City Council unanimously votes to hold public hearing on police-ICE collaboration

Philadelphia, PA—November 21, 2013 — For the first time in Philadelphia’s history, City Council voted unanimously to hold public hearings on the collaboration between the Philadelphia Police Department and Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE). The resolution calling for the hearings was introduced by Councilmember Kenney and approved by all members.  Also, on the same morning, Councilmember Quinones-Sanchez introduced a bill that would supply allPhiladelphia residents a municipal ID.  With both of these introduced today, immigrant communities are hopeful with the direction our City Council has taken to address the many concerns immigrant communities have about deportations and just legal treatment. 

“Since the introduction of the program Secure Communities in Philadelphia, many families have been broken apart by the collaboration between local police and ICE.  This means many single parent households struggling to put food on the table now, all due to what has been nationally called a failed program.  We are glad to see that our city council is taking the appropriate steps to finally hear from community and experts on why all police and immigration collaboration needs to end,” said Jasmine Rivera, lead organizer of Juntos.   

Celia Mota, a community leader with New Sanctuary Movement, echoed these statements. “This new initiative demonstrates that politicians are paying attention to our organizing and hopefully will feel committed to treating us differently,” Mota said. “I thank Councilman Kenney for understanding the great needs we experience in immigrant communities and for working with us to have justice for all members of the Philadelphia community.” 

The Municipal ID bill also introduced today affect immigrant communities greatly. Many families enter into deportation proceeding for lack of government issued ID’s, like a driver’s license.  Having access to a municipal ID would allow for many to  access critical services without fear of deportation.  Many cities across the country have already passed similar bills and have seen an increase in public safety. 

Both Juntos and New Sancturary Movement of Philadelphia are in support of both the historic hearings being set and the introduction of a municipal ID.  Brenda Hernandez, youth leader of Juntos said “If we ever hope to become a truly immigrant-friendly city, then we must ensure our city treats everyone equally.  Ending the destructive practice of deporting our family members and issuing our community municipal IDs are great places to start in making sure that becomes a reality.”

cropped-img_0856.jpgPhoto by Harvey Finkle.

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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.