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.

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