Demonstrate March 21
Immigrant Rights Leaders Call for National March in Washington D.C.
President Obama’s State of the Union marked an auspicious anniversary for immigrant-rights activists in Illinois — one year of inaction on the broken immigration system. During his campaign, then-candidate Barack Obama promised to address comprehensive immigration reform in year one. Now, as the calendar crosses this critical deadline, advocates are treating it like a starting pistol and have kicked their campaign for reform into sprint-mode.
Recently, with 185 young supporters leading the way, allies in Illinois hailing from Chicago to Bolingbrook to Champaign to Woodstock gathered at the Student Center of the University of Illinois Chicago campus to say they too had had enough. Students focused on recruiting people to go to Washington, DC on March 21 to join the national immigration march. Leaders started their meeting with an ambitious goal of mobilizing 10,000 riders to fill 200 buses. By the end of a day of training and a spontaneous phone bank, they had already received commitments for the first 66 of those buses and $243,000 to fund their operation.
These young leaders are channeling their anger right now into one thing: buses for March 21. They are calling on the leaders of their churches, campuses, high schools, and local businesses to take responsibility for organizing a bus to DC. “We want the Congress and the President to act,” said a youth organizer and activist with the Immigrant Youth Justice League. “We want leadership and results from our elected officials but they have not delivered. Now is the time to exert our own leadership and show our commitment by marching in D.C. on March 21.”
As part of mobilization for March 21, youth organized an action March 10 demanding legalization now for all.
Right now, people across the country are angry and disappointed. Just like you, they want our elected officials to fight for comprehensive immigration reform. They know that millions of families cannot wait any longer to fix our broken system. And they know that while Congress and the White House might be listening to our words, they do not hear our voices. And they do not see our strength. That is going to change.
On March 21, we are going to march in Washington, DC, to show the country just how strong our movement is. From all across America, people will gather to let Congress and the White House know that we are going to fight. Tell your friends and family about the march and gather at the National Mall.
Our elected officials need to stand up for what is right. They need to know that now is the time for immigration reform, and that we will not let them forget about us. On March 21, we are going to remind them just how strong we are.
President Obama once said that one voice could change the world. It is time to show him that together, thousands of our voices will change America. Ask your family and friends to add their voices to ours.
Twenty members of Border Action Network, a human rights organization based in Arizona, will join thousands of participants in a march on Washington, D.C., demanding immigration reform. The march, planned for March 21, represents a national call to action and comes at a heated time in the debate over immigration reform.
Across the U.S., immigration reform supporters have raised their voices, delivering 100,000 postcards to key legislators, flooding the White House with phone calls and e-mails, and holding vigils and rallies in their cities.
Border Action Network members have led this fight in Arizona, sending nearly 20,000 postcards to President Barack Obama, Arizona Senator John McCain and Congressional Representatives.
The group said the past year has seen an escalation in deportations, families ripped apart, and state legislatures passing anti-immigrant legislation.
Obama devoted only a few sentences to immigration reform in his State of the Union address. To pursue solutions, we need to take action.
At Border Action Network’s General Assembly on Feb. 6, members from Douglas, Pirtleville, Sierra Vista, Nogales and Tucson decided to join the national call to march in Washington. While in DC, Border Action members also plan to meet with members of the Arizona congressional delegation. Over the next month, members will raise money to cover their costs by holding a variety of fundraising events, such as car washes.
We are marching, hunger-striking, walking, getting arrested and still the Obama administration refuses to put an end to the human rights crisis and stop tearing our families apart.
• 20,000 of us marched in Maricopa County, Arizona, against Sheriff Arpaio
• 5 of us fasted for 19 days in Florida in defence of immigrant rights
• 19 were arrested in acts of civil disobedience to free immigrant rights leader Jean Montrevil in NYC
• A team of our youth leaders are still walking 1,000 miles from Florida to DC defending the right to education for all
• And more than 70 of us waged a hunger strike in the Port Isabelle detention center in Texas.
Thanks to our advocacy efforts from across the country, Haitian activist Jean Montrevil is now home with his family but he still faces deportation and is subject to the same enforcement regime that is tearing our families apart.
Hear from Jean (2 weeks out of detention), as well as those who have organized the marches and fasts in Florida, the massive action in Arizona, and the fast in Texas, on what is next in our escalation to force the Obama administration to change policies now. We are moving hard and fast to pressure Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Napolitano and DHS to respect the rights of immigrants and people of color, and stop destroying communities and separating families with immigration raids, detention and deportations.
In January the Detention Watch Network, Families For Freedom, Fast For Our Families, Florida Immigrant Coalition, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, the New York New Sanctuary Coalition, Puente, Southwest Workers Union, Students Working for Equal Rights, Trail of Dreams, and others organized a conference call to help coordinate campaigns and build the national pressure to demand that DHS and Janet Napolitano halt enforcement, detention and deportation practices that violate human rights and dignity.
