January 19, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – A new report by humanitarian organizations reveals that Border Patrol agentshave been systemically destroying water bottles left in desert areas for undocumented immigrants in the Arizona desert, condemning people to die of thirst.While its unknown if this is occurring in California, this article in Britain’s The Guardian hit home for me in a visceral way, reminding me of an experience that brought me to tears.
On the 4th of July In 2008, I rode alongwith Border Angels founder Enrique Morones. We discovered sabotage of water bottles his group had left in rugged locations--all slashed open, empty. My article, Dying to Come to America, was published in our very first edition of East County Magazine. Morones vividly described what it is like for people to die of dehydration – hallucinating, throwing off clothes and shoes. We saw the signs of this torment – a woman’s high-heeled shoe cast aside, a man’s crumpled shirt. The heat was triple digits.
I went along to learn about experiences faced by people so desperate to come to America that they rely on water left by benevolent strangers to survive.I learned that coyotes, or human traffickers, often lie to the migrants, telling them it's just a short walk to freedom; some women dressed up to meet their husbands are unaware of the dangers. I choked up, imagining their pain. My story included photos of those slashed water bottles and graves of people--some so very young--who died crossing East County's rugged border mountains in their failed quest to find freedom.
November 29, 2017 (San Diego) — Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have raised concerns among Asian communities after rounding up and detaining an estimated 200 Vietnamese and Cambodian immigrants in the Bay Area.
Photo: About 3,000 Nicaraguan legal immigrants will become undocumented by January 2019 unless Congress acts to give them permanent legal status. Photo via Pixabay.
November 8, 2017 (Sacramento) - Latino groups are speaking out against the decision by the Trump administration on Monday to end legal status for some people from Central America who were given temporary protected status over the past two decades.
September 11, 2017 (El Cajon) -- Iveth Estrada didn’t know she was an undocumented immigrant until shortly before she enrolled at Cuyamaca College. She didn’t know while growing up with her family in Spring Valley. She didn’t know while competing with the varsity swim and water polo teams at Monte Vista High School.
Originally published by Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
Photo: An Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer escorts a suspected undocumented immigrant. Courtesy ICE
September 4, 2017 (San Diego) -- A new report that President Trump plans to end protection from deportation for 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to America as children drew sharp criticism from San Diego elected officials.
June 9, 2017 (San Diego) -- Three individuals, including one from East County, were arrested July 7th for impersonating Homeland Security officers and trying to charge immigrants substantial amounts of money in exchange for legal immigration documents that they never provided.
Two of the scam artists were ex-employees who had not worked in the Department of Homeland Security since at least 2014. They stole approximately $6,000,000 in total from over 150 victims through this scheme according to The United States Attorney’s office in San Diego.
“DHS policies confirm that ICE can target anyone who is removable for detention and deportation, even if they fall outside of the broad ‘priorities’ of the President’s executive order.” –Community advisory issued by the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild
By Miriam Raftery
April 2, 2017 (San Diego) – The National Immigration Project (NIP) of the National Lawyers Guild has issued a Community Advisory on memos issued by the Department of Homeland Security in late February to implement President Donald Trump’s executive orders ramping up deportation of immigrants. The immigration attorneys warn of sweeping changes that represent “a major shift and escalation in immigration enforcement.”
The NIP includes legal and policy analysis of key changes in immigration enforcement that “we believe will most impact community defense strategies," along with tips and suggestions for immigrations and those who assist immigrations.
March 15, 2017 (San Diego) - President Donald Trump’s executive order requires Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to hire 10,000 officers, including 5,000 Border Patrol agents. But where to find qualified officers and agents is a challenge for the agency—and some proposed solutions are raising concerns.
March 10, 2017 (Sacramento) -- State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, as part of his efforts to ensure parents and students feel safe at schools regardless of their immigration status, this weekasked federal law enforcement authorities to explain if they are changing a policy that had avoided immigration actions near schools.
Photo: Enrique Morones, Border Angels, holds cross reading “No Olvidados”, meaning “never forget” the thousands of migrants who have died crossing the U.S.-Mexican border.
March 9, 2017 (San Diego) — Unless law enforcement has a search warrant, do not open the door. You can remain silent, Enrique Morones, executive director of Border Angels, says. On behalf of the organization, Morones educates the immigrant community of the dos and don’ts for people fearing deportation.
March 6, 2017 (San Diego) – The Mexican government has announced that it is creating a network of help centers for Mexican immigrants at all consulates in the U.S.
The action aims to help Mexican citizens amid “fear and uncertainty” over President Donald Trump’s executive orders ramping up deportation and construction of a border wall, says Consul General Marcela Celorio in San Diego.
February 23, 2017 (San Diego) — Immigration and Customs Enforcement Secretary John F. Kelly has signed sweeping new guidelines that dramatically expand powers of federal authorities to detain and deport many more undocumented immigrants than in the past – including some who have never been arrested or convicted of any crime.
But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. (Luke 18:16, English Standard Version)
February 20, 2017 (San Diego) -- As most people are aware, President Trump issued a ban on immigration from seven Middle-Eastern nations, ostensibly to protect us against possible acts of terrorism. Yet, his ban does not include Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the two nations that the 9/11 terrorists came from. The assumption is that terrorism is mainly a Middle-Eastern, Muslim phenomenon. It isn’t!
Photo: Iraqi church leaders and families held prayer vigil in 2015 for Christians detained 6 months or more at ICE facility in Otay Mesa
February 11, 2017 (Sacramento) — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with the state attorney general from Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, yesterday filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Jennings v Rodriguez, a case involving the federal government’s authority to detain non-citizens pending completion of their removal proceedings.
