Category Archives: National Security vs Police State

For families who have already been separated, policy change doesn’t guarantee reunification<

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order he says will “keep the families together” when they’re apprehended illegally crossing the border. But that does little for families who have already been split apart.

Undocumented immigrant children at a U.S. Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, Texas. Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

They crossed the border as families. Now, as some parents face the prospect of being sent back across it, many have no way of knowing how much deeper into the United States their children may have been sent without them — maybe all the way to north to New York or Michigan, or maybe just a few miles away in Texas.

The Trump administration has already reversed course on a widely-panned “zero tolerance” policy that resulted in separating more than 2,000 migrant children from their parents after they crossed the border together illegally; the president said Wednesday that families will no longer be split up. But in many cases, attorneys and advocates say, the damage is already done: Even if no more families are separated, there’s not yet a clear path for reuniting those who already were.

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Nevermind the Wall — They’re Building Warehouses

The newest plank of immigration enforcement? Piling children into overcrowded detention centers.

By Peter Certo. Published 6-7-2018 by Foreign Policy In Focus

This article is a joint publication of Foreign Policy In Focus and InTheseTimes. It ran first at OtherWords.org.

Most mornings lately, I’ve woken up to two things. First I hear my toddler, sounding off that it’s time to get up. Then I see the news stories about other toddlers our immigration authorities ripped away from their parents.

For weeks, I’ve felt the gnawing need to write something, anything, about it. But God, where even to begin?

First, there are the stories. The Congolese asylum seeker who heard her six-year-old scream “Don’t take me away from my mommy!” and couldn’t reach her. The woman forced to put her 18-month-old in a car seat in an ICE van, the door slamming shut before she could even say goodbye. The man who hasn’t seen his son in six months. Continue reading

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Why We Should Be Alarmed That Israeli Forces and U.S. Police Are Training Together

The Israeli forces mowing down unarmed Palestinian protesters also train U.S. police forces that brutalize communities of color.

By Domenica Ghanem. Published 6-7-2018 by Foreign Policy In Focus

Photo: Oregon Department of Transportation (CC BY 2.0) via Wikimedia Commons

This article was jointly produced by Foreign Policy In Focus and In These Times.

Razan al-Najjar is the latest victim in Israel’s onslaught of Palestinians to go viral. The 21-year-old nurse was shot dead by a sniper. Her only weapon? A wad of medical gauze. She’d been treating protestors who’ve been rallying for their right to return to homes they were expelled from as refugees.

Unfortunately, the death of another unarmed civilian is hardly even news to Palestinians.

May 14, the day the United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem in symbolic support of recognizing the city as Israel’s capital, was also the bloodiest day in this recent wave of demonstrations. In just one day, at least 50 Palestinians were killed and 2,400 more injured by the Israeli military. (Other counts put those figures even higher.) Continue reading

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UN Calls on US to ‘Immediately Halt’ Policy of Tearing Children Away From Parents

The human rights office says the practice “amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-5-2018

Photo: ACLU

The United Nations human rights office on Tuesday demanded that the Trump administration “immediately halt” its policy of tearing migrant children away from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, declaring that the practice “always constitutes a child rights violation.”

Under the administration’s so-called zero tolerance policy, unveiled last month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, border agents separate children from their parents at the border and prosecute the adults. The approach, which is being framed as a deterrent to stop migrants from attempting to enter the country, has been widely denounced as “evil” and spurred protests from immigrant rights advocates. Continue reading

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As Documents Reveal ‘Pervasive Abuse’ of Immigrant Children Under Obama, Fears It’s Even Worse Under Trump

Thousands of government records “provide a glimpse into a federal immigration enforcement system marked by brutality and lawlessness.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-23-2018

A new report based on government records details “pervasive” abuse of immigrant childen by U.S. officials. (Photo: ACLU)

A new report out Wednesday that’s based on government documents details the “pervasive abuse and neglect of immigrant children” in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) during the Obama administration—and experts are warning such behavior could be much worse under the Trump administration, infamous for its “dehumanizaing” and “cruel” immigration policies.

