Support the Legal Fellow Program

With the start of the legal fellow program this month, a partnership with the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project, the KBI expands its support of asylum seekers, and commits to exploring ways to advocate more broadly through the impact of carefully prepared asylum cases. We thank our donors for the support that has made this commitment to providing legal representation possible. And since this fellow position will be funded on a year-to-year basis, we continue to rely on your generosity to make this a sustainable effort. If you would like to donate to the KBI to fund this position, or any of our aid, advocacy, education or research programs, you can make a contribution here: https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/get-involved/donate/. As always, we are exceedingly grateful for all the ways you support the KBI’s work.

The KBI offers direct aid and advocacy services to deported migrants who come to the comedor. Now, the new KBI/FIRRP legal fellow will litigate asylum cases for individuals and families served by the KBI.
Photo by Andrea Cauthen.

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A Comic Book to Raise Awareness

Migrant: Stories of Hope and Resilience, a new publication from the KBI and the Hope Border Institute, brings the reality of the border and a range of migrant experiences to a wider audience, in engaging and thought-provoking graphic-novel form.

In June, the Kino Border Initiative branched out in a new direction—publishing an educational comic book in collaboration with the Hope Border Institute, Migrant: Stories of Hope and Resilience. Graphic novel and comic book creators Jeffry Odell Korgen and Kevin C. Pyle approached the KBI with the innovative and timely idea of presenting migrant stories in illustrated form last year. As authors of a wage theft comic and other social justice titles, they knew how to put together an engrossing and informative work. And so, an artistic and educational project commenced, drawing stories from migrant testimonies and other materials from advocates and educators in the field.

Migrant: Stories of Hope and Resilience presents a range of migrant accounts that encourage readers to identify with the challenges migrants face, question assumptions about their lives and reasons for migrating, and tackle the complicated questions posed by our current immigration system. The stories give narrative life to the threats of violence experienced in home countries, extortion wielded at the border, the effects of militarization, and the impact of family separation, among other scenarios. There are also educational sections that outline topics such as migrant rights and advocacy efforts.

We urge all our supporters to read a printed or electronic version of Migrant: Stories of Hope and Resilience. The book is an ideal springboard for discussions about immigration and advocacy in classrooms, church groups, and community gatherings. The KBI and many of our partner organizations are distributing the 48-page, softcover, bilingual version at a cost of $3/book plus shipping and handling; just contact us at 520-287-2370 or ifuentes@kinoborderinitiative.org. Or download Migrant for free, in English (http://bit.ly/2rRuR8J ) or Spanish (http://bit.ly/2rCGdcE ). As always, thank you for your support in our education and advocacy efforts!

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

Editorial Board: Dylan Corbett (Hope Border Institute), Fr. Sean Carroll & Joanna Williams (Kino Border Initiative), Joanne Welter, Kevin C. Pyle, Jeffry Odell Korgen.

Editor: Jeffry Odell Korgen

Writers: Jeffry Odell Korgen & Kevin C. Pyle

Art Director and Production Manager: Kevin C. Pyle

Published by: Kino Border Initiative and Hope Border Institute

Funded in part by: Catholic Campaign for Human Development

Migrant: Stories of Hope and Resilience documents a range of migrant experiences.

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New KBI Report about Failed Oversight of Migrant Complaints

Please read this article from the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States about the latest KBI report, “Intake without Oversight: Firsthand Experiences with Customs and Border Protection Complaints Process.” It summarizes the most important points and addresses why CBP oversight failures are such a grave concern.

Kino Border Initiative Report Shows Pattern of ‘Failed Oversight’ in Customs and Border Protection Complaints Process

July 11, 2017 — A new report from the Kino Border Initiative (KBI) and the Jesuits of Canada and the U.S. reveals the inadequacy of the Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) complaint and oversight system in investigating abuse allegations by migrants.

