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migration is human
Posted 01 August 2014 - 06:08 PM
`to Illegal Immigrants in Texas
Glenn Beck seems to be reaching out more and more toward the "moderate" mainstream movement of the increasingly politically correct and spineless Republican Party. He seems to be embracing the bleeding heart liberals and moderates as well in an obvious attempt to grow his audience. He seems to have figured out that there is more money in embracing the clueless masses than in standing tall with the Liberty Movement. Don't forget that he was stood against everything that happening at the Bundy Ranch as well. When the spotlight is on he will create controversy. That is who Beck is. So once again, Beck is doing what he is best at and garnering publicity for himself.
There is no such thing as bad PR, right Glenn?
So long as people are talking, your brand will grow.
That is simple marketing.
Are these illegal immigrant children victims in a political chess match?
There is no doubt they are. However, where is Mr. Beck when homeless kids are starving in the streets of every major city in the U.S., every single day? Where is he when the spotlight is not on?
You judge a man's character by what he does when no one is watching and when people are watching you must take it all with a grain of salt. The truth is that Beck will likely gain viewers from this public spectacle, rather than lose them.
Nevertheless, in typical Beck-fashion, he has decided to act like he is putting his career on the line, as countless bleeding hearts line up to support him. The Blaze reports:
Glenn Beck on Tuesday announced that he will be bringing tractor-trailers full of food, water, teddy bears and soccer balls to McAllen, Texas on July 19 as a way to help care for some of the roughly 60,000 underage refugees who have crossed into America illegally in 2014.
Beck said he will be joined by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), and a number of pastors and rabbis.
"Through no fault of their own, they are caught in political crossfire," Beck said of the children. "And while we continue to put pressure on Washington and change its course of lawlessness, we must also help. It is not either, or. It is both. We have to be active in the political game, and we must open our hearts."
Beck said that "everybody" told him not to talk about other controversial issues, like the caliphate, in the past, and that he is hearing the same thing about his stance that we must care for the children who have crossed into America illegally.
"Everybody is telling me I'm seeing subscriptions down; I'm seeing Mercury One donations down," Beck said, growing emotional. "I'm getting violent emails from people who say I've 'betrayed the Republic.' Whatever. I've never taken a position more deadly to my career than this — and I have never, ever taken a position that is more right than this."
Isn't that special? It seems Gohmert and Lee are all about the spotlight as well. They will secure more of those "middle of the road" votes in the process.
The truth is that they are all playing the game called "politics."
It is the hypocrisy that is shameful. Where are these men when the soup kitchen opens in your home town each morning? What did they do to actually stop this from happening in the first place?
How about you shove those soccer balls where the sun doesn't shine and think about my kids and the kids of so many American families that are hurting?
No one is laying out the red carpet or making a grand spectacle of our plight.
These kids are human beings and if I thought that these people were seeking to help them for the right reasons I might bite my tongue, but I can't.
We are just seeing more posturing that will serve an agenda. They can convince themselves that they are doing the right thing, for the right reasons, all they want. But someone needs to call out that disillusionment.
Where are you when the children of American citizens need help?
We can not afford these kids and the much more charitable thing for you to do would be to put them on a bus and take them home.
What is really happening here is that more and more political players are using this "humanitarian" angle to drive the country further and further toward acceptance of amnesty and socialist policies. This is not much different than Obama parading kids out after Sandy Hook and using them as pawns to pull at our heartstrings. I would bet that Mike Lee, Louie Gohmert and Glenn Beck were all critical of that production.
Now the shoe is on the other foot.
Don't listen to what they say.
Watch what they do.
Just for the record, I am a big fan of both Gohmert and Lee. I think they are two of our top 15, or so, in Washington. I also appreciate the tremendous contributions of Beck when he is on our side. But in this case I think all three are sending the wrong message.
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Posted 02 August 2014 - 06:55 PM
Read more: http://www.digitaljo...4#ixzz39GEaZFGQ
Posted 02 August 2014 - 08:06 PM
here is a new video about migration is human;
infact lets see two videos about migration is human.
hey lets have some discussion here.
Edited by vladzo, 02 August 2014 - 08:07 PM.
Posted 02 August 2014 - 08:31 PM
Illegals Living Large at Tax Payer Expense
in Suites with Flatscreens, Ping Pong, Soccer Fields and Play Areas
ABC 5 in San Antonio is reporting the grand re-opening of a remodeled "detention center" in Karnes City today. The center will include such amenities as flatscreen TVs, an onsite dentist, an artificial turf soccer field, basketball courts, ping pong tables, children's play areas and, of course, all residents will be given six new sets of clothes while they are there.
They are no longer calling them "detainees." Now they call them "residents:"
"I will refer to everyone in this facility as a resident. ICE generally refers to people in custody as detainees," ICE San Antonio Field Office Director Enrique Lucero said.
The 532-bed facility has recently undergone a massive renovation. No numbers are being given as to the cost of that face lift. However, the fact that it took place just serves as further proof that the federal government knew what was about to happen at our southern border and refused to do anything about it.
Though we have no numbers as to the cost of the reconstruction efforts, we are being told that it costs the taxpayers about $140 per day/per person at this facility. Please allow that to soak in for a moment. That is per person and not for an entire family.
My entire family lives on about $140 a day if not a little less. Depending on where you live, this can be a good amount of money. That is $980 a week or just shy of $51,000 a year for each person. Though the average stay is being quoted at 23 days, it still gives you a general idea of the overall cost that taxpayers are being forced to burden.
In a country where half of the wage earners now make less than $27,520 per year, the argument could be made that these people are being treated like royalty. They are certainly being treated better than most of us.
For those of you who are unaware, though this facility is for women and children, it is not just women and children who are getting our tax dollars and there is substantial evidence to prove that. In mid-July, we ran a report and a video showing busloads of illegal immigrant adults (men and women) shopping at a Wal-Mart in North Carolina. If you didn't see that video, you can find it here.
Once again, the federal government is proving why this country is broke (and very much broken). They do not know how to responsibly budget money like a normal family would be forced to do. That is one of the many reasons that so many families are hurting. Whether this is a "humanitarian" effort or not is still being hotly debated. However, no one has to my knowledge denied that these people are here illegally. So, secure the damn border and send them back, period.
It is the law and hard-working Americans cannot afford anymore mouths to feed. My bleeding heart stops at the point that it effects the comfort and well-being of my own family. Taxpayers understand that. The tax-mongers do not.
The KRGV.com article (San Antonio Channel 5) is one of those must reads in my opinion, there is also a video with the article that I did not have permission to embed here. If it doesn't make you angry to see your tax dollars in action like this, then nothing probably will.
How many of our own children lack the basic necessities being freely given to these kids that aren't even here legally?
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Edited by vladzo, 02 August 2014 - 08:32 PM.
Posted 02 August 2014 - 08:41 PM
Published: 4 days ago
Armed militia groups along the Texas-Mexico border have grown to more than 10 active “teams” from El Paso to the Rio Grande Valley, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
More than 30 photos obtained by the newspaper show dozens of members posing at campsites while carrying semi-automatic rifles and tactical gear. Many are wearing masks and camouflage to avoid being “identified by gangs and cartel members.”
State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, denounced the groups in a statement.
