I Want to Live as if I Wasn’t a Criminal


Excerpt from “Who’s Coming North? – Migrants’ Journeys Through Mexico”

Wendy is just 17 years old, but she walked three days alone along the same route where Edwin and his friends were robbed by masked paramilitaries. As an unaccompanied minor making the dangerous journey north, she joins the ranks of what the UN has termed “children on the run,” the more than 60,000 underage migrants coming to the US every year without an adult to guide them.

“My family doesn’t care what happens to me,” she said. “They’re just not interested.”

Like roughly 80 percent of the migrants passing through La 72, Wendy is from Honduras. She says the economic situation and increasing security concerns have made the country all but unlivable.

“The law in my country doesn’t work. The cops don’t help you, you have to pay them first. Every day there’s more crime committed by the police,” she told me. “Someone has to do something.”

Her main goal in leaving Honduras, what she hopes to accomplish in the US, is to get an education. Continue reading

Border patrol experiments with GPS to track immigrants caught at border

A U.S. Border Patrol agent, seen through an opening in a fence, keeps watch on the 'border fence' near the San Ysidro port of entry along the US-Mexico border near San Diego, California. Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

A U.S. Border Patrol agent, seen through an opening in a fence, keeps watch on the ‘border fence’ near the San Ysidro port of entry along the US-Mexico border near San Diego, California. Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Posted on PBS.org

BY Alicia A. Caldwell, Associated Press 

WASHINGTON — The Homeland Security Department is experimenting with a new way to track immigrant families caught crossing the border illegally and then released into the U.S.: GPS-enabled ankle bracelets.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier this month launched a program to give GPS devices to some parents caught crossing the Mexican border illegally with their children in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. They were given the devices after being released from custody with notices to report back to immigration officials, according to a confidential ICE document obtained by The Associated Press.

In September, the Homeland Security Department confided to a group of immigrant advocates during a confidential meeting that about 70 percent of immigrants traveling as families failed to report back to ICE as ordered after they were released at the border. The AP obtained an audio recording of the meeting and interviewed participants. The ICE official on the recording was not identified.

The high no-show rate and a lack of jail space for immigrant family members prompted the Obama administration to open a temporary family jail at the Border Patrol’s training academy in rural New Mexico and convert a men’s jail in Texas to one that could house families. Immigration advocates have been critical of the Obama administration for jailing families — mostly mothers with young children — and for poor conditions in the jails. Continue reading

Deferred (In)Action: Where’s the solidarity with indigenous people facing militarization?

From Alex Soto, 

Komkch’ed e Wah ‘osithk (Sells) 

Tohono O’odham Nation


Reposted from the O’odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective.

To all those unaware of the fine print of Obama’s immigration plan:

First and foremost, it will direct more resources to border security. Meaning…further militarization of Indigenous communities who are divided by the so-called border, such as my home community of the Tohono O’odham Nation. Our O’odham him’dag (way of life) will once again be attacked by settler border politics, as it was in 1848 and 1852 when the so-called border was illegally imposed. Attacked like we were in 1994 when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was enacted. These borderland policies are being devised and implemented without any settler consciousness to the Indigenous peoples who will be most negatively impacted by such policies. The Indigenous nations who pre-date so called Mexico and the United Snakkkes end up almost voiceless.

Basically Obama’s 2014 Immigration plan = border militarization = 21st century colonization.

So in light of Obama’s latest immigration plan, I’m writing this to say “DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE”. The plan is anti-Indigenous and anti-Migrant. Please look at the bigger picture (NAFTA). Please see the trade off. Please see the state’s 2014 divide and conquer tactics.
Then ask yourself, what does an anti-colonial migrant/Indigenous response to this all look like? What does a world without NAFTA borders look like? What does collective liberation look like in O’odham lands? Lipan Apache Lands? Yoeme Lands? Kickapoo Lands? Indigenous homelands which are now in the so-called border region?

Where’s the solidarity with Indigenous people facing militarization?

I recognize this is a complex issue. I do not want fellow Indigenous migrants coming from the southern hemisphere to be criminalized by racist laws. I do not want families to be separated, loved ones to be deported, or for them to ever have to walk the hot desert in the first place, just to have a “chance” in this neo-liberal, NAFTA world we are forced to slave in. But at the same time, I do not want my homeland to be a police state. I do not want our ceremonies to be disrupted. I do not want our jewed (land) destroyed by border security apparatus. I do not want our sky to be polluted by more Border Patrol helicopters, cameras placed atop rotating cranes as tall as skyscrapers, or drones. I do not want freedom of movement for O’odham to be granted only to the holders of bio-metric colonial passports. I do not want CANAMEX/NAFTA corridors scarring our lands with freeways (Loop 202/Interstate 11). Ultimately I do not want, in the words of my late grandfather, who saw the Berlin Wall with his own eyes while being stationed in Germany, “an O’odham Berlin Wall” built at the border.

