Press Releases

Tuesday, 24 November 2015 15:28

NDLON REACTION to Sanders' Immigration Plan

For Immediate ReleaseNovember 24, 2015Contact: SG Sarmiento, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. \n NDLON REACTION to Sanders' Immigration Plan Los Angeles, CA—In response to presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' immigration plan, Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) issued the following statement: "We look forward to studying the details, but it is frankly a welcome sign that there are so many details to analyze. The depth of proposals contained in the platform, both for administrative and legislative reform, are befitting of a candidate who is taking seriously the urgency and complexity of the situation facing immigrant workers and the country. Upon an initial reading, a couple of things jump out: "First, we applaud Senator Sanders' legalization-first approach. His promise to maximize use of executive branch authority immediately will help advance political equality for immigrants. Administrative reform should not be conditioned on Congressional inaction or a wait-and-see approach with the courts. Legislative reform has been held hostage for over a decade by xenophobes in Congress. Providing status for all who would have qualified for the 2013 bill is the least that we expect from the next president. "Second, it is excellent that the plan is rooted in principles of economic justice that align the interests of immigrant and native born workers. In particular, the idea of giving whistleblower visas to immigrants who report labor violations is long overdue. This basic step will empower immigrant workers to step forward, it will take away the unfair advantage gained by predatory employers, and it will benefit everyone working in the US economy. "Third, the Sanders platform broadly recognizes that too many people are profiting from the preservation of the status quo. Part of the reason why we aren't making progress on immigration reform as a country is because demagogue politicians profit politically by scapegoating immigrants during elections, predatory employers profit by exploiting immigrants, a massive bureaucracy at DHS profits from bloated budgets, and commercial companies are now profiting from imprisonment of refugee families. "And Democrats have historically profited too. It is unacceptable for Democrats to simply sit back and profit politically from the Trump Effect on the Republican primary by claiming that they are in favor of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Senator Sanders has put forth a serious plan that deserves attention, scrutiny, and debate. We call upon all candidates for President to match Senator Sanders' level of detail. Indeed, we are hopeful that many of…
For Immediate Release November 5, 2015Contact: SG Sarmiento, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. \n   NDLON REACTION: Following Decision, Onus is Back on President to Take Action Los Angeles, CA—In response to the 5th Circuit Court's decision to uphold the injunction blocking implementation of DAPA and DACA 2.0, Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) issued the following statement: "The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals got it wrong today. But this is not the last word from a court on this issue. It will only amplify the call to action for immigrant workers and families. Their demand for justice, equality and a decent life must not be obstructed by more delays and political wrangling. "President Obama spent years enacting a brutal deportation policy, and waited far too long to announce DAPA. He should not compound that error by delaying an appeal of this erroneous decision, nor should he allow the coarsening of political rhetoric about immigrants to deter him from taking additional steps using existing authority to ameliorate the injustice facing immigrants. "Just as the choice was never between 'comprehensive immigration reform or administrative relief,' the choices facing the President today are not 'DAPA or nothing.' The President's own misguided deportation policy contributed to the criminalizing rhetoric we are now hearing from Republican candidates, and we hope his actions going forward are not guided by partisan politics. Immigrants have been scapegoated and used as an election issue for too long. The President should use his remaining months in office to undo much of the damage he did by pursuing a failed 'CIR or nothing' strategy. "The Fifth Circuit got one thing right in recognizing that undocumented immigrants must have a voice in this lawsuit. We welcome the court's decision to allow immigrants represented by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) to intervene. This lawsuit is, in the end, a dispute between 26 nativist governors and the 'Deporter-in-Chief.' The three undocumented immigrants represented by MALDEF carry with them the interests and hopes of 11 million immigrants who deserve political equality. While equality demands relief from unjust deportation and access to work authorization papers, it also requires equal access to redress from harm in federal courts. I have no doubt Jane Does 1 through 3 will ultimately prevail." ###  
For Immediate Release October 20, 2015Contact: Salvador G Sarmiento, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. \n NDLON Statement on Vitter: More, Not Less, Sanctuary Needed (Los Angeles, CA) – In response to today's Senate vote, Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), issued the following statement: "Today's bill was never meant to become law. It was introduced as an odious act of scapegoating. It is being used to defend unjustifiable deportations and it perfectly symbolizes the political cowardice of lawmakers both in Congress and within the Obama Administration and their collective failure to reform outdated US immigration policy. It is also a reminder that going forward, progress will and must be made at the state and local level by bottom-up community organizing, through courageous activism, and with litigation to uphold civil rights and constitutional values. "While TRUST Acts and sanctuary cities are needed now more than ever to guard against the sickening demagoguery of the Trump Effect, they initially emerged as shields to defend against the Obama administration's own disgraceful 'Secure Communities' deportation policy. And today's debate should not be used as an excuse to bully local jurisdictions into acquiescing to a lesser of two evils. The Vitter bill must be rejected, but so too must President Obama's mutating PEPCOMM policy with its duplicitous goal of deporting 'felons, not families'." "Below the surface of the shameful spectacle on display today, a national consensus is emerging about the need to redress structural racism built into the DNA of US deportation policy and criminal law. Communities of color have always been disproportionately criminalized, dehumanized, and deported. Today's spectacle on the Senate floor makes this racism visible, and it further illustrates the need to kick ICE agents out of local jails." ###  
