“Immigration is Beautiful” Mural in Wichita Defaced With “KKK Is Beautiful, Wetback” Graffiti

Armando Minjarez is an immigrant activist and artist from Wichita, Kansas. Earlier this morning, he tweeted out the following:

The tweet included this image:


Via @aminjarez

The graffiti sprayed on the mural changed the mural’s text to read, “KKK is beautiful, wetback.” When we tweeted Armando for more details, he tweeted the following:

Armando also shared a larger image of the mural. The word “welfare” also appears.


Via @aminjarez

The original mural can be seen on the Twitter page of @LatinoLeadersKS:


This is a developing story. Buzzfeed just published additional details. Here is what was reported:

Minjarez says he and the students had spoken about how there could be pushback to this public display of their realities and he said the students are not discouraged.

“They’re not discouraged but they’re certainly pissed off,” he said. Minjarez said the timing of the defacement of the mural coincides with the first meeting of Army of Artists, the complete group of artists who will decide and commit to the next pieces of public artwork. He said his internal goal is at least 8 more projects. “Whatever public art they want to create; a concert, a rap battle, an installation.”

He said this ugly episode will only invigorate the artists.

“We’re bringing to light the reality we live with everyday, we can choose to act like racism isn’t out there but it is.”

#ICYMI: The Daily Show’s “American Border Story”

In case you missed it last night, Stewart weighs in on immigration reform.

Too bad some of the jokes were a bit too stereotypical (aliens? Chipotle? nachos?) and giving props to Sen. Schumer, but you get the point about the Republicans.

Arizona Legislator Pushing for Undocumented to Not Even Exist in Public

When we got the following story from Addicting Info, we did not believe it. But when we read the actual bill that Arizona Republican legislator Carl See (Phoenix) is endorsing, we knew it wasn’t a joke.


The HuffPost’s Roque Planas also wrote about Seel and since Roque is good peeps, we really knew that it wasn’t a joke:

An Arizona Republican wants to make it a crime for undocumented people to do almost anything in his state.

State Rep. Carl Seel (R-Phoenix) has proposed a bill that would make it illegal for undocumented immigrants to receive any public benefits – including attending public school or using a public road. Violating the proposed law would result in misdemeanor for the first offense and a felony for subsequent offenses. Driving while undocumented would result in forfeiture of the car, according to the bill.

You can read the rest of Roque’s piece here.

This local February 6 report from Phoenix shares more:

It never ends.

Why The Jeffersons Are Timeless: George and Weezie Deal with a Nativist Bigot

This is one golden find (h/t to Ghulhermo Memou Mamellowke).


Yeah, it was the 70s, but how much different is this scene from now?

Remember when sitcoms actually dealt with these issues?

Sen. Chuck Schumer Reveals His True Colors with Bizarre “Meet the Press” Immigration “Compromise”

Hey, at least we truly know where New York Sen. Chuck Schumer (a Democrat, by the way) stands on the whole issue of immigration reform: just kick the problem down the can and celebrate the fact that President Obama is indeed the “Deporter-in-Chief.”


Here is what Schumer had to say this morning on “Meet the Press” in response to the House Speaker John Boehner’s comments that a comprehensive immigration bill won’t happen in 2014 because Republicans don’t trust the President. Watch:

So this is what Schumer is suggesting: let’s pass the bill now and don’t really follow it until 2017, so in the meantime, the “broken” immigration system that the Democrats continue to push will stay “broken” for another three years and we can still have record deportations and separation of families going on at a record clip. And yes, Obama earns kudos for record deportations.

Wow, how’s that historic 2012 Latino vote for President Obama and the Democrats really working out on the immigration issue? But hey, this is Schumer talking, the same Schumer who likes to call the undocumented the “illegals” on national television and no one says anything, because why upset those so-called immigration “allies.” And the same Schumer who is a border security hawk.

This is very simple: the Democrats think that the U.S. Latino vote is a lock because they aren’t feeling the pressure, and the Republicans don’t care about immigration reform. Meanwhile, deportations continue to occur every day at a record pace, and the community gets fooled.

In the end, Democrats have no backbone, national Latino organizations that side with Democrats have no backbone and it is the true immigrant rights voices out there that are trying to change the dialogue and focus. A note to the Democrats: stop leading with fear of Republicans and stop playing the U.S. Latino community. Don’t assume that we will side with you because the other team doesn’t get it. Democrats need to lead and be bold right now. Call the GOP’s bluff, because that is what it is, a bluff.

This is ALL THE MORE REASON for the real voices of the undocumented to be heard NOW more than ever.

It reminds us of this song by The Strokes. It’s called “Taken for a Fool.”

#FOROVIRTUAL: Un foro digital honesto sobre la política actual de la comunidad indocumentada

Este 12 de febrero habrá un #ForoVirtual sobre la reforma migratoria con los siguientes panelistas:


La sesión virtual se trasmitirá a través de YouTube. Podrá participar usando #ForoVirtual o #alivio2014. Además hay un página sobre este evento en Facebook. Durante el evento, podrá verlo aquí:

¿De qué se trata?
Un foro digital honesto sobre la política actual de la comunidad indocumentada

Por Youtube. ¡Puedes participar desde el hogar!

El 12 de febrero, a las 8pmET, 6pmMT

¿Por qué?
Si no nos informamos y opinamos, otros van a hablar por nosotros. Tu perspectiva como persona indocumentada es importante. El resto del mundo debe escuchar nuestras voces.

Toda la familia

Te invitamos a un conversación sobre la política de la reforma migratoria y la realidad actual de la comunidad indocumentada. Por primera vez, padres y líderes indocumentados van a dar el análisis político. Van a compartir sin pelos en la lengua lo que ven, basado en su experiencia en Washington el año pasado. También van a tomar sus preguntas y comentarios sobre la reforma migratoria.


Travis County Sheriff’s Twitter Trolling #Not1More Protesters

This is nuts. Read the slideshow. It’s long, but it is quite telling.



By the way, a press release by #Not1More organizers was sent today:

Travis County Sheriff Trolls #Not1More Protestors on Twitter

Sheriff’s Online Comments Demonstrate His Misunderstanding of the 

Federal Deportation Program He Supports

(AUSTIN, Texas) — The official Twitter handle of Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton has been arguing with the anti-deportation protestors his deputies detained Monday.

The twitter exchanges began Tuesday when the Travis County Sheriff’s office, @TravisCoSheriff, tweeted the Austin Immigrants Rights Coalition, @AustinIRC. The AIRC tweeted their thanks to a supporter and vowed to continue their campaign to stop deportations out of Travis County.

That’s when @TravisCoSheriff responded using anti-immigrant language: “TCSO does not deport anyone. Only Feds can deport illegal immigrants.”

The Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition quickly responded and called out the Sheriff’s Office for calling people “illegal.” AIRC also provided screen shots of documents showing that Travis County can opt-out of S-Comm, including a letter from Congress that cited Department of Homeland Security officials’ statements that an ICE detainer is merely a request.

“The Travis County Sheriff’s office should stop hiding behind the excuse that he has no choice in this matter. This policy is voluntary, period.” said Alejandro Caceres, Executive Director of the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition. “The sheriff should be working with our community to fix the deportation crisis in Travis County, instead of trolling us on Twitter.”

Caceres also points out that about 30 other cities, counties and states have taken action to limit cooperation with ICE officials. None have been sued by the federal government.

According to data from ICE, Travis County currently deports an average of 19 people per week, most with no prior criminal record. The local immigrant community wants the Travis County Sheriff’s office to revisit its policy and adopt a policy like that of 30 counties across the country including Newark, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans, and Washington D.C.

Caceres points to the Newark, NJ policy — which creates a bright line between local police and immigration officials — as a potential model for Travis County.

The entire dispute can be found at Twitter, @AustinIRC.

Oklahoma DREAMers Launch Campaign to Slam KOTV’s Drug Cartels Report

Earlier today, the Facebook page of “KOTV – The News On 6″ out of Oklahoma shared the following post:


The response was so negative (just read the comments), that members of Dream Act Oklahoma (Tulsa) responded rather quickly with a call to action. Tonight, these DREAMers emailed us the following, and we agreed to publish it for them:

Offended about KOTV – The News On 6 story that wrongly stereotypes undocumented and Hispanic community as drug cartels?!

Members of Dream Act Oklahoma have convened and want to make it known:

  • The undocumented community and Hispanic community should not be portrayed in unison with drug cartels. Drug cartels are not solely part of one specific demographic.
  • Channel News 6 is perpetuating a hurtful generalization of the undocumented community and the Hispanic community by wrongly associating them as responsible for drug activity within Oklahoma.
  • Oklahoma may be seeing an increase in undocumented and/or Hispanic community; however, a majority are actually small business owners, students, parents, religious leaders, and children. There is no mention of positive representation of this in Oklahoma.
  • This is not journalism. This is propaganda that causes fear that further stigmatizes to two vulnerable populations: the undocumented community and the Hispanic community.
  • As Dream Act Oklahoma, we have a responsibility to be speak out against injustice and empower individuals that are being marginalized. We hope that you join us in participating in our action, to inform the journalists and news media that this is not OK, that Oklahoma’s demographics are changing and this is a good thing for Oklahoma’s progress.

So, Tonight we hope to start a social media campaign.

