Friday, July 11, 2014

8 Reasons Why U.S. Trade and Immigration Policies are Causing the Crisis

8 REASONS U.S. TRADE AND IMMIGRATION POLICIES--NOT "LAX IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT"--HAVE CAUSED MIGRATION FROM CENTRAL AMERICA
By David Bacon
In These Times, web edition, July 8, 2014
http://inthesetimes.com/article/16919/8_reasons_u.s._trade_and_immigration_policies_have_caused_migration_from_ce



In front of Oakland's Federal Building young people from immigrant youth groups protest against the detention and deportation of young migrants and families on the U.S. border, and especially against President Obama's decision to increase border enforcement and deport them more quickly.

The mass migration of children from Central America has been at the center of a political firestorm over the past few weeks. The mainstream media has run dozens of stories blaming families, especially mothers, for sending or bringing their children north from Central America. The president himself lectured them, as though they were simply bad parents. "Do not send your children to the borders," Obama said last week. "If they do make it, they'll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it."

Meanwhile, the story is being manipulated by the Tea Party and conservative Republicans to attack Obama's executive action deferring the deportation of young people, along with any possibility he might expand it╤the demand of many immigrant rights advocates. More broadly, the Right wants to shut down any immigration reform that includes legalization, and instead is gunning for harsher enforcement measures. Even Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, has sought to frame migration as a national security threat, calling it a "crime-terror convergence," and describing it as "an incredibly efficient network along which anything - hundreds of tons of drugs, people, terrorists, potentially weapons of mass destruction or children - can travel, so long as they can pay the fare."

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

President Obama's remarks in Texas today.



The President delivers a statement on the urgent humanitarian situation at the Southwest border. 
  Transcript at www.Latinorebels.com

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Child refugees on our border

Dear President Obama:  July 3, 2014
We, the undersigned immigration, civil and human rights, faith, labor, anti-violence, and community organizations, urge you to reconsider the plan to expedite the deportation of Central American children to the dangers they escaped in their home countries. The administration’s recent statements have placed far greater emphasis on deterrence of migration than on the importance of protection of children seeking safety. At a time when the region is confronted with a major humanitarian crisis, our nation cannot compromise on fundamental principles of compassion, fairness, and due process, nor on our international refugee protection obligations.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has found that almost 60 percent of children fleeing to the United States from Central America are asylum seekers.i The United States is not alone in seeing higher than normal migration flows according to UNHCR, other countries in the region have experienced a sharp increase in the number of asylum applications filed by Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Hondurans since 2008. From 2008 to 2013, the number of such applications filed in Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Belize increased by 712 percent.
We are deeply concerned that the administration will circumvent the protections of the bipartisan Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008 and remove the children apprehended at the border through a non-judicial process. Instead of affording these children proper screening for trafficking and persecution, as well as the opportunity to receive fair and full consideration of their legal claims before an immigration judge, the administration appears to propose to quickly deport them, without access to legal counsel, following cursory screenings that have already proven entirely inadequate to identify genuine refugee claims among Mexican children.ii
he proposed plan would appear to place at risk these existing legal protections, jeopardizing the lives of children seeking safety in the United States. Undermining due process and protection under the law is not the right answer, and certainly will not appease the criticisms of those who have been calling for more punitive and aggressive enforcement. The cost of pushing vulnerable children back into dangerous or deadly situations is simply too high.

Monday, July 07, 2014

No Childhood Here- Why Central American Children flee


New Report Helps Explain Why Central American Children Are Leaving Their Home Countries


http://immigrationimpact.com/2014/07/01/new-report-helps-explain-why-central-american-children-are-leaving-their-home-countries/
Portside Date: 
July 7, 2014
Author: 
Guillermo Cantor

