Senate Bill 4 isn’t even in effect and some Texas police are allegedly asking about immigration status.
Victor Ibarra was on his way to protest Senate Bill 4, a law recently passed by the Texas legislators, when he was involved in a minor traffic accident. Many immigration activists believe SB4, which was sold to the public as a crackdown on sanctuary cities, is little more than a version of Arizona’s “show me your papers” law. People have argued that the law gives police officers the right to racially profile people to ask them about their immigration status when they are dealing with law enforcement. That’s exactly what happened, according to Ibarra.
According to Houston Press, Ibarra told reporters that he was on his way to an SB4 protest when he was involved in an accident. Police officers were called and when they arrived, they asked for Ibarra’s driver’s license, which he did not have. Instead, Ibarra said in a press conference that he handed the officer his Mexican passport and his consular identification card (matrícula consular). According to the National Immigration Law Center, a matrícula consular “is an identity card that Mexican consulates issue to Mexican citizens who reside outside Mexico.” It is basically just a way for Mexican nationals to identify themselves while living abroad.
During the encounter, Ibarra claims the officer began to ask about his immigration status after seeing his consular identification card. Ibarra told the press, according to CW39, that he did not want to answer that question without an attorney present, but the officer kept pressuring him. When Ibarra continued to refuse to answer the question, he claims that the police officer then threatened to call ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to come to the scene and deal with him.
Houston Press reports that Harris County Sheriff’s Office has opened an investigation into Ibarra’s claims. SB4 is set to go into effect on Sept. 1.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that maybe the Trump administration was reconsidering the way it was treating migrant children who are crossing the boarder. Especially since earlier this month, we’d reported that the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children in Miami, Florida, was to close. However, it looks like Homestead is set to reopen again – as soon as this October.
The beginning of the month saw the last of the children, who were detained at the facility, removed. While it’s difficult to say exactly how many children were originally housed at the detention center due to the overcrowding that’s taken place across holding facilities nationwide, it’s thought that there were between 2700 to 3000 children staying at Homestead. Part of the reason why Caliburn International, the company that runs Homestead, was instructed to reduce its detainees in the first place was due to government compliance issues. That is, the government had introduced new standards in preparation for hurricane season.
We still don’t know where the previous group of children went after leaving Homestead.
Even though the children were removed, it’s not clear what happened to the children once they’d left Homestead. The fact Caliburn International is a for-profit company and still required staff to show up for work, despite there being no detainees, has also clouded the issue. At the time of writing, reports say that while 1,700 employees had been dismissed due to the center officially closing, more than 2,500 kept their jobs. It’s not clear what they’re doing at Homestead while they await new inmates.
And because Homestead is an influx center, it doesn’t require a state license.
Typically speaking, influx centers are essentially designed to house a large number of inmates, in case the government suddenly finds itself inundated by asylum seekers. These centers are only intended for short stays, which is why they can legally hold a larger number of detainees. Otherwise, Homestead’s population would be capped at 500 children. And while we’re on the subject of numbers – temporary facilities like Homestead are actually more expensive, in the long run. They cost the government around $775 a day per child, while permanent shelters run at about $250 per day per child. Nice to know everyone’s tax dollars are being spent wisely.
Is this all starting to should kinda familiar to you? Yea, us too.
If you’ve been paying attention to the news, it should. The US government recently argued in federal court that it shouldn’t have to provide things like toothbrushes and soap to detainees, since they were only being temporarily housed in the facility in Clint, Texas. Spoiler alert: the judges didn’t buy that argument, since inmates are being held for months at a time at these facilities. Again, these places that don’t provide basic necessities for inmates are more expensive to run than a more permanent facilities.
Oddly enough, even though Homestead is set to open again in October, Caliburn’s contract expires November 30. At this stage, it’s unclear whether the company will see the contract renewed, or whether a new contract will be opened up to competitive bidding. Apparently the original contract with Caliburn was awarded without competition, which was done so around the same time John Kelly, Trump’s ex-chief of staff, joined the company’s board of advisers. Bueno.
All of this shows that it’s still business as usual.
