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Undocumented Mother: Stop Separation of Migrant Children by Dropping Charges Against Their Parents

Undocumented Mother: Stop Separation of Migrant Children by Dropping Charges Against Their Parents

AMY GOODMAN: We begin today with President
Trump’s ongoing crackdown on immigrants and asylum seekers. On Sunday, Trump lashed out on Twitter and
in his weekly address, saying people who cross into the United States should be deported
immediately, without an appearance before a judge. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Unfortunately, open-border
Democrats support the loopholes that prevent families from being detained and removed together. They just want everyone to be released into
our country, no matter how dangerous they are. They can be killers. They can be thieves. They can be horrible people. The Democrats say it’s OK for them to be
in our country. I don’t think so. Congress, and Congress alone, can solve the
problem. And the only solution that will work is being
able to detain, prosecute and promptly remove anyone who illegally crosses the border. AMY GOODMAN: Over the weekend, the Trump administration
released its plan for reuniting the more than 2,000 children it separated from their parents
as a result of the new “zero tolerance” immigration policy, and said the Port Isabel
Detention Center in Texas will be used as a staging ground to reunite families prior
to deportation. Despite assurances from officials that the
family reunification process would be, quote, “well coordinated,” the nonprofit Annunciation
House in El Paso said it took in 32 immigrant parents who were freed this weekend but still
don’t know where their children are. Meanwhile, in Brownsville, Texas, a 15-year-old
boy reportedly walked away from the Southwest Key detention center that holds 1,500 children
aged 10 to 17 in a former Walmart. Southwest Key spokesperson Jeff Eller confirmed
the news Sunday, saying, quote, “We are not a detention center. We talk to them and try to get them to stay. If they leave the property, we call law enforcement,”
unquote. This comes as protests continue to grow across
the country demanding the reunification of families. Hundreds of protesters have launched ongoing
“Occupy ICE” encampments blockading ICE facilities in New York; Los Angeles; Portland,
Oregon; Tacoma, Washington. People also demonstrated at the tent city
in Tornillo, Texas, now housing migrant children. Thousands marched in San Diego, California. This is Samantha Clemence. SAMANTHA CLEMENCE: It’s inhumane. It breaks my heart, and it needs to stop now. And they need to reunite the families that
they’ve already traumatized. AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, in McAllen, Texas,
protesters temporarily blocked a bus carrying migrant children, chanting, “Set the children
free.” In New York, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer
called for a White House reunification czar to coordinate the reunification of families
separated at the border. SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER: Right now there are thousands
of kids lost in limbo who await reunification with their parents. And there are various agencies that are in
charge. The kids are under jurisdiction of Health
and Human Services; the parents, under the Justice Department. What we found out over the years is when there
are separate agencies trying to solve a single problem, it works slowly, at best, and sometimes
doesn’t work at all. And so, a czar, someone from the White House
who can whip things into shape and coordinate among the various agencies, is very much needed. There are thousands of kids lost in limbo. There are thousands of parents waiting. Word is that the process could take a very
long time, much longer than it should. And so we have to find a way to expedite the
process, to move quickly and strongly. AMY GOODMAN: Today we look these latest developments
in Trump’s crackdown on immigrants and the growing sentiment among immigrant rights activists
that the best way to stop the separation of families at the border is to drop the charges
against the parents. This comes as parents and children apprehended
at the border have been taken to detention centers and prisons across the country separately. Meanwhile, immigrants are not only being criminally
prosecuted at the border, they’ve also faced criminal charges after immigration raids in
Los Angeles, New Orleans, Austin, Chicago, New York City and Morristown, Tennessee. For more, we’re going north, from the southern
U.S. border to Seattle, Washington, where we’re joined by Maru Mora Villalpando, an
activist and undocumented immigrant with the group Northwest Detention Center Resistance
and the group Mijente. She has a hearing in her own immigration case
on Tuesday. Also, well over a hundred people have been
taken from the border in the last few weeks and brought to a federal prison in Seattle. Maru, welcome back to Democracy Now! Can you talk about the connection between
Washington state and the U.S.-Mexico border? MARU MORA VILLALPANDO: Yes. Thank you, Amy. We’ve seen at least 200 people being sent
to the federal prison in SeaTac at the beginning of June. We heard from our compañeros of the caravan
at the border telling us that that might happen. And yeah, it was confirmed. We actually have, every month, something that
we call solidarity days at the detention center in Tacoma. So we actually decided to switch locations
on June 9th and go to the SeaTac prison, where hundreds of people show up. We wanted to tell people we’re not there
only for the over 200 people detained from the border, separated from their children,
but we wanted people to know that this is a common practice. We’ve seen people taken at the border, charged
with re-entry and then sent to SeaTac for a sentence, a federal sentence, and then,
