Down by the River…Rhapsody for Charles Bowden, September 28 in Las Cruces

The Bowden family & Molly Molloy invite you to a memorial celebration…

Down by the River…Rhapsody for Charles Bowden

Sunday afternoon, September 28,
at the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park
5000 Calle del Norte, Mesilla, NM 88046 575-523-4398

Park website — Google map

The park will be open for the event from noon until five. Come early to walk park trails along the Rio Grande.

Service to start at two o’clock.

Words, music & memories for our dear friend Chuck. Wine, lemonade & light refreshments.

If you wish, bring a photo or memento to place on an altar for Chuck. Dress casual, wear comfortable shoes. Bring binoculars for birdwatching. If you have a light-weight camp chair, bring it along. Plastic water bottles recommended. No glass bottles permitted in the park.

For more information, contact Molly Molloy mollymolloy@gmail.com 575-680-6463

Q & A With Courthouse News Service Editor, Robert Kahn

Robert Kahn’s book, “Other People’s Blood: U.S. Immigration Prisons in the Reagan Decade” (Westview Press/HarperCollins) 1996, was the first attempt at a history of U.S. immigration prisons. He is news editor for Courthouse News Service, a national legal news service.

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Interviewed By: Belen Chacon

Your book, Other People’s Blood: U.S. Immigration Prisons in the Reagan Decade, covers the abusive treatment of Central American refugees in U.S. detention centers in the 1980s. We seem to be back here again, especially with the Artesia detention center in New Mexico. Why is this happening again?

It’s not happening again, it’s been happening all the time. It’s happening because very few people in the U.S. Congress, or the people who buy them their offices, or you or I, ever give a thought or give a good goddamn about the people who clean our bathrooms and cook and serve our food and harvest the food we eat. Why should we? Immigrants can’t give us money. They can’t even vote.

Last week the ACLU in Los Angeles announced a big settlement with the Border Patrol, which now calls itself ICE, and involves both the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. The Border Patrol agreed not to trick people into agreeing to be “repatriated,” by handing them a list of “rights” with the right “voluntary repatriation” already checked off. Well, we settled that lawsuit 30 years ago, in Laredo, thanks to Patrick Hughes, an attorney who saw that women and children would need legal representation, so he moved there and set up a law office with nothing, except a little help from the Catholic Church. I went to work for him as a paralegal and we documented a nightmare of abuses inflicted by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the first private U.S. prison company to be paid for locking up immigrant women and children. CCA strip-searched mothers and babies at Laredo for asking to see a lawyer. They strip-searched them each time before and after they saw a lawyer, but they didn’t strip-search them unless they asked to see a lawyer. Well, all that stuff was “enjoined” 30 years ago by a federal judge, right? But it was never enforced. How can you enforce it, when you’re “privatizing” the immigration detention system in the United States to God knows who — to whoever says, “Sure, I’ll put those women and kids up in my house.”

In the case of the abuse of Central American refugees in immigration prisons in the 1980s, attorneys and other advocates were not able to stop the abuse until 10 years later. Do you see justice taking that long for current Central American refugees in abusive detention centers?

 

Refugees will never get justice in the United States; only their children will, because our policies and wars have driven them here, and the Congress will never admit that, nor will the people who vote, or the people who want to replace whoever’s in Congress now. It’s not until the refugees’ kids can vote, and do, that anything can change. The North American Free Trade Agreement destroyed small business and peasant farming in Mexico, and blessed the Mexican government’s war against independent unions. We’ve sent billions of dollars to the Mexican army and police forces, which slaughter their own people, in part because the cartels pay more than the government, because what cartels have to offer is more valuable, and the cartel leaders probably don’t steal as much as the government does. But we won’t admit Mexicans as refugees — even Mexican reporters, though dozens of them have been murdered by government police forces and the cartels — because Uncle Sam won’t admit our role in the slaughter. And even if, let’s assume, the United States government has absolutely no role in it, still, we don’t want to admit it — that the Mexican army and police forces are just as dirty as the cartels. So if your own government’s soldiers want to kill you, to steal what little you have, because the government is stealing so fast with both hands that it can’t match the cartels’ offers, well, what do you expect? People will flee a situation like that.

For those that haven’t read your book, Other People’s Blood: U.S. Immigration Prisons in the Reagan Decade, what do you feel is the biggest takeaway? Why should Americans play close attention to the treatment of individuals in immigration prisons?

