Where once the United States rarely imprisoned people for violating immigration law, today the country runs the largest immigration prison system in the world. In Migrating to Prison: America’s Obsession with Locking Up Immigrants, César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández takes a hard look at immigration prisons. Political opportunism and profit have shaped government policy at an enormous cost to human life and the legal system. For those reasons, Migrating to Prison urgently calls for the abolition of immigration prisons. César’s analyses of policies affecting migrants regularly appear in media in the United States and abroad. He has published opinion articles in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Time, and many other venues. Through hundreds of interviews, he has lent his expert analysis to journalists in Brazil, Canada, Germany, South Africa, and the United States. He also served two terms as a member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration.
César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández is a law professor at the University of Denver who studies the intersection of criminal and immigration law. In December 2019, he published Migrating to Prison: America’s Obsession with Locking Up Immigrants, about the United States’ reliance on prisons to enforce immigration law. In 2015, he published his first book, Crimmigration Law. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Time Magazine, The Guardian, Newsweek, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, NBC News, Public Radio International, BBC, The Nation, Univision, Telemundo, and numerous other publications in the United States and around the world. César publishes crimmigration.com, a blog about the convergence of criminal and immigration law. He has been a Fulbright scholar in Slovenia. César was born and raised in McAllen, Texas, and is of counsel to García & García Attorneys at Law, P.L.L.C. Drop In with César!
What’s the story behind the story? We’ll find out on Dropping In. Our guests are today’s original thinkers, conversations that spark new ways of seeing what’s going on. We bring it all to the table, diverse perspectives, controversy, loving and singular voices. Magically, stories reveal the common threads that link us. Experience, the joys, the fist pumps, the detours, and the hard-won truths of those who blaze the trail so that we might do the same. And now, here’s your host, Diane Dewey.
Diane: Welcome to Dropping In, everyone. I do mean everyone, including those who are locked up and have lost their freedom, those who are immigrants. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Emma Lazarus wrote these lines in the New Colossus that is installed on the base of the Statue of Liberty in 1903. Now, the New Colossus is the immigration prison problem that is hiding in plain sight.
From the book Migrating to Prison, America’s obsession with locking up immigrants, by today’s guest, César García Hernández, we learned that for most of America’s history, we simply did not lock up people from migrating here. Over the last 30 years, the federal and state governments have increasingly tapped their powers to incarcerate people accused of violating immigration laws. As a result, almost 400,000 people annually now spend time locked up pending the result of a civil or criminal immigration proceeding. Who knew that the number was this large before this? We are welcoming you this morning, César Hernández.
Cesar: It’s a pleasure to be here with you Diane. Thanks so much for the invitation. I’m looking forward to our conversation.
Diane: You have many myths. You’ve also created a very textured description. To answer the question of what has happened here, which was what my mind was breaking about 400,000 people annually. How has this happened? What you did in your book, Migrating to Prison, is you created an entire history of what has happened here. It’s very murky in terms of who the good guys are and who the bad guys are.
We would think in terms of Republican and Democratic administrations, no. It’s a bipartisan issue. It’s an issue that’s across the board. You are a law professor at the University of Denver who studies the intersection of criminal and immigration law. In 2019, you published Migrating to Prison. Your essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times Time magazine, The Guardian, Newsweek Salon, and elsewhere. You’ve been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, NBC News, Public Radio International, BBC, The Nation, Telemundo, Univision, and numerous other publications in the United States and around the world.
You publish crimmagration.com. A blog about the convergence of criminal and immigration law. You’ve been a Fulbright scholar in Slovenia and served two terms on the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration. After all of that mouthful, describe yourself today? The position that you find yourself in having published this important book.
Cesar: I think of myself as an immigration scholar, as an immigration lawyer, and as a writer. But most importantly, I think of myself as a child of the board. I was born and raised in McAllen, Texas which is a city about 7 miles north of the field or under the river. It is very much a border community. The population is overwhelming. Mexicans certainly more so in the 1980s and 1990s when I was a child in that community.
