Category Archives: Actions

From the Field: Update from Iowa CCI Latino Organizing Project

Ruth Schultz, an organizer with Iowa Citizens Community Improvement, provides this update on the CCI Latino Organizing Project:

It’s been a busy week!  We organized a powerful wage theft action to publically call out the owner of Margarita’s Bar and Grill, Ivan Escalona, for not paying his workers. We brought a lively group of 45 people which included some Occupy Des Moines allies! Ivan refused to meet with us or even a delegation of leaders and would not accept our letter.  We got what we came for, though, which was news coverage and a public entrance into this campaign.  All three local news channels featured the action on the news on Friday night and the Des Moines Register wrote an article.  Next step in the campaign: wait a little while to see if Ivan or more workers who he owes money to call us.  We will push for the investigation with the US Department of Labor and put in more complaints against Margarita’s if Ivan refuses to cooperate and change his ways. Here’s a link to CCI’s new website and the news roundup.

Also, 15 CCI members attended the Des Moines City Council meeting last night to speak against the ICE detention center and the repeated postponement of the hearing.  The City Council heard our frustration with the delay loud and clear and set the hearing for Monday, December 19th. We’re pretty sure that December 19th will be the day! We will meet at City Hall at 4:30 pm and everyone should get ready to give testimony.

Finally, we received news from the Polk County Sheriff Department that the Grand Jury hearing on the facts of Deputy Vanhoozer’s alleged assault against three Latino males will be next week.  The Grand Jury is not public but we will stay on top of this issue and report back once we have more information. The Sheriff Department is also working on a list of what offenses are or are not fingerprinted for in Polk County Jail so we can educate our members and the Latino community on their rights after the Sheriff’s announcement at our meeting last month.

Editor’s note: yesterday, Yahoo!News also ran this article on the effects of immigration raids in Iowa — effects that are still being felt more than three years after immigration officials scooped up 20% of Postville, Iowa’s population in a single day.

Tomorrow: Vigils for the DREAM Act

With a vote on the DREAM Act expected to come as early as Wednesday, grassroots groups throughout the country are organizing vigils Tuesday night to show their support and solidarity with DREAMers everywhere. Candlelight vigils are being planned in California, Washington, Kansas, North Carolina, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, New York, Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico, Colorado, Iowa and other states.

In a national press statement, FIRM’s national coordinator Marissa Graciosa said:

“The grassroots immigration movement will do everything possible to show in no uncertain terms the benefits, popularity and moral urgency of the DREAM Act.  Already we have helped direct tens of thousands of calls to congressional offices, and will continue to make calls. Tuesday night we will bring people together to congregate with others who are similarly anxious, hopeful and excited about the upcoming vote. We’ve waited for this day for a long time.”

The DREAM Act is a bipartisan bill that would enable undocumented young people who came to the country as children to enlist in the U.S. military or attend college on their way to becoming citizens. The vigils are meant to show the power to call for a successful vote, thank those who are leading on DREAM, and ask those uncommitted to put aside politics, and do what is right for youth and our economy when they vote.

Some of the vigils being planned for Tuesday, December 7, 2010 include (all times are local):

  • Chapel Hill, N.C.: Peace and Justice Plaza, 6 p.m. (various organizations)
  • Seattle: 5 p.m., Broadway & Pine St. corner at SCCC (OneAmerica)
  • Chicago: 12 p.m., Federal Plaza (Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights)
  • New York: 6 p.m., St. Teresa’s Church, 141 Henry Street (New York Immigration Coalition) Contact: Christina Baal,
  • Phoenix: 6:30 p.m., State Capitol Lawn, 1700 W. Washington (Promise Arizona) Contact: Raquel Teran,, (602) 326-5854
  • Los Angeles: 5 p.m., L.A. Federal Building, 300 North Los Angeles St. (CHIRLA/NAKASEC) Contact: Jorge-Mario Cabrera,, (213) 255-5043 or Olivia Park (213) 605-1255
  • Wichita, Kan.: 4 p.m., North Senior High School, 1437 N. Rochester (Sunflower Community Action/NPA)
  • Marshalltown, Iowa: 6 p.m., St. Mary’s Church, 9 W Linn St. (Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
  • Charlotte, N.C.: 5 p.m. Senator Kay Hagan’s office, 1520 South Boulevard, Suite 205 (Latin American Coalition

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

  • Portland, Ore.: 5 p.m., Pioneer Square, 701 SW Sixth Avenue (various organizations)

For a full list of events, please visit the Reform Immigration FOR America Facebook page.