Ever since President Barack Obama described [1] the record number of minors traveling alone and crossing the U.S.-Mexico border as an “urgent humanitarian situation requiring a unified and coordinated Federal response,” the debate about how to address the unaccompanied migrant children has become increasingly heated, especially about the reasons leading them to come here. News reports and congressional hearings [2]have covered various arguments to explain the reasons behind these children’s journeys. Unfortunately, what becomes clear is that many of those arguments are not backed by any factual evidence, and, what is even worse, some are intentionally aimed at derailing the eventual overhaul of our broken immigration system.
In an attempt to help fill the knowledge gap, the American Immigration Council is releasing a study [3] today that was conducted by Elizabeth Kennedy, a Fulbright Fellow currently doing research in El Salvador on child and youth migrants returned from Mexico and the United States. Based on evidence obtained through 322 interviews with children recently returned to El Salvador, as well as conversations with journalists and local, regional, and government officials, this report sheds light on some of the structural conditions that compel minors to migrate to the United States or other countries in the region.
In essence, the report [3] highlights the intricate ways in which violence, extreme poverty, and the desire to reunite with family members, help shape these kids’ decision to migrate. According to the report, “crime, gang threats, or violence appear to be the strongest determinants for children’s decision to emigrate. When asked why they left their home, 59 percent of Salvadoran boys and 61 percent of Salvadoran girls list one of those factors as a reason for their emigration.” In El Salvador, the report shows, the issue of gang violence is a widespread phenomenon. According to the findings, gang violence appears as the primary cause of emigration in 11 of 14 of El Salvador’s departments. In the departments of Cuscatlán and Usulután for example, over 85 percent of children flee for this reason.
Violence alone, however, does not explain the phenomenon of kids’ migration in its entirety. In some regions of El Salvador, for example, extreme poverty is identified as the most common reason for why children decide to leave. In addition, about 35 percent of the minors interviewed reported family reunification as a reason for their emigration, but in many of those cases the desire to reunite with a family member in the U.S. is cited in addition to the fear of crime and violence.
Crossing the border is an immensely risky journey. Given that being smuggled into the United States can itself end in death, it stands to reason that conditions must be extremely dire for Central American parents to send their children on such a dangerous journey. In fact, the report specifically demonstrates that leaving the country is, for these children (and their families), often a last resort. Children, furthermore, are not just coming to the United States in search of protection. According to UNHCR [4], a steep rise has also been observed in the numbers of asylum requests in in the neighboring countries of Belize, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, and Mexico.
All in all, the study highlights the fact that the majority of these children are in an extremely vulnerable situation. In this context, militaristic solutions are clearly not the answer.
- See more at: http://immigrationimpact.com/2014/07/01/new-report-helps-explain-why-cen... [5] since President Barack Obama described the record number of minors traveling alone and crossing the U.S.-Mexico border as an “urgent humanitarian situation requiring a unified and coordinated Federal response,” the debate about how to address the unaccompanied migrant children has become increasingly heated, especially about the reasons leading them to come here. News reports and congressional hearings have covered various arguments to explain the reasons behind these children’s journeys. Unfortunately, what becomes clear is that many of those arguments are not backed by any factual evidence, and, what is even worse, some are intentionally aimed at derailing the eventual overhaul of our broken immigration system.
In an attempt to help fill the knowledge gap, the American Immigration Council is releasing a study today that was conducted by Elizabeth Kennedy, a Fulbright Fellow currently doing research in El Salvador on child and youth migrants returned from Mexico and the United States. Based on evidence obtained through 322 interviews with children recently returned to El Salvador, as well as conversations with journalists and local, regional, and government officials, this report sheds light on some of the structural conditions that compel minors to migrate to the United States or other countries in the region.
In essence, the report highlights the intricate ways in which violence, extreme poverty, and the desire to reunite with family members, help shape these kids’ decision to migrate. According to the report, “crime, gang threats, or violence appear to be the strongest determinants for children’s decision to emigrate. When asked why they left their home, 59 percent of Salvadoran boys and 61 percent of Salvadoran girls list one of those factors as a reason for their emigration.” In El Salvador, the report shows, the issue of gang violence is a widespread phenomenon. According to the findings, gang violence appears as the primary cause of emigration in 11 of 14 of El Salvador’s departments. In the departments of Cuscatlán and Usulután for example, over 85 percent of children flee for this reason.
