In Wake of Hurricane Matthew, U.S. Must Renew Humanitarian Aid to Haitians at Our Borders

‘Improved conditions’ in Haiti were cited as a reason to begin detention and deportations of Haitians seeking humanitarian aid
SAN DIEGO, CA –  The U.S. should immediately reinstate humanitarian aid (including humanitarian parole) to Haitians arriving at our borders, given the destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew, the first major hurricane to hit Haiti in 50 years.
Hurricane Matthew pummeled Haiti with powerful winds, heavy rains and rising floods, further crippling the Caribbean nation, which is still recovering from the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake and an ongoing cholera epidemic. This new devastation to the poorest nation in our Hemisphere is further evidence that Haiti is in no condition to receive deportees.
The U.S. Government cited “improved conditions” in the island as a reason to detain and deport Haitian earthquake survivors arriving at the border starting September 22. This new policy was announced despite the State Department issuing numerous warnings for people traveling to Haiti, citing the lack of emergency medical services and run-away crime rates.
Ginger Jacobs, Chair of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, stated the following:
“We urge the U.S. Government to reinstate humanitarian aid and parole to Haitians at our border. The U.S. Government’s decision to detain and deport people back to this destitute land is inhumane, and it also breaks a promise made by the U.S. not to forsake or forget the Haitian people after the devastating earthquake of 2010. Haiti has limited resources, limited employment opportunities and, if deported, these people have a limited chance of prospering in such desperate conditions.”
About San Diego Immigrants Rights Consortium
The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium is a project of Alliance San Diego. Beginning in 2007, community, faith, labor, and legal organizations have come together as the Immigrant Rights Consortium. Through the Consortium, these organizations are pursuing four common goals: Support comprehensive immigration reform; stop the spread of local policies and practices that target and violate the civil and human rights of immigrants; educate immigrants about their rights and the legal and other resources available to them and to educate the public about the important contributions of immigrants and counter the myths and misstatements made about immigrants. To learn more about SDIRC, visit www.immigrantsandiego.org.
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Independent Investigation Needed in the Deadly Shooting of Alfred Olango by the El Cajon Police Department

Victim needed help for his mental illness, not bullets 

San Diego, CA – The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium(SDIRC) is alarmed by the fatal shooting of 30-year-old Alfred Olango on Tuesday, September 27 by an El Cajon Police Department officer. Mr. Olango was unarmed when he was fatally wounded and had just recovered from a seizure.
SDIRC is further troubled that El Cajon Police Department officers were fully informed that they were responding to a mental health emergency, but did not dispatch their PERT unit, which is specially trained to de-escalate cases where someone is having a mental health crisis. According to a Washington Post report, one in four people killed by police officers were suffering from mental illness, and ill-equipped police officers used deadly force instead of tactics to de-escalate the situation.
We understand that Mr.Olango and his family, originally from Uganda, came to the US seeking refuge and protection. It is particularly tragic that an individual who fled to the US seeking safety should be killed at the hands of police. Mr.Olango’s death comes at a time when police are under scrutiny nationwide for unnecessary deadly encounters with mostly, unarmed Black men.
Ginger Jacobs, Chair of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, stated the following:
It is impossible for our communities to rely on police officers for help when they shoot first and ask questions later. Communities of color and immigrant communities need to know that law enforcement agencies are here to serve and protect ALL people.  We demand that an independent investigation be conducted by an agency outside of the El Cajon Police Department or sheriff’s department.
Ramla Sahid, a member of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium Advisory Board, stated the following:
The murder of Alfred Olango is a devastating blow to both San Diego and immigrant communities. This is truly a sad day for San Diegans as these types of incidents further wedge a gap of mistrust between community members and law enforcement agencies.”
About San Diego Immigrants Rights Consortium
The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium is a project of the Alliance San Diego. Beginning in 2007, community, faith, labor, and legal organizations have come together as the Immigrant Rights Consortium. Through the Consortium, these organizations are pursuing four common goals: Support comprehensive immigration reform; stop the spread of local policies and practices that target and violate the civil and human rights of immigrants; educate immigrants about their rights and the legal and other resources available to them and to educate the public about the important contributions of immigrants and counter the myths and misstatements made about immigrants. To learn more about SDIRC, visit www.immigrantsandiego.org.
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San Diego-Tijuana Community Comes Together to Help Haitian Earthquake Survivors of 2010

San Diego, CA – Immigrant groups and faith organizations on both sides of the border have come together to aid Haitians displaced by the 2010 earthquake that devastated the island nation and who recently arrived in the region seeking legal entry to the United States on humanitarian grounds.

