Great news from Paul's list of articles: a judge in the Circuit Court in Eastern New York has suspended attempts by the current administration to cancel the DACA program which allows young migrants to work and find a home in the United States. Please read the article. You may have to block the title then click to the right. The URL will come up and you can click on that. Thanks, Sue
A federal judge rules Trump's DHS secretary was illegally appointed — so his anti-immigrant moves are invalid
Judge Rules DACA Suspension Invalid, Homeland Security Head in Office Illegally
Excerpt: "A federal judge in New York has ruled that the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, assumed his position unlawfully and has invalidated Wolf's suspension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields young people from deportation."
Immigrant Youth Hail Court Decision Rejecting Trump Administration's Assault on DACA
National Immigration Law Center
In August, NY immigrant youth amended their lawsuit to challenge the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf's entire DACA memo. NEW ...
Biden Faces Early Test With Immigration and Homeland Security After Trump
The New York Times
Biden Faces Early Test With Immigration and Homeland Security After Trump
The New York Times
The Department of Homeland Security was molded in President Trump's image, and not just on immigration policy. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Reminders on Reform Recordatorios sobre la reforma - Manhattan Times
Four factions that helped turn Arizona blue - Washington Post
After ambitious campaign promises, Biden faces a governing grind - Washington Post
Once again, my dear friend, Paul Barby, provides us with the most current articles about the border. In this transition period before the president leaves office and President Joe Biden assumes power, it seems nothing good will take place for migrants and asylum seekers. Please keep them in your thoughts. Thanks, Sue Lefebvre
From Paul Barby:
Even as Trump Cut Immigration, Immigrants Transformed US
The New York Times
To grasp the impact of the latest great wave of immigration to the United States, consider the city of Grand Island, Neb.: More than 60 percent of public ...
Factbox: Here are six things Joe Biden will likely do on immigration
Biden plans to send an immigration bill to Congress on his first day in office in January that includes a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million ...
Factbox: Here are six things Joe Biden will likely do on immigration - newsindiatimes.com
Asylum Seekers at US-Mexico Border: 'We Have to Keep Fighting'
Lexie Harrison-Cripps, Al Jazeera
Harrison-Cripps writes: "Some 800 people remain in what is now a tightly policed camp enclosed by a tall razor-wire topped fence."
500,000 Kids, 30 Million Hours: Trump's Vast Expansion of Child Detention
Anna Flagg and Andrew R. Calderón, The Marshall Project
Excerpt: "New data shows that over the last four years, detention times lengthened as the number of children held at the border soared to almost half a million."
Private prison companies freak out as Trump goes down in defeat
On Immigration, Biden's Biggest Promises Likely Hinge On Who Controls The Senate
When President Trump took office, he quickly unleashed a torrent of immigration policies — including his first "travel ban" on people from ...
On Immigration, Biden's Biggest Promises Likely Hinge... - WFUV News
How Biden Plans to Reverse Trump's Immigration Policies - Documented
ACLU Files Suit over Gov't Handling of Pandemic in Immigrant Jails; COVID-19 Surging in Nursing ... - Democracy Now!
How Biden Plans to Reverse Trump's Immigration Policies
Still, a divided Congress may slow Biden's efforts on immigration. He wants to extend a path to citizenship to about 11 million people who are in the ...
How Biden can quickly begin erasing the stain of Stephen Miller - Washington Post
Daily Immigration News Clips – November 9, 2020
American Immigration Lawyers Association
Aggregated local and national media coverage of major immigration law news stories being discussed throughout the U.S. on November 9, 2020.
Unaccompanied Alien Children
Administration for Children and Families - HHS.gov
... Section 462, transferred responsibilities for the care and placement of unaccompanied alien children from the Commissioner of the Immigration and ...
Dear Friends, As our attention is focused on the upcoming election, misery continues to exist at our southern border. Here are Paul Barby's articles for today: Check them out. Sue Lefebvre
Detention Facilities for Immigrants Fast-Tracked for Deportation Were Rife With Problems, Inspectors Find
Hamed Aleaziz, BuzzFeed
Aleaziz writes: "Two controversial pilot programs that sought to quickly deport Mexican and Central American asylum-seekers at the southern border were rife with issues, including migrant families forced to remain in custody longer than what was appropriate, juvenile girls stuck in the same detention space with unrelated adult men, and toilets in facilities that had limited privacy."
Report: Migrant deaths in the desert have reached seven-year high
Remains of 181 migrants were found in the Arizona desert through the end of September, 37 more than in all of last year and the most since 2013, ...
Mexico rights agency says migrants held without light, water
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Mexico's National Human Rights Commission says migrants are being held at some government facilities without proper sanitary measures, with ...
"They Wanted to Take My Womb Out": Survivor of Medical Abuse in ICE Jail Deported After Speaking Out
Excerpt: "Jaromy Floriano Navarro is a survivor of medical abuse and neglect at Irwin. She was the original source of the information about a medical abuse by Dr. Mahendra Amin that was eventually included in the whistleblower report."
Justice Amy Coney Barrett's First Tests Will Come Quickly, From Election Law to Immigration
Innovation Lab, where the Trump immigration policy requiring asylum-seekers to stay in Mexico while they wait for an asylum hearing will be ...
Here's Where Amy Coney Barrett Stands On Crucial Upcoming SCOTUS Topics - Bustle
An Explosive Government Report Exposed Family Separations and Other Immigration Horrors—in ...
Reuben Oppenheimer, a Baltimore lawyer, was put in charge of immigration. What he found was so appalling that it made the front page of the New ...
Does the US owe amnesty to future illegal immigrants?
When immigration was raised at last week's presidential debate, former ... Providing amnesty and citizenship to illegal immigrants would eventually ...
