DACA Recipients Speak Out. “Local Activism Is Our Most Powerful Tool”

Marisa Piña Rodriguez of Juntos. Photo by Harvey Finkle

DACA Recipients Speak Out.
Local Activism Is Our Most Powerful Tool

March 5th, 2018 stood as the deadline for Congress to take action on the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA] program. On that Monday morning, DACA recipients, immigrant community, and allies gathered in Center City Philadelphia to speak up against the use of DACA recipients as a bargaining chip when it comes to national immigration reform, vehemently opposed any further enforcement or criminalizing of immigrant communities and called on local municipalities to strengthen and expand current Sanctuary policies to protect a wider array of community. Below you can find the speech given on that day by Juntos member, Marisa Piña Rodriguez.

“Good morning everybody. My name is Marisa Piña Rodriguez and I am a 28 year old DACA recipient with the Latino immigrant rights organization, Juntos.

I am here standing before you all because while March 5th loomed as the end date for the temporary protections granted under DACA, for the vast majority of our undocumented immigrant community, there is no date to warn them of their increasingly precarious situation  because every day under the Trump administration has witnessed increased aggressive and inhumane enforcement, detention, and deportations.

Last Monday’s Supreme Court decision to not take up the contentious DACA question and uphold the reinstatement of DACA renewals, was a short-lived but much coveted victory. Less discussed was that in less than 24 hours, that same court ruled that immigrants, including legal permanent residents and asylees, did not have a right to a bond hearing, leaving them to be detained indefinitely. This was a devastating blow to immigrant rights, to human rights, that illustrated how quickly previous victories are being reversed under Trump’s racist and anti-immigrant administration.

Our immigrant communities are under attack. As immigrants, refugees, advocates, and allies we will move toward a more humane future, a more compassionate and inclusive future, ONLY if we addressed the divisions plaguing our immigrant community–divisions both externally imposed by the media as well as those internally created by difference and fear. If we are not vigilant, the futures of DACA recipients will be taken hostage in order to pass white supremacist legislation aimed to further terrorize and criminalize our immigrant communities. This administration has repeatedly demonstrated that it sees DACA recipients as bargaining chips, that it seeks to pass opportunistic immigration reform to further divide our communities by granting benefits to a few while increasing enforcement and deportations for the majority.

The immigrant rights movement currently finds itself at a critical crossroads: Congress has failed us, the media seeks to divide us–what is to be done? We must not get discouraged, instead, we need to organize and unite more than ever. At the local level, there is much we can do to fight against this racist and anti-immigrant administration. Local activism is our most powerful tool to set an example for what we expect to be carried out at the federal level.

One such campaign would be to demand the termination of the Preliminary Arraignment Report System, better known as PARS. PARS is the real-time arrest database used by the Philadelphia Police Department, the District Attorney’s office, and Philly courts. This database is also shared with ICE. For over 20 years, this PARS-ICE collaboration has denied undocumented immigrants due process and instead served as a pipeline to detention. If the city of Philadelphia is truly committed to living up to its status as Sanctuary City, it must expand it’s definition of ‘Sanctuary’ and it must not renew its PARS contract with ICE this year.

So as we stand together let us remember that migrant justice is not just a Latinx issue. This white supremacist administration is a direct threat to immigrants of all races and creeds, of immigrants both present and those yet to come. We will continue to demand family reunification, not family separation. We will not accept more militarization in exchange for selective citizenship. We will fight for legislation and policies at both the national and local level that respect the humanity of all immigrants and our right to a safe and dignified life.

Thank You


Immigrants to ICE: Show Us Your Papers

Immigrants to ICE: Show Us Your Papers

As Part of National Challenge to Trump’s Deportation Force, Pennsylvanians to Press ICE’s Corruption and Impunity into Public Eye

Today, Juntos along with multiple Pennsylvania based organizations and individuals have filed FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests at the Philadelphia ICE Field Office in wake of rumors of massive national raids slated to begin on September 16th with the goal of detaining over 10,000 people across the country. This massive raid has been dubbed by ICE “Operation Mega”

Across the country, immigrant communities are filing FOIA requests demanding details regarding the planning and execution of Operation Mega and all enforcement activities as well as the procedures for targeting and capturing individuals agents encounter.

Since the election and under the direction of Tom Homan at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice, Trump’s deportation force has become unchained and acting with impunity. With rumors circulating of massive raids planned by the agency, advocates plan to monitor the agency’s activity and force its corruption into public view.

In Philadelphia, our “Sanctuary City” policy prohibits local police from acting as federal immigration agents. Unfortunately, we know that the deportation machine knows no bounds and ICE has begun using other methods to gain access to our community such as waiting for people outside of our courts, detaining people in our probation offices, using portable fingerprint machines and doing illegal traffic stops.

