Alert! U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids are starting up. Report them to United We Dream at 1-844-343-1623. Know your rights, and share this info! We’ve got to fight back against mass deportation. Xo
In “Orange Is the New Black,” I play Maritza Ramos, a tough Latina from the ‘hood. In “Jane the Virgin,” I play Lina, Jane’s best friend and a funny know-it-all who is quick to offer advice.
I love both parts, but they’re fiction. My real story is this: I am the citizen daughter of immigrant parents who were deported when I was 14. My older brother was also deported.
My parents came here from Colombia during a time of great instability there. Escaping a dire economic situation at home, they moved to New Jersey, where they had friends and family, seeking a better life, and then moved to Boston after I was born.
Throughout my childhood I watched my parents try to become legal but to no avail. They lost their money to people they believed to be attorneys, but who ultimately never helped. That meant my childhood was haunted by the fear that they would be deported. If I didn’t see anyone when I walked in the door after school, I panicked.
And then one day, my fears were realized. I came home from school to an empty house. Lights were on and dinner had been started, but my family wasn’t there. Neighbors broke the news that my parents had been taken away by immigration officers, and just like that, my stable family life was over.
Not a single person at any level of government took any note of me. No one checked to see if I had a place to live or food to eat, and at 14, I found myself basically on my own.
While awaiting deportation proceedings, my parents remained in detention near Boston, so I could visit them. They would have liked to fight deportation, but without a lawyer and an immigration system that rarely gives judges the discretion to allow families to stay together, they never had a chance. Finally, they agreed for me to continue my education at Boston Arts Academy, a performing arts high school, and the parents of friends graciously took me in.
I was lucky to have good friends, but I had a rocky existence. I was always insecure about being a nuisance and losing my invitation to stay. I worked a variety of jobs in retail and at coffee shops all through high school. And, though I was surrounded by people who cared about me, part of me ached with every accomplishment, because my parents weren’t there to share my joy.
“Orange is the New Black” star, Diane Guerrero speaks about having undocumented parents who were deported. (via CNN)
It’s heartbreaking to hear her story and to know that other children of immigrants aren’t so lucky as her and have to go into foster care. To think that your parents may be taken from you any day is frightening.
The Netflix series star opened up about her role and one reality that’s truly shaped her.
In real life, the Jersey-born actress from a Colombian family hails from some of the tougher areas of Boston, including Jamaica Plains and Roxbury.
Her rough upbringing is the result of a struggle that thousands of Latino families have been facing.
“I am the daughter of two parents that were deported (from) this country,” she tells Viva. “I’m not ashamed of it. It’s a problem here in America and it happened to me.”
Guerrero’s family, including her older brother, was deported when she was 14. “I was the only one left (because) I was born in Jersey,” she says. “My entire family was just ripped apart.”
Guerrero was taken in by two Colombian families that she was close with, but her circumstances left the aspiring actress growing up with feelings of insecurity and hopelessness.
“I didn’t think anything was going to happen for me,” she says. “I had dreams, but always told myself, ‘Nah, that would never happen.’ For a poor Latina, (acting) wasn’t a reality.”
But Guerrero, 27, pressed on. She moved to New York after college and landed a coveted role on “Orange.”
With her family still in Colombia, her next goal is to use her life story as a platform to help other families facing the same struggles. Deportation, she says, “is an issue that needs to be dealt with a lot more and I want to be one of the representatives for that.”
On any given day, Immigration and Customs Enforcement keeps at least 34,000 immigrants locked up while they wait for their cases to be heard in immigration court. Many of these detainees are incarcerated not because they are dangerous or likely to skip their court dates, but because ICE must meet an arbitrary quota set by Congress. This quota, which is often referred to as the “detention-bed mandate,” is a disgrace and should be eliminated.
The quota is written into the federal law that appropriates funding for ICE. Congress requires the agency to “maintain a level of not less than 34,000 detention beds” at any given time. The quota was first enacted in 2007, and it appears yet again in the 2015 appropriations bill currently pending in the House of Representatives.
