Hawaii becomes the first state to file a lawsuit against Trump’s new travel ban

On Monday, President Trump signed a new executive order banning immigrants hailing from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days; refugees will not be permitted to enter for 120 days. On Tuesday evening, attorneys for the state of Hawaii responded with a 40-page request for a temporary restraining order against the new ban, saying, in part, that “the Executive Order means that thousands of individuals across the United States and in Hawai‘i who have immediate family members living in the affected countries will now be unable to receive visits from those persons or to be reunited with them in the United States.”

In terms of its language and execution, this new attempt to expel immigrants is somewhat more temperate than the one before it, no doubt as part of an attempt to dissuade naysayers. Trump’s first ban caused national chaos when introduced on January 27, and the order was eventually shot down by the judiciary system. Regardless, activist groups have already vowed to retaliate: Immediately after the new ban was released, the International Rescue Committee commented that the new ban “heartlessly targets the most vulnerable, harming refugees and helping extremists.”

In addition to its agenda of forced exclusion, the administration’s efforts against immigration and proposed border wall require that the budget of the Coast Guard be cut by 14 percent, while the TSA and FSA budgets will each be reduced by 11 percent, which, ironically, leaves the country even more vulnerable.

According to The Guardian, Trump’s new order is scheduled to go into effect on March 16. The Hawaiia lawsuit proposes that a hearing regarding the order take place on March 15. Other states have yet to follow Hawaii’s lead.

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Trump Seeks to Cause Fear and Terror, Undocumented Immigrant Says

Donald Trump's speech seeks to cause fear and terror in communities around the country, undocumented immigrant Astrid Silva, who was chosen to deliver the Democratic response in Spanish to the US president's speech, said today.

Silva, a Nevada activist, recalled that she came to the United States at the age of four and this is the only home she has ever known, so she was proud to represent the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are an integral part of the nation.

For the young woman, the president's speech before the two chambers of Congress was divisive, and serves as a reminder 'that the plans and vision of President Trump and the Republicans go completely against our values as Democrats, as Americans and as human beings.'

'The United States is not a country guided by hatred, fear and division, as he makes it look like. Our country is guided by respect, hard work, sacrifice, opportunities, and hope,' said Silva, who is at risk of deportation under measures of the current Government.

To say of the activist, 'in this country there is no place for discrimination, racial prejudice or persecution, but this is what the administration of President Trump has brought about for Latinos and immigrants.'

'During his first few weeks as president, Trump signed executive orders that put our entire community in danger. He took actions that specifically aim to harm the immigrant community and refugees,' she said.

According to Silva, the president is spending resources to transform working families into targets for deportation, he wants to spend billions of dollars to build an unnecessary wall, and he is seeking ways to deny entry to our Muslims brothers and sisters.

'President Trump and the Republicans can use calmer rhetoric and appear moderate, but we know that the wind blows words away. Actions are what matter,' she said.

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Meet the Afro-Latinx Activists Empowering Black Immigrants

Attacks on immigrants in the United States are undoubtedly on the rise across the board, but the experiences of Black immigrants, who face particular forms of racism, are often erased from dominant narratives on migration.

Since U.S. President Donald Trump was elected last November, there have been over 1,000 reported hate crimes against immigrants across the country, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports. In 2015 alone, there were 5,850 reported hate crime incidents nationally, up 6.8 percent from 5,479 in 2014.

While anti-immigrant hate crimes were already heightening prior to Trump’s election, his tirades against immigrants have only made the situation worse.

In Washington state, for example, Trump supporters spray-painted a swastika with a racist message referring to the President on a Mexican family’s home in Spokane. The graffiti read “Can’t stump the Trump, Mexicans.”

“We’re afraid they’re going to do something,” Leticia Rosas told the Spokesman-Review. Rosas lives in the house with her husband and their three children.

And in Michigan, a Trump supporter called a Grand Rapids church with a large Latino population and left a racist voicemail.

“I hope Trump gets ya,” the suspect said. “Trump’s gonna get your asses out of here and throw you over the wall. You dirty rotten scumbags.”

These hate crimes are just a sample of the oppression that most immigrants, especially those who are undocumented, experience on a daily basis.

