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Anti-Militarism: News & Updates
December 2, 2020
Thank you to ClevelandPeople.com for publishing this reflection written by Thérèse Osborne, commemorating the martyrdom of Sisters Maura Clarke M.M., Ita Ford M.M., Dorothy Kazel O.S.U. and lay missionary Jean Donovan on December 2, 1980. "And this is the reason that Maura and Ita, Jean and Dorothy were killed. They had discerned that accompanying refugees was the crying need of the people. You see, all of El Salvador had turned into one huge refugee camp. People were running away from the bombing, and it's as if everyone took one giant step. Those in tiny villages went to the next town and moved in with relatives. We would often meet families walking along the road with just a few cooking pots, maybe a bag of clothes, and their children. Those in the towns would make their way to the next city, and those who could went to the capital, where makeshift refugee centres were set up in the churches. The major seminary of San Salvador had 5,000 people living in tents on the football pitch for five years. Technically we might call these people "displaced persons" rather than refugees because they didn't have the means to leave their own country; but they were internal refugees in every sense of the word. In the media and official government policy, if you stayed in a conflictive zone to harvest your crops you were labeled a subversive and accused of consorting with the guerrilla army; and if you left your village you were considered suspicious because you came from a conflictive area."
October 8, 2020 to December 1, 2020
NEEDED: Calls to Congress to Protect TPS Holders. An investigation by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations shows that the Trump administration decided to cancel TPS based solely on political reasons, ignoring the State Department’s recommendations and showing no regard for the lives of the many TPS beneficiaries. The Trump administration is in the process of dismantling TPS and DACA protections. Nearly 400,000 people with TPS protection and one million DACA recipients are at risk of being separated from their families and forcibly removed from the United States. Many have been here for decades. Not only will communities and families be destabilized and harmed, but many DACA and TPS holders are essential workers, battling Covid-19 on the frontlines, will lose their jobs, and the United States’ economy will lose millions of dollars in tax revenues. Congress must put a stop the Trump’s administration xenophobic agenda. Join allies from throughout the country and call on Congress to take action and give protection to TPS and DACA holders before the end of 2020. [Thank you to our friends at CRLN (Chicago Religious Leadership on Latin America) for this alert. ]
November 21, 2020 to November 22, 2020
Join us on Saturday, November 21 and Sunday, November 22 for the third event of our SOA Watch 30th Anniversary Rooted in Resistance series! On Saturday, November 21 we will facilitate three virtual panels about the historic and current impacts of US Empire throughout the Americas and the powerful movements organizing to defend autonomy and dignity of our communities. On Sunday, November 22 we will be hosting our annual vigil, including ¡presentes! and litany and featuring the SOA Watch Musicians Collective. The weekend's virtual events and spaces are free, bilingual (Spanish and English, interpretation will be provided) and all are welcome! You will receive an email confirmation with all the links for Saturday's panels and Sunday's litany and ¡presentes! immediately after registering .
November 20, 2020
Immigrant justice projects that only aim to reform national immigration policies do not fundamentally challenge the role of global capitalism and militarism worldwide in displacing and destabilizing communities. The lens of border imperialism (a term coined by Harsha Walia) can help us reframe our social justice work by addressing a set of interrelated factors: the role of extractive capitalism and militarism in producing refugees, the expansion and externalization of the US-Mexico border, and the criminalization of migration. The transnational nature of the phenomena producing mass dispossession and displacement of communities and the destruction of our natural landscapes require transnational responses and a broad vision for social justice which defends not only the freedom of movement, but also the freedom to remain, and the healing of the consequences of social, political, economic, and environmental violence. To undo border imperialism is to first acknowledge that, while freedom of movement should be a human right, movement is currently restricted by a global system of economic inequities separating the South from the North.
November 15, 2020
See the program book from our special online gathering on November 15; recording and other links coming soon....On December 2, 1980, four women from the US working with the poor and displaced in El Salvador were kidnapped, raped and murdered by the US-backed military of El Salvador. Two of those women—Jean Donovan and Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel—were from Cleveland. In the end, they, along with Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, met the same fate as thousands of unnamed poor of El Salvador who were killed or disappeared. Join us on Sunday, November 15 as we commemorate their sacrifice, honor their legacy, and recommit ourselves to act in solidarity with poor and marginalized communities in Central America and Colombia.