Fleeing violence and poverty in Central America, tens of thousands of children come to the United States each year and are detained by CBP, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The report (pdf) from the ACLU and University of Chicago Law School says detained children have faced “physical and psychological abuse, unsanitary and inhumane living conditions, isolation from family members, extended periods of detention, and denial of access to legal and medical services.” Continue reading

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Protests Against Trump and Israeli Occupation as US Embassy Officially Set to Open in Jerusalem

“By relocating its embassy to Jerusalem, the U.S. endorses and unlawfully legitimizes Israel’s policies and measures that seek to undermine Palestinians’ fundamental human rights.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-13-2018

“The move further perpetuates the longstanding impunity granted to Israel in the face of its continuous and systematic violations of international law, including by endorsing the illegal annexation of Jerusalem.” (Photo: @omdimbeyachad/Twitter)

With the U.S. embassy officially set to open in Jerusalem on Monday after President Donald Trump recognized the city as Israel’s capital last December—a move that has been decried by much of the international community and human rights groups as a “stark violation of international law“—Israelis opposed to the embassy move gathered in Jerusalem Saturday night to denounce Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the brutal occupation of Palestinian territory.


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‘Authoritarian Impulses’: Trump Suggests Stripping Reporters’ Credentials Over ‘Negative’ Coverage

“I always thought of authoritarianism as a slick and stealthy evil, but our democracy appears to be going down via temper tantrum,” remarked one journalist

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-9-2018

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds a briefing. Screenshot: C-SPAN

While U.S. press freedom continues to decline, “media-bashing enthusiast” President Donald Trump reiterated his hostility toward journalists who critically cover his administration on Wednesday, provoking a new wave of warnings from reporters and and supporters of the First Amendment.

Trump suggested that all “negative” reports should be classified as “fake” and the journalists who produce those reports should have their “credentials” revoked. He tweeted:

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‘Nixonian’: To Kill Iran Deal, Trump Camp Hired Israeli Spy Firm to Dig Up Dirt on Obama Officials

This “is a chillingly authoritarian thing to do.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-6-2018

Photo: YouTube

An ethics expert is declaring the Trump team “out of control” following a bombshell report by the UK’s Observer that aides for the sitting president hired Israeli spies to dig up dirt on two officials in the Obama administration who helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal.

“The idea,” said an unnamed source familiar the campaign, “was that people acting for Trump would discredit those who were pivotal in selling the deal, making it easier to pull out of it.” Continue reading

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Police Unleash ‘Brutal Attacks’ on Austerity Protesters in Storm-Ravaged Puerto Rico

While “inhumane and strikingly antidemocratic” budget cuts are imposed on the U.S. territory, outrage after law enforcement used tear gas and rubber bullets to break up May Day demonstrations

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-2-2018

Police in Puerto Rico use tear gas on a May Day protester on May 1, 2018. (Photo: @JessedHagopian/Twitter)

Police in Puerto Rico deployed tear gas and fired rubber bullets to shut down May Day protests as thousands of people took to the streets of the U.S. territory, which is still battling the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria—and a debt crisis that preceded the storm.

While people worldwide demonstrated Tuesday to demand improved labor conditions on International Workers Day, Puerto Ricans also turned out to protest the Trump administration’s failed response to the humanitarian crisis that followed the hurricane as well as austerity measures imposed by the federal government both before and after the storm struck last September. Continue reading

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Most Unwelcome: Prominent US Human Rights Campaigners Denied Entry to Israel

“The abusive treatment,” said Columbia University law professor barred from entering, “ironically illustrates how the state of Israel refuses to respect the political and civil rights of its own citizens, of Palestinians, and of human rights defenders globally.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-1-2018

Though they arrived with a plan to witness and document the human rights situation in both Israel and Occupied Palestine, both Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and Katherine Franke, chair of group’s board and a law professor at Columbia University, were detained upon their arrival on Sunday at Ben Gurion International Airport. (Photo: BookingIsrael)

The executive director and board chair of a prominent U.S. human rights group were denied entry by the Israeli government on Monday—detained at the international airport in Tel Aviv for hours of questioning and delay before being put back on a plane out of the country.

Though they arrived with a plan to witness and document the human rights situation in both Israel and Occupied Palestine, both Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and Katherine Franke, chair of group’s board and a law professor at Columbia University, were detained upon their arrival on Sunday at Ben Gurion International Airport. Continue reading

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