But for many Black immigrants, there’s an added form of oppression as a result of the anti-Black racism they face.

Black immigrants are much more likely than nationals from other regions to be deported due to a criminal conviction, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, BAJI, reports. Black immigrants also have the highest unemployment rates amongst all immigrant groups.

It doesn’t stop there.

Black immigrants are also least likely to receive Temporary Protected Status, TPS, preventing them from being deported back to often war-torn or environmentally-damaged countries.

It’s no surprise that this particular demographic is among the most persecuted, given the long history of racism against Black communities in the United States. But little known to many is that Black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean are one of the fastest-growing immigrant groups in the country.

The immigrant rights movement tends to be dominated by non-Black Spanish-speaking Latinos. But as the population of Black immigrants in the U.S. continues to increase, a growing number of Afro-Latinx organizers are uniting to serve this disproportionately attacked immigrant group.

teleSUR spoke to three Afro-Latinx activists to discuss how they are organizing to empower Black immigrants in their communities and what life for Black immigrants looks like.

Rocio Silverio: Fighting anti-Blackness

Silverio is national coordinator for the Black Immigration Network, a project of BAJI that works for policy and cultural shifts promoting a racial justice and migrant rights agenda. Silverio, based in New York City, is of Dominican heritage and identifies as Black.

For Silverio, the struggle to empower Black immigrants is connected with the struggle against anti-Blackness.

“In our immigrant communities, anti-Blackness and colorism takes shape in different ways,” she said.

“For those in our communities who practice anti-Blackness, it won't save or spare them from the injustices of white supremacy.”

Silverio’s organization is involved in campaigns that bring visibility to Black immigrants through advocacy, organizing and coalition building. BAJI is active in assisting Black immigrants facing deportations with legal resources. The organization also works alongside families from African, Latin American and Caribbean countries to challenge immigration policies that separate children from their parents.

While Silverio believes Trump’s administration is presenting more problems for Black immigrants, she says that previous administrations have been complicit in their oppression.

“The groundwork was laid out with the Clinton and Obama administrations,” she said. “It started with the last comprehensive reform of immigration laws in 1996, which increased deportations and applied them retroactively.”

Silverio has also been involved in campaigns to defend Haitian immigrants living in the Dominican Republic facing persecution. In 2013, when the Dominican government issued a ruling denationalizing an estimated 250,000 Haitians living in the country, she and others immediately hit the streets in protest.

Since then, she’s been active in challenging racism within community spaces in solidarity with Black immigrants.

“As many of us in the African diaspora, we understand the plight of being marginalized under structural racism,” Silverio said.

“It is our responsibility to work with people from other Black immigrant groups fighting for their lives."

Fatima Murrieta: "Blackify-ing" immigrant rights

​​​​​​​Murrieta is co-founder of the UndocuBlack Network, a new organization whose mission is to “Blackify” the undocumented immigrant narrative in the U.S. and facilitate access to resources for the Black undocumented community. Murrieta, based in Los Angeles, was born in Colombia and identifies as Afro-Latinx.

Murrieta believes that the existing immigrant rights structure has not properly welcomed Black immigrants into accessing resources, thus inspiring her to take action.

“Many immigration groups think they should only focus on the ‘majority,’ who are oftentimes non-Black. That has been a huge barrier in integrating Afro-Latinx and Black immigrants,” she said.

“We need to have a movement that actively engages impacted people, and that includes Black immigrants. We need to build trust in their communities.”

UndocuBlack Network was founded in Miami, Florida, in January 2016 as a gathering of over 65 Black undocumented persons in the area. Since then, the organization has been involved in planning similar assemblies across the country, as well as developing mental health initiatives, resource guides and telephone-based support groups.

Murrieta, who spearheads UndocuBlack Network’s Los Angeles branch, has organized workshops for Black immigrants interested in applying for citizenship. While providing legal resources is an important part of empowering their community, she believes addressing their health issues is just as important.

“There is a huge physical and mental hardship that Black immigrants experience in this country,” she said.

“They live under constant stress that isn't healthy. This stress forces them to get things like high blood pressure, which they are disproportionately affected by.”