“Local law enforcement and federal Border Patrol agents have been clear. The presence of these outside independent militia groups does nothing to secure the border; it only creates an unsafe situation for law enforcement officials that are protecting our communities. Unfortunately, the vile rhetoric of my opponent inspires misguided efforts,” said Van de Putte, who is running against state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, for lieutenant governor.
Barbie Rogers, founder of the Patriots Information Hotline, which is helping to organize and recruit for the militia groups, said there are 10 “operations on the ground along the Texas border” from El Paso to Laredo to the Valley. Many of the groups are stationed on ranch land with permission from the owners, she told the newspaper. She said the hot line is averaging 97 calls per hour.
The Texas militias’ operation names, according to Rogers, are: Bolinas Border Patrol, Central Valley Militia, Independent Citizens Militia, Alpha Team, Bravo Team, FOB Harmony, Operation Secure Our Border: Laredo Sector, O’Shanessy’s Team, the 77′s and Camp Geronimo.
“Operation Secure Our Border,” is being led by Chris Davis, a 37-year-old truck driver who was discharged from the Army in 2001 “under other than honorable conditions in lieu of trial by court martial,” according to a summary of Davis’ military service obtained by Express-News.
The militia groups have set up a “command post” in Von Ormy, about 20 miles south of downtown San Antonio, Davis told KRGV-TV.
“We have patriots all across this country who are willing to sacrifice their time, money even quit their jobs to come down and fight for freedom, liberty and national sovereignty,” Davis said in the interview.
The group will secure the border in a “legal and lawful manner,” Davis said. However, a 21-minute YouTube video of Davis, which was first reported by the McAllen Monitor, is raising eyebrows.
“You see an illegal. You point your gun dead at him, right between his eyes, and you say, ‘Get back across the border or you will be shot,’” Davis can be heard saying.
Davis said he removed the video because it was taken out of context “by a newspaper that supports amnesty.”
“If we come across a family that may have made it across the border, we will give them water and food and make contact with ICE or Border Patrol and tell them we have these people here,” Davis told the Express-News.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection expressed opposition to the militias in a statement, saying they “could have disastrous personal and public safety consequences.”
Army regulations state a soldier may be discharged in lieu of trial by court martial when the soldier uses force or violence to produce serious bodily injury or death, abuses a position of trust, is insubordinate, deliberately endangers the health of others or displays behavior that “constitutes a significant departure from the conduct expected of Soldiers of the Army.”
Posted 03 August 2014 - 07:36 PM
LIRS is working diligently with government and service partners to care for Central American children and families fleeing to the US for refuge. The issue is not a new one. LIRS has been working with unaccompanied children and families seeking refuge for decades. We’ve observed a marked increase in recent years and advocated for improved safeguards and increased capacity to care for those impacted.
What is new is the unprecedented influx and controversy about our humanitarian response as a nation. More than 50,000 children have arrived alone so far this year. Almost 40,000 women and children have arrived as families. All have endured an incredibly dangerous journey to escape violence and despair caused by failed states in Central America. Current efforts to expedite their deportation place their need for humanitarian relief in jeopardy.
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is playing a national advocacy role as well as a service role during this emergency. LIRS provides services to unaccompanied migrant children that uphold their best interests and recognize their vulnerabilities to exploitation and abuse. The services include providing short-term transitional foster care while children are assessed for their next safe destination which may include: being reunited with family in the United States, being returned to their home country, or being placed in long-term foster care while they purse legal relief. LIRS, through our network of partners, also assists the families who are trying to be reunited with their children.
Posted 03 August 2014 - 08:39 PM
but this canal would mean more work and less migratiionNicaragua Canal: A better option than Panama
Managua, (Prensa Latina) The recent announcement of an inter-oceanic canal in Nicaragua is now seen as a further step in realizing this project and as an opportunity to optimize global trade. Alberto Vega, of the company ERM - in charge of feasibility studies on the project - said in Managua that if this pathway becomes reality, it will meet current global demand for commercial transport.
The new canal will provide service for the ships with a deeper keel and the route will be shorter between Asia and modern ports on the east coast of the United States and Europe, he said.
He explained that in the coming years, world trade will grow more than three times, which will create a greater demand for shipping capacity and will create more congestion in the Panama Canal in the next decade. To this is added the increase in the size of vessels which will exceed the capacity of existing canals and therefore a second waterway in Central America will help satisfy the demand at a lower cost, the expert explained. The same opinion is shared by Dong Yunsong, representative of HKND Group, the Chinese company based in Hong Kong and partner in this project.
For him, a canal through Nicaragua would take five percent of the world transportation trade. During the presentation of the final route on Monday, Yunsong made reference to the economic benefits that this work is the infrastructure for the country, which could double its Gross Domestic Product and become one of the richest in Central America, he said.
The Nicaraguan canal will have a length of approximately 278 km, of which 105 will be a stretch of the lake Cocibolca. Its route will pass through the delta of river Brito, in the Department of Rivas, about 110 kilometers from Managua, cross the lake and be carried forward by the river Tule to the mouth of the river Punta Gorda, in the Autonomous Region of the Southern Atlantic.
Besides this infrastructure will be built two deepwater ports, an area of free trade, a resort, an international airport and the various connecting roadways. According to HKND, this channel will allow the passage of 5,100 vessels annually, including ships of large size, and the transit time is about 30 hours.
Translation from the original Portuguese
by Ekaterina SANTOS
Posted 04 August 2014 - 08:11 PM
And sending them back to the horrific situations in their home countries might be sentencing them to deat
- Friday 1 August 2014 07.48 EDT
When I left Brazil as a 20-year-old, my country was in the midst of economic crisis, and I wanted to escape the extreme violence, drug wars and government oppression and corruption that made me – and millions of others who were there at that time – feel hopeless about the future.
Today, I’m a university professor in Tucson, Arizona, where I volunteer my Portuguese and Spanish language skills in local hospitals and public clinics to help women victims of domestic or sexual abuse, mostly translating their stories for different authorities to enable them to qualify for shelter.
The ability of these women to tell their stories – and mine to translate them for the authorities in whose hands their fates lie – is intrinsic to their ability to find safety and, hopefully, get justice. But in this current child immigration crisis – the results of which I’ve seen firsthand while volunteering at my local Greyhound bus station (where children are arriving in droves from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador) – so many young people’s stories are going untold, and our unwillingness to listen may doom them to the very life they fear being unable to escape.
Many of the children I’ve seen arrive in Tucson have been 5- to 17-year-old girls – but they’re just part of the wave of 57,000 unaccompanied minors crossing the border. Unlike in previous years (when child migrants were overwhelmingly male and mostly older), nearly half of the incoming children are girls, according to the Women’s Refugee Commission, and they are getting increasingly younger. Worse, advocates are finding that many are pregnant as a result of being raped in their home countries or on the way to the US border.
But once they arrive, in order to qualify for juvenile status, asylum or a visa (as a victim of or witness to a serious crime or victim of human trafficking) they must be able to tell US authorities – and convince an immigration judge – that they face abuse, abandonment, persecution or other dangers if they return. A recent New York Times report found that some minors (especially those who faced physical or sexual abuse) are so traumatized that they are unable to articulate their stories to border agents or to speak on their own behalf.
