Country Highlights: Central America

Part V of a series on TPS

Missed the last blog?

On November 6th the Department of Homeland Security announced the end of TPS for Nicaraguan migrants. Following this news, 2,550 Nicaraguans were given notice to prepare for deportation in 12 months. Hondurans were given some respite; the Department of Homeland Security announced an extension of six months for TPS holders in order to further assess the living conditions in Honduras. Salvadorans will likely hear in January if they have been granted an extension for TPS.

Taken together, 252,000 TPS recipients from Honduras and El Salvador have lived in the United States for over two decades. With the current administration debating their TPS renewal, thousands nervously await their fate in an uneasy limbo.

Both El Salvador and Honduras began receiving TPS after Hurricane Mitch caused widespread destruction in 1998. The countries continue to receive TPS due to rampant violence.

The U.S. Department of State issued a travel warning in January for Honduras stating, “With one of the highest murder rates in the world and criminals operating with a high degree of impunity, U.S. citizens are reminded to remain alert at all times when traveling in Honduras”. A similar warning for El Salvador was issued in February declaring, “El Salvador has one of the highest homicide levels in the world and crimes such as extortion, assault and robbery are common”.

We must question, if the U.S. government acknowledges the extreme violence in these countries, then why do they want to deport thousands of people to return to these dangerous conditions?

TPS was designed to protect people from living amidst extreme violence.

Honduras faces major corruption and impunity problems within the government and armed forces. During the 2015 presidential election, over 12 opposition candidates and activists were killed, and President Juan Orlando Hernández was linked to a social security embezzlement scheme. The police and army are known to be involved in drug trafficking and extortion. Fewer than 4% of homicides result in conviction, leaving very little hope for protection or justice for Hondurans. Journalists, human rights workers, land activists, and LGBQT persons are at highest risk of violence from gangs and authorities.

The rampant violence in El Salvador is chiefly due to the two of the largest gangs, MS-13 and 18th Street (both exported from Los Angeles). In the 2014 presidential election, the two major political parties, ARENA and FMLN were caught making deals with gang leaders in exchange for votes, highlighting the gangs’ political influence. Gangs have gained control over large portions of the country, and as a result tens of thousands of children have fled north, often unaccompanied, in order to avoid forced gang induction and violence. Police are attempting to crack down on gang-induced violence, causing an increase of lethal armed conflict and an upsurge of gang member and civilian deaths.

Unfortunately, we cannot reverse DHS’s decision to end TPS for Nicaragua, but there is still time and hope for the renewal of TPS for Honduras and El Salvador! Be proactive and call your legislators to urge them to support the renewal of TPS.

 

Up Next:

Country Highlight: Somalia and South Sudan – coming December 1st

Continue Reading

Country Highlight: Haiti

Part IV of a series on TPS

Missed the last blog?

 

The lives of 50,000 Haitians rest in the hands of the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke. Duke is responsible for granting the renewal of TPS for Haiti in January 2018. Her predecessor, John Kelly, clearly warned Haitians here under TPS to prepare to return home next year due to what he describes as the improving conditions in Haiti since the major earthquake in 2010.

We are here to ask, in light of subsequent natural disasters, a weak economy, and political instability, have the living conditions in Haiti actually improved enough to support the return of 50,000 citizens?.

Due to Haiti’s location in the Caribbean, it is extremely susceptible to natural disasters, which have repeatedly devastated the island, making for difficult living conditions. The World Bank estimates that 90% of the population is vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters.

Here is a brief chronology of natural disasters in Haiti, as reported in the New York Times:

May 2004: Heavy rain and excessive flooding displaced tens of thousands around the country and washed away villages.

September 2004: Hurricane Jeanne killed 3,000 and leveled the city of Gonaïves.

August & September 2008: Tropical storms Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike killed 800, and destroyed 60% of the country’s harvest.

January 2010: Two earthquakes (magnitude 7 and magnitude 6) killed 300,000, destroyed most of Port-au-Prince, and devastated the whole country.

October 2016: Hurricane Matthew killed 1,000, and left over 35,000 homeless.

Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world, which makes it increasingly difficult to rebuild after such repeated natural disasters. Roughly 80% of the population is living under the poverty line, and participate in the informal economy where they sell crops and livestock. These agricultural resources have been devastated almost routinely, due to natural disasters, resulting in huge economic losses for peasant farmers and forcing the country to become more reliant on imported food.

