Things That Matter

This Band’s Cumbia Version Of ‘This Land Is Your Land’ Is Celebrating The Immigrant Community

National Day Laborer Organizing Network / Facebook

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) have a music video almost two year in the making as an ode to immigrant workers. They shot their music video with a group of protesters highlighting the work NDLON has been doing.

In the video, musical group Los Jornaleros del Norte perform a cumbia rendition of Woody Guthrie’s American folk song “This Land Is Your Land.”

This Land Is Your Land remix by Los Jornaleros del Norte

WATCH & SHARE “This Land Is Your Land” by Los Jornaleros Del Norte!Los Jornaleros del Norte, made up of immigrant workers committed to justice, just launched a POWERFUL cumbia remix of Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie's famous american folk song “This Land Is Your Land.” While the Trump administration ratchets up their anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric, Los Jornaleros del Norte reassert their right to remain in a land where Indigenous Peoples have lived for thousands of years before the U.S. ever existed. This video was filmed in collaboration with nearly 50 immigrant worker organizations who attended NDLON's National Assembly in Santa Clara, CA, in August of 2017.Music by: Jornaleros del Norte Directed by: Alex RiveraProduced by: NDLONCC: Central American Resource Center (CARECEN-LA), Fe y Justicia Worker Center, Pomona Economic Opportunity Center, Pasadena Community Job Center, TPS Alliance / Alianza TPS, Arriba Las Vegas Worker Center, Adelante Alabama Worker Center, CASA Latina, IDEPSCA, WeCount, New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), Voces de la Frontera, Jolt Texas, Graton Day Labor Center (Centro Laboral de Graton), Latino Rebels

Posted by National Day Laborer Organizing Network on Tuesday, May 29, 2018

After a somber intro, the video comes to life with a rally taking place around the singer.

CREDIT: Facebook/National Day Laborer Organizing Network

The lead singer shouts and turns into a wall of posters and dancing activists gathered in Santa Clara, Calif., during an assembly for the NDLON in August of last year.

The song includes some lines about the indigenous peoples that first inhabited North America, before man-made borders were enacted.

CREDIT: Facebook/National Day Laborer Organizing Network

Some of the freestyled lyrics, which are sung both in Spanish and English (and featured in text in the video), are “Home of the brave. / The indigenous were first. / They didn’t divide our land. / Thousands of years without the border. “

The singer also calls out those that try to colonize this land, saying “El pueblo está presente. / Our courage makes them cowards.”  

The song is a rallying cry to the immigrant community.

This isn’t the first time Los Jornaleros del Norte has written songs to support the immigrant cause.

Y llegaron los jornaleros a darle guerra al Sheriff Youngblood!

A post shared by Los Jornaleros Del Norte (@losjornalerosdelnorte) on

For the past 15 years, the group has dedicated themself to singing for the immigrant worker. According to the band’s biography on its official page, the band began in 1995 after an (Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid in the City of Industry in California. One of the singers of the band was inspired to write a corrido (ballad) about the event, and now the band’s music is meant to “inform, educate, organize, and mobilize day workers, sensitize the general community about day labor related issues, and denounce the abuses committed against them.”

In 2016, the group performed during a march for the #Fightfor15.

Jornaleros Del Norte jamming it live! #fightfor15 #luchaporlos15 #wbw

A post shared by Los Jornaleros Del Norte (@losjornalerosdelnorte) on

The “This Land is Your Land” video was made in partnership with nearly 50 different immigrant worker organizations including Central American Resource Center (CARECEN-LA), Adelante Alabama Worker Center, CASA Latina and New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE).


READ: Bomba Esteréo Remixed Arcade Fire’s “Everything Now” Into an Awesome Latin Dance Track

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A Man Was Arrested By ICE After Criticizing Their Policies So Two NFL Players Bailed Him Out

Entertainment

A Man Was Arrested By ICE After Criticizing Their Policies So Two NFL Players Bailed Him Out

jno24 / d56davis / Instagram

Three months ago, we reported the ICE arrest of immigrant activist José Bello. Bello arrived in this country when he was just three years old, but he isn’t afraid to speak up and advocate for change. Bello has become a powerful activist in the undocumented community and used his poetry to criticize U.S. immigration policies. He did just that at a public forum at the Kern County Board of Supervisors by reading aloud his poem titled “Dear America.”