At the same time, even if the contract for Homestead was open to competitive bidding, it’s unlikely that much would change at the facility for the children who will be staying there. Companies and non-profits that promote asylum seeker’s rights and would likely provide safe and comfortable facilities have little interest in bidding for such contracts, since the very policies motivating them are diametrically opposed to the espoused values of these organizations.
At the end of the day, this is all semantics. Because while it’s definitely important that we examine the ways that we detain migrants, and ensure that everyone receives due process, we’re not asking the most important question of all: should we even be detaining children for seeking asylum?
Deportation is a reality that many people living in the United States face in some way or another. It is an unfortunate consequence of immigration and the policies that are currently in place.
Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana aims to shed light on those who migrate into the United States as children and are deported as Adults.
De La Cruz Santana is a Mellon Public Scholars Fellow and is a UC Davis Ph.D candidate. Her project titled, “Who Are the Real Childhood Arrivals to the United States?” is influenced by her family. Both of her parents immigrated to the United States and were later granted permanent residency.
The mural is located at Playas de Tijuana, where her father crossed in order to enter the United States, and took a total of 9 days to complete. It focuses on the stories of 6 different people who came into the United States as children, some of which were deported later in life or are currently at risk of deportation.
The people represented in the mural are Karla Estrada, Monserrat Godoy, Jairo Lozano, Isaac Rivera, Andy de León, and Tania Mendoza.
CREDIT: Credit: pdtmuralproject / Instagram
Estrada and Lozano are DACA Recipients. Lozano’s first experiences working was in the fields with his family. During the summer, he continued working because he was not eligible for financial aid or loans. He went on to receive his Bachelors in Sociology and his Masters in Marriage and Family therapy.
Godoy and Mendoza are DREAMer Moms. Both Godoy and Mendoza are strong mothers who want to see their children more than anything. After living in the U.S for some time, Godoy was threatened and ordered by her husband to go back to Mexico. She took her 2 daughters with her because she feared for her life, but they struggled in the Mexican education system. The father of the two girls successfully arranged to have them brought to him in the U.S, but he denies Godoy the right to see them. Similarly, Mendoza has not seen her daughter in years after getting deported due to her daughter’s father not wanting to give her custody rights.
Rivera is a Repatriated Childhood arrival who came into the United States at the age of 6. He was then deported after being stopped at a border checkpoint in Temecula, California.
De León is a U.S Veteran and a Repatriated Permanent Resident. He lived in the United States for more than 50 years until he was deported after his green card was revoked. He is a senior citizen who has lived in United States his whole life and struggles to live in Tijuana.
Each face that is painted is accompanied by a QR Code to engage the viewer and allow for them to interact with the mural.
CREDIT: Credit: pdtmuralproject / Instagram
It’s easy to passively watch art, but the QR codes allows these murals to come to life and tell their story without being interrupted or without fear. Viewers can learn more about the stories behind the faces first-hand and admire the mural at the same time.
The goal of the mural is to create awareness for undocumented folks living in the United States and to obtain legal help for the individuals showcased.
The project was personal for most of the people who worked on the mural with De La Cruz Santana. For instance, Mauro Carrera and Robert Vivar.
CREDIT: Credit: pdtmuralproject / Instagram
Carrera is the muralist who brought the De La Cruz Santana’s idea to life. For him, the project has been filled with emotions because he was just a child when he came to live in the United States. He was born in Veracruz, Mexico and migrated with his family when he was 4 years old.
Vivar, who has born in 1956, immigrated with his family from Tijuana, Mexico to Riverside, CA in 1962. He grew up in the United States, his experiences shaping his childhood and adolescence. He held a variety of jobs in California, got married, and started a family. However, he eventually got deported after ICE came to his home. Vivar has lived away from his family and the country he has ever known since 2011. In avideothat is part of the Humanizing Deportationproject , Vivar recounts his life and says, “[I am] Proud to have been born in Mexico, but I am also a proud American because the United States is where I grew. It is my home and no deportation and no government will take that from my heart.”
The mural emphasizes the fact that the stories we hear about immigrants are not all the same. Every immigrant has a story that deserves to be told and shared.
If you would like to visit the mural, it is located in Playas De Tijuana
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