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At Last: Statesman Reports on Palestinian Family

A month and a half after receiving its first tip on the Palestinian families jailed at the T. Don Hutto prison in Taylor, Texas, the Austin American-Statesman today followed the Dallas Morning News example by publishing news of the Ibrahim family’s abduction. And at long last, a headline about the story appears in Harvey Kronberg’s Quorum Report under “news clips you need to see.”

What made the story impossible to ignore any longer was the filing of a Habeas Corpus motion in an Austin federal court. New York attorney Joshua Bardavid flew in and out of Austin Thursday to file the motion in behalf of pregnant mother Hanan Ibrahim and her four children, who have been jailed at Hutto since their arrest November 2.

And what made the involvement of attorney Bardavid possible was the support of Rita Zawaideh of the Arab American Community Coalition of Washington State and Dallas real-estate developer Ralph Isenberg.

There are two other families of Palestinian heritage at Hutto, along with an unknown number of children from other families detained by immigration authorities.

Activist attention to the prison is expected to continue with a fourth vigil on Feb. 12. Meanwhile, there is reason to be optimistic that the unlawful jailing of the Ibrahim family may soon come to an end.–gm

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New Facts of Trauma at Hutto Revealed in Ibrahim Habeas Corpus Motion

Note: mission accomplished. Attorney Bardavid reports that habeas corpus motions for the Ibrahims were filed today and the Dallas court has already issued its order for immigration authorities to show cause next week, with a court hearing for Feb. 9. A similar order out of Austin is expected this Friday. “Keep shining the light,” he said via cell phone. Will do.–gm

By Greg Moses

New York attorney Joshua E. Bardavid will file motions in two federal courts today for immediate release of the Ibrahim family. The first, for Salaheddin Ibrahim, who is being held at Haskell, Texas will be filed in Dallas. The second, for Hanan and her four children, who are being held at the T. Don Hutto prison in Taylor, will be filed later today in Austin. Bardavid will be accompanied by his mentor, Theodore Cox.

In the writ of Habeas Corpus, Bardavid and Cox rehearse the general facts of the “stateless” Palestinian family who came to the USA in 2001 on Jordanian travel papers that have since expired, who were denied asylum in 2004, and who maintained open residency at an address on file with immigration authorities.
Without the procedural exercise of a “bag and baggage letter” that would have ordered the family to leave on its own expense, immigration authorities “went to Petitioners’ home without notice” and detained them all, sending the father to Haskell, the mother and four children to Taylor, and the 2-year-old daughter to her uncle’s home.

Attorneys Bardavid and Cox have recently applied on the family’s behalf for travel to Palestine and Israel. The attorneys argue that it is unlikely that the stateless family will be granted rights to return to Palestine; meanwhile, it is unlawful to hold them in prison.

Meanwhile 15-year-old Hamzah is jailed in a cell by himself, while his sisters Rodain and Maryam (14 and 8 years old) bunk together. Mother Hanan, who is pregnant, shares her cell with 5-year-old Faten.

“Upon information and belief, all Petitioners’ have been yelled at and verbally threatened by the guards at T. Don Hutto,” says the writ. “For example, on several occasions, five-year-old Petitioner FATEN was yelled at and threatened with ‘punishment’ for her failure to ‘stand still’ during the population ‘count,’ which is taken four-times per day.”

The two youngest children, Faten and Maryam “sob uncontrollably on a near-daily basis, complain of nightmares, and exhibit symptoms of psychological traumatization.” Yet, “none of the Petitioners have been given access to psychological counseling while incarcerated.”

Some of the more chilling sections of the writ concern the treatment of Hanan:

6.Upon information and belief, Petitioner HANAN has not received the medical treatment appropriate for a woman in her fifth month of pregnancy.

7.Upon information and belief, Petitioner HANAN has been forced to remain standing on numerous occasions, despite complaints that she was tired or in pain.

