Elana is from El Salvador. She is a second mom to me. She helped raise me from when I was really little. She has always been full of love, laughter and incredible strength. She has always unconditionally loved me and that is the greatest gift I can ask for. We have stayed close and she always has a positive attitude, is open with advice and stories, and helps me put my life in perspective. She is quick to laugh, she enjoys life and has always been thrilled to hear from me and catch up. She spent countless hours taking care of me and my sister and brother, in order to financially support her own kids and family, both in SF and back in El Salvador.
Immigration reform would remove one set of barriers that stand in the way of Elena and her family being treated with complete respect and humanity by the legal system. It would remove one more set of barriers that make it hard for me and my family to have strong, consistent relationships with immigrants who are under attack by our legal system. It would also mean the removal of one more set of laws that chip away at the quality of community I am able to have and the integrity I live with as a US citizen.
- Michael, CA
NYT: Stop and Frisk's impact on trans and gender nonconforming people of color -
I met Mr. Lafontain last week in Jackson Heights, not far from where his arrest had taken place, at the offices of Make the Road New York, a community-organizing group that works primarily with Latino immigrants. It has tried, along with various anti-violence projects in the city, to call attention to the perverse specifics of stop-and-frisk policing — a practice currently on trial in federal court in Lower Manhattan — as it applies to gay, lesbian and transgender New Yorkers who are black and Latino. Last fall, the group issued a report on policing in Jackson Heights, a neighborhood with a vibrant gay and transgender community and attendant club scene (and also a prostitution problem), and found in its survey of more than 300 residents that while 28 percent of straight respondents reported having been stopped by the police, 54 percent of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender respondents reported this kind of treatment.
Link to MRNY's report: TRANSGRESSIVE POLICING (Full Report): Police Abuse of LGBTQ Communities of Color in Jackson Heights, Queens -
Issued last fall, mentioned in today’s NYT piece:
I was just buying tacos. They grabbed me and handcuffed me. They found condoms in my bra and said I was doing sex work. After handcuffing me they asked me to kneel down and they took my wig off. They arrested me and took me away.
—Transgender Latina woman, Jackson Heights
After hearing numerous complaints of police abuse and misconduct against LGBTQ1 people in Jackson Heights, Queens, Make the Road New York (with help from the Anti‐Violence Project) surveyed over 300 Queens residents about their experiences with police in the neighborhood. The survey findings and individual testimonies reveal a disturbing and systemic pattern of police harassment, violence, and intimidation directed at LGBTQ community members. The discriminatory use of “stop and frisks” in the policing of communities of color has been well documented ‐ the 110th and 115th precincts that are responsible for policing Jackson Heights had 90%‐93% rates of stop and frisk activity towards people of color in 2011. Our survey reveals, however, that within this community LGBTQ people of color are particularly targeted…
LGBT Undocumented People Disproportionately Younger and Asian, According to Latest Report -
The current debate in Washington and across the country around comprehensive immigration reform requires the engagement of everyone, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. This important research finally gives us an opportunity to put real numbers behind the work we do — to push for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, for improvements to the system for high-skilled and low-wage workers, to reuniting families — including LGBT families, to easing the restrictions to applying for asylum, and for a more humane system for enforcement of immigration laws.
Some of the key findings reveal that the actual number of LGBT undocumented people in the U.S. are disproportionately younger and Asian than the overall undocumented population. The percentage of Asian, LGBT undocumented immigrants is significantly larger than that of our straight counterparts. We are 15 percent of the LGBT undocumented immigrant population, as opposed to 11 percent of all undocumented immigrants. This is a critical sign that we need to increase our efforts to raise our voices for reform in our local communities and in Washington.
Since 2003, more than 2.4 million people have passed through immigration detention facilities in a network of over 250 jails and prisons. At an average cost of $164 per day per person, ICE spent more than $1.7 billion in 2011 to detain a record 429,000 immigrants. Much of this money goes to private prison corporations that have contracts to house nearly half of the immigrants in ICE custody every day and are looking to grow their business; having spent millions of dollars during the past 10 years on campaign donations and lobbyists at the state and federal level.
One critical step is the congressional repeal of mandatory detention laws that have been responsible for tripling the number of people in detention. Under these laws, up to 70% of immigrants in detention are required to be imprisoned, without any individual assessment of their risk to public safety, while the government tries to prove that it has the authority to deport them. This practice is contrary to our practice in the criminal justice system and wholly un-American.
Until Congress acts, the Obama administration must renew its commitment to urgent reform of the detention system by closing the most egregious detention facilities, aggressively working with nongovernmental organizations to promote community-based supervision programs for those in proceedings, and pushing for legal regulation and third party oversight of the remaining detention centers. — Andrea Black. “Locking Up Immigrants is Wrong” CNN.