Meet the Central American Women the United States is Detaining and Deporting

Added on by E.C. Gogolak.

Time passed slowly inside the detention center. It was the afternoon of June 3, 2015, and the oppressive heat of South Texas reminded Lilian Oliva Bardales, a 19-year-old mother from Honduras, of home. For 239 days, she and her 4-year-old son, Cristhian, had been held inside the Karnes County Residential Center, a family immigration detention facility an hour southeast of San Antonio. Inside that day were 604 women, some of them pregnant,and their children, some of them still nursing, virtually all of whom were asylum seekers from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, the violence-plagued region of Central America known as the Northern Triangle. Two hours west, a detention center in the small oil town of Dilley held another 1,459 mothers and children. Lilian had been informed the previous day that she and her son would soon be deported.

“I write you this card so you know how it feels to be in this damned place for eight months,” Lilian wrote in a small notebook, dotting her “i”s with open circles. She had been deported once before, in May 2014, when she came north without her son. “You humiliate all of us who have come to this country for the second time. If I do this it is because only God knows what I have suffered in my country. I come here so this country can help me, but here you’ve been killing me little by little with punishment and lies in prison when I haven’t committed any crime… I do this because I don’t feel any life going back to my country.” She signed her name and identification number, and left the notebook on her bunk bed...

Reporting for this article was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Read more in The Nation

Ankle Monitors Weigh on Immigrant Mothers Released From Detention

Added on by E.C. Gogolak.

By E. C. GOGOLAK    NOV. 15, 2015

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. — On a recent afternoon, Grace, a 33-year-old mother from El Salvador, sat on a bench inside the train station in this Long Island town, crossed her ankle over her knee, carefully rolled up the cuff of her flared jeans and pointed to the black plastic fist-size object strapped to her ankle. A tiny green light flashed, indicating that the device was charged.

“I don’t want anyone to see it,” she said. “People don’t understand. They look at it and think, ‘What did you do?’”

Read more in The New York Times

Reporting for this article was supported in part by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

 

What’s Next for Immigrant Families in Detention?

Added on by E.C. Gogolak.

In late June, Maria, a twenty-five-year-old mother from Honduras, sat on a wooden bench inside a trailer at the South Texas Family Residential Center, in the small oil town of Dilley. She held a colorful paperback Bible, the same one that she had travelled with atop trains and in trucks through Guatemala and Mexico. It was the same one that she had brought with her to the trailer weeks earlier, when a judge at the Denver Immigration Court had told her via televideo that she and her eight-year-old daughter, Hilda, had lost their case; failing an appeal, they would be deported from the United States. (The family members’ names have been changed.) “My daughter is not doing well here,” Maria had told the judge, according to court transcripts. “She’s hardly eating, and she’s really desperate.” Now, in the empty room, she lifted Hilda’s shirt, revealing a thick scar—traces of a brutal beating from the girl’s father. Then she pointed to her own wrist, made a cutting gesture, and told me, “I can’t. My little daughter.”

Read more on The New Yorker website 

"City by City," an n+1/FSG book. May 2015.

Added on by E.C. Gogolak.

"Phoenix Rising," an essay I wrote, appears in City by City: Dispatches from the American Metropolis // edited by Keith Gessen and Stephen Squibb. // An n+1 / FSG book.

"City by City is a collection of essays—historical, personal, often somewhere in between—about the present and future of American cities. It looks at the national rollback in industry that has caused the death of factory towns like Greensboro, North Carolina, and Reading, Pennsylvania. It also looks at the miniature engines of prosperity that have gentrified places like Brooklyn and Boise. In between are stories both telling and strange.  Providence, Rhode Island, experiences a civic renaissance that disguises lingering corruption in its mobbed-up political system. The two hundred citizens of Whittier, Alaska, are approached about starring in a reality TV show. A would-be savior announces plans for the biggest mall in the world in Syracuse, New York. Meanwhile, racial profiling by the police haunts Cincinnati, Palm Coast, and Baltimore in advance of the protests that will go on to sweep the nation. A cross between Hunter S. Thompson and Studs Terkel, Slouching Towards Bethlehem and the Depression–era WPA guides to each state in the Union, City by City brings this tradition of American storytelling to the era of our own Great Recession."

BRIEFLY NOTED

Added on by E.C. Gogolak.

 

APRIL 6, 2015 ISSUE / ROOSEVELT AND STALIN, by Susan Butler (Knopf). This painstaking examination of Roosevelt and Stalin’s complicated relationship centers on two face-to-face meetings—in Tehran in 1943 and in Yalta in 1945—as they argued over wartime strategy and postwar planning. Read more in The New Yorker

 

Facing Cancer and Financial Burdens, an Immigrant Finds Aid

Added on by E.C. Gogolak.

