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Ad-hoc Immigration Committee Feb. 2017 Meeting Notes

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At the Meeting for Business of January 8, 2017, the Miami MM of Friends approved a minute: “Miami Friends Meeting wishes to declare itself welcoming to immigrants beginning with a commitment to education of each other and the community.” At that time, we created an ad hoc committee to implement the minute. The committee includes Kathy Hersh, Rusty Levenson, Josh Paolino, April Merleaux, Holly Iglesias, Tere Campos, Jeannette Smith, and Jane Westberg. Since January, the committee has met several times, participated in a variety of community events, and discerned several actions for individual Friends and for the Meeting.

Most recently, we met with Lis-Marie Alvarado of AFSC to learn more about a campaign she is co-organizing in the next two weeks. In response to the President’s Executive Order on immigration, Miami Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez unilaterally announced that he would override a 2013 County Commission resolution that limited the extent to which the county jail would honor ICE detention requests. AFSC, South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice, and a number of other groups are working to convince the County Commissioners to reject Mayor Carlos Giménez’s recent decision so that the 2013 resolution will stand. By rejecting Giménez’s decision, we will send an important message to people all across the country fighting punitive immigration policies.

On February 17 the County Commissioners will hold a special session focused on the immigration question. At that meeting they will be deciding whether to approve of Giménez’s decision, reject it, or defer a decision on the question. Organizers hope that the Commissioners will reject or delay.

Jeannette is drafting a letter to the County Commissioners, to be signed by faith groups, expressing opposition to Giménez’s decision and support of immigrant and refugee communities.

At the Ad Hoc committee’s most recent meeting, we discussed how Friends individually and the Friends Meeting as a corporate body could support this campaign.

As a committee, we urge the Friends Meeting corporately to:

  • sign the letter written by Jeannette and signed by other faith groups to be sent to the County Commissioners in advance of their meeting on Feb 17. The letter does not commit the meeting to do anything beyond what we are already doing.
  • be represented at a press conference of faith leaders announcing the letter on Feb 15

As a committee, we urge Friends individually to:

  • attend the County Commission meeting on at 10am on Feb 17 to show your support for immigrant rights. The meeting will be held downtown, at the Stephen P. Clark Gov Center.
  • contact your County Commissioner to express opposition to Mayor Giménez’s decision
  • contact Mayor Giménez’s office to express your opposition to his decision
  • contact the Mayor and Chief of Police of your municipality to ask that they oppose Giménez’s decision
  • read news coverage of the issue and learn more about immigration detainers, existing immigrant rights’ activism, and the recent Executive Orders
  • join us on the evening of February 18 at the Meeting House for a film screening and discussion about the Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s, details To Be Announced