Berta Cáceres was an activist, leader, environmental rights advocate, and a voice for human rights all over Central America, but heavily focused on Honduras. She was a cofounder of the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, which was designed to address threats to indigenous communities, and help them fight for their land rights and improve their quality of life. She was an advocate for equal representation, anti-violence, and land rights for the indigenous and native people of Honduras.
Where is the “center” of immigration issues in the United States today? Is it there, in Arivaca, on that shrubby plain, surrounded by the discarded items of migrants en route? Is it at Paso del Norte, under the bridge that connects El Paso to Juarez, where thousands of migrants huddle together, freezing and hungry? Is it in the White House, where the administration routinely dehumanizes and criminalizes migrants?
Within this Administration, there have been multiple bills that seek to deter people from immigrating to the U.S., but deterrence tactics are not new: U.S. border and immigration policies and laws have utilized deterrence for decades, including policies such as Operation Gatekeeper from the Clinton Administration, Operation Guardian Support from the Trump Administration, as well as other deterrence policies and tactics specifically surrounding the deserts in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. The deterrence policies and tactics maintained and expanded by the current administration systemically deny the dignity of migrants and in many cases have led to irreversible consequences. We must come together to bring about compassion and respect for those who have sacrificed so much to find a better life.
Date: March 25, 2019
Location: IFCLA office, 5021 Adkins Ave., room 122
After a welcome and time for connecting around the prompt “Share one good thing that happened to you today,” meeting facilitator Sara John (IFCLA’s executive director) offered a reflection from the book Mujerista Theology by Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz.
Featured topic: Honduras
Ellen Ziegemeier, IFCLA board president, presented an account of the country’s recent history from her unique perspective first as a Peace Corp volunteer and later as a resident. Ellen is also a liaison between IFCLA and the Honduras Solidarity Network, which is committed to solidarity with social movements within Honduras as well as education within the United States and Canada about the impacts of our governments’ decisions and actions related to Latin America.
The Advisory Committee is an affirming, welcoming space where members learn from each other and share their own experiences around a new topic each meeting. The group—rejuvenated in 2018 in response to IFCLA’s determination to live up to its bylaws—helps ensure that new ideas flow into our work from many different voices.
From communications to fund development and international delegations to design thinking, we try to dig deep into topics, both energizing us for our daily work and encouraging us to dream big for the future. The Advisory Committee is not a governing body. Rather, its goal is to generate many insights that will be helpful not only to IFCLA, but to other organizations and individuals in their own work.
The Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act (HR1945), demanding a suspension of all U.S. security aid to Honduras, was recently re-introduced by Rep. Hank Johnson's (GA) office with a total of 43 initial cosponsors!
We're getting signals in the House that we can get it passed this year, so we're in a whole new game strategically. There are a variety of reasons that the Berta Cáceres Act could move differently this year, including increasing grassroots support for the bill in Honduras and the US, mainstream US media attention on Honduras, new progressive Representatives who are moving public conversations via social media and national press, and the important shift to Democratic control of the House.
Written by Michelle Manivel, IFCLA Policy Intern (Spring 2019)
Photo: Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Amazon has recently been scrutinized for multiple incidents relating to gentrification, tax incentives, and now they are attacking our neighbors with their support and contracting for the deportation of immigrants. Here we will uncover how Amazon specifically is targeting immigrants, where it has instilled fear, and what you can do to make an impact!
IFCLA is honored to be a signer organization of this letter in opposition to the Department of Homeland Security’s Harmful “Remain in Mexico” Policy. Thank you to our national partners at CLINIC, Interfaith Immigration Coalition, and Church World Service for organizing this opportunity.
The administration continues its attacks on vulnerable asylum seekers arriving at our southern border. It's latest plan, the Remain in Mexico Policy, requires asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their asylum cases are pending in the U.S. immigration courts. This policy exposes asylum seekers to great risk of harm, curtails their access to counsel, and does not present a solution to the root causes of Central American migration flows.
Valentine’s Day is a day to show love and appreciation for the important people in our lives. Take a moment on this holiday to show immigrants that you stand with them by taking action to #DefundHate. Action on this day can influence the lifetimes of immigrants and their loved ones. The government could shut down again tomorrow, but our voices can play a part in stopping it! Join faith and community leaders in calling Congress and urging them to prevent funding for deportation, detention, and militarization. Ask them to ensure that tomorrow’s hearing does not implement more drastic changes to our already immoral immigration system. ICE took more people into custody than Congress allowed in 2018, and continued to get funding throughout the last government shutdown. This unethical favoritism has to end now in favor of humane immigration reform.
