Lawyers Try to Delay “All-American” Argentine’s Deportation

Diana Hodges places a sticky note that calls for freeing 22-year old Daniela Vargas, a Argentine native who has lived in the United States since she was seven years old, on the office doors of lawmakers at the Capitol. (photo: Rogelio V. Solis / AP)

By Sarah Smith / AP via The Seattle Times
February 3, 2017

“Immigrants like Ms. Vargas just want a better life for themselves and their families and are true believers in the American dream — they should not be pushed further into the shadows.”
—  Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi

Before she was arrested following an immigration protest, Daniela Vargas dreamed of earning her college degree in Mississippi, then becoming a math professor and soccer mom, driving three kids around in an SUV.

Now the 22-year-old friends describe as all-American girl may be deported without a hearing to Argentina, a country she hasn’t seen since she was 7, when her parents fled a collapsing economy and violated a visa waiver program to find work in the United States.

Her attorneys said they filed a motion Friday with the Department of Homeland Security to allow Vargas, now detained in Louisiana, to remain in the U.S. until they can make her case before a judge. Meanwhile, her friends canvassed the state Capitol building, leaving notes seeking help from lawmakers.

Continue reading “Lawyers Try to Delay “All-American” Argentine’s Deportation”

Governors of Mexico Support Seattle “Dreamer”

Daniel Ramirez Medina
(photo: Daniel Ramirez Medina / via AP)

Daniel Ramirez Medina, a 23-year-old Mexican, was detained on Feb 10 by federal agents who initially came to arrest his father.

By Gene Johnson / AP
February 4, 2017

“On behalf of Mexican nationals brought to the United States as young children by their parents, the Governors of Mexico would like to express our support and admiration for the daily struggle they endure in their effort to succeed, attain an education and shape their future and their communities’ future through hard work.”

The governors of Mexico have written to an American court to express support for a Seattle-area man who has been detained for weeks despite his participation in a federal program to protect people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

The National Conference of Governors of Mexico sent the letter to U.S. Magistrate Judge James Donohue, who is overseeing the case of Daniel Ramirez Medina. Ramirez, a 23-year-old Mexican, was arrested February 10 in a Seattle suburb by immigration agents who initially arrived to detain his father, identified as a previously deported felon.

“On behalf of Mexican nationals brought to the United States as young children by their parents, the Governors of Mexico would like to express our support and admiration for the daily struggle they endure in their effort to succeed, attain an education and shape their future and their communities’ future through hard work,” the letter reads.

Continue reading “Governors of Mexico Support Seattle “Dreamer””

Find Your Lane: A Free Activism Engagement Fair

2017-01-21 EM1D1904

Are you ready to join the resistance but don’t know where to sign up?

Date: Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Time: 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Location: Metropolist, 2931 1st Ave S, Seattle
Information: Event website

Event Details

Are you ready to join the resistance but don’t know where to sign up? Has Trump and Bannon’s assault on social justice, human rights, the environment, and the rule of law galvanized you to get involved, but you don’t know how?

On Wednesday, March 15, Find Your Lane presents an activism fair. Hear some inspirational words from lifelong activist and former Seattle City Councilman Nick Licata and Randy Engstrom, Director of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, then meet with up to twenty organizations on hand to describe what they do and how they do it, answer your questions and recruit you!

Whether it’s helping refugees, fighting racism and intolerance, or reclaiming the electoral landscape, there are people working on it, and they need your help. Find your lane and get active!


Worldwide Peace Vigil In Memory of Srinivas Kuchibhotla


Srinivas Kuchibhotla, right, poses with his wife Sunayana Dumala in Cedar Rapids. (photo: Deccan Chronicle)

Please join our brothers and sisters for a Peace Vigil in honor or Srinivas Kuchibhotla, slain last week in Kansas.

Update: See photos of the rally here.

Date: Sunday, March 5, 2017
Time: 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Location: Crossroads Park, 16224 NE 8th St, Bellevue, WA
Information: Event website

Event Details

We South Asians of Greater Seattle are uniting against hate. We are hosting a event called #WeBelong Peace Vigil: In honor of the Late Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who died in a hate crime in Kansas last week. Leaders, faith communities, organizations across the city will gather at Crossroads Park 16244 NE 8th Street, Bellevue, from 3:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 5th.

It is a gathering of peace, to be resilient, to persist, to speak up and most importantly to state that we belong here and we are not complacent. We can not let fear dictate us. We also want to honor our brothers and sisters who risk their lives to protect this delicate fabric of society.

Two minutes of silence will be observed around the world: in Hyderabad, London, Chicago, New York, San Fransisco, Albuquerque, and many more cities.

This event is support by a growing list of local organizations below.

