Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Putting the Fourteenth Amendment on ICE

 Slipping Into Slavery
by C.A. Matthews

We're skating on slippery ice in the USA. We're sliding down the icy slope of evil into a morass of immorality and cruelty at an unprecedented speed. Will we have the courage and compassion to pull ourselves out of the abyss? Or is it too late?

The slippery slide includes our Supreme Court, which this week wiped out the rights of workers to sue their employers, forcing arbitration upon workers that never goes their way. "Slave wages" are all the rage, as billionaires rail against Fight for $15 activists. "Right to hire" laws in reality mean the "right to fire" if your bosses decide they don't like it when you speak up against their sexual harassment or racism or ageism... No accountability means workers are slaves to the whims of capricious capitalists, as fewer and fewer workers belong to a union that would increase their power to collective bargain.
Back at the border, ICE has been exposed as a human trafficking agency extraordinaire, providing free labor and child sex slaves to consenting capitalists. (Read Coast Watcher's piece and check out the links below on this breaking story. This meme gives you the details on the worldwide horror of human trafficking, a.k.a. slavery.)
And, as many of you know, our for-profit prison system provides free/cheap labor for many multinational corporations. This explains why our militarized police continues to incarcerate people of color to satisfy their corporate bosses' desires for sweatshop profits--and perhaps to act out their own violent, racist agenda. We don't need to go to Africa to find new slaves, do we? We find them in our cities and towns driving cars down our streets or taking a college campus tour or picnicking in the park. The more you lock up--the bigger your profit margin!

To clarify the point I'm making, the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
This explains why Trump calls immigrants "animals," since he's making a case they aren't "any persons within [US] its jurisdiction" and so they are  not "entitled to equal protection of the laws."  In other words, human beings (because of their nationality) can be bought and sold like cattle and forced to work on chicken farms in Ohio with no one the wiser about whatever happened to them. "Due process of law" be damned!

After all, who cares if a cow or chicken is slaughtered for meat? Who cares if human beings are taken from the border or wrongly incarcerated and put into bondage, or working for capitalists who don't pay a living wage? Since these capitalists hold us "inferiors" in contempt and begrudge paying even a state minimum wage to American workers, why would they care about the legal rights of "free laborers" that are available via ICE and human trafficking?

And our government cooperates fully with capitalists, doesn't it? Our elected officials can't wait to give huge corporations like Amazon and Walmart tax breaks while their employees are forced to apply for Food Stamps. Our current system of government and these capitalist exploiters enjoy a very cozy relationship.

It's hard to put into words the disgust and fear one feels when reading these mainstream news articles about ICE and human trafficking. The sad thing is, many independent journalists have been following this story for years and were routinely ignored since the information they uncovered was inconvenient. Perhaps now is the time we all educate ourselves about the breadth and depth of the evil inherent in our establishment political parties and the mainstream media. 
This past week, both establishment parties voted to roll back banking regulations that would  protect us from another mortgage crisis. There's no such thing as a "lesser evil." Just evil.
For it makes no real difference who sits in the White House--Democrat or Republican--obviously. This trafficking of children didn't start yesterday. It's been going on for years, and the evil is ongoing. There's no incentive for it to stop as long as capitalists can make mega-profits off the slave labor/slave wages of the workers. There's no public outcry possible when billionaires have their cronies in the mainstream media cover things up for them. That is, until their pot of immorality boils over, and it gets too messy to mop and sweep it under the carpet. 

I  have some hope. Let's see how well the establishment parties "sweep it under the carpet" this time, shall we? I know--why don't we take their broom and mop away so they can't? (First off--let's end the Citizens United ruling once and for all.) Exposed for the hypocrites and villains they are, let's introduce these corrupt officials to the for-profit prison system and see how they like being incarcerated and forced to work for nothing, huh?

Read the following articles and contact your elected officials by phone, letter, email and in-person visits. Tell them you won't support them in the upcoming elections until they do something to end all of these inhuman, unjust, immoral, evil, racist, anti-worker activities now. Power to the people--human beings, not corporations!

