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

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Immigrants and Allies March in Philadelphia

Walk A Mile in Our Shoes:  Immigrants and Allies March Through Center City Philadelphia
When: Wednesday 24th of August, 3 to 5 pm
Where: Meet in Love Park at the LOVE statue at 3 pm

Immigrants and allies will march together through Center City to show that we are united in our struggle to make Philadelphia a more just and welcoming city for immigrants. We ask our city officials to walk a mile in our shoes,  to understand the immigrant experience, and to stop unjust deportations and the separation of hard-working families and communities!  We will march from Love Park to the Liberty Bell, returning to City Hall by 5pm.  Using the model of the Via Crusis / Stations of the Cross, we will be making stops along the way to reflect with testimonies, songs, and prayers on the suffering of immigrants in Philadelphia.  See complete route map below. For more information, email nsmphiladelphia@gmail.com

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Secure Communities is not a Matter of Choice

An article in the New York Times on Saturday, reported that the federal government has attempted to reduce confusion about Secure Communities by dropping agreements between local police forces and ICE, relying instead on FBI records. This means that individual jurisdictions may NOT drop out of the program. Read the whole article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/06/us/06immig.html?scp=1&sq=Secure%20Communities&st=cse

Pennsylvania Compact


FEDERAL SOLUTIONS Immigration is a federal policy issue between the U.S. government and other countries—not Pennsylvania and other countries. We urge Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation, and others, to lead efforts to ensure smart and effective enforcement of federal laws that protect our national borders. We urge state leaders to adopt reasonable policies addressing immigrants in Pennsylvania.

LAW ENFORCEMENT We respect the rule of law and support law enforcement’s professional judgment and discretion. Local law enforcement resources should focus on criminal activities, not civil violations of federal code.

FAMILIES Strong families are the foundation of successful communities. We oppose policies that unnecessarily separate families. We champion policies that support families and improve the health, education and well-being of all Pennsylvania residents.

ECONOMY Pennsylvania is best served by a well balanced free market that maximizes individual freedom and opportunity. We acknowledge the economic role immigrants play as workers and taxpayers. Pennsylvania has the third oldest population in the nation and many young immigrant families have replenished our workforce and have acted as caretakers for our elderly and children. Pennsylvania’s immigration policies must be fair and friendly both to businesses and workers who choose to establish themselves here, in order to strengthen our economic role nationally and globally.

A FREE AND WELCOMING SOCIETY The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has attracted diverse groups of people from many nations and various walks of life, all seeking liberty and prosperity. It was in this spirit that the United States of America was founded – in Pennsylvania. We must adopt a humane approach to this reality, reflecting our unique culture, history and spirit of inclusion—as envisioned by our founder William Penn. The way that we treat newcomers sends a message about our state to the rest of the world.

Pennsylvania Compact

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Reality Check - How long do immigrant families wait in line?

Let's say you're an immigrant who has successfully become a U.S. Citizen and you want to sponsor your unmarried, adult son or daughter  to come to the U.S.  Good news --You fall into the FIRST PREFERENCE category for one of the 226,000 family-sponsored visas available annually under the Immigration and Nationality Act! 

Bad news -- So what does that really mean?  If you're from Mexico, it will be about an 18 year long wait.  From the Phillipines, 15 years.  Other countries, maybe 7 years.

Check out this article and the accompanying graphic for a breakdown of the current wait times for family-sponsored visas and employment-based visas. 

It’s no secret that applying for residence in the United States can be a complicated process. Even when all the paperwork is in, there’s still a long wait involved, a wait that is determined by a complicated equation that balances the demand and supply of employment and family-unification visas the U.S. grants. As a result, some applicants have been waiting in line for more than 10 years, others for more than 20 years, according to the State Department’s most recent count.

Read entire article at  http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/07/visa.html

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sowing Seeds of Justice in Philadelphia

Sowing Seeds of Hope and Justice for Immigrants
A Prayerful Gathering at City Hall on 15th Street on Tuesday, July 12th, from 4pm to 4:30pm, followed by brief visits to offices of the Mayor and District Attorney

Inch by inch. Row by row. Gonna make this garden grow! 
All it takes is a rake and a hoe, and a piece of fertile ground.
Inch by inch. Row by row. Someone bless these seeds I sow!  
Someone keep them safe below, until the rains come tumbling down.

On June 29th, a small group from the New Sanctuary Movement hand delivered the first set of our collection of hand-written letters addressed to the mayor and the district attorney, urging the end of collaboration between Philadelphia police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Although we did not meet with Mayor Nutter and District Attorney Williams personally, we left the letters at their offices along with a message that we would be back with more! 
On Tuesday, July 12th, we're planning a second larger, more public delivery with our NSM congregations and members. We'll gather at 4pm outside City Hall (15th Street side) for brief reflections and prayers led by some of our NSM congregations before walking together to deliver letters at the mayor's and DA's offices. We'll distribute the letters we have collected along with seeds for each participant to carry in our procession as a prayerful action symbolizing our work together to cultivate a city of hope and justice for immigrants.
  •  Bring garden tools (rake, hoe, shovel, watering can) to carry in the procession!  We want to show Philadelphia we're counting on a harvest of justice.
  • Bring your personal letters for the District Attorney and the Mayor on July 12th if you haven't already turned those in. For more information about the letter writing campaign and how you can participate, email NSM at nsmintern@gmail.com.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Infographic: The Costs of E-Verify

From the Center for American Progress -- A great summary of costs of the E-Verify program, the government’s Internet-based work authorization system. The graphic highlights the system’s known costs, such as lost tax revenue and monetary burdens on small businesses, and estimates the costs of additional fiscal burdens—to individuals verified through the system, to employers utilizing the system, and to the federal government in running the system—absent from much of the dialogue. E-Verify expands the size of government while decreasing revenue, places a crushing burden on small businesses, and imposes a “jobs tax” on ordinary Americans.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Coming Out of the Immigration "Closet"

A successful young journalist reveals that, in addition to being gay, he is an undocumented immigrant. This article in the NYTimes Sunday Magazine is his public "coming out." His well-placed supporters will most likely be able to help him negotiate a path toward legal status; nonetheless, this was a brave act. And one hopes that he will continue to advocate for passage of the Dream Act that can help other dreamers like himself.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Freedom From Fear Award

Freedom From Fear Award Commends 15 “Ordinary People” for Extraordinary Acts of Courage on Behalf of Immigrants and Refugees

Four students from Philadelphia will receive a Freedom of Fear award for organizing against the violence at South Philadelphia High School where many immigrant students were harassed and terrorized. By standing up for their human right for a safe and non-violent place to learn, they brought the community and the Philadelphia School District to account.

Other awardees include several Dream Activists, the founders of No More Deaths, and the former Phoenix police chief

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Another State Tries to Opt Out of Secure Communities

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick follows the lead of Illinois and New York governors in choosing not to participate in Secure Communities, because the program is not “accomplishing its goal of deporting immigrants who were convicted of serious crimes.” In fact, it may have the opposite effect, it “may deter the reporting of criminal activity.”

It is uncertain, if the state can even opt out of the program. “States like New York signed contracts with the Department of Homeland Security to enter Secure Communities, and now the administration insists that they must participate.” The need for real immigration reform is evident.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Denying ICE ACCESS: Documenting Immigration Enforcement Violations and Abuses in Local Communities

This two part “webinar” training is offered by national immigration justice advocates for groups and community members working against state and local collaborations with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). These webinars are designed to build off of last year’s two-part webinar: “Secure Communities???” which provided basic information about the impact of ICE ACCESS programs on local communities. The goal of this year’s series is to give advocates tools to fight the increasing involvement of state and local authorities in federal immigration enforcement, to lay out strategies for collaboration amongst different groups, and to highlight examples of successful campaigns. 
Part 1 – Wednesday June 22nd from 2 pm to 3:30 pm
  • Discuss tools for building a campaign, focusing on information gathering strategies, from public records requests to documentation of violations and abuses. Presenters will outline different methods advocates can use to map the particulars of ICE’s presence in an individual community, describe typical obstacles to the data collection process, and suggest ways to overcome those obstacles.
Part 2 – Wednesday June 29th from 2 pm to 3:30pm
  • How to use the information gathered through the tactics described in Part One to mount impactful campaigns against ICE ACCESS programs. Presenters will describe strategies in policy, legislation, litigation, and messaging, and offer examples of ways that other communities have combined these strategies to target particular audiences in particular political climates.
You are invited to join with members of the CBC Immigration Justice Group who will participate in this training. We'll be gathering in one of the CBC classrooms to connect to this webinar experience. Email Caroline Cargo ccargopa@gmail.com or Katy Friggle-Norton kfrigglenorton@gmail.com to let us know you'll join us.

