Category Archives: Action

TOMORROW: DC vigil to protest SB 1070

Jeff's Memory Card 100
Today, we saw the worst of our country signed into law in Arizona. Today, we mourn the loss of dignity. As President Obama said, the new law in Arizona threatens:

…to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans.

If you’re in DC come to Dupont Circle tomorrow night, Saturday April 24th at 8pm. Bring candles, friends and family.

We will holding vigil in solidarity with the community in Phoenix, AZ – where a vigil will be held at 5pm MST.

Be ready to call for justice.

See you there.

Power to the people of Arizona

AZ amazing

With only minutes to go until Governor Jan Brewer’s announcement on SB 1070 in Arizona, thousands of people are gathered in Phoenix to call for justice.

The activism and energy being seen right now is further proof that we are fighting the good fight, the right fight, the fight of the people.

We are with you in spirit. And no matter what, la lucha sigue.

And justice for all: Students fight SB 1070 in Arizona

I’ve been getting reports from the ground in Phoenix, Arizona, where thousands of people are gathered to call for the veto of SB 1070. The community is truly coming together around this effort.

Earlier today, nearly one thousand local high school and college students walked out of their classes in protest of the bill that would mandate racial profiling in the state of Arizona.

Dozens of Phoenix police officers escorted more than 1,000 Maryvale and Trevor Browne High School students along their route to the Capitol. (via

The students, chanting U-S-A  and carrying American flags, are those caught in the cross-fire of this impending bill. Many of these students represent mixed-status families, who could potentially be torn apart if SB 1070 were to pass.

Activists from as far away as Southern California have arrived on the scene, to stand with the protestors in front of Governor Jan Brewer’s office at the capitol. Angelica Salas, Executive Director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, arrived on the scene just as the student protestors were filing into the capitol square.

I am blessed to be surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of high school and college students in Arizona. Powerful and gutsy young people walked out of their classes to be here. We arrived as they arrived. We chanted, we marched and now in a circle of unity they share their testimonies as immigrants and children of immigrants. They led an impromptu pledge of allegiance led by a student in uniform. They screamed when they finished ” and justce for all”! Things have to change and they will!

And justice for all. We are with you in spirit.

(picture via NAKASEC)

Arizona Students walk out in protest of SB 1070

Arizona students walk out of class in protest of SB 1070

In the ongoing vigil to veto SB 1070 in Phoenix, Arizona, today, more than 500 students walked out of a local h igh school in protest of the impending bill.

Two of the students from Metro Tech High School, Diana Antunez and Miguel Vasquez had this to say:

” We walked out for our family, we don’t want SB 1070 to pass. It would affect more than half of my family who would be in risk of getting deported and I would be left alone in this country as a minor.”

Diana was born in Phoenix. Her parents parents immigrated to the city 18 years ago and have been working hard to provide for their families ever since, despite not being eligible for citizenship.

“I get very emotional to see all of the people gathering together for the same cause, to do what’s right for Arizona and veto SB1070”.

Miguel has never been a part of of a movement like this and believes that by leaving school he will be able to affect the governor’s decision. He wished he could meet the governor face-to-face to be able to make the case for his own family.

Both Diana and Miguel say tomorrow they will not be going to school as a show of protest against SB 1070. They hope to show Governor Brewer that the current situation is keeping them from obtaining a proper education because they live in constant fear. Fear of having their parents taken away. Fear that their younger siblings will be left abandoned.

“If the governor sees that by signing this bill she will be keeping students from school hopefully she will veto it so students can continue to get an education and live normal lives like our classmates”.

The students plan on keeping from school until SB 1070 is vetoed.

Stand with them – ask Governor Brewer to veto SB 1070>>

Say no to racial profiling: 5 ways to help in Arizona

Right now, a bill that would mandate racial profiling across the state of Arizona is sitting on Governor Jan Brewer’s desk, waiting to be signed or vetoed. The bill, SB 1070, is the most extreme anti-immigrant measure we’ve seen in years and has quickly thrust Arizona into the limelight of the immigration debate.

Basically if you’re brown and you live in Arizona, you’d better have proper documentation on you at all times. Left home without your wallet on accident? You might be arrested, jailed up to six months and fined.

Arizona is on the verge of becoming a police state. And this is a taste of what is to come in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform.