DREAM Act vote postponed until next week

But continue to call your elected officials and tell them to vote YES on the DREAM Act.

The House line is (866) 967-6018.

The Senate line is (866) 996-5161.

Let’s continue to flood the phone lines!

Immigrant Grassroots Groups in Historic Push for Dream Act

As a vote on the DREAM Act looms closer, grassroots groups who make up the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) are stepping up efforts to show their Congressional Representatives that their communities urgently want the DREAM Act to pass. From California to Maine, immigration activists are flooding congressional offices with calls, faxes and emails, holding press conferences, staging caravans and rallies, and writing letters to the editor.

If you haven’t already, dial 866-967-6018 and we will connect you with your Representative. Tell them to vote YES on the DREAM Act.

FIRM, for those of you who don’t know, is a coalition comprised of more than 200 of the country’s largest and most active state and local immigration advocacy groups representing nearly every state. FIRM’s organizations are all actively courting the support of their Congressional Representatives and communities with varied and creative actions. In Wisconsin, activists with Voces de la Frontera were arrested during a vigil at Rep. Paul Ryan’s Racine office. In California, activists with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) are caravanning through the state asking for commitments of support from the state’s representatives. In Illinois, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is gathering signatures of support from presidents of universities.

Upcoming actions include:

Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA)

  • Friday, December 3: DREAMers stage mock graduation at Sen. Scott Brown’s Christmas party (5:45 p.m. EST, meeting at Arlington St. and Boylston St. to walk to the Park Plaza Hotel)

Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA)

  • Friday, December 3: Rallies in front of the offices of Rep. Mary Bono-Mack at 9 a.m. (Palm Springs) and Rep. Jerry Lewis at 12 p.m. (Redlands)

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR)

  • Thursday, December 2: DREAM Act Night in Little Village to help undocumented students with college applications and to drive calls
  • Saturday, December 4: DREAM Act College Forum, Cicero Public Library, at 12 p.m.

New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC)

  • Thursday, December 2: Kicking off a phone blitz to generate thousands of new calls to Congress, specifically from New York’s Asian American community

Connect with these groups today and join them at these events.

And don’t forget to dial 866-967-6018 and tell your Representative to vote YES on the DREAM Act

[image:  RI4A Flickr]

DREAM Act vote scheduled for tomorrow

Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will vote on the DREAM Act, a piece of legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented youth.

Dial 866-967-6018 and we will connect you with your Representative. Tell them to vote YES on the DREAM Act.

Listen to stories of undocumented youth from the We Are America stories project:

The DREAM Act would provide a pathway to citizenship for youth like Michael who arrived in the United States with his parents at a young age.  Without the DREAM Act, millions of youth like Michael will not be able to meaningfully contribute to our nation.

The DREAM Act enjoys strong support across party lines. In fact, 66% of voters support the DREAM Act. And according to a 2010 study by the UCLA North American Integration and Development Center, the total earnings of DREAM Act beneficiaries over the course of their working lives would be between $1.4 trillion and $3.6 trillion, all taxable income to support America’s sagging economy. The bottom line is that our nation benefits from retaining the skills and talent of these youth and the majority of Americans understand this.  It just makes sense.

Dial 866-967-6018 and we will connect you with your Representative. Tell them to vote YES on the DREAM Act.


Momentum for DREAM Act intensifies as vote nears

Today, dozens of actions involving thousands of people are planned in support of the DREAM Act, highlighting the intense energy and popular support for this piece of legislation.  As we reported earlier, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that he would attach the DREAM Act as an amendment to a defense authorization bill.   Tomorrow, Senators will vote on the measure.

