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NC DREAM Team Issues Strong Rebuke of Dale Folwell’s Candidacy for Lt. Governor
Candidate is anti-woman, anti-family, and anti-immigrant
RALEIGH—The NC DREAM Team is strongly opposed to Rep. Dale Folwell (R-Forsyth) seeking statewide office. Folwell is a man with hate in his heart who believes the state’s best days are in the past.
“This is a man who has dedicated his life to harassing women, LGBTQ people, and immigrants,” said Viridiana Martinez, a member of the NC DREAM Team. “We will not be silent while Folwell continues his hateful and bigoted crusade.”
Folwell is proud of his record of rolling back the individual liberties of people who aren’t like him. With the Women’s Right to Know law, Folwell forces upon women his opinion of what they should do with their bodies when they seek an abortion. With the anti-family amendment, Folwell will attempt to ensure that only his antiquated definition of a family is recognized by the state. With the anti-immigrant bills he has supported, Folwell intends to criminalize people for feeding their families and going to school.
Folwell is not a man who can lead our state into the future; he is a man who wants to confine it to the past. As the immigrant youth of North Carolina, we stand against his candidacy. We urge all people of conscience in the state–and those who believe in the state’s future–to do the same.
The NC DREAM Team is an organization composed of undocumented immigrant youth and allies. We are dedicated to the creation of a sustainable, community-led immigrant rights movement in North Carolina. We aim to help undocumented youth recognize our individual and collective power to activate our communities. We also aim to create awareness of the broader struggle for social justice. We will escalate in our efforts to achieve a just reform that is acceptable to–and guided by–the voices of those directly affected by our broken immigration system.
The following is one of those conversations that seems to happen over and over again as I hang out with my undocumented friends.
Me: Hey, I can drive tonight.
Undocumented Friend: Are you sure? I can drive, you drove the last time.
Me: Seriously, I have a drivers license. It’s cool. I got it,
Friend: Hey, I’ve dropped the fear. I’m undocumented and unafraid!
Me: Well, I haven’t dropped the fear. I’m documented and afraid so get in the car.
We giggle as I drive off with my driver’s license in my wallet and my privilege checked.
Recently, I’ve been thinking a little bit more about what it means when I jokingly say that I am “documented and afraid.” Part of it is based on how I felt when an undocumented friend of mine was pulled over while driving. I was talking to her on the phone–when she got pulled over, she hit redial so I could secretly listen in on her conversation with the police. I listened with my heart pounding and tears swelling in my eyes, not knowing what might happen to my dear friend. But being “documented and afraid” is also based upon my reflections of being an ally in this movement.
People always ask me why I am a part of the NC DREAM Team. I always give my two part answer: because there are people that I truly love and care about who are undocumented; and because what is going on in my community is unjust and I refuse to stay quiet. But I think it’s time for me to change my answer: how about instead of explaining myself, I say “well, why aren’t you?”
That conversation usually leads to people thanking me for what I do. Both undocumented and documented folks do it all the time, as if allies are heroes that deserve to be fawned over because we take time out of our privilege-filled day to help these poor folks who have fewer rights than us.
I don’t need to be thanked; I shouldn’t be thanked. This movement is not about me. It is about the brave undocumented youth that are coming out of the shadows, taking risks, and demanding that people listen and make change.
This message is increasingly important as we mourn the loss of Joaquin Luna, an undocumented student from Texas who gave up hope and took his own life last week. As much as my heart and soul is in this movement, at the end of the day, I cannot even pretend to understand the struggle and shame that comes with having my humanity denied. That is why it is so important for undocumented youth to lead; when the “undocumented, unafraid, unashamed” voices reach someone that feels alone and on the verge of giving up, they can feel connected to those that are truly living their reality and find comfort knowing that they are not alone.
Sometimes the line between good and bad ally is quite thin; it’s tricky navigating the “ally” role. The most important thing I try to remember is that this isn’t about me; my role is always to support undocumented people. Standing shoulder to shoulder sometimes means taking a step back. My name doesn’t need to be on press releases, and I don’t have to speak at events. Instead, I should be actively encouraging undocumented youth to fill my shoes.
At the end of the day, this movement is about more than just legislation and policies. It is about a community getting empowered and finding its own voice to speak for itself. No matter how well intentioned, the voice of an ally in the forefront inherently cancels out the voices of those that need to be heard the most.
