CORRECTION 1/10 – DHS=Department of Homeland Security (see below)
Giovanni Miranda was 32 years old when Salvadoran gangs murdered him in front of his family in the tiny room where they lived, behind the small auto body shop he owned. Miranda had lived for most of his life in the United States and was a legal permanent resident, but was deported in 2012, after U.S. authorities discovered a 2002 conviction for possessing a small amount of cocaine. Nothing special about his story: he is one more murder victim in one of the most violent countries in the world, the 2016 murder capital of the world.
On Monday, President Trump and his Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ordered more than 200,000 Salvadorans to return to the most violent country in the world. The administration canceled Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for all Salvadorans and gave them until September 2019 to return to El Salvador or be deported. Continue reading
I missed getting my forehead smudged with ashes on Ash Wednesday, on the slushy, icy road out of the Twin Cities by sunrise. On Thursday, I walked out of the house into a cold sunrise, heading for the Lake Street Bridge and a different kind of smudging in another holy ritual. Continue reading
UPDATE 2/13: Abrams is out! Not because he’s an all-around nasty piece of work (see below) but because he didn’t support Trump in the primaries.
Elliott Abrams avoided a felony conviction for his official crimes during the Iran-Contra era by pleading guilty in 1991 to misdemeanor charges of withholding evidence from Congress. Then he returned in the State Department under Bush II. Now he may be coming back for a third act as second-in-command in the Trump State Department. According to the New York Times, Abrams “is described politely in foreign policy circles as a ‘controversial’ figure, but that deeply understates the case.” I think calling him a war criminal would not be overstating the case. Continue reading
2012: Fatuma Sankos arrived in Dadaab two months ago with her two small sons – Abass Hassan and Mohamed Hassan. She lives in a tiny shelter made from sticks, cardboard and plastic bags. She has not yet been formally registered in the camp so is not able to get food rations and depends on other refugees for food, and aid agencies for water. Photo: Jo Harrison/Oxfam, published under Creative Commons license
Kenya announced last week that it will close all of its refugee camps, forcing more than 600,000 refugees to return to the violence they fled in their home countries of Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and other nearby countries. That’s terrible, but the United States is in no position to criticize Kenya. In secret memos uncovered last week, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ordered a 30-day “surge” of arrests of immigrant mothers and children to return them to the violence they fled in their home countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Continue reading
I remember meeting Bertha Oliva in Tegucigalpa in the late 1980s, the wall outside her small office tagged with graffiti death threats, gunshots in the night bringing an unnatural stillness to the city center, silencing even the dogs and roosters. Decades of human rights defense later, Bertha Oliva told Congress last week that death squads are back in Honduras. Death squads, like the one that kidnapped her husband back in the 1980s. Death squads, like the ones that threatened her and the Committee for the Relatives of the Disappeared throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s. Continue reading