WATCH The beginning of a ten month training course called the “School of Political and Ecological Formation” for Bajo Lempa community leaders in ACUDESBAL. Throughout the year, VOICES will facilitate these types of trainings to ensure our Salvadoran partner communities have the ability to advocate for important changes and get the results they deserve.
2018 is in full swing here in El Salvador and we want to share with you the work we accomplished in 2017. Read about it in ourAnnual Report, and stay informed via this blog and our Facebook, Youtube and Twitter accounts.
Two devastating earthquakes hit El Salvador in January and February 2001, causing the deaths of more than 1,200 people, severely damaging over 185,000 homes, completely destroying over 150,000 homes and costing the small country $1.6million.
In response to the crisis, the 2001 Bush Administration added Salvadorans to the Temporary Protected Status program, which allows them to live and work legally in the United States if they reapply every 18 months for a $50 fee. Bush renewed the program in his second term and Obama as well renewed TPS through both his terms.
Yesterday, and after 16 years, Attorney General Jeff Sessions canceled the program and gave more than 250,000 Salvadoran under the program– who for the past two decades have worked, invested, paid taxes, started families and grew communities –until September 9, 2019 to obtain permanent residency or citizenship. If they are unable to do so, because of the cost or because if at the end they simply aren’t selected in time they will be deported and a multitude of U.S. families and communities will be shattered. For El Salvador, this means aggravating the process of a country currently reeling from extremely high rates of unemployment, violence, inequality and economic uncertainty. The 200,000 U.S. born children of the recipients need to be 21 years old before they can sponsor their parent(s). One is left to wonder whether Sessions doesn’t realize or doesn’t care about the negative economic and social impacts this decision to end TPS for over 300,000 international immigrants not only from El Salvador but from Hati, South Sudan, Syria and other countries will directly and abruptly have on the United States.
The following comes from The Intercept:
“The Trump administration has been more than willing to point to the existence of groups like MS-13 as justification for an immigration crackdown that includes the targeting of virtually all of the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. At the same time, however, the threat that those criminal groups would pose to individuals returned to El Salvador — individuals who have raised families in the U.S. and contributed to society and the American economy — apparently mattered little in the TPS deliberations.”
2017 was an outstanding year and without you, we could have never accomplished so much! We are deeply grateful for your invaluable solidarity and encourage you to continue following, liking and sharing our work in 2018.
We also invite you to make a tax-deductible donation that will help us continue providing our local Salvadoran partners with the resources necessary to achieve the social, economic and political change they desire.
Every October 9th, the United States of America honors Christopher Columbus, the Italian colonizer and slave trader, who began his conquests of land, people and cultures in 1942, with a federal holiday. This happens, annually, even though Columbus never set foot on the North American continent.
Of course, Indigenous People’s Day is also celebrated on the second Monday of October. A recent TIME article names the 55 US cities who are officially recognizing the first inhabitants of North America today. If you’re unable to celebrate you can always donate to say… Stand With Standing Rock!
UPDATE: Due to an overwhelming outpour of support we have raised enough to replace the work computer. To all those who donated and/or shared: MUCHAS GRACIAS.
We have raised enoughWe are sad to report the theft of our Voices work laptop from the office we share in El Salvador with the SHARE Foundation. On September 21st, a thief gained access to the office and stole our Executive Director’s laptop as well as two cameras from SHARE employees.
We have set up an online fundraiser to replace our computer ASAP so that we can get back to work. SEE LINK.
Updated security measures have been taken, i.e. installing cameras, changing locks and changing all our account passwords and asking our Salvadoran partners to do the same. Theft is not uncommon in El Salvador; still we are not naive to the fact that this could have been a targeted attack to intimidate us because of the work we do or a deliberate attempt to obtain our information.
We will keep you informed of any updates and ask our supporters to help us fund the cost of a new laptop for Jose, and/or share the information if possible.