Haitian earthquake survivors who are granted humanitarian parole will be sheltered for the next several weeks at two National Guard Armories in San Diego. The Haitian Methodist Church and Christ Ministries Center will continue to provide support to Haitians traveling through our region at the temporary shelters.

The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a natural disaster of catastrophic proportions. The American people responded to this disaster with compassion and aid, sending resources and volunteers to help the Haitian people. Recognizing that the road to recovery was going to be long and difficult, the U.S. Government extended assistance to Haitians here in the United States through the Cuban Haitian Entrant Program (CHEP).

Rev. Dr. William Jenkins, member of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium and Pastor at Christ Ministry Center said the following:

The aid is an extension of the commitment we all made as a country to not forsake the Haitian people in their time of need. This is a binational humanitarian issue that we are addressing as a border community.

Many of us have stepped up to support these survivors by opening our doors and our hearts and living by the biblical verse ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in’. We will continue to aid these survivors as we are a community of compassion and we believe in the humane treatment of all people.

[TIMELINE:  How Survivors of the 2010

Haitian Earthquake Arrived in San Diego]

How to help

San Diegans have been stepping up to assist Haitian nationals make their way to reunify with their loved ones in various localities in the U.S. Only about 10 percent of the Haiti earthquake survivors are resettling in San Diego.

There are three ways San Diegans can help support the Haitian earthquake survivors of 2010:

  1. The Haitian Methodist Ministry of San Diego is accepting cash donations online. The money would go directly to help Haitian earthquake survivors, primarily women and children, who are offered shelter at the church
  2. There is a strong demand for volunteer interpreters who speak Creole, French and Portuguese. For information on how to volunteer, visit www.Haitisd.com
  3. A 15,000 square feet location that can house all of the Haitian earthquake survivors in one place

Today’s press conference information:

WHEN: Wednesday, September 21st at 2 p.m.

WHERE: Christ Ministry Center, 3295 Meade Ave, San Diego, CA 92116  (Press conference will be live streamed via SDIRC’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/immigrantsandiego)

SPOKESPERSONS:

Andrea Guerrero, Executive Director of Alliance San Diego

Assembly Speaker Emeritus Tony Atkins, D/San Diego

Rev. Bill Jenkins, Director of the Christ Ministry Center, which has provided shelter to hundreds of Haitian earthquake survivors in San Diego

Father Murphy, Casa del Migrante (Tijuana)

Elise Claudette, volunteer who is working with Haitian earthquake survivor

Representatives from La Maestra Community Health Centers, which has provided health screenings and checkups to Haitian migrants

Bob Moser, Deputy Director of Catholic Charities

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San Diegans Respond to Supreme Court Hearing on Deferred Action

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San Diegans Respond to Supreme Court Hearing on Deferred Action

San Diegans join with thousands in 20+ Cities
to unblock DAPA and Expanded DACA

San Diego, CA – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on President Obama’s new deferred action initiatives; Deferred Action for Parents of American Citizens and legal permanent residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). In response, the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (SDIRC) will have impacted individuals and community leaders available for interviews at Alliance San Diego on Monday morning. Later that evening, the SDIRC will hold a community gathering and info session at Christ Ministry Center.

U.S. Government to be Held Accountable for Death of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas

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Family of Anastasio H. Rojas takes Struggle for Justice Before Inter-American Commission

Washington D.C. – In an unprecedented step, the family of Anastasio Hernández Rojas, along with international law experts from the University of California, Berkeley International Human Rights Law Clinic and advocates with the Southern Border Communities Coalition will file a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington D.C. The petition follows six years of stalled investigations and failure to hold U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents accountable for killing Anastasio.

New Campaign Will Prepare Thousands of San Diegans for Immigration Relief

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San Diego, CA As the Supreme Court prepares to hear and review President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, local leaders are launching a new campaign to prepare San Diego’s diverse immigrant communities for administrative relief and more.

The Ready Now San Diego campaign is providing resources for all of San Diego’s diverse immigrant communities. This includes a new website translatable in many languages with information about immigration assistance and programs currently available to them including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, citizenship, driver’s licenses for undocumented residents and legal assistance to apply for these programs.