Join us for a critical moment of resistance in Des Moines on August 17!

Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions is coming to town to deliver an address at the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judicial conference.

We’ll be there to unwelcome him and send the message that hateful values aren’t welcome in our state. This will be a peaceful, non-violent but noisy demonstration to show that Iowans stand in solidarity for a more just, fair, and inclusive country. Can you be there?

RSVP here! Stand up and fight back:

Can’t attend? Support the action with a donation: click here.

Why Sessions? Jeff Sessions is unfit to serve as the head of our Justice Department. Our U.S. Attorney General is charged with enforcing our nation’s laws without prejudice and a commitment to justice; and be an advocate for all people.

But Sessions has:

  • targeted 800,000 young people for deportation by rescinding DACA
  • reversed DOJ position that federal law protects transgender workers from discrimination
  • released the sweeping “License to Discriminate” guidance, outlining a pathway for discrimination against LGBT people, women and religious minorities
  • been the architect of the “zero tolerance policy” and family separations at the border
  • recently announced the Religious Freedom Task Force
  • encouraged federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty for certain drug-related crimes
  • ramped up the racist war on drugs
  • redirected the Justice Department to continue to make use of private prison facilities, rather than phase out those contracts
  • a 30-year record of racial insensitivity, bias against immigrants and the LGBTQ community and hostility towards the protection of civil rights
  • waged an infamous prosecution against civil rights activists in the 1980s on phony charges of voter fraud is a staunch opponent of the Voting Rights Act

Together, we’ll stand against Sessions’ agenda to ramp up the war on voting rights, criminalize immigration, and uphold religious-based discrimination.

When
Friday, August 17 from 8:00 to 9:30 AM (Sessions is slated to speak at 9)

Where
Vets Auditorium/Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center

We’ll have signs, or you can bring your own.

RSVP here! Stand up and fight back:

Can’t attend? Support the action with a donation: click here.

A strong turnout will demonstrate that Iowa’s fightback is powerful, show strong opposition to Trump in Iowa, and garner state and national press for the critical issues of racial justice, voter, and civil rights.

Trump’s executive order from June jails entire families indefinitely and does nothing to reunite families that have already been torn apart. Children are still being kept in cages. They are being traumatized, plain and simple.

On both Saturday August 4th and Sunday August 5th, 2018, Iowa CCI and People’s Action are inviting activists to hold Families Belong Together Community Cookouts .

Trump was moved to change his family separation policy because public pressure caused him lose support from his base. There is an important and untold story about the resistance to Trump’s agenda in small towns and cities across the country. A lot of people who live in communities where Trump performed well in the election stand with migrant families. And they are turning their back on Trump on moral grounds.

We’re trying to get 100 Community Cookouts organized in small towns across the country. You can help. We are asking you to bring together friends, family and neighbors to raise money and help migrant families get out of detention and reunited with their children. Community Cookouts will be chance to connect with each other, reflect about why family is so important, learn about what we can do collectively to keep families together and free, and take concrete action.

We are building community and liberating families at the same time. Some people are gathering in their own backyards. Others are cooking out for justice in parks or congregation parking lots. Some will be big, others more intimate. All are important.

The money raised at Community Cookouts will be used to reunite families. Funds will help families post bond for their release from detention and to pay for travel that will bring families back together.

How to sign up as a host

If you want to host a cookout, please sign up on the People’s Action website at

https://www.peoplesaction.org/families-belong-together-community-cookouts

Once you register your event, you’ll be able to invite people through email, Facebook and Twitter. Neighbors will be able to find your event on the event website.

Iowa CCI assistance

Iowa CCI staff will help you along the way. It is the host’s responsibility to handle logistical matters like location, time, and food. But CCI will happily help you with the following:

  • Community Outreach – Once you have established a cookout date (Aug 4th or 5th), time, and location, CCI will send out an invitation to other CCI members in your area.
  • Social Media – CCI will create a Facebook event with all your cookout details, including a registration link so we can track how many folks plan to attend. We’ll share the Facebook event with you so you can share on your personal account.
  • Materials – CCI will send you all the materials you will need to host a successful cookout including sign-in sheets, a large envelope to collect donations, and any other materials you think your guests would need like an action sheet.
  • Reimbursement – CCI does not expect a host to cover all the costs of these cookouts. Feeding folks can get pricey! CCI will reimburse up to $300 of cookout costs. Please be sure to save your receipts and send them back to CCI in the envelope.
  • Preparation – CCI staff will prep you via phone to walk through the program, cookout logistics, and answer any questions you may have.

