Posts Tagged ‘immigration enforcement’

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.”

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 5.51.30 PM

“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.

Grassroots groups push better policies in Seattle and San Francisco

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 8:13 am by


Tuesday, July 23, was an exciting day for grassroots organizers on the west coast fighting against overbroad national security policies that extend to immigration enforcement. Coalitions in San Francisco County and King County (which includes the city of Seattle) both moved forward with legislation that would curtail the participation of local law enforcement in mass deportation.

Local action is particularly important as “immigration reform,” in the form of severe border militarization and increased enforcement, moves through Congress.

In King County, the committee on Law, Justice, Health, and Human Services held its first public meeting on a policy proposed by celebrated civil rights leader King County Councilmember Larry Gossett. The room was packed with supporters of the new policy.

The proposal, based on the language of a policy adopted by Santa Clara County, California in 2010, would limit county compliance with detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to those inmates who have been convicted of violent or serious felony. The hearing made the need for the legislation, and the huge amount of support for it, very clear.


News Digest 07/16/13

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 6:00 pm by

News Digest 07/11/13

Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm by