Friday, September 29, 2017

Sr Norma at the Vatican

Pimentel represents U.S. at Vatican event
from the Brownsville Herald, September 28, 2017

McALLEN — Sister Norma Pimentel, who spearheaded local immigrant relief efforts, represented the United States during a ceremony Wednesday at the Vatican,wherePopeFrancis encouraged followers to listen to the stories of migrants and refugees from across the globe in order to break down barriers of fear and suspicion.

Pimentel, director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, has garnered international recognition for her work with Central American immigrants who flooded South Texas, beginning in 2014.

Her relief efforts at the Humanitarian Respite Center at Sacred Heart — where tens of thousands of immigrants sought refuge after federal authorities released them into the community — previously caught the attention of the Pope. He addressed her personally during a virtual papal audience hosted by ABC News in 2015.

Most recently, however, the Vatican reached out and invited her and Brenda Nettles Riojas, communications director for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, to attend the launch of a two year campaign called “Share the Journey.”

The initiative, spearheaded by the Vatican’s Caritas charity, aims to build bridges of understanding and hospitality toward the displaced.

“It’s definitely an amazing honor to be recognized and be picked among many people doing such wonderful work,” Pimentel said about the invitation Wednesday.

She spoke to The Monitor from Rome via phone just hours after she participated in the ceremony, which drew a crowd of about 60,000 people.

The local nun was the only woman invited to participate in a four-person panel and a news conference held after the launch, Nettles Riojas said.

“The reason why the Valley made a big impact, for the most part, is because the Valley is a place of immigrants and they understand,” Pimentel said about the Vatican’s views on the region. “We support each other because we feel it’s something we must do.”

Nettles Riojas said some of the attendees could not believe how welcoming the region had been when faced with a humanitarian crisis a couple of years ago.

“I think it speaks to the work that Sister Norma oversees and the work of all the people of the Rio Grande Valley,” the communications director said.

Pope Francis meets a group of migrants Wednesday during his weekly general audience at the Vatican.


Monday, September 25, 2017

immigration working group notes

Immigration Working Group
Monthly Meeting
September 7, 2017
10 AM

       I.          Presentaciones
     II.          Notas – John-Michael
    III.          Siguiente Junta
    IV.          Revisión de la Agenda
     V.          Posibles Acciones Colectivas:
a.      DACA
                                                    i.     Reportes
1.      Jóvenes con bastante miedo
2.      Rueda de prensa
a.      Fecha: 11 de sept, 11 am
b.      Lugar: one in Cameron Co and one in Hidalgo Co. Ideal location: universities, but locations pending
c.      Propósito: Necesidad de hablar con los medios para informar a la comunidad
d.      Rueda de prensa con la información buena
e.      Pero estos jóvenes ya han aplicado, entonces el mensaje debe ser: ir con alguien confiado
f.       Tener alguien como Efren Olivares para dar información y dar más reputación a la información
g.      Cómo escoger un abogado o representante acreditado por BIA
3.      Abogados que están aprovechando el miedo para cobrar bastante para la renovación
4.      Puede TRLA hacer una clínica de renovación de DACA? Gabriel dice que no sería muy probable
5.      PSA para redes sociales
a.      Debbie Nathan puede hacer video con stills y guillón
b.      Debbie will ask ACLU in Houston to put it together
b.      SB4
                                                    i.     Resoluciones contra la SB4: 10 ciudades y condados del valle pasaron resoluciones o votaron formalmente para oponerse a la SB4
                                                   ii.     Continue with education
                                                  iii.     Document abuses
1.      Specifically, police/DPS detaining people for immigration after the detention for the infraction
2.      La gente puede preguntar al official “Me puedo retirar?” Si el oficial responde, “no,” la persona tiene que esperar pero puede ser material para usar en contra del oficial
3.      DPS uses a code: BP UDA – Border Patrol, Undocumented Alien
                                                  iv.     Explore policies we can ask local police and sheriffs implement?
1.      See email “[tx-immi-orgs] Policy Talking Points and Resources” on Aug 31. (reenviado al grupo el 7 de sept)
c.      Muro fronterizo
                                                    i.     Actualización sobre las resoluciones – 12 ciudades y condados de RGV votaron para pasar resoluciones en contra del muro fronterizo
                                                   ii.     No sabemos si Trump va pedir fondos para el muro en cambio a protección para DACA
                                                  iii.     Van a aprobar una “continuing resolution” y ahí hay $1.3 billones para reemplazar bordos de peatones con bordos de carros (fencing)
1.      Es posible que DHS trata de usar ese dinero para construir el muro en Santa Ana
d.      CBP
                                                    i.     En las colonias
                                                   ii.     Fechas potenciales para una Reunión con sector chief: 16, 19 o 20 de oct
    VI.          Conclusión

Friday, September 22, 2017

Immigration citations

John Burnett:

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Future of Access to Health Care

Location: (COG) LRGVDC Ken Jones Conference Room, 301 W Railroad-Bldg  B
Weslaco, TX
Date: Friday, July 28, 2017
Time: noon

Anne Dunkelberg, associate Director for the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin, Texas, will address “Access to Health Care: Federal and State Updates and the Challenges Ahead.”

