Human Rights. Who will speak for those in the caravan?

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Puebla Mexico.

Someone has to speak out for the peoples in the caravans escaping from war-torn brutal violent countries only to find themselves, victims, once more. Yes, call me a bleeding heart; I don’t give a damn! They are human beings just like you and I. The main difference is we get to sit in the comfort of our homes or internet cafes and read about them from a distance.

It’s so easy to ignore their plight, or worse, as in the case of many in the US Administration, to claim they are all rapists and murderers.

But here is what is really happening to those whom no one cares if they live or die:

Reprinted from HP Mexico.com today:

The case of the massive kidnapping of migrants that occurred on November 3 in Veracruz, and that were later turned over to members of organized crime in an unknown place in Puebla, is no longer just the saying of a state ombudsman. Now, it is a case officially investigated by the Attorney General of Puebla, which has evidence of the crime.

In the case file, the Ombudsman for Human Rights of the People of Oaxaca (DDHPO) -a public autonomous body- turned over the testimonies of three witnesses to the kidnapping. One of those people, whose identity remains unknown for their safety, revealed in a sentence the magnitude of what those Central Americans deprived of their freedom in Mexico would be living: “65 children and seven women were sold”.

The new details of the kidnapping suggest that the criminals took advantage of the fact that on the afternoon of November 3, the governor of Veracruz, Miguel Ángel Yunes Linares, withdrew his offer of 150 free trucks so that the caravan would not have to walk to Mexico City. a territory where hundreds have disappeared, a product of the corruption of the municipal police besieged by the war between Los Zetas and the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación.

The late announcement of the governor, almost at nightfall, anguished the migrants who would be left out in the open in this dangerous area. Coincidentally, three vehicles arrived to “assist them”: a truck with orange, plate KY 88 765 of the State of Mexico; another, GX 3391C plate from Guerrero; and a truck, plate KXC 7906, according to the investigation.

Unlike the drivers who help the migrants and who use vehicles with the open tray, the box of those trucks was closed with padlocks so that from the outside you could not see what or who was transporting.

We wanted to get to Mexico City quickly, said a woman who is currently in the Ciudad Deportiva shelter in the Mexican capital. A boy dressed in black, chubby, told us that we had to pay 150 pesos. Already by Tierra Blanca, he told us that we had to pay 50 pesos more. We told him that we no longer had money. Passing a bridge and there were eight hooded men. One entered the truck and said that we were all sold. All said: the 65 children and seven women were sold.

These statements coincide with those published today by the veteran journalist Blanche Petrich in the newspaper La Jornada, about the number of children victims of mass kidnapping.

Arturo Peimbert, head of the Ombudsman for Human Rights of the People of Oaxaca, who originally told this story, told HuffPost Mexico on Thursday that he insisted that no one gets into those vehicles, but the desperation and fear of being stranded won to several migrants.

The details of how the witness escaped are not clear. The fear is silenced by some parts of the story, which tomorrow could reach the Attorney General’s Office in the form of a federal complaint.

A second witness of the DDHPO adds more details of what happened that night and says that those responsible would be part of a heavily armed group. The area where they would have been kidnapped is a territory once dominated by Los Zetas.

“We had to walk in front of Tierra Blanca, we usually ordered raite (a free ride) and this is what we did.” A truck stopped, one of those cars was closed and men got out, they were armed and forced many to get on. They went up to about 50, “the statement read.

According to the witnesses, the perpetrators carried long weapons and guarded them all the way to Puebla. Somewhere, near an installation of the Federal Police, the armed commando wanted to change the vehicle victims and there several took the opportunity to flee.

So far, said the ombudsman Arturo Peimbert, nothing is known about the children and women who would be in the power of organized crime. Their fear is that they are victims of illegal activities such as forced labor and sexual exploitation.

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About Lynda Filler writes fast-paced page-turners that are based on real-life events happening in the world today. This week she will be in Miami to receive a book award for Contemporary Fiction-Social Issues Lie To Me an exposé on sex for money.

You can find her novels and her memoir on Amazon.

This is the last day for VANISHED in the Sun on sale at .99 cents. It’d dedicated to the Missing 43 Students who commandeered a bus to take part in a march in Mexico City in 2014 and have never been seen since! The UNHRC is still trying to find where their bodies are buried but it’s assumed the bodies have been cremated.

