Last Tuesday youth members of Statewide Just and Humane Immigration Reform (SJHIR) – a project of our partners the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) – called on Congress to enact Just and Humane Immigration Reform.
As more than 100 students, parents, clergy, and immigrant rights organizations looked on, a dozen members of SJHIR staged an ICE raid in front of the downtown Los Angeles ICE holding facility and shed their professional outfits for orange prison jumpsuits representing the backwardness of enforcement-only measures in the United States. With a rally, a press conference, and a call for action, SJHIR kicked off a state-wide campaign calling for an immediate stop to the ICE raids and movement forward of a just and humane immigration reform bill in 2009.
The event included moving testimonies from students whose lives have been directly affected by our currently broken immigration system. Especially powerful was the speech given by Kevin, a 12-year old Peruvian boy who is a U.S. citizen but whose father was recently deported during an early-morning ICE raid. He read excerpts of a letter he wrote to then President-Elect Barack Obama.
“I have lived a simple life, the life of a boy with big dreams. Then my father was taken away and all my childhood dreams came crashing down. Please help my father who has lived in the U.S. for 17 years come back to us.”
FIRM supports CHIRLA’s call for just and humane immigration reform now. We cannot wait to help these students, their families and their communities. Call Congress at 1-888-828-0498 and let them know you want just and humane immigration reform, not raids, NOW.
This past Saturday, over 450 Latinos, immigrants and advocates gathered in Salem, Oregon to attend CAUSA Oregon’s immigrant day of Action – the highest attendance in the 12 years CAUSA has hosted the event. This record turnout sends a message to the White House and to Congress about the public support for comprehensive immigration reform.
Community members from as far away as Florida gathered to discuss important issues facing the immigrant community, such as: prospects for passing Just and Humane immigration reform, the impact of Oregon’s stricter Driver’s License rules, immigrant advocacy efforts at the local, state and federal level and know your rights information. Click here to view a photo slideshow from the event.
Last Saturday’s event also helped CAUSA gear up their push to turn out 10,000 people to the May 1st events this year.
Even though immigration was hardly mentioned during the grueling campaigns this year, it is clearly becoming a large issue for the incoming President Elect, Barack Obama. Immigrants’ rights advocates from all across the country are pressing the incoming administration to make good on its promise to provide Immigration Reform in its first year.
From the Boston Globe:
Before a huge crowd in San Diego last summer, Barack Obama vowed to make fixing illegal immigration a top priority as president, and Latinos nationwide responded with massive support for him on Election Day. Now, they are pressing him to keep his promise.
“We voted in large numbers for Obama,” said Juan Salgado, board president of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, a nonprofit based in Chicago, Obama’s training ground for immigration issues when he was a senator. “If we’re sitting here two and a half years from now and absolutely nothing’s been done, people are going to start asking questions.”
And from the New York Post:
“We want him to stick to his campaign promises,” said Marissa Graciosa, the campaign coordinator for Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM). “We know that so many Latinos and immigrants came out to vote for him. The promise was to make immigration reform a priority in the first year.”
And we are holding him to that promise.