These are just a few thoughts I have at this time. Overall I maintain my hopes we can all get our shit together. We just have to weather the neo-colonial, mainstream migrant rights industrial complex funded by the creator knows who (but is worth a longer analysis), Dream ACTors and at the same time, we also have to weather the settler state, while empowering our own community. Either way, we got this… because we have to.






#akathebrowningofwhite supremacy





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Comprehensive Immigration Reform is Anti-Immigrant & Anti-Indigenous


Posted In Infoshop News

By Franco Habre and Mari Garza

Comprehensive Immigration Reform is inherently anti-immigrant.  It is presented as a “path to citizenship” and as a temporary solution to halting the incarceration/deportation of some migrants, but it is actually an attack in disguise.  The reform package known as Senate Bill S.744 is a blatant plot to further immobilize, mold, and reduce the lives of migrants.  Comprehensive Immigration Reform, otherwise known as “CIR”, is not about restoring the dignity and human rights of migrants.  It is, however, an opportunity to reinforce white supremacy, the rule of law; racist/imperial borders; free trade and exploitable labor from the global south, and will further invisibilize the existence of Indigenous/First Nations peoples living in and around the so-called US/Mexico border, which at the time of its creation, bisected the homelands of four Indigenous tribes.

The title of Senate Bill S.744 is, “The Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act”.  The title makes it easy to infer the priority of the bill–border security. The policing/surveillance of the 1,933-mile colonial boundary called the US/Mexico border has grown exponentially in the last decade.  Communities along this border have experienced the unrelenting infestation of increasingly abusive Border Patrol agents, aerial drones, in-land weaponized checkpoints during daily routines in their own neighborhoods, and increased freight traffic.  In addition, despite the increased border security, people still die in the deserts of the border region, those migrating north from Mexico and Central America to flee economic and/or political injustice.  This bill will continue to limit the freedom of movement for Indigenous peoples as the bill contains provisions for increased militarization of their homelands, and will thus continue shifting border crossers through the perilous deserts of  Lipan Apache, Kickapoo, Tohono O’odham, and Yaqui homelands. Continue reading

NO TO NAPOLITANO! UCBerkeley Students Occupy Blum Center Building


Undocumented Groups, Student Coalitions, Faculty and Community Organizations Demand the Resignation of Janet Napolitano as President of the UC System

We, the Student of Color Solidarity Coalition (SCSC), fervently oppose Napolitano’s selection as UC President. We recognize her to be a violator of human rights, and a threat to democratic public education. As head of the Department of Homeland Security – and its major division, the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) – from 2009-2013, Napolitano terrorized, incarcerated and deported nearly 2,000,000 undocumented immigrants. Napolitano claims that she was simply enforcing the “nation’s immigration laws.” However, she played a major role in creating, expanding and implementing unethical programs such as Secure Communities and 287 (g) agreements, which continue to tear families apart, rely on rampant racial profiling and rake in billions for private prisons and security firms. Continue reading

The Workers’ Scorecard on NAFTA

The settlement of Blanca Navidad, on the outskirts of Nuevo Laredo, just south of the U.S. border.  Blanca Navidad was created by workers looking for land to build a place to live, and is part of a network of radical communities on the border, and throughout Mexico, sympathetic with the Zapatista movement.  Most residents work in the maquiladoras. Photo by David Bacon.

The settlement of Blanca Navidad, on the outskirts of Nuevo Laredo, just south of the U.S. border. Blanca Navidad was created by workers looking for land to build a place to live, and is part of a network of radical communities on the border, and throughout Mexico, sympathetic with the Zapatista movement. Most residents work in the maquiladoras. Photo by David Bacon.

