Immigration Justice Alert: October 2014
UUs have a long history of offering sanctuary to those in need. During the Civil War period, Unitarian and Universalist congregations made up nearly one third of all churches offering sanctuary to runaway slaves via the Underground Railroad. During the 1980s, several UU congregations practiced sanctuary in an attempt to shelter Central Americans fleeing terrible violence in Guatemala and El Salvador.
Today, according to the UU Service Committee, dozens of UU congregations are participating in new sanctuary coalitions and are encouraging other congregations to join. If your congregation is not already participating, you may want to consider doing so. In addition to offering physical sanctuary, congregations can be part of the sanctuary movement by working to stop deportations, and by assisting people in sanctuary and the churches that are providing it. Meals, visitation, financial support are all needed as is advocacy and witness to get deferred status for those facing deportation. To sign-on and see the list of congregations, take action for people facing deportation, download a Sanctuary Toolkit, and learn more about this new movement, click here.
Ohio churches involved in the sanctuary movement include the UU Church of Akron.
In Our Own Backyard: The Immigration Crisis in Ohio
Rev. Peter Morales delivered the powerful morning sermon on “Morality versus Legality” as over 150 participants gathered from many different faith traditions to witness the immigration crisis in Ohio in an up close and personal way. Faith leaders signed a statement regarding immigration at this event.
Please read Statement on Immigration Crisis Ohio. We encourage your congregation to sign a similar statement and send to President Obama and members of Congress.
May We Be Love’s Defenders
Rev. Melissa Carvill-Ziemer tells us about her recent trip to Washington, DC to Stand on The Side of Love with Immigrants. Click here for story.
Model Policy for Law Enforcement Agencies
Contact Don Sherman firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy a policy and rationale for consideration by the Hamilton County sheriff that discourages notice to ICE in order to reduce detainer requests and save local resources.
Trip to the Border with UU College of Social Justice
Human rights are at stake on the US-Mexico border, and a UUCSJ Immigration Justice program is your chance to understand the issues. You’ll return home prepared and inspired to be a leader for immigration justice. Register now.
Upcoming Trips: Register now!
- Love Knows No Borders: October 21–26, 2014 (apply by August 10, 2014), $800
- Border Justice: February 13–16, 2015 (apply by December 14, 2014), $800
- Theology and Justice: March 21–28, 2015 (apply by January 18, 2015), $1200
- LULAC League of United Latin American Citizens: Columbus, Dayton Cincinnati, Don Sherman, First UU
- Ohio Interfaith Immigration Coalition
- Interfaith Immigration Coalition
- Alliance for Citizenship
CINCINNATI CITY COUNCIL ADOPTS IMMIGRANT FRIENDLY RESOLUTION
Click here for the March 7 Resolution
MODEL IMMIGRANT FRIENDLY RESOLUTION FOR OHIO CITIES and VILLAGES
Adapted from the Cincinnati Resolution by Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio (UUJO).
EXPRESSING City Council’s commitment to improve the lives of immigrants in our community by promoting their public safety, family unity, healthy work environments, and greater participation in all aspects of the city; and
RECOGNIZING their many contributions and innovations to the local economy; and
ENCOURAGING the citizens of the City of _____________ to foster civility and respect for immigrants.
WHEREAS, many service workers, advocates, and policy makers who work directly with immigrants have seen the need that administrative procedures and public policies be crafted such that the rule of law is applied fairly to immigrants, so that their families remain together and as workers they can continue to contribute to America’s economy, by building a stronger economy for the City, County and the State of Ohio.
WHEREAS, absent national Comprehensive Immigration Reform, faith-based and other organizations favor local action to welcome immigrant students, professionals, workers and their families, while maintaining the rule of law in the spirit of the United States of America’s call to inclusion “E Pluribus Unum” (“Out of many, one”), and encourage law enforcement agencies to use discretion when applying the rule of law.
WHEREAS, the Police Department must respond when undocumented immigrants and their families have been victims of crime and abuse. While caught in the middle of a broken federal immigration system, our officers must use sensible discretion towards such victims to promote safety in our city, and to seek emergency services and justice for these victims, and to build trust with our growing immigrant communities.
WHEREAS, more U-Visas creating a path to citizenship would also protect immigrants who are victims or witnesses of a crime so they can assist law enforcement officers in pursuing justice against offenders.
BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of _________________________ calls on the United States Congress and the Administration to pass and enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation this year that includes a path to citizenship; and encourages the City of ___________, other local governments in the state, and the Ohio General Assembly to promote initiatives to welcome the participation of immigrants more fully in the vitality of the state and our respective communities.
UUs for Immigrant Friendly Cities
UUJO representatives from Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus launched a statewide campaign UUs for Immigrant Friendly Cities and Villages at the February 18 Immigration Workshop in Delaware, Ohio.
Since Oct. 2011 the “Welcome Dayton” action plan has brought national recognition to one Ohio city as immigrant friendly. UUs in Cincinnati have now joined an interfaith coalition lobbying for City Council adoption of an immigrant friendly resolution.
UUJO encourages its Congregational and individual members throughout the state to bring the campaign for immigrant friendly resolutions to Columbus, Cleveland, Akron, Kent, Youngstown, Toledo and smaller cities.
Interfaith immigrant coalitions and secular organizations like the ACLU active at the state level may also have local projects that would benefit from UU partners. If not, then activist UUs could take the lead in recruiting other groups in a collaborative lobbying effort. See the draft model resolution and for additional campaign information from the UUJO Immigration Working Group.
Immigrant and Human Rights Advocates Denounce Anti-Immigrant Arizona-like Ohio HB 580 11/14/12
Columbus, Ohio – Ohio Immigrant rights organizations, human rights advocates, faith leaders, students and undocumented community members stand together to denounce House Bill 580, the Arizona-like bill sponsored by Rep. Combs. The bill will have a sponsor hearing Wednesday Nov 14th at 4:00 PM. The bill is before the House Transportation, Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee.
“I can’t believe this is happening in Ohio. This is not where the national sentiment is as far as immigrant rights and the move toward immigration reform, something is very wrong here”, stated Maritza Motino from LULAC Ohio.
The bill’s primary focus is the right for police officers to use “reasonable suspicion that an individual is an alien” and brings the same civil rights concerns to Ohio which has played out as racial profiling in states like Arizona, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and others.
“This is old story thinking from old story minds such as that of Representative Courtney Combs,” stated community organizer and immigrant rights advocate, Ruben Castilla Herrera, “Frankly, as far as I’m concerned it’s the reintroduction of a bill based on ignorance, xenophobia and fear of the other,” he continued.
In the wake of the 2012 elections, which saw record levels of turnout among Latino voters, representatives of the Ohio Action Circle feel that Ohio’s elected officials should be working to find common ground for a real solution to the broken immigration system.
“It’s encouraging that Republicans and Democrats alike are now discussing the importance of passing legislation that provides opportunities for immigrants, whether it’s Congress working on a path to citizenship or Senate Bill 357 here in Ohio, which would provide equal access to education for undocumented children,” said Nick Torres of DREAMActivist Ohio. “Unfortunately, Representative Combs has long advocated for these sorts of punitive, divisive bills which move our state backwards,” he added.
The Ohio Action Circle remains committed to working with advocates across the State to push for policies that benefit Latinos and the immigrant communities throughout Ohio while speaking out against anti-immigrant legislation.