Central Baptist Church's affiliation with the Philadelphia New Sanctuary Movement is a renewal of CBC's prophetic engagement in the original Sanctuary Movement, declared in a congregational vote in 1984. This reaffirmation today of our historic commitment is grounded in our congregation's vision of “justice rooted in spirituality” and “making a difference in community.”-Congregational Meeting April 25th, 2010.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Are you reading this??? Let us know.

Lovers of Immigration Justice -- Many folks these days get their news and events updates from Facebook. So it is just possible that this blog has become passe, except in the case of immediate events and CBC updates. So please, if you want the blog to continue with national and international news, as well as commentary, please let us know by posting a comment.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Confusion over Secure Communities -- No Kidding!!

A task force assigned with advising the Obama administration on deportation programs has criticized immigration officials for confusion over Secure Communities, saying that it does not achieve its intended goal of identifying and deporting dangerous criminals and that states and cities have not been clearly informed on imperatives in the program. The task force -- including law enforcement personnel, immigration advocates,and homeland security officials -- is suggesting that ICE "start over." Read an article in the NYTimes: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/16/us/politics/deportation-program-draws-more-criticism.html?ref=juliapreston

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dreamers--You are the Students we have been Looking For

This morning Isabel Castillo, nationally known advocate for the Dream Act, was scheduled to speak at Eastern University. But on Tuesday she was arrested after a Dream Act rally in North Carolina and, therefore, could not appear. She had not been scheduled for civil disobedience that day because of a previous arrest in Senator Reid's office (she is brave but not cavalier) and because of her obligation to the students at Eastern. Nonetheless, the police in Charlottesville became overly zealous and grabbed persons on the sidelines.

Isabel has now been released. She will return to the University at a later date. The two persons who filled in for her, Jorge Salazar and Maria Fernanda Marroquin, did a splendid job.

But as I sat in the audience this morning, the whole irony of this event struck me. I have been a college professor and academic dean for 43 years of my life, and I have sat through countless faculty meetings where we strategized to build a more interestingly diverse student body and to recruit more engaged students (you know, an antidote to the back row who wear their ball caps backwards and dare you to say something interesting), all the while dealing with the fact that the number of college age students is declining.

Why then are we as a nation creating barriers to the matriculation of Dream Act students and increasing their financial burdens?!

These students know the value of a college education, literally, from the ground up. They are good citizens, which is the only path to citizenship. They have excelled in high school and are often fluently bi-lingual, a condition which we covet for all students forced to live in a global environment. They are not afraid of hard work, are politically savvy, and know that justice is far more than a seven letter word.

In short, these are the students we have been looking for!

Some colleges and universities are recognizing this and are admitting Dreamers, with financial aid, in small numbers. But, of course, they must do this in secret to ward off donor and constituent discontent. Won't it be splendid when academic institutions, commissioned to pass on the best values of the culture, can come out of the shadows and claim their own virtue!!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

California Set to Pass its own Dream Act

California is poised to pass a law that would give state financial aid for college to illegal immigrants. This would not grant undocumented students a clear path toward citizenship, but it would grant them more educational benefits than any other state. The bill would be known as the California Dream Act. Read the NYTimes article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/01/us/politics/01dream.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=California,%20Dream%20Act&st=cse.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Britain Needs a Dream Act. . . and More!!

An article in the New York Times on Sunday, August 21, tells the agonizing story of a young man brought to Britain from Angola as a child by his father who was seeking political asylum. When his father's petition was refused, he hanged himself while in detention, knowing that British law would not allow an orphan to be deported if there were no relatives to receive him in his country of origin. Church people took in the young man and cared for him. But now, at age 19, under changing law, he is about to be deported, rather than receiving citizenship as expected. He has no criminal record and has been doing well in school, preparing to be an engineer. What makes the situation even more tragic is that 7 out of 11 British detention centers are outsourced to private contractors who, in this case, ignored signs of the father's depression and imminent suicide. Read the article: www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/world/europe/21antonio.html?_r=1&hp

Friday, August 19, 2011

Good News From Washington

President Obama announced on Thursday that his administration "would suspend deportation proceedings against many illegal immigrants who pose no threat to national security or public safety." This is, in effect, a case-by-case enactment of the Dream Act, meaning relief for "young people who are in the country illegally but pose no threat," as well as assisting persons facing deportation on the basis of minor traffic violations. In addition, the policy would "help illegal immigrants with family members in the United States," including "partners of lesbian, gay and bisexual people." It is expected that "the government will review 300,000 cases of people in deportation proceedings to identify those who might qualify for relief." Read the article: www.nytimes.com/2011/08/19/us/19immig.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=Dream%20Act&st=cse

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pushback Against Immigration Laws

Two recent articles in the New York Times report that both religious and political leaders are pushing back against draconian immigration policies.

In response to the recent declaration that agreements between ICE and local law enforcement are null and void because no agreement is necessary, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has gone on record as saying, "Secure communities is negatively impacting public safety." Police Commissioner Edward Davis has joined him in his opposition. Read the article: www.nytimes.com/2011/08/13/us/politics/13secure.html?scp=1&sq=Resistance%20Widens%20to%20Obama%20Initiative&st=cse

In Alabama, an Episcopal Bishop, a Methodist Bishop, and a Roman Catholic Archbishop have openly declared that immigration enforcement in Alabama "makes it a crime to follow God's command to be Good Samaritans." They are both suing the state and vowing to break the law if necessary. Read the article: www.nytimes.com/2011/08/14/us/14immig.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Alabama%20Law%20Criminalizes%20Samaritans&st=cse