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.

Congratulations to our DACA scholarship winners!

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DACA applications can be a long and difficult process, especially when going about it alone. So this past Sunday at Juntos we held a legal clinic to help young people complete their applications. With the support of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT), we had trained volunteers and pro-bono attorneys available to help people get screened for DACA, start their applications, and complete them.

DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a way for undocumented young people who came into the United States before June 15, 2007 and were under 16 when they came to get a temporary work permit and protection from deportation. Applications cost $465.

The PFT also donated three full scholarships for the young people who participated in the clinics, which were raffled out after the clinic. Below are the three lucky winners:

Annaline Cerón

Ricardo Alejandro Perez
María Teodoro

Felicidades!

If you or someone you know needs help on their DACA application, contact us at 215-218-9079.

Family torn apart by ICE, but the fight against deportations continues!

Photo by Univision 65 Philadelphia

Photo by Univision 65 Philadelphia

At 6am this morning Pablo Fabian Cardenas was put on a plane to Ecuador by ICE and deported, leaving behind his wife and two sons, Ismael and Erick.

Maria Elena, Pablo’s wife, wanted to share this message to all of you:

“I want to thank each and every one of you for all the support you gave me and my family during this difficult time, for all the calls and signatures that were made. I know that my husband thanks you all as well. God bless you for all your efforts. We must keep fighting.”

At Juntos, we agree with Maria Elena. She’s a clear example of the strength and dedication our families have to stay together and fight back against the deportation machine.

By following through with this deportation, ICE has made it abundantly clear that their priorities are not about justice but are and have always been about tearing apart families.  We can’t let that happen. We must fight for our loved ones. As the Executive Order is held up in court, essentially stalling relief for millions of people, enforcement has increased.

Pablo was not just victim to an unjust immigration system but also of an unjust criminal system, one that has historically abused people of color and was built for many like him to enter but for very few to ever get out.

Please don’t let this be the last case you support. We didn’t stop Pablo’s removal, but there’s still a chance for Pedro in Connecticut.  Please click here and sign for him. Maria Elena, Pablo and their family would want that.

En la lucha,
Erika, Miguel, Jasmine and the rest of the Juntos family

Juntos’ Reaction on Anti-Immigrant Political Stunt in TX

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In reaction to the recent decision in Texas by Judge Andrew Hanan, to enjoin President Obama’s Executive Action on immigration, Juntos issues the following statement:

The decision by Judge Hanen comes as no surprise and is a clear example of anti-immigrant sentiment in this country that goes all the way up to our judicial system. We know that this lawsuit is nothing but a political stunt that represents out of touch anti-immigrant elected officials across this country. This is about politics: not law, not justice.  Hundreds of legal scholars have already agreed, way before this decision was made, that the President’s executive action is constitutional and well within his authority. We are confident that this decision will be overturned promptly by appeal.We as a community are unfortunately used to racist and anti-immigrant tactics like this one to stall the progress made by our growing and vocal community.

Here in Pennsylvania we have had to deal with anti-immigrant sentiments like bills SB-9 and Arizona’s SB1070 predecessors in Hazelton, PA as well as the hyper criminalization of our people in the immigration and criminal system and all the way to local Philadelphia columnists using words like “illegal” to describe our families.  All of these measures are scare tactics used by the extreme right, just as the injunction in Texas is an attempt to scare our families into not applying for DACA and DAPA….but we don’t scare so easily.  We were not afraid to shut down ICE before to stop our families from being deported, we were not afraid to fight against the injustice of the Poli-migra in our community and to fight for the end of the use of ICE Holds, and we are not scared now. We will continue to work to defend our families until ALL 11 million + of our undocumented brothers and sister have access to a full and dignified life in this country and until the suffering of mass deportations have ended.

Thousands upon thousands of families are affected by this decision in Philadelphia and in the state of Pennsylvania thousands more.  Our families will keep getting ready to apply and getting their documents in order, as we know this is only temporary. We thank Mayor Nutter for being one of the Mayors who filed an amicus brief in support of Deferred Action and for having Philadelphia, one of the largest cities in this country, serve as an example to others on how to work with community to make the changes needed to be a more welcoming city to immigrants. As the legal battle continues we call upon other elected officials to take the necessary steps to protect immigrants from the deportation machine, including the President of the United States and we urge the 5th Circuit US Court of Appeals to take this case up immediately because millions of people cannot wait any longer.

En la Lucha,
Juntos