Northwestern Memorial still denies meeting

Hunger strikers spent all night Sunday and all day today in front of Northwestern Memorial Hospital; administration refused to meet with them . Please join them at 215 E Huron today at 6:30 for a press conference and update on their plans, we are unsure yet if they will send a second night outdoors or not.

Posted in Hunger Strike

Protest at Northwestern Memorial Hospital today!!

Call Northwestern Memorial – (312)-926-2000; ask for CEO Dean Harrison and tell him the hunger strikers are at his door! MEET WITH THE HUNGER STRIKERS MONDAY! Tell the hospital is it unacceptable to refuse care and let people die.  We will be at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, arriving at 3PM on Sunday, August 5. We will be there all night. Join us for a bit, if you are able at 251 E Huron Ave


Posted in Hunger Strike

Solidarity with Hunger Strikers

Moratorium on Deportations Campaign has always confronted the deportation/detention system and border militarization as mechanisms that designate entire populations as less worthy of humanity. Hospitals have been nodes in the structures of the immigration/militarization/prison industrial complex, places that have funneled severely ill people into the net of Homeland Security. But hospitals are also places that parse out the difference between who shall be saved and who shall be left to die — because in a profit-driven world, once bodies are no longer exploitable they are not worth saving. Hospitals routinely deny life-saving transplants to undocumented people who are poor and uninsured — and so the politics of death, or necropolitics, extends from the devastation of distant lands, to the deathscapes of the border, to the slick and precise violence of the hospital. We stand in solidarity with undocumented people on hunger strike who demand transplants for themselves and loved ones. They are confronting two racist and unjust systems that are intimately connected: immigration and health care. Their demands extend beyond their own cases, to include affordable access to life-saving transplants for all patients based on need and not based on immigration status or ability to pay. Below is a letter from the hunger strikers.

July 29, 2013

We, the family members and friends of patients that are in need of a transplant have started a hunger strike. We have taken this extreme measure because hospitals have refused to add our loved ones to the transplant lists because they lack immigration status and because they lack insurance. Most of the patients are either receiving dialysis or are dependent on medication to stabilize their illness. We have been told there is no financial assistance for a transplant for uninsured patients. We find this to be unjust and inhumane. We cannot sit and wait until our loved ones die.

We will not end the hunger strike until the following demands are met:

1. The fourteen undocumented patients in critical need of organ transplants are put on hospital waitlists

2. A concrete system is established to evaluate each case and then place patients on a waiting list for a transplant based on need and not legal or financial status.

3. Policies are established that ensure affordable medicine for waitlist candidates before and after transplant.

Contact: Fr. Jose S. Landaverde 773-512-8015


The family and friends of patients in need of a transplant. Lista de Huelga de Hambre •Maria De El Carmen Garcia •Maria Garcia •Juan Balbuena •Chris Hernandez •Heriberto Balbuena •Veronica Rivera •Tania Reyna •Maria Galvez •Lorena Galvez •Blanca Gomes •Padre; Jose S. Landaverde •Rev. Luis Alvarenga •Vanessa Jauregui •Rosa Gomez •Leticia Hes Peninal •Osbeidy Rivery

PATIENTS IN NEED OF TRANSLPANTS •Lorenzo Arroyo (LIVER) •Martin Hernandez (KIDNEY) •Marisol Rivera (KIDNEY) •Blanca Gomez (KIDNEY) •Isidrio Secundino(KIDNEY) •Maria Isabel Mariano (LIVER) •Marcos Noe Garcia (KIDNEY) •Sarai Rodriguez (LIVER) •Gustavo Galvez (KIDNEY) •Juana H. Rodriguez (KIDNEY) •Teodora Toyalo (KIDNEY)

Posted in Uncategorized

Actions August 3-6

  1. Saturday, August 3 @ 1PM: Press conference @3442 W 26th St
  2. Saturday, August 3 @ 6PM:  Open Planning meeting, 3442 W 26th St
  3. Sunday August 4, starting at 3PM: Protest and overnight action, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, 251 E Huron St
  4. Tuesday, August 6, time TBA – protest at Christ Medical Center

Why Northwestern?
This is one of the ONLY hospitals in the entire region to offer liver transplants. Previous attempts to secure a meeting or deliver a letter to the hospital CEO have failed, with Northwestern Memorial Hospital threatening to call the police on the hunger strikers — who include critically ill patients and their loved ones, children and elderly family members. Almost all the participants are undocumented. The hunger strikers have been left no option but to intensify their protest, exposing themselves to great risk. Please join them in solidarity

What you can do
Join the hunger strikers Sunday at Northwestern Memorial between 3PM Sunday and Monday morning. Bring water, Gatorade or V8 juice, a tent or comfy sleeping mat to share. Bring sign-making supplies, a small banner etc. Share this announcement with your organization, neighbors, friends.
Check back often at and
Facebook event page

Posted in Hunger Strike

Hunger Strike Portraits

This gallery contains 6 photos.


