Fall 2014 National Immigrant
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National Religious Leaders Send One-Sentence Letter to Obama: Don’t Trade Kids' Lives in Immigration Action!
In This Issue:
1) National Religious Leaders Send One-Sentence Letter to Obama: Don’t Trade Kids' Lives in Immigration Action!
2) The U.S. Is Deporting Cambodian Refugees and Orphaning Their Children
3) New Report Details Prejudice and Pretext in Georgia's Hyper Immigration Enforcement
4) Unaccompanied Minors: Their Arduous Journey and Their Unknown Fate
5) As Migrant Children Face Backlash, Communities Mobilize to Drown Out Hate
6) Updates, Please Support NISN!
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our latest newsletter: http://www.immigrantsolidarity.org/Newsletter/Fall14.pdf
9/6: White House Immigration Relief Delay: Politics Over People!
Joe Shansky, Voces de la Frontera
White House Immigration Relief Delay: Politics Over People
In response to the President's announcement today that he will again delay executive action on immigration, Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera, released the following:
"Today's news is a clear statement from Washington that once again, politics trumps the lives of people.
Six years ago, President Obama was elected on a pledge to pass immigration reform in the first 100 days of his term. Instead, his administration has squandered the opportunity to move a bill under a majority Democratic Congress.
They have chosen to continue the previous administration's "endgame" enforcement policies to build and expand a deportation machinery that has torn families apart, criminalized working class people whose labor we benefit from, and only served to benefit private prisons and private military contractors on the border.
Yet again the President asks the people for more time. Our families don't have that time - not when ICE's arbitrary quotas demand that 32,000 people be detained a day and 1,100 end up being deported daily.
The major lesson for our movement now is to overcome the cruel partisan gamesmanship that dominates our culture, and for the people most impacted to escalate our activity and voices on the ground.
That's how we defeated draconian legislation like Sensenbrenner's HR 4437 or Arizona-style criminalization laws, and secured meaningful victories like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
And that's why we'll mobilize harder than than ever to defend our communities, in the face of these cynical political calculations."
Link to the Article: http://www.immigrantsolidarity.org/cgi-bin/datacgi/database.cgi?file=Issues&report=SingleArticle&ArticleID=1614
9/3: National Religious Leaders Send One-Sentence Letter to Obama: Don’t Trade Kids' Lives in Immigration Action
National faith leaders urge Administration to preserve protections for children
in any upcoming executive actions on immigration
September 3, 2014
WASHINGTON – Forty national religious leaders have delivered a succinct, one-sentence message to President Barack Obama urging him not to compromise the lives of children fleeing violence in Central America as the Administration considers its next steps on immigration.
With new reports of Honduran children being killed following their deportation from the US and Mexico, this incredibly short message underscores the critical importance of protecting children and families seeking safety. The full letter reads:
While we celebrate the potential of executive action to alleviate the suffering caused by our nation’s broken immigration system – particularly in light of political inaction in Congress – it must not come at the cost of due process and access to humanitarian protection for children and families fleeing violence in Central America.
Following the sending of the letter, national leaders spoke on a press teleconference to stress the urgency of their message and why the Administration must not compromise on critical protections for children in any executive actions.
Rev. John L. McCullough, the President and CEO of Church World Service, shared, "Our unique and diverse voices – Protestants, Evangelicals, Catholics, Muslims, Jews – are united in sending a clear message on immigration to the President: Don’t trade the lives of kids. Central American children and families are fleeing for their lives. As a father, I can’t imagine the pain and burden that parents feel as they make the difficult decision to send their children away – because they know they will be safer on the journey despite how dangerous it is."
Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, the Executive Director of NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, shared, "Given the failure of Congress, we have a broken immigration system that needs to be addressed as much as possible administratively, but we shouldn't make trade-offs. These are two different realities: refugees fleeing for their lives and the undocumented in our nation who are contributing to our society. Both need to be protected. Both need the President's action. The best would be for Congress to act, but absent this, the President needs to provide the leadership."
Rev. Jim Wallis, the President of Sojourners, shared, "Jesus said 'Suffer the little children to come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' Children should be the metric of our politics and they haven’t been in an immigration debate that has become increasingly politicized. President Obama knows that in God’s eyes borders matter much less than children. Changing laws that enjoy bipartisan support and have proven effective in protecting kids being trafficked is something that cannot be tolerated."
Shaina Aber, Policy Director for the Jesuit Conference, shared, "The reason the faith community is particularly concerned about negative action from the Administration is because President Obama’s first intervention in this policy debate was to ask Congress in June to roll back critical protections for unaccompanied children. We're already seeing kids put on rocket dockets, expanded family detention, and other actions that undermine due process. These kids are not a problem to solve, but have been entrusted to our care to be protected."
Nancy Kaufman, the CEO, of the National Council of Jewish Women, shared, "As people with a long history of being rejected in times of crisis from many lands, we know how devastating such rejection can be. When the doors of almost every country (including the US) were closed to us in the 1940s we lost millions of our people. The most vivid reminder of that time was when hundreds of people on the St. Louis ship were turned away from our shores and sent back to Europe where the result was certain death. Every Passover we tell the story of liberation and remember when we were strangers in a strange land. This history and our biblical mandate to welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, and feed the hungry makes us forceful advocates for assisting children and families at the border."
Rev. Dr. Sharon E. Watkins, the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), shared, "A detention center is no place for a child. As a nation, we have historically protected and offered due process to children who have endured such horrific conditions, and have united them with family members to promote healing as they await the opportunity for a judge to hear their case and story."
Melanie Nezer, the VP of Advocacy and Policy for HIAS, shared, “There is no reason our government cannot come up with a process that ensures that children who arrive at our borders receive proper care and are not returned to countries where they face the risk of serious harm. In dealing with the surge of migrants at our border, we call on our leaders to respect the core American values that people should not be returned to countries where they face persecution, children should be protected, and families should be together.”
LIST OF SIGNATORIES:
Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director, NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Rev. John L. McCullough, President and CEO, Church World Service
Rev. David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World
Very Rev. Timothy P. Kesicki, S.J., President, Jesuit Conference of the United States
Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley, General Secretary, American Baptist Churches
Nancy K. Kaufman, CEO, National Council of Jewish Women
Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disiples of Christ)
The Reverend Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Mark Hetfield, President and CEO, HIAS
Bishop Minerva Carcaño, Los Angeles Resident Bishop, United Methodist Church
Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, General Minister and President, United Church of Christ
Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary, United Methodist Board of Church and Society
Jim Wallis, President, Sojourners
Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, Founder & President, Uri L’Tzedek, Jewish Orthodox Social Justice
Linda Hartke, President and CEO, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, Director, African American Ministers In Action
Rev. Jim Winkler, General Secretary, National Council of Churches
Jared Feldman, Vice President and Washington Director, Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Sister Patt McDermott, RSM, President, Institute of the Sisters of Mercy
Sister Janet Mock, CSJ, Executive Director, Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO, Faith in Public Life
Very Rev. James Greenfield, OSFS, President, Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Rev. Paula Clayton Dempsey, Director of Partnership Relations, Alliance of Baptists
Sister Margaret Magee, OSF, President, Franciscan Action Network
Sister Louise Gallahue, DC, Provincial, Daughters of Charity
Imam Abdullah T. Antepli, Founder, Muslim Chaplains Association
Rev. Tim Mulroy, SSC, U.S.A Regional Director, Missionary Society of St. Columban
Sr. Patricia Chappell, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA
Elizabeth Soto Albrecht, Moderator, Mennonite Church USA
J Ron Byler, U.S. Executive Director, Mennonite Central Committee
Bishop Fred W. Washington, Jurisdictional Prelate Minnesota Ecclesiastical, Jurisdiction, Church of God in Christ
Stanley J. Noffsinger, General Secretary, Church of the Brethren
Rev. Canon Peg Chemberlin, Former General Secretary, National Council of Churches
Alexander D. Baumgarten, Director of Government Relations, The Episcopal Church
Katharine Henderson, President, Auburn Seminary
Rob Rutland-Brown, Executive Director, National Justice for Our Neighbors
Sara Dwyer, ASC, Office of Justice and Peace Coordinator, Adorers of the Blood of Christ, U.S. Region
Rev. Donald H. Ashmall, Council Minister, International Council of Community Churches
Linda Jaramillo, Executive Minister, Justice & Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ
Rev. Dr. Dale E. Luffman, Ecumenical & Interfaith Officer, Community of Christ
Rev. Dr. Ron Degges, President, Disciples Home Missions
Link to the Article: http://www.immigrantsolidarity.org/cgi-bin/datacgi/database.cgi?file=Issues&report=SingleArticle&ArticleID=1613
As Migrant Children Face Backlash, Communities Mobilize to Drown Out Hate
Laurie Smolenski - Waging Nonviolence
August 11, 2014
Some of the nearly 100 pro-immigration protesters arrested for blocking the sidewalk in front of the White House await handcuffing, in Washington, July 31, 2014. (Photo: Stephen Crowley / The New York Times)
On a Saturday morning earlier this summer, I joined a group of immigrant rights activists under a canopy of tall trees in Lower Manhattan. We were preparing to form a human chain around a federal immigration courthouse to protest the unbridled deportations tearing immigrant families apart. Our action was held in tandem with coordinated efforts occurring that day around the nation.
Hundreds of people began to amass: Latino families with their children, workers still in uniform from the night shift, Korean grandmothers with matching visors, youth activists known as “Dreamers,” and a church group. The organizers were from Palestine, Mexico and Sri Lanka. I saw many familiar faces. Together, members of this group had taken caravans of buses together to march with tens of thousands of supporters in Washington, D.C.; we had faced arrest at civil disobedience actions; we had canvassed New York’s five boroughs; and we had fasted for weeks in the shadow of the Capital. There were many members of the press and few police.
We all understood what was at stake: It was June 28, one year and a day since the Senate had passed an immigration reform bill that Congress had since failed to act upon. The window for potential reform was growing narrower by the day.
The sun filtered through the branches and shined on our faces, and despite heavy hearts and two broken megaphones, we sang and chanted, waving signs showing the outlines of hands to symbolize the separation of families. Some children held enlarged photographs of their parents who had been deported, often for crimes like driving with a broken headlight. Under the Obama administration, more immigrants have been deported than under any other president — an average of nearly 400,000 people each year. The policy leaves thousands of children in the hands of the state, many of whom are United States citizens.
Watching these children, I was reminded of the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors who have traversed the border from Central America to the United States — an estimated 52,000 since October of 2013. The events organized across the United States that day also sought to shed light on their plight. Kids as young as seven and eight — fleeing violence and poverty, human trafficking and coercion to join gangs — have been coming in droves, most of them making the journey on top of trains and crossing on foot.
Suddenly, very incongruent sounds cut through the sky. “Ill-e-gals, Ill-e-gals,” angry voices screamed. At the far end of the mobilization, a group of counter protesters had gathered. They wielded their own homemade signs reading: “No Amnesty,” “Illegals go home,” and “Get out of my country.” We were familiar with this group of bigots, who were mostly middle-aged men wearing American flag T-shirts. One woman carried a sign reading, “Hispanos against immigration.” They were well-organized, monitoring our events and showing up regularly, but they were never willing to engage.
As the derisive cries grew louder, some of our organizers moved between them, forming a sort of human shield. With so many children present, it wasn’t safe for us to expose ourselves by forming a chain where individuals could be singled out. Thus, we shifted and congregated more tightly, with a black female choir group keeping the momentum in the middle.
Despite my reverence for freedom of speech, I was repulsed by the deep displays of hate that day. The whole event took on an almost surreal quality. This group had joined under the arms of these great trees to yell slurs at singing families and stab their American flags in the air like weapons as double-decker buses of tourists slowed on Broadway to take it all in. It made my stomach turn. What begets such hatred? What does it feel like to scream in the face of a stranger who merely turns a shoulder to shield his or her children from your contempt? This was a person whom you don’t know a single thing about except that he or she had been born on the other side of a man-made line.
A few days later, I would learn about a similar protest in Murrieta, Calif., which would also make my head hang in shame. Detention facilities along the U.S.-Mexico border had become overcrowded by the influx of newly arrived immigrants, many of whom were children. As images of holding cells packed with small bodies rocketed through the media, the migrants began to be transferred to other states, including California. On July 1, some of these migrants were being bused to Murrieta to be processed at a Border Patrol facility there when they encountered an angry mob of both local residents and others. They had gathered to oppose the plan for the city of Murrieta to receive these immigrants, even though the migrants were only to be housed in facilities there as they awaited deportation proceedings. As the buses approached, the protesters, bearing many of the same hateful signs we’d seen in New York, blocked their way. “Not our children, not our problem!” they cried, waving flags and shouting slurs.
Enrique Morones, director of Border Angels, an organization that provides water to migrants crossing the deadly desert border, was present at the protest as an observer, and he recalled the events in an interview with Democracy Now! “It was horrific to see, because the children inside the bus and their moms were crying. They don’t speak English, but they understand hate,” he said. “What we witnessed that day was the worst of the American spirit.”
This account evokes another struggle — not over borders but over skin color. I recall the Freedom Rides of the early 1960s, when black and white civil rights activists rode interstate buses together into the deeply segregated south. They wanted to test the Supreme Court’s rulings that segregation of public buses and rail stations was unconstitutional. In Birmingham and Montgomery, Ala., these riders were met by mobs that included Ku Klux Klan members, who descended upon the bus. While the police looked on, Klansmen beat the riders with chains and pipes and clubs. Have we evolved so little since May 14, 1961, when one of these buses was firebombed in Anniston, Ala., with the Freedom Riders trapped inside?
The bus carrying those children never made it to the detention facility in Murrieta, and similar events have unfolded across the country. There have been coordinated national actions to protest the migrants. On July 8, the Texas town of League City passed an ordinance that would ban undocumented children from being processed and detained in its municipality. A Republican state legislator in Arizona proudly turned away a bus of kids on July 15, only to learn they were YMCA campers.
Again I ask: What does it feel like to bear such hatred? What compels a person to bang against the windows of a bus carrying children? What did those people feel as they saw the faces of young immigrants on the other side of the glass? Did they know most of the kids hadn’t seen their parents in months, perhaps longer? That they had clung atop a moving train, gone without food and water and walked across a desert to traverse the border alone because back home children were being murdered? The United States, the young boys and girls must have believed, was a nation with a respect for human rights.
It is important to place this border surge into historical context, considering the role of U.S. foreign policy — namely military and economic intervention — in directly contributing to today’s violence and unrest in Central America, especially in Honduras. The U.S. government has a long history of destabilizing democratically elected governments in the region, having heavily funded bloody right-wing dictatorships throughout the 1980s. In fact, some of Central America’s most murderous gangs, including the infamous Mara Salvatrucha, formed in Los Angeles among men displaced by those civil wars. Many gang members were eventually deported back to Central America, where the gangs flourished. Then the 2004 Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement restructured trade relations in the region, passing off unprecedented power to U.S. corporations, shrinking the Central American job market and crippling local economies. More recently, the U.S.-backed 2009 Honduran coup that ousted democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya opened the doors to further corruption and violence.
As a result of these interventions, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has been reporting extreme violence and abuse in the Central American countries of Honduras — widely considered the murder capital of the world — Guatemala and El Salvador, the three countries from where the majority of the children are fleeing. In the United States, asylum claims from those countries have increased exponentially, though the United States is not the only country experiencing this spike. Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Belize combined have documented a more than 400 percent increase in asylum applications by individuals from these three countries.
The numbers fully undermine attempts of some opponents to blame the influx on Obama’s administrative relief policy Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which they say has been a magnet for young people to travel to the United States. In reality, as United Nations’ interviews with the minors reveal, these kids are fleeing sexual abuse, violence, hunger and coercion to join gangs. They were faced with a decision no child should ever have to face, and they chose to escape, knowingly risking their lives because whatever they were fleeing was worse. The United Nations has underscored that many of these migrants qualify for refugee status, but the U.S. government has been failing to provide legal representation to minors, some as young as 10, who are facing deportation. How can we expect children — many of whom speak only indigenous languages and may not read or write, and who have not received support services for the trauma they have undergone — to stand alone in a courtroom and mount their own defense as to why their lives are worth protecting?
