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Call for Immigrant Rights Advocates to Boycott White House Meetings

Call for Immigrant Rights Advocates to Boycott White House Meetings

President Obama met with three Central American presidents at the White House Friday afternoon to address the influx of unaccompanied child migrants. According to The Hill, Obama claims to have come to agreement with El Salvador’s Salvador Sánchez Cerén, Honduras’ Juan Orlando Hernández, and Guatemala’s Otto Pérez Molina to “address poverty and violence” in order to stem the immigration tide. Meanwhile, the administration is still attempting to get Congress to approve a nearly $4 billion to increase detention facilities and to hire additional immigration judges to hasten the deportation of children, which seems unlikely to happen before lawmakers take off for vacation at the end of next week.

The White House has hosted several conversations and events about immigration—not just recently about child migrants, but also about the 11 million people who remain undocumented in Obama’s second term. But critics charge that the people most affected by the immigration system, the undocumented themselves, aren’t truly represented in Washington. In a sharp essay over at Latino Rebels, California Immigration Youth Justice Alliance member Hairo Cortes, addresses the issue, and calls for major non-profit immigrant rights advocates to boycott meetings at the White House until Obama discusses the issue with undocumented people. 

With this clear history of unwillingness to lead by taking politically risky positions, and of siding with the political interests over working class immigrant communities, I call on America’s Voice, the National Council of la Raza, the National Immigration Forum, the Center for American Progress, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and all those other advocates who were unwilling to take a stand against deportations when it was most critical for them to do so, to step aside and boycott all further White House meetings until President Obama sits down with and negotiates with the undocumented immigrant day laborers, trans and queer organizers, parents, and youth who brought the proposal of Administrative Relief to the public consciousness when everyone said we should be quiet.

Mainstream advocates have long suggested that grassroots activists should quiet down about the administration’s record-setting deportation numbers and concentrate instead on putting pressure on the Republican Party to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Yet it’s been politically clear that the GOP won’t be moving on such a bill in an election year. In response to partisan blame, Cortes makes clear that his allegiance isn’t with the Democrats, but with his community.

You can read the essay, titled “Undocumented People Must Be at Negotiation Table to Achieve Substantive Relief,” in its entirety over at Latino Rebels

‘Hogtying’ of Inmates Raises Alarm About Nevada Juvenile Detention Conditions

'Hogtying' of Inmates Raises Alarm About Nevada Juvenile Detention Conditions

A Las Vegas family court judge said this week that he would like to expand an inquiry into another juvenile detention facility after ordering that inmates at a juvenile detention center in Elko, Nevada be cleared out, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

“If a parent did that, it would be child abuse — probably charged criminally,” Judge William Voy told the Las Vegas Review-Journal

“When you treat a kid like an animal, you’re going to get an animal,” Voy said. “There’s other ways of dealing with it, without resorting to something that would otherwise be child abuse if it wasn’t in an institution.”

Staff at the Elko facility reportedly restrained juvenile inmates at the Nevada Youth Training Center by linking handcuffs and ankle shackles. Reports of the technique, known as “hobbling” or “hogtying,” spurred Judge Voy to recall 12 youth from Las Vegas who’d been held at the facility. In 2002 the Department of Justice investigated the Nevada Youth Training Center staff after receiving complaints of detainee abuse, AP reported. Five employees were eventually fired.

It’s not just Elko. More than one in four youth held in juvenile detention told researchers with the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (PDF) that they’d been restrained in some way before in 2010. Those physical restraints include: “handcuffs, wristlets, a security belt, chains, or a restraint chair.”

h/t The Crime Report

Palestinian Artist’s Show Opens Without Him in New York

Palestinian Artist's Show Opens Without Him in New York

Palestinian Artist Khaled Jarrar was all set to travel to New York for two recent art openings featuring his work—The New Museum’s “Here and Elsewhere,” and a solo show at the Whitebox Art Center. The artist may be best known for his work at the Berlin Biennale, where he offered “State of Palestine” passport stamps.

But there was a problem. As curator Myriam Vanneschi writes in Hyperallergic, Israel wouldn’t allow Jarrar, who lives in the West Bank, to travel to New York:

Israeli soldiers kept him waiting for hours on end before transporting him, together with a group of others who were denied exit, to a spot further away from the Jordanian border crossing. When they were released, they had no other option but to travel back to Ramallah. It was two o’clock in the morning at that point and he had missed his flight. He had tried to reason with them to no avail. “There is no reasoning,” he said to me. “This is retribution on their part, it is revenge and you can’t reason with that.”

