Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Javier Sicilia, Time's 2011 Person of the Year, to Speak in Albuquerque Sat Aug 18, 2012

Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity to Rally in Albuquerque August 18, 2012
This is tearing our families apart and destroying our communities

Albuquerque (Monday, August 13, 2012) – Javier Sicilia, world renowned Mexican poet and human rights leader, will be leading the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity across the United States to speak to lawmakers and community members to put an end to the tragedies of the War on Drugs.  Albuquerque has been chosen as one of the 25 cities the Caravan will be stopping at during its U.S. tour.
 “It is not an issue of nationalities, it’s an issue of dignity… of placing the human as the center,” said Sicilia. “This war is destroying the moral and political skeleton of many nations.”
The caravan will travel more than 6,000 miles through ten U.S. states arriving in Washington, D.C., on September 10th. The Caravan, which will include over 100 members from Mexico, aims to inspire U.S. civil society to engage in citizen diplomacy to put an end to the war on drugs and start a healing process from the national emergency that has devastated Mexico.  Sicilia was named one of TIME’s 2011 Person of the Year for his work on this movement for peace.
The Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity, with help from their Albuquerque Host Committee, will be holding a large public event. The event will include testimonies from members of the Caravan as well as local community members, music, and poetry to bring peace to both sides of our shared border.

WHAT: Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity

WHERE: Holy Family Parish, 562 Atrisco Dr SW, Albuquerque, 87105

WHEN: Saturday, August 18, 2012
               12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Local organizations supporting the Caravan for Peace: NAACP, Drug Policy Alliance, New Mexico office, Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice, New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice, Los Jardines, Partnership for Community Action, South West Organizing Project, ENLACE Comunitario, La Plazita Institute, ENLACE New Mexico

Since 2006, Mexico has experienced unprecedented pain: more than 70,000 people have been killed and more than 10,000 have disappeared in violence resulting largely from the failure of drug prohibition.  The drug war has produced painful consequences in the United States as well, especially the mass incarceration of non-violent people – overwhelming people of color.

Bringing together victims of the drug war from both countries, the Caravan aims to expose the root causes of violence in Mexico, to raise awareness about the effects of the drug war on communities in the U.S., and to inspire U.S. civil society to demand new policies that will foster peace, justice and human dignity on both sides of the border.

More specifically, the Caravan calls for:
·         The exploration of alternatives to drug prohibition, including diverse forms of drug regulation and decriminalization.
 A halt to the illegal smuggling of weapons across the border to Mexico, which can be achieved without infringing on U.S. constitutional rights
·         Concrete steps to combat money laundering, including holding financial institutions accountable.
·         The immediate suspension of U.S. assistance to Mexico’s armed forces, and a reorientation of U.S. aid to Mexico in a manner that prioritizes human security.
·         An end to the militarization of the border and the criminalization of immigrants, and the adoption of policies that protect the dignity of every human being.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Volunteer Opportunities to Support Immigrant Families

The New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice has formed teams of volunteers to give support to immigrant families in our community. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Daniel Erdman, staff person for NMFCIJ, at 505-459-0855.

Each team is in partnership with the family that it supports. We do not wish to create dependency but rather to aid the family in identifying and prioritizing their own needs and seeking their own resources.

There are several categories of NMFCIJ volunteers providing services.

· Direct contact teams of two or three people are assigned to a specific family to help them organize and use the resources they need in their time of crisis

· Research volunteers help identify community resources beyond those already known, and also update information about known resources regarding policies and practices toward undocumented immigrants; they report this to NMFCIJ.

· Transportation volunteers give backup to the contact teams when the schedules of the latter do not allow them to help a family with a legitimate transportation need; they also may be contacted by Ricardo Ch├ívez for help with some of his clients who are not matched with a NMFCIJ team

· Child care volunteers are currently slated to help with child care during the ICE Hold workshops at Plaza de Encuentro

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Religious Community Opposes Martinez Executive Order

Published in the Albuquerque Journal on 02/10/11

The New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice sent this letter in response to Gov. Martinez' new Executive Order authorizing State Police, Park Rangers, Fish & Wildlife Wardens to ask for immigration status:

It is with great sorrow that we read about Gov. Martinez's Executive Order 2011-009 which requires mandatory immigration verification on the part of New Mexico State Police. The Executive Order reads, in pertinent part: "State law enforcement shall inquire into the criminal suspect's immigration status, and report relevant information to federal immigration enforcement authorities." [emphasis added] We have questions about the legality of the Executive Order. Its provisions are sadly similar to a section of Arizona's SB 1070 that the U.S. District Court enjoined the State of Arizona from enforcing. That section required mandatory immigration status determinations upon arrest. The Court's rationale was that this section of SB 1070 placed an unlawful burden on immigrants who were lawfully present.

