Queer political prisoner in ICE detention needs support!

From the Rainbow Defense Fund:

This holiday season, give the gift of helping an inspiring young political prisoner be freed from the confines of the immigration detention center in Florence, AZ where she is currently held.  Her name is Estrellita and she is seeking help paying her bond, which she expects to be around $3500.  Here is what she writes:

“Hola, mi nombre es Estrellita y estoy detenida en Florence, AZ.  Yo necesito de su ayuda.  Mi familia me odia por ser homosexual, y no tengo el apoyo de nadie, solamente de Casa Mariposa y Raul.  Mi situacion es la siguiente:  Ya pedi asilo politico y ya fui a la entrevista y pase.  Lo unico que me falta es de la fianza y las cartas de apoyo.  Les boy a agradecer toda mi vida si me ayudar con la fianza.  Yo se que afuera hay angeles y se los boy a agradecer mucho.  Mi corte la tengo para el 31 de energo para lo de la fianza.  Ayudenme please please!”

“Hello, my name is Estrellita and I am detained in Florence, AZ.  I need your help.  My family hates me for being homosexual, and I do not have the help of anyone, only Casa Mariposa and Raul.  My situation is the following:  I asked for political asylum and went to my [credible fear] interview and passed.  The one things left are the bond and letters of support.  I will be grateful for all of my life if you help me with the bond.  I know that outside there are angels and I will appreciate them very much.  My court for bond is January 31.  Help me please please!”

The Rainbow Defense Fund will be collecting funds for Estrellita, with the goal of raising $3500 by January 31st so she can be released as soon as a bond is set.  Please donate online through Paypal or send a check made out to “Restoration Project, Florence” to:  Attn:  Rainbow Defense Fund; Casa Mariposa; 127 N. Palomas Ave; Tucson, AZ 85745.

Thank you so much!

Arizona: Border Patrol Headquarters Occupation Protesters Found Not Guilty

DATE: Thursday June 29, 2011
Contact: Alex Soto
Phone: 602-881-6027
Email: stopbordermilitarization@gmail.com

Border Patrol Headquarters Occupation Protesters Found Not Guilty
Reaffirms Call to End Border Militarization

Chuckson (Tucson), AZ – The six protesters who locked-down and occupied the United States Border Patrol (BP) – Tucson Headquarters on May 21, 2010 were found not guilty on the remaining count of a disorderly conduct “with serious disruptive behavior” charge. The legal defense, William G. Walker and Jeffrey J. Rogers, argued that the remaining charge of disorderly conduct did not apply because it did not meet any of the statutes of the charge. After three hours of deliberation, the judge found the six not guilty.

The city prosecutor had attempted to re-introduce the previously misfiled criminal trespassing as a misdemeanor charge, but this charge was dismissed after the first trial date for the occupiers in February. After an objection by the defense, the state’s motion was denied.

“Today’s not guilty verdict shows that we, as O’odham, are not the ones who are disorderly. It is the Border Patrol, the Department of Homeland Security, and the various levels of government that perpetrate the violence in our communities,” stated Alex Soto, Tohono O’odham, one of the protesters and member of O’odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective. “When will the institutions, whose conduct continues for more than 500 years of trespassing, that terrorize indigenous and migrants communities, be held accountable?”

“No state entity can deny peoples’ inherent right to freedom of movement,” said Marisa Duarte, one of the protesters standing trial. “Borders are a colonial weapon used to continue the genocide of indigenous people and their culture. Through trade they exploit natural resources and use the profits to further the progress of neo-liberal infrastructure projects such as CANAMEX and NAFTA. This results in the criminalization of those who defy borders through living their lives traditionally. You see the forced relocation of families from borders all around the world. Today we say no more to this criminalization of people.”

O’odham Elders and community members attended the court proceedings to demonstrate their support.

“Today we celebrate our victory in court, but understand this is just one step in ending border militarization. We took action last May in order to directly confront the issues in our communities by physically intervening and occupying the Border Patrol station.

Since that time, many have answered the call to end border militarization, and victories like today have inspired more action,” said Franco Habre.

As the six waited for the state’s decision, 16 angry community members targeted the prison firm G4S (formally Wackenhut) and were cited criminal trespassing charges. The 16 declared in no uncertain terms their opposition to the company’s profiteering at the expense of immigrant communities in Tucson, across the nation and throughout the world. Their action, which was organized autonomously by Tucson community members, was carried out under the banner of Direct Action for Freedom of Movement.