Donald Trump made a lot of immigration and border promises in 2016. How did he deliver?
His speech portrayed both illegal and legal immigration as a threat to Americans and the nation, highlighted violent crimes committed by immigrants, and ...
Fact Checkers Say Trump Built A Wall Of False Claims On Immigration
In the book, Kessler, Rizzo and Kelly cite academic research that shows immigrants do not increase the crime rate: “'Far from immigration increasing ...
One Big Thing Cities Can Do on Immigration
Most immigrants don't have lawyers in their deportation hearings. Local governments are starting to fund them. Kica Matos and Helen Gym. October ...
I will be having a Zoom interview tomorrow by the assistant pastor of Beatitudes United Church of Christ in Phoenix. In thinking about it, I was worrying that I didn't really have information about what is currently happening at the border. My concerns were partially answered when I received Paul Barby's current list of important news articles about the border. See it below. Ryan Devereaux of The Intercept has been closely following border issues. In this article, he describes two recent raids of the No More Deaths camp in Arivaca. The main thrust of his article is the transportation by Border Patrol of migrants to the small town of Sasabe across the border from Lukeville, Arizona, in Mexico. They are dumped and left to fend for themselves as humanitarians struggle to keep up with their needs. Sue Lefebvre
Border Patrol Leaves Migrants in Remote Town as Deaths Rise
By Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept
14 October 20W
Dumping hundreds of migrants in the remote Mexican border town of Sasabe puts them at risk from organized crime.
With migrant deaths approaching levels not seen in years, humanitarian aid volunteers in southern Arizona say that the U.S. Border Patrol is using Covid-19 as a pretext to quietly dump large numbers of immigrants in one of the most remote and potentially dangerous communities in the Sonoran Desert.
Volunteers who have visited the dusty community of Sasabe, in the Mexican state of Sonora, in recent weeks, say that they have witnessed U.S. immigration agents continually off-loading large groups of people throughout the day, overwhelming the town’s limited immigration resources and placing individuals at significant risk of being targeted by organized criminal groups.
“We believe that Border Patrol is getting away with these horrible deportation numbers because no one knows,” Dora Rodriguez, a Tucson-based humanitarian aid volunteer, told The Intercept. “It is really easy for them to just dump people there and that’s it. Nobody says anything.”
Rodriguez and a growing group of humanitarian volunteers began turning their attention to Sasabe in mid-September, making biweekly visits to bring food and water to migrants after learning of the explosion in arrivals to the resource-strapped community. With a population of approximately 2,500 and a single town store, the port of entry at Sasabe has long been described as one of the quietest official crossings in the state. There is no migrant shelter in the town, and the influence and power of organized crime in the area is well known.
In recent visits, Rodriguez has been joined by Sister Judy Bourg, a nun with the Sisters of Notre Dame, and Gail Kocourek, a volunteer with the Green Valley Samaritans, one of Arizona’s longstanding humanitarian groups. The women told The Intercept that they have personally seen groups of migrants numbering in the dozens gathered outside of Sasabe’s tiny immigration office. Through a visit to a local stash house and conversations with local contacts, the women were told that the Border Patrol is dropping upwards of 100 to 120 people in the community each day.
“We totally didn’t expect this,” Kocourek, a longtime volunteer in the Sasabe area, told The Intercept. “We’ve got hungry people being dumped into this community by the hundreds.” Kocourek added that Border Patrol enforcement activity in the area is unlike anything she has ever seen before. “It’s just tremendous right now,” she said. “I’ve never seen so much activity in that area.”
Operating under an order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in March the Border Patrol began rapidly expelling migrants at the border in the name of defending against the spread of Covid-19. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, however, pressure to enact the order did not come from public health officials, but instead from Stephen Miller, the president’s ultra-hardline immigration adviser. Miller, who recently contracted Covid-19 himself, has long sought to connect immigrants to disease as means to close off immigration at the border.
It’s not only Mexican nationals who are being dropped in Sasabe, Rodriguez said, noting that she had she met Salvadorans, Hondurans, and a father from Guatemala, who had been expelled with his 16-year-old son, during recent visits. “I understand when there are tons of people in Nogales and in Tijuana and in Sonoyta,” she said, referring to more well-known border communities where the Border Patrol often deposits migrants. “But they have resources — even if they’re limited, there are some resources. But in Sasabe, it’s nothing.”
Rodriguez and the other advocates say that the expulsions are making an already dangerous situation worse. Following a blistering hot summer — in Phoenix, the hottest in recorded history — more human remains have been recovered in the Arizona desert this year than at any point since 2013. On top of the rising death toll, the expulsions have come at a time of escalating tension in the desert, with the Border Patrol executing two militarized raids on a humanitarian aid station in the region in three months, federal agents arresting and tear-gassing Indigenous activists protesting border expansion on sacred lands, and the state’s for-profit immigration detention centers becoming some the nation’s leading hot spots for Covid-19.
Generally lasting no more than a couple hours from encounter to removal, the so-called Title 42 expulsions have radically altered the shape of migration and immigration enforcement along the border. The Border Patrol has long relied on a deterrence strategy that funnels migrants into the border’s deadliest terrain, pushing its land checkpoints deeper into the interior of the country and forcing migrants to walk further into the desert in the hopes of linking up with a ride. Agents will sometimes track a group of migrants for days before making an arrest, allowing physical exhaustion to assist in their apprehension efforts. Now, with the expulsions in effect, those exhausted migrants can be swiftly booted from the country. According to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the government has expelled more than 147,000 people along the southwest border using the order.