Most of my family is still in MacAllen. I am still affiliated with my family. My brother’s law firm is based in MacAllen and that origin is not passed for me in any way. It is very much the beginning of the way I view the world and how I view my position in the world. My very first introduction to the law itself was the form of the Border Patrol deciding who among the people in my community could live with their families, who could go to work. This day, it is very much a bi-national community where people cross the border for all kinds of mundane reasons, lunch, church services, work, school.
It comes with the territory but it’s literal and metaphorical sense. Yes, I think of myself. I’m quite honored to get to call myself a law professor or to get to call myself a lawyer and a writer. But more fundamentally, I’m just this child of the borderlands who has lived this entire four decades on this planet with the sense that there is something inherently arbitrary about the division that exists between the United States and Mexico that plays out in non-authentic meaningful ways, including the willingness of the US government to lock up people who cross the border either without permission or who later might be here in violation of federal immigration law.
Diane: Let’s unpack that. Regarding your identity, you say basically, they’re by the grace of God go you because your mother bore you in the United States. There’s just that one iota of not survivor’s guilt but you did not have the arduous journey that many do to come to the United States. I think that must have impacted your thinking in terms of wanting to give back or to be generous to a population that you were witnessing.
Cesar: I was born in MacAllen in Texas. What that does is it reminds me that I’m a US citizen because of absolutely nothing. I’m immune from deportation. I’m immune from being imprisoned by the Immigration Customs Enforcement Agency. Because of absolutely nothing, I have accomplished in my 41 years on this earth. I like to think of myself as having made a meaningful contribution to the United States. In perhaps, I can think of how I interact with my friends or my family, the way I help to train another generation of lawyers.
Whatever it is, these are all things that I have devoted energy to time, to my sweat and tears, too. It helps explain why I’m free from worrying about whether ICE is going to lock me up. I’m free from worrying whether ICE is going to ship me off to some other country that named me but don’t have any connection to because my mom happened to link but 7 miles north of the Rio Grande River in 1980. When I was born, there are lots of people who look and act, and engage with the world in ways that are very much identical to how I have.
But those who was not in the United States, when their mothers boy them, that makes all the difference about the number of these individuals. In particular, Santa Gary Vihome was raised in the same community that I was. After high school, when I went off to college, he went off to the US Army. He got deployed to Iraq. One day, he uses patrolling in the US Army tank, the tank with over an IED, an improvised explosive device, and the bomb is blasted through the bottom of the tank and injured Gary.
He survived but is injured physically but also caused him trauma, PTSD until he got sent back to Texas. Unfortunately, he ended up falling into drugs. Into the criminal justice system, he got picked up by ICE. ICE locked them up in a nearby immigration prison. They were trying to deport him. This is a guy who in every way, as a child looks like I did, he was just growing up in this poor, overwhelmingly Mexican community. Only after I decided to go off to a fancy college, he decided to risk his life to serve our country.
Diane: There’s something of a self-fulfilling prophecy to the whole idea of one group being targeted for oppression. You’re talking about the presence of the border patrol in your young life. I mean, that is a marginalizing force. Not everybody rises to the occasion with the resilience that you did in the determination and those that have your brothers to practice immigration law. Some are defeated by it to some that just sense of constantly being watched and surveyed and also just overly controlled. You also have to wonder about the process of immigrating itself.
Is it so labyrinthian that nobody can barely get through it? We just created the barriers. Over the last 30 years, we’ve just gotten fearful. We need to have scapegoats. We need to create situations where this group is targeted as being fear-based in terms of our perspectives. I wondered about this in terms of your subtitle which is America’s obsession with locking up immigrants. Obsession is defined as a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often-unreasonable idea or feeling. It’s not coincidental that you use that word, is it?