Press ReleaseOctober 12, 2015Contacts: Olga Tomchin, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. \n // Yadira Sanchez, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. \n In Response to Targeting of Grandfather, Family Demands Meeting with ICE Director Saldaña and Answers for Libelous Statements, Highlights Additional Cases (San Francisco, CA) – Today, the family of 67-year old grandfather Apolinar Sanchez Cornejo ("Abuelito Poly"), along with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and the Immigrant Youth Coalition (IYC), announced steps ICE must take to vindicate his reputation and highlighted other grandparents and vulnerable individuals targeted by federal immigration enforcement (ICE). In a letter to ICE, the family and organizations are demanding that ICE "immediately cease and desist from defaming him and the family, apologize for this libelous statement, and explain how such a serious and indefensible mistake could have been made." ICE Spokesperson Virginia Kice has acknowledged that Abuelito Poly was never convicted of domestic violence, but ICE continues to assert that he was arrested for it. NDLON and IYC are demanding that ICE Director Sarah Saldaña meet with Abuelito Poly's family to deliver an apology and explanation, a request that has been incorporated into Abuelito's petition demanding that his deportation proceedings be dismissed. Abuelito Poly and his family have also filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking information concerning the raid on his home, the attempted deportation, and the lies by ICE. In addition to trying to deport Abuelito Poly, traumatizing him and his family, ICE has insisted on lying to the press that he had previously been convicted of domestic violence. "I saw the statement ICE gave about my husband Apolinar Sanchez Cornejo, what they say is a lie," says Apolinar's wife, who goes by Abuelita Vicky. "I'm his wife, we have lived together 45 years and I have never been mistreated. We get along well. That's why my heart broke when I was taking him, I felt helpless. He is my support and the love of my life. Don't say things about him that are not true!" Abuelito Poly's family members highlighted other cases of vulnerable loved ones targeted by ICE in California. "We are not just fighting for my Abuelito, we are fighting for all abuelit@s, elders, and loved ones who are being attacked, criminalized, and scapegoated by ICE," said Abuelito Poly's granddaughter Yadira. Yadira continued, "We are fighting for Venecia Santiago, a grandmother and domestic violence survivor who has been detained by ICE for three years. We are fighting…
Press Release September 30, 2015Contacts: Olga Tomchin, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. \n // Yadira Sanchez, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. \n #FreeAbuelito: Community Pressure Stops Deportation of Beloved Grandfather On the early morning of September 23rd, ICE agents raided the home of 67-year-old grandfather Apolinar ("Abuelito Poly") Sanchez Cornejo and his wife Vicky in Pico Rivera, CA. Abuelito Poly was in the car about to go to work at an auto-body shop in Montebello when ICE agents suddenly surrounded him. They tried to convince Abuelita Vicky to come out of the house but she refused. Abuelito was put in handcuffs and in a deportation van. Through immediate and massive community mobilization including using the #FreeAbuelito hashtag on Facebook, flooding the ICE Field Office phone lines and voicemail, and emails from about 1,000 people to local and national ICE officials, Abuelito was taken off the deportation van and returned home that same day. Abuelito had been the victim of a fraudulent immigration lawyer in the 90s, resulting in him getting a deportation order without knowing it. Because of a citizen son, a lack of criminal record, and residence in the U.S. since 1992, he would qualify for President Obama's Deferred Action for Parents (DAPA) program. "Abuelito does not fall into ANY of ICE's enforcement priorities, proving yet again that ICE is a rogue agency that does not even follow its own internal standards," says Olga Tomchin, Deportation Defense Coordinator and Staff Attorney at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). "ICE cannot be trusted to be on our streets, in our jails, or in our communities." Abuelito Poly and his wife Vicky have been married for 44 years. They have three sons, seven grandchildren, and no immediate family in Mexico. Every day, Abuelito still works at an autobody shop in Montebello, CA. His granddaughter Yadira Sanchez is an undocumented organizer for the Immigrant Youth Coalition, through which she fights deportations. His son Alvaro Sanchez is an advocate for environmental justice, affordable housing, and community development. Alvaro explains, "When I heard ICE detained my dad, I feared nothing could be done. However, the incredible community response that demanded my dad be returned to his family shows that not only is this issue deeply felt, but people are willing to do something about it." The fight is not over. Abuelito still risks deportation and has a court hearing next month. His petition has now been updated to demand that ICE dismiss the removal proceedings: Abuelito…
Press Release September 29, 2015Contact: SG Sarmiento, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. \n REACTION: Will North Carolina Become a New National Symbol of Hate? Durham, North Carolina—In response to the North Carolina General Assembly's sending anti-immigrant bill HB 318 to Governor Pat McCrory, Pilar Rocha-Goldberg, President of El Centro Hispano, made the following statement: "North Carolina risks going down Arizona's unwise path of exclusion and hate. While the rest of the country celebrated with the Pope a message about mercy and resisting polarization, these legislators choose to stain North Carolina's reputation nationally and put us on a dangerous path to deliberate racial profiling and exclusion. "Like Donald Trump, these legislators have demonstrated they are more interested in headlines than public safety or community well-being. Will North Carolina become a new national symbol of hate? We ask that Governor McCrory be wise enough to reject the path of hate and opportunism, and immediately vetoes this extremist piece of legislation. "As members of NDLON, we will support and accompany any and every immigrant who fights back in defense of human and civil rights. Such despicable legislation is never acceptable, and where our families and our communities are threatened, we will not back down." ###
For Immediate Release // Please Excuse Cross PostingsDate: Friday, September 25, 2015Contact: Salvador Sarmiento, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. \n   NDLON Reaction: There is still time for Boehner to Do the Right Thing Los Angeles, CA -- In reaction to news of Speaker Boehner's sudden announcement of resignation, Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), issued the following statement: "Speaker Boehner has an unprecedented opportunity. He should heed the Pope's call for an end to the polarizing, divisive politics of fear, scapegoating, and stagnation. The deportation of millions of people, the incarceration of refugee families, and dehumanization of immigrants is wrong. Both Congress and the Obama Administration have been complicit in perpetuating sinful injustices that threaten to irreparably damage cherished national institutions and values. For too long, Congress has been held hostage by a nativist, vigilante wing of the Republican Party, with many Democrats seeking to take advantage from a worsening status quo. Nobody knows this better than Speaker Boehner. "In the next month, Speaker Boehner could bring an immigration reform bill to the floor that advances equality for millions of undocumented immigrants and their families. In the process, he can help the country move forward by showing that Congress can, in fact, represent the will of the majority of Americans. Now free from constraints of the so-called Hastert Rule, he can bring a bill to the floor of the House that restores faith that government can indeed function. Speaker Boehner can end his job as a hero. He has several weeks left on the job. Will he answer the call?" ###  

