The Common Good

Blog Posts By Ivone Guillen

Posted by Ivone Guillen 1 week 6 days ago
With Easter recess around the corner, immigration supporters are in full force with their advocacy plans. Efforts have taken a two-tier approach: some groups focus on Congressional action for meaningful and broad reform this year, while others are focusing on administration fixes to reduce deportations.Recently, pressure has mounted on the Obama Administration, as groups attempt to stop the unjust deportations of non-criminal immigrants who have roots in the U.S. The Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) will soon reach its 2 millionth deportation under the Obama Administration. The rising volume of deportations has caused uproar amongst the immigrants’ rights community, as advocates highlight the moral crisis in communities with families facing separation from loved ones. Advocates are urging the president to use his executive powers to ease unjust deportations that cause needless pain and suffering.
Posted by Ivone Guillen 3 weeks 2 days ago
While many members of Congress are waiting for the primary season to be over before they make any solid decision on immigration reform, a recent New American Economy poll shows conservative members on Congress have little to worry about.“The results cut against Republican concerns that passing immigration reform will keep their base voters away from the polls this fall, and indicates that the economy and the health care reform law are the key issues driving voters.” Read full article here.
Posted by Ivone Guillen 3 weeks 3 days ago
On Friday, Eliseo Medina, a prominent immigration rights activists was arrested after trying to peacefully deliver a letter to Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) district office. Eliseo, who is part of the “Fast for Families Across America” bus tour advocating for Congressional action on fair and commonsense immigration reform was denied entrance by local police into the Congressman’s public office.The arrest comes on the heels of constructive meetings with Minority Leader Nancy Peolosi and Rep. Joe Garcia in Miami.Read detailed events here.
Posted by Ivone Guillen 3 weeks 6 days ago
Entering its fourth week on the road, the Fast for Families bus continues its journey across the country getting closer to its final destination: Washington, D.C. on April 9.  Continuing the call for fair and humane immigration reform, fasters visited Arlington, Texas last week on the southern trail, connecting with members of Congress who shared their goals for immigration reform.“The trickiest issue is what do you do with people that are here [undocumented]?” said Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, who is drafting his own immigration bill and hopes to introduce it in late spring or early summer. “We need to weed out the bad apples and send them back home or put them in jail. But the others whose only [unauthorized] act is coming to this country [undocumented], we sort them out and put them on a legalization path, and minors on a citizenship path.”
Posted by Ivone Guillen 4 weeks 6 days ago
Feeling the pressure from some immigrants’ rights groups on the record-breaking number of deportations under his administration (2 million by early April), President Barack Obama recently requested a review on his deportation polices. The goal is to see if enforcement can be applied “more humanely within the confines of the law,” the White House said Thursday.The decision comes after a recent meeting Obama had with three leading Hispanic leaders from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The CHC, which is trying to formalize a resolution directed at Obama against deportations, capitalized on the opportunity to vocalize the outcry from the immigration-rights community on the inflated number of deportations that separate loved ones.“It is clear that the pleas from the community got through to the President,” Gutierrez said in a later statement. “The CHC will work with him to keep families together. The president clearly expressed the heartbreak he feels because of the devastating effect that deportations have on families.”Acknowledging the detrimental effect of deportations, “The president emphasized his deep concern about the pain too many families feel from the separation that comes from our broken immigration system.”The president called on Jeh Johnson, DHS Secretary to administer a review of the current enforcement policies.Obama has also requested a scheduled meeting on Friday with top immigration activists who have been pressuring him to act on immigration. Although the president and his staff has frequently said using executive action is not an option, advocates remain hopeful that the increasing pressure will result in action and see the review as a step in the right direction.Read full article with details here.
Posted by Ivone Guillen 13 weeks 1 day ago
In only its second week in session, Congress is already confronted with difficult decisions that impact the lives of millions of people — some of whom are the most vulnerable in our society.The Senate is faced with finding a solution that would extend the unemployment insurance to help a struggling workforce. One of the solutions, proposed by Senator Ayotte (R-NH), would penalize U.S. citizen children who are part of already struggling immigrant households living in poverty. While it’s important that Congress finds a resolution to the unemployment insurance conundrum, they should not do so by shifting the harm from one group to the next.     
