Tag: Peru

JHISN Newsletter 07/01/2023

Dear friends, 

As summer enters full bloom, we send warm thanks to you, our readers, for keeping us inspired. Immigration news is a political struggle over what gets reported and what gets ignored. Just over two weeks ago, an overcrowded ship packed with migrants from Pakistan, Syria, and Egypt, sank off the coast of Greece. Up to 750 people reportedly were onboard; only 104 survived. Hundreds of migrant women, children, and men drowned in one of the worst maritime disasters in modern history. News coverage of the devastating migrant shipwreck was brief and sparse.

Readers like you, and the attention you give to immigration news, keep us going. This week we offer you a story about the underreported political situation in Peru, written by a Peruvian-American New Yorker. And we update you about the justice work of Make the Road New York and their groundbreaking survey of recent asylum seekers in NYC.

Newsletter Highlights:
  1. Report on Peru’s current political situation
  2. 2023 survey of asylum seekers by MTRNY

1. Solidarity with our Peruvian Brothers and Sisters

 

“How many deaths do you want for your resignation? Assassin Dina, the people repudiate you!”  Puno, Aymara song

Starting on December 7, 2022, Peru has experienced several months of savage violence unleashed by the repressive forces of the state. On that date, near noon, President Pedro Castillo carried out a failed coup attempt. He took this step after 15 months of frustration, as the majority in Congress (made up of Right and ultra-Right parties) prevented him from governing by voting down all of his bills and trying to impeach him. 

One hour after Castillo’s futile move to dissolve Congress, the police, the National Prosecutor, and a judge ordered his provisional detention while he was still a sitting president. Two hours after reading his speech, without following due process, Congress impeached him. At 3:53 pm, Castillo’s former ally and ex-minister Dina Boluarte was sworn in as president. She immediately received the support of the opposition bench, and she invited them to the government palace. Boluarte had once promised that she would resign if Castillo was impeached. Instead, she seized power by allying herself with the party that had lost the election. 

Castillo voters reacted with anger as they realized that this parliamentary coup from the Right had been planned in advance. Branding Boluarte a traitor, protesters demanded her resignation and the dissolution of Congress. Demonstrations in the central and southern provinces of the country were met with heavy repression, resulting in nearly 70 deaths, 49 of which were identified as extrajudicial executions by the New York Times. On December 10, in Andahuaylas, province of Apurimac-Chanca Nation, two people were killed and some 100 were injured. The regime declared a state of emergency for some regional governments (“departments”); on the 14th the declaration was extended nationwide. 

The state of emergency failed to prevent militant protests in the largely Indigenous departments of the South: Ayacucho, Cusco, Juliaca-Puno (Wari, Quechua, Aymara Nations, respectively), Arequipa, Moquegua, Tacna (also home to many Aymaras). Some Indigenous Nations of the tropical jungle regions also joined the demonstrations. The wave of Indigenous protesters was slandered by the regime as Shining Path followers, delinquents, and agents of drug traffickers or illegal miners. Criminalization was the pretext used by the regime to allow the police, backed by the military, to use deadly force. International human rights agencies have widely condemned this violation of international law.

During the month of January, residents of southern Peru converged on the capital, in what is known as the Taking of Lima. This time demonstrators demanded a Constituent Assembly to reform the laws so that Indigenous Nations could fully participate in decisions about their land and natural resources. Upon arrival in Lima, many protesters were arrested on suspicion of being delinquent terrorists. After the majority were freed, massive demonstrations converged from the shantytown outskirts of Lima known as the Northern, Southern, and Eastern Cones. During these long marches, lasting more than four hours in intense heat, the southerners and shantytown residents made their protests heard by the whole nation. With the help of food and shelter donations, and supported by growing national and international solidarity, the demonstrators’ ongoing protest in the capital has been powerful for months. There was a Second Takeover of Lima; a Third Takeover is scheduled for July 19, planned to include new demonstrators from the Northern region of Peru.

In the Andes mountain range, there are abundant natural resources such as copper, silver, gold, uranium, and lithium. Dozens of mining projects are in various stages of exploration, expansion, and execution by national and international mining companies. Many of these mines are located in the headwaters of river basins, where they pose serious environmental threats. Others are located on land belonging to Indigenous communities, whose claims and objections are routinely ignored. In many cases, Indigenous communities haven’t been consulted or informed at all. At the same time, mining companies have been receiving significant tax exemptions from the government, and often have outstanding tax debts forgiven by the congress.