For Immediate Release // Excuse Cross Postings
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Contact: Claudia Bautista, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. \n , (310) 909-3917

REACTION: L.A. Sheriff Reverses Course on Jail Deportations

Los Angeles, CA - In response to the newly released draft Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Report Back Regarding the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), Pablo Alvarado, Director for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), issued the following statement:

“It appears the ‘Trump Effect’ is now having an impact on Los Angeles County policy. The L.A. Sheriff today issued a draft policy that appears politically motivated and impacted by sensationalized tragedy, and it reaches far beyond that which was requested by the Board of Supervisors. It is a policy that entangles local criminal law enforcement with the enforcement of outdated, unjust civil immigration laws. Unless modified, the policy will result in senseless deportations, potential civil rights violations, and eroded public safety for all Angelenos.

Earlier this year, following strong advocacy and legal challenges, the L.A. Board of Supervisors rejected ICE’s disgraced 287(g) program. It closed ICE’s permanent office inside the jail, and sought a ‘wait and see’ policy with regard to DHS’s new Priority Enforcement Program (PEPCOMM).

Today, undoing some important advances made to regain the trust of L.A.’s diverse community, the Sheriff appears to invite ICE back into the jails, and he risks further exposing the county to liability resulting from abusive immigration enforcement. Contrary to the motion of the Board of Supervisors and the spirit of the Trust Act, the Sheriff’s newly-announced policy allows ICE agents back into the jails. The Sheriff’s new policy goes well beyond even what ICE is proposing across the nation.

Particularly without meaningful opportunities for community input, the Sheriff’s new policy risks further erosion of trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement. Given ICE’s lack of accountability to the Los Angeles community, and the Sheriff Department’s lack of commitment to genuine engagement, it is essential that any new policy or MOU be subject to democratic oversight by the Board of Supervisors.

The TRUST Act must be a floor and not a ceiling for the protections to immigrants. The list of crimes which would allow ICE access to detainees should be limited and accompanied by a statute of limitations for convictions. In recent months, ICE agents have touted ‘record-setting’ raids in Southern California, removing immigrants from their homes and families, despite their often having lived in the United States for decades, and often citing as justification minor crimes committed years, if not decades, prior. This cannot be considered a humane immigration policy. But the Sheriff’s draft policy today effectively endorses such actions.

The Sheriff cannot be authorized to turn over L.A. community members to the control of ICE merely due to the misfortune of their having wound up in a county detention facility. The L.A. Sheriff was tasked to disentangle criminal and civil law enforcement, and instead further entrenched this entanglement. ICE does not belong in LA’s jails.

The Trump Effect, increasingly sweeping through the country, cannot be allowed to scapegoat immigrant communities in Los Angeles.”


