Santa Fe Dreamers Project

Eric J. Garcia / El Machete Illustrated

The final presidential debate of 2020 got passing marks because the candidates managed to take turns. But rarely did they roll out the kind of action plans the moderator was looking for. She kept asking: If elected, what will you do about this big problem we are facing? Still, candidates did not venture into specifics. We think that was by design. The strategy was, make debate No. 1 so bad that by the time debate No. 2 comes around, expectations are so low, everyone will just be grateful it’s not incoherent shouting and call it good. But in a time with multiple crises pressing down on us, specific plans can pull people together, provide direction and alleviate anxiety. So that’s what this episode is all about. What do you want to hear candidates talking about? What kinds of plans and policies do you wish they were outlining before the public?

fronteristxs and Anonymous, Untitled

When President Trump and ICE got in on the act of separating families and locking kids in cages, it spurred a public outcry. Millions of people were appalled that the land of the free would treat people in such a manner—especially people who were counting on the United States to provide safety, as they were often fleeing life-threatening situations. As usual in this country, the news cycle changed, and a majority of the public stopped talking about it. Then COVID-19 came, and the call to release detainees has picked up again, a call to save lives, a call to treat people like humans. As the pandemic continues to dominate our lives, the threat of coronavirus spreading in detention centers became a reality. What's not real: the response from ICE and the federal government. In episode 5, we don’t just look the dire situation for the people, but ask what, if anything, can be done about it.

Bryce Dix / KUNM

Episode 39 is focused on migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees in our communities, and on Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers, which are often overcrowded around the United States and are criticized for bad medical care. ICE announced it will review cases one-by-one and release vulnerable people. Officials and advocates say that's not anywhere near fast enough as COVID cases are cropping up around the country in ICE detention centers, and outbreaks in them could overwhelm regional hospitals.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Transgender asylum-seekers are detained in a special unit in New Mexico’s Cibola County Correctional Center. A Santa Fe legal group is working with transgender people from the new caravan at the border to try and minimize their time in lockup here.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

People detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement around the country describe harsh conditions and even abuse inside facilities. Transgender women seeking asylum in the United States are often held by ICE in a separate pod at a detention center near Grants, New Mexico. On Friday, July 27, advocates saw a small victory when some women were released.


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