During his term as president, Castillo visited almost all the southern provinces in conflict with mining companies. He appeared unwilling to authorize open-pit mining in the headwaters of basins without consulting the population. This alarmed the mining industry and its backers, especially since a large number of exploratory mining contracts expire in 2023-25. It seems clear that mining and other economic interest groups, represented by the political Right, wanted Castillo removed from office through a “soft coup” in order to protect their projects and profits. Using control over mass media to influence public opinion, they also mobilized their congressional majority to modify the Constitution, upsetting the balance of powers and creating a new Constitutional Court that they control. They were determined to get rid of Castillo, with or without his proclamation.

 Observing the events in our home country, Peruvians around the world immediately rose up in solidarity with the claims of our compatriots. We’ve been protesting in the streets, and presenting letters to the Peruvian embassies and consulates, as well as to the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS). We have also sent donations to relatives of the deceased and injured. Since Peru’s mainstream press has shown itself to be dishonest, we’ve come to rely on an alternative press based on YouTubers, local radio stations, and social networks, so our connection with the interior of the country is now in real-time. 

It was through this alternative press we found out the Peruvian regime had signed a contract with the public relations firm Patriot Strategies to improve its image internationally. We in New York were also alerted that a delegation of businessmen and a group of artists from Cusco were arriving to attend Inti Raymi (the Festival of the Sun) at the United Palace Theater in upper Manhattan. A demonstration was organized outside the theater, and another action took place inside the theater at the moment when a government official spoke. Although the number of protesters inside the theater was small, most of the Peruvian public rejected the lies that the mayor of Cusco told on behalf of the government, this disruptive challenge broadcast on a Peruvian national channel was seen all over the world. Now compatriots in other countries are on alert to actively respond to any other attempts to sanitize an illegitimate and murderous government.

Nevertheless, in May, Boluarte and the Peruvian Congress authorized the entry of 1,000 US military troops to Peru starting June 1. There are already 10 military bases in Peru. Some leftist Peruvian legislators see the US military as endangering their country’s sovereignty. Former Foreign Affairs Minister Hector Bejar questioned the true intentions of the US military presence, saying that it is “part of a dissuasive policy to intimidate the Peruvian people who have announced new protests for July.” It’s obvious for most Peruvians that the entry of more troops is part of the hybrid war for lithium, uranium, and copper. 

Although there has been little coverage of these events in NY media, 20 members of Congress, including many progressive Latino members, signed a letter to President Biden in January asking him to end security assistance to the Peruvian government and to condemn the human rights violations committed by state security forces. Four of New York’s representatives were among the signers: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Adriano Espaillat, Nydia Velázquez, and Delia Ramirez. As an act of international solidarity, the US should follow the recommendations of The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to end the brutal repression and investigate and prosecute all who are responsible for the state violence.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

2. Keeping Up with Make the Road NY

At the end of May, Make the Road New York (MTRNY) announced the publication of a 60-page Spanish language “manual” for asylum seekers arriving in New York. The manual, called Casita, is written in a warm and informal style and aims to welcome by providing information and essential resources, including:

  • The basic rights of a person living in New York;
  • How to access available services and benefits; 
  • Legal issues including interacting with ICE;
  • Information on COVID-19, enrollment in public school, and more.

MTRNY is asking for $30 donations to help support the publication and distribution of Casita

Then at a June 6 press conference in Queens, MTRNY publicly presented the results of an unprecedented survey of recently arrived migrants. Entitled “Displaced and Dismissed: The Experiences of Migrants and Asylum Seekers in NYC 2023,” the report was based on interviews with 766 migrants between February and May 2023. Interviews were conducted by volunteers from MTRNY and Hester Street who met the ‘migrant buses’ sent by Gov. Abbott of Texas to NY’s Port Authority. 

This survey is the first of its kind and activists hope that it will help government officials to better assist recent migrants. 65% of respondents were from Venezuela, but other Latin American countries and African countries were also represented. 81% were under 40 years old; 43% were under 30; and 84% of those under 30 were traveling with their children. All wanted to stay in NYC and were eager to participate in the city’s life.

Other survey findings were that although almost all want to apply for asylum, 93% had not found a lawyer. 97% didn’t have work authorization and therefore couldn’t find jobs to become self-supporting. 72% had trouble paying for basic living expenses. 63% had no access to English classes for either adults or children. 59% had no access to transportation to help them seek employment. 97% were living in NYC shelters. 42% suffered from anxiety or depression.