KBI, an immigrant aid and advocacy organization in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico, co-sponsored by the Jesuits and five other U.S. and Mexican church groups, files complaints on behalf of individuals in their aid center who report having been mistreated during their migration journey. “Intake without Oversight: Firsthand Experiences with Customs and Border Protection Complaints Process” is based on findings from 49 complaints filed by KBI from October 2015 to March 2017. Of these 49, KBI was notified of findings for only 13.

“Investment in an effective oversight process is necessary both to protect the human dignity of individuals crossing the border and to enhance the training and professionalism of agents and officers,” said Father Sean Carroll, SJ, executive director of KBI.

Despite some progress in improving the complaint process, KBI found that most complaints were only investigated by management at the local level and not by the independent oversight bodies tasked with accountability, such as the Office of the Inspector General.

The report highlights several cases, including a 21-year-old who alleges he was dragged and punched by Border Patrol in November 2015 and was not allowed to file a complaint while in Border Patrol custody. After KBI filed a complaint on his behalf that same month, the only communication it received was a notification from the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties that the complaint was included in their information collection.

Another case is of a woman who was eight months pregnant and had an injured ankle when she was detained by Border Patrol in December 2015. While in custody, she informed agents that she was pregnant and asked for food and medical attention. She received undercooked food and crackers every six hours and no medical care. When KBI filed a complaint on her behalf in January 2016, the local station found it to be unsubstantiated because agents did not notice that she was pregnant and said they did not remember hearing requests for food or medical attention.

The report also offers a look at the types of abuse reported, including failure to refer migrants to the asylum process (22 complaints); denial of medical care (12); use of force (10); and family separation (10).

KBI said its experience with the complaint process “reflects a pattern of failed oversight that necessitates reform by the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Congress.” The report recommends increasing funding for the Office of Professional Responsibility; establishing a complaint hotline accessible from CBP holding cells; and regularly recording interviews between migrants and Border Patrol agents.

To read the full report, click here.

Over the last year and a half, the KBI has filed 49 complaints with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol on behalf of migrants who experienced mistreatment while in custody; KBI has information on the progress of only 13.
Photo courtesy of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.

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KBI Media Report: June 2017

This month’s news stories highlight ways in which U.S. government policy both domestically and abroad separates families, expends resources to create unnecessary suffering, and violates human and constitutional rights.

  • Immigration Bills Passed in the House: The U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of two Trump-backed immigration bills. The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act expands the range of federal funds that could be withheld from sanctuary cities refusing to cooperate with immigration authorities (though requiring local police to enforce immigration law is widely considered counterproductive and dangerous to community safety since the policy discourages undocumented victims and witnesses from reporting crimes). The second bill, known as Kate’s Law (for Kathryn Steinle who was shot and killed by an undocumented immigrant in 2015), increases prison terms for those who re-enter the U.S. without documentation. Despite the great tragedy endured by victims of violent crimes and their families, this legislation—which would penalize vast numbers of non-violent individuals simply seeking reunion with their families—does not address the issue and diverts attention from the reality that U.S.-born citizens commit such crimes at much higher rates than immigrants. Both bills bring up constitutional questions, likely to be debated when the Senate votes. Here are more details: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/29/us/politics/house-passes-strict-immigration-bills-at-trumps-urging.html?emc=edit_th_20170630&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=68564230&_r=1.
  • Supreme Court to Rehear Detention Case: The U.S. Supreme Court has announced that it will rehear Rodriguez v. Jennings regarding a lower court ruling that detained immigrants are entitled to a bond hearing every six months. This development points to the possibility of detainees being stripped of their right to post bond and be released to await their court dates. Longer detentions are already the norm (averaging 404 days, and costing taxpayers $158 per day for each detainee), and the number of detainees over the past 20 years has increased four-fold while immigration courts are experiencing an unprecedented backlog. A reversal of the lower court decision would only worsen this scenario, at taxpayer expense and with greater burdens on vulnerable immigrants. Read more here: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/06/supreme-court-delivers-a-bad-omen-for-immigrants-in-detention/.
  • S. Policies to Deter Central American Migration: The Trump administration is moving to create conditions in Central American countries and Mexico that will discourage migration by shifting support and incentives away from political and humanitarian projects and toward law enforcement. The strategy is reminiscent of earlier “drug war” policies that prioritized militarization and crackdowns over human rights concerns. This article explains more: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-fg-trump-latin-america-20170614-story.html.
Embed from Getty Images The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to rehear a case about bond hearings for immigrant detainees could result in the violation of detainee rights and greater numbers of people held in detention for longer terms. Photo by Getty Images/John Moore.