While Mark Morgan, the senior official performing the duties of the commissioner of CBP, has described the expulsions as a “game changer,” advocates say that the expulsions rob migrants of due process rights and subject them to extreme danger when their removals involve being dumped in unfamiliar and remote communities with entrenched organized crime. Bourg, who has spent a decade providing humanitarian on the border, told The Intercept that the expelled migrants whom she met on a recent visit to Sasabe looked physically depleted. “They came in beat-up looking,” she said. Their eyes were red and glassy, she added. “They didn’t just cross and walk for half a day.”
In the past week, The Intercept has repeatedly requested a breakdown of the Border Patrol’s data on expulsions in the agency’s Tucson sector, as well as an interview with an official who could explain how determinations are made as to which ports migrants will be expelled through. The Border Patrol has provided neither. In April, an agency spokesperson acknowledged that Sasabe was seeing a “mild uptick” in expulsions but provided no numbers to assess the claim.
A Grim Milestone
While the Border Patrol’s expulsion protocol remains unclear, what is evident is that 2020 has been a particularly deadly year for migrants attempting to cross the Sonoran Desert. For years, the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner has shared its data on suspected migrant death cases with Humane Borders, a humanitarian group that charts the data on an interactive online map.
As of this week, the medical examiner’s office has logged 181 cases of suspected migrant deaths recovered in its area of operations this year. The last time the office saw a higher total was in 2013, when 186 sets of human remains were recovered. The record for most human remains recovered in a single year was set in 2010, when 224 were found. With two and a half months yet to go in the year, advocates worry that 2020 could exceed that grim milestone.
“I think by the end of year, it’ll be the highest since 2010,” Mike Kreyche, the mapping coordinator with Humane Borders, told The Intercept. “I hope we don’t get up that high, but I think we’re going to approach it.”
What’s particularly alarming about this year’s data, Kreyche explained, is the column of information labeled “postmortem interval,” the estimated amount of time between an individual’s death and the discovery of their remains. In recent years, that number has generally been more than six to eight months — in some cases, remains discovered in the field could be years old. This year, however, there has been a marked increase in the recovery of remains indicating a recently deceased individual, particularly in the brutally hot summer months. In September, roughly two thirds of the recoveries recorded by the medical examiner’s office suggested a death in the prior three months. Overall, the 2020 data show that more than half of the recoveries of suspected migrant remains — 107 of 181 cases — indicate a death that occurred at some point less than six to eight months prior.
“There have been a lot more deaths,” Kreyche said, “particularly recent deaths.”
Montana Thames, a volunteer with the humanitarian organization No More Deaths, said the past several months have been “very active” for volunteers providing aid on the ground. With temperatures continuously breaking 100 degrees, “people need help, people need aid,” Thames told The Intercept. “There have been a lot of people who haven’t made it.”
Last week, the Border Patrol raided No More Deaths’ humanitarian aid station outside of Arivaca, Arizona, approximately 25 miles northeast of Sasabe, for the second time in three months. The first raid was launched in the middle of a heat wave and featured members of the Border Patrol’s tactical team, known as BORTAC, pointing rifles while agents slashed through the organization’s tents with knives, confiscated sensitive medical records and dumped out gallon jugs of water.
Efforts to engage in a dialogue with the Border Patrol since then went nowhere, Thames said, and last Monday night BORTAC was again deployed in a heavily militarized operation that involved agents in night-vision goggles trashing the organization’s belongings. Twelve migrants were arrested, including some who were chased through Arivaca before being taken into custody. While the raid was “shocking” and unacceptable, Thames noted, “This is literally the everyday reality of migrants and undocumented communities in general.”
Rodriguez visited Sasabe the morning after the raid on the No More Deaths camp. She described witnessing multiple rounds of expulsions and said that at one point, as many as 50 people were gathered outside the overwhelmed Mexican immigration office. She was told that some of the migrants in town that day were among those arrested in the raid the previous night. Rodriguez spoke to one young man from El Salvador. His shoes were tattered, and his toes poked through at the ends. He said that he had spent 15 days in the desert. Rodriguez, who nearly died crossing the border as an asylum-seeker herself in 1980, was both moved and troubled by the young man’s story. “They are putting these people in the most horrible danger,” she said. “They have nothing.”
Driving back into the U.S. last Tuesday, Rodriguez and the other advocates encountered an enormous Border Patrol caravan heading south. “That road always has a lot of Border Patrol, but this was exceptional,” Bourg said. Rodriguez said the area was “like a war zone,” adding, “They’re running their own show over there and it’s a secret.”
Although humanitarian aid volunteers are now coordinating food and water supply runs sufficient to support 700 people in Sasabe each week, Rodriguez said more must be done. She believes the Border Patrol’s expulsions into the town need to stop.
“It’s like a playground for BP,” she said. “No one is making them accountable for this.”
The Tucson Writer's Guild invited me to make a presentation on my No More Deaths book in May. Covid-19 made that impossible, but we rescheduled for September on Zoom. That was easy. Here is what I said:
TUCSON WRITERS’ GUILD:
Tucson, May 18, 2020/September 20, 2020
My book, NO MORE DEATHS tells you part of a tragic story that has been unfolding in Southern Arizona for the past twenty years. People from south of the United States who found their daily lives to be untenable, decided to do what similar people around the world have done—move from the land and family and community they know—to a distant land where they hope to find new homes and great prosperity. This dream has been promised to them by the words of Emma Lazarus on the American Statue of Liberty. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free...”
