U.S. Immigration Chaos in 2018: Questions to ask Locally

U.S. Immigration Chaos in 2018: Questions to ask Locally
Posted July 18, 2018

This post consists of two emails sent to the City of Evanston Refugee Task Force and other people concerned about fear-mongering, dictatorship, and privatization.  A third section contains some follow-up information.


EMAIL #1:  June 26, 2018

From: Debbie Hillman
Subject: Questions re: Evanston Refugee Task Force & immigration chaos — who’s profiting, White House plan, CBP map
Date: June 26, 2018 at 9:54:16 AM CDT
To: Savannah Clement

To: Savannah Clement, City of Evanston
Housing Policy & Planning Analyst + staffperson, Evanston Refugee Task Force
Evanston Refugee Task Force
Ald. Don Wilson, 4th ward
Evanston media (Ev. Roundtable, Ev. Now, Ev. Patch, Daily Northwestern)
Indivisible Evanston, Dear Evanston, OPAL
Other Evanston people against fear-mongering, dictatorship, & privatization

Hi, Savannah —

I have a few questions regarding the July 10 meeting of the Evanston Refugee Task Force. As you know, things are happening fast on the national level and new issues, fears, and chaos arise every day, often requiring local answers. I wonder if these items can be addressed at the next meeting, or if anyone has any immediate answers to my questions.

I know that the Evanston Refugee Task Force was originally set up to only deal with the increased numbers of legal refugees in Evanston (welcome to all!). However, two things have changed since the Task Force was set up (in Fall 2016 ?):
(a) The current federal government is constantly redefining “legal” and “citizen”.
(b) So far as I know, there is no other City entity that is addressing the increased chaos and attempts to terrorize the general population,
it would be helpful to have answers to these questions, sooner rather than later—and for the City of Evanston to have a comprehensive understanding of where the people of Evanston stand on some of these interlocking issues.

If there is some other citizen entity within the City of Evanston that can better answer these questions, I’ll be glad to contact the staffperson for that group (board, commission, task force ?).


Is anyone in Evanston profiting from U.S. government spending (public money) regarding immigration and detention policies over the last 20 years, especially since 9/11 (2001) and especially from the “zero tolerance” policy adopted in 2018?
— City of Evanston (investments ?)
— Northwestern University (investments, contracts, major donors ?)
— Hagerty Consulting or any other company connected to the current Mayor of Evanston, who is in this kind of business and who has expressed general support for private-public relationships of this kind?
— any Evanston-based banks or bankers?
— other Evanston companies or individuals?

As you know, various lists are being posted on-line of companies, universities, etc., that are profiting from or helping this inhumane terrorizing. I would like to add any Evanston information to those lists.

a. Did any Evanston person or entity have any input into the just released White House reorganization plan for the entire federal government?
— City of Evanston
— Northwestern University
— Hagerty Consulting, Mayor Hagerty
— Other Evanston companies or individuals?

b. Does anyone know how the reorganization plan will affect legal refugees, etc.?

c. Does anyone know of any Evanston-based effort to read the plan and respond? either as a City government or as a grassroots initiative, on immigration issues as well as all other issues impacted by the federal government — in other words all aspects of our lives?

The name of the plan is Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century: Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendations.
Here is a link to one Twitter thread which highlights some of the plan’s elements: privatizing government services, selling off government assets, cutting services, etc. This thread is by Laurie Garrett, a former fellow at the Council for Foreign Relations and a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. It seems like a good document for Americans to read at this time. I will try to do so this week. It looks about 150 pages.

3. CBP 100-MILE SEARCH BORDER — includes Chicago
Does anyone know if the Customs & Border Patrol has been boarding Amtrak trains, Greyhound, or other public transportation in the Chicago area? When I spoke to ACLU Illinois in March, there had not been any local incidents. But since then things have ratcheted up near the Canadian border (New Hampshire, Maine).

Does anyone know why the Customs & Border Patrol Map of 100-mile search border includes Chicago (and all of Lake Michigan), even though Lake Michigan coastline is not an international border and Chicago is way more than 100 miles from Canada (about 300 miles, to be more exact), and the ACLU says the kind of searches that CBP is doing are unconstitutional?

See map here at ACLU website: The 100-mile border zone

The website says: “No matter what CBP officers and Border Patrol agents think, our Constitution applies throughout the United States, including within this “100-mile border zone.” When I talked to ACLU Illinois in March 2018, I was told that ACLU Michigan is trying to get the rationale from CBP for drawing the map the way they did. Since the CBP map went viral last week, I presume ACLU is still looking for answers. (A Michigan journalist to follow on this map and larger issues is Marcy Wheeler, website and Twitter. She is often a guest on Democracy Now!)

Thanks for anyone’s information. I’m happy to pass any information onto the rest of this email chain, as well as to any other entity who is working on these issues (such as GrabYourWallet), and through any public channels to which I have access (my blog, Twitter, etc.).