 

The tortures and abuses in U.S. immigration prisons have continued for more than 30 years, despite federal court orders, and U.S. Supreme Court orders, because very few of us give a damn about these people. Congress certainly does not. Nor, so far as I can tell, has any president of the United States, since Jimmy Carter. As a paralegal working for nothing in U.S. immigration prisons, I’ve represented people whose U.S. prison guards walked over them with high heels while other guards held them down. I’ve seen a U.S. immigration judge tell a Guatemalan refugee whose back was covered with scars, driven into him with whips and salt water: “I don’t think you were ever in the Guatemalan army at all,” though the judge held in his hand photos of the man, in uniform, holding an automatic weapon, in front of his army barracks in Guatemala. The U.S. government would have deported him to be tortured and killed had Canada not accepted him as a political refugee.

In the 1980s, what details did the mainstream media fail to cover when it came to the treatment of Central American refugees? What is mainstream media failing to cover now when it comes to this issue?

 

I won’t say anything about “the mainstream media.” That’s a lash that can be used to whip anyone. I spent my life’s savings to work for nothing for 3 years as a paralegal in U.S. immigration prisons. I got a lot of information doing that. You can’t expect anyone, including “mainstream media,” to do that. So far as I can tell, the situation is the same today as it was 30 years ago. There’s no money to be made from representing refugees. Everything you hear in the media is about an immigration “crisis.” There is no crisis. Undocumented immigration has been on the decline for decades. Border Patrol figures show that. All that’s changed recently is the shape of the amoeba. Now we’re seeing more mothers and children fleeing from Honduras, whose government is as brutal and corrupt, and always has been, as the governments of Guatemala and El Salvador. But what do you or your neighbor know about Honduras? Nothing. Why should you? Now that the Republicans are making a big deal out of it, Obama is doing the same thing Reagan did: Set up a deportation factory as far away as possible from legal help, to deport refugees as fast as we can. Today they call it the Artesia Family Residential Center in New Mexico. Back then, in 1986, it was the new prison in Oakdale, La., run by the Bureau of Prisons. They tortured people there. The Marielitos tore the place down the next year, and I can see why. These people are not burdens to the United States. They are sources of information.

The immigration reform debate has had high and low moments, but for the most part has remained stagnant. What can/shouldAmericans do to help push the debate?

 

Immigration reform has never had a high moment. The late, great Charles Bowden told me: “Americans are willing to do anything about immigration except read about it.” I’m a half-critic half-fan of Sigmund Freud, who warned us about stirring up our primal impulses. I don’t know if we want to push the immigration debate — whatever that is — right now. Right now it’s all based on hate, fear and ignorance. When kids get educated, and grow up and vote, things will change, but it will take a generation. That’s why Republicans are pressing so hard to keep young people from registering to vote. When it happens, it’ll look like a sudden change, like the nation’s acceptance of gay people. But that struggle took a generation of open conflict, and gay people had money, and could vote. Not that I want to compare gay people and immigrants, but I think that pretty soon we’re going to see an acceptance of immigrants. It’ll look like it happens fast, but it’s already happening. It will be the result of a generation of struggle.

The debate over illegal immigration is being carried on with little awareness of the government policies that contributed to this country’s immigration problems. How can more Americans educate themselves? Where can they start?

 

Well, like Chuck Bowden said, nobody wants to read about immigration. The best summary of U.S. immigration policy was written by Kitty Calavita, decades ago. She’s a criminology professor at the University of California at Irvine.

Calavita wrote, correctly, that the United States has no immigration policy — that we change our policy according to the mood of the times, and that our policy is always out of synch with the times.

Calavita’s three basic conclusions will be true forever:

- The United States invites poor Mexicans when we need labor, then deports them when the next recession hits;

- Because of this, U.S. immigration policy will always be “out of phase” — because it takes years to pass legislation in Congress, when an immigration law does pass, it will be a response to what happened years before, at a different point in the economic cycle;

- And that “securing the border” and respecting the Constitution, both, may not be possible; in fact, it’s probably not — but no one wants to talk about this because, well, isn’t that why these people are fleeing here, to be protected by our Constitution?

