Neighbors Build A Refuge via @wabedalton @latinousa: Reporter Martha Dalton takes us to the remote town of Lumpkin, Georgia. Volunteers are supporting the family members of detained immigrants. One small act of kindness–creating a place to stay–helps these families visit their loved ones. The volunteers also create an opportunity for people to come and meet those affected by immigration detention policies.
Alabama is known for having some of the nation’s harshest anti-immigrant laws. In the tiny town of Clanton, officers were ordered to arrest anyone with a valid visa, leading to severe cases like the arrest of a breastfeeding mother. But police chief Brian Stilwell is trying to change his force’s negative image by finally reaching out to Clanton’s growing immigrant community. Ashley Cleek went down to the Alabama town to learn more.
Pat Hyland and Rich Fischer, veteran educators who served as my mentors at Mountain View High School; Jim Strand, the venture capitalist whose scholarship fund paid for my college education; Peter Perl, a senior editor at the Washington Postwho risked his career by keeping my secret — all of them “came out” too. As I prepared to publicly reveal my undocumented status in the spring of 2011, I reached out to Pat, Rich, Jim, and Peter. “You are a part of my story,” I told each of them, before asking permission to include them in my essay”
“Jewish biblical mandates to love and treat the stranger humanely are complemented by our history as a people. We know the pain of vulnerability and oppression. We know the experience of isolation and the eternal hope for freedom, justice and opportunity.”—
“From coast to coast and throughout the heartland of America, immigrants and immigrant entrepreneurs breathe new life into communities. They not only help stem population loss, alleviate aging population trends, and fill labor market gaps, but they also inject new energy into local economies and boost housing markets. Immigrants also open new businesses and create new jobs along with a new and growing consumer base. In many cases, immigrants and their businesses are helping to revitalize neighborhoods within small towns and growing metropolitan regions. Clearly, local city leaders, practitioners, and researchers are interested in implementing immigrant integration initiatives.”—
“A growing body of research demonstrates how immigrant-friendly cities can create positive opportunities for all. Immigrants from across the skills spectrum contribute economically and are often highly sought after to fill critical gaps in the labor market. Immigrants are also more likely to start a business than nonimmigrants. Consider a Fiscal Policy Institute report indicating that small businesses owned by immigrants employed an estimated 4.7 million people in 2007 and were generating more than $776 billion annually.”—
“[Broken immigration system] is a moral issue and it’s been a stain on our country for too long. Now is the time for the country to come together for an immigration system that respects the God-given human dignity of every person.”—
“If the 11.1 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States were provided legal status, then the 10-year cumulative increase in the gross domestic product, or GDP, of the United States would be $832 billion. Similarly, the cumulative increase in the personal income of all Americans over 10 years would be $470 billion. On average over 10 years, immigration reform would create 121,000 new jobs each year. Undocumented immigrants would also benefit and contribute more to the U.S. economy. Over the 10-year period they would earn $392 billion more and pay an additional $109 billion in taxes—$69 billion to the federal government and $40 billion to state and local governments. After 10 years, when the undocumented immigrants start earning citizenship, they will experience additional increases in their income on the order of 10 percent, which will in turn further boost our economy.”—
Experts from Left and Right Agree on Economic Power of Immigration Reform
The Center for American Progress (CAP) study begins by quantifying the immense economic gains to the nation as a whole that would flow from a new legalization program:
“Rabbi Steve Gutow, President of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs in New York said: “The United States has a great tradition of welcoming and embracing those fleeing from oppression. Judaism demands that we treat all people as if they are made in God’s image, which means we must treat them well. How can we possibly ill treat those who are oppressed or living under the yoke of tyranny? Right now, as our national leaders reform our immigration policies, we should also improve our refugee and asylum laws to ensure that those escaping persecution are respected and given the opportunity to breathe free.”
Bishop James Mathes of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, California said: “In opening our communities to refugees from persecution in other lands, our nation shows forth our core values of respecting human rights and dignity. As bishop of a community who has welcomed as friend and neighbor refugees from places as diverse as Sudan, Iraq, and Myanmar, I know first had the gift of life that we provide as well as the great gift we receive from those who come to live among us.”
Rev. John L. McCullough, President and CEO of Church World Service in New York said: “As members of the Senate Judiciary Committee begin considering amendments to the bipartisan immigration reform bill, Church World Service urges them to protect provisions that would improve the lives of refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless people. Throughout the CWS network of congregations and refugee resettlement offices, we know first-hand the importance of these provisions. It is our deep hope that immigration reform upholds the United States’ proud history of protecting and welcoming survivors of persecution.”