While I have been writing this book, I’ve taken a more serious look at my own history with Mexico and Tucson. My father came to Arizona from Ohio looking for gold in the Bradshaw Mountains near Prescott in the 1920s. My mother’s family however, had moved from South Texas to Mexico in the 1880s where my great-grandfather worked on the railroad from Mexico City to Ojinaga, Texas, and my great-grandmother ran boarding houses along the route. In addition to children they already had, my grandmother bore five more children while they were there—or rather, she went across the border and bore them in Eagle Rock, Texas, to be sure they were US citizens. When Pancho Villa began marauding northern Mexico and the southwestern US, the family with several grown children moved back into the United States—into Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. One aunt stayed in Mexico and moved to Chihuahua City. Over the years, my mother and I stayed in touch with her as well as the other aunts and uncles. Many people in the family spoke Spanish and when I was growing up my home contained a variety of Mexican artifacts. My husband’s family came from Virginia and Texas; his father moved west when he was 16 and he worked on the railroad that connected Tucson with Nogales. Most of my immediate family has stayed in Southern Arizona.
I’ve lived in Tucson three different times: first, during the 2nd world war when my father went overseas and we moved in with my aunt and uncle on Fresno St., by St. Mary’s Hospital. While I was growing up and we moved back to Phoenix, we frequently visited the family in Tucson. My aunt and uncle owned Elliott Electronics on Fourth Ave (where the Coop is now located). The next stint was when I attended the UofA with my husband in the early 50’s and worked in my Uncle Hap’s store. Those of you who are older will remember that Hughes Aircraft moved into Tucson about that time. I recall two things about that—for one, Hughes wouldn’t hire my mother who was an excellent typist and secretary because she was 40 years old. The other thing I remember is counting out 3 or 400 resistors for Hughes from a lot of 1000. The next week they’d order that many more. My 18 year-old-self thought that was pretty ridiculous. The most recent time I’ve lived in Tucson is from 2007 to 2013. My husband, Gene, and I moved to Tucson to become more involved in the humanitarian activity across southern Arizona.
Why I wrote the book:
Those of you who lived in Southern Arizona in the 80’s will remember the Sanctuary Movement and trial. On behalf of the defendants (including the Rev. John Fife), my husband, Gene, became president of the Arizona Sanctuary Defense Fund (ASDF). The board raised $1.2 million dollars for the defense of 11 Sanctuary workers. Eight people were found guilty of various immigration-related charges, including the Rev. John Fife, but none went to jail.
In 2003, Gene started coming to Tucson from our home in Phoenix and worked with the group that was trying to address the humanitarian crisis here on the border. He was part of the group that founded Tucson Samaritans and No More Deaths.
In January 2007, after Gene retired for the second time, we moved to Tucson to be closer to the action. He’d been driving to Tucson once a week for more than 3 years to participate in No More Deaths meetings and take water into the desert. We moved into a home on the west side in the Tucson Mountain foothills.
It wasn’t long before I realized the importance of the work going on here. I knew that some 23 books had been written about the Sanctuary Movement, and I decided to be one of those who wrote about No More Deaths. So, I sat at my computer every day and wrote about what was happening. I used No More Deaths meeting minutes, press releases, policy statements, volunteer stories, data, and much more to piece together a coherent story. The goal was to inform people in our country of the tragedy of human deaths occurring here and of the desperate need for comprehensive immigration reform.
Organizing Principle—Civil Initiative
By Jim Corbett, Quaker
During Sanctuary, A local Quaker rancher, Jim Corbett, who was very active in Sanctuary, came up with a philosophy that became the guiding principle for Sanctuary and was later adopted by Samaritans and No More Deaths.
(Corbett wanted to…) The principle of civil initiative was developed by Jim Corbett during the Sanctuary Movement in the 1980s to distinguish this approach from other forms of organizing. such as protest or civil disobedience. In part, the concept grew out of the Nuremburg trials after WWII which led people to say (essentially) that never again will we stand by an let our government treat people inhumanely in our name.
Civil initiative is formed by this function: Our responsibility for protecting the persecuted must be balanced by our accountability to the legal order. (As formed by accountability, civil initiative is NONVIOLENT, TRUTHFUL, UNIVERSAL, DIALOGICAL, GERMANE, VOLUNTEER-BASED, and COMMUNITY-CENTERED.)
The various co-existing concepts include:
NONVIOLENCE, in the manner of Ghandi, MLK, and Cesar Chavez, provides the foundation for civil initiative. It checks vigilantism. Civil initiative neither evades nor seizes police powers. (except court actions)
TRUTHFULNESS is the foundation for accountability. Civil initiative must be open and subject to public examination.
Civil initiative is UNIVERSAL rather than factional, protecting those whose rights are being violated regardless of the victim’s ideological position or political usefulness.
Civil initiative is DIALOGICAL, addressing government officials as persons, not just as adversaries or functionaries. Any genuine reconciliation of civil initiative with bureaucratic practice—the discovery of an accommodation that does not compromise human rights—is a joint achievement: civil initiative can never be based on non-negotiable demands.
Action that is GERMANE to victim’s needs for protection is another aspect. It distinguishes civil initiative from reactions that are primarily symbolic or expressive. As a corollary, media coverage and public opinion are of secondary importance when our central concern is to do justice rather than to petition others to do it.
Civil initiative’s emergency exercise of governmental functions is VOLUNTEER-BASED. The community must never forfeit its duty to protect the victims of human rights violations, but no bureaucracy should be formed that would oppose the return of governmental functions to those constitutionally designated to assume responsibility. Laws to protect migrants are already in place. Humanitarian groups have stepped in where the government abuses or neglects to enforce them.
Civil initiative is COMMUNITY CENTERED. To actualize the Nuremberg mandate, our exercise of civil initiative must be socially sustained and congregationally coherent; it must integrate, outlast and outreach individual acts of conscience.
