NWDC: Despite Threats and Retaliation, Hunger Strikers Continue Protest ICE Ignores Demands for Improved Conditions

NWDC: RELEASE May 4, 2017
Despite Threats and Retaliation, Hunger Strikers Continue Protest
ICE Ignores Demands for Improved Conditions

Tacoma, WA/The Dalles, OR – Immigrants held at ICE facilities in two states – the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC), run by GEO Group, and NORCOR, a rural public jail – continued their hunger strike today, despite growing weakness from lack of food. The exponential growth of immigration detention has led ICE to contract the function of detaining immigrants out to both private prison companies and to county governments, with both treating immigrants as a source of profit.

ICE has been using NORCOR as ‘overflow’ detention space for immigrants held at NWDC, and is regularly transferring people back and forth from the NWDC to NORCOR. People held at NORCOR have limited access to lawyers and to the legal documents they need to fight and win their deportation cases. They are often transferred back to NWDC only for their hearings, then shipped back to NORCOR, where they face terrible conditions. Jessica Campbell of the Rural Organizing Project affirmed, “No one deserves to endure the conditions at NORCOR – neither the immigrants ICE is paying to house there, nor the people of Oregon who end up there as part of criminal processes. It’s unsafe for everyone.”

The strike began on April 10th, when 750 people at the NWDC began refusing meals. The protest spread to NORCOR this past weekend. Maru Mora Villalpando of NWDC Resistance confirmed, “It’s very clear from our contact with people inside the facilities and with family members of those detained that the hunger strike continues in both Oregon and Washington State.” She continued, “The question for us is, how will ICE assure that the abuses that these whistle-blowing hunger strikers have brought to light are addressed?”

From the beginning of the protest, instead of using the strike as an opportunity to look into the serious concerns raised by the hunger strikers, ICE and GEO have both denied the strike is occurring and retaliated against strikers. Hunger strikers have been transferred to NORCOR in retaliation for their participation. One person who refused transfer to NORCOR was put in solitary confinement.

Just this week, hunger striking women have been threatened with forced feeding – a practice that is recognized under international law to be torture. In an attempt to break their spirit, hunger strikers have been told the strike has been ineffective and that the public is ignoring it.

Hunger striker demands terrible conditions inside detention center be addressed- including the poor quality of the food, the $1 a day pay, and the lack of medical care. They also call for more expedited court proceedings and the end of transfers between detention facilities. Hunger strikers consistently communicate, “We are doing this for our families.” Despite their incredibly oppressive conditions, locked away and facing deportation in an immigration prison in the middle of an industrial zone and in a rural county jail, hunger strikers have acted collectively and brought national attention to the terrible conditions they face and to the ongoing crisis of deportations, conditions the U.S. government must address.

For live updates, visit https://www.facebook.com/NWDCResistance/.

Turning the Tide Campaign: National call.

U.S. for All of Us: No Room for Racism- summer call:

Turning the Tide from Hate to Human Rights

Join us for a national call about the Georgia Summer of Human Rights, the National Turning the Tide Campaign, and anti-racist organizing to help build a grassroots migrant justice movement from below.

Thursday July 7th at 11am PST/ 1pm CST/ 2pm EST

Call-In Number: 712-432-0900 Access Code: 985296#

please press *6 to mute for the call!

Since the passage of Arizona’s SB 1070 last year, the country has been in a debate about which direction to go in. One that offers inclusion and real solutions, or the smokescreen of attrition seen in the acts of Sheriff Arpaio and others. As 1070 copycats spread across the country and federal policies like “secure communities” expands the Arizonification of the US, the national Turning the Tide campaign has linked grassroots groups in a united effort.

This summer, Turning the Tide is organizing the Georgia Summer of Human Rights to accompany on-the-ground organizing by local groups. Learn about the broader moment, movement, and how to get involved.

