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What we're reading

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A few picks from AFSC staff this week:

“Meet the Guatemalan refugees who’ve been hiding in an Austin church to escape deportation,” by Casey Tolan, Fusion

Congregations across the country are taking action to stop deportations and keep families together.

“According to a memorandum released in 2011, arrests or searches are only allowed at sensitive locations if there is “immediate need for enforcement action,” such as a dangerous felon on the run. In the last two years, churches around the country have taken advantage of this policy to shelter undocumented immigrants and Central American refugees who face deportation. The Sanctuary Movement, a network of advocacy groups, has organized 13 churches to accept 16 immigrants since May 2014. It’s a grassroots response to soaring deportation numbers under President Obama, who has deported more immigrants than any other president.”

For more on AFSC’s role in the sanctuary movement, check out this story on how AFSC and the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition helped one man stay with his family.


“We Need A Decolonized, Not A ‘Diverse,’ Education,” by Zoé Samudzi, Harlot

Harlot’s Zoé Samudzi offers an important critique of the politics underlying calls for “diversity,” rather than a decentering of oppressive systems, within education: “The inclusion of marginalized identities and experiences without decentering dominant narratives is an understanding of diversity that leaves oppressive structures intact, and in fact, insulates them from criticism. Diversity is very frequently the linchpin of liberal racism in education, and inclusivity becomes functionally useless if we do not also exclude via decentering violent normativities positioned as normal.”


“Gutting Habeas Corpus,” by Liliana Segura, The Intercept

While the Clintons have recently come under fire for the Crime Bill, a lesser-known law—the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA)—from the same time period has also led to mass incarceration and mass detention of immigrants.

“If the Clintons have not been forced to defend AEDPA, it’s partly because neither the law nor its shared history with the crime bill is well understood. AEDPA’s dizzying provisions—from harsh immigration policies to toughened federal sentencing—were certainly a hasty response to terrorism.

"But the law was also the product of an administration that long before the Oklahoma attack had abandoned its party’s core principles on criminal justice, deciding instead to wield crime policy as political weapon. After the Republicans seized control of Congress in the historic 1994 midterm elections, the Clinton White House sought to double down on its law-and-order image in advance of the 1996 presidential race. In the short term, it was a winning political strategy for Clinton. In the long term, it would help pave the way to one of the worst laws of his presidency.”