Category Archives: Immigration

IMMIGRATION: Ann Coulter, Cardinal Dolan, and the discourse surrounding migrant children

by Scott Alessi, US Catholic

childrenattheborderbutton-smallThe waves of migrant children fleeing their homeland in search of safety and stability within the United States’ borders has been a major news story in recent months, but now it seems as if our public debate (or in some cases, shouting match) about the situation has become the bigger story.

Some Americans were ashamed and angered to see fellow citizens protesting the arrival of busloads of migrant women and children in California, chanting things like “go home” and “U-S-A” as the buses approached. Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert has called the children’s arrival an “invasion” and compared it to D-Day. We’ve even seen protesters use the slogan “Not our children, not our problem.”

Then came what the New York Times dubbed “the backlash to the backlash,” as religious leaders–especially Catholics–took a strong stand against this kind of rhetoric. The Catholic response to the migrants has been consistently one of welcome and aid, as Catholic Charities offices have been offering assistance along the borders and church leaders like Cardinal Francis George of Chicago have even offered up facilities to help house some of the children. Even Pope Francis weighed in, calling for unaccompanied child migrants to be “welcomed and protected” while condemning “racist and xenophobic attitudes” toward immigrants.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan wrote a blog post expressing his shame over the crowds of angry protesters, saying of their actions, “It was un-American; it was un-biblical; it was inhumane.” Dolan called for the recognition of the human dignity of the migrants, repeating the same stance the U.S. bishops have held throughout the immigration debate. “We might argue and yell about policies, processes, and politics,” Dolan wrote, “(but) we can never argue about the dignity of the human person or the sacredness of life, or yell at people who need our help.”…

Click here to read the rest of the article.

CHILDREN AT OUR BORDER: Where is the compassion for the children at our border?

Lopez-Hughes-Dianeby Diane Lopez Hughes,
Pax Christi Illinois

In light of the current humanitarian crisis at our borders, each of us would do well to think like a parent.

Fleeing from hunger and violence in their home countries, we can only imagine how frightened the children must be, leaving behind everything they know to make the harsh and dangerous journey across Mexico to the U.S. border.

childrenattheborderbutton-smallImagine the terrifying conditions that must necessitate parents sending their children into life-threatening circumstances for the possibility of safety, security and a better future. How demoralizing it must be for some of the parents not to have the resources to feed their children or insure their safety, For their parents who already are here, how hard it must be to make the decision to send children on this grueling journey.

The problem is not new. In June 2008, during the Bush administration, I had an opportunity to travel to Guatemala with Witness for Peace for the purpose of learning about the roots of migration from Central America to the United States.

One 13-year-old teen shared his story of detention. It sounded similar to the conditions we hear about today: a lack of health care and only minimal food and water offered to those detained. At that time, many of the detention facilities were run by the same private mega-industry that warehouses U.S. prisoners today…

Read this entire article by clicking here.

IMMIGRATION: 3 minute video explains why people are fleeing Central America

from Jesuit Refugee Service/USA

Migration from the Northern Triangle of Central America – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – has risen steadily as violence has increased. Mary Small of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and Shaina Aber of the United States Jesuit Conference explain what is driving people to flee for their lives.

Youth gang violence has intensified in the last decade, and as drug trafficking routes have shifted to Central America, violence associated with the drug trade has risen as well. Honduras has the highest homicide rate in world; from 2005-2012, murders of women and girls have increased 346% while murders of men and boys are up 292%. In all three countries, rates of impunity are over 90%.

Child advocates, especially from Honduras and El Salvador, report accounts of children and teenagers subject to assaults and intimidation from gangs, and of children being forcibly recruited by gangs who have “join or die” polices. In a survey conducted by UNHCR of 404 Central American children detained at the border in 2013, UNHCR found that 58% of the children might be in need of international protection. This video is more proof that the child refugees at the border deserve asylum.

REFLECTION: The reality of summer for too many children

by Sr. Patricia McCarthy, CND

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Summer is for children. It is their free time. They don’t have to get up while it is still dark to wait for school buses, dressed in school clothes and carrying those heavy backpacks filled with homework – done or not. It is their time to wear the universal uniform of summer – shorts and tee-shirts. Summer leagues of baseball are in session and there are the days in the park or at the seashore, whiling away hours building sand castles or riding waves.

For some this is the reality of summer. For too many children this summer very different experiences are their reality. We have seen the images of small children at play on the beach in Gaza where their broken bodies were strewn over the sand. Teenagers out at night became the victims of hijacking and murder. In retaliation another teenager was captured, tortured and killed. In Cameroon, young girls taking exams were taken hostage, not yet returned months later.

Primary school boys are being helped onto the tops of trains by older boys of eleven or twelve to begin the journey away from the violence of their own cities to cross the border into the United States. As dangerous as it seems, staying home in a city where four hundred children a year are killed seems more dangerous to them.

For each of these horrible circumstances there are complicated, confusing political realities. Solutions are neither easy nor without risk. Yet to dismiss the crimes against children as the consequences of a political situation is to stop seeing as Christ sees. We can never do that, regardless of our political stance.

Cries for immigration reform arise from every corner. No one denies the need for it, but it is not an excuse to do nothing for the children who have crossed into our country to escape. No one wanted the war refugees from Europe at the end of World War II. The Vietnamese boat people were turned away from many shores in the seventies. Cuban refugees were sent back in the sixties.

The Palestine-Israel conflict is older than most history books. No one, for any reason, has the right to kill an unarmed teenager regardless of who started the fight this time around. Collateral damage doesn’t justify any child’s death.

The world is enthralled with Pope Francis as he washes the feet of a Muslim teen or kisses a disfigured man. But when he invited the Palestinian and Israeli leaders to come to the Vatican to pray for peace, news reporters called him naive, stating that he was out of his league, that he should stay out of politics. It appears to be much easier to prove a rationale for war than for peace, despite the disastrous aftermath of wars which often lay the groundwork for the next conflict.

Jesus was dismissed in his day; he was ignored by most. History, outside of Church documents, has no record of his life. His consistent ethic of life and truth-speaking apparently threatened enough powerful people to have him executed. Two thousand years later we only know of these heads of state because of their connection to Jesus.

Whether it is popular or not, politically astute or not, the Christian follows Jesus. These summer days when some children run free and roll down hills of grass, the Christian attends to children whose lives are insecure, dangerous and at risk. We know that Jesus acted this way; we expect the Pope to care for the children. No less is expected of us.

CHILDREN AT OUR BORDER: National Humanitarian Vigil on August 9th

from Humanity is Borderless

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Join Humanity is Borderless Campaign, an initiative by the Human Rights Coalition of South Texas, for the National Humanitarian Vigil: In solidarity with refugees and immigrants on August 9th for the immigrant communities in our nation and for refugees fleeing violence from their home countries and let President Obama and his administration know that they have an obligation to this country.

We demand humane immigration policies where Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforcement Status (DED) will be granted for persons fleeing from violence from Central America and regions of Mexico and extend Deferred Action to longtime, hardworking settled families who are under fear of deportation. This is a human rights issue, and it is our human and moral responsibility to stand with our brothers and sisters.

Description:

For decades immigrant rights groups have mobilized, protested and written numerous letters to our president and Congress to fix our broken immigration system; yet, our voices have faded away in the ears of our political leaders. Now, with the influx of Central American children in our southern borders, it has become a “crisis,” a crisis that has long existed due to the unequal economic relationships created by U.S. foreign policies.

Thousands of children and families from Central America and regions of Mexico cross the southern U.S. border every year to escape violence or economic plight in their home countries. They are forced to migrate in order to survive.

Those who reach the United Stated come in deplorable conditions, starving, with torn shoes and scarred skin. At our local shelters, we hear the stories and see the real images of the young mothers, children and adolescents who are detained under miserable conditions with no knowledge of their destiny. Many have witnessed family members killed, raped or tortured by gang members fearing their own lives. Fearing for their safety, they journeyed to the U.S. Many have endured extreme injuries; others have been exploited, abused, and endangered by “coyotes.” These refugees are then placed in shelters or detention facilities with little or no medical care.

They are clearly refugees fleeing violence from their homelands. Yet, even with the crisis, the response from the U.S. has been neglectful, mistakenly making an argument to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and invest two billion dollars to continue to militarize our borders and expedite the deportation process for those escaping violence, who should be protected as refugees. These proposals are not the answer to this humanitarian crisis.

In addition, HRCSTX demands that Deferred Action be extended to hardworking settled families who live in fear of deportation. The HRCSTX joins other sectors of the immigrant rights movement in calling for full administrative relief from President Obama towards immigrant communities to ensure families are no longer terrorized with the constant fear of deportation and separation. We uphold family unity and safety as essential human rights, values that undoubtedly intersect with the cases of refugees and immigrants in our nation.

The United States needs to respond humanely and allow our communities to live a peaceful and just life, not deport them to the economic plight or physical violence that forced them to flee to our country.

It is time to stand in solidarity and unify as one nation, as one community and let our government know that enough is enough. We are a land of immigrants. Humanity is borderless.

Click here for more information.

TAKE ACTION: Tell President Obama and Congress not to deport innocent children

from Presente.org

Screen_Shot_2014-07-17_at_3.22.32_PMThe situation is dire. The Obama Administration has started to deport the refugee children back to Central America. And the House and Senate are ramming through a bill, deceptively named the ‘HUMANE Act’, that would speed up their deportations. If it passes, President Obama is likely to sign it — despite a pledge not to send kids back home to their deaths.

The media needs to hear the voices of folks like you: people who will stand up to any effort to throw families and innocent children back to extreme gang violence and poverty.

Tell President Obama and Congress: Do not deport innocent refugee children. Do not pass the HUMANE Act!

Click here to sign the letter.