Monday, January 18, 2016

Are Detention Raids Orchestrated for Profit?

We have been aware of intensified ICE activity in Alachua and Marion counties, part of the drive to round up women and children from Central America who crossed the border without papers.

Michael Ratner and the Center for Constitutional Rights are trying to uncover whether these raids are primarily intended to meet bed quotas in for-profit detention centers:

Fighting government secrecy on immigration detention incentives

As Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids make headlines and generate outrage, CCR is pursuing a case that sheds some light on this situation. In 2014, together with our partners at Detention Watch Network, we filed aFreedom of Information Act lawsuit to force ICE and the Department of Homeland Security to disclose information about the so-called “detention bed quota.” Congress requires the agencies to fund 34,000 detention beds daily, and government contracts with private prison corporations – 62% of immigrant detainees are held in for-profit prisons – incentivize ICE and DHS to fill as many beds as possible.
The idea that immigrants are being rounded up, detained, and deported because of perverse incentives of the prison industrial complex is troubling, to say the least. But on top of it, ICE and DHS are fighting to keep information about those contracts secret; they have invoked an exemption in the FOIA rules that protects “commercial or financial information” in order to avoid public scrutiny of the pricing schemes. We will be filing our latest response to this argument with the court tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Welcoming Diversity: Islamophobia and Intolerance

You are invited to join us for "Welcoming Diversity: A Community Action Forum on Islamophobia and Intolerance" 6 p.m. Wednesday January 20 at the historic Thomas Center, 302 NE 6th Avenue in Gainesville, FL.

This event is related to the resistance towards receiving refugees from Syria, increased anti-Muslim rhetoric, and growing attitudes of intolerance. The aim of the event is to highlight these issues – and to identify ways to make Gainesville a welcoming community. It will facilitate discussions on Islam and inter-faith relations, the refugee crisis in Syria, and the role of the media in shaping public perception of these issues. The event will provide opportunities to get involved; ranging from activities within our community to offering support for the Syrian refugees. Come learn more about what is being done in Gainesville and how you can be involved!

Our keynote speaker is Dr. Hatem Bazian, Ph.D, Philosophy and Islamic Studies, UC Berkeley.
Other speakers include Ester Romeyn (UF), Justin Baba (Arab Students’ Association), Iman Zawahry (UF), Hassan Shibly (CAIR) and Terje Ostebo (UF).

This event is sponsored by Daughters of Abraham,Center for Global Islamic Studies at the University of Florida, Welcoming Gainesville, inc. and Gainesville Interfaith Alliance for Immigrant Justice.

Next IAIJ Meeting January 11

Gainesville Interfaith Alliance for Immigrant Justice meets on the second Monday of every month at the Mennonite meeting house, 1236 NW 18th Avenue (across from Gainesville HS, 18th is a short street between PNC and Wells Fargo banks).
Our next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Monday January 11, 2016.
Everyone is welcome.