8.Upon information and belief, on at least one-occasion, Petitioner HANAN was threatened with solitary confinement (and thus, separation with five-year-old Petitioner FATEN) because she complained that she was too tired to participate in the daily 5:30 a.m. showers.

9.Upon information and belief, Petitioner HANAN was not given prenatal vitamins, despite repeated requests, until approximately January 18, 2007.

10.Upon information and belief, there is no obstetrician/gynecologist staffed at T. Don Hutto prison, and thus Petitioner HANAN must be drive approximately two hours away to be examined by a qualified doctor.

11.Upon information and belief, Petitioner HANAN is placed in arm and leg shackles for the duration of her OB/GYN visits.

12.Upon information and belief, the total time for a OB/GYN examination, including travel time is eight hours.

13. Upon information and belief Petitioners HAMZEH, RODAINA, MARYAM, and FATEN have great difficulty during the eight hours they are separated from Petitioner HANAN, and are deeply traumatized by this experience.

14.Upon information and belief, Petitioner HANAN has declined to receive treatment by the OB/GYN due to concerns regarding the impact her absence causes to her minor children.

15.Upon information and belief, Petitioners are not provided with culturally appropriate food (“halal”).

16.Upon information and belief, Petitioners are prohibited by their religion from eating pork, yet some of the meals that are served to them contain pork. As a result, upon information and belief, Petitioners have skipped meals.

Following issues recently pursued by the Texas Civil Rights Project’s demand for seven hours of schooling at Hutto, Bardavid and Cox note that education at the prison is inadequate, and they dismiss corollary claims that the so-called family detention center may be considered something other than prison, quoting a passage from the US Supreme Court 1967 Gault ruling.

The boy is committed to an institution where he may be restrained of liberty for years. It is of no constitutional consequence — and of limited practical meaning — that the institution to which he is committed is called an Industrial School. The fact of the matter is that, however euphemistic the title, a ‘receiving home’ or an ‘industrial school’ for juveniles is an institution of confinement in which the child is incarcerated for a greater or lesser time. His world becomes a building with whitewashed walls, regimented routine and institutional hours. Instead of mother and father and sisters and brothers and friends and classmates, his world is peopled by guards, custodians, [and] state employees….

The section of legal arguments in today’s writ is quite similar to a “request for release” submitted Jan. 24 to the Department of Homeland security. Cox and Bardavid argue that the family’s detention is “arbitrary and capricious,” unconstitutional, and in violation of detention policies that immigration authorities have themselves adopted.

Therefore, argue Cox and Bardavid, the detention of the Ibrahims should be declared “unlawful”and the family should be released “immediately.”

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San Diego to Brownsville and Back: Marcha Migrante II (Feb. 2-18)

Details of Texas Schedule Updated Feb. 15

Note: to help Jay with travel expenses, make a check payable to Jay Johnson, and mail it to 123 Hudson Drive, Del Rio, TX 78840.

Most of the information below is from an email from Jay Johnson-Castro, Jan. 28, 2007; some details have been inserted.

Hola y’all…

Below is the latest schedule for the Marcha Migrante II. As you’ll see, the Border Caravan will leave San Diego on the 2nd and arrive in Brownsville on the 9th. We will be covering the entire 2000 miles of the US-Mexico border in that time…briefly stopping in most of the border cities.

After that…we will be heading up to Farmers Branch and the Hutto prison camp in Taylor , Texas .

We’ll be back in San Diego on the 17th…and on the 18th do the Border Wall-K against the 14 miles of border wall that is being extended there.

A couple of points of clarification. Enrique Morones is the architect and principal coordinator of the Marcha Migrante II. Benigno Peña of the Rio Grande Valley and I are co-coordinators on the Texas portion of the event. Daniel Watman of San Diego is the coordinator of the San Diego Border Wall-K. I’ve copied Enrique, Benigno and Daniel so that y’all can contact them if so desired.

Enrique Morones’ cell number is (619)269-7865.

Benigno Peña’s cell number is (956)793-4405.

Dan Watman’s cell number is (619)994-9716.