Donation Information

The funds raised at Community Cookouts across should go directly to organizations that will use the money to reunite families. People’s Action & Iowa CCI recommend that funds raised go to support paying detention bonds and travel funds so that parents can be released and reunited with their children.

The tireless advocates and attorneys working with families who have been ripped apart tell us that the fastest way to reunite parents with their children is to ensure that the parents are not in immigration detention. Typically, bond costs about $1,500 but it can vary from case to case. Thousands of people are stuck in immigration detention simply because they don’t have enough money to pay their bonds. Not only are parents stuck in detention and separated from their children, 84% of people in immigration detention do not have an attorney and have to represent themselves in court. Having an attorney to help them with their case is often life or death for people fleeing for their lives.

Iowa CCI is asking all cookout hosts to donate all proceeds to the Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project , a local organization in Iowa that has been supporting immigrant families right here at home.

On July 1st, 2018 the anti-immigrant law Senate File 481 (SF481) officially went into effect. SF481 forces local law enforcement agencies to work closer with Immigration Customs & Enforcement (ICE) and other federal immigration agencies and ultimately, makes our communities less safe.

For the past two years, CCI Action has been partnering with immigrant ally groups across Iowa to create welcoming communities. We’ll continue to fight to keep families together and keep people out of jail. And most importantly, work to repeal SF481.

We’ve nailed down two campaign strategies to keep ICE out of Iowa:

  1. We want to keep people out of jail by working at the city level to ensure that police departments accept various forms of identification, eliminate racial profiling and pretextual stops, and issue more citations rather than arresting community members. We’ll also work with elected officials to promote ‘Know Your Rights’ trainings and create better city service accessibility through language expansion.
  2. We want to keep families together by working at the county level to ensure that sheriff departments offer ‘Know Your Rights’ information in a person’s preferred language, provide unbiased third party interpretation services, and eliminate contracts or agreements with ICE. We’ll also work with elected officials to establish a community ID program and create a detainer request review protocol to ensure that requests from ICE are valid.

It’s going to take all of us – working in our own communities – to move our campaigns forward. Immigrants are Iowans, too. And we won’t allow a rogue federal agency to tear Iowa families apart.

Take the first step by contacting your local police chief and county sheriff.

Where does your police chief and county sheriff stand on SF481?

Contact your local police chief and sheriff to find out what’s their position on this law and let them know that we want to keep ICE out of Iowa and keep families together. Here’s a brief script to guide you:

Hello! My name is ________ and I’m a resident of _________. I’m calling in regards to a recent law that was passed in Iowa – SF481. It requires law enforcement to work closer with ICE and other immigration agencies. This law is bad policy; it makes communities less safe by creating distrust between law enforcement and communities.

I’d like Chief ______ or Sheriff _______ to stand with his/her community in rejecting SF481 and work to keep families together by publicly denouncing SF481. Can I count on him/her to do that?

(Wait for response)

IF YES – Great! It’s important to stand with communities and lead by example. I look forward to Chief ______ or Sheriff ______ making a public statement about SF481. Thank you!

IF NO – It’s important, now more than ever, to do what’s right. This law is unjust. It hurts all of us and creates unsafe communities. Local law enforcement should work to keep families together and keep ICE out of Iowa.

 

**We want to hear how your calls went. Report back to Madeline Cano by emailing madeline@iowacci.org or call the office at (515)282-0484**

On Sunday, July 1, a day after thousands of Iowans stood in solidarity with immigrant families at the border for a national day of action to #KeepFamiliesTogether, Senate File 481 (SF481) officially became Iowa law. The law requires local entities – specifically police – to work more closely with federal immigration agencies like ICE.

The bill was denounced by immigrants and allies during the past two legislative sessions, stating it promoted racial profiling and made Iowa less safe for all people.

