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Peticion para parar la poli-migra en la Florida

Por Grey Torrico, Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project

He vivido en el Condado de Collier (costa suroeste de Florida) durante 18 años, y me crié con miedo hacia nuestro propio departamento de policía. Pero ahora las cosas están mucho peor que antes por el efecto poli-migra.

¿Qué es el efecto poli-migra?  Desde el 2007 nuestra policía local firmó un convenio de colaboración con ICE llamado 287 (g).  Este acuerdo básicamente les da el poder de actuar como agentes de inmigración para hacer retenes en barrios latinos como Immokalee, acosar a miembros de la comunidad que no tienen documentos, y detener a los inmigrantes en nuestra cárcel local, a veces por varios meses, sólo por no tener papeles incluso aunque son de baja prioridad. En mi comunidad estamos tan cansados de ser aterrorizados por la poli-migra, que en los últimos 6 meses nos hemos levantado para pedir el fin de esta y todas las colaboraciones del ICE con la policía.

El momento finalmente ha llegado para acabar con la polimigra de una vez por todas, y necesitamos tu ayuda!  Lee y firma la petición ahora. Collier County demonstrates to end 287g

El programa 287 (g) expira en enero de 2013, y nuestros amigos de la ACLU de la Florida crearon una petición pidiendo a los senadores Bill Nelson y Marco Rubio que intervengan y pidan su terminación.

Mi condado no es el único en la Florida con poli-migra, hay 3 en total. Si dejamos que estos acuerdos se renueven, o incluso que se expandan a otros condados, la Florida se convertirá en otra Arizona, condado por condado.  Necesitamos que nuestros policías locales se dediquen realmente a nuestra seguridad pública, y no a acosar a nuestras comunidades o a separar nuestras familias.

Esta es nuestra oportunidad de detener el programa 287 (g), y tu puedes ayudarnos a hacer la diferencia.  Dile NO a la Poli-Migra en Florida!  Firma la petición antes de este viernes, 7 de diciembre.

Todas las firmas serán enviadas a los senadores Nelson y Rubio con una carta firmada por varias organizaciones en Florida. Si eres parte de una organización que desea unirse, haz clic aquí para descargar la carta y envíame tu nombre, organización y ubicación en la Florida a grey@floridaimmigrant.org a más tardar este viernes a las 9 AM.

Puede aprender más sobre el trabajo local que estamos haciendo sobre el efecto poli-migra visitando www.collierstoriesmatter.org

Petition to stop poli-migra in Florida

Guest post by Grey Torrico, Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project

I have lived in Collier County (southwest coast of Florida) for 18 years, and I grew up living with fear of our own police department.   But things are much worse now than they have ever been because of the poli-migra effect.

What is the poli-migra effect?  In 2007, our local law enforcement signed a collaboration agreement with ICE, called 287(g).  It gives police the power to act as immigration officers, which has led to putting up checkpoints in Latino areas like Immokalee; harassing community members who don’t have documents; and detaining immigrants at our local jail for months at a time, only for being undocumented, even though they should be low-priority.

My community is so tired of being terrorized by the poli-migra, that in the last 6 months we have stepped up to call for an end to police-ICE collaborations.

The moment has finally come to end this once and for all, and we need your help!  The 287(g) agreements expire in January 2013, and our friends at the ACLU of Florida created a petition asking Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio to allow them to expire and not expand any further.

Read and sign the petition now.

FLIC demonstrators with banner My county is not the only one in Florida with poli-migra; there are three total.  If we let these agreements be renewed, or even expand to other counties, they will turn Florida into a copy of Arizona, county by county.  We need our local police to really concentrate on our public safety, not harassing our communities or separating families.