For Immediate ReleaseSeptember 8, 2015Press Contact: Olga Tomchin, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. \n National Coalition Demands DOJ Drop Charges Retaliating Against Portland Labor Leader for Seeking Sanctuary in a Church Portland, OR—Today, 118 labor, faith, immigrant rights, and civil rights organizations joined together to call on US Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Acting US Attorney Billy Williams to immediately drop the retaliatory prosecution of Portland labor leader Francisco Aguirre. Mr. Aguirre served as worker center coordinator for the VOZ Workers' Rights Education Project (VOZ) in Portland, a worker-led effort that empowers immigrants and day laborers to gain control over their working conditions through leadership development, organizing, and community education. "Undocumented people should not be afraid that publicly standing up for their rights will lead to prosecution," says Francisco Aguirre. "I am asking the government to let me stay with my family and allow me to continue my work, defending immigrants and workers' rights." One year ago, ICE agents came to Francisco's home and tried to arrest him without a warrant and separate him from his three children, two of whom are U.S. citizens. Francisco then publicly sought sanctuary in the Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland, Oregon. In a deeply unusual and likely political move, the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged Francisco with re-entry fifteen years after a previous deportation to El Salvador, which he had fled due to extreme violence against him and his family by the military. Immigrant, labor, and faith leaders are calling on the DOJ to immediately drop all charges: Romeo Sosa, Executive Director, VOZ "Through Francisco's work as an organizer at VOZ, he has helped our workers collect $500,000 in stolen wages, helped improve health and safety labor standards, and organized neighborhood clean-ups. "He is an absolutely indispensable part of our community." Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director, National Day Laborer Organizing Network "I have known Francisco since he had just recently arrived in the United States and didn't speak English. Since then, I have seen Francisco grow as an individual, as an organizer, and as a parent. He's gone from being a day laborer to becoming an organizer, starting day laborer centers and helping recover lost wages, to organizing to stop deportations. He has also learned to play guitar and has become a mariachi. Despite a lack of formal education, he even learned to fix computers. He was the star graduate of the leadership development program he attended. Francisco…
For Immediate ReleaseSeptember 4, 2015Contact: SG Sarmiento, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. \n Federal Judge Confirms Long Island Day Laborers are Protected by US Constitution Long Island, NY—In response to a federal court judge striking down a NY town's law banning day laborers from seeking work, representatives of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) made the following statements: Gabriel Banos, Council President, Workplace Project, Long Island: "Justice comes to those who demand it and persist. Long Island day laborers have been vindicated. We have the right to stand on a sidewalk and offer our labor. We are open for business. I hope that this ruling serves as an example and guidance for other towns. Enacting and implementing anti day laborer ordinances is not just illegal, it's immoral. No one is above the need of a father or mother to provide for his or her loved ones." Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of NDLON: "After this Court decision, two things should be clear to those who want to alter our Constitution: (1) Today's ruling affirms that it protects anyone who seeks an honest day of work in public sidewalks: citizens and non-citizens. (2) Migrants will defend it. We will fight every day for equal rights under the law, not just for ourselves but for everyone."The racist, overheated and dangerous rhetoric that Presidential Candidate Donald Trump promotes, is not above the most cherished bedrock civil rights protections of our country. Through our struggle for justice and equality, day laborers will honor the prior generations of migrants and their descendants who fought to advance equal rights for all." ###  
For Immediate ReleaseSeptember 3, 2015Contact: Claudia Bautista, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. \n NDLON Demands Answers from ICE after "Record Number" of Arrests Los Angeles, CA—In response to ICE's 'record setting' raid in Southern California during which 244 people were taken from their homes, immigrant and civil rights groups are demanding transparency from ICE and offering a hotline for individuals that have been impacted (HOTLINE: 844-878-7801). On Thursday morning, groups held a press conference outside the Los Angeles ICE field office and delivered a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request addressed to ICE Director Sarah Saldana. Representatives from the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) made the following statements: Pablo Alvarado, NDLON Executive