I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Least of These

This was passed onto me by my Immigration and Justice professor, and is highly recommended.

The Least of These
Film Screening and Discussion
Thur, Sept 17, 7:00 pm
Languages & Literature Bldg LL 2
Presented by the ACLU of Arizona

Moderated by

Paul Espinosa, Professor, ASU Transborder Chicana/o & Latina/o Studies


Victoria Lopez, ACLU-Arizona Immigrant Rights Advocate

Lindsay Marshall, Esq., Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project

Evelyn Cruz, Professor, ASU, Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law

The Least of These
, a new documentary film, explores one of the most controversial aspects of American immigration policy - family detention.

As part of the Bush administration policy to end what they termed the “catch and release’” of undocumented immigrants, the U.S. government opened the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in May 2006. The facility is a former medium-security prison in central Texas operated by CCA, the largest private prison operator in the country. The facility houses immigrant children and their parents from all over the world who are awaiting asylum hearings or deportation proceedings.

The facility was initially activated with little media attention or public knowledge.  Soon, however, immigration attorney Barbara Hines was contacted by detainees seeking representation, and she became increasingly concerned about the troubling conditions there.  She joined forces with Vanita Gupta of the ACLU and Michelle Brané of the Women’s Refugee Commission to investigate conditions and seek changes.  Their efforts were initially hampered by a lack of openness and oversight within the Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) organization.  Undeterred, the three attorneys attempted to bring about changes in both policy and conditions, by making their findings public, encouraging involvement by activists and the media, and ultimately by filing a historic lawsuit.

As these events unfold, the film explores the government rationale for family detention, conditions at the facility, collateral damage, and the role - and limits - of community activism in bringing change.  The film leads viewers to consider how core American rights and values – presumption of innocence, the protection of children, upholding the family structure as the basic unit of civil society, and America as a refuge of last resort – should apply to immigrants, particularly children.

Paul Espinosa
Professor and Filmmaker
Arizona State University
Dept of Transborder Chicana/o & Latina/o Studies
P.O. Box 873502
Tempe, AZ  85287-3502
Tel: 480-965-3635
Fax: 480-965-3421

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