“In the past year, ICE activity in Iowa has increased by 67%. While all eyes are on the disastrous situation at the border, ICE continues to disrupt our communities and destroy Iowa families,” said Isabel Conn, an Iowa CCI member and domestic violence advocate. “It’s dangerous to force Iowa police and sheriffs to comply with a federal agency that acts without rules, regulations, or repercussions. Iowans will lose trust in their police, creating an even more dangerous situation for victims of crime.”

Iowa has already seen a glimpse of the dangers of this law in Mt. Pleasant, where three levels of Iowa law enforcement – city police, county sheriffs, and state patrol – aided in a workplace raid without detailed information from ICE regarding the operation. First-hand reports stated police were dressed in full riot gear while a helicopter circled the concrete facility.

Here’s What SF481 Will Do

The law increases Immigration & Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) power in Iowa, including:

  • Increasing local/state law enforcement collaboration with ICE
  • Preventing local entities from restricting cooperation with ICE
  • Requiring local/state law enforcement to honor ICE detainer requests, a less formal version of a judicial warrant

By January 1st, all law enforcement agencies in Iowa will be forced to provide written policy regarding enforcement of immigration law as required by Senate File 481. 

Advocates say SF481 will be disastrous not only for undocumented Iowans, but also those with various status privileges like permanent residents, refugees, visa-holders, and recipients of programs like DACA and TPS. According to the administration, ICE is supposed to target criminals and violent offenders. However, the majority of detainees from Iowa’s only crime is re-entering the United States to reunite with their families.

“Every individual has rights in the United States, including immigrants in our communities,” said CCI immigrant rights organizer Madeline Cano. “But what we’ve been seeing in Iowa and across the country for years is a complete violation of an individual’s constitutional rights and denial of due process simply because an individual was born in Mexico or Central America.”

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement members and immigrant rights allies across the state say they will continue fighting to repeal this unconstitutional law. In three community meetings held in late June attended by over 500 Iowans, Iowa CCI members and immigrant allies committed to provide ‘Know  Your Rights’ trainings, support families in need, and push local/state officials to make Iowa a welcoming place for all.

Here’s How We’re Fighting Back

  1. Repeal SF481

Bottom line – SF481 is bad public policy. It violates our constitutional rights, subjects law enforcement to profile communities, and holds public officials hostage by threatening funding. That’s why our main goal is to not only reject SF481 – but repeal it.

Meet with your local legislators. They represent us 365 days out of the year, not just during legislative session. Now is the time to sit down – face to face – with elected officials and demand that they publicly reject SF481 and commit to repealing it in 2019.

2. Keep families together

This law is destructive to its core. We’re not seeing violent criminals being removed from our communities. We’re seeing mothers, fathers, and families being targeted, detained, and deported. Many of whom have no previous criminal record other than a charge for trying to reunite with their families.

The long-term trauma caused by family separation is immeasurable.

Join a community response team. Iowa CCI, American Friends Service Committe, and other immigrant rights organizations have collaborated to form local response teams to help track ICE activity in their neighborhoods, work closely with impacted families, and prepare communities for potential raids.

Contact Berenice Nava-Romero at (515)274-4851 if you are interested in volunteering on a team.

3. Keep people out of jail

ICE has no power without the assistance of local law enforcement. ICE works to trap individuals when they have been arrested for misdemeanors or minor infractions through a detainer request. SF481 now requires all local law enforcement to honor these requests and to hold individuals in jail while ICE investigates them.

Meet with your local police and sheriff. It’s important to know where your local law enforcement departments stand on this issue. All departments will be required to have written policy stating how they plan to enforce immigration law by January 2019. Gather a group of your friends and set up a meeting with your police chief and county sheriff.

Contact Maddie Cano at (515)282-0484 if you are interested in setting up a meeting.

4. Report ICE

If you see something, say something. ICE operates in secret. They don’t want the public to know about their activity in Iowa. That’s why we must work to expose them.

Call our 24-7 bilingual hotline at (515)996-0003 to report any ICE activity in your neighborhood or if someone you know has been detained by ICE.