later, transferred to the detention center in Tacoma. So we were aware of that situation. What we didn’t know is that those parents
separated at the border end up in the SeaTac prison. AMY GOODMAN: Last week, we interviewed Democratic
Congressmember Pramila Jayapal of Washington state. She described her visit with some of the 200
asylum seekers at the SeaTac Bureau of Prisons facility. That’s Seattle-Tacoma, SeaTac, in her home
state. REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL: I heard from the 174 women
that I met with at the federal prison—they’re being held at a prison because all the detention
centers are filled. These are 206 individuals who were transferred
from Texas, from the border, to a federal prison. Some of them, about 40 percent of them, had
been in detention for over a month. Not a single one of the mothers had seen their
children. Not a single one of them had been able to
say goodbye to their children. And only two out of the—all of the mothers
that were there even knew where their children were. AMY GOODMAN: This weekend, Congressmember
Jayapal returned to the SeaTac detention center to meet with men who are jailed there. Outside the facility, after her visit, she
said, “The president is the one who created this crisis. He’s the one who can end it by picking up
the phone and calling Jeff Sessions and ending this ‘zero tolerance’ policy.” Maru, talk about your own case, because as
all of the focus now is on these thousands of children who don’t know if they’ll
ever see their parents again, you also have immigrants around the country, like yourself,
also a mom, who face deportation. MARU MORA VILLALPANDO: That’s right. There’s thousands and thousands of us facing
this monster of detention and deportation. Let’s remember that we have—what? At least 37,000 people across the nation in
detention centers. There’s many of us that are not detained
but are in deportation proceedings. There are also people that are wearing an
ankle bracelet, under this monitor and surveillance system that ICE also placed people on, which
is another private company running the show. In this case, it’s GEO. So, there’s many of us facing this monster. What we want people to know is that what the
children are facing is something that ICE and this government had already practiced
on us adults. So, this government is just escalating what
they’ve done to us and our families in the interior. Now they’re doing it to families trying
to get to this country. And in my case, I think it’s very clear
that ICE jumped from an agency that was created to destroy my community, to try to get rid
of us whatever way they can, and make money on the way, to actually become a political
repression machine. So, I’m not the only activist being placed
in deportation proceedings, but my case is very clear. They have nothing on me. I have no criminal record. I have never been in a raid. And still ICE decided to begin deportation
proceedings against me. And as they clearly marked on a document that
they sent to the judge, they see me as an anti-ICE activist. And they even dared to say that I’m a Latino
advocacy activist, too, which I didn’t know it was grounds for deportation. AMY GOODMAN: Which is an absolutely key point,
around the country, immigrants who have been organizing and taking on the government, they
themselves being arrested. I want to turn to community organizer Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez, who is challenging New York Congressmember Joe Crowley in tomorrow’s
New York primary. Very interesting debate. In a recent debate with Crowley on NY1, moderated
by Errol Louis, Ocasio-Cortez called for the abolition of ICE, the Immigration and Customs
Enforcement agency. This begins with Congressman Crowley. REP. JOE CROWLEY: Where this government is separating
children from their mothers, it is antithetical to everything that I believe in, and that’s
what I fight for every day. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: And you know what? If this organization is as fascist as you
have called it— REP. JOE CROWLEY: I’ve said it’s fascist. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: And you have said
it’s fascist. Then why don’t you adopt the stance to eliminate
it? This is a moral problem. And your response has been to apply more paperwork
to this situation, to have ICE collect more information on immigrants. And that puts our communities in danger. And it also conveys a profound misunderstanding
of how we should be approaching this problem. AMY GOODMAN: That’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,
who’s challenging New York Congressmember Joe Crowley in Tuesday’s primary. She visited a tent city for immigrant children
in Tornillo, Texas, this weekend, where she confronted immigration officers, saying, “These
are human rights abuses. I cannot sleep at night knowing these children
are here.” Talk about this call to abolish ICE, Maru,
if you will. MARU MORA VILLALPANDO: We have been calling
for the abolition of ICE for a really long time. We’re really happy that people are catching
up with us. It’s just really sad that it took this horrible
tragedy for people to realize the only solution is to abolish ICE. What we’re calling for right now is to have
Jeff Sessions removed. He should make sure that before he goes, all
charges against these parents should be dropped. We’re calling for the suspension of all
deportations. We are also calling for the end of all forms
of detention. And in order to abolish ICE, we should start
with defunding the entire agency and dismantling. Can you imagine a Border Patrol that actually
helps people when crossing the border, where they’re actually helping people get to the
country based on the international agreements that we have? Can you imagine a Border Patrol that’s actually
humane? I think it’s possible, because we didn’t
have this crisis 15 years ago. We can actually change it completely. And that’s why Mijente is going to have