In a letter to Vanneschi included in the curator’s post, Jarrar explains how he was the target of racism and humiliation by Israeli border police.

But that didn’t stop Jarrar and Vanneschi from moving forward. “No Exit,” described as new work “that deals with his status as well as the current situation in Gaza,” opened Thursday evening in New York City. The show, hosted by Whitebox and Undercurrent Projects, runs through August 7.  

Palestinian ‘Day of Rage,’ Central American Presidents at White House and Google Acquiring Twitch

Palestinian 'Day of Rage,' Central American Presidents at White House and Google Acquiring Twitch

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning: 

  • Astronomers find that three exoplanets they hoped would hold water are instead dry
TAGS: Morning Rush

Dept. of Ed Probes Complaint That Newark School Closures Racially Discriminate

Dept. of Ed Probes Complaint That Newark School Closures Racially Discriminate

On Wednesday the U.S. Department of Education confirmed that it has opened an investigation into whether Newark, New Jersey’s school reform plans violate the civil rights of the city’s black students, Reuters reported. Civil rights groups, including the Journey for Justice Alliance and the Advancement Project, filed a complaint in May with the Department of Education alleging that school closures in Newark, New Orleans and Chicago have a unique and disparate impact on black and Latino students, who are vastly overrepresented among those who attend schools targeted with school closures plans in all three cities. Black students were 52.8 percent of Newark public school enrollment but 73.4 percent of those affected by school closures in the 2011 to 2012 school year. White students, meanwhile, were 7.9 percent of the district but just 1.1 percent of those whose schools were shuttered.

In Newark, the school reform plan One Newark is set to close 13 more public K-12 schools. 

“Closing the doors of public schools is not the way to improve public schools,” Sharon Smith, founder of Parents United for Local School Education said at a Wednesday press conference, the Star-Ledger reported.

The civil rights complaint was filed on the same week as the 60th anniversary of the landmark school desegregation Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.

Read the civil rights complaint in full (PDF). Catch up on Colorlines’ coverage of the civil rights complaint.

Study: One in 10 Juvenile Detainees Have Contemplated Suicide

Study: One in 10 Juvenile Detainees Have Contemplated Suicide

One in 10 youth locked up in juvenile detention has experienced suicidal thoughts in the last six months, according to sobering new findings published by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (PDF). The article is the latest installment in a series from the Northwestern Juvenile Project examining the mental health of youth at Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago.

The findings may shed some light on other troubling trends about young people’s experiences in juvenile detention, where the youth commit suicide at two to four times the national rate of youth in the general population.

According to researchers’ findings, not only had 10 percent of youth had thoughts of suicide, 11 percent had attempted suicide at least once. The average age of kids’ first suicide attempt was 12.7 years. Whites are at a higher risk than youth of color for committing suicide. White males were more than two times more likely as black males and five times more likely than Latino males to tell someone about their suicidal thoughts. But researchers also found that Latino and black males were far more likely than others to have thoughts of “death and dying” in the last six months. 

Write the report authors (PDF):

It is unclear whether and how concern about death among African American and Hispanic males is related to risk for suicide. Some studies suggest that such concern may result from a greater likelihood of having lost siblings and peers to violent death as compared to non-Hispanic white males. These findings also may reflect an awareness of a heightened risk of mortality. Among the Cook County sample, African-American and Hispanic males had a substantially greater risk of an early violent death than non-Hispanic males. 

Video: The War on Drugs and War on Immigrants Are Intertwined

Video: The War on Drugs and War on Immigrants Are Intertwined

Here’s an all too easily forgotten reality: mass incarceration and the U.S. deportation machine are deeply intertwined. And black immigrants get swept up in both systems. A new video from the Black Alliance for Just Immigration spells it out:

The rate of detention and criminal deportation is soaring. Black immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America are overrepresented in immigration detention and criminal deportatiton proceedings by five times their presence in the undocumented community. And all Latino undocumented immigrants are disproportionately affected by a wide margin. Ultimately all forms of crimnalization keeps people divided. 

The new video is part of a BAJI campaign called #therealcrime. Find out more at BAJI.

