Immigration

Immigration

Wed Feb 12, 2014

Even with a Board that included a Supervisor elected by the Tea Party, PCIC leaders leveraged a unanimous vote (5-0) in support of a resolution making Pima an “immigrant welcoming county.”

Bud Foster of KOLD-TV reportsthat half the speakers were against the resolution.  However, he notes, “the opponents were not organized like the supporters were.  Most of this crowd [w]ere from the Pima County Interfaith Council.” In photo, PCIC leaders pre-meet before filing into the boardroom.  Fr. Tom Tureman of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church and Rev. Randy Mayer of Good Shepherd of United Church of Christ spoke on behalf of the organization.

Over the last year, leaders of the Pima County Interfaith Council (PCIC) crafted the resolution, taking into account the concerns of their institutional base and those of Supervisors.  This is part of a state-wide strategy to demonstrate a constituency in Arizona that supports federal immigration reform.

County Officially Adopts “Immigrant-Welcoming” DesignationArizona Daily Star

Pima County Becomes Immigrant Welcoming CommunityKOLD-TV

PCIC Photo Gallery


Fri Nov 15, 2013

300 leaders of the Sound Alliance reached an agreement with King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski to support an ordinance that would change how the County handles ICE “detainer requests...”  

Read more here

Thu Apr 11, 2013

In civic academies on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Valley Interfaith leaders learned that there were almost no Spanish GED classes or testing sites in the County of Hidalgo and a lack of classes to prepare. This led some to travel hours to Brownsville – the only available site in the Rio Grande Valley.  Leaders worked with the McAllen Independent School System and St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church to expand Spanish language GED preparation classes, and with South Texas College to begin Spanish GED testing in Hidalgo County. Today, more than 60 students are enrolled.  [Photo Credit: Steve Taylor, Rio Grande Guardian]

Valley Interfaith Plans to Expand GED En Espanol ProgramRio Grande Guardian

Wed Feb 27, 2013

150 PCIC leaders, DREAMers and their parents filled the Board Room at Pima Community College and cheered when the Board of Governors voted 4-1 in favor of in-state tuition discounts for DACA students.  Currently, hundreds of undocumented local students pay five times the in-state rate and are not eligible for financial aid.

PCIC leader Melanie Nelson spoke of the six Deferred Action Civic Academies held at her church, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, last fall. “These students have lawful status now, but they can’t afford the high tuition. Before DACA we had several attempted suicides in our parish.  Now they need an pathway to an education and a future,” she said. Before the vote, Jimmy Ojeda, a homeowner and parent, from St. John’s, and Monica Leon, a U of A graduate, from Casa Maria Catholic Worker shared their own immigration stories. The group’s goal is now to get the University of Arizona system to follow Pima’s lead.

Tue Jan 29, 2013

After leaders of OTOC’s Immigration Action Team challenged Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer to ensure that immigrants stopped by OPD officers receive fair treatment, OPD issued an official bulletin to all officers informing them that thematricula consular could be accepted as valid identification.  (The matricula consular is an identification card issued by consulates verifying the place of residence for foreign nationals.)  Photo shows leaders in early encounter with Chief Schmaderer.

OTOC leaders also met with the head of Douglas County Corrections and the regional director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about ways to reduce the number of immigrants with small children being detained in Douglas County jails while they await deportation hearings.  ICE has now implemented a new release program which allows up to 100 persons who would otherwise be detained to return home to their families while they await their hearings.

Thu Mar 17, 2011

Thanks to the leadership of AIM (Montgomery County), BUILD (Baltimore), and PATH (Howard County), the Maryland legislature passed the DREAM Act in 2011.  This historic legislation allows immigrant high school graduates with taxpaying parents to attend public universities at in-state tuition rates, regardless of immigration status.  For more information on next steps to preserve this victory: http://www.actioninmontgomery.org/currentcampaigns

In the News


Community Organizing in Nevada, Nevada IAF, Immigration, ICE detentions, Congressional Hearing, Robert Hoo

Nevada Leaders Big Players in Immigration Congressional Hearing

Monday, March 24, 2014
Las Vegas Review Journal &Las Vegas Sun

Representing Nevadans for the Common Good, a coalition of local faith-based groups, [Bishop Joseph] Pepe questioned whether some people are being detained simply to meet the daily bed quota for immigrants in detention.  “Immigration procedures and laws are applied unevenly and often are not filling prosecutorial priorities,” he said.