That matched my experience in volunteering on behalf of battered, raped, or abused women, many of whom are recent immigrants – they are often scared to death and shell-shocked, and I’m not a law enforcement agent wearing a uniform.
Child prostitution and human trafficking, especially of girls as young as 10 to 14 years, is a widespread problem: one NGO, Casa Alianza, reports that there may be as many as 15,000 children sexually exploited by traffickers in Guatemala alone, and the UN reports that as many of 89% of trafficking victims identified in the country were from El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua (indicating a strong correlation with migration patterns in the region). In addition, violence against women and children in general is widespread in Central American countries, especially in Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala – including domestic violence, rape, child abuse and femicide.
Overall, an estimated 58% of unaccompanied minors from Central America may be eligible for humanitarian protection under international standards due to violence, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. (That percentage may be even higher for girls, since sexual violence is often hidden and they are more likely than boys to be victims.)
But there seems to be little political appetite to allow 60% of the child migrants fleeing these kinds of violence and exploitation to find the safety in America that I relished when I came.
On Thursday, House Republicans announced that they couldn’t come to an agreement on a $657m emergency immigration funding package – which would have also restricted President Obama’s executive authority to end the deportation of undocumented minors raised in the US and rescinded a 2008 law designed to combat sex trafficking by giving minors from Central America the right to a court hearing before deportation. A Senate package worth $2.7bn – but without those restrictions targeting undocumented children – is also stalled due to Republican objections. In all likelihood, Congress will recess for the month of August without doing anything about the flood of children fleeing across our border ... and those children will just keep coming.
Speaking from my own experience, it takes strength and courage to leave your country, your family, your friends, and all of your belongings – and I was 20 years old. I can only imagine what it would take for these children to make such an arduous journey, or how awful the circumstances they are leaving must be to convince them to try.
While the our politicians go back to their districts and brave the summer heat in wool suits to pander to their constituents, more children are going to be marching north, risking their lives to find a safe place to grow up. Sending these children – and especially these girls – back to the horrific situations from which they escaped might well be sentencing them to death. They deserve more from our country than a bunch of politicians so desperate to win reelection that they’ll warehouse innocent children to prove that they’re “tough” on the issues.
So do we.
Edited by vladzo, 04 August 2014 - 08:12 PM.
Posted 04 August 2014 - 08:53 PM
Yesterday, 06:52 PM
hey mr. mad duck, ??? do you really understand what you said - - - " machine guns, tanks and attack helicopters to handle 90,000 kids by October "
no other nation has ;; or has ever had ;; such a problem - - - ? don't you know that ?
Edited by vladzo, 04 August 2014 - 09:08 PM.
Posted 05 August 2014 - 11:30 PM
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To listen to the mainstream narrative, one might believe that nearly all of those entering through our Southern Border are desperate children from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. This narrative is an obvious attempt to pull at the heart strings of good American people, who would not ever wish to turn away needy children.
But is there any real truth to the claims?
Breitbart is now reporting the existence of a leaked Customs and Border Protection (CBP) document that reveals immigrants entering (or trying to enter) America from over 75 different countries.
The report reveals the apprehension numbers ranging from 2010 through July 2014. It shows that most of the human smuggling from Syria and Albania into the U.S. comes through Central America. The report also indicates the routes individuals from North Africa and the Middle East take into the European Union, either to illegally migrate there or as a possible stop in their journey to the United States. The data are broken down further into the specific U.S. border sectors where the apprehensions and contact occurred.
Among the significant revelations are that individuals from nations currently suffering from the world's largest Ebola outbreak have been caught attempting to sneak across the porous U.S. border into the interior of the United States. At least 71 individuals from the three nations affected by the current Ebola outbreak have either turned themselves in or been caught attempting to illegally enter the U.S. by U.S. authorities between January 2014 and July 2014.
This would seem to support the conclusions, of Dave Hodges and Dr. Jane Orient, that Ebola may have already entered this country even before it was flown into Atlanta. If it is not here, it will be. The scope of what will happen is clearly unknown but there is no way to keep the disease out when West Africans are clearly entering through our Southern Border. Even if they are turned away, how many people did they come in contact with in their journey? At some point an infected individual will cross if it has not happened already.
This is only a small part of the story. Do you remember Blaine Cooper? He is the American patriot who stood up to John McCain and accused him of treason. He has also been making trips to the border and filmed three drug cartel members crossing the border. The video allegedly earned him a temporary suspension from Facebook.
In addition, it has been documented, as early as 2010, that Islamic terrorists use this border to come to America. With all of the recent talk of prospective terrorist attacks, this has to make one uneasy.
In addition, it has been documented, as early as 2010, that Islamic terrorists use this border to come to America. With all of the recent talk of prospective terrorist attacks, this has to make one uneasy.
Governor Rick Perry revealed Sunday, on CNN's State of the Union, that record numbers of illegal immigrants are pouring in from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria.
Does that alarm you?
America is being lied to.
The Southern Border is totally out of control and there are more risks entering this country than anyone in the mainstream media or federal government might care to reveal.
How many dangerous individuals might enter America in that amount of time?
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Posted 05 August 2014 - 11:56 PM
Faced with political deadlock, president’s patchwork of options include new migrant deportation criteria and parole in p
Nearly 60,000 unaccompanied child migrants have crossed the US-Mexico border in nine months.
Photograph: David McNew/Getty Images
When US lawmakers left Washington DC for a five-week long congressional recess late last week, a frustrated Barack Obama said he was left to “act alone” on immigration.
But the president’s immigration battle has two fronts: the growing humanitarian crisis at the US-Mexico border, where more than 57,000 Central American children have arrived unaccompanied, and mounting pressure for reform from the more than 11 million undocumented people who live, work and raise families in the United States.
“I don’t think the president has any option but to do something that is bold, and big and our community will judge him based on the scope of that,” said Lorella Praeli, the advocacy and policy director for United We Dream, a pro-immigration reform group, during a conference call with reporters on Thursday.
In a dizzying finale before the recess, House Republicans eked out the votes to pass two bills – neither of which have a realistic chance of becoming law – that aim to address the crisis at the US’s southern border. One measure would scale back the Obama’s deferred action program for young immigrants, a hallmark of the president’s record on immigration.
Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, an immigration advocacy group, said during the call that Congress’ refusal to pass immigration reform gives president “sole responsibility” to act, adding that the gridlock provides a pathway for the president “to go big on administrative action”.
Big or small, probable or not, here are some of the actions the president could consider.Expanding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca)
Advocates and lawmakers in touch with White House officials have spread the word that the administration is planning to “grant work permits” to millions of the more than 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally, the Associated Press reported.
Such reports have led to speculation that the president will expand the deferred action program, a 2012 executive order known by its acronym, Daca. This program delays deportations for immigrants known as Dreamers, young people who were brought to the US without documentation as children and meet certain requirements.
But on Sunday, White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer brushed off the reports as “uninformed speculation” during an interview on ABC’s political affairs show, This Week with George Stephanopoulos.President Obama could potentially grant temporary protected status to parents and guardians of US citizens. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA
Pfeiffer said the president is waiting for Attorney General Eric Holder and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary Jeh Johnson to present him with their recommendations, which are expected by the end of summer.
With that caveat, there are a few ways the president could go about expanding Daca.
