Tell your city: Become a Sanctuary City, or Expand the Notion of a Sanctuary
The DJT administration inherited a deportation machine, and he’s taking full advantage of it. The scope of those targeted with immigration raids has been expanded, meaning that they are no longer just targeting “dangerous criminals”, which was supposedly Obama’s deportation aims. Over the past 2 weeks, 678 undocumented immigrants have been rounded up in Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency raids taking place in 12 states. The first deportee was Guadalupe García De Rayos, 36. A mother of two US citizen children, who had been in the US since she was 14 years old was arrested and deported after a routine ICE check-in which she had been doing for the past 8 years. There are reports that a young man protected under President Obama’s DACA program was arrested and is due for deportation. A woman seeking asylum as a domestic violence survivor was also arrested, and scheduled for deportation. These travesties are happening swiftly and without remorse. A leaked document from the Department of Homeland Security suggested that National Guard authority to round up, arrest, and deport undocumented immigrants.
Since the 1980s, faith-based communities have advocated for cities to become sanctuaries for undocumented migrants, and asylum seekers. Although Sanctuary City policies are variable, overall they restrict local law enforcement officers from collaborating with ICE agents in order to deport undocumented migrants. Although these policies have been beneficial, they need to be expanded.
Mijente, Youth Transgender Law Center (TLC) and Black Youth Project 100 collaborated to create a working document to expand the notion of Sanctuary in order to benefit all community members. Using this document, Mijente is working on a new campaign: Defy, Defend, Expand Sanctuary Policy Solutions. This is a live document, so if you have the time, energy, and interest, please check it out.
Following these activists lead, here is PAGE’s action for this week. Put on your thinking caps, because this requires some research.
See if your local Indivisible group, or local immigrant rights group is already launching a local campaign relating to immigration in your hometown. If this is the case, then they should already have a lot of this research done. Look at the actions they have suggested, and see if it’s possible for you to do them from abroad. If not, then continue to the next steps.
Find out who your city councilmember is, and their contact information. If you do a quick google search with “who is my council member + [City, ZIP]” you should get a ZIP code tool from your city or town government. If not, then you have a bit more work to do on the city’s or town’s website (and something else to pester your local government about).
Find out if your city, county, or state is a Sanctuary for immigrants. Here is a list (website from a migration reduction org, but we can use their tools for good, right?) of municipalities that have declared themselves “Sanctuary Cities”. This list could be out of date, so please do your own research if you don’t find your city here.
If your city is not a sanctuary, try to find out if there is current legislation for or against. Again, this will require you to do some research.
Call and email your councilmember, and mayor.
If you know of a Sanctuary City Bill proposed. (You may have to adapt this, depending on the context of current legislation in your city.) “Hi, I’m a resident in [your city]. My zip is [your zip]. I’m calling to ask you to support XXX bill, which will make sure that undocumented immigrants are safe from deportation if they come into contact with local law enforcement. This bill will ensure that fewer families are separated, and that our communities remain safe. Will councilmember/alderperson/mayor XXX take a strong stance in support of this bill?”
If your city is already a Sanctuary:
“Hi, I’m a resident in [your city]. My zip is [your zip]. I’m calling to ask you to push for the expansion of the definition of Sanctuary. I understand that [your city] is a Sanctuary city, and I hope you continue to support this status. However, communities living at the margins, like immigrants, people of color, and trans people are frequently targeted by local law enforcement. In order to be a true Sanctuary City, [your city] must ensure that local police stop processes like: stop & frisk, patrolling communities of color, and decriminalizing possession of marijuana. Can you tell me which bills the councilmember/alderperson is supporting in order to make our city a sanctuary for all targeted people?” Remember to make a list of the proposals they claim the CM is supporting.
If you don’t know if there is a Sanctuary City Bill proposed:
“Hi,I’m a resident in [your city]. My zip is [your zip]. I’m calling you today to state my support for the Sanctuary City movement growing in our country. I am unsure if the city council has proposed any bill to make [your city] a Sanctuary City. I fully support any bill that will break ties between local law enforcement and ICE agents. Could you tell me if there is any such bill? Will the councilmember/alderperson support/ propose it?
If there is no Sanctuary City Bill proposed:
“Hi, I’m a resident in [your city]. My zip is [your zip]. I’m calling you today to state my support for the Sanctuary City movement growing in our country. I fully support any bill that will break ties between local law enforcement and ICE agents. And I would like to refer the CM to City of Seattle Welcoming City Resolution from January 2016, as a guide. Will the councilmember propose such a bill?
And finally, tell others from your city/town to do the same!
This is a lot of work, and you might not get it all done during your PAGE meeting, so try to do the research work before your meeting, or finish up after your meeting. Feel free to share your experience with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. As PAGE continues actions on more local issues, it will be crucial for you to know how to access this kind of information.
2. Tell Congress: Use Aid Money to End Poverty, NOT play politics
From Senegal PAGE: House Resolution 802 (Aid to Allies act) has been introduced to essentially punish Senegal for supporting Palestine for opposing Israeli settlements.
Last year, Senegal was one of four-cosponsors on United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016) which states that Israeli settlements are a “flagrant violation” of international law.
Now, a North Carolina Republican has introduced a bill to redirect funds that "assist foreign governments that undermine foreign allies" by blocking $103,100,000 in aid to Senegal for the next two years and giving that money to Rwanda and Uganda. Some health and development programs are exempt, but this is pretty obviously a case of the US trying to bully Senegal, at the expense of poor and vulnerable populations.
