Tuesday, January 05, 2016

The Statue of Liberty is weeping

Since 2014, more than 100,000 families have fled Central America due to violence, poverty, and a growing drought—a figure which does not include the separate influx of unaccompanied minors that also briefly caught national attention. It is a fallacy that the Central and South American immigrants take jobs from Americans. Moreover, they consume, so they stimulate the economy. They pay into Social Security, yet they are ineligible for benefits. Poor native born will not pick our crops and move with the crops. There is another aspect to the immigrant picture. That is that NAFTA has resulted in subsidized corn being dumped south of the border, displacing the campessinos from their farms; thus, go north or die. American corporations have had a major role in the upheaval of rural economies with the likes of Monsanto coercing poblanos to plant corn (ethanol) or soybeans with promises of compensation and then pulling the rug out from under these farmers when it (Monsanto) does not like the figures on their balance sheets. People do not matter, only profits do.

And just because someone argues for taking care of non-citizens, many of whom, if not most, are victims of US foreign policy (Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Syria), does not mean that they are arguing for not taking care of US citizens. ALL are victims. It is disingenuous to separate the two, thereby buying in to the storyline of the 1%. US government is very capable of taking care of all citizens and non-citizens alike who are victims of their policies, if they choose do --the US government simply does not want to do it--they prefer to spend dollars on war-making and weapons sales. The 1% who control government entities does not give a damn about either the domestic poor or the victims of US foreign policy.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is gearing up for a series of raids that would target for deportation hundreds of families who crossed the border from Central America since the beginning of 2015.  DHS director Jeh Johnson pushed for the deportation sweep despite growing violence in countries like El Salvador, where the homicide rate has hit a generational peak. The push comes in part from a recent court ruling that DHS should start releasing migrant families being held in detention centers. A recent series of hunger strikes and other actions throughout the country have highlighted inhumane conditions at facilities in Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Washington states.
"DHS is spending more resources hunting 9-year-olds than it does to respond to the blatant violations in its own agency," said Marisa Franco, director of the national #Not1More Campaign.

Having warned of pending action, the New Year was just hours old when the administration of Obama began rounding up and deporting at least 121 people, some reportedly as young as four years old, presumably back to the drug wars and violence they are fleeing in predominantly Central American countries. The coordinated raids over the weekend focused mostly in Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Monday, and constituted the first wave of mass deportations that could impact up to 15,000 people.  DHS Secretary Jeh Jonson on Monday sought to justify the mass evictions, which he said impact "adults and their children" who have been "issued final orders of removal."
 "This should come as no surprise," said Johnson. "I have said publicly for months that individuals who constitute enforcement priorities, including families and unaccompanied children, will be removed."

According to the advocacy organization #Not1More Deportation, in the Atlanta area starting on Saturday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents "barged into homes, even when asked for warrants at the door, removing mothers and children as young as 4 years old."
"They took away children so young they would've needed car seats in their vehicles for them," said Adelina Nicholls, executive director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, in a statement released on Sunday. "The fear this causes isn’t contained to ICE. It spreads to fear of the police, of local government, especially as ICE tries to get its reach back into local institutions." 

The Los Angeles Times reports that at least 11 families have been taken into custody so far in 2016. DHS says that families are being sent to what are euphemistically referred to as "ICE family residential centers" before being forced to board flights out of the United States.

A year and a half after the President said he wished to make his immigration policy more humane, his agents are rounding up mothers and children with the intent of sending them to likely violence and possible death," Franco continued. Once again Obama demonstrates that he is a two-faced. To send families back into known danger zones is a criminal, inhumane act. Not a legacy to be proud of. Obama lectures other countries on the plight of Syrian refugees. How can his admin not recognize that the people they deporting are refugees as well?

“The boss class kill us, the conservatives cheer, the moderates watch the  deaths on TV, and the liberals weep over our graves and feel guilty about betraying us to the bosses".


"Plane Wreck at Los Gatos"
The crops are all in and the peaches are rott'ning,
The oranges piled in their creosote dumps;
They're flying 'em back to the Mexican border
To pay all their money to wade back again

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;
You won't have your names when you ride the big airplane,
All they will call you will be "deportees"

My father's own father, he waded that river,
They took all the money he made in his life;
My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees,
And they rode the truck till they took down and died.

Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted,
Our work contract's out and we have to move on;
Six hundred miles to that Mexican border,
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.

We died in your hills, we died in your deserts,
We died in your valleys and died on your plains.
We died 'neath your trees and we died in your bushes,
Both sides of the river, we died just the same.

The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon,
A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills,
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says, "They are just deportees"

Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except "deportees"?
Woodie Guthrie

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