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Local churches aim to shelter illegal immigrants

Updated: Feb 21, 2017 – 10:44 AM

BROCKTON, Mass. – The Department of Homeland Security is set to issue new guidance for additional immigration enforcement officers, and proposed guidelines would empower federal authorities to more aggressively detain and deport undocumented immigrants. When Trump rolls those plans out, many people, including local parishioners, will be watching closely. An estimated 200,000 illegal immigrants are living in Massachusetts right now and with Trump’s immigration ban in place, many of them are worried they could be deported.

Many congregations in the state, including the Central United Methodist Church in Brockton, are joining dozens of other U.S. churches to help shelter illegal immigrants as the Trump administration intensifies deportation efforts. According to the Boston Globe, at least three Boston-area congregations plan to offer living space in their buildings to illegal immigrants. Houses of worship offer no legal protection for undocumented immigrants, but immigration officials have generally followed a “sensitive locations policy and have not taken people into custody in houses of worship, schools or hospital.

Sanctuary cities have come under scrutiny since Trump took office. He’s threatened to pull federal funding and that could impact places like Somerville, Boston and Lawrence. Last week the Associated Press reported a leaked memo indicated that the National Guard may be called in to help with deportations. Trump s original executive order triggered chaos at airports across the country and around the world including in Boston as travelers were detained when his original order went into effect.

Trump revised his immigration ban after federal courts held up his original executive order. According to Trump administration officials, the revised ban will target the same seven countries listed in his original executive order. It will also so exempt travelers who already have a visa to travel to the United States, even if they haven’t used it yet.

2017 Cox Media Group.

Santa Ynez Valley celebration planned to mark arrival of new swimming pools

Residents from throughout the Santa Ynez Valley are invited to welcome two U.S. Olympic Trials swimming pools when they arrive by truck Friday, March 3, to become the cornerstone of a new aquatic, wellness and sports medicine facility. A convoy carrying the pools in modular pieces will roll into Buellton on Friday afternoon following a two-day, 1,700-mile journey from Omaha, Nebraska, where they ve been stored since being used in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials. The convoy is scheduled to leave Buellton about 2:45 p.m. and travel along Highway 246 to Solvang, where the welcoming celebration will take place from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Old Mission Santa Ines east parking area at 1720 Mission Drive.

The event will include food and refreshments as well as remarks by a number of notable participants, including Kami Craig, a three-time Olympic water polo medalist and Santa Ynez native; Gary Hall Jr., a 10-time Olympic swimming medalist; and retired U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Timothy Sullivan of Mission: Readiness. A national security nonprofit organization of more than 650 retired admirals, generals and other retired senior military leaders, Mission: Readiness promotes smart investments in America s children and is part of the Council for a Strong America. Also participating in the celebration will be officials from the cities of Buellton and Solvang and Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, where the pools will eventually be installed for use not only by students but also by clubs, organizations and individual residents from throughout the Valley.

Also scheduled to attend are representatives of the LA84 Foundation, an organization created with a share of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games surplus to support youth sports programs and public education through grants. The arrival of the pools marks a major milestone in fulfilling the vision for a much-needed aquatic and sports medicine education complex for the Valley and Central Coast, said a spokesman for the Santa Ynez Valley Community Aquatics Foundation, a nonprofit organization that purchased the pools, manufactured by Myrtha Pools, and is raising funds for the installation of the aquatics complex. Once it s complete, it will be the only facility of its kind between Paso Robles and Long Beach, the spokesman said.

I m thrilled to be a part of bringing these pools to the Santa Ynez Valley, said Craig, a water polo Olympic gold medalist in 2012 and 2016 and an honorary member of the Santa Ynez Valley Community Aquatic Foundation committee.

As a young girl, the time spent participating in the Santa Ynez Valley aquatic programs is where my Olympic dreams were born, Craig continued. “I hope that these pools, filled with so much Olympic heritage and spirit, will inspire athletes and community members of all ages.”

Her sentiments were echoed by Hall, a member of the SYVCAF s executive committee.

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This new, state-of-the-art complex means our athletes and community will have the aquatics and sports medicine facilities they ve so long deserved and make our Santa Ynez Valley a health and wellness destination for world-class athletes, special needs athletes and sports tourism,” Hall said. The proposed complex at the high school will include an Olympic-size pool and support facilities and a second, smaller pool for fitness, wellness and therapeutic programs as well as recreational swimming. A joint-use agreement will allow concurrent community and school use of the facilities to maximize the pools benefit for everyone, a Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District spokesman said.