Media Advisory Tuesday, November 15th
Contact: Mohammad Abdollahi | Cell: 734.262.9705
Contact: Dayanna Rebolledo | Cell: 313.319.5524
Historical Civil Disobedience in Montgomery, Alabama:
Undocumented Parents, 55, 39, 30 and 25 Risk Arrest
Four parents join dozens of undocumented youth in demanding HB56 author—State Senator Beason— stop the hate
***Watch Live at 3:00pm EST –
MONTGOMERY, Ala.— 12 undocumented immigrants participate in an act of civil disobedience today in front of the Alabama State Capitol. They will publicly declare their undocumented status in defiance of HB 56, which is considered to be the harshest anti-immigrant bill in the country.
“We want to remind the immigrants of this state that they have a voice and it’s time to use it,” said Belen Rebelledo, an undocumented mother of three. “We are here to stop Alabama from once again trying to turn the power of the state against those who live in it.”
Participants for today’s event have come together from all over the country to stand in solidarity with the community in Alabama. “What happens to one of us affects all of us regardless of where we live” said Alma Diaz, an undocumented immigrant who arrived in the U.S. at the age of 22. Now 30 Alma fights for her community and is taking this risk, knowing she could be arrested and deported, because doing nothing is no longer an option. “What has hiding in the shadows gotten us? We must fight back; it is the only way to end the pain we see in our communities.”
When: November 15th at 2:00pm: Alabama House of Reps
11 South Union Street, Montgomery, AL 36130-2102
What: Undocumented parents and youth deliver a letter to state legislators demanding a change in anti-immigrant rhetoric and wait for response.
Where: In front of Alabama State Legislature.
Who: Martin Unzueta, 55; Belen Rebelledo, 39; Alma Diaz, 30; Jaime Guzman, 25, of Portland, OR; Catalina Rios, 19, of Detroit, MI; Ernesto Zumaya, 25, of Los Angeles, CA; Myasha Arellano, 18, of San Fernando Valley, CA; Krsna Avila, 23, of Oakland, CA; Fernanda Marroquin, 22, of Philadelphia, PA; Cesar Marroquin, 21, of Philadelphia, PA; and Cynthia Perez, 27, of Indianapolis, IN.
Martin Unzueta, an undocumented immigrant living in the U.S. for the past 17 years is taking action to confront the lies; “The Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement lie because they are hurting our communities with their actions. We are doing civil disobedience because we are not afraid of confronting those who lie.”
Jaime Limon-Guzman, an undocumented parent from Oregon is in Alabama to protect his family; “At 12, my parents brought me to the U.S.to give me a better life. I worry everyday for my 2 year old daughter, I am now taking the same risk my parents took to give her a better and more secure future.
The Alabama Youth Collective is an undocumented youth-led organization working to better the lives of immigrants in the state of Alabama. The Youth Collective firmly believes in the principles of non-violent direct action.
Profile of parents participating in today’s civil disobedience
Belen Rico came to the U.S. 11 years ago to provide her children with a more promising future. Now 39 years old and a mother of three, she works multiple jobs in order to provide for her family. After spending time with immigrant communities inAlabama, she has witnessed first-hand how HB 56 is tearing families apart. Recognizing that she cannot sit by inDetroit while such injustice is happening inBirmingham, Belen feels that the time has come to take a stand. In her words, “As parents, we need to come out of the shadows and walk side by side with our children. We need to stand united so that our message can be strong and clear: we will no longer remain silent.”
Martin Unzueta has been in the United States for 17 years. A resident of Chicago,Illinois, the 55 year-old has been a long-time community organizer and now advocates for the rights of workers at the Chicago Community and Workers’ Rights Center. Martin refuses to stay silent while 1,100 people are deported every day. He recognizes that the majority of them are victims of Secure Communities, which criminalizes the families and workers like him who form the backbone of this society. He is taking this risk because he is tired of seeing his children suffer and is tired of the lies of ICE. Martin is fighting back because he will not be afraid of those who lie to entire communities under the guise of freedom.
Alma Diaz has lived in America for almost a decade. From Cincinnati,Ohio, she has worked hard to achieve the elusive American Dream. At 30 years old,Alma is a wife and mother, a student at Cincinnati State Community College, where she studies Business Management, and a community volunteer at the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center, where she educates her fellow community members about their rights and fights to minimize wage theft. She has demonstrated, through her actions, her value of service to the community and of education. With these same values in mind,Alma is taking action in Alabama. She hopes to empower other undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows and take a stand, in order to keep their families together and hold America accountable to its own values.
