Archive for December, 2017

No Nuclear Bailout!

Posted on 24. Dec, 2017 by .


ACT NOW! Tell FERC: no dirty energy bailout today, not in 30 days, not any day.

All year long, we have worked to stop this dirty and destructive waste of our energy dollars – with protests, mobilizations, and filing tens of thousands of petitions and comments from the public. And today is one of those days when we know it all pays off.

But we still need to keep the pressure up in 2018 – and not just on this outrageous bailout. It’s just the tip of the iceberg. This year, the nuclear industry has launched what amounts to a Radioactive Race to the Bottom. Nuclear corporations are also pushing for waste dumps, mass transportation of nuclear waste, lower safety standards, massive tax breaks, uranium mining in the Grand Canyon, attacks on renewable energy … and much more.

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Rise in U.S. Immigrants From El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras Outpaces Growth From Elsewhere

Posted on 24. Dec, 2017 by .


The number of immigrants in the United States from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras rose by 25% from 2007 to 2015, in contrast to more modest growth of the country’s overall foreign-born population and a decline from neighboring Mexico.

During these same years, the total U.S. immigrant population increased by 10%, while the number of U.S. Mexican immigrants decreased by 6%, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

One metric – the number of new immigrants arriving in the U.S. each year – illustrates dramatically how immigration trends from Mexico and the three Central American nations, known collectively as the “Northern Triangle,” have diverged in recent years. According to U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by Pew Research Center, about 115,000 new immigrants arrived from the Northern Triangle in 2014, double the 60,000 who entered the U.S. three years earlier. Meanwhile, the number of new arrivals from Mexico declined slightly from 175,000 in 2011 to 165,000 in 2014.

Growing numbers of lawful as well as unauthorized immigrants from the Northern Triangle have made their way to the U.S. during the American economy’s slow recovery from the Great Recession (the recession began in December 2007 and officially ended in June 2009). Of the 3 million Northern Triangle immigrants living in the U.S. as of 2015, 55% were unauthorized, according to Pew Research Center estimates. By comparison, 24% of all U.S. immigrants were unauthorized immigrants.

Among the possible explanations for the recent rise in Northern Triangle immigration are high homicide rates, gang activity and other violence at home, according to a survey of migrants from the region. Other survey data indicate that Northern Triangle migrants are attracted to the U.S. for the same reasons as other migrants: economic opportunity and a chance to join relatives already in the country. The flow of money from the U.S. to the Northern Triangle is substantial: In 2015, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras were among the top 10 estimated remittance-receiving nations from the U.S., according to a Pew Research Center analysis.

More than a quarter million unauthorized immigrants from the Northern Triangle (roughly a fifth of unauthorized immigrants from the three countries) have temporary protection from deportation under two federal programs that the White House may phase out – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The three Central American nations are also the starting points for many of the thousands of unaccompanied children apprehended along the U.S.-Mexico border since 2013.

The Northern Triangle’s recent rise in U.S. immigration diverges from the pattern for Mexico, the largest source of U.S. immigrants. The immigrant populations from both Mexico and the Northern Triangle had been increasing since the 1970s. But overall growth in the Mexican-born population in the United States declined or stalled since 2007, fed by a decline in unauthorized immigrants and a rise in the lawful immigrant population.

Heavily influenced by the decline from Mexico, the U.S. unauthorized immigrant population peaked in 2007 and fell over the next two years. It leveled off after 2009, because increases from the Northern Triangle and other regions balanced the continuing decline from Mexico. The U.S. lawful immigrant population overall grew over the decade, but not as sharply as it did from the Northern Triangle.

The 12 million Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. in 2015 far outnumbered those from the Northern Triangle, but the three Central American nations have grown in significance as a source of U.S. immigrants. In both 2007 and 2015, El Salvador ranked fifth among source countries, with 1.4 million immigrants in the U.S. in 2015. In those same years, Guatemala moved from 11th to 10th, with 980,000 U.S. immigrants in 2015. Honduras moved from 17th to 15th, with 630,000 immigrants in the U.S. in 2015.

Immigrants account for most of the 4.6 million U.S. residents with origins in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and are the main driver of the group’s growth. By contrast, two-thirds of Mexican Americans were born in the U.S., and births to U.S. residents are the main contributor to the group’s population growth.

