Matt Cameron Profile picture
Apr 20, 2018 16 tweets 6 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Today I prepared a beautiful 6-year-old girl in a pink hat for an #asylum interview.

ME: Do you want to go back to El Salvador?

CLIENT [eyes wide]: No!

ME: Why not?

CLIENT [looking down at table]: Because of the bad people.

She'll be deported before her 10th birthday.
That tweet above is pretty much verbatim what she'll be saying on Monday; her father will provide the rest. He'll tell the interviewer about the threats of kidnapping & murder, and what gangs do to children of people they extort if they can't escape. She will not receive asylum.
The case will be referred back to an immigration judge, who will find that she & her family have not suffered persecution based on any grounds that the law can recognize. By the time of her hearing, AG Sessions will have personally removed any doubt of the law around this point.
I have finally after thirteen years and a lot of personal effort learned how not to take more of it home with me than I should.

Wellbutrin helps.
Children don't come alone from Central America because it is fun, or even for "better lives." They come to live free of the physical and sexual violence which so many will suffer if they remain.

And here's something no one else seems to be saying: They're our responsibility.
Colin Powell's "Pottery Barn doctrine" holds true: you broke it, you bought it.

With 100+ yrs of economic, military, & political meddling from the United States and generations of violence & degradation, #CentralAmerica is just as much our responsibility as #Iraq & #Afghanistan
Trump talks about #MS13 as if it's somehow not our problem. It is exactly and entirely our problem. Criminal gangs filled the vacuum our funding for brutal right-wing militaries created, and quickly gained a member base from deportees we sent back at the worst possible time.
Unauthorized Mexican migration is at a historic low not seen since early '70s. #ElSalvador, #Guatemala, & #Honduras are the source of most of our southern border crossers, and for very good reasons that every American--especially every Trump voter--should understand.
I am proud to live and work in #EastBoston, in a majority-Latino neighborhood. Most of my clients fled to this country for their lives, but few are legally considered to be refugees.

But they are.

This is the reality I have spent more than a decade confronting.
The asylum interviewers are specially trained to handle juvenile #asylum cases. They always try to make them feel comfortable in a cold government office, ask them what their favorite classes are and what they want to do when they grow up. I usually tear up at least once.
Most of my juvenile clients are eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile status, and it's such a relief to be able to tell them that they're going to be okay. But there are so many hundreds I *can't* honestly say that to... and Trump is intent on revoking #SIJ ASAP.
I personally know hundreds of these kids and their families. We are a neighborhood office, and we try to be as open as accessible as possible. We all become part of each other's lives.

Sometimes they even pay us.
I forget every time I talk about these cases that most people have no idea that this country has been deporting children, with increasingly effective efficiency. Obama's administration was holding them without bond & actively arguing that they were "a threat to the United States"
I don't know how to be proud of a country that doesn't have a place for some of the most honest, sincere, genuine, and hard-working people I've ever met. They sacrifice everything for their children, and we deport them. And it's all about to become so much worse.
I feel a little better now. Thanks for listening.

Nearly all of the children in this situation will never be able to afford attorneys. (Even me.) If you were touched by what I had to say here, please consider a donation to Kids in Need of Defense.
(And if you're not already over here, you could do worse for the soul than this #Boston @theafghanwhigs / @Built_2_Spill show. See you tomorrow.)

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More from @matt_cam

Sep 25, 2018
1/ One of the worst parts of the proposed new DHS "public charge" rule would resurrect a 400-yr-old idea, punish lower-income immigrants, AND deliver a massive new giveaway to Wall Street.

Not seeing much out there on this piece right now, so here's what you need to know:
2/ The idea of a "public charge bond" goes back to the earliest colonial days. If someone coming over from Europe didn't seem like they would be able to support themselves, the ship's captain would have to put up a given amount of money to keep them off the dole or take them back
3/ As part of the "Passenger Cases," SCOTUS struck down the city of Boston's attempt to collect public charge bonds from ship captains as unconstitutional in 1849, finding that only the federal government had this kind of power. But it didn't actually exercise it until 1882.
Read 16 tweets
Aug 27, 2018
Appalling, but no surprise here.

No member of Congress should ever be able publicly comment on immigration--alone work on imm legislation--without answering one simple question:

"How does an undocumented person get a greencard?"
Not, like, step-by-step but generally what are the paths available under current law. If the answer is any variation on "get in line like everybody else," an automatic 6-month bar on any immigration rhetoric/legislation until finishing a mandatory US Immigration 101 course.
If you or your staff are not willing to take the time to understand the system we have, there is no place at the table for you in working toward a new one. None.
Read 4 tweets
Aug 22, 2018
1/ Ten years ago this June a recent immigrant was sentenced to life for the vicious, violent, cold-blooded murder of his wife and infant daughter before trying to flee to his home country.

Here's what *didn't* happen:…

--@bostonherald didn't run an angry editorial blaming our imm. vetting processes

--No one used this tragedy to call for an end to all British immigration

--The media never used a booking photo; always images like this one to remind us of his wealth & whiteness
3/ Neil Entwistle shot his wife in the head, and then his infant daughter in the stomach as she lay sleeping in her mother's arms. He then withdrew every dollar they had and fled to London. Mass state troopers grabbed him on a tube platform.
Read 12 tweets
Aug 22, 2018
If you're ever up for listening in on what your local Deep State is up to, may I recommend one of my favorite eateries in #Boston: the cafe in the JFK fed. building. Decent, reasonably-priced food with a nice view and plenty of space to relax while waiting for #immigrationcourt
1/ Two VA managers are having a lunch meeting nearby, talking through how to deliver faster/better services to a 94-year-old veteran & review implementation of a new process.

A USCIS officer is having a quick salad before another round of immigration interviews. In + out in 10
2/ Friends, this is your actual "Deep State."

Career public servants who take pride in keeping their agencies on mission and making the best use of tax dollars doing it, no matter the President or policies. Dedication, commitment, and institutional knowledge. We can't lose them.
Read 8 tweets
Aug 4, 2018

The people running it & the President directing its policies are also bad.

But ICE was still bad when the President was better.

Its purpose is bad.

Its mandate is bad.

Its unaccountability is bad.

Okay, so any questions on that


Maybe *not* have a rogue, unaccountable, armed secret police force & threat of indefinite detention in a disgusting American gulag archipelago terrorizing immigrant communities in the name of enforcing civil immigration orders

Coordinated internal immigration enforcement is a very new idea in US history. But apart from that: we've only been doing it this way for 15 years. If you are doing anything to make this model inevitable, you're on the wrong side
Read 6 tweets
Jul 30, 2018
1/ Live-tweeting from the Boston immigration court's detained docket:

Detainee is on video. I can't see his face but he has a heavy Massachusetts accent--you'd never know he wasn't born here. He is seeking bond.
2/ He has a series of drug-related convictions together with a record consistent with an addiction. Judge leaves his bond at "no bond" without hearing from him.
3/ Like most people on the detained docket, he doesn't have and can't afford a lawyer. (No appointed counsel here.) He is now speaking for himself.
Read 32 tweets

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