In response, activists with Reform Immigration FOR America, Fair Immigration Reform Movement and DREAM organizations will be out in force showing their support in anticipation of the Senate’s vote.

The events taking place today include:

  • In Los Angeles, the National Korean American Services and Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of LA (CHIRLA) are teaming up with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other civic leaders in a press conference to urge the Senate to pass the DREAM.
  • In Chicago, undocumented students will try to enlist in the armed forces at the Air Force Recruiting Office at Federal Plaza, before marching to the Republican State Offices where they will stay overnight in vigil and ask Republican Rep. Mark Kirk and the Republican Party to support the DREAM Act. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is helping organize the action.
  • In Phoenix, Michael Nazario, an undocumented student who wants to join the military, will be joined at the Arizona State Capitol lawn by other undocumented students who want to serve and veterans on the 5th day of his mock boot camp. Their action is directed at Sen. John McCain, a previous supporter of the DREAM.
  • In Orlando, the Florida Immigrant Coalition and others will stage a flash mob scene in front of Sen. Lemieux’s office this afternoon and ask passers-by to call his office to urge him to vote in favor of the bill. In Miami, undocumented students at Miami Dade College held a rally attended by Rep. Kendrick Meek.
  • In Maine, the Maine People’s Alliance is directing calls to Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, who were among the 12 Republicans who voted for the DREAM Act in 2007, asking them to again stand on the right side of history.
  • In Denver, the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, partner groups and elected officials will hold a press conference and rally to show that Colorado is fully behind the DREAM and will work hard to provide relief and respect to thousands of Colorado kids needing a chance. Sen. Bennet’s office will be represented by his state director.
  • Nationally, the Reform Immigration FOR America (RI4A) campaign is delivering thousands of calls to senators’ offices by reaching out to supporters through email and text messages.

The RI4A campaign has already turned out as many calls as they did in all of 2007.  That on top of turnout across the country in support of the DREAM Act show that the immigration reform movement is vibrant and organized.  And Congress better take note.

A quote from RI4A’s campaign manager:

“All over the country, the immigration reform movement is mobilizing to make DREAM a reality. The juxtaposition of the amazing energy and actions happening in cities all over the country with the partisan gridlock in D.C. is truly stunning.  We won’t take no for an answer. This is common sense legislation that will overwhelmingly benefit our military, our economy and the American workforce.  The groundswell of support and calls generated is testament to the growing power of our movement and the fervor behind this bill. It is time to pass the DREAM Act.”

ACTION: Tell your Senator that the Stimulus must Address INEQUALITY

Below is a video produced by my colleague, Dennis Chin and starring another colleague Jackie Jaiman. As we all know, the Stimulus Package passed the House yesterday, but must now hit the Senate floor. It is up to YOU to make sure that equality and inclusion for IMMIGRANTS, people of color, women and poor people are all a part of the final bill.

We’ve already seen members of the House try to include E-verify in the stimulus bill – lets make sure we keep fighting back and send a resounding message that we want an Economy that works for EVERYONE.

Click here to send an email to your Senator asking them to make sure the Stimulus Package reaches everyone.

And Click here to call your Representatives and tell them you do NOT want E-verify included in the bill.

A New Day for Immigration in America

Across the country, and here in Washington DC, community members, faith leaders, immigrants and advocates gathered to celebrate a New Day for Immigration in America, and to lay to rest 8 years of enforcement-only immigration policy at the hands of the Bush administration.

In Los Angeles, COFEM organized a rally to call for an end to the raids and renew their committment to Just and Humane Immigration Reform in the new Obama administration. Over 40 grass root leaders from both COFEM and CHIRLA, gathered at 6:00 am for a blessing from a local Methodist pastor, and then a procession to ICE’s facilities in Los Angeles. They stayed for an hour, chanting “Stop the Raids” and holding minutes of silence for those affected by the broken immigration system.