Cesar: No. I chose the word obsession because of the intensity that it has, the sense that locking up people has become the solution for a host of social dilemmas that we face as a political community. It’s not unique to immigrants that imprisonment is a common way in which they interact with government officials. It is troubling. As the term suggests, obsession is a psychological trick. It’s an effect that arises from fear.
What that means is while it’s real, it’s meaningful. It’s not inextricable. It’s something that is born. As a result, it is something that we can undo just the same as it was the first risk, first created. I’m hopeful that through conversations like these, we can collectively think about how to unravel the situation that the United States currently finds itself in.
Diane: When I was growing up, my mother always said that the measure of a country was the value that was placed on human life. When I think about the image of the facedown, father and daughter entwined in the Rio Grande, immigrants who are attempting to migrate to the United States, I think to myself, what is the value that we’ve placed now on human life? When I look at this crucible of the obsession that you’re discussing, in fact, the criminalization of drugs also impacts the African American community as well, is that sort of the cipher? Is that the alibi for locking everybody up? The rest of it is kind of bureaucratic stuff. How do these incarcerations occur? What kinds of pretenses do they occur?
Cesar: The most common assumption is that the only people who are being locked up by immigration authorities are people who have no permission to be in the United States. So, somebody who sneaks across the Arizona desert in the middle of the night gets caught by the Border Patrol. The individuals can do it and are detained whether it’s by the Border Patrol or whether it’s by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. Lots of people are being detained to have permission, to be in the United States. We can begin with asylum seekers.
The US law, a federal law that governs asylum sets out the parameters of who is eligible for asylum in the United States. It clearly says it does not matter whether you are in the United States without the government’s permission. That makes sense because asylum is supposed to be the safe harper that protects people from persecution, from the risk of death. The reality is that when you’re fleeing from persecution, you don’t have the opportunity to carefully gather records and apply for a passport and then apply for a visa, and then via airplane ticket, and then wait until your departure date.
Quite the contrary, if death is knocking on the door, you jump out the window and run for your life. Federal law contemplates that possibility. Lamentably, it increased during the Trump years. The federal government has taken the position that those individuals ought to be detained in large part. It is because the Trump administration viewed these as being mostly scammers. The cigarettes are not legitimate, asylum seekers. But there are other kinds of people like Gary.
Gary before is a US Army veteran. Gary was not a US citizen but he is a permanent resident. He has a green card and has for decades since he was an early team. That’s good enough for the US Army. That’s good enough for all of the branches of the military. That’s good enough to sacrifice your life potentially on behalf of the United State but it’s not good enough for ICE. It’s not good enough to keep you here. If you run into problems with the criminal justice system, you can say, “Well, don’t mess up.”
Diane: It’s such a conundrum. It’s just such a contradiction that needs to be opened up and ironed out. We do need to stop for a commercial break. When we come back, we’re going to look at the intersection of immigration and criminality, but also economics because prison housing of immigrants is big business. So, don’t go away. When we come back, we’ll understand the hundreds of millions of dollars per year that are earned by American corporations to house immigrants. Don’t go away. We’ll be right back with Cesar Garcia Hernandez.
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Diane: Welcome back, everyone. We’re here with Cesar Garcia Hernandez, author of the book Migrating to Prison, America’s obsession with locking up immigrants. It’s a concise volume. It’s a rich volume. It’s eminently readable. Also, it is unforgettable. The number of detentions just decide some statistics and you please chime in with us on this. In the book, you talk about the over 7,000 immigrants who perished in the Arizona desert. Currently, this is data from 2019. The federal government reports that Texas has 14,481 immigrants incarcerated, Louisiana has 4,415, Arizona has 4,405, California has over 4,000, Georgia has over 3,000.
These are the five top states in the US with immigration detention per day. I can only imagine what’s going on in these facilities with COVID and with the disaster in Texas with the emergency power outage and the situation there. Why do I feel that this is entirely as you put it avoidable? We have computerization. We should be able to process people coming into the country without detaining them for months and even years at a time, it seems. What is the backstory? What is the subtext to this?