Our Speakers:

Paulina Hernandez-Gomez is a queer femme cha-cha girl, artist, trainer, political organizer & trouble-maker-at-large from Veracrúz, Mexico. She is the Co-Director of Southerners on New Ground (SONG), and comes from a background in farm worker and immigrant rights organizing, youth organizing, anti-violence work, and cultural work.

B. Loewe comes out of the global justice movements during the turn of the millenium. Before joining the National Day Labor Organizing Network (NDLON) as the communications director this fall, B was one of the organizers of the US Social Forum in Detroit and previous to that, a co-director of the Latino Union of Chicago.

Please rsvp to Sharon Martinas: cws@igc.org
for more info check out usforallofus.org

The Brown Codes of Georgia: Black Agenda Report

This is really quite disturbing, how Arizona has become a source of toxic legislation to the rest of the nation. Sorry, folks.


Georgia: The Next Show Me Your Papers State?
By Bruce A. Dixon
Created 03/16/2011 – 11:59
Submitted by Bruce A. Dixon on Wed, 03/16/2011 – 11:59

If some racist Georgia politicians have their way, Georgia will be the next “show me your papers” state. Legislation has already passed in the GA House that will criminalize the everyday activity of undocumented persons, further isolate and stigmatize them, and allow any yahoo with a computer and legal forms standing to sue police departments, judges, city and state officials and agencies who fail to enforce these laws with sufficient rigor and viciousness. Sign the petition demanding GA governor Nathan Deal veto Georgia’s proposed Brown Codes, and your signature will be presented to the governor’s office on March 24, Georgia’s Day of Truth & Dignity.

Last week Georgia’s House of Representatives passed a package of laws that so out-does Arizona’s B 1070 for racist meanness and overreach that some are calling them the Brown Codes [8], after the post-Civil War Black Codes [9] of the 19th century. Like their namesakes, the new Brown Codes are designed to stigmatize, isolate and criminalize an entire community. But while 19th century laws could be written to specifically apply to former slaves, Africans, descendants of Africans, and anybody with visible African heritage, 21st century custom obliges even the most blatant apartheid laws to maintain a veneer of color blindness in their language, while their application and results are carefully calculated to single out targeted communities.

1. Georgia’s proposed Brown Codes [8] write the racist slur “illegal aliens [10]” into state law;

In the spirit of racist American white nationalism, Georgia’s Brown Codes create a class of person it calls — specifically in the legislation — “illegal aliens [10].” This is exactly the same as tacking some degrading adjective onto the n-word, and writing that racist calumny into state law. As we and many others have said elsewhere, the term “illegal aliens [10]” is a dehumanizing and racist slur, the kind of thing civilized people should not allow friends, enemies, or total stragers to utter in their hearing without fear of reproach or correction.

The purposeful logic of the “illegal alien” slur is to deprive targeted people of their humanity, to declare them “aliens” rather than humans, so that they can be made “illegal.” After all, even the most racist American xonophobes sometimes find it hard to make their mouths say “illegal person” or ‘illegal humans.” But now, under Georgia’s Brown Codes, humans unable to prove their immigration status to a doctor before treatment, to a school official upon enrollment, to a taxi driver on the way to work, or to a law enforcement officer for any reason or no reason at all are to stripped of their human rights because they are no longer humans. They become what the legislation specifically calls “illegal aliens,” the legal prey of citizens and bereft of most of the rights of humans.

2. Georgia’s proposed Brown Codes [8] create a series of new, immigration-related felonies;

Look for a job, go to jail!

UnderGeorgia’s proposed Brown Codes, applying for a job with a false ID will become a felony punishable by one to five years in prison for the first offense, and three to twenty years in prison for the second offense. If the name or social security number on the ID is that of an actual person, living or dead it becomes “aggravated identity fraud”, a one to ten year stretch the first offense and a three to fifteen for each additional count. The law further specifies that sentences for these offenses may not run concurrently with each other or with any other sentence, that they can only run consecutively. Take that, Arizona!

Give somebody a ride, go to jail!

