Tag Archives: immigrant rights

Why is ICE so determined to deport immigrants?

Immigration Enforcement QuotasLast month, LUPE hosted students from Lafayette College in Easton, PA, who traveled to the Rio Grande Valley to learn more about the immigration system and its effects on the people living along the border. At the end of their week with us, as part of our trip evaluation, one of the students wrote the question, “Why is ICE so determined to deport immigrants?”

That is not a question that can be easily addressed in an article or blog post–and it may not be a question we will ever fully answer. But I wanted to offer some insight into the inner workings of ICE and the Border Patrol to give our readers an idea of why agents will go to great lengths to get attain a deportation–even harassment and violating immigration rights. Continue reading

Gov. Perry, don’t militarize our borders!

Governor Rick Perry recently announced that “Ranger Reconnaissance Teams” will be deployed to the border to increase security. Translation: more troops to the border means increased militarization of our border communities. This is just more of the same failed border “security” policy that only causes more racial profiling & mistrust in communities of color. Brownsville Mayor Pat Ahumada, has also come out against this move as “an extremist and alarmist reaction to incidents that are happening in Mexico.” As part of the Texas Border Coalition, he believes this increase in troops would be wasteful spending and cause a decrease in economic activity for Border cities.

What we really need is a comprehensive, proactive solution in the form of federal immigration reform policy. In terms of ‘securing the border’ – we need to make sure any policy affecting border security is respectful of immigrants and holds those in charge accountable for their actions.

Unfortunately, the Texas Rangers are anything but respectful, professional and accountable. Among Chicanos, the Rangers are known as “Los Rinches de Tejas” and are known to have lynched thousands of Mexicans based on false arrests due to racial profiling since the 1800’s. The arrested migrant workers on both sides of the border were never given a fair trial and never were the Rangers asked to produce evidence to justify an arrest. (Kind of sounds familiar to the way today’s immigration system works right?)

An op-ed in the Rio Grande Guardian reveals some shocking statistics:

“In the period from 1848 to 1870, some official records show that 473 out of every 100,000 Mexican migrant workers died at the hands of Los Rinches. In the 1850s, Tejanos faced expulsion from their Central Texas homes on the accusation that they helped slaves escape to Mexico.”

It is bad enough that the Rangers have never been brought to justice but now Gov. Perry is announcing to bring them back to the border?
We can’t let him! Please contact Gov. Perry and tell him NO to militarization of our border and NO to the Texas Rangers in our communities!

UPDATE: The Texas Border Coalition has written a letter to Gov. Perry voicing concerns about the Ranger deployment. TBC Chairman and Eaglepass Mayor Chad Foster said that Perry’s announcement “create[s] a public impression of lawless hordes overrunning the border region and do not reflect our collective experience.” Read more here.

CineSol Film Festival: Spotlight on Immigrant-focused films

The CineSol Film Festival is back in the Valley and has some great documentaries and features to offer. Opening night featured a movie called Cruzando, a beautiful movie about a son’s journey as he crosses the border to see his father one last time. The movie does an amazing job highlighting issues of race, immigration and simple humanity through the main character’s story. Check out the trailer here and look out for a showing in the Valley again!

On Saturday, CineSol showed the documentary, “The Wall” – a wonderfully shot movie detailing the grave implications of construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Viewers are able to witness the destruction the wall would cause to the environment, to people’s homes & businesses, and most importantly to the relations between us and our neighbors. Check out more about the film here.

Coming attractions:

The Border Wall: Playing Monday the 14th @ 7pm, at the UTPA Student Union Theater. This will be another great movie about the impact of the border on people on both sides of the border, implications for the environment and whether this “policy” is truly a constructive move.

The Least of These: Playing Saturday the 19th @ 3:45pm, at El Cine Rey. I’m really excited to see this documentary that explores the lives of families and children in maximum-security detention centers.

least of these

least of these

For the complete schedule, check out CineSol’s website. Watch, discuss and feel empowered to create change!

Anti-immigrant sentiment at Obama’s health care speech

President Obama delivered his thoughts on health care reform and laid out what his vision is for the reform bill. He also put to rest several myths about the reform initiative including the fact that there are no death panels and that a reform would not mean a government take-over. He also went on to say that the bill would not cover “illegal immigrants.” While it’s fine to dispel a myth about who will be covered under a new bill, I was surprised and disappointed to hear Obama use the same type of inflammatory language used by the likes of Lou Dobbs to dehumanize immigrants.

Even more upsetting was Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst in the middle of President Obama’s sentence regarding immigrants: “You lie!” The outburst was appalling for several reasons, but shocking? Hardly, given all the misinformation being spread around to fuel the fire against health care reform among right-wing groups. This also proves further how ridiculous the anti-immigrant and anti-health care sentiments have gotten – to heckle a President during an address to Congress and the American public is simply an embarrassing moment for all. These kind of tactics and outbursts have crippled any form of serious dialogue and debate around what people desperately need from a new health care policy. In case anyone out there still thinks Obama is “lying”, it is in fact (and unfortunately) true that undocumented immigrants will not be covered under any new reform bill – read more here.

In the end, it comes down to this folks: we need a robust public option and we need it now. (And after that, we need to focus on humane immigration reform!) We cannot let Wilson-type hate and fear tactics stop the efforts to pass a health care bill that allows every American to receive affordable health care. Here’s a video that breaks down what the public option is, plain and simple:

In updated news: Rep. Wilson’s democratic opponent, Rob Miller, has received almost $1 million in donations after the outburst against undocumented immigrants. People will not be fooled to support politicians who mislead them!