Immigration, county resolution, PCIC, Pima County Board of Supervisors, Kevin Courtney

PCIC Gets 5-0 Vote Making Pima County "Immigrant Welcoming"

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Arizona Daily Star & Tucson News Now

After winning a similar resolution in Tucson last year, leaders of the Pima County Interfaith Council leveraged a unanimous vote to make the county in Arizona "immigrant welcoming."  


CIR, DACA, SAFE Act, immigration organizing, TMO, Texas IAF, Elizabeth Valdez

TMO Religious Leadership Stands with Young Immigrants

Monday, November 4, 2013
Houston Chronicle

Diana stood before the cameras and the microphones and in a quiet, nervous voice began to tell her story about coming to America. The 18-year-old, who will be graduating from high school this year as a member of the National Honor Society, spoke in perfect English. She spoke effusively about her love of Houston and Texas and America.


Immigration Reform, CIR, SAFE Act, Bishop Riggle-Huie, Cardinal DiNardo, Elizabeth Valdez, Houston

Houston Clergy Urges Lawmakers to Defeat Immigration Enforcement Plan

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Houston Chronicle

Houston clergy joined dozens of immigration reform supporters Wednesday to call for members of Congress to reject a bill that would permit tougher penalties and enforcement for an illegal presence in the United States.  At a news conference organized by The Metropolitan Organization... 


Immigration Organizing in Arizona, Social Justice, Interfaith, Arizona IAF, Joe Rubio

Flagstaff City Council Passes Resolution for Immigration Reform

Thursday, October 3, 2013
Northern Arizona Amigos

The Flagstaff City Council, by a vote of 6-1, approved a resolution supporting comprehensive immigration reform during a meeting held on Oct. 1 at City Hall. Supporters of the measure spoke before the council prior to the vote, voicing their support. Following the vote, the supporters gathered in the lobby for a celebration, along with an impromptu planning session to map out future action.

The effort was led by the Northern Arizona Interfaith Council,


Community Organizing in California, Immigration, Public Safety, Interfaith, Social Justice

Straight Talk from Immigrants at COPA Meeting with Sheriff

Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak took steps toward building trust with the local immigrant community by hosting a town hall meeting Monday to discuss fears around deportation.  Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action, a Watsonville-based community advocacy group, organized the event to address unreported crime in immigrant communities.


Social Justice, Justice for Immigrants, Organizing in Arizona, CIR, Senator McCain, Rep. Grijalva

150 Arizona Leaders Meet with McCain & Grijalva Re: Immigration

Thursday, August 29, 2013
Arizona Interfaith

Clergy and laity (including Catholic Bishop Gerald Kikanes and other denominational bishops) assembled for lengthy, frank and bipartisan conversation with Senator John McCain and US Representative Raul Grijalva about the strategy needed to pass immigration reform this fall. Both concluded...

[Photo Credit: Glenn Jenks]


Justice for Immigrants, Welcoming the Stranger, Joe Rubio, Arizona Interfaith, Organizing in Arizona

AZ Interfaith Meets with Sen. McCain, In Support of Immigration Reform

Monday, August 12, 2013
Arizona Republic

Taking full advantage of the August recess, Arizona Interfaith leaders met with Senator John McCain for frank conversation about the prospects for comprehensive immigration reform.  Judicatory leaders and key Arizona clergy discussed with the Senator how to broaden Congressional support for reform that includes a path to citizenship.


community organizing in Arizona, Social Justice, Interfaith, CIR, Welcoming the Stranger, Justice for Immigrants

Migrant Reform Protests Urged

Thursday, August 8, 2013
Arizona Daily Sun

Roberto isn’t a legal Arizona resident, but he has a dream of becoming one.