Cesar: You’re saying is that it’s possible to help people navigate the immigration legal process, immigration law processing, including the immigration court process where these legal determinations are made without imprisoning anyone. In 2017, for example, the federal government issued a report about a pilot project that had involved 100 people who were going through the immigration court process. While they were going through that process, they were working with some nonprofit organizations to help pair them up with lawyers, with social workers, help pay a pair them up with case managers who would help individuals to navigate the logistics of a high stake of the legal process.
The government found that as these individuals were going through that process with that support, 99% of them showed up to all of their required hearing dates. 99% of them. That’s the pretty astonishingly high company compliance rates. The reality is that sometimes even when people are locked up and they’re in the custody of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, I mess up and fail to bring somebody to their court. They just lose track of people or somebody.
They’re short-staffed that day because somebody gets sick. And so, they don’t have enough people working in the facility. So, 99% is pretty much as good as it gets. These were all individuals who are out living in communities doing exactly what was being required of them and still appearing for their court-mandated processes. So, yes. We can do it. We just choose not to. I think that’s an important part of this Migrating to Prison. I like to hammer away because there’s nothing inevitable about locking up people who are not US citizens because they might have violated immigration law.
It’s a choice that we started to make in large strides beginning in the middle of the 1980s. It is when large groups of people started coming to the United States from Central America, as the result of the wars that were destabilizing the region from Cuba, most famously from the port of Mariel in the early 1980s. Just before then, I see from Haiti in the last years have that long-lived dictatorial regime of the Duvalier Hai family. We’re all people of color. Yes, Papa Doc and Baby Doc.
These were all people of color and largely poor people of color. The Reagan administration turned it to imprisonment, quite quickly and quite systematically. We are all familiar with the war on drugs. It was also being developed by the Reagan administration. What’s interesting is that it’s not just the same moment in time, it’s not even just the same presidential administration, essentially the same pieces of legislation. So, the same laws that Congress enacted in the middle of the 1980s and early 1990s. That created what we now know as the war on drugs and the phenomenon of incarceration that goes along with that.
It’s the same laws that create the foundation for the immigration prison system that we have today. It’s the same legislative enactments. Yes, for prominent elected officials, presidents, members of Congress. Crime in immigration just got wrapped up together in the face of these poor people of color who are making their way to the United States. It didn’t matter why. These were people who were fleeing for political violence in [Inaudible] [27:38], in my island, in other parts of Central America, or political dictatorships in Haiti or Cuba. And unfortunately, that policy, once it gets created is to grow and gain bipartisan support. Above partisan support has not wavered up until the present day.
Diane: We even had beloved figures like Barack Obama also adding to the numbers which I thought was a really important myth. You also burst in your book. We need to understand how systemic this is. There is this intersection also with economics. According to federal government data, the GEO group receives more taxpayer dollars for immigration detention than any other ICE Contractor. In the fiscal year 2017, the GEO group received $184 million followed by the Corrections Corporation of America Core Civic.
They received $135 million for immigration detention-related service obligations. All of this sounds so entrenched. I think we’re meant to be cowed and intimidated by the numbers, by the sheer dimension of it, that we say to ourselves, “Well, we can’t dismantle this. This is completely intractable.” But then, you look at a casual comment that I had heard President Biden talk about the other day in his town meeting, the decriminalization of drugs. What kind of impact will that have in unraveling this problem?
Cesar: The less that we feed the criminal justice system, the less that we see the immigration justice system that is built on top of that. So, the extent that states and in particular are decriminalizing and legalizing drug offenses. This is going to push fewer people into the criminal justice system than US citizens and not. We see a large number of people who are in the United States with the government’s permission, people like Gary who are permanent residents and who then find themselves in immigration problems are there because of drug activity. Drug activity is treated as a crime rather than as a medical problem.
