Thanks so much for attending the Austin Coffee Party organizational meeting for the immigration committee. It was heartening to have such a good turnout. We completed the first two or three agenda items:
- What is the “lay of the land” around immigration reform right now?
- How the Coffee Party might interface with the existing immigrant rights community.
- Discussion on opposing anti-immigrant legislation in Texas.
(Note: All email links here have been protected from spam robots by adding “REMOVETHIS” to the email address. To send an email to any of these links, be sure to remove the “REMOVETHIS” from the email address. —Ed)
Esther Reyes gave a summary of:
Efforts to modify the 14th amendment so as to repeal birthright citizenship.
The “secure communities” initiative which is intended to deport violent offenders but mostly deports misdemeanor offenders. The Obama administration wants to expand this program to all states.
Marcelo Tafoya gave a summary of:
Travis County leads the nation in deportation of non-violent immigrants.
Here is a list of the ideas and interests expressed at the meeting:
- Need to work on the behalf of all people
- Not allowing families to be broken apart
- Bringing single member district system to Austin
- Education/PR campaign to dispel myths of immigration
- PR campaign to change status of immigrant workers
- Need another national boycott (A Day Without Immigrants) with immigrant allies also boycotting work
- Need civil disobedience
- Need to watch the TX lege for a SB1070 clone bill
- Fair/Clean/citizen-funded Elections
- Prison reform
- Privatization of prisons
- Secret detention in Travis County
- National vs. Local — Respond to how Immigrations and Custom Enforcement (ICE) effects us locally
- Voter registration (Southwest Key is holding an event Thursday evening)
- ICE quotas for deportation
- Outreach to legal/documented/authorized immigrants and citizens
- Use of language — (avoid the term “illegal”) Authorized vs Unauthorized
- Concern with the phrase “comprehensive Immigration Reform” — frames immigrants as the problem
- Why do we see movement of people? — need better understanding of social and economic factors
- Frame immigrants as indispensible part of economy
- Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) has interest in both hiring undocumented and in increasing incarceration
- Policies must be about people, families, and children and not the bottom line
- Even “illegal immigrants” have a right to due process
- “Bearing witness” to what happens to people in our community (mother of 9 deported after traffic stop)
- Need a program for lobbying every politician
- One person used the word “grandfathered” to describe the status of people who already have citizenship and who are now trying to prevent others from living in the country.
- The concept that we are all one community
- The Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition (AIRC) and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) can forward petitions and other action alerts to the Austin Coffee Party.
- Teresa will set up a group (yahoo or other) so that we can have a group e-mail alias and file sharing to facilitate communication.