Category Archives: Immigrant Roundups

President Obama’s Comments on Immigration From His Final Speech

Today’s statement from Former President Obama supporting this weekend’s protests against President Trump’s recent immigration policy made me look up his final speech. (Since it was referenced in the statement today.)

Here’s what Obama said regarding immigration in his final speech:

But as I said before, I’m still a citizen. And I think it is important for Democrats or progressive who feel that they came out on the wrong side of this election to be able to distinguish between the normal back-and-forth, ebb-and-blow of policy. Now, are we going to raise taxes or are we going to lower taxes? Are we going to, you know, expand this program or eliminate this program? You know, how — how concerned are we about air pollution or climate change?

Those are all normal parts of the debate. And as I’ve said before, in a democracy sometimes you’re going to win on those issues and sometimes you’re going to lose. I’m confident about the rightness of my positions on a lot of these points, but we’ve got a new president and a Congress that are going to make their same determinations.

And there will be a back-and-forth in Congress around those issues. And you guys will report on all that.

But there’s a difference between that normal functioning of politics and certain issues or certain moments where I think our core values may be at stake. I put in that category if I saw systematic discrimination being ratified in some fashion. I put in that category explicit or functional obstacles to people being able to vote, to exercise their franchise.

I’d put in that category institutional efforts to silence dissent or the press. And for me at least, I would put in that category efforts to roundup kids who have grown up here and for all practical purposes are American kids, and send them someplace else, when they love this country.

They are our kids’ friends and their classmates, and are now entering into community colleges or in some cases serving in our military, that the notion that we would just arbitrarily or because of politics punish those kids, when they didn’t do anything wrong themselves, I think would be something that would merit me speaking out.

President Obama’s Statement on refugee/travel ban via Kevin Lewis – January 30, 2017

Here’s the statement typed out so you can cut and paste from it. (I needed this to be easily accessible to my class, so I retyped it here 🙂

President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country. In his final official speech as President, he spoke about the important role of citizens and how all Americans have a responsibility to be the guardians of our democracy – not just during an election, but every day.

Citizens exercising their constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake.

With regard to comparisons to President Obama’s foreign policy decisions, as we’ve heard before, the President fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.



Update 12:34 pm PST: I found the tweet by President Obama’s Spokesperson Kevin Lewis. I still don’t understand why this isn’t up on a web page somewhere :-/

I couldn’t find this thing anywhere except in a Tweet from Hill reporter Jordan Fabian. I don’t know why it isn’t available anywhere else yet. But I took the liberty of typing it out below.

Japanese Internment Poster From WWII Serves As A Reminder

japanese internment

My dad found this Japanese Internment poster from 1942 at a garage sale a while back. I remember us looking at it together, and thinking about how far we had come as a nation, since then.

(This post is from November 17, 2016)

I was horrified to wake up this morning to the New York Times explaining that Donald Trump is seriously considering using a registration system for immigrants.

Kris Kobach, (NY Times, Huff Po), Trump supporter and, word has it, potential Attorney General (gulp), is actually suggesting that we might use something similar to the Japanese Internment program from WWII, as a model for how we should treat our Muslim immigrant brothers and sisters, today.

These posters, calling the internment an “evacuation,” were basically telling people of Japanese descent, that, if they lived in a certain area, they had one week to grab what they could carry and move to their local Internment Camp. (The notice was posted on April 24, and families were given until May 1, 1942.)

I’m not sure people realize what is actually being proposed here.

There was an official governmental study of Executive Order 9066  by a group of nine people that were appointed by the U.S. Congress in 1980, called Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC). (Executive Order 9066 is a United States presidential executive order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942 that authorizes the Secretary of War to prescribe certain areas as military zones, clearing the way for the deportation and “evacuation” of Japanese Americans.)

The CWRIC put out a report, Personal Justice Denied, which determined (on page 18, in the Summary of Part I) “The broad historical causes which shaped these decisions were race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.”

