The American Immigration Council posts a weekly summary of current immigration policy debates and decisions, Immigration Impact. It is worth following, and you can sign up to get the newsletter by e-mail. The organization and the blog/newsletter are linked at the right, under “Allied Organizations and “Resources.”
The president has already walked back one campaign commitment on immigration: his promise that “on day one” he would end Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols (also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy).
Maurizio Guerrero, “Our Next Deporter-in-Chief?” In These Times 45:2 (February 2021): 18-24.
As indicated earlier, another of President Biden’s campaign promises was to end the use of private facilities for immigrant detention. We should hold him to this and to the promise to end the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)–and to revise 35 years of policy decisions that have accumulated to create the current situation.
The Guardian has published drone images of some ICE detention centers. It’s a rare chance to see them, since visitors are not allowed to take photographs. The Biden administration has ordered the Department of Justice to phase out the use of private prisons, but ICE detention is under the Department of Homeland Security (which, we should remember, was only created this century, after the terrorist attacks of 2001). It is not clear the order will extend to DHS. We should all write and call the White House on this matter.
January 20, 2021 a new Homeland Security memo went into effect, that could mean the release of some classes of detainees. Detainees should ask their lawyers or the Freedom for Immigrants hotline how the memo may affect them.
If you are in contact with anyone who could be affected, especially if they are detained, please let them know: “DHS just issued a new memorandum about deportations and any detainee should contact their lawyer or call the Freedom for Immigrants hotline (9233# from a detention center) for more information about how it could affect them.” Volunteers should, of course, refrain from giving advice on this and other legal matters.
To join LA-AID or volunteer with us, please fill out this form. At this time (January 2021) we have a special need for pen-pals and letter writers. We are hoping new members will take on a pen-pal, but we have numerous other projects and needs as well.
Our goal is the abolition of immigrant detention and we have ongoing projects to that end, but much of our work in the shorter term involves assistance to individual detainees.
From April to November, 2020, we helped 47 people released from detention get to their sponsors or family members in the United States, by picking them up at the detention center, providing a place to stay overnight, giving them toiletries, supplies, and Spanish/English dictionaries (if they speak Spanish), and sometimes phones, and/or transporting them to the bus station. We have assisted many of these to obtain free plane tickets through a wonderful organization called Miles 4 Migrants.
We are contacted to pick people up by family members, organizations who pay bond, sponsors, lawyers, and even ICE deportation officers. Our pickups are usually from ICE detention centers in Basile and Pine Prairie, but we have also gone to Jena and have relayed people from North Louisiana centers to airports and bus stations in South Louisiana.
The people we help are asylum seekers who have been either granted asylum or released on parole or bond to continue their asylum cases while living in the community. In 2020 we worked with people from Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Central America, Cuba, Haiti, Cameroon, China, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
International Migrants Day was December 18, and one of our members created this video for use in presentations and at events. Please circulate! We will get the word out about LA-AID and our broader cause.
Freedom for Immigrants and the Southern Poverty Law Center have filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Inspector General, on the torture of Cameroonian detainees at Adams Correctional Center in Mississippi. The torture was to coerce them into signing deportation orders, and and accept the use of fake travel documents being to deport them. A downloadable copy of the complaint is available here and in the links to the right, under Documents. Please read and discuss the complaint, and send it to Congressional representatives, to members of the press, and to anyone else who will listen.