Posted by Ivone Guillen 22 weeks 1 day ago
In the contentious debate on immigration reform, undocumented immigrants are often the target of rhetorical attacks. Our political leaders fail to understand the contributions they make to our communities and economy. Too often their words deny the humanity and God-given dignity of our brothers and sisters.Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is perhaps the most notorious for inflammatory, misinformed attacks on immigrants. He has derogatorily compared them to “dogs” and recently claimed that DREAMers, young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, were drug runners with “calves the size of cantaloupes.” For far too long statements such as these have been tolerated in our society, as we have accepted the demonization of people out of racial fear and for the sake of political gain.Sojourners has released a powerful video telling the story of Pastor Juan Luis Barco, an undocumented minister following God’s call and faithfully serving a congregation. We especially want elected officials like Rep. King and those who share his views to hear this message, so we launched the video as a TV ad running across his district. 
Posted by Ivone Guillen 24 weeks 6 days ago
In a recent USA Today article, reporter Alan Gomez highlights the broad support for immigration reform including among the evangelical faith community. “About 300 conservatives from around the country and with varying backgrounds — pastors, farmers, police chiefs, business owners — will arrive in Washington on Oct. 28 to meet with Republican lawmakers and make a conservative pitch for a new immigration law,” he wrote.While Gomez’s piece effectively captures the strong support for immigration reform among evangelical leaders, among others, it also quotes Roy Beck, executive director of the population-control group NumbersUSA, who says these leaders “don’t represent the evangelical rank and file.” Polls and recent grassroots activity show otherwise.
Posted by Ivone Guillen 33 weeks 1 day ago
As Congress left Washington for August recess, advocates for immigration reform knew it would be a critical month for the effort to fix our broken immigration system. Legislators would be talking with their constituents at countless events about the issue and gauging how public opinion had (or hadn’t) shifted based on the Senate’s recent passage of a bipartisan bill.Several officials used recess as an excuse for increasing their attacks on immigrants in an attempt to stop the growing momentum across the country for finding a solution to this challenge. For example, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has stated: “For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”Thankfully, other members have been far more constructive. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) embraced immigration reform and the need to provide a path to legalization for the millions of aspiring Americans who are already major contributors to our communities and our economy. He was clear that his motivations were rooted in his religious beliefs, saying: “with my Christian faith, it’s hard for me to say that I’m gonna divide these families up.”
Posted by Ivone Guillen 38 weeks 2 days ago
As support for immigration reform grows, Catholic college and university presidents from across the country have joined the movement. Last Thursday, more than 90 influential presidents released a letter calling on the House to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes an earned path to citizenship. Taking into account the growing Catholic makeup in Congress, which has reached a historic high, presidents from the University of Notre Dame, Georgetown University, and The Catholic University of America joined the chorus calling for appropriate moral and practical action to take place on the issue. 
Posted by Ivone Guillen 39 weeks 3 days ago
On Wednesday, July 10th, when most eyes were on the private GOP meeting where republicans  gathered in the Capitol basement to strategize on immigration reform in the House, advocates were rallying outside House buildings to urge members to enact immigration reform.Uncertain of what the next steps are in the House, hundreds of activists, families, and faith leaders all gathered proudly and united in front of the Cannon and Longworth House Office Buildings  as they chanted loudly, “Si se puede!” Not discouraged by the hot summer heat, marchers hoped to catch GOP members as they ended their internal meeting and walked back to their offices.
Posted by Ivone Guillen 44 weeks 6 days ago
Despite the progress on immigration reform being made in the Senate, this week offered an unfortunate reminder of the uphill battle any legislation faces in the House of Representatives.During it’s consideration of legislation funding the Department of Homeland Security, the House passed an amendment, authored by Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, to defund the administration’s efforts of prosecutorial discretion. Specifically, it would require DHS to deport young, undocumented immigrants known as “DREAMers.” The amendment also puts at risk anyone who qualifies for prosecutorial discretion under the June 2011 John Morton Memos while in deportation proceedings.Essentially, this amendment would categorize all undocumented immigrants aside violent criminals who must be deported if encountered by law enforcement, regardless of their circumstances or contributions.
