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This picture was taken in front of College Avenue Presbyterian Church in Rockridge, a neighborhood in Oakland, CA. It is a reminder of the ways in which religious groups have been engaging in immigration issues of our time. Indeed, as reported in the NY Times in this article a week ago, several religious leaders have been encouraging a more compassionate approach to the recent migration of thousands of children from Central America and Mexico. 

For the win: Not only does the state of Campeche officially recognize its first gay marriage, it also did away with gendered articles in the record:

La pareja del mismo sexo, integrada por Faride Cabrera Can y María José Estrada Muñoz, formalizó su unión ante el Registro Civil de Campeche para ser el primer enlace legal homosexual celebrado en esta entidad.

Ante cientos de invitados y curiosos, la pareja contrajo matrimonio civil en una ceremonia presidida por la directora del Registro Civil, Ingrid Ommundsen Pérez, en el Centro de Convenciones “Campeche Siglo XXI”.

El acto transcurrió con un nuevo formato en el acta de matrimonio en el que se le quitaron los artículos masculinos y femenino de “el” y “la” contrayente, para únicamente dejar la palabra contrayente.

La directora del Registro Civil del Estado de Campeche, Ingrid Ommundsen Pérez, dijo que con este acto se consumó en la entidad la primera unión entre personas del mismo sexo, en cumplimiento a una disposición de un juzgado.

queertzal:

i got asked one time what part of Mexico Guatemala was in and it’s indelibly etched into my mind 

International Day of the Disappeared

On the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances (August 30), Amnesty International (AI) once again calls attention to the Mexican government’s inadequate response to the crisis of the missing: “Once again, the Mexican government offers a new figure for “people not located,” without clarity about how this information was obtained or any transparency,” according to AI. (The latest figures are ~22,000, but I’ve seen numbers ranging from 8,000 to 50,000…)

Foto: Cuartoscuro.

(Foto: Cuartoscuro)

"It is of concern that the figures did not specify how many people are alleged victims of enforced disappearance — that is, when there is evidence of direct or indirect involvement of a police officer in the abduction of a person, who refuses to disclose information about the victim’s whereabouts. We must remember that, even though in many cases public officials are involved, there are almost now judicial proceedings against them nor victims found.”

While there are a slew of new task forces, databases, committees (e.g., Plan Nacional de Búsqueda sistematizado, la creación de una Red Nacional de Procuración de Justicia para la Búsqueda de Personas, la Unidad Especializada en Búsqueda de Personas de la PGR), they don’t really seem to do much of anything, much less coordinate their efforts.

Anímal Político shares pictures of committees comprised of families demanding the immediate return of their family members:

Foto: Cuartoscuro.

(Foto: Cuartoscuro)

Foto: Cuartoscuro.

(Foto: Cuartoscuro)

Foto: Cuartoscuro.

(Foto: Cuartoscuro)

En Monterrey, Nuevo León, familiares de desaparecidos se reunieron afuera de la Catedral para conmemorar este día:

Foto: Cuartoscuro.

(Foto: Cuartoscuro)

Guatemalan, El Salvadoran, and Honduran migrants who attempt to migrate north through Mexico are not represented here, but they are surely amongst the disappeared. 

Guatemalan consul visits families held in Artesia, says ICE officers need “human rights training”

Cónsul constata trato inhumano para migrantes
(Photo: 5 of 41 families in the Artesia family detention center will be deported on the next flight.)
Tucson. Guatemalan consulate representative, Jimena Díaz, traveled last weekend to the Artesia family detention center in New Mexico, where 41 Guatemalan mothers with immigrant children opted to “voluntarily” return when faced with the desperation of their situation.
"Many of them have spent more than a month in detention and they are getting desperate. Some have already been told that there is nothing they can do and have been given deportation orders; others who have a possibly case for asylum have told us they want to return," explained Diaz following her visit.
The Guatemalan diplomat confirmed that the families “do not have shampoo, soap is limited, they have problems with the bathrooms, they do not like the food and they complain that the officials do not treat them well.”
She also indicated that the ICE officers guarding the mothers with children are not trained in working with them and should receive “training in human rights.”
(Prensa Libre, translated by guatepolitics)

Representatives from indigenous, peasant and environmental sectors protested in front of the Guatemalan Congress against the Law on Plant Varieties, known as the “Monsanto Law,” which would allow for patenting of vegetable varieties discovered or produced in the country. The Mayan Peoples Advisory Council also presented a case to the Constitutional Court to place an injunction on the law. President Otto Pérez Molina announced over the weekend that he would ask his party legislators to modify some articles. Some protestors brough with them examples of the diversity of maize in the country. They had red, white, yellow, black. “It is the essence,” said a protestor, “that which constitutes the nature of things, is permanent and unchanging,” citing the dictionary definition.

[Sandra Sebastian for Plaza Publica | translated by guatepolitics]

The blatant colonialism in “discovering” maize varieties that Maya peoples have cultivated for centuries is revolting. 

