A blog by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration about justice and peace issues

Posts tagged ‘immigrants’

All are welcome here

There are so many ways to be involved right now and I wanted to share this simple one from American Friends Service Committee. If you feel called to support the Muslim community in this uncertain time – please see below.

Action to Support Muslims

We are living in an extraordinary moment. The Trump administration’s Muslim ban executive order has sparked protests and criticism across the country and the globe. Even more seriously, the administration’s commitment to disregard legal decisions staying the order and to dismiss staff that raise concerns internally has brought us to the brink of a constitutional crisis.

We need you to act now, and call on your member of Congress to oppose the ban.

To recap:

  • Late Friday evening, Trump signed an executive order ending the Syrian Refugee program, suspending visas from seven majority-Muslim countries, and temporarily halting refugee resettlement.
  • On Saturday, people who already traveling from those countries when the order was signed were detained at numerous airports, sparking large protests at those airports as well as at the White House, the Capitol, and in cities and towns across the country. Chaos and confusion erupted around the globe as hundreds, including children and grandparents, were held in detention, deported, or prevented from boarding flights to the U.S. Late Saturday night, federal judges in New York, Virginia, and Massachusetts ordered a temporary halt to the order for those who had valid visas.
  • On Sunday, large protests at airports continued, with shouts of “No Hate, No Fear, Immigrants are Welcome Here!” Meanwhile, in multiple cases Customs and Border Patrol agents refused to follow the judge’s orders to allow those with valid visas to enter, even when confronted by members of Congress at Dulles airport. The administration was silent on the matter.
  • Monday it was revealed that the order was written without input from the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or the Secretary of State nominee. Instead, Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions and white nationalist Trump advisors Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon, were the primary authors. Monday evening it was announced that 100 State Department officials signed a “dissent memo” against the administration’s policy.
  • Monday evening, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates announced that she would not defend the executive order, saying, “I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right. I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities, nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful.” President Trump fired her hours later, saying that she had “betrayed the Department of Justice.”

The Trump administration must be held accountable for violating court orders. Our democracy depends upon checks on executive power, which are being defied by this administration.

Call your Congressperson today, and ask them to: 

  1. Hold the Trump administration accountable for violating court orders and undercutting the independence of the office of the Attorney General, dangerously undermining democratic process and constitutionally mandated checks on executive power.
  2. Support legislation introduced in both the House and the Senate that would overturn this racist, anti-Muslim executive order.

Contact the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, and ask for your senator or representative. When you are connected with their office, you can use the script below. “My name is _____, and I’m from (city/town and ZIP code). I am calling to ask the member to act strongly to protect a core value of our democracy by holding the Trump administration accountable for violating court orders to halt implementation of some aspects of his “Muslim ban.” I also ask that they support legislation overturning this dangerous, ill-conceived executive order entirely.” 

Call three times to be connected to each of your senators and your representative. Call volumes have been high, so if you can’t get through, consider looking up the number for your local office—usually found on the member’s website.

Every action we can take in this extraordinary moment counts! Thank you for your commitment to justice.

In peace,

Mary Zerkel
AFSC Communities Against Islamophobia

The people have spoken!

In another exciting round of recall elections, similar to those in Wisconsin, Arizona recalled Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce who was the author of S.B 1070- Arizona’s infamous “Show Me Your Papers” law.

This is a tremendous moment for immigrants, their families and supporters across the country. A moment of collective outcry that says we are not a nation built on fear and exclusion. A nation that relies on an abuse of power rather than examining our own role and responsibility in how folks come to live, work and be a part of our diverse land.

Read below and take a moment to celebrate with immigrants and advocates across the country!

Loss a stunning reversal for Pearce

Howard Fischer Capitol Media Services | Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 12:01 am

MESA – Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce – architect of some of the nation’s toughest state laws against illegal immigration – was ousted by voters Tuesday in an unprecedented recall.

Results late Tuesday showed challenger Jerry Lewis, a political newcomer, with a 53-to-45 percent margin over Pearce in his east Mesa district. Both are Republicans. A small percentage also cast ballots for Olivia Cortes, although she withdrew from the race.

Pearce conceded defeat, saying he is disappointed and will spend some time “with my family and my God” before deciding what to do next. He has not ruled out another run – including to get his seat back.

Pearce is probably best known for proposing several immigration measures – often amid opposition from his own party – including a successful 2004 ballot measure to deny services to people living here illegally, and most recently, last year’s Senate Bill 1070 to give police more power to detain and arrest illegal immigrants.

“Obviously, it was a huge part of the recall,” said Lewis, who promised a more “civil dialogue and discussion” of the entire immigration issue.

U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, a Tucson Democrat who called for a controversial boycott of Arizona over SB 1070, said Pearce’s loss “is a game changer for Arizona and a game changer for politicians who have used the immigration issue to divide people.”

Pearce, however, said he makes no apologies for his style, which can come across as confrontational. “Am I vigilant? Yes,” he said. “When you take tough positions, people get upset. That’s because somebody has to be a leader, and we wouldn’t have accomplished what we accomplished without leadership.”

He said polls have shown that most Arizonans support SB 1070, and he still believes that.

Pearce said one reason he lost was that this was an unusual race, with no primary. That allowed all voters, including the district’s Democrats and independents, to make the final decision.

“This is going around the primary process,” Pearce said.

“Jerry Lewis could not win in a (Republican) primary,” he added, saying Lewis was the choice of Democrats. “So it doesn’t take but 10 to 15 percent of the Republicans to vote for him to make the difference.”

Lewis disputed that description of the race, calling it dishonest. He sidestepped the question of whether he could have beaten Pearce in a head-to-head primary where only Republicans were allowed to vote. “That’s a hypothetical question,” Lewis said. “I don’t know the answer to that.”

Lewis, a charter school executive, said he never ran for office in a regular primary “because I never wanted to be a politician.”

He said one reason he probably won is he had support from Hispanic voters, many of whom are Democrats.

Despite being rejected by the voters in the district, Pearce said he would not have done anything any different since he was first elected to the Legislature in 2000.

“We’re Number One in the nation in Second Amendment liberties,” said Pearce, who helped push through laws allowing any adult to carry a concealed weapon. “We’re one of the top in the nation in laws that protect the unborn. So what else would I do differently? I’m pretty proud of that record.”

Pearce blamed his defeat in part on “heavy outside money” from liberal groups and unions, but at the same time boasted about the fact that he received donations from contributors in 40 states.

Lewis, for his part, said he waged a clean race, suggesting Pearce supporters had not done the same.

“I was told from the beginning it would be very hard hitting, below the belt. I just didn’t realize I’d have padlocks thrown below the belt as well,” he said, in a reference to a July incident where someone threw a lock at him. “That was a symbol of things to come,” he said.

But Lewis said he has no animosity for the man he beat.

“I still love him, he’s my brother,” he said of Pearce. “And I still consider him a friend, and I hope that we can work together in bringing about a fresh voice for Mesa.”

The recall election, forced by a petition drive, was the first for an Arizona legislator.

Tuesday’s vote has statewide implications in other ways. It means the 21 Senate Republicans – now including Lewis – will have to pick a replacement for Senate president.

That could shuffle the power within the chamber as would-be contenders try to line up support and promise plum committee assignments to supporters.

Arizona Daily Star reporter Carmen Duarte contributed to this report.

Culture of Cruelty: The struggle to end deportation

Please click on the link below to sign a petition to President Obama to stop the human rights violations by Border Patrol against immigrants in their custody!  To read the full report or the Executive Summary of “A Culture of Cruelty: Abuse and Impunity in U.S. Border Patrol Custody,” go to:


To see media coverage of the new report:

From USA Today:

Katerina Sinclair, a statistical consultant and research associate at the University of Arizona, oversaw the report separately from her work at the university. She said the report was funded by donations to No More Deaths and a grant from the Fund for Unitarian Universalist Social Responsibility.

The main finding of the report “is that Border Patrol is acting with impunity and that abuse is pervasive,” she said. She said researchers expected to find abuse limited to certain shifts or certain days of the week by a small number of agents.

Instead, she said, “it was across the board. It was a horrible violation of human rights, and I don’t think that is what people were expecting at all. We were deeply shocked.”

From International Business Times:

Physical abuse was reported by 10 percent of interviewees. Physical abuses reported include sexual assault, being shoved into cacti, and being forced to walk barefoot through the desert.

One woman reported having her breasts touched in the presence of male and female guards after being forced to strip naked.

The report said that children were just as likely as adults to be abused, and spending more time in custody meant an increased chance of being abused.

There were also 416 reports of “dangerous transportation practices,” such as overcrowded vehicles and agents who purposefully drove in circles to make passengers nauseous.

The report also noted that items were often confiscated from detainees and not returned.

Several cases of evening repatriation were reported, which the study notes violates the Memorandum of Understanding and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.

There were 869 reports of family separation. Seventeen of these reports came from children and 41 came from teenagers.