Posted by Ivone Guillen 47 weeks 1 day ago
On May 2, the Evangelical Immigration Table launched its 92 day Pray4Reform Challenge. They sent a letter to Congress challenging decision makers to pass compassionate and fair immigration reform within 92 days. Throughout the 92 days, evangelical Christians across the country will be showing their support by engaging in thoughtful prayer to support their legislators.As part of the challenge, the EIT is joining in the #iMarch and will be a part of an hour-long #Pray4Reform Twitter town hall. Evangelical leaders, including Sojourners' Jim Wallis (@JimWallis), will be tweeting and conversing with others in support of immigration reform from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. eastern time. Christians countrywide also are being asked to join by signing up to be “prayer partners.” Each week during the challenge, they will receive an email or text with guidance on what prayer the Table is lifting up that week. Prayer partners are also encouraged to join the National Day of Prayer on May 30 by holding a dedicated time of prayer event in their communities.
Posted by Ivone Guillen, Beau Underwood 50 weeks 2 days ago
If Congress passes immigration reform, much of the credit will be given to the broad and diverse voices that have lined up in support of fixing our nation’s broken immigration system. Both the labor and business community have been instrumental in moving legislation forward, while the evangelical community’s call to “welcome the stranger” has received significant attention by politicians and the media. The coalition of supporters continues to grow, as last week the Sierra Club, the oldest environmental organization in the country, announced its support for immigration reform.Why would an environmental organization get involved with immigration reform? What could they possibly have at stake?A lot.
Posted by Ivone Guillen, Lisa Sharon Harper 1 year 4 weeks ago
Introduction from Lisa Sharon Harper: Every once in a great while you meet someone who carries in their very body the scars of injustice that we talk about so much at Sojourners. These scars leave permanent reminders of the profound need for every follower of Jesus to follow him in word and deed. It is my great pleasure to introduce you to my friend and colleague, Ivone Guillen. As Sojourners’ Immigration Campaigns and Communications Associate, Ivone has worked tirelessly for the passage of just immigration reform for two years. As a formerly undocumented immigrant, she bears the scars of our unjust immigration system and has experienced the healing that came from changes in immigration policy last year. Please read Ivone’s story. It reflects the stories of millions of people in church pews across the country; people made in the image of God, people waiting for that image to be fully recognized and set free inside our borders.I remember clearly the day I heard the announcement on deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) as I felt an overwhelming surge of emotions in that one moment. A path to opportunity, however fragile and short-term, had finally been created for undocumented young people wanting to become full members of American society.As I sat on the sofa on the morning of June 15 in front of the television and next to my computer, I felt anxious, excited, and dazed at the same time. There I was, listening to one of the biggest announcements ever made in my lifetime, and it directly impacted me. It was a surreal moment since I had been working with the advocacy community for almost two years and had seen difficult developments take place at the state level on the issue. Then and there, I felt that all of my work was paying off and that change could be achieved with enough persistence and pressure. It was a moment that most people wish to live and see, especially those who have worked in the movement for decades but seldom experience the ultimate triumphs of slow processes.
Posted by Ivone Guillen 1 year 10 weeks ago
In case you’ve missed the news surrounding immigration reform, here’s a brief update.Last week, a bipartisan group of eight Senators unveiled a set of principles in support of immigration reform. The following day, President Barack Obama spoke at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas., where he released his proposal for a commonsense solution for immigration reform. Both parties see the moral and political need to address this issue.President Obama is keeping up the pressure as he continues dialogue with numerous stakeholders to highlight the broad support for reform. On Tuesday he met with numerous external leaders hosting two separate meetings at the White House — one with progressive and labor leaders and the other with leaders from the business community — to discuss his continued support for an immigration reform package he hopes will pass this year.
Posted by Ivone Guillen 1 year 12 weeks ago
On Jan. 17, faith leaders, DREAMers, and community leaders from across the country gathered in Washington, D.C., to launch a new Campaign for Citizenship — an effort to pressure Congress to enact reform that prioritizes citizenship.  The Campaign for Citizenship, a project of PICO National Network, invited our country’s leaders to gather and view the “Separated Families Supper Table.” At the table gathered DREAMers and clergy next to empty seats representing the millions of homes around the country experiencing family separation as a result of our broken immigration system.  As each member at the table spoke, they expressed how every day, families like theirs have to sit at their dinner tables and try to cope with the fact that a family member is missing. They have to live in constant worry for their family member’s safety and well-being in a distant land that is oftentimes unfamiliar to them. Families are experiencing real loneliness and grief. 
Posted by Ivone Guillen 1 year 13 weeks ago
On Monday a group of prominent faith leaders belonging to the Evangelical Immigration Table gathered on a press call to launch largest evangelical mobilization effort for immigration reform known to date. Reaching out to more than 100,000 evangelical churches nationwide and more than 875,000 followers through social media, leaders promoted the “I Was a Stranger” immigration prayer challenge and a feature video that encourages congregations to participate. During this initiative, participants are asked to read one scripture on immigration a day for 40 days and reflect on it to help inform their views. This campaign is part of a broader evangelical effort to help change the hearts and minds of policy makers and build the political willpower to pass immigration reform. Faith leaders encouraged our nation’s leaders — especially those who are compelled by their faith — to take the challenge and enact immigration policy that is driven by biblical principles. I Was A Stranger from G92 on Vimeo.
Posted by Ivone Guillen 1 year 18 weeks ago
With discussions looming about the Obama Administration’s supposed efforts to aggressively push for comprehensive immigration reform early next year, its important now more than ever to know where the public stands.A recent POLITICO/George Washington University poll shows that most Americans support a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants in this country.“The national poll, conducted last week, finds more Republicans — 49 percent — support a path to citizenship than oppose it — 45 percent. Democrats favor this approach 3-to-1, 74 percent to 24 percent. And independents back it by a 26-point margin, 61 percent to 35 percent.” So what does this support mean for immigration reform? Read more here.
Posted by Ivone Guillen 1 year 19 weeks ago
Today, both progressive and conservative leaders from the business, law enforcement, and faith communities came together in Washington, D.C., during the two-day National Strategy Session to launch a new consensus around immigration reform.Leaders launched the event with a press conference highlighting our broken immigration system — which affects all sectors of society — and urged immigration reform in 2013 that includes legalization and path towards citizenship.
Posted by Ivone Guillen 1 year 19 weeks ago
More than 600 representatives from the United We Dream network, the largest young adult immigrant movement in the country, have signed on to a new platform calling for an “inclusive pathway to citizenship” that includes DREAMers, their parents, and their communities. The group is pledging to hold both parties accountable and pressure them to create a roadmap toward citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. 
Posted by Ivone Guillen 1 year 21 weeks ago
As President Barack Obama prepares for a second term, immigration reform is rumored to be at the top of his agenda. With conservative opinion on the issue shifting, a unique opportunity exists to fix our nation’s broken immigration system. Americans are eager to see the president and Congress make progress on this unnecessarily vexing issue.The record Latino voter turnout in support of President Obama played a key role in his electoral victory, as he won 71 percent of the vote compared with 27 percent for Gov. Mitt Romney.These results have provided a catalyst for reenergizing the conversation around comprehensive immigration reform and paved the way for unexpected conversations among conservatives.
Posted by Ivone Guillen 1 year 27 weeks ago
Last week, I attended the 9th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference at Georgetown University Law Center, where a number of senior government officials, policy experts, academics, and advocates discussed one of the most paralyzing issues of our time —immigration.  As each panelist attempted to provide their thoughtful legal and policy analysis on a number of issues like immigration enforcement, the federal government’s responsibility on immigration policy, and litigation developments, the differences in opinion between the speakers quickly emerged, even though there was consensus that immigration reform is significantly needed in our country. Many agreed that the issue of immigration is of staggering complexity. The solution that is developed by the federal government must be a conglomeration of multifaceted mechanisms that address the brokenness of our current system at the policy, legal, and administrative level. This comprehensive solution must also be a clear reflection of the historical context we currently live in since it’s not in our best interest to use an outdated system from the past as an exemplary model for the future. 
Posted by Ivone Guillen 1 year 29 weeks ago
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1 I often wonder how frequently people think about the impact their words have on others, specifically, on the development of human perception. The conclusion I’ve sadly reached is that when a language norm is established by dominant cultural forces —such as the news media, in our day – the truth seldom matters. Once something is spoken and repeated enough times people consider it to be true regardless of the real facts or circumstances.One recent debate clearly illustrating the power of words is around which terminology the media should use when referencing immigrants who are in this country without authorization to work. Those outlets that use the word “illegal” defend this practice by pointing to the Associated Press’ Stylebook, which designates “illegal” as the appropriate term. Those using the term “undocumented” have noted the changing circumstances within the culture and recognize that using such inflammatory terminology only adds fuel to the proverbial political fire around the issue of immigration. 
Posted by Ivone Guillen 1 year 29 weeks ago
Congress is due to recess soon, but members are trying to pass a bill attempting to increase the availability of high-skilled visas for the tech industry before adjourning at the end of this week. While different versions of the legislation exist, the fundamental goal is to allocate more visas to foreign-born graduates of U.S. universities who have obtained a master’s or doctorate degrees in science, math, technology or engineering (STEM) fields.
Posted by Ivone Guillen 1 year 33 weeks ago
Whether encouraging children to succeed, caring for elders at the end of life, or investing in struggling communities, strong families can make all the difference. Unfortunately, our broken immigration system often negatively affects families, increasing both their emotional stress and financial burden. Too often our laws actually separate family members from each other in ways that create lasting damage. Recently, the federal government announced a policy change designed to keep families together as they navigate the process of applying for green cards. While this shift will also streamline the process and reduce the complexity of application, the new rules can still be confusing to those seeking help. That is why the Interfaith Immigration Coalition is working to educate the faith community about these developments. On September 10, the Coalition will host a webinar from 4-5 p.m. EDT for faith leaders interested in learning more. Take this opportunity to hear from policy experts, legal advocates, and faith leaders about this important topic.When: Monday, September 10th from 4- 5 p.m. EDTWhere: PhoneRSVP here.
Posted by Ivone Guillen 1 year 36 weeks ago
 A recent study by The National Conference of State Legislatures shows that in 2012, states passed fewer immigration laws than previous years.“U.S. state legislatures passed fewer immigration measures this year because lawmakers' priorities shifted to balancing budgets and U.S. courts were weighing how much authority states have to enforce immigration laws, according to a study released on Monday.”Read full story HERE.
Posted by Ivone Guillen 1 year 36 weeks ago
Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provided additional information on Obama’s DREAMer relief process in preparation for the August 15 implementation through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency. Items discussed included:Requestors – those in removal proceedings, those with final orders, and those who have never been in removal proceedings – will be able to affirmatively request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals with USCIS. Requestors will use a form developed for this specific purpose. Requestors will mail their deferred action request together with an application for an employment authorization document and all applicable fees to the USCIS lockbox. All requestors must provide biometrics and undergo background checks. Fee waivers cannot be requested for the application for employment authorization and biometric collection. However, fee exemptions will be available in limited circumstances. The four USCIS Service Centers will review requests.To read details on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process (DREAMer relief) visit USCIS website HERE.For a great account on what Obama's move means in real terms for DREAMers, read Mariella Saavedra's post HERE. 
Posted by Ivone Guillen 1 year 42 weeks ago
Today, as I stood on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court eagerly following Arizona’s SB 1070 ruling, I had the opportunity to interview some advocates of the immigration reform movement. The message that seemed to resonate among those present was that athough three of the four provisions were struck down, the fourth —the so called “show me your papers” clause — is very harmful to communities. It allows racial profiling on the basis of appearance. Even though there might be limits on how this last provision is implemented, those who feel they have the legal authority to enforce laws might feel compelled to use this piece as an excuse to discriminate.
Posted by Lisa Sharon Harper, Ivone Guillen 1 year 46 weeks ago
Last week, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley made a morally indefensible decision. He signed HB 658, which intensifies the climate of fear that already hangs over Alabama like low dark clouds before a hurricane. Bentley once claimed that HB 658 would simplify HB 56 — the current anti-immigrant legislation that catapulted Alabama to the national stage. If this is simplification, then I’d like to see Bentley’s version of messed up. HB 658’s additional punitive measures now have created a more problematic situation that exacerbates the current oppression of some of the most vulnerable souls in Alabama.   The new law is reckless. HB 658 calls for the creation of an online public database to expose the names of all undocumented immigrants who have appeared in court. In addition, the law targets innocent children by requiring schools to check the immigration status of students.
Posted by Ivone Guillen 2 years 3 weeks ago
The day before the Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale was supposed to meet with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, a tragedy occurred — one more Indonesian immigrant from his congregation was deported.Like many of his fellow Christian brothers and sister who arrived in the United States in the late 90's and early 2000's, Ferdy Warouf fled Indonesia because of a rise in Islamic extremism that threatened the lives of the Indonesian Christian community.
Posted by Ivone Guillen 2 years 27 weeks ago
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cMexed Outwww.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on FacebookHow ironic that for all the protests going on about unemployment these days that a parallel debate is occurring in our agricultural sector: What to do about a shortage of workers to pick crops or care for livestock on U.S. farms.