All three city officials at the press conference—Comptroller Brad Lander, Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams, and City Councilman Shekar Krishnan—pointed out failures of the city government. Lander said that despite the city’s expenditure of a lot of money and effort to secure shelter for migrants, it has been short-sighted to allocate only 1% of city money toward securing legal help for people to apply for asylum before their one-year deadline. This is crucial because the 6-month countdown for work authorization begins only after the asylum application is made. Both Public Advocate Williams and Councilman Krishnan said any public anger should be directed at the government and not at the migrants because the lack of services for city residents existed before the migrants arrived, and there is a crisis of systemic injustice and not a crisis of asylum seekers.

MTRNY had policy recommendations for the city: allocate $140 million for legal services, improve the transition from the shelter system to permanent housing, do not cut funds for adult literacy programs, and renew and expand the Low-Wage Worker Support (LWWS) as well as access to health care. Policy recommendations for the Biden administration: expedite work authorization for migrants, and send more federal resources to New York.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

In solidarity and with collective care, 

Jackson Heights Immigrant Solidarity Network (JHISN)

 

Follow @JHSolidarity on Facebook and Twitter and share this newsletter with friends, families, neighbors, networks, and colleagues so they can subscribe and receive news from JHISN. 

 

 

JHISN Newsletter 10/29/2022

Dear friends,

 As the sun drops earlier in the sky, and as communities around the world draw in their final harvest, it is time to join in the festival of lights. Diwali, and the related festival of Tihar Utsav, were celebrated this past week throughout South Asia—and here in Jackson Heights. Over 200 people gathered on October 22 in Travers Park for a day-long Diwali event, featuring food and performances, a lamp-lighting ceremony, and speakers including a young climate justice activist and the director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Bhairavi Desai.

 And on October 27, Adhikaar held its Fall Utsav festival. As a Queens-based, women-led immigrant justice organization for the Nepali-speaking community, Adhikaar has much to celebrate: their statewide nail salon workers campaign; the fight for economic justice for domestic workers; and the urgent work to extend Temporary Protective Status for thousands of Nepali immigrants. Adhikaar is also marking a change of seasons in leadership as executive director and long-time community organizer Pabitra Khati Benjamin transitions out of her role, and the search for a new director begins.          

Our newsletter this week features an in-depth article on the status of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). The fate of tens of thousands of young DACA recipients here in New York is at stake as legislative and judicial wrangling continues, and real lives are upended by uncertainty and the threat of deportation.  

Newsletter highlights:

1. No Protection for DACA’s Young Dreamers

DACA Recipients Still in Limbo

“We were promised immigration reform in the first 100 days [of the Biden administration]…Those 100 days came and went, and we have nothing”Catalina Cruz, the first former DACA recipient elected to NY State Assembly

President Obama inaugurated the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) in June 2012. It has been under attack by right-wing Republicans ever since. Today DACA’s future is unclear, leaving hundreds of thousands of people and their families in limbo, including tens of thousands of Dreamers here in NYC. Many are unable to work, and some face the prospect of deportation if DACA is not renewed or replaced with other pathways to legal status.

DACA has been the subject of a seesaw battle involving executive orders and litigation. In 2017, President Trump attempted to end the program by barring new and renewal applications so that DACA holders’ protections would expire over time. In July 2021, a Houston court ruled that DACA was illegal because it had not gone through the proper public notice and comment process. This month, shortly after DACA’s tenth anniversary, a Federal Appeals Court upheld the Houston decision, returning the case to the Houston court and ordering further review. As a result of the court’s recent decision, DHS policy will only allow current DACA recipients to renew their application and work authorization; no new applications will be processed. The hundreds of thousands of young people eligible for DACA can still submit a new application, but it will be set aside and not acted upon by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

Which States Have DACA Recipients? As of June 2022, USCIS reports there are 594,120 DACA recipients nationwide, with over 1,150,000 eligible. There are 25,580 in New York state, with 56,000 eligible.

