families across borders

ايه اللي جابك و بتشكي لمين عذابك | sana, gen, 1.5k

a bit of healing for my girl, post-imagine (we weren’t living in a racist, misogynist freak show). sana goes home.

title from enta tani by haifa wehbe.


Sana stands outside, halfway down the steps to the river. Halfway means that people are less likely to stop and look at her for too long, and she stares intently at her phone, switching between the walking and bus tab where she’s mapping her path home. The walk from SYNG to her flat is 40 minutes. The bus is 24 minutes, and there’s two transfers.

She slides her eyes up to the sky, where the sun is hanging halfway to setting. On her left, someone passes by with white blonde hair and light skin and a biting laugh and she jumps, flinches so deep that the girl looks back over her shoulder at Sana, eyes lingering on her turban, the way the black of her eyeliner has smudged around her eyes. Sana bristles, narrows her eyes, squares her shoulders, remembers who she is. The girl turns around quickly, curling her fingers around white forearm of the man she’s with. Sana thinks that they could pass as siblings, same round blue eyes and light, light hair. She wonders, without heat, how people who get sunburnt after 5 minutes of exposure came to burn and pillage the whole world.

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Societal Heroism

March 31, 2017.
The man, believing he has regained
the inner fire necessary to make peace
with the inner child he let down years ago,
decides to stop taking his medication.

You see, he’s an idealist.
As a child, he habitually
hid comic books between bible pages
and admired how the colorful ink
made a vengeful god seem more likable.
This kind of man was born and raised
on truth, justice and the american way.

If batman could walk off a broken back,
being written out of continuity,
and literally being 90 years old,
you can conquer an invisible disease.
*You don’t need crutches,
momma gave you legs,
god provided air,
so fucking walk.

The man makes it three days.
Three glorious, indescribable days
of super elated freedom
wherein he is less man and more idea,
acrobatic wordplay and enough self love to last a season.
Three days. No further.

On day 4, the man is aghast
to be awoken by his very bones
igniting before his very eyes, his skeleton
an enraged 4th of july float with every firecracker
aimed squarely inward, every barrel lit
to the very wick of his heartbeat.
Imagine his terror,
his eyes watching his hands try desperately
to claw through tattoo and meat and muscle,
fingernails hoping to snuff that flame
pillaging his coronary muscle
like the last time he fell in love hopelessly
and didn’t care where love let
his body hit the ground.
Imagine his surprise, his broken mind
trying to find itself in a game of scrabble
where all the pieces spell “suicide,”
seven letter seductress whose sole life goal
is to break his poor mother’s heart.

How quickly we succumb
to those kind old, withered addictions.

You see, the man tries to fight the madness off:
he meditates to his happy place and is only greeted
by a raging apartment fire in the projects in summer.
His body, horribly torn by a full pack
of American Spirits  caught between his shirt pocket
and both his lungs, his “lucky strike” quietly waiting
to be wished upon the one woman who
he fell in love with so hard, would have died for so easily,
he keeps forgetting he pulled a trigger of live ammunition.
He presses his weight on these coping mechanisms
the way sinners lean their bodies against broken faith.

He has tiptoed this line before,
thinner than a razor but twice the bloodlust.
The man will go to work and function…adequately.
His brain will plot and scheme
the many hows and whys and whens of
that act which we do not speak of in this house.
Both man and brain struggle on the old familiar snags:
feels his heart crack thinking of what ways
his mother will internalize this pain, shoulder on the blame.
He bursts into tears upon realizing
“I love you” won’t mean shit to
a little sister who doesn’t speak
in mouthfuls of painkillers.

I wish I could say
that this narrative had a happier ending.
The man did find his way
back along the prescription-bricked road,
back onto the familiar cycle
of swallowing both pills and pride
by the tablespoon, breakfast lunch and dinner,
but not before 4 police officers
found the man,
this Robin in freefall,
clipped his wings to ash,
stuffed him in a cage,
jammed paraffin wax on both ends of beak,
and said, “well, let’s hear you sing now, boy.”