Violence alone, however, does not explain the phenomenon of kids’ migration in its entirety. In some regions of El Salvador, for example, extreme poverty is identified as the most common reason for why children decide to leave. In addition, about 35 percent of the minors interviewed reported family reunification as a reason for their emigration, but in many of those cases the desire to reunite with a family member in the U.S. is cited in addition to the fear of crime and violence.
Crossing the border is an immensely risky journey. Given that being smuggled into the United States can itself end in death, it stands to reason that conditions must be extremely dire for Central American parents to send their children on such a dangerous journey. In fact, the report specifically demonstrates that leaving the country is, for these children (and their families), often a last resort. Children, furthermore, are not just coming to the United States in search of protection. According to UNHCR, a steep rise has also been observed in the numbers of asylum requests in in the neighboring countries of Belize, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, and Mexico.
All in all, the study highlights the fact that the majority of these children are in an extremely vulnerable situation. In this context, militaristic solutions are clearly not the answer.
- See more at: http://immigrationimpact.com/2014/07/01/new-report-helps-explain-why-cen... [5] since President Barack Obama described the record number of minors traveling alone and crossing the U.S.-Mexico border as an “urgent humanitarian situation requiring a unified and coordinated Federal response,” the debate about how to address the unaccompanied migrant children has become increasingly heated, especially about the reasons leading them to come here. News reports and congressional hearings have covered various arguments to explain the reasons behind these children’s journeys. Unfortunately, what becomes clear is that many of those arguments are not backed by any factual evidence, and, what is even worse, some are intentionally aimed at derailing the eventual overhaul of our broken immigration system.
In an attempt to help fill the knowledge gap, the American Immigration Council is releasing a study today that was conducted by Elizabeth Kennedy, a Fulbright Fellow currently doing research in El Salvador on child and youth migrants returned from Mexico and the United States. Based on evidence obtained through 322 interviews with children recently returned to El Salvador, as well as conversations with journalists and local, regional, and government officials, this report sheds light on some of the structural conditions that compel minors to migrate to the United States or other countries in the region.
In essence, the report highlights the intricate ways in which violence, extreme poverty, and the desire to reunite with family members, help shape these kids’ decision to migrate. According to the report, “crime, gang threats, or violence appear to be the strongest determinants for children’s decision to emigrate. When asked why they left their home, 59 percent of Salvadoran boys and 61 percent of Salvadoran girls list one of those factors as a reason for their emigration.” In El Salvador, the report shows, the issue of gang violence is a widespread phenomenon. According to the findings, gang violence appears as the primary cause of emigration in 11 of 14 of El Salvador’s departments. In the departments of Cuscatlán and Usulután for example, over 85 percent of children flee for this reason.
Violence alone, however, does not explain the phenomenon of kids’ migration in its entirety. In some regions of El Salvador, for example, extreme poverty is identified as the most common reason for why children decide to leave. In addition, about 35 percent of the minors interviewed reported family reunification as a reason for their emigration, but in many of those cases the desire to reunite with a family member in the U.S. is cited in addition to the fear of crime and violence.
Crossing the border is an immensely risky journey. Given that being smuggled into the United States can itself end in death, it stands to reason that conditions must be extremely dire for Central American parents to send their children on such a dangerous journey. In fact, the report specifically demonstrates that leaving the country is, for these children (and their families), often a last resort. Children, furthermore, are not just coming to the United States in search of protection. According to UNHCR, a steep rise has also been observed in the numbers of asylum requests in in the neighboring countries of Belize, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, and Mexico.
All in all, the study highlights the fact that the majority of these children are in an extremely vulnerable situation. In this context, militaristic solutions are clearly not the answer.