Homeland Security Reissues Immigrant Asylum Rules…AP & LA Times

It looks as if the USCIS (US Immigration and Citizenship Services) wants asylum officers who hear initial claims of credible fear to allow people to stay in the US only if they have a significant possibility of winning when they do eventually have a hearing before an immigration judge. It looks as if this could the kind of change that immigration lawyers warned of when the large groups of people organized by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance began to cross the border en masse and ask for asylum.  But the effect will most likely be to make it even more difficult for genuine asylum seekers fleeing violence and persecution in Mexico and Central America to even have a hearing before a judge. The articles mention 36,000 credible fear claims in 2013, but I do not think the articles mention how few are actually granted in court already. Fewer than 5 percent for people from Mexico and Central America.   In many jurisdictions, the asylum caseloads are so heavy that hearings may be scheduled years ahead. This rule change is a way to cut the caseload, thus denying the asylum seekers their chance to have a full hearing on their cases. The LATimes story is below.

Click here for the AP story: Homeland Security Reissues Immigrant Asylum Rules

Click here for the LA Times article: Immigration Officials Raise The Bar On Asylum Interview Process

Reportan Hallazgo De Tres Narcofosas En Acapulco

Reportan Hallazgo De Tres Narcofosas En Acapulco

(El Diario De JUÁREZ)

Acapulco, Guerrero ─ En la zona conurbada del puerto de Acapulco se reportó la ubicación de al menos tres fosas clandestinas con cinco cuerpos, tres de los cuales ya han sido exhumados por personal de la Procuraduría General de Justicia, Protección Civil y de los Servicios Periciales.

“Hemos encontrado tres cuerpos, dos hombres y una mujer, que presentan un avanzado estado de descomposición; y nos encontramos en la colonia Jacarandas parte alta, muy cerca de un arroyo, en la zona conurbada del puerto de Acapulco.

“Las tres fosas se encuentran a una distancia de entre tres y 15 metros cada una, a una profundidad de un metro o metro y medio”, confirmó personal del Ministerio Público de la colonia Emiliano Zapata.

Según los primeros informes los restos humanos tienen aproximadamente diez días y los cuerpos presentan un avanzado estado de descomposición y hasta el momento no se aprecian disparos.

El reporte del hallazgo de las tres fosas clandestinas, ocurrió por la mañana al filo de las nueve horas y se envió a través del Servicio de Emergencia del 066, aunque fue hasta pasado el mediodía en que autoridades de los tres niveles de gobierno localizaron las tumbas.

Book presentation. Elia Hatfield: Por los caminos del norte: relatos de mujeres de la frontera

BOOK PRESENTATION AT NMSU CENTER FOR LATIN AMERICAN AND BORDER STUDIES/NASON HOUSE / flyer attached

Tuesday December 10, 6:45-7:30 pm
NMSU Nason House / (University Ave and Espina St., across from FedEx/Kinko’s)

The book will be presented by Prof. Jesus Barquet, with commentary from Prof. Gabriela Moreno, Department of Languages & Linguistics, NMSU. All of the presentations will be in SPANISH. Q&A in English or Spanish. Books will be available for sale. Reception to follow the presentations.

Elia Hatfield: POR LOS CAMINOS DEL NORTE: RELATOS DE MUJERES DE LA FRONTERA

Este libro teje su trama a partir de los relatos de mujeres que intentan cruzar hacia Estados Unidos. Aunque no todas logran su propósito, consiguen levantar su voz para defender lo que perciben como justicia, denunciando lo visible e invisible de una frontera siempre presente en los relatos asociados a la aventura de cruzarla. A través de Ana, los lectores conocerán las historias de algunas mujeres que, al intentar cruzar la frontera norte de México, han quedado varadas en ese lugar liminar representado por Ciudad Juárez, y se convierten en testigos cotidianos, e incluso víctimas, de la violencia y el conflicto del narcotráfico.

Presentador: Dr. Jesús J. Barquet, profesor, NMSU

Comentarista: Dra. Gabriela Moreno, profesora asistente, NMSU

Con esta actividad, CLABS celebra el final del semestre de Invierno 2013.

Place/Lugar: NASON HOUSE (University Ave and Espina St., across from FedEx/Kinko’s).

Day/Día: Martes, 10 de diciembre, 2013 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013.

Time/Hora: 6:45 – 7:30 pm.

El libro estará a la venta.

Entrada gratis y abierta al público de NMSU y la comunidad.

