CITY COUNCIL APPROVAL OF IMMIGRANT AFFAIRS COMMISSION, A VICTORY FOR JERSEY CITY

For Immediate Release

April 26, 2013

Reference: Bea Sabino, Chairperson, Anakbayan New Jersey

                  201.779.6886, anakbayan.nynj@gmail.com

CITY COUNCIL APPROVAL OF IMMIGRANT AFFAIRS COMMISSION, A VICTORY FOR JERSEY CITY

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Jersey City, NJ- Amidst national discussion on comprehensive immigration reform, immigrant rights groups and dozens of supporters welcomed Jersey City City Council’s unanimous approval for the adoption of City Ordinance 13-047, establishment of an Immigrant Affairs Commission, at City Hall on April 24.

The evening began with representatives from progressive faith-based, advocacy, and student organizations and Councilman-at-Large Rolando Lavarro, Jr. speaking out in support of the said ordinance and fair immigration reform at a rally in front of City Hall. A march around Grove St. followed, with supporters chanting, “Justice for workers and migrants” and “Time is now” before entering the City Hall Chambers for the council meeting.

About 20 people, mostly Jersey City residents, provided testimonies and recommendations for the establishment of an Immigrant Affairs Commission at the public hearing.  “An immigrant affairs commission is an important affirmation that the city council must take a proactive role in addressing the concerns of the Jersey City immigrant population,” said Vera Parra of the American Friends Service Committee.

Community advocates cite disparities in education and healthcare access, workplace abuse, neighborhood violence that have gone unreported among the immigrant community for years due to the lack of a safe platform to do so. “These [disparities] are issues with local solutions. To that end, we look forward to working with the Commission, once approved and appointed by the Mayor,” continued Parra.

While the “Gang of 8” proposal exhibits renewed resolve in border control and economic opportunism on the side of corporate America, immigrant communities are banding together to push for immigration reform that addresses the immediate concerns of immigrants.

Close to 40% of the population in Jersey City is foreign-born, and it is doing its part in holding local officials accountable in upholding immigrant rights.

Jersey City and other communities in New Jersey are taking a stand in the fight for fair and just immigration reform. We have been working hard to organize and rally the community, specifically in support of this commission and for tuition equity for undocumented students, making sure that the immigrant community’s voices are heard,” said Ren Carandang, Educational Officer of Anakbayan NJ, a progressive Filipino youth organization.

Anakbayan and its allied organizations are calling on the Jersey City community to join the vibrant peoples’ movement for immigrant rights and genuine immigration reform. For more information on how to get involved, send your name, contact information and a brief message to anakbayan.nynj@gmail.com.

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Thank you to all participating organizations: Anakbayan New Jersey, American Friends Service Committee, St. Peter’s University Social Justice Program, Gothic Knight Grassroots of New Jersey City University, St. Patrick and Assumption-All Saints Parish, American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, 32BJ SEIU, Peoples’ Organization for Progress, South Asian Americans Leading Together, Lambda Sigma Upsilon, and the community at large.

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PANAHON NA! Forum Highlights Struggle of Filipino Immigrants, Calls for Pinoys to Participate in Immigration Reform Debate

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Jersey City, NJ- Filipinos around New Jersey gathered at the Pope Lecture Hall at Saint Peter’s University last Sunday to shed light to the particular struggles of Filipino immigrants and to discuss the recently released immigration reform bill. At the Forum titled “Panahon Na!” (Time is Now), Anakbayan New Jersey, a Filipino organization that organized the event, called on the Filipino community to organize and actively engage in the upcoming debate around immigration reform.

‘We’re in the same boat’

The panel was comprised of Catalina Adorno, a student at Saint Peter’s University and member of the Social Justice Club; Edna Sabino, a Filipina teacher; Chia-chia Wang, an advocate from the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Attorney Cristina Godinez, an immigrant rights advocate and lawyer, Hong-mei Pang of Revolutionizing Asian Immigrant Stories on the East Coast (RAISE), Hanalei Ramos, Northeast regional coordinator of BAYAN-USA, and Bea Sabino, chairperson of Anakbayan New Jersey. They talked about the wide array of experiences and hardships immigrants, documented or undocumented, face in the current immigration system.

“my experience as an immigrant has been difficult because not many people are welcoming of immigrants. Everyone makes the claim we are just here to steal their jobs. Jobs are being stolen from American citizens but not by immigrants- by corporations who are moving jobs into other countries in search for cheaper labor. That’s an entire issue in itself. I am just here to get an education.,” said Catalina Adorno, talking about the hardships of being an immigrant student. “As immigrants, our future is very uncertain.” Adorno concluded.

“My migration journey feels like a long wait at the doctor’s office, uncertain and anxiety-laden” said Edna Sabino, a pre-school teacher in Jersey City who migrated to the US in 2003 and was petitioned by an employer through an H1B visa. She is still waiting for her permanent resident card. She said “It is already hard for us to navigate the immigration current immigration system, I can just imagine how harder it is for those who are undocumented. Because of that I sympathize with the cause of undocumented immigrants. We are in the same boat,” referring to the struggle of undocumented and documented immigrants for immigration reform.