Letter Writing Campaign to end ICE / Police collaboration in Philadelphia

New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia continues the campaign to end the local PARS contract – an agreement between the Philadelphia Police Department and Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The contract allows ICE to identify “deportable” immigrants to interview while they are in police custody – even before the person in custody has been convicted of any criminal act.

According to ICE, this national program targets dangerous criminals who pose a threat to public safety. The reality on the ground is the opposite. Based on statistics from ICE:
  • Philadelphia is 5th in the nation for “non-criminal” deportations of immigrants
  • 61% of all immigrants deported from Philadelphia are deported prior to any charges being brought or without any criminal conviction
CBC will participate in the NSM letter writing campaign with other NSM congregations during the month of June, gathering hand written letters address to District Attorney Seth Williams and Mayor Michael Nutter. Mishkan Shalom has prepared resources to guide us in writing effective letters. Watch for more information on how you can help!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Migrants as a Weapon??????

An article in the NYTimes on May 14 explains how Muammar el-Qaddafi is using migrant workers from Africa and Asia as weapons against the European Union. By turning a blind eye to the boatloads of migrants making their way to Italy (even, perhaps, encouraging them to go) he is backing away from an agreement to discourage migration to Europe in order to create dissension among the EU nations -- an onslaught of refugees and closed internal borders in retaliation for NATO support to the rebels in Libya.

This, of course, means using the migrant workers -- twice dislocated -- as fodder for his campaign to hold onto power. These are truly men without a nation, trying to find work and to care for their families at home. Read the article.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Immigrants For Sale

$200 per night. $6000 per month. $72,000 per year. That is the average amount private prison corporations like CCA, GEO Group and Management and Training make off of one single detained migrant. Nowadays with SB1070 copycat laws around the country – immigrants (even if they are legal) can be detained for days, weeks even months until they can prove their status. No wonder why these laws are profitable  when Immigrants Are For Sale to the highest bidder.
--- Excerpt from "Immigration - The Next Prison Boom?" article

Take 2 minutes right now to watch this new video about the US detention system and connections to private -- for profit -- prisons.   Then check out the website immigrantsforsale.org  for more information.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Obama Speech at the Border -- Sounded Great, but . . . .

President Obama gave a speech on the need for immigration reform in El Paso Texas on Tuesday, May 10, within sight of a billowing Mexican flag. It was articulate and hopeful, but the NYTimes seems to have captured the weakness of the address in their lead editorial on Wednesday, May 11: "A Strong vow to move forward on immigration reform, but no plan."

Monday, May 9, 2011

Book Exploring Models of Immigration

Susan F. Martin, historian at Georgetown University, has written a book entitled A Nation of Immigrants in which she claims that North Americans traditionally favor immigration, but not immigrants. Further, she explores three historical models for assimilating immigrants: the Virginal Model which sought workers but gave few rights (indentured servants, slaves), the Massachusetts Model which welcomed believers but punished dissent (Puritans and pilgrims), and the Pennsylvania Model which sought citizens of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds (Scottish, Irish, Germans, French, Moravians, Mennonites). She favors the Pennsylvania Model but says that while "it is not dead, it is under severe challenge."

In the present day debate, she favors a legalization plan for illegal immigrants but is skeptical about guest worker plans because of the temptation to exploitation. Read a NYTimes review.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Some News is Good!!!

In the last two days the New York Times has published three articles that indicate chinks in the wall of immigration enforcement are opening up.

On May sixth, the Times reported that Secure Communities legislation "is facing growing resistance from state governments and police officials across the country." Read article.

On May seventh, they reported that "Federal officials have issued a memorandum to the nation’s school districts on Friday saying it was against the law for education officials to seek information that might reveal the immigration status of children applying for enrollment." Read article.

