Safe haven keeps immigrant families together – By Amanda Sakuma 06/14/14 09:22 AM—UPDATED 06/14/14 01:45 PM

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TUCSON, Arizona – Daniel Neyoy Ruiz spends his days and nights living behind a steel-barred door. Meals are brought to him; his young son comes to visit.

This 12 by 15 foot room isn’t jail; it’s what it takes for Neyoy to be free in America. Facing deportation after a driving infraction, Neyoy found safe haven in a place he’s called home his whole life: the church.

“I never thought that this would happen,” Neyoy said. “I say this is better than being locked in (prison). Because there you are really locked. Here people can come visit you, they bring you food, we have all the comforts that you need.”


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Reprieve for man facing deportation

Every day that Congress stalls on immigration reform, thousands of undocumented immigrantsare put under threat of deportation. Desperate to keep families together and to protect their flock, a growing number of religious leaders are putting themselves between individuals at risk and the authorities that want them removed. 

There is evidence that it is working. Immigration officials are holding back from seizing individuals under church protection.

“It’s up to the religious leaders to step into that gap and to bring a moral voice to what’s going on, and try to remind our politicians that while you’re playing politics in D.C., real families are being affected,” said Rev. Alison Harrington, standing outside Neyoy’s converted bedroom.

The space, just big enough for a bunk bed, a mini-fridge and a few chairs, is slightly larger than the average American prison cell. It used to be Harrington’s office.

Defining ‘more humane’ deportations

Like many undocumented immigrants caught in deportation proceedings, Daniel Neyoy wasn’t a target for law enforcement.

He and his wife Karla were newlyweds when they left Mexico 14 years ago. Their son Carlos, born in Tucson a year later, just finished the 7th grade and plans to try out for his school’s football team in the fall.

The family home, along the outskirts of Tucson, is a stone’s throw away from where Karla’s sister, mom and grandmother live. Daniel has had a steady job, and paid taxes.

But in 2011, he was pulled over by a highway patrolman because the car was emitting too much exhaust. The local law enforcement flagged Neyoy to Border Patrol after he was unable to present government-issued identification. He was thrown into a holding cell for several nights and later spent 30 days in a detention center.

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The New York Magazine writer joined the MSNBC host to talk about his divisive piece on race in the Obama era VIDEO – ELIAS ISQUITH

Since New York Magazine made Jonathan Chait’s recent cover-story on race during the Obama presidency available to read online, there has been no lack of voices offering their assessments of the influential centrist pundit’s essay. On Sunday morning, Chait defended his piece, joining MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry for a tense but cordial discussion of the essay’s merit.

Things got off to an unusual start, however, after Harris-Perry decided to spend more than five minutes — ostensibly during her introduction of Chait onto the show — tearing the piece apart, describing it as a well-meaning but deeply flawed bit of analysis that suffered from its author’s blinkered worldview. She questioned how Chait could describe the politics of race during the Obama years being more prominent than ever unless he did so with, implicitly, only white people in mind. She also praised Jamelle Bouie of Slate’s response to Chait, which said Chait’s piece on race was curiously indifferent to how people of color had actually experienced living under the first African-American president.

Having sliced and diced the article, Harris-Perry then brought Chait onto the air. After thanking her for inviting him to the show, Chait made clear he wasn’t happy with the introduction-cum-takedown, saying, sarcastically, “[T]hanks for introducing your audience [to me] with such an open mind. I’ve really never seen a TV show where the host berates and rebuts the person they’re having on the show before they’re invited on.”

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Melissa Harris-Perry apologizes to Romney family – By HADAS GOLD | 12/31/13 8:50 AM EST

MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry apologized in a series of tweets Tuesday morning for using Mitt Romney’s black adopted grandchild in a comedy segment over the weekend.

“I am sorry. Without reservation or qualification. I apologize to the Romney family,” the apology started. “I work by guiding principle that those who offend do not have the right to tell those they hurt that they (are) wrong for hurting. Therefore, while I meant no offense, I want to immediately apologize to the Romney family for hurting them.”

(VIDEO: MSNBC uses Romney grandson in comedy segment)

Each tweet of the apology came with the hashtag #MHPApology.

“As (a) black child born into large white Mormon family I feel familiarity w/ Romney family (picture) & never meant to suggest otherwise,” she continued. “I apologize to all families built on loving transracial adoptions who feel I degraded their lives or choices.”

(Also on POLITICO: Palin: MSNBC ‘dispicable’)

In the segment, part of an hour taking a comedic look at 2013, Harris-Perry pulled up a Romney family photo with the newly adopted grandson, who is black, sitting on Mitt Romney’s knee.

One panelist, actress Pia Glenn, sang “one of these things is not like the other” with another joking that it was representative of the Republican Party’s lack of diversity. “It really sums up the diversity of the Republican Party, the RNC. At the convention, they find the one black person,” said comedian Dean Obeidallah.

(Also on POLITICO: MSNBC jokes about Romney’s grandson)

Harris-Perry joked about Romney’s grandson marrying the child of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. The segment brought on a backlash from people like Sarah Palin, Scott Brown and conservative bloggers, demanding MSNBC apologize.

Update 12 p.m.:

Harris-Perry has also posted an apology on, in which she said the point of featuring the photo was to celebrate it:

On Sunday’s program, we showed a photo of Governor Romney holding his adopted grandson, who is African-American.

The intent of featuring the photo was to celebrate it — I often speak to the issue of the increasingly diverse American family.

Whatever the intent, the segment proceeded in an unexpected way that was offensive. Without reservation or qualification, I apologize to the Romney family and to all families built on loving transracial adoptions.