TWO MAGICAL SISTERS

We want to tell you a Story.
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About a pair of magical twin-sisters, who faced horrors beyond anyone’s wildest imagination.
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We want to tell you a Story.
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Of heartbreak and hopelessness, of defeat.
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We want to tell you a Story.
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Of tears, of violence, of what we wish never happens to anyone’s children.
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We could tell you that Story.
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But today, HRI wants to tell you about that moment in the Story, when the magical twin-sisters broke into the most beautiful laughter. Today, HRI wants you to know that those two magical twin-sisters are finally Safe. Today, HRI wants you to realize that immigrant rights are human rights and that families belong together.
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For the past 18 years, HRI has provided 100% free legal and social services to vulnerable immigrants and refugees. We are able to this because of our extensive network of Probono Lawyers and volunteer Professionals. HRI is able to do this because You support us. Thank you for your Support. Thank you for being our Community. Thank you for choosing what’s right over what’s difficult.
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Want to help? Look us up on North Texas Giving Day. Keep families safe and together.
https://buff.ly/2oygjXL

The Current Administration Wants To Bypass Rules That Protect Immigrant Children

Read what Executive Director Bill Holston had to say in this op-ed to The Dallas Morning News.

Here is the more detailed version of that article.

The current administration has released draft regulations to terminate the child welfare protections in the Flores Settlement Agreement.; a court decision passed in 1997 and modified in 2015. Under the Flores Settlement Agreement, immigrant minors can’t be held in jail-like settings and there are sharp limits on how long the government can detain children.

THE FLORES SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT:

  • limits the government’s ability to indefinitely incarcerate immigrant children
  • requires licensing by state child protection authorities of facilities that hold them
  • The government is also required to release children from immigration detention without unnecessary delay to, in order of preference, parents, other adult relatives, or licensed programs willing to accept custody.
  • If a suitable placement is not immediately available, the government is obligated to place children in the “least restrictive” setting appropriate to their age and any special needs
  • Holds the government responsible to implement standards relating to the care and treatment of children in immigration detention

CURRENT ADMINISTRATION PROPOSED REGULATIONS:

The Justice Department had asked the federal court for permission “to detain alien families together throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings for improper entry or any removal or other immigration proceedings.”

WHAT THIS MEANS:

These proposed regulations, published in the Federal Register Sept. 7TH, are an attempt to strip legal protections from families and children seeking refuge in the United States. This move comes just months after the administration attempted to discourage illegal immigration by separating migrant families at the border, but then backed down because of the resulting uproar. As of last week, nearly 500 children were still in government-run shelters without their parents.

HOW DOES THIS CHANGE OUR TREATMENT OF IMMIGRANT CHILDREN?

Bypassing the Flores Settlement Agreement is a fundamental change in the way our government is required to treat immigrant children. The agreement was the conclusion of years of litigation, including an appeal to the United States Supreme Court. The proposed rules would set up a self-licensing scheme for the federal government where the current administration could certify its own detention facilities and allow for the indefinite incarceration of children with their parents in facilities that fail to meet the current minimum standards for keeping children safe. The proposed regulations would also change current practice, as defined by the Flores agreement and subsequent court rulings, to allow indefinite detention of children in facilities that have not been licensed by the states for child care. This includes holding them in private prisons that operate under the federal government’s standards.

The administration has already failed to protect children in federal detention even with Flores protections in place. Children regularly suffer cruel and abusive treatment in federal custody, including in family detention facilities, where they have been starved, taunted, physically and sexually assaulted and forced to strip naked.

DETENTION FAILS:

  1. In July, a federal judge ordered the Trump Administration to remove children from a detention center that was using psychotropic drugs as a “chemical straitjacket” — just one example of the torture children experience in detention.
  2. At the Karnes family detention center in Texas, which incarcerates recently reunited families, authorities intentionally recreated trauma for children by tearing them away from their parents again to punish parents for protesting inhumane treatment.
  3. Toddler Marie Juarez died last month after inhumane and negligent treatment in an ICE detention center, where she was detained with her mother.

