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January 22, 2016, Rights Reading

January 22, 2016

Immigration, Deportation, and Environmental Racism

This is the first installment of our new 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.

1. “In Exile,” by Jonathan M. Katz, the New York Times Magazine

“As international attention turned away, however, people of Haitian descent quietly began crossing Hispaniola’s divide. In some cases, they were removed by Dominican troops and immigration patrols, which have officially deported 14,000 people since the June deadline, according to the Dominican government. But far more have left on their own — some 70,000, according to the Dominican Republic’s director general of immigration. They have become voluntary migrants of the least voluntary sort, fleeing an atmosphere of fear and confusion created by ever-shifting laws, vague threats, byzantine registration programs and spasms of racial violence.”

An excellently reported deep dive into a mostly ignored crisis at the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. People of Haitian descent are being driven out of the Dominican Republic, many into a country they have never known, with no shelter, resources, or clear future. We’re working with Zanmi Timoun, a Haitian grassroots organization, to ensure that deported children can find refuge, safety, and healing. We’re focusing our efforts in the border villages of Belladère and Fond Parisien with special attention to the needs of unaccompanied children, newborns, orphans, children with disabilities, and teenage mothers.

2. “How the System Is Failing Central American Families Facing Deportation,” by Max Rivlin-Nadler, VICE News

“The families removed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had, for the most part, fled worsening violence in Central America within the last two years, and upon deportation to their homeland now face the prospects of continued persecution.”

A good overview of the sad state of immigration. Families seeking safe refuge in the United States face detention in unacceptable conditions (check out our No Safe Haven Here report), confusing legal processes, and continuous fear of deportation back to the violence they are trying to escape. This article features RAICES, our partner in Texas that is working to support families seeking asylum and facing deportation.

3. “A Question of Environmental Racism in Flint,” by John Eligon, the New York Times

“If Flint were rich and mostly white, would Michigan’s state government have responded more quickly and aggressively to complaints about its lead-polluted water?”

Our guess: probably. It wouldn’t surprise us; we see systemic racism affect people’s right to the water every day throughout the world and throughout the United States. And we work with communities — including in Michigan, where we work with the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization to stop water shutoffs affecting low-income communities of color — to defend their right to accessible, affordable, sufficient, and acceptable (read: safe) water for daily human needs. (See also: The Color of Water, by our partner Mass Global Action, which found that with each 1% increase in a Boston city ward’s population of people of color, the number of threatened water shutoffs increased by 4%.)

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