Archive for January, 2009|Monthly archive page

SCHIP Victory!

In Uncategorized on January 28, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Today, the Senate voted against an amendment that would deny health insurance to legal immigrant children living in the United States!

Children are one of the most precious resources of our community and nation. The health of a child is, in essence, the health of our future. Since 1997, the federal government has supported the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which provides low-income children in working families who make too much to receive Medicaid, but too little to afford private health insurance with viable health insurance. CHIP is an especially critical program in our current economy, when many people are losing their jobs and employer-based healthcare.

And for the first time, this year’s CHIP legislation took an important step by eliminating the five-year waiting period to access health services for legal immigrant children and pregnant women. As any parent or child caretaker knows, five years is like a lifetime to a child. For a child with autism, asthma, or hearing and vision impairments, waiting for five years for treatment could result in life-long or even life-threatening consequences.

But some Congresspersons tried to block this extension of healthcare coverage to legal immigrant children, attempting to turn the debate from children’s healthcare to immigration. The majority ruled, however, and this amendment failed by voice vote.

I think this can be claimed as a victory for our communities! For once, Congress was able to put aside labels and focus on the well-being of the individual, the child.


This week: in our community

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Juana Villegas: A Pregnant Woman Detained
This video documents Juana Villegas relate the trauma of being shackled and detained while giving birth. She was nine months pregnant when she was stopped for “careless driving,” but instead of receiving a customary traffic citation, she was arrested and detained, and remained shackled while giving birth. All of this took place because of the 287(g) agreement between local police and federal immigration authorities.

Ali: An HIV+ Man Suffers in Detention

This video tells the story of Ali, a lawful permanent resident who had been living in New York City for 30 years. After being picked up on a misdeamor, he spent more than a year in an immigration detention facility where he witnessed the worst kind of physical abuse and medical mistreatment, including haveing to fight to get his daily HIV medications.

Obama’s Immigration Challenge: More about Words than Policy
This article put out by the Center for International Policy’s (CIP) Americas Program analyzes what role President Obama could have in pushing for immigration reform this year through his ability to tell a story and weave a new narrative about immigration in this country.

Push on Immigration Crimes is Said to Shift Focus

This New York Times article points out how the last administration’s push on immigration enforcement has drawn resources away from fighting other crimes, notably weapons prosecutions, organized crime prosecutions, and public corruption prosecutions. This data is further backed up by a recent Trac Report.

Latinos Recall Patterns of Attack Before Killing
This NY Times article discusses the pattern of attacks on Latinos before Marcelo Lucero was killed last month. It emphasizes how both immigrants’ fears of reporting crimes to police due to enhanced immigration enforcement and the police’s failure to not consistantly enter crimes against Latinos into their computerized pattern tracking system caused a pattern of hate crimes against the Latino population to go unnoticed.

Welcome to “it’s our community” blog

In Uncategorized on January 26, 2009 at 10:33 pm

Immigration: It’s our community is a project of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) that was launched in January 2009 to help shape and develop an equitable and just conversation on immigration.

The idea for this blog grew out of our weariness with an immigration debate which pitted “us” against “them” as if U.S. citizens and immigrants were at war with one another. We knew that this rhetoric did not represent the realities of communities across the country; that is to say, that our communities suffer from increased raids and hate crimes, that our communities often struggle to find funding for ESL programs in schools and/or to find common ground between what are often great cultural differences, and that ultimately our communities benefit from cultural pluralism in our schools, workplaces, and faith communities. We also knew that to speak of these realities as if we were at war only tears our communities apart economically, socially, and politically.

Immigration: It’s Our Community operates from the basis that when speaking about immigration we are fundamentally speaking about our communities. Our hope is that this blog can help develop a common language around immigration that is based in equity, justice, and respect.

The blog format was chosen for this project because it provides an interactive forum through which this discussion can take place. In exploring the pages of Immigration: It’s Our Community, you will find posts on current immigration news and issues, stories about immigration from communities across the country, and links through which you can take action to influence immigration policy in Congress. We hope you will take part.

Immigration: It’s our community


The Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobby in the public interest, was established in 1943 with the mission to advocate social and economic justice, peace, and good government. Working on legislative priorities and policies set by a General Committee of some 220 Quakers from around the country, FCNL’s work is guided by four vision statements:

We seek a world free of war and the threat of war

We seek a society with equity and justice for all

We seek a community where every person’s potential may be fulfilled

We seek an earth restored