The quota is unprecedented. No other federal or state agency is required by law to detain a specific number of people without any regard to whether the quota makes sense from a law-enforcement perspective. Indeed, the quota is so excessive that it has been criticized by the very immigration authorities charged with enforcing it. At a congressional hearing in April 2013, then–Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano argued that ICE should be detaining people “according to public-safety threats, level of offense…not an arbitrary bed number.”
For the 2015 fiscal year, the Department of Homeland Security has asked Congress to lower the quota to 30,539 beds. But even that number is too high: immigration detainees have not been convicted of any crime, and many are eventually released and allowed to stay in this country.
(Read Full Text) (Photo Credit: #1-3 Family of Rosendo Juarez-Hernandez, scheduled to be deported that day, wait to see him before he is sent back to Mexico. Saverio Truglia for Al Jazeera America | #4 AP Photo/Los Angeles Times, Rick Loomis, Pool | #5 Maer Torrescano, 6, rests with his father Havacuc, 24, from the state of Morelos, Mexico, at the U.S. Border Patrol detention center in Nogales, Arizona, May 31, 2006. REUTERS/Jeff Topping)
PLEASE SHARE SHARE SHARE All “sanctuary” cities in CA should be in the alert! From IDEAS UCLA:
(spanish translation at the end)
‘In particular, remind the community that they have rights:
Do NOT open doors to any officials unless they have a warrant signed by a judge. If ICE says that they have one, do not open the door to see it, have them pass it under the door. If you are confronted with an ICE agent – remain SILENT. You have the right to remain silent and ICE can use anything that you say against you in your immigration case. Also, do NOT SIGN anything that ICE gives you. If you hear about ICE agents coming to anyone’s door – tell your neighbors. Text and call people to let them know that ICE is in the neighborhood. Tell them not to open their doors and to remain silent. Have a plan of action if a loved one is detained. Have the name of a trusted immigration attorney on hand. Have a plan for who could take care of minor children. Remember that if detained, you may be able to fight your case and get bail. Be especially careful in the morning. In our experience, raids happen more frequently in the morning, e.g. around the time that people go to work. ’
‘Hemos oído rumores de que el ICE se puede participar en las redadas de la próxima semana en ciertas ciudades “santuario” a través de California, incluyendo San Francisco. No sabemos a ciencia cierta si esto va a suceder, pero para estar seguro, queremos decirle a las comunidades para ser precauciones adicionales la próxima semana. En particular, recordar a la comunidad que tienen derechos: 1. Realice las puertas no se abren a los funcionarios a menos que tengan una orden firmada por un juez. Si ICE dice que tiene uno, no abrir la puerta a verlo, haga que pasan debajo de la puerta. 2. Si usted se enfrenta con un agente de ICE - permanecer en silencio. Usted tiene el derecho a permanecer en silencio y ICE puede usar cualquier cosa que usted dice en su contra en su caso de inmigración. Además, no firme nada que el ICE le da. 3. Si se enteran que los agentes de ICE llegan a la puerta de nadie - dile a tus vecinos. Llamadas y texto a personas para hacerles saber que el ICE está en el barrio. Diles que no abran sus puertas y permanecer en silencio. 4. Tenga un plan de acción si un ser querido se encuentra detenido. Tener el nombre de un abogado de inmigración de confianza en la mano. Tenga un plan para que pudiera cuidar de los hijos menores. Recuerde que si ser detenido, usted puede ser capaz de pelear su caso y obtener la libertad bajo fianza. 5. Tenga especial cuidado en la mañana. En nuestra experiencia, las incursiones ocurren con mayor frecuencia en la mañana, por ejemplo, en la época en que la gente vaya a trabajar.'’
