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Anti-Militarism: News & Updates

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In this monthly newsletter, we highlight the work of Ohio Immigrant Alliance in advocating for the asylum rights of Black Mauritanians.

Black, African and Caribbean migrants seeking safety in the United States have been treated unfairly for decades. They are subject to deportation proceedings at a higher rate than other migrants. They are denied asylum at higher rates. They have higher rates of detention and solitary confinement. All of this is rooted in institutionalized racism.

The racist treatment of Black migrants is very much reflected in Ohio’s sole immigration court (Cleveland) where deportation proceedings against Mauritanians are disproportionately represented. While Cleveland is just one of 69 immigration courts, 18% of all deportation proceedings filed against Mauritanians have been filed in Cleveland this fiscal year (11,623 nationally; 2,146 Ohio).

In the Take Action section, you can learn more about Ohio Immigrant Alliance’s efforts to get DHS (Dept of Homeland Security) to designate TPS (Temporary Protected Status) for Mauritanians. If granted TPS, they would not be placed into deportation proceedings.

Read this monthly newsletter in its entirety at

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Liberation Theology: History and Praxis

On July 18, IRTF in coalition with the Autonomous University of Political Education held a discussion on the history and praxis of Liberation Theology. Through collective knowledge and wisdom sharing we gained insight into the role that theology has played in revolutionary struggles, from the forests of Central America to the olive groves of Palestine.

 After a presentation on context with key takeaways and common vocabulary, organizers from different anti-imperialist faith communities shared from their own lived experiences. Our friend Allie told us about anti-zionist activism with Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). Chance from the Palestinian Youth Movement explained the relations between Islam, Christianity and the Palestinian Liberation struggle. He spoke on the importance of love, peace and solidarity, which makes up the core of Islam and cooperation with Christian and Jewish movements. To also get a deeper understanding of Liberation Theology from the Christian context, former IRTF coordinator Tony Vento talked about the decades he has been part of the fight for freedom, peace and equality within the Latin American solidarity movement. Our co-director Chrissy moderated the panel, and gave insight into their relationship with their Colombian culture and the role faith plays in their work. 

If you are interested in our discussion you can watch the recording, at or listen to the audio version. 

We deeply enjoyed this get together, the exchange of ideas, and discussion between speakers and guests alike. We want to thank all our supporters and volunteers who made this possible and the friends and other guests who took part. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response to this event, we plan to host another session in September. Stay tuned for more information. 


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Nicaragua's struggle for sovereigty and self determination has been a thorn in the side of many political figures in the United States for decades. After the Nicaraguan Sandinista revolution overthrew the 43 year long dynasty dictatorship of the Somoza family in 1979 and took power, the United States began its opposition campaign by arming the Contra militia and establishing a total embargo against the country, which was only lifted after the Sandinista government was voted out in an election heavily influenced by the United States in 1990.

After the Nicaraguan people elected Daniel Ortega, a member of the Sandinista FSLN party in 2006, the United States stepped up its sanctions again. Most recently the United States has established a ban on the importation of Nicaraguan gold and sugar, two of the country's most important export products.

Now in 2023 Republican and Democrat senators alike are starting a new attempt to double down on these sanctions, trying to restrict loans for economic development from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) which funds roads, water and energy projects, as well as housing in the country.  The legislation proposed by the leadership of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Sen.Tim Kaine, Sen. Marco Rubio) would also ban the sale of coffee, beef and a number of fair trade products produced by small indigenous collectives. If imposed, these sanctions would infringe upon the property rights of U.S. citizens and residents investing in Nicaragua by mandating no new investment or even home improvement. Furthermore, the US mandates a search for human rights violations or some other way to suspend Nicaragua from DR-CAFTA, a trade agreement that has benefited both the United States and Nicaragua. If this legislation goes through, the ban of loans by the CABEI would take away one of the last sources of loans; the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have already stopped most loans as part of active sanctions. 

Although there is legitimate critique of Daniel Ortega's government, which has come from Sandinistas and NGO's alike, it is undeniable that the FSLN government has made astounding progress in areas like education, social security, housing, and infrastructure. If the United States imposes further sanctions, it would be a severe blow to the Nicaraguan budget and its ability to keep social programs in place.  

