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Immigrant Rights

Changes Coming for Immigrants

Hispanic faces on US mapPresident Obama has pledged to work for immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and the results of the last elections have convinced most Republicans that some reform is needed. Even so, the outcome is far from assured.

The administration has implemented some of the proposals of the Dream Act and has recently announced a policy change that will allow undocumented immigrants who are married to citizens to avoid having to return to their home countries to apply for visas as spouses of citizens.   

Locally, to provide more information in the Fox Valley about immigrants’ experiences, ESTHER has been tapped to finish developing and test a Latino Simulation (similar in concept to a poverty simulation). The potential value of such a resource grew out of investigations by ThedaCare's Community Health Action Team (CHAT), which held an Immigration Plunge during the fall of 2011. CHAT then developed the concept of the simulation and sponsored its initial development. Nan Gutierrez has been named project leader and will be working with ESTHER’s Immigration Task Force to complete the project in the next few months.

Watch our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/esther.foxvalleyand this website for updates on immigration reform.

Immigration event helps students

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Clients at deferred action eventESTHER sponsored sessions on “Deferred Action Assistance” to help young immigrants with applications as part of an executive order by the federal administration.

The free one-on-one help was available at St. Therese Parish in Appleton on Saturday, Sept. 15, and at St. Mary Parish, Omro, on Sunday, Sept. 16.

Information packets [English] [Español] are available on the ESTHER web site and more than 300 copies of forms and instructions were made available.

ESTHER Helps 100 More Immigrants to Learn Their Rights

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Nearly 100 people attended an ESTHER-sponsored “Know Your Rights" training session on July 1 at St. Mary’s Church in Omro. Certified immigration lawyers were on hand to educate the immigrant population about their basic human rights. Concerns about transportation and law enforcement were raised by the participants.

It also was a time of celebration in the wake of President Obama’s recent executive order to allow temporary residency to people who came here before age 16. They can apply for work permits and not worry about deportation.

This event brings the total number of people that ESTHER has trained this year in their basic rights to over 250.

Voices of Hope Forces Us to Take a Stand

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Sometimes a work of art presents a moral question so starkly that we cannot avoid confronting it, and ESTHER’s “Voices of Hope: Life Stories of Latinos” is such a work. It throws the moral and legal issues associated with immigration into high relief, and it forces us to take a stand. This reader’s theater presentation, directed by Kris Clouthier, is based on interviews from Peter Geniesse’s book Illegal: NAFTA Refugees Forced to Flee.

“Voices of Hope” tells the stories of several Latino immigrants. Among them are two young women who are high school seniors in Appleton, Wisconsin. Both of the women are good students. Both are leaders in their graduating classes. Both hope to attend the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, but one will be able pay in-state tuition and receive scholarship help, while the other must pay out-of-state tuition and is ineligible for scholarships. One is able to get a driver’s license that enables her to drive to Oshkosh. The other is not. They are different because one of them was born here of an undocumented mother who was pregnant when she arrived, while the other was brought here as an infant. Thus, one is a legal citizen, while the other is an illegal alien because her parents came here after she was born. Is this just?

“Voices of Hope” skewers us on the point of this question. From one point of view, we can say that this is a country of laws and the law must take precedence. The student who is here illegally cannot claim the rights of a legal resident of Wisconsin. If this causes her pain, that is unfortunate, but her parents should have thought of that before they brought her here.

On the other hand, we also believe that the law should be just. The girl who is here illegally has the same human rights as anyone else, and we should not punish her for a crime she did not commit merely because her status – which she did not choose – is illegal. We can go further. We can say that the girl’s parents came here to work in response to our economy’s clear demand for workers. Through the parents’ work, the economy grew, and we all benefited. How can we accept such benefits from a system that causes this girl’s suffering? Do we not have a responsibility to change the system to alleviate the suffering?

“Voices of Hope” brings these questions alive for us and forces us to take a stand.

The final performance of "Voices of Hope" will take place on Tuesday April 24, 2012 at 7 PM at the Appleton Public Library.

Building Bridges MURAL PROJECT!

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Building Bridges:

A Mural Project

 

Click Here for Flyer

If you could paint just one message to your community, what would it say?

