Fundraising / Offer
Fiji Water & Vatukoula
New Culture Wars?
Factory Like a City
Bruce E. Levine
Until Jesus Comes
Zaps - 11-09
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
Beyond Hutto: "Pushing Back" Against Immigrant Detention Centers
An interview with Bob Libal and Lauren Martin
In response to mounting criticism, the Obama administration announced in August that the United States would begin reforming the government's immigrant detention system. Although details are sketchy and changes will be introduced slowly, one immediate shift was the announcement that Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will no longer send immigrant families to the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas.
That the Administration mentioned Hutto specifically is not surprising. News media, religious groups, and progressive activists have criticized the facility for locking up children ever since Hutto began detaining families in May 2006. In 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against ICE on behalf of families detained at Hutto, which led to improved conditions. After investigating the prison in June 2009, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announced that, even though conditions had improved since the ACLU lawsuit, the continued detention of asylum seekers and their children at Hutto violated principles of international law.
In addition to the ACLU and the IACHR, Grassroots Leadership and Texans United for Families have helped lead the charge against the facility. Bob Libal is the Texas coordinator for Grassroots Leadership, a southern-based social justice organization taking on private prisons. Lauren Martin is a member of Texans United for Families, an Austin-based coalition working to end family detention.
TEDROW: Talk about the history of the T. Don Hutto facility.
LIBAL: Basically, Hutto was a medium-security prison that Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) took over in the late 1990s. It was a failing private prison that couldn't retain much of a population base. CCA had previously contracted with U.S. Marshals and the ICE, but both contracts had fallen through. Then, in the spring of 2006, they reopened it with the announcement that they were going to be detaining immigrant families, including small children, for ICE.
In August, the Obama administration announced that the U.S. government would no longer be holding immigrant families at facilities such as Hutto. Why?
LIBAL: I think they made this decision because of political pressure, because organizers had made Hutto a lightning rod of controversy. The decision basically takes family detention policy back to pre-9/11 levels. Before the announcement, there were two family detention centers in the country: Hutto and the Berks County Detention Center in Pennsylvania, which has 80 beds. Last year, ICE proposed three new family detention centers around the country.
The announcement means that they will be either transferring families to Berks or releasing them on alternatives-to-detention programs. Berks is full right now: it's at capacity, so in reality they're releasing families into alternatives-to-detention programs or releasing them with notices to appear at their immigration hearings. They also are taking the new family detention centers off the table. I think it's a pretty substantial victory. The New York Times described it as the first major departure on immigration policy from the Bush administration.
Is this going back to the idea of "catch and release"?
Libal: I've heard John Morten, who is the Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security, say, "No, we're not returning to that." But I think the people who are getting out of Hutto are getting out on notices to appear. I think it's still unclear how this sort of processing is going to take place. Say you're apprehended or apply for asylum on the border. What happens to you? Are you then released into an alternatives-to-detention program or are you sent to Berks and then released? We don't know that yet. What it does mean is that, at any one time, there are a lot fewer families in detention.
Martin: I think it's important to differentiate, too, between "catch and release," which is really vague and could mean anything, and the bond and parole procedures that have been in place and are available to many immigrant detainees. That's often what families are released on. There is some degree of supervision and they also pay quite a bit of money to participate in those programs. So "release" is misleading. Just because they're not in Hutto, there are still other forms of institutional supervision. Alternatives-to-detention programs have a wide range of forms of supervision. The justification for opening Hutto was that they needed to move from "catch and release" to "catch and return." There's a presumption of illegality—that all these families would be released into the population and abscond.
Hutto has not been shut down, though. It's been converted into a detention center for women, correct?
Martin: Yes. After the legal settlement every 30 days they have to review whether a specific family qualifies to be released on bond or parole. Once they started doing that, they released families a lot faster, which made the population drop. So they filled Hutto with immigrant women. As families are released, it will be filled completely with immigrant women without children.
Will Grassroots Leadership continue to focus on Hutto?
Martin: Texans United for Families is trying to figure out what the announcement really means, so we've been staying in close contact with Washington, DC-based advocates who have closer relationships with ICE, and the attorneys in the lawsuit who are actually representing folks at Hutto, to see what's going on there and to make sure that everything continues to go well. The next project is to figure out how to use the energy from the victory—because it is still a victory, even if it's a partial one.
Do you think there's a climate for expanding this message to include more than families? To target detention itself?
Protesters at Hutto on June 20, 2009, World Refugee Day—photo by Jeff Zavala
Martin: I think so. There have been a lot of really successful campaigns in the United States around other family-related issues, not necessarily family detention. In New York, Families for Freedom is a close ally of ours and they've been organizing around the Child Citizen Protection Act, which basically says if someone has a citizen child, then the immigration judge has some discretion to not deport the parents. Right now, in many situations, judges don't get to say, "This person clearly has family ties, they have a few kids who need them, so it would be better not to deport this person."
Family unity is supposed to be the backbone of our immigration system. However heteronormative a family it may be, it is still what both conservatives and liberals think of as the touchstone of the immigration system. So that's a really powerful discourse that we can use to expand to other injustices in the immigration system.
Libal: We will certainly continue to draw attention to the broader issues of immigrant detention and private prisons. I believe that we will continue to draw attention to Hutto, but it is important to think strategically about how we can best push back on that system.
One of the lessons of the Hutto campaign is you can target a facility to make it very infamous, which the movement did to Hutto, but at the same time, it was drawing attention to a broader policy, which is family detention. I think we've pushed back family detention policy. Hopefully we'll be able to do that again by targeting a facility and pushing back on mandatory detention, secure communities, or any of these other really horrendous programs that lead to the incarceration of immigrants on a mass scale.
Z DC Tedrow edits the New Texas Radical.
DC Tedrow edits the New Texas Radical.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.