Debates, round two: what did you think?

Deadline: sooner is better than later – What did you think of the second round of debates? Who tackled the issues head-on and who ducked? Who said what you wanted to hear and whose ideas came up short? Who do you think should drop out now?

What you can do:

Tell the candidates your opinions. If we want the best possible candidates, we need to tell them – and keep telling them – what we want, including what we like and what we don’t like in what we’re hearing from them.

To refresh your recollection, here are the candidates who debated each night, in alphabetical order:

  • Night 1, Tuesday, July 30: Steve Bullock, Pete Buttigieg, John Delaney, Amy Klobuchar, John Hickenlooper, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson
  • Night 2, Wednesday, July 31: Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Bill de Blasio, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Jay Inslee, Andrew Yang

We’ve made it easy for you to contact the candidates. Click on their names in the alphabetical list below to get to their campaign websites, which have ways you can contact them. Or contact them on Facebook or twitter. Tell your friends to speak up, too.

And leave a comment on this article to let US know what you think!

Fantastic, and not-so-fantastic, candidates, and where to find them (candidates’ names are links to their campaign websites):

Photo of July 30 debate watch party by IEB Governance Committee member Linh Nguyen

and furthermore … Debates, round two

Deadline: through July 31, and after – Ah, those good old innocent days of the first Democratic Presidential debates, before part of our country was telling another part to go back where they came from. But seriously folks, a few things have changed since the first set of debates, so we’ve updated our Primary Primer for you. Whether you have a favorite candidate or not, check out where the candidates stand on the big issues, and get in touch with the candidates if you want them to say more or if you don’t like what they’re saying. This is the time for us to make our voices heard, while everything is still up in the air.

What you can do:

Let’s call (or email, or tweet, or your platform of choice) the candidates on it:

Step one: Check out their positions.

Politico has this guide to the issues, searchable by candidate, issue or category. (Caveat: the site says it’s current as of July 17, but it still lists Eric Swalwell, who bowed out on July 8). You can also check the candidates’ websites to see what they say about your key issues. Scroll down to the end of this article for links to all of the candidates’ websites and social media. A tip: the easier an issue is to find on a candidate’s site, and the more detail the site devotes to it, the more important that issue is to the candidate.

Step two: Tell the candidates what you think.

To say what we all know: Candidates have been known to change their positions based on pressure. Are you pleased with the priority they’re giving your top issues and what they’re saying? Thank them. Have they failed to address an issue? Demand that they address it, and tell them what you hope they’ll say. Have they taken a position you don’t like? Tell them. Especially tell the candidates if their position, or lack of a position, makes the difference between you supporting them, opposing them, or considering supporting someone else. After all, it’s all about getting your vote!

We’ve made it easy for you to contact the candidates. Click on their names in the list below to get to their campaign websites, which have ways you can contact them; we also list their campaigns’ facebook pages and twitter accounts. And try this cool tool from Indivisible National: you record a video telling the presidential candidates what you want to hear from the debate stage, and they’ll format and subtitle it and send you a link that you can spread by email and on your social media. Tell your friends to speak up, too!

Step three: Tune in: watch the debates.

The schedule for Round Two:

  • Night 1, Tuesday, July 30, 5 PM Pacific Time: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Steve Bullock, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan, & Marianne Williamson
  • Night 2, Wednesday, July 31, 5 PM Pacific Time: Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Andrew Yang, Michael Bennet, Bill de Blasio, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, & Jay Inslee

Watch the debates with us! We’re co-hosting a Big Screen Democratic Debate Watch Party from 5 to 8 PM both nights at Spats in Berkeley, along with our friends from the East Bay Activist Alliance and Berkeley Democratic Club.

Or on the first night only, Tues. July 30, watch at Everett & Jones, Jack London Square, 126 Broadway, Oakland. This event is hosted by Oakland/East Bay Coordinated GOTV (Get Out the Vote) Team, and co-hosted by Swing Left, Commit to Flip Blue, and others.  Doors open at 4 PM. RSVP here but please note that RSVP’ing doesn’t guarantee you a seat. FREE.

Don’t want to go out? CNN is hosting the debates this time, and they’ll stream live on CNN.com, CNN apps for iOS and Android, and on the CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, and Android TV. Invite friends over and have your own debate watch party! Here’s a great resource from Indy National.

Want to watch/re-watch all or part of the first set of debates? You can see the first night here and the second night here.

Fantastic, and not-so-fantastic, candidates, and where to find them (candidates’ names are links to their campaign websites):

Graphic, Lincoln – Douglas, by XKCD

There’s no ICE in SANCTUARY

Like most people in the East Bay, we in Indivisible East Bay were shocked to learn that Oakland Airport has been the site of thousands of deportations. Hidden in Plain Sight: ICE Air and the Machinery of Mass Deportation,” the extraordinary report by the University of Washington’s Center for Human Rights, reveals that almost 27,000 people were deported through Oakland Airport between 2010 and 2018. IEB spoke to the report’s authors in consultation with Centro Legal de la Raza and the Asian Law Caucus, and we learned that it gets even worse: 6,080 of those removals were potentially problematic. 313 of those deported still had pending immigration proceedings, 13 were removed despite having deferred action or some other benefit that should have blocked their deportation, and 5,754 of them underwent forms of deportation such as expedited removal, with no chance to appear before an immigration judge. And on July 22 2019, the White House expanded fast-track deportation regulations, meaning even more people nationwide will be deported without due process protections.

Both Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and the Port of Oakland, under whose jurisdiction the airport falls, have said that they had no prior knowledge that these flights were occurring. Mike Zampa, spokesperson for the Port of Oakland, issued the following statement:

The Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport understand community concerns over this issue. We have been, and will remain in compliance with sanctuary city laws. No Port or Airport employees were part of any immigration investigation, detention or arrest procedures in connection with possible immigration law violations.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement claims that the deportation flights out of Oakland stopped in October 2018, but there is no guarantee that they will not resume in the future. And while the Port states that they are in compliance with Oakland’s sanctuary city laws, it is unclear what that means – or what changes they will make in the future to “strengthen (their) commitment to the sanctuary city policy,” as Mayor Schaaf reported. To further complicate matters, while the members of the Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners are appointed by the mayor of Oakland, and the Port maintains it’s a public agency and steward of public assets, it is not clear how the Board holds itself accountable.

We have some ideas.

If you’re a resident of Oakland, call Mayor Libby Schaaf’s office at 510-238-3141 or email officeofthemayor@oaklandnet.com:

My name is ________, I’m a resident of Oakland and a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m asking Mayor Schaaf to hold the Port of Oakland accountable in their response to the deportations that occurred at the Oakland Airport.  If the Port is truly committed to the sanctuary city policy, they should be transparent in how that is upheld and maintained.

In addition, IEB members are planning a presentation to the Port of Oakland itself, complete with a series of asks concerning public transparency, detailed information about the Port’s current and past relationship with ICE, and a request for an investigation into how the airport has handled past deportation flights, including any rights violations that may have occurred. We’ll keep you up to date!

Photo credit: Entrance to Oakland Airport BART Station, by Weegee010

Tell your MoCs: read Mueller’s Report, and act!

Update July 25, 2019 – If you missed any of Robert Mueller’s testimony, here are some great quick ways to get in the know:

You can also watch the Mueller Book Club’s Facebook Live streams of the testimony, and analysis:

 

Deadline: now and ongoing –

Every American should read what Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation unearthed about Russian election interference, the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia, and Trump’s obstruction of the investigation. And that goes DOUBLE for our Members of Congress, who have the duty to hold the current occupant and executive branch accountable.

Mueller’s only public statement, on May 29, 2019, was brief. Here are the main takeaways, and this article boils it down to ten points in plain English. Mueller will testify publicly before the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees on July 24, the first time he’ll face public questioning about the investigation. There are several things you can do to prepare so we can best analyze and amplify Mueller’s testimony, and counter Attorney General Barr’s lies and spin about the Report:  

1. First, find out whether your Members of Congress have read the full Mueller Report. Enter your address at this Common Cause tool; thank your MoCs if they have read it – or urge them to read it if they haven’t; and urge them to keep fighting to hold Trump accountable! Find your MoCs’ contact info at the end of this article.

2. Then – haven’t read the Mueller Report yourself? Get it for free:

3. Whether you’ve read it or not, join the Mueller Book Club. They’re offering two ways to watch the hearings:

  • Join the Club’s Zoom conferences during both segments of the live testimony, including a live stream of the testimony:
    • Click here to register for the Judiciary Committee segment (conference will begin at 5:15 AM PT; testimony begins at 5:30 AM)
    • Click here to register for the Intelligence Committee segment (conference will begin at 8:45 AM PT; testimony begins at 9 AM)
    • Click here to register for the 5:30 PM post-testimony analysis  with policy and legal experts to discuss the key takeaways from the day and next steps moving forward!
  • Or watch the Club’s Facebook Live stream of the testimony at their FB page.
  • You can also see past Mueller Book Club discussion videos.
  • Spread the word by submitting a letter to the editor! Use the Club’s tool to write a letter and find contact info for your local newspapers.

4. Next, want more background and more actions you can take? Read our earlier articles:

5. Last but not least — did you miss the debut of our Mueller (mis)fortune cookies at the Indivisible East Bay July 4 booth in El Cerrito? Get one while they last at our July 28 All Members Meeting, 1-3 PM, Sports Basement, Berkeley!)

 

CONTACT INFO FOR OUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS:

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553
  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
  • Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065

Graphic © Mueller Book Club

 

Immigration Roundtable with Rep. Swalwell

On July 8, Andrea Lum and LeAnn Kanowsky of Indivisible East Bay attended CA-15 Representative Eric Swalwell’s roundtable discussion on the situation at our border and immigration detention centers. Eden United Church of Christ hosted the event, and representatives from Indivisible Livermore, Tiburcio Vazquez Health Center, other religious organizations, and legal aid agencies who provide services to immigrants were invited to participate in the hour-long discussion. Swalwell’s goal was to share his recent experience visiting the detention centers, discuss how we can help those in need, and collect information to support legislation in Congress to improve treatment of those crossing the border and seeking asylum.

During Swalwell’s recent visit with several other members of Congress to Homestead detention center in Florida, officials refused to open, let alone distribute, boxes of donated soap and toothbrushes. He noted that no one from the delegation visit was allowed to enter the detention center, as the officials at Homestead cited a need for two weeks’ advance notice.

The legal aid advocates at the meeting confirmed that the situation at the border and at the detention centers is “chaotic” and that the attitude by the current administration has encouraged bad behavior by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Once detainees have established “credible fear” with CBP, the interview is supposed to end and ICE should be involved. However, the legal advocates stated that immigrants often report CBP continuing to probe for information, creating a hostile environment. In addition, indigenous immigrants who do not speak Spanish (such as Maya people from Guatemala and Honduras), are severely disadvantaged by a lack of translators and unaware of the need to assert fear as the first process of seeking asylum.

Swalwell said the House Judiciary Committee, of which he is a member, will soon hold hearings on how to hold ICE and CBP officials accountable for the inhumane and criminal treatment of those in custody and stated that going forward, the next administration may need to completely remake ICE in order to clean up the “poisoned pool” of its employees.

When asked what we could do to help, Swalwell said that the upcoming Lights for Liberty events are important for boosting awareness. The following organizations are also worthy of support:

  • Immigrant Family Defense Fund: Legal and community resources for families in Alameda County public schools
  • The Florence Project: AZ legal service provider for adults and children
  • Keep Tuscon Together: AZ project that assists community members being deported
  • County Rapid Response Networks need our support, and we need to encourage our County Supervisors to commit to providing long term funding to these organizations.

At the conclusion of the meeting, we met an immigrant mother and her three children who are awaiting arrival of their father who is still in custody even though he won his asylum case. The administration is detaining him pending appeal, in spite of federal regulations which prohibit this.

Photograph (top) (c) Rep. Swalwell’s office, from December 2018 Town Hall

The administration is causing the border crisis

This article was edited on July 17 to reflect updates since its original publication.

The administration is right about there being an immigration crisis, but it isn’t for the reasons they’re telling us: It’s because THEY created it. And they’re making it worse by quietly instituting new administrative policies that will make conditions worse for more people, and deny the right to apply for asylum to more people.

Tell your Members of Congress: Don’t let this administration get away with this. All of our MoCs care about this issue, and they all need to raise their voices and show leadership on these new and renewed threats. And one in particular – CA-15 Representative Eric Swalwell, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee – can do even more.

Read on for more background, and scroll down for call scripts and contact info.

Crisis #1: The Kids:

On July 1, advocates for immigrant children filed a lawsuit to block a new policy that would give US Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials the power to decide that children designated as unaccompanied minors should lose that status. The suit names the federal Department of Homeland Security and its acting secretary, Kevin McAleenan, as well as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and its acting director, Ken Cuccinelli as defendants, and seeks class-action status and a temporary restraining order.

Unaccompanied minors have special protections in asylum applications, including being granted an asylum interview rather than having to appear in court. In other words: under an unannounced policy change, officials will quietly be able to make it far more difficult for tens of thousands of children to apply for asylum, without the public ever knowing. (This, by the way, is why we need investigative journalism and better whistleblower protection laws…)

According to the LA Times:

Federal asylum officers have been rushing to process as many unaccompanied minor applications as possible before the change takes effect Sunday, USCIS personnel told The Times, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect against professional retaliation.

Crisis #2: The Crowds:

Seems the administration is happy to blame a lot of things – from family separations to inhumane conditions – on the fact that there are enormous crowds of would-be immigrants at the southern border. Turns out, the administration itself has created those crowds.

As NPR recently explained:

In May 2018, US Customs and Border Protection officials began a practice known as “metering” across the southern border. This means that officials are stationed at official ports of entry along the border to notify arriving asylum-seekers that US border crossings are full due to “limited processing capacity” and they will have to wait in Mexico until space becomes available. Previously, officials processed all asylum-seekers that showed up at crossings.

Thus, instead of being processed promptly at border crossings, families are forced to wait in Mexico in haphazard “camps” – or on the streets – where they are vulnerable to threats and exploitation. Some choose instead to cross the border between the ports of entry to seek asylum and are apprehended by the CBP patrol agents and brought to CBP field stations. There, children not traveling with a parent or legal guardian – or whose parents are arbitrarily deemed “dangerous” – are separated from adult family members. Ironically, even the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have called the situation at the border a “humanitarian crisis”, and it’s unlikely that anyone would seriously disagree. The union for federal asylum workers has brought a lawsuit claiming the “wait in Mexico” program is “fundamentally contrary to the moral fabric of our Nation.” 

People seeking asylum have a legal right to do so in the country where they seek to be. The administration insists they aren’t doing anything wrong: according to CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, “It’s not turning people away, it’s asking them to wait.” Just – not in the United States.

What you can do:

Tell all your Members of Congress:

My name is ________, my zip code is ________ and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’ve heard about about the new policy that would let USCIS officers strip migrant children of their status as unaccompanied minors and make it harder for them to apply for asylum. I want _____ to speak out against this and to do everything possible against all of the administration’s efforts to prevent people from seeking asylum in this country.

If your Representative is Eric Swalwell:

In Indivisible East Bay’s very recent meetings with Rep. Swalwell, he has expressed great concern for the plight of migrants, and strong opposition to the administration’s immigration policies. Rep. Swalwell sits on the House Judiciary Committee, which on July 9 announced that it is marking up a resolution “to authorize subpoenas for documents and testimony from current and former Administration officials relating to the Trump Administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy and other family separation policies and practices; detention of children and families; and discussions about or offers of presidential pardons to Department of Homeland Security officials or employees.” When you call Rep. Swalwell, also say:

I want to thank Rep. Swalwell for making this a priority issue. I’m happy that the House Judiciary Committee is investigating the administration’s immigration policies, and I want Rep. Swalwell to make sure that this investigation includes the new USCIS policy that will threaten the well-being of children seeking asylum, and the metering of migrants and asylum seekers at the southern border. I hope he’ll do everything possible to call to account those responsible for the terrible situations in the camps and to reverse the current inhumane policies.

MoC contact info:

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553
  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
  • Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065

 

IEB resists at worldONE Festival

Janis Hashe contributed to this article

(Mis)fortune cookies! Selfie-ready resistance picture frames! A DIY “Impeachment Tree”! Henry the Indivisi-bulldog! Indivisible East Bay’s booth at the July 4th El Cerrito/worldONE Fair had it all, and more! Check out this slideshow with great photos by Mary Martin DeShaw, a volunteer photographer with Pro Bono Photography.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A constant stream of people visited the booth, which was staffed by enthusiastic IEB and Indivisible Kensington members organized by IEB Governance Committee member and outreach team co-lead Toni. Biggest hit – everyone reading their (mis)fortunes from specially made cookies containing actual quotes from the Mueller Report. CA-11 team members Alice and Matt had the cookies made to order, after poring through the Report for quotes short enough to fit on the fortune slips! (Photos by Alice Towey).

These are the Mueller (mis)fortunes, which one did you get? (Or if you missed out, get one at our July 28 All Members Meeting, 1-3 PM, Sports Basement, Berkeley.) 

