I am continuing my activism and speaking out to change our broken immigration system.
- CHANGING THE FAMILY DETENTION CENTER POLICIES:. On June 24, 2015 Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced "changes" in family detention center processes and policies:
- "Today we are announcing additional important reforms. In the last few days, Director Saldaña and her senior immigration enforcement team have presented me with a plan to offer release with an appropriate monetary bond or other condition of release to families at residential centers who are successful in stating a case of credible or reasonable fear of persecution in their home countries. Further, Director Saldaña has also presented me with criteria for establishing a family's bond amount at a level that is reasonable and realistic, taking into account ability to pay, while also encompassing risk of flight and public safety. I have accepted and approved this plan.
- Additionally, I am directing that USCIS conduct credible fear and reasonable fear interviews within a reasonable timeframe. In substance – the detention of families will be short-term in most cases.
These actions did not occur in a vacuum. Hundreds if not thousands of people have emailed, called or written letters to both Secretary Johnson and Director Saldana demanding that the inhuman conditions at the two Texas family detention centers be removed AND that the women and children be freed. The immigrant women have conducted hunger strikes and in early June there was a major march and demonstration outside the Dilley, TX facility. This is a first step for immigrant rights activists and for the families detained in the centers. http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-immigration-family-detention-20150624-story.html
BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE!
FRANCISCO AGUIRRE BACK IN COURT IN PORTLAND, OREGON
Francisco spent five months in Sanctuary last fall in Augustana Lutheran Church with his wife Dora and two small daughters. He was back in court this past Monday to address the charges of "illegal re-entry", the favorite way that U.S. Attorney offices nationally are prosecuting immigrants. It is a complicated case but basically, Francisco argued that in 1999 when he was originally arrested on a drug charge, he was given inaccurate information about his legal choices and thus, was deported. The U.S. federal judge is taking under advisement both sides of the case and will issue a ruling in a few weeks.
BUT there were 50 people in the court room supporting Francisco and another 30 or so outside the federal courthouse waiting to hear the outcome. Dora, Francisco's wife, thanked the crowd but said that she is still worried about the outcome. Their two girls ask their Dad, "Where are you going? Are we going back to Augustana again?" Francisco tries to describe what ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) does. His oldest daughter quipped, "Dad, why don't we send ICE to El Salvador and we can stay here?" GREAT IDEA!
ACLU is sending a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking her to end the practice of U.S. Attorney Offices to pursue "illegal entry" cases. I will post the letter in my next blog as we need to add our voices to this petition. As one speaker said at yesterday's rally, GET ICE OUT OF OREGON, We can Do Better, WE Know Better and We Demand Better!!