Monday, July 28, 2014

Surge of Central American Children Roils U.S. Immigration Debate

Obama Job Rating Steady, No Change in Economic Views

By 57% to 38%, people younger than 30 favor sticking with current law even if that means the children may stay in the U.S. for a long time.

By Pew Research Center
July 16, 2014

As the president and Congress struggle over how to deal with the influx of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America across the U.S.-Mexican border, a new survey finds that the public favors a shift in U.S. policy to expedite the legal processing of the children.US border influx response

President Obama gets very low ratings for his handling of the issue. Just 28% of the public approves of the way he is handling the surge of children from Central America, while twice as many (56%) disapprove. That is one of the lowest ratings for his handling of any issue since he became president. But Obama’s overall job rating is virtually unchanged from April: 44% approve of his job performance while 49% disapprove.

And as was the case in January, neither party has a significant edge when it comes to dealing with immigration; 42% say the Republican Party could do a better job on the issue while 40% say the Democratic Party. [...]

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Pope Francis: End the ‘racist and xenophobic’ approach to migrants along U.S.-Mexico border

Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service
July 15, 2014

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis on Tuesday (July 15) waded into the controversy of the wave of unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, calling for an end to racism against migrants and pushing the U.S. to offer greater protection for young children entering the country illegally.

“Many people forced to emigrate suffer, and often, die tragically,” the pope said in a message sent to a global conference in Mexico.

“Many of their rights are violated, they are obliged to separate from their families and, unfortunately, continue to be the subject of racist and xenophobic attitudes.” [...]

Read the full article:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

When Children Are "The Enemy"

By Mumia Abu-Jamal, Prison Radio
July 13, 2014

Dowload the commentary:

I’ve been watching for days now, as media reports display the growing hatreds at the arrival of Central American children across the Mexican-U.S. border.

American voices crackle with bile as they begin the drumbeat for their immediate deportation.

Vile names are called against them, and they are described as “invaders”, “sick”, and “dirty”.

In truth, they are refugees from want and war, almost all the result of U.S. interventions in Central America, in support of murderous military governments and the mindless drug war.

These are the grandchildren of NAFTA, the economic policy which leached wealth from Mexico and its neighbors, for U.S. corporate greed.

That said, this antipathy shown toward children is deeply disturbing.

It reminds me of the era of World War II, when a bill was submitted in Congress to allow the entry of thousands of German-Jewish children. The Wagner-Rogers bill would’ve saved 20,000 kids living in Germany, but President Franklin Delano Roosevelt opposed it - and the bill quickly died.

Actually, many American elites opposed it, including Roosevelt’s cousin, Laura Delano Houghtelling, and wife of the U.S. Immigration commission, who argued: “…20,000 charming children would all too soon grow into 20,000 ugly adults.”

Such crude racism portrays the ugliness of Americans, and the day will come when we will look back at how these children are treated today - and we will not feel pride.

This frenzy, this political and social fear whipped up by petty, ambitious politicians will yet pass.

But left behind will be our shame, at how a nation that claims so much greatness, can be both so small - and so cruel.

© ’14 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Monday, July 21, 2014

Illegals and gangsters and Ebola, oh my!

5 conservative immigration myths of the moment, made sane

As lawmakers seek a solution to the border crisis, the hysterics have reached a new level. We separate punditry from reality

By Megan Carpentier, Kayla Epstein, Lauren Gambino, Nadja Popovich and Matt Sullivan
The Guardian
July 15, 2014

Just when you thought Washington was out to do something, the yellers pull you back in. Bipartisan legislation from Texas lawmakers is set to be introduced any moment now, in an effort (albeit a broad one) to answer President Obama's call for "an urgent humanitarian situation" to the migrant crisis on the US border with Central America, and Republicans are reportedly interested in providing half of the emergency funding he has requested.

