Tag Archive: immigrant rights

“Operation Streamline”: The New Prison Boom

Efrain Alejandro, a Mexican who has twice served prison time in the United States for illegally crossing the border, at the Kino Border Initiative shelter in Nogales, Mexico, January 28, 2014. Migrants like Alejandro are meant to be discouraged by the special courts known as Operation Streamline, but the resulting mass deportations have led to accusations of assembly-line justice.

Efrain Alejandro, a Mexican who has twice served prison time in the United States for illegally crossing the border, at the Kino Border Initiative shelter in Nogales, Mexico, January 28, 2014. Migrants like Alejandro are meant to be discouraged by the special courts known as Operation Streamline, but the resulting mass deportations have led to accusations of assembly-line justice.

From Truth Out/ By Leticia Cortez

What is “Operation Streamline”? It’s a U.S. Border Patrol Operation that began in 2005 under G. W. Bush. This law makes jail time mandatory for people convicted of illegal entry or re-entry into the United States. The plan was designed to get tough on illegal immigration by arresting and prosecuting those crossing the border, instead of simply deporting them or placing them in a civil detention center. This made the private prison industry a very profitable sector since they started incarcerating these immigrants. According to a report released last year by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 80 percent of immigration defendants convicted in federal court since 2010 received a prison sentence. This has had a dramatic effect on the makeup of the criminal justice system.

The immigration issue in this country is complex on many levels from the personal, political and economical. If one looks at it from the perspective of a woman, man or child caught crossing illegally, then held in jail up to 15 months, one must ask what is going on with the new prison industrial system. The war on immigrants is replacing the previous war on drugs that filled the jails and made obscene profits for private prisons. This new prison boom is foremost in states along the border with Mexico such as Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico. In Texas it costs the state $266/day to house a person not including food. That’s $97,090 per year paid for by taxpayers.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced reforms to the nation’s drug sentencing laws in an attempt to reduce the number of federal inmates held on non-violent drug charges. “It’s great that Eric Holder is talking about over-incarceration, but the actions he’s taking are not tackling the full scope of the problem,” said Carl Takei, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project. “There’s this whole other population that’s looming in the background, and growing.”

Advocates for reducing incarceration say that true reform of the prison system must also address the criminalization of immigration since reducing punishment for drug offenders is unlikely to affect the private prison industry.


Third Hunger Strike Begins at the Tacoma Detention Center

hungerstrik2From Common Dreams

At least 200 people stopped eating on Fri. Oct. 31st, and more people will join today (Monday)

Tacoma, WA – Immigrant detainees are putting their bodies on the line for the third time this year, to call attention to the inhumane treatment in the GEO Group detention center. Geo Group, a corporate giant that profits off the unnecessary suffering of those it imprisons for the convenience of ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while their civil immigration status is investigated. Advocates are concerned that hunger strikers will suffer retaliation similar to the retaliation inflicted during previous hunger strikes. Hunger strikers were placed in solitary confinement for up to 30 days and threatened with force-feeding. Last spring hunger strikers received promises from ICE officials that have never been implemented.

Geo Group has been allowed to supplement their lavish compensation of more than $100 per day per person with a cluster of self-reinforcing schemes to profit even more from the people placed in their “care.” Those schemes include: (more…)

Update on Tacoma, WA Detention Center Hunger Strike



From Not One More Deportation

Tacoma, WA – As supporters looked on, approximately 130 people held at the Northwest Detention Center were taken from the facility this morning as part of its weekly deportation regime. At least five hunger strikers were among those deported, according to an attorney who visited the facility on Sunday. A hunger strike supporter holding a vigil outside the center observed two buses leaving at 3 a.m. under cover of darkness. Supporters who arrived at dawn to offer witness to the deportations watched six more vehicles, marked “GEO Transport,” (five buses and a van) leaving the center. In what has become a new tactic since the February 24th action that stopped 120 deportations, the buses themselves were used to block supporters from seeing people loaded in chains. Despite these efforts, supporters lined the sidewalk as the buses pulled out, making eye contact with those inside the buses, and chanting, “You are not alone!” and “The struggle continues!”