WHY IS THIS A BAD IDEA?

The Department of Homeland Security’s own advisory committee, which was formed to advise ICE and DHS on how to improve family detention, recommended against the use of family detention and the detention of children, stating “detention is generally neither appropriate nor necessary for families…detention or the separation of families for purposes of immigration enforcement or management are never in the best interest of children.”

“This is an administration that has not complied with the settlement agreement as it is,” Michelle Brane, the director of Migrant Rights and Justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission, told NPR. “So to have them now say we don’t need any more court oversight and we will oversee ourselves is frankly appalling,” said Brane.

“The Trump administration is seeking to dismantle established safeguards and protections for children and to lock them up indefinitely in unlicensed and inhumane facilities. What the administration is calling ‘legal loopholes’ are actually basic standards for protecting children — standards they are trying to scrap to pursue an agenda of family incarceration that the government’s own doctors have warned is harmful and dangerous for children.”

Human Rights First’s Eleanor Acer noted: “Once again the Trump Administration is targeting Central American families seeking refugee protection in the United States. These proposed regulations are yet another shameless attempt to paint the indefinite incarceration of families—in facilities not even licensed by state child protection authorities—as somehow necessary to keep families together. But this is a false choice that purposefully evades real solutions. Locking up families seeking refugee protection in immigration jails for months or longer is not a solution, it is just another humanitarian and political fiasco,”

She continued: “The same administration that forcibly separated children from their parents and knowingly inflicted trauma on them cannot be allowed to set the standard of care for immigrant children.  Instead of allowing the Trump administration to lock children up, Congress must subpoena and investigate the administration officials responsible for policies that subject children to harm and hold the perpetrators accountable for human rights abuses.”

“These proposed regulations are an abomination,” said Jeanne Atkinson, executive director of CLINIC. “Detaining children is inhumane and a violation of all that we hold dear as a nation that has long promised to protect the most vulnerable in society.”

IS DETENTION THE SOLUTION?

Detention is wholly unnecessary to ensure that refugee families attend their court hearings. On the contrary, families and children with legal counsel overwhelmingly appear in immigration court, with 97 percent of represented mothers whose cases were initiated in fiscal year 2014 complying with immigration court hearing obligations. Similarly, 98 percent of children whose cases were initiated in 2014 and who were represented by legal counsel were in full compliance with their court appearance obligations as of December 2017.

ALTERNATIVES TO DETENTION SUCCESSES:

Alternative to detention programs also lead to extremely high appearance rates. For example, community-based case management programs piloted by Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Services and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services have shown high compliance rates of 96 to 97 percent. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Family Case Management Program, which provided case worker support to families, led to 99 percent compliance with court appearances and ICE appointments. The Trump Administration discontinued the program despite these high success rates.

“Mass incarceration of vulnerable families is also a massive waste of government resources. Instead of jailing families in costly detention facilities, their cases can be overseen through cost-effective and proven case management systems. But the ICE family case management system was mysteriously canceled last year,” added Acer.

Human Rights First notes that detention of children—even for short periods of time—leads to long-lasting negative mental and physical health outcomes. The American Academy of Pediatrics has warned that even a few days in immigration detention facilities is harmful to the health of children. Human Rights First documented in a series of reports the inadequate medical care of children in detention.

Secretary Nielsen’s claims that Flores legal standards limiting the length of detention are the reason families are coming to the United States are simply specious and ignore the reality on the ground. The U.N. Refugee Agency has documented that families and children fleeing violence in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador have urgent protection needs, reporting a significant increase in numbers fleeing to neighboring countries. If the United States continues using harsh policies, other nations that host many more refugees may follow suit, triggering additional displacement.

“There are far less costly and much more humane alternatives to detaining children and families,” Atkinson said. “We are better than this.”

Indeed. We Are Better Than This.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

None of these regulations will take effect until a final rule is published.

Public comments are now open on the DHS and HHS’s proposed regulations. HRI and other national community partners will provide a detailed comment on the legal and moral ramifications of these proposed changes. If you are a part of an organization that would like to present a comment as well, run it by your leadership for permission and watch this space. We will provide guidelines, resources, model language and procedural information on how to become a part of this dialogue.

