WITNESS training in Rio Grande Valley, Texas, September 2018

Al Jazeera’s “The Listening Post” Reports on WITNESS’ Immigrant Rights Program

The Al Jazeera English program “The Listening Post” has just published “ICE Watch: Turning the Lens on Immigration Agencies” featuring WITNESS’ immigrant rights work.

Our U.S. program team have been partnering with affected immigrant communities, advocacy groups and allies over the last year and a half. Through our Eyes on ICE program, we provide “know your rights” and video documentation trainings for how to safely and effectively capture details of encounters with ICE and Customs and Border Patrol. The program has provided crucial information and resistance to communities at a time when raids and arrests by the agencies are up significantly across the country.

Al Jazeera spent time with us during a series of trainings in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas earlier this fall and reported on our work with our partners the Equal Voice Network and communities there and throughout the United States.

From “The Listening Post”:

With the president’s ceaseless talking and tweeting about threats like a government shutdown if Democrats refuse to fund his border wall, or that migrant caravan from Honduras, stories about ICE and its sister agency, CBP – Customs and Border Protection – are right up there on the mainstream media’s agenda.

But the role the media play in this particular narrative goes well beyond just covering the story. Over the past year, NGOs and legal advocacy organisations have collaborated with media outlets to track cases of enforcement abuse. And they train communities to use their own media tools to document wrongdoing.

Cases like that of Perla Morales-Luna, Juan Hernandez, or Romulo Avelica Gonzalez are just three examples of thousands that surfaced because they were caught on camera, explains Palika Makam, programme coordinator, WITNESS.

“Eyewitness footage has been so crucial in exposing ICE’s manipulative tactics. Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez was arrested by two ICE agents who were in unmarked vehicles, wearing jackets that only said ‘police’. There’s a reason why they don’t identify themselves, they are trying to use manipulative tactics to get information from immigrants or people who they’ve racially profiled in order to arrest and deport them.”

Watch the full report here:



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