Also on May seventh, they reported that "an immigration judge in Newark on Friday suspended the deportation of a Venezuelan man who is married to an American man, responding to an unusual signal this week from the Obama administration that it is exploring legal avenues for recognizing same-sex marriages in immigration cases." Read article.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Illinois Steps Up

Illinois took the lead in immigration reform yesterday with two actions.
• Governor Quinn sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security announcing the state’s withdrawal from Secure Communities stating that, although the purpose of the program is the deportation of immigrants "convicted of serious criminal offenses …, by ICE's own measure, less than 20% of those who have been deported from Illinois under the program have ever been convicted of a serious crime."
• The Illinois State Senate passed a local Dream Act bill that will allow for management of privately funded scholarships and other financial aid to help support Dreamers attend college.
From the Chicago Tribune

Thursday, April 28, 2011

One Dream at a Time

The Dream Act may not have passed Congress, but under pressure from Democrats and immigration activists, some states are taking a case by case approach to blocking the deportation of undocumented persons, especially students, who have no criminal records and are doing well at school or work. This is not the kind of immigration reform we can celebrate, but it is proof that defeat of legislation does not necessarily negate right actions. And it is very good news for the persons being reprieved. Read the NYTimes article.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sunday, May 1st, worship service on immigration justice

Join us for a special worship service on the theme of immigration justice this Sunday, May 1st, at Central Baptist Church at 10:45am.
  • The worship service will be in Spanish and English -- songs/prayers/sermon/communion. Various members of our CBC Immigration Justice Group will be worship leaders. 
  • Our guest preacher for the day is Rev. Doug Avilesbernal, from Calvary Baptist Church in Norristown, one of our sister congregations.  Doug is a wonderfully warm and wise person.  He is Mexican, but grew up in El Salvador.  In Norristown, Doug is personally and pastorally involved with the Mexican immigrant community. 
  • The service will include communion, which at CBC is always open, with everyone invited to take part in sharing the common bread and the cup as an expression of God's radical welcome. 
  • To close the worship time,  a Mexican folkloric dance group from Norristown will perform "Las Chiapanecas" -- a folk dance from the State of Chiapas, Mexico.
  • We'll have some time after the service for conversation and refreshments.

We're hoping this will be a good way to continue to reflect on immigration justice following the New Sanctuary Movement retreat hosted at Mishkan Shalom on Saturday, April 30th.  Remember, too, that the New Sanctuary retreat will begin with participating in Mishkan's Shabbat service at 10am.  Let me know if you need details about the retreat plans.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Are Migrant Workers from North Africa Threatening the European Union?

As migrant workers from Africa and poor areas of the Middle East throng to leave Libya where they have worked in construction, the oil fields, and the military as paid soldiers, many are seeking to enter Europe where they hope to find security and work. Often their documents have been seized by employers in Libya, they have been robbed by both sides in the current violence, and there is little promise for them "at home."

In addition, many Tunisian refugees fleeing turmoil in their country are hoping to settle in Europe.

Italy is the point of entrance, but many migrants, especially the French speaking, want to continue on to France. The Italian govenment is both trying to limit access to their ports and to argue that this is a European problem, not an Italian problem. France is acting to tighten their borders with Italy.

This is both a humanitarian and a political crisis. How can Europe support protest in Northern Africa and refuse to accept refugees created by the turmoil? How can Europe claim to be a Union and not share the burden of migration? Read on.

The website for the International Organization for Migration (http://www.iom.int/), currently running rescue boats out of Misrata, has constant updates.

The New York Times is staying current as well. On April 13 they published an article -- "Fears about Immigrants Deepen Divisions in Europe" -- recording divisions in the European Union over the flood of immigrants feeling the unrest in North Africa. Read the article.

They followed this with an article on April 15 -- "Libyan Port City Brims with Migrants Desperate to Flee Seige" -- narrating the story of hundreds of migrant workers clustered at the port of Misrata awaiting rescue. Read the article.

An article on April 20 -- "On Journey to New Lives, Young Tunisians Need Only a Final Destination" -- concentrates on Tunisian refugees seeking to settle in France, but being caught in the political struggle over immigration between Italy and France. Read the article.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Who Goes and Who Stays? Two Asylum Cases Grounded in the 1980s

There are two interesting "companion" articles in the NYTimes today (April 18). One reports that the US has finally agreed to deport General Eugenio Vides Casanova, El Salvador's top military officer during the bloody 1980s, who oversaw numerous human rights violations, including the rape and murder of four North American nuns serving the poor in his country. Read the article.

The second article tells the story of Victor Toro, an outspoken critic of the Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet, who was imprisoned and tortured during the 1980s and is presently fighting deportation and hoping for asylum to continue his work as an advocate for the poor and marginalized in New York. Read the article.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

NYT article - The Anti-Immigration Crusader

Read the article about Dr. John Tanton, anti-immigrant crusader, in the NYTimes today.  Tanton is a major force behind three national anti-immigrant efforts, including the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, which helped draft the Arizona law last year to give the police new power to identify and detain illegal immigrants.   Here's an excerpt from the Times article.  Link to full article below.

