Immigrants, Refugees & Citizenship

Take Action in Oklahoma! Protest Detention of Families and Children July 31/August 1.

Join Women’s Voices Raised For Social Justice and our newly formed partner coalition Heartland for Human Justice as we protest the opening of the newest detention center in Fort Sill, Oklahoma and participate in an interfaith vigil in remembrance of the children who have died while in detention. REGISTER BY JULY 17 to guarantee a hotel room.

Heartland for Human Justice believes a nation’s immigration policy is an expression of its humanity. The current situation with immigrants entering our country lacks common decency. Separating children from their parents and failing to provide decent shelter, food and medical care is inhumane.

Heartland for Human Justice calls for the following:

  • Stop separating families–separating children from their parents causes undue trauma.
  • Reunite the families that have been separated.
  • Treat immigrants as humans with dignity and care.
  • Safe living conditions for those in our custody.
  • Allow people to seek liberty in our country.

Download the flyer here.

Squalid Conditions for Detained Immigrants Documented

July 2, 2019
An article in the New York Times documents the squalid conditions for detained immigrants. Women’s Voices condemns the separation of families and inhumane treatment of immigrants. Tell your legislators to ban separation and detention of families and children; fund humane treatment of immigrants; and stop turning asylum seekers away at the border.

The Coming Round-Up of Immigrants

June 24, 2019

(Excerpts from letter by Sarah John, of Interfaith Committee on Latin America IFCLA)

Even though President Trump just announced that he is not proceeding with the round-up this week, we can expect that ICE will proceed in the coming weeks with mass round-ups. So the letter below from Sarah John of IFCLA still is important to read.

Action to Take this week: “Please call your elected officials at all levels of government to denounce the targeting of immigrants and their families. Please call your members of Congress (210-702-3059) and demand they cut all funding from the Deportation Force.” 

“I know that many of you are worried, scared, angry, confused, and eager to take action in light of all of the news and information circulating regarding threats of increased immigration enforcement…

“It is important that we actively work together against the fear and hatred that are already traumatizing our communities. We must be prepared to respond to the needs of the targeted and impacted communities. We must not contribute to fear, panic, chaos, or trauma. We must remember that immigrants and their families are the ones who should make decisions for their own lives. Whatever those decisions may be, as allies, accomplices and people of faith and good will, we are called to honor their integrity and liberty in ways that are supportive, respectful, and selfless….

“In the St. Louis region during the last several decades, immigration enforcement has not stopped, waned, or ceased to impact immigrants and their families, loved ones, colleagues and friends on a daily basis. Raids are not new. Targeting immigrant families is not new. Threatening massive deportations is not new. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is present in St. Louis, in Missouri and in Illinois. Local police regularly collaborate with and facilitate immigration enforcement in our region every single day.

Judge Orders Administration to Remove Citizenship Question from 2020 Census

January 15, 2019 – National Public Radio

In addition to the two lead cases before Furman at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the administration is fighting five more lawsuits across the country filed by dozens of states, cities and other groups that want the question removed. A second trial over the question began earlier this month in California, and another is scheduled to begin in Maryland on Jan. 22.

Research by the Census Bureau suggests asking about citizenship status in the current political climate will scare households with non-citizens from participating in the head count. That, in turn, could jeopardize the constitutionally mandated head count of every person living in the U.S.

Read the full article here

Women’s Voices opposes DHS proposed rule change affecting immigrants 

December 4, 2018

Women’s Voices has submitted the following statement to the Department of Homeland Security regarding the proposed “public charge” regulation for immigrants.

Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice is appalled at the proposed change to the “public charge” policy. We believe that one of the strengths of our nation is a recognition that we are a stronger and better nation because of our diversity. The United States has a unique position in being able to welcome immigrants and provide opportunities for them and their children. The United States is also in a unique position to benefit socially and economically from the contributions of these immigrants. The proposed change to “public charge” policy stands in stark opposition to these realities.

By punishing families for accessing healthy food, health care, and housing, the regulation would make the United States sicker, hungrier, and poorer. Experiencing stress and instability – such as economic security, not having enough to eat, and lacking access to needed health care – harms parents, children, and individuals with disabilities.

Equating wealth with worth is wrong. This proposed change will jeopardize the health and well-being of those in our country who are on the path to citizenship or are seeking legal residence. This is inconsistent with our values.

Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice strongly opposes the Department of Homeland Security’s shameful proposed rule change to “public charge.” Please withdraw it immediately.