Op-Ed: What kind of country would tear apart and lock up families fleeing violence in their homelands? Ours

US Placed Immigrant Children with Traffickers

Border Patrol Kicked, Punched Migrant Children, Threatened Some with Sexual Abuse, ACLU Alleges

Putting the 14th Amendment on ICE
by Coast Watcher

In late April 2018, a Senate homeland security subcommittee hearing took evidence from Steven Wagner, acting assistant secretary with the Department of Health and Human Services. Wagner testified that the federal agency had effectively "lost" 1,475 children who had crossed the US-Mexico border on their own, which is to say they were unaccompanied by adults. Most of these children are from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and were fleeing drug cartels, gang violence and domestic abuse.

The HHS had placed 7,635 of them with sponsors. From October to December 2017 conducted a random sampling of these children and discovered that while 6,075 still lived with their sponsors, 28 had run away, five had subsequently been deported, and 52 were living with someone else. Wagner admitted the rest were missing. The admission raises concerns these missing children could be in the hands of sex traffickers or used as unregistered laborers in the black economy.
Jim Jordan in Marion, Ohio

Consider this: If the follow-up calls were made from a random sampling, it means that the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may have taken into its custody more than 34,000 children since 2013, who have subsequently gone missing.

One example of how this can happen occurred in Ohio two years ago. The Senate subcommittee released a report detailing how HHS officials placed eight children with human traffickers who subsequently forced the minors to work on an egg farm in Marion, Ohio. Marion is the center of Ohio’s Fourth Congressional District, a hideously gerrymandered Republican fiefdom currently occupied by Tea Party leader Congressman Jim Jordan.

Department officials had failed to establish procedures to protect the children, nor did they follow up with the so-called sponsors. Following this incident, in 2016 the HHS and Department of Homeland Security signed an agreement to establish joint procedures for handling the affairs of unaccompanied minors. That agreement has not been implemented.

The procedures to be followed when unaccompanied children cross the border are these. They are usually apprehended by Border Patrol agents or turn themselves in to customs officers. Once they are processed they are given into the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services. The HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement has over a hundred shelters around the country where it houses children and provides care until such time as they can be turned over to a sponsor to await their immigration court hearings. These sponsors are usually family members already legally resident in the United States, and they are supposed to undergo rigorous background checks.

Thirty days after the placement, HHS officers follow up with calls to ensure that the minors continue to live with the sponsors, are enrolled in school and are aware of their immigration court dates. However, several immigration advocates who work with unaccompanied children said the department did little follow-up.

Allison E. Herre, a lawyer with Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio, said she had seen sponsors who forced the children to work instead of attending school and who failed to ensure that the children attended their court proceedings. The HHS claims it is not legally responsible for children after their release from the refugee office.

Let’s look at the relevant article of the Fourteenth Amendment:

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
In other words the State must guarantee all persons equal protection of the laws, whether they are American citizens or immigrants – illegal or otherwise.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency seems to think otherwise.

They and the Department of Health and Human Services are responsible for what must be the largest violation of habeas corpus for legal minors in the history of the United States. We are seeing the slow revelation of systemic governmental violation of the law extending back years, beyond President Trump’s notorious "Zero Tolerance" policy, back through the Obama administration and beyond.

Public outcry over this horrible abuse of children is rising. Faced with this Trump recently attempted to shift the blame for the failures onto Obama’s Democratic government. To some extent he’s correct, but his own Zero Tolerance policy is not helping matters one bit. With his political base calling for a wall along the US-Mexico border and their blatant displays of racism, it’s unlikely that we’ll see any measures to recover these missing children any time soon – unless the vast majority of people stand up and demand positive action. 

Laws are only good if the will to enforce them is there. The Constitution of the United States is the statutory law of the land. Let’s all demand that Trump and his government actually observe the laws and take action to find these children.

Related articles:

The US lost track of 1500 immigrant children last year. Here's why people are outraged now

Bio: Coast Watcher watches the corrupt establishment and notes how cooperative the mainstream media is with those in power until We the People speak up and demand change.  Don't be silent! We can't afford to wait for change--we have to make it ourselves.

Workers can't even sue their employers for sexual harassment or for banning unions? This happens only in the USA it seems, a country where 408 people were killed by police last year. Lee Camp gives us the lowdown on these breaking stories in his unique comedic style.