As the poster explains, families had exactly one week to sell or give away anything valuable and move. They were only allowed to bring bedding, a little clothing, toilet articles, silverware (one set per person) and “essential personal effects.”


A “Civil Control Station” was set up to answer questions and help Japanese citizens with selling all of their personal property. All “real estate, business and professional equipment, household goods, boats, automobiles and livestock” had to be sold or leased to others (presumably to someone of other than Japanese descent). Anything not sold, such as large appliances, could be stored by the U.S. government at the “sole risk of the owner.” You basically had a week to sell all of your stuff, pack up a small suitcase, and leave anything else behind. You had to be able to carry everything you brought by yourself too.

Here is the text of this poster:


Presidio of San Francisco, California – April 24, 1942


Living in the Following Area:

All of those portions of Counties of Contra Costa and Alameda, State of California, within the boundary beginning at Carquinez Strait; thence southerly on U.S. Highway No. 40 to its intersection with California State Highway No. 4, at or near Hercules; thence easterly on said Highway No. 4 to its intersection with California State Highway No. 21; thence southerly on said Highway No. 21 to its intersection with California State Highway No 24, at Walnut Creek; thence westerly on said Highway No. 24 to the southerly limits of the City of Berkeley; thence following the said southerly city limits to San Francisco Bay; thence northerly and following the shore line of San Francisco Bay, through San Pablo Strait, and San Pablo Bay, to the point of beginning.

Pursuant to the provisions of Civilian Exclusion Order No. 19, this Headquarters, dated April 24, 1942, all persons of Japanese ancestry, both alien and non-alien, will be evacuated from the above area by 12 o’clock noon, P.W.T., Friday May 1, 1942.

No Japanese person living in the above area will be permitted to change residence after 12 o’clock noon, P.W.T., Northern California Sector, at the Civil Control Station located at: 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley, California.

Such permits will only be granted for the purpose of uniting members of a family, or in cases of grave emergency.

The Civil Control Station is equipped to assist the Japanese population affected by this evacuation in the following ways:

1. Give advice and instructions on the evacuation

2. Provide services with respect to the management, leasing, sale, storage or other disposition of most kinds of property, such as real estate, business and professional equipment, household goods, boats, automobiles and livestock.

3. Provide temporary residence elsewhere for all Japanese in family groups.

4. Transport persons and a limited amount of clothing and equipment to their new residence.

The Following Instructions Must Be Observed:

1. A responsible member of each family, preferably the head of the family, or the person in whose name most of the property is held, and each individual living alone, will report to the Civil Control Station to receive further instructions. This must be done between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM on Saturday, April 25, 1942, or between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM on Sunday, April 26, 1942.

2. Evacuees must carry with them on departure for the Assembly Center, the following property:

(a) Bedding and linens (no mattress) for each member of the family;

(b) Toilet articles for each member of the family;

(c) Extra clothing for each member of the family;

(d) Sufficient knives, forks, spoons, plates, bowls and cups for each member of the family;

(e) Essential personal effects for each member of the family.

All items carried will be securely packaged, tied and plainly market with the name of the owner and numbered in accordance with instructions obtained at the Civil Control Station.

The size and number of packages is limited to that which can be carried by the individual or family group.

3. No pets of any kind will be permitted.

4. The United States Government through its agencies will provide for the storage at the sole risk of the owner of the more substantial household items, such as iceboxes, washing machines, pianos and other heavy furniture. Cooking utensils and other small items will be accepted for storage if crated, packed and plainly marked with the name and address of the owner. Only one name and address will be used by a given family.

5. Each family, and individual living alone, will be furnished transportation to the Assembly Center or will be authorized to travel by private automobile in a supervised group. All instructions pertaining to the movement will be obtained at the Civil Control Station.

Go to the Civil Control Station between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M., Saturday, April 25, 1942, or between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M., Sunday, April 26, to receive further instructions.