As you are aware, the Border poses a vast complexity of issues. Andy Silverman, professor at the UA Law School, and others, helped me decide on the most important issues and themes to address. Among them the following:
Conditions at the border evolved considerably from the time my book starts until today. In the book, I barely touch on the influx of Central Americans in 2014. That year marked the tenth anniversary of No More Deaths. Also, I don’t touch on dramatic policy changes made during the Trump administration, except to address the response by humanitarians through expansion of humanitarian work to the west in Ajo and south into Mexico. I also include the arrest of Dr. Scott Warren and eight others in 2017 and their trials in 2019
Except for these recent events, the period I cover goes from the beginning of migrant advocacy by the Tucson Manzo Council in the 1970s to the period after the 2014 anniversary. In 1994, U.S. policy changed significantly with the implementation of NAFTA . The government predicted more migrants would come to the United States. Sylvestre Reyes, at the time chief border patrol agent in El Paso, implemented "deterrence by death" when it was decided to close the border ports to entry of migrants, with the result that people were forced into hostile mountains and deserts. In 1994, few people outside of the Southwest were concerned about the border. Now our entire country is aware of immigration issues. People are angry, appalled, frustrated, hopeful, or of a punitive mind—depending on their point of view. The separation of children from their parents starting in 2018 raised this national awareness to a new level, a condition (among many others) that will likely stain our political life for years to come.
Over the years, numerous humanitarian organizations were formed: Humane Borders, Samaritans, No More Deaths, the Colibri Project, Humane Border Solutions, and so on. While initially guarding their respective turfs, now a new level of cooperation now exists among the groups. Also over time, government agencies developed new strategies to deal with migrants, and media outlets began to pay attention and go to great lengths to cover the issues. Systemic Border Patrol abuses have come to light, and No More Deaths, sometimes in collaboration with other groups, has documented these abuses and produced reports covering policies, abuses, and recommendations. Some of this important material is included in my book.
Volunteers form the backbone of No More Deaths. The number of volunteers who have stepped up to do this work is astounding. Each one knows this is a history we can be proud of; while at the same time, we all know there is much more work to be done, many more stories to be told, many more hearts to change, and many more productive legal provisions to be enacted.
I don’t quote Emma Lazarus in my book, but rather the great abolitionist, Frederick Douglas: His words are very appropriate for this day.
“It is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and the crimes against God and man must be exposed and denounced.“
Thank you for inviting me here. I will be happy to answer any questions.
Cesar Chavez, Phoenix, 1972
We can choose to use our lives for others to bring about a better and more just world for our children. People who make that choice will know hardship and sacrifice. But if you give yourself totally to the non-violent struggle for peace and justice, you also find that people will give you their hearts. You will never go hungry and will ever be alone. In giving of yourself you will discover a whole new life full of meaning and love.
Here is a speech by one of Dr. Scott Warren's lawyers, Greg Kuykendall. It's a great summary. Sue
Imprisoning Schindler: Responding to the legal vulnerability of those who aid refugees by Greg Kuykendall who acted as lead counsel for Dr. Scott Warren, a cultural geographer charged in 2018 with multiple federal crimes revolving around his humanitarian aid efforts in the western desert of Arizona.
After three trials over two years, Dr. Warren was acquitted of all charges. The United States government created then nourished an ever-growing humanitarian aid crisis over the last 25 years in the borderlands of Arizona. Many thousands have perished and many thousands more have suffered unconscionable hardship and horrific abuse as a direct result of this crisis of the government’s own making. Making matters excruciatingly worse, recently the Trump Administration’s Department of Justice escalated the crisis by prosecuting humanitarian aid workers for their life-saving actions.
To be clear, the creation of the crisis does not lie at the feet of the Trump Administration, as these killing fields are a direct product of a Clinton Administration declared policy to reduce unauthorized immigration. The Trump Administration’s new prosecutorial zeal, however, constitutes gas on a burning fire.
In 1994, the US government implemented the Malthusian border security policy officially known as Prevention Through Deterrence. The homicidal logic behind Prevention Through Deterrence is the following: 1) by massing law enforcement in populated border areas, migrants fleeing their native countries will decide to cross the border far away from those population centers in order to avoid apprehension, 2) their crossings consequently will take place in the most isolated and dangerous places along the 2,000+ mile US-Mexico border, 3) crossing the vast uninhabited desert will either a) kill huge numbers of migrants, thus keeping them from successfully entering the U.S., or b) cause the migrants eventually to conduct a risk-benefit analysis and decide to not migrate, after all. This facile but lethal logic has killed many thousands of people: more than 3,000 partial or whole corpses of people identified as “undocumented border crossers” – in the parlance of the Pima County Arizona Medical Examiner’s Office -- have been recovered since the year 2000. Reasonable estimates suggest ten times as many people may have actually perished in the expansive western deserts stretching between Nogales and Yuma, Arizona, but have never been discovered.
The inability to recover most of the human remains is due to, among other things, the enormous area where the remains could be, the rapid deterioration of the remains caused by the extreme environment, and government regulations on access to the areas where the bodies are. The ancestral home to the Tohono O’odham Nation runs along and across the international border separating Arizona and the Mexican state of Sonora. More than two million acres of virtually uninhabited desert – controlled almost exclusively by the federal government, including the Organ Pipe National Monument, the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, and the Barry M. Goldwater Bombing Range – separate Arizona’s southern border from the eastwest running Interstate 10 to the north. No ranches or occupied structures exist; that is to say, unlike most places, there is absolutely nowhere to seek help.
The poorest and most desperate migrants, many of whom cannot even afford a coyote to cross them – attempt to walk the 40 miles to Interstate 10 through the most extreme environment in North America. Temperatures often exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit and, in the winter, drop well below freezing. Virtually no water exists, besides a few widely scattered mud holes used by wildlife. Crossing the Organ Pipe and Cabeza Prieta is virtually impossible. Even if successful to that point, a deserted but active military bombing range still stretches many miles between the migrant and Interstate 10.
