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Churches to begin providing sanctuary to illegal immigrants

first_imgOrganizers don’t believe immigration agents will make arrests inside the churches. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has not tried to arrest Elvira Arellano, an illegal immigrant who has taken shelter at a Methodist church in Chicago since August. ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice declined to say if agents would attempt to arrest others who take sanctuary in churches, although she did say agents have “the authority to arrest those who are in violation of our immigration laws anywhere in the United States.” Participating churches in San Diego, Seattle, Chicago and New York won’t initially house illegal immigrants. Instead, leaders will provide legal counsel, accompany people to court hearings and prepare plans to house them in churches if authorities try to deport them. In New York, religious leaders gathered at the Roman Catholic Church of St. Paul the Apostle and said their promise of sanctuary could include financial assistance, legal help and physical protection, if necessary. LOS ANGELES – Two churches intend to give sanctuary to illegal immigrants to protect them from deportation and pressure lawmakers to provide a chance at U.S. citizenship. Beginning Wednesday afternoon, a Catholic church in downtown Los Angeles and a Lutheran church in North Hollywood each intend to shelter one person as part of the “New Sanctuary Movement.” A handful of churches in other U.S. cities plan similar efforts in the months ahead to spotlight the plight of illegal immigrants. “We want to put a human face to very complex immigration laws and awaken the consciousness of the human spirit,” said Father Richard Estrada of Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Los Angeles, where one illegal immigrant will live. “For us, sanctuary is an act of radical hospitality, the welcoming of the stranger who is like ourselves, the stranger in our midst, our neighbors, our friends,” said Rabbi Michael Feinberg of the Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition. Two families facing deportation stood with the religious leaders. Jani, a U.S. citizen who did not give her last name, said her Haitian-born husband Jean is facing deportation because of a 1989 drug conviction in the U.S. that put him in prison for 11 years. She said the family would take refuge in a church, if necessary, rather than be separated. Anti-illegal immigration groups called the sanctuary effort misguided. The faith groups “don’t seem to realize that they are being charitable with someone else’s resources, and that’s not charity,” said Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which favors limits on immigration. “We are talking about illegal immigrants taking someone else’s job, filling up the classroom of someone else’s child,” he said. The sanctuary effort is loosely based on a movement in the 1980s, when churches harbored Central American refugees fleeing wars in their home countries. Organizers of the current movement include members of the Jewish, Muslim, Catholic and other faiths. The plans come as immigration reform legislation has been stalled since last summer, and tens of thousands of illegal immigrants have been detained and deported in stepped-up immigration raids in recent months. The first to receive refuge in Los Angeles will be a single father from Mexico who has two children who are U.S. citizens, said Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, executive director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, an interfaith association spearheading the national plans. The man, whose name was not released, worked 17 years as a cook at Los Angeles International Airport before getting injured on the job more than a year ago, she said. He has been unable to work and is facing deportation. “If he goes back to Mexico, the family will literally not have enough food to eat,” she said. The other church will shelter an unidentified Guatemalan man who runs a small gardening business and has two U.S. citizen children. He fled Guatemala in the 1990s during its civil war. He has been denied political asylum and is facing deportation. The churches put out calls for immigrants who were willing and wanted to take part in the sanctuary movement. Immigrants were screened to make sure they paid taxes and didn’t have criminal backgrounds, Salvatierra said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Manchester City handed new injury blow as superstar limps out of international clash

first_img David Silva is injured on Spain duty 1 Manchester City are facing more injury woes with the news David Silva suffered an ankle injury in Spain’s 4-0 win over Luxembourg.The midfielder was forced off after just 11 minutes as he failed to run off a problem.La Roja wrapped up a win which sealed their passage to France next year, as a brace each from Santi Cazorla and Paco Alcacer saw them home.But it may have come at a cost to Man City who are already without Sergio Aguero for the next month after he also damaged his hamstring while on international duty with Argentina.A statement from Spain later confirmed Silva’s injury as “a bad sprain of the internal lateral ligament of the right ankle” and said he would definitely miss next week’s game against Ukraine.last_img read more

State Department to order workers to serve in Iraq

first_imgWASHINGTON – The State Department said Friday that it will begin ordering diplomats to serve in Iraq because of a lack of volunteers to work at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the first such large-scale call-up since the Vietnam War. Beginning Monday, 200 to 300 diplomats will be notified that they have been identified as “prime candidates” to fill 40 to 50 vacancies that will open next year at the embassy, said Harry Thomas, director general of the Foreign Service. Those notified that they have been selected for a one-year posting will have 10 days to accept or reject the position. If not enough say yes, some will be ordered to go to Iraq and face dismissal if they refuse, Thomas said. “Starting Nov. 12, our assignments panel will assign people to Iraq,” he told reporters in a conference call. “Under our system, we have all taken an oath to serve our country, we have all signed (up for) worldwide availability. It is certain to be unpopular due to serious security concerns in Iraq and uncertainty over the status of the private contractors who protect U.S. diplomats there, particularly after a deadly Sept. 16 shooting in which guards from Blackwater USA protecting an embassy convoy were accused of killing 17 Iraqi civilians. The union that represents U.S. diplomats, the American Foreign Service Association, has expressed deep concerns in the past about a possible move to what are known as “directed assignments.” But officials with the union could not be reached for comment late Friday. The move to directed assignments is rare but not unprecedented. In 1969, an entire class of entry-level diplomats was sent to Vietnam, and on a smaller scale, diplomats were required to work at various embassies in West Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. More than 1,200 of the department’s 11,500 Foreign Service officers have served in Iraq since 2003, but the generous incentives have not persuaded enough diplomats to volunteer for duty in Baghdad or with the State Department’s provincial reconstruction teams. When she ordered that Baghdad be given staffing priority, Rice had warned that unless more volunteers could be found, the department would have to implement directed assignments. “It is my fervent hope that we will continue to see sufficient numbers … volunteering for Iraq service, but we must be prepared to meet our requirements in any eventuality,” she said in an unclassified cable sent to all diplomatic missions abroad June 19.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.“If someone decides … they do not want to go, we will then consider appropriate action,” Thomas said. “We have many options, including dismissal from the Foreign Service.” Only those with compelling reasons, such as a medical condition or extreme personal hardship, will be exempt from disciplinary action, Thomas said. Diplomats who are forced into service in Iraq will receive the same extra hardship pay, vacation time and choice of future assignments as those who have volunteered since Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this past summer ordered Baghdad positions to be filled before all others around the world. There are currently about 200 Foreign Service officers working in Iraq, enough to meet the current staffing requirements, but about 50 more will be needed by next summer. The decision was announced to the entire U.S. diplomatic corps in a cable sent by Thomas on Friday. last_img read more