Immigrant Communities in Action formed in January 2005 as the Queens Drivers License Coalition to build the power of diverse immigrant communities in Queens & citywide to drive back the attack on immigrants in New York and around the country. The coalition is made up of over 20 organizations of immigrants affected by this issue and non-immigrants concerned with the rights of immigrants.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The “Peoples’ Platform for Immigration Reform: Grassroots Voices of Immigrants” is Immigrant Communities in Action's uniquely developed vision for immigrant justice. Our platform was developed through a long-term community consultation & consensus process across diverse immigrant community organizations in NYC, prioritizing the voices of immigrant workers and families who are directly affected by detention and deportation and urgently need legalization. Immediate Legalization: The over 14 million undocumented immigrants in the US deserve a fair, simple, non-punitive and immediate path to legalization. We reject any program that: • Distinguishes amongst immigrants with “tiers”—which will lead to mass deportations • Places undocumented immigrants “at the back of the line,” when we have already contributed to the US for years • Penalizes and places undue burdens on immigrants for past immigration cases, ex: not enrolling in “Special Registration” • Forces immigrants to pay thousands of dollars in fines and fees, penalizing us despite making up the backbone of the economy and living in poverty from low-wage sector jobs • Forces us through bureaucratic hoops that limit our opportunity to legalize, ex: Employer sponsorship, English, and requirements to “touch base”/return home Protecting Our Families, Our Future Global economic pressures continue to force workers to migrate. New immigrants must have opportunities to legalize without requirements that exploit workers. For a lasting solution, new immigration laws must: • Include fair, simple, permanent and non-punitive paths to legalization in any guestworker programs—requiring immigrants to return home without the opportunity to settle or right to change jobs is exploitative and will only create a new class of undocumented workers • Expand fair, simple and non-burdensome legalization provisions for relatives, extended families, and domestic partners so that communities can be reunited and whole • Clear backlogs immediately, which urgently requires that USCIS increase personnel to process new and old applications • Change foreign policy (military, political and economic) which creates global migration, especially to the US End the Human and Civil Rights Crisis At the borders and in our cities, homes and workplaces, immigrants increasingly face expanded detention and deportation which tears our communities apart, in the face of limited legal process. In the name of civil and human rights, the broken immigration system must be repaired to: • Ensure human rights and end the militarization of our borders so that over 400 people do not continue to die every year crossing the border • End the detention system which uses taxpayer money to profit private prison corporations; create humane alternatives to detention • End deportations in order to keep families together • End immigration enforcement practices and its climate of fear; stop religious and racial profiling through the Department of Homeland Security’s collaboration with state, local, and federal police, as well as public agencies • Stop eroding human and civil rights through enforcement and criminalization Fix the Broken Immigration System by Repealing Unworkable, Unjust Laws Decades of unjust immigration laws have created a crisis in immigrant communities, forcing millions of families to separate. Several laws must be repealed or modified: • Implement a moratorium on detentions and deportations during the waiting period for a new legalization program • Repeal the REAL ID Act as unworkable and unfairly targeting immigrants—provide access to drivers licenses for all • Repeal the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which has deported 1.5 million green card holders since 1996 due to minor criminal convictions for which time has been served • End expedited removal, mandatory detention & deportation, and unfair adjudication of immigration claims, which systematically neglect due process • Stop indefinite detention based on the Military Commissions Act, which violates international human rights law • All immigration-related legal processes must ensure due process and a fair trial, including meaningful access to courts, right to counsel, right to know the charge against them, and right to a fair bond. End secret trials, secret detentions, and secret arrests • End selective enforcement of laws, including immigration laws based on race, HIV status, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, national origin, religion, speech or belief • Protect right to privacy and right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures; uphold constitutional limits on surveillance • Repeal naturalization and travel bans for people living with HIV • Humanize the asylum process, and provide refugees with immediate access to social services Full Worker Rights for Immigrants Immigrants, undocumented and documented, deserve full labor rights. Immigration and labor policy must: • Enforce existing labor laws that protect immigrant workers • Repeal employer sanctions (from the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act & others) and punitive electronic worker verification systems • End raids, penalties and restrictions on licensing which hurt formal and informal workers, street vendors, and small, immigrant businesses • Grant equal pay for equal work and stop dividing citizen and immigrant workers by forcing workers to sell their labor to the lowest bidder • End the use of “No-Match” letters, which is a de facto immigration enforcement tool—the IRS and ICE must not collaborate to arrest and cause termination of immigrant workers Immigrants in our Communities Local and State governments must stand up to protect the rights of constituents through active legislation that protects immigrants through non-cooperation with unjust federal laws. City, state or other government agencies must not be used to enforce immigration laws.


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