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Class Day Lecture: Teju Cole - YouTube
[See also: https://www.harvardmagazine.com/2019/05/commencement-teju-cole ]

"The GSD has named Teju Cole as its 2019 Class Day speaker. Teju Cole is a novelist, essayist, photographer, and curator. His books include Open City, Blind Spot and, most recently, Human Archipelago. He has been honored with the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Internationaler Literaturpreis, the Windham Campbell Prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among many other prizes. His photography has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, and he was the photography critic of the New York Times Magazine from 2015 until 2019. He is the Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Harvard."
tejucole  2019  commencementaddresses  design  refugees  tonimorrison  fascism  patriarchy  whitesupremacy  oppression  complicity  power  doors  sandiego  borderfieldstatepark  friendshippark  border  borders  migration  immigration  us  mexico  tijuana  borderpatrol  humanism  grace  chivalry  hospitality  humans  kindness  commencementspeeches 
june 2019 by robertogreco
‘Has Any One of Us Wept?’ | by Francisco Cantú | The New York Review of Books
"The dehumanizing tactics and rhetoric of war have transformed the border into a permanent zone of exception, where some of the most vulnerable people on earth face death and disappearance on a daily basis, where children have been torn from their parents to send the message You are not safe here, you are not welcome. The true crisis at the border is not one of surging crossings or growing criminality, but of our own increasing disregard for human life. To describe what we are seeing as a “crisis,” however, is to imply that our current moment is somehow more horrifying than those that have recently set the stage for it—moments that, had we allowed ourselves to see them and be horrified by them, might have prevented our arrival here in the first place.

In an essay examining the omnipresence of modern borders and the immigration crisis in the Mediterranean, British journalist Frances Stonor Saunders argues that documents such as passports and visas are central components to how our society values and recognizes human life.2 “Identity is established by identification,” Saunders writes, “and identification is established by documenting and fixing the socially significant and codifiable information that confirms who you are.” Those who possess such documentation possess a verified self, “an identity, formed through and confirmed by identification, that is attested to be ‘true.’”"



"When the violence of our institutions is revealed, when their dehumanizing design is laid bare, it can be too daunting to imagine that we might change things. But what I have learned from giving myself over to a structure of power, from living within its grim vision and helping to harm the people and places from which I came, is that even the most basic act of decency can serve as the spark that will lead one back toward humanity, and even the most basic individual interaction has the power to upend the idea of the “other.” Heeding even these small impulses can serve as a means of extricating ourselves from systems of thought and policy that perpetuate detachment, even in spite of all the mechanisms that have been devised to make us believe in individual and nationalistic self-interest. As obvious as it might seem, to truly and completely reject a culture of violence, to banish it from our minds, we must first fully refuse to participate in it, and refuse to assist in its normalization. When we consider the border, we might think of our home; when we consider those who cross it, we might think of those we hold dear."
franciscocantú  border  borders  us  mexico  2019  borderpatrol  humanism  humanity  policy  politics  donaldtrump  migration  refugees  violence  vi:sarahpeeden  power  detachment  nationalism  individualism  self-interest  decency 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Harvest of Empire – Harvest of Empire
[Available on YouTube, for now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyncOYTZfHE ]

[See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvest_of_Empire:_A_History_of_Latinos_in_America ]

"The Untold Story of Latinos in America

“We are all Americans of the New World, and our most dangerous enemies 
are not each other, but the great wall of ignorance between us.”
Juan González, Harvest of Empire

At a time of heated and divisive debate over immigration, Onyx Films is proud to present Harvest of Empire, a feature-length documentary that reveals the direct connection between the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and the immigration crisis we face today.

Based on the groundbreaking book by award-winning journalist and Democracy Now! Co-host Juan González, Harvest of Empire takes an unflinching look at the role that U.S. economic and military interests played in triggering an unprecedented wave of migration that is transforming our nation’s cultural and economic landscape.

