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Meet Yesenia

5105360_1436312201.3797LGBTQ migrants in Phoenix are at the crossroads of racist, anti-migrant, trans- and homophobic attitudes and legislation.

Those in detention disproportionately face human rights abuses, yet Immigration and Customs Enforcement has demonstrated little ability or desire to create even minimally humane conditions within the detention system. Trans people are categorically misgendered, and detained LGBTQ individuals suffer epidemic levels of sexual, verbal, physical and psychological violence, often with no outside support or encouragement.


That’s why we’re supporting the Phoenix-based Arcoíris Liberation Team as they support detained LGBTQ community members by sending letters of encouragement and raising funds for bond payments.

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Fight for an Arpaio-free AZ

Sheriff Joe Arpaio has a long history of abusing power and terrorizing immigrant families in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and the metro area. A Department of Justice report affirmed that Arpaio’s office is the worst purveyor of racial profiling investigators have ever seen: from the creation of Tent City, the most inhumane jail in the country, to his relentless persecution of the migrant community.


But even though he has been denounced by the people and sanctioned by the courts, the Obama administration continues to deport his victims. Just last week, Arpaio claimed to have sent 5,000 people to ICE for deportation in the last year and a half.

It’s time for Arpaio to resign and take his legacy of inhumane treatment and racial profiling with him. That’s why we’re partnering with Puente Arizona on a conference-wide direct action on Friday during Netroots Nation.

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How ICE Uses Local Criminal Justice Systems to Funnel People Into the Detention and Deportation System

#AZDispatch: Out of The Shadows

“The U.S.  Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has come to rely heavily on state and local criminal justice systems in order to find non–U.S. citizens who may be deportable and push them into the detention and deportation process. This collaboration is a complex and ill-defined entanglement consisting of a web of unregulated and overlapping Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) programs and mechanisms whose parameters and operations easily mutate, that are not restrained by formal regulations or mechanisms of accountability, that operate with little transparency, and that do not closely monitor or hold accountable the criminal justice systems that arrest and detain the people who end up in ICE custody. One particularly alarming result of this entanglement is that it is becoming more common for citizens, too, to be swept into the detention-deportation system.

This is now a deeply embedded and institutionalized scheme that will not disappear if our immigration system is ever substantially overhauled. The process ignores individuals’ guilt or innocence, whether arrests were the result of racial profiling (indeed, the programs themselves create an incentive for racial profiling), and whether the noncitizens swept into the detention-deportation system are adequately represented, or understand the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction, or face prolonged detention because of an ICE immigration hold request.

DHS’s use of state criminal justice systems also depends on the application of legal rules that are unacceptable in other areas of law, such as searching out for removal people who were convicted of crimes—minor or major—that were not grounds of deportation when they were committed. And it depends on characterizing as a “criminal alien” anyone with a criminal conviction, regardless of the severity of the conviction or the existence of compelling equities in the person’s favor, even when the conviction was not the basis of the removal order.”

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Act of passive resistance: Checkpoint Refusal


This is the issue with border militarization. When we permit these kinds of racially-driven, governmental impositions into our lives, it disrespects and degrades all involved. For some in Arizona and towns within 100 miles of the border in many states, this kind of harassment is unending. People are being harassed and detained on the regular. In this video, we see a powerful act of passive, non-violent resistance against military presence in our every day lives.

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Border Patrol Scrutiny Stirs Anger in Arizona Town


…only 2 percent of the unauthorized immigrants captured by the Border Patrol in each of the past four fiscal years were apprehended at checkpoints, according to statistics provided by Customs and Border Protection. There were 9,510 such apprehensions in fiscal 2013, out of 420,789 apprehensions by the agency.

Read more at: Border Patrol Scrutiny Stirs Anger in Arizona Town in the New York Times.

#AZDispatch is a Netroots Nation project created to expose some of the most unjust practices in our current immigration system and to elevate the stories and voices of local activists fighting back against those practices. Click here to sign up for our AZDispatch Action list.