Mexican Border Officials Deport U.S. Citizens on Eve of Obama’s Visit Students, faith leaders, and community members caught in border conflict
Minutes after midnight on April 28th, eight U.S. citizens from Austin, Texas, were
deported from Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, a Mexican border town opposite Del Rio, Texas.
The Mexican government’s action comes a few days before President Obama’s visit to
Mexico on Thursday to redefine the U.S.-Mexico relationship.1
“We have organized these tours for 14 years and have never experienced anything like
this. We are shocked and outraged,” said Judith Rosenberg, board president of Austin
Tan Cerca de la Frontera (Austin So Close to the Border), a local non-profit.
The deported citizens were on an educational tour organized by ATCF to Ciudad Acuña
to visit the offices of the CFO (Border Workers Committee), a community-based
organization that defends worker and women’s rights on the Mexican side of the border.
As they were sitting down to have lunch, the delegation was surrounded by armed police,
taken to the Mexican immigration office, detained and questioned for 9 hours, then
deported to Del Rio. “We were never given a clear explanation of what charges and
penalties we faced. We were not provided a legal translator and were pressured to sign
some document under threat of being detained for up to 90 days in Saltillo, Coahuila,”
said one deportee, a student at the University of Texas at Austin.
“We got a different kind of educational experience than we expected” said one of the
other deportees, Reverend Kate Rohde of Wildflower Church in Austin. “If the Mexican
Government is putting this kind of pressure on church ladies and students from the U.S.,
just for listening to workers, it is obvious that the Mexican workers we met receive much
worse treatment from their government when they ask for humane working conditions
and wages. We hope that President Obama will raise the issue of worker justice and
independent unions when he meets with Mexico’s President.” The group sent a letter to
Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama asking for their assistance in this
Agentes del Instituto Nacional de Migración deportan a 8 ciudadanos americanos
dias antes de la visita de Obama Estudiantes, miembros de Iglesias y de la comunidad atrapados en conflicto fronterizo
Minutos después de la medianoche del 28 de Abril, 8 ciudadanos estadounidenses de
Austin, Texas fueron deportados de Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, frontera con Del Rio,
Texas. La acción del gobierno mexicano ocurrió solo unos cuantos días antes de la visita
del Presidente Obama a la República Mexicana este jueves para redefinir la relación entre
estos dos países.
“Hemos organizado estos viajes por 14 años y nunca habíamos experimentado algo de
este tipo. Estamos estupefactos e indignados,” dijo Judith Rosenberg, presidente de la
mesa directiva de Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera, una organización civil sin fines de
lucro. Los ciudadanos deportados se encontraban en una visita educativa a Ciudad Acuña
organizada por ATCF para visitar las oficinas del Comité Fronterizo de Obreros, una
organización comunitaria que defiende los derechos de la mujer y del trabajador del lado
mexicano de la frontera.
Mientras se sentaban a comer, la delegación fue rodeada por policías armados, llevados a
las oficinas de migración, detenidos y cuestionados por 9 horas, para después ser
deportados a Del Rio. “Nunca se nos dio una explicación de cuáles eran los cargos y
penas que se nos imponían. No se nos proveyó un traductor y nos presionaron a firmar
documentos bajo la amenaza de ser detenidos en Saltillo por hasta 90 días.” Dijo uno de
los deportados que es estudiante en la Universidad de Texas en Austin.
“Tuvimos una experiencia educativa muy diferente de lo que esperábamos,” dijo otra de
las deportadas, la reverenda Kate Rhode de la Iglesia Wildflower de Austin. “Si el
gobierno mexicano pone este tipo de presión a señoras mayores de alguna congregación y
a estudiantes de los Estados Unidos, solo por haber escuchado a los trabajadores, es
obvio que los trabajadores mexicanos reciben un trato mucho peor de su gobierno cuando
ellos exigen condiciones humanas y salarios justos. Esperamos que el presidente Obama
saque a la luz el problema de la justicia laboral y los sindicatos independientes cuando se
entreviste con el Presidente de México.” El grupo ha mandado una carta al Secretario de
Estado John Kerry y al presidente Obama pidiendo su asistencia en este asunto.
Listening to Junot Diaz and Francisco Goldman in conversation with Daniel Alarcón today on Radio Ambulante's podcast. A great conversation.
Daniel Alarcón mentioned two premises of Radio Ambulante:
1) Political borders may be real but cultural borders are much
With 55 million Latinos in this country, the United States
is a Latin American country as well.
And Francisco mentioned a quote from Roberto Bolaño (translated by Laura Healy):
Latin America is the insane asylum of Europe. Maybe,
originally, it was thought that Latin America would be Europe's hospital, or
Europe's grain bin. But now it's the insane asylum. A savage, impoverished,
violent insane asylum, where, despite its chaos and corruption, if you open
your eyes wide, you can see the shadow of the Louvre.
