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Estamos recibiendo muchos reportes de que agentes de inmigracion y otros policias que buscan el arresto y detencion de personas indocumentadas estan en Jackson County, NC. Mas especificanmente, en el pueblo de Cashiers, NC. PASE LA VOZ!
We are receiving MULTIPLE reports that ICE and other police specifically targeting undocumented people is out in Jackson County, NC SPECIFICALLY the town of Cashiers, NC. If you’re in NC, please SPREAD THE WORD.
Orfilia Sagastume-Reyes of Thomasville, NC is currently set to be deported on June 7, 2012. She is the mother of a US citizen honor student. Orfilia fled political persecution and death threats in Guatemala to the United States with her family in October 1990, following the assassination of her brother. In 1993, Orfilia applied for asylum in the US. Based on the erroneous advice by a previous lawyer, Orfilia and her family withdrew their asylum application, which resulted in an order of deportation. Since then, Orfilia has been trying to fix her status, without result. Orfilia has resided in the United States for 22 years and is the primary caregiver of a minor US citizen child. She has no criminal record, not even a traffic ticket.
Orfilia Sagastume-Reyes has no criminal record, not even a traffic ticket. Why is ICE determined to deport her and the Obama administration refusing to stop the deportation of this mother?
If ICE re-opens her case, she will be eligible for a Green Card. If she is deported, her son will likely have to go with her, taking him away from his country and destroying his chances of a high quality education. If her son stays here, he will be in the custody of Social Services. If deported, Orfilia will not be able to return to the US for 10 years.
Please help keep this family together by taking action:
1. Call ICE – John Morton @ 202.732.3000
Sample Script: ”Hi, I was calling to ask that the deportation of Orfilia Sagastume-Reyes (A # 073 189 266) be stopped. Orfilia has been living in the United States for the past 22 years and is the mother of a U.S. citizen. She is eligible for adjustment of status if ICE lifts her deportation order. According to the Morton Memo, Orfilia is not a priority for deportation and should be allowed to stay. Don’t deport Orfilia – lift her deportation order and allow her to stay in the U.S.”
2. Sample Tweet: #Obama to deport Orfilia, mother of US citizen minor. Tell @wwwicegov to STOP the deportation of Orfilia! http://chn.ge/orfilia
3. Sign and spread the online petition: http://chn.ge/orfilia!
Thank you for your support!
By Alicia Torres-Don
In April it was in Georgia. This month, in California. The fear of being undocumented is being dropped across the nation. We as undocumented youth are coming out of the shadows as UNDOCUMENTED, UNAFRAID, UNASHAMED. We are doing this not because we enjoy the thrill of putting our lives on the line every time we come out, but because we, as the directly affected, are living the urgency of the situation on a daily basis.
We have no option to “opt out,” we are undocumented and we live our lives as undocumented. We have to face secure communities, the 287(g) program, and checkpoints on a daily basis. We have to leave our homes every morning with the image of our parents praying with all their might that we may return. We have to face and endure the constant injustices that are being committed against us, our families and our communities. It is because we see, we live, but more importantly, because we recognize that this is not right and that we have the obligation to challenge such injustices that we dare come out as UNDOCUMENTED, UNAFRAID, UNASHAMED.
We live in a time where an epidemic of anti-immigrant sentiment and injustices sweep our nation and it is our obligation to expose such injustices and to challenge these wrongs. We the undocumented have to own our status, our stories, our voice, our power. We are a collective to be reckoned with. To all the undocumented youth in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and all those states where the light seems very dim, I tell you that the power to change and challenge starts with you. Own your status, reach out, organize and challenge.
Like many of us, Erick Velazquillo was at one point living in the shadows, knowing that he was not the only one but feeling like he was–until he was put in circumstances that shook him, made him own his status, and forced him to organize. He is now fighting his deportation through his own means and the collective of undocumented youth that stand behind him. Let’s DROP the FEAR and own our status, our stories, our voice, our power. We are UNDOCUMENTED, UNAFRAID, UNASHAMED, organized and determined to challenge the many injustices that we, our families, and our communities are living. I invite you to DROP the FEAR and take a stand. Here’s how: make a simple video with your story and post it up on your Facebook and send it to us to post on our blog. The time is now.
By Emily Cabaniss
When I was 6 or 7 years old, my mom was driving my sisters and me home from the mall. It was dark and she had her low beams on. About halfway home, her lights unexpectedly went out on the highway. In a panic, she pulled the car over to the side of the road and started flicking switches and twisting knobs trying to get the lights to come back on. I remember being scared at first – we didn’t have a cell phone, we were nowhere near an exit, and we were still pretty far from home. I didn’t know what we were going to do, and my sisters and I bombarded my mom with worried questions. We were making a bad situation much worse. But, then I remember my anxiety giving way to excitement when mom figured out the high beams still worked. Amazing! She had solved the problem! We had lights again! As mom cautiously pulled back into traffic, we continued on our way home – my sisters and I hovering over the back seat noisily “helping” navigate this new adventure.