Missing Air Algérie Flight, Israel Attacks U.N. School in Gaza, and #TimeTitles

Missing Air Algérie Flight, Israel Attacks U.N. School in Gaza, and #TimeTitles

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

  • An Air Algérie flight is missing, and likely crashed in northern Mali with about 116 people on board. 
  • Jobless claims fall again to their lowest level since 2006. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

Civil Rights Groups Challenge Texas City’s Attempt to Bar Child Migrants

Civil Rights Groups Challenge Texas City's Attempt to Bar Child Migrants

Civil rights and legal advocacy groups have filed a civil rights complaint over a Texas city’s attempt to block migrant children from being detained in town, reported The Center for Public Integrity.

In early July, League City, Tex., city council members voted 6-2, “to refuse requests or directives by federal agencies to permit or establish any facility for the purposes of processing, housing or detaining any illegal aliens, designated as ‘refugee’ or otherwise.” The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and Appleseed, a Texas-based legal advocacy group, filed the federal complaint, charging that League City’s resolution discriminates against the affected children and violates the Fair Housing Act and Civil Rights Act of 1964. The complaint “is a warning to other municipalities that are considering similar resolutions. Cities can’t accept federal funds, and then use them to discriminate,” MALDEF attorney Marisa Bono told The Center for Public Integrity. 

After several years of steady increases in the numbers of child migrants arriving in the U.S., some 57,000 unaccompanied migrant children fleeing rampant violence and conscription into gangs primarily in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, have so far been apprehended this year while attempting to seek refuge in the U.S. Still, overall flows of migrants crossing into the U.S. are still low. In the last year, Border Patrol has apprehended some 420,000 people, AP reported today, after three years of near historic lows of apprehensions. The last time apprehensions at the border were so low was in 1973, when the Border Patrol arrested 500,000 people, AP reported.

U.N. Suggests Israeli War Crimes, Ukrainian Jets Down and Eric Garner’s Funeral

U.N. Suggests Israeli War Crimes, Ukrainian Jets Down and Eric Garner's Funeral

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

  • Did you recently purchase peaches, plums, pluots or nectarines at Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco, Kroger’s or Trader Joe’s? They’re being recalled
TAGS: Morning Rush

NAACP Backs Fast Food Workers’ Fight for $15 Hourly Wage

NAACP Backs Fast Food Workers' Fight for $15 Hourly Wage

At its annual convention happening in Las Vegas, the NAACP unanimously passed a resolution today backing fast food workers’ ongoing campaign for a $15 hourly wage and a union. 

Burger King and Taco Bell employee Terence Wise, a father of three living in Kansas City, addressed the attendees. “Our children watch us go to work each day only to come home to eviction notices, shut-off notices, and bare cupboards,” Wise told the crowd, according to a statement. “The civil rights movement taught us what to do when our nation defaults on a promise. Straighten your back, stand together, and fight for justice.”

The NAACP resolution notes that, the nation’s “four million fast food workers are the largest group of minimum wage workers in the United States, with workers of color disproportionately represented and especially concentrated in the lowest paying jobs; where only ten percent of workers of color hold management positions compared with almost half of the white men who work in fast food industry, further perpetuating the racial wage gap.”

Read the resolution in full after the jump. 

Revelations of U.S. Spying on American Muslims Don’t Surprise Muslims

Revelations of U.S. Spying on American Muslims Don't Surprise Muslims

The recent revelations that the U.S. monitored the email of five prominent American Muslims failed to shock the Muslim community in the U.S., writes Laila Alawa for The Guardian. American Muslims, by now long used to over a decade of domestic surveillance in and sanctioned discrimination of their communities, have plenty of reason to distrust their government.

And it’s shaping how Muslims in America view the country, and themselves. Writes Alawa:

Many from outside the Muslim American community have been shocked by these revelations and others like them. But for me - beyond the feeling that my long-held suspicions have been confirmed - the knowledge that my faith makes me suspicious in the eyes of the government to which I’ve pledged my allegiance, well, that fazes me less and less everyday.

And for every one of me, there is at least one other young person whose childhood has been shaped by the reality of constant surveillance, government stings and wannabe informants.

After 9/11, I learned quite quickly to keep my head down because I thought that, if I could stay under most people’s radars, I could thrive a world in which stories of warrantless deportationsfaith-based workplace discrimination (and termination) and arrests that resulted in unending detention were common.