Call for Solidarity

The strikers are staying 24/7 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission, 3442 W 26th St. How you can help:

SUPPLIES: water, gatorade, or comfy sleeping pads if you can spare them; also, sign-making or banner-making supplies are needed: stop by with large markers, poster board and sheets for banners, and help make some signs.

ACTIONS: join the strikers at their actions. Also check for updates at

– Wednesday, July 31: March and protest at UIC Medical Center

– Thursday August 1 @6:00 PM: meeting with community and officials

– Friday, August 2: Action at Northwestern Memorial Hospital: strikers will march and demand a meeting with the CEO

– Saturday, August 3@6PM: open organizing meeting to plan actions for Monday


Posted in Uncategorized

Bullshit Organization of the Year Award

1026203_207679936049801_2018408460_oCongratulations!!! Migrant Justice Activists deliver a special, custom-made giant poop trophy to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) in recognition of their deceptive propaganda campaign in support of the senate “Immigration Reform Bill”. This action draws attention to the fact that large and politically-connected NGO’s like ICIRR are promoting this bill because they stand to benefit financially and politically from this legislation.

for videos from the stream, delivering the poop and debates, here and also, before the cops were called, here

Why a GIANT POOP Award?? For the past several months the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) has been promoting the bi-partisan bill “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act”, aka the Gang of 8 Immigration Reform Bill. In order to mobilize people in support of this bill, ICIRR has been misleading the public through false statements, such as “the bill includes a path to legalization for 11 million undocumented immigrants”, or the bill “provides for increased family unity” etc. ICIRR’s propaganda deliberately deceives people about the main provisions of the bill, which are:

  • increasing militarization and deaths at the border
  • increasing surveillance of immigrants and inventing new categories of “immigration crimes”, which escalate detention and deportations.
  • excluding poor immigrants and those without stable employment from any chance for legal status
  • undermining family unification efforts, by reducing family petitions and replacing them with a “merit-based” system that favors rich and highly educated immigrants
  • expanding guest worker programs and E-Verify, which keep immigrants vulnerable to employer abuse and exploitation

1039757_628532693826118_971045673_oOn Thursday June 20, during the ICIRR fundraiser and awards ceremony, community groups will deliver the Bullshit Organization of the Year Award in order to expose ICIRR’s disinformation campaign. This action also draws attention to the fact that large and politically-connected NGO’s like ICIRR are promoting this bill because they stand to benefit financially and politically from this legislation. According to sections sections 2533-2538 and section 2541, the bill gives financial incentives to NGO’s to cooperate with Homeland Security in implementing the provisions of the bill, and to use their influence to ensure the “cooperation” of immigrant communities with the new repressive apparatus put into motion. ICIRR’s deceptive campaign tactics are intended to create the false impression of community support for the bill, while silencing grassroots organizations who dare to criticize it.

ICIRR receives millions in state, federal and corporate moneys to supposedly advocate for immigrant rights. Instead they capitalize on the very communities that they are supposedly representing, by colluding with their politician allies whose only interest is to pose as immigrant-friendly in order to secure the immigrant vote.

** for more specific information and a detailed analysis of how politically-connected NGO’s are bribed though so-called “immigration reform”, see the educational materials here and below.

A brief note on the action, a note of caution for immigrant organizers who are supporters of this organization — if you change your mind and begin criticizing them, asking questions or demanding to know why they are blatantly lying about policies they promote, they will turn you over to the police. When a group of ten people arrived and asked to deliver the poop award, ICIRR staff threatened to call the police. We reminded them of what they already knew: that the group included undocumented organizers, and one participant is currently under deportation proceedings — calling the cops is calling La Migra, that is the reality of that threat. We continued to wait on the sidewalk in front of the building, and ICIRR did indeed call a police unit, who arrived with their armored vehicle ready to deal with the “public threat” of some flyers, a poop and a set of critical questions. Grassroots migrant justice organizers criticize the largest, most well-funded and politically connected “immigrant rights” NGO in the Midwest? For the second time this year, they called the cops on us.