Rarely has one person done so much to structure a major cause, or done it so far from the public eye. Dr. Tanton has raised millions of dollars, groomed protégés and bequeathed institutions, all while running an ophthalmology practice nearly 800 miles from Capitol Hill. 

“He is the most influential unknown man in America,” said Linda Chavez, a former aide to President Ronald Reagan, who once led a Tanton group that promoted English-only laws. 

While Dr. Tanton’s influence has been extraordinary, so has his evolution — from apostle of centrist restraint to ally of angry populists and a man who increasingly saw immigration through a racial lens.

Read full article here

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spanish News Coverage of April 12 Debate

For those of you who speak Spanish, even a little, here is a good news piece on the debate. You will see and hear an interview with Maria Marroquin, founder of Dream Activists. http://univision65.univision.com/noticias/video/2011-04-14/son-bienvenidos-los-inmigrantes-en

Thursday, April 14, 2011

News Coverage of April 12 Immigration Debate

What follows is an English translation of the report from Latino News and Opinion on the immigration debate at Broad Street Ministries on April 12. CANDIDATES WERE CONSPICUOUS BY THEIR ABSENCE IN IMMIGRATION DEBATE Three of the democratic candidates to City Council from District One, Vernon Anastasio, Joe Grace and Jeff Hornstein, broke their promise to attend an immigration debate with the southern community of Philadelphia on April 12. The event, nevertheless, was a success. Neither the rain neither the wind impeded nearly 300 people (mostly eligible to vote) who congregated in a church in the center of the city. The activity consisted of a heated debate between a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, Stu Bykofsky, and a professor from University of Pennsylvania Law School, Sarah Paoletti. The questions of the debate came from the Asian and Latin American communities, those persons deeply affected by threat of deportation and by anti-immigrant measures that favor racial profiling and collaboration between the Philadelphia Police and ICE. These measures particularly threaten those lacking identity papers and vulnerable to be victims of crime and abuse. After the debate two democratic candidates at large were presented: Andy Toy who, if he wins, will be the first Asian member on the City Council, and Sherrie Cohen, the first openly lesbian candidate. Both said they said were against the collaboration of the Police and ICE. Zac Steele, community organizer, explained that the absence of the candidates from District One was due to two events occurring simultaneously. "We know that they responded to a meeting with the Civic Organization of Washington Square West. We are very disappointed; those present were anxious to know their positions in terms of migration", said Steele. Hornstein, arriving 15 minutes after the end of the event, apologized for his absence and assured those still present that he takes immigration issues seriously. "For the last 10 years I have been organizing immigrant workers in the union SEIU. It is a very important issue for me", said Hornstein. The event was organized by "Voices for Safe and Diverse Neighborhoods", a coalition of pro-immigration organizations.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Ten Plagues Facing Immigrant Populations

At an immigration-focused seder at Mishkan Shalom on April 1, attended by many of the New Santuary Movement affiliated congregations, we read out loud the ten 'new' plagues afflicting immigrant populations. Here they are as presented by the staff at Mishkan. "Today many politicians are playing G-d and imposing their own plagues on immigrants, moving them farther and farther away from any taste of freedom or dignity. Today’s immigrants are no different from the millions of Jewish immigrants in days past – they are looking for safety and a better life for their families. These are the new plagues:

1. Immigrants are called 'criminal aliens' even though immigrant crime rates are lower then non-immigrant crime rates. In the early 1900’s, Jewish immigrants were also scapegoated for urban crime.

2. The 1996 immigration laws cut off pathways to legalize for vast numbers of immigrants. Many hard working people want to legalize but have NO options to do so. Deportations have skyrocketed – 400,000 people were deported in 2009 alone.

3. Arizona-style immigration legislation is being introduced in Pennsylvania to encourage reporting 'reasonably suspected' individuals. 'Love your neighbor' is being changed to report on your neighbor.

4. Many refugees in life-threatening danger cannot get refugee status, because they cannot prove they were personally singled out for persecution according to the details of these restrictive laws.

5. Immigration policies are ripping apart families. Undocumented parents who are picked up for minor infractions or 'caught working' are getting deported forcing some to abandon their children.

6. Undocumented immigrants fear deportation and become vulnerable to hate crimes and other crimes because they won’t go to the police.