This, all of this, is not to be interpreted as a cry for help.
This is a demand
that you make the effort to try and see
how cracked things are from my side of the glass.
When your brain chemistry resembles oil and water
mixed in the shittiest blender known to man,
plugged into the biggest dying battery on earth.
See, rolling blackouts are my only sense of truth.

When you ask yourself, what drives a young man,
six years of higher education, three degrees
and an ocean of potential before him,
to do selfish, barely forgivable things,
remind yourself, that there is more darkness
in the night sky than drops in the ocean.
Ask yourself, what sorts of agony
must one man endure constantly
before accepting his fate
as an anomaly in his own fairy tale,
the question mark that will haunt
his father anytime anyone asks him,
“and how’s your youngest son doing?”
How many children must this man kiss
goodbye and goodnight to,
before God herself steps off gilded perch,
brushes cracked streams from his face,
and says, “my child, some trees
aren’t meant to bear fruit.”

This is not a cry for help,
I am not a fucking charity case.
The only tin cup to my name
got hung like an ornament in the first cage
the police locked me up in.
Two years later,
one more cage under my belt,
seven prescriptions to make the world spin,
four beautiful ideas keeping me awake,
three women that molded man from clay,
two…times I will repeat, this is not a fucking charity case.
One…bad day. Contrary to popular belief,
it isn’t genetics or poor choices but rather,
the leading cause for the ignition of mental illness
is one bad day. For someone of my design,
one bad day is the difference between,
“oh he was the sweetest boy,” to
the slow rising mushroom cloud
quietly strangling the epicenter
of an atom bomb desecrating holy ground.

So maybe, he had this coming. I had this coming.
A little less bad day per se,
a little more controlled descent
into self-destruction.
Can you blame me?
For trying to remember
what it was like to be Superman
in an age where all my doctors tell me
microdosing kryptonite is the only thing
medically keeping Clark Kent breathing.

Then again, I didn’t ask for this.
Much like Superman, last son of his world,
didn’t ask to be the savior
that two farmers found in a cornfield in Kansas,
I didn’t ask to be the last son of two family trees,
smuggled across a border to be
a damn pariah to people who don’t understand me.
my only superpower:
mood swings faster than a speeding bullet,
stronger than the average romance,
more powerful than a million broken promises.

I didn’t ask for any of this.
Much like those similarly situated as I,
I am the love child of circumstance and paradox
that wasn’t supposed to make it out of the nursery in one piece.
I didn’t ask for suicide to leave her
name, number, measurements, poor intentions
tattooed behind my ear like a love song
with a broke as fuck bass line.

What I do ask, proudly and unapologetically,
is that you all bear with me.
See, I am doing the best job I fucking can
with what god built me with,
much like those similarly situated as I.
I manage dual identities, punch depression
in its stupid ass mouth on the daily,
micromanage the uglier thoughts constantly
so my fair city can sleep through the night.
I may not be the hero you all need or deserve,
but I put my super suit on one leg at a time,
just like all of you do.

So please,
bear with me. Bear with us. All of us.
Just as we have born with the social constructs
you try and bury us in,
your stigmas and misunderstanding and hatred,
Police Code 5150 for a three day stay,
5250 for the horribles that need a longer vacation.
Bear with us, thieves in the night
pulling off the crime of the century.
All we really want, at the end of the day,
is to exist and be loved, respected even,
as the individuals we really are
and not the carbon copies
you pray we’ll grow into.

And maybe, just maybe,
you can all learn to live with and love us
the same damn way
we have learned to live with and love you all,
unconditionally,
long before we even dared
to love ourselves.


Copyright © 2017 C.G.Y. 

In addition to being one of the highest grossing musicals of all time (adjusting for inflation), the Sound of Music is also, surprisingly, based on real events. Or, more accurately, based on the Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria von Trapp, recounting the family’s escape from Austria to America following the rise of the Nazis.

Including the 1959 musical the Sound of Music, the story of the Trapps has undergone multiple adaptations over the years, including a 1991 animated series Trapp Family Story (Torappu Ikka Monogatari) by Nippon Animation. Amusingly, the Trapp Family Story is one of the few which actually keeps the kids’ names the same as their historical counterparts, with adaptations such as the Sound of Music changing them to fit the story.