ABOUT THIS ARTICLE: This article was researched and put together through various sources, including CLINIC, a publication of Catholic Charities and NPR, among many.

Current Administration Proposes Regulations To Flores Settlement Agreement

The current administration has released draft regulations to terminate the child welfare protections in the Flores Settlement Agreement.; a court decision passed in 1997 and modified in 2015. Under the Flores Settlement Agreement, immigrant minors can’t be held in jail-like settings and there are sharp limits on how long the government can detain children.

THE FLORES SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT:

  • limits the government’s ability to indefinitely incarcerate immigrant children
  • requires licensing by state child protection authorities of facilities that hold them
  • The government is also required to release children from immigration detention without unnecessary delay to, in order of preference, parents, other adult relatives, or licensed programs willing to accept custody.
  • If a suitable placement is not immediately available, the government is obligated to place children in the “least restrictive” setting appropriate to their age and any special needs
  • Holds the government responsible to implement standards relating to the care and treatment of children in immigration detention

CURRENT ADMINISTRATION PROPOSED REGULATIONS:

The Justice Department had asked the federal court for permission “to detain alien families together throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings for improper entry or any removal or other immigration proceedings.”

WHAT THIS MEANS:

These proposed regulations, published in the Federal Register Sept. 7TH, are an attempt to strip legal protections from families and children seeking refuge in the United States. This move comes just months after the administration attempted to discourage illegal immigration by separating migrant families at the border, but then backed down because of the resulting uproar. As of last week, nearly 500 children were still in government-run shelters without their parents.

HOW DOES THIS CHANGE OUR TREATMENT OF IMMIGRANT CHILDREN?

Bypassing the Flores Settlement Agreement is a fundamental change in the way our government is required to treat immigrant children. The agreement was the conclusion of years of litigation, including an appeal to the United States Supreme Court. The proposed rules would set up a self-licensing scheme for the federal government where the current administration could certify its own detention facilities and allow for the indefinite incarceration of children with their parents in facilities that fail to meet the current minimum standards for keeping children safe. The proposed regulations would also change current practice, as defined by the Flores agreement and subsequent court rulings, to allow indefinite detention of children in facilities that have not been licensed by the states for child care. This includes holding them in private prisons that operate under the federal government’s standards.

The administration has already failed to protect children in federal detention even with Flores protections in place. Children regularly suffer cruel and abusive treatment in federal custody, including in family detention facilities, where they have been starved, taunted, physically and sexually assaulted and forced to strip naked.

DETENTION FAILS:

  1. In July, a federal judge ordered the Trump Administration to remove children from a detention center that was using psychotropic drugs as a “chemical straitjacket” — just one example of the torture children experience in detention.
  2. At the Karnes family detention center in Texas, which incarcerates recently reunited families, authorities intentionally recreated trauma for children by tearing them away from their parents again to punish parents for protesting inhumane treatment.
  3. Toddler Marie Juarez died last month after inhumane and negligent treatment in an ICE detention center, where she was detained with her mother.

WHY IS THIS A BAD IDEA?

The Department of Homeland Security’s own advisory committee, which was formed to advise ICE and DHS on how to improve family detention, recommended against the use of family detention and the detention of children, stating “detention is generally neither appropriate nor necessary for families…detention or the separation of families for purposes of immigration enforcement or management are never in the best interest of children.”

“This is an administration that has not complied with the settlement agreement as it is,” Michelle Brane, the director of Migrant Rights and Justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission, told NPR. “So to have them now say we don’t need any more court oversight and we will oversee ourselves is frankly appalling,” said Brane.

“The Trump administration is seeking to dismantle established safeguards and protections for children and to lock them up indefinitely in unlicensed and inhumane facilities. What the administration is calling ‘legal loopholes’ are actually basic standards for protecting children — standards they are trying to scrap to pursue an agenda of family incarceration that the government’s own doctors have warned is harmful and dangerous for children.”

