Month of Momentum is Now! Defend Immigrants

After 30 days of daily protests outside ICE to close the camps, hosting organizations invite EVERYONE to attend a culminating protest on Saturday, August 31 at Noon.

Meet up at El Cerrito Plaza and Del Norte BART stations at 11:00 am. ECP will have two banners: Abolish ICE and Close the Camps. Let’s travel together to 630 Sansome St., SF – ICE Headquarters.

Music by:
•Emma’s Revolution – https://emmasrevolution.com
•Diana Gameros – https://www.dianagameros.com
•Betsy Rose & Bonnie Lockhart – https://www.betsyrosemusic.org
•La Peña Chorus (with Lichi Fuentes) – https://www.lapenachorus.org

Speakers:
•Maria Xiomara Dorsey, Idle No More
•Sandy Valenciano, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance
•Frankie Free Ramos, Bay Area Boricuas
•Others TBA

And food

**Sponsoring hosts will be raising funds that day for Freedom for Immigrants Bond Fund. Bring some money to donate!
https://www.freedomforimmigrants.org/national-bond-fund

Action Alert: Pack the Court!

The East Bay Sanctuary Covenant are the lead plaintiff suing the Trump Administration regarding the Third County Transit Ban. There will be a hearing on their REQUEST FOR A TRO (TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER) ON WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, AT 9:30AM. The hearing will be at the Northern District courthouse in San Francisco, 450 Golden Gate Ave. Judge Tigar’s courtroom is on the 19th floor. They are asking supporters to show up. There are also some other action steps at the bottom of the info below. For more information https://ebsc.nationbuilder.com/?utm_campaign=ebsc_v_barr&utm_medium=email&utm_source=ebsc 

Facts about the Third Country Ban Lawsuit

According to Michael Smith, EBSC’s Director of Refugee Rights, “Trump’s policy is illegal and usurps the power of Congress to make laws. Seeking asylum is clearly protected under U.S. and international asylum law. EBSC’s asylum clients are fleeing horrific violence in their home countries. EBSC has one of the largest affirmative asylum programs in the U.S. and has successfully helped almost 4,000 people to obtain asylum.

Over 97% of EBSC’s asylum cases are approved, showing that these claims are meritorious. These are people fleeing persecution and seeking safety under the law. Contrary to what the administration is claiming, this population is not safe in Guatemala or Mexico, where they are vulnerable to their persecutors and other forms of oppression. Many of EBSC’s clients, including LGBTQ people and survivors of gender-based violence, are fleeing persecution in Mexico. Asylum seekers crossing the U.S. southern border are not only from Central America. They may be from Russia, Africa, and Asia; some have traveled through South America, the jungles of Panama and Central America, with the hopes of reaching safety. Nearly all of EBSC clients are victims of atrocious forms of persecution – 80% have been raped or sexually abused, including male and female children. Going forward, 80% of EBSC clients would be unable to apply for asylum.

The ramifications of the Trump administration’s actions will be long-reaching for people who are genuinely deserving of asylum protection. EBSC’s 37-year old asylum program reaching the most traumatized populations would be terminated. Act Now! Write your congressional representatives! Join EBSC’s social media networks. Share accurate news and articles so more people are informed of the detrimental impact of these attacks on asylum law. Support EBSC by volunteering or donating – your support matters!

Cookies Not Cages Launches this Weekend!

El Cerrito Progressives is working to help support East Bay Sanctuary Covenant to raise money for their work with unaccompanied minors. * Since 2014, EBSC has provided legal assistance to more than 600 unaccompanied children fleeing gang violence, human trafficking, and domestic abuse in their home countries. 

With EBSC help, these youth are often able to obtain asylum, reunify with their family members, and finally, feel safe. 

In 2018, more than 50,000 unaccompanied children were stopped at the border; in January 2019, apprehensions of minors traveling alone had increased by 40%.

 There are currently not enough lawyers to meet the needs of the growing numbers of unaccompanied children seeking legal services.  We are helping raise money so that EBSC can hire additional staff to assist with the legal cases of these minors. 

El Cerrito Progressives has a goal of raising at least $10,000 for EBSC through this gofundme and our community bakes sales Cookies Not Cages. 

We have all seen the pictures of these poor children being detained. Help us support them in being reunited with their families and obtaining sanctuary in the United States. 

Bake Sales are occurring this Saturday the 20th at EC Plaza near the Traders Joes and this Sunday at the Kensington Farmers Market. Sales will be active from 10-2pm. We have already raised over $2500 towards our 10k goal and this weekend we have a generous match of $500 for each sale!  We hope to see lots of our neighbors there. Enjoy delicious baked goods made by your neighbors and we usually have some vegan and gluten-free treats too!

If you want to donate and can’t attend the bake sales you can do so here https://www.gofundme.com/f/cookies-not-cages

*Unaccompanied minors are children under the age of 18 who come to the border without a parent. If they come with a grandmother or grandfather, aunt or uncle or other relative they are considered to be unaccompanied, separated from their relatives and placed in detention.

Protect “Mixed-Status” Immigrant Families – Take Action TODAY

The Trump administration continues to devise policies to separate immigrant families. On May 10th, HUD published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would lead to thousands of “mixed-status” immigrant families that have members who are undocumented or otherwise ineligible for public and other subsidized housing to split up or be evicted, putting them at high risk of homelessness.  In a posting published by the National Low Income Housing Coalition: The proposed rule would prohibit mixed-status families from living in public and other subsidized housing. Such families will be evicted from their subsidized housing after 18 months or sooner. To learn more, follow this link:https://nlihc.org/resource/trump-administration-publishes-proposed-mixed-status-rule-would-lead-family-separations

Continue reading “Protect “Mixed-Status” Immigrant Families – Take Action TODAY”

CLOSE THE CAMPS REP. DeSaulnier!

