November 21st, 2014
The photo to the right was snapped last night at Central Oregon’s Social Justice Center. Over fifty people gathered together at the heart of Central Oregon’s human dignity movement to hear firsthand what President Obama planned to do with his executive action on immigration reform. The room was overflowing with immigrant leaders and community members who have worked for years for a fair immigration policy that is centered in our values of human dignity and democracy.
What President Obama’s action means is that 5 million undocumented immigrants qualify for temporary residency. This means freedom from the fear of deportation, from being ripped away from their families and their communities. This is huge.
These are some of the local leaders who have made this moment possible. They have organized to successfully limit police and Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) collaboration and can proudly declare that Oregon Sheriffs were some of the first in the nation to refuse to violate immigrant civil rights by no longer honoring some ICE holds. Now we are seeing the Secure Communities program overhauled across the board by executive action.
These are the community members who have marched, rallied, held community forums, collected signatures, traveled across Congressional District 2 (and Idaho & SE Washington!) as part of the March for One Oregon in 2013, and traveled to DC to lobby for relief for all undocumented immigrants. Many of these folks have organized for years, and some for over a decade.
These are the people who, despite the uphill battle, used Measure 88 as a teaching moment to move our communities, person by person, towards supporting immigrant rights and dignity.
Congratulations to all the human dignity groups and leaders across rural Oregon who have organized, held conversations with neighbors, rallied and built local momentum, joining others across the nation who took brave risks to make this win a reality!
After Congress couldn’t be compelled to pass immigration reform, we saw a powerful surge in the grassroots organizing of Latino, immigrant, and allied communities, as well as the bold action of the Not1More Campaign. Human dignity groups in small town Oregon, Causa Oregon and so many other organizations have used civil disobedience, protests, bus tours, rallies, lobby days, and more to turn the tide to make this moment possible. This win is a testament to the momentum of a grassroots movement. It is because of all of this powerful work that Obama took action. This is our win.
We know that temporary relief for 5 million people is just one step — a big step — but just one step toward our vision of communities where everyone can live their lives fully with safety and dignity. This is a victory we, as a grassroots movement, must boldly claim as ours while continuing to fight for our vision that includes everyone, which means that we will remain steadfast in challenging militarization, racist institutions, and laws that draw lines between who is deserving of relief and who is not.
There is still much to learn about what this executive action will look like in practice, but we wanted to share with you a couple analyses that break down President Obama’s plan:
Vox: Obama’s huge new immigration plan, explained
Causa Oregon’s Response to Administrative Relief