LatinaLista — If people were meant to live in one place all their lives, they wouldn’t be endowed with the abilities to dream and aspire nor have the courage to make their dreams come true.
Concepts like Manifest Destiny, which historians credit for creating the nation we have today, would not have taken place had those early settlers not migrated from the east to the west, or from across the Atlantic to the US.
The qualities shared by migrants who have voluntarily left their homes, and all they know, to travel to another country in search of fulfilling their dreams for personal and professional success is not a phenomena of just one era, it’s an innate human quality that spans the creation of man.
Migration, documented and undocumented, is happening at record levels around the world â€” and for good reasons. If the reasons were not of life and death consequences to the mass majority of migrants, but just merely a curiosity of what life is like in another country, governments wouldn’t be contending with the number of people who appear on their shores/at their borders on an hourly basis.
Yet migrants are seen as a destabilizing threat to industrialized economies and that shouldn’t be the case.
As the Director General of the International Organization of Migration, William Lacy Swing, reminds people:
“Although the economic crisis is still unfolding and its full impact remains unclear, it would be counter-productive for governments in developed countries to close their doors to migrants. Many of them are still needed in jobs that citizens in industrialized countries are unable or unwilling to take.
“This structural need for migrants, who represent the human face of globalization, is underlined by demographic projections showing that by 2050, these countries will experience even greater labour shortages due to falling birth rates and aging working populations, leaving twice as many people over 60 years of age than children. Indeed, migration has become a linchpin of globalization.
“Closing doors will undoubtedly encourage migrants to use the exploitative, abusive and often life-threatening back entrance into destination countries offered by human smugglers and traffickers. Just as importantly, such a reaction risks contributing to greater social division and xenophobia towards migrants already in these countries by perpetuating the myth that migrants are job-takers.”
In response to these feelings that already exist, crackdowns on throwing migrants out of their destination countries have accelerated without regard to respecting the global human rights of individuals.
Undocumented migrants are the ones without a voice in these times and so it’s not surprising that organizations have stepped up to speak on their behalf.
Officials with the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights released their findings of an analysis of how the US treats immigrants. Due to the findings, the decision was made to make more people aware that the U.S. track record for humanely treating immigrants falls short of the stature of this country on the global stage.
(Oakland,CA) Immigrant rights groups urged today, International Migrants Day (December 18), that the U.S. government should adopt humanitarian policies and practices in the treatment of immigrants.
The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) asserted that although well-publicized raids at work-sites have dominated immigration news this past year, a majority of persons have been deported through other means – and at the expense of their rights and physical well-being.
Following another year of monitoring enforcement operations and gathering information from immigrant workers and communities, NNIRR has concluded that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) routinely violates and ignores the due process rights of persons they question for immigration status.
Information from 100 reports and 115 reviews of raids showed that DHS has continued to use overwhelming force, including physical and mental abuse, in coercing immigrants to sign away their rights for almost instant deportation or detention.
“We need an end to these immigration raids,” declared Arnoldo Garcia, director of NNIRR’s Immigrant Justice and Rights program. “It will be up to the new Administration and Congress to ensure that humanitarian polices and practices are put into place. Until that can be done, detentions and deportations should also be suspended to bring some relief to immigrant families and communities from this shameful human rights crisis.”
DHS’ Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported almost 350,000 persons from the United States in fiscal year 2008; over two-thirds had no prior criminal record or convictions. Persons deported through worksite raids accounted for less than 2 percent of all ICE deportations, and from fugitive operations, 10 percent.
Meanwhile persons identified for deportation in local, county, and federal detention made up 63 percent or all deportations.
In one deportation case, Marvin Ventura, a Honduran immigrant detained at Steward Federal Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia was deported after ICE physically forced him to sign a form waiving his right to a hearing before an immigration judge and any opportunity to adjust status. An active member of his local church, Ventura is now separated from his wife and community in Little Robbins, Georgia.
Another immigrant who had lived and worked in the U.S. for 20 years, Rodrigo Caltenco, was arrested in Walden, NY, processed and transferred to a detention facility in Texas. There he was verbally threatened and intimidated into signing a form he did not understand. Two days later he was deported, leaving behind his wife, children, and grandchildren.
“Each person deported represents families that are torn apart, communities that are traumatized and economies that are disrupted,” continued Garcia. “These patterns have seriously deepened under the Bush Administration and since 9/11, and we see grave repercussions in the current period.”
Many of the immigration enforcement operations included the collaboration of local, county and state police and other public agencies.
A full report of the 2008 human rights monitoring effort will be published early next year. Last year’s NNIRR report, “Over-Raided, Under Siege”, found that DHS was subjecting immigrant and refugee communities to a form of “collective punishment,” resulting in widespread violations of constitutional and human rightsâ€¦