Murrieta is currently partnering with high schools and colleges in the South Los Angeles area to host “Know Your Rights” trainings, legal fairs and health clinics catered toward Black immigrant youth.

Pablo Blanco: Welcoming the Garifuna Diaspora

Blanco is the founder of Garifuna Nation, a new organization that promotes the culture, identity and economic well-being of the Garifuna diaspora. Blanco, based in New York City, is of Honduran heritage and identifies as Garifuna, an Afro-descendent community that has lived for centuries on the Caribbean coast of Central America, especially Honduras.

For Blanco, who works closely with newly-arrived Garifuna immigrants fleeing violence and poverty in Honduras, immigration resources designed specifically for his community are hard to come by.

“We don’t have a strong support system for all this like other communities do,” he said.

“Since we come from rural communities in Honduras, we’re not used to dealing with other people on a personal basis. There’s sometimes a trust issue. We would rather deal with our own people in regards to something like this, especially because of language.”

Because of this, Blanco is working with other grassroots organizations to create legal clinics for Garifuna people who prefer to speak their native language when seeking immigration help. He is also working alongside elders of his community to create economic development plans for newly-arrived Garifuna immigrants.

He is also actively organizes cultural events across New York City that promote Garifuna history, culture, dance and tradition. For Blanco, it’s a way to teach and build relations with other immigrant groups, which he believes are necessary tasks.

“All of us have to work with each other because we are all fighting for the same dreams,” Blanco said.

“With other Black immigrant communities from Latin America, we can communicate in Spanish. We also have shared experiences travelling to the U.S. that unite us. That’s a starting point.”

Blanco takes inspiration from his grandfather, who helped over 38 Garifuna relatives from Honduras move to their neighborhood in The Bronx. Today, the area has become home to thousands of newly-arrived Garifuna immigrants from Honduras seeking refuge.

  • Published in Specials

Private Prisons to Profit Handsomely Off Trump Immigrant Raids

Prisons are already filled to the brim with immigrant detainees, and critics warns that Trump policies are likely to exacerbate already squalid conditions.

U.S. President Donald Trump has begun to follow through on his promise to crack down on immigration and roll out harsh border securitization, and while undocumented immigrants will face the suffer the gravest repercussions, private prisons, on the other hand, stand to be the biggest beneficiaries.

In just two weeks since Trump signed an executive order calling for the expansion of immigrant detention facilities at or near the border with Mexico, stocks for private prison companies have surged.

While the Obama administration implemented the most heavy-handed measures against immigrants compared to any other president — actions that earned him the monicker “deporter-in-chief” — Trump is expected to substantially ramp-up the mass immigrant detention system Obama put in place.

Prisons are already filled to the brim with immigrant detainees, and critics warn that Trump's anti-immigrant policies and mass apprehensions are likely to exacerbate the squalid conditions.

Carl Takei, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project, told the LA Times that there is likely to be “an enormous boondoggle for the private prison industry.”

“The immigration system already lacks rigorous oversight and transparency,” he explained. “And now there’s this perfect storm — a push to rapidly expand the system, a lack of existing oversight and the profit motive driving these companies.”

Private prison companies already provide a much lower cost to keep inmates, compared to federally run Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities. That profit motive is at the expense of decent conditions in these centers.

A prime example is the Willacy County Correctional Center, in Willacy County, Texas. Conditions in the prison were so bad that detainees engaged in a mass uprising, cutting and burning holes in their tents, wielding pipes and brooms and taking control of the prison for nearly two days. After the incident, the Bureau of Prisons shut down the facility in 2015, deeming it “uninhabitable,” and transferred all the inmates to other federal prisons.

“The level of human suffering was just unbelievable,” Kathleen Baldoni, a former Willacy nurse, told a congressional briefing in 2009.

In addition, a 2010 human rights report stated that for every 1,358 inmates, there was only one physician on staff. The next year, a PBS documentary investigated more than a dozen allegations of sexual abuse by Willacy guards.

With Trump and his anti-immigration policies in the White House, heavy-handed immigration enforcement is likely to continue to rely on private prisons with just as squalid conditions. And the private corporations are already salivating over the prospect.

According to the Associated Press, the largest private prison operator in the U.S., CoreCivic — formerly the Corrections Corporation of America — has said it is able to provide the extra detention facilities needed to enforce Trump's executive orders on immigration.

The corporation's stocks had slumped last year when the Obama administration inched toward easing private prison use, but the company's economic outlook bounced back with a 43 percent jump in its stocks the day after Trump's election.

Trump’s executive order requires the detention of all migrants that cross the southern border, including minors and women with children. In 2016, more than 400,000 migrants were apprehended when crossing the border.

John Kelly, Trump's pick for Department of Homeland Security secretary, will lead the crackdown by tripling the number of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to have more manpower to deport and detain any migrant who tries to cross, including families, minors and asylum seekers regardless of their rights under U.S. and international laws.

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Noam Chomsky Asks Obama To Pardon 11Mn Undocumented Migrants

The professor asked Obama to make a historic gesture in solidarity with migrants before he leaves office.

Retired MIT linguistics professor Noam Chomsky urged U.S. President Barack Obama to issue a general pardon to the millions of undocumented immigrants that are facing immediate deportation under Donald Trump’s presidency.

“President Obama, to his credit, has issued personal pardons in deserving cases, but he should go far beyond,” Chomsky stated in a video posted Friday by the Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative.

“He should proceed to what is, in fact, an urgent necessity, to grant a general pardon to 11 million people who are living and working (in the United States), productive citizens … threatened with deportation by the incoming administration,” Chomsky insisted, as Trump will come into office next month, with the electoral promise of deporting 2 to 3 million people.

“It would be a horrible humanitarian tragedy, a moral outrage that can be reverted by a general pardon, and we should join to urge (Obama) to carry out this necessary step without delay.”

As part of his anti-immigration rhetoric, Trump has also expressed plans to end birthright citizenship, meaning the children of undocumented immigrants would also be considered undocumented, even if they have lived their entire lives in the U.S. He is also expected to attack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, aimed at protecting thousands of people who arrived in the country as children.

Trump has slammed Obama for being soft on immigration, despite the fact that Obama's presidency set records for deportations, with some 2.5 million people deported under such immigration enforcement policies as Secure Communities and the Priority Enforcement Program.

While the details of Trump’s proposed immigration policy remain foggy, Latinos and other immigrants are already fearful — for good reason — of the possibility of impending deportation.

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Thousands March in Solidarity with Migrants, Against Trump

Opposing his predatory campaign and rhetoric, demonstrators including celebrities, filmmakers and even public officials have all called for more mobilization against Trump.

To denounce U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant stance, thousands of people staged protests in several U.S. cities this Sunday, the same day the world celebrated International Migrants Day.

Across Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles and Denver, protesters reflecting various nationalities and social movements rallied in solidarity with the large immigrant population in the country that Trump has repeatedly attacked and denigrated. In an interview with 60 Minutes last month, Trump pledged to deport approximately 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants after taking office on Jan. 20.

RELATED: Trump's Election Sees More Than 1,000 Hate Crimes in a Month

Demonstrators, who included influential anti-Trump activists such as liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, called for acts of civil disobedience to put a stop to Trump’s unrelenting hate and bigotry. Speaking with MSNBC, Moore said the answer was more “protesting, obstructing, disrupting.”

“Listen, we’re hours away now from the Electoral College coming together on Monday. This needs protest, this needs people’s voices,” Moore had said, according to Press TV.

Moore’s comments echo what other prominent figures have said, such as Virginia Senator Bernie Sanders, who has called for and organized and well-strategized massive mobilizations against Trump. In Seattle, renowned socialist councilmember Kshama Sawant was also recently arrested at an anti-Trump rally for inviting people to create a "wall of mass resistance" in order to block Trump's cancerous rhetoric, specifically by staging protests during his inauguration.

"We must bring together millions of progressive workers and young people to build a wall of mass resistance against Trump,” Sawant wrote in CounterPunch in November. “And to defend immigrants, women, Muslims, LGBTQ people and all others targeted by his presidency.”

The decision to elect a president does not ultimately belong to the people via the popular vote. According to the U.S. Constitution, voters elect members of the Electoral College, who then elect the president. A majority of 270 votes are required to be elected.