Analysis of NGO funding provisions in the senate Bill:

The reform bill creates a nonprofit corporation, “United States Citizenship Foundation” to be
appointed by the director of USCIS. It encourages other non-for profit organizations that are seen as
allies to the immigrant community to accept the conditions of this bill (militarization, exclusion,
enforcement) in order to obtain increased funding through the United States Citizenship Foundation.
The Foundation provides direct assistance for aliens seeking RPI status, permanent residency, and or
naturalization (citizenship) (Section 2533). The bill awards grants to eligible public or private NGOs
(Section 2534).

The bill’s “Council of Directors” would be compromised of a Director from USCIS, the Chief of the
Office of Citizenship and New Americans, and 10 directors from national community-based
organizations (Sec. 2535 COUNCIL OF DIRECTORS). These “Council of Directors” from national
community-based organizations allow themselves to become accessories to the state terror and allow
its tenets of militarization, exclusion, and enforcement to continue without much critical analysis. This
is exemplified today by organizations like ICIRR that receive economic and political support from the
“Reformist” governmental establishment. It is our theory that organizations like this are pushing for
this reform without seriously questioning its anti-immigrant nature because of the funding they already
receive from the governmental establishment and the increased funding and political power they are
likely to receive once the bill is implemented. The Executive Director is authorized to carry out these
functions by: entering into contracts and other financial assistance agreements with individuals,
public, or private organizations, professional societies, and government agencies to carry out the
functions of the Foundation and Entering into such other contracts, leases, cooperative agreements,
and other transactions as the Executive Director considers appropriate to carry out the activities of
the Foundation (Section 2536. Powers).

The Secretary through USCIS may award Initial Entry, Adjustment, and Citizenship Assistance
(IEACA) grants to eligible public or private non-profit organizations (Section 2537). The organizations
will obtain funding dependent on whether or not a certain “American civics ideology” is promoted by
these NGOs. This means that organizations likely to obtain funding will be those that encourage a
nationalist, patriotic world-view. (Section 2537).
Councils will carry out programs to integrate new immigrants. State and local governments design
grants under this section by which organizations (businesses, religious organizations, libraries, etc.)
applying for this grant must communicate to the Chief on each occasion that the Chief requests. The
proposition and objective of the Councils will give priority to public and private entities that develop,
implement, expand, or enhance a comprehensive plan to introduce and integrate new immigrants into
the State. This provides a structure for State and local entities to be complicit in the anti-immigrant
nature of this bill by registering immigrants into RPI status, and “aiding” the integration of those that
qualify for further immigration status (LPR, citizenship). (Section 2538).

In addition to funds appropriated under section 451(f)(2) of Homeland Security Act of 2002 $10 million
is awarded to the Office of Citizenship and New Americans for a 5-year period ending in 2018. For the
grant programs authorized in sections 2537 and 2538 100million dollars are appropriated for a 5-year
period ending in 2018. The bill recognizes the need for future appropriations of similar amounts.
(Section 2541). Additionally, millions in corporate and private funding will be incentivized through these programs.


Posted in Annoucements, Poop Month | 2 Comments

Protesters Call On Obama To Reject Keystone Pipeline, Stop Deportations (VIDEO)

From: Progress Illinois, Ellyn Fortino – May 29, 2013.
“Rozalinda Borcila with the Moratorium on Deportations Campaign said the bill in the U.S. Senate is really about militarization, increased enforcement and increased criminalization of most undocumented immigrants. Here’s more from Borcila explaining the issue:”

Full Story:

Posted in Immigration Reform, In the News, Uncategorized

Anti-Immigrant Bill Advances to the Senate Floor After a Favorable 13-5 vote From The Judiciary Senate Committee


On Tuesday, May 21 a sweeping anti-immigrant bill cleared its first major hurdle late Tuesday night, with the 18-member Senate Judiciary Committee voting to advance the amended bill to the full Senate. The bill is an innovative approach to criminalizing immigrants and the poor, increasing border militarization and domestic spy programs, and falsely advertising increased enforcement as a pathway to citizenship.The vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee was 13-5.

Three Republicans – Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Orrin Hatch of Utah — joined the panel’s 10 Democrats to vote in favor of the bill.

