Don’t deport people getting lifesaving care

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services acknowledged the obvious this week: its decision to end the humanitarian “deferred action” program for immigrants receiving lifesaving medical treatment in the US would cost lives. Faced with growing public outrage – and likely not wanting such obvious blood on its hands – the White House announced on Labor Day that it’s reconsidering this terrible decision. We hope that the medical deferred action status program will be renewed, but it’s far from certain, and we need to keep the pressure up! This is literally a matter of life and death to at least one East Bay family, and to an unknown number of others here legally in the US for medical treatment – read on below to find out what you can do, and for the story of Concord’s own Isabel Bueso, and more.

What you can do:

1. Speak out, spread the word, share the stories. At this time our most powerful weapon is public pressure on the administration to revoke the decision to end the humanitarian medical deferred action program.  However you engage with people – in person, by email, phone, on social media – share this link to our article. We don’t often post petitions, but you should share this one: it was started by Isabel’s mother Karla, and nearly 80 thousand people have already signed! The petition includes a lot of valuable information about Isabel and her situation, and even has a useful link for you to tweet directly to Trump.

2. Thank our Members of Congress who are working on behalf of Isabel and other people affected by this cruel action (see below). Let them all know how important this issue is to you, and ask them to do everything possible to protect immigrants.

  • Read the powerful letter spearheaded by CA-11 Representative DeSaulnier and Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley (news about the termination letters was first broken by Boston media). The August 30 letter to the heads of DHS, ICE, and USCIS, condemning the cruel action and raising critical questions, was signed by over 100 Members of Congress including Senators Feinstein and Harris and Reps. DeSaulnier and Lee.
  • Rep. DeSaulnier  and Senator Kamala Harris have been actively pursuing avenues that might allow Isabel and her family to remain in the US, including sending a letter asking Acting DHS Secretary McAleenan to reconsider the decision.
  • On September 3, Rep. DeSaulnier also introduced a private bill to allow Isabel to remain in the country.  The legislation, H.R. 4225, would provide Isabel and her family with permanent resident status so they can remain without fear of removal.
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553
  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
  • Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065

3. Join one of the rallies in support of Isabel and other migrants, planned for this week:

  • The California Nurses Association has organized an Oakland rally to support Isabel outside UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital on Friday, September 6 from 12:30-1:15 PM.
  • Join students at CSU East Bay rallying on the lawn at Hayward City Hall on September 6 at 5 PM. Contact asipresident@csueastbay.edu for questions or volunteer opportunities.

640 Migrant Rights Rally hayward sept 6 flyer

More information:

Before the administration’s change of heart/attempt to prove that it actually has a heart, the Concord family of Isabel Bueso received notice that they could no longer stay in the US for the lifesaving treatment that Isabel receives here and cannot receive in the family’s home country of Guatemala. The family would have to leave within about a month, they were told, or face deportation. It’s not clear how many families got rejection letters of this sort, which cited no basis for the rejection and provided no means to appeal. It still isn’t clear whether Isabel – or any of the other families – can stay or must leave.

Isabel, a recent graduate of Cal State East Bay, has a rare illness, MPS-6, and was invited to our country from Guatemala with her family to participate in a clinical trial. For 16 years, she has received care at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, and this care keeps her alive; read UCSF’s statement on Isabel’s possible deportation. Isabel and her family pay for her care through private insurance, and they renew their visas every two years. Since this treatment isn’t available in Guatemala, ending the deferred action program means cutting off Isabel’s ability to receive the weekly treatment that is keeping her alive.

Rachel Maddow ran a heartbreaking segment on Isabel’s story, and celebrities have taken up her cause. But it shouldn’t take celebrities or members of Congress to point out the obvious: it’s beyond outrageous to deport people who are legally in this country for lifesaving medical treatment most of them can’t receive in their countries of origin.

 

Ann Daniels and Heidi Rand contributed to this article

Photograph of Isabel Bueso by Garvin Tso

November All Members Meet and Eat

At November’s Indivisible East Bay All Members Meeting we spent more time eating than meeting. Several dozen members and guests gathered to enjoy tasty food and each other’s company for our potluck and post-election celebration.

November 25, 2018 All Member Meeting
November 25, 2018 All Member Meeting

We also fit in a bit of business — Governance Committee (GC) member and CA-11 team co-lead Ted led us in a round of applause for the momentous blue wave, and used the victories to inspire us to keep it up. Some actions Ted urged members to take were for now-resolved races, such as Mike Espy’s failed bid to win the Mississippi US Senate run-off election. And at the time the CA-21 congressional race was nail-bitingly close, though as we know now TJ Cox finally pulled ahead of Republican Valadao the day after the meeting, Monday Nov. 26, and by mid-day Wednesday TJ’s vote count had increased to the point that he declared victory! This race is particularly dear to IEB’s heart; many of us wrote countless postcards and canvassed for TJ, after our friends and allies in Team Blue Wave Contra Costa and East Bay for TJ showed us it could be done (despite the fact that the so-called experts didn’t think it was worth a try!)

Newsletter team co-lead and GC member Ann proudly read IEB’s statement endorsing CA-13 Representative Barbara Lee for Democratic Caucus Chair and announced IEB’s role in spurring other groups to endorse Lee for this important position. Sadly, Rep. Lee narrowly lost her bid for this position. We are deeply disappointed that her history of bravery, experience and wisdom was bypassed. But we remain hopeful that the new Chair, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, will be a strong supporter of progressive policies.

Looking ahead, Ted announced some upcoming events:

  • Indivisible National is sponsoring a National Day of Action on January 3, 2019, the first day of the 116th Congress. As Indy points out, this is our movement’s first chance to speak with our united national voice about issues that are important to us. On that day, IEB is planning to hold gatherings outside the local offices of our three representatives: Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Barbara Lee (CA-13, and Eric Swalwell (CA-15). Check the newsletter for further details.
  • The annual Women’s March is January 19, 2019 — check the newsletter for info.
  • There’s no All Members Meeting in December; we’ll see you at the January 27, 2019 meeting!