One idea that’s been floated is to offer temporary legal status to the family members of the young immigrants eligible to legally stay and work in the US under the Daca program. It’s unclear how many people this would impact. So far, more than 550,000 young people have been approved for deferred action under the program, according to government data.
On a grander scale, the president could offer temporary protected status to parents and legal guardians of US citizens. Again, it’s hard to pin down how many people this might affect. A 2009 analysis by Pew Research’s Hispanic Trends Project found that 3.8 million immigrant parents living in mixed-status families in the US could be eligible under such a program.Pathway to citizenship
In an ideal world for immigration-reform advocates, Obama would make deferred-action available to anyone who would have been eligible under a bipartisan immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013 and has languished in the House with little hope of getting a vote.
This historic legislation would have overhauled the US legal immigration and offered a path toward citizenship for up to 8.3 million individuals, according to an estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Under this bill, individuals would be eligible for legalization if they had entered the US before January 2012 and had no felony convictions, among other requirements.
But advocates crossing their fingers for such a sweeping order will most likely be disappointed. Obama apparently told advocates to “right size” expectations during a meeting with stakeholders last month, the AP reported.New criteria for deportations
In the face of increasing pressure from immigration-reform advocates frustrated with the president’s record on deportations and political inaction in Congress, Obama asked the DHS secretary to review the country’s law enforcement policies governing deportations.Two young girls watch a soccer match from their holding area where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed and held in Arizona. Photograph: Reuters
At the time, Obama expressed concern over the way deportations affect mixed-status families. A White House statement released after the president met with Latino lawmakers in March, said: “The president emphasised his deep concern about the pain too many families feel from the separation that comes from our broken immigration system.”
For this reason, many expect the Obama administration to come out with a new protocol for deportations.
Kamal Essaheb, an immigration policy attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, said advocates are calling for DHS to use prosecutorial discretion, and to consider mitigating factors such as family ties before deporting someone.
Essaheb said advocates also want to see other administrative remedies such as ensuring immigrants have the opportunity to have their cases heard in court, and guaranteeing accountability for immigration enforcement sectors that don’t follow procedure, which has caused issues in the past.Parole in place
Another option at the president’s disposal is parole in place. This administrative tool could enable certain immigrants living in the US unlawfully to remain in the country while they apply for a change of status. Effectively, unlawful entry would not preclude an immigrant from applying for a status adjustment.
“Parole in place is one example of existing authority that could be used more aggressively to help some people get on a path to citizenship,” said Yale Law School professor Michael Wishnie. But he said other strategies would be needed for the people who aren’t eligible.Migrants ride north on top of a train heading for the US border. Photograph: John Moore
A report by the Center for American Progress says that this mechanism has typically been used on a case-by-case basis and would not be a great option for issuing broad reforms. The report also notes that this approach is not presently used for people who overstay their visas, roughly 40% of the US’s undocumented population.Country-specific approach
Under an administrative tool called deferred enforced departure, the president could protect nationals of a specific country from removal, typically for a designated period of time. In this past, this approach has been applied for nationals from countries dealing with natural disasters, civil unrest or war, for example.
Wishnie said he believes the president would be justified in using this authority to defer the removal of children fleeing grave violence in Central America’s northern triangle of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
“If [Obama] were to use that country-specific authority for particular countries on particular grounds, it would not be a stretch,” Wishnie said. “But he couldn’t get everybody covered that way. That’s why he needs to knit together a bunch of different strategies.”
Posted 10 August 2014 - 05:47 PM
Texas has become the deadliest state in the US for undocumented immigrants. In 2012, 271 migrants died while crossing through Texas, surpassing Arizona as the nation's most dangerous entry point. The majority of those deaths didn't occur at the Texas-Mexico border but in rural Brooks County, 70 miles north of the Rio Grande, where the US Border Patrol has a checkpoint. To circumvent the checkpoint, migrants must leave the highway and hike through the rugged ranchlands. Hundreds die each year on the trek, most from heat stroke. This four-part series looks at the lives impacted by the humanitarian crisis.
The smugglers dropped them on the side of a desolate highway at dusk. Exelina Hernandez hid in the brush with the others and waited for the guides to signal that it was time to begin their long walk. The sky was streaked orange and red, and darkness was slowly enveloping them.
The 24 men, women and children had formed into smaller groups with family members or others they'd met on the journey north. Indians from the highlands of Guatemala squatted next to mestizos from El Salvador and Honduras. Some were frightened, some hopeful, holding water jugs and backpacks close. After so many weeks of traveling, they had finally reached the United States. Now they only needed to walk a few more miles around an immigration checkpoint.
Exelina was looking forward to reuniting with her two young children, Ana and Javier, and her husband, Gustavo, whom she hadn't seen since her exile to El Salvador months before. She had returned to El Salvador in a desperate attempt to gain legal residency in the United States. But gangs in her San Salvador neighborhood proved too dangerous and Exelina was fleeing back to Texas. It was a seven-hour drive to her home in Irving from the spot where Exelina hunkered down in the South Texas brush. After weeks of traveling, she was on the last leg of her journey, but she was still a long way from home.
She knew the trip was risky; she knew that people sometimes died trying to reach their families in the United States, but death was difficult to comprehend. La muerte was a concern for the old and the infirm. She was just 31-years old, recently married and in love. A journey like this required hope, a positive outlook. It had taken her three weeks to arrive at the Texas border from San Salvador, and she spent another 11 days at a safe house in Brownsville. The privilege of being crammed into a windowless warehouse with several dozen unwashed strangers and being forced to hike for several hours through desolate ranches of thorn scrub and prickly pear would cost her $3,200.
At the warehouse in Brownsville, Exelina had gotten to know a woman in her late 50s, a devout Christian also from El Salvador, and a younger woman from Guatemala. Exelina was always making friends. She loved to tell jokes, and often chatted with the neighbors in Irving, much to her mother Elsy's dismay. "Don't be so friendly. You never know who a person really is," her mother often warned. Exelina would tease her. "You're like that, mamí, not me. I'm different."
The southwestern US is carved up into nine Border Patrol regions, called sectors. Migrant apprehensions, a crude estimate of people illegally entering the US, have been declining in most sectors since 2005, and are significantly lower than historical highs. But the Rio Grande Valley sector, which includes Brooks County in south Texas, has seen a marked uptick in apprehensions in the past two years. Two other Texas border sectors, Del Rio and Laredo, saw a more modest rise in apprehensions for the same period
Rio Grande Valley sector was known as McAllen before 2005. Big Bend was renamed from Marfa in 2011. Source: United States Border Patrol
Just 5-foot-2, Exelina was chubby with long, wavy, dark brown hair. The smugglers called her "gorda." They joked that she was too fat to endure hours of hiking through the brush to get around the Border Patrol checkpoint in Brooks County. But she insisted she could endure the hike. What choice did she have? Her children and her husband who were US citizens were waiting for her in Irving, as were her mother and stepfather. Every few days, a group would leave the Brownsville safe house for the journey north. But the smugglers refused to include her. Instead, they offered to smuggle her in a tractor-trailer for $5,000. Another traveler warned Exelina that it was a trick to extort more money from her family, which could scarcely afford the $3,200 in the first place. So she turned the offer down. After 11 days of insisting she could make the hike, and after they received half the smuggling fee, the men decided to let her make the trip. She left with a group of 20 men and boys and three other women, including her new friends, the Salvadoreña and the girl from Guatemala. The women stuck together, excited that they were finally on their way.
