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Issues & Victories

Immigration



Maryland IAF wins DREAM Act ballot initiative in landslide vote.

Maryland IAF led the Maryland DREAM Act ballot initiative campaign to victory with 58.3 % of the vote.   This law will allow undocumented immigrant high school graduates to attend Maryland public colleges and universities at in-state tuition rates.  Maryland DREAM's success at the ballot box gives hope to national efforts to fix our broken immigration system.  Maryland IAF organized over 250 DREAM events in religious congregations throughout the state, educating Marylanders about the importance of the DREAM act in an unprecidented grass-roots effort led by the faith community. 



Maryland IAF wins the Maryland Dream Act for immigrant scholars

Thanks to the leadership of AIM (Montgomery County), BUILD (Baltimore), and PATH (Howard County), the Maryland legislature passed the DREAM Act in 2011.  This historic legislation allows immigrant high school graduates with taxpaying parents to attend public universities at in-state tuition rates, regardless of immigration status.  For more information on next steps to preserve this victory: http://www.actioninmontgomery.org/currentcampaigns

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In the News


Durham CAN Leaders Affirm Durham as a City of Inclusion

Sunday, March 5, 2017
news observer

Over 1,300 Muslims, Latinos, Refugees and allies turned out for a successful public negotiation with Sheriff, Police, City, County and School governments. Both the Sheriff and Chief of Police ratified their commitment not to collaborate with ICE and continue strengthening relationships with immigrants and the general community. Durham Public Schools Superintendent agreed to work with CAN in restricting, as much as possible, immigration enforcement activities within the school district's campuses.


Metro IAF Leader Rabbi Mosbacher & the Trump Refugee Order

Monday, January 30, 2017
Associated Press

Rabbi Joel Mosbacher had just finished the morning's Shabbat service when he got an urgent message: Rabbis were needed at New York's Kennedy Airport. People were being detained under President Donald Trump's sharp travel restrictions on refugees. Would he come pray?

By sundown, Mosbacher was part a group of rabbis at the airport, playing guitar and conducting a Havdalah service marking the end of the Sabbath. About 2,000 people gathered to rally against the new policy.

"We know what it's like to be the stranger," said Mosbacher, a Reform rabbi at Temple Shaaray Tefila, noting that Jewish refugees were at times turned away from the U.S. "As a person of faith, it was so important to be there."

From pulpits to sidewalk vigils, clergy have been part of a religious outpouring against Trump's plan to suspend refugee entry from seven majority Muslim countries. Faith leaders who support the president's executive order as a way to fight terrorism have been far less vocal, ceding the religious discussion to those overwhelmingly opposed to the president's sweeping immigration order, which suspends refugee admissions for four months and indefinitely bars refugees from Syria.

Rally at Kennedy Airport

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which runs the largest refugee resettlement network in the country, said it "strongly disagreed" with the prohibitions and pledged to work "vigorously to ensure refugees are humanely welcomed." The Orthodox Union, the largest association for American Orthodox synagogues, acknowledged the complexities of fighting terror, but said "discrimination of any group solely upon religion is wrong and anathema to the great traditions of religious and personal freedoms upon which this country was founded."

 


South Bronx Churches (SBC) & Manhattan Together (MT) Building Power with Immigrants

Monday, January 30, 2017
South Bronx Churches & Manhattan Together

On January 30th, leaders from South Bronx Churches and Manhattan Together held relational meetings with most of the 100 immigrants who came to a legal clinic hosted by the SBC member organization, the Mexican Coalition. Many of these immigrants were eager to build power to make positive change in their communities and beyond. This is the first of several such immigrant focused relationship building events planned for Manhattan and the Bronx over the next two months.


1,200 Strong: PATH Leads Fight for Sanctuary County

Sunday, January 29, 2017
PATH

Working with members of the County Council, People Acting Together in Howard (PATH) leaders organized a 1,200 person action January 29 in support of a bill that would make Howard County a Sanctuary County. At the action, over 300 people committed to hold house meetings in their communities to understand the challenges facing immigrants today.

See more coverage here:

http://www.foxbaltimore.com/news/local/howard-countys-sanctuary-proponents-meet-sunday

http://www.apps.howardcountymd.gov/olis/LegislationDetail.aspx?LegislationID=2738

http://www.abc2news.com/news/region/howard-county/gathering-in-support-of-howard-county-sanctuary-bill


Senate Sends Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants Bill to Gov’s Desk

Thursday, May 30, 2013
CT News Junkie

 

bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver’s license received final passage Wednesday night as a group of advocates watched from the Senate balcony. Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut, a nonpartisan interfaith group, pushed for the legislation in meetings with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and encouraged them to move forward with it. The organization of about a 15,000 people was founded in 2011, but this was their first full-court press for legislation. It was an uphill battle. All four bills that would have permitted these drivers’ licenses died in the Transportation Committee, but the organization with the support of Rep. Juan Candelaria of New Haven was determined to find a vehicle for passage.


