• Breakdown of America’s Recent Immigration Crisis

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    Published July 29, 2014 at 5:45 pm - No Comments Central American immigrants traveling on the tops of trains through Mexico in order to reach their final destination. John Moore/ Getty Images These ...

    Breakdown of America’s Recent Immigration Crisis
  • Chinatown to Lose More Affordable Housing

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    Published July 14, 2014 at 8:26 am - No Comments Something is missing from Washington DC’s Chinatown. Of course we can all notice the elaborate friendship arch topped with characteristic pagoda st ...

    Chinatown to Lose More Affordable Housing
  • Residents, Developers are Divided on SW Redevelopment

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    Published July 3, 2014 at 1:41 pm - No Comments Tensions ran high between developers and community members last Wednesday night, June 25, during a meeting regarding the proposed redesign of the Sou ...

    Residents, Developers are Divided on SW Redevelopment
  • The Human Heart and How It Works

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    Published July 1, 2014 at 6:29 pm - No Comments According to The New People’s Physician the human heart is a hollow muscular organ located in the breast that pumps blood received from the veins i ...

    The Human Heart and How It Works
  • Why the R*dsk*ns Needs to Change Their Name

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    Published June 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm - No Comments Crossposted from the Huffington Post Written by Amanda Blackhorse The Washington NFL team needs to change its name. I am a proud member of the Navajo ...

    Why the R*dsk*ns Needs to Change Their Name
  • White Paper: How to Make Housing Affordable in the District of Columbia

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    Published June 11, 2014 at 2:26 pm - 3 Comments Written by Eugene Puryear This white paper explores solutions to one of the most pressing issue for residents of D.C.—housing affordability. Make H ...

    White Paper:  How to Make Housing Affordable in the District of Columbia
  • The True Cost of Gentrification

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    Published June 9, 2014 at 12:43 pm - No Comments cross-posted from the Washington Peace Letter written by Will Merrifield The exploding housing costs that have accompanied the influx of new resident ...

    The True Cost of Gentrification
  • Critical Exposure Helping to Bring Restorative Justice to DC Public Schools

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    Published June 5, 2014 at 11:51 am - No Comments Yesterday, we posted about tonight’s School Discipline Community Forum–All Souls Church, 1500 Harvard St. NW, 6:30PM. If you want to know mor ...

    Critical Exposure Helping to Bring Restorative Justice to DC Public Schools
  • Call To Action: Rally for the Rights, Safety and Dignity of Homeless Families at DC General

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    Published June 2, 2014 at 1:30 pm - No Comments Posted on Behalf of Andrew Batcher On June 3rd, at 6:30 pm, there will be a rally at the DC General Homeless Shelter, located at 1900 Massachusetts A ...

    Call To Action:  Rally for the Rights, Safety and Dignity of Homeless Families at DC General
  • Budget Season Continues: DC Council Committee on Economic Development This Thursday

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    Published May 27, 2014 at 3:49 pm - No Comments On April 30, 2014, Coundilmember Muriel Bowser chaired the Economic Development Budget Oversight Hearing. The Housing Authority and Housing Finance A ...

    Budget Season Continues:  DC Council Committee on Economic Development This Thursday
  • Infographic: Facts About Justice-Involved Mothers

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    Published May 24, 2014 at 9:13 am - No Comments   . . . → Read More: I ...

    Infographic:  Facts About Justice-Involved Mothers
  • The Continuing Fight to End Homelessness in the District of Columbia

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    Published May 21, 2014 at 12:36 pm - No Comments Here’s a video I did for the Fair Budget Coalition last year during their State of the District’s Poverty event. In 2013, the FBC–along ...

    The Continuing Fight to End Homelessness in the District of Columbia
  • Bring DC Home! The Washington Interfaith Network’s Agenda on Housing and Homelessness

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    Published May 19, 2014 at 12:47 pm - No Comments Want to do something about DC’s affordable housing crisis? How about the hundreds of homeless families in the city? The Washington Interfaith N ...

    Bring DC Home!  The Washington Interfaith Network’s Agenda on Housing and Homelessness
  • Mayor’s Budget Shortchanges Under-Educated DC Adults … and Their Kids

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    Published May 16, 2014 at 9:58 am - No Comments Cross-posted from Poverty & Policy Written by Kathryn Baer “We have jobs and we have people,” says DC Appleseed’s Deputy Director. “But t ...

    Mayor’s Budget Shortchanges Under-Educated DC Adults … and Their Kids
  • Face-To-Face Rally & Photo Exhibit

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    Published May 14, 2014 at 5:15 pm - No Comments . . . → Read More: Face-To-Face Rally &# ...

    Face-To-Face Rally & Photo Exhibit

Breakdown of America’s Recent Immigration Crisis

Central Americans on Train
Central American immigrants traveling on the tops of trains through Mexico in order to reach their final destination. John Moore/ Getty Images

These past seven months have seen a noticeable spike in the number of underage children crossing the border. So far this year, the number of unaccompanied children entering the United States that the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigrant and Customs Enforcement arrested surpassed 47,000. This alone is a 92% increase from last year’s numbers.

But why the drastic increase?

Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are going through a turbulent time. According to Eric Olson, Associate Director of the Latin America Program at the Wilson Center, these three countries have some of the highest murder rates in the world.

Although, murder rates have decreased in comparison to last year, this does not mitigate the rampant violence that occurs throughout this region. Gang activity is as high as ever. Nevertheless, the lack of stability in this region is pushing parents to send their children to the United States.

Whatever doubts people had on the lengths these gang members are willing in order to continue their regional dominance is long gone now. People throughout this region live in consistent fear. Not only that, but there is no sense of continuity—the belief that life will get better by the time one’s children become adults—and widespread poverty does nothing to alleviate their living conditions.

Human traffickers, known as coyotes, are taking full advantage of this situation. They promote the idea that if there is any time to leave for the United States, that time is now.  And parents in Central America buy it. They are willing to pay traffickers thousands of dollars despite being warned of the trip’s dangers and the numerous obstacles the children must face throughout their journey.

The problem becomes what to do with these minors.

Protesters in Murrieta
Police cautiously monitoring the two opposing protesting groups in Murrieta, California as tensions mount while they all wait for immigrant detainees set to arrive by bus to the U.S. Border Patrol facility.  Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Should the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement deport all of these children or provide them with temporary housing until each minor’s situation is determined? This question has created a rigid dichotomy amongst much of the population. Human rights advocates argue that these children should not be treated as immigrants but rather as refugees.

On the other hand, others, such as members of the Tea Party, blame President Obama’s approval of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), created to allow those who entered the country illegally while they were minors to receive a grant of deferred removal action. In other words, eligible immigrants remain legally in the United States for up to 2 years with a possible extension. This is not a path to citizenship, nor is it a guaranteed permanent residence but it allows immigrants who came here illegally to avoid deportation.

Some suggest that the U.S. government deport these minors immediately. However, some international organizations, including the United Nations, argue that many of these children have legitimate claims to stay as they are fleeing desperate situations.

Underaged Immigrants in Detention Centers
Children detained at a center in Nogales, Arizona.   Ross D. Franklin / AP

According to the New York Times, President Obama requested $3.7 billion from Congress in order to respond to this influx of child migrants. Previously, significant amounts of money were spent in trying to secure the border. Given this large influx of immigrants, it is evident that pouring more money into the border is not the solution.

Even if the Obama administration pushed to deport all unaccompanied minors with full force, it could not. The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 passed by the U.S. Senate during the Bush administration is intended to help human trafficking victims, however a portion of this act relating to unaccompanied illegal immigrants under the age of 18 makes immediate deportation for them difficult. As stated in a news article from The Oklahoman, “The legislation said they must ‘be promptly placed in the least restrictive setting that is in the best interest of the child.’ The U.S. Health and Human Services Department is to provide for their custody and care while deportation hearings are under way. The department is to attempt to find a parent or sponsor in the United States while providing free legal representation and a child advocate.

This past Friday, the presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras met with president Obama to discuss this immigration crisis. NPR’s Eyder Peralta writes, “…with Plan Colombia and the Merida Initiative, the U.S. has helped combat violence in Colombia and Mexico”, yet by doing so, pushed organized crime into Central America.

Central American Presidents with Obama
L-R: Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Cerén, Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina, President Barack Obama and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez   Reuters

Regardless of history in the past, all four countries must focus on the present. The United States must decide how it will improve the manner in which it deals with incoming unaccompanied immigrants. Meanwhile, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras must determine what they need to do in order to curb gang violence and thus emigration figures.


Deeper Thoughts on How to Maintain a Healthy Diet

To you it may concern: I would like to share how I stay on target with my diet and eating the right foods to maintain my health. I know that I have two selves—the Moors refer to them as the higher self and the lower self. The higher self is the spirit [...] . . . → Read More: Deeper Thoughts on How to Maintain a Healthy Diet


Chinatown to Lose More Affordable Housing

Friendship Arc

Something is missing from Washington DC’s Chinatown. Of course we can all notice the elaborate friendship arch topped with characteristic pagoda style roofing, and the yearly Chinese New Year festival. There’s a handful of bustling restaurants and decorations throughout its streets, and Chinese characters adorn each of the storefronts and street signs [...] . . . → Read More: Chinatown to Lose More Affordable Housing


Residents, Developers are Divided on SW Redevelopment

Southwest Plan image

Tensions ran high between developers and community members last Wednesday night, June 25, during a meeting regarding the proposed redesign of the Southwest neighborhood held at the Capitol Skyline Hotel. The Southwest Small Area Plan, still in its feedback and revision phases, plans for a “newly envisioned” Southwest neighborhood, including the M Street [...] . . . → Read More: Residents, Developers are Divided on SW Redevelopment


The Human Heart and How It Works

Bey with heart smaller

According to The New People’s Physician the human heart is a hollow muscular organ located in the breast that pumps blood received from the veins into the arteries. The heart beat is regulated in two different ways: the heart muscle itself possesses what is called a rhythmic quality of its own and [...] . . . → Read More: The Human Heart and How It Works