It was Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. They would walk all night and into the next day until they reached a highway north of the immigration checkpoint in Falfurrias. There, more SUVs would come for them and they would drive five hours northeast to Houston. Once they reached Houston, their families would pay the other half of the fee to the smugglers and then they'd be free. In Brownsville, the smugglers who had taken the initial payment made the trip sound routine. But, in fact, dozens die in Brooks County every year trying to hike around the Border Patrol checkpoint. The number of deaths began to climb after the checkpoint expanded and immigration policies were tightened in the mid-1990s. The death count rose even further in recent years with the exodus of Central Americans escaping violence at home. Many immigrants like Exelina feel they have no choice. If they want to reunite with their families in the United States, they must risk the walk through the Brooks County brush.
Darkness fell and the two guides beckoned them forward. La migra were all around them, the guides warned. They had helicopters, surveillance balloons and truck patrols looking for immigrants. There were also the ranchers who could shoot you on sight for trespassing, and there were wild animals, snakes and roving gang members who would rob and rape you in the brush. She'd heard these stories during her stay at the safe house in Brownsville. She'd prayed with the other women for safe passage. Exelina figured she had nothing to steal anyway—only a fake gold chain with a crucifix.
It was late in the fall, but the temperature that day reached a record 91 degrees. By the time the group started walking, the temperature had dipped to 85 degrees, but a tropical front rolling in from the Gulf of Mexico was pushing the humidity higher. The night air felt hot and close. Under a sliver of moon, the travelers tried to focus on the guides' flashlights. An occasional light from an oil rig or cell phone tower glimmered in the distance, but otherwise the night seemed impenetrable. And then there were the sounds: the mournful yips and howls of coyotes, a frightened animal rustling in the brush, their own nervous laughter when someone tripped or was startled by a noise.
The ground shifted beneath their feet—in some places the sand was nearly a foot deep and carpeted with burrs. Since the last Ice Age, westerly winds had been depositing great layers of coastal sand across the inland county. It felt as if they were walking along the bottom of a vast ocean, drowning in darkness. The sand seeped into Exelina's shoes and rubbed at her feet. Burrs covered her pants and socks, scratching her legs. Thorns tore at her arms through her thin gray hoodie. The only vegetation that thrived in Brooks County seemed designed to inflict misery: thorny mesquite, prickly pear, horse crippler cactus and cat's claw. Mile after mile they marched through the sand, the humidity rising and barely a breeze in the air.
Exelina wiped the sweat from her face with her sleeve. Her thighs cramped. Her feet became blistered and raw. She began to fall behind. One of the guides, still just a teenager, offered her a pill. "So you can endure it," he said. Exelina swallowed the pill. It was an old trick of the coyotes to give the pollos, as they called their clients, cheap over-the-counter diet pills, or amphetamines, to keep them alert so they could walk all night. But the amphetamines caused even greater thirst. By midnight it was 68 degrees but the humidity had climbed to 94 percent. The heat felt unbearable. Her head ached and throbbed. Growing dizzy, Exelina veered away from the trail, then stumbled to the ground. "I can't walk any farther," she said.
Posted 11 August 2014 - 08:29 PM
this article is posted here to save space; and because it does deal with migration and children in the general sense.
Donetsk Region residents leaving town. (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Voskresenskiy)
Moscow’s calls for the evacuation of children from eastern Ukraine are not being answered, Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said. He stated that over 1,200 orphans have been abandoned in the region, which is under continuous shelling from Kiev troops.
Ukrainian security forces are “methodically shelling residential neighborhoods” and infrastructure, Churkin said at the UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting in New York on Friday.
The UN diplomats assembled to discuss a UN report on human rights in Ukraine.
UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović stated that according to Kiev, 300 children remain in several orphanages in areas not controlled by Ukrainian troops. He stressed that the children are particularly vulnerable and that “allegations of abductions or attempted abductions continue to persist.”
Churkin blasted the document while conveying that children have had to remain in Donetsk after Kiev’s forces intervened into the region. According to Moscow, there are 1,223 orphans in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
“It seems that UN philanthropists believe that children rather thrive under fire,” Churkin stated.
A bus carrying a group of 16 orphans seeking shelter was stopped at a Russian checkpoint in June. Due to the ongoing fighting in the region, they were transferred to a Donetsk refugee camp, where they spent the night and were sent back to Ukraine on Kiev’s request. According to local authorities, an act stating that both sides had no objections was signed at the time.
Russia’s requests regarding the evacuation of children have not received any response from Kiev, Churkin said. Meanwhile, the UN human rights report classifies attempts to save the children as “attempted abductions.”
A dental clinic in downtown Donetsk shelled by Ukrainian forces. (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Voskresenskiy)
“What do the UN human rights defenders think about this? Don’t children deserve safety?” Churkin said.
Kiev’s punitive operation in the southeast has intensified since May, with the Ukrainian army beginning to heavily shell civilian districts. Many cities in the east have lost power and were cut off from the water supply. As of Tuesday, there have been over 1,300 civilian deaths, more than 4,000 others wounded, and at least 100,000 people forcibly displaced, according to the UN.
The human rights report also mentions the city of Severodonetsk, where there have been “worrying trends of hate speech, particularly in social media” since the city fell under Kiev's control.
It goes on to speak of abductions in the region.
“A disturbing discovery of a mass grave has been made, where 14 people have been buried, including two who have been identified as abducted members of the local evangelist church,” Šimonović said. Local residents said that four people were abducted by unidentified armed men on June 8.
The report also says that the life in the city of Slavaynsk – which has been retaken from the local militia by the Ukrainian army – has “returned to normal,” while power, water, and gas have been restored to 95 percent.
Meanwhile, the UN pointed out that “harassment and discrimination has intensified” against Ukrainian nationals, Crimean Tatars, representatives of religious minorities, and activists who oppose the March 16 referendum in Crimea.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that more than 15,200 have left Crimea, while tens of thousands continue to flee fighting in the east.
Churkin urged the Council to focus on solving eastern Ukraine's humanitarian crisis, and not to question Crimea's status, adding that it is now Russia's territory.
According to Russian and UN estimates, 740,000 refugees have arrived in Russia since the beginning of the year.
Ukrainian refugees at a camp in Gukovo, the Rostov Region. (RIA Novosti / Maksim Blinov)
Russia offers humanitarian aid, UN rejects offer
Russia offered to send a convoy of aid across the border for displaced civilians at the UNSC meeting on Friday.
"We would like to send a convoy with Russian humanitarian assistance...with the accompaniment of the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross)," Churkin said. "We stand ready to act with optimal transparency, let the international community monitor the convoys, transport routes and distribution of aid."
However, the offer was rejected by the UN and was especially criticized by the United States.
"Given that Ukraine has allowed international humanitarian groups to deliver aid within its territory, there is no logical reason why Russia should seek to deliver it," US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told the meeting.
"Therefore, any further unilateral intervention by Russia into Ukrainian territory, including one under the guise of providing humanitarian aid, would be completely unacceptable and deeply alarming. And it would be viewed as an invasion of Ukraine," Power said.
