Norristown Vigil: End All Deportations

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Tuesday, September 9th JUNTOS leaders in Norristown held a candle light vigil for community members who have been deported by Immigration Customs Enforcement.  September 9th marked the return of Congress from summer vacation.  In just 2013 countless Norristown residents have been deported, leaving behind families members in fear of the safety of their loved ones. 

Juntos leaders commemorated thirty Norristown residents who have been or are in the process of being deported, some deported just a few weeks ago. A total of thirty hearts, with the names of residents and their stories, were strung in the parking lot of Los Portrillos, a well known restaurant in the Norristown and the location of Sunday JUNTOS community meetings.

Families with members currently in the process of being deported spoke about their traumatic experiences with ICE. Norristown High School student Rosemary De La Luz said, “The fact is, my parents could walk out the door just around the corner and not come back. I’m always scared that something minor could lead to them being questioned about their status. And I’m afraid that if their status gets known to the wrong people they could be deported and I might not ever see them again.”

The vigil was also joined by Father Gus, priest of Norristown’s St. Patricks Catholic Church, who spoke on the need for real policy that will lift the latino community, not persecute them. Juntos leader Fidel De la Luz spoke on the need for Congress to pass an immigration reform that ends all deportations, creates a pathway to citizenship that is affordable for families of all income levels and with a shorter period of time to complete, none of which is in the current proposed legislation in Congress. Finally the vigil closed with Juntos leader Denise Arguto speaking on the local need for policies that end deportations as well as end the collaboration between local police and ICE. Fidel’s speech can be read below.

 

Buenas Tardes, mi nombre es Fidel De la Luz, vivo en este país desde hace 17 años. Soy un miembro de Juntos, y voy a hablar sobre la reforma migratoria.

La propuesta que está en el Senado acerca de la Reforma Migratoria propone un camino a la ciudadanía que para la mayoría tomaría mínimo 13 años. Esta vía para la ciudadanía requeriría que todos los participantes ganen, con el tiempo, un salario que es 25% más que el nivel de la pobreza. Si alguien está bajo este nivel o se quede sin empleo, no podría seguir el camino a la ciudadanía. Y también está proponiendo gastar billones de Dólares en militarizar la frontera, cuando, al mismo tiempo, ciudades como Norristown tienen poco dinero. Los requisitos de esta propuesta no son justos, reales, ni aplican para todos los 11 millones de inmigrantes. ¡Tampoco detendrán las deportaciones!

No queremos más familias separadas porque la mayoría de las veces los niños son los que pierden.

Queremos una reforma migratoria justa para que nuestros hijos no vivan con el miedo que en cualquier momento sus padres pueden ser deportados. Necesitamos una reforma migratoria justa para que nuestras comunidades no vivan con miedo de ser deportados, de leyes antinmigrantes, y de injusticias en general.

Queremos una reforma migratoria más corta porque no es justo pedir a un campesino trabajar 10 años más en un trabajo tan duro. No es justo decir a alguien que ya ha pasado 20 años trabajando en este país, pagando sus impuestos, cuidando por su familia, que tendrá que esperar 13 años más.

Queremos una reforma accesible porque muchos en esta comunidad no tienen mucho dinero y solamente trabajamos, trabajamos, trabajamos para pagar la renta, mantener nuestros hijos, y sobrevivir. No es justo que el gobierno pide más dinero que no tenemos.

Todos los seres humanos buscan vivir una vida feliz

En esta vigilia pedimos unidad de la comunidad de Norristown por todas aquellas personas que han sido deportadas de nuestra comunidad, por las familias separadas, y principalmente por los niños victimados de este Sistema.

Pedimos al Señor Congresista Jim Gerlach y al Congresista Pat Meehan que pasen una reforma que sí va a ayudar a los inmigrantes. Sí, necesitamos que los políticos aprueben una reforma migratoria, pero no como está escrito ahora. Deben escuchar a nuestras exigencias y pasar una reforma que tiene un camino a la ciudadanía accesible para cualquiera persona a pesar de su nivel de ingreso. Necesitamos que estos y otros políticos nos ayuden durante este período difícil. ¡Exigimos una reforma ahora que nos ayudará con la ciudadanía y también detendrá las deportaciones!

