A La Mesa writer finds a way to help families released from ICE detention
By Mimi Pollack
Photo: Honduran man and his two sons
August 1, 2018 (San Diego) -- Helping others is not political. It is good for the soul. When you help others, you forget about your own problems for awhile. In addition, nobody should make you feel bad about who you decide to help. In my case, as a writer, I have interviewed many good folks assisting others -- be they two legged or four legged recipients – and ended up also giving to many charitable human and animal organizations.
August 1, 2018 (El Cajon) – Houda Al Sidnawi arrived in the United States in 2016 with both of her parents and her two younger sisters, now 16 and 10. The family left Syria in 2012 at the brink of the civil war and immigrated to Egypt where they obtained appropriate documentation to enter the United States on refugee visas.
ECM Editor Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report
July 3, 2018 (El Cajon) -- Over a hundred people marched down Main Street through downtown El Cajon Saturday, June 30, joining the chorus of “Families Belong Together” protesters from cities across the nation.
Their chants, “families belong together” and “let the children go," received affirmations from passersby. Drivers honked their horns. Workers from restaurants and barber shops stuck their heads through their front doors greeting the march with waves and thumbs up.
July 3, 2018 (Sacramento) – A preliminary injunction obtained by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in January halted the Trump administration from ending renewals of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
June 28, 2018 (San Diego) –Earlier this month, members of Congress visited detention facilities holding boys separated from their immigrant parents at the border. But thus far, no members have been allowed to go inside facilities holding girls who were taken from their mothers or fathers, and no photos have been released showing girls inside the detention centers including one in Lemon Grove. Now San Diego Congresswoman Susan Davis has signed a letter along with over 50 Democratic women members of Congress pressing the Secretaries of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS) to release details about immigrant children separated from their parents.
June 27, 2018 (San Diego) – U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego issued a ruling Tuesday ordering the Trump administration to end separation of parents from children at the border and to reunite families already separated, except in limited circumstances.
Photo: Many women and children from Mexico and Central America waited to see if they would be the next people allowed to enter the U.S. Photo by Chris Stone
June 24, 2018 (San Diego) - Natash waited in line Saturday morning to present herself to U.S. immigration officials at the PedWest Port of Entry, believing that America is the “best place where human rights are respected.
Critics denounce plant to incarcerate entire families
By Miriam Raftery
Photo:Protester outside immigrant child detention facility in El Cajon
June 20, 2018 (Washington D.C.) -- President Donald Trump today announced that he has signed an executive order to end the controversial separation of children and parents at the border. The Trump administration now plans to detain parents and their kids together for the foreseeable future, the New York Times reports.
Photo: Graduate Leon Sanchez Reyes (left) with his sister and two younger brothers.
June 14, 2018 (San Diego) --This year, UC San Diego’s class of 2018 will be having the majority of commencement ceremonies on Saturday, June 16 and Sunday, June 17. A total of 7,449 students will take the stage this weekend as this year’s graduating class participates in the campus’ various commencement ceremonies. Among the students is Leon Sanchez ReyesJust two weeks before starting his first year at UC San Diego in 2014, Sanchez Reyes’ parents were deported. The immigration agents explained to him that his parents were going to be sent back to Mexico and nothing could be done about it.
“I felt abandoned and full of anger. Not at my parents, not at the officers—they were only doing their job—but at the system for leaving four children without their parents,” said Sanchez Reyes. The next night, Sanchez Reyes and his siblings met with their parents in Tijuana, discussing schooling and housing plans. Sanchez Reyes had secured housing on campus for his first year, but his parents and siblings had to relocate to Tijuana and then Rosarito.
May 16, 2018 (San Diego) – San Diego’s City Council has voted to join cities and states filing an amicus brief to support California’s sanctuary state laws against a lawsuit filed by the Trump administration. The Council’s action is the polar opposite of County Supervisors, who voted to support the federal lawsuit against our state.
May 9, 2018 (San Diego) – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, visiting border communities in San Diego and Arizona in the past week, affirmed a zero-tolerance policy of prosecuting anyone who crosses the border illegally. He also made clear that no compassion will be shown to parents seeking a safe haven in America for their children, stating, “If you’re smuggling a child, then we’re going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law. If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally.”
April 11, 2018 (San Diego)— Governor Jerry Brown has approved a request from President Donald Trump to send National Guard troops to the international border, funded by the federal government to combat “lawlessness,” according to the President’s request.
But in his response to the Trump administration, Brown indicated that the 400 troops sent by California will be utilized not for immigration enforcement, but rather for “new staffing will allow the Guard to do what it does best: support operations targeting transnational criminal gangs, human traffickers and illegal firearm and drug smugglers along the border, the coast and throughout the state,” threats that are priorities for both Democrats and Republicans, including two prior administrations, Brown noted.
March 8, 2018 (Sacramento) – The U.S. Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against California, as well as the state’s governor and attorney general. The suit claims that three specific “sanctuary” laws aimed at protecting some undocumented immigrants are unconstitutional.
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.