Moscow also called for an immediate end to the fighting in Ukraine, and for an effective resolution of the humanitarian crisis.
At the end of July, the Russian Red Cross described the situation in eastern Ukraine as a humanitarian catastrophe, and urged the rapid evacuation of children from the war zone.
Posted 18 August 2014 - 09:51 PM
Life for Child Migrants Is Even Harder Beyond the US Border
Monday, 18 August 2014 09:10
Border Patrol agents pass out water as they process a group of 22 undocumented migrants caught near McAllen, Texas, June 18, 2014. (Photo: Jennifer Whitney / The New York Times)
Between 2003 and 2011, 8,000 to 40,000 unaccompanied migrant children from Central America were stopped every year on the southern border of the US. When this number boomed to more than 57,000 during the first nine months of 2014, president Barack Obama announced an “urgent humanitarian situation requiring a unified and coordinated Federal response” at the border.
In early July, Obama asked Congress for $3.7bn in emergency spending to increase man power and surveillance at the border, and expand facilities and legal services for detained children. Later in July, Obama met with the presidents of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, from which many of these children come.
There have been many debates about the causes of this surge of child migrants, as well as the best strategies for addressing the trend along the border and abroad. But there has been little if any discussion about what happens to child migrants who successfully enter undetected. We can only speculate on the consequences of the United States' failure to address the crisis.
Since the summer of 2012, I have conducted observations and interviews with Guatemalan Maya young adults between the ages of 18 and 35 who arrived as unaccompanied minors between four and 19 years ago. My research shows that violence and poverty are not things of the past for unaccompanied Central American children who come of age in the shadows.
Life in Los Angeles
Although it is violence and poverty that push children to emigrate, many whom I’ve worked with report that a big motivation is the lack of education and job opportunities to escape these conditions, and the replication of their own suffering in the lives of younger siblings.
Arriving between the ages of 12 and 17 without a parent or guardian awaiting them, unaccompanied Guatemalan children enter Los Angeles’s low-wage workforce to support the families they left behind. Many enter the garment industry where they work 11-hour days for up to six days per week without a break, proper lighting or ventilation.
A young garment worker in his or her first weeks on the job might make $85 per week for anywhere between 58 and 66 hours of labour. Over time, these young people make between $280 and $420 per week. Children work feverishly to make the most of their two cents-per-button and six cents-per-seam wages, a workday that is no less physically exhausting as it is mentally and emotionally. Legal status, age and ethnic discrimination, and often language barriers keep children in the most vulnerable work conditions.
Migrant children go to great lengths and endure physical and emotional pain to pay their living expenses, repay the debt of their migration (which is upward of $4,000) and send money to expectant parents and siblings. In one case, an 18-year-old who had lived in the US for five years at the time of our meeting said he puts all of his money toward rent and his family, saving only five dollars per week for himself. All the while, children feel depression, isolation, and a longing to be with their families again.
Trapped in the margins
The young people we’ve interviewed say education is the only way out of their circumstances. But many are unable to attend school due to work schedules or unable to afford continuous enrollment in English classes. Those who make it to class do so with tired eyes and little energy left to give.
Life is particularly tough for Guatemalan Maya youth who primarily speak indigenous languages such as K’iche and K’anjobal. In the US, these young migrants learn Spanish at work or in their communities. The transition from indigenous language to Spanish and finally to English often requires the repetition of English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and results in years of “retraso” (setback). Of the approximately 100 unaccompanied young adults I have met, only one in his early 30s has completed high school.
When it comes to access to services, unaccompanied child migrant workers transition into young adulthood under impoverished and exploitative conditions, without the support of parents and guardians. The pressures of financial responsibility, isolation, and cultural dislocation push some youth into drugs and alcohol, others to isolation and depression, and others as far as suicide. The need for support services is great, but their availability is sparse.
Though many new services are now opening due to heightened attention to unaccompanied migrants, there are very few existing services that cater to the settled population, particularly those older than 18 years of age and the indigenous language speakers.
Support services available during business hours are inaccessible for those working for their own survival and those of families abroad. Fear of deportation hinders young people’s confidence in seeking professional, legal and financial services. Medical services are perceived as luxury and sought out only after weeks or months of discomfort or pain.
These youth recognised their marginality but are not paralysed by it. Since summer 2012, I have witnessed the launch of book clubs, community gardening groups, sustained involvement in an informal support group, which I have called Voces de Esperanza (Voices of Hope) in my work, and commitment to the local church.
While debate rages about the numbers of children now arriving at the Texas border, countless children have already entered the US and are now young adults, forging a life in the margins. Rather than stalling immigration reform in the US, this reality should press the government to move forward confidently.
In a recent report I recommend providing legal protection based on the length of stay. US immigration policy geared toward the inclusion of undocumented youth, such as the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act which was proposed in 2001 and the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals signed in 2012, require they meet education or potential military service requirements.
Though most of the unaccompanied migrant youth do not meet these requirements, they have contributed to the US economy for many years, build their local communities and aspire to a full life in the US, but lack the resources to thrive. The time to act is now.
Stephanie Canizales is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She specializes in Central American migration, immigrant integration, unaccompanied minors, and the 1.5 and second generations. Her on-going work examines the unaccompanied migration and adaptation experiences of unauthorized Central American young-adults in Los Angeles.
She is a graduate research assistant for the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, as well as the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute at USC.
Stephanie was recently awarded Honorable Mention for the American Sociological Association International Migration Section Aristide Zolberg Student Scholar Award for her paper on the adaptation of Guatemalan Maya youth in Los Angeles.
Edited by vladzo, 18 August 2014 - 09:52 PM.
Posted 19 August 2014 - 11:10 PM
by Esther Yu-Hsi Lee Posted onAugust 19, 2014 at 9:00 am
Updated: August 19, 2014 at 10:36 am
A volunteer brings water, food, and diapers to Central-American women and children dropped off at the Greyhound bus station in Phoenix, Arizona.
CREDIT: Valeria Fernández/ AP
Between five and ten migrant children have been killed since February after the United States deported them back to Honduras, a morgue director told the Los Angeles Times. Lawmakers have yet to come up with best practices to deal with the waves of unaccompanied children apprehended by Border Patrol agents, but some politicians refute claims that children are fleeing violence and are opting instead to fund legislation that would fast-track their deportations.
San Pedro Sula morgue director Hector Hernandez told the Los Angeles Times that his morgue has taken in 42 dead children since February. According to an interview with relatives by the LA Times, one teenager was shot dead hours after getting deported. Last year, San Pedro Sula saw 187 killings for every 100,000 residents, a statistic that has given the city the gruesome distinction as the murder capital of the world. That distinction has also been backed up by an U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency infographic, which found that many Honduran children are on the run from extremely violent regions “where they probably perceive the risk of traveling alone to the U.S. preferable to remaining at home.” Hugo Ramon Maldonado of the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights in Honduras believes that about 80 percent of Hondurans making the exodus are fleeing crime or violence.
Since October 2013, Border Patrol agents have apprehended about 63,000 unaccompanied children and another 63,000 “family units” (adults and children) at the southern U.S. border. While a steady stream of deported immigrants are flown back to Honduras about three times per week, the United States sent its first planeload of about 40 Honduran mothers and children from this particular wave in mid-July. Those individuals were dropped off in Honduras’ capital San Pedro Sula.