Yet this seems like the moment when so many immigration conspiracies – pumped for weeks by conservative websites, talk-radio hosts and Fox News – are just now ratcheting up. Somewhere (hint: national television), Dick Cheney is talking about "integrity" on the border.

From secret plots and diseases to the truth about Tuesday's new protests and life back in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, here is some sanity – with charts. [...]

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

All They Will Call You Will Be Detainees

By Steve Rendall, Fairness and Accuracy in Media
July 14, 2014

One of corporate journalism's bad habits is framing international stories on the premise that news is what happens to the US. There is no better recent example of this than the story of tens of thousands of children fleeing Central America for refuge in other countries, including, but not limited to, the US. With some exceptions, this story is covered as the US's "border crisis," and the latest installment in our supposed immigration debate, with the children little more than nameless symbols of a troubled policy.

The framing of the refugee crisis as a domestic political story can be read in the headlines: "Obama, on Texas Trip, Will Face Immigration Critics" (New York Times, 7/10/14); "Obama Hardens Tone on Border" (Washington Post, 7/8/14); "In Border Crisis, Obama Is Accused of 'Lawlessness' for Following Law" (Washington Post, 7/9/14).[...]

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

Poverty, violence fuel exodus of youths from Honduras to U.S.

By Alfredo Corchado, Dallas News
July 12, 2014

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — Twelve-year-old Maynor Serrano points to the rows of houses where his friends and neighbors used to live. All are gone — many fleeing to the U.S.

Two of his friends were killed as 10-year-olds, their bodies chopped to pieces in a suspected gang vendetta.
He saw homes reduced to crumbling wrecks, their walls pockmarked with bullet holes. Entire neighborhoods were abandoned in hours — the result of monstrous gang violence.

Some houses became casas locas, crazy homes, for torturing families in this macabre city, which has the highest homicide rate in the world. Daily newspapers are filled with graphic photographs of bodies.

Like many, Maynor Serrano yearns to escape to the U.S., where he has relatives.

“It’s tough to live without hope,” he said. “If it’s not there, you go look for it.” [...]

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Locked, loaded and loony: Rick Perry and Sean Hannity are on Mexican border patrol

Tweeted by Sean Hannity

By Yael T. Abouhalkahthe, Kansas City Star
July 10, 2014

In a developing story Thursday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Fox News anchor Sean Hannity are armed and ready to protect America’s border with Mexico.

Hannity tweeted out photos showing himself with the governor, with weapons and enough ammunition to shoot plenty of kids who dare to step across the border and cross into the United States.

Or that’s certainly the loony possibility that Hannity and Perry seem to imply.[...]

Read the full article:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Un Niño los Dirigirá/A Child Shall Lead Them

Esta nación niega aceptar que la mayoría no llegan buscando el “sueño americano” sino por razón de que la pesadilla americana ha hecho a sus países de origen.

This nation refuses to admit that most are not coming because of the American Dream but because of what the American Nightmare has done to their countries.

Por Elvira Arellano, Sanctuary Movement
10 de julio, 2014
(English Version Follows Below)

Mientras que escribo esta columna, el Presidente Obama se dirige a Tejas para reunirse con líderes religiosos sobre el tema de los niños que han llegado a la frontera, y siguen llegando. Pensándolo bien, este fenómeno no debe verse como una cosa inusual, los líderes de una nación poderosa respondiendo al sufrimiento de los niños.

De hecho la fe cristiana comenzó como un llamamiento por parte de los discípulos para que hubiera arrepentimiento por haber matado un hombre inocente, Jesucristo de Nazaret. Los discípulos les dijeron a sus dirigentes religiosos que “la piedra que han botado se convertirá en la piedra angular” de la religión. El mismo Jesucristo elevó a los niños al decir que quienes desean entrar al reino del Dios deben volverse como los niños pequeños.

Desde el comienzo son los niños que han cambiado los corazones de esta nación en el tema de la inmigración.[...]

