Horrors on the Southern Border

Immigration Asylum in Mexico - source BDNEWS.com

Until recently, our government allowed people from other countries to wait in the U.S. while their requests for asylum were being processed and decided. Now we make them wait on the other side of our border. Thousands of people are indefinitely stranded in places like Matamoros, Mexico, where I just returned from.

Neither our government nor the Mexican government is doing much of anything for these people. They live in small camping tents. They rely upon volunteers to bring them food. Clean water and toilets are scarce, and medical care is minimal. There is no work and no school. Our government’s policy is to let these people languish and suffer, in hopes that they will go away and that others will learn of their misery and decide not to try to come to the U.S.

Deliberately depriving people of food, sanitation, and other essentials of a decent life was the policy the Nazis followed in the 1930s and 40s in the ghettos and concentration camps. Over time during the Nazi era, what started as makeshift detention became large-scale incarceration. Dehumanization was institutionalized.

Today, child asylum seekers are no longer being detained in the U.S. in large tents the way they were at Tornillo, Texas, and Homestead, Florida. Our government has been building a series of permanent camps where children will be held. I visited an old WalMart in Brownsville, Texas where up to 1,500 immigrant children are being imprisoned. I also stopped by a warehouse in Raymondville, Texas, that is being refitted to hold 500 kids. A friend just stood outside a new prison that is under construction in El Paso, Texas, that will hold more than 500 kids. Other facilities are in the pipeline.

It took a while for the Nazis to develop their system of concentration camps. Dachau, established in 1933, became the model for later camps. What I saw in Mexico and Texas reminded me of something terrible. Our incarceration of immigrants is progressing along a terrifying trajectory. We are normalizing child abuse. We are perfecting systems that traumatize people. We are teaching the people who work at these prisons that it is OK to go along with and make money from deliberate cruelty.

I am disturbed by what I saw. But it is good that I saw it.

We have much to do.

Lee Goodman
Peaceful Communities, Inc.

Defend Migrant Families from Trump’s Attacks

Defend migrant families from Trump’s attacks
Hi #Resisters,
June 30th marks one year from the day that #Resisters held over 800 rallies across the country to tell the Trump administration that #FamiliesBelongTogether. Still many families remain separated. #Resisters are coming together to commemorate this anniversary and to demand all families be reunited.
Here’s what #Resisters can do in their own communities:
2. Reach out to #Resist’s organizers to chat about what actions would make the most impact for your area
It’s unacceptable that one year later families are still being separated. #Resisters can make a difference by standing up to this administration and demanding families be reunited. Can you host a #FamiliesBelongTogether event?
Thank you for everything you do,

Attend this Citizenship Ceremony in Waukegan 10/17/17

You are invited to join Congressman Brad Schneider and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services at the historic Genesee Theatre on October 17, at 11AM, to witness over 200 people take their oath of citizenship and become new American Citizens.


Date: October 17, 2017

Address:: Genesee Theatre, 203 North Genesee Street, Waukegan
Time: Ceremony starts at 11 AM sharp; please plan to arrive earlier
Parking: There is a garage a block west and a lot a block east

Urge Gov. Rauner to Sign the TRUST Act to Protect Illinois Immigrants

Immigrants are our neighbors and shouldn’t have to live in fear. Please call Gov. Rauner today.

Here’s the script:
My name is ___.   I am an Illinois resident. I’d like to thank the Governor for his commitment to sign the TRUST Act, and ask that he sign the bill immediately.   Thank you.

Springfield: 217-782-0244             Chicago: 312-814-2121

The Promise of America – New US Citizens Become Registered Voters

Swearing in ceremony for 114 new citizens from 37 countries

Last week I attended my first Citizenship swearing in ceremony. I was there as a volunteer with ICIRR (Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights) to help sign up new citizens to vote. With the Motor Voter registration form, it takes a couple of minutes to fill in the form. It was a bit of a mad house- after everyone has received their Citizenship Certificates, they either go up and have their photos taken in front of the American flag- or just come out of the room enmasse with family and friends. That’s when we are there handing out voter registration forms and suggesting they stay long enough to fill out the form and we will submit it for them. Of the 114 candidates, we got 71 new voters. What a great day for America- and for our new citizens. If you would like to volunteer to help with voter registration, there are weekly ceremonies most Monday through Thursday. Just contact Louisa Sosa at ICIRR at lsosa@icirr.org.

By Holly K

Black Thursday – A Bad Week for Immigrants

Immigrants: We Get the Job Done

by Wendy Rosen

Before you read this post, take five-minutes to watch Lin-Manuel Miranda’s piercing rap-music video, “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done).”


Miranda vividly reminds us of the contributions immigrants make to our country and the injustice they endure. After you watch, consider donating to the “Immigrants: We Get the Job Done Coalition,” which provides legal representation and advocacy for “…immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers who come to us in search of the American Dream.” Do this because it’s been a tough week for immigrants and refugees within or across our borders.

A partial travel ban took effect Thursday, 6/29, at 8 p.m. The 90-day travel ban bars some people from getting visas if they come from one of six Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It also bans an undetermined number refugees from entering the country for the next 120 days. The rules determining who is allowed in are based on the hazy determination of an “bona fide” relationship with someone or something in the U.S.  Vox tries to make sense of these rules with a concise explainer.

The U.S. House of Representatives also passed a pair of immigration enforcement bills Thursday: “Kate’s Law” and “No Sanctuaries for Criminals Act,” giving the Trump administration a legislative win after major setbacks with the health care reform bill. These two immigration bills punish sanctuary cities and boost penalties for immigrants who re-enter the U.S after being deported.

These policies will not only harm immigrant families, they will also harm our country’s economy, according to Bloomberg. The loss of immigrants is fueling a labor shortage for U.S. businesses. And fearful immigrant consumers are staying home instead of shopping.

The Trump administration’s claims that connect immigration to crime are proven false by a recent meta-analysis that scanned decades of data. This analysis shows overwhelming consensus that there is no link between crime and immigration.

These administrative policies are nothing more than thinly-veiled racism aimed at spreading chaos and fear. They target hard-working men and women, mothers and fathers, and daughters and sons who arrived on our shores seeking better lives. As we are about to launch fireworks into the night sky to celebrate our nation’s independence, let’s remember those immigrants who came before us to shape our future. We can, and must, do better than this.