Human Rights First’s Eleanor Acer noted: “Once again the Trump Administration is targeting Central American families seeking refugee protection in the United States. These proposed regulations are yet another shameless attempt to paint the indefinite incarceration of families—in facilities not even licensed by state child protection authorities—as somehow necessary to keep families together. But this is a false choice that purposefully evades real solutions. Locking up families seeking refugee protection in immigration jails for months or longer is not a solution, it is just another humanitarian and political fiasco,”

She continued: “The same administration that forcibly separated children from their parents and knowingly inflicted trauma on them cannot be allowed to set the standard of care for immigrant children.  Instead of allowing the Trump administration to lock children up, Congress must subpoena and investigate the administration officials responsible for policies that subject children to harm and hold the perpetrators accountable for human rights abuses.”

“These proposed regulations are an abomination,” said Jeanne Atkinson, executive director of CLINIC. “Detaining children is inhumane and a violation of all that we hold dear as a nation that has long promised to protect the most vulnerable in society.”

IS DETENTION THE SOLUTION?

Detention is wholly unnecessary to ensure that refugee families attend their court hearings. On the contrary, families and children with legal counsel overwhelmingly appear in immigration court, with 97 percent of represented mothers whose cases were initiated in fiscal year 2014 complying with immigration court hearing obligations. Similarly, 98 percent of children whose cases were initiated in 2014 and who were represented by legal counsel were in full compliance with their court appearance obligations as of December 2017.

ALTERNATIVES TO DETENTION SUCCESSES:

Alternative to detention programs also lead to extremely high appearance rates. For example, community-based case management programs piloted by Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Services and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services have shown high compliance rates of 96 to 97 percent. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Family Case Management Program, which provided case worker support to families, led to 99 percent compliance with court appearances and ICE appointments. The Trump Administration discontinued the program despite these high success rates.

“Mass incarceration of vulnerable families is also a massive waste of government resources. Instead of jailing families in costly detention facilities, their cases can be overseen through cost-effective and proven case management systems. But the ICE family case management system was mysteriously canceled last year,” added Acer.

Human Rights First notes that detention of children—even for short periods of time—leads to long-lasting negative mental and physical health outcomes. The American Academy of Pediatrics has warned that even a few days in immigration detention facilities is harmful to the health of children. Human Rights First documented in a series of reports the inadequate medical care of children in detention.

Secretary Nielsen’s claims that Flores legal standards limiting the length of detention are the reason families are coming to the United States are simply specious and ignore the reality on the ground. The U.N. Refugee Agency has documented that families and children fleeing violence in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador have urgent protection needs, reporting a significant increase in numbers fleeing to neighboring countries. If the United States continues using harsh policies, other nations that host many more refugees may follow suit, triggering additional displacement.

“There are far less costly and much more humane alternatives to detaining children and families,” Atkinson said. “We are better than this.”

Indeed. We Are Better Than This.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

None of these regulations will take effect until a final rule is published.

Public comments are now open on the DHS and HHS’s proposed regulations. HRI and other national community partners will provide a detailed comment on the legal and moral ramifications of these proposed changes. If you are a part of an organization that would like to present a comment as well, run it by your leadership for permission and watch this space. We will provide guidelines, resources, model language and procedural information on how to become a part of this dialogue.

ABOUT THIS ARTICLE: This article was researched and put together through various sources, including CLINIC, a publication of Catholic Charities and NPR, among many.

North Texas Giving Day – 9.20.18

We are merely days away from North Texas Giving Day aka Donor Bridge! Donate online via the Communities Foundation of Texas platform and portion of every donation $25 and above will be matched by CFT. Last year HRI raised over $32,000, thanks to your generous donations on this day!
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More than its fundraising abilities, we at HRI absolutely love how NTX Giving Day brings our entire community together to support programs that add to the rich tapestry of our city. What a great way to celebrate our non-profits and invest in doing good!
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So look up HUMAN RIGHTS INITIATIVE on 9/20/18, and support us for what we have continued to do for the past 18 years. We believe that immigrant rights are human rights and that families belong together. Every penny donated to us quintuples through our precise and successful business model! Our extensive network includes pro-bono lawyers, volunteers and activists. We are pastors, students, citizens Stand up for Humanity. Stand up with Human Rights Initiative of North Texas ♥️
https://buff.ly/2oygjXL
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#ntxgivingday #communitiesfoundationoftexas #immigrantrights#humanrights #support #nonprofit #immigrantrightsarehumanrights

AN OLD STORY

TITLE: An Old Story
CHARACTER: someone’s Daughter/someone’s Sister/someone’s Grand-daughter/some Girl we may all know.
 
