by C.A. Matthews
After a half year of studying US immigration law and policy, you'd think I'd be over it by now. But I'm not. I feel like ripping my hair out by the roots some days because our government refuses to follow its own laws and the protocols it has signed with the United Nations but somehow expects everyone else on the planet to do so. Perfectly, no less!
Hypocritical isn't it?
What triggered my hair pulling this week was news of how the Biden administration is expediting removals at the border. Our government is so hyped up to send people packing as fast as possible who step over the invisible boundary line that it's actually deporting US citizens. Yeah, no kidding! ICE has arrested 674, detained 121, and deported at least 70 US citizens in the past five years.
What makes this horror even more horrific is that non-citizens aren't guaranteed legal representation, and we've adopted a "guilty until proven innocent" attitude toward these poor souls. So, these unfortunates soon find themselves locked up in "detention facilities" (a nice name for a private-run, for-profit prison) until someone can find out what the hell happened to them and spring them.
Our Border Patrol and ICE won't believe you when you simply state that you're a US citizen or even bother to look up your contacts to testify to the fact apparently. They just enjoy locking people up during a pandemic who don't fit their idea of what a "citizen" is supposed to look like.
How many white people do you think ICE "accidentally" locked up in their detention centers? How many with Hispanic surnames or dark skin? Uh-huh.
But the worst injustice happens to asylum seekers who are coming to our country looking for refuge from well-founded fears of gang violence, domestic violence, and war. The US signed the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees stating that we agree with the UN's definition of a refugee. It says:
A refugee is any person who is outside their country of nationality and is unwilling or unable to return because of fear of persecution because of that person's race, nationality, religion, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion and the government is unable or unwilling to provide protection.
We've agreed to protect refugees, officially labeled by the UN or self-labeled (asylum seekers). And yet we won't let these asylum seekers stay in the US as we process their claim to asylum as we agreed to when we signed the 1967 Protocol. No, we're kicking them out at our border crossings without due process, without an actual hearing with a trained asylum officer who is capable of accepting their plea for asylum.
We let ICE officers act like Nazi Brown Shirts and deny asylum seekers justice. We are breaking our own laws and breaking our covenant with the United Nations in regards to refugees. We are the lawbreakers--not those fleeing for their lives.
They are simply trying to find a safe haven. They are searching for a peaceful land to live in and raise their families. Many have escaped hell, and then we greet them at our borders with more of the same. In desperation, many have sent their children on ahead of them to the US in hopes of keeping their kids safe from the violence they are fleeing.
We really should be ashamed of ourselves. For some reason, we are not.
Yes, the "kids are cages" exist to this very day. Children fleeing for their lives because they are orphaned, abused, or were told by their parents or guardians that it was safer for them in the US than to remain in their homeland. This surge in unaccompanied children began during the Obama administration and has continued on under his former vice president.
You can change the figurehead in Washington DC, but you can't change our egregious immigration policies, or so it seems. Our immigration policing agencies (birthed a mere 20 years ago with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security) continue to reinforce the same racist, capitalistic, slave-laborer-loving quotas that the oligarchs have desired since the founding of our country.
"Kind Imperialism" is one way of putting it. The US has conquered/is conquering/is attempting to conquer the rest of the world, and yet we try to keep a kind face on our imperialistic, colonizing ways. Face it--we're not the friendly "melting pot" of cultures we were taught in fifth grade social studies. I haven't believed that lie for many years now.
It doesn't take a certificate in immigration advocacy to understand prejudice and inhumanity after observing our government's actions toward immigrants. It's time for Americans to confess their personal indifference and call out the travesty of justice inflicted upon our neighbors by the agents of the DHS.
It's time to act kindly toward our neighbors.
Very telling videos: "The Racist Border You Don't Hear About" https://youtu.be/OwJBSDqPNUU
"What It's Really Like To Be Caught By Border Patrol" https://youtu.be/AI0F3I_GNEE
Biden Furthers Trump Immigration Policy with Expedited Deportations of Families https://truthout.org/articles/biden-furthers-trump-immigration-policy-with-expedited-deportations-of-families/
Tell Biden to Reopen US Border to Asylum Seekers https://www.afsc.org/action/tell-president-biden-reopen-us-border-to-asylum-seekers
ICE Deports US Citizens https://immigrationimpact.com/2021/07/30/ice-deport-us-citizens/
Primer on Expedited Removal https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/research/primer-expedited-removal
Detained Immigrant Children Didn't Have Adequate Masks During a Covid Outbreak, Whistleblowers Allege https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/70736-detained-immigrant-children-didnt-have-adequate-masks-during-a-covid-outbreak-whistleblowers-allege
Even more immigration articles:
BREAKING: The Biden administration just announced it will continue a Trump-era policy, known as Title 42, that bars families from entering the country under the false-pretense that it’ll keep us safe from COVID.
Make no mistake – President Biden is choosing to continue a cruel and racist policy that puts children and families in danger and is the opposite of the values that should underpin our immigration system: care, compassion, and dignity.
This is outrageous, and we need to create an immediate and massive public backlash to force President Biden to back down. Will you add your name to our urgent petition calling for an end to the cruel Trump-era policy known as Title 42?