La actividad es en español, pero el público puede expresarse en inglés.

Habrá una recepción al final de la actividad.

elia flyer.pdf

160,000 children of deported Mexican parents under state custody in the US…report

A report from the Institute for Women in Migration (IMUMI) in Mexico reports that some 160.000 children of Mexican parents who have been deported are now in state custody in the US and may be offered for adoption. An article below from La Jornada gives a brief summary. The full report from IMUMI is available at this link:
http://uf.imumi.org/recursos/ahora_hacia_donde_completo.pdf

More from IMUMI here: http://imumi.org/

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/ultimas/2013/12/01/bajo-custodia-oficial-de-eu-cerca-de-160-mil-hijos-de-mexicanos-8740.html

Bajo custodia oficial de EU cerca de 160 mil hijos de mexicanos

Why so many people in Mexico still go missing…Deborah Bonello in Global Post

Deborah Bonello of GLOBAL POST sent this excellent video on the missing in Mexico. The video is about 7 minutes and worth the time.

On Location: Why so many people in Mexico still go missing

By: Deborah Bonello
September 20, 2013 – 12:41am

COAHUILA STATE, Mexico — The federal government says 26,000 people have been reported missing across Mexico since 2006, and yet just two states have a local prosecutor’s office dedicated to the investigation of such cases.

Even there, those who have disappeared are rarely found. Some have been caught up in the drug trade; others forcibly recruited to work for the gangs. Cases of mistaken identity are also common, and some are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Across the country, very few cases are properly investigated, and reports of the involvement of authorities are frequent.

3rd anniversary of Villas del Salvarcar massacre–EPTimes

Juárez families, neighborhood scarred by 2010 massacre

Parents of the victims and Villa de Salvárcar’s neighbors have said that the massacre was a mistake. They said that there were no members from the AA gang at the party, but that there were players from the CBTIS 128 "Jaguares" Football Juvenile AA League. Five of them survived and two died, according to news archives.

"They were good teenagers. They were students and they liked sports," said Rosario Montalvo, a neighbor who said she knew most of the people at the party.

The massacre left 15 dead, including two children and three adults who were not part of the party.

El Pasoans Take Risks to Keep International Bonds

An article found on the KFox14 website brings to light the necessity for El Pasoans to cross the Juarez border:

EL PASO, Texas — The U.S. Department of State is keeping Ciudad Juarez listed as a specific concern for those who need to cross the border, but many El Pasoans need to keep going.

They go for family and businesses, so they make adjustments and take their chances. For some, the price is high.

The familiar border aroma of onion, cilantro and jalapeno rise in Rosemary’s kitchen in El Paso – the same way they once did in her home in Juarez.

“I still imagine myself cooking, cleaning,” she said.

For 17 years, the El Paso-born American rose at 4 a.m. to make the trek back and forth across the international bridge, and she did it all for a man.

“It just gives me a great sadness because I sacrificed so many things. I sacrificed a lot of things being in Juarez,” Rosemary said. I sacrificed family; I sacrificed friends because I wanted to be with the man that I loved.”

Together, the couple built a house from one room and a thriving little enterprise.

“He built his business starting with nothing but a shovel and a little truck,” she said.

While Rosemary commuted to El Paso for her job, her husband worked seven days a week building their future.

Then, in 2009, cartel violence consumed the city.

“A lot of my husband’s friends who had the same types of businesses had all been killed already,” she said.

Rosemary’s extortion nightmare began and everything about the couple’s future was threatened.

“That put our life, his life, the life of our family in danger,” Rosemary said.

The couple starting handing over $200 a week from his business.

“I begged him and I pleaded with him to move here to El Paso and he refused. He said he was not going to give in to anybody and that he came to this life with nothing, and he was going to leave with nothing,” Rosemary said.

The nightmare went on for a year, and then, the extortionists wanted more.

“The day that he was shot, I was at my job here in El Paso and they told me that they had shot someone inside the business of my husband. It was all over the news,” she said.

In an instant, Rosemary’s husband’s life was over. Her life was over and she knew it. In a matter of hours, with the help of family in El Paso, Rosemary packed up everything she could and moved back home.

American business owners by the dozens would follow suit.

“It was us, it was our neighbors, our neighbor got shut down for a year, and then, our neighbor next to him – they assaulted him twice,” said Luis Gallegos, who owns a staffing company.