From the wars for territorial expansion that gave the U.S. control of Puerto Rico, Cuba and more than half of Mexico, to the covert operations that imposed oppressive military regimes in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador, Harvest of Empire unveils a moving human story that is largely unknown to the great majority of citizens in the U.S.

As Juan González says at the beginning of the film “They never teach us in school that the huge Latino presence here is a direct result of our own government’s actions in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America over many decades — actions that forced millions from that region to leave their homeland and journey north.”

Harvest of Empire provides a rare and powerful glimpse into the enormous sacrifices and rarely-noted triumphs of our nation’s growing Latino community. The film features present day immigrant stories, rarely seen archival material, as well as interviews with such respected figures as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchú, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Díaz, Mexican historian Dr. Lorenzo Meyer, journalists María Hinojosa and Geraldo Rivera, Grammy award-winning singer Luis Enrique, and poet Martín Espada."
film  documentary  us  history  immigration  latinamerica  puertorico  mexico  guatemala  honduras  juangonzález  cuba  nicaragua  elsalvador  rigobertamenchú  jessejackson  anthonyromero  junotdíaz  lorenzomeyer  maríahinojosa  geraldorivera  2011  martínespada  luisenrique  dominicanrepublic  latinos  imperialism  politics  policy  foreignpolicy  braceros  wwii  ww2  civilrights  race  racism  migration  communism  redscare  centralamerica  caribbean  colonialism  socialism  capitalism  fidelcastro  rafaeltrujillo  spanish-americanwar  inequality  exploitation  sugar  cotton  revolution  resistance  fulgenciobatista  dictatorships  oppression  deportation  texas  california  newmexico  arizona  mexican-americanwar  nevada  colorado  florida  nyc  óscarromero  harrytruman  democracy  jacoboárbenz  unitedfruitcompany  eisenhower  cia  intervention  maya  ethniccleansing  land  ownership  civilwar  iran-contraaffair  ronaldreagan  sandinistas  contras  war  bayofpigs  refugees  marielboatlift  1980  jimmycarter  language  spanish  español  miami  joaquínbalaguer  hectortruji 
july 2018 by robertogreco
Mapping Who Lives in Border Patrol's '100-Mile Zone' - CityLab
"All of Michigan, D.C., and a large chunk of Pennsylvania are part of the area where Border Patrol has expanded search and seizure rights. Here's what it means to live or travel there."
border  borders  us  mexico  2018  tanvimisra  checkpoints  civilrights  lawenforcement  policing  military  militarization  borderpatrol  california 
may 2018 by robertogreco
The Long History of America's Constitutionally-Challenged 'Border Zones' | Atlas Obscura
"The extension of Customs and Border Patrol's mandate to a 100-mile zone has alarmed civil liberties' groups for years."

"Recently Maria Abi-Habib, a journalist at the Wall Street Journal, had a troubling experience. As she detailed on Facebook (picked up by Motherboard), customs agents at Los Angeles airport tried to take her phones after grilling her for an hour—something she protested as a violation of her rights. But it went further than that. "My rights as a journalist or U.S. citizen do not apply at the border," she wrote, "since legislation was passed in 2013 giving DHS very broad powers."

This is true, but the meaning of "border", a concept that one normally assumes is a hard line, has been shifting for much longer than that. In particular, a technical definition in federal regulations established in 1953 has resulted in 100-mile “border zones,” sometimes encompassing entire states, and some groups becoming increasingly alarmed by the implications of such wide-ranging border areas.

In 1952, the government authorized the United States Border Patrol (initially established in 1924) to patrol “all territory within 25 miles of a land border” and board and search vehicles for illegal aliens, according to the website of its successor agency, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). Immigration officers—then and now—receive their authority from Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Currently, section 287 of Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations authorizes immigration officers to search and interrogate, without warrant, any person suspected of being in the United States illegally within a “reasonable distance” of any external boundary of the United States. In 1953, the Department of Justice amended section 287.1 of 8 CFR to define “reasonable distance” as 100 miles, a distance the American Civil Liberties Union insinuates was arbitrarily determined.