Amusingly, in the film adaptation of the music they actually use the wrong mountains while showing the family walking across the border. While within the movie they were meant to be escaping from Austria into neutral Switzerland, the location they chose actually had the Trapps fleeing North… into Germany.

And not just anywhere in Germany, they were heading straight towards Hitler’s home in Berchtesgaden, no less. The historical Trapps, in comparison, fled openly by train, which is less exciting but more likely to prevent you getting lost while surrounded by alpine splendor.

When they kidnap the Fullers, and I say this a lot, but it’s true, but Kate represented his moral compass. The part that responded– that was always ‘let me protect her’ and always checking was the shred of humanity that he had untainted in him. (Madie: And also, he wanted to kidnap our family to get across the border, but he didn’t wanna ruin them) Exactly, he didn’t wanna kill them or do anything. And obviously it’s all the crazy things that happen, I think that, even if he goes away, he feels a responsibility. Saving her is saving a part of himself. And it’s also just saving her, because obviously, they’ve been through so much. So, you will see more of it. I won’t tell you what happens with it or where it goes, but yes, it’s cat and mouse throughout the entire season
—  DJ Cotrona (and Madison Davenport) about Seth and Kate in s3 (Full quote)

               Bruh, there is no way you cannot tell me that Seth doesn’t love her. He’s so fucking desperate to save Kate that it’s .. devastating ( to me, at least ). It makes me so freaking sad to see this so-called criminal / thief come to care about this girl who’s been through so much with him. He kidnaps her & her family to go across the border, practically goes through a labyrinth of Hell and culebras to get out of the Titty Twister, spend three months together just for him to abandon her when shit got dicey? She dies and he’s changed as a man. his whole outlook of life is different & you know he still feels guilty for everything that’s happened to her. And the moment he saw her in that ring, everything switched up on him. He was hopeful that they could save her & that they could bring her back. But over and over again, every one kept telling him that Kate was gone… HE BELIEVED THAT SHE WAS SAVABLE AND IN THIS EPISODE, HE STILL BELIEVED IT. 

               The way he said that Amaru was scared of Kate and that Kate was stronger than her .. just to hear Kate say that she’s too powerful? He doesn’t wanna believe that. He couldn’t bare to believe that because in the end of the day, everything he was doing to her, he was doing to get her back. Because he needs her. Because he cares about her, no fuck that, he LOVES her. Seth loves Kate and there is no way that you can tell me otherwise. And his face when Kate said that she doesn’t forgive him? His heart broke. And mine did, too.

US CBP is apprehending a lot more children and families than last year, mostly Central American

Apprehensions of children and their families at the U.S.-Mexico border since October 2015 have more than doubled from a year ago and now outnumber apprehensions of unaccompanied children, a figure that also increased this year, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.

The surge in family apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2016 is driven by migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, who together make up 90% of these apprehensions so far this fiscal year. The number of family apprehensions from these Central American countries more than doubled in the first six months of fiscal 2016 over the same time period in 2015. Meanwhile, among Mexicans, family apprehensions decreased by 25% over the same period.

Apprehensions of unaccompanied children so far in 2016 are similar to the first six months of 2014. When looking at where unaccompanied children are from, there have been substantially more apprehensions among those from Guatemala (9,383) and El Salvador (7,914) than Honduras (4,224) during the first six months of fiscal 2016. In 2014, Honduras was the leader in the number of unaccompanied minors apprehended.

10

Lebanon’s Beautiful Light, in All Its Seasons, with @daliakhamissy

To see more of Dalia’s photographs, follow @daliakhamissy on Instagram.

