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December 9, 2016, Rights Reading

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December 9, 2016

Our weekly roundup of what we’re reading: a few select articles from the front lines of human rights that we don’t want you to miss. This week’s Rights Readings highlights focus on our work supporting immigrant rights, specifically Central American migrants.

Hundreds of Central American moms and kids released from detention in Texas, Esther Yu Hsi Lee, Think Progress, December 6, 2016

Hundreds of families were released from family detention facilities last weekend. Though Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) claims the release was not part of any court ruling, the release of families comes after a judge’s ruling that detention centers could not be licensed as child-care facilities. Advocacy groups are helping the approximately 470 mothers and children from Central America find temporary accommodation or get in touch with relatives.

The release of these families is a huge win for immigrant-rights groups. Many of them have come across the border fleeing extreme violence and seek asylum here in the United States. These families, including mothers with small children, are then locked up in detention centers with inadequate medical care, poor and restrictive conditions, and a “prison-like” environment. One of the family detention centers recently banned the use of crayons, a creative and healing outlet for children. Advocacy groups, including UUSC, are hopeful and continue to call on the Obama administration to end family detention altogether.

UUSC partner, RAICES, is currently looking for volunteers through the UU College of Social Justice. Learn more and apply here!

US Border Patrol uses desert as ‘weapon’ to kill thousands of migrants, report says, Rory Carroll, The Guardian, December 7, 2016

“The known disappearance of thousands of people in the remote wilderness of the US–Mexico border zone marks one of the great historical crimes of our day.”

No More Deaths, a UUSC partner, and La Coalición de Derechos Humanos released part one of a report detailing how the “U.S. Border Patrol has engineered the death and disappearance of tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants by using the desert wilderness as a ‘weapon’”. The report, Disappeared: How Border-Enforcement Agencies Are Fueling a Missing-Persons Crisis, draws on over 500 missing persons cases and close to 60 border crossers. Since 1990, tens of thousands who have crossed the desert are still missing, including 1,200 in the last year.

In response to the report, U.S. Customs and Border Protection released a statement blaming the deaths on lying smugglers. The statement defended their actions and pointed to their past attempts to search for missing persons.

The next two reports from No More Deaths and Derechos Humanos will continue to show how the border patrol has aided in the death and disappearance of migrants in the desert through destruction of vital water and food supplies left by humanitarian agencies. Click here to read the full report or take action now to end the crisis of death and disappearance.

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