Our Statement on the Senate’s CIR Bill

On the 6th day of our 40 Day Fast, the Senate passed their bill for comprehensive immigration reform. We are encouraged by the bill’s pathway to citizenship, better worker protections and the ability of people to work, drive and travel while during the Provisional Status. But we condemn other parts of it, most notably the Corker-Hoeven amendment. This amendment adds $46 billion to militarize the border, doubles the amount of soldiers on the border to 40,000, increases the use of high tech surveillance, including drones, and would complete 700 miles of fencing.   This unprecedented escalation of enforcement on the border will do nothing to stem the flow of migration. It will, however, force more people farther out into the desert to face an awful death. It will also direct an absurd amount of resources to build a fence at a time we desperately need investment in our communities. This is stealing money from what people need: education, health care, housing and dignified work. We believe this is immoral.  We also condemn the requirement in the amendment that prevents anyone from receiving permanent residency until these steps are implemented. A pathway to citizenship that takes 13 years was already too long, and this addition is unfair and unjust.

We are deeply concerned that the bill would exclude 3-5 million people from the pathway to citizenship. One of the strict requirements included in the bill would disqualify someone during the 10 year Provisional Status if they fell below 125% of the poverty line or if they were unemployed for longer than 60 days.

The militarized border and the provisions that exclude half the undocumented population are a direct violation of our call to be welcoming, loving and just people. In a series of conversations with our members, people were upset and angry over these details that violate our dearest values and hurt our communities. But our values also call us to continue the fight for a reform that is welcoming, just and dignified.

We believe we have a choice right now – as individuals, as a community and as a country; to be open to be closed. The Senate has made the choice to be closed. Giving in to fears of the other, fears of safety and fears of losing power as the dominant race has lead the Senate to close their hearts and close our country. We believe this is feeding into the worst of humanity. But we can still make the choice to be open. In the first week of our 40 Days of Action, Fasting and Prayer, the fasting has taught us to open our hearts to each other and to God. It is a risk, but we have learned there is a greater love that we can all live by. We believe opening ourselves to this greater, active love is transforming and radical.

Our 40 Days of Action, Fasting and Prayer is an experiment with the spiritually rooted nonviolence we find in our faith traditions and enacted by leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Martin Luther King Jr. This nonviolence calls us let God’s love work through us. This love is active and powerful, and moves us to love our neighbor and those who oppose us. So as we move forward in the fight for humane and just immigration reform, we commit to put this love into action and fight for a country that dares to open its hearts and doors to our global neighbors.

 

 

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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.