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KBI July Announcements

This past month, the KBI hosted the second annual Kino Teens Leadership Days and three immersion groups, and joined partner organizations in announcing the release of an important report on the dangers and abuses of migrants in Sonora, Mexico. In addition, Father Sean appeared on PBS’s Arizona Horizon, and will soon head off to New York City and Washington, D.C. to complete his international business program.

  • Kino Teens Leadership Days: During June 26–30, the KBI hosted 15 students from 10 high schools across the U.S. for the second annual Kino Teens Leadership Days. Participants attended workshops, heard migrant testimonies, gave presentations, volunteered in the comedor, and hiked a portion of the migrant trail. The 5-day conference covered a wide range of immigration and advocacy topics, among them mixed-status families, DACA, unaccompanied minors, asylum, detention, deportation, and deaths in the desert. This focused time allows the students to experience the reality of the border firsthand, discuss immigration issues with their peers, and reflect on ways to accompany migrants and affect change. These young people are not only the advocates and leaders of tomorrow—they’re taking their dedication, new skills, and greater awareness back home to engage and motivate their high school communities today. ¡Bravo, jóvenes!
  • Immersion Experiences: During their summer breaks, groups from three high schools from across the country visited the KBI for immersions.
Immersion Group # of participants # of days at the KBI
Jesuit High School of Sacramento, Carmichael, CA 12 participants  6 days
Gonzaga College High School, Washington, D.C. 10 participants 6 days
Jesuit High School

Portland, OR

11 participants 4 days

 

  • New Report on Abuses of Migrants: The KBI’s Father Samuel Lozano de los Santos, S.J. and Sister María Engracia Robles Robles, M.E. participated in a press conference to announce the release of a report on migrant abuses in Sonora, Mexico, entitled “Y la impunidad continua” (“And the impunity continues”). Along with other representatives from other organizations in the Red Migrante Sonora (Sonoran Migrant Network), they outlined the report’s findings and the urgent need for greater protection, security, services, and justice for migrants who are readily identifiable targets of violent and life-threatening crime at and near the U.S.–Mexico border. Read more at: http://www.nogalesinternational.com/news/group-s-report-decries-impunity-for-abusers-of-migrants-in/article_ddd1c2a6-5224-11e7-af9a-03f7718faa07.html. And the report, written in Spanish, can be downloaded at: https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/es/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Informe-RMS.pdf.
  • The KBI on PBS: On a recent episode of the Phoenix-based news magazine, Arizona Horizon, Father Sean Carroll, S.J. was interviewed by host Ted Simons and offered a moving synopsis of the KBI’s origins and mission. View the segment here, with thanks to Maddie Larkin for helping to set up the interview: http://www.azpbs.org/arizonahorizon/play.php?vidId=10866.
  • Graduation on the Horizon: In late July, Father Sean will be attending his last GEMBA (Global Executive MBA) module in New York City and Washington, D.C., the culmination of fourteen months of study, remotely and sometimes collaboratively, with two-week modules held in cities around the globe. Look for graduation photos in the next newsletter. Congratulations, Father Sean!

Leadership Days participants make a list of values, gifts, and needs at the start of the five-day gathering.
Photo by Teresita Scully.

Leadership Days teens attend Mass with the migrants in the comedor.
Photo by Teresita Scully.

Throughout the conference, participants give presentations on a range of immigration topics.
Photo by Teresita Scully.

The 15 Leadership Days participants pose for a group portrait with the KBI’s Joanna Williams (far left).
Photo by Teresita Scully.