Giving an undocumented person a ride to a job or to anyplace that furthers a job search will be a misdemeanor for the first offense, and a one to five year felony for subsequent offenses. Taking eight or more such persons at a time into a vehicle for the purpose of working or seeking work will be a one to five year felony for the first offense. Again, no concurrent sentences, only consecutive ones. The only exceptions the law allows are government officials transporting the undocumented to or between courts and jails and administrative proceedings. Taxi and bus drivers, beware!

“Harboring” an undocumented person? Go to jail!

Here’s what the Brown Codes [8] say…

“’Harboring’ or ‘harbors’ means any conduct that tends to substantially help an illegal alien to remain in the United States in violation of federal law…including any building or means of transportation, when such person knows that the person being concealed, harbored, or shielded is an illegal alien, shall be guilty of the offense of concealing or harboring an illegal alien…”

“Harbor” seven or fewer, and your first offense? A misdemeanor, with up to a year sentence. Second and subsequent offenses are one to five felonies. More than seven? Accepting money for this favor, or making a profit? Felony, one to five for the first offense.

There are several more new felonies, but you get the idea. Arizona’s got nothing on Georgia cracker bile and meanness. If Arizona’s racist Sheriff Joe does run for the U.S. Senate, as he is rumored to be doing, if he makes it to DC, he’ll have some like-minded colleagues to caucus with from here. Maybe we can show him how it’s really done.

3. Under Georgia’s proposed Brown Codes [8], all law enforcement officers on contact with any inhabitant of the state will be required to make a “reasonable effort” to ascertain that person’s immigration status

It might be as simple as a glance during a traffic stop. Buffy and Ken don’t look like immigrants. Jose and Hilda? That’s another matter. They might have to answer a question, show some paper. Before the Brown Codes, law enforcement officers were not required to make a “reasonable effort” to determine status unless the person was in custody for a serious offense, such as a felony. Under the Brown Codes, anybody within sight of a law enforcement officer may be questioned and required to prove citizenship or legal status, for any reason or no reason. Take that, Sheriff Joe!

4. Georgia’s proposed Brown Codes [8] enable & encourage any and everybody to sue and recover damages from and force compliance on the part of any state official, judge or body of local government that fails to enforce the Brown Codes with sufficient rigor.

This is Georgia. Our jails are not full enough and our courts ain’t all that busy. You still can’t sue corporations that poison your air or water, or that sell you murderously unsafe products, deceptive insurance or financial instruments or the like. Class action? Forget about it. Free discovery? You must be dreaming. That is, unless you imagine a local police department isn’t investigating and rounding up immigrants fast enough, or a judge isn’t sentencing them long enough, or the principal of your child’s school or your local hospital has allowed a few to slip past its checkpoints….

Georgia’s new Brown Codes will give any yahoo with a computer and some legal forms free discovery and the legal standing to sue to force compliance on the part of and recover damages from any judge, sheriff, police department, city, county or state official or subdivision of state or local government for failing to enforce its provisions with sufficient rigor and viciousness. Georgia will lend its courts and judicial system to any yahoo that wants to ratchet enforcement up a notch.

Who says the South isn’t different? And where are the Democrats on this?

While Democrats in Georgia’ House, who are almost all black outside metro Atlanta, voted against the measures, and a few made impassioned speeches from the state house floor, none conducted public hearings in their own communities, especially black communities, to inform them of the provisions of the new Brown Codes. Georgia’s leading Democrats are like that. Lots of talk, relatively little action, practically no effort to educate the public.

Nationally, the immigrant community supported President Obama and Democrats overwhelmingly the last several elections, and has little to show for it. Deportations however, are at an all time high under President Obama. The president did issue a tepid sort of condemnation of Arizona’s notorious anti-immigrant law. We hope he does at least that much for Georgia, but we aren’t counting on it. Locally the black mayor of Atlanta, while he was a leading Democratic state senator, sponsored legislation that would have made it a felony to look for a job with a fake ID back in 2006 [11]. So even if Dems are voting against this stuff this time, counting on the Democratic establishment to effectively oppose this kind of thing is, well… unwise.