And most of this is low-level possession offenses. I don’t even have to leave the room in my house where I’m sitting to see that low-level possession activity happening because I’m half a block away from the nearest dispensary. The regular flow of traffic on the sidewalk is from the dispensary and people taking my realm which I’m fully in favor of but buffer lots of people. That’s the reason that people were not used to and say that the activity happens in broad daylight. It is exactly the reason why they ended up in immigration prisons. Half of that so is coming to the United States without the parents’ permission.
It’s a federal crime, then a federal crime in 1929. It wasn’t prosecuted. This is a crime that sat in the books but prosecutors didn’t use it until the end of the administration of George W. Bush and then epic that they got support under President Obama, and then under President Trump, as well. Those crimes are the single most commonly prosecuted type of crime in the federal court system nationwide. That’s been true going back to the George W. Bush administration. The most common kind of crime that is getting prosecuted in federal courthouses today and nationwide is coming to the United States without the government’s permission.
In the most literal legal sense of the word, it turns migrants into criminals because it takes the act of migration and actually for movie criminalizes it through the formal criminal justice system. These are the different kinds of conduct that are quite ordinary and largely. It is not particularly stigmatized anymore. Low-level marijuana possession, not really stigmatized. It’s happening outside my window right now. Coming to the United States without the government’s permission, lots of us do things without asking the government for permission. Certainly, coming to the United States without the army’s permission is many quarters, I’m not particularly stigmatized.
Diane: I wonder about how pre-Hispanic people and Latinos led to next up people feel about people being persecuted for trying to enter the country. Maybe it’s not stigmatizing, but it’s psychologically damaging, right? There’s a dominant, submissive mindset in dehumanizing people who are arrested and locked down. There is a traumatizing element to it. You wouldn’t understand why someone has to go and get their THC or CBG. There’s an equation there. I wonder about the psychic impact on even survivors of the process of their view, of this country, of themselves, of their identities. How is it impacted by all of this?
Cesar: The racial dimension of immigration imprisonment is a really important one. You look at ISIS facilities and instead of border patrol facilities. We see that the vast majority of almost everyone who’s locked up in these facilities. Everything hails from Latin America, Central America, or Mexico, or simply Latin America. Lots of people from Latin America are violating immigration law or at least suspected of violating immigration law. The funny thing is that there’s a lot of people from Western Europe that violate immigration law as well.
If I read it in a slightly different way, though. From Latin America, it’s quite hard for many people to come to the United States if they don’t have the right educational level or money. Those two things are quite often very related. The other option is families but then those backlogs can run for decades in some instances. It takes many, many years. If you don’t have the right family in the United States, then there’s just no option for most people to end up coming to the United States without the government’s permission.
For Western Europeans, Canadians, Australians, it’s pretty easy to get the US government. It permits you to come to the United States. You don’t even have to request the US government’s permission. Get a passport from your own country’s government and an airplane ticket or have your Canadian drive over. The permission comes as MD. You’re supposed to come here for vacation, or school and after that, you’re supposed to leave. Well, it turns out that the US government publishes an annual report of the number of people who come connected with the guarantee mission and then don’t leave.
10s of 1000s of Western Europeans and Canadians simply do not leave when they’re supposed to. They start to violate immigration law. Well, the consequences for violating immigration law are the same whether you do violate immigration law by sneaking across the desert in the middle of the night or if you fly here from Berlin and then 10 years later, you’re still here. It’s deportation. It’s imprisonment and deportation. The reality is, we don’t go after. Western Europeans and Canadians, and the same way that we do people from Latin America. That’s because of the intense demonization that has been attached to migration, primarily from Latin America, also from other places that overwhelming communities of color or poor people who are coming to the United States. The 10 means is that the rest of us.
