“Currently there are some DREAMers who are asking for the right to join the armed forces. In every case, it is part of the American Dream – of being American – of trying to prove you are an American. I wonder if this should be so, especially if the American Dream includes an imperialist foreign policy.” - Prof. Rudy Acuña.
Youth activists infiltrate Florida immigrant detention center, find people wrongly held July 31, 2012
Activists with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance intentionally placed themselves in deportation proceedings in order to enter the Broward Transitional Center, an immigration detention facility in Florida – and they say they found scores of detainees who shouldn’t be there under the Obama administration’s revised deportation policies.
Beginning in June 2011, the administration ordered broader discretion in the prosecution of undocumented immigrants, with consideration to be given to age, how the person entered the country and his or her education, military service, criminal history and family circumstances. Then in June of this year, the administration extended the policy to cover undocumented youth brought to the U.S. as children.
But it appears that those policies are not being applied on the ground. Over the course of the past month, seven NIYA activists who themselves are undocumented immigrants entered the facility (in photo) in an effort to organize detainees. They report finding people who should not or need not be there, including:
* people with pending applications for U visas, which give temporary legal status and work eligibility to victims of certain crimes including rape, torture, domestic violence and human trafficking;
* more than a dozen youth eligible for conditional permanent residency under the DREAM Act, federal legislation that has not yet been approved by Congress but which sets out criteria that the Obama administration says it is using in making deportation decisions;
* several cases of immigrants in need of immediate medical care, including one person with a blood clot in his leg and another with a bullet in the spine; and
* more than 60 people with no criminal record or prior deportations who are eligible for discretion under the administration’s policy.
Many of the detainees have been at the facility for at least five months, with some there for as long as 20 months, the activists report. Among those involved in the undercover investigation was Viridiana Martinez, an immigration-reform activist with the North Carolina Dream Team.
A facility specifically for low-priority immigrant detainees, Broward Transitional Center is operated by the GEO Group, a private correctional services company based in Boca Raton, Fla. Formerly known as Wackenhut Corrections Corp., GEO Group receives an average of about $166 a day in tax dollars for each detainee at the Broward facility, which has a capacity of 600.
NIYA publicized the findings of its undercover investigation in a July 30 press conference held outside the office of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). The group is petitioning Homeland Security officials to undertake a full and immediate review of all detainees at the facility.
“NIYA will no longer allow GEO Group or other private prison corporations to profit off of shattered families and broken lives,” the group said in a statement. “We will continue to organize inside their jails until the president lives up to his promises.”
He’s one of the millions of people who came to the United States illegally. And he is one of millions affected by new policies ordered by President Obama.
Junior, 18, says he was brought years ago by his parents. They’re now back in Mexico, after his father was deported. Junior stayed, and he lives with his sister in Anthony, Texas, a small town 20 miles from Mexico. Now his life outside the law is ending: He’s close to receiving formal permission to stay. To understand what that means for Junior, watch this powerful video our colleague Kainaz Amaria took from a reporting trip NPR took along the U.S.-Mexico border in the spring.
That was Junior in March 2014.
Now, as a new year begins, Junior says he is waiting for a U.S. government I.D. under an Obama administration program known as DACA, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. He entered the program with help and advice from his former high school principal, Oscar Troncoso. It was the principal who allowed a lawyer to visit the school outside El Paso and meet with some of the many undocumented students who attend. Both Junior Adriano and Oscar Troncoso sat down to talk with me this week.
“The Obama administration said today that it would stop deporting, and start granting work permits to, immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children.
[…] It’s a grant of official legal status to those who immigrated illegally. Rather than just nudge officials to look the other way at law-abiding immigrants who came as children, the administration is formally offering them legal sanction. Obama is unilaterally imposing the DREAM Act.”
In case you missed it, today, Thursday 2.6.2014, REPUBLICANS - not "both parties" - squashed both immigration reform and extending unemployment insurance for millions of DREAMers and people out there still looking for work.
…try to remember that in the midterm elections this November
The introduction of the Dream Act S.1291 in 2001 has sparked a nation-wide, student-led movement advocating for the passage of the bill. The movement members, who have been called “Dream Activists” and “Dreamers”, advocate for education centered immigration reform that would provide students with a path towards citizenship given that they complete an Associate’s Degree or provide two years of service to the military. Undocumented students make up the majority of the Dream Activists but, without a power to vote, this group is without real representation in our nation’s politics. Through traditional and nontraditional forms of protest heavily reliant on their projected identity as students, the Dream Activists movement has directed its focus at gaining political strength by coming into solidarity with members outside of its core constituents. The Dream Activists have primarily been composed of Latin American and Latino/a students living in the United States, but the movement also has outspoken representatives from various other nationalities, as they are also affected by strict immigration laws. In the media the Dream Act has similarly been associated as a Latino Movement, however, despite their national origins, Dream Activists have projected themselves to the public and the state as a homogenous group identity of American students. Their assertion of their American identity despite their lack of American documentation or birth in the U.S. forces us to rethink how nationalism creates a set of guidelines for being an American such as English speaking, American acculturated, patriotic, etc. yet, even when all of these are met, students who are all but American in name are still cast out of the nation and prohibited from pursuing higher education in the U.S.
The borderlands regions as a physical space serves as a metaphor for the same limits of nationalism that these students are facing. U.S. segregated education districts demonstrate how receiving a good education relies heavily upon one’s locality. The Borderlands space further accentuates the importance of not only one’s place of residence, but also one’s acceptance into the nation. While Mexicans can most certainly flourish within Mexican institutions of higher learning, for Mexicans who were raised in the United States, language barriers would certainly play detrimental roles if their only means towards pursuing a College/University education could be found within the Mexican side of the border.
Our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity!
President Obama outlines a human rights agenda during his second inaugural address today.
As many as 800,000 young immigrants could avoid deportation under a new policy President Barack Obama plans to announce Friday, granting work permits to those who entered the country illegally as children.