NNIRR's News and Updates

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National Network E-News

a wrap up of activities, updates and news you can use

Arizona communities respond to SCOTUS ruling on SB 1070

In the aftermath of the US Supreme Court ruling allowing the core provision of Arizona's SB 1070 bill to go forward, community-based groups and advocates in Arizona and beyond have quickly reacted, committing to finally put to rest the entirely of the racist bill. (You can read NNIRR's comment on the ruling here.) Other legal challenges that target the bill's fundamental discriminatory basis are still moving forward, and both community and legal advocates have vowed to carefully monitor the bill's implementation. The Coalicion de Derechos Humanos (CDH) reported that some 200 people attended a community meeting on July 16 to discuss the implicationms of the ruling, their rights and actions to take when rights are violated. CDH commented that the ruling is "a state mandate on thousands of law enforcement officers across the state to become the 'front line' for ICE and the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol." They have vowed to see the bill repealed. In the meantime, a communities rallied in Phoenix on July 28 against SB 1070 and the "UndocuBus" left for cross-country tour the next day to protest the law, with plans to end at the Democratic Party convention in Charlotte, North Carolina in early September.

Resources on Deferred Action for Young Immigrants 

In mid-August, the government is expected to open the application process for the "deferred action" on deportation of young immigrants that was announced by the Obama Administration on June 15. As NNIRR commented, deferred action may provide a temporary reprieve for hundreds of thousands of  young undocumented immigrants. In anticipation of the program launch, community and legal advocacy groups around the country have been providing information online, through community forums, webinars and the media to make sure that the eligibility criteria are clear, and that applicants have access to sound legal advice before deciding to apply. There is considerable concern that unscrupulous lawyers or agencies could mislead potential applications and charge exorbitant rates for advice. Click here for links and downloadable information sheets from advocacy groups around the country. We will add more information on deferred action to our resource page as they become available.

First Report on South Asian Immigrant Workers in New York City

On July 18, Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), together with the Urban Justice Center's Community Development Project, released a new report, Workers' Rights Are Human Rights: South Asian Immigrant Workers in New York City, chronicling the experiences and stories of undocumented South Asian workers in the Jackson Heights, Queens, in New York. The report's findings were based on surveys, focus groups and in-depth interviews with South Asians, a population that has grown dramatically in New York City since 1990. The report found issues of underpay, harsh and hazardous working conditions, little or no benefits and harassment and mistreatment by employers, among other problems experienced by workers. Click here for the Executive Summary. The report, including recommendations, can be downloaded here

New Critical Reports on Detention in the U.S. and Globally 

'Detention for immigration purposes should never be mandatory or automatic' -- UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants

At the beginning of the year, NNIRR had collaborated with the Advocates for Human Rights to bring together "Detention of Migrants in the United States," a report to the UN's Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants (SR) who had called for reports from different countries in his initial focus as the new Rapporteur. In June, the SR, Francois Crepeau, submitted his report to the UN Human Rights Council, drawing on the reports he had received and investigation into the conditions of detention for migrants (click here to read the SR report). Colin Rajah, Director of NNIRR's International Migrants Rights and Global Justice Program, travelled to Geneva to join other advocates, participating in a side event hosted by Migrants Rights International and Migrant Forum in Asia -- "Detention of Migrant Workers: A Global Human Rights Crisis." 

The Special Rapporteur introduced his recommendations by stating, "Detention for immigration purposes should never be mandatory or automatic. According to international human rights standards, it should be a measure of last resort, only permissable for the shortest period of time and when no less restrictive measure is available. Governments have an obligation to establish a presumptions in favour of liberty in national law, first consider alternative non-custodial measures, proceed to an individual assessment and choose the least intrusive or restrictive measure."

Additionally, colleagues at the American Friends Service Committee, in conjunction with Rutgers University School of Law, on July 3 released a great report, Freed but not Free, a "first report focused on shedding light on the flaws, inconsistencies, and human impact of current Alternatives to Detention (ATD) programs in New Jersey and nationally." The substance of this report mirrors some similar concerns raised by the Special Rapporteur, who also noted the important role of civil society groups in monitoring good practices of alternatives to detention, and providing assistance to detainees, including making regular visits to detention centers. 

Solidarity: Stopping Persecution of African Migrants in Israel

Hundreds of you quickly responded and signed a petition initiated by Priority Africa Network that called attention to the widespread harassment and racist persecution of African migrants in Israel. NNIRR, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and other groups joned with PAN to circulate a petition to the Obama Administration urging the US to send a strong message to Isael condemning its policies and practices. The migrants are largely refugees and asylum seekers; ironically, the call for the petition went out on World Refugee Day, June 20.

Out and about...

In July, NNIRR Executive Director Catherine Tactaquin (with many other Network members in attendance!) participated in the 6th regional conference of the Southeast Immigrant Regional Network.  Some 160 community members, leaders and advocates, the conference, including a large contingent from Alabama, called attention to the exciting and demanding trends and issues in the Southeast. Among the highlights: a march to downtown Raleigh where a "poli-migra" wedding ceremony (see the happy 'couple' to the left), was loudly denounced! SEIRN also hosted an inspirational story-telling plenary on alliance-building with UFCW organizers from the Smithfield unionizing campaign, and members from Southerners on New Ground and El Cambio  who shared lessons from the fight against and the anti-gay marriage Amendment 1 initiative in North Carolina. Congrats to SEIRN regional coordinator Monica Hernandez (and a NNIRR board member) and the team at SEIRN for a great conference! You can check out photos from the SEIRN conference on their Facebook page.

In June, Catherine and HURRICANE coordinator Laura Rivas also attended the Roots and Remedies Conference in New Orleans. Hosted by The Praxis Project, the conference brought together activists from across the progressive movement to "inform a policy centered agenda to connect the dots between critical issues like food sovereignty, the right and reclamation of public spaces, improving public schools, protecting human rights, increasing human mobility and more." Catherine spoke at the closing plenary of the conference, sharing reflections on tasks for building movement over the next five years. You can see a video of her comments here (and also check out other videos from the conference.)

Our Wonderful Summer Interns

NNIRR has been fortunate to include Chenny Ng (Northwestern University); Ben West (University of Oregon) and Amina Abo (Westfield State University) as our summer intern team. Chenny and Ben have been doing research and writing for our international program, including preparations for next year's UN High Level Dialogue on MIgration, while Amina has focused on researching and monitoring the build-up towards the presidential elections and helping to identify useful resources and updates for our website section on immigration and the elections. They have all been a tremendous help to us this summer and we'll really miss them when they head back to school! (In photo above, left to right, Amina, Ben and Chenny!)

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