This is our chance to stop the 287(g) agrements, and YOU can help us make a difference.  Say NO to poli-migra in Florida!  Sign the petition before this Friday, December 7th: https://www.aclu.org/secure/FL-End-287g-anti-immigrant-agreements-petition

All our signatures will be sent to Senators Nelson and Rubio with a letter signed by several organizations in Florida.  If you are part of an organization that would like to sign-on, click here to download the letter to print and send me your name, organization and location to grey@floridaimmigrant.org no later than this Friday, December 7th at 9 a.m.

You can learn more about the local work that is being done around the poli-migra effect by visiting the Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project at www.collierstoriesmatter.org

Marvin está libre y celebrará el día del padre con su familia!

Muchos padres indocumentados pasarán el Día del Padre detenidos, debido a las promesas incumplidas por la Administración de Obama

Hoy Marvin Corado, un inmigrante indocumentado proveniente de Guatemala, fue finalmente puesto en libertad tras ser detenido por más de seis meses en una prisión privada para inmigrantes sólo por conducir sin licencia. Marvin podrá celebrar el Día del Padre con su esposa y su hija de 5 años quien es ciudadano de EE.UU., mientras que centenares siguen innecesariamente separados de sus familias debido a la incapacidad de la Administración de Obama de parar la detención y deportación de los inmigrantes.

Un informe nacional “Restablecer la Promesa de la Discreción del Proceso” (archivo adjunto) publicado a principios de esta semana, muestra varias estadísticas alarmantes sobre el grado de incumplimiento por parte del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS) de implementar la Discreción del Proceso (PD-Prosecutorial Discretion, por su nombre en inglés) un año después de que se anunciara. En junio de 2011, el DHS anunció una nueva política que se suponía iba a centrar el control de inmigración en “lo peor de lo peor” y dejar libres a individuos que han estado en los EE.UU. desde hace años, criando a sus familias. Sin embargo, sólo el 1,5% de los 300.000 casos revisados fueron cerrados y el PD se ha utilizado muy escasamente para liberar a padres, madres y jóvenes estudiantes elegibles para el DREAM Act.

Según el informe, “el DHS está amenazando con socavar la credibilidad en las políticas del Presidente Obama y su imagen en las comunidades latinas e inmigrantes en todo el país“.

El caso de Marvin se presentó en el informe como un claro ejemplo de las promesas incumplidas. Marvin llegó a este país hace 12 años, es padre de una ciudadana de los EE.UU., no tiene antecedentes penales y fue detenido sólo por no tener una identificación. Todas estas características lo hacían elegible para el PD. Sin embargo, los oficiales de deportación intentaron varias veces expulsarlo del país, incluso el día antes de ser liberado.

Como un inmigrante de ‘baja prioridad’, Marvin no debería haber sido detenido en primer lugar. Este es un ejemplo claro de por qué los cambios cosméticos del ICE a la política de inmigración han fracasado y seguirán fracasando en nuestras comunidades “, dice Juan Escalante de Dream Activist Florida, quien apoyó a la familia de Marvin y creó una petición en línea para detener su deportación. “Casos como el de Marvin siguen sucediendo por culpa del programa Comunidades In-Seguras. Seguiremos luchando en nombre de personas como él, hasta que el presidente Obama y su gobierno hagan cambios considerables a las políticas actuales de inmigración“.

Leslie Corado, la esposa de Marvin quien también es indocumentada, hizo su miedo a un lado y trabajó sin descanso para tener a su esposo de vuelta en casa. Mientras espera a Marvin salir del centro de detención, dice: “Siento que una parte de mi corazón volvió a mi vida. Tengo 8 meses de no verlo, es lo mejor que me pudo pasar en este día. Mi hija no lo puede creer, está muy emocionada. Gracias a todos por su ayuda, luchen familias, ¡si se puede!”.

Marvin is free and will spend Father’s Day with his family!