Weighing IDs For Illegal Immigrants

Monday, May 6, 2013
Wall Street Journal

Connecticut Democrats are rallying around a plan that would allow people who are in the U.S. illegally to get driver's licenses, making the state one of several to consider the idea this year.... The plan's advocates say it would ensure these immigrants are given proper driving tests and allow them to get car insurance. The proposal could also provide additional state revenue from registration fees and car taxes. "This is a population that has been here for many years and must drive to conduct their lives, and bringing them into the system will benefit the general public," said the Rev. James Manship, co-chairman of Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut, a coalition of religious groups.


Connecticut General Assembly expected to let undocumented immigrants drive legally

Monday, April 29, 2013
New Haven Register

HARTFORD — The leadership of the General Assembly says the votes are there and they expect to pass a bill this session that would offer driver’s licenses to undocumented residents, citing reasons including training, insurance, revenue and safety.... CONECT, or Congregations for a New Connecticut, which represents some 28 different faith communities in the state, has lobbied hard for the changes since January, making arguments on the economic benefits of insuring all drivers and bringing new revenues to the state, but mainly on the safety aspect.


2,000 attend New Haven hearing on bill to give licenses to undocumented

Tuesday, March 5, 2013
The New Haven Register

NEW HAVEN — Carolina Bortolleto, an undocumented student from Danbury, came forward Monday to testify, not for herself, but on behalf of her parents, explaining what drivers’ licenses would for mean for them. “Sitting in the back seat I can see my mom shaking and praying if she sees the police behind us. ... ‘Pull over anywhere. Pretend we are stopping for coffee. Pretend we are stopping at this restaurant, because if the police stop us, we are going to be deported,” Bortolleto said of the daily fear they experience just driving to work or to school or the grocery store. “All these basic tasks that you take for granted, are filled with anxiety for me and my family,” said Bortolleto, who is a leader in CT Students for a DREAM. She was one of 2,000 people from around the state who came to Wilbur Cross High School where they filled the auditorium and spilled into the gymnasium and the cafeteria to testify on behalf of proposed legislation that would provide licenses to the undocumented.


Let Immigrants Get Driver's Licenses

Monday, February 18, 2013
Hartfort Courant

In a perfect world, everyone in this country would be here legally and be eligible for all of the privileges of citizenship. In the world we've got, however, there are some 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country, tens of thousands in Connecticut. The vast majority came here to work and gain a better life — the same reason people have been coming to these shores for nearly four centuries. As New York Times writer Adam Davidson recently observed, the immigrants mostly help the economy. But to do so, many need to drive.... Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut, a group of more than two dozen religious congregations from the southwestern part of the state, has researched the issue and believes that allowing an estimated 54,000 undocumented immigrants to get licenses would make driving safer and less expensive for everyone.


Hugh Bailey: Working on behalf of the powerless

Monday, February 4, 2013
Connecticut Post

The angry letters practically write themselves. Illegal means illegal. Stop rewarding law-breakers. And on and on. Few issues lend themselves to demagoguery as easily as immigration. So the idea of allowing people referred to as illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses from the state of Connecticut will be a nonstarter to many people.


With Maryland ballot measures, voters do the unprecedented — twice

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
The Washington Post

By the time the polls closed Tuesday, Maryland voters had done something unprecedented — twice. They narrowly approved one ballot measure allowing same-sex marriage and gave broad approval to another that extends in-state college tuition rates to some illegal immigrants. No similar measures — in which majorities conferred rights on minorities — had ever been enacted by a public vote in any state. The fact that both happened on a single ballot not only revealed a lot about the electorate in deep-blue Maryland but also offered a glimpse of where the nation may be headed on some pivotal cultural issues.


Congregations work to pass the Dream Act

Friday, October 26, 2012
The Montgomery Gazette

Eight hundred people joined in prayer in a church in Silver Spring on Tuesday night, praying for the Dream Act. Many were leaders of churches and synagogues, all pledging to encourage their congregations, neighbors and friends to vote for Question 4. Possibly the most active part of a coalition that spans labor unions, the education community and a number of elected officials including Gov. Martin O’Malley, faith communities in Maryland have almost unanimously campaigned in favor of the law, which passed in 2011 and was brought to referendum by petition.


800 gather at church to support Md. Dream Act

Friday, October 26, 2012
The Washington Post

Even though 800 people had gathered in a house of the Lord, the bishop made a request that usually would be out of line.  “This is going to be the one time in church you’ll be glad to have your cellphone,” Bishop Douglas Miles said as he encouraged members of the crowd to keep their cellphones on, although the reason why was not immediately clear.  The meeting at the Southern Asian Seventh-day Adventist Church in Silver Spring was as political as it was spiritual. A blend of faiths and ethnicities banded together two years ago to support Maryland’s Dream Act, which would allow certain undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at state colleges. On Tuesday night, people gathered for a final get-out-the-vote rally in an effort to ensure that voters approve the measure in a referendum on Election Day.


Maryland tuition law must be defended

Friday, August 5, 2011
The Baltimore Sun

Regarding the recent article about the lawsuit over the Maryland Dream Act ("Vote on tuition bill faces lawsuit," Aug. 2), I believe democracy should be upheld.