Title 42’s impact has already been horrific – 875,000 people seeking asylum in the United States have been blocked from entering since March 2020. Families have been expelled to dangerous Mexican border cities where they’re often targeted by gangs and have less access to medical care and protective measures from COVID.
If this was really about public health – as the Biden administration claims – they could instead expand COVID-19 testing for families and children at the southern border or provide immediate vaccinations. In fact if anything the Biden administration’s immigration policies are *increasing* the risks of COVID for asylum seekers and for people in the U.S. by keeping families in unsafe conditions as they wait for legal entry.
The Biden administration has said they need time to fix the policies inherited from Trump. But seven months into office this is no longer an extension of a Trump policy: this is President Biden choosing to implement an inhumane immigration policy.
But it’s not too late to stop it and we’ve been successful pressuring President Biden before. In April, when President Biden tried to keep the refugee caps at the shamefully low levels Trump had imposed, thousands of us forced Biden’s team to quickly change course -- so we *have* to step up quickly again.
Add your name to our urgent petition now to demand the Biden Administration end the cruel Trump-era Title 42 policy, and replace it with a dignified, compassionate process to receive people seeking asylum.
People seeking protection deserve a warm welcome, not a cold shoulder. Absolutely no one should be detained, separated or instantly rejected without a fair hearing for trying to get their child out of harm’s way, especially amidst a global pandemic that affects migrant families at disproportionate rates.
More than ever, we need bold solutions to fix the broken immigration and asylum system. We need to push back on the notion that we as a country cannot rise to this task: We can.
Thanks for all you do,
Erin Mazursky, Organizing Director
Families Belong Together
Pololū Valley is a sacred place in Hawaii. It’s not only known for its beauty and lush wildlife, but it’s also land that embodies the history of Hawaiian people. But it now faces a severe threat: developers who could turn it into a parking lot. Hundreds of thousands are outraged, and are demanding immediate action to save this sacred land. The group Protect Pololū Valley started this petition and need your support to protect Pololū Valley.
|Protect Pololū Valley|
Do not donate. Donations do not come to the Protect Pololū!
Pololū is a sacred place. A pu’uhōnua (a place of refuge, peace and safety). Kohala is the birthplace of an infant who sought refuge in Pololū Valley and grew up to become the King of Hawaii and unify the lands. Original place names of this region tell the mo’olelo (story) of how the people of this place protected this infant on his journey to Pololū Valley. "A‘ohe u‘i hele wale o Kohala" (No youth of Kohala goes empty-handed) speaks to the generosity of the Kohala people. Pololū Valley is more than a place of "cultural signficance". It is the history of the Hawaiian people. It is a place of refuge that we must protect for our future generations.
On December 11, 2020 at the Board of Land and Natural Resources meeting the Division of Forestry and Wildlife submitted a request for approval to apply as a co-applicant to the County of Hawaii Planning Department together with Surety Kohala Corporation and KP Holdings LLC to submit a PCRS application for a 13-lot subdivision along the ridge at Pololū Valley. A request for approval to enter into a Letter of Intent with Surety Kohala Corporation and KP Holdings LLC was also submitted to donate land to the State of Hawaii.
At this meeting representatives from these organizations spoke as if the community was in agreement with their submittals. No one from the community attended the meeting or was notified about it. Prior discussions with the community were about the donation of lands to the State which include 5 acres to build a "comfort station" and parking lot for visitors and acreage on the valley floor for conservation. There was NO discussion about the proposed subdivison along the ridge. Surety Kohala Corporation and KP Holdings LLC will only donate land to the State AFTER the County approves the application for the subdivision. This is not a donation. It’s a payout.
This is a process of greed. It doesn’t consider the wisdom of our kūpuna (elders) and the future of our keiki (children). It doesn’t acknowledge Pololū Valley as a wahi pāna (a sacred place). Instead, the land is sold, as "the best view" to the highest bidder, during a pandemic and a climate crisis. The State of Hawaii has mismanaged conservation lands of our sacred mountain Mauna Kea, just as these organizations continue to mismanage the generosity of the people.
SIGN THIS PETITION TO PROTECT POLOLŪ VALLEY AND TELL SURETY KOHALA CORPORATION AND KP HOLDINGS LLC, BOARD OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES, DIVISION OF FORESTRY AND WILDLIFE, COUNTY OF HAWAII AND THE COUNTY OF HAWAII PLANNING DEPARTMENT THAT OUR VOICES WILL BE HEARD AND THAT WE DO NOT WANT MORE DESECRATION AT THIS SACRED PLACE OF REFUGE.
*You do not need to donate. Donations do not come to the Protect Pololu Valley page.
From Public Citizen:
No matter how much we all wish it were so, the coronavirus pandemic is NOT over:
There is, to state the obvious, A LOT of work still to do.
One thing we need to do — and fast — is put pressure on Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson to share their vaccine technology with the world. This will help save millions of lives around the globe and minimize the risk of even worse variants making their way to America.
Tell the CEOs of Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson:
Share your vaccine recipes and know-how with the world — to save millions of lives around the globe and to reduce the risk of even worse variants making their way to America.
Add your name.
Thanks for taking action.
Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen
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