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Overcrowding of families observed by the DHS Office of the Inspector General on June 11, 2019, at Border Patrol’s Weslaco, TX, Station. Photo: DHS OIG

Amidst the growing reports of the deplorable conditions at both the private Homestead facility in Florida, and other camps run by Customs and Border Protection, public outcry to “close the camps” echoed throughout the nation.  On July 2, 187 cities across the coast staged rallies and marches to ask that no more of our tax dollars flow to pipeline for the detention of migrants.

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El Cerrito Shows UP: Rally at El Cerrito Plaza on Saturday, June 29th- Banner in the back says: Kids Need Adults to be Kind – this banner made by kids last year upon the reporting of mass family separations at the border.

Locally, over 200 local residents gathered on June 29th to voice there concerns about the health and safety of children at the border, denouncing current immigration polices that criminalize people who are fleeing violence.  On July 2nd, over 1,000 people marched to the office of Diane Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi asking for three actions:

Close the Camps

Not One More Dollar for Detention Camps

Bear Witness to the situation at our southern border.

Earlier in June, Rep. DeSaulnier appeared at a town hall meeting in El Cerrito.  He covered many subjects, and answered many questions, but he did not answer this question:  Why not close the camps?  I followed-up with a written submission of the question and received this response:

Screen Shot 2019-06-30 at 3.06.59 PM

Readers, please note that many of the migrants including unaccompanied minors have family in the United States.  Prior to the increased criminalization of immigrants, civil violations for those who did not have papers were handled through legal hearings.  Organizations and/or family members (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. ) sponsored those who were awaiting their hearing-clearly a better prospect than the filthy and unhealthy confines currently offered to those already suffering trauma.  This is where children can go –with their families.   As long as these centers exist, there is little political will to really consider the alternatives and we will continue to feed this bureaucracy in our name and with our tax dollars.  Congress does have authority to spend money and to defund departments.   Please write Rep. DeSaulnier and ask that he defund the centers, not a penny more! End the contract with Homestead, the private for profit processing center for over 1200 children.

Never Again is Now.

DHS Inspector General Border Findings

Bay Area Close the Camps Action

Alternatives to immigrant detention

Homestead profiteering off of immigrants

 

 

National Call for Justice for Immigrants

When:  Saturday, June 29th

Time:  Noon – 2:00 pm

Where:  El Cerrito Plaza (West Entrance)

Join your community in speaking out for immigrant justice.  As the Trump administration ramps up the Homeland Security apparatus for millions of deportations, as well as continued incarceration of non-criminal children and adults seeking asylum, we need to respond.  Silence is compliance!

Please rsvp to this link:https://actionnetwork.org/events/show-up-for-immigrant-justice/

Human Rights and Wrongs

humanrightsandwrongsOn March 23rd, Dr. Adrianne Aron, long time political activist and liberation psychologist discussed her latest book, Human Rights and Wrongs.  She spoke to a gathering of local community members, many involved in immigrant rights work.  Dr. Aron based her work on the mental health assessments she conducted on asylum seekers awaiting their hearing.     Her book is premised on the question, who are the people seeking asylum and coming across the border?  By writing her book, she provides counter narratives to the hateful descriptors of “invaders” and “criminals”.  Below is one account represented among many.

IMG_2464Dr. Aron was asked to perform a mental health evaluation on a 30 year old Salvadoran man.  He had been jailed for drinking in public and lifting and carrying a child whom he did not know.  This was not her typical interview. Most of her work with refugees involved non-criminal cases.  But she was curious.  Based on the surface of the case, how easy it might be to conclude that this man was attempting a kidnapping, she told us.

Her interview yielded a different story.  This man, at the age of 13 had been forced into the Salvadoran militia-twice.  He had been in detention where he repeatedly heard screams of torture.  But he never processed this powerful and traumatic period, instead he had periods of deep sadness and sometimes suicidal thoughts.  When the most recent drinking incident occurred prior to his arrest, he hadn’t been eating for a week, missed his family in El Salvador, and medicated himself with beer.  Dr. Aron concluded that he was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress and not anti-social impulses.  He didn’t recall picking up the child- he was too drunk.  Most importantly, he hadn’t succumbed to what Aron called, the “militarization of the mind.” In this case, this man turned his trauma against himself, he didn’t lash out in violence, believing violence as the only way to address a situation.    Aron emphasized that he was not an invader as the current administration would like you to believe.

As you may expect,  none in the gathering remotely believed Trump’s version of the “caravan”.  When Dr. Aron asked who is doing work to support immigrants, most all raised their hands. We used the opportunity to discuss additional ways to locally support immigrants and spent the remaining time sending messages targeted at presidential hopefuls and current representatives to look at the work of theTexas Civil Rights Project  and their report on the real numbers of family separations and missing children.

Other groups that need your help:

East Bay Sanctuary Covenant  

Interfaith Movement 4 Human Integrity

Freedom for Immigrants

Solidaridad con los ninos

Help Detained Immigrants

Also, Adrianne Aron will be going to Honduras next month and needs a helper to take care of her dog.  Any takers?  This is one way to support the solidarity work with immigrants.

Please join us for more gatherings on local response to abhorrent immigration policy. On Saturday April 27th we will be viewing the film Harvest of Empire  at 3:00 p.m.- Berkeley Zion Presbyterian Church.

HarvestofEmpire1