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The Caravan for Peace is a movement of activists making their way across the US to promote peace and dignity for all victims of Mexico’s drug war. Javier Sicilia, the leader of the Caravan, is a poet and peace leader whose son was murdered in the drug violence in March of 2011. Inspired by this tragedy, Sicilia has been speaking out, bringing to light the urgency of the peace movement.

The importance of creating this conversation within the US is not lost on the caravan’s leaders. An end to drug prohibition, a policy widely discussed in Latin America, is a phrase hardly uttered in US political circles, while at the same time communities of color continue to be disproportionately incarcerated for drug-related offenses in this country. And while the prison industrial complex thrives in the US, guns continue to be funneled to our neighbors south, exacerbating the militarization of Mexico’s law enforcement and ‘Drug War’ strategies.

The Caravan seeks to awaken these issues in American consciousness and bring to light the inherent links between the social fabrics of Mexico and the US.  Traveling across the country and across the border, the Caravan seeks to build a discourse of peace and justice as well as a movement of international solidarity. Ending in DC in September, just 6 weeks before US Presidential elections, this movement is meant to not only create a conversation, but also to bring to fruition policies of peace and dignity for all those, internationally, who are affected by the violence in our transnational drug war.

For specific dates and times of the Caravan’s stop in Chicago, see the Caravan for Peace website here !

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Join CNSC in this National Immigration Day of Action! On Sunday March 10th, the Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL) will be holding the fourth

National Coming Out of the Shadows Day: Out of the Shadows Into the Streets


.  First, join us for a march from Union Park starting at 11 AM. IYJL will meet in Federal Plaza at 12:30 PM for pre-rally music with Quinto Imperio, poetry, and a drum performance by the Korean American Resource Center.

At 1 PM, marchers coming from Union Park will be welcomed, and the story-sharing will begin. This year, those ‘coming out of the shadows’ will not only include youth and students, but also relatives of those in detention, immigrants facing deportation, and children whose parents have been deported, as we say together that DEPORTATION, DETENTION, and DACA will not stop us. Come be part of this National Mobilization as we keep fighting for a Compassionate and Comprehensive Immigration Reform!

Also, check out our Immigrant Welcoming Congregations Gathering Story at this

link


. Thank you for all those who supported this event. To find out how to get involved in the push for immigration reform contact us at

773-293-3680

.

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ACTION ALERT: Now is the time!


Call Your Senators EVERY DAY until Immigration
Reform Passes!


Call

1-866-940-2439


(or
202-224-3121)

Feel free to use this sample script:


“I am from [City, State, Congregation], and as a person of faith, I urge the Senator to vote YES for the bipartisan immigration reform bill. I urge the Senator to protect the refugee and asylum provisions from negative amendments, and to support amendments that would reunite families, reform enforcement practices to be more humane, and make the path to citizenship more accessible.”


Background:

The Senate will be considering amendments to the bipartisan immigration reform bill as early as
Monday, June 10th, and voting on the bill in late June. Key amendments will be
considered regarding who is eligible for the path to citizenship, social
services available to immigrants, intrusive enforcement practices and border
militarization, and changes that could negatively impact refugees and asylum
seekers. We need 60 votes to pass positive amendments; 41 votes to defeat
negative amendments; and a final 60 votes for immigration reform to pass in the
Senate.

Amendments will be considered very quickly, so it’s important that your Senators hear from you NOW and EVERY DAY until the Senate passes immigration reform! Your Representatives
also need to hear from you, as many worry that the House will not support a
pathway to citizenship for our undocumented community members. You can find
your Senators and Representatives’ direct contact information at

www.senate.gov 

and

www.house.gov

.

During the amendment process, we made more than 3,000 calls, and were a big part of
defeating the worst amendments and gaining modest improvements to the bill. We
need to escalate the number of calls made during the upcoming debate and vote
on the Senate floor. ALL Senators must hear from their constituents who support
immigration reform that reform must prioritize family unity and create a clear
and accessible pathway to citizenship.


Call

1-866-940-2439


to be connected with your Senators.