 

 

Rising for Climate, Jobs, and Justice

By Nancy Latham

On Saturday, September 9, over 900 Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice rallies were held worldwide. Indivisible East Bay represented at the San Francisco rally, with some 30,000 (that’s the reported, but unconfirmed, number) others on a gorgeous day, starting with two minutes of silence and connection with the earth.

Rise for Climate Jobs + Justice, photo by Nancy Latham

There were songs and some short speeches, and then we marched from the Embarcadero to City Hall, where we ended with another two minutes of silence and reconnection. At City Hall, marchers also found a bustling resource fair. Our IEB table was in excellent company between Indivisible SF and Indivisible Berkeley (why should the Indivisibles be separated?!?)

Rise for Climate Jobs + Justice, IEB GC members Nancy Latham and Nick Travaglini

IEB Governance Committee member Nick Travaglini held down the fort for the entire day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and GC member Nancy Latham joined Nick for the last two hours after the march was over. From 2 to 4 PM a constant stream of people stopped by to learn more about Indivisible and to sign up to get our weekly newsletter and participate in actions with us. We hope to see some of these new faces at the next All Member Meeting: September 30, 1-3 PM at Sports Basement, Berkeley. RSVP (free, of course) and details here. We hope you join us, too!

Rise for Climate Jobs + Justice, photo by Nancy Latham

Photographs by Nancy Latham

Nancy Latham is on IEB’s Governance Committee, and is a passionate member of the Resistance. In her day job, she works with non-profits, foundations, and government agencies that support greater equity and justice through initiatives in youth development, education, housing, and community development.

 

SB 10: A good bill gone bad

Action deadline: ASAP – We had hoped that state Senate Bill 10 would end money bail in California. Unfortunately, by the time it was passed by both houses of the state legislature, it codified many of the problems it was originally intended to cure.

Money bail keeps one in three people in jail after arrest because they can’t afford to pay bail – in California that averages $50,000! – or instead pay a big, nonrefundable bond to a private bail bond company. In other words, bail disproportionately keeps the poor and people of color in jail. The State Senate passed SB 10 but at the last minute, the Assembly amended the bill in ways to let local courts create their own systems to decide who can or can’t be released. Those systems can’t impose monetary conditions for release, but it’s easy to imagine situations in which local prejudices favor and disfavor the same people as under the current system. As San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi says, “this is not the bail reform California needs.” And with mere days to go in the legislative session, the Senate approved the amended version of SB 10.

What you can do:

MOST IMPORTANT: Tell Jerry Brown to veto SB 10.

Call: (916) 445-2841
email: leg.unit@gov.ca.gov
Tweet: @JerryBrownGov

What to say:

My name is _______________, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I am calling to urge Governor Brown to VETO SB 10. I support abolishing cash bail in California, but the amendments to SB 10 have changed it so that it isn’t real bail reform any more. It allows pretrial detention so that people who are arrested can be held without due process for nearly 2 weeks. It let judges decide who stays in jail based on their subjective determination, instead of giving them an objective risk assessment tool. Please VETO this bill, and tell the legislature that you want real bail reform instead.

Then, if you still have time: Please tell your state representatives that you’re disappointed that they voted for phony bail reform rather than the real thing.

What to say:

My name is ___, my zip code is ___, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m disappointed that you voted yes on SB 10. I support the abolition of cash bail in California, but the amendments to SB 10 in the Assembly let judges decide who stays in jail based on their subjective determination, instead of giving them an objective risk assessment tool. They allow pretrial detention so that people who are arrested can be held without due process for nearly 2 weeks. This isn’t real bail reform and you should have voted NO on SB 10.

Graphic: © ACLU of Northern California

I’m Not Listening: Boycotting Trump’s State of the Union

Sorry, What Was That?

For a looming moment on January 30th, Donald Trump will be called upon to address the country and sum up the state of the union that we all call home. A betting woman would put money on him devoting large portions of this speech to how wonderful tax cuts are, how beautiful the military is, how corrupt the media, how weak Senator Schumer, how cold it is in winter, how I really need to do the dishes after dinner tonight, how I think there’s still laundry in the —

Sorry! I drifted off. We know exactly what he’s going to say, down to the very last sequential adjective. It’s going to be a lot of lying and a lot of “Okay?” It’s going to be a wholesale waste of our time.

Open Hearts, Closed Ears

Several brave Members of Congress – so far predominantly people of color – are boycotting Trump’s State of the Union speech, because they too know exactly what’s going to happen. They know he’s going to manage not to say anything overtly racist for half an hour, and a lot of people are going to yap about how he isn’t a racist because all he did was dog whistle. They know he’s going to bumble through some words about #metoo that don’t directly call for the end of the Sixth Amendment. They know it isn’t worth their time.

If you are also already over what promises to be a lukewarm exercise in papering over the vast fissures this administration continues to widen daily, consider taking the following action in the days leading up to the speech:

  • Thank the Members of Congress who are taking a stand and boycotting the speech.
  • Petition other representatives to follow their example. Then, petition them some more.
  • Take part in the fourth annual People State of the Union, where people participating in our actual democracy will come together to share their stories about living in this great nation. These stories will be woven together into a poem.
  • Reclaim your time. Do literally anything other than watch him, comment on him, or engage with him. Join me in catching up on the dishes and laundry I was daydreaming about at the start of this piece. Walk your dog. Take your neighbor some coffee. Catch up on IEB Newsletters of the past. Deprive our nominal leader of the attention that sustains him.