Advocates Applaud AG Tong’s Action to Halt Courthouse Immigration Arrests

by Unidad Latina en Acción

Advocates applauded William Tong after he filed an amicus brief with 14 other state attorneys general supporting the Washington State lawsuit against ICE enforcement in and around the state courthouses.
“In recent months, ICE has interrupted justice in our Connecticut courts, jeopardizing public safety and the rule of law in the entire state,” said Catherine John, a member of Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA). “The state of Connecticut must continue to fight to halt ICE arrests in and around our courthouses.”
An estimated 120,000 undocumented immigrants live in Connecticut. Many of them have been unable to appear at court appointments for fear of hostile encounters with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). When called to courthouses for housing, family, civil, or criminal court, plain-clothes ICE agents have arrested and detained immigrants for civil immigration violation.

One recent example is that of Mario Aguilar, an 18-year-old Wilbur Cross junior who was arrested last September while entering the Milford courthouse to answer to misdemeanor charges stemming from a car accident in August. He spent over 100 days in ICE detention in Bristol, MA, before getting a positive ruling on his asylum case and coming home to New Haven on New Year’s Eve. In October, Domar Shearer went to Derby Superior Court to face charges and was alerted by the Public Defender’s Office that plain-clothes ICE officers were looking for him. After a 7-hour stand-off, in which Shearer stayed in the Public Defender’s Office, while ICE agents and immigrant rights’ advocates waited in the court hallways, ICE left the building and Shearer was able to return to his community.

National immigrant rights advocate Kica Matos added, “Our courthouses are meant to be places where due process and justice are delivered to our community. Using our judicial buildings to hunt down undocumented residents is shocking to the conscience and a gross miscarriage of justice. Our communities are less safe when immigrants who witness crimes are afraid to speak out for fear of going into a state building. No one is served when courthouses become places where people are terrorized and prevented from accessing justice. We are pleased that AG Tong has joined in this amicus brief to prevent ICE from using our courthouses to hunt down immigrants.”

Contact: Catherine John, (203) 887-3788 or John Lugo, (203) 606-3484.

Building the Power of Immigrants to Defend Labor, Civil, and Human Rights Since 2002

by Megan Fountain, Unidad Latina en Acción

When we fight… we win!  2019 highlights:

  • 20+ immigrants met with 26 New Haven alders… and we won a new sanctuary city executive order.
  • 9 immigrants produced 81 radio shows… and we activated hundreds of listeners to defend their rights.
  • 50+ immigrants produced an art exhibit and an original theater performance.
  • 100+ allies were trained by ULA in nonviolent direct action… and ULA mobilized 100s to keep ICE out of our neighborhoods and courts.
  • 60+ community meetings united 80+ families fighting deportations and workers’ rights cases.

ULA, 37 Howe Street, New Haven, CT 06511. (203) 606-3484, admin@ulanewhaven.org.

Visit our website at ulanewhaven.org for information on making a tax-deductible donation for our work.

Football Versus Survival

by Melinda Tuhus, environmental activist

On Nov. 23 about 130 students from Yale and Harvard ran onto the field after the half-time show at the annual playing of a rivalry so iconic it’s simply called The Game. They unfurled banners calling on the two prestigious, almost unbelievably wealthy universities to divest their holdings in fossil fuel companies and Puerto Rican debt. I was one of a handful of baby boomers who joined them.

Divestment would help de-legitimize the fossil fuel industry, which is doing everything in its power to obstruct the transition to renewable energy that is so desperately needed to prevent climate disaster. Puerto Rico, still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, urgently needs debt relief. Thus, the overall theme was “climate justice.”

To me this action was right in line with my involvement over the past five years with Beyond Extreme Energy, which has been fighting to stop the expansion of fossil fuels, especially fracked “natural” gas, which the Federal Energy Commission (FERC) routinely approves, and to call for FERC’s conversion to FREC – the Federal Renewable Energy Commission. Gas leaks methane at every stage of production and use, which makes it not a “bridge fuel” to a clean energy future as industry and politicians have touted for years, but actually a dirty fuel than can be worse for the climate than coal.

Since becoming active in the anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1960s, I have participated in an untold number of protests, but this was perhaps one of the most impactful. Time will tell if the global media coverage will help move Harvard and Yale to divest these holdings from their endowments ($39 billion for Harvard, $29 billion for Yale). But the action has already had an impact on me.

After we sat down in mid-field and prevented the second half of the game from starting, hundreds more students (and some others) flooded onto the field to join us. It was a beautiful sight. We chanted ’til we were hoarse: “What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now! If we don’t get it, shut it down!” The game announcer pleaded, “Out of courtesy to the players and the fans, please leave the field. The game must go on.” The absurdity of prioritizing a football game over the survival of life on earth as we know it was not lost on us. I wonder how many people in the stands noticed.

Climate scientists say we have until 2030 to reduce the emission of global warming gases enough to prevent irreversible climate chaos. The students know they are facing a changed, diminished and very scary world. Despite the exuberance and joy we all felt in accomplishing our goal of reaching the field and unfurling our banners, the overall feeling is one of trepidation. But also a fierce resolve.

I love these young people with all my heart. I love their commitment, their love for each other, their welcoming elders like me into their bold, creative actions. I love that one of the organizers said we might have to run onto the field and asked me if I could run. You betcha I could.