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Advocating for Migrant Rights

The KBI’s latest report, “Intake without Oversight: Firsthand Experiences with Customs and Border Protection Complaints Process,” out this month, is a compilation of lapses and failures in the CBP’s complaint and oversight process as well as a check list of recommendations for addressing this urgent matter. You can read more from the Jesuit Conference about the report’s findings in this newsletter and download the entire report here: http://jesuits.org/Assets/Publications/File/IntakeWithoutOversight_v06.pdf

When migrants are apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), humane protocols and basic human rights are the standards to be followed. Yet violations occur, and the KBI has filed 49 complaints with the CBP on behalf of migrants from October 2015 through March 2017. Of these, only 13 have been investigated further or resolved. Please lend your voice to the KBI’s advocacy efforts calling for better accountability and oversight by accessing this Jesuit Conference action alert: http://cqrcengage.com/jesuit/app/onestep-write-a-letter?2&engagementId=374633.  Thank you for joining us in support of migrant rights.

When migrants experience abuses or human rights violations while in U.S. Customs and Border Patrol custody, they can file a complaint. Though the KBI has filed 49 such complaints in the past year and a half, only 13 have been investigated or resolved.
Photo courtesy of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.

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Migrant: Stories of Hope and Resilience

In collaboration with Catholic Campaign for Human Development,  Jeffry Korgen, Kevin Pyle and the Hope Border Institute, the Kino Border Initiative is proud to announce the publication of Migrant: Stories of Hope and Resilience, a resource to tell the human story behind the headlines and amplify the voice of the vulnerable. To order print copies, contact the KBI office at 520-287-2370 or ifuentes@kinoborderinitiative.org.

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A World of Business Knowledge

This summer, Father Sean Carroll, S.J., KBI Executive Director, will complete a comprehensive, international MBA program. The program has taken him to locations around the world, where he has acquired skills, knowledge, and experience that will benefit the KBI here at home.

One year ago, with board members and staff behind him, Father Sean Carroll, S.J., who has helmed the bi-national KBI since its founding eight years ago, went back to school. The main motivation behind the decision was to bring more formal business education and expertise to the KBI as its work and outreach grow in both the U.S. and Mexico. As Father Sean describes his past year in the Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) program, his studies have definitely delivered in all areas, particularly finance and strategy.

Father Sean’s enrollment in GEMBA is also consistent with an aim of former Society of Jesus Superior General Adolfo Nicolás—to train more Jesuits in business so as to better support and manage their works around the world. In fact, GEMBA is jointly administered by two prestigious Jesuit institutions and a Central American school that has earned the nickname “Harvard South”: Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business and Walsh School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C.; ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain; and INCAE Business School in San José, Costa Rica.

The 14-month program takes students around the globe in two-week international residencies (or modules), with classes covering a wide range of business management and international relations topics; the content, readings and cases are usually related to the particular location. For this ninth GEMBA class, the six modules start and end in Washington, D.C., where a graduation ceremony in July will mark the completion of this challenging, multi-disciplinary program for the 26 students enrolled. The other destinations on the roster have been Barcelona and Madrid, Spain; Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Bangalore, India Doha, Qatar; Beijing and Shanghai, China; and New York City (in July before graduation).

In between their on-site classes around the world, students complete readings, individual assignments, and take-home finals as well as participate in group projects involving online meetings, ongoing correspondence, and real-world results. Father Sean participated in a group consulting project, developing and presenting a strategic plan for an IT company in India to address marketing challenges arising from a competitor’s merger. In this hemisphere, his group Master’s project was a construction and implementation plan to build “smart” rooms—easily moved, solar-powered classrooms with internet access—in rural Columbia where children returning to the country after the recent peace accords can go to school closer to home. Working with Columbia’s Ministry of Education, their group outlined a proposal which would rely on a local coordinator to facilitate online curricula and programming to students in multiple grades, and presented it to Chinese investors with the expectation that it will become a reality later this year.

