One of our Chapter Commitments calls us to transform oppressive systems. There are numerous ways to do this including putting pressure on banks, financial organizations, and organizations with investment portfolios to stop supporting companies who are involved in these oppressive systems. In the past few months, eight major banks have decided to end their relationship with the private prison sector which are involved in housing asylum seekers and children separated from their parents. This decision is due to the work of the immigrant community, activists, and ICCR (Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility) members (we are members) who have put these banks on notice for financially supporting facilities with documented human rights abuses, including medical neglect, sexual and physical assault against detainees, understaffing, and overcrowding. Action is being directed to regional banks that remain invested in private prisons and immigrant detention centers. This article provides more information.
The number of asylum seekers being admitted to El Paso was reduced dramatically with the MPP (Migrant Protection Protocols) or Return to Mexico Program implemented by the administration. Immigrants are being forced to wait weeks before their credible fear hearings in very dangerous conditions. Please read this article about what’s happening.
What does trafficking look like? Human Rights Watch describes this story. Take the story of Seng Moon. Her family fled fighting between the Myanmar government and the Kachin Independence Army in 2011. They took refuge in one of northern Myanmar’s many displaced persons camps. After three years, when Seng Moon was 16, her sister-in-law said she had found Seng Moon work as a cook across the border in China. Seng Moon didn’t want to go, but her family desperately needed the money she would earn. During the car ride to China, her sister-in-law gave her what she said was anti-nausea medicine; Seng Moon fell deeply asleep and woke up terrified and alone with her hands tied.
What ensued was a horrifying narrative, one that is sadly not uncommon. Seng Moon’s sister-in-law sold her to a Chinese family as a “bride.” Gender discrimination in China, exacerbated by the government’s “one child policy” in place from 1979 to 2015, has resulted in there being about 30 to 40 million more men than women in China, and this has created a market for trafficked brides. Seng Moon was locked in a room for months, suffered repeated rape and mistreatment, and was forced to bear a child. It took two years, the kindness of strangers and 1,000 yuan ($160) before Seng Moon was finally able to escape her nightmare and make it back to Myanmar with her baby son. And Seng Moon is one of the lucky ones – most victims who escape are able to do so only by leaving any children behind.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the loved ones of those killed by these senseless killings. But what about those shot? They will live a life of pain and deep wounds. Read this story from Boston Public Radio about one survivor.
Another attack on the poor by this administration means that 500,000 kids could lose eligibility for free school lunch under the current proposed rule changes to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Here’s more information.
The administration is still separating migrant families despite a court order to stop. When we were in El Paso in January and February and recently, we saw intact families from Russia, Cuba, Brazil, and Venezuela. Families from Central American were being separated. In addition, children are still being separated from their parents. See this investigation from the ACLU and information from the NY Times.
Continue to pray for the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country for the Dominican Month of Peace last December. The Ebola Epidemic shows no signs of ending.
Attorney General William Barr has just directed the Justice Department to bring back the death penalty — and to immediately schedule the first five federal executions in 16 years.
Pope Francis, the National Council of Churches, and countless other Christian leaders have long spoken out against capital punishment. As Jesus said, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone.” Catholic leaders have expressed their concern about the reinstatement. Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty released a statement criticizing the federal reinstatement of capital punishment, arguing the practice goes against the fundamental principles of conservatism.
Yet some religious leaders are loudly cheering on the death penalty. Appearing on Fox News earlier this year, Robert Jeffress — one of Donald Trump’s favorite pastors — dismissed objections to executing the wrongfully accused, outrageously arguing that “the greatest example of an innocent person being executed was Jesus Christ himself.”
Please consider signing on to this petition to end the federal death penalty.
The Homestead Migrant Child Detention Facility has been closed!! There is a possibility it will re-open after the Hurricane Season. It is not clear when all the children have gone or where the next big facility might be. Watch this documentary about witnessing at Homestead. The Homestead facility is only one of many for-profit prisons. We need to shut them all down.