Julie Rosen, Acting Director of CPLC’s domestic violence shelter in Phoenix, Ariz. – from Rebekah Zemansky on Vimeo.)
dc/vawa: Julie Rosen (rough cut) from Rebekah Zemansky on Vimeo. In the fall of 2010, I did a story that grew out of the same reporting behind this blog (Unidentified Dead Common on the Border) for Cronkite News called Trapped in violence: Undocumented abuse victims face hurdles. The story explored how provisions in The Violence Against Women Act are designed to help undocumented women who are experiencing domestic violence, women who may be less likely to report or leave situations that are dangerous for themselves and their families because they are afraid of deportation and family seperation (especially if their abuser has legal status in the U.S.). Extra material from the story became a supplementary page, Undocumented Abuse.
(a post discussing sourcing with examples from backgrounding work I did on The New York Times 19 August 2013 piece Carwash Managers Held in Immigration Raids)
“We’re asking all the families to please prepare in case of these emergencies to know that they have the right to see an attorney, they have a right to a call and of course at every moment it’s so important to have an emergency plan for when things like this happen,” ACLU Arizona Immigrants Rights Project Coordinator Dulce Juarez told reporters at a rally in front of Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s Phoenix field office Monday afternoon. I’d heard the message before at a school assembly for parents last fall when community organizers gathered parents, pastors, and politicians to discuss how to protect children of undocumented immigrants, sometimes U.S. citizens and sometimes undocumented themselves, in a situation where anything from a workplace raid to a traffic stop for a broken tail light or speeding can throw the family into every kind of limbo with no warning: undocumented immigrants should have emergency plans in place to protect their children and their assets because it may be too late to make arrangements once they’re apprehended. “We’re asking all the families to please prepare in case of these emergencies to know that they have the right to see an attorney, they have a right to a call and of course at every moment it’s so important to have an emergency plan for when things like this happen,” said Juarez. This isn’t the story I was assigned to cover – but it’s another side of living here. Organizers from Puente Arizona and National Day Laborer Organizing Network had gathered protestors to support 30 workers still in detention after federal agents raided 16 Danny’s Family Car Wash locations in Phoenix on Saturday morning to make arrests in a criminal identity theft investigation and also detained 223 people, most of whom were quickly released, on immigration status checks.
(a post discussing sourcing with examples from backgrounding work I did on The New York Times July 23 piece 9 in Deportation Protest Are Held in Bid to Re-enter U.S.)
This week on Tuesday, I got invited to help locate sources and gather background information for a brief follow-up story that Julia Preston was working on. A big part of reporting is reaching sources – and this becomes doubly high pressure when working on a breaking news or developing story. The day before, nine protesters were intentionally apprehended in Nogales on Monday morning. In press releases sent out before the event, protest organizers said that eight young immigrants who’d grown up in the U.S. but then had either voluntarily left or been deported would be protesting family separation (a ninth person joined the initial eight during the protest). They’d try to cross the U.S.-Mexico border at Morley Gate, a pedestrian crossing between Nogales, Sonora and Nogales, Arizona and request humanitarian parole.
A bittersweet reunion lets three young immigrants see – and reach for – their deported mothers through a fence. Read more here in the June 11 The New York Times piece: Immigrants Reach Beyond a Legal Barrier for a Reunion
As a young man and two young women approached the border from the Arizona side, a cry rang out through the bars of the border fence. Waiting for their children in matching turquoise t-shirts on the Mexican side were their mothers, separated for years since their deportations for being illegally present in the U.S.
The six came together, reaching through the spaces between the thick metal poles, with sobs and laughter under the watchful (and not always dry) eyes of organizers, reporters, Border Patrol, and Mexican Federales last Tuesday – the culmination of days of travel and two months of planning. All three children are in President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program which gives qualified applicants the ability to go to school, work and in some states get drivers licenses while they wait for a more permanent resolution to their legal status limbo. It’s a way for participants to start coming out of the shadows.
A publicly accessible website went online one week ago that provides maps and data based on the location where bodies presumed to be migrants have been recovered in southern Arizona. The Arizona OpenGIS for Deceased Migrants is “the result of ongoing partnership” between the humanitarian group Humane Borders, Inc. and the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner (PCOME). And so I ended up in a southbound car with New York Times reporter Fernanda Santos and freelance photographer Joshua Lott to learn about how the database works. In the years since the first time I visited PCOME, many things have changed. Dr. Bruce Parks, whom I interviewed for Unidentified dead common on the border, retired in the summer of 2011 and Dr. Gregory Hess is now the medical examiner.