Director: "ICE is using this operation to challenge the decision of Californians against ICE's improper collusion with local law enforcement to set up shop in jails and prisons in the state and detain people beyond their sentences. Immigration enforcement should not be used to blackmail local law enforcement or political actors. "Given the dangerous political rhetoric that is scapegoating, criminalizing, and dehumanizing immigrants, it is vital there be transparency from agencies (outside of the political sphere) that are entrusted to enforce the law." "Today, we are helping ICE to live up to its statutory obligation to provide basic details to the public—immigrants and citizens alike. And we continue to call for a more humane immigration policy that recognizes the human dignity of migrants, and does not support their use as political pawns." Emilou MacLean, NDLON Staff Attorney: "Unfortunately, DHS — by its own admission — suffers from a trust deficit when it comes to its deportation programs. The manner in which ICE conducted recent raids did nothing to close the social distance that it has caused between immigrants and law enforcement. "Today, we are asking for ICE to provide the public with information about the latest raids -- -- who was detained?-- who was involved in the raids and at what cost?-- what other raids have been conducted since the November 2014 change in policy by ICE towards a greater use of prosecutorial discretion -- and who was picked up there?-- what justifications and legal authority did ICE rely on to justify the raids?" Read the Letter to ICE Director Sarah Saldana HERE *** IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS BEEN IMPACTED BY THE RECENT ICE RAID, PLEASE CALL 844-878-7801 *** ###  
For Immediate ReleaseAugust 25, 2015Contact: Olga Tomchin, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. \n Advocates Condemn Plan to Detain Transgender Women at Adelanto"[the] way to keep LGBTQ immigrants safe is not to detain them in the first place" Today, over 100 national and local LGBTQ, immigrant, and civil rights organizations urged President Obama in a letter to stop Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from detaining transgender women at the isolated Adelanto Detention Facility in the Mojave Desert of Southern California. Adelanto is run by GEO Group, a private company with a record of abusing detained people, including transgender women and individuals with disabilities.  Attorneys and formerly detained individuals have reported abuse that includes solitary confinement, denial of medical care, and pervasive sexual harassment of transgender women at GEO Group facilities, including the Joe Corley Detention Facility in Texas and the LaSalle Detention Facility in Louisiana. The Adelanto Detention Facility itself has a history of human rights abuses, including "egregious errors" in medical treatment.  A coalition including the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) has been highlighting abuses against people with disabilities and asylum seekers at Adelanto. GEO Group has consistently denied or delayed necessary mental health treatment for people detained at Adelanto and shackled individuals during their psychiatric appointments.  In one Adelante case, a man named Gerardo Corrales developed a life-threatening infection because GEO forced him to reuse dirty catheters. In another case, Barbra Perez, a trans woman detained by GEO, was tortured in solitary confinement and denied necessary medical care, while ICE tried to use the mistreatment to coerce her to accept deportation rather than fight her immigration case. The facility's documented failure to prevent or address sexual assault is especially alarming given that trans women are the survivors of 20% of substantiated sexual assault complaints in immigration detention. "It's clear that GEO Group cannot be trusted to care for transgender women or house them safely," says Olga Tomchin, NDLON's Deportation Defense Coordinator and Staff Attorney. "Instead, as in the outreageous case of Brenda Perez, we see ICE exploiting this fear and suffering as they try to coerce individuals to accept deportation."  Adelanto is located in the Mojave desert, an extremely isolated area and a long distance from legal services and other social support systems, so its geographical location would further prevent independent oversight by advocates and severely limit transgender immigrants' access to attorneys. The letter makes clear that the only "way to keep LGBTQ immigrants safe is not to detain them in the…