Lea el artículo:!topic/sanctuarymovement/bpU3EhfJAWs

By Elvira Arellano, Sanctuary Movement
July 10, 2014

As I write this column, the President of the United States is traveling to Texas to meet with religious leaders about the children who have come to the border – and are still coming. If you think about it, this is really not unexpected, this phenomenon of the leaders of a powerful nation responding to the suffering of children.
In fact, the faith of Christianity began as a call by the disciples of Jesus to repent for the killing of an innocent man, Jesus of Nazareth. The disciples told their religious rulers that “the stone you have thrown away will become the cornerstone” of religion.”

Jesus himself raised up the children saying that those who would enter the Kingdom of God must become like these little children.

From the beginning, it is the children that have changed the hearts of this nation on the issue of immigration.[...]

Read the full article:!topic/sanctuarymovement/bpU3EhfJAWs

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Arranging Housing for Child Migrants in Phoenix

[This is a message from Neighborhood Ministries looking for people in Phoenix who can help house and care for child migrants. Please forward this to anyone you think would be interested. If you need more information, please contact: Michele Rudy, ]


As you may well be aware, there has been a recent surge of unaccompanied children from Central America crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. For a 2-minute introduction to the crisis, follow this link: . You can also find a more detailed overview of the situation attached. As the crisis unfolds, community organizations from around Phoenix are stepping up to provide safe temporary housing and education for children as they are being processed.

A coalition headed by Neighborhood Ministries called REFUGIO PHOENIX is preparing to receive children on August 15. Before then, we need to find 25-40 beds and staff up a holistic care team (positions listed below) for these children to be well looked after.

This is where you come in. If you are (or know of anyone who is) interested in HOUSING a child/children, OR WORKING with these children on a full -time basis, WE NEED YOU.

Please look through the attached Housing Information [see "Refugio Phoenix Housing Information" below]. Consider some of the questions posed.

No. 1 Requirement: Bilingual - English/Spanish.
There will be competitive remuneration.

Staff Positions:
Host Program Director – primarily recruiting and training families
Host Program Coordinator – Manages actual placements
Case Workers (number is dictated by the number of placements) – all follow-up, correspondence, court dealings, etc with host families and children. Hopefully with background in social work.
Medical/Nursing professional
Mental Health professional
Administrative staff

We hope to have more detailed job descriptions soon.

Other miscellaneous staffers may also be required - we'll keep you posted.

Action: Email with a cover letter and resume.

If you are not able to participate in the housing/staffing efforts, any donations that you can offer to Refugio Phoenix will be greatly appreciated and well used.

Action: Funds can be donated to Neighborhood Ministries and designated to Refugio Phoenix. More information to come.

Please note that this effort is a work in progress. For those interested, information will continue to come from Refugio Phoenix as they know it. If you do have questions, please let me know and I will do my best to find out an answer.

Refugio Phoenix Housing Information

Basic Information:

1. Children will be 12 or under OR older sibling of young child OR young (under 18) mother with baby
2. Child will stay 30-45 days, replaced by next child (hopefully with respite for families between)
3. Many children will come in sibling groups – need to indicate how many beds are available in the home
4. Stipend per child will be available
5. Children will begin arriving August 15

Preliminary Questions:

1. Is at least one adult in your household bilingual in English and Spanish?
2. Can you attend two trainings this month? One four hour training with Urban Strategies staff and one four hour webinar training
3. Are you willing to transport child daily to Neighborhood Ministries in downtown Phoenix? – M-F (should be a school day schedule)
4. Does at least one adult in your household have legal status?
5. Can you make a 1 year commitment? (we hope that families will have respite between children)
6. Do you have a background in foster care or having non-family members live in your house?
7. Do you have a personal story that connects you to the story of these children?
8. How close are you to the ground in terms of understanding the situation these kids came from?
9. Do you have past trauma history? Where are you in the process of working through this?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

New Report Helps Explain Why Central American Children Are Leaving Their Home Countries

By Guillermo Cantor, Immigration Impact
July 1, 2014

Ever since President Barack Obama described the record number of minors traveling alone and crossing the U.S.-Mexico border as an “urgent humanitarian situation requiring a unified and coordinated Federal response,” the debate about how to address the unaccompanied migrant children has become increasingly heated, especially about the reasons leading them to come here. News reports and congressional hearings have covered various arguments to explain the reasons behind these children’s journeys. Unfortunately, what becomes clear is that many of those arguments are not backed by any factual evidence, and, what is even worse, some are intentionally aimed at derailing the eventual overhaul of our broken immigration system.