A wedding dress hangs in a refugee tent. A mother lays out the denim jacket her son once wore — more than 20 years after he disappeared in a civil war. A kitten grows up in a tranquil Beirut apartment. And life goes on in the moments recorded by Dalia Khamissy (@daliakhamissy), a photographer who grew up through decades of conflict in the Middle East. She says, “I post the view from my balcony, which I love — especially with Lebanon’s beautiful light, in all its seasons.” In scenes across her country, Dalia shares a perspective that ranges from cosmopolitan luxury to the daily challenge of survival, as families flee across the border from neighboring Syria. “Despite the wars, blood and continuous human rights violations, people still laugh, smile, live and love. There is a lot of creativity, dignity and resilience.”

washingtonpost.com
U.S. plans raids to deport families who surged across border - The Washington Post

The Department of Homeland Security has begun preparing for a series of raids that would target for deportation hundreds of families who have flocked to the United States since the start of last year, according to people familiar with the operation.

The nationwide campaign, to be carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents as soon as early January, would be the first large-scale effort to deport families who have fled violence in Central America, those familiar with the plan said. More than 100,000 families with both adults and children have made the journey across the southwest border since last year, though this migration has largely been overshadowed by a related surge of unaccompanied minors.

The ICE operation would target only adults and children who have already been ordered removed from the United States by an immigration judge, according to officials familiar with the undertaking, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because planning is ongoing and the operation has not been given final approval by DHS. The adults and children would be detained wherever they can be found and immediately deported. The number targeted is expected to be in the hundreds and possibly greater.

The proposed deportations have been controversial inside the Obama administration, which has been discussing them for several months. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson has been pushing for the moves, according to those with knowledge of the debate, in part because of a new spike in the number of illegal immigrants in recent months. Experts say that the violence that was a key factor in driving people to flee Central America last year has surged again, with the homicide rate in El Salvador reaching its highest level in a generation. A drought in the region has also prompted departures.

The pressure for deportations has also mounted because of a recent court decision that ordered DHS to begin releasing families housed in detention centers.

Although Johnson has signaled publicly for months that Central American families not granted asylum would face deportation, the plan is likely to trigger renewed backlash from Latino groups and immigrant advocates, who have long accused the administration of overly harsh detention policies even as Republicans deride President Obama as soft on border security.

Advocates have not been briefed on the plans and on Wednesday expressed concern. They cited what they called flaws and abuses in the government’s treatment and legal processing of the families, many of whom are fleeing danger or persecution in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

“It would be an outrage if the administration subjected Central American families to even more aggressive enforcement tactics,” said Gregory Chen, director of advocacy for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “This administration has never acknowledged the truth: that these families are refugees seeking asylum who should be given humanitarian protection rather than being detained or rounded up. When other countries are welcoming far more refugees, the U.S. should be ashamed for using jails and even contemplating large-scale deportation tactics.”

Groups that have called for stricter immigration limits said the raids are long overdue and remained skeptical about whether the scale would be large enough to deter future illegal immigration from Central America.

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. “What share is this going to be?. . . It’s a drop in the bucket compared to the number they’ve admitted into the country. If you have photogenic raids on a few dozen illegal families and that’s the end of it, it’s just for show. It’s just a [public relations] thing, enforcement theater.”

Marsha Catron, a DHS spokeswoman, would not comment on any possible ICE operations but pointed out that Johnson “has consistently said our border is not open to illegal immigration, and if individuals come here illegally, do not qualify for asylum or other relief, and have final orders of removal, they will be sent back consistent with our laws and our values.”

The raids could become a flash point on the 2016 campaign trail, where GOP presidential contenders, including front-runner Donald Trump, have made calls for stricter border control a central issue. Trump’s rise has come as he has promised to deport all undocumented immigrants and bar entry to the United States for Muslim refugees in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., policy prescriptions denounced by Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton.

The immigration issue has often bedeviled Obama, who came into office under pressure from supporters to end the George W. Bush administration’s post-Sept. 11, 2001, crackdown on illegal migrants. Instead, the administration increased deportations in its early years, drawing repeated fire from Latino groups and immigration advocates. Then, in summer 2014, came the surge of children flocking across the southwest border.

While most public attention focused on minors who were crossing the border alone, the number of children who came with a family member — known as “family units’’ in DHS parlance — also spiked dramatically.