I was clearly not alone in making life choices based on my perception that I was - or could be - under surveillance. A 2014 study from the University of California at Berkeley showed that, whether or not Muslim Americans reported being monitored, they still felt significant levels of anxiety and anger about it.

Read Alawa’s piece in full at The Guardian.

Report: Native American Team Mascots Harm Native American Youth

Report: Native American Team Mascots Harm Native American Youth

Lost in the debate over how much money it would cost to change the Washington NFL team’s name or what a name change would mean for the football team’s institutional legacy is the reality that using American Indians as sports team mascots has a real impact on Native Americans.

And far from being limited to the world of pro sports, K-12 schools across the country continue to use American Indians as sports mascots. All of it colors the self-concept of young Native Americans, according to a new report released today from the liberal think tank Center for American Progress (PDF). 

Write report authors Erik Stegman and Victoria Phillips:

American Indian/Alaska Native students across the country attend K-12 and postsecondary schools that still maintain racist and derogatory mascots. Research shows that these team names and mascots can establish an unwelcome and hostile learning environment for AI/AN students. It also reveals that the presence of AI/AN mascots directy results in lower self-esteem and mental health for AI/AN adolescents and young adults. And just as importantly, studies show that these mascots undermine the educational experience of all students, particularly those with little or no contact with indigenous and AI/AN people. In other words, these stereotypical representations are too often understood as factual representations and thus “contribute to the development of cultural biases and prejudices.”

Read the report in full (PDF).

Rick Perry to Send National Guard to Stop Child Migrants

Rick Perry to Send National Guard to Stop Child Migrants

Texas Governor Rick Perry announced Monday plans to send up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border within a month to stem the incoming flow of child migrants, the Washington Post reported. 

The National Guard troops won’t have the power to apprehend anyone. They’ll be there mainly to intimidate migrants who are crossing into the country as “force multipliers,” Texas ABC affiliate KVUE reported. The plan would cost $12 million a month. 

“I will not stand idly by while our citizens are under assault and little children from Central America are detained in squalor,” Perry said Monday, the Washington Post reported.

More than 57,000 child migrants have arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border this year, and 90,000 are expected by year’s end. Children under 12 years old make up the bulk of the largest growth in those who are crossing into the U.S., Pew Research Center announced today. 

It’s unclear yet what role they will take in the crisis. Most migrants have willingly turned themselves in to law enforcement when they’ve been approached, the Washington Post reports.

In the political debate over what to do to address the crisis, Perry has gone hard against President Obama, returning to political lines long favored by conservative politicians by accusing Obama of doing nothing to “secure the borders” in the face of the current crisis. There’s plenty of overlap between Perry and Obama’s actual policy desires, though. In early July, Obama asked Congress for $3.7 billion to address the current situation. Nearly of the requested money would go to house and care for child migrants while they await immigration processing, but much of the funds would go to border enforcement, detention facilities, and immigration judges who could expedite the processing of migrants.

In the U.S. the conversation has primarily been an immigration-focused one, but the U.N. has urged that the child migrants, most of whom are fleeing violence and gang recruitment in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, be considered refugees. 

PTSD Among Gaza’s Youth, Eric Garner’s Death and CCSF

PTSD Among Gaza's Youth, Eric Garner's Death and CCSF

Here’s what I’m reading up on today: 

TAGS: Morning Rush

Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Adds School District Partnerships

Obama's My Brother's Keeper Adds School District Partnerships

The Obama administration is expanding My Brother’s Keeper, it announced today. Sixty of the nation’s largest school districts are joining the federal initiative aimed at lifting up boys and young men of color. 

The New York Times’ Motoko Rich reports that the school districts have pledged to do five separate things: 

“Expand quality preschool access; track data on black and Hispanic boys so educators can intervene as soon as signs of struggle emerge; increase the number of boys of color who take gifted, honors or Advanced Placement courses and exams; work to reduce the number of minority boys who are suspended or expelled; and increase graduation rates among African-American and Hispanic boys.”

Also today, private companies who’ve signed on to My Brother’s Keeper, which was launched in February, announced their own initiatives. The NBA, AT&T and other groups have announced mentoring and education programs of their own.