Meanwhile, Chia-chia Wang, Civic Participation coordinator of American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) talked about local programs that creates more hardship for immigrant communities, such as the secure-communities program. “S-comm [secure communities] allows immigration agency to access local law enforcement’s fingerprint database and identify and locate immigrants regardless of crime conviction,”  Chia-chia Wang continued, “it makes immigrants fearful of working with local government, including the police department.”

“My stance on immigration reform is that they [US government] should just do a better job at it because, as many of the speakers mentioned, people are still having a hard time bringing their families to America. It takes years for parents or children to get their visas,” said Rogie Borja, President of Asian American Student Union (AASU) at Saint Peter’s University said after attending the forum.

Updates on the Gang of 8’s Immigration Reform Bill

Speakers also discussed updates on the new immigration bill entitled “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013” released by the “Gang of 8”, a group of 8 senators from the republican and democratic party. According to the new bill, the new immigration system will put a “tough but fair path to citizenship” for qualified undocumented immigrants, it will shift from family-based to merit-based immigration allowing for in-demand low-skilled and skilled workers to come to the United States.

“Immigration needs to be an Asian issue. It needs to be visible in the Asian communities. Asian people need to be visible to politicians so that our demands are met– that our families are protected, that our workers are similarly protected,” said Hong-mei Pang of RAISE in reaction to the new immigration reform bill.

Hanalei Ramos, Regional Coordinator of BAYAN-USA said, “I really want us to support family reunification. I want us to be critical of the guest worker programs that are being proposed by the Gang of 8. I really want the deportations to end because people have the right to feel safe in their own communities, and to reap the benefits and rewards of the lives that they built in this country.”

A Call to Action for Filipinos

“My family and I are experiencing first hand how isolating and disempowering migration can be under the current system. We have been waiting for Green Cards for 7 years now. As one of the fastest growing immigrant groups in the US, Filipinos have their migration stories as testament to what comprehensive immigration reform should be,”  shared Bea Sabino, chairperson of Anakbayan New Jersey, at the conclusion of the forum.

“We need a strong, united mass movement for immigrant rights to influence public policy. The Gang of 8 proposal proves that if we want genuine immigration reform, the people really do have to fight for it. We are urging the Filipino community to come out of the shadows, share their stories and join progressive Filipino organizations, such as Anakbayan, in guaranteeing equal rights to immigrants and an end to this modern day segregation of our schools, workplace and communities,” Sabino added

On May 1, 12 noon at Union Square, Anakbayan New Jersey, along with other Filipino organizations are calling on the community to march with them to demand a genuine immigration reform that reflects the needs of the Filipino community.

“Hindi lang ito laban ng mga walang papel, at lalong hindi rin ito laban lang ng mga Latino. Ito ay laban din ng ating komunidad. [this is not just the fight of the undocumented, and more so not just the fight of the Latino community. It is also our community’s fight.]” Sabino continued.

Panahon na! A Community Forum on Immigration Reform was organized by Anakbayan New Jersey and hosted by the Saint Peter’s University Social Justice Program. It was co-sponsored by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Pilipino-American Unity for Progress (Unipro), Asian American Student Union (AASU), Pan-American Concerned Citizen’s Action League (PACCAL), Kalusugan Coalition, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-USA).

TIME IS NOW Jersey City! Rally for Immigrants’ Rights

timeisnow

If we want immigration reform, we need to fight for it!

We are calling on everyone to join us for a rally at the steps of Jersey City City Hall to speak out and to tell everyone that the TIME IS NOW for comprehensive immigration reform!

We will be having speakers from various community organizations to speak on issues affecting the immigrant community and why we need immigration reform now.

What: Rally for Immigrant Rights and public hearing for Ordinance No. 13-047 “Establishing Immigrant Affairs Commission in Jersey City” (Click here to rsvp)

* we ask that folks bring wall clocks and placards that says how long you’ve been waiting for immigration reform or to see a family member

Where: Jersey City, City Hall | 280 Grove Street, Jersey City, NJ
When: April 24, Wednesday | 5:30pm – 9:00pm

*Afterwards, there will be a public hearing to discuss City Ordinance no. 13-047. This ordinance establishes an immigrant affairs commission in Jersey City. This immigrant affairs commission will help our mostly immigrant community in gathering resources/services, conduct studies and provide recommendations to the city council and mayor about our community’s needs.

*Organizers:*
– Anakbayan New Jersey
– Social Justice Club of Saint Peter’s University 
– Gothic Knights Grassroots
– American Friends Services Committee

*Endorsers:*
* If your organization wants to endorse this action, please send us an email at anakbayan.nynj@gmail.com

For more information, please contact Anakbayan New Jersey at anakbayan.nynj@gmail.com or Bea Sabino, Chairperson, (201)7796886

Justice for GIS Filipino Workers: A Report back from the fact finding mission in Louisiana

GISreportback

To rsvp, click here

Last February, delegates from various organizations around New York and New Jersey went to Louisiana as part of a national fact-finding mission to shed light on the horrific situation of Filipino migrant workers at the Grand Isle Shipyard. 