For Immediate ReleaseJuly 31, 2015Contact: Claudia Bautista, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. \n , (310) 909-3917 Grammy Award-Winning Quetzal Joins Community Concert Outside Immigrant PrisonAs Scapegoating of Immigrants on the rise following "Trump Effect", Community Rallies to Serenade Inmates and Deportees What: Chant Down the Walls Concert with Los Jornaleros del Norte & Grammy Award-Winning Quetzal followed by Clitoral Mass Bike RideWhen: Saturday, August 1, 2015, 11:00am-1:00pmWhere: Metropolitan Detention Center, 535 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles, CA 90012Who: National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), Ovarian Psycos-Cycle Brigade, ICE Out of Los Angeles Coalition Members, and community members from across Los Angeles Why: Current immigration policy would have us believe that our communities are divided between those that are deserving and those that are undeserving of relief. The current attacks on immigrants with criminal priors, whatever those may be, underscores the cloud of suspicion that exists for all immigrants and people of color in the US. Chant Down the Walls seeks to remind us that those in detention are our family members, loved ones, and are as deserving as anyone outside of relief, of equal protection, and of freedom from detention. That is why we reject the idea that we can be divided between felons and families. Felons are also family. And everyone deserves equality, no exceptions. "Because we know that music occupies space, a sonic space that cannot be physically removed, we sing to those inside the detention centers. It is our way of touching one another when we are separated by these harsh and unjust laws that continue trying to divide us," says Xochi Flores, NDLON event organizer and member of Cambalache. "Music has become a vehicle by which we mobilize, cultivate community and tell our stories." This Saturday, Quetzal, the grammy award-winning Chicano rock band born over 20 years ago from the East LA Chicano art/music scene, will be our guest band at Chant Down The Walls. The musical ensemble is influenced by an East LA rock soundscape composed of Mexican ranchera, cumbia, salsa, rock, R&B, folk, and fusions of international musics, and also one whose political vision is based in social activism, feminism, and the belief that there is radical potential in expressive culture. During the past two decades, the musical force of Quetzal has created a unique cultural platform that has sounded against conditions of oppression and marginalization. For this event, we are also collaborating with the Ovarian Psycos, a Boyle Heights…
For Immediate Release July 30, 2015Contact: SG Sarmiento, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. \n DC Officials, Immigrant Rights Groups Denounce Scapegoating in Congress, Stand up for Trust "DC is proud to be a sanctuary city" - Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton Washington, DC—On Thursday, city officials and immigrant rights groups joined in a unity press conference at the front steps of City Hall to denounce efforts in the US Congress to scapegoat immigrants and undermine local Trust or sanctuary cities like Washington, DC. Immediately after the tragic shooting death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco, Donald Trump was quick to blame undocumented immigrants and localities that have stood up against unjust immigration enforcement. Many in Congress have joined the effort, supporting enforcement-only legislation that only one month ago would have seemed extreme.DC city leaders called on members in Congress to oppose all piecemeal, enforcement-only legislation attacking immigrant Trust policies. "Unfortunately, this is only the latest in a long history of Congressional meddling in local DC affairs," said Councilmember David Grosso. "It is shameful that anti-immigrant politicians are exploiting a tragedy in San Francisco to push their agenda. The House and Senate need to focus on passing comprehensive immigration reform, and leave jurisdictions like DC to make their own decisions regarding local law enforcement." The city of Washington, DC was one of the earliest to oppose entanglement with federal immigration enforcement during the roll-out of the Secure Communities deportation program, now the Priority Enforcement Program. "DC is proud to be a sanctuary city," said US Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton in a statement for the event. "We are proud to stand with our immigrants, documented and undocumented alike." Participating organizations including SEIU-32BJ, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), Trabajadores Unidos of DC, Many Languages One Voice (MLOV), CAIR Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of NCA (ACLU), National Lawyers Guild National Immigration Project (NLG), CARECEN-DC, Washington Peace Center, Madre Tierra Women's Group, United We Dream (UWD), We Belong Together/Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, Georgetown Hoyas for Immigrant Rights, MEChA of Georgetown, and more... ###
For Immediate Release Press contacts: Olga Tomchin, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. \n , 402.650.2339 // Jerónimo Saldaña, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. \n , 212-613-8074 // Heidi Altman,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. \n , 202-331-3320 x 20 #BringKenaultHome: Coalition demands due process for father and husband deported for minor marijuana convictions Washington, DC—A coalition of immigrant rights, human rights, and criminal justice reform advocacy organizations are calling on Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of Chief Counsel to allow green card holder Garfield Kenault Lawrence, (A# 045 612 966) who was deported away from his U.S. Citizen wife and child to Jamaica, to reopen his immigration case. 

