Visit our website at

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Demonstrators at York County Prison want detained Cambodian-Americans released


Ana Cruz is nine months pregnant, but her husband, Chally Dang, probably won't be there for the birth.

Dang and several other members of their Philadelphia Cambodian community are being detained at York County Prison for possible deportation as part of a roundup of immigrants with criminal records.

Although Dang, now 28, came legally to the United States from Cambodia as a permanent resident, he was convicted of aggravated assault at age 15 and served time in prison. Under U.S. law, that conviction can affect his immigration status.

But since then he's become a father, a husband and a productive member of society, Cruz said. That's what brought a group of at least 30 members of Dang's community to York County Prison on Friday to protest his detention.

"I'm afraid," Cruz said, one hand resting on her pregnant belly. "Right now, it's just a waiting game. No one tells you how long it's going to take."

Dang and the others detained this week were summoned to the local Immigration and Customs Enforcement office for what they believed was a routine visit, said Raymond Ros, one of the protest's organizers. They were shocked to hear that they would be deported, he said.

All of them have served time in prison, Ros said, but those charges were in their youth. With permanent resident status, they all have jobs, take care of families and pay taxes like a citizen, he said. Dang has worked as a truck driver since he was released.

"Basically we're just trying to send a message that this is unlawful and inhumane," Ros said. "We want to ask them to look at the cases individually and look at what these people have been doing."

Mark Medvesky, an ICE spokesman, said the men were detained because either they were seen as "a threat to public safety or they would not leave the country as ordered." Medvesky would not comment on when the men were scheduled to be deported.

Members of the crowd outside the prison drove two hours from Philadelphia to express their support for the detained. Many carried young children, several belonging to the men inside the prison.

Savon Youk of Philadelphia brought his two teenage daughters wearing T-shirts that read "Free My Uncles." Youk's brother-in-law Mout Iv was one of the men facing deportation.

Iv was convicted of a crime when he was young, but he owns a barbershop now, Youk said. If he's deported, he will have to leave his 3-month-old child, he said.

"I heard about the United States of America as a place of freedom, democracy, free speech, human rights," he said. "But when they did this to them, it is not democracy. It's not human rights

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

1st Annual "Immigration, Art, and Action" fundraising event for Philadelphia New Sanctuary!

On Saturday, October 23,  the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia will hold our 1st Annual “Immigration, Art and Action” fundraising event featuring....
  • live musical performances of regional artists including InMotion, one of the hottest Indonesian bands in Philadelphia, and an Ecuadorian dance group
  • a fabulous silent auction, including gift certificates to local restaurants, autographed books, handmade items, and special art donations by Philly artists/activists Harvey Finkle, Joe Brenman, and others 
  • great refreshments!
 Join us on Oct 23rd from 7pm to 10pm in South Philly at the Philadelphia Praise Center / 1701 Mckean St., Philadelphia PA 19145-2913. (map)
    All proceeds from entrance fees and the auction will support our New Sanctuary Movement’s "Community Leadership Training Program" of ongoing workshops to cultivate leadership from within affected immigrant communities in Philadelphia.

    Pay at the door or purchase tickets in advance via PayPal through the New Sanctuary Movement website

    Individual tickets are $15. Family tickets (2 parents and children under 16) are $30. Super booster tickets (individual or family) are $50 for those who want to donate more.

    More information: call 215-756-6445 or visit

    Friday, September 17, 2010

    Smoke and Mirrors: FOIA Reveals ICE Deception in Secure Communities Program

    "ICE has always represented to the public that participation in Secure Communities is predicated on a formal agreement between ICE and each state. But in a December 2008 Secure Communities weekly report, ICE admits to negotiating with Pennsylvania to proceed with implementation without requiring the state to sign an agreement and without having notice of a database “hit” go to local agencies. Effectively this means that the program was secretly imposed in Pennsylvania and operated for months before local communities even became aware of it.  ICE further notes in the weekly report that it will be pursuing this same approach in other states.  And the stealth character of the operation is no insignificant detail. Though the program is going on its third year, ICE has never issued regulations or guidelines for its operation.  Indeed, written agreements with the state serve as the only formalization of a program that entangles local police in immigration enforcement and endangers community safety."

    No One Is "Illegal"

    by Jim Wallis

    Over 500 activists and faith leaders gather in Washington DC to call on Congress to act on immigration reform.

    Philadelphia NSM and related immigration events