The states with the highest number of DACA holders are:

California 169,590 Texas 97,760 Illinois 31,480 New York 24,580
Florida 23,240 North Carolina 22,670 Arizona 22,530 Georgia 19,460

 

Where Did Their Families Come From? The most common countries of birth for DACA holders are: 

Mexico 480,160 El Salvador 23,080 Guatemala 15,710 Honduras 14,390 Peru 5,610
South Korea 5,540 Brazil 4,530 Ecuador 4,230 Colombia 3,690 Philippines 2,900

According to the Migration Policy Institute, most states have more people eligible for DACA than are currently enrolled, and eight states have twice as many people eligible for DACA than are enrolled in DACA.

This is an extraordinary number of people.

What Can Dreamers Do? DACA recipients can legally live, work, and go to college in the US. They have married, had children, bought homes and cars, completed college degrees, started businesses, and worked in a variety of fields. Their taxes and labor have made substantial contributions to the US economy.

According to data from the Center for American Progress, DACA recipients boost the US economy by paying federal, state, and local taxes, buying homes, paying rent, and spending money. Nationwide, DACA recipients and their households each year pay $5.6 billion in federal taxes and $3.1 billion in state and local taxes. Based on 2018 data, their contributions in New York state include:

Federal taxes State and local taxes Homes owned Mortgage payments Annual rental payments Spending power
$374.1 million $238.8 million 800 $16.4 million $132.8 million $1.3 billion

But they do not benefit equally from the taxes they pay due to their precarious status.

What Are DACA’s Education Benefits? In many states, undocumented students have to pay the same tuition rates as international students. Such high rates can prevent people from going to college. To address this problem, in 2019 New York state passed the Senator José Peralta New York State DREAM Act which gives undocumented and other students access to New York State administered grants and scholarships that help pay the cost of higher education. DACA allows people to join licensed fields (like nursing and education), which improves their ability to get a well-paying job with health benefits.

Where Do Dreamers Work? In a 2020 survey, 89.1% of DACA recipients 25 and older who responded were employed. DACA allowed them to move to jobs with better pay and better working conditions with health benefits, and 12.9% were able to get professional licenses. Higher wages and financial independence increase their contributions to the economy.

The Center for Migration Studies, using data from 2018, reported that DACA employees were concentrated in the following industries: health care (including hospitals and nursing care facilities); retail trade (including supermarkets and pharmacies); transportation and warehousing; restaurants and other food services; support and waste management services; and manufacturing. In 2021 the Center for American Progress reported that 343,000 DACA recipients were employed in essential jobs during the pandemic, primarily in health care, education, and the food supply chain.

What’s Next? According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in June 2020, about three-quarters of US adults favor granting permanent legal status to immigrants who came illegally to the United States when they were children, with the strongest support coming from Democrats and Latino/as.

In 2012, DACA  was intended to be a temporary solution until Congress provided a pathway to citizenship. But congressional attempts to pass a solution have failed, even though there is some bipartisan support. As a result, undocumented teenagers graduating high school this year will not have protection from deportation or the ability to work. According to Neil Bradley, chief policy officer for the US Chamber of Commerce: The inability to hire tens of thousands of high school graduates comes amid a ‘massive shortage’ of labor that has developed partly because of the country’s aging population and low birthrate” (June 2022, New York Times). Ending DACA would put families in danger of job loss, deportation, and separation from their US citizen children, and have a deleterious effect on the US economy.

Many immigrant justice organizations, including the National Immigration Law Center, United We Dream, and Make the Road NY, continue to fight for legislation to provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers and other undocumented immigrants. But for now, hundreds of thousands of young DACA recipients are constrained by the program’s two-year increments, forced to live in limbo and in fear.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

 

In solidarity and with collective care,

Jackson Heights Immigrant Solidarity Network (JHISN)

Follow @JHSolidarity on Facebook and Twitter and share this newsletter with friends, families, neighbors, networks, and colleagues so they can subscribe and receive news from JHISN.

 

 

JHISN Newsletter 11/13/2021

Dear friends,

In a time of so much political uncertainty, we are buoyed by the huge victory recently won by immigrant taxi drivers in New York City. After over 40 days of round-the-clock protest outside of City Hall and a 15-day hunger strike, workers danced in the streets to celebrate the historic agreement that will deliver dramatic debt relief to cab drivers. “We won,” announced Bhairavi Desai, head of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance which represents 20,000 taxi workers, and which led the public protest and hunger strike. With so many immigrant cab drivers who are residents and neighbors here in Central Queens, the win is a community victory and cause for collective hope.