DEC. 22, 2014

Sunlight and the sound of traffic from Fort Hamilton Parkway streamed through the windows of Beata Bien’s second-floor studio apartment on a recent morning in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The rays illuminated the tears in her green eyes and the pink Hello Kitty decorations adorning the small room.

“Things happened so fast,” she said, her bright smile fading. “From last year to this year, I didn’t have time just to sit down and think about what happened.”

Read more in The New York Times

Briefly Noted

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 DECEMBER 8, 2014 ISSUE / LENINGRAD, by Brian Moynahan (Atlantic Monthly)Moynahan tells the story of the siege of Leningrad through Dmitri Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony, which was mostly written in, and is dedicated to, the city. The account begins pre-siege: the secret police had taken so many people away, the poet Anna Akhmatova wrote, that the city “dangled like a useless appendage from its prisons...

Read more in The New Yorker 

Briefly Noted

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NOVEMBER 10, 2014 ISSUE BACK CHANNEL TO CUBAby William M. LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh (North Carolina)Challenging the prevailing narrative of U.S.-Cuba relations, this book investigates the history of the secret, and often surprising, dialogue between Washington and Havana. The authors, who spent more than a decade examining classified files, provide a comprehensive account of negotiations beginning in 1959 and of a relationship that, in the words of Raúl Castro, has long functioned “like a bridge in war-time... Read more in The New Yorker 

A Visit with Damián Ortega

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CULTURE DESK

NOVEMBER 7, 2014

Toward the end of an extremely narrow street in Tlalpan, a district on the southern edge of Mexico City, there is a block full of dentists’ offices marked by signs depicting dental picks and teeth. It’s a fitting place for Damián Ortega’s studio. He is a master of the tool, an artist of the everyday, an expert bricoleur. On a recent Friday, Ortega, who is forty-seven, invited me into his studio’s tool room. “I’ve had some of these for years,” he said. “I’m a collector.” Drawing upon the politics of daily life, Ortega has become a fixture in the international art world for his striking deconstruction of the ordinary, a poetics of the quotidian that is at once thoroughly Mexican and globally resonant.

Nearby was a room whose ceiling was dotted with colored pegs forming concentric circles—this is where Ortega makes his objects float. Ortega rose to fame thanks to his gravity-defying installations, the most recent of which, “Cosmogonía doméstica (Domestic Cosmogony), appeared outside of Mexico City’s new Museo Jumex this year. It is situated directly in front of the Museo Soumaya, which is also new—a shimmering, startling structure designed by Fernando Romero and commissioned by the billionaire Carlos Slim. “My reaction,” Ortega told me, “was to bring the eyes down, to focus on the human scale.” He built a domestic scene: the contents of a commonplace kitchen—plates, bowls, teapots, utensils—spun above a wooden table. Everything rotated slowly, half floating, around five concentric circles built into the floor. The piece, sandwiched between the new icons of Mexico’s wealth (the Jumex is the home of the art collection of Eugenio López Alonso, the Jumex juice heir), was classic Ortega: a subtle play on the routine amid bureaucracy, capital, poverty, and the megalopolis. The installation, he told me, “is no more than the atmosphere of la vida diaria,” he said, or everyday life—with a twist. Chairs balanced on one leg; vegetables were suspended in mid-air. Naturally, there was something cartoonish about it.

Read more on The New Yorker website

Briefly Noted

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OCTOBER 13, 2014 ISSUE / INFIDEL KINGS AND UNHOLY WARRIORSby Brian A. Catlos (Farrar, Straus & Giroux).This compelling account of the Crusades era debunks the clash-of-civilizations paradigm in which the period is typically cast. Through vivid portraits of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim figures, Catlos depicts an era of interfaith coöperation and fluid identities...  Read more in The New Yorker

Haitian Migrants Turn Toward Brazil

Added on by E.C. Gogolak.

At 7:30 on a recent morning, dozens of people were already outside the Brazilian embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, a white stucco building in the suburb of Pétionville. Often there are hundreds, some with visa appointments, and many more waiting in hopes of one. Workers hurried up the slope to the upscale enclave from the dusty downtown below; Jalousie, a shantytown of pastel-painted cinderblock homes, hovered above. “Today makes one year and six months that I’ve been coming here every day,” said Saintadele Ladouceur, a thirty-nine-year-old mother of two. She is from Delmas, one of the Port-au-Prince districts hit hardest by the earthquake in 2010. Read more on The New Yorker website 

A Mother’s Pain Fed That of Her Daughter

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By E. C. GOGOLAK November 19, 2013 