Step 1: “Like” KOTV – The News On 6
Step 2: Take a picture of yourself, holding a poster that says, “I am Hispanic. I am Undocumented. I am contributing to Oklahoma’s Progress by … #DAOK” or “#IAMOKLAHOMA Allies: The Hispanic community also brings…. Immigrants also bring … I am an ally. #DAOK #IAMOKLAHOMA” You can also share the following infographic at the end of this post.
Step 3: Tag KOTV – The News on 6 Post on Facebook

Step 1: Put a “.” ( a period) at the very beginning of the tweet. And following Example : .@NewsOn6
Step 2: Take a picture of yourself, holding a poster that says: “I am Hispanic. I am Undocumented. I am contributing to Oklahoma’s Progress by … #DAOK” or “#IAMOKLAHOMA Allies suggestions: The Hispanic community also brings…. Immigrants also bring … I am an ally. I am happy about it (See below for facts that you can add) #DAOK #IAMOKLAHOMA Or you can also share this inforgraphic:


So far, there have been some early tweets:



Photos of Kids Shooting at Migrant Targets Part of 2013 San Diego Fallen Agents Memorial Run

UPDATE, February 1, 2014, 1:30pmET: looks like the Facebook photos have been taken down. But they are still here. The following images were pulled from that site:




So those pictures of kids shooting paintball pellets at cutouts of migrant targets with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents? Several of them were on Facebook since July, 2013, as part of a San Diego Fallen Agents Memorial Run. You can see the entire photo album here.

Even more troubling is that a few of the pictures show Latino kids shooting at the targets.



As you can imagine, a few took to Facebook to share their disgust when the photos were posted:


Other photos were released by the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium. In a press release, the group said this:

Pedro Ríos, Chair of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, states, “The target is dressed to resemble a migrant and is located within 100 feet from Virginia Avenue where actual persons have been killed by Border Patrol gunfire.”

Mr. Ríos continues, “While encouraging children to use guns to shoot at a migrant effigy is unconscionable, it is also symbolic of the agency’s unabashed culture of violence which has grown
from a lack of accountability, oversight and unprofessional standards that rebuke best practices in situations involving use-of-force.”

These images surface at a moment when Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) use-of-force policies has come under wide scrutiny resulting from the killings of over 20 unarmed civilians since 2010.

Mounting pressure from affected families, human rights organizations, members of Congress, and international bodies including the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, have pushed the Department of Homeland Security to begin investigating these cases as well as CBP’s use-of-force practices. Additionally, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) was hired by CBP to issue an independent audit of the agency’s cases involving use-of-force.

Here are some other Facebook pictures of the 2013 event:



According to CBP, a statement called media reports of the migrant target practice “patently false” and that CPB “takes pride in participating in community events to help build awareness about our activities and operations.”

In addition, reports from California press show that CBP believes this is all being blown out of proportion. Here is what MercuryNews.com reported:

For safety reasons, agents decided to put the shooting range against the wall, which is owned by the Border Patrol but is a barrier to mark the mall’s private property from federal land, [Border Patrol spokesman Paul D. Carr] said. The actual border fence is behind the wall, though the two barriers are both made of corrugated metal and look the same.

He also denied that the target was intended to resemble an immigrant.

“The target is a standard practice target used by law enforcement and even amateurs throughout the U.S., and is clothed in plain jeans and a t-shirt,” he said.

Rios’ group released the photo Friday, and the Border Patrol acknowledged its authenticity while disputing the activist group’s interpretation.

The agency said the event was “meant to bring members of the community together to build relationships and increase awareness about law enforcement,” and included all kinds of activities including a fun run to honor fallen border agents.

“This specific activity was meant to create awareness about law enforcement tools used to address some violent situations without the use of deadly force,” Carr said in the statement.

El País adds additional information about the 2013 event in a Spanish-language article.

US Border Patrol: “Patently False” Photos of Kids Shooting at Migrant Targets Part of a Local Event

UPDATE, February 1, 2014, 10:30 AM ET: The pictures in question were part of the 2013 San Diego Fallen Agents Memorial Run. And several of the pictures showing kids at target practice can be found on at the run’s official page.

In response to a story originally published in Mexico’s Excelsior that showed images of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents teaching children how to shoot paintball pellets at what appear to be migrant cutout targets near the San Diego/Tijuana border, a spokesperson for the San Diego Border Patrol said such media reports were “patently false” and that the photos were part of a local 2013 community event, according to an email statement received tonight from Latino Rebels.


Here is what Jackie Wasiluk of the CBP San Diego office wrote:

Media reports that the U.S. Border Patrol provides training on how to “attack migrants” are patently false. The photos published as part of these allegations were from a local event meant to bring members of the community together to build relationships and increase awareness about law enforcement. The U.S. Border Patrol, in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies in the area, participated in this local public exposition in June 2013, which included displays, demonstrations and activities. This specific activity was meant to create awareness about law enforcement tools used to address some violent situations without the use of deadly force. The U.S. Border Patrol takes pride in participating in community events to help build awareness about our activities and operations.

This is a Storify slideshow of what Latino Rebels Storify published earlier this evening: