Recently my mother told me that if the authorities had stopped her family at any point as they fled from Poland, she would have been separated from her parents. They would have survived the horrors of the Holocaust only to face the fresh hell of a Communist regime. That image immediately brought to mind the heart-rending photos from earlier this year of over 2,600 children, from infants to teenagers, being forcibly separated from their parents as they crossed the U.S.-Mexico border due to the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy on immigration.
This September marks the anniversary of Hurricane Maria, one of the most intense natural disasters to hit the Caribbean in over a decade. Recent studies estimate that of the 3,057 people killed by last year’s storms, 2,975 of those lives lost were Puerto Rican. These numbers continue to grow as the failing infrastructure on the island claims more casualties. The media has tried to unravel the causes of these deaths and scrutinize the failed deliveries of humanitarian aid that never reached residents. Corruption has been revealed at every level. Still, few have questioned the policies that enable it.
The Trump administration said on Thursday that it plans to withdraw from a federal court agreement that strictly limits the conditions under which authorities can detain migrant children, and proposed new rules that it said would enable it to detain minors during their immigration proceedings.
Knowing that so many more suffer from inhumane incarceration, I joined with more than 20 interfaith clergy from around Oregon and got arrested “for failure to comply” by sitting in a prayer circle in front of the main gates of our local ICE field office. We were gathered with hundreds of others, lifting up stories of those still detained and separated from families, singing songs of lament and joy, and praying that justice would prevail.
Although New York state has passed $15 minimum wage legislation, there are thousands of home health care workers, mostly immigrant women of color, who are paid only half of the hours they work.
Epifania Hinchez, who immigrated to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic in her 40s, worked as a home health care worker for 17 years in NYC. The heavy-lifting – her last patient weighed 290 pounds and could not walk – required in her job led to shoulder and wrist injuries, as well as nerve damage which has required surgery. For her entire career as a home health attendant, she has only been paid for 13 hours of her 24-hour shifts.
I am in a cramped waiting room overflowing with the family members of detained immigrants. There is no bathroom easily accessible nor any other amenity. Family members and other visitors, many of them children, wait for hours here at Stewart Immigration Detention Facility for the opportunity to spend the one hour they are permitted per week with their loved one. When a staff member finally ushers me back to meet with a detainee at this Georgia facility, I notice that his employee badge bears the slogan, “CoreCivic: Pride in All We Do!”
Joined by OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, Logic used his VMA stage time as a powerful protest of the Trump aministration’s family separation policy that has removed thousands of children from their parents.
A few weeks ago, I saw evidence that our government treats animals better than it treats immigrants. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a watering trough for passing cattle. This trough destroys gallons of water intended for human beings.
When I saw this injustice, I had already been in the desert for several hours in 110 plus degree heat. I was sweating profusely but I was chilled to the bone.
1. What Can Change in the Wake of the Pennsylvania Sex Abuse Report?
“I don’t know that [the Catholic Church can] come back from this, and I don’t know if they should.”
2. Do Religious People Know More About Politics?
This quick study ranks political knowledge by religious affiliation. Lookin’ at you, Episcopalians.
Over the past four months, news from the border has chronicled the stories of families detained and separated — many of them seeking asylum from gang violence in Central America. Children as young as 8 months have been taken from their parents and sent across the country to children’s shelters, privately run detention centers, and, some, to foster families. Now, 20 days after a court-imposed deadline, more than 550 children still have not been returned to their parents, at least 300 of whom have been deported.
“Abolish ICE” is no mere campaign slogan. It is a goal focused on dismantling a single young agency. I believe that, in its historical context, “Abolish ICE” is part of a larger vision to build a new a social order committed to the liberation of all.
While the INS’s mission was primarily to maintain control of the border and monitor immigration, the CBP’s mission aims to “safeguard America's borders thereby protecting the public from dangerous people”. The shift in mission from INS to CBP reflects an emphasis on anti-terrorism rather than immigration management.
Oliver-Bruno is one of six people publicly in sanctuary in the state (a seventh doesn’t want to be identified). During the 1980s, more than 100 churches sheltered Guatemalan and Salvadoran immigrants, and the movement has seen somewhat of a national revival in recent years. Though sanctuary churches often attract media attention, the men and women living behind church doors represent a network of families and communities living under the unpredictable threat of government-sponsored raids and arrests.
"Imagine your family ripped apart. That’s going to have reverberations across family members for years to come."
Immigrants have described the conditions in detention centers as “hieleras,” the Spanish word for ice boxes, and “perreras,” the Spanish word for dog pounds. In Laredo, Texas, a mother fleeing violence in Honduras with her two young sons said in a statement that they family was forced to sleep on the hard floor of the holding cell, clothes still wet from crossing the Rio Grande. Mothers also said they were given little to no food and are unable to produce enough breast milk to feed their children.
“It seems a new video emerges every week in the burgeoning genre of white people siccing police on nonwhite people for taking part in everyday activities … Now, some of the small but growing numbers of people featured in those videos are using the attention to run for office, become activists, form nonprofits or otherwise enter the fray of race, politics and social change.”
Why some people choose to do evil remains a puzzle, but are we starting to understand how this behavior is triggered?
A senior official at the U.S. agency charged with caring for migrant children believed separating them from their parents carried "significant risk" of harm and said on Tuesday concerns had been raised internally before the Trump administration made it official policy.
Lawsuits can force the government to change its policies, as has now happened with the apparent end to the family separation policy. But lawsuits do not always achieve the results intended. Since legal proceedings usually take years to adjudicate, they are often settled before running their course – well out of public view.
U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw earlier this week praised the government's efforts to reunify some of the more than 2,500 children who had been separated from their parents upon crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in advance of the July 26 deadline. Yet as of that deadline, 711 children ages 5-17 remain in U.S. custody. Another 46 children under the age of 5 also have yet to be reunited with their parents
Earlier this week, it was reported that at least 460 parents may have already been deported without their children, leaving reunification possibilities unclear.