[Rising Up With Sonali] Protesters In East Los Angeles Confront Clinton Again – This Time Over Immigration


GUEST: Nancy Zuniga, Coordinator of the Human Rights Alliance for Child Refugees and Families

BACKGROUND: Democratic candidates for President, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, are crisscrossing the prized state of California in the lead up to the June 7th primary election. But in two stops in Los Angeles this month alone, Clinton has been met by as many protesters as supporters.

On May 5th, demonstrators lined the outside of her event in the heavily Latino neighborhood of East LA, castigating her record on immigration and other issues. At that event, she set herself apart from the presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump for wanting to build a massive wall on the US-Mexico border.

This week activists confronted Clinton in LA once more. The Human Rights Alliance for Child Refugees and Families organized a protest against Clinton's record on supporting the coup in Honduras that unleashed a wave of desperate refugees, and her subsequent hardline on deporting women and children back to the violent Central American nation. The Department of Homeland Security on May 12th announced a wave of deportations aimed at Central American refugees.

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[LA OPINION] "Nos trataban como presos", cuenta una madre migrante"

A raíz de los once largo meses que José de 9 años pasó encerrado junto con su madre Blanca L. en el centro de detención para familias indocumentadas en Dilley, Texas el chico se volvió tímido y no quiere andar solo.

Blanca tiene problemas para dormir. Los fantasmas del maltrato y discriminación que dice haber sufrido en el encierro la hacen despertar sobresaltada.

Ella y su hijo salieron de El Salvador el 12 de junio del año pasado. Huían de la violencia doméstica que el jefe de la familia ejercía sobre ellos a diario.

Cuando madre e hijo habían logrado llegar a McCallen, Texas fueron interceptados por la patrulla fronteriza, el 27 de junio.

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[Huffington Post] President Obama, Deception Will Not Work: It's Time to End Family Detention

Co-authored by Leisy Abrego, Alfonso Gonzales, and Shannon Speed*

President Obama and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have failed again to deliver real change.

Following mounting public pressure in the form of large demonstrations, negative national press coverage, and a hunger strike inside its facilities, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a series of changes to its deceptively named, "family residential centers."



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24 reasons why people joined a #24HrsFast to #EndFamilyDetention and #FreeRefugeeFamilies

IN HONOR OF MOTHER'S DAY, this Monday, May 11th, 2015, the #KarnesRefugeeMoms and the larger community sent a message to President Obama and to Federal Attorneys that are negotiating the outcome of the Flores 1997 case settlement, and demanded: release all the mothers and children currently detained and end the illegal practice of detaining families! 

In Washington DC, family members of detained mothers and children, along with allies, delivered a letter from the #KarnesRefugeeMoms and a letter signed by over 400 US scholars to President Obama. Across the country, more than 50 people also pledged to a #24HrsFast to stand in solidarity with the women and children currently incarcerated at Karnes, Dilley, and Berks Family Detention Centers.

This #24HrsFast included participants from key community organizations that have historically worked with the Central American community in the United States, including Maegan Ortiz, Executive Director of IDEPSCA (Institute of Popular Education of Southern California), Alex Sanchez, Executive Director of Homies Unidos, Angela Sanbrano, Board Member of NALACC (National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities), Martha Arevalo, Executive Director of CARECEN-LA (Central American Resource Center of Los Angeles), Alexis Stoumblis, Executive Director of CISPES (Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador), and Nancy Zuniga, Coordinator of the Human Rights Alliance for Child Refugees & Families. 

Other fasters included community members from California, Washington D.C., Maryland, Illinois, Arkansas, New Mexico, Connecticut, and Texas.

Here's why:

Reason #1


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[COLORLINES] Why Mothers Are on Strike at Karnes Immigrant Detention Center

Seventy eight mothers being held at Karnes County Residential Center have signed a letter demanding their release. The Spanish-language letter, which was obtained by Colorlines early Tuesday, suggests that the immigration detainees are staging a hunger and work strike. Located in Karnes County, Texas, and run by the private GEO Group, Karnes been the site of repeated allegations of sexual abuse.