Lieutenant General, U.S. Army, Commanding

See Civilian Exclusion Order No. 19.

It is with a heavy heart that I had to resurrect my “Immigrant Roundups” category (started after the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the xenophobic policies that emerged soon after). I fear that the policies of Bush’s GOP will be nothing compared to President Trump’s GOP.

Scary Xenophobic Policies Hastily Emerging From Trump Camp

 It is with a heavy heart that I must resurrect my “Immigrant Roundups” category (started after the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the xenophobic policies that emerged soon after). I fear that the policies of Bush’s GOP will be nothing compared to President Trump’s GOP.

President-elect Donald Trump is calling for the reinstatement of a national registry of immigrants and visitors who enter the United States. It’s turning a few heads.

Kris Kobach, a Trump supporter rumored to be on Trumps transition team (that’s all we get is rumors folks!) who helped design President Bush’s “National Security Entry-Exit Registration System” (NSEERS) (which was implemented after the September 11, 2001 attacks) was on Fox news defending the concept to Megan Kelly.

I remember these NSEERS registrations, as people were going in to the registration offices in various cities across the country, and weren’t ever coming back out. The National Lawyers Guild started taking a list of names of everyone going in to the immigration offices every day, just to make sure people were making it back out okay.

These were scary, scary times, and I remember going to the protests at the San Francisco Immigration Building on Washington Street in San Francisco, and my immigrant friends thanking me for going, because they were too afraid to go themselves.

As this Reuters article explains: “NSEERS was abandoned in 2011 after it was deemed redundant by the Department of Homeland Security and criticized by civil rights groups for unfairly targeting immigrants from Muslim-majority nations.”

I think it’s easy to talk about Japanese Internment in the abstract, but I have a poster on my wall from 1942, so I will never forget.

I feel it’s important to clarify exactly WTF happened in 1942.

Tell Congress To Not Include Anti-immigrant provisions in the 911-inspired Intelligence Bill

This was emailed to me today.

Take Action: Call the White House at (202) 456-1111 and Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) at (202) 225-2976
It appears that the anti-immigrant groups like FAIR have mobilized and are calling Congressional offices 5 to 1 in favor of the anti-immigrant provisions. PLEASE CALL TODAY!
When you call, the key messages are :
-Keep the anti-immigrant provisions out of the intelligence reform bill.
-The compromise bill closely tracks the recommendations of the 9/11 commission without adding on extraneous immigration measures. No more compromising.
-The compromise already includes tough border measures and federal standards for driver’s licenses which make licenses more secure and make us safer, but does not needlessly scapegoat all immigrants.
-Enact the real recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, not the agenda of House immigration restrictionists. The immigration provisions Rep. Sensenbrenner wants would not have prevented the terrorist attacks and will not make us safer.

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Enemy Combatant Protest In San Francisco On Tuesday

Hope I can make it. I wanted to let you guys know about it.