This election, Oregon voters will decide if the state keeps the bipartisan Safe Roads Act that the legislature passed in 2013 or reject it. The Safe Roads Act created the Oregon Driver Card, a 4-year driving permit which would allow all Oregon residents to get tested and insured to drive regardless of citizenship status. 

Highest Immigration Court Affirms Domestic Violence as Grounds for Asylum

The UC Hastings Center for Gender & Refugee Studies issued this press release late yesterday:

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the highest administrative immigration court in the United States, published a landmark decision today in Matter of A-R-C-G-. This ruling has the potential to affect immigrant women survivors of domestic violence across the country. The BIA found that women fleeing domestic violence can be members of a particular social group, one of the grounds for asylum, and remanded a case involving a Guatemalan woman asylum seeker to the immigration court for a new decision. The Board’s decision signals a move away from restrictive interpretations of the law that have made it difficult for domestic violence survivors to receive protection in the United States. CGRS provided consultation to the attorney in the case and filed an amicus brief.

The case involves a mother of three, Ms. C-G-, who suffered what the decision deems “repugnant abuse” at the hands of her husband, including beatings, rapes, an assault that broke her nose, and an attack with paint thinner that left her with burn scars. Her efforts to get police protection were in vain, as they refused to interfere, and her husband threatened to kill her if she contacted them further. Her husband thwarted her repeated efforts to leave and stay with relatives when he found her and threatened her if she did not return.

“If a woman in this situation cannot count on the U.S. government for protection, when her own government has failed her, who can?” asked Karen Musalo, Director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (CGRS). “We are pleased that the Board of Immigration Appeals finally broke its fifteen-year silence on this issue and recognized through a fair application of the law that this woman, and women like her, can establish eligibility for asylum.”

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"It doesn’t matter who I was, what matters is that I am a trans women and I demand my rights today." — Leslie Graciela, age 7, who was accompanied by community members as a show of support

17 years after the organization Entre Amigos organized the first gay pride march in El Salvador, organizers continue claiming their rights and calling on the state to resolve the problem of hate crimes against the LGBTI community.

(Foto: Fred Ramos | elfaro.net)

further evidence that kids aren’t crossing borders because of rumors that Obama would let them stay:

According to a new analysis by the Pew Research Center, the vast majority had been caught several times before—and 15 percent of them reported having been previously apprehended six times or more.

The US Border Patrol made more than 11,300 apprehensions of unaccompanied Mexican child migrants from October 2013 to May 2014. Among the kids picked up, 76 percent said they’d been caught “multiple times before,” according to the Pew report, which is based on data provided by Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As the map above shows, 64 percent of Mexican minors crossing alone came from six states: Tamaulipas, Sonora, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Guanajuato, and Michoacán.

(Ian Gordon | Mother Jones)

"When civilians are killed, the blame is shifted elsewhere, or the status of the dead as civilian is undermined."
Article on Gaza, makes me think of the narco trope in the Drug War in Mexico and the Northern Triangle, too

A new line-up surprised Guatemalan Special Police Forces in the protests against the mine at La Puya — women in front, men in back (children and elderly were not in the demonstration).

culturestrike:

Send your own letter to #refugeekids at this link:
theyarechildren.org #activism #art #artists #artivism #art4 #humanrights #iamawitness #immigration #latism #migrantrights #socialjustice #not1more #border #EstamosConLosNinos #TheyAreChildren #uac

ICE detains 11-year-old boy for more than a month before noticing that he is a US citizen

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One of the hundreds of children being held at an immigration detention facility in, New Mexico, was released last week when officials realized the 11-year-old boy was a U.S. citizen [traveling with his mother, who is not]…

In the past nine months, border agents have apprehended roughly 63,000 unaccompanied children—mostly from Central America. That is in addition to single parents with at least one child who have been apprehended as well along the Southwest border. As officials have sped up the processing time and immigration courts are fast-tracking the children’s cases, Laura Lichter—an immigration attorney who has been providing free legal counsel to detainees in Artesia—said the 11-year-old boy’s situation highlights the problems with rushing the cases:

“I think the fact that a U.S. citizen was detained and for this long before anyone actually realized that there was even the possibility that they had detained a U.S. citizen shows you just how little respect and attention is being given to people’s cases,” said Lichter, former president of American Immigration Lawyers Association. “What this shows you is that there really is no due process here and that the system is only working in a way to deport people from the country. It is not working to protect people’s claims.”

This boy’s case is merely one example, but the U.S. should not be lowering the bar on due process protections in the face of challenges posed by the arrival of thousands of children and young families at our southern border as they flee violence in Central America. The expedited process being pursued against the families at Artesia, may in fact be too expedited where speed is taking precedence over fairness and due process.

Photo by Nicolas Alejandro.

As Washington supports Israel’s violence, Latin American heads of state have stood up against the offensive, acting as moral leaders for the hemisphere, and demonstrating their independence from the historically-hegemonic empire to the north.