'Justice'

Paramedic Who Rescued Harvey Victims May Be Deported

Posted on 06. Sep, 2017 by .

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From Buzzfeed.com –

Houston-area paramedic Jesus Contreras worked six days straight after Hurricane Harvey hammered through southeast Texas, rescuing people from floodwaters and taking some of them to local hospitals.

“It was emotional because you’re seeing people go through some of the hardest moments of your life,” Contreras told BuzzFeed News. “It shook up our entire community.”

In between rescuing people and helping people who needed dialysis, insulin, or reach life-saving medical machines, Contreras didn’t have a lot of time to think about himself. That changed when he came home on Thursday to shower and saw the news that President Trump may end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The Obama-era program protects undocumented immigrants who, like Contreras, were brought to the US as children from deportation, while also granting them permits to legally work.

“Hearing that my future in the United States is being threatened and possibly taken away was disheartening, it was disappointing,” the 23-year-old said. “It was like getting an extra kick to the face when you’re already down.”

Frefighter/paramedic Allen Jacobs shouts for people wanting to be evacuated from the Hurricane Harvey floodwaters in Dickinson, Texas.
Rick Wilking / Reuters.

Artemio Muniz, chair of the Texas Federation of Hispanic Republicans, said DACA recipients in the areas affected by the hurricane were hit with a double whammy over the last few days.

“The timing is just so bad,” Muniz told BuzzFeed News. “Some of them lost their homes and are trying to recover from the hurricane.”

Nearly 790,000 young undocumented immigrants received work permits and protection from deportation under DACA, according to the latest figures from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Jesus Contreras

The program, created by Obama in 2012, faces an uncertain future in the coming days, with Trump expected to announce a decision about its fate on Tuesday.

During the campaign, Trump vowed to end DACA and another similar program for parents, created through an executive order, referring to them as “illegal amnesties.” Since taking office, however, his conviction on ending it has wavered, saying he wants to treat the young immigrants with “heart.”

But the Trump administration faced pressure recently from attorneys general and officials in multiple states, including Texas, to dismantle the program by Sept. 5 or face a lawsuit.

Had DACA been rescinded during the six days he spent helping people from the hurricane, Contreras said he would have immediately been pulled away from his ambulance.

“To think that could’ve happened potentially at a time like this when people need us is terrible,” Contreras said.

Yessenia Lopez stands with supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipient during a rally outside the Federal Building in Los Angeles, California.
Kyle Grillot / Reuters

Contreras was brought to the United States when he was 6 years old by his mother from the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. He said he was fleeing violence and local drug crime at home.

“We came here with the hope of being free and being able to work and make a productive life,” Contreras said. “My mom came here with the intention of giving me the best opportunities I could have and DACA has allowed me to do just that.”

The paramedic called the DACA program a “huge life-changing experience” without which he would never have been licensed.

“There are countless people with DACA that are out here volunteering, coordinating with shelters and relief,” Contreras said. “I have this opportunity to share my story but I’m far from the only one and there are millions of people just like me doing even bigger things.”

On Tuesday, when the Trump administration is expected to announce its decision on DACA, Contreras will be coming home from another shift at the Montgomery County Hospital District.

“I’m a man of faith and I have faith and hope that things will work out for us and we can rest easy,” he said. “I want people who are against us to know that we are proud Americans, we have a lot of pride in this country, and that we’re going to stay here to fight and to help each other.”

Video: Watch Contreras tell his story here:

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US Franciscans speak out against President Trump’s DACA action

Posted on 06. Sep, 2017 by .

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September 5, 2017

As leaders and members of the Franciscan Order in the United States, we object in strenuous terms to the decision of President Donald Trump to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This decision constitutes a rejection of the 2012 executive order by President Barack Obama that allowed young immigrants, who were brought to the United States by their parents, to seek the opportunity to realize their full potential.  President Obama’s executive order was not only moral, it also responded to the highest ideals of our nation.

The 780,000 “dreamers” (those who have received deferred action) are good, generous, talented and hard-working individuals. Many of them we know personally in and through our various  Franciscan ministries. We have celebrated the DACA program with them as a modern response to the Biblical imperative to “welcome the stranger.” Now, after President Trump’s decision to end the executive action, we commit ourselves to stand in support of and solidarity with “dreamers.”

We urge all members of the communities we serve to condemn this unnecessary and harmful order by President Trump. Furthermore, we call upon all to contact their members of Congress and urge them to pass legislation that will fully welcome “dreamers” to our nation, remove the permanent shadow of their temporary status and make it illegal to deport or harm them. We join the U.S. Catholic Bishops in advocating for the bi-partisan “Dream Act of 2017,” H.R.3440 and S. 1615.  This legislation can help “dreamers” receive a piece of the security and human dignity they and all people deserve.

Unless a permanent legislative solution is enacted that welcomes and fully incorporates the young men and women “dreamers” who are already a vibrant part of our communities, our society will take yet another step on the path of moral and social decline.

