Mayor Nutter Prioritizes Politics Over Immigrant Communities

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Mayor Nutter with Juntos member Maria Elena Cardenas in City Hall, a mother of two who had just lost her husband Pablo to a deportation just days before.

Mayor Nutter Prioritizes Politics Over Immigrant Communities

November 20th, 2015 will mark the one year anniversary of Obama’s announcement on immigration in which he created Deferred Action for Parents of American Citizens (DAPA). Despite the promise of relief from deportations for millions of families, the attack on immigrants continues. This last year has brought not only disappointment and continued deportations, but hate mongering from Presidential hopefuls that inspired anti-immigrant bills in Congress and in Harrisburg. In Pennsylvania, we have also seen the prolonged, unjust and inhumane detention of families in the Berks Family Detention Center where infants have been detained as young as 11 days old with an unlawful license and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues to terrorize our communities in Philadelphia and across the state.

On Thursday, November 12th, the Nutter Administration held a closed door meeting with Philadelphia immigrant rights organizations, including the Philadelphia Family Unity Network, in regards to the City’s collaboration with ICE. The Administration announced that it intends to roll back the historic Executive Order limiting City interactions with ICE, passed on April 2014, by introducing provisions that re-establish these communications.

Members of the immigrant community, the Philadelphia Family Unity Network, the Shut Down Berks Coalition and allies will be holding a press conference Monday, November 16th at 11am at City Hall to address this latest development as well as the state and national anti-immigrant attacks.

We are heartbroken that the Nutter Administration wants to reverse this groundbreaking policy and once again use local law enforcement as an arm of the federal deportation system. The proposed changes will increase the number of deportations of Philadelphia residents and will erode the trust building begun between immigrant communities and local law enforcement since the Executive Order was signed and implemented. What community members will hear is that the administration has gone back on their word and that local law enforcement will once again serve as immigration agents. These proposed provisions also contradict our City’s values of honoring the dignity of each individual, redemption, second chances, and the ability of human beings to change, by subjecting Philadelphia residents to double punishment by deporting them after they have served their time. Mayor Nutter must listen to immigrant communities, advocates, and allies, and stand strong in his support for a policy that has made our communities safer.

Only seven months ago, Nutter stood with community in City Hall, and after listening to the story of Maria Elena Cardenas, a mother of two who had just lost her husband Pablo to a deportation just days before, said, “I can’t imagine that a real elected official, someone who really believes in public service, would think that it was good policy to rip a family apart. Somehow, some way, at least to me, that appears to be completely in contradiction to this great country that we all love called the United States of America. We still have work to do.”

A month later the city made it clear it had no intention of resuming cooperation with ICE requests. In an interview with the LA Times, City Managing Director Richard Negrin said, “The broader Latino community loses confidence when they see us treating new Philadelphians that way, I think it makes us less safe (to cooperate with ICE), to be honest.”

We need public officials at the local, state and national level that will take a stand against hate toward immigrants and towards people of color. We must stand together to stop the criminalization, detention and deportation of our communities.

The Philadelphia Family United Network members include 1Love Movement, Juntos, New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition and Victim/Witness Services of South Philadelphia.
The Shut Down Berks Campaign is a grassroots coalition fighting to shut down the Berks County Detention Center immediately and end family detention. Members include Detention Watch Network, GALAEI, Juntos, #Not1More, Migrant Power Movement, PICC, UUPlan and We Belong Together.

My Existence is Resistance: An Evening with Jennicet Gutiérrez, the Activist who Interrupted Obama

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On June 24, 2015 Jennicet Eva Gutiérrez, an undocumented trans Latina leader, interrupted President Obama at the White House, calling out the detention and abuse of trans undocumented immigrants. She risked her own deportation to elevate and fight for the trans detainees who face human rights abuses and torture inside detention centers here in the US. A week later immigration authorities finally changed their policy for gender identity in immigration detention centers.

This Friday, November 13th at 6pm Jennicet will be sharing about her fight for trans and immigrant rights at the Juntos Office at 1537 S.6th st (on the corner of 6th st & Tasker st).
Jennicet, who came from Mexico at 15, is a founding member of the national immigrant rights organization Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement and a leader in the national #not1more deportation campaign.

Come join us to learn about how we can all work together to fight back against the detention and deportation machine nationally and how you can support the local work to end deportations, end the detention of our loved ones and how to fight back against the criminilazition of immigrant and LGBTQ communities.

Juntos leader Olivia Vasquez receives P.I.C.C. Youth Leader Award

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It is with much pride and joy that we announce that on Oct. 22nd Juntos’ own Olivia Vasquez was PICC’s 2015 Youth Leader Award recipient!

In 2012 Olivia co-found Fuerza, the Juntos Youth Committee, focusing on college access for undocumented youth. She help spearhead college access trainings of school counselors in South Philadelphia, develop a comprehensive college access guide through Juntos and the Mayor’s Office of Education and was part of the drafting of the PA Dream Act. We are so proud of the leader Olivia has become and look forward to this amazing leaders continued work in the community.