The 10 means somebody like me who is a US citizen. That’s an economy. They sent the economy to drop off on us. This tie that I have to the United States feels better, tenuous. In the sense that I have to prove to an immigration officer that I belong in this country because I have four names, four accents, and rarely speak Spanish. In my house, when I have modern public, I don’t do that anymore since the pandemic started. That’s before the pandemic. Hopefully, after the pandemic, I’ll be in public more often. I only speak Spanish.
Diane: You’ve landed upon the idea of vulnerable populations that won’t have a voice that won’t have representation, that doesn’t have power, that is people of color. So, I’m sitting here in my office. I’m looking at every family photo. They’re all immigrants. I am an immigrant. I’m a European immigrant. And as you say, time and again, there is an arbitrary nature to all of this.
And if we want to look at true vulnerability, let’s look at the highest average age of detention, which is 30 years old. So, immigrants are normally between 26 and 35. We have to take a commercial break right now. Let’s leave it on that thought like it is the most vulnerable of the vulnerable that we’re locking up. Don’t go away. We’ll be right back on Dropping In.
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Diane: Welcome back, everyone. We’re here with Cesar Cuauhtémoc Garcia Hernandez, who has written the book Migrating to Prison, America’s obsession with locking up immigrants. It is eminently readable. It’s passionately written but it’s also dispassionately told. It’s completely accessible. It’s something that will give you a primer on the history of immigration, incarceration, something that has now been conjoined into the term queer immigration which is a term coined by law professor Juliet Stump.
It works perfectly to describe how immigration is criminalized which you just touched on. I think we’re afraid of losing control. We also discriminate against have nots. You touched on that just before the breaks, Cesar. Let’s talk about a flashpoint that even the Trump administration couldn’t withstand, which was the separation of children from families and the isolation of children who are detained. How has this brought about some significant level of awareness to this issue?
Cesar: One of the upsides of the Trump administration years and is a series of nightmares for immigrant communities and frankly, for immigration lawyers is the amount of attention that was paid to some of their policies because they were so extreme. The family separation policy is perhaps the most notorious example of that. It is a sense that they were in some instances taking children quite literally out of the arms of their parents. The explanation of what’s going to happen next or sometimes rise about what’s going to happen next, that trauma is unimaginable to any of us who have never experienced something like that.
We can’t imagine the specifics. We can certainly imagine how horrible that must be. There’s the silver lining. It is not necessarily in the backtracking. The administration of adjacent backtracked and stops subduing that to the same extent although it took a while before they stopped doing that. Many other people were separated as well. This realization that the federal government, as a matter of policy for all of us has regularly in chromatic policing tactics that instill terror in innocent human beings.
The picture of innocence in these children. We can’t look away from that because it’s happening in our name. It’s happening on behalf of all of us who constitute this political community, we call the United States of America. The hope is all of us will continue to have that critical eye toward federal immigration policies whether they’re being led by Republican like abrasive as Donald Trump, or a democrat who’s as time as a Barack Obama was, or Joe Biden. How we talk about immigration is certainly important. The policies are important as well.
I hope that your listeners will continue to stay on top of what’s happening in the immigration policy realms and continue to engage with their elected officials, members of Congress, and local elected officials who are often the key decision-makers about whether there’s an immigration prison in their community, about whether they want to be the place in which families are locked up, or they want to be the place in which parents have lost up after their kids are taken away from them.
Also, they want to be the place that we turn to the lock-up people who are going through the immigration court process. When we have these alternatives that we know that work, we just haven’t been willing to support them financially in the same way that we’re willing to support the GEO group that you mentioned earlier, or the poor civic whether the big, private prison companies.
Diane: Well, you mentioned also that you’ve finally taken a look at your pension fund. And ask yourself, “Wait a minute. Am I unwittingly contributing?” Because prison incarceration is big business. And unwittingly, a lot of these funds are funding. That was a discovery for you. It’s something that we also have to look at ourselves as individuals. The other thing that you’re alluding to here is the convergence of the traumatic experience that police bestow on ordinary citizens, in their interactions that discourse. It has to change. It’s not that we want to defund the police, it’s that we want to educate the police.