Politicians like Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) have been keen on expediting the legal process by demanding that immigration judges make a court decision within seven days. But that move could undermine children’s rights by denying due process to children who already don’t understand the courtroom procedures. As Vox found out, one teenage girl told a border agent that she was afraid of being forced into prostitution only after her paperwork had been filed.
According to a United Nations report, at least 58 percent of the children cited “international protection needs” as in they were seeking protection from the international community because their home governments could no longer protect them. And at least 40 percent of apprehended children are eligible for some form of legal relief from removal, a 2012 Vera Institute report found.
Both the U.S. and Honduras governments have allocated funds to help repatriated immigrants stay in Honduras. In June, the White House stated that it would devote $18.5 million to “support community policing and law enforcement efforts to confront gangs and other sources of crime.” And the Honduran First Lady Ana Garcia de Hernandez committed to new governmental programs that are “aimed at improving the lives of those who are sent back and giving others a reason to stay.” Some deportees are rightfully skeptical since the Honduran government hasn’t exactly funded programs meant for repatriated immigrants: Valdete Wileman who runs the Center for Returned Migrants in San Pedro Sula said that the government hardly helps maintain her center.
Still, deportations — and sometimes certain death — will likely not stop. Especially jarring comes recent news out of a New Mexico immigration detention center where multiple lawyers representing women claim that the Honduran consulate is advising immigrants “to forego legal counsel and consent to deportation,” according to a Santa Fe affiliated public radio station.
Posted 19 August 2014 - 11:13 PM
`````````Shelters Undocumented Immigrant
by Jack Jenkins Posted onAugust 6, 2014 at 5:19 pm Updated: August 6, 2014 at 10:13 pm
CREDIT: ThinkProgress/ Esther Y. Lee
A Presbyterian church in Tuscon, Arizona is taking a bold stand in support of undocumented immigrants, announcing on Monday that, for the second time in three months, it will grant “sanctuary” to an undocumented immigrant currently facing deportation by federal officials.
Rosa Imelda Robles Loreto, an undocumented immigrant who is said to have a husband, two children (ages 9 and 11), a house, and no criminal history, is scheduled to be deported back to Mexico this Friday at the hands of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. But Rev. Alison Harrington, pastor of Southside Presbyterian Church in Tuscon, said Monday that she and her congregation disagree with ICE’s position, and plan to pressure immigration agents into delaying or rescinding the deportation order by housing Loreto in their church.
“We seek to follow Christ who commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves and also to offer radical hospitality to those in need,” Harrington told ThinkProgress. “The scriptures tell us to care for the widow and the orphan, and our immigration system creates widows and orphans every day … So we are standing by undocumented families and not allowing them to be torn apart.”
This is the second time since May that the tiny Tuscon congregation has taken in an undocumented immigrant in defiance of federal law. Earlier this year, the church made headlines for granting sanctuary to Daniel Neyoy Ruiz, an immigrant father who came from Mexico 14 years ago. He was detained and scheduled to be sent back to Mexico after being stopped by police for a smoky exhaust pipe, but, after spending a month under the care of Southside Presbyterian, ICE changed its position and granted Ruiz a one-year stay of his deportation order.The scriptures tell us to care for the widow and the orphan, and our immigration system creates widows and orphans every day.
By offering sanctuary to Loreto and Ruiz, Rev. Harrington and Southside Presbyterian are holding ICE accountable to a 2011 memo issued by John Morton, a former director of the agency. The memo urged ICE staff to use “prosecutorial discretion” when deciding which cases to pursue, asking agents to place a lower priority on the deportation of immigrants who exhibit certain traits, such as long-standing community ties, lack of a criminal record, and children under their care. In other words, upstanding, tax-paying people like Ruiz and Loreto.
“[Loreto] has the most adorable children,” Harrington said. “I met them for the first time last night. They love baseball. As a pastor, my faith motivates me, but the fact that I’m mom has put a fire in my belly that wasn’t there before.”
For Loreto, who came to Tucson in 1999, members of Southside Presbyterian plan on replicating the same comprehensive campaign they mustered in support of Ruiz earlier this year. They intend to keep a 24-hour presence with her at the church, advocate on her behalf to media outlets and political leaders such as Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, and send pastors to accompany her when she meets with ICE officials. The church will also continue to work closely with a group of local immigration law experts throughout the process, leaning on them for legal guidance. The group of lawyers meets regularly at the church, and advises the congregation on cases where immigrants might be assisted by sanctuary.
The effort in Tuscon addresses current immigration issues, but housing immigrants at Southside Presbyterian also has special historical significance. When a series of violent conflicts tore through Central America during the 1980s, thousands fled northward to the U.S.-Mexico border in search of asylum. But the U.S. federal government, which provided training and aid to several Central American regimes at the time, refused to grant most of these immigrants refugee status — many in the Ronald Reagan administration argued they were actually “economic migrants.” But a handful churches along the border — led by Southside Presbyterian, then pastored by Rev. John Fife — decided to take the immigrants in anyway, housing them in their rectories and on their pews and daring the government to raid their sanctuaries. Their efforts inspired other worship communities to follow suit, and an underground railroad-style network of hundreds of churches slowly emerged across the country to harbor immigrants. The interfaith campaign was eventually dubbed “The Sanctuary Movement,” and helped put pressure on President Reagan and Congress to pass the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
The historical Sanctuary Movement was aided by the federal government’s longstanding unofficial policy of not raiding houses of worship — partly out of respect for sacred space, partly to avoid the damaging news story that would likely follow their breaking into a church. This policy, it would seem, still holds 30 years later: Harrington said the local Sheriff has already assured her that he would not send his agents into her church to apprehend someone over their immigration status.
“The beautiful thing about offering sanctuary is that we can actually do something,” Harrington said. “We have the ability to stop a family from being torn apart.”We have the ability to stop a family from being torn apart.
Like the its historical predecessor, this new iteration of the Sanctuary Movement looks to be catching on. Shadow Rock United Church of Christ in Phoenix, Arizona also offered up sanctuary for an immigrant family in late June, only to have the immigrant’s case closed by ICE officials with 24 hours of their announcement. Harrington says other churches in Tuscon have also expressed interest in assisting with Loreto’s case, and at least two other local worship communities plan on filing joint statements of solidarity with Southside’s actions.
“They have that ‘fire in their belly’ as well,” Harrington said. “They’re excited about the opportunity.”
The tactic has captured the attention of many pro-immigrant activists, and Harrington said she expected the faith community to muster similar efforts to assist with the ongoing humanitarian situation involving thousands of unaccompanied children and families who have fled from Central American and crossed the U.S.-Mexico this year. As the influx of refugees increases, Harrington said she hoped churches would “begin discerning” how to respond to an immigrant child or family who comes to their community looking for asylum.
But when asked how long her church planned on housing immigrants, Harrington said that while her congregation was dedicated to helping those in need, she was “hoping that we will not have to keep at this.” She cited the very real possibility of President Barack Obama issuing an executive order that could offer legal protection for millions of immigrants like Loreto — people who currently fall in the “prosecutorial discretion” category. The proposal has come under fire from many Republicans, but Harrington expressed optimism that the President would mirror the courage of faith communities like hers and stand up for immigrant families.
