Posts Tagged ‘immigration enforcement’

Grassroots success stories

Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 8:33 am by

raices en tampa

A Victory against ICE

On September 11, 2014, the people of Raices en Tampa came together to organize two actions that finally got the attention of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. They came together to “Stop ICE Holds” of immigrants that had been placed without a judge’s consent or degree.

Two days after they began, the police department gave in and decided to changed their policy to require adequate evidence and support from a judge prior to imposing a hold. This is a great step in combating and reforming unruly immigration enforcement.  When local police officials partake in ICE detainers, they are given power that lacks them direct oversight from ICE. This allows for officials to to detain individuals illegally.


black lives matter#BlackLivesMatter

#BlackLivesMatter is a new a trending social media campaign.  On September 5, 2014, a rally was organized at the University of Virginia to support and uphold the idea behind this phrase – protesting the violence that is continually and unjustifiably pitted against African Americans.

The Black Student Alliance, students, faculty, staff and community members gathered to bring the much needed attention to the police brutality, racism and  “representations of blacks as athletes or criminals”. They marched together, reading poems and names of those who have been wrongfully killed. It was a peaceful protest but one that shows that Ferguson though be quieting down, the nation is not finished.

Connecticut prohibits civil immigration detainers

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 12:53 pm by

Though the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) controversial Secure Communities program reportedly aims to deport illegal immigrants with criminal records, more than 30 percent of those deported under this program have never been convicted of any crime, much less a serious one. With the unanimous passage of the Trust Act in May 2013, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to pass legislation limiting its participation in the Secure Communities program, a massive federally-run program launched in 2008.


Under the program, the fingerprint records of every person booked by local police can be checked against both Department of Homeland Security and FBI biometric databases. The invasive program has resulted in widespread racial profiling by police officers and further degradation of community trust in law enforcement.

Earlier this month, despite its resistance, the city of East Haven, Connecticut settled a lawsuit to further limit their police department’s participation in the enforcement of civil immigration laws, making it the first jurisdiction in the state to decline to enforce any immigration detainers. With the help of Yale law students and the Worker and Immigration Rights Advocacy Clinicnine East Haven citizens received justice after enduring police brutality, unlawful searches and seizures, and illegal detention, among other harms.

With the establishment of Policy 428.2, East Haven has adopted some of the most rigid constraints on immigration enforcement of any city in the United States. The decision in East Haven has been welcomed by local immigration organizations and advocates throughout the state, which are calling for an expansion of Connecticut’s Trust Act, signed in 2013.

For more information about how immigration enforcement has become a pretext to undermine the biometric privacy of US citizens, or action opportunities to protect biometric privacy where you live, email


Retired Air Force officer exhorts Americans to challenge “Fortress America”

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 11:06 am by

Reflecting on his 20 years of military service as a US Air Force officer, and noting the dramatic changes in both law & culture over the past decade, Lt. Colonel (ret.) William J. Astore wrote last week about the acquiescence of Americans to what he describes as “Fortress America.” In Uncle Sam Doesn’t Want You—He Already Has You, Astore exhorts Americans to challenge the national security state in order to preserve basic liberty principles.

Referencing young people who may not recall an era in which privacy was ever respected, he explains:

Many of the college students I’ve taught recently take such a loss of privacy for granted. They have no idea what’s gone missing from their lives and so don’t value what they’ve lost or, if they fret about it at all, console themselves with magical thinking—incantations like “I’ve done nothing wrong, so I’ve got nothing to hide.” They have little sense of how capricious governments can be about the definition of “wrong.”

Astore goes on to note the sycophancy of Hollywood, reflected in movies repeatedly glorifying US intelligence agencies despite their serial crimes, in sharp contrast to the films of the 1970s and 1980s that offered storylines and narratives more reflective of the agencies actual behavior.

He also takes on border security and police militarization:


April 5 day of action against deportation: 2 million, 2 many!

Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 2:06 pm by

Original commentary by Alok Bhatt published April 7, 2014 on the  Connecticut Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission blog.

IMG952671At around 3:00pm on the chilly afternoon of Saturday, April 5, members of Connecticut’s immigrant community, representing over ten cities across the state, converged on the Abraham A. Ribcoff Federal Building (Federal Building) in Downtown Hartford to rally against the nearly 2,000,000 deportations perpetrated under the Obama administration. The Federal Building houses Connecticut’s primary immigration court, from which many community and family members have been  banished from the United States, often for non-violent offenses. In Connecticut, approximately 35% of deportation proceedings initiate without any criminal conviction.