Governor Brewer has until midnight on Saturday to sign or veto the bill. If she chooses to not take action, SB 1070 will enshrine hate as the law of the land in Arizona.

Jeff's Memory Card 101

Today is the 3rd day of a continuous 24 hour vigil outside of Governor Jan Brewer’s office. The community of Arizona is peacefully demanding justice and courageously standing up for what’s right.

They need your help. Below are five things you can do to help fight the hate in Arizona and stop racial profiling in our country:

  1. Send a fax to Governor Brewer asking her to veto SB1070.
  2. Call Governor Brewer and ask her to veto SB 1070 – English:  866-996-5161 – Spanish: 866-967-6018
  3. If you’re in Arizona, join the vigil outside of the Governor’s office (map). If you are out of state, organize your own solidarity vigil (list of events here).
  4. Share on Facebook and Twitter – make this picture your profile picture and dedicate at least one status update to Arizona. If you’re on twitter, sign this twitter petition!
  5. Spread the word: Talk to your friends, family and community about what’s happening in Arizona. Ask them to take action too.

We need everybody to take a stand against this awful bill.  As Jim Wallis so eloquently stated yesterday:

Arizona’s SB 1070 must be named as a social and racial sin, and should be denounced as such by people of faith and conscience across the nation. This is not just about Arizona, but about all of us, and about what kind of country we want to be.

What kind of country do we want to be?

(h/t Will Coley for the idea behind this post)

On to the next one: After the march, activists shut down RNC

While everyone was still riding high on the wave of excitement from the March For America, there was a group of 75 activists that woke up that next morning ready for more.

Early Monday morning, the group of youth, faith leaders and immigration advocates entered the Republican National Committee (RNC) headquarters with one goal: a meeting with RNC Chairman Michael Steele about GOP support for immigration reform.

The group quietly and peacefully walked into the headquarters and staged a sit-in, praying, singing and sharing stories while RNC employees tried their best to ignore them and go about business as usual.

Nathan Ryan of ICIRR was there:

As people at the RNC continued to try and operate normally, we prayed for families destroyed by deportations, waived signs that said “Destroying Families is not a Family Value” and chanted.

Then we added another layer of pressure: dozens of supporters picketed outside the office in the pouring rain, chanting and singing.

Here I would like to note that while we were marching by the hundreds of thousands on Sunday, the nation’s capitol was drenched in sunshine and warm weather. I think it only fitting that this action was done under adverse conditions, adding to the show of unrelenting pressure on the Republican party to support immigration reform.

And we won. Eventually, we got a hold of RNC Deputy Director of Coalitions Manuel “Manny” A. Rosales, who talked to Steele. Steele agreed to a meeting on March 31st with 6 of our representatives from around the country.

It has been stated over and over that immigration reform is a bipartisan issue. But with much of the GOP ready and willing to throw immigrants under the bus for political gain, the road ahead is a steep one. Republicans would do well, however, to heed the research being done by groups like America’s Voice, when considering their position on this issue. There is a midterm election in just a few short months and Latino and New American voters are a force to be reckoned with.

“Immigration reform has always been a bipartisan issue, and we need today’s Republican Party to show the same leadership as Bush and Reagan,” Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, told the activists rallying outside the RNC. “If Republican politicians choose to play politics with the lives of immigrants and their families, Latino and immigrant voters will not forget who stood against reform in November.”

In the mean time, the hard-hitting organizing happening at both the local and National level will continue. As it should be

EVENT: Immigration Reform in 2010, How we will make it happen.

Tomorrow, Jan. 21st at 12pm, there will be an event at the Center for American Progress about how to make immigration reform a reality in 2010. Featuring a roundtable discussion on the policy and politics of immigration reform, the event will also be live-streamed for those of you who aren’t in DC. The line-up of confirmed attendees and panelists is impressive and I hope that folks can tune into what is sure to be an interesting discussion.

More details below:

How We Will Make It Happen

For years, politicians have left the problems of a badly broken immigration system to fester and grow. In 2006 and again in 2008, voters sent a clear message to Washington: if you don’t lead, you lose.

During his candidacy and his first year in office, President Obama repeatedly promised to overhaul immigration early in his first term. The fastest growing new voting demographic, Latino voters—who flipped four states from red to blue in 2008—fully expect President Obama to keep that promise and work with Congressional leaders to advance immigration reform this year.