“I’m hoping he won’t be scared to do that,” she said. “I’m hoping that he realizes that families are more important than politics.”
Posted 20 August 2014 - 11:16 PM
From 2011 to April of 2014, the Brooks County Sheriff's Office in southern Texas documented 294 bodies of migrants found in their jurisdiction. Many of the dead are still unidentified, but the officers recorded identifying details and personal items that may help families in their search for missing relatives. Swipe left or right to view more.
Caceres first heard of Brooks County in 2010, as it became evident that her homeland was undergoing a crisis. Spillover from Mexico's drug war, poverty and the growing number of gangs and organized crime groups were pushing people to make the dangerous journey north. Increasingly, officials in Houston, the closest Guatemalan Consulate to the border, found themselves in South Texas dealing with the collateral damage from the crisis. At the Houston consulate, Caceres had a reputation for solving tough problems: a boy who needed a heart transplant, a migrant terminally ill with cancer who wanted to return to his remote village. She was also known for defying protocol to get results. She loathed bureaucracy. "If my boss can't solve the problem, I'm going to the person above him," she says. "I become impatient, because I want to resolve things like that," she says, snapping her fingers.
Caceres had always felt an affinity for her countrymen seeking a better life abroad. In her twenties, she'd been an undocumented worker in Spain, working three jobs for poverty wages. In Madrid she'd been sexually harassed and exploited by her bosses. Her brother, who had accompanied her to Madrid, had been robbed in the street. "There I came to understand what immigrants have to go through, how they suffer," she says.
But Caceres was luckier than most undocumented Guatemalans. She had a family with political connections, and a university education, which gave her options back home. When she returned to Guatemala, a friend introduced her to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who suggested she work at a consulate in the United States. "He told me, 'I think you'd do a great job because you were an immigrant. You understand the need. Why don't you try it?'"
After three years working for consulates in Atlanta and Houston, Caceres was promoted from assistant in the legal department to consul. In November 2011, she opened the first Guatemalan consulate on the Texas border, a small office in downtown McAllen with just three employees. Only 31 years old and with the face of a college student and a fondness for bright floral dresses and spiked heels, she was often mistaken for a receptionist at the new consulate.
Right away, the need was almost overwhelming. "The missing people, the dead bodies in the river, the sexual violations, human trafficking, human rights violations, deportations – it's a lot of things happening at once, and you just can't stop," she says. Her biggest shock, she says, was discovering how many people from Guatemala were dying in Brooks County.
The number of migrant bodies recovered by Border Patrol in the southern US nearly doubled from 1998 to 2005, and, after a drop in the late aughts, is on the rise once more. But deaths are not evenly distributed along the border.
For much of the past decade, Arizona's Tucson sector proved to be the deadliest crossing, but over the past two years south Texas's Rio Grande Valley, which includes Brooks County, has seen a sharp increase in deaths. In 2013, the Rio Grande Valley sector (easternmost on the map) reported 156 bodies recovered, up from 29 in 2010.
By 2012, the flow of migrants through Brooks County had begun to escalate, and so had the deaths. Poverty and violence in Central America drove many people northward, and a record-setting heat wave in South Texas wreaked havoc on migrants traveling through the area. That year, 129 bodies were recovered – the most in the county's history. In California, Rafael Hernandez, director of Desert Angels, a volunteer search and rescue group, began receiving frantic phone calls from families looking for missing relatives. In their pleas for help, they all mentioned the same place: a Border Patrol checkpoint outside a town called Falfurrias in Texas. Caceres had begun receiving similar calls.
When Hernandez arrived in Falfurrias in the summer of 2012, he, like Caceres, was horrified by the county's haphazard response to the wave of immigrant deaths. Hernandez had a list of more than 400 families looking for missing relatives and Brooks County had a cemetery full of unidentified bodies. Together with the nonprofit Texas Civil Rights Project, Hernandez and other advocates held protests in Falfurrias, and made it known that county officials needed to follow the law and provide DNA testing for the unidentified remains.
The protests, press conferences and growing media attention had an impact on the county's elected officials, who promised to remedy the situation. It would cost the county at least $2,000 per body, however, to perform DNA tests, which it couldn't afford.
In May 2013, Dr Lori Baker, a professor and forensic anthropologist at Baylor University, offered to exhume the bodies at Sacred Heart Cemetery and test them with help from her students. The University of Indianapolis and Texas State University also pledged to help and, like Baker and her students, volunteered to do the work for free. Baker and others plan to list the information on national missing persons databases so that families from Guatemala and other countries can find their relatives. Caceres began working with an Argentinian forensic anthropologist in Guatemala to collect DNA and compile a list of families with missing relatives to share with Baker and the others working in Falfurrias.
For Caceres, who received so many desperate pleas for help, it was difficult to understand why some of the ranchers wouldn't allow search and rescue operations for migrants on their land. "They've saved a lot of people," she says of Hernandez's group. "His work really moves me, because he works on donations. He drives all the way to Falfurrias from California. He sleeps in the parking lot at Walmart because he can't afford a hotel. Yet they've run him out of the ranches," she says.
Frustrated by the lack of access to the ranches, Caceres asked to ride along with Border Patrol agents on their rounds, hoping to understand what her countrymen endured on their hikes through the rugged terrain. Having grown up in a rural village, she thought she would be prepared.
"I thought, 'I'm from the countryside, I can walk through this land and I can handle the heat,'" she says. "But it was unbelievable. We walked for two miles. It's sandy; it's hard to walk. And the sun! Then I understood our people die here because they think the terrain is the same as home, but it's completely different," she says.
Eventually, Caceres felt the weight of her job pushing her downward into depression. "A pastor told me, 'You have to have strength. You can't let yourself feel sad,'" she says. But the phone calls didn't stop, even in the middle of the night, and Caceres often had to leave her family to attend to whatever crisis arose. "Every call is urgent. Someone's family member is missing, or someone died, or somebody is looking for a child." In 2013 alone, she had sent 48 bodies back to Guatemala from South Texas.
"Brooks County is a cemetery for our people," Caceres says. "If I could tell all of the stories it wouldn't be possible to finish. I've seen fathers with their sons in their arms, dead because the coyotes [smugglers] abandoned them. I've seen women being rescued naked because people start to take their clothes off before they die. I used to cry when I would take the testimonies of the women who had been raped or the children who'd been abandoned by smugglers, children four or five years old, and when they speak with their mothers on the phone – ay, my God. My husband gets angry because some months my cell phone bill is as high as $750. The government pays a certain amount, but they don't say, 'Yes, call the whole world.' But I can't tell someone, 'Hang up now because this call is expensive and they only pay me a certain amount for my phone bill.'"
By the spring of 2014, she doubted she could continue. Caceres hadn't had a vacation in six years, and she rarely saw her family. "Every day was more and more exhausting," she says. "I made mistakes." She'd never been good with the paperwork or accounting at the consulate. She hated sitting in an office. "I'm not a diplomatic person – that's my major problem. I'm more compassionate than diplomatic. I can't be asking for permission from the entire world to do something that I think needs to be done."
After much agonizing, she presented her resignation letter to the Guatemalan government in May. "It was very hard to make the decision, because my work was everything to me," she says. "I was passionate about it."
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