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July 4th. A celebration of Freedom and Independence But not for All

July 4, 2014

July 4th. A celebration of Freedom and Independence

But not for All

As we celebrate the nation’s independence today, July 4th the New Sanctuary Coalition would have expected that the United States, which defends the rights of the family, would embrace the children, toddlers arriving in the US in desperation, seeking protection, an urgent humanitarian crisis. Instead the President and Congress want to expedite deportation and send those children back to the violence and bloodshed that they have fled.

“Given our foreign policy that favors the transnationals and corporations, home and abroad, and complicit with our different home country governments and under the banner of spreading democracy and security, our nation has sown so much violence that children and youth and their families do not have a choice but look for safer grounds. We cannot blame those whose future we have taken away and who are victims of a present that we have created for seeking shelter or a place where they can begin to pick up their pieces. Where is the generosity of this nation? What is our responsibility?” challenged Juan Carlos Ruiz, co-founder of the New Sanctuary Coalition.

With tens of thousands of unaccompanied kids from drug-war-torn Central America showing up at the U.S. border, President Obama has labeled it an “urgent humanitarian situation” yet the White House response has been to ask Congress for an additional $2 billion for enforcement. This is in spite of the $18 billion that is already spent on immigration enforcement. The spending on Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection dwarfs the combined $14.4 billion spent on the FBI; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Secret Service. Who benefits from this request for more money?

We usually think about the private prisons like GEO and CCA which lobby for increased enforcement as they benefit directly from the detention of immigrants. Now President Obama is calling for more detention beds and increased use of electronic monitoring programs for the newly arrived asylum seekers, an inhumane response that will only put more money into the coffers of these private companies as well as the contractors that are part of the militarized systems.

Instead of giving more money to the myriad of private contractors that have created and sustained our militarized border, the New Sanctuary Coalition calls for a response that protects the human rights and dignity of migrants and respects our international obligation under the Refugee Convention. We stand ready to provide shelter and support to these young people, separate and apart from the privatized, militarized system that demeans humanity.

Rev Donna Schaper, Senior Minister of Judson Memorial Church and co-founder of the New Sanctuary Coalition pleaded “Ann Frank would understand. Children are not to be abused or used in international conflicts. But they are. May we come to our senses soon and not destroy the innocence of one more child. Please god please”

How can we expect to win when money talks in Washington DC?

 Only through the power of faith and communities.

 

 

 

 

 

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