7. There are no exceptions for those brought here as children. Even if the United States is the only country they know, because the DREAM Act failed, they are just as vulnerable to deportation.

8. A politically charged initiative is developing that would hurt children by attempting to deny citizenship to those born in the U.S.A. to undocumented parents.

9. Immigrants are subject to economic exploitation and marginalization. Employers pay low wages and even legal immigrants are not eligible for food stamps and other safety-net benefits.

10. Undocumented immigrants are called 'illegals' or 'alien invaders.' This language disregards the Torah’s teaching that there is a Divine spark in each person and we are all made b’tzelem Elo-him, in God’s image."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Durbin to Reintroduce Dream Act in Congress

The seven Dream Activists have been freed in Atlanta. But it's not over until the bill is passed. Is this a positive step forward or a disappointing compromise? http://newamericamedia.org/2011/04/sen-durbin-to-introduce-diluted-dream-act-in-congress.php

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

DreamActivist Pennsylvania

April 7th, Vigil for Maria Marroquin, Activist from Pennsylvania,

and 6 Other Undocumented Youth Arrested in Georgia

WHAT: – DreamActivist Pennsylvania will hold a vigil in solidarity with 7 undocumented youth arrested in Atlanta, Georgia on April 7th, 2011. Maria Marroquin, co-founder of DreamActivist Pennsylvania and DreamActivist.org, was one of the seven arrested after participating in civil disobedience action. Undocumented youth and allies will pray and speak in support of Maria’s release from jail. Maria, along with the 6 other youth, may be turned over to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). We will light a candle in solidarity with the youth that were arrested by fighting for equality and justice.

WHO: Immigrant youth, educators, and community members will come together in unity and declare which side they fall on. Prior to her arrest, Maria Marroquin stated that “We need to come out and we need to show this nation that we are undocumented and unafraid and will accept nothing less than equality

Today, I will be participating in a sit-in action. I will most likely be arrested and placed into deportation proceedings. I am willing to risk all of this because my current situation is unbearable. It took me nearly five years to graduate with a two-year degree paying out-of-state tuition. I don't complain about it; however, I can't stand by knowing that my little brother and sister will have to follow the same path.

WHERE: Pennsylvania Senator Toomey’s Office, 1628 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA.

WHEN: Thursday, April 7th at 5PM

WHY: Undocumented youth will no longer remain in the shadows. They decided it’s the right time to come out as unafraid and through that empower other youth to take action in Pennsylvania. Maria Marroquin and other undocumented youth are asking the American public and Presidents of Universities to choose a side. The bans on education are spreading across the country, and we will not allow for Pennsylvania to follow Georgia’s path of banning undocumented students from their universities.

Please join us as we show our support for the 7 undocumented youth that put their bodies on the line. They risked it all for other undocumented youth, let's show which side we are on by coming together at the vigil Tomorrow, April 7th at 5PM

Please feel welcome to contact us with any questions or concerns: dreamactivistpa@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

International Organization for Migration

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is an intergovernmental organization established in 1951 and committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. It is an excellent source for statistics and information on current crises. http://www.iom.int/jahia/jsp/index.jsp