Beyond the Panopticon: The NSA Isn’t Alone

Thursday, December 26, 2013 at 11:01 am by

This article is the second in a two part series that began with “Beyond the NSA: other agencies spy on you, too,”  originally published by on December 16, 2013.

The Panopticon is real. It siphons billions of dollars each year from a federal budget in crisis. And it is watching you and your children. Lost in the debate about NSA spying, however — and even most public resistance to it — have been the various other federal agencies also complicit in Fourth Amendment abuses.

Even critics of domestic surveillance have largely failed to recognize how many government agencies spy on Americans.

A presidential review panel recently recommended substantial changes to FBI powers, including ending the authority to issue National Security Letters. NSLs are secret data requests used to circumvent both First and Fourth Amendment protections, demanding information about third parties and gagging the recipients. The FBI’s pattern of abusing undercover infiltration to disrupt First Amendment protected organizations, however, stretches back decades, threatens democracy even more deeply than NSLs, and continues unabated.

Beyond the NSA and FBI, many other agencies are also involved in domestic surveillance. And all of them continue to evade public and congressional scrutiny.


Detention mandate keeps immigrants locked up and prison companies rich

Friday, November 22, 2013 at 12:30 pm by

21-immigrants-for-saleEvery single day, 34,000 beds need to be filled by immigrant detainees in the United States, not because there are 34,000 people who legitimately need to be detained, but because Congress mandates it. The immigration “detention bed mandate” comes from Congressional appropriations language referring to the budget for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Essentially, the language specifies how ICE has to use its detention budget, in this case requiring that the funding be used to “maintain a level of not less than 34,000 detention beds.” This requirement is wildly expensive as it costs $120 a day to detain each individual, which comes out to $2 billion a year for the whole system.

New DHS pick likens US military abroad to “Good Samaritans”

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 10:00 am by

Jeh JohnsonPresident Obama announced that Jeh Johnson, former Pentagon General Counsel, would be his appointee to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Johnson has participated in many of the Obama administration’s most infamous policies: he oversaw the legal justification for the drone assassination of an American citizen, the expanded use of Military Commissions instead of federal courts to try terrorism suspects, and has aggressively defended US surveillance activities and the related crackdown on whistleblowers.

Protestors face down urban shield war games in Oakland CA

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 1:10 pm by

Between October 25 and the 28, an intimidating list of over 150 police departments, federal law enforcement agencies and private corporations participated in a series of militarized war games using the city of Oakland California as if it was their personal playground.

The exercises unfolded as various “real world” scenarios where local law enforcement agencies competed against one another from a central “Red Command.”

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“In past years, Urban Shield has featured hostage-taking scenarios involving animal rights activists, and the bombing of an oil platform by Anarchists. In an interview, Sheriff Ahern said the scenarios are sourced from threats made to law enforcement and government agencies over the past five to ten years that have been documented by the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center. “Many of those threats have used the formats of anarchy, in the form of white supremacy, of Muslim extremism,” Ahern said. “We simply use threats we’ve received over the last five to ten years that have been documented through our regional intelligence center.” (Eastbay Express)


Immigration enforcement as incarceration faces resistance

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 12:52 pm by

saynoOn Saturday, October 5, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools (TRUST) Act. The TRUST Act will limit California’s cooperation with the federal government’s “Secure Communities” program, which has led to an increase in the incarceration of immigrants.

Secure Communities, begun in 2008 as a pilot program and expanded under President Obama, requires local and state police to submit fingerprints of anyone arrested to a federal database to check the person’s immigration status. If the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deems a person potentially deportable, it issues a “detainer request ,” requesting local police to detain him or her for up to forty-eight hours for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to take custody. Secure Communities has been part of a larger effort by ICE, since its creation in 2003, to remove all “deportable” residents. ICE contracts with state and county prisons throughout the United States to detain immigrants for potential deportation. This has caused a surge in the population of incarcerated immigrants, as the total number of immigrant detainees held per year rose from about 204,000 in 2001 to a record 429,000 in 2011.

A victory in Asheville for civil rights and communities of color

Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 9:07 am by

Seal_of_Asheville,_North_CarolinaWe must always remember Rome was not built in a day. This is a story about an incredible victory that took place in Asheville, North Carolina in September 2013 where its residents organized to fight back against racist policing and to protect the rights of immigrant communities, and won.

The Asheville Resolution that passed was a unanimous decision made by city council that now holds government officials liable for harassment and torture based of factors such as:  race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, religious or political opinion or activity, or immigration status.