November 13, 2020
The US operates the largest immigration detention system in the world, with over 50,000 immigrants imprisoned in for-profit private detention facilities and county jails across the country prior to the pandemic (now approximately 20,000). These facilities, which are often money-making businesses, have been scrutinized for the egregious conditions to which they subject immigrants including poor to non-existent medical care, subpar hygiene and nourishment, and psychological and bodily abuse. This systemic neglect has led to the death of over 200 immigrants in detention since 2003. Despite the efforts of immigration advocates and medical experts to shut down immigration detention facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing being an absolute impossibility, immigrants continue to be detained and transferred among facilities. Most recently, reports have emerged that some detainees have been subjected to unwanted hysterectomies and other forms of gendered abuse. This session provides an overview of the US immigration detention system and the social justice actions challenging these horrendous human rights abuses.
November 6, 2020
United States immigration courts are not courts of law in the traditional sense, as the term is used in the federal court system. They are part of an administrative office, the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), housed in the Department of Justice (DOJ). Most often, immigration judges are former attorneys elected and hired by the Attorney General in order to perform the duties and rules prescribed regarding immigrants the government is trying to deport. Studies have shown that decisions made in similar asylum cases by different immigration judges can vary widely, making the immigration court system highly arbitrary and prone to politicization. This session takes a look at the structure of the immigration court system, its general procedures, and main actors. We will also discuss the situation of unaccompanied children forced to appear in immigration courts alone and with little access to legal representation.
October 30, 2020
The United States asylum process is an incredibly convoluted system, designed explicitly to involve multiple decision-making actors, with lengthy times of processing and scarce chances of obtaining asylum protections. It is also an adversarial process: instead of being received by specialists trained in international refugee law and being given access to legal and social services, asylum seekers arriving at the US-Mexico border have been forced to endure confrontational and abusive treatment by immigration enforcement agents and immigration judges, the cruelty of an opaque bureaucracy sometimes used as a weapon against them, prolonged detention, and most often deportation. In the past few years, asylum seekers have been stripped of their human rights, placed in expedited removal, detention, and deportation proceedings with little recourse to legal representation or community support. Under the cover of the pandemic, most asylum seekers have been blocked altogether from requesting asylum and forced to wait in makeshift refugee camps on the US-Mexico border. This session will take a look at the history of the US asylum process, the human rights abuses perpetrated against asylum seekers under different administrations, and the latest immigration reform policies that aim to shut down asylum altogether.
July 18, 2020 to October 30, 2020
On the morning of Saturday, July 18, Garífuna leader Snider Centeno and other three members of the Triunfo de la Cruz community (plus one man from Belize) were kidnapped and disappeared by a group of men wearing bullet proof vests and uniforms of the Military Police and the Police Investigations Directorate (DPI). Snider is the president of the elected community council in Triunfo de la Cruz. His community received a favorable sentence from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2015. The Honduran state, however, has still not respected the court's judgment. The kidnapping and disappearance of Snider and four others is another attack against the Garífuna community and their struggle to protect their ancestral lands and the rights of Afro-indigenous and indigenous people to live. Join us to demand a full investigation and action to save the lives these men: Milton Joel Martínez Álvarez, Suami Aparicio Mejía García, Gerardo Misael Trochez Calix, Alber Sentana Thomas, and Snider Centeno.
October 23, 2020
United States border enforcement has historically relied on discriminatory legislation that has criminalized migration and on deliberate practices of deterrence with the purpose of controlling and blocking the movement of poor immigrants of color. This has led to high levels of violence, human rights abuses, and the loss of many lives, making the US-Mexico border in particular one of the most dangerous places for migrants worldwide. This session focuses specifically on the US-Mexico border because it has been both a space for the exploitation of migrant labor and one of the most heavily militarized theaters of violence against immigrants and asylum seekers in the past decades. We will discuss the laws that criminalize entry without documents, the process of expedited removal, and zero tolerance policies, which have led to the arbitrary detention of asylum seekers and migrants, family separation, fast-track deportation, and other human rights abuses.