“While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

“The investigation also identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump Campaign.”

“McGahn recalled the President telling him ‘Mueller has to go’ and ‘Call me back when you do it.'”

“The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.”

“… several individuals affiliated with the Trump Campaign lied to the Office, and to Congress, about their interactions with Russian-affiliated individuals… “

“REDACTED”

Convinced by IEB member George to declaim their (mis)fortunes on camera, cookie readers included State Senator Nancy Skinner – watch the video! Skinner also posed for a photo with a picture frame reading “Persisting…and Resisting!” 

IEB booth at the El Cerrito worldONE July 4 Fair, photo by Heidi Rand
Senator Skinner with IEB members Denise & George, photo by Heidi Rand

Many fairgoers eagerly expressed their opinions by posting “leaves” (comments) on the Impeachment Tree board, created by IEB and Alameda4Impeachment (A4I) member Larry.

IEB booth at the El Cerrito worldONE July 4 Fair, photo by Heidi Rand
“Indivisible Tree”, photo by Heidi Rand

We also handed out several flyers asking people to take direct action to: 

  • Urge Governor Newson and Attorney General Becerra to enforce California’s sanctuary law (see our article to take the same action);
  • Ask their mayor to speak out against the administration’s anti-immigrant policies and ensure that no local funds or resources are used in cooperation with ICE/CBP raids (see our article to take the same action);
  • Help pressure corporations that are profiting from doing business with ICE and CBP in spite of human rights violations at immigrant detention centers (see our article to take the same action);
  • Make their voice heard on impeachment (see our article to take the same action).

Our booth was honored by visits from some notables – Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia expressed his support and enjoyed a (mis)fortune cookie. And the IEB July 4 Fair Judges awarded MOST notable appearance to Henry the Indivisi-bulldog, who was accompanied by his humans, Tom and CA-11 team co-lead Kristen. Henry graciously posed for paparazzi, who shot pix of him behind the very popular selfie-frames designed by CA-11 team member Janis, including “Persisting  . . . and Resisting!!” and “Make America Cake Again” which featured a cake illustration frosted with “Dump Trump 2020.” 

IEB booth at the El Cerrito worldONE July 4 Fair, photo by Heidi Rand
Henry, the Indivisi-bulldog, with Tom, photo by Heidi Rand

A fabulous time was had by all – check out George’s videos of visitors reading their Mueller (mis)fortunes, here, here, and here — and more photos by GC member Heidi in this slideshow:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Janis Hashe is a freelance writer/editor/teacher/theatre person. She has been politically active in Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chattanooga and now Richmond. Her deepest personal commitments include fighting climate change, ending factory farming and overturning Citizens United.

Photographs by Mary Martin DeShaw, Pro Bono Photo, Heidi Rand, and Alice Towey

 

 

 

Show your resistance colors by volunteering at Indivisible East Bay’s booth at the fun-tastic City of El Cerrito/worldOne Fourth of July Festival on Thursday, July 4, 2019, 10 AM to 6 PM. All you need is a basic familiarity with Indivisible and a friendly smile, and our experienced IEB members will help you with anything else. Non-El Cerrito folks welcome, kids welcome, friends welcome, folks with disabilities welcome (the event is wheelchair accessible) – you get the idea, everyone is welcome. We especially need volunteers between noon and 4 PM. To sign up for shifts or if you have questions, email Outreach co-lead Toni at tonihenle@gmail.com or message her on IEB’s Slack: @toni_henle. Read more (and see great photos from last year!) at our article.

 

Summer Impeachment Pop-Up [see our article about this great event!]

Pitch in to help IEB and co-hosts Alameda4Impeachment at our Impeach Trump event in Oakland on Sat. June 15, 1-3 PM, on the plaza outside 1301 Clay St., Oakland. We’re planning a fun, creative and family-friendly event to inspire, inform, and activate people to urge the House to open an impeachment inquiry.

  • Help us unload and set up in 30-minute shifts from 11 am until 1 pm; and clean up & tear down at 3 pm.
  • Spread the word on social media – follow IEB on facebook and share our event. On twitter, follow A4I and IEB — and RT our posts. At the event, post your great photos of the activities with the hashtag #ImpeachTrump. Also tag @IndivisibleEB 
  • Feed the resistance: bring some peaches to share as snacks! 