Rev. Peter Rogness, Bishop of Saint Paul Area Synod (Minnesota) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America said: “Lutherans and others in Minnesota have long been active in support of refugees and asylum seekers. Increasingly we find them now as leaders in our communities, members of our churches, and neighbors to us all. They contribute in numerous ways to the thriving and diverse culture of the Twin Cities. As we seek to reform our immigration laws, people of faith must ensure we enact laws that honor these contributions and uphold our biblical call to welcome the newcomer.”
Rev. Dr. Larry Stoterau, President of the Pacific Southwest District (Arizona, Southern California, Southern Nevada) of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod said: “As Congress considers comprehensive immigration reform, we must remember our commitment to serve the most vulnerable. Faith communities have a long history of welcoming those fleeing persecution and helping them adapt to life in a new land. In my service to Lutherans across southern California and Arizona, I am privileged to work with pastors and people who have come as refugees seeking safety and freedom and the joy of a new life. I have benefited personally from working with these wonderful people.”
Rev. Stephen S. Talmage, Bishop of Grand Canyon Synod (Arizona and Nevada) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America said: “The major religions of the world call for compassion, hospitality, and justice for the most vulnerable among us. Refugees and asylum seekers would fall in that category. Many find themselves displaced, living in fear, and desperate for assistance because of factors beyond their control, requiring people of faith along with legislative leaders, to work for ways to receive, integrate, and empower them for the common good.”
Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, Florida said: “The United States has always been a safe haven for the world’s persecuted and the legislation reflects American values by offering protections to the world’s most vulnerable. I commend the bi-partisan group of Senators, including Senator Rubio, for recognizing the needs of refugees in their bill.”
Bishop John Wester of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, Utah said: “Refugees themselves are victims of terror. They understand on a daily basis the fear of being persecuted and threatened with the loss of their lives. The refugee provisions in the Senate bill recognize this reality and help protect these vulnerable persons.””—
via @WRCommission: Diverse Group of Faith Leaders Urge Senators to Protect Refugee and Asylum Provisions in Immigration Bill
Washington, DC – On the eve of the Senate’s first markup of the bipartisan immigration reform bill, a wide array of faith leaders are urging legislators to ensure that comprehensive immigration reform upholds the United States’ proud history and tradition of protecting and welcoming refugees, asylum-seekers, and those fleeing persecution.
The Senate’s immigration bill, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, S.744, includes several provisions that would protect refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless people, while also increasing efficiency and supporting integration. The provisions would not reduce or circumvent the current numerous background checks for refugees and asylum seekers, or reduce the rigorous fraud detection mechanisms currently in place.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin considering amendments to S.744 on Thursday, May 9th, with additional considerations on May 14th, 16th, and 20th-24th. The committee will then send its version of the bill to the full Senate for debate and consideration.
Currently at least 11 million people live in in the U.S. in the shadows of our society. Many of them work in jobs that expose them to dangerous conditions, chemicals and pesticides, and many more of them live in areas with disproportionate levels of toxic air, water, and soil pollution. To protect clean air and water and prevent the disruption of our climate, we must ensure that those who are most disenfranchised and most threatened by pollution within our borders have the voice to fight polluters and advocate for climate solutions without fear.
The Sierra Club takes a position to support an equitable path to citizenship for residents of the United States who lack official documentation. America’s undocumented population should be able to earn legalization and a timely pathway to citizenship, with all the rights to fully participate in our democracy, including influencing environmental and climate policies. The pathway to citizenship should be free of unreasonable barriers, and should facilitate keeping families together and reuniting those that are split whenever possible.
The Sierra Club announced its support for an equitable path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
The Sierra Club Board of Directors, made up of elected volunteer leaders, has unanimously adopted the position
“Join me in the prayer for a reform that recognizes the contributions of the many aspiring citizens who are Americans in every way but on paper. Then join the work to ensure that our prayer is heard by Congress. Our church and country have been built by new immigrants who have worked in partnership with those already here. We want to continue this legacy so that others may be blessed as we have.”—
“Immigration reform is a potentially powerful tool of economic policy that can positively affect economic growth and help shrink the federal deficit. My recent analysis of a benchmark reform puts the budgetary impact in the range of $2.5 trillion over 10 years.”—
- Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former Director of the Congressional Budget Office under President George W. Bush
USA Today announced on Wednesday the newspaper “will no longer use the term illegal immigrant outside of direct quotes.” The decision by the newspaper with the largest print circulation in the U.S. comes a week after the Associated Press dropped the i-word from their Stylebook.
"Ms. Garcia, 40, is an autoworker from Detroit and an American citizen. She said she and her husband, a Mexican who has been living in the United States illegally for decades, since he was 10, had spent more than $50,000 over eight years on lawyers’ fees trying to fix his immigration status, to no avail.
Speaking emotionally in the senator’s office during a brief protest, Ms. Garcia said her two children, also American citizens, live on edge, fearing they could be separated from their father at any time.”