Category Archives: Refugee Issues

As ICE Raids Begin, Advocates Remind Immigrants That ‘You Have Rights’

“I can only imagine the fear our immigrant communities feel this morning.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-14-2019

Photo: ICE (Public domain)

Long-feared ICE raids began quietly over the weekend as the agency moved slowly to lead off what’s expected to be several days of actions targeting families as part of President Donald Trump’s war on immigrants.

Plans for the raids were made public on July 11. Reporting from The New York Times revealed the scope of the planned raids—targeting 10 cities and thousands of families—and President Donald Trump, in a tweet, confirmed the operation. Continue reading

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Call to Action by Journalists, Academics Urges Americans to Use ‘All Nonviolent Means Necessary’ to Shut Down Trump Detention Camps

“From abolitionism to Standing Rock, Americans have come together time and again to defy horrific injustice. Now, as the government tries to normalize concentration camps, it is time like never before to target those responsible.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-9-2019

“Inspired by the civil rights movement, ACT-UP, and early labor struggles, we must employ every nonviolent tactic at our disposal to oppose this institutionalized criminality,” states the call to action. (Image: NoMoreConcentrationCamps.org)

A group of nearly two dozen prominent journalists, academics, and activists Tuesday called on Americans across the nation to use “any nonviolent means necessary” to force the closure of President Donald Trump’s immigrant detention facilities.

“We are calling on all people of conscience to shut down the concentration camps on the U.S.-Mexico border,” reads the call to action, which was backed by renowned linguist and dissident Noam Chomsky, environmentalist and author Naomi Klein, Intercept co-founder Jeremy Scahill, and others. Continue reading

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Judge Releases German Rescue Ship Captain, Saying Carola Rackete Was Fulfilling ‘Her Duty to Protect Life’

“A big win for solidarity with all people on the move…and against the criminalization of helpers.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-3-2019

Carola Rackete. Photo: Sea-Watch

In a rebuke of far-right Italian leader Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigration policy, a judge on Tuesday ordered the release of Carola Rackete, the captain of a German rescue ship, who had been arrested for bringing African migrants to Italy.

Rackete should not be held in custody, Judge Alessandra Vella said, because she had simply been fulfilling “her duty to protect life.”

The captain was arrested Saturday for hitting a police boat in June when she entered the port of Lampedusa carrying 40 migrants, who she rescued off the coast of Libya with her charity organization, Sea-Watch. She had been under house arrest in Italy since then and potentially faced up to 10 years in prison before Judge Alessandra Vella’s ruling. Last year, Interior Minister Salvini ordered rescue ships to stay out of Italian ports Continue reading

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Announcing Retrial, Federal Prosecutors to Continue ‘Unconscionable Prosecution’ of Humanitarian Scott Warren for Helping Migrants

Warren says that his case has generated “a greater awareness of the humanitarian crisis in the bordlerland… and a flood of water into the desert at a time when it is most needed.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-2-2019

Scott Warren, a volunteer with the humanitarian group No More Deaths, faces up to 20 years in federal prison for providing aid to migrants in the Arizona desert. (Photo: No More Deaths/Twitter)

Federal prosecutors in Arizona announced Tuesday that they will seek a retrial in the case of humanitarian aid volunteer Scott Warren, who could face several years in prison for providing food, water, clean clothes, and beds to migrants in the desert.

The move by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona comes after Warren’s first trial ended with a hung jury last month. The Arizona Republic reported Tuesday that “Anna Wright, an assistant U.S. attorney, said in Tucson federal court that the government would dismiss one count of conspiracy to transport or shield, but that they would seek a retrial on two counts of harboring an undocumented immigrant.” Continue reading

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Inside the Secret Border Patrol Facebook Group Where Agents Joke About Migrant Deaths and Post Sexist Memes

The three-year-old group, which has roughly 9,500 members, shared derogatory comments about Latina lawmakers who plan to visit a controversial Texas detention facility on Monday, calling them “scum buckets” and “hoes.”

By A.C. Thompson  Published 7-1-2019 by ProPublica

(Photo: Legal Loop)

 

Members of a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents joked about the deaths of migrants, discussed throwing burritos at Latino members of Congress visiting a detention facility in Texas on Monday and posted a vulgar illustration depicting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez engaged in oral sex with a detained migrant, according to screenshots of their postings.

In one exchange, group members responded with indifference and wisecracks to the post of a news story about a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant who died in May while in custody at a Border Patrol station in Weslaco, Texas. One member posted a GIF of Elmo with the quote, “Oh well.” Another responded with an image and the words “If he dies, he dies.” Continue reading

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Nationwide ‘Close the Camps’ Demonstrations Announced to Protest Horrific Conditions at Trump Detention Centers

“We need to fight for immigrant families and

stop Donald Trump’s racist policies, and we can only do it together.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-29-2019

As appalling details of the conditions at immigrant detention centers in the U.S. continue to pour in—with one doctor recently comparing them to “torture facilities“—a coalition of rights groups on Friday announced nationwide “Close the Camps” demonstrations for next week to protest the Trump administration’s treatment of migrant children.

“We’ve seen the images and heard the stories coming out of child detention centers,” said MoveOn.org, one of the groups helping to organize the events, which are set to take place Tuesday, July 2. Continue reading

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Trump Prepares to Open New ‘Captured Children’ Facility in Texas as Hundreds of Rights Groups Call for Decriminalizing Migration

Federal policies on immigration continue trending in a more punitive direction

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-20-2019

Otay Detention Center, San Diego. Photo: BBC World Service/flickr

A facility to house over 1,000 undocumented children is set to open Monday in Carrizo Springs, Texas—just days after almost 250 groups called on Congress to decriminalize migration and chart a new course for the country’s border policies.

The Carrizo Springs concentration camp, which was initially built by Stratton Oilfield Systems as worker housing, will be run by Texas non-profit BCFS Health and Human Services for the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). BCFS runs child detention centers for the federal government in Tornillo, Texas, roughly 489 miles from the Carrizo Springs facility. Continue reading

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Horror on the Border: Slew of Recent Incidents Highlight Human Rights Crisis

More bad news from the southern border

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-14-2019

There has been a steady stream of heartbreaking news at the southern border under the President Donald Trump administration, including the jailing of children and deaths of detained migrants.

Five stories in just the last several days punctuate the crisis: Continue reading

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At White House Gates, Hundreds of Religious Leaders Demand Trump and His Enablers “Repent of Their Sins”

“We must show up in person to deliver a prophetic indictment.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-12-2019

Religious leaders walk towards the White House on Wednesday as part of the “Moral Witness Wednesday” protest against the Trump administration. (Photo: AFSC via Twitter)

Hundreds of interfaith leaders stood ready to face arrest outside the White House on Wednesday where they delivered a “moral indictment to an immoral administration.”

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‘Sea Rescues Have Been Criminalized’ as German Boat Captain Faces 20 Years in Prison For Saving Refugees

“We have only followed international law, especially the law of the sea, where the highest priority is to save people from distress.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-11-2019

Captain Pia Klemp in 2017. (Image: Seawatch)

A German boat captain faces a long and costly trial in Italy for charges targeting her humanitarian efforts on behalf of refugees.

Captain Pia Klemp, 35, told Basler Zeitung on June 7 that her upcoming trial in Italy for years of efforts with the civilian lifeboat “Iuventa” that saved at least 1,000 lives will take years and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Klemp faces up to 20 years in prison, but, she said, whether or not she ends up in jail—she would challenge any conviction in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France if necessary—the damage has been done. Continue reading

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