The Obama administration has worked to address the school-to-prison pipeline elsewhere. The Departments of Justice and Education have taken a particularly proactive approach to the issue, by educating school districts about the racially disparate application of punitive school discipline measures and going after school districts with extreme school-to-prison pipelines in place.

Renisha McBride Murder Trial Begins Today

Renisha McBride Murder Trial Begins Today

Jury selection begins in Detroit today in the case of Renisha McBride, the unarmed and disoriented 19-year-old black woman shot by Theodore Wafer, 54, on his front porch after she had been in a car accident. Although “stand your ground” is reportedly not being used by Wafer’s defense, McBride’s murder last November has drawn attention for its similarities to the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman incident.

(h/t NBC News)

The Latest On Youth Unemployment and Jobs

The Latest On Youth Unemployment and Jobs

Monday morning doesn’t mean work for many young people who want a job. The unemployment rate is inching down, but as NPR reports, one in four blacks and one in six Latinos under the age of 25 can’t find a job. There just aren’t enough of them to go around, Howard University economics professor William Spriggs says, also pointing out that information about job openings segregates along color lines and networks.

In an announcement slated for today, Trymaine Lee reports that Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative (MBK), which aims to improve outcomes for young men and boys of color, is expanding. The $200 million program is getting a $100 million boost from a variety of private partners, including the NBA and NBA Players Association. MBK has been criticized for not including girls and young women of color and its small-scale and foundation funding.

And just FYI, tech initiatives for youth of color are getting more attention lately—likely, because of increasing pressure on the industry to add more blacks, Latinos and women. NPR follows a 20-year-old Oakland woman working double time this summer at her fast-food job and learning tech skills through a nonprofit, Hack the Hood. On the East Coast, another nonprofit, All Star Code, is expanding to help 1,000 young men of color prepare for careers in tech.

If you’re under 25 and employed, how did you find your job? If you’re unemployed, what’s your biggest challenge?

500 Palestinians Dead, NYPD’s Chokeholds, MH 17 Victims

500 Palestinians Dead, NYPD's Chokeholds, MH 17 Victims

Here’s what I’m reading up on today:

  • Sunday marked the deadliest day of fighting in this new round of violence in the Gaza Strip, bringing the Palestinian death toll to nearly 500.
  • International investigators are having trouble recovering bodies from downed Malaysia Airlines flight 17 thanks to separatist rebels in Ukraine.
  • More than 1,000 NYC residents claim to be victims of chokeholds similar to the one that apparently killed Eric Garner. 
  • A court has delayed an Arizona execution due to concerns over the drugs involved. 
  • Shelly Sterling claims to have momentum in the legal battle against her husband Donald for the right to sell the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

Hundreds of Sites Set to Protest Child Migrants, Immigration Reform

Hundreds of Sites Set to Protest Child Migrants, Immigration Reform

Hundreds of U.S. sites are set for anti-immigration demonstrations today and tomorrow, Saturday, July 19. The coordinated protests are being billed as: “The National Day of Protest Against Immigration Reform, Amnesty and Border Surge,” and if you live in a U.S. city, there’s a chance one is happening near you. The protests are organized in partnership with ALIPAC, an anti-immigration organization, and tea party groups. More than 45 are planned to take place across California alone. The Murrieta Border Patrol station, which organizers describe as, the facility “where Americans turned back buses of illegals,” will host protestors as well.

As I reported for in my dispatch from Murrieta, Calif., the city where all these recent protests against child migrants began, the situation is a complex one which draws out folks who consider the recent flows of child refugees a threat to the nation’s identity.

“We have some racists, some bigots in Murrieta. Of course we do,” Rev. Jack Barker of Murrieta’s St. Martha Catholic Church told a crowd of 200 gathered at an evening pro-migrant vigil in front of City Hall last Wednesday, urging the public not to let the angry citizen blockades define the city’s reputation. “But we’re very typical middle America,” Barker said. “We kind of are a microcosm of America in many ways.” 

What protestors outside the Border Patrol station voiced is not so much a nostalgia for the past as it is a longing for political control in a rapidly changing social landscape. After all, social upheaval and demographic change is the very history of the U.S. In recent years in Murrieta, that change has been particularly swift. Murrieta is a whiter town than the rest of the state—56 percent of the city’s population is white compared with 40 percent of California’s. But those dynamics are quickly changing.

Catch up on Colorlines’ coverage of the unaccompanied minors crisisThe list of protest locations is available here.

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