In Atlanta, a diverse crowd of 40 ABLE members and supporters of immigration reform gathered in front of the ICE headquarters building in downtown. They prayed and sang together before trying to enter the building to deliver a letter to ICE officials. ABLE leaders were met by several security officers as they crowded the gated entryway leading to the building. Security officers physically held the group off the property and demanded that all recording equipment be turned off.  After many tense moments a non-ICE official from the building met with the group and eventually escorted one member into the building to deliver the letters to an ICE official. The vigil was a spiritual experience as well as a show of opposition to current piecemeal and inhumane immigration practices. ABLE felt God’s presence as they prayed for Comprehensive Immigration Reform instead of haphazard local enforcement, and they used media coverage of the event to convey their message to the greater community.


Galeo’s Executive Director, Jerry Gonzalez said:

Today, on the first day of the new Obama Administration, we stood with Atlantans Building Leadership for Empowerment (ABLE) in support of a renewed national effort to support humane, just, rational and comprehensive immigration policy that reflects the values we have as Americans. We join in the celebration of a New Day in America and join in A New Hope for Immigration Reform! We are living in a historic moment of change. President Barack Obama and his election have given the country renewed hope for just and humane immigration reform and worker justice.

jan-21saIn San Antonio, advocates gathered at ICE offices, calling for an end to raids and the closing of the Don T. Hutto family detention center (infamous for being a prison where small children and immigrant families are held).

“Just like he promised to close Guantánamo Bay, we want him to close down Hutto with detained little children,” said Luissana Santibáñez with the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition, referring to the ICE family detention center northeast of Austin.

Today, in an encouraging move, Obama signed an executive order to shut down Guantanamo Bay. It seems that the demand for a similar order for a halt to the raids could be a reality.

I will be rounding up pictures and stories from all of the events throughout the day, so be sure to check back for more!


Realizing the Promise: TODAY is the Day, Let’s Make some History


TODAY, December 4th, over 1500 grassroots leaders will gather in DC to talk directly with members of Congress and Obama’s transition team, to help shape the agenda for the new administration. “Realizing the Promise: A Forum on Community, Faith and Democracy” will mark the first large-scale progessive event since last month’s historic elections. No longer are our communities on the outside looking in at the powerful decision-makers: we have become the decision-makers.

And YOU CAN BE A PART OF IT! Watch the LIVE WEBCAST TODAY from 3PM to 6PM at and check out the LIVE-BLOG.

Community members, REAL PEOPLE, will be sharing open dialogue with people as powerful as Valerie Jarett, who aims to be on of the 3 to 5 people IN THE ROOM WITH OBAMA when major policy decisions are made, AND Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who is the 3rd most powerful Congressman in the House. This is our time to be heard, this is our time to make sure that the agenda for the next administration is the agenda OF THE PEOPLE.

luisgutierrezwebAnd IMMIGRATION is sure to be on that agenda. Prior to the Forum, there will be a press conference on the Hill, where Rep. Luis Gutierrez will push immigration to the forefront of the country’s political landscape, and ask the new Congress and new Administration for an immediate moratorium on the raids and a renewed effort for comprehensive immigration reform. In the afternoon, Rep. Gutierrez will join “Realizing the Promise” to engage in more dialogue around these demands.

This is truly a historic moment in our Nation’s history and YOU can be a part of it. TODAY, visit from 3PM to 6PM to watch the entire event LIVE on our WEBCAST. We will be live-blogging the event here at Standing FIRM, so be sure to check back for that too.

ACTION: Forum on African Immigration


Invites you to a discussion forum on immigration

Title: Harassment and Mass Deportation of African Immigrants

Date: Saturday, December 13, 2008 at 12 noon

Venue: Auditorium, Cardinal Hayes Memorial High School, 650 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10451 – Between: 152nd-153rd, Train: 2, 4, 5 to 149 Street; Bus: 1

For more information, please contact:

Djounedou Titikpina (TITI) (347) 575-4025, Hajia Ramatu Ahmed (718) 681-8723,Samuel Yakubu (917) 204-7487 or Oumar Traore (917) 847-0056