Hunger striker Salvador Chavez Salazar, who first arrived in the U.S. at the age of 15, was among those deported this morning. The 29-year-old father of two U.S. citizen children was held in the detention center for two and a half months following a DUI arrest. In a recording made on the eve of his deportation (audio and translation available upon request), he described his fifteen years of labor in the U.S., which included landscaping, picking cherries, onions, and apples, and gathering forest items in the forests outside his Aberdeen, WA home. He explained why he participated in both waves of the hunger strike despite knowing he would most likely be deported, stating, “It is an injustice for all of us who are locked up in here,” and expressing hope that his actions would benefit future detainees. He described facing deportation with only the clothes on his back, despite having put in a request to ICE for his family to bring him a suitcase with fifteen days notice. He also described how the facility continues to profit
even after deportations, explaining that the money on detainees’ phone accounts is not returned to them. His greatest grief at leaving his home was for the harm to his 4-year-old US-citizen daughters: “Deportations, they affect the children the most, that’s the truth. Almost everyone who is here, all of the people here are fathers with families.” (more…)

ICE Raids Durham Home: Free Hugo Now!

From Dream Activisthugo2

On December 23, 2013, ICE agents raided the home of Hugo Leonel. Despite pleas from his children to ICE agents, Hugo Leonel was taken into custody and is currently being held at Stewart Detention Center.

In early 2013, Hugo Leonel was charged with a DWI. Being his first offense, Hugo Leonel was released under bond. In compliance with his sentence, he completed community service hours and an alcohol treatment program. So why is he detained?


Help get Hugo Leonel released and his deportation stopped by making a phone call and signing the petition!


Call Atlanta ICE @ (404) 893-1210
Call DC ICE @ (202) 732-3000 or (202) 732-3100

Sample Script
: “Hi, I am calling to ask for the release of Hugo Leonel Perez (A# 077-665-965) from Stewart Detention Center. Hugo Leonel has been living in the U.S. for 8 years. He came from Guatemala to reunite with his family. His U.S. citizen son, Rhodinson, needs him home. Please don’t separate Rhodinson from his dad! Release Hugo Leonel now!”

Stop the Deportation of Imelda Valenzuela Gonzalez!

dabc2From Denver Anarchist Black cross

Please join us as our community seeks to keep Imelda Valenzuela Gonzalez with her community and her family. Imelda is a community leader and nurturing mother and she belongs here with her family. Please her daughter Tania’s message below for more details on this case.

1. Sign Imelda’s online petition. Here is the link.


2. Make a phone call to ICE. Check out the online petition above for more information.

Call ICE Director John Morton (202) 732-3000

Sample Script: “I am calling to urge ICE to stop the deportation of Imelda Valenzuela Gonzalez (A# 087-496-884), who was defrauded by a lawyer who is now on the run from the law. While the lawyer gets away with his crime, Imelda is in danger of being separated from her family for simply trying to renew her cosmotology license. Please keep her in the U.S. where she has raised her children since 1999.”

3. Write a support letter for Imelda
Attached is a letter template along with some very basic instructions on how to write an effective support letter. We need these letters by Monday, April 1st at 8:00am. Please send your completed letters to Mu Son at muson@progressivecoalition and call Mu Son with any questions at 720.570.4908. (more…)

U.S. Holds Hundreds of Detained Immigrants in Solitary Confinement


A cover story that ran recently in the New York Times exposes the widespread use of solitary confinement on immigrant detainees. Citing figures that it says are incomplete and ”probably low,” the Times states:

On any given day, about 300 immigrants are held in solitary confinement at the 50 largest detention facilities that make up the sprawling patchwork of holding centers nationwide overseen by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, according to new federal data.