Georgia’s immigrant communities have declared that March 24 in Atlanta and statewide will be a Day of Dignity, during which all are asked to assemble at the state capital and make visible our demands to honor the humanity of all peoples, to oppose the racist assaults on immigrants unde cover of state law. The Georgia Green Party, of which in full disclosure I am a state committee member warmly endorses the Day of Dignity, as probably do many Democrats, as individuals, at least.

Please sign the petition [12] asking Governor Nathan Deal not to out-do Arizona in its demonstration of racist meanness. It’s unworthy of all of us. We will present hard copy of the signatures to the governor’s representatives on March 24, only a few days away. Those who sign and mark the “contact me” box will receive a follow-up note with stills or video of the presentation of their signatures to the governor’s office by month’s end.

So click here and sign now [12], especially if you live in Georgia. We don’t want Georgia to be the next “show me your papers” state. Thank you.

Bruce Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and based in Marietta GA. He’s also a member of the state committee fo the Georgia Green Party, and reachable at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Abused and Deported: Immigrant Women Face Double Disgrace

From: New America


La Opinión, News Report, Pilar Marrero, Translated by Elena Shore, Posted: Mar 17, 2011

María Bolaños has been fighting her deportation for more than a year, since a fight with her husband when she called the police to report that she was a victim of domestic violence. The police arrived at her home and, suspecting her of illegally selling phone cards, ordered her arrest.

Her case is the most well known, but activists say all programs that mix police work with immigration enforcement represent a growing threat to immigrant women who are victims of domestic violence.

“The Department of National Security hasn’t been very effective in identifying victims of domestic violence, even those who have already gotten benefits, such as suspension of deportation under the law VAWA (Violence Against Women Act),” Leslye Orloff, director of the immigrant women’s program at Legal Momentum, said recently before Congress.

With the expansion of the Secure Communities program, which is now operating in every county in California, along with 1,000 counties across the country, that danger is even greater, Orloff said.

Undocumented immigrants who have been victims of domestic violence can apply for residency without a sponsor, through the U Visa and T Visa programs. These are laws that benefit survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking, among other violent crimes.

But when a domestic violence victim calls the police to report a violent incident, police often arrest both the victim and the perpetrator, especially if the couple doesn’t speak English and there is confusion about what happened.

Activists in defense of immigrant women say this shows how dangerous these programs are for public safety, especially in immigrant communities.

“Our poor neighborhoods are full of immigrants; they don’t have the level of police protection. There is simply nothing more critical than the trust between the immigrant and the authorities,” said Enid Gonzalez, a member of the legal team at Casa de Maryland, the first organization to help Bolaños. Gonzalez said cases like this make communities think that they shouldn’t call the police for help.

The Secure Communities program matches the fingerprints of all arrestees against a federal immigration database to determine whether they have outstanding deportation orders or are in the country illegally. If someone is arrested and booked, even if the charges are later dropped, his or her fingerprints will end up in these databases and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be notified. ICE maintains that it is focused on arresting dangerous criminals and prioritizing the most serious crimes over minor offenses. However, it doesn’t always happen this way. A recent analysis of ICE’s own data showed that at least 28 percent of those processed under the program were not guilty of any crime; they were simply undocumented immigrants.

ICE recently released 15,000 documents and internal memos about its management of the program following a legal battle led by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, according to the organization’s director, Pablo Alvarado.

“They haven’t told the truth with respect to this program,” he said.

The case of women who have been victims of domestic violence is unique, not only because they have the right to immigration benefits – although many times they don’t know this – but also because the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has tried to implement measures to identify these women, although the program is so wide-reaching that this has been difficult.

At the urging of activists, DHS created a list with thousands of names of women who have received domestic violence benefits or are applying for them and have been approved.