an action at the border in San Diego next week, on July 2nd. And we invite people in the area to come with
us and be there with us, where we can actually change things. And it’s very clear. We’re very happy that politicians are catching
up with us, but we also want to make it clear, we don’t want anybody profiting from this
tragedy or from our families, neither politically nor economically. People that are here to tell that, yes, we
need to abolish ICE, they need to follow the leadership of those that have been fighting
this monster for such a long time. And they need to follow our steps that we
laid out, starting with the suspension of all deportations. AMY GOODMAN: We had you on when there was
a hunger protest at the Northwest Detention Center. Can you talk more about the immigration-industrial
complex? Who profits from this massive population,
this growing population, in the private and other prisons? MARU MORA VILLALPANDO: Well, there’s too
many players nowadays. We notice here in Tacoma, Washington, one
of the biggest corporations of private prisons, GEO Group, being one of the biggest profiteers
right now. But there are so many companies within that
system. We have Keefe, the commissary company. We have Telmate running the communications. We have Aramark bringing, quote-unquote, “food”
to the detention center. But now we’ve also seen the expansion of
detention to county jails. So, for example, people in Tacoma are being
transferred to NORCOR, a county jail in Oregon, where they’re also getting more money because
they’re accepting money from ICE, supposedly to be able to run the jail. We’ve also seen, as the example of the southern
border, “nonprofits,” quote-unquote, also making money out of the misery of these children
and their parents being separated. There’s a big, huge corporation list that
we can go on and on—Dell, Microsoft, you name it. There’s a lot of surveillance technology
being developed for ICE to catch up with us—right?—supposedly to look for what they call fugitives of their
programs, that they have been setting up for so many years. They treat us as we are in a war. And I think that now that this administration
declared war on us immigrants, these corporations, both profit and nonprofit, are making a ton
of money out of us. AMY GOODMAN: The issue of Microsoft, which
is based where you are, in Washington state, facing threats of a boycott over its collaboration
with ICE. A blog post from January resurfaced, in which
Microsoft said it was “proud to support” ICE and that Microsoft’s technology can
help the agency “accelerate facial recognition and identification.” In response to the online outrage and boycott
threats, the company said Microsoft is “dismayed by the forcible separation of children from
their families at the border.” Are you satisfied with that, Maru? MARU MORA VILLALPANDO: I think it’s a good
first step. I don’t think it’s enough. I think that all corporations should be held
accountable to the consumers. We all get to choose who we give our money
to. And in this case, I think Microsoft needs
to go further and to have a specific policy that they will not develop any kind of technology
that favors ICE’s roles in our country, which is to destroy our communities. I think there should be not only Microsoft,
but any other corporation, again, that is making money from regular consumers and from
our immigrant communities. And I think that at the end of the day, the
consumers have the last word. I think that people should be able to continue
requesting Microsoft, in this case, and Google and any other agency, any other corporation
that is making money out of us, to actually put it in writing and make sure they’re
not making any more money out of us. AMY GOODMAN: Maru, you are wearing a T-shirt
that says, “Right to exist, right to resist.” You’re sitting in a TV studio, speaking
to the world. You’re about to go to a hearing tomorrow
in your own case, as you speak out for everyone else. Are you afraid? Are you afraid of being deported? MARU MORA VILLALPANDO: I was afraid for many,
many years. I decided not to be afraid anymore. Both my daughter and I made the decision to
stop being afraid and to fight instead. I get a ton of calls from the detention center
every day. And a lot of those calls are from people detained
that are worried about me. And that shows you the care and the love that
I have from my community. So I’m not afraid. I feel very, very supported. And as the people detained have told me, “You
have to win, because your win is our win.” So I have a responsibility to the people detained
that we’ve been supporting. I am accountable to them. And the last thing I can do is fight. So I will continue fighting. I’m not going to give up. I know we’re going to win, because we have
extreme support. We have the support from the people that I
need the most, which is people detained. My community is with me. And all we need is more people to come here
to support my case, but, most importantly, to support all of those families that don’t
have the support that we have. My daughter and I are very privileged to be
able have this forum and to tell people the reality that we’re facing. But there’s way too many families that don’t
have this kind of support. So we have to be there for everybody, not
only for asylum seekers, not only for parents. We have to be there for absolutely everybody,
and we have to dismantle every single cage for human beings that exists in this country. AMY GOODMAN: Maru Mora Villalpando, I want
to thank you for being with us, activist, mother, undocumented immigrant, with the group
Northwest Detention Center Resistance and the group Mijente, speaking to us from Seattle,
Washington. We’ll let people know the results of your
hearing tomorrow. This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we head south to Washington,
D.C., where thousands marched and rallied on Saturday to both end the first period and
inaugurate a new Poor People’s Campaign. Stay with us.

