Justice Action Bulletin: Protected status ending for Honduras; Immigrant mothers receive sanctuary

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Editor's note: Welcome to NCR's Justice Action Bulletin, where every Tuesday we bring you the latest news on active nonviolence in the service of peace and justice. Do you have news you would like to share? Contact Maria Benevento at mbenevento@ncronline.org.

MORRISTOWN, NEW JERSEY — Faith-based immigrant advocacy organization Wind of the Spirit led a rally in Morristown, New Jersey, against President Donald Trump's administration's recent decision to end temporary protected status for close to 60,000 Hondurans who had been protected for nearly two decades, northjersey.com reported May 5.

Approximately 60 people attended the May 5 rally and marched around the Morristown Green before proceeding to the office of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-New Jersey). Several Hondurans who attended the march said that they feared violence in their home country if forced to return.

Hondurans have held temporary protected status since 1999, after a devastating hurricane killed thousands and destroyed infrastructure. Until now, Republican and Democratic administrations had renewed it in 18-month increments.

WASHINGTON — Ahead of Mother's Day, three immigrant mothers receiving sanctuary from houses of worship which protect them from deportation will participate in a May 8 press call to discuss how their lives have been affected by the threat of family separation.

"Mother's Day is a time for families to be together," Johana Bencomo, director of organizing with a Faith in Action federation in New Mexico said in the May 7 press release. "Because of this administration's unchecked anti-immigrant policies and enforcement tactics and priorities, there will be countless empty seats at dinner tables this Mother's Day. Too many children will be missing their mothers, grandmothers, and other family members."

The three women, Vicky Chavez, Martha Lorena Rivera and Juana Tobar, are living at First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City, Utah; Holy Cross Retreat Center in New Mexico; and St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, respectively. They will be joined by faith leaders on the call, which is hosted by Church World Service and a program of Faith in Action (formerly PICO National Network) called LA RED.

SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA — The city of Santa Ana, California, filed an attachment to a lawsuit filed by the Orange County Catholic Worker and seven individuals experiencing homelessness in an effort to push Orange County and the cities it includes to take action on the area's homelessness crisis, the Dana Point Times reported May 4.

The lawsuit was originally intended to stop the county from evicting hundreds of people from a homeless camp along the Santa Ana riverbed, one of the last remaining areas where people without homes could stay without running afoul of anti-camping ordinances that criminalize sleeping on public property, and to oppose those anti-camping ordinances.

While the parties reached a settlement on the camp issue when local officials agreed to provide shelter space or hotel vouchers while working toward long-term solutions, the lawsuit continues as the county strives to provide more housing, with most of its specific proposals to add housing thwarted by protests from locals who don't want shelters near them.

Santa Ana's attachment to the lawsuit aims to force the other cities to address the homelessness crisis, claiming that Santa Ana has done more than its fair share to support the homeless population. The decision to file the suit came after the Orange County Board of Supervisors scrapped a plan to establish a shelter in Santiago Canyon.

"We are willing to continue being a leader" in the efforts to address homelessness, said city councilmember Juan Villegas in an April 25 press release, "but we need the County and our fellow cities to be good partners. There needs to be more ideas, fewer roadblocks, and more of us asking: 'How can we collectively move forward?' Those without homes demand better of their cities. We demand better of our neighbors."

[Maria Benevento is an NCR Bertelsen intern. Her email address is mbenevento@ncronline.org.]

This story appears in the Justice Action Bulletin feature series. View the full series.

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