What's good for NY is good for PA -- op ed piece from the NYTimes

April 4, 2011 Unfair to Immigrants, Costly for Taxpayers By SCOTT M. STRINGER and ANDREW FRIEDMAN EVERY year thousands of immigrants being held on Rikers Island are transferred to federal custody and deported. Only about half of them have a criminal record, many of them are here legally, most of them have their due process rights violated and all of them are subjected to substandard conditions before being returned to their countries of origin. The city has no obligation to hand over detainees, and in fact many cities around the country have refused to participate in the federal government’s efforts. Mayor Michael Bloomberg should do the same. Under what is known as the Criminal Alien Program, for more than a decade city law enforcement officials have given the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency the names of all arrestees, regardless of the crime they are accused of committing and regardless of whether they are convicted. When agents locate an immigrant, they often request that he be transferred to federal custody. Once in federal hands, most detainees are transported to centers in Texas and Louisiana, far from their families. Conditions at these federal detention centers are worse than those at many prisons, with inadequate medical care and access to phones and legal materials. Detainees are subjected to abuse and sometimes even death — 107 people died in immigration detention from 2003 to 2010. True, earlier this year the federal government proposed upgrading these centers, including those in the New York region, to increase capacity and improve conditions. But this is a Band-Aid solution to a much larger problem: over 80 percent of those in detention have little or no access to lawyers — and no effective way to represent their interests in a surreal, confusing system. Not only is the program an injustice — according to our calculations, it has cost the city tens of millions of dollars. New York houses these prisoners at Rikers far longer than it would otherwise, because of a misguided city policy which forbids anyone with immigration holds — meaning they might be placed in deportation proceedings — from being released on bail. What’s more, because of its flaws and draconian rules, the city’s policy deters many immigrant New Yorkers from reporting crimes, fearing that contact with the police could lead to deportation. Perhaps what is most disturbing is that sometimes legal immigrants who have been convicted of no crime are caught up in this system. Their plight stems partly from flaws in federal databases; the process is too rushed to ensure proper identification of status and identity, let alone confirmation of criminal background. But it’s also a matter of political pressure to increase the number of people who are deported every year. E-mails released in December from the Department of Homeland Security showed how the immigration agency has been pushing states and cities to send it the fingerprints of all those they arrest as part of a similar program, Secure Communities. For all these reasons, Mayor Bloomberg should end New York’s collaboration with federal officials on Rikers Island and resist Washington’s pressure to join the newer Secure Communities program. New York wouldn’t be the first: communities as diverse as Santa Clara, Calif., and Arlington, Va., have limited or prevented federal access to their jails. For decades, New York City has been a beacon to the rest of the country in promoting immigrant rights. We must not let our desire to enforce immigration laws lead us to dim that light. Scott M. Stringer is the Manhattan borough president. Andrew Friedman is the co-executive director of Make the Road New York, an immigrant advocacy organization.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

"The Price of Immigration," a video from Bread for the World

Bread for the World has produced a moving (6 minute) video telling the story of a young man who emigrated from Mexico to North Carolina, seeking opportunities for himself and his family. The narrator, Dr. James Johnson, a professor at UNC Chapel Hill, provides the economic context for this story. http://vimeo.com/21723990

Monday, March 28, 2011

Are Immigrants Welcome in Philadelphia?

Tuesday, April 12 · 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Broad Street Ministries
315 S. Broad Street (across from Kimmel Center)
Philadelphia PA

Debaters will discuss the impact of local policies on the relationships between immigrant communities, citizen communities and the city government.

Topics will include:
1. city security policies that encourage or prevent racial profiling; 2. police response to domestic violence situations;
3. language access in linguistically diverse neighborhoods;
4. immigrant-friendly schools; and, especially, the pros and cons of the current information-sharing agreement between the Philadelphia Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security's office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Pro: Sarah Paoletti, JD Practice Associate Professor of
Law, University of Pennsylvania Director, Transnational Legal
Clinic, Advocate for comprehensive immigration reform and protection of human rights for all immigrants.

Con: Stu Bykofsky
Sut Bykofsky columnist with the Philadelphia Daily News since 1987, Member of the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and Philadelphia's Pen and Pencil Club. He is a strong proponent of legal immigration and specifically opposes illegal immigration, as he opposes illegality in general.

First District and At Large Candidates for City Council will be asked to state their position on these important issues following the debate.

Co-sponsors of this event: New Sanctuary Movement, JUNTOS, Broad Street Ministries, Central Baptist Church Immigration Justice Group (Wayne, PA), HIAS Migration and Council, Friends of Farmworkers, Arch St. United Methodist Church, Institute for Community Justice, Center for Constitutional Rights, National Day Laborers Organizing Network, Philly Childcare Collective, Rights Working Group, Democracia Ahora PA, Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Civil Rights leader Congressman John Lewis at immigration rally in Georgia

Congressman John Lewis -- Civil Rights leader and chairman of SNCC -- at immigration justice rally in Georgia on March 24th -- "If any of you get arrested & go to jail, I'm prepared to get arrested & go to jail with you. If any of us are arrested, are put in jail, then we all should be put in jail. The jails of Georgia, the jails of America aren't large enough to hold all of us! So get out there! Make some noise! Work hard & we will get justice here in the state of GA & all around America. Speak up, speak out & organize!"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Share your ideas for books on immigration topics

Betsy has suggested a couple of books for the Immigration Justice education group to consider for use in another immigration class for the congregation --

 Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion, and Truth in the Immigration Debate (Sorens and Hwang) 

Listen to the Children / Escuchemos a los ninos (Conde-Frazer ), in both English and Spanish, that outlines issues faced by immigrant families in a non-proselytizing biblical framework.

