Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…
…but mainly those with an H1-B-eee
(Yes, this post is long, but I consider it a Labor of Love, and I hope you will, too, and read it. These are things I believe we need to know.)
‘A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’
~ Emma Lazarus
No, no; not so much those nameless deportees that came here to escape the depredations and murderous dangers in the global south, so many of which were aided and abetted by US policies and activities. They might be carrying ebola.leprosy.drugs.alqaedacards.unbornbabbies.bedbugs.lice.whathaveyou.
Wsws.org writes that Obama deported a record 438,421 people last year, the highest number of annual deportations in US history, and that number is on track to escalate, of course, especially with the reported 60 or 70,000 unaccompanied minors that came over the summer and created the ‘crisis on the border’. I know you remember reading about it; it was the talk of the nation for a few news cycles.
You will have heard that they all have their day in court before an immigration judge, but wsws reports that last year, a record 44% of the deportations were ‘expedited removals’, meaning summary thumbs down, go back to Go; do not collect 200 pesos.
The site also reports:
‘In July, the Obama administration asked Congress to allocate $3.7 billion in funding to “support a sustained border security surge through enhanced domestic enforcement,” along with additional staff to speed up deportations, including the hiring of administrators and prosecutors to kick families and individual children out of the country.
Obama’s proposal included $40 million for air surveillance, including additional funds to significantly expand the use of military drones within the borders of the United States.”
It’s unclear if Congress ever appropriated any new money, especially as it’s all become a partisan campaign poo-flinging contest. Here and there one reads the figure $2.6 billion.
But: How are those assumed billions or other federal funds (including DHS) being used?
For one, this singularly fucked up planned facility (the Guardian):
‘The Texas Observer reports that federal officials are preparing to open the nation’s largest family detention centre, a 2,400-bed facility that will nearly double the current capacity to house immigrant families awaiting deportation. The centre will be developed on a sprawling 50-acre property near the town of Dilley, 70 miles south-west of San Antonio, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials told the monthly magazine.
The Observer says the centre will be run by the nation’s largest for-profit corrections company, the Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). The company, which operates more than 60 detention centres and prisons across the country, has been mired by controversies that include inmate abuse, falsifying official records and aggressive lobbying tactics. In 2009, federal officials removed all immigrants with children from a 490-bed Texas facility operated by CCA. The facility had been the focus of a damning 2007 report on family detention by the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children that concluded detention was wildly inappropriate for children.
An obscure provision tucked into the Department of Homeland Security’s spending plan, known as the “bed mandate”, requires law enforcement officials to hold an average of 34,000 immigrants in detention each day. The quota keeps detention centres full, a huge boon for the for-profit corrections companies that get paid per bed. In 2013, CCA’s revenue nearly topped $1.7bn (£1bn).’
During interviews on her program ‘Migrant Women, Children Allege Harsh Conditions, Sexual Assault at For-Profit Texas Immigration Jail’, Amy Goodman interviews immigrant rights advocates who tell of the most hideous abuses that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforecement, or ‘La Migra’) detainees experience while in captivity in centers across the US. We’re able to learn some of their names and stories, bless Amy’s heart. For instance:
CRISTINA PARKER (author of the new report out called “For-Profit Family Detention: Meet the Private Prison Corporations Making MIllions by Locking Up Refugee Families”) : Sure. The GEO Group is the private prison company that is contracted to run the Karnes County family detention center. And they have a long track record of abuse and neglect and misconduct in their facilities. It should be no surprise to anyone, actually, that sexual abuse and denial of medical treatment happened almost as soon as the facility was opened.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you give more examples of what you have found?
CRISTINA PARKER: Sure. You know, one of the things that we see is that this misconduct is really persistent. For instance, in the Walnut Grove juvenile center in Mississippi, guards frequently used beatings and violence and sexual assault against the boys who are held there. They also retaliated a lot against people when they complained. So the boys would complain about their treatment, and they’d be put into solitary confinement. So, if you look many miles away at a facility in Pecos, Texas, called the Reeves detention center, the same thing happened. A man who had—who suffered from epilepsy complained of his lack of medical treatment, and he was put into solitary confinement. He spent a month there before he died of complications of a seizure alone. It actually caused a riot in the prison.’
What person of conscience can fail to weep at these stories? What person can fail to be shake with rage hearing them? The people who create the policies and reap the profits, of course. They are soulless bastards, all, but they are our Rulers and their minions, allowed to punish and profit at the expense of our nation’s ever-decreasing ‘humanity’.
