Georgia’s New Anti-Immigrant Law – Writings from the Women’s Delegation Traveling to Atlanta to Expose Human Rights ViolationsPosted September 27th, 2011 by Mary Olivella
Welcome to the MomsRising blog-a-thon developed by the delegation of women leaders traveling to Georgia this week as part of a growing national resistance to anti-immigrant laws.
The We Belong Together Delegation will hear, and then share, the stories of women and children affected by Georgia’s anti-immigrant bill, HB 87, copycat legislation of Arizona’s controversial and costly SB1070. (For more information on HB 87, see below.) The over two dozen organizations represented in the delegation include the National Domestic Workers Alliance, AFL-CIO, Center for Reproductive Rights, MomsRising, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, Feminist Majority and many others that have long been working for human rights in our country. You can meet the delegates here .
This Wednesday, September 28, the delegates will meet with the women and children most gravely affected by Georgia’s new law. On the following day, a press conference will be held in front of the State Capitol Building at 10:30 a.m.
Ai-jen Poo, the Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, says “Our hope is that this delegation will spark a new sense urgency for togetherness and action. Women and children are living in extreme danger as a result of these anti-immigrant enforcement policies and we believe that women and children coming together around the country can turn things around.”
Among the many stories the delegates will hear is that of Demy Palencia, a New Orleans civil rights leader and mother, who was wrongfully arrested on a domestic violence charge and detained in prison, separated from her nursing baby for 45 days. Although all charges against Ms. Palencia were dropped, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requested that Palencia be further detained on “an immigration hold.” She was released after almost two months, subjected to an ICE-led night raid of her home and now faces deportation and separation from her US-born son. Ms. Palencia and other mothers, as well as the delegates, will be available for interviews.
In Georgia, just like in Arizona, parts of the anti-immigrant proposals have survived judicial scrutiny, with real impacts yet unknown. HB 87 threatens to:
- Separate families (children from parents, even those children who are US-born);
- Decrease reporting of crimes such as domestic violence and sexual assault out of fear by the victims (typically women) of deportation or detention― forcing women to avoid accessing vital public services for survivors of violence and undermining decades of work by women’s organizations to break the silence on violence against women;
- Increase racial profiling with local police newly empowered to check immigration status of anyone suspected of violating any law (already an issue under the federal “Secure Communities” and “287g” programs), thus exposing the state to expensive lawsuits;
- Hurt the state’s economy by driving out working families and increasing state-level boycotts by companies who don’t wish to associate with the negative PR of anti-immigration laws;
- Increase imprisonment with sentences of up to 15 years for workers who use false identification to get hired; and
- Hurt businesses by increasing workplace raids and mandating all businesses use a federal electronic verification system (E-Verify) to check that every worker has legal authorization.
In June 2010, after Arizona’s SB1070 was signed into law, a similar women’s delegation was organized and sent to Phoenix, Arizona. The work of that delegation has led to three ad-hoc Congressional hearings in Washington, D.C. that ushered in new Congressional support and kept the plight of women and families in the public eye.
We thank the many members of the delegation who have contributed posts to this blog-a-thon. Browse through the blog posts below – you’ll find a wide range of blogs from personal stories to policy analysis, from a focus on what is currently going on in Georgia to a wider lens on the immigration issues facing our country as a whole.
While these blog posts cover a variety of topics, the heart of our blog-a-thon is to address this: the need to continue a rational and meaningful conversation on the human and civil rights impacts of immigration law enforcement practices and to shed light on the experiences of mothers, children, and families who are affected by such practices. MomsRising is bringing forward this blog-a-thon as part of our mission to build a truly family-friendly nation for all families.
Georgia on My Mind, Tiffany Williams, Institute for Policy Studies
I am Going to Georgia to Stand Up For America and Our Children’s Future, Pramila Jayapal, We Are One America
In Georgia, Thinking of Henry and his Mother, Maria Elena Perez, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
For my mother. For my daughters., Miriam Yeung, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
My Mother’s Story and Why I’m Going to Georgia, Wendy Cervantes, First Focus
This is Not What I Was Taught the American Dream Was, Margaret Huang, Rights Working Group
No Human Being is Illegal, Premilla Nadasen, Queens College at City University of New York
Why I Am Going to Georgia, Betty G. Robinson, Generations for Peace and Democracy
My Story- Our Story, Christiana Best-Cummings, Ph.D.
If Eleanor Roosevelt Were Going to Georgia…, Katrina Anderson, Center for Reproductive Rights
Addressing Georgia’s New and Abusive Anti-Immigrant Law — Why I Am Joining the “We Belong Together” Delegation, Mary Olivella, MomsRising.org