February 11, 2017 (San Diego) – Immigration raids in cities across the nation conducted since Friday are striking fear among immigrant communities. Although the Trump administration has claimed the sweeps are routine, some of those picked up for deportation have no criminal backgrounds, belying President Donald Trump’s post-election promise to focus on criminals.
February 7, 2017 (San Diego) -- Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) announced today she is joint-authoring legislation to protect rental housing tenants from being intimidated or retaliated against because of their immigration status.
January 17, 2017 (Washington, D.C.) - Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of Somalia (and eligible individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in Somalia) for an additional 18 months, effective March 18, 2017, through Sept. 17, 2018.
August 2, 2016 (San Diego) -- A bill by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) aims to assure that an injured person in California receives fair compensation for future income loss and future medical costs regardless of their immigration status. It was approved by the State Senate on a bipartisan 28-11 vote yesterday and next goes to the Governor for signature.
Gov. Haley's official Republican response also faults scapegoating based on race or religion, supports "stopping immigration" -- while Spanish translation hints at amnesty Haley never mentioned
By Miriam Raftery
January 14, 2016 (Washington D.C.)—In his final State of the Union address, President Barack Obama cited his administrations achievements and goals for his final term. But he spent most of his speech focusing on “the next five years, ten years and beyond”, urging an end to divisive partisan politics.
Obama voiced hope for bipartisan support to enact criminal justice reforms. He indicated he will keep pushing to fix a “broken” immigration system, protect kids from gun violence and help workers by raising the minimum wage and fighting for equal pay for equal work, despite opposition from the Republican-controlled Congress.
Then he spoke about changes that have occurred throughout our nation’s history—and changes yet to come.
October 14, 2015 (Sacramento)—Governor Brown has taken action on numerous crime-related bills as well as a measure banning concealed guns on college campuses.
The Governor vetoed 11 crime-related measures, objecting to the fact that each bill would “criminalize conduct that is already proscribed.” Among the bills rejected was one that would have made it a felony to possess date-rape drugs with intent to commit a sexual assault.
A week after a gunman killed nine people at a college in Oregon, Brown signed into law a measure banning the carrying of concealed w4eapons on all school and university campuses in California, except when school officials have granted permission or if the carrier is retired from law enforcement.
Despite controversy over violent crimes, new immigrants commit crimes at lower rate than citizens, Pew Research finds
By Miriam Raftery
July 11, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-Alpine) has announced plans to introduce a bill that would cut federal funds to any city, county or state that has enacted laws to prevent enforcement of federal immigration law, Times of San Diego reports.
The measure comes in response to the fatal shooting of Kate Steinle at the San Francisco waterfront by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an undocumented immigrant with five prior felony arrests. San Francisco, a sanctuary city, did not notify federal officials of Sanchez’s release despite pending deportation orders. Mean while San Francisco’s mayor has announced plans to cooperate with the federal government for deportation of immigrants with a history of violent crimes—a small percentage of the total immigrant population.
May 27, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld an injunction issued by a federal court in Texas which blocks President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The President’s order granted protection from immigration and work permits to millions of undocumented immigrants.
Texas and 25 other states had sued to stop the President’s actions from taking effect this month as scheduled.
March 4, 2015 (El Cajon) - The El Cajon legal clinic is back—with new hours, open Wednesdays from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Free legal assistance is available in the areas of family law, immigration, consumer law, employment law, business law, wills and trusts, civil litigation and more.
January 14, 2015 (Washington D.C.)--The House of Representatives has voted to block funding for immigration reforms ordered by President Barack Obama. The action puts the status of millions of undocumented people who would have been allowed to stay in America under that order in limbo. The language to block funding was inserted into a measure to fund the Department of Homeland Security through September.
In addition, the House added an amendment to halt the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals Program, which stopped deportation for some immigrants who were children when they came to America.
December 2, 2014 (El Cajon) – The San Diego County Law Library announces a free legal clinic in El Cajon at 250 East Main Street. The clinic will provide free legal services on Wednesdays from now through December 17th in the areas of family law, immigration, consumer law, employment law, business law, wills and trusts, civil litigation and more.
President Barack Obama last night announced immigration reforms, just as Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush before him took unilateral actions to expand protections for immigrants after Congress failed to act.
President Obama 's plan will offer temporary relief from deportation to the parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been in the country for more than five years, work and pay taxes. He will also extend a program that already allows undocumented migrants brought here as children to stay in the country. The reforms are temporary, however, and could be undone by a future President and Congress.
Besides offering protections for a limited number of immigrants already in the U.S., the President also announced plans to strengthen enforcement at the border and prioritize enforcement resources to focus on deporting criminals who have convicted felonies, not families or working parents of U.S. citizens.
November 6, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – A hearing is set for February 9, 2015 to approve a final settlement in the American Civil Liberties (ACLU) lawsuit to halt forced deportations by the U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The ACLU won a class action lawsuit filed in 2013 after demonstrating that officials threatened, lied and intimidated undocumented immigrants, forcing them to sign “voluntary” deportation papers even if they had strong claims to remain in the U.S.
August 24, 2014 (La Mesa)--Parishioners and guests at the United Church of Christ in La Mesa lined up to purchase T-shirts proclaiming “Love has no borders,” after hearing an impassioned presentation on the plight of border children August 17th.
Wearing a “Save the Children” tie, pediatrician Dr. Richard Short introduced guest speaker Enrique Morones, founder of Border Angels (www.borderangels.com) . The church congregation has committed to support Border Angels’ efforts to aid immigrant children and families fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. Over 60,000 have flocked to America seeking asylum here, including families and children placed in detention centers here in San Diego County.
“Everybody looks to the president or the mayor. But what can we do?” Morones asked. He emphasized that the Central American refugees are fleeing to numerous nations, not only the United States.