Community Voices: “The Reality Is My Family Cannot Afford An All Or Nothing Hardline on Citizenship”

This week, Jose Patino of “The Dream is Now” fame wrote great article on “What the undocumented community needs out of immigration reform” which raised a lot of eyebrows.  Friend of this blog, Cesar Vargas, Founder of DRM Action, reiterated that undocumented youth leaders are loyal to their communities, and not beholden to either party. Around the same time, the National Immigration Law Center released an excellent report, outlining how the President can use his executive powers to stop deportations.

After having a public fallout with certain undocumented leaders, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, one of the strongest advocates for immigration reform, has actually adopted their views on deportation. In a Fusion interview, he states:

“Democrats think all they need to do is to simply blame Republicans. You know what? We control the White House and we control the deportation apparatus,” he said. “We have a responsibility to act.”

Certainly, we can do more. While we await immigration reform, Santiago Leco’s recent infiltration of El Paso Detention Center, combined with a Fusion investigation, has revealed that ICE had detained at least 13 pregnant women, contrary to its own policy:

The agency’s policy says that detaining pregnant or nursing women is low on their priority list. The directive states that resources should be spent on locking up people whose cases are top priority, like those who have formerly broken immigration laws, are threats to public safety, or have been convicted of crimes.

Similarly, contrary to its own policy, the U.S. continues to detain asylum seekers, even after they have been granted credible fear.This week, a law firm contacted me about helping out with one of their clients who is currently detained in Georgia after fleeing Honduras for his life. Homeland Security agents detained Mr. Paz and his wife after they crossed the Texan border in late October 2013. The two fled Honduras after being threatened by the gang members who killed two of their adult children in 2013. Mr. Paz, who is 60 years old, applied for asylum and passed the credible fear interview, but the Department of Homeland Security is refusing to release him from custody. Instead, they have him locked up at Stewart Detention Facility in Lumpkin, Georgia, hundreds of miles away from his family. Please sign his petition here.

The U.S. isn’t the only country dealing with immigration issues. Thousands of African refugees to Israel joined in a peaceful protest this week against Israel’s denial of their refugee status and their continued detention. The New Yorker has more background on this issue.

A very dear friend of this blog, Attorney Madeline Stano, showed up in federal court this week to prevent discriminatory pesticide practices that allow predominantly Latino children to be exposed to high levels of harmful chemicals in California. Thanks Stano!

The polar votex came for me so I am back in the Bay Area, California. On that note, the EBIYC – East Bay Immigrant Youth Coalition is now accepting scholarship applications. The due date is Monday, February 17. So check it out!

Photo Credit: greensefa

Top 10 Threats to the State of Israel

Threatened by out of shape peace activists in awkward orange life-jackets and Pikachu, Israel raided and killed 9 humanitarian activists on the Gaza-bound flotilla and detained 600 more people from the ships.

You should check out my hilarious first-try at a Buzzfeed on Israel here.

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5 Actions You Can Take In Response to Israel Attacks on the Gaza Flotilla

The Israeli Navy has killed and wounded dozens of brave humanitarian aid activists who were aboard ships that were carrying humanitarian aid to the 1.5 million people in Gaza who are living under an Israeli-imposed siege.

Even after strong and widespread international condemnation, Israel still holds that it acted well within its rights and did nothing wrong. This is unacceptable and as long as the United States continues to support such a violator of international human rights, Israel will continue to act like a stubborn child and bear no responsibility for its morally despicable and illegal actions.

Here are some actions that can be taken in response to this atrocious action:

1. Obama must stand up Nobel Peace laureates and strongly condemn Israel. For too long, the international community has been two-faced about condemning Israel. Instead of expressing outrage at an attack on civilian ships in international waters, Obama issued a tepid statement saying he “deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained” and wen on to say that Israel is best suited to investigate itself! Please sign this petition calling on Obama to condemn Israel’s assault as a first ste. Call the White House at 202-456-1111 and request that the President:

* Condemn Israel’s attack of Gaza Freedom Flotilla and support a fair and impartial international investigation of it.
* Find Israel in violation of the Arms Export Control Act and immediately end all military aid to Israel.
* Pressure Israel to end its illegal blockade of the occupied Palestinian Gaza Strip.
* End U.S. support for Israel’s illegal 43-year occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip.

2. The United States Congress must immediately cut off aid to Israel. Request an emergency meeting with your Members of Congress during this week’s Memorial Day recess. Clearly, Israel has become a liability state for the United States. Currently, Congress is in the process of appropriating a record $3.2 billion in military aid to Israel. U.S. State Department figures show Israel received $2.55 billion in U.S. aid last year, with levels to ratchet up to $3.15 billion by 2018. This aid must be frozen while a fair, impartial investigation of this crime is conducted. Ask Congress to not fund the request the FY2010 request for more military aid to Israel.

3. Organize in your local communities to hold demonstrations at Israeli embassies. See the latest list of actions and locations here.

To add your protest to the list, please email or register your event here.

4. Time for boycott, divestment and sanctions. Support the BDS movement: The ongoing blockade and occupation of Gaza is in direct violation of international law. Let aid into Gaza and boycott Israeli products such as AHAVA made from occupied Palestinian territory. For more information, see End the Occupation.

5. Demand that Israel allow the safe passage of the Rachel Corrie flotilla: The MV Rachel Corrie, named after the 23-year-old American peace activist who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003, is still headed for Gaza. The Irish government owns the ship and has requested that Israel allow safe passage but Israel states it is prepared to block the ship. Send a letter to the Israeli embassies now, demanding safe passage of the remaining flotilla delivering humanitarian aide to Gaza.

Stay tuned for the latest actions, including media talking points, from the US Campaign to End the Occupation. And remember to follow hashtags #freedomfotilla, #fotilla and #rachelcorrie on Twitter for up to the second information.

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