Posts Tagged ‘Immigration’

New Relationship, New Perspective

September 9, 2014

Laura Gilman visited El Salvador with the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton delegation in July 2014 and wrote a reflection to share about her moving experience. 

I want to share a story with you of how my immersion trip to El Salvador has changed me.

Several weeks before we left on our trip in early July, my Mother kept calling me telling me stories of the immigrant children arriving at the border in Arizona where she lived.  They had nothing with them and were sick and there was a fear of diseases spreading.  I thought, “How could a mother do this?  How could she let her child travel all alone thru Central America and Mexico and the danger they faced on this journey?”  Then I met a mother.  She is a mother in Rutillio Grande, our sistering community in El Salvador.  She told us her story of her son.  He is 17 years old and was a recipient of a scholarship from Seton to go to school and was a good student.  But he was afraid of the gangs and the violence.  He faced them on his way to school and was at the age that gangs were recruiting new members.   He was afraid for his life and asked to go to the U.S. and be with his father.   She finally agreed and got a loan at 20% interest and paid close to $7000 to a coyote guide who took him through Central America and Mexico and dropped him off at the border to cross on his own.  It took him almost 14 days to get to the US border with little food or water.  It was December when he arrived to the border and it was a time when there were freezing rains and ice storms in Texas.  He was freezing cold and wet when he crossed the Rio Grande.  He had hypothermia and literally thought he was going to die from the cold so he turned himself in to immigration.  They took him in and helped him.  They were able to reunite him with his father in Atlanta.  He has been allowed to stay in the US as long as he stays in school and gets good grades.

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Children at the Border Update

August 26, 2014

Since the last time we posted on this topic, the crisis of Central American children at the border has been revolving around various media outlets. nina at the borderMore recently, attention to the issue has been dwindling and we need to keep fueling conversations and actions.

Within the past week, many of our supporters have received our letter encouraging action and support on this issue. Thank you to those who have signed the resolution, called representatives, and made donations to SHARE so far. We hope you will continue to stand with us.

A brief summary and update of the situation:

Central American children have been coming to the US for years.

Within the past year we have seen these numbers rise drastically.

Since October 2013, 63,000 Central American children have been stopped at the border.

These children are coming to the US because of escalating violence and crippling poverty, the root of which can be traced back to United States and Central American policies.

According to the New York Times, between January and August of this year, “…more than 30,000 unaccompanied minors have been placed with sponsors, usually parents or relatives.” Large numbers of these children are now in California, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York (among other places).

As such, the United States and its citizens have a moral obligation to support these children in their time of need.

Historically the United States has embraced immigrants in large numbers from Cuba, Ireland, Italy, and so on.

Militarization of the border and deportations not going to change the situations that make them leave.

“Due process” has been expedited and the children do not have time to get a lawyer or to prepare the case.

Five Honduran children who were deported have already been killed. We cannot deport these children to their potential deaths.


Join us in insisting refugee status for all of the children

  • Educate your community about the plight of these children.
  • Call upon our elected officials to stop the deportations, support family reunification and invest in community development in Central America, not in militarizing the border. White House: 202-456-1111 Congressional representatives: 202-224-3121
  • Promote the enclosed resolution with your local congregation, neighborhood organization, City Council, labor union.
  • Contribute to the SHARE Foundation so that we can continue our important work to create a just society in El Salvador that grants families the ability to choose to remain in their homeland with a sense of wellbeing and optimism.

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Unafraid and Unapologetic

May 7, 2013


Undocumented youth are leading the way to change

Within the current immigration battle in which the lives of approximately 11 million immigrants will drastically change, it seems there are two entities with differing perceptions of what undocumented people need in order to be recognized as full members of society. There are those who believe in conforming to whatever bill is released in the belief that it will be as good as anything currently present. Then there are those who believe that we have to keep fighting for a bill that will truly encompass the ethical meaning of being a human being.