Most of these mothers are asylum-seeking Central Americans picked up along U.S.-Mexico border. Most have brought their children from Guatemala and El Salvador—countries with some of the highest femicide rates on the planet.

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[END FAMILY DETENTION] Protests go nationwide to #EndFamilyDetention

From coast to coast on Tuesday, March 24th people gathered to demand freedom for all refugee families at Karnes and Dilley “family” detention centers.

The event coincided with the commemoration of Monsenor Romero Day, the archbishop from El Salvador who fought for social justice and was killed in 1980 by a U.S.-backed death squad.

Communities in New York, Los Angeles and San Antonio held events that included solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter, the Garifuna mothers being shackled by the same system, and the imprisoned indigenous women and children from Guatemala and Central America that do not speak English nor Spanish and are being systematically discriminated.

Numerous organizations participated, including:

Endorsers: Human Rights Alliance for Refugee Children and Families (LA), Families for Freedom (NY), Grassroots Leadership (TX), Homies Unidos (LA), Salvadoran American National Association (SANA),Endfamilydetention.com, Raza Youth Collective (NY), Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition, Juventud FMLN Sur de California, and others.

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Exodus of Child Migrants from Central America Shows Urgent Need to Fix Failed Policies

Statement and Recommendations from the Mesoamerican Working Group on the Crisis of Unaccompanied Minors Migrating to the U.S. Southern Border

On Friday, July 25th, President Obama and his counterparts from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador will meet at the White House to discuss the humanitarian crisis linked to the dramatic increase in the numbers of unaccompanied migrant children attempting to cross the U.S.’ southwestern border.  In light of this important meeting, we, civil society organizations of the Mesoamerican Working Group, call on the U.S. government to carefully examine the root causes of the child migrant crisis and fix the failed policies that have contributed to the current crisis of tens of thousands of Central American and Mexican children and youth fleeing their homes.

As organizations with close ties with and decades of experience in the region, we  have long observed how U.S. policies have played a role in generating the dire economic conditions and violent crime that are leading to the mass migration of Hondurans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans and Mexicans.  We urge the Obama Administration and Congress to develop a humanitarian, evidence-based and sustainable response to the refugee crisis of Central American and Mexican children who face grave dangers migrating to the United States. Various forms of U.S. security aid that directly contribute to violence and displacement should be immediately suspended and U.S. security policy toward the region as a whole should undergo a thorough review. 


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[Huffington Post] Rejecting Obama's Deportation and Drug War Surge on Central American Kids

Op-Ed By Leisy Abrego

Professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at UCLA and author of Sacrificing Families: Navigating Laws, Labor and Love across Borders.

The refugee children of Central American wars during the 1980s and 1990s are all grown up now. And for all the myriad ways we've integrated in the United States, we are only complete as transnational beings. Many of us have been measured in telling the next generation only bits and pieces of why we came to the U.S. Now the next chapter in a long and painful story unfolds on the evening news with dramatic images of recently arrived families and unaccompanied children fenced in bare rooms, with toddlers sleeping on the floor in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. While we are faced with a moral crisis of the magnitude that broke our own hearts when we were children, we acknowledge the privilege that this time our lives are not endangered by impossible choices. We are emboldened now in denouncing our adopted country's inhumane stance toward our Central American brothers, sisters and children.

This moral crisis demands our outrage. Alarmingly, the Obama administration misleads the public, describing a planned surge in detention and deportations, including a "fast track" to deport minors in crisis, as "humane." Equally troubling is Obama's increased aid to the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), a militarized security model from the failed drug war, proven to increase violence.

Before thousands of the children in crisis have even had their day in court, President Obama has called for their fast-track removal. The "fast track" would put the minors through non-judicial procedures and deny them due process that is guaranteed to migrants--especially those in protected groups fleeing harm and violence. The Administration is considering changing the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). This proposed change would allow for the possibility to recklessly remove minors who might otherwise be able to pursue asylum, qualify for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, or any other legitimate legal claim or relief. Essentially this change would require border patrol agents to screen unaccompanied Central American minors and decide within 48 hours if they'd be at risk of harm if returned to their country. The agents would have the discretion to determine the risk or lack thereof and if they determine there is no risk, the child will be deported.


Photo by Nancy Zuniga.

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