Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Resource list -- current immigration situation/crisis in the U.S.

In response to the lack of solid information (and over-abundance of inflammatory postings) on social media sites, I am in the process of compiling a list of links to reputable sources of information about the immigration crisis and large numbers of child immigrants who are coming to the U.S.  This is not a comprehensive list but should be enough to get a thoughtful person started on a search for the truth behind the stories that are out there...  Please let me know if you have any additions to this list.
[Note: I have, as much as possible, linked not only to the articles themselves, but also to bios of the authors of the articles, so the reader might get some idea of who the author is and why he or she is writing the article.]

No Childhood Here: Why Central American Children are Fleeing Their Homes
A thorough and very recent report by Elizabeth Kennedy, a Fulbright Fellow who has been doing research in this area for a number of years.

Babies in the River: “Urgent Humanitarian Situation,” Part I, by Dawn McCarty, PhD, LMSW
Dawn McCarty, a social worker and professor in Houston, writes from her own experience at the Houston Catholic Worker House, Casa Juan Diego, and from her search in Mexico of the root cause of the mass migration of children and families from Central America. (Part II has not been posted as of this writing, but presumably it will be posted soon at the Houston Catholic Worker website.)

Mission to Central America: The Flight of Unaccompanied Children to the United States
The result of a USCCB-sponsored fact-finding mission in November 2013 to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to find out what the situation is there and what might be behind the greatly increased numbers of people from those countries seeking to get to the U.S.

Unaccompanied Children: Something Is Not Right in our Hemisphere, by Christopher Kerr  (from Ignatian Solidarity Network)

The Facebook page of Misioneros Padre Tomas, a grassroots organization working with youth at risk of gang participation and helping them to get an education.  Of course the children and families who are leaving would prefer to be able to live in their own countries!  This is a great example of a program that is helping children to remain in place and better their lives.

A short BBC story from May, 2014, about violence against children in Honduras

A story in The Guardian about villagers leaving Honduras for the U.S. A q=uote from the article:
"If youths want to go out to play, they kill them … If they want to study, they face threats. It is overwhelming them," said Ana Zelaya, secretary of a rights group in El Salvador that helps relatives of dead and missing migrants.
[How many of us in the U.S. would not take drastic action if our children were threatened with death for wanting to play outside or to study?  And what if our goverment was turning a blind eye to the situation?  Then what?]

Turning away children at the U.S. border who are fleeing poverty and violence in Central America is cruel, by Albor Ruiz An interesting comparison of the current situation and an incident that took place some years ago...

Three Myths about Central American Migration to the United States
More documentation on the situation from the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)

More mythbusting

More links to some of the problems behind the situation  -- some of the reasons people are desperately leaving Central America and other countries around the world -- can be found in my previous post of June 14, 2014

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Resources on Free Trade and Globalization

In a recent post I made on Facebook, I offered to share some book and web resources with people who might be interested in learning more about the effects of Free Trade Agreements and Globalization on the people of Central and South America, Africa, and other regions around the world.   So, I have to make good on my offer!  This is a work in progress -- I'm still learning, and will be continuing to search for more print and web resources on these issues.  Please send me suggestions!



The two books that have particularly helped me to understand the issues are:

Mark and Louise Zwick, Mercy Without Borders: The Catholic Worker and Immigration. Paulist Press, November 2010
      The Zwicks founded the Houston Catholic Worker House, Casa Juan Diego, in 1980.  This is their story of their journey, but more importantly the journey of the people they serve - primarily refugees from Central and South America who have risked their lives to come to the United States.  Mercy Without Borders is easily one of the top ten books I have ever read.  (Also, the Casa Juan Diego website is an excellent resource, with many links to articles and other sources of information on issues related to the topics of this post.)   

Stefano Liberti, Land Grabbing: Journeys In The New Colonialism. Verso, November 2013 
      Mr. Liberti delves into the background of what is going on with large corporations leasing or buying large tracts of land in countries around the world, and the effect on the local economies and the people of those countries.   (At this writing, I am only part way through the book; I understand he addresses issues in Latin America but I am still on the section about Ethiopia and Africa.) 

I will be continuing to search for more print and web resources on these issues.  Please send me suggestions!


Web Resources:

Their publication, NewsNotes, has helped me become aware of what is really going on in the countries of the world that are most adversely affected by globalization and free trade agreements.  They also report on conflicts in Syria and other countries, the horrible problems faced by the Palestinians and so forth.
Documents like these, full of information gathered from the people on the ground in these countries, can be found in the resources section:

International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF

ELDIS - I am not sure of the agenda of this organization, but it does have a wealth of  information, particularly this article:  

OXFAM (description, from their website: “Oxfam works with partner organizations and alongside vulnerable women and men to end the injustices that cause poverty.” )
NISGUA: The Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala
GlobaLex - a resource on the NYU Law School website that has links to the actual text of NAFTA and CAFTA and other legal documents as well as to some analysis of NAFTA and CAFTA.  It appears that most of the latter are from the governmental/corporate perspective, but I haven't made an exhaustive search through the links provided.

* Disclaimer:  I work for Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers (in the Western Region Mission House) and have since October 2012.  I credit Maryknoll, and particularly the Office for Global Concerns and Fr. John “Jack” Moynihan, with raising my consciousness about the devastating effects of globalization and free trade agreements in Central and South America. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Where I was on Friday...

On Friday, March 21, I participated in the Friends of Sabeel-North America, Bay Area conference, an excellent gathering to inform and educate people about the terrible injustice that is and has been the experience of the Palestinian people, and what can be done to end the injustice, brutality, and violence and thereby allow peace to begin. Here are a few of the highlights and my impressions from Friday. (I was not able to be at the opening plenary of the conference nor was I able to attend on Saturday, so my impressions are limited to Friday mid-afternoon and evening.) Please take the time to visit some of the websites I have linked below in order to become informed about the plight of the Palestinians and how you can be in solidarity with them.  
  • In one of the break-out sessions, Ziad Abbas, program manager for cross-cultural programs at Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), shared his personal experience and some of what MECA does. He was born in Bethlehem and grew up as a Palestinian refugee, and  One of the things he shared was about why one of the MECA projects is to provide the Palestinian schools in Gaza with water purification and desalination systems.  I hope I never again pour myself a glass of water without remembering what he said. He also spoke at length about the arrest and imprisonment of Palestinian children
  • Susan Abulhawa, author of the bestselling novel Morning in Jenin gave an excellent talk on Friday afternoon. I can't find anything on the web that has the particular content of her talk, but this article will give you some idea of her strong voice and her position on the issue of right of return, a term I heard often on Friday and which now makes sense to me.  Later she read from her book of poetry, My Voice Sought the Wind.  She preceded her live reading by showing this video of her reading her poem, "Wala"; it will give you a inkling of the stirring poetry we experienced on Friday evening.
  • Rev. Graylan Scott Hagler gave a powerful speech making connections between the situation in Palestine and other places and times, such as South Africa's apartheid, the Europeans coming to the Americas and taking land (and taking lives) away from the indigenous people by force and false treaties etc., African peoples being taken from their homeland and sent as slaves to the "New World"...  This link contains an excerpt from another speech Rev Hagler gave that was also a part of his speech Friday night. Also on the web is a blog he wrote for his congregation about his trip to Palestine in January 2014; he also spoke of these experiences during his presentation on Friday evening.
A footnote:  I was looking back at some previous blogposts, and found my own reference to the book Exodus by Leon Uris in my post from last August.   I read and enjoyed it back when I was a teenager... but I don't think I will ever look at the book or Israel the same way again after my experience at the conference Friday.