This means that despite losing to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by over 3 million ballots in the popular vote on the Nov. 8 election, Trump still won the state-by-state contest for the Electoral College.

RELATED: International Migrants Day

The New York Immigration Coalition organized a rally that saw hundreds of people, including elected officials, march towards Trump Tower to let him and the Electoral College know they continue to oppose his looming presidency.

“It’s important because even though he is elected, we want to show not everyone is on board,” Hansol Lee, a South Korean immigrant, said, according to AM New York.

In Los Angeles, more than 2000 people came out.

"I want to tell Mr. Trump that we are immigrants, we help this economy grow, we don't want nothing for free," Los Angeles marcher Horalia Jauregui told CBC News.

All protests were reportedly peaceful.

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Fascist Trump Labels Venezuela and Cuba 'Oppressive'

The presidential candidate said that a Trump administration would seek to change the Maduro and Castro governments.

"With a victory in November everything will change, that change includes standing in solidarity with the suffering of the people of Cuba and Venezuela against the oppression of the Castro and Maduro regimes," Trump said referring to Cuban President Raul Castro and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

His latest remarks come at a time when the left-wing Venezuelan government is facing a new round of attacks from the right-wing dominated National Assembly.

Months-long tensions became full-blown confrontation when lawmakers Sunday passed a declaration that the government had broken constitutional order after election authorities suspended a recall referendum against Maduro due to a series of irregularities on the part of the opposition.

On Tuesday the assembly voted to move forward with impeachment proceedings, despite the fact that a dialogue between the government and the opposition is to take place on Sunday.

However, unlike neighboring Brazil, where Dilma Rousseff was impeached and removed from the presidency in August, a trial against Maduro would be illegal given that Congress is currently in noncompliance with a ruling from the country's Supreme Court, therefore its actions have no legal standing.

OPINION: The Globalization of Donald Trump

Venezuela and Cuba are all-too familiar with U.S. meddling and direct and subtle attempts for regime change and support for right-wing groups and parties to undermine the leftist tide that Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez had unleashed in Latin America.

Trump’s comments came at campaign rally in St. Augustine, Florida where he also claimed that the campaign of his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton corrupted the government.

Republicans and democrats, as well as progressives in the U.S. and the world, have warned against a Trump presidency while many have likened him to Adolf Hitler and historical fascist figures as neo-Nazi and white supremacist figures and groups endorse him.

Thus Trump’s comments on Venezuela and Cuba serve as further proof for how little he is in touch with reality. Bans on Muslims, saying Mexicans immigrants in the U.S. are “rapists and drug dealers” while calling refugees terrorists, which are Trump’s publicly declared policies and statements, are the very definition of oppressive policies that people need to stand against.

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Rapper's Video Calls on US Latinos to Stand Together

The musician released the song to fight ignorance, which she says has led to segregation among Latinos from different countries.

According to Snow, the song "Despierta," or Wake Up, is a message for Latinos to put their differences aside and stand together in moments of political hardship.

“I get it we’re all different and we’ve gone through different experiences, but at the same time we all have to unite as one and not categorize ourselves or put people down for being lighter or darker,” said Snow to Fusion. “In the end we’re the only people holding ourselves back.”

The musician said ignorance has led to segregation among Latinos, depending on their skin color and country.

Snow is seen seated in a replica of the oval office in the video, singing about Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump‘s hate for Mexicans, and U.S. President Barack Obama's immigration policies.

“Latinos put Obama in this same seat,” says the song. “Yet he still deported more people than all the other presidents.”

RELATED: Hollywood's Incredible Invisible Latinos

“I wanted to have people think about that line. It sucks,” said Snow during an interview.

Snow also attacked Trump in the song saying “that Donald Duck really frustrates me ... Trump is going end this fucking world.”

The video already has has almost 3 million views on Facebook and YouTube combined.

Snow Tha Product, whose real name is Claudia Alexandra Feliciano, was born in San Jose, California and usually performs her songs in English, but for this song she wanted to send a clear message to Latinos in the U.S.

“I don’t feel like translating into English because I want it to be like talking to family behind close doors. it’s kind of like when you want to talk to family or siblings and you don’t want to put them on blast,” said Snow.

  • Published in Culture
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