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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Call to Action -- Visit Congressman Brady on Tuesday!

Join Us To Visit Congressman Robert Brady / US House of Representatives, Pennsylvania District 1

With Members of JUNTOS, the Cambodian Association, And the New Sanctuary Movement

When: February 2nd, 2010, 10:00 AM.
Where: We will meet at 2029 S. 8th St., in the Houston Community Center Auditorium, to march to the Congressman’s office at 1907-09 S. Broad St. for a meeting at 11:30 AM.

To ask Representative Brady to co-sponsor CIR ASAP, The Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperty Act of 2009 in support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform to promote:

-A path to legalization
-Justice for Immigrant Workers
-The Dream Act
-Security Measures that don’t target immigrant communities.
-Family Reunification

Along with testimony from community leaders, we will deliver petitions and thousands of post-cards from constituents in the Congressman’s District in favor of immigration reform.

Please RSVP!
For More Info and to Confirm, Please Call: (267)-275-7810

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Philadelphia City Council Resolution -- we need you at City Hall on Thursday!

City Council Resolution in Support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform
On Thursday Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez will introduce a resolution in City Council calling on our members of congress to support Comprehensive Immigration Reform. We need to show our strong support, so spread the word and please join us at City Hall! There will also be a press conference following the council session.

Thursday, January 28, 2010 9:15a
Philadelphia City Hall, 15th & Market, Council Chambers, 4th Flr


Hope to see you Thursday!

In Peace and Solidarity,

Jen and Peter

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reform Immigration for America Rally at St. Thomas Aquinas / Si se puede! = Yes we can!

Written by Anna C. Dugdale, Title I ESOL Teacher at St. Thomas-Aquinas School in South Philadlephia

Despite the ICE (Immigration and Custom) Raids of 30 suspected undocumented immigrants on Monday, January 11, 2010 which terrified many of the women and children whose homes were raided, hundreds of immigrant parents, students and their families from South Philadelphia came out this past Friday, January 10, 2010, on Dr. King’s birthday no less, to support the national campaign rally kick off event held in the St. Thomas Aquinas School cafeteria to advocate for immigration law reform. There is a nationwide call for action by our labor unions, community groups, faith organizations, civil rights groups and immigrant communities to push for comprehensive immigration reform this year in Washington. This rally advocates a legal path to citizenship for all immigrant workers so they may find the freedom, liberty and pursuit of happiness that our country has symbolized for all of us, as a land of immigrants.  

Monsignor Hugh Joseph Shields welcomed us on behalf of the Office of the Vicar for Hispanic Catholics, followed by Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, who explained some of the current failures of our immigration system that leaves 12 million immigrants undocumented but who continue to work and contribute to our US economy. Thirty-year veteran immigrant attorney Jane Goldblum explained that if you do not come to the US with a 4 year college degree, it is nearly impossible to obtain a working visa. In addition, she said that it takes 5 years for a legal resident to acquire a visa for family members and during that time, many family members are compelled to work in the US illegally under the fear of deportation and the separation of their loved ones. Tswien Law, of the Greater Philadlephia Organization of Chinese Americans addressed some of the myths of immigrants and reminded us of the history of how the N. American railroads were built by Chinese American labor and that 1,000 of the 10,000 workers died on the job. Both Wayne Macmaniman and Antony Dugdale, District leader of SEIU 32BJ and Philadelphia Coordinator of UNITE HERE, Local 274, shared stories of how undocumented workers are underpaid, overworked and intimidated by the threats of deportation if they dare to speak out or stand up for fair wage and working condition civil rights. Jesus Gutierrez, a JUNTOS member, said, “Cuando se divida una familia, se divida todo el pais.” = “When we divide our families, we divide our country.”

This Southeastern Pennsylvania Campain Kick off Rally is just one of many rallies “to create awareness and build a coalition of informed people to call on the new Administration and 111th Congress to commit to: 
  • I. “Uphold family unity as a priority of all immigration policies by
    • 1.) expediting the reunion of immigrant families separated due to the length visa backlogs, 
    • 2.) changing family preference categories and per country caps to prioritize family unity and 
    • 3.) removing bars to reentry and adjustment of status for individuals seeking to reunite with their family members.” 
  • And II. “Create a process for undocumented immigrants to earn their legal status and eventual US citizenship that affordable and does not take up to 10 years to process.” (Reform Immigration for America rally hand out)
    Note: You can also read about the top 10 immigrant myths and understand the facts from the National Immigration Forum’s June 2003 sources online.   (Click here for immigrant myths and facts document.) 
On a personal note, it was heartwarming to see so many alumni of the Title I ESOL Program at St. Thomas-Aquinas school there, parents of students who are now excelling academically at local high schools and colleges. It continues to be an honor to teach and learn from these inspirational families from Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, China and Mexico who bring so much to our community!


