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IRTF News

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U.S. immigration authorities apprehended 76,020 minors, most of them from Central America, traveling without their parents in the fiscal year that ended in September — 52 percent more than during the last fiscal year, according to United States Customs and Border Protection. Mexico, under pressure from the Trump administration, stepped up immigration enforcement and detained about 40,500 underage migrants traveling north without their parents in the same period. That's a total of 115,000.
News Article
The Left's largest victory in Colombia's October local elections came in the former paramilitary stronghold of Magdalena Department, where a growing progressive movement has taken control of both the capital city and governorship for the first time. The triumph of Magdalena’s governor-elect and leader of Fuerza Ciudadana, Carlos Caicedo, marks a radical break with the past in Colombia’s Caribbean coast: a region where a small handful of traditional politicians ruled hand in hand with paramilitaries through the mid-2000s, all but eliminating the organized left. Fuerza Ciudadana’s victories come as the culmination of nearly two decades of grassroots movement-building.
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According to the “Who Cares” data, there were 10,666 black children in foster care in 2017, as compared with 7,358 white youth. While black youth make up nearly 15% percent of the population in New York State, they make up nearly 57% of the foster care population.
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For the past year or so, the news has been filled with stories about migrants coming to the U.S. from Central America. We want to understand why people were leaving their home countries. Many of the people expressed pride in their country. They love their home, and they don’t want to leave. But they also struggle. Jobs are hard to find, educational opportunities are limited, and gang activity is widespread. Many people feel they have no choice but to flee and try to start over in the U.S.
News Article
In the tiny Central American nation, which has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, the traumatic experience of having a miscarriage or the death of a newborn baby can often be compounded by serious jail time. In a region wrestling with alarming rates of gender-based violence, El Salvador stands out for its relentless persecution of women suspected of having abortions or killing their newborn babies. Since 2000, at least 129 women have been imprisoned following pregnancy- or birth-related complications in El Salvador, a country of approximately 6.5 million people and one of a handful in Latin America where abortion is totally banned, even when the woman’s life is at risk. Some of these women have been charged with aggravated homicide and sentenced to as many as 40 years. (Having an abortion, on the other hand, carries a maximum sentence of eight years.) By contrast, the maximum sentence for men charged with femicide, or killing a woman because of her gender, is 35 years.
News Article
A New York court has found Tony Hernandez - brother of Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernandez, former member of Honduran Congress - guilty today on four drug-trafficking related charges: conspiring to traffic cocaine into the U.S.; conspiring to traffic drugs using machine guns; using machine guns to traffic; and lying to federal agents.
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The fundamental rights of Colombian citizens, and the sovereignty of the Colombian State, may have been violated by the behavior of the former chief prosecutor of the country and of the USA, according to the war crimes tribunal in Colombia. US authorities were given free reign to conduct investigations and bring unjustifiable extradition demands against FARC commander “Jesus Santrich” without due process or oversight.
News Article
These US-based activists know firsthand the impact racism, poverty, and colonialism have had on the planet. Greta Thunberg is an exemplary leader, but by the media and public making her the center of youth-led climate activism, the work of many Indigenous, Black, and Brown youth activists is often erased or obscured. Crediting and celebrating teens of color for their work isn’t about egos; it’s about making sure society at large is forced to reckon with the full scope of climate destruction. If we choose to see this movement only through white eyes, we will miss so much.
News Article

This November (16th and 17th) the InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia will be traveling—with 50 of our closest friends—to Fort Benning Georgia. Those of you who know IRTF well will know that we have been speaking out against the practices taking place at Ft. Benning, but for those who are less familiar, let me fill you in.

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