At a critical moment in the nation’s consideration of the future of health care, the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network is pleased to host a conversation with Anne Dunkelberg, a national leader in the discourse around access to health care.

Anne Dunkelberg is one of the state's leading experts in policy and budget issues relating to health care access. In 2007, she was named Consumer Advocate of the Year by Families USA in Washington, D.C. Before coming to the Center, she served as Program Director for Acute Care in the Texas Medicaid Director's Office and spent six years with the Texas Research League, where she authored numerous reports on Texas health and human services issues and tracked state health and human services budget issues. She earned dual degrees from The University of Texas at Austin—a Bachelor of Arts (Plan II), magna cum laude, in 1979 and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs in 1988.

More information and for interviews:
Michael Seifert at (956) 459-6827
Ann Williams Cass at (956) 533-6637

Sunday, July 9, 2017

SB4: Show Me Your Papers

SB4: Show Me Your Papers Bill

On May 7th, Texas’ Governor signed SB 4 into law. SB 4 effectively creates federal immigration agents out of city, county and college police. Police departments that refuse to cooperate will be criminally prosecuted.

1.     SB4 is currently scheduled to go into effect on September 1, 2017.
2.     SB4 does NOT apply to k-12 school campus police or security at clinics.
3.     There is misinformation already about the law in the community.
4.     Although Hidalgo County police agencies signed off on an editorial letter claiming that “nothing will change” because of the law, in fact, many of these same officers expressed grave concerns over the effects of the bill on their relationship with mixed-immigration status communities, and thus, their ability to protect and defend the community.

The RGV community is under a triple assault even before this becomes law: an exponential increase in border patrol, ICE, and state trooper presence, a national campaign that has focused fears upon the southern border, and a renewed, recent and extraordinary increase in violence in Tamaulipas. Our children are being raised in a community in which a family member being treated as “suspicious” is becoming normalized.

Reports of children being frightened by the political environment is widespread.

The RGV as a region does not enjoy the same legal resources for our community as in other parts of the nation.

To community organizations it appears that many of our institutions (schools, churches, businesses) and even our elected officials are not informed about SB4 and are unclear about a resident’s (documented or not) basic civil and legal rights.

1. The bill makes Texas less safe by forcing local police to act as federal immigration agents. SB4 will therefore harm public safety, as we rely on all members of our community — regardless of race, religion or national origin — to report crimes. We cannot drive crime victims and witnesses into the shadows without undermining local public safety.  Our communities need to trust the police; our police need the community to trust them.

2. SB 4 includes a “Show us your papers” provision that will lead to racial profiling
This new law promotes racial profiling based on appearance, background, language and accent that will affect U.S. citizens and immigrants alike — in a state where 38.8% of the population is of Hispanic origin, according to the U.S. Census.

3. SB4 takes authority away from local law enforcement.
 Texas communities each have unique public safety and law enforcement needs that should not be undermined by state, unfunded mandates as authored in Senate Bill 4.

4. SB 4 forces cities, counties, campus police to carry out the responsibilities of the federal government. SB4 forces cities, counties and even university campus police to act as immigration agents o a daily basis. Importantly, our federal laws mandates that the federal government is responsible for enforcing immigration laws.

On May 7th, Texas’ Governor, Greg Abbott, signed SB 4 into law. SB 4 is the most discriminatory  piece of anti-immigrant legislation in the United States. SB 4 is currently scheduled to go into effect in September 2017. The bill makes Texas less safe by encouraging racial profiling and forcing local police to act as federal immigration agents.
SB 4 is a grave threat to immigrant families and multi-cultural communities across Texas.

South Texas Civil Rights’ Project and MALDEF have filed  lawsuits against that state on the following grounds:
1.     SB4 discriminates against Latinos, Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, Hispanics, and people of color in general, and immigrants of all backgrounds.
2.     SB4 does not give adequate notice about how it is to be implemented.
3.     SB4 is likely to result in unlawful arrests when no probable cause exists.
4.     Civil immigration laws are the competence of federal immigration authorities, not local law enforcement agencies.
5.     SB4 seeks to punish elected officials and law enforcement leaders for making certain public statements regarding their policies.
6.     SB 4 violates the Texas Constitution because it tells local law enforcement agencies, including university police, how to run their departments and forces them to enforce federal civil immigration laws.