As debate over a proposed "comprehensive immigration reform" bill intensifies, a bill that would regularize the status of some undocumented immigrants may also include increased funding for harsh border enforcement policies. This debate overlooks the astounding fact that federal spending on immigration enforcement now surpasses all other federal law enforcement activities combined.
Operation Streamline, a little-known enforcement program, is part of broader trend funneling immigrants into the criminal justice system and charging them with felony or misdemeanor crimes for crossing the border. These prosecutions channel billions of dollars to private prison corporations and are fueling the explosive growth in numbers of Latinos in federal prison. Senate and House negotiators are reportedly considering expanding funding of Operation Streamline and criminal prosecutions of immigrants.
Communities across the country, including border communities, will be joining days of action from February 19th to February 21st to demand that immigration reform ends, rather than expands, the criminalization of migration. Actions will include public protests, press conferences, op-eds (we'll provide talking points), and meeting with legislators. Actions will include:
Tucson, AZ - Tuesday, February 19th, 12:30pm MT. Press conference announcing End Streamline campaign at downtown Federal Building downtown. Contact: Caroline Isaacs - 520.623.9141, email@example.com.
Brownsville, TX - Tuesday, February 19th, 2pm CT. Press conference in front of the Reynaldo G. Garza-Filemon B. Vela Federal Court House. Contact: Astrid Dominguez - RGVBorderRights@gmail.com.
Austin, TX - Wednesday, February 20th, 1pm CT – Press Conference and letter delivery to Texas Senators and Central Texas Congress members. Federal building at 300 E. 8th St. Contact – Bob Libal, (512) 971-0487, firstname.lastname@example.org.
National - Thursday, February 21st, 1pm ET. ACLU-led phone conference on Operation Streamline and southwest border enforcement. Speakers will also be briefing congressional staff on Operation Streamline during their visit to Washington, D.C.
Online - The National Private Prison Divestment Campaign will be organizing a petition to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray and other members of the Congressional budget committees to shut down Operation Streamline by advocating for removal of funding for immigrant detention and incarceration in private prisons.
For more information, please contact Bob Libal with Grassroots Leadership at blibal@grassrootsleadershi
How Immigration Reform Could Expand Incarceration of Immigrants, Seth Freed Wessler, Colorlines, 2/6/13
Immigration Reform Must End, Not Expand, Operation Streamline, Bob Libal, Huffington Post, 1/25/13