Ah, yes: Because vicious, predatory capitalism.
Other border crisis amelioration expenses:
When Obama announced that the great influx of unaccompanied minors was ‘a humanitarian disaster’, he also signaled that he would be working with the nations south of the borer to ameliorate the crisis. This is one example:
Todd Miller’s ‘Mexico: The U.S. Border Patrol’s Newest Hire’ in which he explains how the Border Patrol’s credo “the U.S.-Mexico border is our last line of defense” has now reached 1000 miles south to the border southern border of Mexico.
‘Since July, there has been a surge of Mexican immigration agents, federal police and military — with a gauntlet of roadside checkpoints and sophisticated surveillance equipment at their disposal — in an enforcement belt that goes hundreds of miles into Mexico’s interior. “Subordination,” said Miguel Angel Paz of the Mexican immigration rights organization Voces Mesoamericanas, “is part of the relationship Mexico has with the United States.” The U.S. border enforcement regime has gone beyond policing the U.S.-Mexico divide to patrolling south to Central America, targeting the men, women and children seeking refuge in the north.’
Working with rightwing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, the US helped to create the ‘21st century border’; my guess would be that a lot more funding is involved; see my bold.
‘The collaboration between the U.S. and Mexico has been going on for quite some time. What started with a U.S.-backed deportation campaign known as Plan Sur in 2000 has been transformed into what officials in 2010 dubbed the 21st century border. This is the official name of the third pillar of the Merida Initiative, a U.S. military aid package to Mexico. In 2014 alone, the United States designated $112 million to help modernize and make more efficient Mexico’s border policing and militarization.
Included, with additional funding from the Department of Defense, were X-ray vans, contraband detection kits, biometric kiosks and accompanying databases to store facial and retinal information and fingerprints. Included are funds for Mexico’s National Institute of Migration, the Mexican Marines and federal police for facility construction, patrol boats, night vision and communication equipment and maritime sensors. There are helicopters, which the Washington Office on Latin America says have been spotted in places near Mexico’s southern border. And there are the K-9 units, the drug and contraband-sniffing dogs.’
DHS head Jeh Johnson has said that while it’s important to treat the children humanely, we must send the message that undocumented migrants are not welcome.
‘Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost back from whence they came…’
Who are the visitors and why have they come?
Of the 438,421 total immigrants deported, 314,904 came from Mexico, while another 46,866 came from Guatemala, 36,526 came from Honduras and 20,862 came from El Salvador.
‘Globalization and NAFTA Caused Migration from Mexico’ by David Bacon
‘In 1994 [under Bill Clinton], however, the year the North American Free Trade Agreement took effect, U.S. speculators began selling off Mexican government bonds. According to Jeff Faux, founding director the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, DC-based progressive think tank, “NAFTA had created a speculative bubble for Mexican assets that then collapsed when the speculators cashed in.”20 In NAFTA’s first year, 1994, one million Mexicans lost their jobs when the peso was devalued. To avert a flood of capital to the north, then-U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin engineered a $20 billion loan to Mexico, which was paid to bondholders, mostly U.S. banks.
In return, U.S. and British banks gained control of the country’s financial system. Mexico had to pledge its oil revenue to pay off foreign debt, making the country’s primary source of income unavailable for the needs of its people. As the Mexican economy, especially the border maquiladora industry, became increasingly tied to the U.S. market, tens of thousands of Mexican workers lost jobs when the market shrank during U.S. recessions in 2001 and 2008. “It is the financial crashes and the economic disasters that drive people to work for dollars in the U.S., to replace life savings, or just to earn enough to keep their family at home together,” says Harvard historian John Womack. Immigrants, Migrants, or Displaced People?
Gang and druglord murders and guns. Well, yes; end the drug wars, end the violence to hapless citizens in ‘our backyard’.
End the Drug War proponents:
‘The Immigration Crisis: Just Another Byproduct of the Drug War
By Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
(Ironically as you’ll see) Hispanic Political Caucus, quoting Franklin above.
Even Business Week, for crying out loud: ‘To Fix the Child Refugee Crisis, End the War on Drugs’.