Jennicet Gutiérrez is the first transgender person to publicly call out the president around immigration and the torture and rape transgender immigrants often experience inside detention centers. Gutiérrez was in a room full of national LGBT leaders who gathered to celebrate the many accomplishments of the movement. You would imagine this would be a place to feel seen, safe, and validated. That was not the case.
As soon as Gutiérrez proceeded to speak truth and ask the President as to why he is not releasing our trans detainees who face violence, the crowd began to jeer, boo, and hiss. As she continued, the crowd then began to drown her and chant, “OBAMA! OBAMA!”
A transgender woman of color and undocumented leader in the immigrant rights and LGBT movement was booed and silenced by not only the state, but by the very same movement that purports to uplift and celebrate the transgender community.
As her voice, filled with passion and conviction, broke through the White House room, she was met by negativity, intolerance, and stares of disapproval from her peers. Her voice was carried by the thousands of transgender women considered disposable by the nation, facing deportation, detention, and brutal transphobic violence.
Her voice and visibility in that moment was shunned and shamed as inappropriate by a roomful of leaders who then applauded as the President lamented violence against transgender women of color, violence that his actions have contributed to by not taking action against the detention centers. Her voice is one of few transgender women of color immigrants who are bringing national visibility to this issue of the detention centers. Her voice carried the weight of the communities who are screaming inside detention centers demanding to be freed. Her voice was heard and ridiculed by many who claim to fight for transgender communities and also are involved in LGBT immigrant rights issues.
because the blatant racism being implemented by the Dominican government is completely absurd! 100,000-200,000 Dominicans of Haitian decent are being deported to Haiti. Many of those being deported have never even been to Haiti (a country already suffering a great deal) for being dark-skinned and having Haitian facial features!
Nydia, a transgender woman, was granted asylum in the United States after repeated physical and sexual attacks in Mexico. Her protected status didn’t stop Border Patrol from twice deporting her to Mexico without a hearing despite verifiable evidence that she had asylum. Back in Mexico, Nydia was repeatedly attacked and raped, and then she kidnapped by a gang that trafficked her into the sex trade. She later successfully fled back to safety in the United States and applied for and was granted lawful permanent residence. “I didn’t know the immigration agents could have helped me,” Nydia said, recalling her previous attempts to enter the United States. “They had known all the reasons I was trying to come back to the U.S., and even knowing them, they sent me back.”
Back in St Kitts and Nevis, where gay sex is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, he was subject to constant harassment. Walking home from work, men would use homophobic slurs calling him “anti man” and “batty man.” They would punch him in the gut or in the face if they felt he was walking too close to them. Sometimes they would throw stones at him in the streets.
St Kitts, the island where Ryan lived, is small, with a population of only 40,000 people. So even though Ryan wasn’t completely out of the closet, everyone knew he was gay. He isn’t sure if it was because of how he walks or how he talks. At a young age, he would only play with girls. His uncle certainly knew he was gay — he would beat him regularly, while yelling those same slurs.
Ryan is an accomplished dancer. He travelled around the Caribbean performing and won cash prizes in dancing competitions. But being a dancer in St Kitts gave the homophobes even more ammunition to target him with.
Ryan was stabbed for being a gay man in St Kitts. Not once, but twice. The first time he had been out with friends and was walking through an alley to get back to his house. A group of men stopped him, demanding money and calling him homophobic names. He tried to run away, but they beat him badly. He was stabbed multiple times and was hospitalized. He still has the scars.
A few years later, he was attacked, stabbed and robbed again. The last straw for Ryan came when a man pulled a gun on him. “Don’t walk on this street batty man,” he was threatened. Ryan was scared for his life. An online friend in Canada was able to link him up with Rainbow Railroad, a Toronto-based organization that gets LGBT people out of situations like his. They bought him a plane ticket and a month later he was in Canada.
Rolston Ryan is a gay man. He was subjected to vicious attacks and abuse because of that. He comes from a country that criminalizes his very existence. None of that is in dispute.
But what the Canadian government does dispute is that he’s a person in need of protection. And that’s why they’re sending him back.