The recent surge in arrivals notwithstanding, most Northern Triangle immigrants have lived in the U.S. for at least a decade. Their households are more likely than those of immigrants overall to include minor children. And, as a group, their education levels and English proficiency are lower than those of U.S. immigrants overall.


Migrant motivations include economic opportunity

As for their reasons for moving, some limited survey data indicate that Northern Triangle migrants are attracted to the U.S. for the same reasons as other migrants: economic opportunity and reunification with family members. Other evidence, discussed below, suggests that some are being pushed out of their countries by widespread violence, which also was an important driver of Central American migration to the U.S. in the 1980s.

According to a 2011 Pew Research Center survey of U.S. Hispanic adults, Central American migrants – 83% of whom were born in the Northern Triangle – were less likely than other Latino migrants (46% vs. 58%) to cite economic opportunities as the main reason for relocating to the U.S. In addition, a smaller share of Central American immigrants cited family reasons for migrating (18% vs. 24% among other Hispanic immigrants).

Surveys of recently deported Northern Triangle migrants in their home countries 1 also found that work was a top motivator for their journey, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of 2016 data. Among Guatemalans deported from the U.S., 91% cited work as a main reason for coming, as did 96% of Hondurans deported from the U.S. and 97% of deported Salvadorans. Surveys of Northern Triangle migrants who were apprehended in Mexico while on the way to the U.S., then deported, also found that nearly all said they were moving to find work.

Violence may also play a role in immigrants’ motivations to migrate north

However, the same 2011 Pew Research Center survey that found economic opportunity was the top reason for Central American immigrants to come to the U.S. indicated that violence in Central America is a factor as well. Central Americans were more likely than other Latino migrants to cite conflict or persecution as a reason they left – 13% said that was the main reason they came to the U.S., compared with 4% of other Hispanic migrants, according to the National Survey of Latinos.

A 2014 U.S. Department of Homeland Security document cited poverty and violence in Northern Triangle nations as forces that motivated unaccompanied children who were being apprehended at the border in large numbers. The document, which was obtained by Pew Research Center, cited rural poverty in Guatemala and “extremely violent” conditions in El Salvador and Honduras. At a conference on Northern Triangle issues this year, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence spoke of “vicious gangs and vast criminal organizations that drive illegal immigration and carry illegal drugs northward on their journey to the United States.”

At the time of the 2014 DHS report, Honduras had the world’s highest murder rate – 74.6 homicides per 100,000 residents that year. El Salvador ranked second, with 64.2. Guatemala was ninth, at 31.2. In 2016, El Salvador had an even higher homicide rate than Honduras, 91.2 per 100,000 people. The Honduras rate was 59.1 and Guatemala’s was 23.7.

Northern Triangle nations also are among the poorest in Latin America. In 2014, some had relatively high shares of people living on less than $2 a day – 17% of Hondurans, 10% of Guatemalans and 3% of Salvadorans, according to World Bank data.

2013 Pew Research Center survey in El Salvador found that high shares of people living there – 90% or more – said crime, illegal drugs and gang violence were very big problems in their country. Half (51%) said they were afraid to walk alone at night within a kil0meter of their home.

The same survey also found that most Salvadorans not only knew someone already living in the U.S., but also wanted to move to the U.S. themselves. Nearly six-in-ten (58%) said they would move there if they could, including 28% who would move without authorization. Two-thirds of Salvadorans (67%) said they had friends or relatives who lived in the U.S. Most said people who move to the U.S. have a better life (64%) than those in their country.

Remittances and the Northern Triangle

The Pew Research Center survey of Salvadorans in 2013 found that 84% said it is good for El Salvador that many of its citizens live in the U.S.

One reason for that might be the money they send home: According to a Pew Research Center analysis of World Bank data, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras were among the top 10 estimated remittance-receiving nations from immigrants in the U.S. in 2015.

The money that immigrants send home to Northern Triangle nations has grown substantially in recent years, except for a one-year dip in 2009, the final year of the U.S. recession. In 2016, according to World Bank estimates, remittances to the three nations totaled $15.9 billion, of which most came from the U.S. Those remittances were the equivalent of about 17% of the total economic output (as measured by gross domestic product) in El Salvador, 11% in Guatemala and 18% in Honduras in 2016.