Press contacts: 510-610-7070 or 510-684-8270
General information: Larry, 510 684-8270
Bay Area participants and endorsers:
Bob Kearney of ACLU of No. California
American Muslim Voice
Blue Triangle Network
California Interfaith Alliance For Prison Reform
Cecilia Chang of Justice for New Americans*
Global Exchange
Grace Shimizu, Japanese American Community organizer
Gray Panthers
Stacy Tolchin, National Lawyers Guild, Immigration Committee
Not In Our Name
Riva Enteen, Chair KPFA Board*
Refuse and Resist
Reverend Michael Yoshi, Buena Vista Methodist Church*
Sara Olson, Indep. Radio Journalist, author of “Under Attack” 30 min. audio documentary
about attacks on the Muslim, Arab, S. Asian community
Shashi Dalal, Board of Trustees, *Fellowship Church
Rev. Dorsey O. Blake, Sr. Pastor
* Organizations mentioned for identification purposes.
Below is a national call and a list of national endorsers for actions
at the Supreme Court in opposition to the use of Guantanamo Bay as a torture center/prison camp and against the ability of the president to designate persons, including citizens, as in the cases of Yaser Hamdi and Jose Padilla, as ‘enemy combatants’ and then lock them away incommunicado indefinitely without charges or judicial review:
Can the Rights of People Simply Disappear by Presidential Order?
What does it mean when the President of the United States can on his own designate a citizen in the U.S. as an “enemy combatant” and order the military to hold that person incommunicado, indefinitely, and without charges? The U.S. Supreme Court is now deciding whether the courts even have the right to question the President’s action.
What does it mean when the U.S. military internationally can literally snatch people off the street, designate them as “enemy combatants,” and assert that they are beyond the reach of either U.S. or international law? Many are transported to a facility under total U.S. control and funded by Congressional appropriations, where they are held incommunicado, indefinitely, without charges, and some are threatened with trials before a military commission that falls short of basic standards of justice.
If the Supreme Court upholds these actions, it will condone the President’s claim of virtually unlimited “wartime powers” without a formal declaration of war by the Congress, and with no or extremely limited oversight by the courts or the Congress.
On April 20 the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the President’s alleged right to create a “law free zone” at the Guant

Protest Against “Enemy Combatant” Designation In Front Of The Supreme Court On April 20

This just in from:
Amnesty International USA
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Blue Triangle Network
First Amendment Foundation
Guantanamo Human Rights Commission
National Committee Against Repressive Legislation (NCARL)
National Lawyers Guild
Refuse & Resist!
Solidarity USA
Communities United Against Police Brutality (Minneapolis)
Greensboro Justice Fund
Elaine Cassel, Civil Liberties Watch
Stephen Rohde, Civil liberties lawyer

On April 20 the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the President’??s alleged right to create a ‘??law free zone’?? at the Guantanamo detention center in Cuba. And on April 28, the Court will hear oral arguments on the President’??s asserted right to designate citizens as ‘??enemy combatants,’?? hold them at the U.S. Navy base in Charleston, SC, and deny them the ability to challenge the lawfulness of their detention.
We believe that the President cannot be allowed to create a ‘??legal Black Hole’?? into which people are dropped with no recourse to the courts or to international law. Among us we hold many varied views on how and why this situation has arisen and what is ultimately needed to ensure justice. But we all agree that this dangerous new presidentially-designated category of ‘??enemy combatants’?? who have no legal rights is unjust, illegal, and immoral, and cannot be allowed to stand.
The silence over this perilous issue must be broken, and public opposition must be manifested. Join us in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on April 20 and April 28 to declare a resounding NO! Legally permitted, non-violent demonstrations will occur on both days from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm with a program of speakers beginning at 11:am.
Our future and the future of hundreds of anonymous detainees now hang in the balance. This is a watershed event in history. What is at stake is just how much the President will be allowed to get away with. Your silence will be taken as assent.
To endorse this call, e-mail

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Come To The Protest/Press Conference Wednesday At Noon In San Francisco

The schmuks running this country are about to do it all over again. They are requiring a second round of immigrant special registrations.
Wish I had more time to elaborate. But I’ll just see you at noon on Wednesday.