After a year of being held in an immigration detention prison (including during the birth of his first child), Kenault was wrongfully deported in 2013 based on an incorrect legal standard applied by an immigration judge who labeled his two minor 2009 marijuana convictions to be "drug trafficking aggravated felonies." Just a few months later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Moncrieffe v. Holder that "characterize[ing] a low-level drug offense as 'illicit trafficking in a controlled substance,' and thus an 'aggravated felony'... defies the 'commonsense conception' of these terms." Despite this clear decision, ICE is refusing to reopen his case so that he can have a proper hearing under the correct law, and is fighting his lawyers' attempts by claiming that too much time has passed. "An Immigration Judge got the law wrong and fractured an American family when he ordered Kenault deported. We call on ICE to right this wrong by allowing Kenault to come home and have his day in court," states Heidi Altman, Legal Director of the Capital Area Immigrant Rights Coalition. Kenault moved to Virginia from Jamaica in fifth grade and immediately met his future wife Melissa. They started dating in their senior year of high school, during which he became the high school's wrestling champion. He worked as a mover for a company that valued his work ethic and character. Being a black immigrant with an accent in Virginia, Kenault was frequently harassed and profiled by local Virginia police. After Kenault's deportation, Melissa has had to work three jobs and receive food stamps. Their son Devario is now three years old and only sees his father through video screens and extremely rare visits to Jamaica. Kenault's stepmother has cancer and may die without ever seeing him again. Melissa says, "Kenault made some mistakes when he was young. But since then he's done everything right - did his jail time, did his probation, worked hard and started a family. Now we're all paying for his old mistakes again and again,…
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