Sierra Foothills Unitarian Universalists
Thursday, May 23, 2013
A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
PCD Immigration Workshop
'Immigration as a Moral Issue' was a conference hosted by the Pacific Central District of the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Racial and Cultural Diversity Task Force of the PCD-UUA, the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry (UULM), and the Mt. Diablo UU Church Immigration Task Force.
On Oct. 29, 2011, 7 representatives from SFUU drove to Walnut Creek to participate in this event.
The three goals were:
l. To promote an understanding of immigration issues particularly as they pertain to our District;
2. To prepare leaders to get their congregations motivated to participate in GA 2012 in Phoenix; and
3. To provide resources for effective local and regional partnerships
Mareen Bauman, Lisa Boch, Joan Lacktis, Robert Ludgate, Karen Tajbl, and the Rev. Wendy Bartel and the Rev. Lynn Gardner all attended. Here are some reflections from the day:
From Karen Tajbl:
I attended two sessions with Richard Hobbs, Esq., whose specialty is immigration law. Richard addressed both state and national policies that have been recently enacted as well as the different paths to citizenship. California has taken some steps forward:
<1) California Dreamers which allow some student access to private financial aid.
<2) Prohibition of car impoundments for non-DUI offenses.
<3) Communities can opt-out of the federal “Secure Communities program”, a program in which police submit fingerprints of someone they detain which are checked against FBI databases and checked for immigration status violations.
<4) Some local areas have enacted their own policies such as prohibiting ICE agents inside the local police department and ending local collaboration with ICE detainers.
These are a few of the changes taking place. When I talked to Richard after the seminars about what is happening at our church, he offered to speak to our community. Emilio Vaca, Latino Leadership Council of Placer County, has also offered to speak on “Immigration Issues in Placer County”. We need to know what the policies are for our local police departments. This is an issue that is going to be prominent in the 2012 elections and we can make a difference by educating ourselves and the community. Our voices need to be heard.
From Robert Ludgate:The points that hit home the most for me were:
Most of the undocumented workers here are NOT criminal, and they are not seeking, nor would they expose themselves to the dangers of applying for, welfare.
According to Enrique Morones of Border Angels, we have three choices in our attitudes toward the undocumented coming in-
(a) ignore them (b) "they get what they deserve" and (c) this is WRONG! Now what am I going to do about it?
One of the suggestions was to personalize, to put a face -yours- on this issue by talking with friends and family with facts, not the hyperbole from radio & TV.
More than 10,000 have died since 1994 while trying to cross over. Those who have made it are often at the mercy of unscrupulous employers. I bear some responsibility if I consume foods harvested by those not being afforded decent wages, living and working conditions and do nothing to try and better their lives.
According to immigration lawyer Richard Hobbs, when people comment that "illegal aliens" should just get in line and get a green card, we need to educate and inform them that there is, in essence, no line. The socio-economic level of many don't qualify, yet their families are often heavily dependent on what they can earn here.Thanks to NAFTA at least in part, American goods ( corn, for example) are cheaper in Mexico than Mexican made products, and the economic upheaval has been devastating to many. In many towns and villages, the economy IS what is sent back home from the US by these undocumented workers.Even those with a college education who do come here wind up in menial jobs, but they do it to feed their families.