We demand: separated children and parents be reunited immediately; an end to the practice of caging or otherwise locking up immigrants; legal assistance be provided to immigrant families and individuals; the removal of unnecessary barriers to asylum; the end of harsh detention and deportation practices; a halt to the building of detention facilities and a shut down of existing facilities; Border Patrol and ICE be held accountable for abuses and deaths; an end to ICE/police collaborations; relief without punitive conditions be provided to undocumented immigrants in the United States; ICE be abolished; an end to policing of racialized, poor, queer communities that leads to criminalization, incarceration, and family separation for citizens and immigrants; the implementation of employment, social welfare, healthcare, housing and education policies that recognize the dignity and support the wellbeing of all people; respect for the sovereignty of First Nations’ cultures, institutions, lands, and resources.
¡NO CAGES! ¡JAULAS NO!
Separation of Families at the US|Mexico Border: A Timeline in Progress (updated monthly)
NAISA Council Statement on “Zero Tolerance” & Family Separation in the U.S. 20 July 2018
The Council of the Native American & Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) repudiates the “Zero Tolerance” policy and practice of family separation undertaken by the Trump administration on the U.S.-Mexico border. This practice is explicitly intended to punish vulnerable parents and children refugees as a deterrent to further refugee migration, and violates national and international law.
While the cruel separation of refugee families is intolerable in every circumstance, Council wants to draw special attention to the unique experience of Indigenous migrants, who make up a significant percentage of these refugees. For Indigenous refugees, the devastating process in which children are thrust into cold, prison-like institutions, and parents anguish over the fate of their children, not knowing what to expect or if they will ever see them again, is further complicated by having limited or no language fluency in Spanish or English compounding their fear, isolation, and trauma.
Further, family separation resurrects a federal policy toward American Indians and Indigenous people that the government of the United States rejected decades ago. During the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the United States abandoned a 50-year-old policy of separating children from their families through off-reservation boarding schools, arguing that forcible separation was inhumane and damaging to the bonds between parents and children. To revive a policy that educators, American Indians, lawmakers, and the government of the United States understood was harmful to family life 90 years ago is unreasonable and undermines the lessons of history.
The Trump administration, by tearing more than 10,000 children from the arms of their parents and families and leaving them for weeks and months inhorrific institutional conditions, has effectively created a new stolen generation. Thetraumathese children have suffered is real, and will affect them for many years after they are reunited with their parents – if they are reunited with their parents and families.
NAISA Council further repudiates the extreme irresponsibility and callousness of the U.S. government in failing to keep adequate records of family relationships to facilitate the reunification of these families, the conditions these children are being kept in, the profits private sector companies are making on child detention, and the coercive and criminalizing nature of its capturing of DNA on the pretext of aiding reunification.
The brutal policy of family separation throws a harsh light onto the enduring nature of the settler state – founded on dispossession – with its compulsion to continually reestablish white dominance and the racial stratification of rights that place non-white subjects in precarious and criminalized positions. Repeatedly in the history of Indigenous peoples, this shameful compulsive need has taken the form of tearing families apart.
A rapidly deployed critical data & visualization intervention in the USA’s 2018 “Zero Tolerance Policy” for asylum seekers at the US Ports of Entry and the humanitarian crisis that has followed :: Una intervención crítica de gráficas y datos, desplegada rápidamente como respuesta a la nueva “Política de cero tolerancia” de los EE. UU. en contra de los solicitantes de asilo en sus puertos y la crisis humanitaria que resulta.
Volume 2 of Torn Apart is a deep and radically new look at the territory and infrastructure of ICE’s financial regime in the USA. This data & visualization intervention peels back layers of culpability behind the humanitarian crisis of 2018.
For local updates and planned action go to @FreeTheChildrenCoaltion on FB.
15 Actions That Can Shut Down Trump’s Assault on Immigrant Families by Arun Gupta, YES! Magazine
Think big, look to history and be strategic. The border is where powerful demonstrations can be mounted, as that’s where the Trump administration is manufacturing this crisis. U.S. border guards are illegally preventing migrants fleeing extreme violence and poverty from countries like Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala from applying for asylum. Historically, images of peaceful activists confronting oppressive forces have swayed public opinion. In the 1960s, civil rights activists did that in Selma and Birmingham, Alabama. Youth marching on the Pentagon in 1967 catalyzed the anti-Vietnam War movement. In 2005, when the anti- Iraq War movement had seemingly fizzled out, Cindy Sheehan revived it. Her son had been killed in Iraq the previous year, and she held a vigil for weeks near President George W. Bush’s Texas ranch as he vacationed there. Her protest, which had extensive behind-the- scenes support, put his administration on the defensive and sealed the war as a lost cause.
Be creative. Trump now wants to jail families indefinitely, which is still illegal. Using families and children in protests makes people confront the added brutality heaped on those fleeing persecution. In the U.S. Senate building, a dozen kids evoked images of imprisoned immigrant children by sitting in the rotunda wrapped in mylar blankets amid cages and surrounded by supporters. In Manhattan, one father took his newborn son to Trump Tower and stood silently with a sign reading, “Imagine your child being ripped from your arms.” In Philadelphia, protesters lined up hundreds of pairs of children’s shoes near a fundraiser being hosted by Vice President Mike Pence. Hundreds of activists in New York flooded an airport to show support for immigrant children being snuck into the city to be held in detention. In Berkeley, a billboard with an image of a shocked child was rearranged so it reads, “We Make Children Disappear — I.C.E.”
