Author: JHISN

An Open Letter to Democrats


In recent days, we’ve heard prominent Democrats talking about the need for the Party to prove that it’s “strong on border security.” Some Democratic politicians have actually advocated letting Donald Trump build his obscene wall as part of an overall budget deal. Others want to spend billions of dollars on drones, on increasing the size of the Border Patrol, and on scanners and other high tech components of a “virtual wall.” Supporting those measures would be a disastrous path, one that panders to Trump’s anti-immigrant racism while alienating the Party’s more progressive base.

If this happens, it would be an echo of the Democratic Party’s shameful complicity in mass incarceration. That racist policy was promoted with similar rhetoric–“tough on crime”–while locking up millions of people of color. Now, once again, Democrats seem to be considering attacking poor people and people of color in order to placate reactionary voters and funders. Once again, the consequences would be glaring violations of human rights. Once again, the Democrats would lose all credibility with those who believe in justice for all. And once again, if it does go in that direction, the Party would come to regret the ugliness it helped unleash.

Immigrants and refugees aren’t the enemy of this country—they are its backbone. They support our economy, increasing its health and dynamism. They enrich its culture. We should be welcoming them, not treating them like an invading army.

We don’t need “stronger border security.” Instead, we need to rein in the heartless brutality that our government is inflicting on refugees and immigrants. We need to stop the violations of international law; stop militarizing the border. We need to extend citizenship to Dreamers immediately. We need to put a halt to the shocking, racist policies that have ripped thousands of families apart; a halt to the concentration camps in the desert; a halt to refugee children dying of curable diseases and dehydration; a halt to the profiteering private prisons where immigrants languish for years.

We don’t need drones and fancy scanners. Instead, we need to help heal the Latin American countries devastated by wrong-headed US policies. We need to stop supporting dictators and death squads. We need to terminate the disastrous “war on drugs” that has spread death and destruction throughout the hemisphere. We need to stop the economic subjugation of Latin America through neoliberal trade treaties, something that has led to widespread poverty–and created millions of refugees.

We don’t need more immigration agents. Instead, we need to bring out-of-control US immigration agencies to heel–to stop their reign of terror. We need to stop the Border Patrol from getting on Greyhound buses, demanding papers, and dragging people out because they look Latino or Arab. We need to stop ICE from ambushing people at courthouses and from raiding workplaces; from deporting our long-time, law-abiding neighbors. We need to stop TSA from groping us and searching our laptops and phones, from singling out Muslims for searches, from bullying all of us like a government-funded mafia.

The current debate about “border security” is a pivotal moment for Democrats. Your decisions now will determine your relationship to the electorate for years to come, and your place in history. Nancy Pelosi said that Trump’s proposed wall is “immoral.” She’s right. How is the “smart” barrier that some Democrats now wish to build any less immoral?

We are watching: immigrants by the tens of millions, families of immigrants, supporters of immigrants, and all who care about justice. Don’t expect us to vote for Democrats who embrace “Trump-lite” on the borders. Don’t expect us to support politicians who embrace racist anti-immigrant policies, no matter how “high tech” their barriers may be.

Democrats should take a stand in solidarity with our immigrant and refugee sisters and brothers. One way or another, immigrants, refugees, and their supporters are determined to defeat racism and xenophobia. Are you with us, or against us?

The Jackson Heights Immigrant Solidarity Network


These Groups Have Agreed to Publicly Support Our Open Letter



JHISN in Jackson Heights Post

Our campaign to prevent the deportation of Alfredo Flores was recently featured in the Jackson Heights Post. Journalist Meghan Sackman wrote the article, describing Alfredo’s struggle to remain in the US with his family, and our efforts to raise awareness of Alfredo’s case. Thank you, Meghan, for helping to make Alfredo’s voice heard.

You can view the article here.

Help Alfredo Stay With His Family

Alfredo Flores is a native of Mexico who came to the US to seek a better life as thousands of Americans before him have done. He is married to US citizen, Wendoly (Wendy) Valverde, has three US citizenchildren, and has been a peaceful and productive resident of Jackson Heights, Queens.

In July of 2018 Alfredo boarded a Greyhound bus to visit his brother in Seattle, Washington that, unbeknownst to him, included a stop in Canada. Upon discovering he lacked legal status he was detained by Canadian border patrol and then delivered to DHS. ICE agents detained him after finding he was undocumented.

Alfredo was put in an ICE detention center outside of Buffalo, NY where he remained for 20 days, until his wife Wendy posted a $10,000 bond.

His detention was excruciating for his family, both emotionally and economically. They didn’t have the required $10,000 needed to secure his freedom. However, Wendy valiantly raised it by starting a fundraising campaign.

Assembly Member Catalina Cruz, who was a candidate at the time, read about Alfredo’s detention in the Jackson Heights Post. She connected Wendy with free legal service providers who helped win Alfredo’s release from ICE detention.

Alfredo was reunited with his family and we now ask for your help with keeping their family united and Alfredo on a road to U.S. citizenship.

Sign the petition to help your neighbor Alfredo Flores fight deportation, pursue citizenship, and stay with his family in Queens. Click HERE.

Download the Factsheet HERE.



Petition for Alfredo Flores

Alfredo Flores is a Jackson Heights resident, the husband of US citizen Wendoly (Wendy) Valverde, and the father of three US-born children. He came to the US from Mexico and has led a peaceful and productive life in Queens. In July 2018, the bus Alfredo was taking to Seattle to visit his brother crossed briefly and unexpectedly into Canada, and Alfredo was detained by immigration authorities in Buffalo for 20 days. Wendy, their family, and friends struggled to raise the $10,000 for Alfredo’s bond and successfully had his case moved to New York City.

Because of his detention and the possibility of his deportation, Alfredo and Wendy’s children are experiencing worsening emotional problems. Wendy must bear a great family financial burden of support, and she is also caring for her mother, a cancer patient. If Alfredo is deported, his wife, ill mother-in-law, and young children would suffer immeasurable, irreparable hardship.

We call on the US Government to allow Alfredo to remain united in the US with his family while he pursues legal residence and citizenship here.

Please sign our petition below. You will receive a confirmation email. You MUST click the link in the email to confirm your signature on the petition.

Alfredo Flores Petition

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2018 in Review

A video of the important work that activist groups such as The New Sanctuary Coalition, Make The Road New York, The New York Immigration Coalition, Rise And Resist and many other allies did in 2018.

JHISN – In the News

The Jackson Heights Immigrant Solidarity Network was mentioned in a recent article in The Washington Post.

A cautious hope emerges among Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s constituents

“One recent weekend on the lower level of a Pakistani restaurant there, a majority-white group of residents gathered in a computer repair shop. They met to figure out what they could do to thwart what they felt was the most immediate threat to pierce their bubble: the crackdown on illegal immigration.” Read more…