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Posted in Immigration Reform | Tagged , , ,

March for a Moratorium – “Ni Uno Más”


~~Scroll down for English version~~
Campaña Moratoria a las Deportaciones se suma a la marcha para un alto a las deportaciones “Ni Uno Más”

Lunes 21 de Enero a las 11:00AM
De la Plaza Daley a la Plaza Federal
(Calles Washington y Clark rumbo a las calles Dearborn y Adams)

La política electoral es una farsa que ha creado la crisis en la que vivimos hoy en día: más de 11 millones de personas en este país viven en una forma específica de terrorismo de Estado, bajo la constante amenaza del encarcelamiento indefinido y deportación. Este es el resultado directo de las políticas neoliberales que generan desplazamientos masivos de gente en todo el mundo, y que luego criminalizan a los que emigran como consecuencia de ello. Los políticos ofrecen “soluciones” en forma de un chantaje cínico: “voten por nosotros y los remediaremos por medio de un ‘alivio’ para algunos de ustedes primero, o tal vez les daremos su ‘reforma migratoria’ reformando nuestro sistema de inmigración.” Una y otra vez hemos visto que el “alivio” significa valorar a unos cuantos a expensa de muchos otros, y que la “reforma” se refiere al incremento masivo de militarización en las fronteras y la explotación de inmigrantes. Una y otra vez hemos visto que no podemos esperar por los políticos/funcionarios electos y los intereses de las corporaciones a las cuales ellos representan a que formen parte de la solución – porque en sí, ellos son parte del problema.

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Posted in Immigration Reform, Uncategorized

No More Guantanamos!

Guantanamo Bay has come to represent an unthinkable level of state violence gone global, where laws are suspended and “exceptional” rules are used to justify torture and degradation by the state. As people committed to social justice, we join our voices to the demand to shut down Guantanamo Bay and to dismantle the structures that make it possible!

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Posted in Uncategorized

The New Housing Boom: “Secure” Housing of Immigrants

by Rozalinda Borcila and Daniel Carrillo

(This is the shorter version of a text forthcoming in AREA Chicago, due to be released in March , we also hope to circulate a longer version, please also see )


Action at the site of a planned Detention Camp in Crete — a campaign that stopped the building of this prison.

Immigrant detention and the forced removal of “undesirable” migrants are part of a long history of federal, local, and individual practices that criminalize
 certain (especially nonwhite) immigrants resulting in their overall inequality. Mass detention and deportation intensify in times of “crisis,” in the name of fighting a war, defending the homeland, or protecting good “American” jobs.  After 9/11, migrant incarceration has become conflated with the War on Terror—a de facto solution to a politically manufactured crisis. The Obama Administration has unveiled something called “Immigrant Detention Reform”—but it in no way reviews or derails this tendency. Instead, under the guise of offering “improved detention conditions,” such as LEED certified facilities, children’s libraries, and noninstitutional uniforms, an expansion of detention infrastructure is well underway. In this context Chicagoland has become a testing ground for a new generation of detention centers—and for efforts to resist them. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) targeted south-suburban Crete as a possible site but were defeated in the summer of 2012 by a number of community groups. As DHS and CCA shift their focus to Joliet and other possible sites, local organizers are trying to draw on lessons learned during the Crete campaign so that the new “site fight” can be an expression of a more systemic critique of migrant criminalization and containment. We hope our essay will contribute to this reflection.

Migrant detention is currently the fastest growing incarceration industry in the US. In 1996 DHS had the capacity to “house” 8,279 people on any given day; today that capacity has grown to 33,400 captives, a 400% increase. For 2013, DHS requested about $2 billion for immigrant incarceration and received $67 million more than requested. Politicians from both sides of the aisle compete not only in their enthusiasm to exceed DHS funding requests, but also in experimenting with defining “crime” for purposes of immigration law. [1] Immigration as a political issue is framed by promoting fear of “criminal aliens” such that public safety comes only through increased incarceration and surveillance. Detention and deportation are assumed to be necessary and inevitable. Remarkably, in the corporate media and in political debates, detention is discussed not in terms of prisoners and captors, but as a housing boom, a public/private growth sector responding to the government’s need to “take care” of illegalized populations. This sector is measured in vacancy rates, housing capacity, and bed space.

