Archive for May 24th, 2012

Takoma Park, MD, condemns domestic military detention

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm by

This Monday, the City Council of Takoma Park, MD approved a resolution condemning indefinite detention and urging Congress to partially repeal the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The resolution by Takoma Park — which borders Washington, DC — was the latest silver lining at the grassroots level in the wake of last week’s vote in the House of Representatives to reject a bipartisan effort that would have banned indefinite detention. Also raising its voice in favor of fundamental liberty principles was Hawaii, which last week became the first blue state to formally oppose domestic military detention.

BORDC has worked closely with the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition (MCCRC) since its inception in 2010. Since then, the MCCRC has conducted vigorous public education campaigns on numerous fronts.  Before persuading the Takoma Park Council to approve the resolution against domestic military detention, previous campaigns included working to stop random bag searches on the regional transit system, challenge discrimination against Muslims, and successfully stopping a proposed youth curfew.

Two grassroots organizers active with the MCCRC, Jim Kuhn and Martine Zee, offered their thoughts on the NDAA and strategies for grassroots activism.

News Digest 5/24/2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 5:00 pm by

Amherst, MA resists federal immigration enforcement

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 8:55 am by

The western Massachusetts Town of Amherst passed a resolution opting out of the controversial Secure Communities Program (S-COMM) at a town meeting this Monday, May 21. The program has drawn widespread criticism for prompting racial profiling and duping states essentially forced into supporting a shifting federal agenda.

S-COMM is implemented by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which claims that it aims to remove immigrant aliens who are involved in criminal activity.  In fact, ICE statistics illustrate that 79% of people removed through Secure Communities “lacked any criminal record or had been convicted only of minor offenses, including traffic violations.”

At root, S-COMM is a data sharing program: biometric data, such as fingerprints, are collected from arrested individuals and sent to the FBI, when then forwards the data to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which checks whether the person is legally entitled to be in the US.

If not, ICE then requests local police departments that apprehended such individuals to detain them pending deportation proceedings — whether or not the arrest (often due to racial profiling) ever leads to conviction. According to Hampshire College professor Falguni Sheth,  “A good number of US citizens have been deported, which is hard to believe….It can break apart families, and these are irreparable consequences.”

S-COMM’s impacts are felt well beyond immigrants. First, the federal agencies coordinating S-COMM ultimately aspire to impose pervasive biometric data collection on all Americans, including citizens.