The six still stand firmly with their commitment and demands to end border militarization and their initial demands are listed below:

– Immediately withdraw National Guard Troops from the US/Mexico border

– Immediately halt development of the border wall

– Immediately remove drones and checkpoints

– Decommission all detention camps and release all presently held undocumented migrants

– Immediately honor Indigenous Peoples rights of self-determination

– Fully comply with the recently signed UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

– Respect Indigenous People’s inherent right of migration

– End NAFTA, FTAA and other trade agreements

– Immediately end all CANAMEX/NAFTA Highway projects (such as the South Mountain Freeway)

– Immediately repeal SB1070 and 287g

– End all racial profiling

– No BP encroachment/sweeps on sovereign Native land

– No raids and deportations

– Immediate and unconditional regularization (“legalization”) of all people

– Uphold human freedom and rights

– Uphold the rights of ALL Indigenous People – repeal HB 2281, support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People

– Support dignity and respect

– Support and ensure freedom of movement for all people

Soto concluded, “This action was a prayer. We’d like to thank those who stood with us during this process and to all who firmly stand with us to end border militarization. The occupation of the Border Patrol station was never about any group/organization, or us, it was about directly confronting the terror that the state unleashes upon indigenous and migrant communities, so we can critically challenge border militarization. As an O’odham, I always think back to my grandparents’ teachings: We as O’odham people have always traveled freely, regardless of the border. It’s our land, who we are, and we will defend it.”

To view the occupation video and for additional resources please visit:



Minuteman leader said to have orchestrated murder of 9 year old girl and her father

Shanwa FordFrom Infoshop News:

A nine-year-old girl begged for her life before being shot dead along with her father by an anti-immigrant vigilante group, a court heard.

Brisenia Flores was gunned down at point-blank range in her own home in Flores, Arizona, as her terrified mother Gina Gonzalez, who had also been hit, played dead on the floor.

She sobbed as the court was told how she had heard Brisenia’s desperate pleas as her killer stood over her.

‘I can hear it happening,’ Mrs Flores told the court describing how her daughter said: ‘Why did you shoot my dad? Why did you shoot my mum?’

‘I can hear her telling him to “please don’t shoot me.”‘

The prosecution alleges that the child and her father Raul Flores Jr were murdered in May 30, 2009 by a group of vigilantes set up to tackle Mexican immigrants.

The shootings took place 200 miles from Tucson, the scene of the gun massacre earlier this month in which another nine-year-old girl died.

Shawna Forde, the head of the Minutemen American Defence group, is on trial accused of two charges of first degree murder.
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Denver: Community Leaders Outraged by “Secure Communities Program”

From Colorado Indymedia, posted by Russell Bannan

DENVER, CO- Concerned community members, human rights advocates, journalists, clergy, business owners, authors, political activists, labor union leaders, and educators are outraged at Governor Bill Ritter’s Executive Order to introduce Colorado into the federal Secure Communities Program. This program authorizes law enforcement agencies to execute federal immigration laws, creating an environment conducive to racial profiling, harassment and discrimination targeting immigrants and Latinos residing or visiting the State of Colorado.

“This Executive Order is bad social and economic policy at a time when the Latino and immigrant community are besieged by anti-immigrant sentiment and additional funds necessary to implement this order will further strain limited state resources. The Executive Order is a wrongheaded approach to solve the immigration issue in Colorado. The implementation of these policies can hinder rather than attain public safety when it increases community mistrust of the police; the same people we should trust to protect us rather than racially profile us and separate us from our families.” stated Solomon Juarez, President of the Denver Metro Chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA). “The impact of this policy will be felt not just by immigrants but also the broader Latino community.”

“Any legislation that will jeopardize the wellbeing of children and families in Colorado should not be implemented. Governor Ritter’s Executive Order will tear families apart and hurt the social fabric of communities in Colorado. Our communities deserve commonsense legislation that promotes public safety while ensuring the well-being of our children. We reap what we sow and we can do better than policies that leave households without breadwinners and children without their loved ones,” declared Bernadette Jiron, Denver Federation of Paraprofessionals and Nutrition Service Employees President.