The euphemistically named Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program is another expanding practice of migrant containment and imprisonment, a form of house arrest that expands detention beyond the physical walls of the prison. ATD, otherwise known as the “Prison Without Walls,” was created in 2002 by Congressional mandate. It involves electronic monitoring, ankle shackles, mandatory curfews, unannounced home inspections by security forces, and other forms of containment. ATD is touted as a cost-effective way for DHS to accomplish its “goals of immigrant detention.” Proponents claim detaining people in “secure housing” costs an average of $166 per day per detainee, whereas the cost of ATD programs ranges from $0.30 to $14 per day per individual. Proponents also claim that ATD represents an improvement in detention conditions for thousands of immigrants who would otherwise be detained in jails and prisons. However, even a quick look at how this program is funded and implemented reveals that ATD has rolled out in addition to, and not as an alternative to, expanded lockup infrastructure. Federal funding for ATD comes on top of already ballooning funding for detention in lockup housing, instead of being a re-allocation or an alternative to it as promoters would have us believe. Additionally, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) only targets for ATD those immigrants “whose detention is not required by statute, who present a low risk of flight, and who pose no danger to the community.”[2] Thus, those pushed into ATD would not have otherwise been detained. Detention Watch Network calls this an alternative form of detention—we define it as an expanded form of the prison, which has produced its own distinct, booming market.

The Technology and Economics of ATD

ATD relies on global positioning systems (GPS) as one of its key technologies. Developed in 1973 by the US Department of Defense, GPS was fully operational in the early 1990s. Today GPS technology plays a major role in US missile and bomb attacks.

 Behavioral Interventions Inc. (BI) was contracted to run the first pilot ATD program in 2004 called Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP). In 2009 BI received a $372 million, five-year contract from ICE to manage the next-generation “ISAP II” program in a number of US cities, including Chicago. BI is owned by GEO Group, the second largest prison for-profit multinational in the US, also operating in South Africa, Australia, and the UK. Other major global players include 3M, Omnilink, iSecure Trac, and Secure Alert.

Together these corporations lobbied for an increase in monies allocated to ATD programs. From a 2002 level of $3 million,  ATD funding for fiscal year 2012 increased to $72.4 million and is projected to reach $111.59 million for fiscal year 2013, a growth of 3,700% in four years. These same companies lobby for antimmigrant laws and the further criminalization of target communities in the war against the poor.

(Data from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Unlocking Liberty: A Way Forward for U.S. Immigration Detention Policy, May 2012; Sarah Phelan, “Who profits from ICE’s electronic monitoring anklets?” San Francisco Bay Guardian, March 16, 2010; and National Immigration Forum, The Math of Immigration Detention: Runaway Costs for Immigration Detention Do Not Add Up to Sensible Policies, August 2012.)

The Invisible Prison and the Prison Everywhere

Crucial to the government’s practice of migrant detention is a legal fallacy that defines “detention” as a form of captivity that is not imprisonment. A detention center is a prison that is not a prison. The Supreme Court has found that migrants can be apprehended by force and confined “as part of the means necessary to give effect to the provisions for the exclusion or expulsion of aliens” who are to be held in custody “pending the inquiry into their true character and while arrangements were made for their deportation.” This preemptive incarceration constitutes an administrative measure, not punishment for a crime, and is therefore “not incarceration in a legal sense.” [3] 
Immigration laws, detention, and deportation thus fall outside the criminal system and its provisions. This space outside allows exceptional opportunity to experiment with forms of captivity and surveillance without restrictions of due process. But while some cages are named prisons and some detention camps, while some captives are named criminals and some are named illegals, the criminal and immigration systems shape each other as well as serving the same political and social function. Criminalization, which has long subordinated Black communities, is being extended to immigrants. The ambiguous nature of migrant incarceration also alters the logic of incarceration and surveillance under the guise of securing the homeland. The immigrant is an experiment in non-personhood, resulting in new forms of the prison and new forms of state violence that in turn serve to shape the domestic penal system. 

The “housing boom” is not just about market expansion and increased legal exclusion, it is also about how imprisonment as a form of “secure housing” is stretching over all social space.

When the prison is everywhere, it is also invisible as the new norm of social reality. Although we have focused on immigrant incarceration, this case study links to a much broader process of expanding, informationalizing, and generalizing the prison.