In Portland, Oregon, a group called #OccupyICEPDX drew on the strategy of Occupy Wall Street to shut down the ICE facility and jail in the city. On June 17, activists established a round-the-clock camp outside ICE. They nonviolently blocked ICE’s facility, forcing it to close. The tactic is spreading, with plans for a tent city outside the ICE office in Los Angeles. In New York, according to one reporter, “mothers with babies in arms have taken over the ninth floor of ICE’s NYC headquarters and are chanting ‘families and children deserve to be safe.’”
Expose for-profit detention corporations. Private companies that run detention centers rake in more than $2 billion a year to house immigrants. Many corporations are sensitive to public opinion. At Microsoft, employees wrote CEO Satya Nadella demanding the company end its contract with ICE. Publicize how these companies profit from and lobby for draconian immigration policies.
Protest where you can. Prime spots are ICE offices, which are in every major city. Their facilities sometimes include jails to hold immigrants. Many facilities are listed here, both for ICE and its “Enforcement and Removal Units” that carry out raids, arrests, and deportations. There are also scores of immigration detention facilities around the country, many now the site of regular protests already.
Target mayor’s offices, state capitals, and governor’s mansions. Trump-branded properties are a great spot for protests. Local officials can do a lot to impede immigration enforcement, if they are pushed by well-organized protests with broad public support. Many mayors claim their city is a “sanctuary city” for immigrants, but have they prevented police from cooperating with ICE, including pulling out of Joint Terrorism Task Forces and mandating punishment for city workers caught giving information to ICE? Is your city providing free legal aid for immigrants caught up in the deportation machine? Are there laws to punish landlords and employers who threaten undocumented workers and tenants over their immigration status? Local officials have many tools at their disposal to hamper ICE, but even supportive ones need to be pushed.
Vigils and demonstrations at border detention facilities, sit-ins, and blockades of vehicles transporting detained immigrants, peacefully confronting border guards all make for arresting visuals. Effective border protests need hundreds of people along with support for legal, logistics, media, transportation, food, water, housing and medical care. Big liberal organizations and unions can fund this. Crowdfunding can raise a lot of money fast. Those who can’t go to the border can support immigrant rights groups on the border.
Find out what Latino and immigrant rights groups are doing in your area and support those organizing against ICE and Trump with time, money, and amplification of their message and events. If you do protest outside of ICE facilities or immigrant prisons, make sure to coordinate with groups working on detention and in touch with detainees and their families. Closing a prison can have unintended consequences, such as forcing relatives and lawyers who traveled long distances and spent considerable sums to cancel their trips. Guards sometimes retaliate against prisoners inside when there is a protest outside.
Dog politicians and candidates whenever and wherever you can and interrupt and disrupt Trump officials whenever and wherever possible. In Columbus, Ohio, protesters received national attention for interrupting a speech by Pence, yelling, “Why are you ripping children from their families?”
Put immigrants at the center. Find immigrants who can safely talk: “We are the caregivers, nurses, doctors. We grow your food, we harvest it, cook, serve it. We drive the trucks, work in the factories, repair your cars, build your homes.” Humanize immigrants, don’t just treat
Keep your message clear and simple: “End separation, end detention of families. Let in asylum-seekers. Let in refugees. End the Muslim ban. Reinstate Temporary Protected Status. Legalize DACA and all immigrants. Defund ICE and border militarization. No funding for the wall. This is illegal under international law. It’s a crime against humanity. Stop the war on immigrants.”
Invite politicians and elected officials to your events. You are more likely to attract them by promoting specific policies. Make them say exactly what they are going to do in front of the cameras and reporters. Make them commit to dismantling the entire deportation machinery that goes back to the Clinton administration.
Use the media to your advantage. Trump’s actions are so appalling, the mainstream media are sympathetic to protests and are looking for good stories and visuals. Liberal groups, unions, and many veteran organizers have extensive lists of local reporters. Plan protests so that media have lead time, get help writing a press release, and cultivate sympathetic reporters. Create good visuals. When you protest, take lots of video and photos to use across social media.
Practice nonviolence even if you are not a pacifist. Images of fighting or broken windows will be used to discredit movements. But times have also changed. With neo-Nazis and the “alt-right” in the streets, link up with self-defense groups who know how to confront the violent right. Just their presence can dissuade aggressive right-wingers.
Don’t ignore history. Be aware how Trump is using children as hostages to push through horrendous immigration policies. Democrats are using the border crisis for electoral advantage, and the detention apparatus is bipartisan. But what is happening now is both qualitatively and quantitatively worse than anything that happened under Clinton, Bush, and Obama. You don’t win people over by bludgeoning them with those woke facts or by weaponizing immigrants. Build a movement and win people to your side. Then you can change their minds. That’s how organizing works
ABOLISH ICE Discussions
Atlanta Resources: Migrants’ Rights Local Resources
Women’s Refugee Commission: Resources for Families Facing Deportation and Separation
Derechos Humanos: End Streamline Coalition
and Readings* **
Amnesty International, “USA: ‘You Don’t Have Any Rights Here.’ Illegal Pushbacks, Arbitrary Detention and Ill-Treatment of Asylum-Seekers in the United States,” Amnesty International, New York, October 2018**
OIG report on its observations of injustices & abuses of the Zero Tolerance at US Border**
*We will attempt to update this Actions & Resources section regularly and recognize that it is by no means comprehensive.
Links of Interest: