Presentation on theme: "Compassionate Immigration Reform Presented by: Jennifer Toth, SSL Campaign Manager UUA/SSL Immigration Background An Update on the Status of CIR Advocacy."— Presentation transcript:
Compassionate Immigration Reform Presented by: Jennifer Toth, SSL Campaign Manager UUA/SSL Immigration Background An Update on the Status of CIR Advocacy Visits 101 Where do we go from here?
Information in the presentation was developed by the UUA, SSL, and our coalition partners, and is used with permission: UUA Multicultural Growth and Witness Interfaith Immigration Coalition Alliance for Citizenship We Belong Together Coalition
You only need one take-away from todays workshop: I Stand on the Side of Love with Immigrant Families! As a person of faith, UU, or guest here today, you know that our current immigration system is broken and does not respect the human worth and dignity of undocumented people in the U.S. It is time for us to raise our voices to our elected officials!
Supporting immigrant rights has been a core Unitarian Universalist value for a long time... At our first General Assembly in 1961, we passed a resolution on the rights of immigrant workers, followed by a 1963 resolution calling for immigration reform. Throughout the 1970s we supported immigrant farm worker campaigns, and in the 1980s, many Unitarian Universalist congregations were actively involved in the Sanctuary movement. Three General Assemblies of the UUA endorsed sanctuary for refugees and the UUA Board of Trustees established a fund to support individuals seeking sanctuary and to aid churches providing sanctuary. Our 2004 Statement on Civil Liberties affirmed our commitment to advocate for the right to due process of immigrants, refugees and foreign nationals. In 2006, 2007, and 2010 the General Assembly passed Actions of Immediate Witness to support immigrant communities, including a call for an immediate moratorium on federal raids and resulting deportations.
…but the 2012 Justice General Assembly was a big turning point.
Part Two: An Update on the Status of Compassionate Immigration Reform (CIR)
SENATE Immigration Reform (S.744) Introduced Bennet, Durbin, Menendez, Schumer Flake, Graham, McCain, Rubio S.744 referred to Judiciary Committee for study, hearings, revisions, approval. Judiciary committee Chair - Leahy (VT) S.744 debated by full Senate. If passed, goes to House Majority Leader Reid (NV) Conference Committee resolves difference between House and Senate versions Compromise bill goes back to House and Senate for final passage. Approved bill sent to President President signs, vetoes, or allows bill to become law without signing. Immigration Reform (H.1) Introduced H.1 referred to Judiciary Committee for study, hearings, revisions, approval. H.1 debated by full House. If passed, goes to Senate Carter, Johnson, Diaz-Balart Becerra, Lofgren, Gutierrez, Yarmuth HOUSE Immigration sub- committee Chair – Schumer (NY) Judiciary committee chair – Goodlatte (VA) Immigration sub- committee chair – Gowdy (SC) Speaker Boehner (OH) PRESIDENT
How does S. 744 enhance protections for all immigrants overall, and thus survivors? Creates Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status & path to citizenship. Strengthens protections for non-citizens in child protection cases. Eliminates one-year filing deadline for asylum. Creates additional waivers for bars to legal status. Limits immigration enforcement at sensitive locations (schools, hospitals/clinics, churches, crime victim services). Ensures screening of unaccompanied immigrant children at the border to identify victims of persecution or trafficking. Improves treatment while in ICE/CBP custody; requires female officers to escort female detainees during transport. Bolsters protections for workers recruited abroad by contractors.
S.744: The Good, The Bad, & The Corker-Hoeven GOOD: 13 year path to citizenship for a majority of the 11 million; generous DREAM provision; Right to Reunite provision. BAD: Enforcement triggers; Limited access to benefits. CORKER-HOEVEN: 20,000 additional border patrol agents; $30 billion for technology for an already militarized border.
Whats Happening in the House? It is still unclear how the House will move forward on immigration reform, so we need to send a strong signal to our Representatives that their constituents want to see them support immigration reform that reunites families and creates a path to citizenship. We also need all of our Representatives to urge their colleagues in House Leadership positions - Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, Representative Goodlatte and others - to give us a vote on citizenship!
Whats Happening in the House? So far, the Homeland Security Committee has approved one bill on border enforcement, and the Judiciary Committee has approved four bills on high skilled visas, employment-verification, agricultural workers and interior enforcement. None would create a path to citizenship. That interior enforcement bill, the SAFE Act, would make Arizona's anti- immigrant SB 1070 the law for the entire country, encouraging racial profiling and forcing local police to act as immigration officials – which reduces community safety because people will be afraid to report crimes for fear of deportation. The SAFE Act would also criminalize churches and others who help people who are undocumented and would drastically expand immigrant detention and negatively impact vulnerable refugees. We need to say NO to the SAFE act. It is not the reform we need – we need real reform that will create a path to citizenship and reunite families.
Whats Happening in the House? Also, 7 House members – Democrats and Republicans – are working together to draft a bill that will likely include a path to citizenship, but we still do not know what this looks like yet. This "House Gang of 7" also need to hear from all Representatives that they want them to introduce their bill – immigration reform cant wait! The House is not treating the issue of immigration reform with the urgency it needs to. We need to make sure our Representatives hear us loud and clear, that their constituents want a vote on citizenship!
What do our partners want? Reasonable timeframe for a path to citizenship. Comprehensive Immigration Reform passed this year. Moratorium on deportations.
Some national groups are very concerned or opposed to S.744: Derechos Humanos NDLON No More Deaths Presente.org
Principles for Reform Secure broadest possible legalization with a path to citizenship. Preserve and work to advance family reunification. Protect rights and working conditions for all workers. Ensure enforcement measures protect American and immigrant workers, advance due process and fair treatment, and are consistent with American values. Accord the responsibilities and rights required for full integration into American society.
Principles for Reform Include a broad and clear roadmap to citizenship that recognizes the contributions of women. Strengthen the family immigration system. Recognize womens work in the allocation of future work visas, and provide protections for all women workers on the job.
Principles for Reform Address the Causes of Migration Create a Process for Undocumented Immigrants to Earn Citizenship Keep Families Together Enact the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act Protect Workers Rights, Including Agricultural Workers Place Humanitarian Values at the Center of Enforcement Policies Protect Refugees and Migrant Survivors of Violence
Congregation-Based Community Organizing (CBCO) From Gamaliel: Provide a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people currently within our borders, with an expedited path for immediate family members of U.S. citizens, DACA students, and individuals with Temporary Protection Status; Emphasize healthy families and communities rather than border security and punishment; Immediately halt deportations and workplace raids; Reunify families and end the Secure Communities program and legal provisions that have led to their separation; Protect civil, labor, and human rights of all immigrants, regardless of legal status; Provide access to healthcare, social services and due process, regardless of legal status; Ensure protections for victims of violence and trafficking; and Recognize the contributions of women and low income immigrants.
Part Three: Advocacy/In-District/Neighbor- to-Neighbor Visits 101
What are neighbor-to- neighbor visits? Neighbor-to-neighbor visits are in-district visits with your elected officials. Visit and connect with your senators & representatives in their home offices to: Voice your concerns on issues you care about. Voice concerns on behalf of those who you work closely with. To persuade your senators and representative to vote for immigration reform that prioritizes family unity and provides a pathway to full citizenship. To put our faith into action to make sure your senators and representative understand that their constituents and people of faith care about immigrants rights. To build relationships between people of faith and public officials who make decisions that impact our communities.
Love has no borders. Love keeps families together. Love respects the inherent worth and dignity of all people.
Talking Points for Meeting with Federal Representatives Love has no borders. All 11 million undocumented immigrants need a path to citizenship that is affordable, accessible, and non-punitive; Paths to citizenship should not be contingent on enforcement measures at the border; Protect sacred sites of indigenous peoples, endangered species and public lands, and small business and landowners operating on the border.
