On January 21, Senator Lloyd Smucker announced his plans to introduce the Pennsylvania DreamAct in the senate. We at Juntos along with members of PICC (Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition) met with the senator weeks before his announcement when he reached out to us to meet with community members around drafting the bill.
Juntos applauds Senator Smucker’s initiative on this important piece of legislation that will benefit our community and we are committed to working very closely with the Senator and his team as he drafts the bill to make sure that it is as inclusive as possible to most members of our community.
Below is a copy of Juntos’ press release with our reactions to the senator’s announcement along with recent press coverage about the issue.
Al Dia: Republicano de PA propone matrícula baja para “dreamers”
Philadelphia Inquirer: Bill would reduce college costs for undocumented youth
Download (DOCX, 33KB)
On Wednesday, September 19th, Juntos held a Truth Commission in Norristown to address concerns within the Latino community regarding worsening relations with the local Norristown police. With close to 100 people present at the event, Juntos Leaders read aloud written testimonies from Latino community members from Norristown from a “white paper” report which included 8 individual cases ranging from incidents of racial profiling, harassment and unjust detention by local police and ICE officials.
The report ended with a list of community recommendations that were put out as a path to build better relations with officials and the Latino community. Some of the recommendations are as follows;
- “We ask that the Norristown Police Department immediately stop racial profiling community members and asking for “papers.” There is no law in the state of Pennsylvania that allows for this, and it is a clear violation of peoples’ civil and human rights.”
- “We ask that local checkpoints not be used as immigration checkpoints.”
- “We ask that the Norristown Police Department undergo training on how to best work and build with Latino and immigrant communities.”
- “We ask that the information of family members detained be released to loved ones as soon as possible to avoid confusion and fear in the community. Families have a right to know where their loved ones are located.”
- “Almost 1 in every 3 people in Norristown is Latino and we ask that the Norristown Police District support hiring practices that allow the force to be reflective of that population in race and language.”
To read the community White Paper in it’s entirety CLICK HERE
Taking these recommendations into account, Municipal Councilwoman Linda Christian and town administrator David Forrest, who were both in attendance at the event, committed to look into the reported cases of abuse and also committed to have a follow-up meeting with Juntos and community members to build working relationships between the Latino community and Norristown local police.
In the meantime Juntos has created a hotline where people can call in and leave a message documenting their own personal experiences of abuse with police and ICE officials.
The number people should call is
Here is a report done by Univision 65 on the event
TAKE ACTION: Sign our petition and let PA elected officials know that we do not want to become the next Alabama or Arizona. Pennsylvania and our communities deserve better.
Juntos is profoundly disappointed by the news that the Pennsylvania Houseand Senate will consider HB380, SB637, and SB9. We have also been informed that many other anti-immigrant/anti-worker bills in the state are being called up for consideration. Juntos strongly opposes any anti-immigrant/anti-worker bill as their impact will reach every individual, citizen or not, and will create a climate of persecution for workers, families, and community members.
Unemployment rates are at an all-time high in Pennsylvania and many families are struggling paycheck to paycheck. Instead of working budgetary solutions that work for PA families, some lawmakers would rather scapegoat immigrants for cheap political points. The facts are clear, attacking immigrant workers will not bring back jobs or strengthen our unions. Study after study shows that immigrants do not take jobs. Attacks on immigrant workers will open the door for more attacks against all workers. That’s why unions stand with immigrant workers and against E-verify, they know it will create more dire work conditions with fewer labor protections for all workers.
Last month Juntos took over 500 community leaders, families, union workers, lawyers, and advocates from across several districts to Harrisburg in opposition to anti-immigrant bills like e-verify. Labor leaders from SCIU Healthcare PA, Restaurant Opportunities Center of Philadelphia, and the Transit Workers Union Local 234 stood with us and all workers as we chanted ‘The Hate Stops Here’ in both Spanish and English. Over 3,000 signatures from individuals across our state and nation strongly opposing these bills were presented in Harrisburg to elected officials. This all adds up to thousands of individuals voicing their concern to these short sighted legislations that assaults immigrant workers, hurt families and degrade our Constitution.
Pennsylvania elected officials are wasting our time with divisive issues instead of finding real solutions. Rather than prioritize assaults on our communities and workers we ask our state officials to focus on passing a fair budget that prioritizes improving/supporting our public education system and creating fair and dignified work conditions.