Opinion polls consistently show strong support for comprehensive reform among Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike, because it is a practical solution that generates revenue, protects workers and honest employers, and restores fairness to a system in crisis.

Please join CAPAF’s Internet Advocacy Roundtable, Netroots Nation, and America’s Voice for a lively panel discussion about the policy and politics of immigration reform led by Nico Pitney, National Editor ofThe Huffington Post . The event will be kick off with remarks by Representative Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL), who recently introduced comprehensive immigration reform legislation, H.R. 4321, into the U.S. House of Representatives.

Opening remarks by:

Faiz Shakir, Editor-in-Chief, Think Progress

Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL), U.S. Member of Congress

Featured panelists:

Markos Moulitsas Zúñiga (Kos), Founder and Editor, Daily Kos; Columnist, The Hill. Author, Crashing the Gate: Grassroots, Netroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics and Taking On the System: Rules for Radical Change in a Digital Era

María Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

Andrea Nill, Immigration Blogger and Researcher, Think Progress

Moderated by:

Nico Pitney, National Editor, The Huffington Post

Space is extremely limited. RSVP required. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis and not guaranteed.

Center for American Progress Action Fund 1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor Washington, DC 20005 Map & Directions

Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange Line to McPherson Square or Red Line to Metro Center


To RSVP to this event, please email Suzi Emmerling at

Undocumented European immigrants self-deport

Early yesterday morning in Minnesota, 30 supporters gathered outside of a local Immigration and Customs Enforcement office for the self-deportation of European immigrants.

Robert Erickson claimed that as a European Immigrant he is part of the group of people who are responsible for the largest genocide in history committed against the Native peoples of the “Americas” and that he and his immigrant ancestors never obtained any legal status from the people who were inhabiting this land before they colonized it for their own self-serving purposes.

I’m really loving this Robert Erickson guy and his ability to dissect the immigration issue in a way that is not only comedic, but powerful. Last week, we saw him punk an ‘anti-amnesty tea party’ (if you missed it, you should check it out).

This week, he led a group of 30 or so protestors as he approached Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers asking to be deported because:

Illegal immigration has been a blemish on the face of America for hundreds of years, and the time has come to set things right.

Now let me be clear! I’m not against legal immigration. If these Illegal Europeans want to get in line and apply for citizenship with the tribal counsel like everybody else, they’re more than welcome to! But there will be no shortcuts, or special privileges for the perpetrators of genocide!

Erickson picks apart the notion of what “illegal immigration” means, turning the definition on its head and calling for reparations to be made to the Native Americans of Minnesota.

Dakota people now retain less than 1% of their original homelands, so one thing you can do is to donate money as reparations to the Dakota people, to help them raise funds to buy back some of their land for traditional cultural activities.

Regardless of how you feel about Erickson’s actions or where you fall in the spectrum of this debate, he is exposing the underlying racism of the vitriol aimed at ‘the illegals’ and the connection of the current debate to pivotal moments in American history.

Columbus go home!

[via BlueStemPrairie and I Don’t Hate America]

More than 1,000 hold vigil for immigration reform in Santa Clara

fam unity vigil

Again, this is cross-posted from the Reform Immigration FOR America blog. It looks like an incredible action, especially the spontaneous peaceful civil disobedience from the crowd as they were blocked from making their message heard. I never cease to be inspired by this movement.

Yesterday’s Family Unity event in Santa Clara was a major success. While I couldn’t be there marching alongside our leaders and advocates, I received the following email from one of the Reform Immigration FOR America organizers. I think his words capture the event better than I could, so I will re-post them here:

Four states and more than 1000 leaders united yesterday to organize the Western Rally for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, part of the national effort of the Reform Immigration for America Campaign. The action aimed directly at Secretary Janet Napolitano as she returned to give a speech at her alma mater, Santa Clara University, yesterday in Santa Clara, California. Our message was stop tearing our families apart, pass immigration reform in 2010.

