If you want to check out the full article with more details, dialog and pictures, go here: Tucson Sentinel – Mexican musicians play to mend frayed cross-border ties
As spectators began to take seats, all sorts of uniformed personnel and law enforcement whizzed through the walkways between photographers and reporters. Lights dimmed down in the college auditorium, the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Honor Guard marched in solemnly across the stage. They presented the many flags hanging from staffs which they posted on both sides of Mexico’s Federal Police woodwind symphony, who sat in arched rows spread across the stage at the base of the auditorium, a performing arts theatre which now sat about one hundred uniformed personnel. Mexico, the United States, the Department of Homeland Security, CBP, and the state of Arizona all had representative colors which stood hanging for the entirety of the concert. This colorful array of flags seemed a reminder of the occasion, which brought real connective space and action between groups that often find themselves divided, misinformed or just a bit unfamiliar with one another.
Adan Flores Becerra, 57, is one of 10 kids in his large family. He usually talks to them every day since moving to Lomas de Arena, Chihuahua, Mexico. But now he hasn’t answered his phone since they last heard from him on February 17th. Earlier that day Becerra told family members he was in Ojinaga where his girlfriend owns a bar. But that evening calls began going straight to voicemail even though Becerra usually carries extra cell phone batteries.
(a post event coverage from The Tucson Sentinel 16 October 2013 piece Border activists declare victory after protest at closed Phx ICE HQ)
Protests, rallies, marches – they’re all different ways of describing a big public event with passionate people. And that means a big, loud, exciting mix of challenges and opportunities for reporters trying to cover what’s going on. Sometimes there’s also the people who disagree so strongly they’ll come out and counter protest. This can be a great way to get a mix of viewpoints – or to get caught between two groups shouting. As my professor for 20th century media and entrepreneurship (real class) says, someone yelling from one side and someone yelling from the other side doesn’t make balanced reporting, it makes two people yelling at each other.
Manuel Cortez Rodriguez was born in Moroleon Guanajuato, Mexico and he was 31-years-old when he contacted his family on November 3, 2011. Rodriguez was planning on crossing the U.S.-Mexico border very soon somewhere between the states of Arizona and Sonora. November came and went without either his arrival or any further communication. So did the months that followed. Today Rodriguez’s family is still trying to find out what happened.
This post contains extra reading material, articles and other resources, related to recent blog posts including Planning for the unexpected: community advocates urge immigrants to prepare for raids and Faith and Phoenix: Convening in Arizona after SB1070 (a series about how faith based groups with national conventions scheduled in Phoenix responded to Arizona’s image crises during and after the passage of SB 1070. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 for the full story.)
Articles on Sheriff Arapio’s immigration raids
• Arpaio raids Car Wash – on 14 June 2009
• Joe Arpaio Arrests Four Cleaning Ladies in 74th Immigration Raid – Phoenix New Times on 9 August 2013
• Arpaio Fires Up Hispanic-Hunting Raids, Going After the Smallest Fish He Can Find – Phoenix New Times on 25 July 2013
• As Feds Slow Deportations, Arpaio Continues Ariz. Raids – New America Media on 23 July 2013
• Joe Arpaio Retaliates Against Katherine Figueroa, Hits Uncle Sam’s with Immigration Raid – Phoenix New Times on 18 July 2013
• Joe Arpaio B-Day Bomb: Judge Wants Monitor in Melendres – Phoenix New Times on 14 June 2013
• Judge Finds Violations of Rights by Sheriff – The New York Times on 24 May 2013
• Melendres vs. Arpaio Decision – Judge Murray Snow via Fronteras Desk on 24 May 2013
• Federal Judge Rules Against Arpaio’s Agency On Racial Profiling Issue – Fronteras Desk on 24 May 2013
• Cut ties between Maricopa County and ICE – Politic365 on 20 March 2013
• U.S. Finds Pervasive Bias Against Latinos by Arizona Sheriff – The New York Times on 15 September 2011
• Arpaio raids Car Wash – on 14 June 2009
Articles on the August federal raid at Danny’s Family Car Wash
• Former Danny’s Family Car Wash employees say company violated labor rights – ABC15 on 22 August 2013
• Danny’s Family Car Wash Raid by ICE and Minuteman Richard Malley Doing Same Job? – Phoenix New Times on 20 August 2013
