is pathetically sickening. This is outrageously sickening. What is the
government trying to accomplish by terrorizing people who want to be
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
returned to the Rio Grande Valley with activists from other border
states, he found media and mayors eager to carry a message of border
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
Civil Rights Review and author of
Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Philosophy
He can be reached
Other Articles by Greg
* The Words
of Mohammad, 11-Year-Old Prisoner
* Faith of
Ibrahim Redeemed: Texas Family Released from Hutto Prison
Without a Country: Maryam Remains in Texas Jail
Responds to Family's Jailing Despite Media Silence
* Why This
War Cannot be a Failure: Dropping the F-word on the Endless War in
Gulag: Palestinian Refugees and Children Held at Hutto Jail
Confronting the Violence of Dollar Hegemony
Psycho-Management Reported at Maquiladoras
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
of American Scientists Warns of Shift Toward Nuclear Preemption
Thanksgiving Delayed: Texas High Court Blesses Excellence and
Nonviolence on Veterans Day?
Back Another Hour in the State of Hate: Texans Ban Gay Marriage
Movement Gathers Power on the Sorrow Plateau
* Mona in
the Field of Crosses at Camp Casey, TX
Building a Saudi City Made a Lefty Out of Dick Underhill, VFP
with the Posse (of Peace)
Teaches Intelligent Design in Prison
* A Gold
Standard for Texas Education
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
at Halliburton from the Belly of the Beast
Jesus from the Hijackers
* Why are
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* King and
the Christian Left
Hero a Killer? Not
Real About the Draft
* Boot Up
America! Helmly Memo Leaks Bush’s New Deal
Faxes & A Whisper: Texas Election Scandal
Not Who Bankrolled Falluja
One-Two Punch of Racism: Whitewashing the Voter Fraud Issue