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

Posts tagged ‘immigration legislation’

What’s happening in Postville, Iowa?

Today’s blog is a compilation of information shared by Sister Carrie Kirsch and affiliate Sharon Chavolla.

First, Sister Carrie shared an update on the trial for Rubashkin. She tells us that this really needs our prayers. “The trial might take months.  The trial in which some Postville Hispanics are to testify is to take place after this trial.  This means they need to stay in Iowa most of the winter.” The Des Moines Register article (Oct. 13, 2009) gives a complete update.

Second, affiliate Sharon Chavolla shared this PBS video in which FRONTLINE/World correspondents Greg Brosnan and Jennifer Szymaszek take a look at the lasting effects a U.S. immigration raid in Postville, Iowa, had on two small villages in Guatemala. It is a 15 minute video which is well worth your time.  Peace.


“With this faith we will be able to work together…” Wis. legislation filling gaps for immigrants

“With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together to stand up for freedom together…” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dear All – I want to share some information on an action that was brought to my attention by Sharon Chavolla, an FSPA Affiliate. Sharon works closely with the immigrant community in La Crosse, Wis., and the surrounding area. Sharon has worked with the community as they have  mobilized to pass measures that would allow immigrants driving certificates and in state tuition.

The driving certificate measure would give immigrants  legal driving status that is different from a drivers license. It serves as a protection for both the immigrant and other drivers and also allows access to car insurance. It is a simple measure that helps to fill the “gaps” when a person is undocumented and blocked from many government services/requirements.

The second piece of the legislation extends in state tuition to immigrants seeking to attend state schools. Right now undocumented individuals do not get access to the in state rates no matter how long they have lived in the community. This shows another “gap” that comes from a lack of documentation and creates a road block to education for the immigrant community.

These measures, while simple if passed, would create many exciting openings for the immigrant community of Wisconsin. It would also send a signal that the fear, mistrust and racism that has surrounded much of the rhetoric of immigration reform no longer rules the day. That we as diverse community hailing from around the world seek to welcome and not criminalize those who come to build new lives.

Click on the link below and see how you can help ensure the passage of these important measures! Much Peace Liz


Postville raid reflection and prayer

It’s guest blogger day!

Rev. Denny Coon, United Methodist Church, FSPA affiliate

On May 12 there was a prayer vigil in Postville, Iowa, commemorating the one year anniversary of the ICE raid on the Agriprocessors plant. I attended to hear the stories.  There’s a holy connection that takes place when someone else’s story intersects with mine. I am even more drawn to situations where it seems most unlikely my story will intersect with another person. What would I, a male Anglo from Iowa, have in common with a young Mexican woman? I learn at these intersections that we all have interests alike and are connected through our stories. Once we intersect, we are no longer aliens, enemies, or foreigners. I find God’s presence in all these stories. We are allies of God. I cannot imagine why anyone who believes in God would be angry with immigrants coming to the USA after they hear their stories.

Here is a prayer I wrote for a prayer service in Waterloo, Iowa, the day before Postville’s vigil:

Worker God, with the wind you swept over the chaos,
You, without a visa, created the light and it was good.
You, without a green card, created the sky and it was good.
You, without a driver’s license, created the dry land and sea and they were good.
You, without a social security number, created the sun and stars and they were good.
You, without a passport , created birds and sea creatures and they were good.
You, without a government petition, created cattle, creeping things, and humankind and called them good.
You, O God,
illegal worker,
undocumented creator,
immigrant parent of us all,
the only home land security we need,
stand in solidarity with all workers everywhere because you have created and called them good.
We give thanks for your unconditional love without borders, without agents, without GPS ankle monitoring devices
Lover of the least and the lost,
Lover of the widow and orphan,
Lover of the alien and the sojourner,
Lover of us all.
We pray for your presence with us on this day when we remember the workers and their families from Postville and the community of Postville. May creation be brought back to your intended order where there is enough food and shelter and work for all. May we all work and have meaning as you intended and as you modeled for us that very first week of work.
For, we look forward to the great Sabbath day when all will worship and rest and sit at table together, feasting at your kingdom banquet.

Rev. Denny Coon

“Did you too, O friend, suppose democracy was only for elections

“Did you too, O friend, suppose democracy was only for elections, for politics, and a party name?” Walt Whitman
Whitman wrote these words in the aftermath of the Civil War in an essay entitled “Democratic Vistas.” Whitman was hoping that from the promise held in becoming a country without the institution of slavery a broader and deeper democracy would emerge in the United States. Whitman knew this would take great commitment from everyone – politicians and citizens alike – to become a reality.
History shows us that Reconstruction led to the Jim Crow and a new form exclusion and discrimination took hold and the hopes of many waned. Democracy again became a “ballot initiative” every four years with a stark silence in between. It would take a great, grassroots movement to overturn Jim Crow and open the door once again for that broader and deeper democracy to emerge.
We are at a similar crossroads again today. Last week we saw the historic election of the first African American President. A president elect who is promising to be the “change we need” and calling on us as a nation to help him “re-build America.”  We have an opening yet again to deepen and broaden our own democratic republic.
Let us answer President Elect Obama and continue the ongoing work of democracy. Let us remind him of his campaign promises to the end of the war, provide affordable health care, give aid to homeowners, close Guantanamo, pass effective immigration legislation, create green jobs and the list goes on.
to sign a letter to President Elect Obama encouraging him to bring the troops home and work with the Iraqi people to provide reparations and safe transition. An action to begin the important process of not only recovering what we have lost in the last eight years but also deepening the democracy we will hand on to the next generation. Thanks and Peace Liz

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