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UJP Recommits to the Struggle for Immigrant Rights

Vicky SteinitzBy Vicky Steinitz, UJP Cambridge

The UJP Planning Group has endorsed an immigrant rights campaign and seeks to strengthen ties with local  immigrant rights groups and the Mass Trust Act Coalition.   US foreign policy has generated the influx of immigrants, primarily from Latin America but increasingly from Africa and the Middle East. Proxy wars in places like El Salvador and Guatemala and  policies such as NAFTA created the conditions  that forced many to flee their countries. The detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants is a travesty that must be confronted by those of us who are committed to peace and justice.

Last fall, UJP co-sponsored with the Mass Trust Act Coalition an educational  forum;  The Immigration “Crisis": Has US Foreign Policy Created It? What Can We Do About It?  We see this as the first of a series of  educational programs on topics such as US policy towards Cuba,  Venezuela, or Bolivia which can help people see the connections  between the wars abroad and the wars at home.

Help Stop Deportations by joining the Not 1 More Deportation campaign

The Not 1 More Deportation campaign is a very effective campaign of NDLON (National Day Laborer Organizing Network) which has succeeded in stopping the deportation of many people who have been targeted for being community activists .  ICE ( Immigration and Customs Enforcement) staff have been told to use prosecutorial discretion to grant  long term residents with stable family and work records and no criminal backgrounds permission to remain in the US;  yet, families  continue to be torn apart as immigrants who meet these criteria are still being detained  and deported in large numbers.


You can contribute to this campaign by signing  petitions in support of individuals facing deportation and making telephone calls to the local ICE agents responsible for acting on their cases.  Large numbers of signers and callers have stopped many deportations.  Email if you wish to join this effort.


Help Make Sure that the Mass Trust Act  Passes this Year


The MA Trust Act bill has been filed  in both the Senate (Lead Sponsor:  Eldridge) and the House (Lead Sponsor: Carvahlo)   The aim of the Trust Act is to stop cooperation between local law enforcement and ICE so as to rebuild community trust in the police.  Despite Obama's Executive Action to end Secure Communities (the program which initiated ICE holds) and provide temporary protected status to many undocumented immigrants, the deportation machinery remains in place and as active as ever.   PEP (Priority Enforcement Program), the program which will replace S-Comm may well continue its practices under another name.. At this moment,  a Federal Judge has issued an injunction stopping Obama’s Executive Action from being put into practice.


Other progressive states – e.g.,California and Connecticut – have passed Trust Acts.  This is the year for MA to do the same.  This will not be an easy task but UJP community groups can play an important role.  May 7, 11:00 a.m. at the Mass. State House, is the public launch of the campaign.  All our legislators need to know that we will have their backs when they stand up to the anti-immigrant haters.  Stay tuned for specific actions you can join.


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