Join in! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Local Organizing for Immigrant Rights
Santa Monica Townhall on Immigration Reform
The time is now for immigration reform! No more retreat, no more delays, we were promised a Just and Humane Immigration Reform and together we need to deliver reform in 2010.
A townhall is being organized with Senator Barbara Boxer and Congressmen Xavier Becerra and Henry Waxman discussing the commitment in Congress for Immigration Reform in America. Saturday, February 20, 2010, 10:00am - 12:00pm at Lincoln Middle School, 1501 California Avenue, Santa Monica.
Organized by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles: (CHIRLA), Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE), Consejo de Federaciones Mexicanas (COFEM), Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and many others.
For more information, please contact Rey Barrera at 213.353.1342 or Horacio Arroyo at 323.375.4674.
Texas Convention on Immigrant Rights
The Texas Convention will be a historic moment when hundreds of Texas immigrant families, civil rights advocates, students, business representatives, unions, and local and federal elected officials will come together in the Capital of the State (Austin) to recognize the contributions of immigrants to the well-being and greatness of the state of Texas and the nation.
All participants and represented sectors at the convention will make an unequivocal call to reform our obsolete immigration system and to establish a comprehensive policy that: 1) will bring out of the shadows millions of immigrant workers; 2) integrates efficiently immigrant families to the economic, social, cultural and political fabric of our society; 3) develops and implements accountable, humane and responsible border and interior enforcement policies; 4) provides long-term solutions for immigration flows based on the needs of our economy, the dignity and rights of immigrant workers and the realities of the global migration process.
The leadership of the U.S. Congress and the Obama administration have expressed their commitment to start meaningful discussions to reform our current immigration system in the first half of 2010. In this context, the Texas Convention aims to unify the voices of Texans that favor comprehensive immigration reform. Furthermore, the Texas Convention aims to place Texas, the state in the nation with the second most immigrant families and the largest border state, in a leadership role in the national discussions. In Texas, we believe that a thoughtful overhaul of the immigration system is good for our economy, for our families and for our community security.
Organizations and individuals may attend the Convention free of charge. The agenda of the Convention will reflect the different sectors in Texas that support immigration reform. Contact Adriana Cadena, RITA Coordinator, at 915-577-0724 or email@example.com.
For additional contacts in Texas:
Austin: Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition • 512-476-2472 • firstname.lastname@example.org
El Paso: Border Network for Human Rights • Betty Tercero ·915-577-0724 • email@example.com
Dallas: Catholic Charities of Dallas · Catarina Torres • 214-520-6590 X124 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Forth Worth: Coalition for Immigration Reform of Dallas/Ft.Worth & North Texas • 817-922-0280 • email@example.com
Stephenville: Welcoming Immigrants Network • Dean Reed • 254-485-5832 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Houston: Mi Familia Vota Civic Participation Campaign • Thomas Servello • 713-296-1623 · email@example.com
Brownsville: Movimiento del Valle por los Derechos Humanos • Maria Cordero • 956-832-4989 · firstname.lastname@example.org
San Juan: La Union del Pueblo Entero • Marta Sanchez • 956-584-3636 · email@example.com
America’s broken immigration system has led to a civil rights crisis
• Immigrant homes are routinely raided
• Hundreds of thousands of people are imprisoned, some indefinitely and without access to medical care
• Thousands are deported away from their families without a fair day in court
And now New York Senator Charles Schumer is proposing that all U.S. workers carry a biometric identity card as a way to clamp down on undocumented immigration
That is why it is so important that you contact Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand and your Congressional representative now. Tell them to support comprehensive immigration reform that protects everyone’s rights and liberties this year. This is a crisis in every sense.
Year after year, Congress has let the politics of fear stop it from addressing this dire situation. And the window for reform is quickly closing yet again. The stakes are too high to let that happen.
Visit the NYCLU’s brand new immigration reform website to find out how you can get involved online or join a local NYCLU Activist Task Force. Join with us and our allies across the state to defend civil liberties and put an end to this crisis once and for all.
Community Organizers Defend Against
As of January 16, 2010, The Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (WICIR ) has responded to 100 calls and cases of immigration raids, detainments, deportations, and people struggling to resolve immigration problems in and around Washtenaw County. It is sad to see that the work of the coalition, which began 20 months ago, is still very much needed as real immigration reform has not yet occurred on the national level and hard working immigrant community members are still being detained and deported everyday, separating parents from their children and other family members.
This is also a moment for us to stop and reflect on the consistent and constant hard work of WICIR members and recognize all we have accomplished on behalf of our immigrant community:
There are 350 people on our list serve who receive frequent updates regarding immigration issues on the local and national levels. We are diverse in race, ethnicity, documentation status, language, spirituality, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, education and ability levels. We have engaged the talents of many people from our community. Our community extends to Detroit and surrounding areas.
