The Morongo Basin Stands With Charlottesville

“It’s pretty unbelievable that we have to keep reliving history.  It’s sad, but now it’s our time to stand up.”  For Julian Jose Tedtaotao, of Twentynine Palms, and more than 100 other people, taking a stand on Sunday meant gathering on the corner of Twentynine Palms Highway and Park Boulevard to show solidarity with opponents of white supremacy in Charlottesville, Virginia, and across America. – Hi-Desert Star

If you joined us in Joshua Tree the evening of August 13 for the Indivisible Morongo Basin Vigil for Charlottesville, you know that it was an incredible, inspiring time shared with over 100 warm and spirited people, gathering on short notice to mourn the tragic and shocking losses that occurred in Charlottesville that weekend.

As the sun went down the mood was positive and determined, and as the sky darkened scores of tiny candles sparked to life.  Many new faces were seen, as people throughout the Basin found their way to an event where they could express their outrage, their sadness, and their solidarity.

The Hi-Desert Star was there, interviewing attendees, and did an excellent write-up on the front page of the Thursday August 17 edition.  Be sure to pick up a copy!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to make the vigil such a meaningful action.

Photos thanks to Abrir Cerrado.

Standing Up for DACAmented Youth

August 15th was the fifth anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, a program that has provided safe harbor to live and work in our communities for 800,000 Americans who arrived in the U.S. as children. With Trump in office, these young people are facing the unthinkable prospect of being ripped from their homes and shoved into the deportation pipelineOn Tuesday, August 15, IMB members joined others across the nation to take the future of the DACAmented youth out of Trump’s hands by urging Senators Feinstein and Harris and Congressman Paul Cook to co-sponsor the bipartisan DREAM Act — S.1615 and H.R. 3591 (learn more about DACA and these bills here).

Indivisible National highlights some of the actions taken last week:

Thanks to all the groups who stood side-by-side with DACAmented Americans this week. You should continue to tell your MoCs to stand up for childhood arrivals and co-sponsor S.1615 and H.R. 3591 now using our explainer and script developed in partnership with United We Dream and the National Immigration Law Center.

You can read more about United We Dream’s events in Washington and Indivisible Co-Executive Directors’ civil disobedience arrest in support of DACAmented Americans on the Indivisible Guide blog.

How You Can Help the Hunger Strikers at Adelanto

Are you angered by immigrant abuse at the Adelanto Detention Facility and wishing you could help the refugees there on hunger strike?

Now, the Los Angeles group Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) is organizing a fundraising effort to get these men out of detention.  Please consider a donation, if you are able, or share this post and links to help spread the word!

To recap: People seeking asylum in the US, political and economic refugees from Central America and elsewhere, people who are in fear for their lives in their homelands, are detained at taxpayer expense in private prisons, for corporate profits. These people are not criminals, and have broken no laws in the United States, but when they approach the border and make their plea for asylum, they are separated from their families and put in detention with bond requirements completely beyond their means–sums ranging from $15,000 to $80,000.

Nine detainees at Adelanto Detention Center went on a hunger strike to protest their situation and the treatment they have received. One was deported, but eight remained. These eight were joined by 20 detained Haitians in solidarity, and these 28 men have succeeded in having their bond amounts reduced. The total amount is still $493,500–an absurd amount that is clearly beyond these innocent refugees’ ability to pay–but for a fraction of that, and including the amounts the detainees’ families have been able to scrape together, these men could be released and allowed to join their families, where they will be able to recuperate and prepare for their hearings, and attempt to raise the rest of the bond money.

Read more in the Los Angeles Times or on our Immigration Issues page.

So do you want to make a difference?  Help the hunger strikers with a donation and share this post and links to help spread the word!  #WelcomeRefugees #Not1More ClueJustice.org/Adelanto

“We Don’t Feel OK Here” – Adelanto in the LA Times

Problems at the Adelanto Detention Facility, a focus of the IMB Immigration Issues Team, have hit the front page of the Los Angeles Times:  “‘We don’t feel OK here’: Detainee deaths, suicide attempts and hunger strikes plague California immigration facility.

Located in the high desert 85 miles northeast of Los Angeles, the Adelanto Detention Facility can house nearly 2,000 men and women. Officials say more than 73,000 detainees have passed through since it opened in 2011.

 

Among those held there are asylum seekers, people caught in immigration sweeps and those identified by authorities as potentially deportable after landing in jail. Some have lived in the U.S. for decades, others were sent to Adelanto soon after crossing the border.

 

The GEO Group, which operates dozens of private prisons and detention centers around the country, owns and operates the facility. GEO Group receives a fee of up to about $112 per day per detainee from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with the city of Adelanto serving as a go-between.

 

Detainees and advocates have long complained of medical neglect, poor treatment by guards, lack of response to complaints and other problems. Government inspectors have also noted significant deficiencies at the facility — often related to medical care.

A guard escorts an immigrant detainee from a segregated housing unit back into the general population at the Adelanto Detention Facility in 2013. (John Moore / Getty Images)

…Rivera Martinez pointed to his mouth, where he had a gap in his teeth, and his nose, which crooked to the left, to show Peñalosa damage he alleged was caused by guards.

 

Attorney Nicole Ramos told the judge she was struggling to communicate with Rivera Martinez because the facility had blocked her phone number. (ICE officials say they sometimes block phone numbers for security reasons.)

 

Peñalosa said he would take note of the complaints. But he also explained to Rivera Martinez that his court is charged with deciding immigration cases, not resolving problems within the facility.

 

Rivera Martinez came to the U.S. this spring in a caravan with dozens of asylum seekers from Central America.

 

He said he fled El Salvador after a gang killed his brother and kidnapped him, his wife and teenage daughter when they witnessed the slaying. After the family escaped, Rivera Martinez said, he learned that the gang had occupied his house.

 

“I can’t return home anymore,” he said.