Category Archives: Refugee Issues

‘This Is Terrorism’: With No Face Masks and No Warrant, Border Patrol Agents Raid Humanitarian Aid Station in Arizona and Detain 30 Migrants

“As always when humanitarian aid in the borderlands is targeted, those who seek care are the ones that face the brunt of these violent escalations.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-2-2020

Border Patrol agents raiding a humanitarian aid camp in Airzona Friday. (Photo: No More Deaths/Twitter)

Border Patrol agents on Friday night raided a humanitarian aid station run by immigrant rights advocacy group No More Deaths, detaining 30 people in what activists described as a “massive show of force” aimed at intimidating the group.

“Once again, Border Patrol is concentrating their resources on interfering with humanitarian aid during the most deadly time of year for people crossing the border,” No More Deaths volunteer Paige Corich-Kleim told the Tuscon Sentinel. Continue reading

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‘Flagrantly Unconstitutional’: Trump Issues Order to Block Undocumented Immigrants From Being Counted in Census

“This is another attempt by Trump to use scaremongering against immigrants and rig the system,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-21-2020

Screenshot: CNN

President Donald Trump issued a memorandum on Tuesday seeking to exclude undocumented immigrants from being counted in the census—a move being criticized as “flagrantly unconstitutional” and as another effort “to weaponize the census for an attack on immigrant communities.”

“After losing the battle to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, the Trump administration seeks to resurrect this fight through a memorandum that runs contrary to the Constitution, Supreme Court precedent, and historical practice,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Continue reading

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Guatemalan Leader Blasts Trump Admin’s “Contaminated” Deportation Flights as Rights Groups Say Expulsions Show “Reckless Disregard” for Rights and Health

“Guatemala is an ally to the United States, the United States is not an ally to Guatemala,” said President Alejandro Giammattei.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-22-2020

Guatemala’s right-wing President Alejandro Giammattei on Thursday attacked the U.S. government for deporting to Guatemala people infected with the coronavirus, actions he said are overwhelming the Central American country’s healthcare system and show the U.S. is not acting as an ally.

“Guatemala is an ally to the United States, the United States is not an ally to Guatemala,” Giammattei said at a virutal event with the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center,  claiming that the country has not received “even one single mask from the United States” to help boost protective medical supplies. Continue reading

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Why are white supremacists protesting to ‘reopen’ the US economy?

Joey Gibson, leader of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, addresses a crowd on April 19, 2020, in Olympia, Washington, insisting the state lift restrictions put in place to help fight the coronavirus outbreak. Karen Ducey/Getty Images

Shannon Reid, University of North Carolina – Charlotte and Matthew Valasik, Louisiana State University

A series of protests, primarily in state capitals, are demanding the end of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Among the protesters are people who express concern about their jobs or the economy as a whole.

But there are also far-right conspiracy theorists, white supremacists like Proud Boys and citizens’ militia members at these protests. The exact number of each group that attends these protests is unknown, since police have not traditionally monitored these groups, but signs and symbols of far right groups have been seen at many of these protests across the country. Continue reading

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Trump Accused of ‘Actively and Knowingly’ Spreading Coronavirus to Central America Through Deportations

Trump seen as “global health threat” as Guatemalan health minister claims 75% of people on a recent deportation flight from the U.S. tested positive for the virus.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-15-2020

Screenshot: YouTube

Days after the Trump administration threatened Central American countries with visa sanctions if they refuse to accept nationals who are deported from the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic, the Guatemalan health minister said an estimated 75% of the people on one deportation flight from the U.S. later tested positive for the virus.

Health Minister Hugo Monroy’s claim raised fears that the U.S. is willfully sending sick people back to the countries they left, creating conditions for larger outbreaks in countries including Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Continue reading

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‘Important Step’ as Federal Judge Orders ICE to Release Detained Immigrants at Heightened Risk for COVID-19

“It is unfortunate we had to resort to the courts for this relief; ICE should be doing this on its own,” said the San Francisco public defender.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-9-2020

Photo: Charles Edward Miller/fllickr/CCC

In a ruling celebrated Thursday by rights advocates seeking the liberation of as many detained immigrants as possible during the coronavirus pandemic, a federal judge in San Francisco ordered the release of four men whose respective ages and medical conditions make them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

“This decision is an important step,” William Freeman, senior counsel at the ACLU Foundation of Northern California, said in a statement. “The stakes for the release of detained persons are at an all-time high as the threat of the COVID-19 outbreak places them at an elevated risk of serious ailments or death.” Continue reading

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‘A Harrowing Warning’ to All as Hungary Hands Far-Right Leader Dictatorial Powers Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

“We could have a parallel epidemic of authoritarian and repressive measures following close if not on the heels of a health epidemic.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-30-2020

Viktor Orban. Photo: European Parliament/flickr/CC

Human rights groups and activists issued dire warnings about the state of democracy in Hungary—and the rest of the world—after the nation’s parliament on Monday approved a sweeping emergency law handing far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orbán dictatorial powers as the European country battles the coronavirus pandemic.

The new law indefinitely suspends elections and parliament, imposes up to five years in prison for anyone who intentionally spreads what the government classifies as misinformation, and gives Orbán the authority to suspend laws by decree as he works to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. The law easily passed Hungary’s parliament, which is dominated by Orbán’s far-right Fidesz party, by a vote of 137 to 53. Continue reading

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ICE Detainee Says Migrants Are Going on a Hunger Strike For Soap

In audio obtained by ProPublica, an ICE detainee described harrowing conditions as fears over coronavirus spread. The ICE detention center in New Jersey gives detainees one bar of soap per week. If they want more, they have to buy it.

By Dara Lind Published 3-23-2020 by ProPublica

 

In an audio recording obtained by ProPublica, an immigrant held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention in New Jersey complains that he and other detainees are on a hunger strike to try to obtain soap and toilet paper in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic — and that guards reportedly have told detainees, “Well, you’re going to have to die of something.”

The audio was recorded when Ronal Umaña, a 30-year-old immigrant from El Salvador currently being held at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in New Jersey, placed a personal call to an advocate on Sunday. The advocate provided the audio to ProPublica. Continue reading

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Because of the Threat of Coronavirus Turning ICE Detention Into ‘Death Camps,’ Groups Rallying to Free Families Held Around Country

“ICE is making the pandemic more dangerous for everyone.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-22-2020

US – Canada border crossing. Photo: bbmcshane/flickr/cc

As legal advocates filed an emergency suit on behalf of families and children detained by ICE, activists around the U.S. demonstrated against the continuing detention of immigrants by the federal agency as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the nation.

The agency’s detention centers are known for their danger in spreading deadly disease to prisoners and it’s a matter of when—not if—the disease arrives at a facility and infects hundreds or thousands of people. Continue reading

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From border security to climate change, national emergency declarations raise hard questions about presidential power

Global Climate Strike NYC in New York, Sept. 20, 2019. Rainmaker Photo/MediaPunch /IPX via AP Photo

Daniel Farber, University of California, Berkeley

As wildfires, storms and other climate-driven disasters grow larger and more damaging, climate change is a major concern for many Democratic voters, who are in the midst of a primary fight that has come down to two major candidates: Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Both candidates say climate change would be one of their top priorities as president – but there’s an important difference between their approaches.

Sanders has pledged to declare climate change a national emergency and use executive power to lead “a ten-year, nationwide mobilization” to remake the U.S. economy. Continue reading

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