The town of Ajo, home to 3,000, is the only outpost in this vast region. A single paved road connects Ajo to the rest of the world. Ajo currently houses a Border Patrol station with approximately 500 agents. These agents are ever present on the single road and venture into the desert in trucks and ATVs, on horseback, and in helicopters, running roughshod over the wilderness. In the wilderness they hunt and often “scatter” the migrants, then take the meager supplies that the migrants drop as they escape, even emptying their water bottles.
In reaction to the mounting human carnage that Prevention Through Deterrence causes, twenty years ago several humanitarian aid groups began systematically determining where the migrants were walking across the desert and placing life-saving supplies along those constantly shifting migrant trails. Each month, the Pima County Medical Examiner publicly provides GPS positions of the recovered human remains of undocumented border crossers and then humanitarian cartographers create an overlay onto US Geological Survey maps.
The humanitarian groups decide where to place the water and food based on these “death maps” and distribute them to a network of volunteers. The humanitarian aid groups not only place aid where it is most needed, they engage in search and rescue missions that Border Patrol often refuses to bother with. In coordination with various groups, the humanitarians seek information about missing individuals, try to identify the remains, and let the decedents’ survivors know has happened to their loved ones. One of the principal aid groups is No More Deaths, a faith-based collection of volunteers sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson. No More Deaths not only coordinates and engages in all of the above-described activities, it also documents Border Patrol’s systematic and cultural abuse of migrants and humanitarian aid workers. An uneasy truce, but a truce all the same, has always existed between the humanitarian groups and Border Patrol, until the Trump Department of Justice chose to “disrupt” the humanitarian aid in the name of strengthening the Prevention Through Deterrence policy.
In a significant escalation of the Trump Administration’s war on migrants, on January 17, 2018, Border Patrol agents with the “Disrupt Unit” arrested a prominent member of No More Deaths, Dr. Scott Warren, while he was providing medical treatment to two young migrants at a humanitarian aid station in Ajo, Arizona. Federal prosecutors then charged him with a broad ranging conspiracy and two counts of harboring illegal aliens, charges exposing him to 20 years imprisonment.
Not coincidentally, just hours before his arrest, No More Deaths released to the media a report documenting the multiple methods Border Patrol agents routinely used to abuse migrants, including video footage of Border Patrol agents in the field vandalizing water, food and medical supplies No More Deaths left on known migrant trails. The video went viral, as did the documented intentional destruction by Border Patrol of more than 3,000 gallons of water cached by the volunteers. To reach the migrant trails No More Deaths volunteers must hike many miles through federally-controlled land carrying multiple gallon jugs of water, each weighing over eight pounds, along with canned beans and first aid supplies. Primitive “administrative” roads exist in these vast areas, but the federal land managers dictate who among the public can drive on the roads. These managers, in coordination with Border Patrol, refused to issue permission to humanitarian aid groups to use the roads. In a bizarre but telling twist, the managers do allow water to be trucked across those roads of water – but only water for intended for wildlife, which is then hunted.
In addition to the felony charges leveled in January 2018, the federal government also charged Dr. Warren with one misdemeanor for driving on the administrative roads without permission and another misdemeanor for “littering,” i.e., leaving water for migrants along the trail of death. These felony and misdemeanor prosecutions not only imperiled Dr. Warren’s freedom and future, they constituted an existential threat to the multiple humanitarian aid movements. Successful prosecutions against humanitarian aid workers would effectively prevent their lifesaving work from continuing. More people would die, as an emboldened federal government continued forcing migrants into a desert environment now weaponized by the government, and fewer humanitarians would be able help them survive their extraordinarily perilous trek.
Indeed, after Dr. Warren’s well-publicized arrest, enrollment in No More Deaths’ volunteer program descended precipitously. Consequently, we treated this case just like we treat the capital cases that are my firm’s bread and butter. To that end, among many, many other motions, we filed and litigated multiple motions to suppress, motions to dismiss for selective enforcement, motions to dismiss for violations of international law, motions to dismiss for violations of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and motions to reassign the case to a different judge. Although we lost most of these pre-trial motions, we gave the judge and the community a deep education before our trials ever began about what Dr. Warren and his compatriots were doing for humanity, as well as how profoundly reactionary and inhumane the federal government’s response was to the practice of basic Good Samaritan-ship to fellow human beings.
Ultimately, after 15 months of intense pretrial litigation, we won the misdemeanor case, winning on the basis of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act – another Clinton-era law that has been used lately by the religious right to prevent women from access to reproductive freedom. We then tried the felony case twice, each time for two weeks (the first jury hung 8-4 for acquittal, the second jury quickly acquitted). Notably, this was not a case of jury nullification. Rather, we defended on the dual basis of a grossly insufficient amount of evidence of guilt, and on the basis that the government could never prove Dr. Warren’s intent was criminal. Put another way, humanitarian intent is not criminal intent. Many strategies, people and influences combined to make these achievements possible. One very important strategy was the massive public education campaign by No More Deaths throughout Arizona. Huge numbers of yard signs, regular coverage in social and conventional media, and large gatherings of humanitarians of every stripe attending all of our many pre-trial hearings and trial days pounded home this easily digestible explanation: “Humanitarian Aid is Never a Crime.”
While this phrase would strike most of the civilized world as a truism, the abjectly racist and counter-factual narrative about migration and migrants that President Trump and his ilk have successfully spread in the United States, along with the normalization of treating migrants more poorly than we treat meat animals, caused “Humanitarian Aid is Never a Crime” to initially be perceived by many in Arizona as a radical statement. The success of our endeavor was due in large part by matching the drumbeat coming from the far right, thus enabling us to seat a jury that had been exposed to the notion of humanitarian aid being a positive good in the world, just as surely as they had been exposed to the racist and xenophobic rants coming from the right.