“ICE isn’t supposed to touch these women, but with programs like 287(g) or Secure Communities, this list doesn’t seem to have much effect,” said Orloff.

“What we ask is that ICE is committed to ensuring that the person arrested is not the victim. Otherwise, this kind of program becomes very dangerous.”

In any case, the effect is to create more fear among women of the police than of the abusers themselves, said Judy London, an attorney with Public Counsel in Los Angeles.

“Ultimately, what concerns us most is not that there are many cases of this, but that it creates fear in the community … this has definitely damaged the trust between police and the community,” said London.

In fact, as a result of cases like that of María Bolaños, some organizations that help battered women are recommending that they don’t call the police, and instead try to call someone else first.

Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law

by Laura Sullivan for NPR
October 28, 2010

Picture: Glenn Nichols, city manager of Benson, Ariz., last year two men came to the city “talking about building a facility to hold women and children that were illegals.”

Last year, two men showed up in Benson, Ariz., a small desert town 60 miles from the Mexico border, offering a deal.

Glenn Nichols, the Benson city manager, remembers the pitch.

“The gentleman that’s the main thrust of this thing has a huge turquoise ring on his finger,” Nichols said. “He’s a great big huge guy and I equated him to a car salesman.”

What he was selling was a prison for women and children who were illegal immigrants.

“They talk [about] how positive this was going to be for the community,” Nichols said, “the amount of money that we would realize from each prisoner on a daily rate.”

But Nichols wasn’t buying. He asked them how would they possibly keep a prison full for years — decades even — with illegal immigrants?

“They talked like they didn’t have any doubt they could fill it,” Nichols said.

That’s because prison companies like this one had a plan — a new business model to lock up illegal immigrants. And the plan became Arizona’s immigration law.

Behind-The-Scenes Effort To Draft, Pass The Law

The law is being challenged in the courts. But if it’s upheld, it requires police to lock up anyone they stop who cannot show proof they entered the country legally.

When it was passed in April, it ignited a fire storm. Protesters chanted about racial profiling. Businesses threatened to boycott the state.

Supporters were equally passionate, calling it a bold positive step to curb illegal immigration.

But while the debate raged, few people were aware of how the law came about.

NPR spent the past several months analyzing hundreds of pages of campaign finance reports, lobbying documents and corporate records. What they show is a quiet, behind-the-scenes effort to help draft and pass Arizona Senate Bill 1070 by an industry that stands to benefit from it: the private prison industry.

(photo: Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce)
Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce, pictured here at Tea Party rally on Oct. 22, was instrumental in drafting the state’s immigration law. He also sits on a American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) task force, a group that helped shape the law.

The law could send hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to prison in a way never done before. And it could mean hundreds of millions of dollars in profits to private prison companies responsible for housing them.

Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce says the bill was his idea. He says it’s not about prisons. It’s about what’s best for the country.

“Enough is enough,” Pearce said in his office, sitting under a banner reading “Let Freedom Reign.” “People need to focus on the cost of not enforcing our laws and securing our border. It is the Trojan horse destroying our country and a republic cannot survive as a lawless nation.”

But instead of taking his idea to the Arizona statehouse floor, Pearce first took it to a hotel conference room.

It was last December at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. Inside, there was a meeting of a secretive group called the American Legislative Exchange Council. Insiders call it ALEC.

It’s a membership organization of state legislators and powerful corporations and associations, such as the tobacco company Reynolds American Inc., ExxonMobil and the National Rifle Association. Another member is the billion-dollar Corrections Corporation of America — the largest private prison company in the country.

It was there that Pearce’s idea took shape.

“I did a presentation,” Pearce said. “I went through the facts. I went through the impacts and they said, ‘Yeah.'”

Drafting The Bill

The 50 or so people in the room included officials of the Corrections Corporation of America, according to two sources who were there.

Pearce and the Corrections Corporation of America have been coming to these meetings for years. Both have seats on one of several of ALEC’s boards.

Key Players That Helped Draft Arizona’s Immigration Law

Source: NPR News Investigations

Credit: Stephanie D’Otreppe/NPR

And this bill was an important one for the company. According to Corrections Corporation of America reports reviewed by NPR, executives believe immigrant detention is their next big market. Last year, they wrote that they expect to bring in “a significant portion of our revenues” from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that detains illegal immigrants.

In the conference room, the group decided they would turn the immigration idea into a model bill. They discussed and debated language. Then, they voted on it.

“There were no ‘no’ votes,” Pearce said. “I never had one person speak up in objection to this model legislation.”

Four months later, that model legislation became, almost word for word, Arizona’s immigration law.

They even named it. They called it the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.”

“ALEC is the conservative, free-market orientated, limited-government group,” said Michael Hough, who was staff director of the meeting.

Hough works for ALEC, but he’s also running for state delegate in Maryland, and if elected says he plans to support a similar bill to Arizona’s law.

Asked if the private companies usually get to write model bills for the legislators, Hough said, “Yeah, that’s the way it’s set up. It’s a public-private partnership. We believe both sides, businesses and lawmakers should be at the same table, together.”

Nothing about this is illegal. Pearce’s immigration plan became a prospective bill and Pearce took it home to Arizona.

Campaign Donations

Pearce said he is not concerned that it could appear private prison companies have an opportunity to lobby for legislation at the ALEC meetings.

“I don’t go there to meet with them,” he said. “I go there to meet with other legislators.”

Pearce may go there to meet with other legislators, but 200 private companies pay tens of thousands of dollars to meet with legislators like him.

As soon as Pearce’s bill hit the Arizona statehouse floor in January, there were signs of ALEC’s influence. Thirty-six co-sponsors jumped on, a number almost unheard of in the capitol. According to records obtained by NPR, two-thirds of them either went to that December meeting or are ALEC members.

That same week, the Corrections Corporation of America hired a powerful new lobbyist to work the capitol.

The prison company declined requests for an interview. In a statement, a spokesman said the Corrections Corporation of America, “unequivocally has not at any time lobbied — nor have we had any outside consultants lobby – on immigration law.”

Read more here

Listen to the Story [7 min 47 sec]

Produced by NPR’s Anne Hawke.

Copyright 2010 NPR

the Desaparecidos of 9/11

A friend passed these lyrics on to me today in remembrance of those most forgotten from the tragedy on 9/11/2001. Grief was spoken in our country in many languages that day – and it was silenced by fear. Still is.

This is for the families of the Desaparecidos everywhere. Liberty weeps for you, too. May you someday safely bring your loved ones into our light.

Peggy Plews
Arizona Prison Watch


If I Give Your Name

by Emmas Revolution

Mi esposa, my wife, worked on the 80th floor
The company had hired illegals before
She got the job by word of mouth
That’s the way in the north when you’re from the south
They say 3,000 but the counting’s not done
Mi esposa está muerta
Three thousand and one

I have no papers, I have no rights
All my days end in sleepless nights
Missing you, silently
If I give your name
Will they come after me?

Mi hermano, my brother, the elevator man
A doctor in our country but you take what you can
I saw the photos in Union Square
But I could not leave his picture there
They say 3,000 but that’s not true
Mi hermano no volverá
Three thousand and two

Mi hija, my daughter, went in early that day
She had always been that way
Her daughter asks, “Where did she go?”
How to tell her, I don’t know
They say 3,000 but that can’t be
Perdí a mi hija
Three thousand and three

Mi padre, my father, I have no words
I tried to find you when I heard
They gave some ashes to families
But I’ll only have the ones I breathe
They say 3,000 there’s so many more
Three thousand and four

Mi esposa, my wife. Will they come after me?
Mi hermano, my brother. Will they come after me?
Mi hija, my daughter. Will they come after me?
Mi padre, my father. If I give your name,
Will they come after me?