Ever since President Barack Obama described the record number of minors traveling alone and crossing the U.S.-Mexico border as an “urgent humanitarian situation requiring a unified and coordinated Federal response,” the debate about how to address the unaccompanied migrant children has become increasingly heated, especially about the reasons leading them to come here. News reports and congressional hearings have covered various arguments to explain the reasons behind these children’s journeys. Unfortunately, what becomes clear is that many of those arguments are not backed by any factual evidence, and, what is even worse, some are intentionally aimed at derailing the eventual overhaul of our broken immigration system.
In an attempt to help fill the knowledge gap, the American Immigration Council is releasing a study today that was conducted by Elizabeth Kennedy, a Fulbright Fellow currently doing research in El Salvador on child and youth migrants returned from Mexico and the United States. Based on evidence obtained through 322 interviews with children recently returned to El Salvador, as well as conversations with journalists and local, regional, and government officials, this report sheds light on some of the structural conditions that compel minors to migrate to the United States or other countries in the region.
In essence, the report highlights the intricate ways in which violence, extreme poverty, and the desire to reunite with family members, help shape these kids’ decision to migrate. According to the report, “crime, gang threats, or violence appear to be the strongest determinants for children’s decision to emigrate. When asked why they left their home, 59 percent of Salvadoran boys and 61 percent of Salvadoran girls list one of those factors as a reason for their emigration.” In El Salvador, the report shows, the issue of gang violence is a widespread phenomenon. According to the findings, gang violence appears as the primary cause of emigration in 11 of 14 of El Salvador’s departments. In the departments of Cuscatlán and Usulután for example, over 85 percent of children flee for this reason.
Violence alone, however, does not explain the phenomenon of kids’ migration in its entirety. In some regions of El Salvador, for example, extreme poverty is identified as the most common reason for why children decide to leave. In addition, about 35 percent of the minors interviewed reported family reunification as a reason for their emigration, but in many of those cases the desire to reunite with a family member in the U.S. is cited in addition to the fear of crime and violence.
Crossing the border is an immensely risky journey. Given that being smuggled into the United States can itself end in death, it stands to reason that conditions must be extremely dire for Central American parents to send their children on such a dangerous journey. In fact, the report specifically demonstrates that leaving the country is, for these children (and their families), often a last resort. Children, furthermore, are not just coming to the United States in search of protection. According to UNHCR, a steep rise has also been observed in the numbers of asylum requests in in the neighboring countries of Belize, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, and Mexico.
All in all, the study highlights the fact that the majority of these children are in an extremely vulnerable situation. In this context, militaristic solutions are clearly not the answer.
Ever since President Barack Obama described the record number of minors traveling alone and crossing the U.S.-Mexico border as an “urgent humanitarian situation requiring a unified and coordinated Federal response,” the debate about how to address the unaccompanied migrant children has become increasingly heated, especially about the reasons leading them to come here. News reports and congressional hearings have covered various arguments to explain the reasons behind these children’s journeys. Unfortunately, what becomes clear is that many of those arguments are not backed by any factual evidence, and, what is even worse, some are intentionally aimed at derailing the eventual overhaul of our broken immigration system.
In an attempt to help fill the knowledge gap, the American Immigration Council is releasing a study today that was conducted by Elizabeth Kennedy, a Fulbright Fellow currently doing research in El Salvador on child and youth migrants returned from Mexico and the United States. Based on evidence obtained through 322 interviews with children recently returned to El Salvador, as well as conversations with journalists and local, regional, and government officials, this report sheds light on some of the structural conditions that compel minors to migrate to the United States or other countries in the region.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

El Salvador and Murrieta


BY SUSANNE RAMIREZ DE ARELLANO

El Salvador and Murrieta

Sitting at my desk in Brooklyn, I read with sadness and anger the news
coming out of Murrieta, California. I watch the raw video—the
contorted grimaces of hate, the chants of “USA, USA,” the misspelt
racism aimed at a busload of undocumented immigrants from Central
America, mainly women and children. My thoughts drift back 26 years
ago, when I first arrived in El Salvador. I was taking up a position
as the Salvador Bureau Chief of United Press International, at the
tail end of a vicious civil war.

Walking through the arrival area of the airport, the first thing I saw
were posters everywhere of children in crutches, children that had
lost limbs to landmines supplied by the United States to the
Salvadoran government. Welcome to El Salvador. I was a naive young
journalist stepping into hell.