Statistics show that 70% of voters support a Comprehensive Immigration Reform, and after several battles there have been wondrous changes for undocumented communities:

  • On June 15, 2012 President Obama announces Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that will allow a pool of approximately 1.2 million undocumented youth to be deferred from deportation
  • Just last month the Associated Press officially dropped the “i word” (illegal)
  • States like California, New York, Colorado, and Oregon have enforced state bills that allow undocumented students to pay in state tuition vs. paying outrageous out of state tuition fees
  • Undocumented people, young and old, have joined forces and declared themselves, “UNDOCUMENTED UNAFRAID AND UNAPOLOGETIC” Read More »

El Salvador and Immigration

April 10, 2013

Liam Kelly traveled to El Salvador with The Northwest School in February 2013.  Here, he shares his experience in Arcatao, Chalatenango.

NWS in Arcatao_2013

Northwest students visit Arcatao.
Photo credit: Madi Jacox

Our visit to Arcatao was one of my favorite parts of the trip. What made it so special was the meeting that we had with leaders of the local parish. We had no set agenda or topic that we were going to talk about and the format quickly became an open discussion. We started by asking them questions about what happened in their town during the war, and they opened up about the bombing and killings that they had endured. It was amazing how open they were about such horrifying events that they had witnessed.

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This Sunday: National Coming Out of the Shadows Day

March 8, 2013

Two members of the Immigrant Justice League in Chicago come out of the shadows

Two members of the Immigrant Justice League in Chicago come out of the shadows

Written by SHARE staff and EBIYC organizer Blanca Vasquez

This year the Bay Area will be having its first Coming Out of the Shadows event in Oakland, California on March 10th at the city’s City Hall from 11am to 12:30pm. The focus will be not solely on undocumented youth coming out but for older undocumented people to do so as well. We invite and urge our undocumented adults to take part in this event and join forces with our youth to develop a stronger voice and gain more power in the debate on Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

For the past three years undocumented youth have challenged the U.S. government by publicly proclaiming themselves “UNDOCUMENTED, UNAFRAID, UNASHAMED!” in many different ways. Through a diverse set of actions like sit-ins, civil disobedience, rallies and even taking over legislative offices, undocumented youth have downright embarrassed the U.S. government by explicitly demonstrating that the current immigration system is broken and dysfunctional. The efforts of hundreds and thousands of undocumented youth have resulted in progressive policies like AB 540, CA Dream Act, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and even set the stage for a formal proposal for Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2013.

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SHARE Supports Youth Fighting for Social Justice as they Take Activism to the Next Level

July 9, 2012

The following blog is a personal memoir from SHARE intern, Blanca Vazquez, one of the youth leaders of the DREAM Act Movement.

Undocumented youth in the Unites States are facing the constant struggle of living in a country in which they are not acknowledged as citizens and are therefore victims of constant racial profiling. Under the Obama Administration over 400,000 undocumented individuals are being deported PER YEAR; this is a record number of deportations under any presidential administration. Youth activists from the National Immigrant Youth Alliance took the struggle for social justice to the next level by taking over several of Obama’s campaign offices last month. Although this was a very risky move, their efforts seemed to have resulted in President Obama announcing a Deferred Action in which the President stated the he would halt deportations and even provide undocumented youth with a work permit for two years.

The following is a personal memoir from one of the youth who participated in this inspiring civil disobedience, Blanca Vazquez. Her story and the story of undocumented youth in the US is very similar to that of countless youth in El Salvador who also face educational and social struggles. The fight for social justice is universal and youth are the soldiers who continue to demand justice when its own government has turned its back against them. Youth will continue to fight for our past, present and future.

Undocumented students in Oakland, California take over one of Obama’s Headquarter offices in demands to stop deportations of DREAM Act eligible youth

It was not an easy decision, the thought of being confined for days without any sense of freedom held me back from agreeing to partake in this civil disobedience action. And plus my family would not agree with my doing it either. But then, the unknown faces of my undocumented people being kept captive in much worse conditions relieved me of my worries and the answer was YES. Three other undocumented youth and I would take over Obama’s Campaign office in demands that he provide the undocumented people with an executive order which would halt the deportations of innocent people. I didn’t need to prepare mentally or physically because the constant struggle of my family has been my life long preparation. A couple days from the action, I began to tell those closest to me of what I was about to do, and felt as a war soldier would when he says his goodbyes before going off to war.