 

“…this is really just cruelty dressed up as public policy.”

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Making An America Worthy Of The Dreamers’ Dreams.

Being “great” means honoring our national promises.

 

Reprinted from HuffPost thankyou!

This article originally appeared at The American Prospect. Subscribe here.

 

I first met Z. when she spoke at a big public event in Los Angeles. Along with a group of other Dreamers ― undocumented youth who were brought to the United States at an early age and grew up as Americans ― she spoke with confidence and grace about her journey from Belize to South Central Los Angeles. I was impressed and thrilled when she let out that her majors in college were sociology and accounting. That’s my kind of people: data nerds with a social justice lens. And I let her know that if she could ever work legally, she should come see me.

 

She arrived at my university office the very day that she received her work permit under the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). She and her grandmother had been praying that the professor would actually live up to his promises ― and they were delighted that I did. Over the next two years, she was our part-time office assistant and once we got past her sly humor and constant teasing ― a sort of endearing but defensive demeanor ― the most striking thing I realized was that until DACA, she was living without a future. Yes, she was in college, but her classes were a mishmash, her career plans were on permanent hold, and she couldn’t see further than her part-time gig in a local farmers’ market.

…this is really just cruelty dressed up as public policy.”

I kept thinking about Z. as all the president’s men began leaking their plans to break our country’s promise to her and other DACA recipients. Their collective aspirations to kill her future once again can be dressed up in the rhetoric of legal authority ― “DACA should not have been done by executive action! The six-month delay in ending it will give Congress time to act!”—but this is really just cruelty dressed up as public policy. And it behooves progressives to make certain there is a payback that is significant, severe, and game-changing.

 

In the days ahead, we will surely rehearse familiar arguments about why DACA has been essential. One standard line: These kids arrived here through no choice of their own. It’s true but let’s also remember: Neither did most of their parents. Economic desperation, civil wars, and militarized gangs have driven much of the past flow of migrants—hardly the conditions under which people exercise free will. We need DACA today, we need a Dream Act tomorrow, but we also need comprehensive immigration reform going forward.

 

We are also likely to stress the economic benefits that the DACA recipients have gained and created. A recent study reported that a startling 97 percent of DACA recipients are working or in school ― and that for those who are employed, wages have skyrocketed (an outcome that makes sense when you consider the ability of someone ― say, Z. ― to move from part-time cash work at a farmers market to a regular job at a university). The benefits accumulate over time: The longer the DACA youth stay in status and in the labor force, the more businesses are formed, the more homes are bought, the more stimulus there is.

 

Indeed, taking the DACA recipients out of the economy is estimated to cost nearly half a trillion dollars over the next decade; that’s about half the size of the still-unformed infrastructure package Trump is promising to deliver. It’s little wonder that over 400 business leaders came out in favor of keeping DACA even as Congress works to pass a more long-lasting solution. Here’s a novel and fiscally responsible idea: Leave the DACA kids earning and paying taxes, drop plans for an expensive border wall, and boost spending on roads and transit.

 

We will also find ourselves emphasizing the political costs that will be borne by the proponents of ending DACA, including the risks to the GOP’s long-term electoral prospects. This is particularly so with regard to the growing Latino vote. Those eligible for DACA are a diverse lot, including many from Asia, Europe, and Africa. But for reasons not entirely understood, the sign-ups have been overwhelmingly Latino. Of the existing 780,000 DACA recipients, somewhere between 92 percent and 95 percent are Latino.

 

As it turns out, that means about 4 percent of all Latinos between the ages of 16 and 35 ― one in 25 ― are DACA recipients. If you are Latino, it is nearly impossible not to know someone benefiting from DACA, and to see Trump’s new policy as a thinly veiled attack on the community writ large. It is little wonder that even Latino Republicans in Congress ― such as Miami-based Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo ― have been vehemently opposed to Trump’s threat to upend the protections for Dreamers.

 

But while this is a moment to work with Republican allies, we also need to remember that it was ten Republican state attorneys general who “forced” Trump’s willing hand by threatening to sue the federal government over DACA (it fell to nine after Tennessee’s attorney general had a last-minute change of heart). Moreover, it was Republican senators (and a handful of conservative Democrats) that stymied the Dream Act in 2010, and it was a Republican House that derailed a bipartisan Senate compromise on comprehensive immigration reform in 2013.

