Weekly Actions: August 9, 2017 (On Immigration)

Click on each action for details and scripts:

 

ACTION 1: Speak out against the immigrant and refugee fearing RAISE Act

 

 

ACTION 2: Support Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian and Central American refugees.

 

 

ACTION 3: Stop funding for the border wall and attempts to punish sanctuary cities

 


ACTION 1: Speak out against the immigrant and refugee fearing RAISE Act

 

 

The latest in the Trump politics of division is a push for the RAISE ACT. It would cut in half the annual number of immigrants let in by the United States, cap refugees at 50,000 (fully ignoring our obligation to help during the greatest migration crisis since WWII), and impose a skill-based merit system for deciding who gets in.
As CNN reporter Jim Acosta pointed out, this bill stands in direct opposition to the values proclaimed on one of our most cherished icons, the Statue of Liberty. Recall that many of our ancestors arrived on these shores with no English and limited technical skills. This bill has also received criticism for ignoring the contributions of farmworkers and favoring applicants who already have English-speaking ability over those with family connections.
In light of the ongoing refugee crisis, we should be making it easier for people to seek asylum, not harder (especially given our status as world economic superpower). Let’s stand by the values proclaimed by the Statue of Liberty and urge our senators to oppose the RAISE Act.

Bills:
S. 354: RAISE Act [Govtrack shortened summary] Proposed significantly reducing several rarely-discussed provisions of U.S. policy that encourage legal immigration.

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Call your Senators: Ask them to vote against the RAISE Act.

Script:
Hi, my name is _____ and I’m calling from _____. I’d like to ask Senator _____ to vote against S. 354, the RAISE Act. In light of the refugee crisis in Syria and what the UN has called the greatest migration crisis since WWII, limiting the number of immigrants and refugees we take in, which is already abysmally low, is morally indefensible. I also have concerns about prioritizing skilled English-speaking applicants over those with family connections. Under this law, most of our own ancestors would not have been able to immigrate! Please tell Senator _____ to vote against the RAISE Act and lobby for a more humane immigration policy that, as the Statue of Liberty states, welcomes the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

 

ACTION 2: Support Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian and Central American refugees.

What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)? As summarized by Politico, “The TPS program is one of several forms of relief the U.S. has given to foreigners over the years when their homelands were struck by natural disasters or armed conflict. The program allows nationals of the affected countries to remain in the U.S. and receive work permits until the disaster or unrest in their home country abates.”
Despite requests by experts for an 18 month extension of TPS, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended TPS for 60,000 Haitians (whose homes were devastated by violence and natural disasters) through January 22, 2018 only. As reported in Farm Worker Justice, the decision has also led to increased uncertainty for TPS holders from other countries, such as El Salvador and Honduras. For more, watch coverage by Centro Presente, an immigrant rights advocacy group, here.
Finally, as if the crushing uncertainty placed on these people’s lives by the DHS deadline weren’t enough, Republicans have also proposed legislation (H.R.2604) that would make it more difficult to protect refugees through TPS. Let’s do everything in our power to stop them. As the Statue of Liberty states, “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me…”

Bills:
H.R. 2604: TPS Reform Act of 2017: Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to revise the criteria for designation of a foreign state as eligible to have its citizens be given temporary protected status (TPS) in the United States.”

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Call your MoCs:
    • Ask them to vote against H.R.2604, the TPS Reform Act of 2017, which would make it harder to establish legal Temporary Protected Status (TPS), to protect people such as Central American refugees, often women and children, fleeing violence.
    • If your MoC is a Democrat, ask them to introduce a bill strengthening TPS, honoring the 2016 Democratic Party Platform, which states:
      • We should ensure due process for those fleeing violence in Central America and work with our regional partners to address the root causes of violence. We must take particular care with children, which is why we should guarantee government-funded counsel for unaccompanied children in immigration courts. We should consider all available means of protecting these individuals from the threats to their lives and safety—including strengthening in-country and third-country processing, expanding the use of humanitarian parole, and granting Temporary Protected Status.
  • Sign this Petition: Send a message urging Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke, to extend and expand TPS.

 

Script:
Hi, my name is _____ and I’m calling from _____. I’m concerned about the administration’s plan to end Temporary Protection Status (TPS) for people in Haiti and other Central American countries, who fled violence to get here and whose lives are still likely to be in danger if they return. I’d like Sen/Rep. _____ to work on expanding TPS for these individuals. I’d also like to ask Sen./Rep. _____ to vote NO on the proposed legislation H.R. 2604, which makes it harder for individuals to receive temporary protection status.

 

ACTION 3: Stop funding for the border wall and attempts to punish sanctuary cities

When Congress comes back to session in September, one of the most pressing orders of business will be to pass a budget, and the one on the table includes funding for the border wall. (The stopgap budget measure passed in May did not include funding for the border wall, much to the President’s chagrin. However, in July, the House approved a $1.6 billion down payment for the wall as a rider to a bill on Pentagon spending, despite considerable opposition from both sides.)
Meanwhile, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) has introduced a bill that would fund the wall, as well as punish sanctuary cities. As Forbes magazine points out, the wall is an ill-advised approach to addressing immigration problems and would be a waste of taxpayer resources.

Bills: S. 1757: A bill to strengthen border security, increase resources for enforcement of immigration laws, and for other purposes.

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Call your MoCs: Ask them to reject any budget that includes funding for a border wall. Also ask your Senators to vote NO on Senator Cornyn’s bill, S. 1757.
  • Read: On the eve of the 2016 election, the NY Times published an op-ed by author Tom Vanderbilt titled The Walls in our Heads. It included a byline that read,
    “The idea that we can solve problems by building physical barriers is a persistent human fantasy.”
    It’s well worth a read or re-read.

Script:
Hi my name is _____ and I’m calling from _____. I am strongly opposed to any budget that includes funding for Trump’s border wall. Reasonable people agree this would be a waste of taxpayer resources. We should be directing our money to human needs in our country like improved access to education and health care.
[FOR SENATORS] I’m opposed to S. 1757, which calls for border wall funding and punishes Sanctuary cities. State and local police departments need to gain the trust of all their residents in order to assure safe communities, and requiring police to detain people simply for ICE’s purposes will lead to a decrease in reporting of crimes, and therefore, a decrease in overall safety. Please vote against S. 1757 and against any version of the budget that contains funding for the border wall.