Just as the eyes of the international community turned with horror to Anniston, Ala., the world is now watching. America: These days will be remembered in infamy.
In New York City that morning, as the anti-immigrant group’s chants continued, a black female pastor moved to the middle of our group. She was a slim but stately woman with angular features and a booming voice. In a most oracular moment, she began to sing “We Shall Overcome,” the protest anthem of the civil rights movement. The gospel choir began to sing with her, and their voices soon reached the edges of our crowd. We all joined them, the hymn ringing beautifully in the voices of many different tongues. The hateful taunts were drowned out, and songs of freedom resonated high toward the skyscrapers overhead.
Link to the Article:
http://www.immigrantsolidarity.org/cgi-bin/datacgi/database.cgi?file=Issues&report=SingleArticle&ArticleID=1606 (Part One)
8/3: Unaccompanied Minors: Their Arduous Journey and Their Unknown Fate
8/10: Private Prisons House More Latinos Than Do Public Ones, Study Finds
8/5: As U.S. Speeds the Path to Deportation, Distress Fills New Family Detention Centers
8/21: Seven Reasons Why Undocumented Immigrants are Rooted in America
8/24: America’s Continuing Border Crisis
Immigrant Resources on Detention and Deportation
Face Sheet: Immigration Detention--Questions and Answers (Dec, 2008) by: http://www.thepoliticsofimmigration.org
Thanks for GREAT works from Detention Watch Network (DWN) to compiled the following information, please visit DWN website: http://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org
ICE's Enforcement Agenda
Deal fact sheet on detention
Deal fact sheet on border
Raids to Deportation-A Community Resource Kit
- Know Your Rights in the Community (English,
Your Rights in Detention
Community Safety Plan
to Deportation Map
to Deportation Policy Map
More on Immigration Resource Page
Useful Handouts and Know Your Immigrant Rights When Marches
Immigrant Marches / Marchas de los Inmigrantes
Immigrants and their supporters are participating in marches all over the country to protest proposed national legislation and to seek justice for immigrants. The materials available here provide important information about the rights and risks involved for anyone who is planning to participate in the ongoing marches.
If government agents question you, it is important to understand your rights. You should be careful in the way you speak when approached by the police, FBI, or INS. If you give answers, they can be used against you in a criminal, immigration, or civil case.
The ACLU's publications below provide effective and useful guidance in several languages for many situations. The brochures apprise you of your legal rights, recommend how to preserve those rights, and provide guidance on how to interact with officials.
Know Your Rights When Encountering Law Enforcement
| Conozca Sus Derechos Frente A Los Agentes Del Orden Público
ACLU of Massachusetts - Your Rights And Responsibilities If You Are Contacted By The Authorities English | Spanish | Chinese
ACLU of Massachusetts - What to do if stopped and questioned about your immigration status on the street, the subway, or the bus
| Que hacer si Usted es interrogado en el tren o autobus acerca de su estatus inmigratorio
ACLU of South Carolina - How To Deal With A 287(g)
| Como Lidiar Con Una 287(g)
ACLU of Southern California - What to Do If Immigration Agents or Police Stop You While on Foot, in Your Car, or Come to Your Home
| Qué Hacer Si Agentes de Inmigración o la Policía lo Paran Mientras Va Caminando, lo Detienen en su Auto o Vienen a su Hogar
ACLU of Washington - Brochure for Iraqis: What to Do If the FBI or Police Contact You for Questioning English | Arabic
ACLU of Washington - Your Rights at Checkpoints at Ferry Terminals
| Sus Derechos en Puestos de Control en las Terminales de Transbordadores
LABOR / FREE SPEECH
Immigrant Protests - What Every Worker Should Know:
| Manifestaciones de los Inmigrantes - Lo Que Todo Trabajador Debe Saber
ACLU of Florida Brochure - The Rights of Protesters
| Los Derechos de los Manifestantes
Washington State - Student Walkouts and Political Speech at School
| Huelgas Estudiantiles y Expresión Política en las Escuelas
California Students: Public School Walk-outs and Free Speech
| Estudiantes de California: Marchas o Huelgas y La Libertad de Expresión en las Escuelas Públicas
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