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.
On Friday, June 15, 2012, The White House announced that President Obama signed a memo calling for Deferred Action to Undocumented youth who:
- Came to the U.S under the age of 16 and are currently under the age of 30
- Have lived in the Country for over 5 years
- Have a High School/GED Diploma or a veteran from the Coast Guard/Armed Forces
- Have no criminal record and are not considered “to post a threat to national security or public safety ,including having been convicted of a felony, a “significant” misdemeanor or multiple misdemeanors.”
Juntos and our youth leadership committee, FUERZA, consider this mandate to be a step in the right direction,but is not the solution to a broken immigration system We are proud of the work that DREAMers in the National Immigrant Youth Alliance do to put pressure on officials to do the right thing. For weeks they have been “Undoccupying” Obama campaign offices demanding action and today, the White House had no choice but to respond. We at Juntos fully support our brothers and sisters in this struggle because we know, no matter what your immigration status, you have the right to stand up and fight back against injustices.
The vast majority of our communities are not getting a quality education due to an underfunded public education system which every year serves our students less and less. Many of our youth fall victim to the infamous School to Prison Pipeline and end up dropping out of school. Statistics show that out of school youth are much more likely to enter into the criminal justice system. It is clear that our undocumented youth who have entered into the School to Prison Pipeline do not benefit from this mandate. They will remain in not just the School to Prison Pipeline but the School to Deportation Pipeline.We support all of our undocumented youth who fight for an immigration reform that is inclusive of ALL our communities, including those that have fallen into the School to Prison/Deportation pipeline. Juntos and our FUERZA youth will hold President Obama accountable on this newest promise but our country and our communities deserve better. We cannot wait any longer.
En la lucha,Juntos