More than 1000 leaders from California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho rallied for immigration reform at Lafayette Park before marching two miles around the University to the Mayer Theater where Secretary Napolitano delivered a talk. Leaders from immigrant rights organizations, community organizations, unions and social service organizations were present for a march that grew and grew as we approached Mayer Theater, the site of Secretary Napolitano’s talk. She definitely felt our presence as the march stretched for more than 30 minutes around the University. As our marchers reached the theater each took and lit a candle representing hope for immigration reform in 2010.

When we reached just past the Theater, the marchers tried to turn across Lafayette Street (the previously approved route march). The police refused to let us cross the street prompting an impromptu sit-in for 25 minutes whilst our leaders negotiated an agreement with the police. Our sit-in occurred from 7:30 to almost 8:00 pm, perfectly matching the timing of Napolitano’s talk which began indoors at the Mayer Theater at 7:30 pm. Our presence was felt yesterday in San Jose.

It sounds like the event and action were an amazing demonstration of our community’s commitment to passing immigration reform. The local Mercury News had this to say about the demonstration:

About 1,000 noisy but peaceful protesters greeted U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano when she returned to her alma mater Thursday night to speak on global security. The protesters’ message: Tell your boss, President Barack Obama, to keep his promise to work for the passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill by Congress. Carrying signs that said, “Justice for Immigrants,” and “Keep Our Families Together,” the protesters were not allowed near the campus theater, where Napolitano spoke. Instead, they gathered several hundred yards from the building, at Homestead Road and Lafayette Street, many carrying candles.

It sounds like although the main draw was hearing Secretary Napolitano, our action ended up being the real story. This week we have shown our power, our commitment and the sheer force of our movement.This is just the beginning. [photo via @CAUSAOregon]

Below is the first round-up of media clips covering the event. More to come…

KTVU – Santa Clara – Hundreds of protestors demand immigration reform.

CBS5 – Homeland Security chief speaks in Santa Clara

CBS5 – Janet Napolitano to speak at Santa Clara University

Game on: Why yesterday was important in the fight for reform

I am exhausted today. Yesterday was a whirlwind of marching, lobbying, writing, tweeting, picture taking, interviewing, chanting and more marching. But it was more than worth it.

I was standing side-by-side with more than 8,000 people (according to National Mall staff) as we marched to the front door of Congress to demand comprehensive immigration reform. Before the event, over 900 of those people talked directly to their members of Congress about supporting immigration reform and specific pieces of legislation such as the DREAM Act and AgJobs.

This number doesn’t even cover the more than 20,000 calls and faxes into Congress that were made by people across the country, as a part of yesterday’s action for reform. We showed power yesterday, both in DC and across the country.

The day culminated in Representative Luis Gutierrez, champion of immigration reform, introducing core principles for a progressive immigration reform bill, which he has promised to formally introduce later this year. Rep. Gutierrez said:

We simply cannot wait any longer for a bill that keeps our families together, protects our workers and allows a pathway to legalization for those who have earned it. It is time we had a workable plan making its way through Congress that recognizes the vast contributions of immigrants to this country and that honors the American Dream.

The event has garnered much media attention, though it was drowned out yesterday by the continuing health care debate.

Says Marisa Trevino of Latina Lista:

If you didn’t hear about the rally, it’s not surprising. It didn’t take place until late afternoon – after the passage of the health reform bill but news outlets are slowly getting around to writing about it.

And they should be because this wasn’t the usual caravan-to-Washingon-and-demand-immigration reform rally. This rally was different in that it served as the platform where Illinois Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, chairman of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, attempted to jumpstart the immigration debate by unveiling the “core principles” he wants seen included in any immigration reform bill.

She’s right: this wasn’t a typical march to the Capitol to call for immigration reform. There was substance and passion and true momentum behind yesterday’s event.

There are two big things that I am taking away from yesterday:

Number one, the fight for immigration reform has officially started.

Number two, we haven’t even begun to tap the potential support for a pro-migrant progressive bill. The fact that thousands of out-of-town people turned out in person, drove hundreds of miles, fund raised and even missed work to be at a pro-immigrant event where the main draw was only principles of a potential bill, sends a very clear message: we are ready for this fight.

That is not to say this won’t get ugly. I never underestimate the nativist lobby’s ability to stoop lower and lower in their demonization of immigrants and of our movement. But, the true power and the true majority is with us.

For a more about yesterday and full slideshow of photos, visit the Reform Immigration FOR America Blog.