Feel free to use this sample script:


“I am from [City,
State, Congregation], and as a person of faith, I urge the Senator to vote YES
for the bipartisan immigration reform bill. I urge the Senator to protect the
refugee and asylum provisions from negative amendments, and to support
amendments that would reunite families, reform enforcement practices to be more
humane, and make the path to citizenship more accessible.”

Follow @CRLN_LA on Twitter and “like” the CRLN-Chicago Religious Leadership
Network on Latin America or Chicago New Sanctuary
Coalition on Facebook to receive the most up-to-date alerts on amendments being
considered in the Senate floor debate. Find Your Senators’ Twitter names on their websites
http://www.senate.gov and urge them to vote YES on S.744 by tweeting @[their twitter
name].

Ex: “@Sen_JoeManchin As a
West Virginian & person of faith I urge you to support #pathtocitizenship #immigration
reform #cir”

Also, consider writing
a letter to the editor of your local newspaper in support of immigration
reform, urging your Senators and Representatives to be champions for family
unity, refugees and asylum seekers, a pathway to citizenship, and more humane enforcement
practices. Host prayer vigils and other faithful actions near your Senator or
Representatives’ office, and get your community involved by writing letters and
spreading this alert far and wide. For resources and more information, go to
www.crln.org.

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Action Alert: Calls Needed TODAY, Thursday, June 20

The Senate will continue to vote on amendments to the bipartisan immigration bill S.744 today, Thursday, June 20th. Yesterday your calls make were successful! Paul #1200 which was tabled, which would have hurt refugees and delayed the path to citizenship, and Lee #1208 failed, which would have delayed the path to citizenship.

Please call TODAY and keep calling to defeat negative amendments and win sensible improvements to the bill!


Call

1-866-940-2439


to be connected with your Senators.

You can also call the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or find Senators’ direct lines at

http://www.senate.gov/

Feel free to use this sample script:


“I am from [City, State, Congregation], and I support

immigration reform.


As a person of faith, I urge the Senator to vote


NO


to


amendments sponsored by Senators


Cornyn, Inhofe, Cruz, Rubio,

Fischer, Grassley, Wicker, and Sessions

,

which would expand detention,

significantly delay the path to citizenship, and prevent many of our community

members from accessing the path to citizenship.

 


I also ask the Senator to


SUPPORT Senator Hirono’s

amendment #1403


to help women and families access the visa system, and

Senator Boxer’s #1240


to ensure training for all officials along the

border.”



OPPOSE AMENDMENTS THAT

WOULD EXPAND DETENTION AND DELAY THE PATH TO CITIZENSHIP

 


SENATOR CORNYN’S “RESULTS” AMENDMENT #1251

would mandate unreasonable triggers that could inevitably

delay the path to citizenship and increases enforcement costs without a clear

strategy and purpose. The Department of Homeland Security would have to ensure

100% situational awareness of the border, full operational control, and fully

implement a nationwide employment verification system and biometric entry and

exit system at all air and sea ports of entry. This would cost around $24

billion, mostly for adding 10,000 officer and agents. These are extremely high

costs lacking clear justification. Cornyn may file another amendment to be

considered today that would narrow who is eligible for the path to citizenship.


SENATOR INHOFE’S AMENDMENT #1203

would radically expand immigration detention, including arriving asylum seekers

and longtime lawful permanent residents with misdemeanor offenses, and remove

basic due process. It would extend mandatory detention to individuals with old

convictions who have been free for years and leading productive lives, and

would bar Immigration Judges from ordering the supervision of immigrants on

secure and cost effective alternatives to detention. It would also authorize

the indefinite-or potentially lifelong-detention of broad categories of people,

without meaningful judicial review.


SENATOR CRUZ’S AMENDMENT #1320

would

replace current border provisions with more burdensome requirements and delay

the processing of applications for RPI status until these border security

requirements are met.