To help out, or for more info, email us at alameda4impeachment@gmail.com and/or join the #impeachment channel on Slack.

Photograph of IEB’s July 4th booth by Heidi Rand

Tell Big Business: No Cruelty for Profit!

By Alice Towey

It’s no secret that conditions at border detention facilities are dangerous and inhumane. Reports detail overcrowding, degrading treatment, and lack of access to food, sanitation, and medical treatment. The situation is even more dire for children who are separated from their families, locked in cages, and left without proper care. Denied basic essentials like soap and toothbrushes, these children are at risk of severe health issues, and may suffer lasting trauma as a result of their imprisonment. 

The conditions are shocking, but some CEOs can’t see past the chance to make a buck. Numerous companies have shown themselves willing to profit from human misery, continuing to do business with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in spite of the human rights violations. 

Fortunately, not everyone at these companies is willing to look the other way, and hundreds of employees have shown their moral courage by standing up for what’s right. On June 26, 2019, hundreds of employees of home furnishings company Wayfair staged a walkout to protest the company’s contract to furnish a youth detention center in Texas. Similarly, last year over 600 Salesforce employees signed a letter asking their CEO to “re-examine” the company’s contracts with CBP. 

It’s time for us to stand up as well, to tell the leadership of these companies that we see them and we will hold them accountable. Make no mistake – we want immigrant children to have beds, but we want them to have beds that aren’t in a cage. The end goal is to close the camps and release people who are exercising their basic human right (protected by international law) to seek asylum. Help apply pressure by letting these companies know that you’re watching and that you won’t tolerate their complicity in human rights abuses.

What to do:

Contact the companies doing business with ICE and CBP. Here are a sample message and below that, contacts for several corporations that have active contracts with ICE and CBP. Please email them to ask them to stop profiting from human misery. 

What to say: 

Please use as these message points but rewrite them, choose among them, reorder them to create your own message. Most companies discount or even disregard numerous emails that come in with the same or overly similar language.

If you email, be sure to include your name and your city and state.

  • I’m writing to ask that your company take immediate action to show its support for basic human rights. 
  • I understand that [COMPANY NAME] has active contracts with ICE and/or CBP, the two federal agencies involved in separating children from their families, terrorizing immigrant communities, and detaining people in inhumane conditions on the southern border. 
  • If your company has any involvement in enabling the US government to pursue a racist, inhumane policy to separate children from their parents and house them in what amount to cages and internment camps, I implore you to stop that involvement right now. 
  • At this moment in US history, we cannot rely on our elected representatives to do the right thing. 
  • Be a leader, take the moral high ground and lead the way. 
  • Don’t put profits over morality.
  • Please be on the right side of history and end your company’s involvement in these horrifying practices. 

Who’s making a buck off human misery:

Wayfair: In spite of the walkout mentioned above, Wayfair management insists it will fulfill a $200,000 order from BCFS, a government contractor that manages detention centers. 

Microsoft: ICE uses Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform for handling data. Microsoft had a $19.4 million contract with ICE as of 2018. 

Deloitte: $103 million in contracts with ICE, including $4 million which directly involve “detention compliance and removals.” 

Salesforce: CEO Marc Benioff apparently “struggled” with the decision to keep a contract with CBP, but keep it he did

General Dynamics: General Dynamics contracts with the Office of Refugee Resettlement. In fiscal year 2017, General Dynamics had $15 billion in government contracts and had faced $280.3 million penalties for 23 misconduct cases since 1995. 

More ways you can help!

Want to do more? This July 3, 2019 Sludge article lists dozens of nonprofit shelters and some companies that are profiting from detaining and transporting migrant children – contact them as well.

Alice Towey is a Civil Engineer specializing in water resource management. She lives in El Cerrito, where she and her husband are active in Indivisible CA-11 United.

Photograph © Office of Inspector General Report July 2, 2019 “Management Alert – DHS Needs to Address Dangerous Overcrowding and Prolonged Detention of Children and Adults in the Rio Grande Valley (Redacted)”

Lights for Liberty

Deadline: July 12 (but don’t stop there!) – The struggle for liberty didn’t end on July 4 (as if we ever thought it would …) On July 12, 2019, thousands of people across the country will pour into the streets and into their own front yards to protest the inhumane conditions faced by migrants as part of Lights for Liberty: A Nationwide Vigil to End Human Detention Camps.

