “Accompaniment Teams” workshop to enlist those interested in helping the newcomer families acclimate to life in the United States.

The project, called “Nueva Esperanza,” has four teams. At Sunday’s meeting, members of the teams spoke to the public about how hosting asylum-seeking and refugee families from Central America has been an enriching experience for all involved. ...

Kehilla’s accompaniment teams are organized through Nueva Esperanza, which is a project of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, and the Rev. Deborah Lee, the interfaith group’s director, was also present at the workshop. The Nueva Esperanza program was established in 2014, and Lee said she began it to help the growing number of immigrants fleeing violence in Central America.

“There was so much negative anti-immigration sentiment, even back then, that we wanted to show people there was a group that said, ‘Welcome,’ ” Lee said. “And also, not only did they need to know they were being welcomed, they also needed concrete support.”
Catholic campus groups and Catholic colleges are also stepping up to support immigrant students, especially DACA students (Dreamers), as Shireen Korkzan reports for the National Catholic Reporter Online (Despite Catholic campus support, DACA students fear deportation 02/23/2017)

Trump's views of DACA recipients seem ambivalent. In a press conference Feb. 16, he said DACA is "one of the most difficult subjects I have because you have these incredible kids, in many cases, not in all cases. And some of the cases, having DACA and they're gang members and they're drug dealers, too. But you have some absolutely, incredible kids, I would say mostly. They were brought here in such a way — it's a very — it's a very, very tough subject."

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says Trump's new immigration policies will leave DACA alone for now, but the fear of possible arrest and deportation still lingers.

CNN reported Feb. 14 that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, commonly known as ICE, detained Daniel Ramirez Medina, a 23-year-old DACA recipient living in the Seattle area. ICE has alleged Medina is a gang member and a "risk to public safety," even though his attorneys denied all accusations. Medina, who doesn't have a criminal record, has a bond hearing Feb. 24.

Immigration rights groups say Medina might be the first DACA recipient who has been arrested without cause.

Catholic institutions of higher education across the country are also concerned about their undocumented students. After the presidential election in November, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities released a statement expressing support for undocumented students at its member institutions through "campus counseling and ministry support, through legal resources from those campuses with law schools and legal clinics and through whatever other services we may have at our disposal."
Pilar Marrero's report describes the mounting effects of the emerging state terror against immigrants:

Según PEW, el 55% de los inmigrantes indocumentados, 38% de hispanos nacidos en Estados Unidos y 49% de residentes legales hispanos, están preocupados por su futuro en el país. Un 47% de los adultos hispanos, de cualquier estatus migratorio, está “muy preocupado” o “algo preocupado” por las deportaciones, sea la suya propia, amigo o familiar.

[According to Pew [Research Center], 55% of undocumented immigrants, 38% of Hispanics born in the United States and 49% of legal Hispanic residents are preoccupied about their future in the country. Around 47% of Hispanic adults, of any immigration status, are "very preoccupied" or "somewhat preoccupied" by the deportations, whether its themselves, a friend or a family member.]
Meanwhile, the conservative government of Mexican President Eenrique Peña Nieto is handling Central American refugees in a dubious way itself, Mexico doubles deportations of US-bound migrants 02/14/2017:

In a more decent North America, the governments of the United States, Canada and Mexico would be cooperating constructively on ways to combat violence in Central America, create jobs in Mexico and set up sane, humane and realistic immigration policy in the US. As important as it is to debunk false comparisons between Obama's immigration policy and the far more radical and draconian mass deportation Trump has set in motion, the fact is that Obama's Administration had a conservative policy in Latin America, the Cuba normalization notwithstanding. Supporting the 2009 coup in Honduras was not only a particularly bad decision, one of the which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was very proud, contributed directly to dangerous conditions in that Central American country.

It's worth remembering that when the Bill Clinton Administration made its big push for the NAFTA treaty negotiated under Old Man Bush's Administration, one of their arguments in favor of it was the idea that the treaty would create more jobs in Mexico and thereby reduce unauthorized emigration from Mexico to the US.

It didn't work out that way, as James Patterson explained in Restless Giant: The United States From Watergate to Bush v. Gore (2005):

NAFTA did not seem to greatly benefit Mexico, which suffered, as earlier, from widespread poverty and unemployment. Struggling peasants raising maize, hit hard by competition from the United States, were devastated. These and other desperately poor people continued to stream into the United States, provoking rising tensions in many parts of the Southwest.
Of course, when production of grains shifts from Mexico to the United States, displaced Mexican farm workers migrate in greater numbers to work for big growers in California and Texas and elsewhere.

We need really different kinds of policies. And not the different kind the Trump Family Business Administration is implementing.

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