Constitution in Crisis :: BORDC/DDF October 2015 Newsletter

WASHINGTON - JAN 20: Hooded demonstrators hold a sign as they demand the closing of Guantanamo at the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009 in Washington.
Recycling Repudiated Bush-Era Arguments, Obama Administration Seeks To Deny Humanitarian Release Of Gitmo Prisoner
October 15, 2015
Waterboarding Graphic
Water Dousing vs Waterboarding: “a Distinction Without a Difference”
October 22, 2015

Dear Troublemakers,

Liberty really does require eternal vigilance. Over the past several years, an energetic and diverse movement has established hundreds of sanctuary cities across the country to take the burden of enforcing federal immigration law off local police. It’s a movement most police departments support, because it strengthens community relations and allows police to focus on crime, rather than immigration enforcement.

But Congress wants to put a stop to the sanctuary cities movement by withholding money from sanctuary cities. This will force police to do what their communities do not want them to do: collect information about the citizenship or immigration status of people in the community, and to honor unconstitutional immigration “detainers,” which require police to hold people beyond when they would have been released.

BORDC/DDF has been a part of this movement, because requiring local police to enforce federal immigration law leads to widespread racial profiling, indefinite detention without due process, damage to public safety, and many privacy and civil rights violations.

In July, the House passed a bill to penalize sanctuary cities, and this week, the Senate will take up similar legislation.

Please help us prevent Congress from rolling back the progress we’ve made across the country. Tell your Senators to vote against the Stop Sanctuary Cities Act.

Sue Udry
Executive Director, BORDC/DDF

To get involved in any of these campaigns, please email BORDC/DDF’s Organizing Team. We are eager to hear from you and to help support your activism.

North Carolina: Films About Entrapment and Islamophobia Screen in North Carolina
Activists in North Carolina are confronting Islamophobia, and learning how the FBI promotes Islamophobia through its controversial anti-terrorism tactics. Two award-winning documentaries look at how FBI entrapment criminalizes Islam by luring at-risk young men into terror plots orchestrated by FBI paid informants. Read more

California: Activism and Theater Combine in If the SHU Fits
A mini-grant from BORDC helped fund this innovative project that tells the real stories of real people locked in solitary confinement. If the SHU Fits–Voices from Solitary Confinement is a flexible piece of performance art that can be adapted for use by professional actors, people who have experienced solitary confinement, students, or anyone with a desire to share the truth about the torture that is called solitary confinement. It has been performed over a dozen times in California so far this year. Read more

Bay Area: Stop Urban Shield Ramps Up Efforts to End Expo
After successfully campaigning to force the City of Oakland to stop hosting its annual Urban Shield convention in 2014, Stop Urban Shield, a broad coalition of West Coast anti-police militarization organizations and activists, is now turning its efforts towards getting Urban Shield out of the Bay Area altogether. Urban Shield describes itself as “a planned training exercise involving local, national, and international first responder agencies.” Read more

New York: Constitutional Rights and Occupy Wall Street
On the 4th anniversary of the birth of Occupy Wall Street,a class-action lawsuit was filed in New York City, charging the NYPD with failing to uphold the First Amendment Rights of protesters. The lawsuit centers on the arrest of 185 protesters who gathered to mark the 1st anniversary of Occupy. Read more

Chicago:  Five Years Later, Last Target of FBI Witchhunt Faces Jail, Deportation
Five years ago, the FBI raided the homes of anti-war activists across the Midwest, as well as the offices of the Minneapolis based Antiwar Committee. The FBI deployed SWAT teams and even sent medics—no hostage negotiators were present, but they were on call. As they hauled away the personal belongings of activists, FBI agents asked them about their membership in political organizations, including socialist ones, and if they could provide them names of other members. It was the culmination of a years’ long undercover operation of supposed ‘material support for terrorism.’ None of the dozens of activists targeted have been charged with material support, but one has been convicted of lying on her immigration application. Read more

BORDC/DDF field organizer George Friday joined scores of individual activists and groups gathered in Greenville, South Carolina for the second annual Carolinas Human Rights Organizing Conference (CHRONIC). The conference rallied activists behind the slogans “Getting high on human rights” and “Human rights while there are humans left.”  Read more

BORDC/DDF is your voice in the Nation’s Capitol. We advocate and agitate in Congress and with the Executive branch. Here are just a few of the issues we raised last month:


Stop CISA: It’s not Cyber Security, It’s Cyber Surveillance

Oppose the Stop Sanctuary Cities Act

Immigration Fraud as a Tool of Repression: Statement on the Prosecution of Rasmea Odeh
BORDC/DDF strongly supports the Constitutional safeguards meant to ensure a fair trial for everyone. We are also concerned with the implications this case holds for the right to dissent: it looks, smells, and tastes like politically motivated selective prosecution of the kind that has contributed to the continuous criminalization of dissent in the United States.

Open Government Groups Call for New USTR Transparency Officer
BORDC/DDF joined 22 groups and individuals committed to government openness and accountability to urge the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to reconsider the recent decision to appoint the USTR General Counsel as its new, congressionally-mandated “transparency officer.” The letter was initiated by, a coalition that includes BORDC/DDF.

Thirty Years Without Justice: Alex Odeh’s Murder Raises Questions of a Terrorism Double Standard
On October 11, 1985, Alex Odeh was killed when a bomb exploded at the California office of the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). This was not the only bombing of ADC offices: in 1985 two other offices of the national civil rights organization were bombed. At the time, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and President Ronald Reagan labeled the assassination an act of terrorism. To date though, no one has been brought to justice.

The People’s Blog for the Constitution and The Dissent NewsWire feature news and analysis beyond the headlines on a daily basis, and offer an easy way to stay up-to-date and informed.

Highlights include:

Time for a Closer Look at National Security Letters?
NSLs are a type of non-judicial subpoena, a “search procedure which gives the FBI the power to compel the disclosure of customer records (often multiple customers) held by financial institutions, telephone companies, Internet Service Providers, and others.” In 2014, the FBI used NSL’s 21,900 times. Read more

Recycling Repudiated Bush-Era Arguments, Obama Administration Seeks to Deny Humanitarian Release of Gitmo Prisoner
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the mean weight for a ten-year old boy is 74.2 pounds. Tariq Ba Odah weighs roughly the same amount. He is 36. For an adult male to weigh so little is a medical anomaly and occurs usually only in end term cancer or AIDS patients. Ba Odah, however, has been imprisoned at Guantánamo since February 2002. Even though he was cleared for transfer five years ago, he remains detained unsure when—if—he will ever leave. Read more

Pope Honors Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton, But the FBI Sure Doesn’t
After the Pope honored four Americans—Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton—many Americans asked the question: who are Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton? The FBI knows who they are, and keeps tabs on the groups and activist who follow in their footsteps. Read more

CPD Routinely Spies/Spied on Activst Groups
According to documents released to the Chicago Sun-Times after a legal battle, the Chicago Police have been routinely spying on protest groups, even when no threat of any criminal activity was suspected. And, according to the documents, there is currently an “ongoing investigation” of a local protest group, but the records are redacted, so we don’t know which group. Read more

Groups Sue to Overturn Controversial Data Privacy Law
A diverse coalition of conservation, press, academic, and animal-protection groups filed suit today in federal court seeking to strike down a pair of Wyoming state laws that stifle freedom of speech and make citizen science illegal in the state. Read more

To help encourage outreach, public education, and grassroots mobilization, BORDC/DDF provides microgrants to grassroots coalitions pursuing local campaigns to advance civil rights and civil liberties.

  • Grants up to $500 are available to help active coalitions expand their local visibility and/or host events. To apply for a grant please email the BORDC/DDF Organizing Team.

Grassroots Toolkits

Volunteer Opportunities

To help encourage outreach, public education, and grassroots mobilization, BORDC/DDF provides microgrants to grassroots coalitions pursuing local campaigns to advance civil rights and civil liberties.

  • Grants up to $500 are available to help active coalitions expand their local visibility and/or host events. To apply for a grant please email the BORDC/DDF Organizing Team.