“[O]ther than their presence in these publications, there is no public history as to why the Justice Department chose 100 miles as the ‘reasonable distance’ from the border under the INA. It may simply be that 100 miles has a history of being the distance considered to be reasonable regarding the availability of witnesses for examination, responses to subpoenas, and numerous other discovery issues under other federal laws,” the ACLU notes in their fact sheet on the issue.

Given that over two-thirds of the U.S. population lives within 100 miles of an external boundary, the ACLU and others argue that the 100-mile distance—coupled with the expanded mandates afforded to immigration officers as part of the “wars” on drugs and terrorism—creates “border zones” where ordinary American citizens could be caught up in warrantless searches and interrogations with no legal recourse.

Journalist Todd Miller provided a gripping depiction of the alarming scenario in a 2013 article written for the Nation, which he opened with a dramatic recounting of U.S. citizen Shena Gutierrez’s detention by CBP agents in Arizona:
Shena Gutierrez was already cuffed and in an inspection room in Nogales, Arizona, when the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent grabbed her purse, opened it, and dumped its contents onto the floor right in front of her. There couldn’t be a sharper image of the Bill of Rights rollback we are experiencing in the US borderlands in the post-9/11 era.


While Gutierrez’s story is a gripping reminder of the protections provided by the Bill of Rights—and the brutality that could be visited upon any citizen if those protections are undermined—it’s reasonable to question whether such a blatant violation of citizens’ rights could occur to any person living in Maine, Vermont, or any of the other states entirely within the 100-mile zone without public outcry.

According to a 2013 blog post from the National Constitution Center, the ACLU and other groups are overstating the threats to constitutional rights within the border zone. Citing two 2009 analysis papers from the Congressional Research Service, the NCC argues that because border agents must have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, and because they can only search individuals who have recently crossed the border, most searches should not violate the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unlawful search and seizure; the NCC does, however, note that searches at border stops and airports do not require reasonable suspicion.

The requirement of “reasonableness” has, in fact, been used by federal courts to uphold the legality of warrantless searches in the border zone, as Kate Huddlestone notes in a legal note published in the Yale Law Journal examining the constitutionality of Texas House Bill 2 vis-a-vis the burden it places on undocumented immigrants within border zones. Essentially, because people live and work in border zones, immigration officers must have a reasonable suspicion to conduct a search; if border zones were purely areas of transit (like an airport), officers could (and, as we all know, do) search everyone, no suspicion required.

Of course, illegal searches can and do happen, all the time. But the 100-mile border zones established over 70 years ago may not be the Constitution-free lands of unauthorized search and seizure some fear. Regardless, the border zones serve as a timely reminder that national borders aren’t as cut-and-dry as putting up a wall."
border  borders  us  mexico  2016  policy  law  legal  airports  transit  migration  canada  maine  vermont  arizona  borderpatrol 
august 2016 by robertogreco
'I am a citizen': when border patrol agents violate the rights of US residents | US news | The Guardian
"As one Arizona border community calls for closure of checkpoint, concerns grow over increased racial profiling and invasion of civil rights"



"‘If I had white skin and blue eyes’
Wray is originally from Mexico and believes that agents treat her with suspicion as a result. “I have a brown colour and I’m very proud of my colour,” she said. “A couple of times they have asked for an ID for me to prove that I am a US citizen and they don’t believe my words. That makes me feel bad because if I’m saying I’m a US citizen it’s because I am. But they don’t believe it.

“If I had white skin and blue eyes … other people who aren’t even US citizens, they could be from Argentina or other places, but they’re white and they don’t ask those questions,” she said. “They’re still treating me like I walked [in from] the desert yesterday.”

The 57-year-old part-time library worker worries that the checkpoint has a negative effect on the town’s economy and a psychological impact on locals. “They make it look like a war zone and I don’t like it. My grandson is 10 years old and I want him to grow up in a place where he doesn’t see all these men in uniform with guns. The children are growing and they see all this and they think it’s normal, they think it’s a normal way of life,” she said.

Activists also argue that the true purpose of the Arivaca checkpoint and others is not interception but to act as a deterrent. This, they say, forces migrants crossing the border to trek through dangerous, remote terrain to avoid detection, resulting in deaths. The Los Angeles Times reported in 2013 that migrant death rates in southern Arizona were at an all-time high.

Border Patrol has insisted that Arivaca and the dozens of other interior permanent or temporary checkpoints in Arizona and across the US are legal and play a vital role in reducing illegal activity, such as drug and people smuggling."
2015  arizona  border  borders  us  mexico  racialprofiling  profiling  race  borderpatrol 
june 2015 by robertogreco
U.S. Border Agency Lets Other Units Use Its Drones - NYTimes.com
"As Congress considers a new immigration law that would expand the fleet of unmanned drones along the border, the agency in charge of border protection is increasingly offering the drones it already owns to a variety of domestic law-enforcement agencies and has considered equipping them with “nonlethal weapons,” according to documents recently made public."
us  2013  border  borders  borderpatrol  drones  droneproject 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Seven Bad Things That Will Happen After a “Border Surge” | Washington Office on Latin America
"1. It will cost a lot of money.
2. People will keep trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
3. Of those who attempt to cross, more will die on U.S. soil.
4. For Border Patrol, very rapid growth spells trouble.
5. Abuses of migrants could multiply.
6. Large amounts of drugs will still be smuggled through ports of entry.
7. Border Patrol agents may find themselves with little to do."
border  borders  security  bordersurge  2013  california  arizona  texas  borderpatrol  mexico  us  policy 
june 2013 by robertogreco
From Mexican to American: Louis Hock's Decades of Documenting Immigrant Life | San Diego | Artbound | KCET
"Thirty years ago, in the apartment complex of Los Analos, located a block from the beach in the Northern county of San Diego, children could be heard screaming and playing the Migra game. The game, a sort of Cowboys & Indians meets Cops & Robbers border hybrid, consisted of two roles: la migra or Border Patrol agent, and the undocumented Mexican immigrant. And often, it became a reenactment of events the children witnessed at Los Analos: friends, family and neighbors being arrested by INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services) for being undocumented.

The migra game was one of the many things artist and filmmaker Louis Hock witnessed and documented in his four-part film project "The Mexican Tapes: A Chronicle of Life Outside the Law." Hock, a native of the border Southwest, moved to Los Analos in 1978. Wanting to experiment with videotape production and in the process document the experiences of his neighbors -- undocumented Mexican working class immigrant families, whose voice was absent or grossly misrepresented in the political discourse on the border and immigration at the time -- Hock began filming the day-today lives of four families: Cande and Pancha and their daughter Maria Luisa, Cachuchas and Marisela and their daughter Veronica, Ramon and Rufina and their daughters Lupe, Rocio and Sonia, and Ruben and Maria and their son Carlos. The result was an amazing personal record of the history, labor, and aspirations of immigrants in the United States.

Serendipitously, the year the documentary was completed, the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act granted undocumented immigrants like Hock's neighbors and their children amnesty, which practically guaranteed, as Hock describes that this next generation would not be playing the migra game for real.

But what had this transformation, from undocumented immigrant living outside the law, to lawful resident or citizen, represented for these families?

This is a question Hock takes up in "The American Tapes: A Tale of Immigrations," the sequel to the "Mexican Tapes," that documents the current lives of the four families from Los Analos. Hock explains that this new film is not simply a "What had they done since the last time I saw them", an update 30 years after their first interviews. Rather Hock "tried to make each of the people and their families tell a story", a story that allows you as the viewer understand who they are, where they are, and how they they got there."
art  film  sandiego  losanalos  louishock  migration  immigration  2013  1978  1986  migra  borderpatrol  borders  border  us  mexico 
may 2013 by robertogreco

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