We have trained at least 35 Urgent Responders in two day-long trainings, and an active team of about 20 respond to cases immediately when they come in. Urgent Responders have conducted phone interviews, met with families, attended legal appointments, provided translation, attended court, provided transportation, basic needs and have responded to crises.
We have developed a Latino outreach team that is actively involved with the community, attending churches and passing out -information packets in neighborhoods targeted by the government.
We have joined Reform Immigration for America in the fight for National Comprehensive Immigration Reform. We hosted a national conference call party and sent representatives of the WICIR to Washington DC for the March on Capitol Hill to support this campaign.
We have presented to numerous churches, classrooms, community groups, conferences, etc. about the work of the coalition, educating the community about immigration raids and the need for reform.
We have documented our cases, and joined with similar groups around the nation who are documenting and grieving these cases in Washington.
We have written advocacy letters to key officials including house representatives, senators, the director of Homeland Security, and the President.
We have met with and written recommendations to local officials including city council members, county commissioners, State Human Rights Commissioners, mayors, police officials, the County Sheriff, etc.
We have passed a resolution regarding the just treatment of immigrants with the Washtenaw County Democrats.
We have assisted numerous families with legal and bond fees through the generous donations of individuals and community groups
Thank you to all who have participated in any and all of these efforts! A special thank you, as well, to our trusted and generous immigration attorney, Radovan Stipanovic, who has addressed most of the legal needs of affected families. Many of his efforts have been pro-bono.
Here are some important facts and statistics about the cases:
85% of the cases have involved detainments and/or deportations of immigrant community members
15% of the calls have involved prevention of detainment and deportation including help with immigration status, application for asylum, etc.
93% of cases have targeted Latinos and 7% involve nationals from other countries including Romania, West Africa, Senegal, Congo, Croatia, China and Bangladesh
At least 40% of the cases have involved the separation of children from their parents and all have involved the separation of families
At least 23 cases involved suspected racial profiling by local police. At least 8 cases involved police brutality or police maltreatment of immigrants. At least 28 cases involved the local police assisting Immigration enforcement through participation in raid, stops and immigration holds.
At least 13 cases involved the Washtenaw County Sheriff Department. In most cases the Washtenaw County Sheriff continues to racially profile, make arrests instead of issuing tickets, and hold people for ICE. We have asked the Sheriff to investigate at least 5 cases over the past year and have received no response. We have given the Sheriff detailed recommendations several times, beginning in August of 2009, and have received no response.
At lease 5 cases involved the Pittsfield Township police who assisted ICE repeatedly in small-scale raids.
At least 5 cases involved the Ann Arbor police. The Ann Arbor police have been involved in only a few cases and have been responsive in investigating complaints. They have taken disciplinary action with an officer in a recent case of maltreatment of an immigrant man who called the police for help.
Only 3 cases involved the Ypsilanti police, and in two incidences the police gave a ticket rather than make arrests. The Ypsilanti police have acted the most carefully and justly in relation to the immigrant community according to our reports.
A few important highlights:
At least 20 people contributed to a bond fund, and within several days raised $3,500 to help with a $10,000 bond to release a father who had been beaten by the police in front of his eight year old son after being pulled over for a malfunctioning taillight in the Jackson area.
Urgent responders, coalition members, friends, the immigrant community and our attorney joined forces to secure care for 7 children under the age of 13 while a single, immigrant mother was held in the Washtenaw County Jail and a Detroit Immigration jail. Our attorney, Mr. Stipanovic arranged for her release without bond and opened an immigration case, pro-bono.
St. Francis made a generous contribution to WICIR urgent response fund. Bona Sera Supper Club donated the proceeds from their Mexican Street Food dinner to the coalition. Sacred Song chose WICIR as their benefit organization for their holiday concert drawing more than 400 beautiful people. St Mary’s and The First Congregational UCC gave Christmas gifts to needy families. Many, many other groups and individuals made generous donations to our bond fund and for legal assistance.
At least 50 students from various departments from Eastern University and the University of Michigan Residential College, School of Social Work, School of Public Health have become actively involved in WICIR, especially as urgent responders, fundraisers and political action organizers.
An amazing website for WICIR was created by Mo, Dream Act Student Activist and WICIR member.
WICIR now provides an internship to a community organizing student from the University of Michigan School of Social Work. We have become an official internship site.
We feel we have accomplished a lot in the last 20 months. We are all volunteers and all funds are donated! We need the help of everyone so please stay tuned for ways that you can join our Urgent Responder, Latino Outreach, Community Education, Political Action, Fundraising and Legal Assistance task forces. If you would like to get more involved or know of people who would like to be on the immigration coalition list, please let us know by emailing Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org
One last thing: We are once again in need of urgent response money, most of which helps with legal fees and bond. If you can, please consider making a contribution to WICIR. If you can make a donation, please let us know by emailing Laura at email@example.com.