In this issue, we are delighted to share a feature article on the milestones of culture and politics of Peruvian immigrants in NYC, written by JHISN member Rosalinda Martinez, who has lived in NYC for almost 20 years after immigrating from Peru. We also report on the latest news on national legislation to provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants. If you have been confused by recent headlines, we try to clarify the urgent stakes in what takes place—or does not—in the next several weeks in Congress.

Newsletter highlights:

  1. Peruvian Immigrants Make a Cultural Home in NYC
  2. Path to Citizenship Detoured, Once Again?

1.  NYC Peruvians Stay Close to Their Roots

“We continue walking the Capac Ñan (the Inca Road). If the West hadn’t arrived, the Inca empire would have reached this land in the Northern Hemisphere. Tawantinsuyo would have extended from the south, in what is now Chile, and reached what is now Canada.” — Walter Ventosilla, director and screenwriter, Abya Yala (interview with the author)

Peruvians have a long and distinguished history. Those of us who came to live in New York have our own part of the Peruvian story to tell. Writing this article about Peruvians in NYC made me realize that we continue being who we are because we hold onto our ancestral culture. 

Before I came to the US, I didn’t know much about this country. The first thing I heard was that “everybody loves Peruvian food in the US.” When I arrived in 2003, I tried to engage with anybody Peruvian. I went to all the Peruvian events I could find. There was the Hispanic-Latino Fair at Renaissance Charter School, the Peruvian Parade on Northern Boulevard, Mother’s Day and the closing events of Pachamama Peruvian Arts in a Jackson Heights school, the procession of the Lord of Miracles in Manhattan. I also discovered the biweekly newspaper, the Ayllu Times, as well as writers, poets, journalists, and bloggers.

For a long time I wished I had a group, so one day, in 2014, I walked purposefully on 74th St and turned into Diversity Plaza and saw a truck on the corner and people in line. It was a local exposition of paintings inside a truck (Art & The Commons). I borrowed my first painting to place in my room and met someone from the Humanist party in NY. I became involved in the movement for “Yes to the Peace Accord” with the guerrillas in Colombia, which Humanists supported. Then in 2018, I saw a table on 37th Ave, with a sign-up sheet for JHISN. I felt this was what I wanted to do. And here I am, answering requests for help from Latinos who write to us and doing Spanish translation for our JHISN newsletter and flyers. I’m giving to my community because the ayni (reciprocity) lives in me.

The Peruvian population in the US is about 700,000, concentrated in Florida, California, and New Jersey. Over 66,000 Peruvians are living in New York state. The majority live in Queens, Long Island, and Westchester, but there are many Peruvians also in Brooklyn and the Bronx. Some immigrants came originally with a visa, but most crossed the southern border. People who arrived in the US during the 1970s and 80s were mostly middle-class people from cities along the coast, mainly from Lima. After the 1990s economic crisis, there was a bigger influx of migrants from all over the country. Peru had slowed its path to industrial development and instead had become a major exporter of raw materials—and migrants. The outcome for immigrants often depends on the type of job they find here, having a relative or a friend, learning English, and also their character. According to the World Bank, Peruvian immigrants send almost three billion dollars in remittances back to Peru every year.

In New York, Peruvians have different beliefs and political opinions, but we are united by our roots. Quietly, our traditions continue to spread among our people in the US, especially our children and grandchildren. During the 1990s, the diffusion of our music and dances got a boost when talented people met and formed different musical groups. Pachamama Peruvian Arts was founded in 2004 in NYC, with the aim to preserve and perform traditional Peruvian music and dance. Its teachers offer free classes to students in Jackson Heights schools. 

Another high point of Peruvian culture in New York is Abya Yala Arte y Cultura, which was started in 2006. Abya Yala puts on every year a theatrical representation of the Inti Raymi, a traditional religious ceremony of the Inca empire paying homage to Sun-Father (Taita Inti) in June, during the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. Songs, dances, flowers, food, and chicha (corn liquor) are offered to Taita Inti by the Inca, with the hope that the sun will come again, bringing good weather to produce a lot of food from Pachamama, Mother Earth. We are proud that since 2007, a director, a playwright, actors, musicians, dancers, and volunteers have brought this fabulous spectacle to the public. In the aftermath of Abya Yala’s success, more cultural groups have been formed; some Peruvian teachers started their own academy such as Peru Andino NY

Ayni or reciprocity—to exchange work or goods—is in our genes and continues moving us. In April 2021, Peruvian bakery owner Carlos Espinoza was given an award by the Mayor of New York for his active role in supporting immigrants. Espinoza kept his business open in Elmhurst—in the epicenter of the epicenter of the pandemic in New York—which allowed essential workers to get food to go to work. He also distributed free food cooked by his mother to immigrants living in Elmhurst and Corona.

