Archive for ‘Video or Audio Content’

June 24, 2011

6/23 – Washington Post – Illegal immigrant youth ‘come out’ in risky bid to ease rules for those brought to US as kids – The Washington Post

Illegal immigrant youth ‘come out’ in risky bid to ease rules for those brought to US as kids – The Washington Post.

ATLANTA — Eighteen-year-old Dulce Guerrero kept quiet about being an illegal immigrant until earlier this year, when she became upset after a traffic stop that landed her mother in jail for two nights. The arrest came as Georgia lawmakers were crafting what would become one of the nation’s toughest immigration crackdowns, and Guerrero feared her mother would be deported.
“I feel like that was my breaking point, when my mom was in jail,” said Guerrero, who came to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 2. “I felt like, well, that’s it, it can’t get any worse than this. My mother has been to jail.”
Guerrero first publicly announced her immigration status at a protest in March, and now she’s organizing a rally under the tutelage of more experienced activists who are themselves only a few years older. The high-stakes movement of young illegal immigrants declaring that they’re “undocumented and unafraid” got a boost this week when a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist revealed he’s been living in the country illegally.Guerrero is the chief organizer of a rally set for Tuesday at the Georgia State Capitol for high school-age illegal immigrants to tell their stories. The recent high school graduate and others hope to draw attention to the plight of the hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents.Already around the country, efforts by young activists have ranged from rallies and letter-writing to sit-ins and civil disobedience, drawing inspiration from civil rights demonstrations decades ago, with the aim of forcing the federal government to reform rules for immigrants in their situation.In one of the most high-profile declarations yet, former Washington Post reporter Jose Antonio Vargas used an ABC News interview and a New York Times Magazine article to announce Wednesday that he is an illegal immigrant from the Philippines.

“It’s very exciting,” said 25-year-old Mohammad Abdollahi, a veteran protester who’s helping Guerrero. Vargas’ revelation “shows that we exist in all walks of life. Folks don’t realize how American we are,” he said.

Some in the community fear Vargas’ admission that he used false documents to get a driver’s license and a job could invite backlash, but it illustrates the difficult reality for illegal immigrants seeking to pursue their goals, Abdollahi said.

Those who come forward make themselves vulnerable, but it’s no guarantee they’ll have to leave the U.S. right away. Some have been deported despite broad support from their communities asking that they be allowed to stay. Others, like Georgia college student and cause celebre Jessica Colotl, have won at least temporary reprieves.

Mandeep Chahal, an honors student at the University of California, Davis, and her mother were granted a stay in their deportation proceedings Tuesday after Chahal, 20, campaigned on Facebook to avoid being sent back to India.

Proponents of stricter enforcement of immigration laws often concede that young people in this situation are among the most sympathetic cases but that legalizing them still raises problems.

“Our own American young adult college grads are in dire straits in the job market — and particularly disproportionately Hispanic and black Americans — so what the DREAM Act does is adds potentially a million, two million more people to compete legally in that job market,” said Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA, which pushes for tighter immigration control. “So, as compelling as the case of these DREAM students is, we have to acknowledge that legalizing them does actually victimize our own young adults.”Guerrero’s been working to attract participants for next week’s rally by telling friends how relieved she felt after speaking out. But she never tries to push people to reveal they’re in the U.S. illegally unless they’re ready and understand the potential consequences.

She’s taking advice from Abdollahi and 22-year-old Georgina Perez, who have both helped organize other protests and share similar backgrounds. Abdollahi was brought to the U.S. from Iran when he was 3 and was raised in Michigan; Perez arrived with her mother from Mexico at age 2, living first in Los Angeles and then near Atlanta.

They offer Guerrero the perspective of activists willing to risk arrest — and the threat of deportation — for their beliefs. Abdollahi, who’s been organizing protests since 2009, was held briefly with three others after they staged a sit-in at Arizona Sen. John McCain’s office last year. Perez was arrested after she and six other young immigrants sat in a downtown Atlanta intersection and blocked traffic.

Deportation proceedings were begun against Abdollahi but haven’t progressed past the initial stages, while immigration authorities took no action against Perez. The Obama administration hasn’t promised not to deport young people in their situation, but Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has made it clear that they are not a priority.