My cell # is (830)734-8636.

And…NO! I will NOT be walking for 7500 miles. Whew! No human can do that in three weeks! (:}) I will however, be leaving Del Rio for San Diego this Wednesday, the 31st. I refer to 7500 miles because I have to go from Del Rio to San Diego , then do the 5000 mile caravan loop back to San Diego …and after the Border Wall-K…I do need to come home.

I just hope that by the time I get home…our efforts will have made a difference in the balance of awareness in this country. If we accomplish that…we will affect the future of our country in a positive way…and hopefully therefore…in the entire world. Otherwise…why the hell bother?

Please feel free to pass this on. Most preferred would be that you join us…in making that so desperately needed difference.


P.S. I will be writing you more about Williamson County , Texas . Look for “Deep in the Heartless Texas”. JJJ


The Border Ambassador



Jay J. Johnson-Castro, Sr.

Del Rio, Texas, USA
Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila , Mexico
(830)768-0768 (office & fax)
(830)734-8636 (cell)




Feb 2 1200 noon Border send off San Ysidro depart from the wall ceremony and departure

400pm Holtville Ceremony @ gravesite (tribute to unidentified migrants) 600pm Calexico/Mexicali

Feb 3 Early Breakfast Yuma … Phoenix Early afternoon (Support Phoenix National Activist Meeting) & Evening Service

Feb. 4 Tucson/Douglas (Tribute to Francisco Javier Dominguez)

Feb. 5 El Paso/Juarez

5:00 p.m. Reception at main plaza by El Paso Mayor John Cook

Feb 6 Presidio/Redford

Depart El Paso at 9 a.m.

Presidio, 12:30 pm, 45 minute stop. Depart 1:15

Redford, 1:30 p.m. (Tribute to Kiki Hernandez) Depart 3 p.m.

Lajitas, 4:15 p.m. Protest closure of Paso Lajitas and Boquillas del Carmen crossings

Lodging and meals at Lajitas Resort; host, Daniel Hostetler, CEO, Lajitas Resort

Mayor: Clay Henry the goat

Feb 7 Del Rio/Acuna

Depart Lajitas 9 a.m.

Langtry, 1:30. Judge Roy Bean Visitor’s Center ‘pit’ stop.

Del Rio, 3 p.m.; Reception by Mayor Elfrain Valdez at international bridge

Wall-k international bridge to Ciudad Acuna

Fiesta en la plaza by Ciudad Acuna Mayor Lenin Perez

Feb 8 Eagle Pass/Laredo/Zapata/Roma/Rio Grande City/Mission

Depart Del Rio 9 a.m.

Eagle Pass 10 a.m.; 30 minute stop with Mayor Chad Foster; depart 10:30 a.m.

Laredo, 12:30 p.m. 60 minute lunch stop with Mayor Raul Salinas. Depart 1:30

Zapata, 2:30. 15 minute stop with Judge Rosalba Guerra. Depart 2:45

Roma, 3:30 p.m. 30 minute stop. Depart 4 p.m.

Rio Grande City, 4:30 p.m. 30 minute stop. Depart 5 p.m.

Mission, 5:30 p.m. Mass at 5:30 at historic mission grounds on Rio Grande,

Hosted by Father Roy. Cook out. Camping and bunkhouse

Feb 9 McAllen/Weslaco/SanBenito/Harlingen/Brownsville

Depart Mission, 9 a.m.

McAllen, 9:15. 60 minute stop with Mayor Richard Cortez. Depart 10:15

Pharr, 10:30. 30 minute stop with Mayor Polo Palacios. Depart 11 a.m.

