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No Migrant Justice without Black Liberation: A Statement in Solidarity with Black Uprisings

To you, and everyone in the streets, organizing within their communities and building a world where Black lives not only matter, but thrive, we thank you and stand alongside you.

It’s midsummer in Arizona, and many of us are in the desert leaving water, responding to missing persons calls and providing care to people crossing during the heat, navigating a humanitarian crisis mid-pandemic. For aid workers, it’s not uncommon to meet people in the desert with a familiar story: Profiled by police, arrested, handed over to ICE, deported and now trying to get home to their families and loved ones. 

As the uprisings have increased in the United States, we’ve also seen Customs and Border Protection drones circle Minneapolis, Border Patrol deployed to Washington D.C. and armed CBP agents posing in front of community shrines in San Diego. ICE and Border Patrol have long extended the militarization of the border into cities and the interior of the country and through these actions are only reaffirming their racist and xenophobic agendas. 

The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Riah Milton, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells and Dion Johnson are only the most recent examples of police brutality, actions of an institution rooted in white supremacy. What we recognize as modern day policing in the U.S. was born from a need to prevent uprisings amongst slaves, and to preserve Black people as property. 

This legacy of white supremacy lives on in the prison system, which is a clear reimagination and continuation of slavery, incarcerating Black people at a rate five times that of white people. Immigration detention and deportation are an extension of the same racist policing and court systems, often occupying the same buildings and being run by the same for-profit corporations.

Migrant justice and Black liberation are inextricably linked. 

Immigration is a Black issue. The stories of Black migrants are often erased or minimized, as are the struggles of Black people everywhere. Routine discrimination against the undocumented community is increased even more by anti-Blackness, making Black immigrants far more likely to be funneled into the deportation machine.

In the most recent installment of our Disappeared report series, we demanded that Border Patrol be defunded and dismantled, with reparations paid to family members of all those killed or disappeared by U.S. border enforcement policy. This recommendation was built on the understanding that no reform could end Border Patrol violence and extrajudicial killings. In making these demands we took guidance from centuries of Black abolitionist thought and organizing. 

Black feminist, activist and professor Angela Davis summed up the current political moment in a recent interview: “What we are seeing now are new demands: demands to demilitarize the police, demands to defund the police, demands to dismantle the police and envision different modes of public safety. We’re asked now to consider how we might imagine justice in the future. This is a very exciting moment. I don’t know if we have ever experienced this kind of global challenge to racism and the consequences of slavery and colonialism.”

No More Deaths/ No Más Muertes affirms our call to defund ICE and CBP and joins the call to defund the police nationwide.

When we defund and demilitarize the police and pay reparations to the communities they have terrorized for centuries, we may finally begin to construct a society which is not based on brutality and murder.

So we invite you, as friends and supporters of migrants, immigrants and racial justice to give generously to Black immigration organizations at this pivotal time in history. Donations to organizations such as Movement for Black Lives or to Black Trans groups will save lives.

In solidarity and gratitude,

No More Deaths/ No Más Muertes community

Facing Death in Detention

Due to the threats of COVID-19, since February, the No More Deaths Keep Tucson Together Legal Clinic has focused its efforts on preparing humanitarian parole requests and motions for bonds for more than 50 of our clients detained at La Palma, Eloy & Florence, AZ ICE detention facilities. Court dates are set and then cancelled, re-set and then cancelled. Meanwhile, precautions against the spread of the pandemic in cramped detention centers are abysmal. There is no soap in sinks, no access to gloves, and detained women and men just receive two face masks each – only after signing waivers of liability for the masks. Under these conditions, it is no surprise that more people are becoming infected with COVID-19. As of this writing, ICE acknowledges 69 known “positive” cases of COVID-19 at the La Palma facility alone.

Recently, at an La Palma detention center in Eloy, detainees blocked the doors to their “pod” with tables and chairs, demanding masks, gloves, hand soap and testing. In response, the officers from CoreCivic – the for-profit company that operates many detention centers – broke through and shot them with rubber bullets and sprayed them with tear gas. As this violence demonstrates, detained men and women are not safe in ICE custody. No More Deaths, along with Amnesty International and others, have called for the release of all ICE detainees during this pandemic, and we have been working hard to secure the release of these individuals.

On May 1st, our legal team was able to secure four bond hearings; three of our brothers were granted bonds and one was continued. One of those released is an 18-year old high school senior, who has never been in detention before, and had his bond set at $9,000. Detention was horrific for this young man. Another of the three released tested positive for COVID and has been quarantining since release. As of this writing, we have been able to get nine detainees out since February and back to their families, and hope to get more out soon.

What is clear is that the government’s policy of denying all petitions for humanitarian paroles and continuing bond hearings, not providing masks, gloves, soap and testing are all purposeful and orchestrated forms of mass negligence, not just coincidental incidents of chaos. There can be no doubt that the United States is executing a policy of detention = death. The No More Deaths/ Keep Tucson Together Clinic will continue to shine the light on these deadly practices and to do everything in our power to secure freedom and life for our sisters and brothers in detention. If you are able, please consider making a generous donation to the No More Deaths Keep Tucson Together Bond Fund at bit.ly/nmdbond. We are committed to doing everything we can to leave no one behind to die alone in detention.

Article by Margo Cowan, volunteer, Keep Tucson Together

No More Deaths Emergency COVID19 Bond Fund

The COVID-19 health pandemic has amplified many of the injustices faced by thousands throughout the world: systemic poverty, lack of access to healthcare, and housing —issues that force people to embark on journeys away from their homes as an act of survival and where danger awaits if they are imprisoned in detention centers like La Palma Correctional Facility in Arizona. We need your support to help free people in detention ASAP! 

Arizona detention centers are notorious for their abusive practices towards detained migrants, lack of access to proper hygiene, and cramped quarters. So far, there are 8 known COVID-19 cases  in Arizona detention centers and ICE is doing what it knows how to do best: hiding their abusive practices in the shadows and away from the public eye by going on lockdown. Rather than treat people with compassion, they are responding with abuse. There are reports that people inside La Palma have been put in solitary confinement and even pepper sprayed  after expressing concerns about COVID-19 and the lockdown. Homemade masks have also been confiscated and people are not being given soap. 

Getting people out of detention is a matter of life and death. As we continue our on-the-ground organizing to #FreeThemAll, we are also fighting in the courts. Our immigration clinic program, Keep Tucson Together, is currently representing 43 people in ICE custody and we have 10 bond hearings scheduled for this week. We are demanding everyone be released on bonds and/or humanitarian grounds. 

But, bonds are not cheap. A single bond can be  $10,000+ and most people and their families do not have that kind of access to wealth. Our goal is to fundraise $80,000 for an Emergency Bond Fund and we need $25,000 more this week to meet our goal and ensure people get out sooner, rather than later.  

Can you donate to help #FreeThemAll? 

We so appreciate your support.

The No More Deaths Community 

P.S. If you can’t donate, please help us spread the word on social media and with your community and continue to take action online!