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January 13, 2017, Rights Reading

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January 13, 2017

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 Reading focuses on immigration.

Immigrant groups plan ‘Day of Action’ protests across the country, Washington Post, January 5, 2017

“There is no way that we will stand in the shadows and not fight back. There is no way that we’re going to give up on the victories that our movement has fought so hard to win.”

20 states. 40 cities. 67 events. Activists all over the U.S. are planning a day of action Saturday, January 14, 2017 to stand in solidarity with immigrants.

In Boston, UUSC partner Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), will be hosting two events at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. RSVP here. For a list of other participating cities, click here. You can also follow this event on Twitter using the hashtag #HeretoStay.

D.C. will go ‘beyond sanctuary,’ create legal defense fund for illegal immigrants, The Washington Post, January 9, 2017

“One election doesn’t change our values and who we are as a city.”

D.C. has set up a $500,000 legal defense fund to help defend undocumented immigrants that are under threat of deportation. This fund will also be used to provide legal counsel for those who came to the U.S. seeking asylum. This comes shortly after other cities have set up similar funds, such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

D.C. has an estimated population of 25,000 undocumented immigrants. The Mayor, Muriel E. Bowser, is using these funds in an effort to undermine the Trump’s administration to deport them. D.C. is “’doubling down’ on its status as a sanctuary city, where D.C. police have already been instructed to not cooperate with federal authorities working to deport residents,” said Mayor Bowser.

Mothers Held for 17 Months in Immigrant Detention Center Ask Obama to Pardon Them, Latino Rebels, January 12, 2017

“We have seen in the news that you pardoned a group of people with criminal records, and we want to emphasize that the only “illegal” thing we have done is to have crossed without permission.”

A group of 16 mothers, also known as the Madres Berks, have been in immigration detention for over 17 months and have written a letter to President Obama to ask for their release. The mothers are being held in Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania and have all come to the U.S. seeking asylum.

Research has shown that prolonged detention has detrimental effects on the psychological and emotional development of children. The Madres Berks and their children have now spent two Christmases in detention centers, and many of them need medical attention. Their plea comes at a time when these families are even more afraid of what will happen to them under the new administration. The one thing they ask is for Obama to “pardon us, just as you did with these other people, you who still have the power to do so, and allow us to reunite with our families.”

Read more about the effects of immigration detention in UUSC’s research, No Safe Haven Here: Mental Health Assessment of Women and Children Held in U.S. Immigration Detention. Also, stay tuned for more updated information in our upcoming report, Waiting for Refuge: Benefits and Challenges of the Central American Minors In-Country Refugee Processing Program

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