Not too long into it, though, a driver going the other way flashed his lights at us, signaling mom to turn off her high beams. She was annoying on-coming traffic. Mom cursed nervously at the bind we were in (she was NOT going to turn off the only lights that were working!). She ignored the signal and anxiously continued down the road – high beams blazing. A few minutes later, there were blue lights in her mirror.
My sisters and I fell silent. My parents had been stopped by the police before and those encounters almost always ended with one of them getting a ticket. We knew mom was not happy. She pulled over and waited for the police officer to approach her window. Peering into the back seat at us and then back at mom, he asked her bluntly, “Why didn’t you turn down your high beams when I flashed you?” She explained the problem with her lights and said she knew it was wrong to drive with them on like that, but she didn’t know what else to do. The police officer nodded. He seemed to understand. He told her he was going to let her go as long as she promised to get her car fixed, smiled at us in the back seat, and walked away. She promised. We went home. She didn’t even get a ticket.
That’s how my story ends. Because my mom is a U.S. citizen with white skin, she got to drive away that night, her only lingering concern being how much it was going to cost to get her lights working again. But that’s not the way these kinds of traffic stops end for many undocumented immigrants. I live in North Carolina, a state that is now 100% Secure Communities. That’s the federal immigration enforcement program that deputizes local law enforcement officers to act as agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Under those circumstances, even minor traffic violations can result in detention and deportation if drivers are undocumented. That’s what happened to Erick Velazquillo. And it’s wrong.
As an ally in the immigrant rights movement, I am astounded by the increasing brutality of our current immigration enforcement laws. One mistake – one single mistake – and one’s life can change forever. Like my mom, Erick broke a traffic law. Like my mom, he was stopped by police. Like my mom, he offered an explanation. But, that’s where the similarities end. That’s where policies that legalize discrimination against undocumented immigrants lead Erick down a different path that could very well end in deportation. That’s the reality undocumented immigrants face in this country. It’s inhumane, cruel, and un-American. And it’s getting worse.
When Arizona passed SB 1070 last year, it sparked a vicious anti-immigrant flame that has spread rapidly across the states. It has emboldened politicians in Alabama to pass laws requiring principals to determine the legal status of children in their schools. It has led legislators in Georgia to ban college students from attending its top universities. And in North Carolina, undocumented youth trying to enroll in community colleges are forced by law to the back of the line, allowed to register for classes only after everyone else has.
In this kind of climate, where their very existence in this country is criminalized, many undocumented immigrant families are afraid – and rightly so. That makes it all the more surprising and inspiring that some of the young people who are directly impacted by these laws have begun standing up, speaking out, and fighting back.
Following the example set by growing numbers of undocumented youth in this country (here and here, too), Erick is “coming out” and sharing his story with the aim of putting a face on this struggle and demanding humane and progressive change in our immigration laws. I stand with Erick and all of the other undocumented youth who are boldly leading this fight. I ask you do the same.
Please sign this petition to help keep Erick home where he belongs and where we need him.
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.
By Emily Cabaniss and Justin Valas
As mentioned in the previous post, the dangers of coming out in rural North Carolina are all too real. Last week at the Lexington Multicultural Festival, four undocumented youth resisted the factors that push back on their ability to have a normal future in the place they call home- they came out of the shadows in a very public place.
Judging by the double-takes that the randomly passing police officers gave us, our booth clearly stood out from the rest of the crowd:
Over the course of the day, dozens of people stopped by our booth to express their support and solidarity. Of those dozens, four youth experienced something very different and left with a subtly defiant glow of confidence in their eyes.
One young woman told me that she had graduated from high school last year and was still wondering what is next. “I want to get into community college, I want to study early childhood education and teach young children.” The only frustration was continued confusion over whether she could get into school (let alone the abusive registration process), and obvious concerns about how to finance the out-of-state tuition she would surely be charged….
A couple of other youth, dressed in the crisp fatigues of JROTC, casually picking up our materials asked about what we do. Nonchalantly, one of the two let it drop that as an undocumented High School senior they were wondering what came next.
Another youth stood and conversed with me at length about the importance of the DREAM Act, and the importance of working to safeguard the rights and futures of undocumented youth. Suddenly, she switched over to Spanish and told me “Soy una de esos estudiantes (I am one of those students).” She went on to tell me about how she had been accepted to college with a generous scholarship package and how much she wanted to share that knowledge with others.
A future child educator. JROTC youth. A student who merited a full-ride scholarship to a prestigious university. These are some of the stories of undocumented youth in rural North Carolina, who are impacted by the anti-immigrant bills in the NC General Assembly. These are some of the youth whose futures are put on hold as Senator Kay Hagan refuses to support the DREAM Act.