Indivisible East Bay is proud to join the wide coalition of groups presenting Lights for Liberty events! We will co-host an event on Friday July 12 from 8 to 9 PM with Together We Will-Albany Berkeley and El Cerrito Progressives. Gather at the University Avenue Pedestrian Bridge over Interstate 80, Berkeley. Please bring a candle for the vigil – we will have a few. Large signs are preferred so cars on the freeway can read them until it gets dark. Signs should reflect the inhumane conditions of refugees, detentions, and camps. After dark, we will light our candles against this darkness in our country.

The vigil will occur on the pedestrian crossing over I-80, not on University Avenue. Parking options: there’s a dirt parking lot on West Frontage Road, just south of University Ave. From there, you can walk or roll up to the pedestrian bridge. There’s also a little parking on the east side of I-80, near the Berkeley Animal Services building.

Can’t make our event? You’ve got a LOT more choices of events in the East Bay and San Francisco (most on Friday, July 12, a few on Saturday, July 13). Find a local event here and keep checking as more are being added. Or organize one of your own!

Graphic by Lights for Liberty

Election Security IS National Security

Deadline: today and ongoing – If there’s one thing former Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been unequivocal about, it’s foreign interference in our elections – the subject of the entire first part of the Special Counsel’s Report, and a theme Mueller emphasized repeatedly in his May 27 statement

The Report lists many forms of election interference, but one challenge stands out: election security doesn’t get enough funding. The U.S. spends $650 to $700 billion on defense – that’s ¾ of a trillion dollars; $55 billion on homeland security; and $16 billion on cybersecurity in the defense department alone. Yet somehow we can’t manage to find more than $380 million to budget for election security, and we don’t even actually spend that. Election experts have been calling for more funding for years, but the calls have become much more urgent since the 2016 election made it clear how much of a threat we face.

The Mueller Report wasn’t news to those who’ve been paying attention: our intelligence agencies reported that Russia interfered in our 2016 elections as early as January 2017, and recently stated that Russia and China intend to do so again in 2020. To counteract these threats, a report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine calls for all local, state and and national elections to use only “human-readable paper ballots” by 2020, and security experts at Stanford listed 45 recommendations emphasizing the need for a multi-disciplinary nationwide effort.

This is as much an issue of national security as an armed threat. If we spend hundreds of billions on military expenditures and militarizing our borders but leave our elections undefended, we’re lowering the front gates while leaving the side doors wide open. Even worse, we do so knowing we were attacked in the past, are currently being attacked, and will be attacked in the future.

The House of Representatives is taking the issue seriously: the House Appropriations Committee voted for an appropriations bill with $600 million for election security to the proposed budget for 2020 (see page 70 of this PDF of the budget), and this money was part of H.R. 3351, the budget bill which the full House passed by a vote of 224 to 196 on June 26. The Senate is another story, however, repeatedly stalling election security bills.  

What you can do:

1. Contact your Members of Congress to urge them to treat election security funding as a national security issue.

What to say if your representative is Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) or Barbara Lee (CA-13):

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m calling to thank Rep. _________ for voting for $600 million for election security in the 2020 budget. I’d like them to speak out publicly to persuade the public and their colleagues that election security funding is an issue of national security.

  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
  • Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661

What to say if your representative is Eric Swalwell (CA-13):

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m disappointed that Rep. Swalwell did not vote on H.R. 3351, which funds $600 million for election security in the 2020 budget. I’d like him to speak out publicly to persuade the public and his colleagues that election security funding is an issue of national security.

  • Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065

What to say to our Senators:

  • To Senator Dianne Feinstein, on the Senate Appropriations and Intelligence Committees (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841:

My name is _____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. The House Appropriations Committee has authorized $600 million for election security. I’d like the Senator to use her position on the Appropriations Committee to resist any attempts to remove election security money from the final budget, and also work to persuade her Senate colleagues that election security funding is an issue of national security.

  • To Senator Kamala Harris, on the Senate Intelligence Committee (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553:

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. The House has voted to authorize $600 million for election security in the 2020 budget. I’d like the Senator to work to persuade her colleagues that election security funding is an issue of national security.

2. Spread the word to people in other states, particularly those whose Senators are on the Senate Appropriations Committee (they will decide if election security funding remains in the budget) or the Senate Intelligence Committee (they’re in the best position to understand the details of foreign interference in 2016 and 2018).

Photo of Vladimir Putin by the Kremlin