Guatemalan immigrants around the world sent home $7.5 billion in remittances in 2016, while Salvadorans sent $4.6 billion and Hondurans $3.9 billion, according to World Bank data. The vast majority of the money came from immigrants in the U.S.

The rise in remittances to Northern Triangle nations diverged from a decline in overall remittances to developing nations in 2016. A World Bank brief about global remittance trends, published in October, noted that money sent home by Northern Triangle and Mexican migrants went up despite an increase in deportations from the U.S. The increase in remittances “is in part due to possible changes in migration policies. Migrants are sending their savings back home in case they must return.”

The World Bank brief also stated that remittances may continue to rise because the tighter U.S. labor market could be driving employment, especially in the construction industry. Immigrants are overrepresented in the U.S. construction industry: They were 17% of the total workforce in 2014, but 24% of the construction workforce.

As these immigrant populations have gone up, Northern Triangle governments have expanded their outreach to their nationals in the U.S. The Guatemalan government, for example, opened two new consulates this year, in Raleigh, North Carolina, and in Oklahoma City. El Salvador opened a consulate in McAllen, Texas, in 2014 and another one in Aurora, Colorado, earlier this year.

This report is based largely on Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Figures have been adjusted for undercount, so findings differ from official published numbers, but the trends and patterns are similar for both.

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Pope urges Catholic groups to work together to defend human dignity

Posted on 23. Dec, 2017 by .


From –

Pope Francis encouraged a wide variety Catholic organizations to work together to defend human dignity and promote the full integral development of all people.

“I encourage you to work always in a spirit of communion and cooperation with other Catholic NGOs and with the representatives of the Holy See as an expression of the church’s commitment to the building of a more just and fraternal world,” he said Dec. 13 in remarks to delegates taking part in the 2017 Forum of “Catholic-inspired Non-Governmental Organizations” meeting in Rome.

“I express my deep appreciation for your efforts to bring the light of the Gospel to the various peripheries of our world in order to defend human dignity, to promote the integral development of peoples and to meet the material and spiritual needs of so many members of our human family,” he said in remarks at the end of his general audience talk.

The forum, held Dec. 11-13, looked at how Catholic-inspired organizations, including Catholic schools, can better protect and promote the human person in a rapidly changing world.

The forum organizer, Johan Ketelers, told Catholic News Service Dec. 12 that over 100 organizations were represented, ranging from groups focused on peace, immigration, education, development and pro-life issues. They were joined by academics, Vatican officials and observers or representatives of the Holy See to international agencies in Paris, New York and Rome.

Today’s complex, global problems require answers that cannot be found “in one small corner of one organization,” he said.

“You can’t talk about migration without talking about economics, human rights,” law, development and justice and peace, said Ketelers, former secretary-general of the Geneva-based International Catholic Migration Commission.

“We can no longer work vertically, one organization by itself, parallel to others,” but must work “transversally,” crisscrossing domains and sharing expertise and ideas, he said. That means that dialogue and strong partnerships, which are already “tools for Christianity,” are essential, he said.

One of the panelists at the forum was Helen Alvare, professor of law at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, and adviser to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C.

Alvare told CNS that some people at the forum were interested in her approach of empowering women and Catholics on the local level to speak up for themselves, their values and beliefs. As president of the Chiaroscuro Institute, Alvare actively promotes the institute’s two projects: “Women Speak For Themselves” and “”

While the “I Believe in Love” online community shares real stories about seeking stable relationships and parenting, is a nationwide grass-roots movement of women voicing the negative effects that contraception, abortion and other phenomena, including pornography, have on dating and marriage.

Alvare said these methods of sharing real people’s stories of struggle and hope are what informs, unites and motivates people best.

She said the forum was also proposing that Catholic-inspired organizations invite all sides to dialogue, “and not impose solutions on the world.”

“We are past the time of people taking top-down instruction on neurologic issues of sex, marriage and parenting,” she said.

Her extensive work and contact with women across the United States proved to her that women do seek authentic freedom and fulfillment in relationships. “I knew these women existed, but they needed information, they needed the assurance they are not alone and they needed the how-to of communications.”

She is also seeking to make her scholarly research and work more useful in her soon-to-be released book, “Putting Children’s Interests First in U.S. Family Law and Policy: With Power Comes Responsibility.”

Lower-income women face a number of struggles, she said; they are less religious, they feel very alone, have less community and less access to a local parish.

