Things That Matter

Detention Officers In Louisiana Allegedly Attacked Detainees Holding A Hunger Strike Over Conditions

The things that take place behind the doors of detention centers are often a mystery.  Undocumented immigrants disclose some things while immigration officials say another. The media is rarely given a chance to see what the facilities are like, and when they do, they don’t always get the whole picture. That is why advocates of these people are sometimes the only ones that not only get to visit the people inside, but they can also share with the public what is going on. Such is the case with an organization called Freedom for Immigrants who disclosed some incredibly awful events that took place at a detention center. 

This weekend, more than 100 immigrants were attacked inside their detention center while they were protesting with a hunger strike.

 Courtesy of Freedom for Immigrants

Freedom for Immigrants, a non-profit based in California, reports that immigrants detained at the ICE Processing Center in Pine Prairie, Louisiana, were attacked with excessive force by guards because they would not disperse during a hunger strike protest. The detention center is located in a remote area in Louisiana less than two hours west of Baton Rouge.

Freedom for Immigrants said that 115 immigrants had been on a hunger strike for five days, protesting their prolonged detainment.

Credit: @UUSC / Twitter

That is when guards pepper-sprayed them, shot at them with rubber bullets, tear-gassed, beaten, and placed in solitary confinement. They also report that the inmates were blocked from contacting their families or attorneys.

“When an individual in detention goes on hunger strike, it means the person is willing to put their body on the line just to be heard,” Sofia Casini, Southern Regional Coordinator with Freedom for Immigrants, said in a press release. “Multiple hunger strikes happening simultaneously are no coincidence: they are indicative of the desperation and suffering that immigrants are facing inside these human cages.

An ICE spokesperson confirms that the inmates were pepper-sprayed.

Credit: @EMc_42 / Twitter

Bryan Cox, an ICE spokesman, told BuzzFeed that the incident took place saying, a “group of ICE detainees refused to depart the outdoor recreation area at the Pine Prairie facility Friday evening.” He added, “After repeated attempts by facility staff and ICE personnel to disperse the group and restore orderly operation of the facility, brief, calculated use of pepper spray was employed Saturday morning.”

However, he said that no one was injured, which contradicts the images that were released from the incident.

Courtesy of Freedom for Immigrants

Freedom for Immigrants notes that several other hunger strikes are taking place at various detention centers around the country, including at another facility in Louisana. They report that at least 1,396 people have taken part in a hunger strike and 18 detention facilities since May 2015.

The assault against immigrants got so bad that an ambulance had to be called.

Courtesy of Freedom for Immigrants

Mother Jones reports that they can confirm the assault took place as several detainees sent lawyer Lara Nochomovitz text messages. Here’s what some of those messages said: 

“There are lots of cops who came from another prison, they beat up the Cubans, they pepper spray them and handcuff them.”

Another said, “There’s even an ambulance here. Help us please this is ugly!” 

Lt. Bill Davis of the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office told that publication that the incident was only a small disturbance and said the group consisted of only 30 people. He also added that the person that was taken in an ambulance was suffering from anxiety issues. 

People who are imprisoned use hunger strikes to bring attention to the cruelty taking place inside.

Credit: @Haleaziz / Twitter

In some cases, detainees go long periods of stretches in a hunger strike protest, but officials have been known to force-feed them by using tubes. 

They do this to get the attention of officials and of the media to inform them about the injustices that are going on inside. Sometimes it is their only form of communication since they are unable to speak to family. 

Yanet Diaz is the aunt of Lisvani Perez Serrano who was transferred from Mississippi to Louisiana. She told Freedom for Immigrants that he passed his asylum interview and was granted parole. They informed him that he would be released in 15 days, but that never happened. 

“They haven’t informed him about his case, and he is constantly being threatened. He and the other detained men had no other option but to go on hunger strike.”

The National Immigration Law Center said that it is not surprising that ICE hasn’t officially reported about what took place at the ICE Processing Center in Pine Prairiesince they lack transparency and oversight. They said they are demanding answers and accountability.

READ: Immigration Detainees Joined Prisoners Nationwide To Strike Against Living Conditions And Very Low Wages In Prisons

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The Man Who Created ICE Is Now Releasing A Book To Honor Immigrants

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The Man Who Created ICE Is Now Releasing A Book To Honor Immigrants

George Bush Presidential Center

The 43rd president, the man who literally helped create Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is now releasing a book meant to honor immigrants to the U.S. Cue the massive eye rolls.

As president, Bush oversaw a massive expansion of the country’s deportation apparatus and his policies directly impacted the lives of millions of people in the United States, with and without documents.

So it was no surprise that as Bush announced the new book, social media was quick to point out the blatant hypocrisy and tone deaf messaging the former president is sending. It’s all nice and good that he may have had a change of heart on immigration – particularly after seeing the destructive policies of the current president – but many are pointing out Bush will be making potentially millions of dollars of the backs of the very people he once demonized.

George Bush is releasing a book highlighting stories of immigrants to the U.S.

A new book by former President George W. Bush will highlight an issue which now sets him apart from many of his fellow Republicans — immigration.

The book includes 43 portraits by the 43rd president, four-color paintings of immigrants he has come to know over the years, along with biographical essays he wrote about each of them.

“While I recognize that immigration can be an emotional issue, I reject the premise that it is a partisan issue. It is perhaps the most American of issues, and it should be one that unites us,” Bush writes in the new book’s introduction, noting that he did not want it to come out during the election season. Bush has not endorsed Trump or his presumptive Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.

