Know Your Rights: Thugs & Monsters Like ICE Agents Are Everywhere & Acting Illegally

ICE only gets a legit, judge-authorized warrant in 2 of 12 arrests; the rest are illegal.

By Abbey Zimet
Common Dreams (3/28/19)

In the last few days we’ve witnessed the sickening spectacle of hundreds of destitute, powerless, terrified migrants crammed into concentration camps, aka “transitional shelters,” corralled behind razor wire, and forced to sleep on the ground under a bridge in El Paso. This, while our so-called president, bloated with vengeance and hubris, chose to mock those same people for fleeing for their lives, thus confirming he is “genuinely one of the worst human beings in the history of US public life.” Because these are monsters who can always go lower, the next day his Homeland Security horror Kirstjen Nielsen proposed deporting unaccompanied kids – and detaining their families indefinitely – because “my greatest concern is for the children.” As the cruelties mount, some of the most egregious abuses are carried out by mindless, loyal accomplices with boots on the ground – the increasingly out-of-control thugs of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Knowing rights shuts down bullying & attempted arrest

Hence, we take solace from a recent video showing immigration rights activist Bryan MacCormack, 30, shutting down an attempted arrest by said thugs with the lethal weapon of his legal rights. The head of Columbia County Sanctuary Movement in upstate New York, he was driving two undocumented immigrants back from court to deal with minor traffic citations when they were pulled over by ICE agents with a “warrant of arrest of alien.” Both MacCormack and his passengers had done “know your rights” training; they remained silent and started filming, and he quickly called out the paper being waved as an administrative warrant that doesn’t require compliance, not a judicial warrant signed by a judge, which does – thereby allowing him to issue the delectably stirring pronouncement, “I have no obligation to oblige by that warrant.” He also offered to show the agents a “real” warrant, which he had with him “just so people know not to listen to that,” and called the group’s lawyer.

The ICE guys tried to bully through, asking if MacCormack knew the law governing “harboring, transporting and smuggling of ‘illegal aliens’” – he did – and calling police for backup. They eventually walked away, but later issued a threat that people who impede them “expose themselves to potential criminal violations.” Such scare tactics are part of their playbook, said Gloria Martinez of the Columbia group, like their vests that say “POLICE” to confront vulnerable people: “Everyone sees ICE as very powerful and feels they have to do what they say.” In fact, ICE only gets a legit, judge-authorized warrant in 2 of 12 arrests; the rest are illegal, which is why the group teaches immigrants to challenge them. Even for MacCormack, a white male citizen, the stop highlights the importance of that training and the fact that “living in this country, you have rights that are guaranteed under the Constitution.” The two men with him, he said, “were fully aware of what was happening, and they were exercising their rights. This really isn’t about me. It’s about what happens when people in general know their rights.”

Link to Story and 2+-Minute Video

(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2019. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to )


US Govt. Uses Several Clandestine Shelters To Detain Immigrant Children

By Aura Bogado & Patrick Michels
Reveal / Center for Investigative Reporting (3/18/19)

The federal government is relying on secret shelters to hold unaccompanied minors, in possible violation of the long-standing rules for the care of immigrant children, a Reveal investigation has found.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement, the government agency that cares for unaccompanied minors, has never made the shelters’ existence public or even disclosed them to the minors’ own attorneys in a landmark class-action case.

It remains unclear how many total sites are under operation, but there are at least five in Arkansas, Florida, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Virginia, holding at least 16 boys and girls for the refugee agency, some as young as 9 years old.

A December 2017 lawsuit accused Acadia and Rolling Hills of permitting ongoing sexual abuse inside a facility for children, destroying video evidence and refusing access to a state investigator.

Minors being held at the clandestine facilities initially were placed at known shelters around the country but later were transferred to these off-the-books facilities that specialize in providing for youth with mental health and behavioral challenges.

The refugee agency’s standards for transferring youth in its care state that the agency “makes every effort to place children and youth within the ORR funded care provider network,” but makes room for out-of-network transfers, adding that “there may be instances when ORR determines there is no care provider available within the network to provide specialized services needed for special needs cases. In those cases, ORR will consider an alternative placement.”

Under the Flores Settlement Agreement, a 1997 pact that sets the standards for how unaccompanied minors are treated while detained and calls for their swift release, the federal government is supposed to provide attorneys representing detained children with a regular and detailed census of each minor in the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s custody. The practice appears to violate the long-held agreement.

Failed obligation

Holly Cooper, who represents the class of unaccompanied minors in the agency’s care, says the government failed in its obligation to report every minor’s location – and believes the refugee agency still is withholding information about other locations, even after being pressed to do so.

“Detained unaccompanied children with mental health issues are some of the most vulnerable children, and when the government does not provide access to their whereabouts, it calls into question the basic underpinnings of our democratic institutions,” Cooper said.

Cooper learned about one of the facilities months ago. …

Read the Rest

  • What It’s Like To Be A Transgender Person In ICE Custody — Link to AudioJohely Campos Cervantes was detained by ICE in 2018. She describes to NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro how she was treated as a transgender person in ICE custody.