WE ARE FACING ANOTHER BLOW TO ASYLUM, AND WE NEED YOUR HELP.
The Trump administration's newest proposed regulation would gut what is left of our asylum laws. The new laws propose nearly a dozen new bars to asylum which will violate not only international treaties, but our own Constitution. This law would abandon hundreds of thousands of vulnerable families and individuals with nowhere left to turn for safety -- including the more than 300,000 people with affirmative asylum claims currently pending. (More information on the specific changes and what they mean for Friends is below.)
We have until July 15 to submit comments detailing our concerns about this law. The administration is legally obligated to respond to each issue raised in these comments. This process can be lengthy so the rule is not expected to go into effect until the fall at the earliest. With enough comments and public outcry, we hope to delay its effect even longer.
How you can help: Submit Public Comment
1-BY JULY 15: Submit a comment based on experiences you’ve had with Friends or based on how wrong we know these new regulations are. See NSC website for more information on how to comment.
2-Share this information widely with friends, family, community members, and on social media-toolkit here.
3-Let local, state, and federal legislators know that we expect them to stand with us as we fight to #SaveAsylum
If you would like to join an NSC led Zoom call to get more information, including instructions on how to submit a comment, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In this edition:
- Success Stories and Gratitude
- Stories from Detention/Free Them All
- Upcoming Events
- Immigration News
- Art Corner
- COVID-19 Resources
- Reverend Micah Bucey's Tiny Prayer
Success Stories and Gratitude to Our Volunteers and Community
We are grateful to our extraordinary volunteer community for everything you have done since we transitioned to remote operations. In the time of COVID19 we’ve been able to continue supporting Friends because you have participated and supported our work:
- 141 Defensive and Affirmative Asylum Applications have been filed since April.
- 155 weekly pro se clinic volunteers working with 42 Friends each week in June.
- 130 new Pro Se Clinic volunteers were trained in June.
- In June, our social work team connected 60 Friends to food assistance programs, healthcare system, shelter system and other basic services.
- Non-detained court in Newark will re-open on July 13 and in NYC remains suspended through at least July 10. EOIR (Executive Office For Immigration Review) has shared this public health notice to "protect all people working in and visiting EOIR spaces" as they move forward with reopening across the country in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In person reporting requirements with ICE and ISAP (Intensive Supervision Appearance Program) remain suspended through at least the end of June pending further notice from EOIR / ICE ERO (Enforcement and Removal Operations).
- Over 700 Friends with hearings or check-ins on our calendar between March 16 and the present day have received personal calls from NSC to be notified of these suspensions.
- A team of dedicated accompaniment leaders continues to perform weekly checks on all suspended hearings to remain up to date on any rescheduling, while another team calls Friends as their hearings are rescheduled to ensure they know the new date.
- NSC staff continues to reach out to ICE to facilitate communication and support all Friends in successfully receiving their next check-in dates.
- Hundreds of phone calls to Friends
- Hundreds of phone calls to jails, detention centers, local health departments, and other agencies on behalf of friends.
- NSC contributed towards one bond this month to get our Friend released. Our Friend Yoscal was released from detention after we prepared a pro se Habeas Corpus for him.
- We still write letters to Immigration Judges for our Friends. If you are interested in becoming part of the letter writing team, please email: email@example.com
To receive information on these trainings and other upcoming remote volunteer opportunities, please sign up on the Remote Volunteer Opportunities page on our website and indicate areas of interest.
Stories From Detention:
Every day our (anti)Detention team, led by Andres Jimenez, receives calls and letters from our Friends in detention and their families. Now, more than ever we must work to change the unjust immigration detention and deportation machine. Prisons and Immigration detention are hotbeds of COVID-19, and are in danger of becoming death camps if we do not #FreeThemAll
The weekly Community Meeting is still happening via Zoom. Being with our Friends has been inspiring, and a way that we continue to connect and support each other.
