Author Archives: Nicola

And while we are away…. Don’t MISS! “Finding America”

As our country’s eyes turn towards Denver and then Minneapolis, the New York Immigration Coalition is traveling to each of the conventions and stopping along the way to take film, collect stories, and share the plight and triumphs of immigrant communities across the country.

So, while we are on a hiatus, don’t miss! Finding America. NYIC’s roadtrip to our political heartlands.

Fight Poverty, Not Foreigners

That was the message on a sign at a peace rally in Capetown where Somalis have already been lynched.

Could have been a sign on a house next door.

Childhood in Translation – A FILM, interview with Director Robert Winn

At the age of 12, Mi Vaj (sp), was hired by UC Davis Medical Center to translate for medical practitioners working with Hmong immigrants in her community. No 12-year old has the ability to translate complicated medical dialogue, and not 12-year old should have to.

But this is the type of situation that happens everyday around the US because our system is not able to meet the needs of translation, or english language learning needs. Robert Winn’s new film “Childhood in Translation” looks at the lives of youth, families, and service providers dealing with the lack of english language learning funding and the lack of adequate translation programs.

Robert has been a filmmaker for several years and focuses much of his work on raising the stories of immigrants around the country. Listen to my interview with Robert on this project as well as his future immigration-related documentary.

Images from Postville, IA

A community gathers supportThe scene of the raidComforting loved ones in Postville, IA

Raids VIDEO: Local Pro-Migrant Voices of Iowa

Check out this video of local Iowan immigration advocates speaking with the Des Moines Register Editorial Board.

Federal Hearing on Raids Being STREAMED LIVE

live streaming of federal hearing on raids

Check out the link above, thanks to Marisa Trevino at Latina Lista

Request for Legal Support in Iowa

Request for immigration attorneys with removal & criminal experience Diego Bonesatti, formerly with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, is on the ground in Iowa volunteering for FIRM and Iowa CCI in Postville.

He sends this special request for lawyers to aid detainees in the coming days. This does NOT require coming to Iowa or other travel:
* Advise federal defenders on possible immigration remedies that their clients may be eligible for;
* Advise federal defenders on the immigration consequences of a plea agreement
* Conduct the work over phone, email / fax

Folks should contact Sol Varisco of Immigrant Safety Network (IST) at

Raids VIDEO: Voices from the ground, 5.18 March in Waterloo

Raids Video: Immigrants Seek Refuge at St. Bridget’s

How to Send Support to Iowa

Here is a great way to make sure help gets to the families who need it in Iowa:


Call to Action: Coming Together in a Time of Crisis


On Monday, May 12, federal immigration authorities raided the Agriprocessors, Inc. meat packing plant in Postville, Iowa.  This massive raid led to the arrest of more than 300 workers and quickly threw this small town of less than 3,000 people into chaos.


Throughout the last week family members have been desperate to get information about their loved ones, children are staying away from school for fear of leaving their homes, attorneys have been attempting with limited success to gain access to workers being detained by federal authorities, and the entire town faces an uncertain future.  Fears are growing that the detained workers will soon be shipped across the country to be prepared for deportation without being able to speak with attorneys or family members.


But the residents of Postville and neighboring communities including Waterloo, where federal immigration authorities rented out the National Cattle Congress to hold these workers, aren’t taking this lying down.  On Monday night, more than 200 community residents and family members gathered outside the temporary detention facility for an impromptu vigil.  Since then, churches and community organizations have stretched their resources in a tremendous outpouring of support for families impacted by the raids. 


Fair Immigration Reform Movement partners like the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition have come together to provide support and technical assistance to Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and other allies on the ground.  Dozens of national organizations have also responded.


Now local leaders feel that the stories of the families impacted by these raids must be heard and echoed across the nation.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency that coordinated the raid, has tried to label this quasi-military operation (complete with helicopters, machine guns and hundreds of agents) “humane” or even necessary.  On Sunday, May 18th, the community members of Postville and Waterloo, Iowa will issue a Report to the Nation – so that national news media and decision makers will hear the real story of workers and families devastated by the raid. 


We can join them in solidarity that week (May 18-24) with the following actions:

  1. Write and send a press release/editorial board memo to local media in solidarity with the Iowa families affected by the raids, highlighting how such tactics have affected your local community as well.
  2. Stage your own event or press conference telling the stories of families affected by raids in your area.  Demand that the trend of criminalizing workers and separating families is un-American and unacceptable.
  3. Work with your local religious institutions to conduct a day of prayer for all families impacted by raids.

If your organization can organize a solidarity action, please email us about it ( or call 202 731 9543. 


For more up to date information, video footage and images of the raids go to the FIRM blog:


The community of Postville is also organizing a humanitarian response to the raid.  Please spread the word to individuals or institutions that would be willing to send donations to support families impacted by the raid. Donations should be sent to:


St. Bridget’s Hispanic Ministry Fund 

c/o Sister Mary McCauley

PO Box 369

Postville, IA 52162

(mark “Postville Raid” in the memo)


For further information about providing material or monetary support, please call Sister Mary McCauley at (563) 537-0002.