In an attempt to help fill the knowledge gap, the American Immigration Council is releasing a study today that was conducted by Elizabeth Kennedy, a Fulbright Fellow currently doing research in El Salvador on child and youth migrants returned from Mexico and the United States. Based on evidence obtained through 322 interviews with children recently returned to El Salvador, as well as conversations with journalists and local, regional, and government officials, this report sheds light on some of the structural conditions that compel minors to migrate to the United States or other countries in the region. [...]

Read the full article:

Friday, July 11, 2014

The legacy children of the Honduran coup

Many of the youths crossing the US border are fleeing a country torn apart by coup supported by US government

By Dan Beeton, Al Jazeera America
June 28, 2014

Prior to its 2009 coup d’état, five years ago on June 28, Honduras rarely made headlines in the U.S. Since the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya, however, the Central American nation has received a lot of bad press. It is in the spotlight again for the recent surge of unaccompanied Honduran minors crossing U.S. borders. Of the 47,000 children apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol since October, 28 percent, or more than 13,000, came from Honduras. This is a whopping 1,272 percent increase over the number apprehended on the border in 2009.

A source at Honduras’ National Human Rights Commission told the media that at least one person per day comes to the commission hoping to get asylum overseas, due to violence and poverty — both of which are increasingly out of control.

The surge in the number of children fleeing the country says a lot about what has happened in Honduras since the coup. First, the military takeover, which was supported by the Obama administration, broke Honduras’ already weak institutions. Second, with rampant corruption and police impunity, crime has spiraled out of control. Third, state security forces have engaged in a bloody campaign of political and social persecution, killing people who opposed the coup, campesinos, indigenous protesters and others. Journalists are routinely threatened; many are murdered. Honduran generals, politicians and their friends in the media have openly condemned and slandered human rights workers. Authorities have leveled bogus charges at some of Honduras’ most well-known and respected rights defenders and journalists in an effort to discredit them. [...]

Read the full article:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Guatemalan Quiché Youth Tells of Arduous Journey

By Zaira Cortés, El Diario/La Prensa
June 30, 2014
Translated by Karina Casiano from Spanish

Fear, hunger, muggings and confinement were only some of the circumstances endured by teenager Rubén Mach as he traveled from La Ceiba, in Guatemala, to Brooklyn.

The 17 year old, who belongs to the indigenous Quiché ethnicity, lost his father and lived in poverty with his mother and two sisters. Fed up with his meager living conditions, he said goodbye to his family in the early hours of March 23, promising them that their lives would improve.

Mach said his prayers and began a risky journey which began by crossing into Mexican soil. [...]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Murrieta immigrant detainee protests keep growing

"We are not racists or bigots," said Murrieta resident William Satmary, who added that local governments don't have the capacity to handle the new arrivals.

Image credit: Angelo Falcón

By James Barragan and Matt Hansen, The Los Angeles Times
July 5, 2014

The standoff over the housing of immigrant detainees in Murrieta grew Friday as protesters on both sides of the issue stood their ground.

Hundreds of people gathered on the road to the federal processing facility, anticipating another convoy of vehicles containing immigrants who had crossed the border in Texas. A boisterous crowd of protesters turned back three busloads of migrants on Tuesday.

The number of protesters swelled Friday despite the summer heat, the Fourth of July holiday and a police strategy that mostly kept the groups apart and away from the processing center. [...]

Read the full article: