Tag: mass deportation

Can Republicans romance Latinos?

By Alan Bean

Like many of you, I switched to a different network on election night whenever a commercial came along (I hate commercials as much as I hate political ads).  The talking heads on every station were sounding the same message: due to changing demographics, the Republican Party must reach out to minorities if it is serious about long-term survival.

Democrats won over 90% of the African American vote and close to three-quarters of the Hispanic vote (over 80% if non-Cuban Americans are excluded from the calculation).  And this after President Obama largely ignored the criminal justice system (a major problem for black voters) while presiding over the unprecedented mass deportation of undocumented residents.

Obama wins the minority vote (including 62% of the Asian electorate) by sitting back and letting Republicans be Republicans. (more…)

The Penalty is Exile

By Alan Bean

The criminalization of immigration, or “crimmigration” as it is sometimes known, is a recent development.  Michelle Fei lays out the basic problem,

The issue that immigrants face is that, now there is this increasing collaboration between the criminal justice system and the deportation system.  So, for basically, all kinds of immigrants, including green-card holders, undocumented immigrants, people with visas.  This means that once you enter the criminal justice system, often times you are on a fast-track to deportation, usually with no chance of ever coming back to the United States.

There is more crimmigration information packed into this radio program than I have previously discovered in any single source.

The Penalty is Exile: How Immigration and Criminalization Collide

Written by Cory Fischer-Hoffman

Under President Obama more than 1 million people have been deported from the United States. We’re told many of those people are criminals who’ve broken more than just immigration law. On this edition, producer Cory Fischer-Hoffman takes a closer look at how immigration and the criminal justice system work together, to detain and deport hundreds of thousands of people every year.


Cory Fischer-Hoffman: Have you ever traveled on Greyhound Bus Before?  Do you know the feeling of standing in the station, looking around to see if your bus will be full and hoping that after a smooth and uneventful journey, you will safely arrive to your destination?

In January of 2010, Alex Alvarez boarded a greyhound bus in Lawrence, Kansas and then got off his bus in Orlando to transfer to Immokalee, Florida,  but he never arrived to his final destination.

Alex:, I was entering the bus station, and I entered calmly but there was someone who detained me and asked, “where are you going?” I said “to Florida, to work.” and then they asked me for my papers.  I didn’t present any documentation and so, they immediately handcuffed me and they took me to a room, and they said, “sorry you can’t travel because you don’t have papers from here.” In this bus station, it was two of us who were detained, because we were the only ones who were immigrants. But, we didn’t commit any crime, absolutely none

Cory Fischer-Hoffman: Alex Alvarez is from Guatemala, and like so many others he left his country in search of way to provide for his family back home.  Alex worked in a bakery in Florida for four years and then traveled to Kansas.  Since he was unable to find reliable work, he decided to return to Florida and see if he could get his old job back.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement stopped him, solely based on “looking like an immigrant,” Alex said.  They handcuffed and arrested him and then took him to an immigrant detention center.

Alex: I was in an immigrant detention center.  They asked me a lot of questions, “what’s your name, what is this, what is that?” as you were a criminal, even though, I didn’t do anything.  Then they took me to another detention center, where there were more people, and throughout the whole time we were handcuffed.  It enrages me to think about how they treat people, I am not a criminal that they should treat me like that, with chains ties around my wrists, ankles and waist. (more…)

A shocking report targets Operation Streamline

By Alan Bean

What is Operation Streamline, you ask.  A post from a couple of months ago described our heart-rending encounter with Streamline in a federal courtroom McAllen, Texas.   Until 2005, undocumented immigrants detained at the US-Mexico border were simply deported; now they are tried in federal court for the crime of illegal entry.  If they have crossed the border more than once, the undocumented can be prosecuted for illegal re-entry, a felony charge carrying a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison.

When reformers speak of “crimmigration,” Operation Streamline heads the list of abuses.

Operation Streamline cases are clogging dockets in federal courtrooms along the border, detracting prosecutors from crimes involving massive fraud and violence.  But for the poorest members of the Latino community, the consequences of this wrongheaded policy have been devastating.

Recently, Grassroots Leadership, an immigration reform organization, released a report called Operation Streamline: Costs and Consequences that will tell you everything you need to know about the criminalization of immigration.  Not only is Operation Streamline ineffective as a deterrent, the report concludes, it is obscenely expensive and socially destructive.

In addition to draining resources and burdening the courts system, Operation Streamline imposes a devastating human cost, especially upon the Latino community. Latinos now represent more than half
of all individuals sentenced to federal prison despite making up only 16% of the total U.S. population. Increased enforcement measures also drive migrants to employ the services of professional smugglers and to attempt crossings in more obscure and dangerous areas.  As a result, immigrant fatalities along the border have become increasingly common, reaching totals more than four times those in 1995.
 Friends of Justice is designing a narrative campaign that will illuminate the abuses highlighted in the Grassroots Leadership report.  Our goal is to humanize and personalize the plight of the men and women who continue to cross and recross the border without documentation.  We will be asking who these people are, where do they come from, and why are they willing to repeatedly violate the laws of a sovereign nation?  The answers will shake you up.