In 2009, an extortion threat arrived at the door step of Arias and Associates, Gallegos’ company.

“I got a call in the afternoon, we were right here and they called us that all our employees are locked in,” Gallegos said. “They wouldn’t let them out because the federal police had just gotten executed a just 10 feet from our door.”

Soon after, the Gallegos family would be trapped in a gun battle while stuck in Juarez traffic. Their teenage son witnessed a man shot to death by automatic gun fire.

“We were panicked,” Gallegos said. “We were shocked, but our employees were like, ‘Well, it happened to me when I worked over there at the liquor store.'”

But they were not so cavalier about cartel crime. Their thriving staffing business provided a workforce to some of the 150 “maquiladoras” (factories) in Juarez, and it immediately went into stealth mode.

“The business, everything, is all being handled over the phone,” said Hossana Gallegos, Luis’ wife and business partner.

Luis said that they would not conduct business at night and would avoid staying late in the afternoon.

“If we go, we don’t even call our employees,” Hossana Gallegos said. “We don’t tell them that we are going to be there.”

Hossana and Luis, who are Americans, operate their business in Juarez as though they are phantoms. They are doing as many Americans commuting to Juarez now must do. They drive modest cars and constantly change their routines.

Although security measures are not openly discussed, these business owners say it’s an adjustment being made by all, including maquiladoras.

“You see a lot of increase to the security,” Luis Gallegos said. “They’re shutting streets down. The access to the plants is more difficult.

The Mexican chamber of commerce reports more than 10,000 businesses have shut down since 2009.

It’s unclear how many of those businesses were American-owned, but Mexican business owners by the hundreds have sought refuge relocating to the U.S. side of the border. Most of them move their businesses revenue to the states.

They represent a growing social and professional network that meets at a restaurant on a regular basis.

Statistics from the state department show that there may be no going back to a prosperous pre-cartel Juarez anytime soon.

The state department warnings remain in place in Juarez calling it a specific concern.

The number of non-immigrant visas to the United States has increased steadily since 2009 and continues to rise. State department numbers show Juarez has one of the highest murder rates in Mexico.

Immigration and human rights attorneys representing those seeking asylum in the United States agree that safety remains a rapidly deteriorating concept in Mexico despite what its politicians push to the public.

Meanwhile, Americans trying to run their business with one foot in each country wistfully wish for days past before commuting got crazy.

“I would still commute every day, but it was not the same as before. I would always have to look behind my back. My husband would always be waiting for me as soon as I left for home and would lock the gates as soon as possible,” Rosemary said.

There seems to be no predictability factor as to whether Juarez can ever return to the days before blood began running in the streets.

“I was happy living in Juarez; I had everything I needed around me,” Rosemary said. “I had a Sams, Walmart, and all the stores.”

Those in El Paso creating a booming bi-national community on the border say they are adjusting.

“As soon as you crossed the border, you would see the soldier and then there was one after the other, patrols, the trucks,” Luis Gallegos said. “They would pull you over, and you don’t see that so much anymore. And oddly, you feel safer now.”

As far as the economic impact in El Paso is concerned, given the businesses and business people and families who have moved here from Juarez, every indicator from numbers gathered by the El Paso Regional Economic Development Corporation show that all the stability and growth of the city’s economy is coming from our military base, and not from beyond the border.

The Movement for Peace Marches On Against the Drug War–Narco News Bulletin

I recommend reading this one at the Narco News link below. Bill Conroy
always provides links to sources and related articles.
Also, here is a link to a new video by Frontera-listero Greg Berger:

The Movement for Peace Marches On Against the Drug War

The Goal Is Clear: Peace With Justice and Dignity

The one-year anniversary of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, a grassroots groundswell against the drug war, played out March 28 in a small plaza in the Mexican city of Cuernavaca, just south of Mexico City — absent the cameras and pens of the mainstream media.

What took place that day and during the day prior to the Movement event, both in spoken words and displayed emotions, pushed back hard against both US and Mexican interests that continue to perpetuate the carnage of the war on drugs. The flow of weapons from the US south into Mexico and the seemingly insatiable demand for the drugs flowing north into the US — both fueling misery, bloodshed and a major human exodus from Mexico — were all brought into sharp focus by this Movement gathering.

To read more, visit The Narcosphere