Weslaco, 11:15. 30 minute stop with Mayor Joe Sanchez. Depart 11:45

Harlingen 12:15. 30 minute stop at Travel Visitors Center. Depart 12:45

San Benito, 1 p.m. 30 minute stop. Depart 1:30

Brownsville, 2 p.m. Reception, refreshments and press conference. Host, Mayor Eddie Trevino

Feb 10 Eagle Pass (Comision de Asuntos Fronterizos)

Feb 11 (open) Possibly Farmers Branch

Feb 12 Taylor (Hutto prison camp vigil) 5:30 pm

Feb 13 San Antonio (support Border Working Group meetings) & events in afternoon

Feb 14 New Mexico (TBA)

Feb 15 New Mexico (TBA)

Feb 16 Nogales / Los Angeles

Feb 17 San Diego

(Feb 17 1230-330pm “ALL PEOPLE’S IMMIGRATION HEARING” updates by Border Angles, Comision de Derechos Humanos, Gente Unidas & Si Se Puede Coalition)

Note (added Feb. 15) Due to rain and flooding at our original site, Border Field State Park, the People’s Immigration Hearing on Satureday, 2/17, from 12:00

We will still have speakers and testimonials from Tijuana, so this is still a truly binational event. It will feature not only the voices of immigrants, but plans to fight against raids, deportations, no-match letter firings, and racist hate crimes.

Feb 18 Border Walk (updates by Dan Watman of San Diego & Jay J. Johnson -Castro of Del Rio )

(Special events will take place at various locations during MARCHA MIGRANTE II…vigils, community forums, rallies, educational outreach, protests, meetings…WE WANT TO HEAR MIGRANTS STORIES ON WHY WE NEED IMMIGRATION REFORM…please bring your stories (letters…videos…testimonials…to the site in your area…so we can take to DC) MARCHA MIGRANTE ORGANIZOR & UPDATES Enrique Morones (619) 269-7865

MIGRANT MARCH II (February 2-17, 2006) San Diego to Brownsville to San Diego

“MIGRANT MARCH I” was a huge success as a caravan of vehicles crossed the country San Diego to DC and back (February 2-28, 2006) demanding justice for the migrants, no more deaths, asking the communities to take to the street and march against 4437 & support humane and comprehensive immigration reform. In the Spring immediately following MARCHA MIGRANTE I, ( 5 million people marched ! )

MARCHA MIGRANTE II will again start February 2 (anniversary of
Guadalupe/Hidalgo treaty an
d the day of the Candelaria) from San Diego, this time instead of crossing country, they will cross the entire US/MEXICO Border, from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas and back (Feb 2 – 17, 2007) which will culminate with an ALL PEOPLE’S IMMIGRATION HEARING in San Diego on February 17.

The caravan will gather stories along the border journey and share these stories at the February 17th even. Later will take stories directly to Washington DC as “we want humane and comprehensive immigration reform now!, we marched, we voted and now that the Democrats are in control of the house we want action” states Enrique Morones of BORDER ANGELS & GENTE UNIDA the originator of the MARCHA’S MIGRANTE.

MARCHA MIGRANTE II is finalizing plans for this historic trek and welcomes others to join in participation, “this is as grass roots as grass roots gets and its up to the people to say where, when and what we will do during the “MARCH/CARAVAN”.

MARCHA MIGRANTE II has scheduled special tributes to Oscar Garcia Barrios in San Diego (steps from where he was shot at San Ysidro port of entry May 18, 2006), Douglas, Arizona (where Francisco Javier Dominguez Rivera was shot and killed by border patrol earlier this month) and in Redford, Texas a tribute to Esquivel Hernandez (shot by Marines in 1997)

“MARCHA MIGRANTE I, was a huge success and we want to thanks all that supported us, this year has again generated tremendous interest and we are looking forward to visiting communities along the entire 10 state US/MEXICO border, on both sides of the border, join us”. Enrique Morones

For more info or to support:

Border Angels
PO Box 86598
San Diego CA 92138
(619) 269-7865

Detention Uncategorized

Texas Prison Bid'ness Reviews Top Five Stories of 2007

They say the stories are ranked in no particular order, but we kinda like that Nicole, Bob, and Judy call the Hutto story number one.

If you haven’t been to Texas Prison Bid’ness, go look!