This week our bonus episode features a familiar voice: its my co-host Linah! This was one of the first interviews I conducted while in Australia and it was the beginning conversation that got us thinking about creating this podcast together. Linah has experience as an activist and organizer, they are part of the organization Whistleblowers, Activists, and Citizens Alliance (WACA), and they also are a regular detention centre visitor.
On immigrant access to lawyers in the US: “Most immigrants detained by ICE during their deportation case don’t have an attorney representing them. Immigration detention is considered civil detention and, as a result, detainees do not have a right to counsel as they would in criminal cases.” (http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-na-access-to-counsel-deportation/#)
Average Length of Detention USA: “Federal government data obtained by TRAC indicate that 70 percent of people in immigration detention are held in U.S. immigration detention for 1 month or less; in fact, many people were released the same day they were detained, indicating that ICE did not need to obtain court approval to deport these individuals.
Federal government data obtained by the ILRC indicate that, on average, immigrant prisons and jails are holding people for longer periods of time under the Trump administration than under the Obama administration. In FY 2017, the average length of stay at any one immigrant prison or jail was 34 days, compared to 22 days in FY 2016 and 21 days in FY 2015.”(https://www.freedomforimmigrants.org/detention-statistics/)
Shen Narayanasamy is GetUp!’s Human Rights Campaign Director. She founded the No Business in Abuse project, targeting corporate involvement in offshore detention of asylum seekers, and led #LetThemStay, which prevented the deportation of hundreds of asylum seekers to Nauru.
Recently, she led GetUp’s response to the Federal Government’s attempts to change the Racial Discrimination Act, and ongoing attempts to change citizenship requirements. Shen’s background is as a human rights lawyer and advocate, working in Australia and across the Asia Pacific on issues of economic justice and land rights.
Lavanya Thavaraja is a Melbourne based refugee activist and unionist. She is a founding member of Tamil Workers Council.
*Note: Apologies on the sound quality of this recording, there is a lot of background feedback noise in this episode and it was very hard to remove. Sorry for any inconvenience to your listening pleasure.
Jack is an actor, musician, potter and gifted performer but in his nearly 70 years he has also been homeless, a heroin addict, a thief and a regular in Victoria’s prisons. A member of the Stolen Generation Jack has spent his life in between acting gigs, caught in the addiction/crime/doing time cycle.
Samantha is a mother of three, an organiser and activist committed to environmental, social, cultural and political transformation. She is the co-founder of WACA (Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance) and currently works as the Operations Coordinator for Friends of the Earth (FoE) in Melbourne, Australia. Sam has previously worked in International Aid and Development and has a background in media production and community radio. She has a Masters in Communication with her specialty being on the intersection of Global Media and the War on Terror.
Roj Amedi is a writer and editor, and a Senior Human Rights Campaigner at GetUp.
She was a guest editor of the 38th issue of Acclaim Magazine. She has written for The Saturday Paper, SBS, Meanjin, Swampland, Vault and and is a regular columnist for Right Now. A seasoned public speaker and commentator, Roj has appeared at the Melbourne Writers Festival, the Wheeler Centre and the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law. She is also a regular host on PBS 106.7FM.
Roj is of Kurdish heritage, and sought refuge after being displaced in Iraq in the 1990s as the result of war and persecution. She is passionate about human rights, community building and social justice, and her advocacy and community work has a strong focus on platforming and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people of colour, LGBTI+ people, and refugees.