105 Organzations Demand: Nutter, hands off the ICE Hold policy!

We Say “NO” to Revising Philadelphia’s ICE Hold Policy

November 20, 2015

Dear Mayor Nutter,

You have asked for our feedback about proposed changes to Philadelphia’s groundbreaking Executive Order rightly ending all collaboration between Philadelphia city officials and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). As grassroots community groups, advocates, social services providers, lawyers, unions, schools, immigrant leaders, and faith-based organizations, we reject any change to Philadelphia’s current ICE Hold policy. We strongly support and work towards an end to all deportations.

We hold a community-based vision of safety, healing, and justice. We are called by a shared belief that our community’s healing comes from addressing root causes of violence, that we need to end the criminalization of our communities and that all people, regardless of immigration status or criminal conviction should remain with their chosen communities. While we hold people accountable to their actions and crimes, we recognize that violence stems from trauma, from poverty caused by devastating economic policies, war, forced migration, systematically segregated and underfunded communities and racist immigration policies and a criminal justice system that separates and destroy families and communities.

In April 2014, you signed the ICE Hold Executive Order after years of organizing by immigrants and their allies. Philadelphia’s policy signaled a beacon of hope against deportation and family separation. Cities across the country looked to Philadelphia’s leadership as they enacted similar policies preventing wasting local resources on deportation.

Any change to the current Executive Order threatens not only your legacy but also Philadelphia’s standing as a progressive and welcoming city. It threatens trust gained between immigrant communities and law enforcement, destroys families and communities through increased deportations, wastes precious city resources, and goes contrary to our city’s values on reentry, rehabilitation, and second chances.

Mayor Nutter, with only six weeks left in office we implore you to choose family unity over politics and maintain Philadelphia’s ICE Hold policy as it is. We stand united against all deportations.


Philadelphia City Councilperson-Elect Helen Gym, Philadelphia City Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez, 1Love Movement, ACTION United, Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco, CA), American Postal Workers Union, Asian Americans United, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance (CIYJA), CASA, Casa San José, Caucus of Working Educators, Centro de Apoyo Comunitario, Chester County NOW, Church World Service, Coalition of African Communities (AFRICOM), CONCILIO, Esperanza, Every Mother is a Working Mother Network, Farmworker Legal Aid Clinic, FAVOR International, Inc., Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School, Freedom Inc, GALAEI, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, Global Women’s Strike, Grassroots Leadership, Greater Reading Immigration Project (GRIP), HIAS Pennsylvania, IHM Religious Women, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Indochinese American Council, Jewish Voice for Peace – Philadelphia, Juntos, La Puerta Abierta/The Open Door, Labor Justice Radio, Make the Road PA, ManForward, Maypop Collective, Media Mobilizing Project, Migrant Power Movement, Mishkan Shalom, Montgomery County NOW Chapter, National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON), National Immigration Law Center, Nationalities Services Center, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, New Sanctuary Coalition of NY, New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, Not1More Deportation Campaign, Norris Square Neighborhood Project, Orange County Immigrant Youth United, Payday, Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, Pennsylvania National Organization for Women, Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools, Philadelphia Japanese American Citizens League, Philadelphia Jobs with Justice, Philadelphia Student Union, Philly Socialists, Providence Youth Student Movement, Sisters of IHM, Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, Son Revoltura, Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN), St. Gabriel Food Cupboard, St. William Parish, Teacher Action  Group Philadelphia, The Shalom Center, Unitarian Society of Germantown, Unitarian Universalist PA Legislative Advocacy Network, UNITE! Here Local 274, United We Dream, Viatorians, Victim/Witness Services of South Philadelphia, We Belong Together, WeCount!, Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, West Kensington Ministry, Youth United for Change, Keystone Progress, NWDC Resistance, POWER Interfaith, Congress of Day Laborers, New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), Law Office of Matthew J. Archambeault
Surin & Griffin, PC, Law Office of Christina Aborlleile, Law Office of David Kaplan, Suri Imm. Law Service PC, Best Immigration Law Group LLP
Law Office of David Kaplan, Community College of Philadelphia – Students Without Borders, Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee, Women of Color in the Global Women’s Strike

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Immigrant led Community Organizing

Our staff manages our campaigns and programs while our members join our working committees to inform our programming, choose our campaigns, and plan our strategies to win. Through conversation and listening, our members and the community on the ground are the ones directing the organization. When people reach out to NSM, they connect with someone who speaks their language, looks like them, and is committed to empowering immigrant communities because they understand their journey and struggle. At NSM, our communities see their peers guiding our mission, creating trust, and allowing members to recognize NSM as an immigrant-led organization.
NSM works to lift the skills of the affected community and dismantle systems of oppression while promoting systems of mutual support, collective liberation, and respect for all people, which is why we provide interpretation services, respect childcare needs, schedule our sessions during times that work best for members who work multiple jobs or cannot meet in person, and allow members to inform us about their individual needs before meetings.
The community leads our work at every level to eliminate unnecessary barriers and meet the varied needs of our members.

Leadership Development

Our Leadership Development Program is a step in recruiting and training new leaders and training. The program blends the skills and experiences members bring from their home countries with NSM’s signature faith-rooted and anti-racist organizing model.

We have curricula for each level of membership, which includes workshops on the history of detention, community organizing, nonviolent protest, campaign strategy, and ongoing anti-racism training. Our programming encourages immigrant leaders to find their voice, understand the power of collective resistance, and join a community of immigrant leaders fighting for transformational systemic changes rooted in social and economic justice.

Leading this initiative is Bertha Murcia, one of NSM's Community Organizers. She is an alumna of NSM’s Promotoras de Justicia immigrant leadership program and oversees member engagement.

Build Community Power

NSM’s organizing efforts emphasize community building, inviting people to new roles, deepening Black and Brown solidarity, long-term leadership development, and impactful campaigns.

We build a base of people from our 33 congregations and Accompaniment Team and direct that people-power to fight specific campaigns. Staff members work with immigrant members to choose our campaigns, guide our strategies, lead events, and ensure our work is focused on meeting the needs of Philadelphia’s various immigrant communities.

Having a hands-on role in changing policy allows our members to gain a sense of empowerment, confidence, and self-respect. Empowering immigrants of color to organize collectively is part of NSM’s long haul work to create a people-powered movement for immigrant justice.