As an ally, I felt amazed and inspired by these youth. Full of energy, they had the courage to approach a stranger and shared both their status and desires for the future in a rural county known for its anti-immigrant tendencies.
If there is one thing that I have learned from the past year of our activism in NC and across the country, it is this:
Empowerment is contagious.
How will you use yours?
Everyone should feel free to contact your local Representative and Senator in NC (find yours here), and tell them that you expect them to oppose all anti-immigrant legislation in the General Assembly. You can also urge your Representative and Senators in DC (find yours here) to co-sponsor and support the DREAM Act.
Please attend Jumping Mountains: What Would You Do To Feed Your Family?, a play about immigration. Two- to three-minute monologues have been written from interviews with immigrants, some of which were members of the NC DREAM Team. The plays highlight the struggles, both internal and external, of immigrants in our community.
The students will be performing an informal staged reading of the play on Friday, April 29 at 8:30 p.m. in the Black Box theatre in Robinson Hall on the campus of UNC Charlotte. Parking and admission is free.
We will be participating in several events associated with the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace all around the state this week. Today we will be in Charlotte, where we will be delivering a letter to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff demanding an end to deportations. Viridiana will be speaking, as well as Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who will be speaking later as part of his national tour pushing for immigration reform. Look here for a full schedule of events.
In the Triangle, a screening of Papers: The Movie will take place on Thursday, 5:45 p.m. at El Centro in Carrboro (104 Hwy 54 N). The documentary focuses on real-life stories of undocumented students in the U.S. and the challenges they face upon graduating high school. This event includes a panel discussion with undocumented students afterward.
More from Pilgrimage organizers:
“For the past 25 years people of conscience have walked during Holy Week throughout north Carolina to stand up for peace and justice and call attention to the issues that affect our entire state.
From the Organizers:
Join us this year as we demand:
• Humane and just immigration reform
• Fair trade agreements
• Justice for immigrant workers
• A swift end to raids and deportations
Please join us to promote justice and solidarity in our communities. Across the United States the deportation of immigrants is on the rise. In North Carolina, 8,000 undocumented immigrants are held in the Mecklenburg County Jail alone. Our immigrant brothers and sisters need our support now more than ever. We must reject the criminalization of immigrants and demand that policy makers fix a broken immigration system that bankrolls for-profit prisons. Secure communities are not punitive, but loving places. As people of faith and conscience, we must take prophetic action for justice. We urge you to participate in the Holy Week Walk across North Carolina.”
Here is a video of Jose Rico, a member of NC DREAM Team, coming out of the shadows. Don’t forget to come to our rally tomorrow at Greensboro City Hall at 4pm.
If you are interested in coming from different parts of the state, please call the following numbers:
Western NC – Loida (828) 280-9325
Charlotte area – Domenic (704) 281-9911
Triad – Fredd (336) 989-2797; Emily (336) 769-6428; Victoria (919) 260-1232
Triangle – Jose Rico (919) 802-0508
Eastern NC – Viridiana (919) 704-0599
Or e-mail us at email@example.com.
In a plea to lawmakers yesterday, the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC laments the “Democratic leadership in Raleigh” for not passing “comprehensive enforcement legislation”. That’s probably because Republicans control both the North Carolina House and Senate.
While ALIPAC’s release focuses entirely on legislation, it blames the Democratic governor, I guess. It never mentions her by name (I won’t either, since they didn’t).
North Carolina is having a hard time with its budget, and as ALIPAC points out, “lawmakers are aiming to make billions of dollars in cuts to the state budget which will have a dramatic impact on many North Carolina citizens including teachers, health care professionals, and state workers”. However, if they’re looking for lawmaking to happen, they ought to take it up with the Republicans who are currently in charge of putting forward legislation.
“Over thirty states have enacted significant immigration enforcement measures with comprehensive enforcement legislation passed in places like Georgia, Arizona, South Carolina, and Oklahoma.” said William Gheen, probably quoting himself. “These states report gradual, humane, and significant declines in their illegal alien populations. North Carolina needs to follow their example. Those state’s [sic] are no longer paying billions in taxes for illegals.”
Tax revenue is something states receive, not pay, and those states are receiving billions in revenue from undocumented immigrants. While ALIPAC admits that undocumented immigrants do pay some taxes (hey, credit where credit is due), “they collectively consume much more than they pay in tax resources through their use of food stamps, unemployment, welfare, educational resources, law enforcement resources [and] medicaid”. Except that the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA 96) requires proof of citizenship for public benefits, so undocumented immigrants don’t get any of those things. And while they leave out that (also since 1996) the Internal Revenue Service has been issuing Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers to undocumented immigrants for the purpose of paying income tax, there’s no service that undocumented immigrants have not rightfully paid for.
Just to hammer things down, a 2007 study carried out by the White House Council of Economic Advisors determined that undocumented immigrants pay (on average) $80,000 more than they use in public services.
There’s some info to take to Raleigh.