After 45 minutes, police threatened to arrest those who didn’t leave the field, and most did. Fifty of us stayed and were detained, charged with disorderly conduct. Our court appearance was the morning of Dec. 6 – the same day as another round of powerful and well-attended youth-led climate strikes. How fitting.

Why We’re Still Standing Out Here in 2019 (and Will Be Again in 2020)

Sunday Vigil flyer, Dec. 22, 2019

This vigil for peace and justice has been observed every Sunday from noon until 1 p.m. since May of 1999. Twenty years and four U.S. presidential administrations later, we are still here.

Often people ask us what we mean when we say, “RESIST THIS ENDLESS WAR.” What we mean is that the serial wars fought by the U.S. and its allies are one war being waged on many fronts. Men, women, and children are being slaughtered, maimed, traumatized and driven from their homes all over the world so that immense wealth and power can be concentrated in the hands of a very few people.
The weapons of this war are many. Here are just some examples: continued development and production of an ever more deadly nuclear arsenal; drone attacks against human beings many thousands of miles away (targets whose bodies the bombardiers, operating their weapons by remote control, will never have to see); mass incarcerations and deportations of immigrants and refugees (condemning them, in many cases, to a future of torture or death); the systematic dismantling of infrastructure and social programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security that most of us not only depend upon but have funded with our hard-earned tax dollars all our lives; the destruction of our environment; and the undermining of workers’ rights and the refusal to pass a national minimum wage that is a living wage.

In 2016, we had a presidential election in which the issues of war, peace and economic justice were never seriously addressed. The state of endless war was accepted as the norm. Now we are dealing with an administration that, during its nearly three years in power, has exponentially escalated on all fronts this war that we have been describing and resisting for two decades and more. The 2018 “mid-term” elections largely ignored these issues.

With its bloated military budget, its blatantly racist and xenophobic rhetoric and policies, its utter disregard for the U.S. Constitution and international law, its attempt to roll back even the modest attempts at addressing the climate crisis that are embraced by the Paris Agreement, its utter disregard for human rights at the borders, and its unapologetic war against poor, working-class and non-white people on behalf of the billionaire class it represents, the Trump ad-ministration has made transparent the existential threat of the 1% to all our lives and to the future of our planet.

RESIST THIS ENDLESS WAR

As this year draws to a close and a new one begins, and as we enter another election cycle, we ask you to think about the issues this vigil has been trying to address in a very modest way over the past 20 years. The war we now face on all fronts transcends partisan politics, and we didn’t get here merely as the result of one terrible election. Simply voting, while important, will not resolve this existential crisis or lead us to a just, peaceful and healthy world. Only a truly engaged citizenry, able and willing to think critically and to use every nonviolent tactic we can muster, will be able to make the serious, deep, systemic changes that are so very long overdue, changes upon which our very survival depends.
We invite you to join the conversation any Sunday, here at Broadway, Park and Elm Streets in New Haven, noon to 1 p.m. http://newhavensundayvigil.wordpress.com.

Hear about the Plight of the Rohingya Dec. 7

by Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

The Rohingya people are Muslims who lived in the Rakhine section of Myanmar. For decades they’ve faced persecution, displacement and violent repression. Since 2017 over 700,000 have fled Myanmar by sea or on foot. Myanmar (which was once called Burma) is mainly Buddhist. Some Buddhist religious leaders incite the people against the Rohingya on religious grounds. The Myanmar government claims the Rohinghya are “illegal immigrants.” According to Doctors without Borders, over 6,000 Rohingya have been killed in mob violence. Nearly 300 villages have been burned to the ground. The United Nations has described the military offense in Rakhine, which provoked the exodus, as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

Hear about their dire situation on Saturday, Dec. 7 in New Haven from a member of this persecuted people. The speaker will be Ossamah Siddique, a Rohingya activist and a member of Rohingya Welfare Association, Save Rohingya Children (Canada), and Rohingya Welfare Act School (Bangladesh).

His talk takes place at Linsly-Chittendon Hall, Room 101, 63 High Street, New Haven, Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to all. The sponsors are the Dwight Hall Peace Initiative and Promoting Enduring Peace.

There may also be a speaker about the treatment of the Uighurs, a Muslim people in China. Some one million of them are in “re-education” camps.

In the 1930s Jews were being persecuted all over Europe. In this decade Muslims are facing mistreatment in Myanmar, China, Kashmir and in many countries of the West.

There may also be a speaker about the treatment of the Uighurs, a Muslim people in China. Some 1 million of them are in “re-education” camps.

In the 1930s Jews were being persecuted all over Europe. In this decade Muslims are facing mistreatment in Myanmar, China, Kashmir and in many countries of the West.

Ossamah Siddique is the son of Rohingya genocide survivors from Rakhine and is an engineer. He is an active member of Rohingya Welfare Association and other advocacy and refugee support groups

Adem Carroll , a New York based Irish Muslim and a human rights activist. He directly provided emergency legal and financial help to over 825 Muslim detainees and their families in the years after 9/11. He is part of the Burma Taskforce and Adili Yilihamu, a Uighur activist who will talk about the imprisonment of a million Uighur by the Chinese government. He was part of this New York Times video presentation about what is happening.

https://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000006649712/uighurs-children-china.html

7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7

Yale University, Linsly-Chittenden Hall, Room 101
63 High St., New Haven

Free *** Open to All

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