Many undocumented parents will still spend Father’s Day in detention due to the Administration’s Broken Promises

Today Marvin Corado, an undocumented immigrant originally from Guatemala, was finally released after being detained for more than six months at a private immigrant detention center for only driving without a driver’s license. Marvin will be able to spend Father’s Day with his wife and his 5 year old daughter who is a U.S. citizen, while hundreds continue unnecessarily separated from their families due to the Administration’s failure to stop the detention and deportation of immigrants.

A national report “Restore the Promise of Prosecutorial Discretion” (Exec Summary attached) released earlier this week, outlines several shocking statistics about the scale of the failure of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) implementation of Prosecutorial Discretion (PD) one year after it was announced. In June 2011, DHS announced a new policy that was supposed to focus immigration enforcement on the “worst of the worst” and spare individuals who have been in the U.S. for years, raising families. However, only 1.5% of the 300,000 cases reviewed were closed and Prosecutorial Discretion has been poorly utilized to release fathers, mothers and DREAM Act-eligible students.

According to the report, “DHS is threatening to undermine the credibility of President Obama’s policies and standing with Latino and immigrant communities nationwide”.

Marvin’s case was featured in the report as a clear example of broken promises. Marvin came to the United States 12 years ago, is a father of a U.S. citizen, has no criminal record and was detained only for not having an ID. All these characteristics made him eligible for Prosecutorial Discretion. However, deportation officers tried several times to deport him, including the day before he was released.

As a ‘low priority’ immigrant, Marvin should not have even been detained in the first place. This is a clear cut example as to why ICE’s cosmetic changes to immigration policy have failed, and continue to fail our communities,” says Juan Escalante from Dream Activist Florida, who supported Marvin’s family and created an online petition to stop his deportation. “Cases like Marvin continue to be taken on by In-Secure Communities. We’ll continue to fight on behalf of people like him until President Obama and his administration makes considerable changes to the current immigration policies.”

Leslie Corado, Marvin’s wife, an undocumented immigrant herself, put away her fear and worked relentlessly to have her husband back home.  As she waits for Marvin to get out of the detention center, she says:  “I feel like a part of my heart came back to my life. It’s been 8 months without seeing him, this is the best thing that could happen today. My daughter cannot believe it, she is very excited. Thank you all for your help and I invite all families to fight. Yes, we can!

Miami-Dade Police Racially Profiles Latino Drivers in Homestead

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/33188026]

 

We Count! denounces racial profiling by Miami-Dade Police towards latino drivers in Homestead, South Florida. Many Latinos are being stopped by police officers for no reason other than the color of their skin. Some of them are citizens or legal permanent residents. Others are undocumented who end up being deported and separated from their families only for not having a drivers license, all due to ICE’s Secure Communities program.

Documenting these abuses is the first step to stop them!

A petition will be delivered on to the Miami-Dade Police Department asking them to stop racial profiling against Latinos.

Changes in Deportations? Understanding the DHS Announcement

Janet Napolitano, DHS

Janet Napolitano, DHS

On August 18th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced significant changes on our country’s deportation priorities. Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, sent a letter to Sen. Dick Durbin, stating that DHS and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) would concentrate their resources towards “high priority” deportation cases and that “it makes no sense to expend our enforcement resources on low-priority cases.”

What does this mean? According to Napolitano, deportation efforts should focus only on “those who pose a threat to public safety and national security, repeat immigration law violators and other individuals prioritized for removal.”

So far, this announcement didn’t sound like anything new. Until Napolitano further explained how this change was going to be achieved:

  • Review case-by-case all individuals currently facing deportation proceedings, approximately 300,000
  • Immigration officers should exercise “prosecutorial discretion” to identify low-priority and high-priority cases, according to a memorandum from ICE Director John Morton (read below)
  • Those cases deemed “Low Priority” will get a letter form DHS stating their case has been administratively “closed”
  • Those whose cases are closed, can probably apply for a work permit

This does sound like great news for thousands of families! 

However, there is still confusion and misinformation on how and when those currently in deportation proceedings can benefit from this.We need to understand fully what this announcement really means, in order to inform correctly our communities and to demand that it is implemented appropriately.

To understand what this announcement IS and what it ISN’T, read this Consumer Advisory by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

To understand the differences between “Low-priority” and “High-priority” cases, refer to the Morton Memorandum

CCA GO AWAY

(See English version below)

Por: Rosana Araujo*

Rosana Araujo, Miami Workers CenterEl 1 de Septiembre de 2011, día en que Alabama implementaría una ley antiinmigrante más fuerte que la SB1070 de Arizona y bajo un cielo amenazante por la lluvia, no impidió que un grupo de activistas afros e hispanos del sur de Florida se unieran para alzar sus voces por la construcción de un centro de detención en el condado de Broward con capacidad para 2000 camas, uno de los más grandes del país.

Alrededor de las 3:00 pm comenzaron a llegar pequeños grupos de las distintas organizaciones que con carteles, y al grito de “CCA Go Away”, reflejaban la disconformidad ante la población que circulaba en sus autos sobre Griffin Rd, haciendo que muchos de ellos desconcertados se detuvieran a preguntar qué sucedía, ya que sus líderes comunales se niegan a hablar.

Después que la administración del Presidente Obama anunciara cambios en las políticas de deportación, inmigrantes en todo el país siguen siendo detenidos y deportados.

Empresas como la Corporación de Correccionales de America (CCA) y el grupo Geo, son parte del mismo negocio: la encarcelación de inmigrantes. Por ese motivo apoyan leyes como la de Arizona y programas como Comunidades Seguras, con el fin de que sus cárceles no permanezcan vacías.

Por eso digamos “NO a la construcción de cárceles Si a la construcción de escuelas”.

Levantemos nuestras voces, CCA go AWAY.

Ver más fotos acá

*Rosana es miembro del Centro de Trabajadores de Miami.

Otras organizaciones presentes: Coalición de Inmigrantes de la Florida (FLIC), Estudiantes Trabajando por la Igualdad de Derechos (SWER), Mujeres Haitianas de Miami (FANM), Unite Here

(English version)

By: Rosana Araujo*

On September 1, 2011, the day Alabama was expected to implement an anti-immigrant law stronger than Arizona’s SB1070 and under a threatening sky, the rain did not stop a group of Afro and Latino activists in South Florida come together to raise their voices against the building of a new detention center in Broward County with a capacity of 2000 beds, one of the largest in the country.

Around 3:00 pm, small groups of the various organizations started arriving with banners and shouting “CCA Go Away,” reflecting their opposition to the people that drove by in their cars on Griffin Rd. Many of them, surprised, stopped to ask what was happening since their community leaders refuse to speak.

After Obama’s administration announced changes in the deportation policies, immigrants across the country continue to be detained and deported.

Companies like Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group are part of the same business: the incarceration of immigrants. That is why they support laws like Arizona and programs like Secure Communities (S-Comm) so that their prisons are always full.

We need to say “NO to prisons and YES to schools.”

Let’s raise our voices, CCA go AWAY.

See more pics here

*Rosana is member of the Miami Workers Center. 

Other organizations present at the rally were: Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER), Haitian Women of Miami (FANM), Unite Here

Obama Expands ICE Budget

obamaPresident Barack Obama has expanded the budget of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The 287(g) program and Secure Communities initiative, implemented by the Department of Homeland Security, authorizes local law enforcement to act as ICE federal agents–they can conduct raids, arrest, detain and deport undocumented immigrants, regardless of the severity of their alleged crime, and gives them permission to look into individuals’ immigration status  online and detain and deport them if they are undocumented.

President Obama’s expansion of ICE’s budget has only provided a greater opportunity for law enforcement to abuse their power. During raids, they often force entry into the homes of  undocumented individuals fully armed. Instead of improving our economy and our broken immigration system, our tax dollars are going to ICE, whose budget is now over $6 billion!

Enforcement of a civil issue–and the attempt to criminalize immigrant workers and families–is not the solution. The U.S. urgently needs immigration reform. Defending the status quo is not an option.

“I think the consensus is that despite our inability to get this (immigration reform) passed over the last several years, the American people still want to see a solution in which we are tightening up our borders, we’re cracking down on employers who are using illegal workers in order to drive down wages and often times, mistreat those workers. And we need an effective way to recognize and legalize the status of undocumented workers who are here. My administration is fully behind an effort to achieve comprehensive immigration reform” said President Obama.

It is incomprehensible why President Obama would allow DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to expand a failed program, when he insists that his administration is behind the effort for immigration reform. Real reform of our broken immigration system should address and end abuses committed by deputized police and ICE officers–along with enabling immigrants to adjust their status and become citizens.

“Secure Communties” and 287(g) agreements do not serve a public safety function–they do the opposite.

President Barack Obama must permanently terminate these programs for the safety and well-being of both citizens and undocumented residents.

Napolitano and DHS Expand 287(g) Program

dem-govs03

The Department of Homeland Security’s Secretary, Janet Napolitano, recently announced that ICE has expanded the 287 (g) program to 11 new jurisdictions.

This is horrible news.

“This new agreement supports local efforts to protect public safety by giving law enforcement the tools to identify and remove dangerous criminal aliens,” Napolitano said.

All agencies that actively participate in the 287(g) program are obligated to sign the new agreement and abide by the new requirements in order to continue as participating organizations. The new agreement officially emphasizes going after serious and violent criminals and expanded federal oversight in an effort  to prevent overzealous local implementation of the program.

These words on paper will not change the fact that the 287(g) program is a failure, and amounts to state-sanctioned racial profiling and wholesale intimidation of immigrant communities. Several studies have shown these facts. The program should be completely canceled–not sugar-coated to try to counteract its well-deserved bad reputation.

Realistically, there is no way that Napolitano and DHS can ensure that law enforcement officers will follow the rules and regulations. In fact, most of them receive inadequate training to do this work. We have seen what little respect infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, has for the human rights of immigrants.

Despite claims that ICE agents are sworn to uphold the laws of our nation professionally, humanely and with acute awareness of the impact enforcement has on the individuals they encounter, they persistently disregard the law and commit offensive acts and inappropriate behavior against undocumented immigrants–pointing loaded guns at mothers, in front of their children, for example. This happened here in Florida during a raid last year.

The 287(g) program IS  racial profiling at its worst, and the fallout from keeping it around includes unjust detentions and deportations, false imprisonment and constitutional violations–or less visibly, immigrant communities living in fear–so much that they won’t even report crimes.

What could be worse for our communities?

Police Press Conference Addresses Need for Immigration Reform

jtimoneyAs Congress and the President are poised to tackle immigration reform, Chief John Timoney, Miami’s Chief of Police, Chief Art Acevedo, the Police Chief of Austin TX, and former Sacramento Police Chief, Art Venegas, held a press conference at the Biltmore Hotel, in Miami, coordinated by America’s Voice, to address how the broken immigration system has a negative effect on law enforcement and public safety.

“It is crucial that the law enforcement perspective be considered in any debate on immigration,” Chief Timoney said. “All our citizens are directly affected, whether they are immigrants or not, by these policies.”

More police departments throughout the country are taking a stand in favor of immigration reform—and they are drawing these conclusions from their own experience. If an undocumented individual witnesses a crime, they often do not contact local law enforcement for fear of being detained and/or deported. Clearly this does not help our communities. Many are also in favor of issuing drivers licenses to all residents, including the undocumented, as this would provide useful data, encourage all drivers to get auto insurance, and diminish the incidence of hit and run accidents.

FLIC is pleased to see that leaders in law enforcement acknowledge the urgent—and practical—need for immigration reform—and we will count on their leadership and support as we move forward.