U.S. Bishops Committee Issues Report on Immigrant Detention, Calling for a “Transformation” of the System

by ISN Staff
May 11, 2015

Unlocking-Human-DignityWASHINGTON—The U.S. immigrant detention system, which treats vulnerable immigrant detainees as criminals, needs extensive reforms, said representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Center for Migration Studies, May 11, as they released a report and policy recommendations. They urged Congress and the administration to build a system that affords due process protections, honors human dignity and minimizes the use of detentions.

“It is time for our nation to reform this inhumane system, which unnecessarily detains persons, especially vulnerable populations, who are no threat to us and who should be afforded due process and legal protections,” said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration. Such vulnerable groups include asylum-seekers, families and children, and victims of human trafficking.

The report, “Unlocking Human Dignity:  A Plan to Transform the U.S. Immigrant Detention System,” was written and produced by the Center for Migration Studies (CMS), a Catholic-based educational institute that studies migration, and Migration and Refugee Services of USCCB. More…

Popular Nigerian Author Calls on Americans to ‘Reject Silence’

By Lisa Vives
May 14, 2015

Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Credit: Beowulf Sheehan/PEN American Center
Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Credit: Beowulf Sheehan/PEN American Center

NEW YORK, May 12 2015 (IPS) – Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, co-curator of a spectacular World Voices week with over 100 African writers, closed the May 4-10 event with an admonition.

Referencing “codes of silence” that govern American life, Adichi urged her audience at the Great Hall of the Cooper Union University in New York City “to reject silence.”

“There is a general tendency in the United States to define problems of censorship as essentially foreign problems,” she was quoted to say by reporter Nicole Lee, writing for the Guardian UK publication.

Americans like to be comfortable and this comfort has brought a “dangerous silencing” into American public conversation, Adichie observed. “The fear of causing offense, the fear of ruffling the careful layers of comfort, becomes a fetish,” she said. As such, the goal of many public conversations in the United States “is not truth … [it] is comfort”.

According to Adichie, social media is a contemporary “tool of silencing.” The Twitter campaign to Bring Back Our Girls focused on the abduction of 200 girls in Nigeria, for example, and it appeared as if Boko Haram only targeted girls.

While that image recalled the actions of the Taliban in denying rights to women and girls, in fact, the terrorist group kidnapped almost as many young boys, making them into child soldiers. Boko Haram, she reminded the audience, is opposed to Western-style education for both girls and boys. More…

Nigeria: 5,000 killed, 100,000 displaced, and 350 churches in ruins

By John Pontifex
May 12, 2015

Families take shelter in a Church in the Diocese of Maiduguri, Nigeria
Families take shelter in a Church in the Diocese of Maiduguri, Nigeria

More than 5,000 Catholics in north-east Nigeria have been killed and at least 100,000 have been displaced, according to a fresh report which highlights the scale of atrocities against Christians in the heartland of Islamist terror group Boko Haram.

The ‘Situation Report on the activities of Boko Haram in the Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri’ states that more than 350 churches in the diocese have been badly attacked, “a good number of them destroyed more than once.”

With more than three-quarters of the diocese under Boko Haram control, the report records that 22 of the diocese’s 40 parish centres and chaplaincies have been deserted and occupied by the terrorists. The report, a copy of which diocesan authorities sent to Aid to the Church in Need, the Catholic charity for persecuted and other suffering Christians, records a total of 7,000 widows and 10,000 orphans.

Commenting on the report, Father Gideon Obasogie, the Diocese of Maiduguri’s director of social communications, said: “People are very scared and those who are able to return home find there is nothing left.” More...