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The Cleveland Immigration Working Group is engaged in a number of immigrant defense and support activities. We need more volunteer help. Please read below and consider helping with some of these needs: A. Safe Hotels Campaign B. Rapid Response Team C. Bond Packets for Release from Detention D. Court Monitoring E. Bus Reception F. Public Actions G. Sponsor Families H. Help for ICE Raid Victims and those in detention I. Prayer Support . If you would like to learn more about any of these initiatives, please email irtf@irtfcleveland.org or call (216) 961 0003.
News Article
Customs and Border Protection, the parent agency of the U.S. Border Patrol, has purchased 33 million rounds of ammunition for its new handgun and may buy more than 300 million additional rounds over the next five years. Customs and Border Protection agreed to pay $9.89 million for Winchester Ammunition. Another five-year contract for ammunition is expected to be awarded late next year, with its value estimated at between $80 million and $100 million. According to the agency, on a typical day it apprehends more than 1,000 people and seizes around 4,600 pounds of narcotics, along with $290,000 of undeclared or illicit currency. But the criminal misconduct by border officers recently reached a five-year high, an internal government report obtained by Quartz revealed. CBP is among the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies, and more than 50,000 CBP employees are authorized to carry sidearms.
News Article
December 18 is International Migrants Day. IRTF and SOA Watch stand in solidarity with all displaced peoples across the world. Violence and death--too often consequences of US foreign policy--push migrants to leave their homes in Central America. We are concerned about many current developments, such as the report that the Border Patrol is buying 33 million rounds of bullets from Winchester. Weaponizing our immigration enforcement officers is intensifying conflict instead of ensuring peace.
News Article
The logistical challenges were daunting, but as luck would have it, Immigration and Customs Enforcement already had a partner on its payroll: McKinsey & Company, an international consulting firm brought on under the Obama administration to help engineer an “organizational transformation” in the ICE division charged with deporting migrants who are in the United States unlawfully. ICE quickly redirected McKinsey toward helping the agency figure out how to execute the White House’s clampdown on illegal immigration. McKinsey, the firm’s presentations show, pursued “detention savings opportunities” in blunt ways. The consultants encouraged ICE to adopt a “longer-term strategy” with “operational decisions to fill low cost beds before expensive beds.” In practice, that meant shunting detainees to less expensive — and sometimes less safe — facilities, often rural county jails. “There’s a concerted effort to try to ship folks ICE sees as long-term detainees to these low-cost facilities run by local sheriffs’ offices where conditions are abysmal,” said Eunice Cho, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union who focuses on issues involving the detention of immigrants. McKinsey also looked to cut costs by lowering standards at ICE detention facilities, according to an internal ICE email and two former agency officials.
News Article
Two months after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rescinded fines ranging between $300,000 – $500,000 against seven women living in Sanctuary in churches across the country, ICE has sent letters threatening renewal of the civil fines and potential criminal prosecution. Until now the only thing preventing ICE from carrying out an enforcement action at a place of worship has been a “sensitive locations” memorandum issued years ago. “The fines and the threat of criminal prosecution are an extreme form of retaliation against people whose lives are in danger if they are deported. This tactic is consistent with the Trump administration’s unlawful campaign to end asylum and deport immigrants of color.”
News Article
Michael Joseph is the UCC Global Ministries Mission Co-Worker in Colombia.The violence related to Colombia’s war was on the rise in the early 2000s when church and human rights partners in Colombia became concerned about a huge increase in U.S. military aid that they feared would add more fuel to the fire. They decided to document, as best they could, the impact of this war on the Protestant church in Colombia. Michael joined this documentation program after going to Colombia with Global Ministries in 2007. Today, twelve years later, this human rights documentation program has recorded over 10,000 human rights violations. In 2020 he will transition to working at the Nojolo'on Peace Center in Mexico as a Global Ministries Global Associate.
News Article
The US plays a major role in push factors that cause Central Americans to take the risky journey north. One is land grabs. Powerful economic interests (including transnational corporations with subsidies from US taxpayers) forcibly seize land for mining, logging, oil drilling, industrial-scale agriculture, hydroelectric dams and more. Peasant, indigenous, and Afro-descendant communities suffer intimidation, threats, assassinations and massacres. Colombia has more than 6 million internally displaced people! Read about historic push factors in Juan Gonzalez' book Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America
News Article
Tuesday marks the 69th annual Human Rights Day which celebrates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as put forth by the United Nations in 1948. This year's theme for the celebration is "Youth Standing Up for Human Rights." In a statement, the United Nations said it wants to "celebrate the potential of youth as constructive agents of change, amplify their voices, and engage a broad range of global audiences in the promotion and protection of rights." "We have a duty to ensure young people's voices are heard," read a statement from the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. "All human beings have a right to participate in decisions that have impact on their lives. In order to ensure more effective decision-making, and to build greater trust and harmony across their nations, the leaders of every society should be listening to their people—and acting in accordance with their needs and demands."
News Article
In the third case seeking justice for genocide on behalf of the Maya Ixil people, three high-ranking military officials, retired Colonel César Octavio Noguera Argueta, retired General Manuel Callejas y Callejas, and retired General Benedicto Lucas García have been indicted on charges including genocide, crimes against humanity, and forced disappearance. Callejas y Callejas and Lucas Garcia are both School of the Americas graduates. This is the first judicial process to try the high command of Fernando Romeo Lucas García’s military dictatorship for genocide. The present case involves 31 massacres in which 1,128 people were killed; the destruction of 23 villages; 97 selective killings; 117 deaths due to forced displacement; 26 cases of sexual violence; and 53 cases of forced disappearance. The Association for Justice and Reconciliation (AJR) awaits justice for this case since they first filed formal charges in this case in 2000.

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