The past few weeks we've heard from Friends who were recently released from detention who have shared about their fight and the support NSC has given them. They say it has kept them strong. As usual we sing, laugh, and celebrate even though we can't be together in person.
Silent Solidarity Action: Every Thursday at 11 am
In this time of physical distancing, our physical Jericho Walk is on hiatus -- but the Jericho Walk in our hearts continues, especially as so many of our immigrant Friends sit in detention, vulnerable to the threat of the coronavirus.
Join us each Thursday at 11 am via Zoom. We pray our Jericho Prayer out loud, read the names of our currently-detained friends, and let out a scream of solidarity, rage, love, faith, and hope.
While the Trump Administration steals public funds to build an unauthorized wall at the Southern border, families across the country are struggling to pay their bills. They deserve to know that their hard-earned dollars are going where the law intended — to benefit their families and their communities.”
The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition, called the decision in its case "a win for the rule of law, the environment, and border communities."
“President Trump’s xenophobic wall is already leveling protected lands, desecrating cultural sites and destroying wildlife," said Dror Ladin, staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project. "There’s no undoing the damage that’s been done, but we will be back before the Supreme Court to finally put a stop to this destructive wall.”
“The ability to seek asylum from persecution is a core human right enshrined in international and domestic law. Nonetheless, the Trump administration quietly announced a new set of rules last week aimed at permanently gutting protections for asylum seekers. With the election just a few months away, President Trump knows animus toward immigrants is an effective tool to rally his base. And with the country currently distracted by a global pandemic and a fight for racial justice, these new rules could soon become law. That would effectively abolish asylum as we know it here in the United States. Yes, it really is this dire.”
U.S. Must Release Children From Family Detention Centers, Judge Rules. “The family residential centers are on fire and there is no more time for half measures,” she wrote. Judge M. Dolly Gee.
“‘During a virtual court hearing held Thursday via Zoom, U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke told U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement that she would soon be deciding whether to assign a “special master” or “professional observer” with the aim of finding out if her court orders — which were designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus — have actually been followed.
“You’re getting my drift here?” Cooke asked Dexter Lee, an assistant U.S. attorney representing ICE in an ongoing lawsuit seeking the release of detainees at the Krome Processing Center in Miami-Dade, the Broward Transitional Center in Pompano Beach and the Glades Detention Center in Moore Haven.
Cooke’s suggestion emerged after two ICE detainees gave nail-biting accounts via telephone. The Glades detainees, who both tested positive for the coronavirus, told Cooke ICE is still placing COVID-positive detainees with people who are healthy or have yet to be tested, which would be a direct violation of her June 6 court order.
Scott echoed Thomas: “We get like two spray bottles, gloves, a couple rags, two push brooms and three garbage bags. They tell us to clean up after ourselves.”
Thomas told the judge COVID-positive detainees eat from the same dirty and “moldy” meal trays and that there is no opportunity to social distance anywhere on the premises, including while standing in line for daily meals or sharing one toilet for as many as 45 men. Thomas recounted to Cooke how an unmasked guard told him this week that “there is no social distancing happening here.”
“They laugh and say ‘Yeah, you all positive,” Scott said. “They [were] joking about it; making little mockeries about the symptoms we have.”’
Thanks to Dariel, age 7, for this wonderful portrait of an amazing accompaniment volunteer pre-COVID pandemic.
Please use and share the resources available to New Yorkers, Link here.
Free COVID-19 testing for NYC, Link here.
Domestic Violence Hotline for NYC, Link here.
Resources from the National Institutes of Health, Link here.
CDC Guidelines, link here.
Help NSC Spread the Word and Raise Funds
New Sanctuary Coalition relies on the support of individuals like you to continue our essential work, today and every day. One of the most powerful ways you can help NSC is by spreading the word about this crucial work and offering your friends, families, colleagues and compatriots the opportunity to contribute to a fundraising campaign you create. Let them know that you stand with New Sanctuary and our Friends in detention, facing deportation, struggling against a system designed to destroy families and perpetuate racist notions of who belongs in this country and who does not.