Over 30 community leaders signed the Open Letter to Governor Ritter to address their concern of the Secure Communities Program. “We will not tolerate such an undemocratic order which incentivizes racial profiling, condones authoritarianism, and potentially divides our communities,” the letter continues by stating “Allowing the implementation of the Secure Communities Program would send a very troubling message and be viewed, by many, as a sign that state democracy and human rights are not valued or tolerated within Colorado. In our view, this would have negative consequences for the families directly affected, the state of Colorado itself, and the United States as a whole.”

Now more than ever, community leaders urge reversing the Executive Oorder that dishonors the rights and dignity of all people. The well-being and security of our nation depends on it.

Sunday: Dia de la Virgin (Im)Migrants’ Rights Protest

Sunday, December 12th
Aurora Geo ICE Detention Center (30th ave and Peoria)

Constitutional and human rights have been constantly violated when ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement) has conducted their raids. On December 12th, 2003 ICE rounded up 300 workers in Greeley, Colorado and took them to the Aurora Detention Center. Many are still fighting their cases today.
They dehumanize individuals simply because they don’t have proper documentation to be in the country.

Millions of people flee their countries every year on a worldwide basis. It just so happens that these people seek to come to the United States because of proximity, and because of the hope America has promised.

1.We want citizenship for those families who have children in the United States. We want Freedom and Equality.

2.We want to stop the seperation of families.

3.Free the Families from these detention centers.

Come support Humanitarianism. Hope to see you there. December 12th is significant, because it is a religious holiday for many Mexicans and Central Americans. Those that are detained at the Detention Center in Aurora.

Colorado: ICE raids at local apartment buildings

From an email from local allies:

Hey all,

Just a note to say I received a call about home raids in Aurora and someone detained in one and then just got off the phone with a\ friend in the Glenwood Springs valley who says the police and ICE have been cooperating in apartment complex raids up there…Tell the community: be careful. Look out the door before opening it, esp early in the morning. If they don’t have a warrant the person doesn’t have to open the door.

Prison Industry Funnels Donations To State Lawmakers Introducing SB1070-Like Bills Around The Country

In December 2009, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) — a powerful front group that helps corporate representatives craft template legislation for state lawmakers, funded partially by the private prison industry — hosted Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce (R) and began debate on legislation that would provide broad powers to local police to arrest anyone who might look like an immigrant. ALEC then distributed the template legislation to its members. The January/February 2010 edition of ALEC’s magazine highlights the draft version of SB1070 — the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” — as model legislation.

In April of this year, Pearce then introduced ALEC’s template as the infamous SB1070 law. Notably, the ALEC task force which helped Pearce devise his racial profiling law included Laurie Shanblum, a lobbyist from the mega-private prison corporation Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) which previously played a role in privatizing many of Texas’ prisons. An investigation from Arizona’s KPHO-TV found more ties between SB1070 and the private prison industry: Paul Senseman, Gov. Janet Brewer’s (R-AZ) deputy chief of staff was a former lobbyist for CCA (his wife is still a lobbyist for CCA) and Chuck Coughlin, Brewer’s campaign chairman, runs the lobbying firm in Arizona that represents CCA. In These Times reporter Beau Hodai, who also reported much of SB1070’s connections to the private prison industry, has a chart to explain the relationship.
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Arizona: Community organizer arrested outside of anti SB1070 rally

From Detention Watch Network:

Today, Sheriff Arpaio responded to continued acts of non-compliance by targeting and arresting human rights organizer and leader of the Phoenix-based Puente Movement, Salvador Reza.

Reza was getting in his car outside a rally across the street from the Sheriff’s jail when several Sheriff deputies surrounded him and placed him in handcuffs without cause.

Previous and unrelated to Reza’s arrest, 10+ people of conscience placed themselves in front of a caravan of Sheriff vans to block them from carrying out another raid in the community. Protestors chanted “Arrest Arpaio, Not the People” and “Not One More.”

Action Steps:

* If you’re in the Phoenix area, join us outside the jail at 35th ave & Lower Buckeye.
* If you’re outside the area, text “Arizona” to 50555 to donate $5 to the bail fund or click, http://bit.ly/azdonate
* Sign the petition, “I Stand with Sal. Free Him Now.”