If you have found a good book to suggest, let us know!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Report on Immigration Detention

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has recently published a very informative report on immigrant detention -- REPORT ON IMMIGRATION IN THE UNITED STATES: DETENTION AND DUE PROCESS. Here is a press release that contains a link to the entire report: http://www.cidh.oas.org/Comunicados/English/2011/21-11eng.htm

Connecting the Underground Railroad with Immigration

Attended the Underground Railroad and Immigration meeting last night at the Arch Street Methodist Church in downtown Philadelphia. Interesting meeting. The important role that congregations of several persuasions in our city played in the Underground Railroad --providing sanctuary sometimes, helping escaping slaves to craft a new identity, meld into the free Black community in Philly, find work and a place to live highlighted for me some of the practical roles that congregations can play in accompanying immigrants. I loved the question by a member of the group, "was hiring an escaped slave a violation of the law?" The answer was "probably." It made me wonder about the potential of hiring so-called illegal immigrants as an act of civil disobedience. I was struck by the contrast between the heroic risk taken by "Conductors" on the Underground Railroad and the greed and betrayal that characterizes some of the "coyotes" who bring people across the south-western border today.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Marta and Eastern Univ students at Philly Dream Act rally

Marta DeAngulo and Eastern University students at the Dream Act rally
Betsy, Caroline, Yatz, Juan, and Marta represented CBC at the  UNDOCUMENTED -- UNAFRAID --  UNAPOLOGETIC rally with DreamActivists in Philadelphia on March 19th.  Marta was there with a group of Eastern University students who had organized a van from the campus.

Here's info about an opportunity to support young people from Pennsylvania who will be traveling to Georgia for a national DreamActivist training in early April. 


Only two days ago, on March 19th, immigrant youth and members of DreamActivist Pennsylvania decided to come out of the shadows and declare themselves: Undocumented, unafraid, and unapologetic on the lawn of Independence Mall. The rally was attended by almost 150 people, immigrant youth and supporters who believe these students deserve a pathway to legalization. This event was part of a national “Coming out of the Shadows” campaign organized by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance.

On April 1 – 3, members of DreamActivist Pennsylvania will be traveling to Georgia to take part on the first ever National Immigrant Youth Alliance convening.
The NIYA is an undocumented youth-LED network of grassroots organizations, campus-based student groups and individuals committed to achieving equality for all immigrant youth, regardless of their legal status. As a national network our core values are to: Empower, Educate, and Escalate.

During the convening, undocumented youth and allies from all over the country will join to construct a new vision for tomorrow. The convening will include the creation of a new nationwide strategy to win rights for immigrant youth and build new leadership.

We are asking for your support in allowing DreamActivist Pennsylvania to be part of this new step in the movement by making a donation that will allow members to attend the convening.

You can make a donation by going to this link: http://bit.ly/niyageorgia
If you're part of an organization and wish to sponsor a member to attend the convening or if you have any questions please e-mail us at dreamactivistpa@gmail.com
Your support brings us closer to realizing our dreams and creating a new future to continue fighting for our community! We appreciate your generosity and continued support.


DreamActivist Pennsylvania

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rally with DreamActivists this Saturday in Philadelphia

Rally in Philadelphia on Saturday with undocumented youth of Pennsylvania and allies!   Marta DeAngulo and other students at Eastern University have organized a van from EU.   We're all invited to be part of this event! 


1pm to 3pm Saturday, March 19th, at Independence Mall (next to Independence Visitor Center)
March 14 - 21 has been declared National Coming Out Week, the time when undocumented youth break the silence and tell a friend, teacher, facebook, or others of their immigration status. March 19th, 2011, the undocumented youth of Pennsylvania will come out of the shadows. We will declare ourselves undocumented, unafraid, and unapologetic to our community. Now is the time to fight back and make sure that everyone know that we are still not afraid and will not be silenced!   Rally with us and our allies! Out of the shadows and into the streets!

Sign up for working groups

Immigration Justice working groups -- If you haven't signed up to be part of one of the CBC working groups but still want to, contact the appropriate facilitator for information:

Accompaniment - Betsy Morgan
Education - Linda Houser
Arts - Yatz Marcano
Political Action - Ryan Paetzold
Worship - Joe Leonard
Networking - Caroline Cargo