Crossing the border was once a matter for civil immigration courts. Now, every day in federal criminal courts along the Southwest border, hundreds of mostly destitute Latino and indigenous Latin American migrants are shackled, charged, convicted and sentenced en masse under the policy called “Operation Streamline.” The program has proven to be a boon for private prisons by funneling tens of thousands of immigrants into federal prisons every year. Through research and advocacy, Grassroots Leadership is fighting for and end to this program.
As we finish up 2015, we thought we’d reflect on the year at Grassroots Leadership. We’ve had a terrific year of work and it couldn’t have been possible without the hard work and support of our staff, board, volunteers, allies, and donors. Please consider making a donation to help our work continue in 2016. Thank you, we couldn’t do it without you! Read more about The year in review: 15 highlights of 2015 at Grassroots Leadership!
Today marks the 10 years since Operation Streamline took effect. The policy significantly increased the caseloads in criminal courts along the southern U.S. border by criminalizing what used to be a civil offense: illegal re-entry into the United States. Operation Streamline started as a pilot program in the Del Rio sector of the Texas border, but later expanded to Yuma, Arizona; Laredo, Texas and eventually to all southern border sectors except those in California. To take a look at what the net effects of the policy have been a decade later, FSRN’s Shannon Young spoke with Bethany Carson, immigration policy researcher and organizer at Grassroots Leadership in Austin, Texas. Read more about Ten years after launch of Operation Streamline, criminal immigration charges dominate federal caseloads
WHAT: March & street theater action
WHO: Community members and U.S. Human Rights Conference participants
WHEN: Friday December 11, 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: March from Hilton on E. 4th to Federal Courthouse Plaza (501 5th St.) Read more about Austin Joins Days of National Action to End Operation Streamline
Roughly 23,000 immigrants are held each night in private prisons that are contracted out to corporations by the Bureau of Prisons. An estimated 62% of all immigration detention beds in the U.S. are operated by for-profit prison corporations, up from 49% in 2009, according to a report released earlier this year by Grassroots Leadership, a group whose mission it is to end for-profit incarceration. Read more about Meet Juan, the DREAMer who interrupted Hillary Clinton’s big speech
There have been 4,000 known deaths of migrants crossing the Mexico-U.S. border since 1995. Since 2001, there have been 2,100 deaths along the Arizona-Mexico border alone. That people still make the attempt is proof that they are desperate according to Sr. Yvette Rainville, DHS.
OS is a policy begun in 2005 that mandates thousands of undocumented immigrants crossing the Southern border be prosecuted in the federal criminal justice system. Some feel that the policy has turned migrants into criminals, expanded the need for prisons to hold them, made a mockery of human rights, and created an unholy alliance between private prisons and the government.
The ICE detention budget includes a mandate from congress that 34,000 immigrants be detained on a daily basis. Private prisons own nine of 10 ICE detention centers, according to a report by the Grassroots Leadership. Read more about Interfaith Council, Nuns Urge Education, Action on Private Prisons
Today, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill) introduced the Justice is Not for Sale Act, a comprehensive bill that outlaws the use of for-profit prisons, jails, and immigration detention centers. Read more about 7 good things that will happen if we ban private prisons with the #JusticeNot4Sale Act
"Immigration reform issue seems to be becoming complicated with every passing day. President Barack Obama’s all efforts to provide succor to the twelve million such people has gone without making any meaningful change.
Now there are efforts to provide some sort of succor to such people, though there is no denying the fact that GOP will oppose any move in this direction tooth and nail.
While talking about the issue Bob Libal, director of Grassroots Leadership, says, 'There’s a conversation going on about how to reduce mass incarceration, but at the same time you have leaders talking about mandatory minimums for people coming back into the country for basically petty immigration offenses.'" Read more about Immigration reform 2015: civil rights group ask DOJ to stop prosecuting immigrants
"A national bipartisan movement to reduce the United States’ outsized prison population is gaining momentum, but immigration reform advocates say an important piece is still missing from the reform conversation: Thousands of men and women are being incarcerated every year because they entered the U.S. without documents.
On Tuesday, more than 170 organizations representing criminal justice, immigration reform and faith-based groups sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, urging the Department of Justice to end prosecutions for illegal entry and re-entry.
Bob Libal, director of Grassroots Leadership, an Austin immigrant advocacy group, said it’s time for the DOJ to reconsider its overzealous prosecution of undocumented immigrants. 'There’s a conversation going on about how to reduce mass incarceration, but at the same time you have leaders talking about mandatory minimums for people coming back into the country for basically petty immigration offenses,' he told the Observer." Read more about Groups Urge DOJ to Stop Prosecuting Immigrants for Illegal Entry