Refuse & Resist has endorsed the opposition to the special INS registrations – has part of taking on the whole reactionary agenda! Please get your friends and co workers to come out on Wed Nov 19th – Support our Arab, Muslims and South Asian brothers and sisters!
Remember what happened in World War 2 to the Japanese Americans – what would you have done then, what will you do now?
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2003 BICE (INS) BUILDING, WASHINGTON AND SANSOME, San Francisco 11 AM TO 1 PM (Press conference at 12 noon).
The Dept. of “Homeland Security” Special Re-registrations of men and boys from 24 mainly Muslim countries has already begun again this month. Last year special registration meant humiliation, detentions and brutality for many of the nearly 90,000 who came in to register. This program has created fear, anxiety, frustration and despair in the Arab and Muslim communities, causing great distress to wives, children and relatives as reported by the American Muslim Voice nationwide hotline. Last year, registerees were fingerprinted, photographed, and had to turn over bankcards, social security cards, driver’s licenses, credit cards and other information. Every time they left the country they were required to get an exit stamp and re-register upon return. And in the end, about 13,000 men are facing deportation proceedings! The pettiest of visa violations, even those caused by INS incompetence are now tearing families apart.
Now the same people who registered last year are being registered again.
Last year the protest of Iranians in Los Angeles in December and opposition in the streets in January across the country, brought the reality of this ugly program to light. These actions drew attention to the fact that the 1940s Alien Registration Act foreshadowed the round up and detention of 120,000 Japanese Americans. Registration also preceded the round up of Jews in Europe. This year, as the ACLU has pointed out, the secrecy surrounding registration has all the markings of a TRAP, by which those who do not realize they have to register or miss a deadline will be subject to deportation. The Blue Triangle Network in close association with American Muslim Voice and many other organizations is calling for a rally and press conference Wednesday, Nov. 19 to denounce special re-registration, demand an end to it, and stand in solidarity with people subjected to it. Please join this effort and PASS THE WORD.

FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley Explains How The Shrub Administration’s Intimidation Tactics Erode Our First Amendment Liberties

Right On Coleen! Thanks for having the guts to publish this article. It means a lot coming from you.
There are a lot of good people working for the government right now that are working for change, but it’s really hard because their hands are tied. Most of them are in Damage Control mode and just trying to make it through their day-to-day activities without having to participate in anything too horrible until this administration can be replaced.

Coleen Rowley: The wrong side of ‘us vs. them’

By Coleen Rowley for the Star Tribune.

I didn’t attend Attorney General John Ashcroft’s speech last month in Minneapolis, but newspapers have quoted him as saying that Americans are “freer today than at any time in the history of human freedom.”
Well, this American disagrees! And I would venture to say that many others feel the same way — those who have been put on the “them” side of the “us vs. them” equation in the context of the administration’s “you’re either with us or against us” mentality.
It didn’t matter whether you were a career FBI agent, a decorated war veteran, a duly elected congressman or senator, a military general or even a former president, you were labeled a traitor for voicing any criticism of administration policies. You were accused of giving aid and comfort to the enemy, called a friend of Osama bin Laden and thrown to the wolves (or more accurately, the FOXes).
The intimidation in this country that’s been whipped up by this official fear and warmongering has been far more effective than any Patriot Act in whittling away our civil liberties…
It’s also no secret that this administration has used its considerable power to fight giving any real legal protection to government whistle-blowers and even attempted to water down the Sarbanes-Oxley Act’s protections recently enacted for corporate whistle-blowers.
Of course, no “whistle-blower protection” exists for public disclosures or articles such as this one. But even without it, the First Amendment should suffice and is what I rely on. However, the official warnings along these lines that I’ve repeatedly received in the course of my attempts to speak on issues of public importance seem little more than veiled threats; or are they perhaps a warning that the First Amendment is not as robust as it used to be?
There’s another large segment of our citizenry who have found themselves cast as “thems” by this “war” mentality. Complaints of discrimination against Muslim workers and reports of hate crimes against people believed to be of Middle Eastern descent have at least doubled…
Although it must be recognized that the origin of this problem was in the horror of the violent attacks themselves and that certain government leaders, such as FBI Director Robert Mueller, have undertaken efforts to reach out to affected Arab groups, the social scientists point to other government actions following 9/11 (including the government’s roundup and detention of illegal immigrants, the special registration requirements that single out students and visitors from Muslim nations, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) as sending “social signals” that are worsening these biases.
A specialist in the issues of prejudice and stereotyping has noted that people who perceive themselves under threat naturally tend to think of “who’s with me” and “who’s against me.” In any event, I doubt that many in the Arab-American segment of the populace feel “freer today,” as Ashcroft’s generality suggests.

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