9 NSM members arrested in civil disobedience for immigration reform and an end to deportations

Nine New Sanctuary Movement members were arrested at the White House to demand that Obama immediately act to end all deportations and expand Deferred Action to all. We joined 112 immigrants and clergy from throughout the U.S. in this non-violent civil disobedience. All of the arrestees were released.

Meet the nine New Sanctuary Movement members arrested to end deportation:

10515219_729308383185_3422710373504566454_oCARLOS, from Mexico, living in Philadelphia.

I come to tell the President that the immigrant community has waited patiently. He has been the most punishing president in terms of numbers of deportations. I come in solidarity with deported people and jailed children at the border, who are victims of the US’ unjust economic laws. I’m here to find a positive solution for the immigrant community.

IMG_6732-compressorCARMEN, from Mexico, living in Norristown.

Injustices should not be permitted anywhere in the world. As a citizen of the world, it’s my moral obligation to make my voice heard and act.



10448630_729308308335_1114901217965525315_oNIKKI, deacon at Arch St UMC.

Deportation perpetuates degrading and discriminatory views of human beings and the families we create. The peace of our country and my individual life depends on how we treat “strangers,” pilgrims and sojourners.


10550138_729308333285_3409178487271207885_oBLANCA, from Ecuador, NSM organizer & member of Visitation BVM.

I’m risking arrest because as an immigrant I have a responsibility to advocate for myself and my community. As a mother, I have an obligation to teach my children, who are the next generation, to love unconditionally. I want my friends, children, and family to know that we shouldn’t be afraid because we have truth in our stories. And before the eyes of God we are all brothers and sisters and have the right to work, dream, grow, and breathe freely in whatever part of the world that God created, without feeling like unjust laws, politicians, and certain individuals are drowning us with words and feelings of hate.

10580934_729308408135_1259757466951579180_oCAROLINE, belongs to Central Baptist Church of Wayne and American Baptist minister.

I’m angry and ashamed that our elected officials continue to punish people who come to the US longing for the same safety and stability that I and my own family desire.  As a follower of Jesus, I try to act with compassion and love, and to stand beside those who are suffering. We want humane policies that relieve suffering – not further deportations and militarization of our borders.

IMG_6752PETER, NSM Director, member of Visitation BVM.

There is no reason we cannot welcome 50,000 children into our country.  There is no reason we cannot address the economic and political roots of migration, and there is no reason we cannot create a compassionate and welcoming immigration policy.  But we have given into fear and turned our backs on our common humanity. I am getting arrested as an act of outrage, but also as an act of faith that the power of nonviolent love is greater than the White House, Congress and a militarized border; and as a an act of hope in a better world where not only have we stopped deportations, but have broken open the borders of our hearts.

1798726_827219063954868_3245905249983902850_nMARCUS, former pastor at Central Baptist Church of Wayne.

My congregation served as a Sanctuary Church in the early 90’s. I have a deep sense of solidarity with the people of El Salvador. I know from personal relationships the heavy toll that gang-violence has on families. In this small act of civil disobedience, I stand in companionship with sisters and brothers from El Salvador and families throughout Central America.

1452347_827219107288197_8699764070241542234_nMARK, from Philadelphia.

We marched for civil rights and to stop the Vietnam war, and nobody listened. Then we learned the power of civil disobedience to make change. I hope today moves people to join us in our struggle for immigration reform, that soon there will be 10,000 of us blocking the streets of our capital. Then they will listen.


1919632_827219073954867_700460141523520485_nPASTOR ADAN, from Honduras, lives in Philadelphia, & is the pastor at West Kensington Ministry.

I, Reverend Adan A. Mairena, an ordained Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) and pastor of the West Kensington Ministry at Norris Square in Philadelphia, am willing to be arrested because I am morally obligated to put my Christian faith into action. The words of Emma Lazarus, that are engraved on the Statue of liberty, compel me to act against the injustice of not welcoming people, especially children and women fleeing physical and economic persecution, into our great country that prides itself on the ideals of liberty and freedom. Lazarus calls Lady Liberty  “A mighty woman with a torch” and the “Mother of Exiles” who proclaims “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” She continues and writes “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” I believe that people are a gift of God and that we, especially the followers of the teachings of Jesus, are obligated to welcome the stranger and that we are responsible for each-others’ well-being. For these reasons in a clear and conscientious state of mind I am willing to be arrested for that in which I believe.

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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.