This month’s report covers the decision to rescind the DACA program, Arpaio’s presidential pardon, the termination of a U.S. program aimed at safeguarding Central American children, and migrant deaths at the U.S.–Mexico border. These alarming news stories underscore why the KBI’s advocacy efforts and research reports are more important than ever.
- DACA Rescinded: The Trump Administration has announced that it will terminate DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), a program initiated by the Obama Administration via executive order in 2012. The decision will eliminate the protections of relief and work permits extended to 800,000 young immigrants, often called DREAMers, who were brought to the U.S. as children, have undergone extensive vetting, and are long-standing and integral members of their communities. The KBI is committed to defending the DREAMers, and working to support legislation that secures their protections permanently. For an overview of responses from Jesuit organizations and educational institutions throughout the country, see this coverage from the Ignatian Solidarity Network: https://ignatiansolidarity.net/blog/2017/09/06/jesuit-network-daca-repeal/.
- Presidential Pardon of Arpaio: President Trump’s recent pardon of former Maricopa sheriff Joe Arpaio for a criminal contempt of court indictment has raised concerns about separation of powers, respect for the rule of law, and constitutionality. But the more disturbing issue is that the president used his first pardon to exonerate a controversial public servant whose racist overreach terrorized the Latino community for years, encouraged constitutional violations and human rights abuses, and resulted in “tent city” jails that Arpaio himself compared to concentration camps. This commentary by someone who was subjected to the racial profiling and harassment prevalent during Arpaio’s tenure is a persuasive argument against this pardon: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-arpaio-pardon-racial-profiling-20170828-story.html.
- Protecting Immigrant Children: The Department of Homeland Security has terminated the humanitarian parole part of a program designed to provide special consideration to Central American children with documented parents in the U.S. Started in 2014, the program offered 1,500 children safe and legal entry to the U.S., and parole to stay with their families rather than in a detention facility. Its elimination creates yet another obstacle to asylum for youth who are fleeing some of the most dangerous places on the planet, and reneges on the U.S. commitment to protect the most vulnerable: https://www.wola.org/2017/08/dhs-announces-end-program-gave-central-american-children-safe-legal-way-enter-u-s/.
- Deaths in the Desert: During the first seven months of 2017, more migrants have died on their journeys through the Sonoran Desert than in the same period last year, even as apprehensions at the U.S.–Mexico border have decreased. Tragically, these statistics from the International Organization for Migration are almost surely understated since some deaths are not discovered in a timely way or ever. Read more about this distressing development here: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/05/migrants-us-mexico-border-deaths-figures.
In one of Arpaio’s “tent city” jails in Phoenix, prisoners slept in un-air-conditioned tents, and were issued striped uniforms and pink underwear and socks