OPPOSE AMENDMENTS THATWOULD PREVENT MANY FROM ACCESSING THE PATH TO CITIZENSHIP


SENATOR RUBIO’S AMENDMENT #1225


AND


SENATOR FISCHER’S AMENDMENT #1348

would

require individuals to pass the English and civics exam currently required for

citizenship in order to even receive RPI status (Fischer #1348) or adjust to

LPR status (Rubio #1225). These amendments would restrict many of our community

members from accessing RPI and LPR status, and thus prevent them from

sponsoring their family members for reunification. The standard currently set

in the bill, to allow people in RPI status to adjust to LPR if they

are “satisfactorily pursuing a course of study…to achieve an

understanding of English and knowledge and understanding of the history and

Government of the United States” should remain, so individuals can adjust

to LPR and continue learning English to prepare for the citizenship exam.

 


SENATOR GRASSLEY’S AMEDNMENT #1299

would bar individuals who have been a member of a gang from entering the U.S.

or, for those who are here, pursuing the path to citizenship. It would expand

the term “criminal gang” to mean an ongoing group, club,

organization, or association of 5 or more persons that has as 1 of its primary

purposes 1 or more criminal offense”. This could prevent access to the

path to citizenship for many individuals who were members of gangs in their youth

but who have changed their lives and are contributing members of our

communities.


SENATOR WICKER’S AMENDMENT #1229

would revoke RPI status from someone who

leaves the U.S. for more than 180 days, utilizes Federal means-tested benefits,

uses a fraudulent document, or is no longer eligible for such status. This

could prevent people from traveling to see a sick family member and or from

finding health services for their children.


SENATOR SESSIONS’ AMENDMENT #1334

would change in the definition of “aggravated identity theft” from

the possession of the identification “of another person” to the

possession of identification “that is not his or her own”. This would

eliminate the ability of many immigrants who have used fake documents to get by

from ever applying for RPI status.



SUPPORT AMENDMENTS TO HELP WOMEN, FAMILIES AND BORDER COMMUNITIES


SUPPORT SENATOR HIRONO’S AMENDMENT #1403

to help women and families enter through the merit-based system.

This amendment is sponsored by 12 women senators, including Senator Murkowski

(R-AK).


SUPPORT SENATOR BOXER’S AMENDMENT #1240

This amendment

would require that all National Guard and Coast Guard officials who are

stationed along the border receive the same training programs in immigration

law enforcement, vulnerable populations, and responding to children and victims

of crime. The current bill requires this training for border patrol agents, but

leaves out these National Guard and Coast Guard officials. Everyone patroling

the border should be specifically trained in these issues.

Find Your Senators’

Twitter

names on their websites (

http://www.senate.gov/

) and urge them to support positive

amendments and oppose negative amendments by tweeting @[their twitter name].

Ex:





@


Sen_JoeManchin





As a WV person of faith I

support



#


immigrationreform



.

Please oppose Grassley #1195 which would delay



#


pathtocitizenship






#


cir




 

All amendments filed can be found at

http://1.usa.gov/14im8Gp

. Please note that this list takes time

to update, so it is possible that amendments being considered may not appear at

this link until 24 hours after they have been filed.

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CRLN is pleased to support the work of partner organizations with funds we will raise through our annual bike-a-thon, Pedal for Peace, which will take place on Sunday, Sept. 22, 1:30 – 4:30.  This week we focus on Concern America.

Concern America believes that the transformation of impoverished communities comes from engaging local members in the solutions to their problems.  Concern America’s Field Team Members not only train local people to become health promoter practitioners in their own communities, they also visit the villagesto assist in providing health consults.  In addition, they meet with community members to discuss the mutual support between the communities and their health promoter practitioners and to develop solutions to improve the health conditions in the community. For more information on Pedal for Peace Visit our Upcoming Events Section.

Here is a field report from a Concern America Field Team Member:


“When we visited Juana’s village, I was impressed to see the amazing support from the rest of the community. When we arrived, people immediately came to the boat to unload all of the equipment, medicines, etc. In the meeting with the community, the president was very supportive and very appreciative of Juana’s work, and also expressed interest in having another member to be trained to work alongside her.


This support was also evident during the consult and made a huge difference in the effectiveness of the work. First, the clinic days had a really high turnout, which shows not only the strong organization that was done beforehand but also the faith that people have in the Practitioner’s work. In addition to the general consult, we did a dental campaign and a deworming campaign, with over 120 children participating in each (which actually tapped us out of some supplies!) Another reason we were able to 
accomplish so much was Luzmila, the treasurer of Juana’s health committee, who really helped with the flow of things. It was a very positive experience and I was particularly excited to see how the community valued the health program and Practitioners and the importance of including women in this work.”

For more information about Pedal for Peace, click on Pedal for Peace bike-a-thon under “Upcoming events” on CRLN’s home page.

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Heads
of denominations reveal joint



declaration
of  resistance



to mass
deportations and gridlock in Congress on Immigration Reform, signed by over 100
faith groups and leaders.

Ministers, Rabbis,
Sisters Religious, and religious leaders gathered and led and interfaith
service on Sunday, October 20th, to unite in a commitment to resist a “cruel
and broken” immigration system, and calling on Congress to break the gridlock
on immigration reform.  The interfaith service was held at Central Spanish
Baptist Church in Chicago.

“We will resist
‘business as usual’ while mass deportations continue and immigration reform
efforts remain paralyzed in Congress,” declared Pastor Lilian Amaya of
Ministerio Hazel in Chicago.  “Non-violent acts of civil disobedience,
fasts, vigils, and offering sanctuary in our houses of worship are some of the
ways we can honor God’s call to justice and protection for the most
vulnerable.” Rabbi Laurence Edwards shared, “we have witnessed an
immigration system which tears families apart…we renew our commitment to
uphold our sacred traditions by resisting injustice.”

Rev. Dr. Larry
Greenfield, Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches, led a prayer
for protection of families. “Lord, protect the sanctity of the family, and let
no person threaten or separate the bonds of love which emanate from you.”

After an interfaith
service, the group held a procession on the street, led by two members of the
coalition dressed in orange jump suits, signifying liberation of the
captives.  “Holy One, set us all free to live wholly dependent on you, to
follow your law, and to work together for your peace,” prayed Sr. Margaret
Hansen, Province Leader of the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters.

Many of these leaders
have met with Congress representatives, including Representative Roskam and
Representative Lipinski, to ask for their support on an Immigration Reform that
will include a path to citizenship.

The event, organized
by the Chicago Religious Leadership Network, was a gathering of over 20
congregations and religious communities who have declared themselves “Immigrant
Welcoming Congregations.”  These congregations pledge to pray and take
action toward justice and mercy for immigrants.  Martinelli Quincenella,
member of Central Spanish Baptist Church, urged more congregations to join in
the coalition. “We’d like everyone to know the invitation is open to everyone
to work together for dignity for the immigrant.”

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Chile, 1985:


Women soaked by water cannon during a demonstration against Pinochet on International Women’s Day in Santiago. Photograph: Julio Etchart/Julio Etchart

This week, CRLN joins millions of people around the world commemorating the 40th anniversary of Chile’s U.S.-backed military coup, which led to 17 years of dictatorship and tens of thousands of opposition activists murdered, disappeared, tortured, exiled, and imprisoned. Time has healed some, but also brought profound determination for truth and justice.

As more time goes by, the truth of what happened and the full dimension of the violence becomes even clearer, and the country’s institutions are forced to assume their responsibility.

Argentine-Chilean novelist, playwright, essayist, academic, and human rights activist Ariel Dorfman writes in the New York Times about how he survived the bombing of the presidential palace just by trading a shift with a colleague and friend. He also writes about the durable impacts of the coup that have spread throughout the globe:

“The most lasting legacy of Chile’s Sept. 11 were the economic policies implemented by Pinochet. My country became, in effect, a laboratory for a neoliberal experiment, a land of  unrestrained greed where extreme denationalization of public resources and suppression of workers’ rights were imposed on an unwilling populace. Many of these merciless policies were later deployed by leaders across the globe”.

Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman interviews Joan Jara, the widow of Chilean singer Víctor Jara,

who has just filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. court against the former military officer who allegedly killed Jara 40 years ago. Jara’s accused killer, Pedro Barrientos, has lived in the United States for roughly two decades and is now a U.S. citizen.”

Jara’s family is suing him under federal laws that allow U.S. courts to hear about human rights abuses committed abroad.”