He also has a 2-year-old daughter with a serious illness who needs his care.

Now, thanks to a traffic stop, an arrest and the start of deportation proceedings, he is on the verge of losing both....


Community Organizing in Texas, Texas IAF, Justice for Immigrants, Interfaith Ministries

COPS / Metro Challenges Rep. Lamar Smith, Stance Shifts on DREAMers

Monday, July 8, 2013
San Antonio Express-News

At a meeting at his district office last week, Rep. Lamar Smith said something that surprised members of Communities Organized for Public Service/Metro Alliance, a church-based advocacy group that supports comprehensive immigration reform.

According to a COPS/Metro member present at the June 24 meeting, the Republican congressman listed reform measures that he could support, including tightened border security, a guest worker program and the DREAM Act....


Community Organizing in Texas, Social Justice, justice for the immigrant

Central Texas Bishops Call for Immigration Reform

Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Austin American Statesman & Univision

In a prayer service and press conference organized by Austin Interfaith, Central Texas Bishops and clergy from six religious denominations “pressed Tuesday for reforms centered on keeping families together and allowing unauthorized immigrants to earn legal residency with a path to citizenship….


Immigration, Public Safety

Senate Sends Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants Bill to Gov’s Desk

Thursday, May 30, 2013
CT News Junkie

bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver’s license received final passage Wednesday night as a group of advocates watched from the Senate balcony. Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut, a nonpartisan interfaith group, pushed for the legislation in meetings with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and encouraged them to move forward with it. The organization of about a 15,000 people was founded in 2011, but this was their first full-court press for legislation. It was an uphill battle. All four bills that would have permitted these drivers’ licenses died in the Transportation Committee, but the organization with the support of Rep. Juan Candelaria of New Haven was determined to find a vehicle for passage.


Immigration

Interfaith Group Takes Leading Role In Political, Civic Issues

Monday, May 27, 2013
Hartford Courant

Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut has played advocate for social and economic justice since the nonpartisan interfaith group's founding in November 2011.

Most recently, CONECT successfully pushed for legislation to enable undocumented immigrants to acquire driver's licenses. The group argued the move would not only allow undocumented immigrants to feel secure driving their kids to and from school and themselves to and from work, but would benefit all motorists because immigrants would have to be tested on their driving skills and would be able to register their cars and buy insurance.


Social Justice, Immigration Reform, Medicaid Expansion, community organizing in Arizona

Yuma County Clergy Fight for Immigration Reform & Medicaid

Sunday, May 26, 2013
Yuma Sun

Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas joined nearly 100 members of churches of different denominations from the area who gathered … to organize a campaign in favor of not only a new immigration law but also efforts of Gov. Jan Brewer to expand the state’s health program for the poor: the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS).


immigration organizing

Weighing IDs For Illegal Immigrants

Monday, May 6, 2013
Wall Street Journal

Connecticut Democrats are rallying around a plan that would allow people who are in the U.S. illegally to get driver's licenses, making the state one of several to consider the idea this year.... The plan's advocates say it would ensure these immigrants are given proper driving tests and allow them to get car insurance. The proposal could also provide additional state revenue from registration fees and car taxes. "This is a population that has been here for many years and must drive to conduct their lives, and bringing them into the system will benefit the general public," said the Rev. James Manship, co-chairman of Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut, a coalition of religious groups.


Immigration

Connecticut General Assembly expected to let undocumented immigrants drive legally

Monday, April 29, 2013
New Haven Register

HARTFORD — The leadership of the General Assembly says the votes are there and they expect to pass a bill this session that would offer driver’s licenses to undocumented residents, citing reasons including training, insurance, revenue and safety.... CONECT, or Congregations for a New Connecticut, which represents some 28 different faith communities in the state, has lobbied hard for the changes since January, making arguments on the economic benefits of insuring all drivers and bringing new revenues to the state, but mainly on the safety aspect.