In addition to comprehensive classes (four per module) focused on business strategy, organizational structure, policymaking, innovation, and finance, the GEMBA9 students—drawn from 13 countries and an array of international business disciplines and fields, including some non-profits—learn from each other. (Father Sean is the only Jesuit in the program.) They live, commute, and study together, and share presentations about their organizations in peer forums, which offer opportunities for discussion and new ideas. The role of creativity and collaboration is already a common practice at the KBI where hands-on advocacy work and urgency drives innovative solutions like organizational partnerships to assist migrants, the new legal fellow collaboration with the Florence Project, and the art cooperative established by the Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist who staff the comedor and shelter, which allows women to earn money during their KBI stay by making bracelets and earrings.

Even during his studies, GEMBA has been valuable to Father Sean’s approach to his work, in evaluating financial statements, considering bi-national strategies, managing communications, and balancing structural and innovation issues with an eye to the KBI’s mission. “The program has broadened my perspective, and opened me to new and useful business methods,” he explains. When he graduates in July, Father Sean will receive two MBA degrees—one from Georgetown University and one from ESADE Business School.

After 16 years away from academia, Father Sean admits it was an adjustment to dive into such an all-encompassing international business program and juggle director duties with multiple trips, assignments, and exams. The key, he says, has been the amazing support he’s received from KBI colleagues and board members, which has given him the latitude to take on this commitment. “I’m so grateful to them,” he says. “I’ve learned so much from being part of the KBI and working together to make it a reality…but being in the [GEMBA] program has given me additional tools and insights that will be helpful as the KBI moves into the future.”

Father Sean attends an evening GEMBA event in Doha, Qatar, with Father Ron Anton, S.J. of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and fellow GEMBA student Karyn Page

GEMBA9 students pose for a group portrait outside the Forbidden City (the former imperial palace now housing the Palace Museum), next to Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

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A Migrant Story: Death in the Desert

A year-round tragedy, migrant deaths near the U.S.–Mexico border are a particular danger during the long Sonoran summer, where annual deaths in Arizona alone have grown alarmingly, from 12 in 1990–2000 to 170 since 2000. Over the last two decades, U.S. Border Patrol has recorded 6,951 deaths of people assumed to be migrants along the U.S.–Mexico border. Here, the KBI’s Father Samuel Lozano de los Santos, S.J. shares the story of one man’s heartbreaking loss.

Each year, hundreds of men and women journeying north to cross the U.S.–Mexico border die or go missing. Of the many stories of suffering shared with KBI staff members and volunteers, these are among the most tragic. Here, Father Samuel Lozano de los Santos, S.J., KBI Director of Programs in Mexico, offers the experience of one man whose journey to seek a better life for his family took a horrific turn. What follows is Father Samuel’s testimony, in both English and Spanish.

ENGLISH:

One day in the month of December 2014, when I arrived to the comedor where we receive deported migrants and people in transit, one of the Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist asked me to speak with a migrant, and pointed out where he was. I looked toward him and he was sitting with his hands covering his face, as if he were praying, but in reality he was crying. I came up to him, and he looked at me with eyes full of tears. Between his sobs, he began to share with me his story.

He told me: “Father, a month ago my wife and I left our house. We had thought about it a lot, we spoke many times, and we made the decision to come the United States. We have three kids, and we want to give them a better life. In my town there is not enough money for them to prosper. I make 60 pesos a day [US$3.23] Imagine, not even enough to eat. My in-laws don’t want to help us because they do not support our decision to leave the town, and did not want to take care of our kids. My parents said they would take care of the kids.

“We never thought that we would live this nightmare, because up to this point, that is the way I see it, I am living a nightmare.

“When we made it to the border, the coyote crossed us over and, after walking several days through the Arizona desert, abandoned us. We were a group of 12. My wife and I started falling back. They couldn’t wait for us and my wife was already feeling sick. After walking for 14 days in the desert, without water, without food and tired, my wife was feeling worse every single day. She could not speak nor walk and I could hear a rasping sound from her chest.

