Stories written by Valeria Fernández

U.S.: “Toughest Sheriff” in Legal Crosshairs

The United States' self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff" has made international headlines for housing inmates at outdoor tent facilities and conducting immigration sweeps in Latino neighbourhoods.

U.S.: Tough Laws Just One Peril for Day Labourers

Ovidio Perez's brother was planning to return to Guatemala because of a new Arizona law that made it a state crime to be an undocumented immigrant. He returned, but in a coffin.

Immigrant rights activists gather at the USSF. Credit: Valeria Fernández/IPS

A Reform Movement by and for Undocumented People

Hundreds of grassroots organisations came together at the U.S. Social Forum here to discuss strategies in the fight for immigration policy changes that would put an end to criminalisation and the militarisation of the border with Mexico.

Ina and Stephen Welker witnessed the detention of Ismael Palafox, his wife and teenage son. Credit: Valeria Fernandez/IPS

Arizona Law Already in Effect for Some Immigrants

It's not the law yet, but for undocumented immigrants like Ismael Palafox and his family, SB 1070 is already a reality.

Students chained themelves to the Arizona capitol building doors that lead into the governors tower to protest the bill. Credit:

Arizona at Epicentre of Divisive U.S. Immigration Debate

Protests and acts of civil disobedience are taking place in the southwest U.S. state of Arizona as it becomes the main battleground in a divisive struggle over illegal immigration.

Protesters outside the state capitol warned Gov. Jan Brewer that signing an anti-immigrant bill into law might be costly at election time. Credit:

MIGRATION-US: Mixed-Status Families Face Hard Choice

Norma Tolsa-Garcia is a U.S. citizen but she fears new proposed laws in Arizona might force her and her family to move away from the state she grew up in because her husband is an undocumented immigrant.

Miriam Mendiola with her son Angel, who was born in a hospital while she was in custody. She said she was immediately shackled after her C-section. Credit: Valeria Fernández/IPS

U.S.: Detained Migrant Women Shackled During Childbirth

When Maricopa County sheriff's deputies raided Celia Alejandra Alvarez's workplace and discovered her hiding place, she says they lifted her off her feet and slammed her face into a wall, causing injuries to her jaw and teeth. Later, in detention for having false documents, she says she was not given medical care.

Many families with children marched in the largest protest of Arpaio's criminalisation of immigrants in the history of Arizona.  Credit: Valeria Fernandez/IPS

U.S.: Anti-Arpaio March Reignites Pro-Immigrant Movement

Over 20,000 people marched in the streets of Phoenix Saturday in the first mass mobilisation of the year, calling for an end to the criminalisation of undocumented immigrants and the passage of immigration reform legislation.

MIGRATION: Letting Go of the American Dream

It is only a matter of days before Marcela Vázquez, an undocumented immigrant, leaves the southwestern U.S. state of Arizona for good. And before she does, she's putting as much as she can up for sale - including her three children's beds.

Lydia Guzmán, president of the pro-immigrant coalition Somos America, speaks with the local Spanish TV station Univision 33 about the new law.  Credit: Valeria Fernández/IPS

RIGHTS-US: Panic Erupts in Wake of New Anti-Immigrant Law

Arizona community activists and religious leaders are trying to mitigate fears over a new law that would require state employees to denounce undocumented immigrants.

Republican Senator Russell Pearce is pushing to pass a state law that would allow the police to arrest anyone on suspicion of being undocumented.  Credit: Valeria Fernández/IPS

U.S.: Arizona Renews Push to Criminalise Immigrants

Arizona could become the first state in the U.S. to criminalise the very presence of undocumented immigrants.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he will continue his immigration raids even if stripped of the federal powers to do it.  Credit: Valeria Fernandez/IPS

MIGRATION-US: Controversial Sheriff Dismisses Federal Probe

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, nationally known for his crackdown on undocumented migrants in Arizona, could have all of his immigration enforcement powers taken away by the federal government.

For the past year, protesters have gathered regularly outside Sheriff Arpaio's downtown Phoenix offices.  Credit: Valeria Fernandez/IPS

RIGHTS-US: Sheriff Faces Long-Awaited Federal Probe

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has slammed its door on a federal investigation into allegations of civil rights violations. But immigrant communities in Arizona have reopened them.

US: Children Call for End to Immigration Raids

It has been two months since Katherine Figueroa has shared a meal with her parents. Both of them are undocumented workers that were arrested in a workplace raid last June by Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office here.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio at a recent press conference.  Credit: Valeria Fernández/IPS

MIGRATION-US: Profiling Persists Despite Revamped Guidelines

A three-day widely publicised immigration raid by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office left the city of Mesa like a ghost town. Small businesses closed. Workers stayed home to avoid being pulled over and questioned for documents.

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