It’s an Old Story and it gets old real soon –in a faraway chaotic land, Girl is arranged into a marriage – Boy promises to protect her forever – convinces her to move to a foreign land called America.
 
It’s an Old Story and it gets old real soon – within the first year the emotional abuse escalates into the physical, the occasional slap morphs into daily beatings, the subtle control regulates into full-fledged isolation.
 
The Girl has no family, no source of income, no friends, no confidants.
 
There are reasons why she can’t leave and rush back to her country: Money/Passports/Visas/Religious Persecution/Social Pressures/Human Rights Violations. There are reasons why she can’t stay in the land called America, mostly because her status is tied to her abusive ex.
 
It’s an Old Story and it gets old real soon
 
BUT
 
This is where Human Rights Initiative of North Texas steps in.
 
Thanks to our hardworking pro-bono lawyers, our dedicated volunteer network and our supportive community, today one of the Old Stories found a new and happy conclusion.
 
Today that lost Girl found herself a new Home.
Today that Girl began to write a New Story.
For the past 18 years, HRI has provided 100% free legal and social services to vulnerable immigrants and refugees. We believe that immigrant rights are human rights, and that families belong together. Our extensive network includes pro-bono lawyers, volunteer social workers, and community helpers. Our successful business model quintuples every penny we receive. THANK YOU for supporting us. THANK YOU for being our Community. THANK YOU for standing up for Humanity.

Volunteer of the Month!

Meet Stephanie Mistry! She is a devoted mom, a thorough attorney and a generous volunteer. She gives of her time graciously and her dedication to her HRI clients is legendary among our ranks. She has saved an Egyptian Christian who was hunted by radical Islamists, an Ethiopian doctor imprisoned for his political activism,and most recently client an African mother, MSM, who fled her country due to the threat of female genital mutilation, a brutal practice which a neighboring tribe wanted to impose upon her and shockingly, upon her infant daughter. (MSM, is a featured Art-Story for our RHYO2018 Concert & Art Auction.)

Stephanie, you inspire us with your professionalism, your dedication and most of all, your Heart. Thank you for your service in favor of the forsaken. Thank you for being a part of the HRI family.

How did you first hear about HRI?

About 9 years ago, after the birth of our second son, I was looking for an outlet for my volunteer legal work. I had a few requirements. I wanted to be able to work on my own schedule, on a project basis, while learning about other cultures and pursuing justice on behalf of the oppressed. Easy to find, right?! Actually, it took some searching because I had never heard of Human Rights Initiative until I was introduced to Bill Holston. It took about 5 minutes in that first coffee meeting for Bill to recognize that my desire to help people with my law degree and my love for biblical justice was a perfect match with asylum work. He told me to give it a try and from my very first case, I was hooked!

What is your driving force in volunteering with our agency?

I could say that my desire to help others is a driving force and that would be true. I could also say that I feel a duty to act on behalf of those who have been persecuted when it is in my power to do so…and that also would be 100% true. But, if I am honest with myself, the fuel that keeps me coming back is that I simply adore this work. I get to walk alongside amazing survivors, travel to other lands vicariously through my research, sharpen my legal skills, and realize with overwhelming gratitude afresh and anew that America, for all her imperfections, is still the most generous, liberty-loving land there is.

Please briefly share your case and success.