Alvare urges women who do have strong communities to extend a hand to other women without lecturing them.

While social programs are important in providing food, clothing and shelter, she said, “we are not lifting people out of poverty, we’re not seriously improving their education and prospects.”

“The Catholic Church has it right. You have to take care of people regarding their family structure and sex matters, not because we’re the moral police,” she said. “We’re about integrating sex with the fact that it creates new life, which is vulnerable, which requires your care.”

“Social welfare, we’re all for it, but if you leave family structure out of social welfare, you’re doomed,” Alvare said. “The Catholic Church is one of the few places that always holds it all together properly.”

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Don’t Waste New Mexico! Don’t Waste Texas! Don’t Waste America! Stop H.R. 3053!

Posted on 23. Dec, 2017 by .


Taken from Beyond Nuclear –

Beyond Nuclear has been honored and privileged to spend the past two weeks in New Mexico, with anti-nuclear colleagues and allies. A member of our staff participated in, and presented at, a largely Native American- and youth-led symposium entitled “Dismantling the Nuclear Beast: Connecting Local Work to the National Movement.” It was organized by the Nuclear Issues Study Group at the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque on Dec. 1-3. We also took part in, and presented at, a large grassroots gathering in Roswell, NM focused on stopping the irradiated nuclear fuel “centralized interim storage site” targeted at southeast NM on Dec. 9. As shown by the New Mexico Threats Map, prepared by Sacred Trust NM, the “Land of Enchantment” suffers plenty enough already from dirty, dangerous, and expensive fossil fuel, nuclear weapons, and nuclear power industrial activities. The grand total of 160,000 metric tons of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel, targeted for “temporary storage” at the NM/TX borderlands — already heavily polluted communities, with a large percentage of Hispanic residents — would make these environmental injustices even worse. H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017, would authorize these de facto permanent, surface storage, parking lot dumps. The bill is poised for a U.S. House floor vote. In addition to rallying cries of “Don’t Waste NM!” and “Don’t Waste TX!”, “Don’t Waste America!” is also in order: high-risk irradiated nuclear fuel shipments, by truck, train, and/or barge could travel through most states, en route to “centralized interim storage.”
What can you do to help stop this?  Both groups and individuals can take action. An environmental coalition of 120+ organizations has sent a letter to the U.S. House, urging opposition to H.R. 3053. The letter will be sent one more time, when the bill moves to the floor for a vote. There is still time to sign your group on if you haven’t already. To sign your organization on, please fill out and and submit this Google form, or else directly email Sean Alcorn at NRDC your name, title, organization name, city and state. Please sign on ASAP, as the bill could reach the House floor for a vote at any time now. Please contact your own U.S. Rep., and urge them to oppose H.R. 3053. Sierra Club has a webform you can fill out and submit to your U.S. RepSEED Coalition of Texas has launched a CREDO petition you can signYou can also phone your U.S. Rep.’s D.C. office, via the Capitol Switchboard, at (202) 225-3121, by following the instructions. Or you can look up your U.S. Rep.’s direct contact info. here, by entering your zip code, clicking the FIND YOUR REP BY ZIP button, and following the links. To learn more about why H.R. 3053 is a dangerously bad idea, see Beyond Nuclear’s Yucca Mountain burial dump, de facto permanent surface storage “parking lot dump,” and radioactive waste transport risk website sections. If you have taken action already, thank you very much.

Please consider spreading the word as widely as possible, given the grave risks and high stakes! More

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The Bears Ears travesty is all about uranium

Posted on 23. Dec, 2017 by .


When Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, insisted that the Trump administration’s just announced intention to drastically reduce the size of the sacred Bears Ears national monument in Utah was “not about energy,” you could be certain of only one thing: it was about energy. More specifically, as the Washington Post first revealed, it was about uranium energy. Heavy lobbying by uranium company, Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc., including in a May 25, 2017 letter obtained by the Post, revealed that the company wanted the boundaries changed because they impede both current and future uranium mining and milling operations. As if further “inside job” evidence was needed, the lobbying firm EFR retained and paid $30,000 to is led by Andrew Wheeler, awaiting Senate confirmation as Trump’s choice for deputy secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency. Five Native American tribes comprising the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition have filed suit against Trump’s proclamation to reduce both the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante boundaries. Environmental retailer, Patagonia, and other conservation groups, are also suing.


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