Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mennonites Sued By Feds

ON the Southern Border the federal government continues to ignore the wishes of local governments and private property owners as well as tribes, environmentalists, ranchers, and human rights organizations. The federal government is intent on extending the physical barrier of a wall all along the border. Reagan once urged the USSR to "Tear down that wall", now we are building our own.

All of the groups mentioned above have begun to take a stand by refusing the federal government access to their land. The most recent of these is the Mennonite Church. The federal government is now suing them for access.

Simultaneously the government has decided not to build the wall along a posh golf course and country club. Apparently the wall is meant not only to keep poor people out, but also meant to impact the livelihood and environment of those citizens who are not rich.

Similarly, NAFTA and other free trade agreements are continuing to make the rich richer and the poor poorer in all countries who are members. Mainly, these agreements allow goods to flow freely while limiting human migration. The limitations on human migration pit workers against one another and isolate them from one another. The isolation of workers allows corporations and governments to pay less than a living wage and erode wages in developed countries, essentially weakening the bargaining power of workers. The wall makes it easier to maintain that isolation.

The wall will also result in riskier and more deadly border crossings. The wall doesn't change the conditions created by NAFTA or reform our immigration system. It maintains a power structure which exploits us all.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Blankets on the Border

Dear All:
I thought the description below was poignant. Deportations often occur in the middle of the night so that the private company is reimbursed for two days work, even though this is the coldest period in the high desert. EMAP National Office began sending blankets in 2004 and this regional EMAP took up their request in 2005 on referral from the last EMAP Director Shahina Malik. Local Quakers are involved in the effort (Healing Borders).
For four years we have shipped them blankets and this is a call for good quality used/new blankets for next years shipment. If you come here for a meeting and want to drop off a blanket, do so! This is part of our bit to support Migration and Mobility Goal.
~Stephen McNeil

Assistant Regional Director for Peacebuilding and Relief Work

American Friends Service Committee

"It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences." - Audre Lorde

Dear Stephen and AFSC,

Thank you for the latest shipment of blankets for use by migrants being returned to Mexico after being apprehended by the Border Patrol. The blankets are much appreciated.
Friday I loaded 8 boxes of blankets in my car and took them to a drop off place in Bisbee, AZ. It was snowing when I was unloading them. By now they will be at the newly opened Migrant Center in Naco, Sonora. The Naco Migrant Center is in the next town west of us, here in Douglas. I hope you will approve of our sharing your gift with them. Already, in just a little over a month since they have been open, about 1,400 migrants have stopped at the Naco Center. Saturday morning I visited the Naco Migrant Center for the first time to help them celebrate their official open house festivities.
Earlier in the week, on Thursday evening, I spent from 9pm -1am at our Agua Prieta Migrant Center. It was just prior to the weather change and the snow we recieved on Firday. While I was there we fed burittos and coffee to 49 migrants who came through, and offered them whatever other services they might need. By Friday night I would imagine blankets would have been one of these needs. Of the 49 people, I saw at least one young boy and at least 1/2 dozen women. Most of the group were younger men.
Again, thank you and AFSC.
I am hoping can send photos by parcel post at some later time.
Thank you,
Judy Plank

Pledge for Legislators

ON February 5th an interfaith group asked Colorado legislators to sign this pledge. The pledge guides the words legislators use in an effort to keep hate to a minimum and to enable us to talk about differing perspectives on immigration without demonizing immigrants.

“We are concerned that at times the debate demonstrates little respect for the issue or the people affected by the legislation. Immigrants are living in a climate of fear, hate, and As a legislator representing the people of Colorado, I believe that regarding matters where we are not of one mind, our humble respect for each other and all of God’s children can draw us together to be of one heart.

Therefore, I pledge that as I take positions and enter into dialogue on the issue of immigration that the tone of my discourse and the choice of my words will reflect the respect I have for the sacred humanity of those about whom I am speaking and with whom I may disagree.”

The numerous faith leaders said in a statement that they believed all people should discuss their differences in a spirit of civility, reason, and humility.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Event in Aurora

There is an awesome upcoming event in Aurora which will facilitate conversation in the community around day laborers. Over the last year an ongoing dialogue with city council, code enforcement and the police in Aurora resulted in a sort of truce. This event will spark conversation between all residents of Aurora, including those who work in day labor. I hope to see lots of new faces at the event and am really excited to see this multi-media display about the lives and work of day laborers.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Caucus for Immigration

What: Consider proposing the "plank" below at your caucus on Tuesday.

Why: Platforms are written by caucus goers and convention delegates and send a clear message to our political parties what their base desires. They are supposed to direct the policies of the party. You can start the process of adding this plank to the platform at your caucus on Tuesday.

How: All you have to do is read it to your fellow precinct caucus goers and then they put it to a vote. Anyone can propose a change to the platform. If you can, take at least 50 copies of the resolution you want to get onto the platform. Give them to every person at your own precinct caucus so they can read along. Best to get there at 6:40 PM to get registered. The caucuses startat 7 sharp.

What next: If it passes, you precinct delegate to the county convention will take it to the convention and read it there. If it passes there, it then goes on to the State and National levels.

Extra details: Colorado Democratic Party Platform and Caucus Locations
Colorado Republican Party Platform and Caucus Locations
(I was unable to locate the Colorado GOP's 2006 platform so the above link is for 2004)

Platform Plank

Whereas Colorado is a state that values basic democratic principles and civil liberties for all its residents and recognizes the contributions of all communities to this nation, and

Whereas the current tone of the debate with respect to immigration has been overwhelmed by demagoguery, xenophobia and mean-spiritedness that diminishes every resident in this state, and

Whereas the attacks against immigrants threaten to undermine real reforms for a range of programs important to residents of this state, including health care, worker protections and civil liberties, and

Whereas Colorado is a State that values all its residents and workers, and

Whereas Colorado recognizes the chilling effect of anti-immigrant policies on all residents’ wages, standards of living, workplace and community safety, and

Whereas Colorado recognizes anti-immigrant policies have negatively impacted our economy by reducing our labor pool, tax and consumer bases

Whereas Colorado’s special session anti-immigrant legislation cost the State of Colorado more than $2 million to enforce and have yet to result in cost savings to the State of Colorado

Therefore be it resolved that the __________ Party adopt the following...

"The Colorado ____________ Party stands for America's finest ideals and core community values, rejects the politics of division and isolation efforts by any candidate for office which sow isolation, fear and xenophobia against any person or community, including our newest members, recognizes the ineffectiveness of State level immigration policy, and calls on Congress to enact a just and human immigration reform bill"