Less than 36 hours later, he was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and taken to the Mesa Verda detention center. The ACLU has represented Bello and contested the arrest as a violation of first amendment rights under the grounds that his arrest and the high bail bond was a “retaliatory” response from ICE to his poem. After 89 days in detention, unable to hold his son, NFL players Josh Norman of the Washington Redskins and Demario Davis of the New Orleans Saints teamed up with the New York Immigrant Freedom Fund and the National Bail Fund Network to pay Bello’s $50,000 bail.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) separated him from his son just two days after he recalled telling his son, “We will never be apart, chiquito.”

Credit: ACLU of Southern California / YouTube

Bello’s poem effectively tells America that immigrants aren’t out to get them–they’re here to “work hard, pay taxes, and study”… and build a safe home for their families. Here’s an excerpt:

“The fight has begun
‘We will never be apart chiquito,’ is what I promised my son.
Y’all can try to justify your actions. Try to make excuses.
The bottom line here is that at the end, the people always triumph and the government loses.”

Bello is a 22-year-old father of one, a farmworker, and Bakersfield College student.

Credit: @MVLiberation / Twitter

The ACLU also points to his $50,000 bond as a retaliation attempt by ICE given that he makes just $20,000 a year. During his 89 days of detention, he said, “I could see my whole future going out the window.”

“Those three months that I was detained, I just felt like it was cruel,” Bello told The Washington Post. “I couldn’t hold my child. I would have to push him away from me or I would get in trouble. I don’t think any parent should have to experience that. How do you do that to a child? I feel guilty about that, and I’m trying to make up for that time I couldn’t spend with him.”

Bellos said “it seemed like a dream” that NFL players were bailing him out.

Credit: @ufwf / Instagram

Above is an image of Bello reunited with his chiquito niño–finally able to give his son a hug, free from ICE. “To me, it seemed like a dream,” Bello told The Washington Post. “It’s like something that you hear about in movies. I watch football, and I know how much attention and how famous those people are, so just the fact that they would look into helping me out, it was a great honor. I know who they are. I was shocked in a good way.”

Washington Redskins’ Josh Norman and New Orleans Saints’ Demario Davis made his release possible.

Credit: @NFL / Twitter

“Jose Bello was exercising a fundamental right that we pride ourselves on as Americans,” Washington Redskins player, Norman, told ACLU. “If he was detained for reciting a peaceful poem then we should really ask ourselves, are our words truly free? This is America right? Where the 1st Amendment is freedom of speech unless I missed the memo somewhere. He was exercising that right.”

New Orlean Saints player, Davis, remarked, “We’ve seen ICE round up nearly 700 people in Mississippi and leave their children without parents, we’ve seen them turn away asylum seekers who will face certain death in their home countries. Is this America? We must say no, and we must start by helping our most vulnerable.”

Norman and Davis are both members of the independent “Players Coalition,” which “exists to end social injustices and racial inequality so future generations have opportunity to thrive without barriers.”

Credit: @playerscoalition / Twitter

The Players Coalition was founded in 2017 by Anquan Boldin and Malcom Jenkins. The Coalition also has a Task Force Board of 12 voting members, all of whom are NFL players, with the money and social influence to effect change. For example, Davis also helped push through LA House Bill 265 which expanded voting rights to returning citizens and Chris Long gave his entire year’s salary to educational initiatives.

Listen to Jose Bello’s “Dear America” to see why ICE retaliated.

The fight isn’t over. While Bello is out on bond, he’s still facing a judge’s decision about whether he will be deported or allowed to stay in America. ICE claims his arrest was the result of a DUI four months prior. ACLU suggests the timing is far more likely tied to his activism.