Women’s Voices Opposes Indefinite Detention of Children

October 15, 2018

The 1997 Flores Agreement limits the amount of time immigrant children can be held in detention centers to 20 days and requires that they be released to their parents, other adult relatives or licensed programs, without unnecessary delay. The administration is seeking to make changes to the current agreement to enforce their “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, arguing for the indefinite detainment of children. This will result in children being held in detention facilities for as long as the administration deems necessary.

Women’s Voices voiced opposition to the new proposal writing:Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice, an organization based in St. Louis, Missouri, opposes the proposed rule “Apprehension, Processing, Care and Custody of Alien Minors and Unaccompanied Alien Children.” Indefinite detention of families is abusive and detrimental to a child’s physical and mental health. This regulation will allow the current administration to operate facilities with no oversight, will be costly to taxpayers and damage our reputation with our international allies. Please, preserve the Flores protections for immigrant children.

White House Considers Reducing Refugee Admittance Further in 2019

August 8, 2018
From the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), St. Louis: “This year’s refugee cap of 45,000 is already an historic low and, devastatingly, the United States will have resettled less than half that number by the end of the fiscal year. With a lower goal for next year, actual admissions will continue to plummet.” Read more from the New York Times: White House Weighs Another Reduction in Refugees Admitted to U. S.

The president must establish a number of refugees to be admitted by Oct. 1. JCRC suggests the following actions: 

    1. Call congressional offices directly using your local contacts. You can also reach US Representatives in DC by calling 202-225-3121, and US Senators by calling 202-224-3121. Ask the operator to connect you to the individual office. Call them more than once! 
    1. Use social media to make your position clear and encourage followers to contact members of Congress. You can also tweet at your Senators & Representatives.
  1. Visit your Member. House members are in-district for recess and Senators will be as well. Even if they aren’t in-district, meet with their staff.

Sample Script: “I am your constituent from [CITY/TOWN], and I urge you to support the U.S. refugee resettlement program. I strongly oppose any attempts to limit refugee admissions into the United States. I urge you to do everything in your power to see that the administration resettle at least the 45,000 refugees they have set as the goal for 2018 and see the administration commit to resettling at least 75,000 for 2019. Resettlement is a core American legacy that allows refugees to rebuild their lives in safety and dignity as people have since they first imagined our country. My community welcomes refugees and immigrants, and I urge you to do the same.”

Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban on Majority Muslim Countries

June 26, 2018

Women’s Voices is opposed to the travel ban and applauds Justice Sotomayor’s dissent; she spoke in court for about 20 minutes and extensively quoted Trump’s words during and after the 2016 campaign. She wrote, “A reasonable observer would conclude that the proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus.”

You can read an article about the ruling here. 

Parents Are Facing a Nightmare at the U.S. Border

June 25, 2018 issue of Time

“Immigrants’ advocates offer wrenching accounts of how, exactly, federal authorities remove children from their moms and dads. On some occasions, advocates told TIME, kids are pulled, sobbing, from their parents’ arms. On other occasions, agents have allegedly lied. “They say, ‘We’re just going to take your kids to have a bath,’” Gilman says. “But then they don’t bring them back.” The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published a letter noting that taking a child from a parent can do “irreparable harm, disrupting a child’s brain architecture and affecting his or her short- and long-term health.” Read the article here. 

The ACLU Sues Administration to Stop Family Separation

March 10, 2018

“The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in San Diego, asks a judge to declare family separation unlawful and says hundreds of families have been split by immigration authorities.” Read more here

Where Do We Stand On DACA?

March 5, 218

The court battle (see article below) removes some of the urgency for meeting the March 5 deadline to renew DACA. “DACA advocates are using the Monday deadline to intensify pressure on the White House and Congress for permanent protection.” Where do the Courts stand? Where does congress stand? Is the March 5 deadline meaningful? Read the answers to the questions here.

Supreme Court Declines to Decide Fate of DACA

February 26, 2018

The Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s highly unusual bid to bypass a federal appeals court and get the justices to intervene in the fate of a program that protects hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.

The announcement means the case affecting “Dreamers” will have to work its way through the lower courts before any Supreme Court ruling is possible. The case could also become moot if Congress takes action in the meantime. Right now, however, efforts to address the issue in Congress have hit a stalemate.

Read more here

Travel Ban Heads to the Supreme Court

January 23, 2018

“Travel ban 3.0 tweaks the details and reshuffles the list of banned countries (removing Sudan and adding Chad, North Korea and Venezuela). On October 17th, the same federal judge in Hawaii who blocked the second ban wrote a decision freezing the third.” Read the latest news about the ban and the courts.