Helping with the Refugee Crisis at the Border: A Photo Essay

On Friday, August 10th, the day after the Murrieta rally in Austin, my husband Andrés and I went to help the church of Cristo Rey pack up donations for the refugees. We joined a group from the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition, spending six hours on our feet, sorting and moving clothes and a few toys, so that we could pack up a truck they were renting to take to McAllen, Texas.

It was over 100 degrees all day, but luckily, we were not outside that long. I kept thinking about the refugees as they walked and walked in the heat.


The truck was filled top to bottom with donated clothes. So was our Ford Expedition behind it. 

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Jack Longmate: Goals of COCAL & the Program4Change

I am a great believer in the Program for Change, which is presently being used effectively at Vancouver Community College. All adjunct faculty can implement this program in as little or as long a time as needed to achieve equality. Hence, I am presenting Frank Cosco & Jack Longmate’s program, with an excellent exposé written by Jack Longmate.

This is not just theoretical. It is tried and true. Please read & share widely! And if you want equality at your university, do more than share: implement!

Thank you to Vanessa Vaile from Precarious Faculty for her technical assistance, always! 
Ana M. Fores Tamayo, Adjunct Justice

Originally posted to adj-l, September 1, 2014

Thanks to Joe Berry and Helena Worthen for their report about COCAL, “COCAL - A Tri-National Contingent Workforce Self-Organizes to Abolish Contingency" at the Academe blog.

First, I’m delighted to read the words “abolish contingency" that appear in both the title of their report and prominently in the text, "The goal: To abolish contingency itself.”  I hope this speaks for all those attending COCAL and the organizational groups supporting and in liaison with COCAL.  I hope we can all accept this as the goal; it does imply good things and a clear direction for the movement.

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Murrieta Nasties battle Besos, Not Borders

Although this seems a bit backward —starting with our Austin visit before getting back to writing about McAllen (my first piece of the series) it does make sense because, if we had never gone to Austin, we would never have ended up in McAllen. And there we witnessed one of the best examples of people working together, piecing together shards in whatever way they could, in order to help families and children in need.

If you know anything about what is going on with immigration these days, however —with the divisive factions between those who oppose anything brown with those who want to welcome good people, as their own parents, grandparents, or great grandparents were welcomed once— it has become a very heated debate.

So, with the anti-immigration folks from Murrieta stinking up the facts nationally, they have capsulized the bigotry of many.

Even the news does not really know how to report such blatant hatred for children. But just as these people have received their undue publicity —which is what they want, a moment in history— we on the other side decided to call them out, to have them answer their own hypocrisy.


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The Government’s Ultimate labor exploitation


              Artesia Migrants’ Detention Center © Sharita Gruberg

This is the ultimate labor exploitation, & it’s all legit, by the government! NOW tell me that immigrants are not being used and abused? My hair stands on end reading these stories! 

So I am sharing important tidbits of this specific article with you, which I had shared previously on Adjunct Justice, but Vanessa Vaile from @PrecariousFac reminded me of it.
You can check out & read the entire article if you want: Using Jailed Migrants as a Pool of Cheap Labor. And please do not miss the video that comes with it: it’s especially telling.


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McAllen’s Sacred Heart Leads Efforts Helping Refugee Families


            Sacred Heart in McAllen, a few blocks from the bus station

"To see you naked is to recall the Earth" Federico García Lorca

As adjunct activists, we need to remember our collective truth — our nakedness with all its biting candor yet its accurate honesty — and realize that on this earth, we are all in this together: adjunct, dreamer, undocumented — children & parents alike — workers, labor & all unions. 

If we do not stand together as one, what will happen? Wasn’t it Ben Franklin who said “we must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately”? 

I guess no one thought to stand by Lorca, who was executed today, on August 19th, 78 years ago, by nationalist forces under Franco in Spain. Lorca wrote what he believed. His works were banned, yet he continued writing. 

I am not sure whether our truths are liked or not, but frankly, I do not care. 

Like Lorca — like all those who seek out truth — I write about what I see as injustices to be righted. As such, I will be writing a series of blog posts about my experiences on the border these past couple of weeks, and how the people there — the little heroes who are never talked about or praised — are fighting an unjust system and helping real people in need. 

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Are Most Vulnerable Abused? Crime Always Gets a Break


"Shoes beside the train tracks in Ixtepec, Mexico: Migrants pay thousands of dollars per person for the illegal journey across thousands of miles in the care of smuggling networks that in turn pays off government officials, gangs operating on trains and drug cartels controlling the routes north"

I wanted to post about a very interesting phone call I listened to last week, on the root causes of the current child refugee "crisis," and in general, the migration happening through our US southern border. 

But before I did, I thought it was important to read a little bit of a back story: 

‘We deal with torture victims in the Congo and some of these kids have similar stories,’ said Judy London, a lawyer with the Public Counsel’s Immigrants’ Rights Project in Los Angeles. 

‘Kidnappings on the way home from school, being held for ransom, sexual violence. We hadn’t seen the numbers of girls before.”’

"One of the most important coyotes moving immigrants from El Salvador lives in Texas, he said.

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The Complex Issue of the Border Crisis & What We Can Do


                                                                  “La Bestia” © Daily Zone

One of the big problems going on in this humanitarian crisis with the border and refugee children is that — contrary to popular belief — the surge of crossings is down, not up. 

What is up is the media’s alarming yellow journalism, and its insatiable appetite for anything juicy, that might bring parties to strike at each other, to go against each other and begin new fights. 

Of course, immigration brings out the worst in people. Previously, I posted a photograph of a young boy taught so early on to hate his brothers and sisters. How can he do anything but hate by the time he grows up? All he has known is hatred, because that is what his parents have known. His parents were taught that, and those parents before him. It is a vicious cycle. 

We love to see photographs of hatred rather than those of love and help toward others in need. I guess this is why, as adjunct faculty, we identify with these refugee children. We see our own need and want to reach out.


                                     ”Border Patrol Helps Young Refugee” © VOX

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