This is part of the nation-wide campaign to seek justice for the Grand Isle Shipyard Filipino workers. Hear their stories and learn how you can help support our brave workers. 

When: April 19 | 6:30pm-9pm 
Where: CUNY Hunter | Room 619HW

*if you’re not a Hunter or CUNY student, please bring an ID. 

For more information about the campaign visit:
http://j4gisfilipinoworkers.wordpress.com/

Organizers: 
– Pilipinos of Hunter (POH)
– Anakbayan (New York & New Jersey Chapter)
– Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – North East Region (BAYAN-USA)
– National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON)

Co-sponsors:
– Philippine Union of La Guardia Student Organization (PULSO)
– Coalition for the Revitalization of Asian American Studies at Hunter (CRAASH)
– Asian American Studies Program at Hunter College (AASP)

– if your organization wants to co-sponsor this event, please email us Yves Nibungco at yvesnibungco@gmail.com or at anakbayan.nynj@gmail.com

PANAHON NA! A Community Forum on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

PanahonNa

To rsvp, click here

PANAHON NA! (“The Time is Now!) 
The time is now for comprehensive immigration reform because we have been waiting for too long. 

Come listen to stories of Filipino immigrants of different backgrounds coming out in their fight for immigration reform. 

Also learn how immigration reform will affect our community and how you can get involved in making history happen. 

What: Forum on Comprehensive Immigration Reform
When: April 21 | Sunday | 3pm-5pm
Where: Pope Lecture Hall, Saint Peter’s University | 
115 Glenwood Ave. Jersey City, NJ 07306

Organized by: Anakbayan New Jersey

Co-sponsors: 
– Social Justice Program of Saint Peter’s University
– Pan-American Concerned Citizens Action League, Inc. (PACCAL)
– Pilipino American Unity for Progress (Unipro)
– Kalusugan Coalition (KC)
– National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON)
– Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-USA Northeast)
– Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
– American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

For more information, please contact us at anakbayan.nynj@gmail.com 

For more information about Anakbayan New Jersey, visit us at
www.anakbayannynj.wordpress.com

Follow us on twitter:
@anakbayannynj 

#legalisasyon! #immigrationreformnow! #anakbayan

Thousands Rally Demanding Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Groups Call for Sustained Actions to Achieve Dignity and Justice for Immigrants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 10, 2013

Reference: Bea Sabino, Chairperson, Anakbayan NJ

                 anakbayan.nynj@gmail.com; 201.779.6886

Thousands Rally Demanding Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Groups Call for Sustained Actions to Achieve Dignity and Justice for Immigrants

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Jersey City, NJ- Anakbayan New Jersey, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Action 21 marched with other community organizations, union members, church groups and families who gathered by the thousands at Liberty State Park on April 6.

People from across New Jersey mobilized to demand the immediate passage of a Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) bill. They carried signs saying, “We are not invisible. We are immigrants” and “NJ Demands Fair Reform,” while shouting, “The time is now for immigration reform!” U.S. legislators are expected to release a CIR proposal upon their return from Spring Recess this week.

According to Anakbayan, the inefficient, inhumane, profit-oriented character of the U.S. immigration system has been exposed throughout the years. In addition to the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. with no path to legalization, millions more are held up in the limbo of decades-long backlogs in visa processing for family and work-based petitions. Moreover, U.S. taxpayers spend an average of $2 billion a year on detaining immigrants in private prisons contracted by the government in its crusade to eliminate the undocumented.

“Ideally, the CIR proposal should address pressing issues such as separation of families, human trafficking and modern day slavery. It should also recognize the global system that perpetuates poor living conditions in developing nations, which lead to the influx of migrant workers to the US,” said Bea Sabino, Chairperson of Anakbayan NJ.

“We aim to promote migrant people’s narratives, and continue to organize the immigrant community in order to sustain the people’s movement for genuine immigration reform. We demand a realistic path to legalization for all migrants, just and fair working conditions, equal access to education regardless of immigration status, and an end to criminalization and illegalization of immigrants,” concluded Sabino.

Anakbayan NJ and its allied organizations urge the community to participate in the conversation about CIR and take an active role in holding elected officials accountable to upholding the rights of immigrants at the local, state and national level.

CIR is long overdue. Panahon Na (The Time is Now)! A Community Forum on Comprehensive Immigration Reform” is taking place on Sunday, April 21, 3-5pm at Pope Hall, St. Peter’s University, 115 Glenwood Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07306.

Everyone is invited to listen to stories of immigrants from different backgrounds who are coming out of the shadows to fight for immigrant rights. The forum will also discuss how immigration reform will affect the community and how individuals can get involved in making history happen.

For more information on how to take part in the campaign for Comprehensive Immigration Reform in Jersey City, contact Anakbayan NJ at anakbayan.nynj@gmail.com. ###