But: PAGE has consulted with folks on the hill, and we’re fairly certain this is a “message bill” which was introduced to please a particular interest group. In all likelihood, it will die in committee. There’s only one co-sponsor; this is really different than how aid allocation usually works; it is doubtful that Republicans will want to spend political capital on this right now. Even so, PAGE will respond, because this is unacceptable.
This bill is currently in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Check the list: is your rep here?
Ed Royce, California, Chairman
Chris Smith, New Jersey
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida
Dana Rohrabacher, California
Steve Chabot, Ohio
Joe Wilson, South Carolina
Michael McCaul, Texas
Ted Poe, Texas
Darrell Issa, California
Tom Marino, Pennsylvania
Jeff Duncan, South Carolina
Mo Brooks, Alabama
Paul Cook, California
Ron DeSantis, Florida
Mark Meadows, North Carolina (SPONSOR of the bill)
Ted Yoho, Florida
Adam Kinzinger, Illinois
Lee Zeldin, New York
Dan Donovan, New York
Jim Sensenbrenner, Wisconsin
Ann Wagner, Missouri
Brian Mast, Florida
Francis Rooney, Florida
Brian Fitzpatrick, Pennsylvania
Thomas Garrett, Jr., Virginia
Albio Sires, New Jersey
Gerry Connolly, Virginia
Ted Deutch, Florida
Karen Bass, California
William R. Keating, Massachusetts
David Cicilline, Rhode Island
Ami Bera, California
Lois Frankel, Florida
Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii
Joaquin Castro, Texas
Robin Kelly, Illinois
Brendan Boyle, Pennsylvania
Dina Titus, Nevada
Norma Torres, California
Brad Schneider, Illinois
Tom Suozzi, New York
Adriano Espaillat, New York
Ted Lieu, California
Call and speak to a representative. (Note: you will have to adapt this is you are calling Mark Meadows, who introduced the bill.)
“Hi, my name is x and my zip code is xxxxx. I’m calling to ask you to oppose H.R. 802, or the Aid to Allies Act, which cuts off aid from Senegal because they supported a United Nations Security Council Resolution. This bill will impact the livelihoods of vulnerable populations in Senegal and damage US relations abroad, particularly in West Africa. Aid money should be used to end poverty, not to play politics. Will representative XXX take a strong stance against this bill?”
If staffer says: “I don’t know” promise that you will be watching this bill, and will be checking in to see how your representative decides to respond.
Regardless, end with "I hope Rep. So-and-so will strongly oppose HR 802. Thank you"
3. Share actions from last week. Did anyone contact their Indivisible group, or their local women’s group? If so, share what you learned with your PAGE group.
4. Coordinate for International Women’s Day /Women’s Strike
The Women’s March has announced that they will be organizing a women’s strike on March 8, also International Women’s Day. What’s one thing we can do from afar? Coordinate with your local feminist and women’s groups!
What are the local, grassroots, feminist/women’s groups in your country of residence? What issues are most important to them? If no one in your PAGE group knows, assign someone or a few people to research it for next week.
If you want to do something for March 8, reach out to them and set up a meeting. Ask questions about their plans for International Women’s Day and what they hope to accomplish, and what you can do so support them.
While you can mention that women in the USA are striking, don’t make this meeting all about the USA.
Ask what they need. Maybe it’s something like childcare or logistics support, which would keep local activists visible at the forefront, with PAGE in a supporting role.
It’s probably best not to organize a “solidarity strike with USA women” from wherever you are. We must be mindful that March 8 is already International Women’s Day. Feminists in your country of residence may have been already planning something on that day for a long time, and they may be hoping to get some press attention to push forward their own agendas. We couldn’t want a solidarity strike to take the spotlight or resources from them.
If you plan to attend a local march, demonstration, or protest for the first time, be sure to get advice from your local organizers about etiquette and law. (Like: Is it okay to take photos? What about photos of police?). If you live somewhere where demonstrations can get violent, consider consulting with your local embassy first.
If your PAGE group plans to work in solidarity with local women’s groups, that is SUPER COOL and you should tell us all about it at: email@example.com
5. Coordinate for March DAPL Action
PAGE is coordinating with another network of Europe-based activists planning anti-DAPL protests at banks across Europe in March. Many of these banks are abroad. This is a KEY resistance opportunity for us because it’s something that folks in the USA can’t necessarily cover.
Check THIS LIST of banks to see if there’s a DAPL-funding bank branch near you. Even if the HQ isn’t where you are, there may still be a branch. (Francophone Africa, for instance - there’s probably a Soc Gen branch near you.)
First: do you have friends in Japan who might be interested in getting involved with PAGE? If so, please kindly contact firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. A few DAPL banks are Japanese, so we’d like to have a presence there.
Would you like to organize a protest or action at a DAPL-funding branch near you?
Take some time to read up on DAPL with the Standing Rock Syllabus.
Email email@example.com. We will give you advice about reaching out to your local environmental groups to plan this, and we will let you know when the global protests are taking place so you can all do it on the same day.
6. Send some love to an activist and a journalist.
Are you exhausted yet? You’re not alone! Many are feeling overwhelmed by the events of the past few weeks. It’s really important that we support each other, so we can find the strength and stamina to continue. Relationships and are the glue that hold social movements together, and love is the fuel that keeps us going.
Take some time to write a nice note to an activist or journalist who’s been doing great work. Make this something a little more in depth than - “hey, great job!” Mention something specific that they’ve done that has moved or inspired you. Share a personal detail about the impact that they’ve had on you. Thank them for the work that they are doing, which may very well be heroic and critical for the democratic future of our country.
Your note will definitely improve their day, and will help them keep going.