“Aside from the psychological agony of being separated, possibly permanently, from loved ones, women and children who are repatriated alone are vulnerable to kidnappers and sex traffickers,” the report said.

From the San Antonio Times:

Customs and Border Protection spokesman Bill Brooks said Border Patrol agents “were required to treat all those they encounter with respect and dignity.”

“This requirement is consistently addressed in training and consistently reinforced throughout an agent’s career,” he said in an email. “Mistreatment or agent misconduct will not be tolerated in any way. Any agent within our ranks that does not adhere to the highest standards of conduct will be identified and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.”

It was unclear whether CBP planned to investigate the report’s allegations.






Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me…

So much of civil discourse in recent years has been robbed of the importance and beauty of recognizing our powerful inter-connection to one another and to Earth. Instead we appear to be in a frenzy to point out what is different and mark those differences in alienating and unjust laws and social policy. These radical demarcations of power and privilege are then upheld as social triumphs that create safety and punish those who “deserve” it.

Nothing is more emblematic of this problem than the debate that surrounds immigration. Migrants and their families are placed in the category of criminals while punishing policies and laws masquerade as solutions that create safety and justice.

Are we in such a state of scarcity as a nation that we cannot respect the basic civil rights of people who live here? The right to education, housing, health care, work and safe passage are universal human rights that are not based in citizenship.

They are based in being human and as signers of the Universal Declarations of Human Rights we are accountable as a nation to crafting laws and policies that respect those rights. As human beings linked to one another and to Earth we are accountable for creating a world that reflects the soul deep knowledge that how we act toward one another reflects our beliefs in the sacred, in democracy, and in human dignity – and  that matters. Justice cannot flow from distortions created by fear and prejudice – it needs the wild love of inclusion.

This sign was caught on camera by FSPA at an immigration rally in Postville, Iowa.

Please consider joining with allies for immigrants across the state in the actions listed below and helping to turn the tide in “whatever we did not do…”

Emergency Action Alert: Defend Public Education, In-State Tuition Rights, and Denounce AZ Copycat Bill! 


Thursday, June 2nd in Madison


We urgently need people to come to the Capitol in Madison this Thursday, June 2nd at 12:45 PM in Room 412 (East) to protest the Joint Finance Committee vote to repeal  instate tuition rights for Wisconsin’s immigrant youth and massive cuts to public education. Walker’s budget forces taxpayers to pay for the children of wealthy families to attend  private schools while attacking the quality of education for working class families and the poor.

Come to Madison to hold legislators accountable for the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin’s children whose futures will suffer if this budget is passed!

Bus Schedule

RACINE – Bus leaves from Pick n Save, 2210 Rapids Drive at 7:30 am

MILWAUKEE – Bus leaves from Voces de la Frontera Action (1027 S. 5th St.) at 10:30 am

All buses will return in the evening.  To sign up, please call (414) 469-9206.

Thank you for standing with us to protect the educational future of all children!  Education is a right, not a privilege!

Saturday, June 4th in Milwaukee


Voces de la Frontera Action and allied organizations will be sponsoring a civil rights march and rally to condemn Governor Walker’s proposed budget which robs our children of their basic civil rights and jeopardizes the future of our communities, our city and our state.  All children have the right to schools that offer art, physical education, music, library, school nurses, a kindergarten program, school buses, and reasonable class sizes.

All children raised in WI deserve in-state tuition at public universities and technical colleges, including immigrant students!

Parents, teachers, students & community members:  Defend your children’s right to public education!

• 11am gather at MacDowell Montessori (17th & Highland)
• March across the 16th Street Bridge (James E. Groppi Unity Bridge)
• Rally outside Forest Home Elementary (1516 W Forest Home Ave)

Tuesday, June 7th in Madison


On May 23rd, Rep. Don Pridemore (R-Hartford) announced plans to introduce an Arizona-copycat bill in Wisconsin which will undermine the state’s economy and legalize racial profiling.

Voces de la Frontera Action and Wisconsin Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (WNIRR) will host a press conference on Tuesday, June 7th at 1:00PM  at the State Capitol to protest the bill. We invite organizations to write press statements/statements and share them with Elena Lavarreda at statewideorganizer.voces@gmail.com, as well as joining us at this action.

For those that cannot attend the June 7th press conference in Madison please contact your legislator here and call Governor Walker at (608) 266-1212 to say, “We don’t want an Arizona-copycat bill in Wisconsin!”

Click here to view the current version of the Pridemore bill

For more information on these events, contact Voces de la Frontera Action at (414) 643-1620

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