Talking Points for Meeting with Federal Representatives Love keeps families together. End all deportations immediately, so immigrants can participate in public life; Relieve police of immigration enforcement duties, so the safety of communities can be rebuilt; End the backlog of families waiting for legal status; Ensure that same-gender and non-traditional families have the same rights as other families.
Talking Points for Meeting with Federal Representatives Love respects the inherent worth and dignity of all people. All people are entitled to a good job, labor protections, and access to good, affordable health coverage and medical care; All labor sectors are recognized, including domestic, agricultural, and other low-wage work; Extend labor regulations, worker protections, and key tax credits to those in provisional status; Reduce health disparities by providing equal access for those in provisional status to the Affordable Care Act and other medical rights, and protections from violence.
Why are neighbor-to-neighbor visits important? When members of Congress know their constituents care about immigrants rights, they vote accordingly. Bringing together a delegation of faith and community leaders to establish and nurture relationships with your senators and representatives is crucial to enacting humane immigration reform. Every senator and representative has an office – often multiple offices – in their home states. This is a convenient opportunity to make your voice heard. Neighbor-to-Neighbor visits are meetings that you and others in your community set up with your members of Congress and their staff to urge them to support humane immigration reform.
Planning Your Neighbor-to-Neighbor Visits Before the Visit: Get a team together. Find out whose vote on immigration is most important in your region. Meet ahead of time or put together a conference call to assign talking points and roles for each participant. Find out about your elected officials faith background and try to have some one from that denomination at the visit. Find out the basics of the decision makers background and biography. Research their background on immigration, district demographics of Latino voters, and campaign contributors. Make sure to invite higher level religious leaders. Make your group diverse, and try to have someone impacted by these policies present to tell their story. Engage the faith perspective and moral imperative.
During the Visit Suggested Framework: Remember you dont need to be too scripted, or sound like a policy wonk. Just speak from the heart! Introductions & Hand out SSL Immigration Cards Personal Story Specific Issue Points Path to full citizenship Family Unity Humanitarian Principles Make your ask and leave behind materials Thank you and invitation to prayer vigil, ESL class, other event If time allows, take a photo with your elected official with your SSL visibility
After the Visit Consider holding a vigil outside the office. Debrief your meeting. Communicate with your base, and ask for folks to make follow-up calls. Follow up with your member of Congress. Let us know how your visit went by emailing your story to firstname.lastname@example.org! Remember to take and send us photos.
Part Four: Where do we go from here? August Recess Ideas Congressional Visits & Letter Drops Raise Visibility at Congressional Town Hall Signs of Change Sermons & Prayers for Immigration Reform
Pray & Fast We invite you join us in 40 days of fasting, prayer, and advocacy from September 9 to October 18 that we hope will transform our own hearts and the heart of our country for immigration reform.
Fast Action for Immigration Reform Initiative How do we raise the level of concern, engage our communities, and grow in the virtues of solidarity and hospitality? We are at a point where we have to escalate our efforts, expose the injustice, and engage the heart of our country. We are convinced that what we need now is a compassion surge. **Invitation to Fast, Pray, and Advocate for 40 Days: Sept. 9 - Oct. 18** 1.Fast: enter more fully into the suffering, there are multiple ways to fast 2.Pray: regularly engage relationship with God (resources available for common prayer, interfaith prayers, weekly intentions) 3.Share experiences and invite others to join!
Resources Fast Action for Immigration: www.fastaction.us INeighbor-to-Neighbor Visit Toolkit: http://www.interfaithimmigration.org/wp- content/uploads/2013/01/IIC_NEIGHBOR_to_NEIGHBOR_Toolkit_01.p df August 2013 Congressional Recess Toolkit: http://www.interfaithimmigration.org/wp- content/uploads/2013/03/Interfaith-Immigration-Coalition-August- Recess-Toolkit.pdf Prayer Vigils for Family Unity Toolkit: http://www.interfaithimmigration.org/wp- content/uploads/2013/01/IIC_Prayer_Vigil_Toolkit_01.18.13.pdf