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SHARE applauds DREAMers for obtaining temporary relief for eligible, undocumented youth from the Obama Administration

June 15, 2012

Today saw a historic moment in the struggle for immigrant rights. President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order to grant temporary relief from deportation proceedings as well as the ability to apply for work permits. SHARE El Salvador is overjoyed at the news that the amazing youth we have been accompanying through this struggle gained a victory today.

Photo Courtesy of Diane Green Lent

In a statement made at the White House, President Obama said: “Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people…Over the next few months, eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.”

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The Campaign for an American DREAM: A SHARE staff member reflects

March 19, 2012

Campaign for an American DREAM's launch at Golden Gate Bridge, March 10, 2012

For the past few weeks I had the amazing opportunity to work with the Campaign for an American DREAM as they inhabited our offices up to the launch of their walk. The Campaign for an American DREAM’s mission is to create dialogue across the nation about the DREAM Act and immigration policy – they are doing this by sending a group of young DREAMers and allies on a 3,000 mile journey from San Francisco to Washington DC… on foot. The DREAM Act will provide a path to citizenship for undocumented youth brought to the US before the age of 16, provided they serve in the military or attend 2 years of higher education.

I was prepared to help them as much as I could around the office, to host some of them in my home and to attend their kickoff at the Golden Gate Bridge on March 10th. I was completely unprepared for what a transformative experience being in solidarity with this group would become. These aptly named DREAMers carry the ability to truly inspire. They inspired me to see the vast courage and hope that lives in us all, of what a powerful force love for your family and community are, and to remain unafraid in the struggle for our collective human rights.  

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Launch of Campaign to Secure Residency for Central Americans

January 30, 2012

Leaders from the Central American community gathered in Houston on January 29th and 30th to launch the national campaign.

Central American Organizations throughout the U.S. Launch Campaign to Push for Permanent Residency for Central Americans with Temporary Protected Status in the U.S.

Houston, TX, January 26, 2012- On Monday, January 30th at 11:00 AM at the Mickey Leland Federal Building in Houston, Texas, community, religious, labor, and civil rights representatives from all around the country held a press conference to announce a campaign to push for Permanent Residency for the approximately 300,000 Central Americans with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the U.S.

Nearly 14 years ago, Central America was hit with several devastating natural disasters which had a significant impact on entire communities throughout the region and led to hundreds of thousands of Central American families establishing roots in the United States.   In 1998, Hurricane Mitch, one of the deadliest hurricanes in Central American history, ravaged Honduras and Nicaragua and resulted in the loss and displacement of thousands, as well as a collapse in the physical infrastructure.  Due to this devastation, TPS was designated to both countries in 1999. Read More »

An Invitation: Celebrating 30 years of the Sanctuary Movement

January 25, 2012

March 24th, 2012 will mark the 30th anniversary of the Sanctuary Movement as well as the beginning of a national campaign to grant residency to the thousands of Central Americans and Haitians with Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Here is a letter written by leaders of the Sanctuary Movement. Please help us spread this letter and Call! (PDF format: SHARE 30th Anniversary of Sanctuary Letter, Call to Action)

March 24, 1982: Press Conference at University Lutheran Chapel in Berkeley, California. Launching of the National Sanctuary Movement

On March 24, 1982, the second anniversary of the assassination of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, five Berkeley congregations declared public sanctuary simultaneously with the Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona!

Over the next decade, more than 500 congregations and thousands of people stood in solidarity with our Central American sisters and brothers seeking political refuge. The Sanctuary Movement challenged unjust immigration policies and the U.S. foreign policies that fueled the exodus. We thought and acted locally and globally. We crossed borders and made covenants in search of the Common Good. We were transformed. Read More »

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