READ: An Activist Read A Poem Criticizing Inhumane Immigration Policies And ICE Arrested Him Two Days Later Now His Community Is Standing Behind Him

An Ex-ICE Attorney Is Calling Out The Agency For Using False Evidence To Deport And Detain Innocent Migrants

Things That Matter

An Ex-ICE Attorney Is Calling Out The Agency For Using False Evidence To Deport And Detain Innocent Migrants

A former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lawyer has revealed that in several cases ICE agents corroborated against immigrants in order to achieve their deportation. In an in-depth interview with ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates those on power, Laura Peña revealed many of the behind the scenes details of the how the government agency pursued the deportation of migrants and asylum seekers. The investigative piece highlights some of the trials and tribulations that Peña has lived through as a legal assistant to the agency where, in different cases, there was a common factor: lack of evidence to accuse immigrants of any fault that prompts their deportation.

Now she’s getting to tell her side of the story. 

Who is Laura Peña and how did she end up working for ICE?

Credit: @ProPublica / Twitter

Growing up in Harlingen, Texas, which is close to Mexico, Peña was immersed in the migrant community. Living so close to the U.S-Mexico border gave her a unique perspective on what many Latino migrants endured. She went to school with friends who were undocumented and friends whose parents also worked for the Border Patrol. After graduating high school she left the area and would get a job in the State Department. 

She would eventually take her career path in the same footsteps as her father to become a lawyer. After graduating from Georgetown Law, she saw that ICE was looking for trial attorneys but the opportunity wasn’t as easy as it seemed. Peña wasn’t sold on the concept of helping see migrants get deported, especially growing up in a migrant community herself. Family and friends were in disagreement with the thought of her working on behalf of ICE. 

 But her father, who himself was a struggling attorney, consoled her and reassured her not to pass up an opportunity like this. “Do what you need to do,” he counseled her. “Don’t worry about what others think.”

 A fellow mentor, who was also an immigration attorney, also encouraged her to take the position. He said this could be an opportunity to take the job and try to make the government agency more humane. “We need people of your mindset working on the government’s side,” she told Peña.

Peña was hired in 2014 as an ICE attorney which would be the start of a turbulent and controversial time working on behalf of the agency. These are some of the stories she told ProPublica about her experiences. 

Credit: @HispanicCaucus / Twitter

One of the mentioned cases in the investigative piece was that of Carlos, a migrant who applied for political asylum. As soon as he made his request, border and immigration agents accused him of being a member of the notoriously famous MS-13 gang in El Salvador, so this made Carlos not eligible to enter to the United States. 

This is where Peña, who followed the case, started to see the ugly true side of ICE. She did not find any semblance of a connection between Carlos and the gang, not even tattoos, that are a key part of the gang’s look or even criminal record in his own country. To the contrary, Carlos even carried an official letter from the Ministry of Justice of El Salvador certifying and clearing him of ever setting foot in a jail cell. Peña demanded proof from immigration agents that he was connected to the gang but did not obtain any. Despite the lack of any evidence of his gang affiliation, Carlos did not obtain his asylum.

Another case she revealed was that of a 6-month-old baby who was scheduled to be deported because he had been separated from his mother. Peña would eventually reunite the child with his mother but the woman was accused of carrying a false document. The immigration judge used that against her and would then order her child’s removal from the country.

This would all lead to Peña taking a step back from the agency. She now works pro bono with clients seeking asylum at the border. 

Credit: @bykenarmstrong / Twitter

All of this immigration work would overwhelm Peña over time, especially during the Trump administration’s family separation policy went into effect in Spring 2018. “Everything was stacked against the immigrants. Most couldn’t afford to hire an attorney. Few would ever win their cases.”

Peña would go on to acknowledge that the immigration system refuses to provide due process to an immigrant. but also realizes that there’s not much that could be done there. She is now working pro bono as a visiting attorney for the Texas Civil Rights Project, helping migrants with asylum cases. She now hopes she can properly bring justice to the countless of people that have been wrongly deported or separated at the hands of ICE. 

READ: This New Border Wall Mural Features QR Codes That You Can Scan To Hear Emotional Stories Of Deported Migrants

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