From the Economic Policy Institute:

The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis―siding with businesses and the Trump administration over working people―deals a significant blow to workers’ fundamental right to join together to address workplace disputes.

In its decision, the Court majority has affirmed that employers may force working people to sign away their right to join together and act collectively to seek justice when disputes arise in the workplace.

Whether it’s fair pay, discrimination, or sexual harassment, workers rely on their ability to join together―whether informally or in formal litigation―to remedy violations of workplace protections. The National Labor Relations Act has long guaranteed working people the right to join together to improve their wages and working conditions. Congress must act to restore this fundamental right by banning forced arbitration agreements and class and collective action waivers.

Sign the petition demanding Congress act immediately to protect the rights of over 60 million U.S. workers who are being forced to sign away their rights to seek justice in the courts.

EPI research shows that between 1994 and today, the share of nonunion, private-sector employers who require their workers to sign forced arbitration agreements has increased from just 8 percent to 54 percent! That means that now, more than half of U.S. workers whose legal rights are violated by their employer are not able to pursue a claim in court. Further, research shows that 23.1 percent of private-sector nonunion employees, or 24.7 million American workers, no longer have the right to bring a class action claim if their employment rights have been violated. With yesterday’s ruling, that number will go even higher.  

This flies in the face of over 80 years of established law ensured by the National Labor Relations Act, which has guaranteed workers’ rights to stand together for “mutual aid and protection” when seeking to improve their wages and working conditions.

Demand immediate action by Congress to protect the rights of working people to seek justice in the court.

At a time of eroding protections for working people, EPI is fighting for the right to a safe workplace free of harassment or discrimination based on race, gender, or religion, and we’re working to strengthen laws protecting employment rights including minimum wage and the right to equal pay.

Thank you for all that you do on behalf of all working people.


Celine McNicholas
Director of Labor Law and Policy, Economic Policy Institute


It’s Time to End Predatory Prison Phone Rates

We are in the second of six weeks of action through the Poor People's Campaign – a nation-wide effort calling for voting rights protections, programs to address poverty, attention to ecological devastation and measures to curb militarism and the war economy. Each week we’re taking on different issues and this week's theme is " Linking Systemic Racism and Poverty: Voting Rights, Ending Mass Incarceration and Justice for Immigrants."

We already know that communities of color are disproportionately impacted by our system of mass incarceration. What is sometimes overlooked are the specific ways this keeps families trapped in poverty. The practice of private corporations charging families excessively high rates for the right to talk to their incarcerated loved ones is one such example.

Studies have shown that maintaining strong relationships between families and their incarcerated loved ones is critical to the process of reentry.

Thanks to sustained advocacy by many of you, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) attempted to make prison phone calls more affordable. They were subsequently sued by several of the largest prison telephone operators, including Securus and Global Tel*Link. These companies were successful in preventing most of the reforms that would have fixed this broken industry and made it easier for families to stay in touch.

That’s why Congress needs to step in. Just last month, Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois introduced the Inmate Calling Technical Corrections Act of 2018 (S.2520) which would address the need to eliminate predatory prison phone rates by restoring appropriate authority to the FCC, to regulate local rates and additional fees.

Act now. Tell Congress to stand with families and act to protect them from exploitative prison phone rates.
  Sign the petition today!


  1. I can't remember a more worrisome time in my life. The law is only enforced when it suits the authorities. They regularly ignore or flout it - or worse, make up laws on the spot to justify their criminal actions. This applies equally to both parties, because they are one and the same - The Establishment Party. Until this duopoly is broken up for all time, this country and the world beyond is in for a bumpy ride to the bottom.

    1. "Justice is only for the rich," or so the old saying goes. I think it's become painfully apparent that the USA has become every bit as decrepit and immoral as their older European "parent countries" ever were. After 200 years or so, I guess all countries become degenerates?

      But we don't have to put up with it--we can change it. We MUST change it. There is no Planet B. Power to the PEOPLE!


Please feel free to share your thoughts with us. Just one rule: Be polite. This means no profanity or cursing. No shaming or hate speech. No threats or silliness. This is a family friendly blog. Thank you.