The violence in Mexico and Central America is of course takes weapons. ‘Study: A quarter million US guns are smuggled into Mexico every year’: Mexican officials have long blamed lax gun laws in the US for the availability of weapons in Mexico, which has only one gun store and considers gun ownership a privilege, not a right.’ Yes, and I reckon the true numbers are quite a bit higher.
And what of US Imperial policy in Central America (Guatemala El Salvador, and Honduras, especially)?
‘US Policies Exacerbate Migration Crisis in Guatemala’, from upsidedownworld.org:
‘Will the U.S. continue with failed strategies, or take this crisis as a much-needed opportunity to examine our own policies and priorities and their impact on the most vulnerable groups in Central America?
The topic brought the presidents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to the U.S. this week to meet with President Barack Obama about how the four countries can work together to stem the flow north. At an event on Thursday, Guatemalan President Pérez Molina suggested that the U.S. should divert one tenth of the $20 billion that it has spent on securing the U.S.-Mexico border to invest instead in security in Central America.
Unfortunately, this proposal, like Obama’s request to Congress for emergency funds, ignores how U.S. policies are contributing to the very violence and insecurity that many of the children are fleeing. As the case of Guatemala makes clear, there is an urgent need to stop and evaluate U.S. drug, security and economic policies to see how they fit into the root causes of this crisis.’
The coups in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador:
Most ‘progressive’ sources stop at: ‘the Obama Administration did not object to the coup’ in Honduras, even as interviewees tell horrid tales of their former lives in Honduras due to the brutal US approved new government. But from Aviva Chomsky at Truthout:
‘Let’s start with what’s truly at stake here. First, U.S. policies directly led to today’s crises in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Since Washington orchestrated the overthrow of the reformist, democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, it has consistently cultivated repressive military regimes, savagely repressed peasant and popular movements for social change, and imposed economic policies including so-called free trade ones that favor foreign investors and have proven devastating to the rural and urban poor.
Refugees from U.S.-sponsored dirty wars in Guatemala and El Salvador — mostly peasants whose communities had been subjected to scorched-earth policies and the depredations of right-wing death squads — began to pour into the United States in the 1980s. The refugee flood from Honduras didn’t begin until the United States supported a military coup against that country’s elected leftist president in 2009. The youths crossing the border today are often the children and grandchildren of those initial refugees, and are fleeing the endemic violence and economic destruction left behind by the wars and the devastation that resulted from them. In other words, the policies that led to the present “crisis” were promoted over the decades with similar degrees of enthusiasm by Republicans and Democrats.’
Interestingly, former Secretary of State Clinton seems to be burnishing her neo-con cred in preparations for 20016. The good Mark Weisbrot recently penned: ‘Hard choices: Hillary Clinton admits role in Honduran coup aftermath’:
‘In a recent op-ed in The Washington Post, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a review of Henry Kissinger’s latest book, “World Order,” to lay out her vision for “sustaining America’s leadership in the world.” In the midst of numerous global crises, she called for return to a foreign policy with purpose, strategy and pragmatism. She also highlighted some of these policy choices in her memoir “Hard Choices” and how they contributed to the challenges that Barack Obama’s administration now faces.
The chapter on Latin America, particularly the section on Honduras, a major source of the child migrants currently pouring into the United States, has gone largely unnoticed. In letters to Clinton and her successor, John Kerry, more than 100 members of Congress have repeatedly warned about the deteriorating security situation in Honduras, especially since the 2009 military coup that ousted the country’s democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. As Honduran scholar Dana Frank points out in Foreign Affairs, the U.S.-backed post-coup government “rewarded coup loyalists with top ministries,” opening the door for further “violence and anarchy.” [snip]
Whoa, Nellie: he calls Pants on fire, Hillary, and finishes his piece:
‘This may not come as a surprise to those who followed the post-coup drama closely. (See my commentary from 2009 on Washington’s role in helping the coup succeed here, here and here.) But the official storyline, which was dutifully accepted by most in the media, was that the Obama administration actually opposed the coup and wanted Zelaya to return to office.’
The day after the report on the 2013 deportment numbers was released, President Barack Obama spoke to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute gala on Thursday night, Oct. 3. About 100 protesters stood outside the Walter E.Washington Convention Center chanting for a halt in deportations; he has been quoted as saying that after the midterms, he will…fight something or other differently. What.ev.er.
In this 17-second clip on youtube, protestors sang ‘Si se puede!’ (Yes we can!) at the gala event.
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(cross-posted at Café-Babylon.net)