From David Bacon on Mexmigration24 January 2014

Moderator’s Note: The maquiladoras – mostly foreign-owned assembly-line factories that operate on the U.S.-Mexico border and the interior of Mexico – have long been part of the social scientific and political discourse because these operations highlight so many of the challenging issues facing the Mexican working class and especially women workers: Workplace heath and safety issues due to the use of hazardous substances and production procedures; sexual harassment and assaults; low wages and lack of meaningful social and medical benefits; intense productivity pressures leading to high turnover rates; lack of opportunities for advancement and promotion. These are just some of the problems that maquiladora workers have faced and battled for nearly six decades now.
While the maquiladora industry seemed to lose some of its “allure” as an investment opportunity for transnational corporations with the rise of China, and there was a slight downturn in the relocation of factories during the decade from 1998 and 2008, it appears that the industry is on the rebound and may be actually poised for a major growth spurt. This time US-based corporations will not lead the expansion; instead, China is opening maquiladoras as are other Pacific Rim nations, which will lead this next “fourth” wave of border industrialization.  This should be interesting and given the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), it seems plausible that the fourth wave of maquila expansion may signal a new long-term trend in which the ideology of comparative advantage is exhausted in terms of geopolitical dynamics. Continue reading

The Border Patrol’s Out-of-Control Growth

Originally Posted in Other Words

Written by Todd Miller

On October 8, Tucson police officers pulled over a driver because the light above his license plate wasn’t working. When he didn’t present a license, a typical scenario unfolded: Under Arizona’s infamous SB 1070 law, cops become de facto immigration enforcement agents.

Simply put, the state’s “papers, please” measure obligates police to rely on “reasonable suspicion” to determine if someone possesses the proper documents to be in the United States.

wfp-dhs-chiricahua sky island

chiricahua sky island/Flickr

But police officers don’t actually make immigration-related arrests. Instead, they call the U.S. Border Patrol. The October 8 incident marked just one of 50,000 such referrals that happen yearly in Tucson. The same Arizona immigration bill that former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) head Janet Napolitano called “misguided,” is enabled by her agency’s collaboration with Arizona’s local police forces.

And it’s empowered by the government’s systematic expulsion of 400,000 people from our country each year.

Efforts to overhaul the nation’s border security and immigration policies are revving up again in Washington. That means a renewed push for enhanced border policing, such as the $46 billion in the reform bill the Senate passed in June.

That kind of spending would bring the Border Patrol’s creeping militarized mission further into the interior of the United States.

The Border Patrol isn’t just any agency. The Tucson police were calling in the largest U.S. federal law enforcement agency — by far — with a post 9/11 priority mission to stop terrorists and weapons of mass destruction from entering the United States. Yet its main tasks remain routine immigration enforcement and drug interdiction, creating an uneasy and often blurred mixture of missions.

Border Patrol is part of Customs and Border Protection, a DHS agency created in 2003. Its 60,000 agents make our border forces more than double the size of Ecuador’s army.

The army metaphor isn’t far-fetched: Customs and Border Protection has its own air and marine forces, a special operations branch, and a separate tactical unit. Its rapid-response teams have 500 agents ready to deploy anywhere within 48 hours. Its Predator B drones and Blackhawk helicopters are patrolling the desert southwest as if they were in an Afghanistan war zone. It has armored personnel carriers and uses forward operating bases like those in U.S. wars to secure positions in remote areas. Roughly 700 miles of walls have scarred the landscape of the Mexican borderlands, backed by increasingly sophisticated surveillance towers, cameras, and more than 12,000 motion sensors. Continue reading

Into the Fire – The Hidden Victims of Austerity in Greece

greek migrants

Into the Fire is being crowd-released: All over the internet people are embedding Into the Fire on their website or blog. With everyone who participates the audience and distribution network will grow. Are you participating? http://intothefire.org

A hard hitting documentary which shows the plight of refugees and migrants in recession hit Athens, Into The Fire is a film with a difference.

Shot and edited with sensitivity and compassion, it doesn’t pull its punches and makes for harrowing viewing in parts. It is the product of crowd funding, dedication, self-sacrifice and a burning sense of justice.

On 21 April, Into the Fire was simultaneously released on websites, blogs and other platforms around the internet. The film is available in various languages, including Albanian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian and Spanish. There are a number of public screenings planned in several countries in Europe and Northern America. To participate in the release or organise a screening see http://intothefire.org/publish Continue reading

From the Sonoran Desert to San Quentin: Solitary Confinement, White Supremacy and a recent mass murder by the US Border Patrol

DarkCellHandPosted by Carla Hays. Nogales, Mexico

In Nogales Sonora I met a man who had just been deported from the United States.  Before his deportation he was held in solitary confinement for three months.  He was arrested after the van he was traveling in was rammed off a cliff by Border Patrol agents in the hills of the Sonoran desert, in southern Arizona.  The van rolled down the side of the cliff and six of its passengers were killed.  15 people survived the crash, all of whom were arrested and taken into border patrol custody.  The man I met had also been held in solitary confinement up until his deportation – a period of three months.  He told me that another man arrested with him was stiill being held in solitary after being accused of being a guide for the group. Continue reading