NNIRR E-news: Clinton, Detention, Border Bill, Mother's Day & More


Two Mother's Day commitments to #EndFamilyDetention:

End Family Detention

  • Sign-on here for a Mother's Day petition to ICE Director Sarah Saldana calling for an end to family detention.
  • Stand for the rights of women and children this Mother's Day and join the "thunderclap" to #EndFamilyDetention


Hillary Clinton on immigration: would go further than Obama, but opts to make detention 'more humane' 

Hillary Clinton made news the other day in Las Vegas with her announcement that she would "go further" than President Obama and called for "a path to full and equal citizenship." With young immigrant "Dreamers" by her side, Clinton challenged Republicans who she said were really talking about "second class status" when speaking about legal status.

Clinton also criticized the Administration's detention practice: "I don't think we should put children and vulnerable people into big detention facilities because I think they're at risk. I think that their physical and mental health are at risk." But she said the focus should be detention of those with "a record of violent, illegal behavior," and that the practice could be "more humane."

While Clinton's awareness of detention conditions seems to have progressed over the years, she is still locked into a punitive detention approach and relies on differentiating "good" versus "bad" immigrants. AsSilky Shah, co-director of Detention Watch Network commented, "...in calling for a more 'humane' system, Clinton misses the heart of the problem. Detaining people for a civil immigration violation for months and years at a time simply cannot be made more humane. Our immigration system should at all costs work to avoid putting people behind bars for searching for a better life. That means eliminating the immigrant detention quota...and it means completely dismantling a system that incentivizes human suffering: no more detention, period."

Organizing to #EndFamilyDetention

As Hillary Clinton shapes her immigration campaign narrative, immigrant rights advocates, activists and allies have stepped up a round of actions to challenge current detention policies and practices. Several initiativeschallenge the 34,000 detention bed quota, seek an end to family detention and the closure of family detention facilities, and expose the corporate interests profiteering from increased enforcement.

Last week, hundreds gathered in Dilley, Texas to protest the family detention center that was opened there to house some 2,400 family members, including immigrant children. With Mother's Day coming up this Sunday, several petitions (see links above) call attention to the imprisonment of immigrant children and their mothers, who had come to the U.S. seeking safety and a better life for their families.

McCain's Borderlands bill - S. 750 passes Senate committee

On Wednesday, Senator McCain's "Arizona Borderlands Protection and Preservation Act" passed the Senate's Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. The bill was opposed by a large cross-section of groups, including 41 environmental organizations who sent their own letter to senators criticizing the bill's waiver of environmental laws for some 100 milies inland of the border, for the sake of border enforcement (even though the Border Patrol has not even asked for such authority.) NNIRR joined with several other immigrant, civil, human rights, faith and labor groups in also opposing the bill in a letter to senators that stated, "the bill marginalizes Native American and environmental interests and would worsen the already militarized buildup on the southwest border." The letter continues, "Senators should reject the bill's enforcement-only approach that offers no workable solutions to the immigration system."

NNIRR here and there...

  • NNIRR has moved...down the hall to suite 310. We took the opportunity in moving to examine our voluminous cache of files and think about what needs to be shared, digitized, maintained.
  • We're honored that the Ethnic Studies Library at UC Berkeley will be accepting our donation of archived files on immigrant rights organizing and policies. While the process of transferring the files will take some time, we're pleased that these files and documents (including every issue of Network News and some terrific posters) will be more accessible and are happy to make a contribution to this historical record of the immigrant rights movement.
  • "Women's Labour Migration, Flawed Development Strategies & the Way Forward," was the title of a workshop in New York during the UN Commission on the Status of Women/Beijing + 20 session this past March. Organized by the Women and Global Migration Working Group, it was endorsed by several organizations in the US and globally, including NNIRR, a member of WGMWG. The popular workshop included interactive sessions that delved into the huge increase in women's migration, critiqued neo-liberal development strategies that exacerbate "root causes" of migration, and explored critical options for organizing and strengthening rights advocacy efforts.
  • The need for governments to respect and adhere to human rights at international borders was stressed in a presentation in Geneva recently, by NNIRR ED Catherine Tactaquin. She spoke on a panel hosted by the Office of the High Commissioner for the Human Rights of Migrants and the Philippine government, in support of the new "Recommended Principles and Guidelines for Human Rights at International Borders." She was joined by colleagues from Latin America and Europe who also decried the current crisis at borders, including the increase in migrant deaths.
  • NNIRR Board chair Eddie Canales, coordinator of the South Texas Human Rights Center in Falfurrias, attended the National Strategy Session to End Criminalization, Incarceration and Immigration Enforcement in Boca Raton, Florida, this past weekend. Hosted by Enlace Int'l and the Private Prison Divestment Campaign, the gathering explored the intersections of mass incarceration and immigrant detention, seeking to build stronger ties and more effective strategies. while there, participants also protested a shareholders' meeting of GEO, one of the largest private prison operators in the country.
  • Ending Operation Streamline was the focus of a strategy meeting attended by NNIRR staff and board members in Tucson recently. Hosted by Coalicion de Derechos Humanos and Grassroots Leadership, the meeting examined the devastating impact of Operation Streamline, which bypasses immigrant due process and expedites detention and removal of migrant border crossers. We'll keep you posted on next steps and upcoming actions...

Thank you, Nushy! 

Our thanks to Nushy Golriz, intern extraordinaire! Nushy was with us for a few months before returning to  Dartmouth to complete work towards graduation. She was a tremendous asset to our small staff, tackling research and writing on border issues, including digging into corporate interests behind lobbying for a bigger border enforcement budget. She monitored news and developments and diligently posted to our Facebook pages. We miss her good spirits and great company and wish her well in the coming months and years!