I was one of hundreds in attendance when the law was heavily debated in the State House. Over the last year,Maryland Industrial Areas Foundation has committed itself to true grassroots organizing and building a diverse base of African-American, Caribbean Americans, Latinos, and others who support the law. Our organizing culminated when we turned out a multitude of diverse supporters to witness the passage of the tuition bill in April. I'll never forget the rainbow of faces, both immigrant and American-born, unified on that day.


In Maryland, an immigration battle redux

Friday, July 22, 2011
LA Times

A new law allowing in-state college tuition for some illegal immigrants is suspended until it can go before voters next year. In the meantime, both sides build up huge campaigns to persuade the public.


Clergyman says immigration key to growth

Thursday, April 7, 2011
Boston Globe

Urging minority groups to unite and assert their influence on policy makers in Massachusetts and across the country, the head of a prominent interfaith group quoted Scripture and drew cheers at a State House rally yesterday.

“When William Bradford and the Mayflower pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620, they did not bring any immigration papers,’’ said the Rev. Hurmon Hamilton, president of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization. “When John Winthrop arrived in 1630 with the next wave of New Englanders … they were not met with a wall built to keep them out...


Immigrant in-state tuition bill moves forward

Wednesday, March 9, 2011
AP

ANNAPOLIS — A panel of Maryland senators is hoping a series of nighttime tweaks will help shepherd a plan to grant in-state tuition to illegal immigrants through the Senate.

The Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee voted Tuesday night to clean up the plan to grant illegal immigrants the same tuition rates at state-run universities that Maryland residents pay...


Senate to take up tuition break for undocumented students

Sunday, March 6, 2011
Baltimore Sun

Legislation would start students at community college

The state Senate is poised this week to take up a controversial plan to offer discounted tuition at Maryland's public colleges and universities to students who are in the country illegally.

The legislation, which cleared the Senate education committee last week, would allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at any of Maryland's public community colleges. After completing two years of study, they could transfer to a four-year institution and continue to pay the in-state rate...


Nick Clegg to announce timetable for ending child detentions

Wednesday, December 1, 2010
The Guardian

Deputy PM under pressure over missed deadlines as pilot schemes test new ways of removing families.

Nick Clegg is seeking cabinet approval for his plans to secure an end to the practice of detaining children in immigration removal centres, with government sources suggesting he wants to see no children in detention by the spring.

The deputy prime minister and Liberal Democrat leader will tell the organisation Citizens UK this evening, via a videolink from Kazakhstan where he is representing the UK at a meeting of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, that he is near being able to announce the coalition's plans for ending child detention...


Delay in Muslim's Cases Spur Interfaith Call to Action

Friday, September 4, 2009
New York Times

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Early one morning last June, fully two hours before his appointment, Mustafa Salih arrived at a federal office here in the Washington suburbs. He wore the new suit he had bought for the occasion. A friend, accompanying him, carried a camera to record the event. Mr. Salih had not slept the previous night.

High emotion was not supposed to be the province of a middle-aged accountant, which was exactly what Mr. Salih was. But on that particular morning, he was scheduled to be sworn in as an American citizen, the culmination of a process that had begun when he immigrated from Sudan in 1991...


Using Threats, N.Y. Landlords Feed Immigrants' Fear

Sunday, July 18, 2004
Washington Post

NEW YORK -- They sat there, three diminutive and worried Mexican women, in the shadows in the back pews of St. Jerome's Church in the Bronx. Father John O. Grange noticed and motioned them forward.

The women handed Grange a letter. They had asked for apartment repairs, and this letter contained what appeared to be the landlord's response.

Marielys Divanne, left, of South Bronx Churches works on behalf of tenants such as Sandra and Manuela, right. (Helayne Seidman For The Washington Post)

"Dear Tenants," the letter stated, "As you know the United States Government and specifically the Homeland Security Administration is investigating illegal aliens...


House approves in-state tuition for illegal immigrants

Baltimore Sun

The House of Delegates voted Friday to extend in-state college tuition to illegal immigrants — the highest hurdle so far for a plan that has already passed the Senate and has the backing of Gov. Martin O'Malley. Undocumented students cheered the 74-66 vote and embraced supportive lawmakers as they streamed out of the House chamber after hours of spirited debate...


Counting begins to force referendum on immigrant tuition law

Washington Post

Opponents of a new Maryland law to give undocumented immigrants in-state college tuition breaks said they turned in more than twice as many signatures as needed on Thursday night to suspend the law and to force it to a statewide referendum. The Maryland State Board of Elections now has until July 22 to certify the signatures, but it is likely the opponents will know before then whether they have succeeded. Elections officials plan to begin daily updates on the board’s Web site with the tally as it progresses...


Immigrant yearns to leave the shadows

Washington Post

Sam is staying in the shadows. He used to be the guy you'd say good morning to at the bank and the dad who came to school with his daughter, greeting everyone along the way. After years of living in the bright light of hope, of building a life in the United States with a wife he met in Montgomery County and girls who were born and raised in a neighborhood between the Beltway and a shopping mall, the immigrant from Sierra Leone melted into the darkness, because his presence in this country suddenly became illegal...