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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 Program, Rio 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
Immigration, Public Safety
Senate Sends Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants Bill to Gov’s Desk
CT News Junkie
Thursday, May 30, 2013
A 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.
Interfaith Group Takes Leading Role In Political, Civic Issues
Monday, May 27, 2013
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
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).
Weighing IDs For Illegal Immigrants
Wall Street Journal
Monday, May 6, 2013
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.
Connecticut General Assembly expected to let undocumented immigrants drive legally
New Haven Register
Monday, April 29, 2013
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
Jewish Herald Voice
Thursday, April 25, 2013
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)...
community organizing in Arizona, Arizona Interfaith Network, immigration organizing, Bishop Kikanes, Bishop Smith
Arizona Bishops & Clergy Strategize for Immigration Reform
Episcopal Diocese of Arizona
Friday, March 8, 2013
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
2,000 attend New Haven hearing on bill to give licenses to undocumented
The New Haven Register
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
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
Let Immigrants Get Driver's Licenses
Monday, February 18, 2013
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.
Working on behalf of the powerless
Monday, February 4, 2013
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.
Churches and lawmakers pushing to allow undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses
New Haven Register
Friday, January 4, 2013
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.