Aquí estamos luchando por nuestros sueños, sueños de todos los inmigrantes. No podemos esperar más.

JUNTOS Organizes Press conference in response to Law Enforcement Raids in South Philadelphia

On July 3rd, Juntos and the Latino-Immigrant community of South Philadelphia organized a community-led press conference in response to reports of possible raids and abuses against the community. One week after the community was awaken in the early hours of the morning by law enforcement agents barging into people’s homes, community leaders got together and decided that enough was enough and that they had to speak up against these injustices if they hoped for them to stop.

On Wednesday June 23, Juntos received multiple reports of possible cases of abuse against the community in South Philadelphia by agents from different law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, local police, and ICE where they raided residential properties on 7th, 8th and  9th Street in South Philadelphia. Officers forcibly entered homes without clearly presenting warrants and provided little to no interpretation when questioning Spanish speaking community members. One community member described how officers, who were searching for her brother, woke her children up from their beds, took her brother out at gun point in front of the family and told her she was not allowed to speak Spanish while she attempted to console her crying children. After her husband and her brother were fingerprinted in their home her husband was then coerced to leave his house where he was then arrested and is now being held for deportation.

Another incident, described by Juntos youth leaders, officers questioned two children under the age of 18 without parental supervision and refused to allow the children to see their parents after they repeatedly asked to be let out of questioning. This intimidation by local police force instills fear into the immigrant community, weakening the trust between police and those they serve.

Last week’s raid have left the immigrant community in a state of fear, some too afraid to leave their homes and all of this happened one day before the U.S. Senate approved SB. 744, the current immigration reform bill (click here to read our response on SB.744).  Erika Almiron, Executive Director of Juntos states, “Immigrant communities have suffered great loss due to an unjust immigration system; one that separates and breaks apart our families.  As immigration reform is being debated nationally we MUST end the unjust deportations that destroy our families locally as well as address rebuilding trust between our local police department and the community.” 

Please see pictures of our event below 

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Rumbo a la Reforma

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This past Sunday Juntos held its first workshop on the currently proposed legislation for Immigration Reform, Rumbo a la Reforma. Community members, as well as Univision, came out in full force to learn about the state and federal Dream Act, as well as what would be the path to citizenship under the reform bill currently in the Senate.

Juntos leaders educated the audience with the slideshow below. What was clear through the presentation was that the Bill as it stands now provides a difficult path to citizenship. Leaders and community members both agreed that the requirements for citizenship being proposed are nearly impossible to meet. Therefore, Juntos has crafted six points that should be addressed in a truly comprehensive immigration reform bill.

  • Reform that guarantees an end to the unjust deportations of our families. A moratorium on all deportations.
  • Reform that creates a timely path to citizenship, not the currently proposed thirteen years.
  • Reform that treats all people equally despite the skill level or sector of society that person comes from.
  • Reform that does not divide into those who deserve citizenship and those who don’t. We a community united.
  • Reform that supports our young people to become educated.
  • Reform that addressed the economic and political causes of migration for our communities. A real solution that gets to the root of the problem.

      Finally, the day was wrapped up with a Q&A with immigration lawyers and round chanting, the community shouting together “Si se puede!”

Download (PPTX, 1.17MB)

Get on the bus to Washington D.C!

On April 10, 2013 Juntos will be headed to Washington D.C to unite with thousands of other people in our nation’s capital to demand that a TRUE immigration reform is passed that is just, humane and truly by the people and for the people. Juntos has buses leaving from the Philadelphia and we want to fill them up!

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Please fill out the form below COMPLETELY to reserve your spot on the bus for this important mobilization. For more information call our office at 215.218.9079