Weekly Actions 2/14/2017

Click on each action for details and scripts:

Right after the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court ruled 3-0 against DT’s travel ban, ICE suddenly escalated their detention and deportation activities in response to a January 25th executive order that broadened the purview of who would be considered a priority for deportation, as described in this Washington Post article.

 

Here are some things you can do:

 

(1) Work to block ICE at the state or local level. Several major cities and many smaller municipalities across the U.S. have declared themselves “sanctuary cities,” which means that their local police departments have pledged not to participate in immigration checks and detentions. Some states are supporting these efforts through proposing legislation that facilitates sanctuary city efforts, such as the Safe Communities Act (Massachusetts) or New Jersey Senate bill 3007, which would establish a program to reimburse any federal funding lost due to sanctuary city status. Other states, such as Texas, are proposing legislation to block state funding for these cities, which are already threatened with losing federal funding.

 

Research what is happening in your state, then call your state legislators and urge them to support/implement sanctuary city initiatives. Find your state legislators here.

 

Script for a supportive state or unknown position: Hi, My name is _____ and I’m calling from _____. I would like to urge State Sen. _____State/Rep. _____ to support the sanctuary cities in our state and to actively promote legislation like (name bill, if you can) that protects undocumented immigrants from unnecessary detention and deportation. Many of these people have lived and worked in the U.S. for years. Their children are American citizens, and it is inhumane and unconscionable to break families apart. Statistics have shown that most violent crimes in this country are not perpetrated by immigrants but by American citizens. Most of the people who have recently been detained are clearly not a threat to our country and should be allowed to live in peace.

Script for an unsupportive state:
Hi, My name is _____ and I’m calling from _____. I am dismayed that the state is voting to deny funding to sanctuary cities in our state. I would like to urge State Sen. _____/State Rep. _____ to support these sanctuary cities in our state and to actively promote legislation that protects undocumented immigrants from unnecessary detention and deportation. Many of these people have lived and worked in the U.S. for years. Their children are American citizens, and it is inhumane and unconscionable to break families apart. Statistics have shown that most violent crimes in this country are not perpetrated by immigrants but by American citizens. Most of the people who have recently been detained are clearly not a threat to our country and should be allowed to live in peace.

(2) Donate or volunteer with Immigration Justice. If you have legal or foreign language skills, you can be especially useful. Check out Groundswell, a national effort organizing faith-based communities to provide sanctuary that also has excellent resources and opportunities for involvement. Finally, spread “Know Your Rights” resources like this one from the ACLU.

New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell has written a letter to the Chair of the Ways and Means committee, citing a 1924 Congressional rule that allows the Chair of three different Committees (House Ways and Means Committee; Senate Finance Committee; and Joint Committee on Taxation) to examine presidential tax returns in order to assess conflicts of interest. Rep. Kevin Brady has unfortunately declined the request, stating: “My belief is that if Congress begins to use its powers to rummage around in the tax returns of the president, what prevents Congress from doing the same to average Americans?” Let’s let him know the American people are smart enough not to fall for this flawed logic. Let’s also call the chairs of the other two committees, urging them to respond to Pascrell’s request.
 

CALL:
Rep. Kevin Brady, Chair of House Ways and Means Committee.(202) 225-3625
Senator Chuck Grassley, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee (202) 224-4515
Senator Orrin Hatch, Chair of the Joint Committee on Taxation (202) 225‑3621

Script for Kevin Brady: Hi, my name is _____. I am calling Rep.Brady in his capacity as Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. I wanted to let him know that I am appalled to hear that he declined Congressman Pascrell’s request to require the President to release his tax returns. I am familiar with his reasoning and think it’s ludicrous to frame this as a privacy issue. The President of the United States is in a unique position of power, and demanding that he release his tax returns (as virtually every other President has done willingly before him) in no way calls into question the privacy of ordinary Americans. As citizens, we have a right to know whether or not the President has conflicts of interests, especially in light of the recent developments involving Mr. Flynn. I would urge him to reconsider in order to protect us from potential violations to the Emoluments clause of the constitution.

Script for Grassley and Hatch: Hi, my name is _____. I am calling Sen. _____ in his capacity as Chair of the _____. I would like him to respond to Congressman Pascrell’s request and require the President to release his tax returns to the _____ Committee in order to assess any possible conflicts of interest or violations to the Emoluments clause of the constitution. This action is crucial in preserving the checks and balances system of our American democracy, regardless of politics.

If you are interested in some long view actions, several states seem to be addressing this issue by proposing legislation that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns as a prerequisite for getting on that state’s ballot. They could then make the tax returns publicly available. Find out what your state is doing and urge your legislators to action.

Congress is about to recess and that means that your congressperson will be in town to hear your views. Town halls were effective for the tea party movement, and they’ve been effective for those of us organizing right now.
 

Congress is about to recess and that means that your congressperson will be in town to hear your views. Town halls were effective for the tea party movement, and they’ve been effective for those of us organizing right now. Last week, over 1000 people showed up at a town hall meeting demanding that Congressman Chaffetz, Chair of the House Ethics Committee, “do his job.” And several other Congresspeople have been overwhelmed with personal stories about what repeal of the ACA would mean for constituents. Your views matter to your representatives, because these people care most of all about getting re-elected.

 

Rise Stronger has a list of town hall events here. Sign up and go. Also consider subscribing to the newsletters of your reps to keep abreast of such events. Take your friends with you and express your views or simply show up to lend support to others. If there are none scheduled for your area, consider calling your congressperson’s office and asking when s/he’ll be holding their next town hall. Or if you have a few friends and are passionate about an issue, ask for a personal meeting.