Yes, this is for real!

At around 4pm on Saturday January 23rd, Jean was dropped off in front of the Varick Street Detention Center in NYC. He then stopped at the nearby Judson Church where he was welcomed by the pastors and the Sunday School kids. And as we write this, he's heading home to Jani and his kids in Brooklyn.

In the words of Jani: "Thank u for all your luv n support. my Husband is Free @ last, Free @ last...........thank God almighty he's free @ last!"

This is a testament to all the AMAZING work you have all put in, in the last 3-and-a-half weeks.

But let us remember, that even though Jean has been released, JEAN IS NOT FREE.

He is still subject to deportation and detention because the laws that tear families apart are still in place. In fact, he reports back to NY ICE offices on February 2nd.

Let us CELEBRATE the incredible work that we have done until now, and let us also keep in mind the 33,000+ people who are still in detention tonight and the MILLIONS of families that still face being separated (including Jean's family and all our sanctuary families).

And as we THANK GOD for the return of our dear brother and leader, let us also RECOMMIT ourselves to the struggle to making sure Jean and all the millions of families like his gain true freedom by overturning the unjust laws that tear families apart.

Solidarity Then and Now -- Storytelling and Inspiration from the 1980s Sanctuary Movement and the New Sanctuary Movement

Plans are coming together for our February 11th gathering at Tabernacle United Church!  Come for an evening of storytelling and inspiration with Philadelphia leaders from the ORIGINAL Sanctuary movement of the 1980s together with the NEW Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia.   Here's a preview of what to expect....

There will be special music and dance performances, and some of the families from El Salvador and Guatemala who were accompanied by the Philadelphia sanctuary congregations will be present.

We'll be recognizing several congregations for their 1980s commitments -- CBC, FUMCOG, Tabernacle, St. Vincents, Germantown Friends, Chestnut Hill Friends, Mishkan Shalom, and possibly others. 

And we will officially welcome Mishkan Shalom and Visitation BVM as the first congregations to affiliate with the New Sanctuary Movement.

Help us spread the word.  All are welcome!

When: Thursday, Feb 11th, from 7pm to 9pm
Where: Tabernacle United Church located at Chestnut and 37th Street (enter on 37th)

Monday, January 11, 2010

January Coalition Meeting and important announcements

New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia
Monthly Coalition Meeting
Thursday, 1/14 @ 7pm
Visitation BVM Church 300 E. Lehigh Ave

Happy New Year! This month we will come together and learn about the limits of the immigration process.  We will look at examples of stories of people who are trying to immigrate and aquire legal status and see how challenging and slow the process can be, for most.  We will also hear updates from working groups, announce upcoming events and share the story of Jean Montrevil, one of the founders of NYC New Sanctuary Movement who is in ICE custody and awaiting deportation. 

Reform Immigration for America Rallies
Attend the rally closest to you, or attend them all! It is time for a big push to tell congress that Comprehensive Immigration Reform mush happen this year!
Prayer Vigil for Comprehensive Immigration Reform:
Monday Jan 11th, 6:30 pm
Sisters of Saint Joseph Welcome Center
728 E. Allegheny Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19134
Irish Immigration Center Kick Off Event
Tuesday Jan 12th, 5:30 pm
Tir Na Nog Irish Pub
16th & Arch, inside the Phoenix Building
 Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Kick-off Event:
Friday January 15th, 6 PM
St. Thomas Aquinas Church
17th & Morris, Philadelphia
Followed by special immigrant mass at 7 pm

February 11th Coalition Meeting to be held at Tabernacle United Church
-- Note the change of location--
For our February coalition meeting, we're inviting the original Philadelphia Sanctuary Congregations from the 1980s to a reunion to share stories about the vision that united them in their work for justice in that time.  And we'll also be sharing stories with them about the NEW Philadelphia Sanctuary Movement happening right now!  This special gathering will be held from 7pm to 9pm at Tabernacle United Church (Chestnut and 37th), which was the first Philadelphia congregation to declare sanctuary status in the original movement.  (NOTE THE LOCATION CHANGE)  More details to follow, but save the date now.  We hope you'll join us to celebrate the passions that created the original sanctuary movement and to learn from that collective wisdom for NSM's work today!
In Peace and Solidarity,
Jen and Peter


Nuevo Movimiento de Santuario
Reunion de Coalicion
Jueves, el 14 de enero a las 7pm
a la iglesia de Visitacion.  300 calle E. Lehigh

Feliz año nuevo! En el mes de enero vamos a juntarnos y aprender sobre sol limites del proceso de inmigración. Vamos a ver ejemplos y escuchar historias de personas quienes están intentando inmigrar y obtener documentos legales; veremos lo difícil y lento que puede ser el proceso para la mayoría. También recibiremos informes de grupos de trabajo, anunciar eventos próximos, y compartir la historia de Jean Montrevil, uno de los fundadores de New Sanctuary Movement en NYC, quien se encuentra detenido por ICE esperando deportación.

