Pax Christi USA has signed onto a letter sent to the Obama Administration discussing five steps they should take without delay to address crucial gaps in human rights, civil rights, accountability and transparency in the context of immigration enforcement.
Category Archives: Immigration
Pax Christi USA has signed the petition below from Ruben Garcia, PCUSA Teacher of Peace, and our friends at Annunciation House in El Paso, TX. We encourage all members to sign on as well.
The arrival of thousands of families and unaccompanied minors from Central America to the South Texas border has pushed the immigration issue to the forefront of debate in the national discourse. News stories of arriving mothers with children alongside tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors have triggered off a fierce national debate. How the U.S. deals with the immigration issue will enduringly brand the character of the nation for generations to come and it is the defining civil rights issue of the day. Calls for immigration reform have been incessant and they have come from churches, human rights organizations, professionals and academics, Chambers of Commerce, elected officials, labor unions, and voters all across the nation. Legislative inaction, a relentless and myopic focus on enforcement only, the criminalization of immigration, and dramatic increases in funding for “boots on the ground” have created an intolerable reality for refugees and immigrants and adversely affected the nation’s economy, security, and especially its human rights record and stature among the community of nations…
Pax Christi USA joins its voice with the many that had great hopes that President Obama, in September, would use his executive authority to address the broken U.S. immigration system as he had promised. Those hopes have been seriously dashed over the weekend by the President’s announcement that he will delay his decision until after the November elections, lest the decision have an impact on those seeking re-election. In essence, the President has yielded to political pressure and has bartered with the lives of immigrant children and families. PCUSA finds this not only profoundly disappointing, but also unacceptable for a country that boasts such high ideals.
This delay simply means more hardship and suffering for those who have endured more than their share of trauma: threats of deportation for those who have lived here for years, returning children to countries of origin amidst death threats, the continuation of 1,000+ daily deportations and the inhumane conditions and screening at detention facilities.
We ask President Obama to have a change of mind and heart, to put an immediate end to splitting apart immigrant families, and to provide safety and care for the children who are alone.
from the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Before leaving for August Recess, the House of Representatives voted on a supplemental funding bill that beefs up border security instead of supporting the agencies most in need of additional funding—the ones that are providing for the basic needs of women and their children who are fleeing widespread violence in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
The House also voted to strike down a key provision in the Trafficking Victims Protection and Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008 that requires U.S. agencies to screen unaccompanied minors from Central America as possible victims of human trafficking. Expediting this process will ensure that many of the children will be sent back to their traffickers or to the violent, abusive situations from where they come. Already, children as young as 18-months are being brought to “rocket docket” hearings, without an attorney, in order to be quickly deported.
Now, the ball is in the Senate’s court and they need to know that although they have been on August Recess, their constituents continue to work to show hospitality to and stand in solidarity with migrants fleeing from violence and aggression, especially children who are traumatized and cannot advocate for themselves.
Call this number: 1-866-940-2439 to leave a message for your Senators.
Hello, my name is [your name] and as a person of faith living in Senator [name]’s state, I am deeply concerned about the House of Representatives’ response to migrants fleeing violence in Central America. Women and children especially are targets for sexual abuse, aggression, and trafficking and need special protection.
It is for this reason that I urge you to uphold protections for children traveling alone from Central America in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2008; to increase funding for humanitarian agencies that are responding to the basic needs of these refugees; and to not rush to deport migrants, especially women and children, who have legitimate claims for protection.
God calls us to act with compassion toward those who are suffering. I implore you to make this a moment of pride for our country.
from the Southern Border Communities Coalition
NOTE: Pax Christi USA signed onto this letter.
Seventy-six organizations including the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) and the American Civil Liberties Union delivered a letter in late August urging the Obama Administration to implement common-sense policy reforms in the borderlands as part of its “humane enforcement review” of the Department of Homeland Security.
The border regions are home to tens of millions of residents whose rights are frequently abused by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). President Obama must not perpetuate second-class status for border communities: the time is now for comprehensive reforms addressing CBP’s scope of authority, improved transparency, and critical oversight and accountability measures.
The letter outlines priority policy recommendations designed to reform CBP, the nation’s largest law enforcement agency which is in crisis due to systemic problems, including widespread excessive force and corruption. Since 2010, for example, SBCC has tracked 29 incidents of deadly force by CBP officers and agents, yet not a single CBP agent has been held publicly accountable or prosecuted.
More than 140 protesters, including Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore’s Bob Cooke, were arrested on August 28th outside the White House while staging a sit-down rally to demand protection from deportation for millions of illegal immigrants.
The demonstrators, representing more than 20 organizations, said the arrests were part of a civil disobedience campaign aimed at putting pressure on President Barack Obama to enact broad leniency for illegal immigrant families and workers as part of his announced review of U.S. immigration policies…