12 comments on “Undocumented Mother: Stop Separation of Migrant Children by Dropping Charges Against Their Parents

  1. The world has gone nuts. Illegal crossings arrest and deport immediately liberals are destroying everything

  2. Yeah just release everyone, don't deport anyone, don't enforce the law, and fire everyone you don't like. Some extreme lefty b.s. This is why Rs are screaming that "the left just wants open borders".

    If you don't like the enforcement, don't blame the enforcers. Blame those who set the policy that they enforce. Win a damn election and make a change, stop advocate for extreme b.s. that won't ever happen anyway.

  3. There are 143 million working people in this country who have absolutely no single interest in common with this president's plan or intention to incarcerate migrants crossing the border. Law and order is creating a captured labor force divided on the basis of gender, separated to work in prison manufacturing which directly competes with the free labor in society of the 143 million people now working in industry. There is no other more perfect pretext than an open ended non-policy on immigration to double as a process of creating a labor force for key industries deemed national security interests. There is no labor cheaper than forced labor working by the point of the gun.

    The president admits publicly a naturalization program does not exists Congress has left naturalization open to commercialization and private investment. Entire consortiums of Capital go where the profit is highest and as long as the free workforce in society is paid higher than foreign and prison labor, employment and wages will drag outside prison walls while production thrives inside prison walls. Privatization will allow US corporations to contract with the central government for the production of their commodity, and the US economy will become largely composed of forced labor. What is American made is not made in America is the continuing trend. The Senate has not and will not pass legislation that curtails private capital from exploiting incarcerated labor to be the creator of its wealth when representatives in Congress stand on the side of law and order and partake in the profits of that incarceration through the channeling of money to Congress.

  4. American citizen breaks the law, they are separated from their parents. Quit it with the double standards. It's one thing to put out a welcome mat, it's another thing entirely to be used as a doormat. #MAGA

  5. so i just watn to make sure. so if you are a mother you should be free to commit the crime of being here illegally

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