Still, the threat of being forced out of the country weighs heavily on those who announce their illegal status.

“I was super nervous,” Perez said, adding: “I had to do it because in order for students to come out, they need to see something; someone needs to set the example.”

The hardest thing, she said, was when she told her mother her plans the night before the rally and her mother apologized for putting her in a difficult situation.

“It’s like you can’t really fully live your life here, and she knows that and it breaks her heart,” Perez said, choking up. “I thank her for bringing me here. I told her, ‘Don’t ever say that again. Don’t apologize.’”

Abdollahi moved to Georgia earlier this year to help organize young people who oppose a new policy that bars illegal immigrants from the state’s most competitive public colleges and universities. They’re also speaking out against the state’s new law that, among other things, authorizes law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of suspects who cannot provide identification and to detain illegal immigrants.

Guerrero reached out to Perez to ask her to give a presentation at her school on the DREAM Act, legislation that would provide a path to legalization for certain young people brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents. The bill has been introduced several times in Congress but has yet to make it through. They kept in touch and Guerrero first spoke out at the rally in March, not long after her mother’s January arrest. She spoke out again at the rally in April and also organized a walkout at her high school last month.

Her parents are extremely protective and she talks to them about how they’ve given up so much to raise her and her brothers here, she said. They’re proud of her and support her speaking out, but they’re scared, she said.

“They’ve brought me as far as they can,” she said. “It’s time for me to take my decisions and walk on my own, and if that means publicly coming out as undocumented to empower other students, that’s what I’m gonna do.”


Associated Press writer Garance Burke in San Francisco contributed to this report.

May 24, 2011

5/18 – Huffington Post (VIDEO) – Immigrant Freed From 19-Month Detention: ‘I Treat My Dogs Much Better Than The Detainees Are Treated’

Immigrant Freed From 19-Month Detention: ‘I Treat My Dogs Much Better Than The Detainees Are Treated’.

Immigrant Detention

First Posted: 05/18/11 07:09 PM ET Updated: 05/19/11 01:36 PM ET

On Tuesday, for the first time in 19 months, Pedro Guzman left Stewart Detention Center, a privately run facility where he was housed while fighting deportation. The Lumpkin, Ga., detention center is one of many run by Corrections Corporation of America, a prison giant that believes its next major market is immigrant detentions.

Georgia may be its next frontier. The state’s anti-illegal immigration bill, styled after Arizona’s SB 1070, was signed into law last week. The result could be more immigrants in detention — and more profits for CCA, which has been accused of mistreating detainees and cutting down on amenities to improve profits.

CCA, as reported by NPR last year, was in the room when SB 1070 author Russell Pearce, now Arizona state Senate president, unveiled his plans for the bill at a meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Guzman said he saw firsthand how CCA makes its money by spending as little as possible on the men and women in detention centers.

“There’s so much money they make from us, but they’re not investing any money in detainees,” he said in an interview. “The treatment you get is like you’re an animal. I have two dogs, and I treat my dogs much better than the detainees are treated in there.”

Guzman, who turns 31 on Thursday, moved to the United States from Guatemala with his mother when he was 8 years old. He is married to an American, Emily Guzman, and is the father of a 4-year-old citizen named Logan.

For about a year an a half, the Guzman family was separated by the immigrant detention system. The difficulties of communication from the CCA-run facility made the separation worse.


Guzman was granted a green card on Monday, and will be allowed to stay in the United States under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act, which allows some immigrants from Guatemala to stop deportation proceedings. But he said he is “still healing” from the 19-month detention, during which he said detainees were yelled at, crammed into close quarters and given little communication with the outside world.

He was not convicted of a crime, but Guzman said he was treated like a prisoner, despite an effort launched by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in October 2009 to make detention centers less punitive.

Detainees in the Stewart Detention Center stay in “pods,” where 62 men sleep in bunk beds about two feet apart, Guzman said. In the center of the room are about six tables, where the men can eat food they buy from the commissary.