“My hope is that this book will help focus our collective attention on the positive impacts that immigrants are making on our country.”

The book will serve as a companion to an upcoming exhibition at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas.

Credit: Penguin Random House

“Both ‘Out of Many, One’ and the exhibition of the same name will include bold, principle-based solutions that comprehensively address the current debate on immigration,” according to Crown. “At the heart of the recommendations is the belief that every year that passes without reforming the nation’s broken system means missed opportunities to ensure the future prosperity, vitality, and security of our country.”

Bush has become a dedicated portrait painter and best-selling author since leaving the White House. His memoir “Decision Points” has sold more than 3 million copies, and his other books include “41,” about his father, former President George H.W. Bush; and a collection of paintings of military veterans, “Portraits of Courage.”

He will donate a portion of his “Out Of Many, One” proceeds to organizations that help immigrants resettle.

Although he may be friends with the Obamas, Bush has a terrible record on immigration.

Credit: Tom Pennington / Getty Images

Apart from Donald Trump, few presidents were as intertwined with immigration than George Bush, which has led to swift blowback on social media. Critics have been quick to point out the blatant hypocrisy with the president’s new series, since his administration created US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, more commonly known as ICE, which has cracked down harshly on undocumented immigration under Trump.  

And although Bush has on occasion criticized the state of immigration policies under Trump, it doesn’t make up for his hurtful policies as president.

In 2018, on the day after the Trump administration issued guidance for asylum seekers at the border that threatened thousands of individuals with being turned away before they could plead their cases in court, Bush said he was “disturbed” by the immigration debate taking place in the United States. Bush has also praised the nation’s immigrant history as “a blessing” while calling for comprehensive reform.

Bush’s own record on immigration isn’t totally black and white either. Many point out that the former president did introduce a bill that would have included a pathway to citizenship for 17 million immigrants in the U.S. However, the bill was defeated with bipartisan support because many Democrats felt it didn’t offer enough protections and many Republicans said it was illegal amnesty.

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This Man Was Robbed Of His Life Savings Just Minutes After Leaving The Bank

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This Man Was Robbed Of His Life Savings Just Minutes After Leaving The Bank

@naninizhoni / Twitter

Imagine having worked your life to provide a better future for your family only to have it stolen from you in a brazen attack. That’s exactly what happened to one immigrant man who had taken out his life savings from a Chase Bank when we was brutally attacked and robbed of more than $200,000 in cash.

The attack was caught on video and police are searching for the suspect. Meanwhile, the victim and his family are asking for help as the money was being used to support family across Mexico and El Salvador and to help put a child through graduate school.

A man has lost his life savings after being attacked and robbed outside a Chase Bank.

Police are searching for a suspect after a man was robbed of his life savings outside a Chase Bank. In Huntington Park, California, Francisco Cornejo had taken out $200,000 from the bank following the recent sale of his home, when an unknown assailant grabbed his satchel and ran away. 

Cornejo fell to the ground as a result, video taken by a bystander showed. The assailant’s face could not be seen in the video, but he was wearing a black hoodie.

“Within 30 seconds of just getting to his car, he was grabbed, beaten, robbed, and they took everything from him,” Cornejo’s attorney, Nathan Soleimani, told KTLA.

“He was parked as closely as possible to the bank, knowing he was going to withdraw a large amount of cash. As soon as he got to his car, before he was able to get to his car, he was grabbed and beaten,” attorney Nathan Soleimani said.

A family man, Cornejo had withdrawn the cash for the well-being of his loved ones, Soleimani said, adding that the family has no idea who would attack and rob his client. 

His daughter said her unemployed parents needed the money to “get through” the coronavirus pandemic, to support her 94-year-old grandmother, pay for her sister’s graduate school tuition and send funds to loved ones in Mexico and El Salvador. 

“This money was hard-earned and as a result of years and years of work,” she said. 

Cornejo was left severely injured and suffered a very traumatic experience.

In Spanish, Cornejo told KTLA that the entire experience and robbery were “traumatic.” And he suffered the injuries to prove it.

Cornejo was left with significant bruises on his side and arm, and his shoulder was dislocated. He also suffered severe trauma to the head, his daughter said in a GoFundMe page created to help with hospital expenses. 

“He never expected such an atrocious attack,” the daughter said. “Bystanders attest that my dad was fighting with all of his will. My father was dragged by the criminal as they both fought for the bag.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time this has happened – even in the past month.

Crime has recently started rising in big cities – especially crimes targeting immigrants. A recent story out of San Francisco is very similar to what happened to Cornejo. A senior couple, who came to the U.S. nearly 40 years ago, was left heartbroken after their life savings was taken from them in a brazen daytime burglary that was caught on camera.

Simon Zhong recalls the moment he learned two men forced their way inside his parent’s Crocker Amazon home. Stunning surveillance video from outside and inside the home, shows how the men used a crowbar to pry open a back door and enter while Simon’s parents were out.

His parents, immigrants from China, spent more than 35 years working in construction and housekeeping.

“My parents actually grew up really poor in China,” he said. “They actually borrowed money to come over to America and they worked every single day of their life.”

Not trusting the banking system, his dad kept their entire life savings, in cash, in a safe, only for it to disappear in less than 15 minutes. A senior law enforcement official who didn’t want to be identified confirmed Asian American families are often targets for criminals because they keep cash in their homes.

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