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Immigrant Rights

Immigration Task Force

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Below are some actions and events that move us toward our goal of comprehensive immigration reform.  In addition to national reform, our task force is working in two areas: the allowance for Wisconsin state driver's certificates for resident undocumented workers and in-state tuition rates for all residents of Wisconsin meeting the academic guidelines for acceptance into our state's public universities, colleges and technical schools.  Unless otherwise noted, events are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Nancy Bourassa.

Know Your Rights Training: Police, ICE and Social Media

Monday, February 3, 2020 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm
St. Marks Lutheran Church, 140 S Green Bay Rd, Neenah

Know Your RightsJoin ACLU of Wisconsin's Director of Community Engagement Emilio De Torre as he walks you through how to exercise your constitutional rights when interacting with law enforcement and ICE, as well as how to use them on social media. The event will be held at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Neenah, WI, and is being sponsored by the ACLU of Wisconsin and ESTHER’s Prison Reform Task Force. This presentation is the program for the February 2020 meeting of the Task Force.

Immigration Task Force Works Towards a Better Life for Immigrants

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The ESTHER Immigration Task Force has evolved over the years into a wide-reaching group of dedicated people with ties to many groups in the community and beyond. Our agenda includes advocacy for specific policy changes; community education and consciousness-raising relating to the experience of immigrants; and walking alongside immigrants as they negotiate the twists and turns of life in our community.

Currently, we have a few people continuing the work of Safe Roads with other groups around the state. The Safe Roads initiative would culminate in a bill that would allow our undocumented immigrants to be tested to drive legally and carry insurance. The bill would be a win/win for the state, but is still meeting with opposition.

We continue the educational work of the task force through two programs: “Voices of Hope”is  a forty-five minute Readers Theater telling the stories of local immigrants, and their journey here and struggles in the community.  Music, stories and commentaries throughout the performance offer an enlightening presentation.  The Immigration Simulation, on the other hand is a hands-on, two-and-a-half-hour, interactive simulation of living out four days in the life of immigrants in our area.

We have been in contact with several people who have made a journey to help those crossing the border into this country.  We have sponsored a presentation by one group, heard some horrific stories of conditions from someone who worked in the detention centers, and saw an illuminating PowerPoint presentation based on a very recent trip. Some of us have even been in conference with those working on the border and trying to improve the lives of those suffering these unbelievable conditions.

While continuing to work for systemic change in our government, we do respond from time to time to individual cases. Melissa, a task force member and immigrant herself, has been through the USCIS course to become certified to help undocumented immigrants with their paperwork. As a Legal Immigration Advocate, she works out of Casa Esther in Omro. She will be helping those trying to apply for a legal status in this country, which, as she has found out from personal experience, is a very daunting task.

While she was working to set up this process, an ESTHER member was contacted by a young man working on a large farm about an hour from here. After personal meetings with him and learning the story of his abuse, firing and removal from his residence, several people from ESTHER are working to get this man a U Visa, which would allow him to be here legally because of the abuse he suffered. The young man did know where to turn and is now on his way to a permanent status here.

The task force meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:00 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Appleton.  Please join us and join the fight for a better life for our immigrant families and work with them on the census and voter registration, two of our projects this year.

—Nancy Bourassa, chair, Immigration Task Force

They Call Us Illegals - Virtual Reality Experience and Film Showing

Thursday, September 26, 2019 - 3:00pm - 7:00pm
Lawrence University, Warch Center Cinema, 711 E Boldt Way, Appleton

They Call Us Illegals: Experience Our Lives in Virtual Reality and Documentary Film

Los Sueños de Anita
Los Sueños de Anita ThumbnailImmerse yourself into the lives of two undocmented parents as they raise their young daughter, Anita, and face struggles much too familiar to the community. (virtual reality)
The VR experience runs about 9 minutes and will be available for viewing between 3pm-4:15pm and again between 7pm-8pm.
The Unafraid
The Illegals thumbnailFollow the lives of three DACA students in Georgia as they take on activism in a state that has banned them from attending their top state universities and disqualifies them from receiving in-state tuition at any other public college. (documentary film)
Screening will begin at 4:30 with a discussion afterward.

Follow this event on Facebook here.

Brought to you by LU Film Studies Program, LU Office of Diversity and Inclusion, LU Diversity and Intercultural Center, the Appleton Dignity & Respect Campaign, and ESTHER.


Restoring Driver Licenses for Wisconsin Immigrants

Monday, August 19, 2019 - 6:00pm
Elisha D. Smith Menasha Public Library, 440 1st St, Menasha

Appleton-area Forum
Defending Families
Restoring Driver Licenses for Wisconsin Immigrants

father and son demonstrating

This event is part of the statewide tour, organized by Voces de la Frontera and supported by immigrant rights organizations and individuals around the state. ESTHER is a local co-sponsor.

Come to this event to learn more about this issue and how to get involved in the fight to restore driver licenses for immigrants in Wisconsin.

Know your rights workshop.

Mexican consulate will be present.

ESTHER - Voces de la Frontera - Mexican Consulate

For more information, call 414-828-2692

#LetsDriveWI #KeepFamiliesTogether

Immigration Task Force Meeting Summary - 9 July 2019

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The ESTHER Immigration Task Force met on Tuesday, July 9. Special guests Primitivo Torrez and Mario Ramirez, from Voces de la Frontera, shared information on an upcoming statewide tour to promote drivers' licenses for all. In this video, four members of the Task Force talk about the support for immigrants that they have found within ESTHER and beyond in the Fox Valley.

Latino Fest 2019

Saturday, September 7, 2019 - 11:00am - 6:00pm
Pierce Park, 1035 W Prospect Ave, Appleton

ESTHER Joins in Demonstration Opposing ICE Detention Camps

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On Monday, June 24, nearly a thousand people, including members of ESTHER, participated in a demonstration at the Milwaukee ICE office to show their opposition to the Trump Administration’s policies at the US-Mexico border. With leadership from Voces de la Frontera, the WISDOM network, the United Church of Christ, and many others, a powerful witness was given. Thanks to Penny Robinson for this video.

Lights for Liberty Fox Valley, WI

Friday, July 12, 2019 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Houdini Plaza, 111 W College Ave, Appleton

Lights For Liberty: A Nationwide Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps

We are a coalition of people, many of whom are mothers, dedicated to human rights, and the fundamental principle behind democracy that all human beings have a right to life, liberty and dignity.

We are partnering with international, national, regional and local communities and organizations who believe that these fundamental rights are not negotiable and are willing to protect them.

On Friday July 12th, 2019, Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps, will bring thousands of people to locations worldwide as well as to concentration camps across the country, into the streets and into their own front yards, to protest the inhumane conditions faced by migrants.

More info at:

Migrant Child Detention: Two Women Share Their Story

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 5:00pm - 6:30pm
Copper Rock Coffee Co, 210 W College Ave, Appleton

You are Invited
To a Compelling
Program on
Migrant Child

Protest at an internment
camp in Tornillo, Texas. Two
Women share their story

Sponsored by the League of
Women Voters of Appleton

Program will begin promptly at 5:30pm


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