The timing of the SYVCAF-funded aquatic complex is ideal given the implementation of our broader Measure K and Proposition 51 high school campus facility improvements, district Superintendent Scott Cory said.

We will be able to integrate all the renovation and improvement projects to achieve cost savings and minimize campus and community disruption, Cory said.

Red Tail Legacy Comes Full Circle

Red Tail Legacy Comes Full Circle

Alabama Air National Guard F-16 Fighting Falcons descend into Campia Turzii, Romania, Oct. 13, 2015, after flying from Montgomery, Alabama. Four F-16 Fighting Falcons and approximately 150 Airmen from the 187th Fighter Wing, Alabama Air National Guard participated in Dacian Viper, a training deployment to Romania designed to increase readiness to conduct combined air operations and to meet future security challenges. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Bruch/Released)

Airmen assigned to the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing take great pride in the heritage created for them by the Tuskegee Airmen. Today a key piece of the wing s history has once again returned to its flightline. The legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen was born in Montgomery, Alabama, when the Tuskegee Institute s application to conduct civilian pilot training was approved by the Civil Aeronautics Administration in autumn of 1939. About one year later President Franklin D. Roosevelt s administration announced the Army Air Corps would begin training black military pilots, and the place to do it was Tuskegee, Alabama. So began the storied history of the Tuskegee Airmen. Flying their P-51 Mustangs, with tails painted bright red, the Airmen fought valiantly through World War II under the crest of the 332nd Fighter Group.

Red Tail Legacy Comes Full Circle

Now more than 75 years later, a red-tailed fighter jet from Montgomery again flies with the 332nd. The lineage of the Tuskegee Airmen has been passed to Alabama Air National Guard s 187th Fighter Wing. An F-16 Fighting Falcon from the unit is currently flying with the 134th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, which is one of the squadrons assigned to the 332nd AEW. It is well documented that our WWII bomber pilots would look out their windows and gain confidence from Red Tail fighters flying beside them. It has been stated they took comfort in knowing their chances for survival were higher with a Red Tail escort than from any other outfit in 12th and 15th Air Force, said Col. David C. Lyons, 407th Air Expeditionary Group commander. Now we have one of those Red Tails on our flight line, once again flying with the 332nd and creating the next chapter of Red Tail history.

Red Tail Legacy Comes Full Circle

An F-16 from the Alabama Air National Guard arrives at the 407th Air Expeditionary Group where it is assigned to the 134th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Dec. 10, 2016. The red tail flash of the jet brings the Tuskegee Airmen s legacy back the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, to which the 134th EFS is currently assigned. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Benjamin Wilson)(Released)

The mission of the unit is to support Operation Inherent Resolve in the fight against ISIS by providing air-to-ground combat airpower at the request of the Combined Joint Task Force commander. The 134th EFS has been heavily involved in the fight, flying more than 500 missions, delivering more than 800 weapons, and making significant contributions to the fight in Mosul, Iraq, and Raqqa, Syria. We are talking about liberating cities, Lyons said. That is something we haven t talked about in this way since World War II.

The Airmen of the 134th EFS flying the missions to liberate cities in Iraq and Syria are deployed from the Vermont Air National Guard. The red tail was provided to the Vermont ANG along with F-16s from the New Jersey and Wisconsin Air National Guards to ensure the squadron had enough capable aircraft to meet the short-notice deployment to support OIR. At least one Airman from the Vermont ANG takes a special amount of pride in seeing the red tail on the flightline with his unit. During a formal dinner hosted by the Vermont ANG, Chief Master Sgt. Brian Senecal, 407th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron, had the opportunity to host Col. Charles McGee. McGee is one of the Tuskegee Airmen and also holds a U.S. Air Force record for flying 409 combat missions in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Honestly it was the highlight of my whole military career to spend time with the guy to meet someone who gave some much, Senecal said. Most Soldiers and Sailors were welcomed back from World War II with open arms and the Tuskegee Airmen had to come back to a still-segregated America. Despite the discrimination the Tuskegee Airmen faced at the time, their trailblazing efforts have left a legacy of which all Airmen can be proud. It is an honor to continue the tradition started by the original Tuskegee Airmen and to be carrying on their good name 75 years later, Senecal said.

Story by Master Sgt. Benjamin Wilson [1][2]

407th Air Expeditionary Group[3]

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References

  1. ^ Master Sgt. Benjamin Wilson (www.dvidshub.net)
  2. ^ RSS feed for Master Sgt. Benjamin Wilson (www.dvidshub.net)
  3. ^ 407th Air Expeditionary Group (www.dvidshub.net)