Campaign for Change
U.S. Plans Against Venezuela
Washington, Democracy & Haiti
U.S. & the Somalia Invasion
No New Nukes Victory
Korea, America & War
"Anti-Terrorism" Law Expansion
Rehabilitation of Bush
Honeywell Lock Out
The "Golden Rule"
Lawrence S. Wittner
Beyond Gay Marriage
GAY & LESBIAN COMMUNITY NOTES
Sense & Sentimentality
Savage Imperialism 3
How to Create Jobs
The Pick Up Artist
Bread and Puppet Theater
Zaps - 02/11
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The Migrant Hotel In Mexicali
Last year, almost 400,000 people were deported from the United States. That's the largest wave of deportations in U.S. history, even larger than the notorious "Operation Wetback" of the 1950s or the "Mexican Repatriation" during the Great Depression.
Often the Border Patrol empties buses of deportees at the border gates of cities like Mexicali in the middle of the night, pushing people through at a time when nothing is open and no services are available to provide them with food or shelter.
Most deportees are young people who have no money when they come to the United States and have nothing more when they get deported back to Mexico. In the wave of anti-immigrant hysteria gripping the United States, no one asks what happens to the deportees once they're sent back to Mexico.
In Mexicali, a group of deportees and migrant rights activists have taken over an abandoned hotel, formerly the Hotel Centenario (the Hundred Year Hotel), renaming it the Hotel Migrante (Migrant Hotel). Just a block from the border crossing, the hotel gives people deported from the United States a place to sleep and food to eat for a few days before they go home or try to cross the border again. Border Angels, a U.S.-based immigrant rights group, provides what little support the hotel gets. A cooperative of deportees cooks the food and works on fixing the building.
During the winter, about 50-60 people live there at any given time, while 5 or 6 more knock on its doors every night. Last summer, at the peak of the border crossing season, the number of deportees seeking shelter at the hotel rose to over 300.
"A lot of people get hurt trying to walk through the mountains around Mexicali," says Benjamin Campista, a cooperative member. "It's very cold there now and when they get caught and deported, many are just wearing a T-shirt and tennis shoes. Some get sick. Those we take to the hospital. The rest stay here a few days until their family can send them money."
Border Angels and the hotel collective agreed to pay the landlord 11,000 pesos a month in rent (about $900), but they're already six months behind. Every day hotel residents go out to the long lines of people waiting to cross through the garita (the legal border crossing) asking for money to support the hotel. Each person gets to keep half of what they're given, the other half goes mostly for food for the evening meal.
Every day Campista hears deportees tell their stories: "Three brothers stayed here last summer before they tried to cross. A month later one came back. I saw him on the roof crying as he looked at the mountains where the other two had died from the heat. A woman came here with her two-month-old baby. Her husband had died in the desert, too.
"We're just going north to try to work. Why should we die for this? Our governments should end these violations of human rights. Then our hotel wouldn't even be necessary."
David Bacon is an activist and freelance writer and photographer.
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
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, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate 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.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org 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 the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljustice center.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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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 in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
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 across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock 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.
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.
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.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.