With the government overwhelmed at first, many of the families were simply released and told to appear at later immigration court dates to determine if they would be granted asylum.

Some never showed up or had their asylum claims rejected and were ordered deported by immigration judges, officials familiar with the process said. That population is among those expected to be targeted in the upcoming raids, they said.

Immigrant rights advocates and legal experts say the families and minors were in many cases not granted adequate representation and were confused by the asylum procedures in court.

DHS, meanwhile, reacted to the surge by opening family detention centers, two in Texas and one in Pennsylvania. Those centers now house more than 1,700 people, DHS officials said Wednesday. But even as DHS officials have long vowed that the migrants will be treated humanely, their advocates have said conditions are crowded and inhumane in the centers, which often house women with children.

As the administration wrestled with how to handle the families, Johnson in November 2014 issued a set of new immigration enforcement priorities. Much of the attention focused on his public statements that undocumented immigrants who had been in the country for years should be integrated into society rather than deported. And Obama, on the same day, announced an executive action intended to shield up to 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation.

But Obama’s action has been blocked in the courts. And Johnson has also made clear that families, children and others who had illegally crossed the border recently and did not obtain asylum status — and anyone ordered deported starting on Jan. 1, 2014 — would be subject to removal.

DHS “will also continue to expedite, to the greatest extent possible, the removal of those who are not eligible for relief under our laws,’’ Johnson said in a September statement about the family detention centers. “We take seriously our obligation to secure our borders.’’

In August, a federal judge in California ordered the administration to begin releasing in October children and family members from the detention centers. The judge said DHS had violated a 1990s consent decree that said minors taken into custody, whether accompanied by an adult or not, had to be treated humanely and allowed to quickly contest their incarcerations.

The administration has said it is complying with the ruling, but it has also filed an appeal with a federal appeals court, and officials said the decision left them feeling hamstrung. “It doesn’t allow us to hold onto people, to detain them until we can deport them,’’ said one person familiar with the internal debate.

Then, in recent months, the flow of families crossing the border suddenly shot up again. The numbers of family units apprehended rose 173 percent in October and November, compared to the same period last year, according to DHS data analyzed by the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank.

The court decision and the sudden spike led to the decision to begin planning the upcoming raid, said officials familiar with the deliberations, who said DHS knows the deportations will be inflammatory but believes it must enforce the law.

Immigration To Renew Effort To Deport Central American Immigrant Families

“We must enforce the law consistent with our priorities,” said an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson in regard to upcoming plans to detain and deport Central American immigrants, many of whom fled their homes due to rampant gang violence.

Russell Contreras/AP

U.S. immigration officials are planning to detain and deport immigrants who were part of the surge of Central Americans who crossed into the U.S. illegally over the past two years, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson said in a statement Thursday.

NPR’s John Burnett reports that immigration agents are mainly targeting young mothers with small children, and unaccompanied youths who turned 18 after they entered the U.S. He says officials will be detaining people whose “asylum claims have been rejected.”

Many Central Americans have fled their home countries due to gang violence.

The ICE statement followed a Thursday report from Reuters that said immigration agents are “planning a month-long series of raids in May and June.”

The news service also wrote that “the operation would likely be the largest deportation sweep targeting immigrant families” by President Obama’s administration this year, after “a similar drive over two days in January that focused on Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina.” That roundup detained 121 people, most of whom were women and children.

Thursday’s statement from ICE shied away from Reuters’ characterization of upcoming operations as new raids, saying, “current operations are a continuation of operations Secretary Johnson announced in January and March.”

The statement also said:

“As we have stated repeatedly, the Department of Homeland Security must enforce the law consistent with our enforcement priorities. Our highest priority is public safety and border security. More specifically, the enforcement priorities DHS announced in November 2014 include the removal of convicted criminals and others who constitute threats to public safety and national security, as well as recent border crossers. To promote and protect border security, our priorities include those apprehended crossing the border illegally after January 1, 2014. This includes single adults, as well as adults who bring their children with them.”

John adds that immigrants’ rights advocates “have excoriated the administration’s policies toward women and children who are fleeing gang violence in Central America.”