Jaime Limon-Guzman came to the United States at age 12 from Mexico. Jaime currently works as an organizer and mentor in his community in Oregon. As a young parent of a 2 year old, He fears he will be separated from his daughter due to his immigration status. Jaime decided to risk deportation by sharing his story in Alabama in hopes to put an end to law that dehumanizes his community.
Remaining profiles will be loaded on www.dreamactivist.org | @dreamact
If you have heard of the ‘Morton Memo’, you have probably heard it as something to be happy about. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton has urged his agency to utilize “prosecutorial discretion”, meaning that it may not pursue deportations as vigorously as it has. Unfortunately, this memo isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. There aren’t any guarantees that undocumented youth are now safe from deportation–it shouldn’t be thought of as anything remotely reassuring. In fact, President Obama just deported asylum-seeker Andy Mathe the day after personally finding out about the case.
Here’s a brief overview of this much talked about memo and what it means for you.
The Memo, ICE and Obama
On June 17, John Morton put into writing what President Obama and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano have been saying for months: that DREAM Act-eligible youth are not a deportation priority. Despite that, as you’ve seen from the continued need for petitions, undocumented youth are still winding up in proceedings (and deported, as mentioned above).
Overall, ICE has been taking heat for two of its programs under the ICE ACCESS umbrella of law enforcement partnerships, 287(g) and Secure Communities, making the Morton Memo appear to be a concession to satisfy critics who have rightly accused ICE of rounding up immigrants without respect their civil rights and civil liberties or the due process of law, let alone the nuances of their cases. As the National Day Laborers Organizing Network pointed out, President Obama has now deported more immigrants than President Eisenhower under Operation Wetback in the early 1950s.
A Brief History of Prosecutorial Discretion
The Morton Memo is another development in a history of prosecutorial discretion that goes back to the Clinton Administration and changes to immigration law in the past two decades.
Long before the Morton Memo, a previous memorandum on prosecutorial discretion written by INS Commissioner Doris Meissner in 2000 established significant authority for prosecutorial discretion in immigration cases. After Congress amended the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1996, judges in immigration court lost a lot of their ability to use, well, judgment on individual cases. INS was forced to make better decisions about where it allocated its resources now that immigration judges would no longer be able to grant as much relief from removal as they once had. Meissner’s memo places a greater emphasis on “substantial Federal interest,” meaning that prosecutorial discretion permits ICE not to pursue cases–even “legally sufficient” ones–which don’t benefit the federal government in any way. Meissner’s memo also lists cases in which discretion should be used and categories of people that should “trigger” favorable discretion. Some of those triggers should sound familiar: “Juveniles;” “Aliens with lengthy presence in United States (i.e., 10 years or more); and “aliens present in the United States since childhood.” The memo also notes that “community attention” is a factor to consider when discretion might be possible.
The Morton Memo and today’s politics
In 2011, what does the Morton memo say? Nothing too different from the previous policy directive. It doesn’t say anything about the DREAM Act. However, many of the factors ICE should use to consider backing off would apply to undocumented youth:
the circumstances of the person’s arrival in the United States and the manner of his or her entry, particularly if the alien came to the United States as a young child;
the person’s pursuit of education in the United States, with particular consideration given to those who have graduated from a U.S. high school or have successfully pursued or are pursuing a college or advanced degrees at a legitimate institution of higher education in the United States;
whether the person, or the person’s immediate relative,has served in the U.S. military, reserves, or national guard, with particular consideration given to those who served in combat;
the person’s criminal history, including arrests, prior convictions, or outstanding arrest warrants;
the person’s ties and contributions to the community, including family relationships;
But as previously noted, there are no guarantees that undocumented youth will not be deported. In fact, Meissner’s memo was far more rooted in looking at the merits of individual cases and the radical idea that law enforcement officials ought to do more than round people up and ship people out. The Morton Memo is based more in budgetary concerns rather than humanitarian ones.
Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama and several other senators have claimed that the Morton Memo was an attempt to “grant administrative amnesty“, but this is the same Jeff Sessions that lied on the Senate floor when he said that undocumented immigrants could already join the military during the December DREAM Act vote. There’s no reason to take him seriously on this. As a member of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship, Sessions is supposed to be an expert on immigration, so the only explanations are that he’s a liar or that he is completely undeserving of his position.
The history of prosecutorial discretion and its present reiteration reveal the root of the problem: a system that is too narrowly focused on deportations. Such a narrow focus is ill-fit for the present reality, and one that we wouldn’t tolerate from any other law enforcement agency. Police have to do more than make arrests–immigration officers have to do more than raids and deportations. Prosecutorial discretion isn’t a solution, or even really a benefit. One way or another, it shouldn’t be thought of as a pro-migrant accomplishment by the Obama Administration.