Today's Tiny Prayer from Reverend Micah Bucey
Today’s Tiny Prayer (for those who just don’t know where to start):
May you take a step toward humility today, seeking education, making a connection, asking a question, investigating a privilege, a bias, a given, an assumption, and may you be honest with yourself about the daunting reality of how much work there is to do, but may you also be honest with others about your need for collaboration, knowing that this work is not yours to do alone, and also knowing that this fact does not clear you of individual obligation, but rather demands your daily, active, evolving participation in the continuing co-creative work.
The struggles for liberation and the freedom to live without persecution, to walk the streets and drive the roads, go to work and school and the corner store without threat of state-sanctioned violence, are interconnected and interdependent. The system that hired and trained and employed a police officer who would kneel on the neck of George Floyd until he died is the system that hired and trained and employed an ICE officer who would shoot Erick Diaz Cruz in the face for defending his cousin.
These systems perpetuate racism and violence because they are built on racism and violence. They are entwined and designed to create a system of fear and oppression rooted in white supremacy and aimed to make unmistakably clear who they believe belongs in this country and who does not, who is afforded dignity and who is not, who deserves to live and whose life can be snuffed out by a police officer’s knee, an ICE officer’s gun, or a virus spreading unchecked through a crowded detention center.
In the words of Ella’s Song, written to honor the great activist Ella Baker, “We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.”
New Sanctuary Coalition stands with the protestors, the activists, the healers, the true leaders, and all who hold hope for a better future in our hearts.
We will not rest until it comes.
Black Lives Matter
- Success stories
- Stories from Detention
- Upcoming Events
- Immigration News
- COVID-19 Resources
- Poetry Corner
- Reverend Micah Bucey's Tiny Prayer
First and foremost, we are holding in our hearts all who have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Also on our minds are on the thousands still reporting to ICE, the thousands attending immigration hearings, and the thousands detained in jails around the nation, forced to live through this pandemic without necessary and proper healthcare and preventative equipment and measures.
WHAT WE'RE DOING
This week, ICE announced that they would be banning "social visitation" in detention facilities. This move will only further isolate human beings who should not be detained in the first place, keeping them from staying in touch with their loved ones. With these compounding acts of cruelty, ICE keeps detainees under their powerful thumb, even using the threat of a virus to further dehumanize the most vulnerable.
Our continuing spiritual imperative is to keep our Friends safe from removal while doing our part to prevent the spread of coronavirus. It is increasingly difficult to do so because immigration courts are still open and detention centers won't free our Friends, but as new information surfaces regarding prevention and safety, we will shift our programs, services, and action plans.
Because of your continued support our Accompaniment Program just broke a record -- completing 104 accompaniments in one week! Our Pro Se Clinic also completed more than 15 asylum applications.
For updates on NYC's response to COVID-19, visit NYC Health.
We will continue to share updates on our web site and all social media platforms.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Volunteer -- We are looking for volunteers in new remote roles. Click HERE for a sign-up form, let us know how you can help, and we'll be in touch soon!
Donate -- The good news is that the investments we are making in digital infrastructure will help us serve more Friends more efficiently after this crisis. The tough news is, these changes put a strain on our budget. Your donations make a huge difference in our ability to respond to emerging crises like Covid-19 without interrupting our critical ongoing programs. Please donate today to make this work possible.
Boost the signal -- Help us make people in your network aware of what's going on with our Friends. ICE continues to target, detain, and deport. Detention centers lack treatment and care options, isolating Friends instead of freeing them. We will continue to update you via email and our social media platforms.
Engage your faith leaders -- We are asking faith leaders to pressure immigration judges and detention centers to take drastic measures (including #FreeThemAll) to protect our Friends in detention and at risk of detention. A template for this outreach is available HERE! Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Thank you for always standing with us in solidarity, in faith, and in hope!
Ravi Ragbir and the NSC Team