UUA Immigration News
January 2012: Immigration Advocacy in Our Communities -- It's Working!
Dear Immigrant Justice Leaders,
This month's issue includes great resources for successful grassroots organizing in support of immigrants in our communities. Additionally we have a report about the most recent announcement from the Obama administration about proposed changes to immigration policy.
Resources for Taking Action: Webinar on Congregational Resources for Grassroots Immigration Advocacy in Our Communities – Feb 2nd at 8pm EST
The UUA and our coalition partners Interfaith Immigration Coalition, National Day Laborer’s Organizing Network (NDLON), and the New Sanctuary movement are launching a national campaign of immigration advocacy in our communities. Our goal is to have interfaith teams meeting with officials in their communities to: 1) change the way communities respond to detainment requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and 2) to stop the unlimited access of ICE agents to jails. Policies resisting such requests by ICE have already been implemented in Cook Co., IL and Santa Rosa Co., CA, and more counties are sure to follow suit. Local policy change is possible and momentum is building around the country!
Join us for the next Webinar on Thursday, February 2nd at 8:00 p.m. EST. This webinar is part of the Standing on the Side of Love’s 30 Days of Love Campaign. Sign up here!
These resources will help your congregation engage more extensively in this grassroots movement:
- Download the Advocacy Toolkit, a step by step guide to changing your community’s policy on ICE Hold Requests.
- Look at the online map to see if there any teams that have formed or are forming in your community.
All of the above and more are available online!
Best Practice: Four UU Congregations Join Together to Form Visitation Program at Immigration Detention Center
From Jan Meslin, Tapestry, a Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Mission Viejo, CA.
On January 15, more than 20 people from four UU congregations in the Orange County, CA area attended a workshop and training with Grassroots Leadership. UUs from Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Fullerton, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Laguna Beach, and Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church in Costa Mesa joined those from Tapestry, a Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Mission Viejo, CA.
Donna Red Wing, Executive Director of Grassroots Leadership, and Bob Libal, senior organizer, guided attendees in developing a plan to implement a visitation program at James A. Musick immigration detention center in Irvine, CA — the first of its kind in southern California. Participants also heard from Jose de Jesus Penaflor, an ex-detainee who talked about his life before, during, and after detention. He was bonded out by a fund created at First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles.
Tapestry spent about a year exploring projects and working as a congregation on this important issue. In the fall, Tapestry and UU Fellowship of Laguna Beach jointly facilitated the “Immigration as a Moral Imperative” class. More than 25 people who attended at least 2 of the 6 sessions, said that as a result, they are ready to get more involved.
The next step in the coming month will be to meet with an ICE official at the detention center to discuss specifics for setting up the visitations.
Feedback/Survey: Has your congregation used the six-week curriculum for our congregational study/action issue (CSAI), “Immigration as a Moral Issue”? If so, then we want to hear from you! As the “Immigration as a Moral Issue” CSAI nears the halfway mark of its four-year run, we are collecting feedback with the intent of revising the current curriculum. Starting February 1st, Unitarian Universalists who have used the six-week curriculum are invited to share their experiences at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/immigrationcsai. It will be available for three months (closing April 30th). So even if you haven’t used the curriculum yet, it’s not too late to organize a study group or adult RE class.
Immigration Policy Report: From Kat Liu, UUA Witness Ministries Program Associate in Washington, D.C.
On January 6th, the Obama administration proposed changes to U.S. immigration policy that will allow certain immigrants with U.S. citizen family members to file their visa applications from within the U.S. Currently, many undocumented immigrants who are eligible for visas must leave the country in order to adjust their visa status, which then bars them from returning to the U.S. for three or even ten years. Even when the family’s application for a waiver of the bar is successful, the process usually takes many months, resulting in extreme hardship and painful family separation. The Obama administration’s proposal is a common-sense, humane change that will allow families to stay together as they navigate the immigration process. It is important, however, to note that the proposed change has not been implemented yet. Beware of anyone claiming otherwise. For more information, see the US Citizenship & Immigration Services website.
Justice GA: Are you coming to Justice GA? Things are heating up in Arizona -- between the Department of Justice investigation of Sheriff Arpaio of Marcipa County (see Rev. Morales’ response) and the expected Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of SB1070 sometime in June, the Arizona Immigration Ministry and our partners expect there to be many opportunities to make a difference in Phoenix. Let us know if you're coming and how we can help your congregation get organized!
As always, let us know what is happening in your congregation and community, what you need, and how we can help.
Audra, Craig, Dan, Kat, Meredith, Susan, and Taquiena
UUA Witness Ministries staff