Peruvians have always been politically active. In 2016, there was a big Rally for “Keiko No Va” in Times Square organized and led by a Left movement called The Tri-State Coalition of Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York and the “Keiko No Va” group, signaling that we didn’t want a Fujimori government ever again. Marcela Mitaynes, a tenant activist, was elected New York State  Assemblywoman for Brooklyn District 51 in 2020, the first Peruvian to serve in the state Assembly. In our own land, Pedro Castillo, a rural Andean teacher and a union leader from Chota, Cajamarca, was elected President in 2021. This is a promising slap in the face to the powerful criollo descendants from Europeans who rule Peru but have turned their backs on the people, especially from the Andes and the forest. 

There’s hope for Peruvians who identify themselves with our ancient origins, ethics, and values. 

2. Another Black Hole for Immigrant Rights?

It’s important to have a path to citizenship for long-term security. All of our members would be affected by the outcome of what’s being decided in D.C. in the next few weeks.  —Manny Castro, Executive Director, New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE)

The path to citizenship that Democrats promised to 11 million immigrants is on the verge of disappearing into another Washington, DC black hole. In recent weeks, House Democrats tried without success to include such a path in their massive “Build Back Better Act,” which is headed for a showdown vote in the Senate sometime soon. Specifically, they proposed that green cards would be offered to immigrants who had been in the US for more than ten years. This approach was similar to that used by Congress in 1986 to legalize the status of millions of immigrants who had lived in this country for several years.

To get the Build Back Better Act passed, Democrats have been counting on avoiding a Republican filibuster, which would require 60 votes to overcome—a virtually impossible task today. However, legislation that has major budgetary implications can be passed by a simple majority under the procedure known as “reconciliation.” It’s up to the Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, to advise on whether the various provisions of the Act meet the standards for reconciliation. She has ruled against the green card proposals twice—because, in her controversial opinion, they didn’t mainly concern budgetary matters

The Democrats could get rid of the filibuster, but they seem unwilling to take this action right now. There is also the option to overrule the parliamentarian’s decision on reconciliation by a simple majority vote. Although immigrant advocates have accused MacDonough of bias—she was once an immigration prosecutor—there seems to be no appetite for a confrontation with her among most Democrats. Instead, they are now discussing watered-down reforms that would fall far short of a pathway to citizenship. 

One idea under serious consideration is to provide temporary 5-year protection from deportation and work permits for millions of immigrants, including Dreamers, agricultural workers, and some refugees or asylum seekers. This kind of short-term fix has been disastrous for Dreamers in the past, resulting in cycles of fear and insecurity. Depending on how negotiations proceed, “protected” immigrants might not even be eligible for public benefits, including health care.

Another reform under discussion is to “recover” and distribute more than a million green cards that have been authorized by Congress since 1992 but have gone unused. Under one version of this proposal, green card applicants now caught in the green card backlog could pay fees of thousands of dollars to speed access to permanent residency. Part of the thinking here was to create a budgetary impact that might survive the scrutiny of the parliamentarian.

Immigration advocates inside and outside Congress are lobbying furiously to keep substantive immigration legislation alive. They haven’t given up; some have promised to vote against the whole Build Back Better package if it fails to include meaningful immigration provisions. But pressure to pass the massive Biden bill in any form is also building.

Immigrant justice groups have organized a variety of demonstrations and pressure campaigns targeting DC lawmakers. Locally, NICE has been engaged in an extended campaign called “11 Days for the 11 Million,” a series of actions based in Times Square, pushing for “citizenship for all.” Immigrant mothers organized by the Movement for Justice in El Barrio gathered in front of Senator Gillibrand’s office last week with the same demand. The outcome of this struggle—with millions of immigrants’ lives and livelihoods at stake—remains to be seen.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

  • Contact your Democratic Congresspeople and tell them to include citizenship for all in the Build Back Better Act. 
  • Donate to New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), to support the fight for comprehensive immigration reform.

In solidarity and with collective care,

Jackson Heights Immigrant Solidarity Network (JHISN)

Follow @JHSolidarity on Facebook and Twitter and share this newsletter with friends, families, neighbors, networks, and colleagues so they can subscribe and receive news from JHISN.