We are inviting high school and college students to participate in a mural project that will work to build bridges between immigrant and non-immigrant youth. There will be two relationship building gatherings for students to get to know each other (lunch included). Students will meet to design the mural in September and will paint the mural design in September through October. Students can paint as their schedule allows. This will be a large traveling mural, all painting will be done indoors.

LOCATION: Emmanuel United Methodist Church, 740 East College Avenue, Appleton. Bridging Gatherings and painting will be done at this location. (See Mural Timeline)

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Stephanie Gyldenvand, (920) 216-0891, esther.foxvalley@gmail.com. There is no cost to participate. Adult advisors will be present for all meetings and painting sessions.

Mural Timeline:

August 6th – 10:00-1:00, Bridging Gathering I

August 20th – 10:00-1:00, Bridging Gathering II

September & October – Plan design, and paint mural

November – Unveiling event and display of mural at community events

This mural project is sponsored by LUNA, a youth group that works to strengthen leadership skills, build positive relationships, and addresses issues that impact Latino youth. LUNA is a project of ESTHER, an interfaith nonprofit that works to impact issues of poverty and injustice in the greater Fox Valley area.

Prayer Services

 

Isaiah 58
Prayer and Fast for Immigrant Rights
Stand with our Brothers and Sisters in Arizona
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. - Isaiah 58: 6-7
 

JOIN US!

 
ESTHER, Faith Communities to Hold Prayer Vigils for Immigrant
Brothers and Sisters in Arizona, Wisconsin and Across the Country

 

Tuesday, July 13th     Saturday, July 17th (Culminating Service)
6:00 PM     6:00 PM
Emmanuel United Methodist Church     Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish
(Spanish interpretation available)    (Spanish interpretation available)

 

Inspired by Isaiah 58, which teaches us that a “true fast” is undertaken in service of “loosening the chains of injustice. 
 
Take time to pray and fast for 30 minutes during the week of July 11-17. This movement is part of a national effort that includes 8 weeks of prayer rolling from one group of states to the next to engage people of faith in the assigned states in constant prayer and public prayer events and advocacy for immigration reform. 
 
The recent anti-immigration law in Arizona has galvanized faith communities across the nation to take a stand with immigrants against the divisiveness and injustice that have characterized the U.S. immigration debate. Wisconsin’s vigil week is from July 11 through July 17.
 
ESTHER is participating in this event in conjunction with the Interfaith Immigration Coalition.
 
Two prayer services will be held to stand in solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters and to pray for the passage of comprehensive immigration reform. In addition, individuals will commit themselves to 30 minutes of prayer or meditation and fasting throughout the week.
 
For more information, contact Ana Wilson at (920) 209-0498.











Faith and Immigration - Sunday, May 23rd 6:30 PM

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(click to download flyer)

 

Faith On the Move

A Conversation on Faith and Immigration

with Pastor David Vasquez

Sunday, May 23rd at 6:30 PM

First Congregational UCC, Appleton

724 East South River Street

 

Join Pastor David Vasquez and leaders of ESTHER in an informative presentation outlining the need for faith communities to share the message of compassion and justice while moving toward needed immigration reform.

Pastor David Vásquez from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa served as part of the Postville Relief Effort core team, working in areas of coordination, advocacy and legal support after the devastating Postville Raid in 2008.

Faith and Immigration

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Faith communities support comprehensive immigration reform to; keep families united, support those that are oppressed, advocate for human dignity, and promote safe and smart border enforcement.   Resources are listed below to learn what your faith denomination says about immigrant rights.

The Gamaliel National Clergy Caucus has written this theological statement on comprehensive immigration reform based on the shared values of our varied faith traditions.

 

Catholic Church (US Conference of Bishops): website, statement

Episcopal Church: website, statement

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: website, statement

Presbyterian Church: website, statement

Unitarian Universalist Association: website, statement

United Church of Christ: website, statement

United Methodist Church: website, statement

United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism: website, statement

LUNA Youth: We have a dream! DREAM Act 2010

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The youth in LUNA, organized by ESTHER, created a video at their back-to-school kick-off.  Listen to their stories and most importantly take action to support the DREAM Act! 

Contact your Senators and Congressperson and tell them that we need the DREAM Act passed now!  Here is a link to take action: http://act.reformimmigrationforamerica.org/cms/sign/dream2

Click the link below to watch the video on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYKiRF7pmcE

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