EMAIL #2:  July 9, 2018

From: Debbie Hillman
Subject: Re: Questions re: Evanston Refugee Task Force & immigration chaos — who’s profiting, White House plan, CBP map
Date: July 9, 2018 at 10:19:13 AM CDT
To: Savannah Clement

To: Savannah Clement, City of Evanston
Housing Policy & Planning Analyst + staffperson, Evanston Refugee Task Force
Evanston Refugee Task Force
Ald. Don Wilson, 4th ward
Evanston media (Ev. Roundtable, Ev. Now, Ev. Patch, Daily Northwestern)
Indivisible Evanston, Dear Evanston, OPAL
Other Evanston people against fear-mongering, dictatorship, & privatization

Hi, all —

This is a follow-up to my June 26th email bringing up three questions related to the current national atmosphere regarding immigrants, legality, asylum, separation of families at the border, profiteering, etc.

A. Evanston Refugee Task Force meeting
Thanks to Savannah Clement for agreeing to discuss these items at the next meeting of the Evanston Refugee Task Force. The meeting is tomorrow
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
11:00 a.m.
Room 2402
at the Civic Center (2100 Ridge Ave)

There will, of course, be other items on the agenda as the Refugee Task Force is acting as a coordinating body for the safety networks that support legal refugees in Evanston.

B. My original email is copied at the end of this email.
In summary, the three questions I brought up are:

1. EVANSTONIANS PROFITING FROM IMMIGRATION CHAOS? (detention facilities, food contracts, investments, etc.?)
2. NEW REORGANIZATION PLAN FOR THE US GOVERNMENT (White House Plan) — any Evanstonians involved in?
3. CBP 100-MILE SEARCH BORDER — includes Chicago — Why? (Customs & Border Patrol)

C. Response to my email
Thanks to those of you who gave a “thumbs up” on the need to address those questions. Comments that I got were:
— “These are excellent and important questions.”
— “I hope that the Task Force can focus on some of the important issues that you raised.”
— “Good questions, Debbie–thank you for your thoughtful thoroughness in phrasing them.”

I did not receive any negative comments. Nor have I received any substantive answers to my questions.

I do have some relevant new information to relay and to report, which may inform our discussion tomorrow:

From Northwestern University — Center for Forced Migration, Buffett Institute for Global Studies
Prof. Galya Ben-Arieh (a member of the Evanston Refugee Task Force) prepared and sent a 7-item resource guide specific to the Central American families being separated and detained at the US/Mexico border. For ease of access, I have posted it on my website:
Of particular interest is Item #7, a letter from a University of Chicago center cautioning the general public about visiting or protesting at children’s centers. (Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights)

If anyone wants to re-Tweet, I’ve also posted it on my Twitter page:

2. “Who is making Money from ICE in your State?”
This map, article, and database has been put together by RealSludge. There are some Chicago-area entries, including one of questionable accuracy: “Village of Oak Lawn” is listed as a “for profit” entity. Definitely a work in progress.
Link: https://readsludge.com/2018/07/06/who-is-making-money-from-ice-in-your-state/
Or re-Tweet from my Twitter page: https://twitter.com/DLHillman/status/1015341208095395843

3. WHITE HOUSE PLAN to reorganize the US government
White House reorganization plan or

I have read through the plan a couple of times and the issues that other US observers have brought up are very real:
a. It seems a major attempt to privatize much of our government (including selling off “surplus” real estate, re-organizing the Postal Service (again)).

b. At the end of the body of the report is a major red flag — an innocuous quote by an anonymous person.
p. 121 “Let President Trump reorganize the government like a business.” — Michelle, Delaware
(In my opinion, government should most definitely NOT be run like a for-profit business.)

c. I did not see much regarding immigration and refugee policies, but there are sections on Dept. of Homeland Security, as well as some major restructuring of international aid (US AID especially). See section on p. 41: Optimization of Humanitarian Assistance.

d. Plus many of the safety net programs (student loans, Social Security, financial literacy, mortgage assistance, etc.) are likely being restructured in order to reduce services and $$ support.

e. I recommend people read through any or all of the following:
— the Table of Contents
— the paragraph summaries for each item in the Table of Contents (p. 15)
— the full report if you have time. Much of it is gobbledygook, but we know that the gobbledygook is code for something that benefits the few people who wrote this plan — and probably doesn’t benefit the rest of us.

f. Public process? Yes, there may be some good ideas in here. No question that the federal government is too big. But where’s the public process? I did not see any reference to one.

g. Next steps:
Summer 2018: “OMB and agencies begin a dialogue with Congress to prioritize and refine proposals to best serve the American people.” An implementation plan will be put in place.

I look forward to being part of Evanston conversations about all of these important issues. Thanks again to Savannah for agreeing to talk about them at tomorrow’s meeting of the Evanston Refugee Task Force.

FOLLOW-UP INFORMATION as of July 18, 2018

There’s a new grassroots initiative being organized by “grandmothers”. They are caravaning from NYC to the border (Texas), leaving July 31, arriving Aug. 6.
Here’s their website. Grannies Respond

Congressional task force to oversee reunification: Jan Schakowsky as a sponsor?
A Georgetown law professor (Heidi Li Friedman) has put together a petition to ask Congress to create an emergency task force to oversee the reunification — i.e., make sure it happens. There is precedent for this kind of task force (e.g., one of the big oil spills was monitored in this way).
Here’s the petition: