Trump V. Immigration – What’s Behind the Headlines

On Thursday, July 18th  140 community members gathered at International House for the “Trump vs Immigration” panel co-sponsored by Charlotte Women’s March and International House. Attendees heard a presentation by Jennifer De La Jara, International House Director of Education highlighting the immigration policies undertaken by the Trump administration and their effect on immigration trends and on our local communities. Information shared included how the US has dramatically decreased the number of refugees admitted by the US, the vast increase in the denial of work- related visas, and the closing of worldwide offices that assist with immigration support.

image4The presentation also included a historical timeline (see below) of the actions that the US has taken in Latin America as part of the discussion about why so many Central Americans are seeking asylum.

The panel of Liz Zipperer- International House Supervising Immigration Attorney, Dr. Gina Navarette- Co-President of Charlotte Women’s March, and Jelena Held- International House Immigration Clinic Coordinator shared stories from their work and helped the audience understand the emotional, financial, legal, and psychological impact of recent policy changes, of threatened ICE raids, and the cost of leaving one’s homeland. After the panel the audience had an opportunity for questions and the first was WHAT CAN WE DO? The panel shared a suggested list of actions (click here):

Historical Timeline –  Notable Military Interventions in Latin America – Compiled by the Associated Press and published by People’s World Jan 25, 2019 “Before Venezuela: The Long History of US Intervention in Latin America”

1846: The United States invades Mexico and captures Mexico City in 1847. A forced peace treaty the following year gives the U.S. more than half of Mexico’s territory—what is now most of the western United States.

1903: The U.S. engineers Panamanian independence from Colombia and gains sovereign rights over the zone where the Panama Canal would connect Atlantic and Pacific shipping routes.

1903: After the Spanish-American War, Cuba and the U.S. sign a “treaty” allowing near-total U.S. control of Cuban affairs. U.S. establishes a naval base at Guantanamo Bay.

U.S. Marines repeatedly intervene in Central America and the Caribbean throughout the first quarter of the 20th century, often to protect U.S. business interests.

1914: U.S. troops occupy the Mexican port of Veracruz for seven months in an attempt to sway developments in the Mexican Revolution.

1954: Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz is overthrown in a CIA-backed coup.

1961: The U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion fails to overthrow Cuban leader Fidel Castro but Washington continues to launch attempts to assassinate Castro and dislodge his government for decades.

1964: Leftist President Joao Goulart of Brazil is overthrown in a U.S.-backed coup that installs a military dictatorship lasting until the 1980s.

1965: U.S. forces land in the Dominican Republic to intervene in a civil war.

1973: A U.S.-supported military coup overthrows the democratically-elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende. He is replaced by General Augusto Pinochet, who imposes a brutal military regime and embarks on a U.S.-guided program of extreme economic privatization and de-regulation. It is later seen as the laboratory of what became known as neoliberalism.

1970s: Argentina, Chile, and allied South American nations launch a brutal campaign of repression and assassination aimed at perceived leftist threats, known as Operation Condor, often with U.S. support.

1980s: Reagan backs anti-Communist Contra forces against Nicaragua’s Sandinista government & backs the Salvadoran government against leftist FMLN rebels. Also, the US trained Death Squads in the 1960s in El Salvador, resulting in the murder of Jesuits in the late 80s.

1983: U.S. forces invade the Caribbean island of Grenada after accusing the government of allying itself with Cuba.

1989: U.S. invades Panama to oust strongman (and rogue CIA agent) Manuel Noriega.

1994: A U.S.-led invasion of Haiti is launched to remove the government installed by a 1991 coup that had ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The invasion restores Aristide, who was later overthrown (again) by a U.S.-backed coup in 2004.

2002: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is ousted for two days in a U.S.-backed coup before retaking power following a massive outpouring of popular support.

2009: Honduran President Manuel Zelaya overthrown by the military in a U.S.-supported coup.

In closing the discussion attendees were encouraged to continue their learning and they received the following list of articles where they could continue their learning:

For Further Reading


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