On a recent afternoon, Khalilah Hyde-Peyrefitte was bustling around the 20th floor of a towering office building in Midtown Manhattan, greeting colleagues with a wide, beaming smile. A small-business coordinator for McKissack & McKissack, a construction and design firm, she has the bearing of any bright, ambitious, recent college graduate, enthusiastic and eager to excel. But Ms. Hyde-Peyrefitte, 21, also carries the weight of the pain and disillusionment she had to overcome. “I honestly had been in a dark place for many, many years,” she recalled... Read more in The New York Times

New, Young Help for Poor in Infamous Bronx Courts

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By E. C. GOGOLAK Published: October 11, 2013

On a recent afternoon in the South Bronx, Cordice Smith, a 79-year-old Korean War veteran wearing a Yankees hat, was standing in the tiled lobby of his apartment building — something he no longer takes for granted. Earlier this year, he almost lost his home after receiving a letter from his landlord’s lawyer: an eviction notice.

The landlord claimed that Mr. Smith, who had pleaded guilty two years earlier to cocaine possession, had used his apartment to sell drugs, and so could be evicted. Kemper Diehl, a third-year Columbia Law School student, argued otherwise.

Read more in The New York Times

 

Stubborn Cycle of Runaways Becoming Prostitutes

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At the age of 14, Ann ran away from home. She had been living with her aunt and uncle in the South Bronx, a situation made untenable, she said, because she was frequently being raped by her cousin.

With very few options on the street, Ann soon accepted an offer of housing from a man whom she began to think of as her boyfriend. Her view of him would change with each beating he administered, and the many paid sexual liaisons she would have for him.

He would take her to Manida Street, a section of the Hunts Point neighborhood in the Bronx that is notorious for prostitution.

More at The New York Times

 

New York Primary Elections, 2013

Added on by E.C. Gogolak.

President Obama had just delivered an address about Syria, but it was hard to tell if the dip in the mood at a party for Christine C. Quinn was because of the speech or because the Democratic candidate was lagging in the early primary night returns.

A few minutes later, the music stopped. The updated returns on NY1 showed Bill de Blasio with 43 percent of the vote. The small and growing crowd booed and a few moments later, the music was turned back on...

Read more in The New York Times

A Troubled Teenager at Odds With Life in the Bronx

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Published: August 23, 2013

*Contributed reporting from The Bronx. 

To those who did not know him, Shaaliver Douse was an example of everything that can go wrong in a young life.

Though only 14, Shaaliver already had two gun-related arrests on his record when he was confronted by police officers early on Aug. 4 as he chased and shot at another teenager in the Bronx. The officers said they ordered him to drop the gun. Instead, he fired again. An officer shot and killed him.

In the days that followed, Shaaliver came to embody the worst possibilities of urban teenage life: a repeat offender caught up in a vicious rivalry with other gang members, one that erupted into violence at a time when most boys his age are home, safely asleep.

Read more in The New York Times

Time Warner Cable and CBS Are Scolded Over Blackout

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Published: August 8, 2013

New Yorkers often complain about their cable TV, but seldom do they have a forum like the one they had on Thursday, when Time Warner Cable and CBS heard viewer testimony about their dispute over retransmission fees.

“I was sitting in front of my TV wondering, ‘What is going on?’ ” said Caren Crawford, who lives in Midtown, at a City Council hearing. “I find it incomprehensible and highly hubristic.”

Read more in The New York Times

Using Baseball History to Teach Children Big Lessons

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On a recent morning in the Longwood neighborhood of the South Bronx, residents on Fox Street were starting their day. Reggaeton played from a second-story window. A man whistled a nursery rhyme while briskly pushing a toddler in a stroller. A woman stood on the corner with rollers in her hair, smoking a cigarette. And in a room at the end of a hallway on the first floor of 830 Fox Street, about two dozen children, ages 6 to 12, sat before a big-screen TV mounted on the front wall.

Read more in The New York Times

Ex-Madam, Now Candidate For Comptroller, Is Arrested

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Published: August 6, 2013  [with BENJAMIN WEISER]

Even in the topsy-turvy world of New York City politics, it is not every day that a candidate for city comptroller is arrested one month before a primary. But when the candidate is Kristin Davis, little is surprising.

Ms. Davis, 38, is a former madam who spent several months at Rikers Island in 2008 for running a prostitution ring. She also said that she supplied escorts to Eliot Spitzer, who resigned as governor that year after admitting that he had patronized a prostitution ring. Mr. Spitzer, who is also running for comptroller, has denied any association with Ms. Davis. Law enforcement officials have said that neither the investigations of Ms. Davis nor Mr. Spitzer uncovered any evidence to support her claim.

Read more in The New York Times