Guzman said he saw some physical abuse, mostly when guards were provoked by detainees who talked back. More common, though, was verbal abuse. Many of the guards yelled at detainees regularly, creating an atmosphere of near-constant screaming in the pods.

“It’s just made to break your soul and handicap you,” Guzman said.

He said Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials discouraged detainees from pushing for an individual response to their case, because the high-level of deportations requires most to go through courts where a judge rules on several cases at a time.

“They’re not there to help you,” Guzman said. “Ninety percent of the officers will tell you you have no chance to fight, just go to court and we will remove you and take care of the rest.”

With new detainees entering every night, guards changed the rules and procedures often, creating confusion and tension for long-term detainees like Guzman. He said a major source of stress was a new phone system implemented midway through his detention that prevented him from calling his mother in Mexico.

Calls within the United States were expensive, and phone cards only allowed him to talk for about 11 minutes. When his family visited, they had to talk to Guzman through a glass barrier.

Now, Guzman has been reunited with his family. On Wednesday evening, they were driving home to North Carolina.

“I felt like I was never going to get out of there and like I was never going to be in the U.S. again,” he said. “Many times I felt like quitting, just giving up. But changes can happen.”

WATCH: Brave New Foundations’ Cuéntame gives more information about Corrections Corporation of America’s lobbying for anti-illegal immigration laws in this video. The group plans to feature Guzman in a video as part of its Immigrants For Sale campaign.


May 23, 2011

5/23 – CBSAtlanta (VIDEO) – Protests Continue Against Georgia’s New Immigration Law – Atlanta News Story – WGCL Atlanta

Protests Continue Against Georgia’s New Immigration Law – Atlanta News Story – WGCL Atlanta.

Protestors Line The Streets In Downtown Atlanta

POSTED: 7:08 pm EDT May 22, 2011
UPDATED: 7:53 am EDT May 23, 2011

Hundreds of protestors lined the streets in downtown Atlanta in opposition to Georgia’s new immigration law.Adelina Nicholls from the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights said they’re fighting for mothers and kids who will be affected by the new law.”We are afraid but we are here … it will not stop the movement for immigration reform,” Nicholls said.Nicholls said families made up of legal and illegal immigrants will be forced to make tough decisions — possibly split up or go back to their home country.Antonio Cortes said some families have already decided to leave the country.”A lot of people tell me they are afraid to drive and they are going back to Mexico. They are really confused about the future,” Cortes said.The author of House Bill 87, Rep. Matt Ramsey, said the intent of the law is to encourage immigrants to enter the country legally.


May 12, 2011

5/11 – Cuentame (Video) – Immigrants For Sale

Cuentame – Immigrants For Sale

Cuentame has launched today this powerful animated video on the abuse by private prison corporations and how they are locking up immigrants for a profit:

Today we are also launching with partner organizations a national day of action, protesting outside Wells Fargo, CCA, GEO group and shareholder homes in New York, Los Angeles, Tucson, San Francisco, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia to protest the anti-immigration bills tied to ALEC and private prison money.

April 13, 2011

4/12 – WSB TV (Video) – House Votes For E-Verify In Immigration Reform – Video – WSB Atlanta

House Votes For E-Verify In Immigration Reform – Video – WSB Atlanta.

Please click to review video.   1:48min

March 9, 2011

3/8 – Free Speech Radio – The legal obstacles faced by immigrant women in the US | Free Speech Radio News

The legal obstacles faced by immigrant women in the US | Free Speech Radio News.

Tue, 03/08/2011 – 13:19

  • Length: 6:37 minutes (6.06 MB)
  • Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)

Today, in Atlanta Georgia, women’s and human rights activists hosted an event in front of the State Capitol to celebrate 100 years of struggle led by immigrant women.

They’re also calling on lawmakers to reject legislation attacking immigrant women’s human rights.

At the turn of the last century, immigrant women led many of the fights against injustice and poor working conditions.

Today, they still face numerous difficulties. Copycat versions of Arizona’s controversial immigration bill, legal obstacles to getting an education and domestic abuse are just some of the issues.

Azadeh Shahshahani, is Director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project for Georgia’s ACLU and she joins me now.

%d bloggers like this: