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What Democrats are saying

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TB

“The people of Wisconsin did not send me to Washington to take people’s health care away, so I fought against these repeal plans. Instead of making things worse, I believe we should move forward to expand coverage and make health care more affordable, not more costly.
Every American should have affordable health coverage, and there is more we can do to make that a reality. I always have believed that our goal must be universal health care coverage for everyone, and my support for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All legislation being introduced this week is a statement of that belief.”
Senator Tammy Baldwin

 

What Democrats are saying

 

 

 

 

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What Republicans are saying

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“So there is a desire to advance this climate change agenda, and hurricanes are one of the fastest and best ways to do it. You can accomplish a lot just by creating fear and panic. You don’t need a hurricane to hit anywhere. All you need is to create the fear and panic accompanied by talk that climate change is causing hurricanes to become more frequent and bigger and more dangerous, and you create the panic, and it’s mission accomplished, agenda advanced.”
Rush Limbaugh, as Hurricane Irma approached Florida

 

What Republicans are saying

 

 

 

 

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Villalpando at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Met exhibit
He’s a nice snake — he can show you brain food and only bites people he doesn’t like. Those of you who will be in New York may want to go to this exhibition at the Met.

Envisioning the Divine: Villalpando
at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

by Sam Ben-Meir

This month, the Robert Lehman Wing of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is hosting the work of Mexican baroque artist, Cristóbal Villalpando (1649 –1714). The highlight of the show is Moses and the Brazen Serpent and the Transfiguration of Jesus (1683), a staggering 28-foot tall altarpiece that until now has never left its home in Puebla Cathedral.

Two distinct scenes are unfolding within a landscape that includes at once the wilderness of Exodus, and the Holy Mounts of Calvary and Tabor. It is of such scale and scope that one is swept away by the sheer grandeur of it.

The painter has arranged the scenes vertically and hierarchically — the bottom half concerns an episode from Chapter 21 in the Book of Numbers: when “the people spoke against God and against Moses,” questioning why they were brought out of Egypt “to die in the wilderness.” God immediately answers their impatience and ingratitude by sending “seraph serpents against the people” — deadly vipers that ‘consume man by the poison of their fangs.’ For Villalpando, these are a terrifying brood of winged monsters, suggested perhaps by the flying serpents mentioned in Isaiah (14:29).

Moses intercedes on behalf of the Israelites: he prays for the people to be forgiven and ‘one from whom forgiveness is asked… should not be so cruel as not to forgive’ (Rashi). God tells Moses to “make a seraph figure and mount it on a standard. If anyone who is bitten looks at it, he shall recover.” Moses fashions a serpent of brass and displays it as an ensign for the people.

Villalpando shows us Moses, luminescent horns beaming from his head, standing beside the pole around which is coiled a mighty winged serpent. The people gather round to gaze up towards it and be healed. Aaron, Moses’ brother, stands to the right of the pole wearing the elaborately embroidered garb of the high priest, ‘vested for beauty and for glory,’ atop his head a horned mitre; at his feet are the wretched victims of God’s wrath, contorted bodies and bulging eyes.

In the upper half we are presented with the Transfiguration of Jesus as described in the Synoptic Gospels: three apostles gaze up at the glorified body of Jesus, overwhelmed by his divine incandescence. Beside Christ are Moses and Elijah, presumably speaking of Jesus’ imminent crucifixion — reinforced by the imposing cross perched on the edge of a gloomy promontory, Calvary.

Villalpando brings together these two episodes, from the Old and New Testaments respectively, with a quote from the Gospel of John: “And as Moses lift up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the son of man be lift up, that none that believeth in him perish” (3:14). The brazen serpent was not only a remedy for the wounded Israelites; it was later viewed as anticipating the Messiah, a sign of salvation.

Villalpando was not attempting simply to visually depict the brazen serpent — in a sense his aim was a far more ambitious one: to create or recreate as it were a brazen serpent, a work of art that is meant to heal the tortured, forsaken and forgotten. The brazen serpent healed the victims of the venomous snakes by their looking on it. Whatever power it had to heal was transmitted, in a sense, visually. This fact was obviously not lost on a painter as astute as Villalpando. Both the transfiguration and the brazen serpent ‘privilege vision as a means of comprehending the divine.’ His painting is among other things about the power of the artist to communicate the divine through painting.

Ten other works are part of the exhibit — including an extraordinary oil on copper depicting The Deluge (1689): not unlike Moses and the Brazen serpent, Noah’s building of the ark according to God’s instructions is, for Villalpando, a biblical precedent for artistic creation. The sky is streaked with lightening — scenes of mayhem and death crowd the picture’s foreground. The sight of rooftops peaking up above rising floodwaters cannot but resonate with us in the aftermath of storms like Hurricane Harvey that recently battered Texas.

The ark is presented as inaccessibly distant, but centrally fixed; its bronze hue is strikingly visible against the leaden sky and foamy sea. Size and pictorial distance do not seem to be realistically correlated in the Deluge: it is as if the painter has chosen to magnify certain scenes so as to emphasize and individualize the personal catastrophes that are unfolding amidst the general devastation.

The Brazen Serpent and Transfiguration is reason enough to make the pilgrimage to the Metropolitan Museum. Villalpando’s first true masterpiece is a visual feast: a massive tour de force. Indeed, the artist accomplished something extraordinary with this painting: a breathtaking and powerfully dramatic vision of pain and anguish, hope and healing; of redemption and transformation, a depiction of the victory of love and forgiveness over fear and despair, and a most welcome reprieve at this moment in time.

This month, the Robert Lehman Wing of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is hosting the work of Mexican baroque artist, Cristóbal Villalpando (1649 –1714). The highlight of the show is Moses and the Brazen Serpent and the Transfiguration of Jesus (1683), a staggering 28-foot tall altarpiece that until now has never left its home in Puebla Cathedral.

Two distinct scenes are unfolding within a landscape that includes at once the wilderness of Exodus, and the Holy Mounts of Calvary and Tabor. It is of such scale and scope that one is swept away by the sheer grandeur of it.

The painter has arranged the scenes vertically and hierarchically — the bottom half concerns an episode from Chapter 21 in the Book of Numbers: when “the people spoke against God and against Moses,” questioning why they were brought out of Egypt “to die in the wilderness.” God immediately answers their impatience and ingratitude by sending “seraph serpents against the people” — deadly vipers that ‘consume man by the poison of their fangs.’ For Villalpando, these are a terrifying brood of winged monsters, suggested perhaps by the flying serpents mentioned in Isaiah (14:29).

Moses intercedes on behalf of the Israelites: he prays for the people to be forgiven and ‘one from whom forgiveness is asked… should not be so cruel as not to forgive’ (Rashi). God tells Moses to “make a seraph figure and mount it on a standard. If anyone who is bitten looks at it, he shall recover.” Moses fashions a serpent of brass and displays it as an ensign for the people.

Villalpando shows us Moses, luminescent horns beaming from his head, standing beside the pole around which is coiled a mighty winged serpent. The people gather round to gaze up towards it and be healed. Aaron, Moses’ brother, stands to the right of the pole wearing the elaborately embroidered garb of the high priest, ‘vested for beauty and for glory’, atop his head a horned mitre; at his feet are the wretched victims of God’s wrath, contorted bodies and bulging eyes.

In the upper half we are presented with the Transfiguration of Jesus as described in the Synoptic Gospels: three apostles gaze up at the glorified body of Jesus, overwhelmed by his divine incandescence. Beside Christ are Moses and Elijah, presumably speaking of Jesus’ imminent crucifixion — reinforced by the imposing cross perched on the edge of a gloomy promontory, Calvary.

Villalpando brings together these two episodes, from the Old and New Testaments respectively, with a quote from the Gospel of John: “And as Moses lift up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the son of man be lift up, that none that believeth in him perish” (3:14). The brazen serpent was not only a remedy for the wounded Israelites; it was later viewed as anticipating the Messiah, a sign of salvation.

Villalpando was not attempting simply to visually depict the brazen serpent — in a sense his aim was a far more ambitious one: to create or recreate as it were a brazen serpent, a work of art that is meant to heal the tortured, forsaken and forgotten. The brazen serpent healed the victims of the venomous snakes by their looking on it. Whatever curative power it had was transmitted, in a sense, visually. This fact was obviously not lost on a painter as astute as Villalpando. Both the transfiguration and the brazen serpent ‘privilege vision as a means of comprehending the divine.’ His painting is among other things about the power of the artist to communicate the divine through painting.

Ten other works are part of the exhibit — including an extraordinary oil on copper depicting The Deluge (1689): not unlike Moses and the Brazen serpent, Noah’s building of the ark according to God’s instructions is, for Villalpando, a biblical precedent for artistic creation. The sky is streaked with lightening — scenes of mayhem and death crowd the picture’s foreground. The sight of rooftops peaking up above rising floodwaters cannot but resonate with us in the aftermath of storms like Hurricane Harvey that recently battered Texas.

The ark is presented as inaccessibly distant, but centrally fixed; its bronze hue is strikingly visible against the leaden sky and foamy sea. Size and pictorial distance do not seem to be realistically correlated in the Deluge: it is as if the painter has chosen to magnify certain scenes so as to emphasize and individualize the personal catastrophes that are unfolding amidst the general devastation.

The Brazen Serpent and Transfiguration is reason enough to make the pilgrimage to the Metropolitan Museum. Villalpando’s first true masterpiece is a visual feast: a massive tour de force. Indeed, the artist accomplished something extraordinary with this painting: a breathtaking and powerfully dramatic vision of pain and anguish, hope and healing; of redemption and transformation, a depiction of the victory of love and forgiveness over fear and despair, and a most welcome reprieve at this moment in time.

 

Sam Ben-Meir is a professor of philosophy and world religions at Mercy College in New York City.

 

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Avnery, Despair of despair

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boycott
“Peace with Israel or peace without Israel?” Avnery would like the BDS movement to clarify this point. Photo by BDS France.

Despair of despair

by Uri Avnery — Gush Shalom

My optimism about the future of Israel irritates a lot of people. How can I be an optimist in view of what’s happening here every day? The practical annexation of occupied territories? The mistreatment of the Arabs? The implantation of poisonous settlements?

But optimism is a state of mind. It does not falter in the face of evil. On the contrary, evil must be fought. And you cannot fight if you do not believe that you can win.

Some of my friends believe that the fight is already lost. That Israel can no longer be changed “from within.” That the only way to change it is by pressure from outside.

Fortunately, they believe, there is an outside force, that is ready and able to do our job for us.

It is called BDS — short for “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions.”

One of these friends is Ruchama Marton.

If anyone has the right to criticize and despair, it is she. Ruchama is a psychiatrist, the founder and now the honorary president of the Israeli association “Physicians for Human Rights.” A splendid outfit.

The physicians go every week to an Arab village and dispense medical help (for free) to all who need it. Even the Israeli authorities respect it, and often accede to their demand to allow sick people from the occupied territories into Israel for hospitalization.

When we celebrated Ruchama’s 80 birthday last week, she turned on me and accused me of fostering false hopes about the chance that present-day Israel will ever make peace and withdraw from the Palestinian territories. According to her, that chance has passed. What is left is the duty to support BDS.

BDS is a world-wide movement which propagates the total boycott of everything Israeli. It wants to convince corporations, and especially universities, to divest themselves of Israeli investments, and supports all kinds of sanctions against Israel.

In Israel, BDS is hated like the devil, if not more. You really need a lot of courage to stand up in Israel and support it publicly, as a few people do.

I promised Ruchama to provide an answer to her accusation. So here it is.

First of all, I have a profound moral objection to any argument that says that we can do nothing to save our own state, and that we must put our trust in foreigners to do our job.

Israel is our state. We are responsible for it. I belong to the few thousands who defended it on the battlefield when it was born. Now it is our duty to fight for it to become the state we wanted it to be.

First of all, I do not accept the belief that the battle is lost. No battle is lost as long as there are people who are ready to fight.

I believe in peace. Peace means agreement between two (or more) sides to live in peace. Israeli-Palestinian peace means that the State of Israel and the Palestinian national movement come to terms with each other.

Peace between Israel and Palestine presupposes that the State of Israel does exist, side by side with the State of Palestine. I am not quite sure that this is the aim of the BDS movement. Much of what it does and says could lead to the conclusion that it wants a peace without Israel.

I believe that it is the duty of BDS to make this point absolutely clear. Peace with Israel or peace without Israel?

Some people believe that peace without the State of Israel is possible and desirable. Many of them subscribe to something called the “One-state Solution.” This implies that Israelis and Palestinians will live happily together in one common state, as equal citizens.

That is a nice dream, but, unfortunately, historical experience testifies against it. The Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Indochina and others have broken up, Belgium, Canada, the UK, and many others are in dire danger of breaking apart. At this very moment, genocide is being carried out in Burma under the auspices of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Are two fiercely nationalistic peoples, who claim the same homeland and have been at war for almost 150 years, now going to live together peacefully in one joint state? Not likely. Life in such a state would be hell.

(An Israeli joke: “Can the wolf and the sheep live together? No problem! But one has to provide a new sheep every day.”)

People who support BDS generally point to the experience of South Africa as the basis of their strategy.

The story goes like this: the black majority of South Africa were oppressed by the white minority. They turned to the enlightened (white) world, who proclaimed a world-wide boycott on the country. In the end the Whites gave in. Two wonderful men, Nelson Mandela and Frederick Willem de Klerk, fell into each others arms. Curtain.

This is the story seen through white eyes. It reflects typical self-centered white egotism. Black eyes see a slightly different story:

The blacks, who constituted the vast majority in South Africa, started a campaign of strikes and violence. Mandela, too, was a terrorist. The world-wide boycott movement certainly helped, but it was the indigenous struggle that was decisive.

(Israeli leaders told their white South African friends to partition the country, but there were no takers on either side.)

Circumstances here are totally different. Israel does not need Arab workers, it can do well without. It imports laborers from all over the world. The living standard of Israelis is more than 20 times (!) higher than that of the Palestinians in the occupied territories. Both sides entertain a fierce nationalism. Because of the holocaust, the Jewish side enjoys the profound sympathy of the world. Anti-Semitism is out, and Israeli propaganda accuses BDS of being anti-Semitic.

In a moment of unusual wisdom, the United Nations decreed the partition of Palestine. In practice, there is no better solution.

In principle, I am not against a boycott. Indeed, already in 1997, the Gush Shalom movement, to which I belong, was the first to proclaim a boycott of the settlements. We distributed many thousands of lists of the businesses operating there. As a result, quite a number of them were re-located to Israel proper. I can easily envision an even wider boycott of all enterprises which support the settlements.

But to my mind, a boycott of Israel proper is a mistake. It would drive all Israelis into the arms of the settlers, while our job is to isolate the settlers and separate them from ordinary Israelis.

Is this ever possible? Is this still possible? I believe it is.

The present situation indicates that we have made mistakes. We must stop and think again, right from the beginning.

The organization founded by Ruchama Marton is not the only group doing its bit for peace and human rights. There are dozens of them, founded by splendid men and women, each active in its chosen niche. We need to find a way to combine their strengths without damaging their independence and special nature. We need to find a way to revitalize the political parties of the Left (the Labor Party, Meretz and the Arab United List) which are in a state of coma. Or form a new party.

I respect BDS and all their activists who are sincerely striving to liberate the Palestinians and make peace between them and us. The effort being made now in the US to enact a law forbidding their activity looks to me both ridiculous and anti-democratic.

Let them do their job over there. Our job here is to regroup, to reorganize and to redouble our efforts to overturn our present government and their allies and bring the forces of peace to power.

I believe that the majority of Jewish Israelis would want peace, if they thought peace possible. They are torn between an energetic right-wing minority, with a fascist edge, that declares peace both impossible and undesirable, and a weak and soft left-wing minority.

This is not a hopeless situation. The fight is far from over. We must do our job inside Israel, and let the outside forces do their job over there.

There is nothing to despair of but despair itself.

 

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Libertad Ciudadana / TI, Voluntad por la Justicia

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eeew GROSS
Necesitamos reemplazar al delincuente Alejandro Moncada Luna por un magistrado principal comprobadamente probo e independiente. Foto por la Presidencia.

Voluntad por la Justicia

Comunicado por Libertad Ciudadana / TI Panamá

En las últimas semanas diversos voceros del Órgano Ejecutivo, incluyendo al propio presidente de la República, han hecho declaraciones a favor del cumplimiento de la Justicia en el país, especialmente frente a los casos de corrupción que está siendo investigados por el Ministerio Público y aquellos que ya se encuentran con llamamiento a juicio en el Órgano Judicial.

Hacemos un llamado al Ejecutivo para que demuestre su voluntad de lograr una justicia independiente, imparcial y expedita en el país con dos acciones puntuales, a corto plazo, que sí están dentro de su esfera de acción constitucional:

  • El nombramiento del reemplazo en la Corte Suprema de Justicia del Magistrado Moncada Luna, quien fuera destituido en el mes de febrero de 2015. A la fecha ha venido ejerciendo el cargo, como suplente, el Magistrado Abel Augusto Zamorano, pero la necesidad de una justicia imparcial requiere del nombramiento de un Magistrado Principal comprobadamente probo e independiente.
  • El otorgar las partidas presupuestarias necesarias para reforzar la Administración de Justicia en todas sus ramas.

Estas actuaciones puntuales demostrarían a la ciudadanía y a todos los estamentos de la administración de justicia un compromiso de hechos y no de palabras.

 

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Birds of Panama / Aves de Panamá: Euphonia luteicapilla

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chirp
Euphonia Coroniamarilla (Euphonia luteicapilla), el macho. / Yellow Crowned Euphonia (Euphonia luteicapilla), the male. Foto por Kermit Nourse.

The Yellow Crowned Euphonia / La Euphonia Coroniamarilla

photo by Kermit Nourse

This is one of the more common birds ranging from Panama up to Nicaragua, a denizen of lowland dry and wet forests and a reasonable bet to thrive despite climate change because it also does well in disrupted forests. It’s not migratory. It is a true finch, a member of the Fringillidae family, and has a stout bill for eating seeds.

~~~

Esta es una de las aves más comunes que vive desde Panamá hasta Nicaragua, un morador de bosques secos y húmedos de tierras bajas y una apuesta razonable para prosperar a pesar del cambio climático porque también lo hace bien en los bosques interrumpidos. No es migratorio. Es un pinzón verdadero, un miembro de la familia de Fringillidae, y tiene un pico robusto para comer las semillas.

 

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¿Wappin? ¿Hispano? ¿Que es eso? / Hispanic? What’s that?

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León Larregui, foto por Rodrigo Gallegos Pinto.

¿Hispano? ¿Que es eso? / Hispanic? What’s that?

Today many in the USA begin to celebrate “Hispanic Heritage Month.” That is, however, a very large and diverse category, whether talking about electoral constituencies in the USA or the vastness of the Spanish-speaking world, which includes an awful lot of people for whom Spanish is a second language. And then the music….

Elijah Emanuel – Yo No Soy Ilegal
https://youtu.be/M9SyYz3yzZw

Shakira y Carlos Vives – La Gota Fría
https://youtu.be/MWlhkUlY0Cg

León Larregui – Locos
https://youtu.be/SXcFYnHSG08

Bebo y Chucho Valdes – Lágrimas Negras
https://youtu.be/A4UJ8a-BWQk

Edmar Castañeda – Jesús de Nazaret
https://youtu.be/ux9sxiYHZhk

Romeo Santos – Imitadora
https://youtu.be/FAq4OIRDo68

El cant de Els Segadors en la Diada del Sí
https://youtu.be/A8HSdPdV8dE

Lila Downs – Yunu Yucu Ninu
https://youtu.be/c5Q-Fgb-TY8

Grupo Tuira – L’u d’Aielo
https://youtu.be/pyEU23IgikI

Cultura Profética – Somos Muchos
https://youtu.be/QJcJeeCvtas

Zahara – Con Las Ganas
https://youtu.be/yTwzhCKMA7k

Carlos Santana – Samba Pa Ti
https://youtu.be/7vr-rSPuO0w

Julieta Venegas – Andar Conmigo
https://youtu.be/DNFeB_6WeIo

Mon Laferte y Bunbury – Mi buen amor
https://youtu.be/13m9v78uNJk

Javiera Mena – Full performance on KEXP
https://youtu.be/Laq5DdZVbu0

 

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FAILURE: Martinelli in rogues’ gallery but doesn’t make Top 10

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RMB
Rant and photo by the Presidencia, way back when. He wears a spiffy US jail uniform these days.

He’s Number 13! He’s Number 13!

excerpt from a letter to the Trump administration asking for sanctions against tyrants and kleptocrats by
Human Rights Watch, Transparency International, Reporters Without Borders, PEN and 19 other organizations

13. Panama – Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Berrocal, Former President

Case Type: Corruption

Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Berrocal is the former President of Panama and the leader of the Panamanian political party Democratic Change. In his term as president, the perpetrator and his close associates allegedly embezzled up to $100 million from government social projects aimed to help Panama’s citizens. There are currently over 200 investigations open into allegedly corrupt deals that occurred during his tenure, with the former president himself the subject of nine Supreme Court investigations, including bribery, misappropriation of public funds, and abuse of power, amongst others. Among the bribery cases being investigated is one in which the perpetrator and his associates allegedly received a $20 million bribe from an Italian arms producer in exchange for securing a $200 million contract. A March 7th, 2015 ruling in an Italian court found that Martinelli participated and cooperated in an attempt to extort and intimidate the Italian firm Impregilo into financing the construction of a hospital. A US federal judge identified Martinelli as one of several alleged co-conspirators in a bribery scheme that helped a subsidiary of the German software producer SAP sell software to Panama in exchange for bribes. According to press reports, Martinelli was arrested in Miami, Florida on June 13, 2017, pursuant to a provisional warrant issued by the Justice Department in response to an extradition request from Panama related to allegations that he used public funds for purposes of political espionage.

 

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US immigration and race relations: 350 groups oppose HR 3697

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Dressing like the man in blue as proof of a crime? US authorities have asserted the wearing the jersey of El Salvador’s national soccer team indicates membership in a criminal gang. Photo by MLSsoccer.com.

An open letter about a purported gang member deportation bill

September 12, 2017

United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

RE: Vote NO on the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act, H.R. 3697

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the 350 undersigned local, state, and national immigrant, civil rights, human rights, faith-based, and anti-poverty organizations, we urge you to oppose the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act, H.R. 3697. This legislation creates a new sweeping definition of the term “criminal gang”[1] and attaches draconian immigration penalties to this definition. The bill is breathtaking in its scope, targeting those who never committed or supported a single criminal act for deportation and returning those who are seeking protection from gang violence back to harm. This bill will put the United States in violation of its international obligations to protect asylum seekers, breed racial profiling and other unconstitutional police practices, and further undermine local law enforcement efforts to engage in smart gang prevention techniques. Finally, this bill hands Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) a vast new set of tools to detain and deport immigrants at a time when all hands should be on deck to legislate protection for DACA recipients.

H.R. 3697 grants the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) nearly unfettered authority to designate all types of clubs and groups as a “criminal gang.” It requires mandatory detention and deportation for any current or former member or participant of such designated groups and takes great pains to preclude individuals caught up the bill’s provisions from defending themselves in court. In short, the bill is a legislative mirror of the President and Attorney General’s rhetorical efforts to paint “immigrant” and “gang member” as synonymous terms.[2]

Under this bill any non-citizen, including lawful permanent residents, can be arrested, detained and deported for being a “gang member” without ever having been convicted of a crime. The definition of a “criminal gang” in this bill sweeps far more broadly than the existing federal definition.[3] Any non-citizen falls within the bill’s new grounds of removability if an immigration official knows or has “reason to believe” that person is or has been a member or participant in such a group. Such a low evidentiary standard will impose guilt by association on entire neighborhoods and communities — principally communities of color — not for actual misconduct but because of association with groups that the current or future administrations do not like. Gang databases are notoriously unreliable[4] and DHS is already prone to conflate mere association with gang membership and encourage racial profiling by using gang “criteria” such as living in a neighborhood that suffers gang activity or wearing a national Salvadoran soccer jersey.[5]

The bill’s penalties are retroactive and make no exceptions for those forced into gang membership as youth or under duress. Those subject to the bill’s penalties will face deportation without any opportunity to seek asylum, withholding of removal, Temporary Protected Status or Special Immigrant Juvenile Status even if they were forced into a gang as a child at gunpoint or fled gang violence in the face of duress. Skyrocketing levels of gender, family, and gang violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras leave many people with no choice but to flee or face gang recruitment, sexual and gender-based atrocities, or murder.[6] This bill will prevent bona fide refugees from seeking legal protection in the United States, including children fleeing forced gang recruitment and mothers forced to pay extortion to a gang or watch their children be killed.

In addition to demonizing immigrant communities and undermining policing efforts, this bill is unnecessary. States and the federal government have ample statutory authority to arrest, convict, and deport those individuals who have committed gang-related offenses. Most states and the federal government punish or enhance sentences for individuals suspected of being gang members, recruiting gang members, or committing crimes while in a gang. Similarly, immigration laws already provide the government with the ability to deport hundreds of thousands of individuals engaged in even relatively minor criminal activity.

The presence of gangs in communities is a complex public safety issue requiring evidence-based solutions including gang prevention, not a legislative overreach targeting entire immigrant communities. We urge all Members of Congress to vote against H.R. 3697.

Sincerely,

32BJ SEIU
AB540 Ally Training Project
ACLAMO Family Centers
ACLU People Power (Huntington Group / Suffolk County, NY)
Adelante Mujeres
Adjunct Justice
Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc.
Advocates for Youth
African Services Committee
AIDS Action Baltimore
Alianza
Alianza Americas
America’s Voice Education Fund
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
American Gateways
Amnesty International USA
Anti-Defamation League
Anti-Racism Collaborative
Apostle Immigrant Services
Arkansas United Community Coalition
Asbury Park Education Justice Collective
Ascentria Care Alliance Immigration Legal Assistance Program
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA
Asian Americans United
Asian Law Alliance
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (APALA)
Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence
Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council
Asian Services In Action
ASISTA Immigration Assistance
Asylee Women Enterprise
Asylum Seekers Housing Network
Atlas: DIY
Ayuda
Belmont Against Racism
Bend the Arc Jewish Action
Boston Teachers Union
Brighton Park Neighborhood Council
BuxMont UUF Peace and Justice Committee
Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC
California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA)
California Partnership
Campaign for Youth Justice
CARECEN-LA
Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities
Casa Freehold
Catholic Charities Immigration
Catholic Charities of West Tennessee
Center for Children’s Law and Policy
Center for Community Change
Center for Constitutional Rights
Center for Gender & Refugee Studies
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Center for the Human Rights of Children, Loyola University Chicago
Central American Resource Center DC
Centro del Inmigrante, Inc.
Chicago Jobs with Justice
Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America
Child and Family Policy Center
Christian Community Development Association
Church of Our Saviour/La Iglesia de Nuestro Salvador, Episcopal
Church Women United in New York State
Church World Service
Cleveland Jobs with Justice
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)
Colectiva Legal del Pueblo
Columbia Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic
Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)
Community Immigration Law Center, Inc.
Community of Friends in Action, Inc.
COMPASSionate Brújula: Advocates for migrants
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces
Connecticut Association for Human Services
Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (formerly the International Institute of Connecticut)
Connecticut Legal Services
Connecticut Voices for Children
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Courage Campaign
CRLA Foundation
Defending Rights & Dissent
Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee
Disciples Women
Distrito Hispano of The Wesleyan Church
Dolores Street Community Services
Dominican Sisters of San Rafael
Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa
Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project
Empire Justice Center
Encuentro
End Domestic Abuse WI
Enlace
Equal Justice Center
Equal Rights Advocates
Equality North Carolina
Equality Texas
Erie Neighborhood House
Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM)
Faith in Public Life
Families First Services Center
Farmworker Justice
First Focus Campaign for Children
Franciscan Action Network
Free Migration Project
Freedom Network USA
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Friends of Broward Detainees
Futures Without Violence
Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights
Georgetown University Anthropology Department
Greater New York Labor Religion Coalition
Greater Red Bank Women’s Initiative Immigration Committee
Greater Rochester Coalition for Immigration Justice
H-CAN Immigration and Refugee Action Group
HANA Center
Hanul Family Alliance
Harvard Anti-Islamophobia Network
Her Justice
Homeopathic Healing
Hondurans Against AIDS
Hudson Civic Action
Human Rights Campaign
Human Rights First
Human Rights Initiative of North Texas
Human Rights Watch
Identity
IHM Sisters Justice, Peace and Sustainability Office
Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Immigrant Defenders Law Center
Immigrant Defense Project
Immigrant Justice Action Group- First Unitarian Church Portland OR
Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project
Immigrant Legal Resource Center
Immigration Center for Women and Children
Indiana Finding A Way Forward
Individual
Indivisible
Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center
Intercultural Counseling Connection
Interfaith Action for Human Rights
Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice -IMIrJ
Interfaith Worker Justice
International Institute of New England
InterReligious Task Force on Central America
Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Irish International Immigrant Center
Ironbound Community Corporation
Japanese American Citizens League, San Jose Chapter
Jewish Voice for Peace-Denver/Boulder
Jewish Voice for Peace, San Diego
Just Neighbors Ministry
Justice for Families
Justice for Our Neighbors SEMI
Justice for Our Neighbors West Michigan
Justice Policy Institute
Justice Strategies
Juvenile Justice Coalition (Ohio)
Juvenile Law Center
Kankakee County Hispanic Partnership
Kids for College
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
Kino Border Initiative
Korean Churches for Community Development/Faith and Community Empowerment
Korean Resource Center
La ColectiVA
La Hermandad Hank Lacayo Center
Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund
Lambda Legal
Laotian American National Alliance
Latin America Working Group (LAWG)
Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund
LatinoJustice PRLDEF
Lawyers For Children, Inc.
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Legal Aid Justice Center
Legal Services for Children
Lemkin House
LINC
Long Island Language Advocates Coalition
Long Island Wins
Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights
Make the Road New York
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
Mi Familia Vota
Mid-Peninsula Human Rights Coalition
Middlesex County College
Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project
Migrant Justice
Migrant Rights Collective
Minority AIDS Council of Orangeburg, Bamberg and Calhoun Counties
Mission Committee of Cedar Hills United Church of Christ
Mississippi Center for Justice
Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition
Mosaic Family Services
Mujeres Latinas en Accion
Mundo Maya Foundation
Muslim Public Affairs Council
Muslim Youth Network
NAACP
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Alliance to End Sexual Violence
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)
National Council of Churches
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council of Jewish Women South Cook Section
National Crittenton Foundation
National Employment Law Project
National Immigrant Justice Center
National Immigration Law Center
National Justice for Our Neighbors
National Juvenile Justice Network
National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)
National Latina/o Psychological Association
National Lawyers Guild SF Chapter Immigration Committee
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
National Organization for Women
National Youth Employment Coalition
NC Child
NC Council of Churches
NCJW-Chicago North Shore
NEAT – National Equality Action Team
Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice
New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice
New York Immigration Coalition
NH Conference UCC Immigration Working Group
NM Immigrant Law Center
Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
OCCORD
Office for Hispanic Ministry, Windham, CT
OneAmerica
Our Revolution
PAAT: We Are the Change We Seek
Pangea Legal Services
Partners for Our Children
PCASC
Peace and Justice Committee, BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center
PICO National Network
Pilipino Workers Center
Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California
Portland Central America Solidarity Committee
Portland Immigrant Rights Coalition
Positive Women’s Network-USA
Prevention Access Campaign
Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada Action Fund
Provincial Council Clerics of St. Viator
Public Counsel
Queer Detainee Empowerment Project
Red Tent Initiative
Redwood Justice Fund
Reformed Church of Highland Park
Refugee & Immigration Ministries, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES)
Refugio del Rio Grande
Religious of the Sacred Heart
Rockland Immigration Coalition
Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN)
RootsAction.org
Rural and Migrant Ministry
S.T.R.O.N.G. YOUTH, INC.
San Antonio Region Justice For Our Neighbors
San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium
San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, Inc.
Santa Cruz Barrios Unidos
Sauti Yetu Center for African Women and Families
Seattle Human Rights Commission
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN)
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States
Sisters of Charity of New York
Sisters of Charity, BVM
Sisters of St. Francis Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Committee
Sisters of St. Francis, St. Francis Province
Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester, NY
Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, New Windsor, New York
SLV Immigrant Resource Center
Social Action Collective
South Asian Fund For Education, Scholarship and Training (SAFEST)
South Bay Jewish Voice for Peace
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
Southern California Immigration Project
Southwest Organizing Project
St. Francis Center
St. Matthew Immigration/Detention Committee
St. Anthony/All Saints Catholic Church
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
Stavros Immigration
STEP UP! Sacramento
T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
Tahirih Justice Center
Temple Beth-El
Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence
The Exploitation Intervention Project
The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project
The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF)
The Green Valley/Sahuarita Samaritans
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
The Social Responsibilities Council of The Unitarian Society of Ridgewood
The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
TN Justice for Our Neighbors
Transgender Law Center
Treatment Action Group
Tulsa Immigrant Resource Network
UIUC- La Casa Cultural Latina
UnidosUS (formerly NCLR)
Unitarian Universalist Association
Unitarian Universalist Church in Meriden Social Justice Council
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Great South Bay (in Sayville, NY)
Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey
Unitarian Universalist Mass Action Network
Unitarian Universalist of Long Island Social Justice Roundtable
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
UNITE HERE Local 30
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Domestic Workers/AFSCME Local 3930
United for A New Economy Action
United States People Living with HIV Caucus
United We Dream
University Leadership Initiative
University of Chicago
UU College of Social Justice
UUFCC
Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform
W. Haywood Burns Institute
Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
Wayne Action for Racial Equality
We Belong Together
West Suburban Action Project (PASO)
Wilco Justice Alliance (Williamson County, TX)
Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center
Witness for Peace
Women’s Refugee Commission
Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Yemen Peace Project
Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights
Youth Justice Coalition
YWCA Greater Austin
YWCA of the University of Illinois

 

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