With the Sheriff overstepping bounds to the point that Human Rights organizers are becoming political prisoners, what more will it take for the Obama administration to actually intervene? Free Sal Now!

* Photos are available at http://flickr.com/photos/puenteaz
* Video is available at http://youtube.com/puenteaz

Resisting SB1070: Banner drops, blockades, and occupations

From Arizona Indymedia:
July 29th Day Of Action Against SB1070
As protests occur throughout the region today, Arizona Indymedia will be compiling news, updates, and links about the protests and actions.

Also tune into 12 hours of live radio broadcasting from 10 different cities in the United States and Mexico with the participation of 15 immigrant groups/organizations fighting against the racist policies of the government of Arizona on the live stream from Free Radio Chukshon.

Tune in:
High Fi
Low Fi

# Tucson: 1:37PM Food Not Bombs serving free lunch at Granada and Congress
# 1:13PM Brown Berets occupying A Mountain despite police orders to leave. Police threatened to arrest everyone, however police have backed down for now. Park was closed for 1 hour earlier with 30 youth on the mountain. Park has been reopened.
# 10:55AM I-19 Blockade over, no arrests. Protesters used tar, tires and broken glass to shutdown interstate used for deportation. Police have cleared debris.[2]
# 10:37AM Rally at Presidio Park, started at 10AM. with speakers and music and voter registration tables, small crowd gathered there
# 10:25AM Interstate 19 southbound blocked off
# 9:50AM 300 demonstrators facing off with 100 fascists at Granada and Congress
# 9:30AM Protests have begun, over 200 people in the streets down 6th Ave
# 24-Hour Vigil began at 5pm July 28th at State Building. Protesters remained overnight and will be there till this evening.

# Phoenix: 12:38PM More non-violent protesters and media members arrested
# 12:32PM Sheriff deputies clear the entrance of the 4th Avenue Jail. Several arrests made
# 12:15PM Sheriff Joe shifts “resources” to 4th Avenue Jail. Police may be losing control. Protesters chant “arpaio racista. eres terrorista!”
# 11:45AM Protesters continued to be arrested in downtown Phoenix
# 11:10 4th Avenue Jail still blocked by protesters. Sheriff deputies have been deployed.
# 10:58AM 4th Avenue Jail blocked by protestors, Police moving quickly
# 10:49AM 100+ blockading Washington St near City Hall. Riot police moving in.
# 10:30AM Police are arresting protesters (downtown)
# 70 people block main thoroughfare in Guadalupe last night at midnight.
# Stop Hate Banner Drop Over Phoenix Wednesday Night. [2]
# Twitter updates fromPuenteAZ and AltoArizona.

Community protest planned for 4pm – Flagstaff City Hall Lawn Rt. 66 & Humphreys, Downtown Flagstaff

Other Places:
# 11:40AM LAPD is ready to arrest people on Wilshire & La Brea
# 11:10AM Wilshire @ Highland (Los Angeles) blockaded by protesters. LA Times
# Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., has closed his Yuma district office for the day after staff discovered that a bullet had shattered a window earlier Thursday. Link

Community Members Remember Those Recently Killed on the Border and Fight for Migrant Justice

Each month DABC members join with others from the community in a vigil outside the Aurora ICE Detention Center.  This month’s vigil took place after several murders committed by the Border Patrol in recent months, including that of 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca.  Authorities originally claimed that the agent shot and killed Sergio only after being “assaulted” by rocks, but video evidence later surfaced that Sergio was not throwing rocks and actually ran away. (Sidenote: there are some kids throwing rocks in the video and the people looking on are heard to say “How stupid! They’re throwing rocks.” Even if they were throwing rocks, shooting someone in the head is a disproportionate response). Earlier in the month several Border Patrol agents beat and tasered a handcuffed Anastacio Hernandez Rojas to death in what the San Diego coroner ruled a homicide. Mr. Rojas was picked up by Border Patrol agents as he was trying to re-enter the US and rejoin his wife and 5 children.

Sergio’s death is just one of the 17 people who have died at the hands of the Border Patrol in the past few 6 months, twice as many people as in the last 2 years combined.  This is a direct result of the increased repression waged upon migrants since Obama has taken office.  In his first year as president, 387,790 immigrants were deported, an increase of more than 60% from Bush’s last year in office. Continue reading