Tag Archives: refugees

Deporting refugees is not the American dream

IMG_6018Ana Lizet Mejia’s brother was killed by gangs in Honduras, and she fled with her son to the United States. Hers was one of a wave of Central American families seeking refuge in the United States in 2014. Now she is in detention, targeted by Obama administration’s new raid-and-deport policy, which started over New Year’s weekend with initial reports of 121 mothers and children seized. Continue reading

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Holy Innocents and refugee children

December 28 is the saints’ day of the Holy Innocents, an appropriate day to think about refugees today. The Gospel of Matthew tells the story: wicked King Herod wants to kill the baby Jesus. Herod tries to trick the wise men into leading him to the baby, but these foreigners escape from his surveillance and return to their own country. An angel comes to Joseph in a dream, warning of the danger to Jesus. Joseph and Mary and the baby flee the country by night, going to Egypt and staying there until Herod dies. In a rage, Herod turns to murder, killing all of the male children under the age of two in Bethlehem and the surrounding area.

Today, Central American refugee children flee gang violence, every bit as deadly as Herod’s rage. Continue reading

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Central American child refugee numbers rising again

Refugees welcome

Minnesotans demonstrate in support of refugees

“Shelters for migrant children to open” read the headline. The reality is colder: the number of refugee children from Central America is rising again, and the “shelters” are new federal detention camps, built to “shelter” up to 9,800 children at a time. Continue reading

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Refugee welcome rally in St. Paul stands up for refugees

refugee rally Terry Burke photo

A few of the approximately 200 people at the rally. Photo courtesy of Terry Burke.

Usually, vigils and rallies and marches protest something. Not today. This afternoon’s vigil at the governor’s mansion in St. Paul celebrated Minnesota as a state that not only tolerates, but welcomes refugees. Organizers thanked Governor Mark Dayton for his statements in support of that long Minnesota tradition. Continue reading

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Overworked and underfunded immigration court system can’t do the job

Fotolia image

Fotolia image

Almost half a million immigration cases wait to be heard in immigration courts. The number of pending cases has doubled in six years and keeps growing. Overburdened judges handle about 1,400 cases each year, far more than any other administrative judges. In each case a person, a family, a mother or father or sister or brother, waits for a day in court.  Continue reading

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Open hearts for refugee dogs, but not for children

Photo of golden retriever by Franco Vannini, published under Creative Commons license

Photo of golden retriever by Franco Vannini, published under Creative Commons license

Last week, the United States admitted 15 Golden Retrievers, fleeing the hard life on the streets of Istanbul. The dogs were welcomed and given new homes in Minnesota, joining more than 60 others who have been admitted this year. More dogs will be coming, as efforts continue to raise money to rescue homeless dogs from Turkish streets. Meanwhile, one year after the United States launched a program for Central American children to apply for refugee status, not one child out of more than five thousand applicants has made it through the lengthy process to safety in the United States. Continue reading

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Immigrant hunger strikes focus on for-profit prison abuses

Women at T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas began another hunger strike at the end of October. Mostly women seeking refugee status, many have been detained for prolonged periods of time in the private, for-profit center run by Corrections Corporation of America. The hunger strike began with 27 women and has grown since then. Continue reading

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Deporting to death: U.S. and refugees

Syrian refugees drown, washing up on beaches in public view. Central American refugees, deported back to the countries they fled, die out of sight, out of mind. The Guardian highlighted three cases of young Honduran men who were murdered shortly after being deported. They are three among many, says The Guardian, referring to a study by a San Diego State University social scientist who has identified 83 such cases in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala since January 2014. Continue reading

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Syrian suffering, refugees continue: U.S. response is small and slow

Syrian refugees' camp in Cappadocia, Turkey. Photo by Fabio Sola Penna, published under Creative Commons license. 

Syrian refugees’ camp in Cappadocia, Turkey. Photo by Fabio Sola Penna, published under Creative Commons license.

In an eloquent cri de coeur, Lina Sergie Attar wrote about the agony of Syria:

“Now, the everyday violence and death Syrians witness is no longer recorded in full force unless events surpass the daily ‘acceptable’ quota of death—like it did on August 16 in Douma, after more than 100 people were killed by a regime aerial attack on a crowded marketplace. These kinds of mass tragedies, like the chemical weapons attack in 2013 and the Daraya massacre in 2012, capture the world’s attention—headlines, outrage, condemnation—for a few moments before Syria’s suffering once again fades to white noise. When the country has been reduced to smoldering ashes and its people have been forced into a mass exodus to new countries and new homes, our capacity to document—to speak or write and chant—dwindles. History collapses into a simple etcetera.”

More than four million refugees have fled Syria. Millions more remain inside Syria, but no longer in their own homes, internal refugees forced to flee for their lives. Continue reading

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Need a little hope? Read on!

Teacher with shirtHad enough of this week’s death and horror? Here are six stories of hope and action, from Austria to California to Minnesota. Sometimes I need to focus on these stories to continue believing that each of us can make a difference. If you need that lift, too, read on. Continue reading

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