Year 2011 Law and Disorder Turns Seven
Listener Comment: Taylor Law – Union Workers Will Be Terminated If They Strike
No More Deaths: Jake Ratner and Elena Stein
Hundreds of immigrants are pulled from their families and bused to Nogales, Mexico every day. The families are broken apart as deportees, most of whom have been working in the US without a criminal charge, are left in limbo in this foreign city. No More Deaths, a humanitarian organization, is also stationed in Nogales to provide basic first response aid to deportees. Many immigrants arrive in Nogales after serving months in jail. Jake Ratner and Elena Stein volunteered with No More Deaths and witnessed the sentencing process called Operation Streamline. This system funnels 75 immigrants every day through a mass court proceeding where they are sentenced up to 6 months in jail. Very few are allowed to explain their situation in court.
Jake Ratner / Elena Stein:
We were living in Patagonia, Arizona, which is near Nogales. There’s a wall in Nogales separating the US and Mexico. The wall is about 15-20 feet high. It was built by the same company contracted to the build the wall in Israel/Palestine.
It’s right down the middle of the city, so there’s Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico.
In the morning we drive 20 minutes to Nogales, Arizona. We push our way through a turnstile gate. As we walk in we pass a very long line of those waiting to come in from Mexico.
No More Deaths provides phone calls to recently deported people so they can have that first phone call to their families. We provide them with property recovery, items that were confiscated can be recovered to them.
Most the people who we come across have been living the US for a long time. Most have families living in the US. More men than women.
Some people are found by being pulled over by the police with a broken tail light. They get handed to ICE and then to Border Patrol. Others will get a knock on the door, because there is suspicion that someone doesn’t have papers.
This is a new phenomenon, that people living in the United States 15-20 years are being deported.
There was a campaign put on by United Farm Workers saying “Here, take our jobs.” (picking tomatoes) You want our jobs? Take our jobs. They ran a 2 month campaign. No one. No one wanted those jobs.
One or two people a day are dying making the trek from Mexico and crossing the desert to the US. The change that we’ve seen is that more people are dying. Streamlining is the process where they take the 75 of the 300 people crossing the border everyday and put them on trial together.
Corrections Corporation of America wrote this law. This private company sat down with legislators and wrote Operation Streamline.
They’re getting money from the taxpayers to fill these jails and profit off of Mexican citizens. Operation Streamline has not proven to be a deterrent.
I think there is a responsibility as Americans for us to first understand the realities that people are experiencing everyday as a result of actions that were taken by our country and have a responsibility after understanding it to try and do something about it.
We have an obligation to have good relationships with our neighbor. It’s Mexico, our neighbor. The more we try to understand the system we’ve become part of, the more we become repulsed at our own participation.
Corrections sent in from a volunteer at No More Deaths, monitoring Operation Streamline: “The Border Patrol sends up to 70 (never more) of those whom they have apprehended to OS in Tucson, daily, Monday through Friday. The majority are sentenced to “time served” (most have been held 3 or 4 days), given a permanent criminal record and deported. Those who have been deported previously (usually between 20 and 30 people) are charged with the felony of “reentry after deportation” and are sentenced to prison for anywhere from 30 to 180 days. The magistrates always ask the detainees if they want to say anything in court, but few ever do.”
Guest – Jake Ratner, son of co-host Michael Ratner. Jake graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He’s traveled and studied in Cuba and Bolivia.
Guest – Elena Stein has worked with recent deportees on the Arizona-Mexico border. She graduated last year from the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked with human rights groups in the US and Central America, specifically with children.
Lawyers You’ll Like – Azadeh Shahshahani
For our Lawyers You’ll Like series, Azadeh Shahshahani joins us. Azadeh is the Director of the National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project at the ACLU of Georgia. That’s a project aimed at bringing Georgia into compliance with international human rights and constitutional standards in treatment of refugee and immigrant communities. This also included immigrant detainees. She is the editor of two human rights reports on racial profiling: Terror and Isolation in Cobb: How Unchecked Police Power Under 287g Has Torn Families Apart and Threatened Public Safety and The Persistence of Racial Profiling in Gwinnett: Time for Accountability, Transparency, and an End to 287g. Azadeh also serves as Executive Vice President and International Committee Co-Chair for the National Lawyers Guild.
- I work on immigrants’ rights and post-9/11 security issues with the ACLU of Georgia.
- 287g turns law enforcement into immigration officials.
- There are four counties in Georgia that have 287g. These are counties with long and documented racial discrimination histories. The numbers of those picked up and processed through 287g have gone up tremendously in one county, over 2,000 people in Cobb County.
- A lot of them have ties to the community, have US citizen spouses or children.
- Sometimes it’s not clear why people get pulled over, there’s no moving violation on the ticket. Georgia doesn’t have an anti-racial profiling law on the books so there’s no way to hold the police accountable.
- Detention centers: Some are run by the government, others are run by counties, jails, then private corporations.
- In Georgia, you have 2 operated by Corrections Corporation of America, then you have City of Atlanta Jail that rents space to ICE.
- The Obama administration boasted that it deported 400,000 people.
- Lawsuit against ICE, seeking safeguards that US citizens aren’t deported and people with disabilities are afforded a measure of due process. Georgia Detention Watch
- Stuart Detention Center Report: 16 men per one toilet. No contact visits.
- I came to US when I was 16. I went to law school in Michigan. After law school I knew that I wanted to do human rights work. I approached the ACLU of North Carolina and proposed a project focusing on empowerment, know your rights presentations at the mosques. Also putting together an anti-racial profiling campaign.
Guest – Azadeh Shahshahani, Director of the National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project at the ACLU of Georgia. The project is aimed at bringing Georgia and its localities into compliance with international human rights and constitutional standards in treatment of refugee and immigrant communities, including immigrant detainees. To that end, a variety of strategies are employed, including the development of impact litigation, legislative advocacy, providing training to attorneys, human rights documentation and the publishing of reports, public education, and coalition and movement building. The current focus areas of the project include: immigration detention, racial profiling and local enforcement of immigration laws, governmental surveillance, discrimination faced by Muslim, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities, immigrant access to higher education, and language access in the court setting. Azadeh’s opinion pieces have appeared in print and online publications such as the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Fulton County Daily Report, and Huffington Post.