Community Organizing in Texas, Immigration, Social Justice

Houston Clergy Fight for Immigration Reform

Thursday, April 25, 2013
Jewish Herald Voice

Calling for humane immigration reform grounded in civil and human rights, some 40 Houston-area clergy came to the bimah at Congregation Beth Israel on April 23 to urge support for a bipartisan Senate immigration bill. In a press conference organized by The Metropolitan Organization, the religious leaders applauded the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S. 744)...

West / Southwest IAF


community organizing in Arizona, Arizona Interfaith Network, immigration organizing, Bishop Kikanes, Bishop Smith

Arizona Bishops & Clergy Strategize for Immigration Reform

Friday, March 8, 2013
Episcopal Diocese of Arizona

75 bishops and clergy from Lutheran, Jewish, Presbyterian, Catholic, Episcopal and Methodist faiths strategized on the future of immigration reform at an ecumenical gathering organized by the Arizona Interfaith Network.

Bishop Gerald Kicanas, of the Catholic Diocese of Tucson told the group that “today is a day to develop…strategies” and challenged clergy, asking “what can we do to mobilize our congregations?”  Episcopal Bishop Kirk Smith asserted that “the current system is broken, cruel and an affront to God and man.”  West / Southwest IAF


Immigration

2,000 attend New Haven hearing on bill to give licenses to undocumented

Tuesday, March 5, 2013
The New Haven Register

NEW HAVEN — Carolina Bortolleto, an undocumented student from Danbury, came forward Monday to testify, not for herself, but on behalf of her parents, explaining what drivers’ licenses would for mean for them. “Sitting in the back seat I can see my mom shaking and praying if she sees the police behind us. ... ‘Pull over anywhere. Pretend we are stopping for coffee. Pretend we are stopping at this restaurant, because if the police stop us, we are going to be deported,” Bortolleto said of the daily fear they experience just driving to work or to school or the grocery store. “All these basic tasks that you take for granted, are filled with anxiety for me and my family,” said Bortolleto, who is a leader in CT Students for a DREAM. She was one of 2,000 people from around the state who came to Wilbur Cross High School where they filled the auditorium and spilled into the gymnasium and the cafeteria to testify on behalf of proposed legislation that would provide licenses to the undocumented


Immigration

Let Immigrants Get Driver's Licenses

Monday, February 18, 2013
Hartford Courant

In a perfect world, everyone in this country would be here legally and be eligible for all of the privileges of citizenship. In the world we've got, however, there are some 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country, tens of thousands in Connecticut. The vast majority came here to work and gain a better life — the same reason people have been coming to these shores for nearly four centuries. As New York Times writer Adam Davidson recently observed, the immigrants mostly help the economy. But to do so, many need to drive.... Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut, a group of more than two dozen religious congregations from the southwestern part of the state, has researched the issue and believes that allowing an estimated 54,000 undocumented immigrants to get licenses would make driving safer and less expensive for everyone.


Immigration

Working on behalf of the powerless

Monday, February 4, 2013
Connecticut Post

The angry letters practically write themselves. Illegal means illegal. Stop rewarding law-breakers. And on and on. Few issues lend themselves to demagoguery as easily as immigration. So the idea of allowing people referred to as illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses from the state of Connecticut will be a nonstarter to many people.


Immigration

Churches and lawmakers pushing to allow undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses

Friday, January 4, 2013
New Haven Register

NEW HAVEN — A coalition of churches and lawmakers will push this General Assembly session to allow undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses as a safety issue that protects all residents. The effort is being led by CONECT, or Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut, which said some 200 community leaders are expected to attend a rally at 2 p.m. Sunday at St. Rose of Lima Church, 115 Blatchley Ave., to kick off the effort.