In addition to the natural and environmental challenges, the current political upheaval has not helped the grave economic situation. Jovenel Moïse faces weekly protest in Port-au-Prince and throughout the country in response to his proposed budget, which increases taxes and fees. The government has banned the protests led by civilians and has employed violence and intimidation in the hopes of crushing the demonstrations. Police were seen in Port-au-Prince firing tear gas, water cannons, and bullets into crowds of peaceful protesters. Armed civilians have taken to the streets to intimidate protesters in Pétion-Ville, just outside the capital. These protests have been occurring since mid-September, and show no signs of slowing down.

Up Next:

Highlight: Central America (Nicaragua, Honduras & El Salvador) – coming November 17th

Continue Reading

Humble Oneself and Take a Knee

Opinion piece by Mfon E. 

Growing up Catholic, I am used to the act of humbling myself by kneeling. And as a sports fan, especially for football, I know that “taking a knee” is a sign of respect for players who have gotten hurt. Whether in a religious or sports setting, kneeling is a reflection of community, humility, and respect.

When I recently attended a church service, the priest spoke about how we need to constantly humble ourselves by kneeling before God.  That statement made me think about the cries and complaints of those who are disturbed by the actions of athletes taking a knee to put a spotlight on the social injustices, specifically police killings of minority women, men, and children, especially in African-American communities. Colin Kaepernick, a former NFL player for the San Francisco 49ers, began this peaceful protest a year ago. Few  understood why he was kneeling during the anthem to protest racial discrimination and police killings. He’s a rich athlete; why should he care about the mistreatment of individuals being profiled and abused by racist cops?

Kaepernick cares and used his platform to express his concerns because if he weren’t in the NFL, if he didn’t have great athletic skills, if he weren’t rich, if he weren’t well-known, he would just be another “black man,” another problem for communities, another practice target for racist police officers. By taking a knee, Kaepernick decided to push aside worldly possessions and humble himself, before his teammates, his opponents, and the United States. His kneeling and the silence that accompanied it, have directed the public’s attention to the issues that are causing this protest. But the only thing critics are focused on is the kneeling and how he is not honoring his country. But, we must ask, how is his country honoring him? By killing people who look like him because they can?

The media and a handful of conservatives depict Kaepernick’s actions as disrespectful to U.S. soldiers. They make it seem as if you’re not honoring the country and those who fought for it if you fail to stand during the national anthem, but again, I ask, are they? Some of our veterans are homeless, and the way they are treated in Veterans’ Hospitals around the country is disgraceful. On top of that, the words of condolence that came out of the mouth of their Commander-in-Chief, Donald Trump, to a now pregnant widow who lost her husband in battle were, “But you know he must have known what he signed up for.” How is that honoring soldiers who have fought and died for this country?

Those who have chosen to take a knee are humbling themselves for justice. If you were to watch a neighbor, friend, or family member, die by the hands of someone else, and that person (or institution) got away with it, would you not be overwhelmed with rage and sadness? By taking a knee, these individuals are screaming their rage with silence; they’re fighting without firearms. Some people say that discussing social issues at a sporting event is bad timing, so when is the right time? In our personal and professional lives when everything seems confusing and chaotic, sometimes we have to stop, think, drop to our knees, and humble ourselves to find inner peace, or pray to God (if you’re religious). We all need to take a knee and really look at this country we hold dear.

#SayTheirName

Continue Reading

Should TPS Be Extended?

Part III of a series on TPS

Missed the last blog?

President Trump was elected in part due to his hardline stance on immigration, such as promising the creation of a border wall and a crackdown on both legal and illegal immigration. Given this context, the Trump Administration’s proposal to end TPS is unsurprising.

This installment of the TPS series serves to layout the chief arguments for and against the TPS program.

 

Arguments to End TPS + Rebuttal

1. It is not so ‘temporary’:

Argument: Critics have pointed out that some TPS recipients have remained in the United States for over 20 years, and argue that their protection from deportation is no longer temporary. Such critics are under the impression that the U.S. government routinely and blindly renews TPS applications, regardless of the designated country’s current conditions.

Rebuttal: It is true that TPS recipients, particularly the ones who have been here for an extended period, often have built lives for themselves in the United States. Many have jobs, friends, and families – including children born here. TPS recipients do not necessarily have a home or economic opportunity to which to return, due to continued deteriorating conditions that make their home country unsafe to live in. The Department of Homeland Security regularly reviews living conditions in TPS-designated countries before extending TPS.

 

2. Conditions in designated countries have improved:

Argument: Americans argue that countries such as Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti, who received TPS due to natural disasters anywhere from 20 plus years ago have had ample time to recover and allow for the return of TPS individuals from the United States.

Rebuttal: Contrary to critics’ beliefs, most countries that have been receiving TPS for years are still not safe to return to. The Secretary of Homeland Security examines all possible reasons for TPS extension, including: a subsequent natural disaster, prolonged violence causing a power vacuum and political chaos, a health epidemic, etc. All of these conditions weaken the designated country’s economy making it impossible to adequately handle the return of TPS recipients.

 

3. TPS recipients hurt the U.S. economy:

Argument: TPS critics rally around steadfast anti-immigration claims, blaming TPS recipients for the United States’ economic woes, claiming that they take jobs from Americans and exploit America’s social service programs.

Rebuttal: In actuality, TPS recipients aid the U.S. economy. TPS recipients often hold jobs – meaning they pay federal, state, and local taxes, and spend their income at U.S. based businesses. Taken jointly, these factors mean that TPS recipients increase tax revenue and stimulate the economy.

 

While awaiting the Trump Administration’s decision on whether or not to extend TPS on a country-by-country basis, thousands feel as if they are stuck in limbo, and wonder where they will be in a few short months. To the question of whether TPS should be extended, compassion, reasonableness and sound judgment should guide this decision rather than bias and fear.

 

Up Next:

Country highlight: Haiti — coming November 3rd

Continue Reading

Reclaiming the Truth: Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Many of us we were taught in elementary school that Christopher Columbus was a brave Italian explorer who first discovered the Americas. We remember him as a hero and for this reason honor him with his own day, Columbus Day. However, this provides a white washed, ethnocentric version of United States’ history. Upon examining the true root of the holiday and the factual history, we discover Columbus Day celebrates, and honors the colonization of the Americas, and the genocide and ethnocide of the indigenous peoples. Columbus encouraged the enslavement and mass murder of indigenous peoples along his voyage and ‘discovery’ of the Americas. To ignore these atrocities by celebrating  Columbus Day, we also have to ignore the violent reality of European colonization, and devalue the indigenous populations within the Americas.

In the United States, states, cities, and universities throughout the nation have taken steps to pay homage to the indigenous peoples impacted by European colonization by celebrating an alternative to Columbus Day called, Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognizes that people were in the Americas before the land was ‘discovered ’ by Columbus, and that they were nearly erased from history after his arrival due to the spreading of diseases and violent repression. This movement to reclaim U.S. history with the truth by celebrating alternatives to Columbus Day, began in 1992 in Berkeley, CA in which the title Indigenous Peoples’ Day was coined on the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival. Today, 4 states, 55 cities, and 3 universities celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Supporters of the alternative holiday also intend to draw attention to the fact that indigenous communities continue to be marginalized, discriminated against, and lack access to basic services in the United States.

Various Spanish speaking countries in Latin America have begun to celebrate Día de la Raza (Day of the Race) as an alternative to Columbus Day. Día de la Raza pays tribute to the Hispanic heritage of Latin America, and honors the countries that were brutally conquered by Europe. This celebration is also meant to remember and celebrate the peoples, cultures, and traditions suppressed by European explorers during a continuous and seemingly unending process of colonization that has lasted for centuries. As in the United States, Día de la Raza serves to promulgate the current challenges many indigenous communities continue to face in Hispanic and Latin cultures.

Although there are positive steps and actions being taken to factually rewrite our history, more still needs to be done. There are still 46 states, and numerous cities as well as universities throughout the United States that do not recognize any alternatives to Columbus Day. In doing so, they have chosen to silently accept and promote an ethnocentric version of U.S. history. On this day in particular, please support the recognition of indigenous peoples and their cultures. You can take small steps by not observing Columbus Day as a holiday and/or by sharing the true meaning of Columbus Day with at least one person. Another step you can take (on a larger scale) is to contact your mayor or congressional representatives requesting that your city or state celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

 

Continue Reading

Reclaiming the Truth: Indigenous Peoples' Day

Many of us we were taught in elementary school that Christopher Columbus was a brave Italian explorer who first discovered the Americas. We remember him as a hero and for this reason honor him with his own day, Columbus Day. However, this provides a white washed, ethnocentric version of United States’ history. Upon examining the true root of the holiday and the factual history, we discover Columbus Day celebrates, and honors the colonization of the Americas, and the genocide and ethnocide of the indigenous peoples. Columbus encouraged the enslavement and mass murder of indigenous peoples along his voyage and ‘discovery’ of the Americas. To ignore these atrocities by celebrating  Columbus Day, we also have to ignore the violent reality of European colonization, and devalue the indigenous populations within the Americas.

In the United States, states, cities, and universities throughout the nation have taken steps to pay homage to the indigenous peoples impacted by European colonization by celebrating an alternative to Columbus Day called, Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognizes that people were in the Americas before the land was ‘discovered ’ by Columbus, and that they were nearly erased from history after his arrival due to the spreading of diseases and violent repression. This movement to reclaim U.S. history with the truth by celebrating alternatives to Columbus Day, began in 1992 in Berkeley, CA in which the title Indigenous Peoples’ Day was coined on the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival. Today, 4 states, 55 cities, and 3 universities celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Supporters of the alternative holiday also intend to draw attention to the fact that indigenous communities continue to be marginalized, discriminated against, and lack access to basic services in the United States.

Various Spanish speaking countries in Latin America have begun to celebrate Día de la Raza (Day of the Race) as an alternative to Columbus Day. Día de la Raza pays tribute to the Hispanic heritage of Latin America, and honors the countries that were brutally conquered by Europe. This celebration is also meant to remember and celebrate the peoples, cultures, and traditions suppressed by European explorers during a continuous and seemingly unending process of colonization that has lasted for centuries. As in the United States, Día de la Raza serves to promulgate the current challenges many indigenous communities continue to face in Hispanic and Latin cultures.

Although there are positive steps and actions being taken to factually rewrite our history, more still needs to be done. There are still 46 states, and numerous cities as well as universities throughout the United States that do not recognize any alternatives to Columbus Day. In doing so, they have chosen to silently accept and promote an ethnocentric version of U.S. history. On this day in particular, please support the recognition of indigenous peoples and their cultures. You can take small steps by not observing Columbus Day as a holiday and/or by sharing the true meaning of Columbus Day with at least one person. Another step you can take (on a larger scale) is to contact your mayor or congressional representatives requesting that your city or state celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

 

Continue Reading

Who Receives TPS?

Part II of a series on TPS

Don’t know what TPS is? Read the first blog post here.

As the name suggests, TPS is meant to serve as a provisional legal migration for foreign nationals who cannot return home due to violence, natural disasters, or other extreme circumstances. However, some TPS recipients have called the United States. home for almost two decades, due to ongoing life-threatening conditions within their home country. Today, around 320,000 foreign nationals from 10 countries around the world reside in the United States under the protection of TPS. The list below details who these people are, why they were granted TPS, as well as timing details of the TPS program by nation.

Designated Country

Original Designation Date

Most Recent Designation Date

Current Expiration Date

Number of People

Nicaragua

December 30, 1998

January 5, 1999

January 5, 2018

2,550

Honduras

December 30, 1998

January 5, 1999

January 5, 2018

57,000

El Salvador

February 13, 1990

March 9, 2001

March 9, 2018

195,000

Haiti

January 12, 2011

July 23, 2011

January 22, 2018

50,000

Sudan

November 4, 1997

May 3, 2013

November 2, 2017

1,040

South Sudan

January 25, 2016

May 3, 2016

May 2, 2019

50

Somalia

September 16, 1991

September 18, 2012

September 17, 2018

270

Syria

August 1, 2016

October 1, 2016

March 31, 2018

5,800

Yemen

January 4, 2017

March 4, 2017

September 3, 2018

1,000

Nepal

January 4, 2017

June 24, 2015

June 24, 2018

8,950

 

Why these Countries are Receiving TPS:

Central America: Nicaragua, Honduras, & El Salvador

All three countries first received TPS status after Hurricane Mitch hit in 1999, leaving a path of complete destruction and devastation. Millions of people lost their homes, and roads as well as agricultural crops needed to sustain national economies were washed away. The damage caused by Mitch and subsequent natural disasters has made it impossible for individuals to return.

Haiti

Haiti was granted TPS after a massive earthquake struck the country in 2010. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew hit the country and TPS was extended due to environmental damage and structural loss. Around 1.4 million individuals were left in need of aid and housing after the hurricane but those people are not eligible for TPS.

Sudan

Sudan began receiving TPS due to protracted civil conflict. Since then, two civil wars have meant subsequent fighting between militia groups and antigovernment rebels, displacing millions of civilians.