I’ve worked with a wide range of clients since I began. From an Egyptian Christian who was hunted by radical Islamists to an Ethiopian doctor imprisoned for his political activism, the cases have each captivated my heart and mind. My most recent client was a beautiful African woman who fled her country due to the threat of female genital mutilation, a brutal practice which a neighboring tribe wanted to impose upon her and shockingly, upon her infant daughter. Her refusal to submit to the tribal practice even after being beaten and unprotected by the police, meant that she had to leave her new husband and seek protection in our great country. Just this summer, after an arduous few years, she and her daughter were finally granted status as asylees. Amazing!

What is something you have learned from your experience with your client?

My clients have taught me that the most powerful thing in life is not what happens to you, but how you respond to what happens to you. I have found that these people who have reason to be the most bitter due to the very real persecution they have faced are actually the most grateful, humble, and un-offendable people I’ve ever met. They inspire me to choose my attitude thoughtfully!

Personal Fun Fact:

When I am not driving my boys around (ages 13, 9 and 3) to their endless activities, I enjoy working out and studying a wide variety of subjects from theology to Spanish. I adore reading more than just about anything!

Volunteer Training – 9/19/18

When human rights are being violated,
When the refugee crisis has escalated at our borders,
When what is good and what is right is being pushed aside –

REMEMBER YOU HAVE THE POWER TO BE THE CHANGE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE IN YOUR WORLD!

This is a critical time to do critical work. We uphold the laws and vision upon which our country was founded. We are proud to be American. We are proud of our Community.

VOLUNTEER FOR US!

Volunteer Training: 9/19/18
2801 Swiss Ave., Dallas, TX 75204
9:30 – 10:30 AM/5:30 – 6:30 PM

Contact Layne Faulkner for more details!
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For the past 18 years, HRI has provided 100% free legal and social services to vulnerable immigrants and refugees. We believe that immigrant rights are human rights, and that families belong together. Our extensive network includes pro-bono lawyers, volunteer social workers, and community helpers. Our successful business model quintuples every penny we receive. THANK YOU for believing in us. THANK YOU for supporting us. THANK YOU for being our Community.

Raise Your Hand If You Want To Make a Difference!

When human rights are being violated,
When the refugee crisis has escalated at our borders,
When what is good and what is right is being pushed aside –

REMEMBER YOU HAVE THE POWER TO BE THE CHANGE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE IN YOUR WORLD!

This is a critical time to do critical work. We uphold the laws and vision upon which our country was founded. We are proud to be American. We are proud of our Community.

VOLUNTEER FOR US!

Volunteer Training: 9/19/18
2801 Swiss Ave., Dallas, TX 75204
9:30 – 10:30 AM/5:30 – 6:30 PM

Contact Layne Faulkner – Volunteer Coordinator for all inquiries.

ABOUT HRI:

For the past 18 years, HRI has provided 100% free legal and social services to vulnerable immigrants and refugees. We believe that immigrant rights are human rights, and that families belong together. Our extensive network includes pro-bono lawyers, volunteer social workers, and community helpers. Our successful business model quintuples every penny we receive. THANK YOU for believing in us. THANK YOU for supporting us. THANK YOU for being our Community.

 

HRI Op-ed: Re-making the land of the free

By J. Ashley Gagné

The Trump Administration’s policy of family separation has drawn intense and widespread criticism. Unconscionably, it represents just one strand of a broader agenda to systemically undermine protections for asylum seekers. This effort violates both national and international human-rights law, which prevent immigrants from being returned to countries where they risk being tortured, raped, or killed.

Lawyers at the border report that 85% to 90% of arriving migrants seek asylum, many on grounds of gang and domestic violence which are especially rampant in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Outside war zones, these countries are widely considered the most dangerous on earth.

Despite this reality, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has distorted protections for people fleeing danger as fraudulent loopholes, thereby justifying his unilateral efforts to re-write asylum law. Exercising powerful authority over immigration courts, he recently overturned protections for survivors of domestic and gang violence. This measure significantly challenges one’s ability to qualify for asylum. Victims must now prove that their government is not only unwilling or unable to help them, but also condoned the crimes committed against them. This measure alone could curtail up to 70% of asylum jurisdiction, jeopardizing thousands of lives, especially women.