The only way I can start this post is by asking you to sign the petition. Go on, sign it. This is something that’s just plain wrong.
HB 744 does something despicable: it attacks undocumented children. Before enrolling (which means we’re often talking about little, little kids), parents have to present school officials with information on the immigration status of the child. While the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Dale Folwell from Forsyth County, NC claims that it is meant for the sole purpose of determining the amount spent on undocumented youth, everybody knows this is meant to discourage children from being enrolled. It’s so obvious that even he let the cat out of the bag when he spoke to the Winston-Salem Journal:
Folwell said, however, that policies must change to prevent illegal immigrants from choosing North Carolina as their home.
“The main thing I want is to answer the question: What policies are there at the state level that are making North Carolina a magnet for illegal immigration?” Folwell said. “I want to demagnetize this state.”
This was the sixth time Folwell has introduced the bill in the four terms he has served in the state General Assembly.
The only way this bill would “demagnetize” the state is if it scares people away, making it pretty clear that Folwell is trying to find a way around Plyler v. Doe. Under Plyler, public school systems are required to educate students irrespective of their immigration status. The Department of Education and the Department of Justice sent out a strongly worded letter reminding state and local educational agencies of their obligation to educate everyone who walks into their classroom. Instead of trying to kick them out, Folwell and his gang of foamed-mouth restrictionists are trying to find a way to make sure they don’t walk in at all.
What makes this even more shameful is that the following day, NC Republicans read another “restrictionist” bill, HB 36, which expands the use of E-Verify in the state. However, while all of Folwell’s vitriol toward children counts as “getting tough” on immigration, supporters of HB 36 completely rolled over when it came time to get tough on farm labor. It’s easy to “get tough” on school children behind whom no moneyed interests lie, but when you might be looking for handouts from the farm lobby in just a few months’ time, your compassion can be bought.
If you haven’t signed the petition by now, please do. We need you here in the South.
Photo courtesy of Dayanna R.
Undocumented youth are taking a stand against HB87, an Arizona-style bill in Georgia. Georgia has also moved to ban undocumented youth from attending its top-tier public universities. CBS Atlanta has the story here.
From the Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance:
Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Georgina Perez
email@example.com or Cell: 678-389-1226
firstname.lastname@example.org or Cell: 678.525.1912
Undocumented High School Students Walk Out In Response to HB 87 and Ban on Higher Education Youth Demand Equality Education on 57th Anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education
Mableton, Georgia— May 17th, on the anniversary of landmark civil rights case Brown vs. Board of Education, hundreds of students from Pebblebrook high school will walk out of their classrooms demanding equal access to higher education. The, mostly undocumented, students hope their walkout will send a clear signal to Gov. Deal, the Board of Regents and others who wish to prevent them from attaining a higher education; “as undocumented youth we can no longer be afraid of those who stand against us, instead we need show them we will fight back. We need to take a stand because if we do not do it no one else will” says Dulce Guerrero, an undocumented 12th grader at Pebblebrook high school.
WHAT: Undocumented youth walk-out of class and rally outside school at flag poll
WHO: Undocumented Youth and allies in grades 9 to 12 from Pebblebrook high-school
Reverend Timothy McDonald, senior pastor of the First Iconium Baptist Church
WHEN: Tuesday, May 17th at 2:00pm at the Flag Poll
WHERE: FLAG POLL – Pebblebrook high school, 991 Old Alabama Road, Mableton, Georgia 30126
In October of 2010 the Georgia Board of Regents made a ruling which bars all undocumented youth from its top 5 universities. The ban, unlike other states, does not even allow for undocumented youth to attend at out-of-state tuition rates. Rev. Timothy McDonald, senior pastor of the First Iconium Baptist Church states; “As we remember the historic Brown vs. Board of Education decision, we affirm that immigration is the civil rights issue for the 21st century. We will not re-segregate our colleges and university. America must continue its forward progress towards affirming the rights of all people.”
According to a July 2010 Migrant Policy Institute report, Dulce is just one of the estimated 74,000 undocumented youth who are currently living in Georgia. She joins the over 2.1 million who reside in the United States. Dulce went on to say; “A ban on college is unacceptable; if our students have the brains then nothing should prevent them from attending college. I am walking out today because I want to go to college; if my teachers, my principle and my community support the values of Brown vs. Board of Education then I hope they will support us, the students who are affected by these laws.”