The Trump administration has let loose an unaccountable agency against our people. The recent announcement of Operation Mega is the latest in a list of rogue tactics aimed at our community. Since the federal government isn’t checking their corruption, we are filing FOIAs locally and across the country to begin to monitor it and bring it to light.” Said Erika Almiron, Executive Director of Juntos.

The list of organizations and individuals who signed on to the FOIA request locally are as follows:

Philadelphia Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez
Erika Almiron, Juntos
Abel Rodriguez, Cabrini University
Candace McKinley, Black Lives Matter Philadelphia
Jasmine Rivera, Community Activist
Maria Sotomayor, PA Immigrant & Citizenship Coalition
Peter Pedemonti, New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia
Troy Turner, Make The Road PA

Asian Americans United
Black Live Matter Philadelphia
Casa San Jose
Casa Dominicana de Hazleton
Caucus of Working Educators
Center on Immigration at Cabrini University
Free Migration Project
Global Women’s Strike
Grupo de Apoyo e Integración Hispanoamericano
Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia
Make the Road PA
New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia
Payday Men’s Network
Philadelphia Red Umbrella Alliance
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers
Philadelphia Student Union
Pennsylvania Immigrant & Citizenship Coalition (PICC)
Philadelphia Organized to Witness, Empower & Rebuild (POWER)
Reclaim Philadelphia
Unitarian Universalist Pennsylvania Legislative Advocacy Network (UUPLAN)
UNITE HERE Local 274
Up Against The Law
Women of Color In The Global Women’s Strike
Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project (YASP)

Filadelfia Unido, Rechezando el Odio que Resulta en Familias Seperadas


Nuestra Prioridad es Nuestra Comunidad y La Constitución

Por Philadelphia Family Unity Network

El reciente asesinato de Kathryn Steinle en San Francisco por Francisco Sánchez es una tragedia terrible y sin sentido. El dolor de su familia es inimaginable, y debemos permitirles el respeto y la decencia del luto de su manera elegida.

Como una coalición de organizaciones con más de una década de experiencia trabajando con sobrevivientes de la violencia, no teníamos intención de insertar nuestras voces en un momento tan doloroso y privado. Después de repetidas solicitudes de la prensa y los políticos locales que han sido mal informados por los que optan por aprovecharse de este momento para obtener beneficios políticos, sentimos la necesidad de tratar brevemente algunas ideas falsas.

The Philadelphia Family Unity Network (PFUN) es una coalición que trabajó con la administración del alcalde y defensores locales para terminar todas las detenciones de Filadelfia por parte de autoridades de inmigración (ICE) en abril del 2014. Somos líderes de la comunidad inmigrante y jóvenes, documentados e indocumentados, aliados, organizaciones de inmigrantes, los defensores de las necesidades de víctimas y testigos de delitos, personas de fe, líderes centrados en la intersección entre el encarcelamiento y deportación, y defensores de la política.

Tenemos una visión basada en la comunidad de la seguridad, la sanidad y la justicia. Somos llamados por la creencia compartida de que la sanidad de nuestra comunidad viene de abordar las causas fundamentales de la violencia, que tenemos que poner fin a la criminalización de nuestras comunidades y que todas las personas, sin importar su estatus migratorio o condena penal deben permanecer con sus comunidades elegidas. Aunque las personas tienen que hacerse responsables de sus acciones y crímenes, reconocemos que la violencia se deriva de trauma, de la pobreza causada por las políticas económicas devastadoras, la guerra, la migración forzada, comunidades sistemáticamente segregados y con financiación insuficiente y las políticas de inmigración racistas y un sistema de justicia penal que separa y destruye familias y comunidades.

Comunidades Seguras y el programa de detenciones de ICE son políticas que fallaron. Han probado que las detenciones de ICE son inconstitucionales varias veces, y que son la fuerza detrás de la ruptura de la confianza entre los residentes inmigrantes y el gobierno local. Comunidades se organizaron para luchar contra estas políticas en todo el país, y ganaron. Volver para atrás y repetir estas políticas destructivas solamente abre las posibilidades para más abusos contra nuestras comunidades, evitando las causas más profundas de la violencia, y también deja a nuestra ciudad vulnerable a demandas por violaciones de los derechos de las personas. Necesitamos políticas que reflejan nuestros valores como sociedad, que honran la dignidad de nuestra comunidad, que respeten la diversidad de nuestras vidas y que se basen en la creencia de la redención.
La tragedia de la muerte de Kathryn Steinle no debe ser manipulada por aquellos que ven esto como una oportunidad para impulsar una agenda política. La creación de comunidades más seguras es un objetivo común a través de las divisiones que algunos buscan explotar. PFUN seguirá presionando para una reforma significativa y el diálogo hacia este fin.E