Philly Wins Sanctuary City Lawsuit…What Comes Next?

Philadelphia Has Won Its Lawsuit Against Jeff Sessions.
What Comes Next For Us?

It has been an amazing week to be a Philadelphian! On the heels of our very own Philadelphia Eagles not going to the White House, we also beat Jeff Sessions in court over our Sanctuary City policy.

On June 6th a federal court said what we in Juntos have been saying from the start, it was unconstitutional for the government to force our city to hold our people and hand them over to ICE. As we celebrate this we must also remember that our community isn’t fully safe. As the recent raids in Philly show, ICE is still very much terrorizing our community. We must use this victory as momentum to move forward and ask ourselves,

How Can We Expand Our Definition of “Sanctuary”?

A clear next step is for Philadelphia to end its dangerous practice of information sharing with ICE, specifically, we must end their access to our local legal system database, P.A.R.S (Preliminary Arraignment System.) This database gives ICE access to many families addresses and information like country of origin, making them immediate targets to raids and their access is the driving force to raids in Philadelphia.

We fought together and won an end to the collaboration between local police and ICE and we can win to also end this toxic relationship between our city’s database and ICE. We have until August 31st to end the P.A.R.S contract and expand our current definition of what being a sanctuary city means. Will you join us in asking for an end to ICE’s access to PARS?

Please forward this information to a friend, call your local city council person and tell them you want this practice to end and keep a lookout for future ways you can get involved in this campaign. We need all of you to truly make our city a Sanctuary City.

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

 

Philly #ResistanceZone Built but More to Come.

Photo by Harvey Finkle

Philly #ResistanceZone Built but More to Come.

Over 200 volunteers descended on Juntos this past weekend to learn their rights, to teach others and to knock on doors and we couldn’t be more grateful. In less than 48 hours we

  • Knocked on over 2,500 doors in South Philly 
  • Trained over 1,300 people on their rights & 
  • Signed up over 500 new resistors

Every participant in our Community Resistance Zone made a personal commitment to stand up and defend their neighbors in South Philly against any and all abuses at the hands of police and/or ICE. They learned their rights. And we built history together by building a network of defenders.

We need each other more than ever now. One year after the presidential elections and we have seen a spike in deportations, police abuse, racial profiling, hate crimes, etc. This is not a coincidence. Our current power structure preaches violence and hate and we must unite to fight back. So thank you. Thank you to every volunteer, every canvasser, every Juntos member, all of you, for helping us build the Resistance.

Special thanks to our friend and amazing artist Erika Guadalupe Núñez for designing our beautiful poster. (For more of her beautiful art make sure to follow her on Instagram)

Also, special thanks to:
Reclaim Philadelphia
ACLU Pennsylvania
Unite Here Local 274

Asian Americans United
Media Mobilizing Project
SEIU 32BJ
VietLead
Students from Swarthmore University, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Drexel University, Cornell University and the Migrant Rights Coalition of Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges.

As we continue to build and strengthen our resistance we must be aware that there are those in power who wish nothing more than to stop us. Please help us continue to build in 2018 by signing up as a Juntos volunteer and/or by donating.

Mil gracias,

Juntos

Join The Community Resistance Zone

Join The Resistance!

White Supremacy is a disease in this country that has existed since 1492 and since Trump’s election we are reminded every day that if you are a person of color in the U.S., you are not safe. From travel bans to massive immigration raids like Operation “Safe City,” where 107 people were disappeared in Philadelphia in four days, the attacks are devastating our families. We cannot let this government define what “safety” is. We can only be safe in these times by building safety for ourselves and we need your help to make it happen!

On November 11th and 12th we will be launching our Community Resistance Zones, a campaign aimed at protecting our loved ones by creating safe zones in our city where every person, block by block, is both trained on their rights and on how to support any neighbor who is subject to racial profiling, police or ICE raids, hate crimes and any other forms of criminalization in this nation.

We will pilot our Community Resistance Zone in South Philadelphia one year after Trump was elected. What will you be doing that weekend to resist? Join us to build the resistance and sign up using the form below!