The effective messaging of No More Deaths – as well as the trial judge finally on the second go-round recognizing the need for extensive jury questionnaires and real voir dire, rather than the “you be fair, right?” drivel that constitutes most judicial questioning of the venire – created an opportunity for a fair fight. An impartial jury made to comprehend the life and death context in which aid workers provide their humanitarian service creates an opportunity for a fair trial, even in these desperate times.
From the Ignacian Solidarity Network:
THE BEGINNING OF THE END
BY JOSÉ ARNULFO CABRERA | August 7, 2020
On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the manner in which the Trump Administration ended the DACA program did not adhere to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), ruling that the Administration must reinstate DACA to its original 2012 form. This was a surprising ruling that my fellow immigration advocates and I did not expect. Thousands have waited for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to share when they will begin to accept new applications and advance parole applications, but they said nothing. Then on July 17, a federal judge in Maryland ordered the Trump Administration to begin accepting new DACA applications. Instead of doing so, the Administration took the first step to permanently ending the DACA program.
Last Tuesday, July 28, USCIS issued a memorandum on DACA. Acting Secretary Chad Wolf wrote, “…given my serious concerns about the policy, I have determined that some changes should immediately be made to the policy to limit its scope in the interim.” He announced that as of the 28th;
In April, I received my DACA renewal, which is valid until 2022. My grandfather passed away in mid-March and my grandma’s spirit might leave her body soon, but because of COVID, I could not go say my goodbye to her even if I was legally able. This memorandum personally doesn’t affect me much. But in the last few days, I’ve received many calls from young undocumented youth wanting to get information about applying for DACA. The Monday before the memorandum was issued, a faculty member of a Jesuit high school shared that they were working with the school to help pay for their student to apply for DACA.
According to the Center for American Progress, 55,500 undocumented youth who aged into eligibility for DACA were stripped of the chance. 55,500. That is 55,500 stories, lives, and dreams—Americans who we are denying the chance to fully participate in our society. And for five of them, I had to tell them through a cell phone that they couldn’t apply anymore.
What angers me the most is that so many people seem to misunderstand that this is the beginning of Trump ending DACA. Instead of doing what the highest court in the land told them—and a federal judge in Maryland—they have started to strip the program. Many news sources, including Spanish news sources, used confusing headlines that made it seem that the Trump Administration will allow DACA to remain for another year. I understand that immigration policy, law, the entire system is confusing and has only become more so in the last few years. But every single pro-immigration advocate said over and over in the hours after the memorandum, “this is the first step in ending the program.”
The positive ruling from the Supreme Court was short-lived and has left me with a bitter taste. My undocumented community received a difficult hit. My undocumented community is hurting. I’m hurting. My undocumented community is exhausted from consistently living on the defensive because of this anti-immigrant and white supremacist agenda. I’m exhausted.
James Baldwin once wrote, “Hope is invented every day.”
I’ve spent more time with immigrants than with citizens. What I’ve learned from my immigrant siblings is that finding hope during the hopeless moments in life. We might feel exhausted but we are far from done. The fearlessness and relentlessness of my undocumented community is my new hope.
José Arnulfo Cabrera: José Arnulfo Cabrera is the director of education and advocacy for migration for the Ignatian Solidarity Network. He is a 2018 graduate of Xavier University, a DACA recipient, and an immigration activist. He previously worked with the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he provided training on lobbying, organizing, and immigration policy, as well as shared his own immigration story, and as a government relations associate with NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice in Washington, D.C.
From our friend, Paul Barby in Tucson:
Dozens of undocumented migrants arrested at humanitarian camp in Arivaca
U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested more than three dozen undocumented migrants at a camp used by humanitarian organization No More Deaths on ...
Border Patrol agents raid No More Deaths migrant aid camp - Arizona Public Media
Border Patrol raids migrant aid camp in Arivaca
Arizona Daily Star
Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol raided the Byrd Camp aid station for migrants run by No More Deaths near Arivaca, Ariz., on July 31, 2020.
Border Patrol agent detain 30 migrants at No More Deaths camp - KVOA Tucson News
Border Patrol raids migrant aid camp in Arivaca - Arizona Daily Star
Border Patrol Launches Militarized Raid of Borderlands Humanitarian Aid Camp - The Intercept
Supreme Court Allows Continued Construction of Trump's Border Wall
Ariane de Vogue, CNN
De Vogue writes: "A divided Supreme Court on Friday allowed continued construction of a portion of President Donald Trump's border wall while legal challenges play out."
Tensions persist among attorneys representing detained children
'It's such an uncertainty, not to be able to plan my life': DACA recipients slam new attacks
Netflix's Immigration Nation is a grueling, maddening, and essential watch
The A.V. Club
Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz's Immigration Nation takes an unprecedented look at one of the fastest-growing—and most ...
Netflix's 'Immigration Nation' offers an unflinching portrait inside ICE—and a broken system - Fast Company
What's on TV Monday: 'Immigration Nation' and 'Dora and the Lost City of Gold' - The New York Times
'Immigration Nation': TV Review - Hollywood Reporter
Border Patrol agents set up checkpoint outside aid camp in Arivaca
Border Patrol agents have surrounded a humanitarian aid camp in Arivaca after entering the property without a warrant on Thursday and arresting an illegal immigrant who sought medical care, aid volunteers said.
At least a half-dozen Border Patrol trucks, along with agents on ATVs, are set up outside the camp, according to Paige Corich-Kleim, a volunteer with Tucson-based No More Deaths. The surveillance started around 9 a.m. Thursday and was ongoing as of early Friday afternoon. Agents set up a checkpoint just outside the camp and are searching vehicles as they leave.
