Member of the Month: Families in Sanctuary
PICC member Free Migration Project is providing legal representation to three families living in sanctuary in two Philadelphia churches. The families were driven to take refuge because of ICE's incessant pressure to deport them into harm's way and separate parents from their children. Supported by the churches and local community groups working around the clock to keep the three families safe and sustained, life in sanctuary nevertheless grows more difficult as time passes. In many ways, sanctuary resembles house arrest. It has been made necessary by our unjust and arbitrary immigration laws and the current administration's ruthless focus on scapegoating and separating immigrant families.
Suyapa Reyes, currently in sanctuary with her two children at the First United Methodist Church of Germantown (FUMCOG), told the Philadelphia Inquirer, "Whatever it takes, I will do for my children." Clive Thompson, now in sanctuary at FUMCOG with his wife Oneita and two of their five children after living in New Jersey for the last 14 years, says, "It's an injustice to treat families like this. We deserve a chance, after so many years of living here." And all Keyri Artillero Apolonio, in sanctuary with her mother and three siblings at the Church of the Advocate for nearly ten months now, wanted for her birthday this month was "to no longer be in sanctuary when my birthday comes." Sadly, she didn't get her wish this year. You can support Oneita, Clive and Suyapa's families by signing their petition, and support Carmela and her family by donating and signing up for action alerts.
Free Migration Project fights for the families living in sanctuary in Pennsylvania and works to raise awareness of the devastating impact our immigration laws have on immigrant families in our state and around the country.
Trump Administration Attempts to Expand Family Detention
Even as hundreds of separated children remain terrified and alone in detention, the Trump Administration is moving to try and replace family separation with indefinite family incarceration in an unacceptable bid to jail children indefinitely and subject them to more trauma and abuse.
Two weeks ago, the Trump administration announced they will issue new DHS and HHS regulations in order to withdraw from the Flores Settlement Agreement. The new rules would: strip children of current protections regarding limits on the length of their detention in CBP, ICE, and HHS facilities; undermine licensing practices and conditions standards for their detention, including potentially limiting their access to food and educational resources; and, restrict their ability to reunite with family members and other currently qualified sponsors within the United States, amongst other provisions. The number one priority of the Flores Settlement Agreement is that children not be incarcerated. This foundational principle, which the government agreed to in the settlement, recognizes that the best way to ensure a child’s wellbeing is to keep them out of jail. The proposed regulations allow DHS to jail children indefinitely while DHS “self-certifies” that the jails are safe for children. This is a bald power grab by an agency that cannot be trusted, as time and time again DHS has proved itself unable or unwilling to ensure the basic safety and health of people it jails. Simply put, these rules jeopardize the lives of children and should not move forward. Read a detailed analysis of the proposed rule change
How would this rule change affect Berks Family Detention Center?
ICE has already been ignoring the Flores agreement with impunity at Berks by holding children for as long as 2 years, and in 2018 has already held children lonver than the 20 day limit. Aside from the violation of Flores, the Berks Detention Center is operating contrary to state regulations. This development makes it even more urgent for Gov. Wolf to take immediate action to Shut Down Berks by directing the state Dept. of Human Services to issue an emergency removal order and work to shut down the facility.
It is time to register for the National Immigrant Integration Conference (NIIC)! For a decade, the NIIC has been a key annual space that brings together the diverse and broad spokes of the entire sector working on behalf of immigrants and refugees. Join us this December 9-11, 2018 in Arlington, VA as over 1,000 leaders from all across the country gather at NEW AMERICAN DREAMS: National Immigrant Integration Conference --From Resistance to Victory (NIIC 2018). Together we will learn, strengthen relationships, strategize and power our shared dreams of a truly inclusive and welcoming democracy one that builds on the best of our country's history, celebrating and uplifting all Americans, including the newest among us. Workshops and panels will be organized into different tracks - from family separation to healthcare, citizenship to fighting the tide of hate and expanding educational and economic opportunity. These NIIC Tracks provide essential space to share best practices, lessons from the front-lines and innovative new approaches and strategies.