Housing a Movement in the Winnable Fight


Preparing for “Shut Down I.C.E – No Dialogue with State Terror” – action

“There are other means—with proven track records of being much less costly yet highly effective—to accomplish DHS’s goals of immigration detention.” 41 organizations—including the ACLU, American Immigration Lawyers Association, American Friends Service Committee , Detention Watch Network, National Immigrant Justice Center, National Immigration Forum, and National Immigration Law Center—signed onto this statement in a letter to Congress’s Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. [4] As organizers within migrant justice movements, we hear these debates more often than we would like. At all levels of the political food chain—from Obama to NGOs that supposedly advocate on behalf of immigrants—the rhetoric of “cost-effective solutions” to the “immigration problem” has become the norm, reinforcing an ideological investment in market-based solutions for the problems that capitalism creates. 

When major human rights NGOs advocate for ATD in the name of improved detention conditions, should we accept that this is the lesser evil? When prison contractors lobby for ATD because it is a cost-effective form of incarceration, should we be glad that the state is saving money? What does it mean to have all these players at the same table?

The mainstream immigrant rights movement self-consciously and explicitly makes reference to being the new civil rights movement, while placing itself outside of—and sometimes at odds with—contemporary racial and economic justice struggles as well as current antiprison organizing. This contradiction is evident in how the movement articulates identity and belonging in the effort to push back against the criminalization of immigrants, but not criminalization more fundamentally. The image of the “hardworking immigrant” is often implicitly and explicitly pitted against that of the “criminal” in a bid for acceptance and legitimacy, even while some of the language, tactics, and forms are directly borrowed from civil rights era struggles. In focusing on the winnable fight, the demand for a seat at the front of the bus has come to be in opposition to a demand for racial economic justice; promoting DACA for some comes at the expense of accepting deportation of others; and advocating for electronic shackles replaces the demand for full legalization.

Building a New Home

There are many ways to lose your home to the market—you can be evicted, or you can have your home become a prison. There are many ways for an immigrant rights movement to lose its home—it can be repressed or it can become part of the political structure. Thought it may be considered unreasonable and divisive by mainstream organizations, we must challenge the legitimacy of detention itself—and of the legal construct of citizenship on which it is based.

Displaced, made to appear always out of place, the migrant is assigned by the law of the market to secure housing in all its forms. The cost-effective solution to worker mobility is captive workers, flexibly tethered, whose location can be re-tuned tactically to market advantage. Can we build a border abolition movement, one that seeks to abolish not simply the border but citizenship itself—with its corresponding displaced, tethered and exploited populations?

Let’s make these questions specific and local by referring to lessons learned during the fight to stop the Crete detention center. The No Name Collective, Moratorium on Deportations Campaign (MDC) and Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission came together to challenge the legitimacy of migrant detention not by advocating for “hardworking immigrants” in opposition to those labeled as criminals, but instead by placing detention within a history of mass incarceration. The campaign explicitly defined citizenship as a pretext for capitalizing on the lives of displaced people, and opened up discussions about how citizenship relates to other mechanisms that create unequal and exploitable populations. As it began building relationships with antiprison and antiwar groups, as well as opening up more surprising solidarities with healing justice organizing, the campaign escalated into a massive sit-in in front of DHS headquarters in downtown Chicago.


“Shut Down I.C.E. – No Dialogue with State Terror” action at I.C.E headquarters, downtown Chicago

As we write, grassroots groups are once again building resistance to a possible new detention center in Joliet. Although it is too soon to tell how this effort will evolve, the stakes are high: not only in resisting this specific detention center, but in creating a new foundation, a new home for a migrant justice movement.

For more information and to contribute to this effort, please see

1. The legislative framework for the current expansion can be traced to the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA) of 1996, which increased the number of people subject to detention, expanded “crimes” for which permanent residents and other noncitizens could lose their status, and set a new framework for the undue process that characterizes immigrant incarceration. Congress defines “aggravated felony” for the purposes of immigration law with an expanding list that currently includes shoplifting with suspended sentence of one year, pleading guilty to assault such as pulling someone’s hair, and check fraud. Such an expansive definition allows politicians to inflate the numbers of the “worst of the worst” who are supposedly being deported, and allows President Obama to equate a record high number of deportations with securing the Homeland.

2. Department of Homeland Security. “ICE Factsheet,” “Alternatives to Detention for ICE Detainees.” Last modified October 23, 2009.

3. The Supreme Court ruling in Wong Wing v. United States (1896) clarifies provisions first established in Fong Yue Ting v. United States (1893) that ‘‘The order of deportation is not a punishment for crime…but a method of enforcing the return to his own country of an alien.”

4. “Cut costly immigration detention spending,” December 21, 2011, a letter to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

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