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This week, we read about a controversial immigration surveillance program,  the “A Day Without Immigrants” protest, and how the world is responding to the crisis in Ukraine.

Vast immigration surveillance program in dire need of reform, Biden administration warned

Democratic lawmakers are asking the Biden administration to make urgent changes to a controversial immigrant surveillance program. In an open letter to the head of DHS, Alejandro Mayorkas, lawmakers pled for a humane alternative. The program, called the intensive supervision appearance program (ISAP), subjects immigrants to years of intense surveillance. The initial purpose of the program was to reduce the number of immigrants in detention centers. However, these numbers have only increased as the ISAP program expands.   

“Our country must move away from policies that unnecessarily detain immigrants en masse – policies that only exist to satiate the narratives of race-baiting nativist activists and enrich the private prison and detention and surveillance industrial complex corporations.” 

The program is managed on behalf of ICE by a private prison corporation called BI Inc. Currently, those enrolled in the program must submit one form of electronic monitoring. This could be daily ankle monitoring, recorded voice memos, or facial recognition check-ins. The Biden administration plans to expand the program and add stricter levels of surveillance.  

Lawmakers argue that the program has led to physical and mental harm. They also say that it’s made it more difficult for immigrants to integrate into American life. Additionally, lawmakers are concerned that a private company is benefitting from a form of incarceration. There is also speculation that immigrants’ data is being used without consent. 

 

‘A Day Without Immigrants’ Campaign Asks Immigrants To Stop Work, School and Spending on February 14 To Pressure Reform From Congress

On Valentine’s Day, immigrants joined in protest outside the White House for what was called “A Day Without Immigrants.” Participants refrained from buying anything, and stayed out of work and school. The intention behind the protest is to show the challenges society would face without immigrants.  

The campaign was created by influencer Carlos Eduardo Espina, a Mexican-Uruguayan law student. The purpose was to encourage immigration reform. The significance of it being on Valentine’s Day was to make immigrants’ absence felt on a big capitalist holiday.  

President Biden committed to immigration reform during his campaign. However, a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in this country is yet to come. Protesters argued that undocumented immigrants work without benefits, while the U.S. benefits from their labor.  

Protesters hope that the Biden administration will understand the value of immigrants. They hope someone will continue to fight for immigration reform for undocumented people. 

 

Rallies in US Demand Russia End Ukraine Invasion 

 After Russia invaded Ukraine, demonstrators around the world joined in protest, waving Ukrainian flags in support. 

 From Santiago to Vilnius to New York, cities came together to express support for Ukraine. Many protestors carried signs against Putin. Ukrainian immigrants called loved ones abroad.  

 In Chicago, a city with one of the largest concentrations of Ukrainian people in the country, people gathered near an overpass to wave the Ukrainian flag.   

McEntee attorney Natalia Blauvelt, originally from Russia, commented on the crisis, as clients and friends were contacting her all day.  

“They are absolutely devastated, extremely sad. They are panicking because of what is happening in Ukraine, and many of them don’t know what to do and help their relatives,” said Blauvelt. 

Check out the full article to see images of the protests.  

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