Standing With Immigrants In Our Communities: How We’re Fighting

Almost since their inception, Indivisible groups around the country have been pitching in on fights for justice for immigrants in their own communities.

We asked some of our groups to share what they’ve been working on, what they’ve learned, and to share a message for DACA-mented folks during a difficult time.

We also asked them about where they’ve been fitting in with other local groups, recognizing that the movement for immigrant rights is already rich with leadership and full of great organizations. Many Indivisible groups are coming to this fight as allies—and basically all are new on the scene—so these dynamics matter.

As the Indivisible network kicks into high gear to take on tough fights at the congressional level, we’re thrilled to be celebrating the work groups have done closer to home, too.  

Here are the three stories we’re highlighting today:

 

  • Indivisible Yolo helped get a young asylum seeker out of a detention center, and into a new home in Yolo County, California.  
  • Indivisible Little Rock Central Arkansas has been accompanying young DACA activists on meetings with lawmakers to provide support.
  • CT Shoreline Indivisible has been helping a mom fight off the threat of deportation and stay with her four kids in Connecticut.

Indivisible Yolo

What we’ve been doing

We rallied to support a 15-year-old undocumented Honduran boy held in detention for nearly a year, including more than a month AFTER he was granted asylum.

We organized on Facebook, though our personal networks, and partnered with a local chapter of LCLAA (Labor Council For Latin American Advancement). We also contacted our Congressperson, John Garamendi, who put pressure on the Office of Refugee Resettlement to get the boy released to the county.

Where we’re fitting into the fight

We follow what other, established groups that are led by people of color are doing locally and try to promote and attend their events. For those of us newer to activism, this has been a great learning experience.

“As we’ve grown and become advocates on this issue, one thing I’ve learned that has really stuck with me is…”

…how secretive the federal government is about the process for detaining undocumented youth, and how unaware the average person is of the lack of due process. Most of our community was shocked to learn of a detention facility that they drive by regularly.

“If there’s one message we want to get out there to DACAmented folks right now, it would be…”

We see you and we value you. Continue fighting and we will be there alongside you.-
-Emily Hill, Indivisible Yolo

 

More about Indivisible Yolo’s fight on behalf of the young man known as “G.E.”:

Fox 40: Honduran teen granted asylum after protests

The Davis Enterprise: 14-year-old Honduran refugee placed in Yolo County foster care

From Twitter: We turned up to welcome a kid to freedom and remember many like him are still not free—Indivisible Yolo has not forgotten you!!

A letter from G.E.

Indivisible Little Rock Central Arkansas

Arkansas’ Attorney General was one of ten state attorneys general that signed onto a letter urging U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end the DACA program and promising to sue if he did not. Immigrant advocates lobbied the Attorney General’s office to urge her to reconsider her position and withdraw, with DACA-mented young people leading the charge.

Members of Indivisible Little Rock Central Arkansas accompanied DACA-mented activists to meetings with the Attorney General’s office to offer support, like the meeting above. (Not pictured here because they were taking the photo.)

What we’ve been doing, and where we’re fitting into the fight

We met with the DACA kids when they were finally permitted to meet with a staffer of the Attorney General with press coverage. We had a presence again when the Attorney General finally met for less than 10 minutes with the DACA folks, but neither we nor the press were allowed in the meeting.

We act as a support role as much as possible as we believe the DACA kids need to be in the limelight and seen as capable, valid, in-charge to be taken seriously. We have been told our presence makes them feel protected and more secure.

We met with them at an event they held on the Arkansas State Capitol steps in May. We had a presence at two of their rallies targeting our Attorney General at events she was attending (one was in a horrible deluge).

“If there’s one message we want to get out there to DACAmented folks right now, it would be…”

YOU MATTER! You have every right to be here. We want you here.
-Terrie Root, Indivisible Little Rock Central Arkansas

 

More about Arkansas activists’ DACA fight:

KUAR: Recipients Of DACA Petition Arkansas Attorney General To Change Position

The Arkansas Times: Tennessee withdraws from DACA lawsuit as immigrants and local leaders urge Arkansas to do same

Footage from meetings can be found on Indivisible LRCA’s Twitter feed.

Connecticut Shoreline Indivisible

What we’ve been doing

We met Nury Chavarria June 28—one week after ICE had informed her in front of her 8 year old that she needed to leave the country in 5 weeks.  This followed Nury’s 24 years of living in Connecticut—initially seeking asylum in 1993, then receiving nearly annual “temporary stays” for 24  years.  During those years, Nury had a life that resulted in her being the sole supporter for 4 dependent U.S.-born children, one of whom has cerebral palsy.

Coordinating with Nury’s pro bono legal team, CT Shoreline Indivisible accompanied Nury to meetings, wrote support letters and did research to be presented with her stay package, created and managed a MoveOn petition for her—getting 10,500 signatures—coordinated with Parents Together, who created an independent petition with 24,000 supporters for Nury, contacted members of congress to garner support, set up a public relations campaign with the legal team, invited faith leaders and local activists to support Nury, coordinated a rally and press conference the day before her scheduled deportation, worked with other activists to raise $14,000 for Nury’s family, and maintained contact with Nury during sanctuary at a New Haven church.

Several days into her sanctuary (which involved sleeping on an inflatable mattress in a partitioned section of a church nursery school classroom), Nury was granted an emergency stay.  We continue to support Nury by accompanying her to her ICE mandated “ankle bracelet monitoring system” appointments as well as tending other matters.  Over the months living through the trauma and outcome with Nury we have become friends.  We see her every two weeks at ICE mandated check-ins, we exchange photos (her youngest daughter Hayley just started 4th grade and looked adorable), we see her at rallies supporting other immigrants, and we text each other.  Nury’s fear of imminent destruction of her family is over, but there are looming concerns.  Now, however, Nury knows she is not invisible—that CT Shoreline Indivisible is with her all the way.

Where we’re fitting into the fight

CT Shoreline Indivisible is fortunate to be in close geographic proximity to grassroots activist groups that have been fighting for basic human rights for immigrants for many years.  We partner with these groups (Unidad Latina de Accion, New Haven, Standing Up for Racial Justice, New Haven, Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance, statewide, Connecticut Working Families Party, statewide, and others) as well as other pop-up activist groups across the state (Action Network Connecticut, Stand Up, various regional groups). Whenever possible, we promote and attend events, meetings, and rallies that these groups sponsor—and have included our allies in our events.  Maintaining face-to-face relationships is most important to build trust and companionship.

“If there’s one message we want to get out there to DACAmented folks right now, it would be…”

Get a lawyer that specializes in immigration law in your community.  Fill out paperwork for both Power of Attorney and Guardianship (if relevant), and find an activist group able to support you.

Hold onto hope—for justice, for safety, for fair treatment.

-Charla Nich and Gini King, CT Shoreline Indivisible

 

More about the Chavarria family’s fight and CT Shoreline Indivisible’s work:

WNPR: Without Documentation Or Criminal Record, Immigrant Mother Faces Deportation

The Connecticut Mirror: As nation listens, immigrant mom embraces new role

CNN: Mom taking refuge in church gets stay on deportation