It brings them to the question of whether the U.S. then has become or is a also an insane asylum. And they answer yes. Without any hesitation.
And it brings me to think about how the presence of so many Latinos in the U.S. changes all of us—us understood in its broadest post-national meaning—how we are being changed, perceptibly and imperceptibly.
Ah, romantic belief in the value of valuelessness:
I’m thinking of poetry as a gift economy; that is, I’m thinking of the worthlessness (conventionally speaking) of poetry as property. This is, I think, a profound strength that poetry has, its off-the-grid existence. - C.S. Giscombe
Stalina will be projecting images in concert with her poetry and setting the experimental, bilingual ambience. And Rosebud, in town from New York City, will be reading from her beautiful poems from her just-published book Solecism. Local journalist and activist Liana Lopez will join us at the event and make comments following the reading about the important work of Nuestra Palabra and Librotraficante. There will be a Q&A as always. There will be beer and wine and snacks. Feel free to bring more to share as well.
Some more info:
Who is Rosebud?
Born to a Mexican mother and Jewish father, Rosebud Ben-Oni graduated from New York University. At the University of Michigan, she earned a Master of the Fine Arts in Poetry. A graduate of the 2010 Women's Work Lab, she is a playwright at New Perspectives Theater, and also at work on a new play MIDNIGHT IN MATAMOROS with Bob Teague of Truant Arts; it will feature music by Carlton Zeus. Her plays have been produced in New York City, Washington DC and Toronto. Her influences come from spaces that demand constant adaptation: U.S.-Mexican border towns, East and West Jerusalem and "7 Train Culture" of New York City. Rosebud is a co-editor for HER KIND at VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. Nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, her debut book of poems SOLECISM was published by Virtual Artists Collective in early 2013. Rosebud lives and works in New York City, though she has Texas roots. More info at http://rosebudbenoni.com/
Who is Stalina?
Stalina Emmanuelle Villarreal is a Mexican and Chicana poet, a translator, and an instructor of English. The book (H)emötoma by Minerva Reynosa has been the main focus of her translations, for which she attended World to World, Mundo a Mundo in 2009 to workshop poems from the book. She is also the translator of “Grace Shot,” by Luis Alberto Arellano in Sèrie Alfa: Artiliteratura, “Eight Fabulous Animals” by Ilan Stavans in Eleven Eleven, and nine poems by Minerva Reynosa in the latest Mandorla. She has an MFA in Writing from the California College of the Arts in the San Francisco Bay Area. Stalina lives and works here in Houston.
This event is co-sponsored by Nuestra Palabra.
What is this series?
(A note from John Pluecker)
Over the last year, I've been experimenting with creating spaces for innovative, interdisciplinary & experimental writers to read to Houston publics. Usually these events feature writers from out-of-town, often in conjunction with locally-based folk. Often on the back patio of the amazing Kaboom Books. Sometimes in conjunction with local organizations like Art League, Project Row Houses, Fotofest and more. For those who are keeping track, previous events have included:
May 2012: Let the Ponies Have Plenty of Room
June 2012: Jen Hofer & Javier Huerta
August 2012: Janice Lee & Anna Joy Springer
September 2012: TC Tolbert & Boston Davis Bostian
November 2012: Douglas Kearney
January 2013: Marco Antonio Huerta, Minerva Reynosa, Sara Uribe, and Lupe Méndez
(Note to the note: This series (if series is the best word for this) is still unnamed. Not sure what exactly this beast is, much less what it should be called. I'm open to suggestions.)
It's a little after 9am. I'm submitting work this morning to journals. Which also means I am reading journals. Mainly from this list by Afton Wilky. I can't help but read them when I start looking up how to submit, if I can submit, the dance required for submission. It's a morning of submission. From the Lana Turner: "we are employed as “professional” poets and believe that our very institutional affiliations make us uniquely qualified to recognize and condemn institutionalization." - Joshua Clover and Juliana Spahr in an open letter, attempting to be president of the Poetry Foundation It's 9:30am and I still haven't found journals that want submissions. Bomb doesn't. Seems like ActionYes, doesn't. Pank doesn't right now either. Nobody wants submissions. I remembered someone who personally asked me for a submission. So I sent some poems. Then I checked Fence again. Nope, not taking submissions. It's 10:11am. It's been more than an hour. One submission made. Hmmm.
Trickhouse? Not open for submissions, but they are open for receiving submissions, sort of: "if you would like to send us work for consideration, please feel free to send it to. . . @gmail.comand we will hold onto it until we do open submissions (please be aware that unless we are officially taking submissions, we may not be able to respond)." So tricky these Trickhouse folk. I submitted to them. It's 10:40am. Hmmm. More? Got lost in Trickhouse for a while. Loving Jen Bervin's work. And Bhanu Kapil's. And Akilah Oliver's. Ok, now it is 12:10pm. I just submitted some other work to the Chicago Review. I'm done. About three hours and three submissions made. Intense.