More Central American migrants take shelter in churches, recalling 1980s sanctuary movement by Mario Garcia, University of California, Santa Barbara, 8/3/19


Honduran migrant Vicky Chavez with her daughter Issabella on May 31, 2018 in the First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City, where she sought protection from deportation in late 2017. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

The ongoing threat of mass immigration raids is terrifying immigrant communities across the United States. Many of those targeted in these raids are Central Americans who came to the United States illegally, came legally but overstayed their visas or whose asylum requests were not granted. Refugees from these violence-torn countries live in fear of being sent back home to one of the world’s most dangerous regions.

Since 2012, an estimated 1.5 million people have come to the United States fleeing gang violence and state repression in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Just over 330,000 have applied for asylum, according to United Nations data. On average, about 75% of asylum claims from this population are denied. Though migrants may appeal these decisions, they may still be deported during the end stages of the legal process. To avoid arrest, thousands of Central Americans have taken shelter in churches, which U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement considers sensitive locations where officers should be hesitant to make arrests.

Asylum denied

Central Americans facing deportation have long sought protection in houses of worship. As I write in my new book on the sanctuary movement in Los Angeles, hundreds of thousands of people came to the U.S seeking political asylum in the 1980s due to civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala.

Paola Chacón Crowned Miss Costa Rica 2019 by Rico 7/21/19

Miss Costa Rica 2019

Paola Chacon

Paola Chacon Fuentes was crowned Miss Costa Rica 2019 on Friday and will be representing the country at the next Miss Universe pageant. Paola is defined as a loving and passionate woman. She is 27 years old, a native of San José and graduated in Business Administration. From March, when Teletica, owner of the Miss Costa Rica franchise, announced the candidates of the 2019 edition, Paola always figured among the favorites to take the crown.

In addition to beauty, sympathy, and intelligence, she was driven to the win by the vast experience she possesses in those events: before Miss Costa Rica, Paola participated in the contests Reina de Costa Rica International, Miss Hispanomérica Internacional, Top Model of the World, Miss Supranational and Miss International.

Erdoğan’s control over Turkey is ending – what comes next? By Gary M. Grossman for The Conversation 7/20/19


Mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu of the main opposition Republican People’s Party. REUTERS/Kemal Aslan

Mayoral elections in Turkish cities do not usually grab the world’s attention. But the defeat of the ruling party’s candidate for Istanbul mayor – once during its March election and then again, even more definitively in a June rematch – is a sign that Turkey’s most powerful political party is losing its influence after nearly two decades of control. The party’s leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, himself has said many times, “If we lose Istanbul, we lose Turkey.”

All political movements eventually run out of steam. But Erdoğanism dramatically changed Turkey, diminishing its democracy. The crumbling of Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party, known as AKP, will now change Turkey in other ways. I’ve watched Turkish politics closely for three decades because of my work in the country training and consulting on education reform. As a Fulbright scholar, I lived in Turkey when Erdoğan first took power and consolidated control over every aspect of Turkish society. The world has a stake in its stability. Turkey is the 17th largest economy, according to the United Nations. And it is heavily in debt to foreign investors.

Brazil: An Interview about Marielle Franco's Enduring Legacy by Anielle Franco for Open Society Latin America Program, 8/5/19

Women, Brazil

Photo Credit: Open Society

In 2018, Marielle Franco, the anticorruption advocate and first gay woman of color to be elected to Rio de Janeiro's City Council, was murdered in broad daylight and under suspicious political circumstances. Recently, Anielle Franco, a consultant to the Open Society Foundations' Latin America Program, spoke with the Open Society Public Health Program's Gabriela Barros de Luca about her sister’s legacy.

What work are you involved in these days?

I am working on a project my sister and I started in 2015 called Straight Talk (or Papo Franco in Portuguese). During Marielle's first campaign for city council, we started doing roundtable conversations with children and teenagers in the most underserved public schools, with NGOs, and with grassroots activists because Marielle believed that Brazilians would not vote for a black woman from the favela.

Following her death, I had a dream about her on her birthday telling me to go back to work. Papo Franco can change lives, especially for teenagers who live in poor neighborhoods in Brazil. They need to learn about Marielle's story so that they know that rising to power is difficult, but possible. They need to feel motivated to carry on Marielle’s mission and resist attempts to weaken and delegitimize the causes she fought for, which were bigger than her and remain very much alive and as important as ever in today’s Brazil.


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