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Archive for the ‘Legal System’ Category

In the DC metro area, the world of parking and tickets go hand in hand. However, some cities across the country are connecting homelessness with law enforcement. Barbara Ehrenreich wrote an op-ed article for the New York Times exploring the question: Is it now a crime to be poor?

What do you think? Is it acceptable to force homeless people out of certain areas of a city? To fine them or imprison them for being in those certain areas? Or is it okay if there are certain areas of the city they can go? Are we merely trying to hide homelessness? Or hold them to a universal standard?

Whether you’re homeless or rich one thing is true: we all must be held to the same legal standards. However, how many rich people do you see without a place to stay at night? How many people stop to think about the chain of events which led to someone becoming homeless?

Homelessness is a complex issue which cannot be easily solved. However, at the core of dealing with homelessness in our cities, we must keep one thing in mind: every single person is created in the image of God. Therefore, we should treat everyone with love and respect.

Whether you’re a police officer or lawyer, social worker or barista, when we start dealing with issues, we mustn’t forget the faces of the people. We mustn’t forget the homeless are real. We should be careful about how we execute our plans of action. Being strict or firm is fine, but being cold and harsh is not.

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This is what happens when government bureaucracy interferes with the lives of abused women who seek asylum.

A survivor of sustained domestic abuse, Rody Alvarado Peña escaped her homeland of Guatemala in 1995 and has resided here in the United States in a peculiar asylum “limbo”. For nearly fourteen years, Rody has been in a precarious system of appeals and denials.

The center of this bureaucratic conflict is how these women are viewed by certain functions of the government: is gender-based violence grounds for asylum?  According to the Board of Immigration Appeals, the United States’ highest immigration court, it is not.

Read the article here (Washington Post).

There is no reason faceless board members should decide the fate of an abused woman like Rody.  Supporters should be sending out constant pleas to the Obama Administration so that it will officially recognize this distressing issue, assuring that other victims of abuse are not stuck in limbo or deported.  The United States should set an example for the rest of the world that gender-based violence is a severe crime and is ready to take steps to protect those seeking refuge.

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