“The moment came when she no longer responded to me, and I started to be very afraid. I had to leave her to look for help. After walking for three hours, I found Border Patrol, and I told them that my wife was very ill, and they did not believe me. When they finally became convinced that I was telling them the truth, we went to the place where I had left her, and we found her dead.”

The young father and husband, 29 years old, could no longer speak, and he let out a wail. I only put my hand on his shoulder, and the tears began to run down my cheeks. Finally he was able to speak again and, while crying, he asked, “Why? Father, why? We only wanted to go to the United States to work, and give my children a better life. What am I going to say to my in-laws, my children? Why?”

This true story is one of thousands from men and women who come to the comedor and shelter, tired, humiliated, needy…

SPANISH:

Un día del mes de diciembre del 2014, al llegar yo a nuestro comedor donde atendemos a migrantes deportados y en tránsito, una de las religiosas Misioneras de la Eucaristía, me pidió que platicara con un migrante y me indicó donde él estaba. Dirigí mi mirada hacia él, estaba con sus manos cubriendo su cara, como si rezara, pero más bien, estaba llorando. Me acerqué a él, y me miró con sus ojos cubiertos de lágrimas, entre sollozos empezó a compartirme su historia como migrante.

Me dijo: “Padre, hace un mes salimos de nuestra casa mi esposa y yo, lo pensamos mucho, platicamos muchas veces y tomamos la decisión de venir a Estados Unidos, tenemos tres hijos y queremos darles una vida mejor.  En mi pueblo no nos alcanza para sacarlos adelante, yo gano 60 pesos al día, imagínese, ni pa comer. Mis suegros no quisieron apoyarnos, pues no estaban de acuerdo en que saliéramos del pueblo y no quisieron cuidar a nuestros hijos. Mis padres dijeron que ellos los cuidarían.

“Nunca creímos que viviríamos esta pesadilla, porque hasta ahora, así lo veo, estoy viviendo una pesadilla.

“Al llegar a la frontera, el coyote que nos cruzó, después de caminar  varios días por el desierto de Arizona, nos abandonó. Éramos un grupo como de doce. Mi esposa y yo nos fuimos quedando atrás, no podían esperarnos, mi esposa ya se sentía muy mal. Después de andar por 14 días por el desierto, sin agua, sin comida y cansados, mi esposa se fue sintiendo cada día peor, ya no podía hablar ni caminar y solo se escuchaba como un ronquido de su pecho.

“Llegó el momento en que ya no me respondía, yo sentí mucho miedo, y tuve que dejarla para ir a buscar ayuda. Después de caminar por tres horas, me encontró la migra y les dije que mi esposa estaba muy mal, no me creían. Cuando se convencieron de que les estaba diciendo la verdad fuimos hasta el lugar donde había dejado a mi esposa, y la encontramos muerta.”

El joven padre y esposo de 29 años ya no pudo hablar y soltó el llanto, yo solo puse mi mano en su hombro y también las lágrimas empezaron a correr por mis mejillas. Al fin pudo hablar de nuevo, y sin dejar de llorar me dice: “Por qué? padre, por qué? si solo queríamos llegar a Estado Unidos para trabajar y darles a mis hijos lo mejor. Ahora qué les voy a decir a mis suegros, y a mis hijos, por qué…..?”

Esta historia real es una de los miles de hombres y mujeres que llegan a nuestro comedor y albergue, cansados, humillados, necesitados…

Images of candles along the U.S.–Mexico border fence honor migrants who have died on the journey.
Photo courtesy of Colibrí Center for Human Rights.

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KBI Media Report: May 2017

This month, we share news about the impact of U.S. immigration, detention, and deportation policies as well as the U.S. budget on the lives of immigrants throughout the country. And we include an article about how Catholics are responding to the immigration crisis.

Embed from Getty Images At Academia Avance in Los Angeles, where a father who has lived in the U.S. for 27 years was arrested by immigration officials when he dropped his daughter off for school, immigrants take a workshop to make a preparedness plan, in case they are confronted with the same situation. Arrests of non-criminal immigrants have risen sharply under the Trump administration. Photo by John McNew/AFP/ Getty Images

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