The other thing that you cite in the book, which I’d like to get your take now on how much progress we can make in the years since the book came out, is the idea of just providing the services that would create a different kind of self-fulfilling prophecy for these communities of individuals who need legal representation, orientation to this country, orientation as to the processes, how they work. We are aware of their rights in terms of keeping children together. How much progress has the legal services community been able to make as an inroad to helping immigrants navigate all of this?
Cesar: The immigration legal services community was under fire for the last 4 years. It’s been less than months since Donald Trump finally left the White House. He campaigned in Florida. In many ways, it feels like a long time ago but it’s not. The Biden administration has implemented a host of immigration policy shifts and some announced plans, including some that have already been caught up in the legal process and in court. Some of these are big. Some of these are small. Right now, there’s not much changed when it comes to the federal government’s ability to support people going through the immigration legal process.
Most of the people who are going to the process who are detained, do not have legal representation. That’s enormous because lawyers help people figure out a good argument. And if so, they make it as opposed to just having an ordinary person that just goes up there in front of a judge, face off against a prosecutor, and say, “Here’s my legal argument.” that doesn’t take a lawyer. That’s a bad idea.
I will say that the proposed immigration legislation that the Biden administration is backing. Democrats released just yesterday. It does have a language in there that would find legal representation. For everyone who’s going through the immigration court process, this would be a game-changer. If no other piece of that 350-page document is made into law, if only that piece becomes law, that would be a game-changer.
It is because that would ensure that everyone who is facing the possibility of being locked up and being forcibly removed from the United States would have an advocate on their side, who’s digging through the immigration law and immigration code which is a maze. It’s a labyrinth. Also, trying to figure out if there is there a good claim to make here. I’m quite often, there is. I’m hopeful that, at the very least that piece which would have some significant budgetary implications for the federal government, we’ll make it through the legislative process and land on President Biden’s desk.
Diane: Well, that would be exciting. I hear the excitement in your voice over it. So, we are going to close here in a couple of minutes. I do want people to understand that the prison system is widely recognized as being broken. And now, we’ve converged it with the immigration system. So, the place to find a lot of resources and also Cesar is crimagration.com which is C-R-I-M-M-I-G-R-A-T-I-O-N.com. Cesar, your welcome people to contact you and join in this movement to volunteer to help create awareness around how immigrants are just held to an impossible standard and how to extend compassion. Any other words at the last minute that you’d like to share?
Cesar: I’d love to take the opportunity to invite people to reach out to me was through email or social media but also leave people with the perspective that I bring to this. This can be a depressing topic, thinking about locking up people, thinking about separating kids from their parents. The history of the United States and the immigration history of the United States is that we’re constantly reimagining how we view ourselves as a political community.
We see ourselves interacting with our neighbors and with our co-workers. I’m hopeful that we have not stopped that constant rejuvenation of our political community. And hopefully, listeners, and you, and I will be able to collectively be part of reimagining the United States. Not of the 1950s or the 1980s, but the future that we hope to give to the generations that come after us.
Diane: Perfect. An older people have more compassion for the suffering of others. Younger people are idealistic. Let’s join hands in this. It is a systemic problem but we could get there as a community. I just want to thank you very much for being with us, Cesar, and your book, Migrating to Present is a wonderful contribution to our society. Thank you for being with us on Dropping In.
Thanks to our engineers Matt Weidner and Aaron Keller, to our executive producer, Robert Chellino, and most of all, our listeners. Remember to stay safe and recognize the stranger in us as we recognize the friend in strangers. Till next week. Thank you for dropping in.
Thank you so much for dropping in. Please join Diane Dewey again next Friday at 8 am Pacific time and 11 am Eastern time on The Voice America Variety Channel. We’ll see you then.