CIVIC’s Statement on the Presidential Election

Drawing by Marcela Castro, a mother and friend who survived detention

Drawing by Marcela Castro, a mother and friend who survived detention

We are disturbed and disheartened by the deep racial and cultural divisions that drove this election.  We have seen remarkable levels of xenophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny, and racism.  

To be clear, President-elect Donald Trump has declared war on immigrants and on the social justice movement as a whole.  

But our movement and the progressive movement on all fronts will respond to Donald Trump with an unprecedented wave of energy, activism and power. Together, we will overcome.

Now more than ever, it is important to stand in solidarity with immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, Muslims, people of color.  Now more than ever, it is important for our movement to connect more deeply with the broader movement to end mass-incarceration and all movements for progressive social change.  It is time to mobilize and meet Trump’s hatred not with fear, but with resilience and love.  It is important to look deep within ourselves and harness our individual and collective passion to respond to this crisis.  As Secretary Clinton said this morning, “Never stop believing that fighting for what is right is worth it.”  

We will continue fighting at the local, state and federal level for dignity not detention.  We will continue to visit people in immigration detention.  We will continue to protect our First Amendment right to bear witness to the reality of immigration enforcement by speaking out.  We will develop a training on diversity, racism, and racial justice with our allies to make sure our movement understands the racism that drives our immigration detention system and that has driven the election of Donald Trump.  

We will use all of our resources to prevent human and civil rights abuses in detention by continuing to be the eyes and ears of the detention system.  We will dismantle the system from the inside out by elevating the voices and stories of those most directly impacted by the detention regime.  We will protect against the form of collective amnesia that forgets that immigrants and diversity are what make this country great.  And we will not allow people in immigration detention and their loved ones who suffer to be forgotten.  We will continue to advocate for community-based alternatives to detention, and we will bring our most creative minds together to ensure that our mission is furthered over the next four years.  

Now more than ever, we will need your support.  We will need your voice.  We will need your fearlessness.  We will need YOU.

Trump’s vision for our country is dark and divisive.  It is dangerous.  But American democracy is stronger than any one person and its commitment to social justice is steadfast.  We will continue to struggle for justice.  We will win.  

This moment calls for healing and unity.  Please join us this Thursday in San Francisco for an evening of poetry, artwork, and music to begin the process of healing this country.  And please visit our website to learn about all of the ways you can donate your time and resources to end our profit-driven immigration detention system.

In solidarity,

Christina Fialho & Christina Mansfield

Co-Founders/Executive Directors

Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC)

 

GROUNDBREAKING WEBSITE UPLIFTS THE STORIES OF IMMIGRANTS IN LONG-TERM DETENTION IN ADVANCE OF THE SUPREME COURT ARGUMENT IN JENNINGS V. RODRIGUEZ

Bridging the gap between legal and community advocacy, the Immigrant Rights Clinic (IRC) at the New York University School of Law, in partnership with Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC) announces the launch of its website prolongeddetentionstories.orgscreen-shot-2016-11-04-at-3-43-54-pm.

The website brings to life the people, institutions, and issues highlighted in a “stories” brief submitted to the Supreme Court by IRC and the Immigrant Defense Project in Jennings v. Rodriguez, a case about prolonged immigration detention. “Stories” briefs have been submitted to the Supreme Court for over a century and are designed to highlight the real-life consequences of the cases the Court decides.

Prolongeddetentionstories.org breaks new ground in legal advocacy by taking the stories off the page and making complex legal issues accessible to the public. Using Genius, an online annotation program, this interactive site breaks down the text of the brief with line-by-line annotations featuring photos, video, audio, research, and articles. Through this platform, readers can see and hear from the people directly affected by prolonged detention and learn more about the issues at stake.

Tina Shull, PhD and Soros Justice Fellow at CIVIC said of the project, “It is so important when talking about these issues to remember that this case is about people. This website helps to center the people who will be affected by this decision.”

Jennings is a challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union to the Obama Administration’s practice of jailing immigrants – many of whom will ultimately win their immigration cases – for months and even years without the basic due process of a bond hearing to consider whether their detention is justified. It will be argued on November 30, 2016.

Alina Das, co-author of the amicus brief and co-director of IRC said, “Prolonged immigration detention has a devastating impact on families and communities across the United States, and is bad for the immigration system as a whole. But this reality has gotten lost in all of the heated political rhetoric around immigration. We want to make sure that both the Supreme Court and the public have an accurate understanding of the consequences of Jennings, and this website is an important part of this effort.”

Patrick Thaxter, a long-time lawful permanent resident featured in the brief and the website, was held in immigration detention for three years without a bond hearing. He was finally released in June 2016. He said, “What happened to me and my family should never happen to anyone. It is difficult for me to talk about this time in my life but it is important that it is out there.” For more information, visit prolongeddetentionstories.org.