In addition, the Court found that the number of requests that would emanate from Arizona as a result of determining the immigration status of every arrestee was likely to impermissibly burden federal resources and redirect federal agencies away from the priorities they have established. New Mexico Executive Order 2011-009 appears to place the same illegal burdens on lawful immigrants and on federal resources. Even more troubling is that Executive Order 2011-009 is broader in scope than the aforementioned section of Arizona SB 1070. The Executive Order requires immigration status determinations not simply of arrestees but of "criminal suspect[s]". We read this to mean that even when there is less than probable cause that a person has committed a crime (the standard for arrest), as, for example, at a simple police stop, state law enforcement will inquire into the person's immigration status.

We are concerned that pursuant to Executive Order 2011-009, law enforcement can use a police stop for the real purpose of ascertaining a person's immigration status. There is also the danger that people of color will be targeted. It is unlikely that a blond and blue-eyed person stopped by the state police will be asked about his or her immigration status, but likely that Hispanic-looking individuals will. We believe that this Order is an invitation to illegal racial profiling. However, our greatest concern is not with the likely illegalities of the Executive Order, but with its effect on the undocumented immigrants in out midst. These individuals, who live and work among us, will know even greater fear of deportation and separation from family members. Because of this fear, they will be less and less likely to report crime, and our community will be less safe for everyone. As members of various faith communities, we are committed to welcoming the stranger. Our faith requires us to respect the rights and dignity of all and to work for humane immigration reform. We believe that state laws such as Executive Order 2011-009 are not the solution. Such laws criminalize immigrants and compel them to live in fear. Instead, we advocate for comprehensive immigration reform based upon respect for human rights and dignity.

We know that someday soon Washington will pass an equitable immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Until that happens, we oppose all actions of the State of New Mexico that increase fear of the authorities on the part of undocumented immigrants and that make it more likely that they will face deportation. We believe that we must treat the undocumented immigrants in our midst with the same respect and and compassion that we treat all others.


Rev. Daniel Erdman, United Church of Christ

Pastor Anita Amstutz, Albuquerque Mennonite Church

Fr. Rafael Garcia, SJ, Pastor Immaculate Conception Church

On behalf of the New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Second Annual Las Posadas Prayer Service for Immigration Reform

On Wednesday, Dec. 15th, people of many faiths will gather at the Federal Building in downtown Albuquerque at the corner of 4th & Lomas, to give prophetic witness to the need for just immigration reform. Every day, immigrants go to the Federal Building to find out their fate in our broken immigration system. As people of faith, we believe that our immigration system is unjust and breaks apart families. Across the United States, people of faith will hold Las Posadas prayer services to call for immigration reform.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Educational Series on Immigration and Faith

Two Albuquerque churches, Immaculate Conception and St. Michael All Angels Episcopal, are hosting series this fall on faith and immigration issues.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church will host an 8 week "Just Faith" series on immigration.

St. Michael All Angels Episcopal Church will host a four part series on Sunday evenings about immigration and Christ.

Please check with both these churches for more information.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 29th: Vigils Against Arizona's Law SB1070

Albuquerque faith groups, along with hundreds across the United States, will hold a Vigil for Immigration Reform on July 29th from 7-8pm at First Congregational UCC (corner of Girard & Lomas).

July 29,2010 is the date that Arizona's law will go into effect which has local law enforcement checking immigration status. The law has been condemned by faith groups around the world. The law has also been challenged by the US Dept of Justice, ACLU, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Tucson police officer Martin Escobar, and the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

NM Faith Coalition At City Hall...Again

On Monday, June 7th, a vigil to call attention to the impact of city policies and ICE on immigrant domestic violence survivors brought more than 100 people together. The vigil was held outside of City Hall before the weekly City Council meeting. The vigil ended with the English and Spanish singing of "We Shall Overcome" and a silent march into the City Council chambers.

Rev. Daniel Erdman, a local UCC pastor, read a statement to the City Council on behalf of the NM Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice and the NM Conference of Churches. We stood up as he read this statement:

Statement – City Council – June 7, 2010

My name is Daniel Erdman, and I represent the New Mexico Conference of Churches, which is a member of the New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice.

A number of organizations and coalitions are present today, and I ask their members to please stand and remain standing at this time.

We come with one message: the Albuquerque community cannot be divided over the issues relating to immigration, and immigrants must not be blamed for the difficulties we face as a city and as a society.

We are ONE Albuquerque!

New Mexico has a proud tradition of diversity and cultural enrichment. Although economically poor, we have become an example of how people of different races, ethnicities, cultures and faiths can not only coexist with each other but also appreciate and celebrate our differences. We cannot allow influential people to devalue this tradition for short-term political advantage.

Not a sign of simple tolerance or indifference, our traditions of diversity rather express the best of our values, whether religious or humanist, values on which this nation was founded and without which it will perish: “that all are created equal, with certain inalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

• We denounce any political tactics that would scapegoat the most recent arrivals in our midst.
• We resist any public pronouncements that forget our own histories and experiences of immigration.
• We abhor any veiled or explicit defamation that would equate immigrants with criminality.
• We protest the criminalization of those who have only violated a civil code in seeking a better life for their families.
• We renounce the terminology that would describe any human person as being “illegal”.

I ask all those who are standing to remain in silence for a moment, to reflect on these our common values and to silently express our hope that we as the community called Albuquerque, and the State of New Mexico, can together put into practice our civility, our unity and our humanity.