• Former Danny’s Family Car Wash employees say undocumented workers stole their identities – ABC15 on 20 August 2013
• Car-wash managers accused of rehiring illegal immigrants – The Arizona Republic on 20 August 2013
• Carwash Managers Held in Immigration Raids – The New York Times on 19 August 2013
• Dreamers growl at Obama – The Arizona Republic on 19 August 2013
• Danny’s raid won’t inspire confidence – The Arizona Republic on 19 August 2013
• Feds: Danny’s Family Car Wash helped fake ID’s, rehired illegal workers – ABC15 on 19 August 2013
• ICE agents raid Arizona car wash chain – CNN on 18 August 2013
• Danny’s Family Car Wash locations raided by federal agents – KTVK on 17 August 2013
• Feds: 14 arrested in Phoenix-area car wash raids – KPHO on 17 August 2013
• Federal agents raid Phoenix-area Danny’s Car Wash locations and photos – The Arizona Republic on 17 August 2013
• Federal agents raid 16 Danny’s Family Car Wash locations in criminal investigation – ABC15 on 17 August 2013
• ICE Raids Danny’s Family Car Wash – Arizona Dream Act Coalition on 17 August 2013 (also United We Dream Condemns Massive ICE Raid in Arizona, Demands Release of Those Unfairly Detained and End to Out-of-Control Immigration Enforcement)
• Joe Arpaio-Fave Danny’s Family Car Wash Raided by ICE – Phoenix New Times on 17 August 2013
Articles on separated families & Katherine Figueroa
Both of Katherine Figueroa’s parents were working at the same Peoria car wash when it was raided in October 2009.
These are articles and resources related to Faith and Phoenix: Convening in Arizona after SB1070, a series about how faith based groups with national conventions scheduled in Phoenix responded to Arizona’s image crises during and after the passage of SB 1070; check out Part 1 here. “I personally was of the opinion that it was a real opportunity for us to shed light on the issue nationally by going,” said Unitarian Universalist President Peter Morales. He told the local congregations and advocacy groups, “I need for you to invite us; that will break the boycott.” And they did, allowing the 2012 Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations convention to take place from June 20 to June 24. “That’s what made the whole thing work because of what we did because it was clearly the most effective public witness we’ve ever done was on this issue, that we committed to working in close partnership with local people.
This is the first part of Faith and Phoenix: Convening in Arizona after SB1070, a series about how faith based groups with national conventions scheduled in Phoenix responded to Arizona’s image crises during and after the passage of SB 1070; check out Part 2 here. Several years ago when the largest Anabaptist organization in the U.S. picked Phoenix for the location of its biannual conference in 2013, they didn’t anticipate that the state would be a hotspot for national debates on immigration and border issues – or that they’d be attempting to produce a denominational statement about immigration there. Yet, Arizona’s attractions as a tourist and convention destination seemed smashed when the 2010 passage of a controversial immigration bill, SB 1070, sparked intense national debates including issues border violence and racism in the state. Local community advocate James Garcia, who works with Promise Arizona, said that the news coverage affected everybody’s perceptions, whether they supported the SB 1070 bill or not. “Suddenly 24-hour news channels for six months straight, all they hear about is the words coming out of the mouth of the governor and Russell Pearce which claimed that the state is being overrun by words of immigrants and everybody is somehow physically endangered,” Garcia said.”So that negative representation was stamped into the brains of America and brains of America include all the people who are part of these conventions.”
(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.
In February, Eddie hadn’t heard much from Robbie and Johnny about their search along the Mexican side of U.S.-Mexico border for Andy, missing since July 2011. “We haven’t heard anything from them,” Eddie said.” “I know they went to Canenea and those places but I don’t know where they are right now, we don’t know where they are now.”
Yesterday he called back to update me on their trip. “They came back empty handed with no information, they asked people and they didn’t have anything,” Eddie said. “They reported that the Mexican police, they looked around and nobody had any information.”
But he had something more pressing to discuss. “That’s some breaking news that the medical examiner called from Arizona, they have some information that they called the dentist,” Eddie said.