It is not too late to show your love for our community and your desire to #DefundHate!
Date: Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019
Location: St. John the Baptist Catholic Church - Parish Center
Movement blessing before breakfast by Tyler Connoley, Board Co-Convener
Overview of the day’s agenda by Sara John, Executive Director
Reflection on MLK’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, 1963, Good Friday
Key actions in which IFCLA engaged in 2018 by Sara John
Thank you all so much for the support and community you provided during IFCLA’s Week of Gratitude! The week was successful on many levels; besides the atmosphere of fun and connection achieved, IFCLA gained sixteen new sustainers and multiple one-time donations over the course of the week! These new sustainer commitments will help IFCLA immensely over the course of the next year, and we are more grateful than we can say. Let’s recap our week:
The Department of Homeland Security’s current budget will expire on December 7, 2018. Now is the time to contact your members of Congress and let them know that the actions of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are unacceptable, morally reprehensible, and do not reflect our values or our vision of community.
In order to avoid a government shutdown, Congress must pass a new budget bill. Ask Congress to hold DHS, CBP and ICE accountable for their dehumanizing policies of mass incarceration, deportation and family separation by cutting their funding. They need to hear your voice, loud and clear, demanding that we stop pouring money into the detention and deportation machine.
On November 16-18, I had the privilege of joining dozens of members of the Loretto Community - vowed sisters, comembers, fellow volunteers, and friends - at the SOA Watch Border Encuentro in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. Powerful, beautiful experiences abounded over the course of the weekend. We beat makeshift drums in the streets outside of weapons manufacturer Milkor USA in Tucson; we listened and learned at workshops in ambos Nogales put on by impassioned and organized leaders; we sang along solemnly to a closing litany of those killed or disappeared in the borderlands - more unnamed than named.
St. Louis – Faith leaders en route to the tent prison in Tornillo, TX., where immigrant teens are being detained, will hold an interfaith press conference and “diálogo de fe” (faith dialogue) event at Christ Church United Church of Christ in Maplewood, Missouri, on Monday, November 12 at 6:30 p.m. to demand that all immigrant families be reunited.
IFCLA files a FOIA request demanding transparency from Immigration and Customs Enforcement on the use of ankle monitors in St. Louis as the next step in the struggle for justice with immigrants in our community.
The Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA) was enacted in 1997 to protect immigrant children in government custody. Under the FSA, children were not allowed to be held for longer than 20 days in detention facilities due to the proven harmful effects on their development and well-being. The Trump administration has released an amended version of this ruling that would permit undocumented children and parents who enter the U.S. to be held indefinitely in unlicensed and unregulated facilities. Under the proposed regulation, “emergency” loopholes could result in the denial of basic needs or services to families in detention, as well as reduced access to due process. Plus, children would no longer be required to be transferred to Health and Human Services facilities within 72 hours of being detained.
So, what can you do about this injustice?
At IFCLA’s Dinner Dialogo on Friday, Oct. 5th, SLU junior and dedicated friend of IFCLA Marissa Ornelas spoke about her ten-week experience at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, over the summer of 2018. Marissa shared informative facts and figures about the immigration system and the way that the Dilley detention center functions, but she also shared poignant and powerful first-person testimonies of the hardship and injustices she witnessed during her time there.
Great news! ICE’s request for one billion dollars as part of a short-term spending bill was denied by Congress last week. The Department of Homeland Security requested an ‘anomaly,’ or request for extra funding, in order to continue expansion of the immigrant detention system, but – in an unprecedented move for Congress - the request was not part of the final budget package passed through the Senate, which should pass through the House in coming weeks.
On July 19, St. Louis area clergy and lay leaders occupied the space outside of the office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in downtown St. Louis while protesters marched through the surrounding streets. The action highlighted the needs of those who have been directly affected by current immigration policies and laws.
We stand firmly in opposition to the latest prevention-through-deterrence tactics used along the U.S.-Mexico border. It is wrong to separate and detain families. It is wrong to put children in cages, jails, tents, or "tender age" shelters. These recent policy changes are shocking, appalling, and morally reprehensible — but if we are surprised, it is only because we have not been paying attention.