The Justice Department is also weighing measures to bar immigrants coming from non-designated entry points from claiming asylum. This would disregard the International Refugee Convention and the Immigration and Nationality Act which permit people to apply for asylum, wherever they cross national borders.

Further, in an effort to “streamline” dockets, Sessions is imposing quotas on immigration judges and eliminating their means to manage already staggering case back-logs. Such a measure would threaten due process rights and increase deportation orders.

The administration’s “zero tolerance” policy which criminalizes asylum has fostered a rise in prosecutions of those exercising their right to seek safety. This administration has increased the detention of asylum seekers. Typically, the detention takes place in remote areas without access to legal services, which greatly reduces their chances of gaining asylum. Detention costs are also significantly higher than more humane programs which the government has dissolved, as most detention facilities are operated by for profit private prison contractors.

This strategically created crisis has triggered the need for more detention centers. Subsequently, children and families are being detained on military bases for prolonged periods. Undocumented relatives who offer to care for minors then face possible detention and deportation. At the same time, the administration is attempting to end a judicial consent decree that necessitates humane care of unaccompanied migrant children. Regulations that prioritize the Department of Homeland Security’s operational needs are instead being developed.

The Human Rights Initiative of Northern Texas (HRI) denounces the Trump administration’s violation of migrants’ and refugees’ rights. HRI urges the Department of Justice to preserve the rule of law by upholding its obligations to national and international human rights treaties. Taking hostile anti-immigrant measures only destabilizes already traumatized victims and fractured societies.

HRI calls on the administration to focus its resources on border management that respects human rights and addresses the root of causes of forced migration. The government should stop prosecuting irregular immigrants (not just families with children) and devise humane, culturally sensitive alternatives to detainment. Further, legal migration processes should be simplified and made more accessible so as to curb smuggling and trafficking practices.

As a nation founded by and for immigrants fleeing persecution and seeking better lives, the U.S. should welcome refugees and asylees. Moreover, it should collaborate with less powerful nations to sustainably redress the conditions that drive mass migration – conditions of violence and socio-economic inequality that the U.S. has historically nurtured throughout Latin America and the global south.

To be the land of the free, America’s government, institutions, and people must strive to enact its constitutional ideals of justice and liberty for all.

 

About J. Ashley Gagné:

Ashley’s background is in international development, with a focus on migration and refugee issues. For the past decade and a half, she has worked as a writer and translator in Central America, West Africa, and the North Pacific, for agencies such as the Jesuit Refugee Service and the International Organization for Migration. She currently serves as a consultant for the United Nations Development Programme. She holds a BA from Mount Holyoke College and a MSc from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

 

An Old Story

TITLE: An Old Story

CHARACTER: someone’s Daughter/someone’s Sister/someone’s Grand-daughter/some Girl we may all know.

It’s an Old Story and it gets old real soon –in a faraway chaotic land, Girl is arranged into  marriage   – Boy promises to protect her forever – convinces her to move to a foreign land called America.

It’s an Old Story and it gets old real soon – within the first year the emotional abuse escalates into the physical, the occasional slap morphs into daily beatings, the subtle control regulates into full fledged isolation.

The Girl has no family, no source of income, no friends, no confidants.

There are reasons why she can’t leave and rush back to her country: Money/Passports/Visas/Religious Persecution/Social Pressures/Human Rights Violations. There are reasons why she can’t stay in the land called America, mostly because her status is tied to her abusive ex.

It’s an Old Story and it gets old real soon

BUT

This is where Human Rights Initiative of North Texas steps in.

Thanks to our hardworking pro-bono lawyers, our dedicated volunteer network and our supportive community, today one of the Old Stories found a new and happy conclusion.

Today that lost Girl found herself a new Home.

Today that Girl began to write a New Story

*

*

For the past 18 years, HRI has provided 100% free legal and social services to vulnerable immigrants and refugees. We believe that immigrant rights are human rights, and that families belong together. We are an extensive network of pro-bono lawyers, volunteer social workers, and community helpers. Our successful business model quintuples every penny we receive. THANK YOU for believing in us. THANK YOU for supporting us. THANK YOU for being our Community.