Last year 13 PICC members attended together. Given that this year's NIIC is so close, we are planning on sending an even larger PA delegation! Don't miss out! Early bird registration closes September 30th. Please contact Carlos Adolfo Gonzalez, Statewide Capacity Building Coordinator, if you have any questions about attending the NIIC.
PICC's New Policy Intern!
PICC welcomes Carly Rose Pourzand as our new Policy Intern. Carly worked as a small group facilitator and trainer for over 5 years at World in Conversation, Center for Public Diplomacy. There, she practiced a grassroots approach to conflict resolution and facilitated cross-cultural conversations on contentious social issues. Through the stories shared in these dialogues and by people in her family, Carly was given a window into the daily injustices experienced by the immigrant community – their resilience has inspired her commitment to advance immigrant rights. She continues to facilitate through her work with Colombia se Escucha. She also worked at Congreso de Latinos Unidos, in the Latina Domestic Violence Program, and Nationalities Service Center (NSC), and studied Persian (Farsi) through the FLAS fellowship. Carly holds her B.S. from Penn State University and she is currently pursuing a Masters in Social Work and a Global Human Rights Certificate from the University of Pennsylvania. Carly will support PICC's education justice work, focusing on the Welcoming Schools Campaign. Please contact Carly at email@example.com if you are interested in learning about and engaging in these efforts.
Free Legal Screening, Immigrant Rights & Tax Workshops (Philadelphia)
Wed Sep 19, 5:00pm
Ceiba, 174 Diamond St., Philadelphia PA 19122
Learn about the ITIN number, how the tax reform will affect ITIN holders, and learn your rights if confronted by ICE. After workshops, get screened for possible immigration relief by immigration attorneys, accredited representatives, and trained volunteers. Please RSVP by calling (215) 634-724
Public Charge Information Sessions/Sesiónes sobre los Cargos Públicos
Upper Darby: Sun Sep 23, 9:30am. Saint Laurence Church, 8245 West Chester Pike, Upper Darby PA 19082
Philadelphia: Wed Sep 26, 6:00pm. 4261 N. 5th St, Philadelphia PA 19140
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has drafted changes to the “public charge” rules that will be harmful to many immigrant families and communities. This could have an impact on citizenship approval in the future. Come join us for a community orientation event to learn more about these changes and what actions we can take in opposition of the proposed rules.
El Departamento de Seguridad Nacional a creado propuestas para hacer cambios a las reglas de que son cargos públicos. Esto puede impactar a familias inmigrantes y nuestras comunidades, especialmente en el futuro si usted quiere hacerse ciudadano Americano. Acompáñenos a esta sesión de información sobre la propuesta y los cambios que propone y como usted puede luchar contra ellos.
#StoptheHate Monthly Educational Webinars – October
Fri Oct 5, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Join activists from around the state who are working to stop all anti-immigrant legislation in PA and to pass pro-immigrant policies at the municipal and state levels. This month we will learn about the Adoptee Rights Campaign with Anne Martin Montgomery. As many as 64,000 children adopted by US citizens between 1948 and 2016 may not have US citizenship. ARC works to promote a legislative solution and provide assistance to the impacted population. We will discuss who is covered and who is excluded under the current law and how you can help. Register Today!
Beyond the Courtroom: Public Deportation Defense Campaigns (CLE in Philadelphia)
Fri Oct 12, 9:00am - 12:15pm
2100 Arch St, Philadelphia PA 19103
Learn how legal and community pressure strategies can elevate a removal case into a deportation defense campaign, including best practices and ethical considerations for collaborating with community partners. All lawyers and community members are invited to participate. For more information, contact Carlos Adolfo Gonzalez, Statewide Capacity Building Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. CLE 3.0 hours (including 1.0 ethics)
Presented by David Bennion, Executive Director of the Free Migration Project. There is a $30.00 registration fee. Register here!