South Sudan

Upon the country’s independence, intense interethnic fighting erupted, leading to civil war. The United States granted South Sudan TPS after thousands were displaced, and national trade as well as infrastructure were destroyed.

Somalia*

A combination of inter-clan fighting, terrorist activity, and droughts leaving half a million dead caused the United States to grant Somalia TPS. The continued large presence of terrorist group al-Shabaab renders the country unsafe for the return of citizens.

Syria*

Syria received TPS due to explosive violence throughout the country, caused by civil war brought on by political uprisings in 2011. Syria continues to receive TPS due to ongoing violent uprisings against President Assad. Syrian nationals seeking TPS were subjected to additional security screenings and background checks due to concerns about terrorism.

Yemen*

Yemen was granted TPS because it is ensnared in civil war with neighboring Middle Eastern countries, which has created violent and unsafe living conditions for individuals. Furthermore, the war has made it difficult to deliver relief efforts due to damaged infrastructure and violence.

Nepal

In 2005, a major earthquake hit Nepal. The subsequent aftershocks, along with the initial damaged caused by the earthquake devastated much of the country’s housing and infrastructure. Roughly half a million homes were destroyed and the United States granted TPS to aid those who were rendered homeless.

*Trump’s travel ban will not affect those who are already protected under TPS from deportation, and have been protected since the designation date.

Designation dates and expiration dates are subject to change. This data was drawn from USCIS and will be updated periodically.

Up Next: 

Arguments for ending TPS vs. arguments for keeping TPS coming out October 20th

Continue Reading

The Lowdown on Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

Part I of a series on TPS

In mid-September President Trump’s Administration announced that they are considering ending TPS, and deporting all individuals living in the United States currently protected by TPS. The purpose of this series is to inform the public on this issue.

What is Temporary Protected Status?

Temporary Protected Status was enacted by Congress under the Immigration Act of 1990, giving citizens from designated foreign countries temporary immigration status. Countries that are experiencing conditions which temporarily prohibit the safe return of citizens, or if the foreign country cannot adequately handle the return of its nationals abroad may be granted TPS. Foreign citizens who are granted TPS are given a work visa and a stay of protection in the United States.

Under what conditions is a country granted TPS?

  • Continuing armed conflict (for example, civil war)
  • Occurrence of a natural disaster or health epidemic
  • Other extraordinary, temporary conditions jeopardizing safety of foreign citizens

How is TPS decided?

The Secretary of Homeland Security is responsible for deciding which countries are to be given TPS. Before finalizing their decision the Secretary must confer with other government agencies, usually the Department of State, the National Security Council, and the Department of Justice. TPS can be designated for a period of 6, 8, or 12 months on an individual country basis. Sixty days prior to the TPS expiration date, the Secretary must decide whether or not to renew it based on the foreign country’s current conditions.

Who can apply?

Citizens of a TPS designated country must apply to be protected under TPS. In order to qualify, citizens (or stateless persons) must prove that they habitually live in the country with TPS designation. Furthermore, the applicant must be continuously physically present in the United States since the effective date of the TPS designation. Finally, the individual must fill out employment authorization documents, even if they do not plan on working in the United States.

Who is barred from TPS eligibility?

  • Persons convicted of a felony, or two misdemeanors in the United States
  • Individuals convicted of a crime in their home country
  • If you are found inadmissible due to public health or security concerns
  • Individuals who fail to meet initial or late registration or re-registration periods

Important notes

  • TPS does not lead to citizenship or permanent residency in the United States.
  • People granted TPS will safely remain in the United States until the crisis in their home country is resolved — this means they cannot be deported.
  • Nationals from TPS-designated countries do not automatically receive TPS — must apply and pay applicable fees. 
  • TPS recipients can apply for and obtain travel documents for short trips abroad without jeopardizing their status.

This information is compiled in a convenient fact sheet available for download.

Up next:

Which countries are currently receiving TPS and why they are receiving it — coming out October 6th

Continue Reading

Action and Prayer for a More Inclusive Citizenship

On September 17, 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution, a document that became the key founding text of the United States of America. The “Blessings of Liberty” described in the preamble, however, were not truly intended for all people in that newborn nation.

It must not be forgotten that the Constitution defined slaves – regardless of the land of their birth – as three-fifths persons for representation purposes and gave them no voting rights. Just a few years later, the Naturalization Act of 1790 specified that only “a free white person” who had resided in the United States of America for two years and any offspring over the age of 21 could become eligible for citizenship. It is a long story of how other populations fought for their public recognition as full citizens with voting rights.

This federal observation was first proclaimed in 1940, when Congress passed a resolution authorizing the President to proclaim “I Am An American Day” on the third Sunday of May each year to recognize those who had attained citizenship. This observance was rebranded in 1952 as Constitution Day and moved to September 17, along with an instruction to political units at all levels to supply instruction to citizens. The same date was rebranded in 2004 as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, adding requirements that every federal agency supply employees with educational and training materials on the Constitution and requiring schools that receive federal funds to also provide programming related to the Constitution.

Today, just as throughout the history of this nation, many people struggle for recognition. It seems clear that the notion of citizenship can be used as a tool to restrict rights and exclude people from equal treatment.

As you reflect on what it means to be a citizen today, consider joining with others to read our Prayer for an Inclusive Citizenship or take one or more of the suggested Actions Toward a More Inclusive Citizenship on page 2 of the same document. Both documents are also available in Spanish.

If you can, try to schedule an action or prayer service for Sunday, September 17 or any other day in the following week. We are happy to help and would like to hear about all your solidarity actions. Please let us know if you have any questions or just want to share your own efforts with us by emailing us at cso@quixote.org.

Continue Reading

Unjust Armour: Restrictions Lifted to Transfer Military Equipment to Local Police

On Monday, Trump issued an executive order undoing restrictions placed on the transfer of surplus military equipment to police departments.

The restrictions had been put in place by President Obama in 2015 following criticism of police tactics in response to protests in Ferguson. Obama said at the time, “We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force.”

Concern about the growing alienation between communities and police drove Obama’s decision, but many of Trump’s policy choices seem designed to disintegrate the increasingly tenuous relationships between these two segments of society. When Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the lifting of restrictions he said, “We will not put superficial concerns above public safety.” It is hard to escape the implication that police accountability is the “superficial concern” that must be cast aside in order for law and order to be enforced.

The 1033 Program that permits the transfer of surplus military equipment to police forces was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, building on a 1990 program that had restricted use to “agencies in counter-drug activities.” The 1033 Program is managed by the Defense Logistics Agency whose records are not publicly available. A GAO study this year found problems with oversight, including a transfer of $1.2 million of military equipment to investigators pretending to be a police department.

Over the last 10 years, as the war in Iraq wound down, the availability of military surplus led to a dramatic expansion of transfers of equipment completely out of proportion to law enforcement needs. Newsweek reported in 2014:

– Police in Watertown, Connecticut, (population 22,514) recently acquired a mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle (sticker price: $733,000), designed to protect soldiers from roadside bombs, for $2,800. There has never been a landmine reported in Watertown, Connecticut.

– Police in small towns in Michigan and Indiana have used the 1033 Program to acquire “MRAP armored troop carriers, night-vision rifle scopes, camouflage fatigues, Humvees and dozens of M16 automatic rifles,” the South Bend Tribune reported.

– And police in Bloomington, Georgia, (population: 2,713) acquired four grenade launchers through the program, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Attorney General Sessions announced the decision to a group of police officers, saying, “The executive order…send[s] a strong message that we will not allow criminal activity, violence, and lawlessness to become the new normal.” With crime rates at an all-time low, it difficult to know what “new normal” of lawlessness is being addressed here. Certainly we should question the need for police departments to deploy MRAP’s and rocket launchers to combat property crimes and drug addiction.

Trump’s decision to lift restrictions on the transfer of military equipment to police, along with his pardoning of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, allowing police to expand their use of property seizures and his war on migrants, all point to an effort to remove all accountability for violations of civil liberties by law enforcement. Janai Nelson of the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund called the move, “exceptionally dangerous and irresponsible,” and noted “[i]nviting the use of military weaponry against our domestic population is nothing short of recasting the public as an enemy.”

Trump is inventing a war at home, and picking sides. It is political posturing of the worst kind and can only deepen the rift growing in civil society.

Continue Reading

Contact Us

  • Quixote Center
    7307 Baltimore Ave.
    Ste 214
    College Park, MD 20740
  • Office: 301-699-0042
    Email: info@quixote.org

Direction to office:

For driving: From Baltimore Ave (Route 1) towards University of Maryland, turn right onto Hartwick Rd. Turn immediate right in the office complex.

Look for building 7307. We are located on the 2nd floor.

For public transportation: We are located near the College Park metro station (green line)