From Oregon to New York, Law Officers Just Say ‘No’ to ICE

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Photo by NYC Council/William Alatriste

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Photo by NYC Council/William Alatriste

Last week the New York City Council passed legislation, 41-6, stopping the New York Police Department and the New York City Department of Corrections from honoring detainer requests from ICE, unless they are backed by a federal warrant.

“Today is a historic day. After five years of work, New York City will put an end to the collaboration with ICE that damages immigrant families and hurts our communities,” said Javier Valdes, co-executive director of Make the Road New York told the Immigrant Defense Project.

After campaigning for the last five years, our affiliate Make the Road New York, has seen a great victory

Further, ICE has been evicted from maintaining operations at Rikers Island Correctional Facility, drawing a strict and clear boundary between ICE and local authorities.

While congress has failed at the federal level to enact comprehensive immigration reform, local jurisdictions from Oregon to New York have taken matters into their own hands to ensure the fair and equal treatment of all of their community members.

In April, a federal court ruling by Judge Janice Stewart in Oregon ruled that holding immigrants in jail extra time at the request of ICE is not required by law. Sheriff Daniel Staton of Multnomah County, along with sheriffs in Washington, and Clackamas counties quickly announced that they were opting out of ICE holds, and quickly informed leaders at our affiliate Center for Intercultural Organizing, of their decision.

Within a week, nine more counties in Oregon, then others around the country, joined them in making similar announcements.

And while it was the ruling of a federal judge that ultimately pushed city and county law enforcement to change their policies, it was the activists throughout the country who made the ground ready for the change. For years, organizers and brave community members have fought to show that ICE holds are not mandatory.

However, without federal reform, people are still being detained, families are still being torn apart, and children are going hungry when their providers are needlessly jailed.

The call to action still remains: Comprehensive immigration reform is needed, and it is needed now.

In the New York Times, Make the Road N.Y. Members Tell Obama “Stop the Deportations”

Juan Carlos Valdez, a member of Alliance For a Just Society affiliate Make The Road New York, is featured along with his family in a new video on the New York Times site. From MRNY:

While Juan Carlos’ sons are protected by the President’s temporary Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), unless the President takes meaningful executive action, Juan Carlos and his wife Nancy could one day face deportation and have their family — and the life they’ve worked hard to build for their kids in New York City — torn apart.

That’s why we’re coming together for a national day of action for immigration relief next Thursday, August 28 in Washington, DC. You can take action today by calling the White House and asking President Obama to stop deportations of immigrant families. Read more

One of the Sorriest Episodes in Recent Memory

Screen shot 2014-08-04 at 6.27.42 PMIt is clear that there are those among us who are having trouble adjusting to the new reality of race in America. Their old world of white majority domination in political and economic life is slipping away.

The changes started back several decades ago when it became clear through the 1980 U.S. Census that a racial and ethnic transformation was occurring in the population.

I used to have a bit of fun back then going to Rotary Club meetings and talking about this transformation. I would suggest that those who get the yips about such things needed to recognize that there was a better than 50/50 chance that their grandchildren were going to have brown eyes.

Now the transformation that began back then is playing out and it is bringing out the worst in us. Read more

Hate Is Not the American Way

2014.07.18_immigrationIf ever there was doubt about the source of America’s vitriol and hate-mongering when it comes to the American humanitarian crisis surrounding immigration, look no further:

These statements come from the House Republicans’ Principles on Immigration reform and a mailer during the primary campaign of former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Each perpetuates a frighteningly common trend in American politics: an eagerness to blame victims instead of proposing meaningful solutions to our most pressing problems as a country. Sentiments like these don’t speak to a nation of unlimited possibility and opportunity, and they certainly fail to capture the rich and complex history of American immigration.

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Rural and Small Towns Calling for Immigration Reform Now

GrowingOurFuture_Logo logo_Large GOODOver the course of our nation’s history, immigrants have traditionally moved to some of the U.S.’s largest cities consolidating the perception that immigration is an urban concern. But the truth is in the latter part of the twentieth century, immigrants have been moving to rural towns. And like waves of immigrants before them they are shaping and revitalizing communities they join.

“I’m probably the last guy you’d expect to see pushing for immigration reform. But the fact is, rural towns across America need immigration reform the most. Past generations of immigrants built rural America; new generations are revitalizing it,” said John Bechtel, mayor of Wilder, Idaho – population 1,533. Read more

Oregon Activists at the Heart of Fight to End ICE Holds

Manny releasedBy Nicole Brown

Center for Intercultural Organizing

Last week when I received a call from Multnomah County Chair Marissa Madrigal and then from Sheriff Daniel Staton, I wondered if the sheriff might finally be reconsidering his policy on holding immigrants in jail at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

But I never could have anticipated this conversation – or what followed. Read more

No More Delays, Two Million is Too Many

Krista brighter 2 millionDelaying defense is one of the oldest tactics of war. It’s as much a psychological one as it is strategic. The goal is to wear down the opposition until they become weak, hungry or distracted. Our immigrant rights movement hasn’t been immune to it.

Now there is no longer time for delay: two million deportations is a clear message and a rallying cry that we cannot and will not be ignored.

The immigrant reform movement built great power during the electoral battle of 2012, vast armies of strong, fearless leaders were created as we went door-to-door registering people to vote. Read more

The Fight for Citizenship and the Right to a Future

The fight for fair and humane immigration reform is about respecting the dignity and humanity of all immigrants across the U.S. It is a fight for family unity. But this fight is also about the evolving definition of citizenship.

CitizenshipCitizenship is a guarantee against deportation; a protection against fear and reprisals. Any immigrant, regardless of status, can be deported – whether they are undocumented, a permanent resident with children who are U.S. citizens, or married to a U.S. citizen. Even a minor mistake on your application for citizenship can jeopardize your status in the country and launch you into deportation proceedings.

Providing a meaningful pathway to citizenship means guaranteeing a predictable route – and a future – for those who want to become citizens. To have citizenship in the U.S. means that you get to be a full human – with full rights. Being a citizen means that you can vote.

So let’s be blunt, voting is the real problem.
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Driver’s Licenses for Immigrants Strengthens Families and the Economy

Across the nation, families, business owners, and police officers are calling on lawmakers to bring fairness to all in need of driver’s licenses – an item that many simply take for granted as an award for learning the rules of the road.

Drivers license copyBut for millions of undocumented residents throughout the U.S., the denial of this basic driving privilege has stifled their way of life.

Regardless of citizenship status, all can agree that daily activities require driving. Basic tasks like getting to and from medical care facilities, taking or picking up children from school, participating in family curricular activities, and traveling to and from work, unduly burdens the unlicensed. It also strains states’ limited financial resources.

Denying driver’s licenses to undocumented residents is a law that creates more harm than good and it needs to be changed.
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Stronger Together: Rural Communities Ready for Immigration Reform

Last fall, in the final push to convince legislators to pass immigration reform – voices that had so far been quiet, spoke up. They were dairymen, potato growers, and ranchers and business owners. They are the voices of rural America.Fernando immigration photo

Small towns and rural communities are the heart and soul of our country. They are the places where many of us grew up; the places where we formed our values and learned about the importance of family and relationships.

Families are at the heart of the push to fix our broken immigration system, this is something rural communities understand well. Read more