Immigration Posts

No More Delays, Two Million is Too Many

Delaying 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.

That year, Make the Road New York registered more than 10,000 new voters; in Idaho, the Idaho Community Action Network registered more than 2,500 new voters – record-breaking numbers of registrations. Out of these efforts, more than 500 members got involved in both organizations – by registering people to vote, holding public education sessions, and encouraging people to vote.

“When a community of immigrants works a 10-hour day, then takes the time to go out and register people to vote – you get a good idea how strong we are,” said Krista Bustamante, organizing director at Idaho Community Action Network.

We won the election and immigration reform was at the forefront of the 2013 political agenda. We built strategic coalitions, launched a bus tour, and organized massive May 1 rallies and marches. We collected thousands of petitions, did civil disobedience actions nationwide – and we passed legislation in the Senate.

The Republican strategy was something else. Do nothing. Don’t talk about immigration. Don’t hold anti-immigrant rallies – to do so would mobilize thousands of people that would send the Republicans into a spiral.

And now it’s 2014 and our opponents are nowhere to be seen. Early in the year, Republicans cracked open the door and slipped us a page of “immigration principles” then slammed the door with a firm “it won’t happen this year.”

Delay is a great tactic to exhaust the opposition and to allow the factions of your own political entity to build agreement.  We have waited, but we are not willing to wait any longer.  Two million people have been deported. Every day, more than a thousand people are deported. Countless families have been torn apart.

Delay is a strategy that won’t work against reform advocates, against the Dreamers or against thousands of American children who cried as their parents were deported. We are determined and focused. The rallying cry for immigration reform has not weakened or waned – it has grown stronger.


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.
Continue reading »

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.
Continue reading »

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. Continue reading »

The Symposium in Review: #CellBlocks and #Borderstops… #Human Beings

Re-Posted from the Institute for Pragmatic Practice (

In the last four decades, mass incarceration and immigration control in the United States has skyrocketed. Our nation has become an engine thatIPPImage pulls people from their communities, removing them from the very fabric that gives them their humanity. Over-policing of everyday lives has made the simple act of walking down one’s street a criminal act. The criminalization of communities is evermore presenting itself as a system of violence against them.

The Institute for Pragmatic Practice held an incredible symposium October 17-18, that brought voice to those affected by incarceration.  Cell Blocks and Border Stops: Transformation in the age of dehumanization brought faces to those who have been invisible behind walls and in communities that are left behind. Continue reading »

Alliance Cross Training is Vital to Growing the Grassroots

(Post written by Alain Nahimana, posted online by David Fleishman)

Sharing resources between organizations includes putting people on the ground, side-by-side.

It gave me a sense that whether the work we do is statewide or on a federal level, the challenges we face are the same. My name is Alain Nahimana and I am an organizer with Maine People’s Alliance.  A community organizer can work in all environments, not only in his/her comIMG_0283.JPGmunity.

I was joined by a MPA member Sonia Irambona and Grady Burns, canvasser. The three of us were set down in some of Virginia’s toughest turf to canvass for immigration reform. Harold Folley of Virginia Organizing even made sure we had the number for the police handy. These were towns considered hostile, right in the middle of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s district. (Virginia’s 7th District) Continue reading »

Delaying the Vote in Immigration Reform Has Not Silenced the Movement

We have the votes. Supporters of immigration reform in the House of Representatives have said it on many occasions, even before the Congressional recess, that the votes exist in the House to pass immigration reform.

Delaying the vote seems to be the House opposition’s approach to waiting for the immigration reform movement to divide itself, disengage from the efforts, or even disperse. Continue reading »

Risking Personal Freedom for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Marco Saavedra sacrificed his own freedom to demand the immediate release of the low-priority detainees found in detention centers across the country whom could be spared from deportation simply by applying prosecutorial discretion.  He is right.  Not only will releasing non-criminal to low-level offenders reunite families, it will save the United States

Marco Saavedra

a ton of money.

In July 2012, Mr. Saavedra took bold and heroic actions as he and his team of freedom fighters was intentionally detained to shed light on the shortcomings of the newly implemented

Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, commonly termed, the “Dream Act.”  Continue reading »

100 Women Arrested in DC to Demand Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Pressure is intensifying on the House of Representatives to pass a comprehensive immigration bill this October that includes a clear pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants. The action, led by We Belong Together, brought hundreds of people from across the country to increase pressure on the House and re energize the movement for a national day of action on October 5th. We Belong together Action 4 Throughout the country, tens of thousands of Americans and Aspiring Americans will take their voices to the streets, to their representatives and to their neighbors calling for comprehensive, compassionate immigration reform. Continue reading »

From Grape Boycott to Great Buy-cott: Colorado Groups Bring New Spin to Old Idea in Campaign for Immigration Reform

The grape boycotts organized by the United Farm Workers in the late 1960s were part of a groundbreaking strategy to engage consumers in the fight for fair treatment for immigrant farmworkers. Fast forward to 2013, and groups in Colorado campaigning for economy-boosting buy-cott.purpleimmigration reform with a path to citizenship are putting a new spin on a tried and true idea. Instead of a boycott, they’re organizing a “buy-cott” to push immigration reform forward.

The website for the Colorado Statewide Buy-cott explains the basic idea driving the effort: “Vote with your wallet and shop at local businesses that support comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship!”

And that’s exactly what residents of Denver, Aurora, Pueblo, Greeley, Longmont, Ft. Morgan, Grand Junction, Durango, Glendwood Springs, Carbondale, Aspen and other cities and towns across Colorado are doing from August 4-10: they’re putting their spending money to work in local businesses whose owners have declared their support for immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

The statewide buy-cott is a joint effort of a range of Colorado-based groups, including the Colorado Main Street Alliance, Colorado Progressive Coalition (CPC), Rights for All People (RAP), Colorado National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Bend the Arc, and Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC).

The participating organizations announced the buy-cott with a series of local press events around the state on July 29. The idea has clearly caught on: nearly 400 local businesses across the state have signed on to the effort and put up a poster in their business windows declaring their support for immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

The buy-cott has generated lots of local press coverage, too, including in major papers like the Denver Post and in smaller local papers and media outlets across the state.


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