Acciones de Reform Immigration for America:
Asistir la acción que se encuentra mas cerca a usted, o asistir a todas! Ya es la hora para decir al congreso que una reforma migratoria comprensiva tiene que pasar en este año!

Vela de Oración para la Reforma Migratoria Comprensiva:
Lunes 11 de enero, 6:30 pm
Hermanas de San Jose Welcome Center
728 E. Allegheny Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19134
Centro de inmigracion de Irlanda Kick Off del suceso
Martes 12 de enero, 5:30 pm
Tir Na Nog Irish Pub
16th & Arch, en el edificio Phoenix
Sureste Pennsylvania Regional Kick-off del suceso:
Viernes 15 de enero , 6 PM
St. Thomas Aquinas Church
17th & Morris, Philadelphia
Y Una misa especial de inmigracion a las 7
La reunión de la coalición programado para el 11 febrero va a tener lugar Tabernacle United Church -- Apunta el cambio de lugar -
Para la reunión de febrero estamos invitando a miembros originales de Philadelphia Sanctuary Congregations que formaron el los anos 80' para reunirse y compartir historias sobre la visión que les unió en su trabajo para la justicia. También estaremos compartiendo historias con ellos sobre el NEW Philadelphia Sanctuary Movement y lo que esta pasando ahora mismo! Esta junta especial va a ser de 7pm a 9pm en Tabernacle United Church (37 y Chestnut), que era la primera congregación en Philadelphia a declarar su status de santuario durante el movimiento original. (APUNTA EL CAMBIO DE LUGAR). Van a seguir mas detalles, pero guarden la fecha ahora. Esperamos que vendrás a compartir y celebrar la pasión de que nació el movimiento santuario original; y también aprender de la sabiduría colectiva para mejorar el trabajo de NSM hoy! 

En paz y solidaridad,
Jen y Peter

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Haitian immigrant rights leader Jean Montrevil on hunger strike at PA's York Detention Center -- 8 NY clergy arrested for civil disobedience in support of his case

Jean Montrevil, a long time community leader and activist in a variety of immigrant rights groups including the NYC New Sanctuary Movement and Detention Watch Network, was detained for deportation to Haiti on December 30, 2009.  Mr. Montrevil was attending a regular check in New York when he was detained by agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  He is now being held at the York Detention Center in Pennsylvania, where he has joined the "Fast For Our Families" hunger strike.

Click HERE for WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW to stop Jean's deportation. 

Montrevil is the husband of a U.S. citizen and father of four U.S. citizen children, and has been a legal immigrant in the United States since 1986. He is facing deportation for a 20-year old conviction, for which he has long since served his sentence.  He has never broken any law since.

On January 5th, at a rally attended by over a hundred people outside the Varick Street Immigrant Detention Center, eight clergy and two community leaders were arrested after stopping traffic for a half hour to prevent vans transporting new immigrant detainees to the center. The participants called for Montrevil's release. They also demanded reform of draconian immigration laws separation of families.

The Rev. Donna Schaper of Judson Memorial Church, where Montrevil’s family worships, stated: “I am being arrested because it is a moral outrage that our government would do this to such a great man and father. These immigration laws that destroy families contradict the values we should uphold as a society. They need to change now.”


Read more from NYC IndyMedia at

Check out for amazing photos as well as links to press coverage.

For photos, videos and more information on Jean, go to

For information about the hunger strike, go to

You can also follow the Fast For Our Families on:
Twitter (English)
Twitter (Espanol)

Special February Coalition Meeting - Note change of venue

For our February coalition meeting, we're extending a special invitation to the original Philadelphia Sanctuary Congregations from the 1980s to share stories about their vision and passion. And we'll be sharing stories about this NEW Sanctuary Movement happening now in Philadelphia.

This special gathering will be held at Tabernacle United Church (Chestnut and 37th), which was the first Philadelphia congregation to declare sanctuary status in the original movement.

There are several goals:
1) To celebrate the passions and visions that created the original movement in a reunion of those Philadelphia Sanctuary congregations

2) To hear stories of that rich history in order to be inspired by and to learn from that collective wisdom for NSM's work today

3) To share the NSM vision and to forge personal relationships with the network of Sanctuary congregations

4) To invite individuals and congregations to reaffirm a commitment to stand in solidarity with immigrant communities in Philadelphia today, especially through NSM's campaign to end the "Secure Communities" program in the city

More details to follow, but save the date now!

Philadelphia NSM and related immigration events