The Border Crossed Us

The activist writer, April 25, 2011
touches on more than immigration and politics. It also divides the Tohono O’odham nation in southern Arizona, the second largest Native American reservation in the United States.

The Border Crossed Us is a temporary public art installation which transplants the US-Mexico border fence in southern Arizona to the campus of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

The Boston-based Institute for Infinitely Small Things, a group that stages public art and performance to investigate social justice issues, created the installation to highlight how this community is affected.

A blog about the project highlights performance video, images, and reflections by the student body on the meaning of the fence. The latest posting is a blessing sung by Ofelia Rivas of the Tohono O’odham over the sounds of helicopters and construction. It’s interesting to note the students’ reactions as they notice the singing on their way to-and-from class.

Find out more here.

L.A. Resident Jose Gutierrez, in Coma After Being Tased by Arizona Border Agents, Threatened With Deportation While Still Unconscious

LA Weekly

By Simone Wilson, Fri., Apr. 15 2011


Gutierrez' skull had to be removed after a tussle with CBP agents, who won't provide surveillance or specifics

Forty-one-year-old Jose Gutierrez has lived in the U.S. since he was a kid. Until three weeks ago, he shared a house in the affluent Valley neighborhood of Woodland Hills with U.S. citizen Shena Wilson and their two children, held a solid job as a film engineer and served as frontman for the popular Spanish-rock band FZ10.

However, Gutierrez is undocumented.

After the L.A. Immigration Court deported him on March 21, Wilson says she lost touch with her husband, but guessed he would try to come back, seeing as their youngest — a five-month-old baby girl — was in the hospital. (Not to mention he has no roots in Mexico.)

The next she heard of him, Gutierrez was in a coma at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix.

Wilson got a call from the Mexican consulate in Yuma, Arizona, saying, “We have to let you know that there has been an accident.” Continue reading

Obama’s “regrets” as US announces record deportations

by Agence France-Presse
Monday, January 31st, 2011

workersimmigrationafp US announces record deportations

EL PASO, Texas — The United States deported more illegal immigrants than ever before during the first two years of President Barack Obama’s administration, his government said Monday.

“In both fiscal years 2009 and 2010, Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed more illegal immigrants from our country than ever before, with more than 779,000 removals nationwide in the last two years,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.

The Obama administration must prove it is tough on illegal immigrants and can secure the country’s porous borders if it is to stand a chance of passing a comprehensive overhaul of America’s tattered immigration system.

Napolitano announced the record figures in El Paso, Texas — the border city which is the focus of a major drive by the administration to stem the tide of illegal immigrants flowing over the border from Mexico. Continue reading

No More Deportations! Police Should Not Be Immigration Agents!

Northern Manhattan Communities for Immigrants Rights

Governor Paterson, Stop ICE’s “Secure Communities” in New York Now!

RALLY in Manhattan, Thursday December 9, 2010, 11am at Gov. Paterson’s NYC Office

In May 2010, NY State signed a Memorandum of Agreement with ICE [the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency] approving “Secure Communities,” in which local police send fingerprints of all arrestees to Department of Homeland Security databases. This costly program will push thousands more immigrants into the unjust detention and deportation system, while making us all less safe and violating our rights.

ICE has repeatedly misrepresented and lied about the program to the state and nation.  Join us in demanding that Governor Paterson terminate the Secure Communities agreement and that the federal courts require ICE to share all documents on “opting out” of the program. [This refers to the “option” for cities to refuse to participate in the local police/ ICE collaboration required by the Secure Communities program.-ed]

New York State should not cooperate with ICE [the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency] in tearing apart immigrant families. Continue reading

US Government’s Detention of Immigrants: A Long Stay

Sunday 01 August 2010

by: Yana Kunichoff, t r u t h o u t | Report

More than 300,000 immigrants languish in detention centers around the country. Why are they there – and who is profiting from their imprisonment?

Pedro Guzman Perez speaks to his wife, Emily Guzman, by phone every evening. They speak around 8 PM, a talk filled with stories about their days, shared projects and love. Sometimes their three-year-old son, Logan, wants to get on the phone too, but usually Logan will be watching a show in another room. They have a great relationship, Emily says, and the conversations are often the highlight of her day.

There are, however, some logistical difficulties. Pedro, a Guatemalan native who was in the country on a work visa, can only speak on the phone for 20 minutes at a time – precious little for a couple sharing the tumult of raising a three-year-old. Each phone card costs $5, and the already staticky connection is easily broken.

This is because Pedro is calling from the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, an immigration detention facility where he has been detained for nearly ten months. Many aspects of Pedro’s case led him to the detention center – two ten-year-old charges of marijuana possession, one of which has since been dropped; an administrative mistake by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), to which they have admitted; the harsh record of his immigration court judge and even the patchy memory of an older woman whose answers in an immigration interview led the federal government to look into Pedro’s status.

But neither Emily, Pedro’s lawyer nor the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) thinks these are enough to warrant keeping Pedro under lock and key, away from his family and with tax payers bearing the cost of his prolonged detention.

Pedro is one of the 383,524 individuals detained by ICE while they await court dates, deportation or bail. Detention is a key aspect of the federal government’s push to deport immigrants, both documented and undocumented, who have committed any crimes or misdemeanors. Continue reading