Through this hotline, we’ve been able to help dozens of families, utilize the data to track ICE patterns in Iowa, and keep people informed.

Stay tuned! A toolkit is on the way!

Photo of our standing-room-only Iowa City meeting by Eli Shepard

As we explained at this week’s packed Deportation Defense meetings in Marshalltown, Iowa City, and Des Moines, we’re organizing to:

  • create community response teams to prevent deportations,
  • develop new strategies to reduce the harm of SF 481,
  • build grassroots resistance to anti-immigrant agenda,
  • and get ICE out of Iowa.

A few action items came out of the meetings: 

  • You have been calling Chuck Grassley, Joni Ernst, and David Young – keep calling! Tell them to keep families together, hold ICE accountable, and reform immigration so that our country can be a shining beacon of hope to all. Use this line from our national allies: 1-877-291-2172 – it will patch you directly to your Representative.
  • If you’re interested in getting more involved by connecting your church with a sanctuary network or accompanying people to ICE check-ins, contact Erica Johnson at AFSC of Iowa: 515-209-2733 or afscdesm@afsc.org
  • If you would like to get involved with the Iowa ICE Rapid Response team, call Madeline at 515-282-0484, or email madeline@iowacci.org.

You can watch the entirety of the Des Moines meeting on our Facebook page, and read about it on WHOtv.com and in Little Village.

And, stay tuned to our emails as we roll out more work on this issue.

Further reading:

For people who know something is very wrong but aren’t sure what to do

 

Yesterday, CCI member Emma Schmit drove two hours — each direction — to give two minutes of testimony at the Statehouse.

Why? Because she is surrounded by factory farms which is causing her hometown, Rockwell City, to wither on the vine.

Emma was one of over 50 CCI members — representing 22 counties — who testified at Tuesday’s Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) meeting. We were there to sound the alarm that Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is still not in compliance with the federal Clean Water Act. 

If you believe, like Emma does, that we deserve to have the Clean Water Act fully implemented for existing factory farms in Iowa — I’m asking you to chip in $20, $25 or more if possible today to ramp up the public pressure.

Five years ago, thanks to your relentless pressure, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) forced the Iowa DNR to sign a 5-year Work Plan to bring Iowa into compliance with the Clean Water Act for factory farms.  As a key deadline approaches this August, DNR will be submitting their progress report.

On paper, the DNR hopes to show they’ve checked all the boxes. But with a record number of impaired waterbodies and beach advisories, Iowans know that’s not the case.

In a letter we submitted to the EPA on Tuesday, we laid out the case for why we the DNR is still not in compliance with the Clean Water Act.  The DNR:

  • has not assessed and inspected all 5,000 “unknown” facilities that flew in under the radar.
  • does not have enough resources or inspectors to oversee this industry
  • has failed to issue a single Clean Water Act permit to a polluting hog factory farm.
  • does not have consistency and compliance with inspections and record keeping.

A total of 15 organization signed on in support of our letter.  You can watch our press conference here.

Our eyes are on the August Work Plan deadline and a clean water Iowa. We can’t let DNR off the hook — and we need to make sure EPA doesn’t, either.  Our water is too important.

Luckily, organized action is what CCI members do best.

In the next few months, we’re:

  • ramping up pressure on DNR in person and in the media to continue to sway public opinion towards a moratorium;
  • moblizing and engaging thousands of Iowans who care about our air and water to help us build the public record that DNR is still not in compliance with the Clean Water Act; and
  • building our legal case with our allies at Food and Water Watch, to make sure existing factory farms in Iowa are held to higher standards under the Clean Water Act.

Now is not a time to back down. More and more Iowans are fed up. One if five Iowa counties are calling for action to stop factory farms.

Help us keep the fight to say NO MORE factory farms and YES to clean water hot through the summer and into the election.

Can you chip in $20, $25, $50 or more to make sure we can deliver our clean water message to more Iowans than ever before?

We deserve to have the Clean Water Act fully implemented for existing factory farms in Iowa. And, we can’t just continue adding factory farms to our landscape — we need a moratorium.

THEY dump it. YOU drink it. WE won’t stop ’til THEY clean it up!