  • Tasveer
  • ACLU Washington
  • ACT NOW – Seatle
  • Washington State India Trade Relations Action Committee (WASITRAC)
  • National Federation of Indian American (NFIA)
  • Federation of Indian Associations
  • Indo American Friendship Forum Foundation
  • Indian Association of Western Washington
  • Washington Telangana Association (WATA)
  • Washington Telugu Association (WATS)
  • The Kiran Anjali Project
  • Americans for Refugees & Immigrants
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
  • Bo M. Karlsson Foundation
  • Indian American Muslim Council
  • API Chaya
  • One America
  • Seattle Tamil Sangam
  • India Arts & Heritage Society
  • Sikh Center of Seattle Gurudwara
  • Wing Luke Museum
  • Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS)
  • Oriyas of Greater Seattle
  • Pratidhwani
  • Kerala Association of WA
  • Jewish Family Service
  • Khalsa Gurmat Center
  • Sahyadri Kannada Sangha
  • Shruti Seattle Music Band
  • Ithna-asheri Muslim Association of the Northwest (IMAN)
  • CRY Seattle

Dreamer to be deported without court hearing

(photo: Imani Khayyam / Jackson Free Press)

Daniela Vargas, an aspiring math teacher, was detained after speaking an immigrants’ rights event, as ICE calls arrest “targeted immigration enforcement.”

By Matt Kessler / The Guardian
December 3, 2017

“I don’t understand why they don’t want me. I’m doing the best I can. I mean, I can’t help that I was brought here but I don’t know anything else besides being here and I didn’t realize that until I was in a holding cell last night for five hours. I was brought here. I didn’t choose to be here. And when I was brought here, I had to learn a whole new country and leave behind the one that I did know.”

A 22-year-old who was detained as she was leaving a press conference on immigrants’ rights Wednesday will not get a court hearing before she is deported, her lawyers said.

Daniela Vargas was in the process of renewing her application for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama administration program that temporarily protects from deportation undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children. Vargas was an aspiring math teacher who went to college while under the program. And Bill Chandler, an immigrants’ advocate who knew Vargas well, said she had a receipt showing that her application was being processed.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in a statement on Wednesday that the action was part of “targeted immigration enforcement.” On Thursday, the lawyer Nathan Elmore said ICE had indicated it would pursue immediate deportation against Vargas without allowing her to first have a court hearing. Vargas’s lawyers have filed a petition challenging ICE’s decision.

“ICE is supposed to target undocumented immigrants who commit crimes,” said Elmore. “Convicted criminals. Daniela doesn’t fit into any of these categories. Is this where you want your tax dollars directed?”

Continue reading “Dreamer to be deported without court hearing”

A 5-year-old with PTSD: the reality of deportation policies

(image: Nancy Ohanian / Op-Art)

I have seen firsthand the devastating impact our current immigration policy has on the psychological, emotional and physical well-being of my patients and their children.

By Michael McNeil / The Seattle Times
February 24, 2017

These children suffer developmentally and educationally. They cannot access basic services such as early intervention, meal assistance or other government programs because their parents fear detection and deportation, even though a large proportion of these children are actually born in the United States and qualify for these programs.

You may have read about the deportation of a woman who had been living in Arizona for more than 20 years. She was well known to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and had been compliant in her regular check-ins. Left in the wake of her deportation are her husband and two children. My place as a pediatrics resident is not to argue the legality of our immigration policy. However, I can discuss the impact that these policies and procedures have on the children who pay the consequences of our current system.

I work at a health clinic in South Seattle, where the majority of patients are immigrants from Mexico and Central America. Recently, I had a 5-year-old come to my office whose mother was complaining that he was urinating on himself at home and at school. She also reported episodes of inconsolable crying and outbursts of rage, including kicking and punching other children. Upon further questioning, it was discovered that all of his symptoms started the week after his father was arrested in front of him and deported to Mexico. I was diagnosing a 5-year old with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Continue reading “A 5-year-old with PTSD: the reality of deportation policies”

Mem Fox on being detained by US immigration

”Remember, I wasn’t pulled out out because I’m some kind of revolutionary activist, but my God, I am now.” (photo: Tracey Nearmy / AAP)

The celebrated Australian children’s author tells how on her 117th visit to the US she was suddenly at the mercy of Donald Trump’s visa regime.

By Mem Fox / The Guardian
February 28, 2017

They made me feel like such a crushed, mashed, hopeless old lady and I am a feisty, strong, articulated English speaker. I kept thinking that if this were happening to me, a person who is white, articulate, educated and fluent in English, what on earth is happening to people who don’t have my power?

I was pulled out of line in the immigration queue at Los Angeles airport as I came in to the USA. Not because I was Mem Fox the writer — nobody knew that — I was just a normal person like anybody else. They thought I was working in the States and that I had come in on the wrong visa.

I was receiving an honorarium for delivering an opening keynote at a literacy conference, and because my expenses were being paid, they said: “You need to answer further questions.” So I was taken into this holding room with about 20 other people and kept there for an hour and 40 minutes, and for 15 minutes I was interrogated.

