Life at the Border
Interested in taking a trip to the US-Mexican border with the UU College of Social Justice? See, hear, and understand what the real issues are surrounding the immigration crisis. Trips are scheduled over the coming year. To find out more, click here.
Drop the Lawsuit!
It’s time that we ask our Governor and Attorney General to remove Ohio from the lawsuit against expanded DACA and DAPA. While anti-immigrant Republicans claim that their lawsuit is about the legality of President Obama’s Executive Action, their actions are really about is denying relief and justice to immigrants and their families. But our families cannot wait any longer. Every day that relief is delayed is another day that our families live in fear of deportation. More info on the petition.
Stand Up for Women in Detention
Hundreds of women are being unjustly held in detention centers across the country. Although these women pose no danger to society, they have been denied parole despite many of them passing reasonable fear interviews. With limited access to legal counsel and resources while they remain indefinitely detained, these women have little chance of meaningfully presenting their cases for asylum.
The UU Service Committee has a petition that you can sign. It will be sent to the director of ICE, Sarah Saldaña.
Ohio Clergy Call For Withdrawal From Immigration Lawsuit
More than 200 Ohio clergy members are calling on Attorney General Mike DeWine to withdraw Ohio from a lawsuit attempting to block President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration. See full article including quote from UU Rev. Lynda Smith of UU Fellowship of Athens.
Interfaith Immigration Coalition Webinar: Immigration 2015 at the State and Local Levels
The California TRUST Act (AB 4) went into effect on Jan. 1, 2014 requiring all counties in California to limit cruel and costly immigration “hold” requests in local jails. website.
– Secure Community Deportation Statistics By State and County.
– Syracuse University TRAC program statistics on ICE holds.
STOP this Anti-Immigration Bill in US Senate
The US House Republicans are working to undue President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. They have passed, with a vote of 236 to 191, the 2015 Department of Homeland of Security Appropriations bill (HR 240) with several anti-immigration amendments. These amendments seek to undue Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA). The bill now moves to the Senate. CALL YOUR SENATORS TODAY and say NO! Click here for contact info.
- The Aderholt Amendment blocks funding for DAPA, defunds 4 of 5 Morton Memos that deal with prosecutorial discretion and details who ICE agents can/cannot deport, and prohibits federal benefits from being given to any “illegal alien” covered by the DAPA memo.
- Blackburn Amendment blocks funding for DACA.
- DeSantis Amendment prevents ICE from prioritizing the deportation of criminals over undocumented immigrants who have committed no serious crimes.
- Salmon Amendment states that the agency should not grant deferred action or work permits to undocumented immigrants because it entices employers to hire undocumented immigrants who are not covered under the Affordable Care Act.
- Schock Amendment urges the agency to process “legal immigrant” applications over those of “unlawfully present aliens”.
Immigration Alert January 2015 (see alert)
Stop Ohio from Signing onto Lawsuit Against Executive Action
On Thursday, January 15th, there will be a hearing in Texas on a lawsuit filed by 25 states who are opposed to President Obama’s new Executive Actions on immigration. Ohio is one of the states who has signed onto this lawsuit.
The Texas lawsuit that Ohio has joined (thanks to Governor Kasich and Attorney General DeWine) is a partisan, political effort aimed at reversing President Obama’s recent immigration executive order. This recent order allows about 5 million undocumented people to stay legally in the United States as long as they have children who are US born citizens (other requirements must also be met).
Please let Kasich and DeWine know that you are opposed to this lawsuit. You must sign on TODAY, Tuesday, January 13, 2015!
If you represent a particular social or religious organization, please click HERE to have your voice heard!
If you are an individual who does not represent a particular organization, please click HERE to have your voice heard. You can insert the following message onto the form: I do not support your effort to join in the Texas lawsuit which is opposed to President Obama’s new Executive Action on Immigration. Please remove Ohio from this mean-spirited, politically motivated lawsuit. Ohioans like me choose to stand on the side of love, not hate.
USCIS expects to begin accepting applications for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) in late May 2015. Help your community prepare for Administrative Relief. DAPA How to Prepare and Documentation to Gather. See the Spanish language version DAPA How to Prepare (in Spanish).
Legislation Opposing President Obama’s Executive Order on Immigration
US House of Representatives passed HR5759 on 12/9/14: This is a dangerous bill because it would prevent the executive branch from meeting its constitutional duty to prioritize enforcement of U.S. immigration law and would result in the separation of millions of families. In addition to reversing the President’s recent executive order, H.R. 5759 would also place at risk the lives of individuals in vulnerable and complex situations that require case-by-case review, including survivors of domestic abuse and human trafficking. The bill states that only Congress has the power to “establish a uniform rule of Naturalization” and that previous actions taken by former Presidents regarding immigration were legitimate because they were done in response to foreign affairs.
US House of Representatives passed HR5774 on 12/1/14: This is a dangerous bill because it would prevent those eligible for DACA or DAPA from getting social security numbers. Without social security numbers, eligible immigrants could not get jobs or drivers licenses.
Please contact your US Senators to let them know that YOU do not support these draconian measures and that they should support Obama’s Executive Action and compassionate immigration reform instead. See List of Senators.
President Obama Signs Executive Order on Immigration
President Obama announced on Thursday, November 20th his second Executive Action regarding immigration. It offers temporary relief from deportation to potentially millions of undocumented immigrants.
Per his Executive Order, “If you’ve been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes – you’ll be able to stay in this country temporarily, without fear of deportation.”
What Can Congregations Do?
We encourage every UU congregation in Ohio to hold informational/legal clinics at your church for undocumented people who can possibly benefit from President Obama’s latest Executive Action.
Reach out to local law schools or immigrant rights groups to see if they can provide legal help for your event and/or help you organize and reach out to undocumented immigrants in your area.
What Can Individuals Do?
Every one of us should continue to put pressure on our national representatives to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Tell your representatives that you support President Obama’s Executive Order and that you expect them to enact compassionate comprehensive immigration reform in 2015.
Join the UUJO Immigration Core Team
Are you passionate about immigration? Do you want to walk in solidarity with immigrant communities in your area? Do you have ideas on how UUJO can help on the immigration issue? We need you!
Our Core Immigration team will share monthly updates on local, statewide, and regional immigration/immigrant issues. We will make recommendations to the UUJO Board regarding endorsements and campaigns with our partners and allies. And we will work to educate, advocate, and act in accordance with our UU values as we strive to make this a more just world.
Share Your Immigration Work With Us
Are you or your congregation doing interesting work on immigration? Let us know. We want to share your ideas with other UU congregations in Ohio. Send your stories to email@example.com.
From Justice Assembly 2014 Immigration Workshop
Immigration Workshop presentation
** 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
- Immigrant Worker Project
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.