The students leading this action promise that it is only the first of its kind, like the action of April 5th in which 7 undocumented youth were arrested; organizers plan to continue with the direct civil disobedience actions until immigrant communities in Georgia can once again live without constant fear.
Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance (GUYA) is an Undocumented Youth-led organization which seeks dignity and justice for its immigrant youth community in the state of Georgia. GUYA believes all persons should have equal access to education and a life free from persecution regardless of their legal status.
By Alicia Torres
Upon the civil disobedience that took place last week in Indianapolis, Indiana, questions have arisen about whether such actions are necessary and responsible. The first thing that critics must remember is that deciding to participate in a civil disobedience action is a decision that is not taken lightly by either the participants or the organizers. As undocumented participants in a civil disobedience, you go in with the understanding that you are risking it all to gain it all. As organizers, you understand that the fate of the participants lay solely in your hands. Before a civil disobedience action is considered, there are natural steps that are taken–petitions, meetings, rallies, marches and the many other things that we as undocumented youth have done since 2001 in support of the DREAM Act. But when anti—immigrant bills are passed in your home state, there is an overnight sense of urgency that overflows your body. Suddenly petitions, rallies, and marches are not sufficient and local polititans start getting meaner and nastier. That was the case in Indiana.
Erick, Omar, Lupe, Paola and Sayra were arrested in Gov. Daniels’s office in protest of two immigration laws that passed in the state legislature: Senate Bill 590, which is similar to Arizona’s SB1070 and would make local police into de facto immigration agents; and HB1402, which would force undocumented Indiana students to pay out-of-state tuition rates which are triple the cost of in-state rates. The undocumented youth demanded a meeting with Daniels, which he denied. The Indiana civil disobedience was a response to the anti-immigrant sentiment that was about to be signed into law by Daniels. The Indiana undocumented community was and is in a state of urgency. I am not saying that petitioning, rallying and marching do not work because they do, but what I am saying and will stand behind is the fact that presently in our undocumented community there is an unprecedented urgency for survival.
When Arizona SB1070 copy cats are being introduced left and right and state participation in programs such as secure communities and 287g is becoming the norm we need to be ready not just to respond but to anticipate and counteract the anti-immigrant domino effect. To do this, we, the undocumented immigrant community, need to lose our fear and be ready to take the bull by its horns. So to the question of whether civil disobedience is necessary, my response is yes, because presently we are living in a continuous state of fear and with the feeling of the big man’s boot on our back.
Being undocumented is not just a status; it is a constant imposition of limitations on our lives. When you ask yourself: Am I we tired of living in fear? Am I tired of being oppressed? Am I ready to risk it all to gain self-liberation and you find yourself answering YES, then you will know that a civil disobedience is necessary. I am not advocating for you to go out and get arrested for a cause because there are definite consequences that need to be considered on an individual basis and responsible planning that must take place. What I am advocating is for people to think twice before they place judgment on civil disobedience actions and their organizers. As an undocumented person I do not want to see anybody get deported or put themselves in the line of fire and that is why my hat is off to those six undocumented students in Indiana who have showed us what courage looks like and what it means to be fighting for the right to a better life in this country that we call home. Thank you to the Indiana 6 and the Georgia 7; and to those of us around them lets be critical of our own personal judgment to civil disobedience participants and organizers.
Students have chained themselves to the chairs of a board meeting of the Tuscon Unified School District in defense of high school Ethnic Studies program, derailing the introduction of a measure that would eliminate it.
Please join us in Raleigh on Thursday, April 7, for a Community Vigil for Immigrant Rights at 6:30 p.m.
We’ll be convening at the corner of Wilmington and Lane Streets downtown, where three brave undocumented young women from our team participated in a 13-day hunger strike last June. One of them, Viridiana Martinez, was arrested along with the Georgia 7 yesterday. Why?
“Rallying and protesting are no longer enough. Remaining in the shadows is no longer acceptable.”
Let’s not allow any more politicians like Senator Kay Hagan, who killed the DREAM Act in December, to continue dictating the reality facing the undocumented community. Everyday we see another family torn apart by deportation for nothing more than going to work or school. Everyday we see another dream deferred because of unjust educational opportunities. Everyday we see another worker denied a fair wage because of their legal status. We can no longer keep quiet. We’ve drawn a line. Whose side will you fall on? Those that are filled with hate and prejudice? Or those that are willing to stand up for justice and fight for the rights of our undocumented communities?
Please join us tomorrow, and tell a friend. El pueblo unido jamás será vencido.