Provincial Ministers of the United States of America

Very Rev. Robert Campagna, OFM
Immaculate Conception Province
New York, New York

Very Rev. David Gaa, OFM
St. Barbara Province
Oakland, California 

Very Rev.  James Gannon, OFM
Assumption BVM Province 
Franklin, Wisconsin

Very Rev.  Kevin Mullen, OFM
Holy Name Province
New York, New York

Very Rev.  Thomas Nairn, OFM
Sacred Heart Province
St. Louis, Missouri

Very Rev.  Jack Clark Robinson, OFM
Our Lady of Guadalupe Province
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Very Rev.  Mark Soehner, OFM
St. John the Baptist Province
Cincinnati, Ohio


CLICK TO DOWNLOAD A PDF OF THE STATEMENT

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Call for 2017 Encuentro Workshop and Forum Proposals

Posted on 06. Sep, 2017 by .

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The SOA Watch Border Encuentro is fast approaching, and from November 10-12, grassroots activists from across the Americas will converge in Eloy-Tucson-Ambos Nogales to take a stand for justice and accountability, and to create a culture of justice and peace in the face of militarized US intervention in Latin America and migrant criminalization and incarceration.

After 26 years of protest at the gates of Ft. Benning to call for a closure of the notorious School of the Americas, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), we hope you can join us to challenge US imperialism and racism at the US/Mexico border. We moved our annual event to the border to highlight US intervention in Latin America as a root cause of migration, and to visibilize the expansion of the violent US border militarization regime throughout Mexico and Central America. Register HERE!

 

Call for 2017 Encuentro Workshops and Forums!

 

Last year, we were honored to have an incredible array of workshops facilitated by equally incredible activists and organizers. This year we are creating workshop and forum spaces once again, centering the voices of communities of color and all those directly impacted by devastating US economic, military and political policies – across all borders. Similarly, in order to build a shared analysis to understand US intervention and imperialism, and gain the tools necessary to confront and challenge the systems that oppress us, submitted proposals for workshops and forums are required to be aligned with our 2017 demands:

  • An end to Plan Mérida and the Alliance for Prosperity
  • Demilitarization and divestment of the borders
  • An end to US economic, military and political intervention in Latin America and the closure of the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC)
  • An end to the racist systems of oppression that criminalize and kill migrants, refugees and communities of color
  • Respect, dignity, justice and the right to self-determination of communities

We strongly encourage allied organizations and activists to submit proposals. In addition to workshop spaces, we will also host forums in which presenters can engage in conversations that speak at the intersections of our Encuentro demands based on their identities and experiences. Please forward widely! To ensure your proposal is considered, please apply by September 29. Due to the limited amount of space, late applications will not be accepted.

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Provincials Statement on Charlottesville

Posted on 26. Aug, 2017 by .

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U.S. SUB-CONFERENCE | ENGLISH SPEAKING CONFERENCE
ORDER OF FRIARS MINOR
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | August 2017
As followers of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron of peace, we, the Franciscans Friars of the United States join with the many public and religious leaders and fellow-citizens who have condemned the recent violence in Charlottesville, VA.
We hold that all forms of racism, white supremacy, neo-nazism, xenophobia and hatred are wrong.
Because we believe that every person is created by God in love, we also hold that disrespect or diminishment of-or violence against-anyone offends not only that person but also the One who created that person.
As Franciscans, we strive to be bridge-builders. To avoid future instances of the tragic violence that tore not only the community of Charlottesville but also the fabric of our nation, we call for a renewed commitment to respectful dialogue by all, whereby our opinions and differences can be shared in constructive and illuminating ways that lead to the possibility of growth and conversion for all. Such dialogue might lead us beyond the overt displays of violence and intolerance into an understanding of the subtler and even unconscious forms of discrimination and intolerance that may still inhabit our hearts as well as our society.
We commit ourselves to the responsibility of respect for and dialogue with all who seem “other” than ourselves. And we pray that all the citizens of our nation will join in striving to attain respect and peace in our communities.
PROVINCIAL MINISTERS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Very Rev. David Gaa, OFM
St. Barbara Province
Oakland, California
Very Rev. James Gannon, OFM
Assumption BVM Province
Franklin, Wisconsin
Very Rev. Kevin Mullen, OFM
Holy Name Province
New York, New York
Very Rev. Robert Campagna, OFM
Immaculate Conception Province
New York, New York
Very Rev. Jack Clark Robinson, OFM
Our Lady of Guadalupe Province
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Very Rev. Mark Soehner, OFM
St. John the Baptist Province
Cincinnati, Ohio
Very Rev. Thomas Nairn, OFM
Sacred Heart Province
St. Louis, Missouri

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What Can I Do? A letter from NAACP

Posted on 20. Aug, 2017 by .

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Over the last week, we have once again seen the familiar faces of hate and bigotry. We have seen white supremacists – wrapped in armbands emblazoned with the Swastika, holding torches, and carrying the flags of the Confederacy – march through Charlottesville, one of our great American cities.

And we have felt a familiar frustration as those in our nation’s highest office have chosen not to acknowledge the pain that these hateful symbols bring, but rather have chosen to blame individuals “on many sides.”

Our hearts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives in Charlottesville.

We have received thousands of calls and emails from citizens around the country asking: “what can I do?

I say, we must stand strong, arm-in-arm with our neighbors, to speak out in one unified voice. We must use our time, our talents and our resources to assist, and to caution against the repeated rhetoric that has helped to fuel this climate of division and derision.

This has to change. You can help. Stand with us.

In solidarity,
Derrick

NAACP
Interim President and CEO

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