'Immigration Nation' Review: A Deep Dive Into Deportation
The New York Times
This Netflix documentary looks at the bureaucracy of immigration enforcement — an intriguing investigation that probably won't change any minds.
The Horrifying ICE Documentary Trump Doesn't Want You to See - Daily Beast
Tuberculosis among Newly Arrived Immigrants and Refugees in the United States
Methods: We categorized at risk immigrants and refugees as: with recent completion of treatment for pulmonary tuberculosis disease overseas ...
Twin Rulings By Federal Judge Block 'Public Charge' Rules For Immigrants
The measures, which are now on hold, had broadened the grounds under which immigrants could be considered "public charges," a label that can ...
Judge blocks Trump admin's rule barring immigrants who use public benefits - KPQ
Judge blocks Trump admin's rule barring immigrants who use public benefits - WLS-TV
The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Statement on the Department of Homeland ...
US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants | - US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
This ruling ordered the Administration to fully restore DACA, allowing some 700,000 immigrants who came to the here as children to live and work in the ...
From our friend, Paul Barby: No More Deaths sent this out. It is an outrage. Sue
July, 31, 2020
We wanted you to know about this breaking development in our work:
U.S. Border Patrol entered our humanitarian aid camp near Arivaca, Arizona, yesterday without a warrant, detaining one person, in a clear prioritization of an enforcement only strategy, while migrants were seeking medical aid and respite.
As we write this, agents are currently surrounding and surveilling the property on the ground and in the air, and have not obtained a warrant.
PLEASE CALL TUCSON STATION BORDER PATROL and demand that they stand down and respect humanitarian aid at (520) 514-4700.
Sample script: My name is _____ , and I’m calling to demand that Border Patrol stand down from the No More Deaths humanitarian aid station and stop interfering with lifesaving aid during a record-breaking heat wave.
Temperatures in the area are currently surging over 100 degrees consistently. Our work becomes even more vital in the midst of this heat wave and Border Patrol’s actions are a clear and flagrant obstruction to people receiving lifesaving humanitarian aid.
This escalation comes only a day after No More Deaths/ No Más Muertes released documents revealing that the Border Patrol union (a pro-Trump, anti-immigrant, extremist organization) provoked a June 2017 raid of our camp, calling in support from the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), the agency’s special operations unit, which was also recently deployed to Portland, Oregon.
Border Patrol has always been aware of our work at our aid camp and we have continued to maintain open lines of communication with them. The camp is on private property and we have always exercised our rights against warrantless searches.
We have long experienced and documented Border Patrol’s interference with our humanitarian aid work. In Part II of our report series, Disappeared: How US Border Enforcement Agencies are Fueling a Missing Persons Crisis, we document a pattern of interference with humanitarian aid. In the report, we argue that Border Patrol’s obstruction of humanitarian aid is not an anomaly, but is rather a logical extension of a border enforcement strategy designed to push people into life-threatening danger and use death as deterrence. This report can be read here. In addition, a video summary of the report can be seen here.
As Part II of the series discusses, Border Patrol agents have surrounded, surveilled and raided our camp on several occasions, most recently in June 2017 - until yesterday.
During the June 15, 2017 raid, Border Patrol agents conducted a military-style raid on our medical aid camp, after surrounding it for 48 hours. Just like yesterday, the raid took place in the midst of a record heat wave, with temperatures reaching well over 100 degrees. And once again, yesterday, during the most dangerous time of year in the borderlands, the Border Patrol’s resources were focused on policing a humanitarian aid station. As we explain in the report:
“These actions by Border Patrol create an atmosphere of fear and tension in a place where injured, ill, and often deeply traumatized people come in need of medical aid and respite. As one volunteer has stated, the raids and surveillance “destroy . . . the environment of safety that camp requires in order to help people with healing.” In addition, migrants in need of medical care can be frightened away and deterred from seeking help at the camp if they believe it will result in their arrest. For them, this means continuing to walk rather than seek help, potentially under conditions of severe dehydration and untreated injuries or illnesses.”
We believe that the unimpeded provision of lifesaving humanitarian assistance is essential and that Border Patrol should let us do our work in peace, in accordance with International Red Cross standards and protocols.
Next month, we will release the third report in the series, titled Left to Die: Border Patrol, Search & Rescue, and the Crisis of Disappearance. For a summary of the full report series, please go here.
If you’d like to help us continue our work, please consider giving a gift here now.
If you can’t give, we appreciate your support - please call the Tucson Border Patrol Office at the number above and demand that the Border Patrol stand down and let us continue to do our aid work.
Thank you for being with us during this challenging time.
The No More Deaths/ No Más Muertes community
P.S. To keep up to date on happenings at our aid camp, follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram
Here are a few of the border stories identified for us this week by Paul Barby. Just click on the blue links to see the full stories:
Trump's Immigration Order Targeted Women And Children
I write about globalization, business, technology and immigration. TOPSHOT-US-POLITICS-TRUMP-IMMIGRATION. Donald Trump speaks ...
What Happens Next for DACA?
Inside Higher Ed
Advocates for immigrant college students cheered the Supreme Court's recent 5-to-4 ... Immigration advocates fear the agency will drag its heels.
The Supreme Court stopped Trump from ending DACA, but local immigrants say they're still not safe
A University of Virginia student participates in the UndocUVA's annual College & University Action Day hosted nationwide by the I Stand With Immigrants ...
Trump expected to refile paperwork to end DACA this week - The Hill
Federal appeals court blocks Trump administration rule limiting asylum claims by Central American ...
The regulation at the core of the lawsuit prohibits migrants who have resided in or traveled through third countries from seeking asylum in the US, ...
One of 43 missing students identified.