The room was like a waiting room in a hospital but a bit more grim than that. There was a notice on the wall that was far too small, saying no cellphones allowed, and anybody who did use a cellphone had someone stand in front of them and yell: “Don’t use that phone!” Everything was yelled, and everything was public, and this was the most awful thing, I heard things happening in that room happening to other people that made me ashamed to be human.

Continue reading “Mem Fox on being detained by US immigration”

Apocalyptic Extremism: No Longer a Laughing Matter

(photo: Getty Images)

By Rabbi Brandt Rosen / Shalom Rav
February 27, 2017

We’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict . . . to fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity that’s starting, that will completely eradicate everything that we’ve been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years.
— Steve Bannon, White House Chief Strategist

In my previous post, I explored how Zionism historically fed off the existence of anti-Semites and anti-Semitic regimes to justify the need for a Jewish state. In this post, I’d like to discuss a phenomenon that has even more ominous resonance for the current political moment: the willingness of political Zionists, Israeli politicians and right wing Israel advocates to court the support of Christian millenarians and apocalyptic extremists.

Some history: In the century after the Protestant reformation, the religious ideology of millenarianism began to spread throughout Europe. Millenarianism took many forms, most of which were rooted in the belief that the physical restoration of the Jews to the land would be a necessary precursor to the apocalypse and the eventual second coming of the Messiah. This religious dogma was eventually brought by English Puritan colonists to North America, where it evolved into present-day Christian Zionism.

It is safe to say that Jewish political Zionism could not have succeeded without the support of Christian millenarians. Reverend William Hechler, a prominent English clergyman who ascribed to eschatological theology and the restoration of the Jews to the land of Israel, was a close friend and colleague of Theodor Herzl, the founder of the political Zionist movement. Lord Arthur Balfour, who issued the historic Balfour Declaration in 1917 was likewise a Christian Zionist, motivated as much by his religious convictions as by British imperial designs in the Middle East.

Continue reading “Apocalyptic Extremism: No Longer a Laughing Matter”

Zionism’s Marriage of Convenience to Anti-Semitism


By Rabbi Brant Rosen / Shalom Rav
February 19, 2017

I wish to place on record my view that the policy of His Majesty’s Government is anti-Semitic and in result will prove a rallying ground for Anti-Semites in every country in the world . . . . When the Jews are told that Palestine is their national home, every country will immediately desire to get rid of its Jewish citizens, and you will find a population in Palestine driving out its present inhabitants.
— Edwin Montagu, August 1917

I’m sure many have been scratching their heads trying to figure out why on earth the government of Israel and so many staunch Zionists are just fine with the election of Donald Trump — the darling of the anti-Semitic alt-right. The answer however, is really pretty straightforward: this is nothing new. Zionism has had a cozy, if somewhat Faustian relationship with anti-Semitism since its very origins.

The founder of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl never made a secret of his belief that his new movement would have to depend upon anti-Semitism and anti-Semites in order to create a Jewish state. In his pamphlet, “The Jewish State,” he suggested raising money for the effort by means of a “direct subscription,” adding that “not only poor Jews but also Christians who wanted to get rid of them would subscribe a small amount to this fund.”

In his diary, he was even blunter: “The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies.”

Continue reading “Zionism’s Marriage of Convenience to Anti-Semitism”

For American Jews, The Era of Trump Marks the End of the Zionist Dream

Protesters near the prime minister’s residence, demonstrating against Trump’s recent refugee and Muslim ban, Jerusalem, January 29, 2017. (photo: Yonatan Sindel / Flash90)

By Ben Lorber / +972 Magazine
February 6, 2017

When Israel backs a regime, here in America, that threatens our liberty as humans and our safety as Jews, the claim that Zionism protects Jews no longer holds. An Israel that cheers on Goliath, as it raises its hand against the Davids of our world, is an Israel that has become startlingly unrecognizable to us. While mainstream American Jewry could choose to ignore the spread of ultra-nationalism and xenophobia in the far-off “Jewish homeland,” when these same forces wash now upon our own shores, the familial resemblance, and active collaboration, between Trump and Netanyahu becomes impossible to ignore.

For most American Jews, the regime of Donald Trump has ushered in the most profound and destabilizing existential crisis since the Holocaust. We watch in horror as President Trump launches a full-frontal assault on the institutions, and the very principles, of the liberal democracy upon which we have built our lives for generations. We stand aghast as his administration tramples the civil liberties of our Muslim, immigrant and refugee neighbors, and we brace ourselves as a potent anti-Semitism simmers at the edges of the alt-right movement that helped propel him to power.

American Jewish establishment and legacy institutions, which already possessed little relevance for many of us, seem ill-equipped to guide us through this new reality. And the state of Israel, far from standing with us against this fascist menace, appears to be egging it on. As we all weather the short-term shocks Trump inflicts upon the political and civic institutions of American life, the full reverberations of this longer-term shock have yet to be felt by American Jewry. In the future, the era of Trump will be remembered as the end of the Zionist dream.

Continue reading “For American Jews, The Era of Trump Marks the End of the Zionist Dream”