“As ICE raids targeting people who entered the U.S in 2014 and who have order of removals begin here is what to do if ICE knocks on your door, you have rights!!!!/ Con la redadas de inmigracion en busqueda de la gente con ordenes de deportation esto es lo que debes de hacer si la migra toca tu puerta, si tienes derechos!!!!!”
Armando Lazcano Gonsenheim has turned to YouTube in a desperate bid to prevent his family from being deported to Mexico.
The 18-year-old Markham student is hoping Canadian Immigration Minister Chris Alexander will see the four-minute clip, “Waiting for a Miracle,” and reverse the department’s decision to force them to leave.
“People don’t want to share these stories because they are so afraid and they don’t know what to do. I want to help my parents. I don’t want to put all the weight on them,” said Gonsenheim, who is graduating from Milliken Mills High School this month.
“I want to show I can help, too … I want to tell people, ‘This is me. Put yourself in my shoes and help.’ ”
Gonsenheim’s father Alejandro Lazcano Gutierrez fled to Canada in 2008 after threats he said he received at the hands of Mexican authorities following a car accident, according to his asylum claim, filed in 2011, when his wife Karen and two sons joined him here.
The claim was rejected in 2013 because the refugee judge ruled the father was not credible and that Mexico, a democratic country, was capable of protecting the family, the decision said. The family has since twice applied for permanent residency in Canada on humanitarian grounds, but were rejected both times, they said.
While making remarks honoring LGBT Pride Month at the White House on Wednesday, President Obama was interrupted by a guest from the back of the room.
The President was thanking those in attendance when Jannicet Gutiérrez, an undocumented trans woman and invited guest, began interrupting the president stating loudly,
President Obama, stop the torture and abuse of trans women in detention centers. I am a trans woman, I am tired of the abuse
While the president and other politicians are used to being heckled by immigrant rights groups, in a very out of character response, the president lost his cool, shook his finger and replied back, “Okay, you know what? No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Listen, you’re in my house.”
The crowd, who were alleged LGBT advocates and allies, ignored Gutierrez’ remarks, cheered the president and began to chant, “Obama! Obama! Obama!”
Gutierrez was then escorted out as she continued a bilingual chant of her own, “Not one more deportation! Ni una mas deportacion!”
In a press release, Gutierrez, who is a founding member of FAMILIA TQLM (Trans Queer Liberation Movement) which was established to advocate for LGBTQ immigrant rights said: “The White House gets to make the decision whether it keeps us safe. There is no pride in how LGBTQ and transgender immigrants are treated in this country. If the President wants to celebrate with us, he should release the LGBTQ immigrants locked up in detention centers immediately.”
When asked about what she thought of the LGBT allies in the room who sided with the president, Gutierrez told reported.ly, “The majority of them were disappointed that I interrupted the president. It’s unfortunate that they don’t want to listen to what’s happening to LGBTQ people in detention centers.”
Her remarks come a day after 35 members of Congress signed a letter that was sent to Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson requesting the released of LGBTQ individuals from detention centers and placing them under alternative supervision pending their immigration cases. The letter cites the Bureau of Justice Statistics which found that while transgendered women make 1% of detainees, they account for 20% of sexual abuse assaults while under custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
With 18 months left in a two-term presidency, Obama’s promise of comprehensive immigration reform seems dismal. The president’s deportation record has reached well over 2 million since he took office earning him the title of “deporter in chief” by national Latino civil rights groups.
Perhaps the biggest fear for trans women, whether undocumented or not, is to be placed in jail or a detention facility for men simply because of their biological, physical gender and not their gender identity. Reports demonstrate that out of every 500 ICE detainees, one is transgendered, and one out of five confirmed sexual assault cases while in ICE detention, is from a transgendered victim.
This, after all, was the point that Jennicet Gutierrez was trying to make as she was escorted and boo’d out of the room that was honoring LGBT Pride Month.