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(DV) Moses: Immigration Policy Crosses Line of Common Decency







Immigration Policy Crosses Line of Common Decency  
by Greg Moses
February 12, 2007

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“This is pathetically sickening. This is outrageously sickening. What is the government trying to accomplish by terrorizing people who want to be Americans?” 

That's how Jay Johnson-Castro responded by telephone to the front-page story in Saturday's Los Angeles Times about the T. Don Hutto prison at Taylor, Texas. 
He was specifically talking about news that a 9-year-old girl and her father were abducted from their home in Phoenix during a raid similar to the operation that imprisoned three Palestinian families in Texas. The father from Phoenix is married to an American citizen and had on the previous day stopped by an immigration office to see how he could fix his lapsed status. 
"The fact that someone is in this country illegally doesn't mean they have broken a law," says Ralph Isenberg by telephone from Dallas. 
"A person who is told one day that they have status and another day that they don't is not a person who has broken the law," says Isenberg. "It's not the same as murder." 
"The Ibrahim family were told they were in the country illegally, but they were trying to appeal their status. Once that appeal was considered, instantly the 
family went from being unlawful to lawful," says Isenberg. 
"The same thing may happen with the Hazahza family very soon. We have asked Joshua Bardavid and Ted Cox to prepare their writ of habeas corpus," says Isenberg. ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] should release the Hazahzas or shut down their prisons altogether, which would be just as good." 
Further South, Johnson-Castro's voice crosses the border as he drives across an international bridge into Reynosa, Mexico. 
He agrees that the public voice began to speak with the November elections, and he thinks that hard-right border policies had something to do with it. 
In weeks leading up the November elections, Johnson-Castro started a campaign of conscience against a proposed border wall. Last week, when he 
returned to the Rio Grande Valley with activists from other border states, he found media and mayors eager to carry a message of border compassion. 
If proponents of hard-line immigration policy think they are going to win with fear and prejudice, they need to think again. 
"We have taken their trump card," says Johnson-Castro. "And we have torn it up!" 
Driving through Reynosa, Mexico, Johnson-Castro talks over the cell phone about the social and economic landscape. 
"I have documentation that people here are getting paid eight to ten dollars a day for 9.6 hours of work, six days a week," says Johnson-Castro 
"Often they are not given their bonuses. If the factory they are working for changes hands, they lose all their seniority and have to start all over again 
from scratch," he says. 
"There are toxic waste dumps near these factories, and many of the workers are single moms," he adds. 
"Then when they want to cross the line to work for minimum wage, they are treated like criminals by the same powers who are exploiting them in their country back home." Many of these Reynosa factories are American owned and pay dividends to American pensioners and other stock holders. 
"We now have labor camps that are American owned a couple of minutes from the USA; we have prison camps for profit from the USA. We have plans to build a Berlin wall on USA soil--for profit! 
"President Bush is going to totally militarize the Texas-Mexican border, doubling troops and equipment for profit. 
"Now we have secret cemeteries where people are buried who die along the border. We don't know who they are, yet they are buried for profit. 
"Where have we seen all this before? Let's learn from the Germans and tear it all down before it's built." 
On Monday evening at 5:30 Johnson-Castro will resume a series of nonviolent vigils outside the Hutto prison camp. 
"People with true American spirit who recognize they are immigrants or descendants of immigrants will stand up to these imperialistic, nationalistic, supremacistic, and racist tactics," says Johnson-Castro. "And I think it will happen fast." 
Indeed the placement and tone of news stories about the Hutto prison are evidence that a certain line has been crossed among news audiences across the country. 
Back in Dallas, Ralph Isenberg reflects on his long-standing battles with ICE and the way he has been treated by business partners and friends. 
"Not one has complained about my cause this time," says Isenberg. "My business partners and friends are saying, 'go do what you need to do; this is wrong.'"

Greg Moses is editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review and author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. He can be reached at: gmosesx@prodigy.net.

Other Articles by Greg Moses

* The Words of Mohammad, 11-Year-Old Prisoner
* Faith of Ibrahim Redeemed: Texas Family Released from Hutto Prison
* Children Without a Country: Maryam Remains in Texas Jail
* World Responds to Family's Jailing Despite Media Silence
* Why This War Cannot be a Failure: Dropping the F-word on the Endless War in Iraq
* Globalized Gulag: Palestinian Refugees and Children Held at Hutto Jail
* Habeas Corpus Matters
* Confronting the Violence of Dollar Hegemony
* New Psycho-Management Reported at Maquiladoras
* CNAC's Elite Agenda for the Border: Security, Temp Workers, and Oil
* A Little Fascism Still Goes a Long Way
* Walkout in Red, White, and Green: What America is Supposed to Feel Like
* Federation of American Scientists Warns of Shift Toward Nuclear Preemption
* Thanksgiving Delayed: Texas High Court Blesses Excellence and Inequality
* Nonviolence on Veterans Day?
* Falling Back Another Hour in the State of Hate: Texans Ban Gay Marriage
* A Movement Gathers Power on the Sorrow Plateau
* Mona in the Field of Crosses at Camp Casey, TX
* How Building a Saudi City Made a Lefty Out of Dick Underhill, VFP
* Dining with the Posse (of Peace)
* Bush Teaches Intelligent Design in Prison
* A Gold Standard for Texas Education
* Dylan's America
* Pushing Back the Violence: Peacemaker Teams Get in the Way
* A Too Convenient Crisis? Neo-Con Logic at the Border
* Vigilante Wedge: Schwarzenegger Reprises Birth of a Nation
* Why I'm Not Standing with Gringo Vigilantes
* Legalizing Law Enforcement in the South Texas Drug Wars
* Growling at Halliburton from the Belly of the Beast
* Taking Jesus from the Hijackers
* Why are the Rich Districts Helping the State Rush to Appeal the School Funding Case?
* King and the Christian Left
* Every Hero a Killer? Not
* Getting Real About the Draft
* Boot Up America! Helmly Memo Leaks Bush’s New Deal
* Forty Faxes & A Whisper: Texas Election Scandal
* Ask Not Who Bankrolled Falluja
* The One-Two Punch of Racism: Whitewashing the Voter Fraud Issue