The message below went out to Standing on the Side of Love supporters on Tuesday, November 22, 2011. You can sign-up for these emails here.
I am excited to share with you a new way to help you stand on the side of love with immigrant families. The Interfaith Immigration Coalition, a national partnership of faith-based organizations working for immigration reform and other fair and humane immigration policies, has assembled a page of resources including an Advocacy Toolkit that will help equip interfaith teams to change how migrant families are treated all across the country. The Toolkit was developed in collaboration with the National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON), Church World Service, and other members of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition (IIC), and is available now on the IIC website. The Unitarian Universalist Association is one of 32 organizations, including Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, and many mainline Christian denominations, that are members of the IIC.
The Toolkit equips you with resources to organize interfaith teams to call on elected and appointed officials in your community. The purpose of these calls is to change your community’s policy on when detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are honored by local officials.
You have heard a lot about the so-called Secure Communities program. The stated purpose of this program is to identify, detain, and deport undocumented immigrants who have committed serious crimes. Tragically, thousands of people who have not committed serious crimes have been detained and deported under this program.
According to ICE, their officers make immigration enforcement decisions “only after an individual is arrested for a criminal violation of state law, separate and apart from any violations of immigration law.” But thousands of people who haven’t violated state law have been detained in local jails at ICE’s request and then deported. Detainer requests from ICE should not be honored for minor infractions and immigration violations.
Cook County, Illinois, Santa Clara County, California, and Washington, D.C., have decided to not honor all detainer requests. These communities have made the decision to not honor “detainer requests” unless the person in question has been convicted of a violent or serious state crime. We believe that hundreds of other counties, cities, and perhaps even states can be inspired to follow their lead. We believe that interfaith teams can help provide the information and inspiration needed.
The Toolkit provides you with resources to organize your community and ask your local leaders to change their policy on detainer requests. In addition to the Toolkit, we will be offering webinars to help leaders like you organize and conduct calls on local officials. If you are interested in a webinar you can sign up on the IIC website and be notified when they are scheduled.
Please download the Toolkit at the link below today and join in this major new interfaith initiative to change how migrant families are treated in our communities:
ADVOCACY TOOL KIT ON SECURE COMMUNITIES
The Toolkit was developed under the auspices of the Steering Committee of the IIC, a 32 member interfaith coalition. Accompanying the Toolkit is a national map that will identify where interfaith teams have formed or are in the process of forming. You can put your team on the map by filling out the online form next to the map.
If you have any questions about the Toolkit, please contact your faith community’s regional or national immigration advocacy leaders. You are also welcome to contact me.
Rev. Craig C. Roshaven
Witness Ministries Director
Unitarian Universalist Association