 

Most significantly, it’s the Republicans who decided that the party’s banner should be carried forward by a president who launched his campaign by attacking immigrants, before making his barrage of insults a more equal-opportunity affair. And it’s Republican officials who are considering how they can hold the DACA kids hostage over the next six months in order to force a “compromise” in which their lives are spared in return for border wall funding and new limits on legal immigration to the country.

 

For all these reasons, it’s time for progressive and immigrant advocates to shift gears. So far, much of the campaign to save DACA has focused on how we can persuade politicians to grow a heart. Sympathetic youth have been paraded forward, including young immigrants who worked to save lives (and even lost their own) in the devastation that was Hurricane Harvey. But you shouldn’t need to be a hero to catch a break, and you shouldn’t be punished for trying your best to survive through an immigration system that doesn’t recognize the realities on the ground.

First, progressives need to admit that that the whole conversation about how the last election was lost—was it economic uncertainty or racial anxiety?—has become increasingly moot. The president’s nods to white supremacy in Charlottesville were not meant to address job loss in Michigan. Apart from Texas (which is suing mostly because doing so provides yet another way to beat the Obama dead horse), the states that filed to derail DACA collectively host just 31,000 of the nearly 800,000 recipients ― hardly enough to cause widespread economic distress or budgetary strains. Progressives need an economic program, to be sure, but it’s time to put race and racism clearly up front in our analysis and organizing.

We need to demand that CEOs exercise their leverage, not just issue press releases.”

Second, and partly because of that: Democrats, progressives, and community organizers should fight as hard on this issue as they did in resisting the repeal of Obamacare. There are positive signs: Indivisible, the group that helped mobilize so many to protect the Affordable Care Act, is working to stir non-immigrant communities to support DACA ― and to scare Republican officeholders into doing the right thing. It’s a popular issue ― a significant majority of Americans support the principles behind DACA ― and most Democratic leaders in Congress promise to exhibit the same unwillingness to bend on the Dreamers that they showed on the health care fight. Such solidarity at both the grassroots and grasstops is crucial, and it will be important for shoring up a Latino affinity for progressive causes as strong as that formed historically with African Americans.

 

Third, the business community needs to be challenged. We are hearing many of the right words and seeing all the right tweets. But a hashtag declaring your support for DACA is not as powerful as refusing to cooperate on tax reform until the administration gives up its assault on the Dreamers. Corporate America claims to value diversity even as it often proves willing to trade away principles for cash-enhancing legislation. We need to demand that CEOs exercise their leverage, not just issue press releases.

 

Finally, we need to acknowledge the right’s concerns that DACA is one step on the slippery slope to mass legalization. Let’s just claim that what they fear is right ― and necessary: We have more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States and the aggregate numbers have been stable since 2009, suggesting that the era of mass illegal immigration is over. Two-thirds of the undocumented have been in the country for more than a decade, implying they are deeply embedded in our communities. Indeed, at least eight million U.S. citizens and another 2.5 million lawful permanent residents live with at least one other family member who is undocumented. It bends logic as well as morality to think that they can be disappeared. We need reform now, and that is the ultimate goal.

 

In the meantime, let’s provide shelter, support, and hope to the soon-to-be “un-DACA-mented.” After all, the Dreamers may be exemplars of American grit and ambition, but they are also young people suffering from trauma, injustice, and stress. Admittedly, it can be hard to figure out how to help, particularly when the legal rug is being pulled out from under them. I should know: I promised Z. a shot at a full-time job when she finished college, thinking that would be her safe harbor. But just as we were about to open that position, she let me know that she was moving away.

 

The dynamics were complicated but one factor in her thinking was uncertainty about whether DACA would persist, whether she really had a future in America, and so, whether it really was her best bet to park with us and get ready for grad school. Brilliant prognosticator that I am, I gave her my confident assessment: There was no way someone would reverse President Obama’s act of grace, and no way the politics would line up to once again to threaten her with deportation.

 

Clearly, we live in more dangerous times ― and with a far more feckless president ― than I ever could have imagined. So I was wrong then ― and I am glad, for her sake, that Z. ignored me. But I am determined now more than even to work with others toward building an America that is as good, kind-hearted, and open as the one that she and other DACA youth have dreamed it could be.

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