Nearly half are isolated for 15 days or more, the point at which psychiatric experts say they are at risk for severe mental harm, with about 35 detainees kept for more than 75 days. (more…)

Another DREAMer Detained: Drop Francisco’s ICE Hold!

pacoFrom Dream Activist

URGENT: Francisco was picked up by ICE and is now sitting at Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina. He could be transferred to detention at any moment.


Call Charlotte ICE @ 704-672-6990

Call DC ICE – John Morton @ 202.732.3000

Sample Script: “Hi, I was calling to ask that ICE lift its immigration hold on DREAMer Francisco Hernandez and release him from Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina. Francisco has been living in the United States since he was 14 years old. He graduated from high school in 2009 and is DREAM Act eligible. Lift his ICE hold and release him immediately.”

AAA lobbies for harsher penalties for unliscenced drivers- undocumented immigrants disproportionately effected

From Qué Pasa

Raleigh. – (By Jose Vicente Bernabeu / Stehepanie Proaño) One in seven U.S. drivers drive without a license, a figure that increases to 21 percent in North Carolina, according to a study by the American Automobile Association (AAA). AAA recently applied this argument to toughen penalties for those who drive in this state without permission.

According to Angela Dailey, a AAA representative in the Carolinas, the study in 2011 revealed that 1 in 5 drivers involved in an accident are not licensed o have their license revoked, something that, according to the representative, must be fought “for national security. ”

Based on this data, the influential association launched a campaign seeking legislative support in the House of Representatives to create a new law next January aimed to toughen penalties against drivers who are caught driving without a license. (more…)

NC Activist Infiltrates Florida Detention Center to Prove Bad Policies Continue

From NC Dream Team

Organizing inside jail, Viridiana fights deportations from inside prison

NC Activist Infiltrates Florida Detention Center to Prove Bad Policies Continue

Viridiana Martinez, a member of both North Carolina Dream Team and National Immigrant Youth Alliance and well-known activist in North Carolina, placed herself inside Broward two weeks ago in order to find women who were eligible for discretion. Claudio Rojas, a father and family man who is doing the same on the men’s side of the prison, was taken to Broward after being arrested by Border Patrol when he mistakenly drove his car into the Ft. Lauderdale port. He is now aiding NIYA in finding cases and has began a hunger strike until he is returned to his family. Viridiana is eligible for deferred action and Claudio is eligible for prosecutorial discretion.

Viridiana has been actively fighting for immigrant rights in North Carolina since first beginning a hunger strike with two other women in 2010, and has now continued to fight by infiltrating a detention center in Florida. In 2011 she committed her first act of civil disobedience in Atlanta, GA, fighting Georgia’s top 5 universities for banning undocumented students.She has also helped in the organizing or several Know Your Rights trainings around the state and help stop several deportations. She’s been in the forefront of the struggle for immigrant rights here in NC, making appearances at the General Assembly and lobbying for our immigrant rights. Viridiana has been confronted by anti-immigrant organizations like Mr. William Gheen director or ALIPAC, and has been in numerous media outlets defending our community.

Since June 17, 2011, the Obama Administration has insisted that it has been using discretion in deportation cases which can be considered “low-priority” or cause undue hardship for citizen family members. In June of this year, Obama announced extending deferred action to undocumented youth after we occupied his campaign offices for two weeks, costing his campaign thousands of hours of staff time. (more…)

For-Profit Prison System Preying on Immigrants: Report

by Common Dreams

Lobbyists for private prisons push anti-immigrant legislation, creating ever-more demand for their for-profit detention centers

American prison companies have detained unprecedented amounts of undocumented immigrants in exchange for massive profits, following a decade long lobbying effort which has influenced immigration policies at federal and state levels, according to a new report by theAssociated Press.

The top three detention industry giants— Corrections Corporation of America, The GEO Group, and Management and Training Corp. — have spent at least $45 million combined on campaign donations and lobbyists at the state and federal level. (more…)