 

TAKE ACTION! and join SOAWatch in calling for accountability for Victor Jara’s murder by Pedro Barrientos : “Jara was first held and tortured in the  infamous Estadio Chile (since renamed Estadio Victor Jara), which was turned into a nightmarish detention and torture center after the coup. Survivors and other witnesses claim that military officers broke Jara’s hands with the butts of their rifles before mockingly asking him to play his famous songs. Defiantly, Jara sang part of ‘Venceremos’ (We Will Win). His body was later dumped in the street, found riddled with 44 bullets and signs of extensive torture.”

Read a recounting by Hugh O’Shaughnessy, a prize-winning journalist who has written on Latin America for over 40 years, of the days immediately before and following the coup in Chile, where he was working as a journalist:

“As had already been the case after the military coups in Brazil in 1964 and then in Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina, and as was to be the case latterly in modern Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay, the military and police torturers were ready with their electrodes, thumbscrews and waterboarding equipment to defend ‘western Christian civilisation’.”

Many had been brought to a peak of perfection in their
trade in the US itself or in its bases in the Panama canal zone by US instructors.”

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ACTION ALERT!


CRLN and our partner La Voz de Los de Abajo are sending just shy of 30
people to observe the Honduran elections on November 24th.

The current political climate of Honduras has led to the deaths of 18 candidates
from the opposition party as well as dozens of journalists, lawyers and human
rights defenders, of which only a handful of cases have been solved.

As impunity reigns in Honduras and citizens lose faith in their
governmental istitutions,

Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia is
circulating a letter to Secretary of State Kerry


demanding that the U.S.

– which has tremendous influence in Honduras –

press the Government of
Honduras to ensure the right of all its citizens to peacefully assemble,
campaign and vote.

Click here to tell your Senator that you want him or her to sign Senator
Kaine’s letter!

Support the Honduran people’s right to a democratic process!
Support the international monitoring efforts!

Click here to make your voice
heard!

You can also call Senator Durbin’s office at 202-224-2152 and ask that
Senator Durbin sign on Tim Kaine’s letter on the Honduran elections. Be sure to
tell them that your friends at CRLN and La Voz de Los de Abajo are going to
Honduras and that you’re looking to your elected officials to support the work
you’ll be doing down there to monitor the November 24th elections.



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Public Citizen has published a thorough review of the past 20 years of NAFTA with their new report, “NAFTA at 20: One Million U.S. Jobs Lost, Mass Displacement and Instability in Mexico, Record Income Inequality, Scores of Corporate Attacks on Environmental and Health
Laws” Click here to see the report.  and march with CRLN and the Illinois Fair Trade Coalition this Saturday to say ‘¡No más!’ to this harmful legacy of free trade and neoliberalism! No to the
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a.k.a. NAFTA on Steroids!

Contact your members of Congress 
to urge them to vote no on Fast Track legislation for the TPP!

Below are some of the reports’ main findings, but click here to see the report in fullWith mounting evidence around the false promises of free trade, the report goes more deeply into growing income inequality throughout the hemisphere and lawsuits filed by corporations against sovereign nations for “a loss of future profits” resulting from domestic public interest and environmental laws.

  • The export of subsidized U.S. corn did increase under NAFTA, destroying the
    livelihoods of more than one million Mexican campesino farmers and
    about 1.4 million additional Mexican workers whose livelihoods depended on
    agriculture.
  • Scores of NAFTA countries’ environmental and health laws have been challenged in foreign tribunals through the controversial investor-state system. More than $360 million in compensation to investors has been extracted from NAFTA governments via “investor-state” tribunal challenges against toxics bans, land-use rules, water and forestry policies and more. More than $12.4 billion are currently pending in such claims.
  • Facingdisplacement, rising prices and stagnant wages, over half of the Mexican
    population, and over 60 percent of the rural population, still fall below
    the poverty line, despite the promises made by NAFTA’s proponents.
  • Though the price paid to Mexican farmers for corn plummeted after NAFTA, the deregulated retail price of tortillas – Mexico’s staple food – shot up 279 percent in the pact’s first 10 years.
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