We share the Alliance for Global Justice's call to stop the senators' plans to impose new sanctions and call for an end to the violent sanctions already harming Nicaragua's civilian population.   If you want to help to stop further sanctions, you can  Click here to send messages to your senators!        

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Following the recent district court decision in the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant case (re the Biden asylum ban), IRTF joined 202 other justice-focused organizations in signing this joint  letter to the President urging his administration to not continue to fight to keep the asylum ban in place. We are urging the administration to drop their appeal to Judge Tigar’s ruling on July 25 that the new asylum processes put into place after Title 42 was lifted on May 11 are unconstitutional.

“Imposing punishments on vulnerable people who may be eligible for asylum under our laws is inhumane and bolsters xenophobic narratives that falsely paint people seeking asylum as threats.”

You can read the full letter here.

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President Bukele, who imposed a State of Exception in March 2022, says that his iron-fist approach to crime has been successful in dismantling gangs in urban centers. Now he’s moving the crackdown and round-up of suspected gang members to the countryside. In Cabañas, an agricultural department in the north, 7,000 soldiers and 1,000 police established a security border surrounding a region larger than New York City to “extract [the gang members] from their hideaways.

Rights groups have been highly critical of the mass arrests carried out under the state of emergency, saying they have led to thousands of people being arbitrarily detained. They have documented the deaths of 174 people in state custody and over 6,400 human rights abuses.

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A new law passed this week allows up to 900 alleged gang members to be tried at once. Human rights groups are highly critical because the collective trials will further violate "the rights to an adequate defense, to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence," said Amnesty International Americas director Erika Guevara Rosas. The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) said collective trials would make it "impossible" to guarantee "a fair trial and the right to a defense." Marcela Martino, CEJIL deputy director for Central America and Mexico, told reporters: "This makes us wonder if the government's policy of persecuting the gangs, organized crime, is killing the rule of law and democracy.”

Is this truly about crime or about Bukele’s ambitions to hold onto the presidency? Judge Antonio Durán in the city of Zacatecoluca has been critical of the State of Exception that President Bukele imposed in March 2022: "This is all part of Bukele's campaign for reelection, which is unconstitutional." With a controversial green light from the Constitutional Court, Bukele announced that he will run in elections in February 2024, despite a constitutional ban on successive presidential terms.

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Despite the federal government’s bragging that its new asylum-restriction policies at the border are working (backed by stats of fewer “encounters” of undocumented persons), measures to further block people from crossing and soliciting asylum are on the rise. Biden is requesting more money for ICE and CBP, which means more surveillance, militarization, and detention. In the Rio Grande, Texas Governor Abbott is stringing a series of floating buoys wrapped in concertina wire and anchored to the riverbed below with webbing to prevent people from swimming underneath.  Aside from being unusually cruel and dangerous to migrants and wildlife, the measure is most certainly in violation of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC), which was established in 1889. And Texas State Troopers told The New York Times that “there were explicit orders [from supervisors] to deny water to migrants and to tell them to go back to Mexico.” This is consistent with a story published in The Guardian in which troopers reported treating a four-year-old girl who passed out from heat exhaustion in 100-degree temperatures, only to watch the Texas National Guard push the girl and her group back into the river to Mexico.  

We’re doing what we can to stay on top of migration news at the border, in Ohio, and in the Cleveland immigration court.

In this month's newsletter, please read about: 1) Immigration Court in Cleveland, 2) ICE Air: update on removal flight trends, 3) The Human Costs of the Asylum Ban, 4) At the Border: recent incidents, 5) Darién Gap: Tourism Booms while Migrants Suffer, and 6) Texas Deploys Floating Buoys in the Rio Grande.

TAKE ACTION on any of these items: A) Tell Biden to cut ICE and instead fund real human needs, B) Tell senators to oppose the Supplemental Border Funding Bill, C) Tell your congressperson to vote no on the DHS Security Appropriations Bill, D) Tell Congress to reject new bills that deny access to asylum at the southern border, E) Sign up for the Biden deportation tracker, F) Urge Congress to pass the Afghan  Adjustment Act.