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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Causa Comment on Measure 105 Defeat

Photo Credit: ACLU of Oregon

On November 6, 2018 Oregon voters overwhelmingly rejected Measure 105, an attempt to eliminate Oregon's 31 year old sanctuary law. Andrea Williams, Causa's Executive Director made the following statement.

"The overwhelming defeat of Measure 105 has made Oregon a stronger and better state than it was before.  It showed that love, fairness, and unity wins, and the politics of hate and fear ultimately lose. Oregon voters sent a loud and clear message, Trump’s radical immigration policies have no place in Oregon."

"In 2014, we faced a similar ballot measure campaign. It was brought by the same anti-immigrant hate group. It was part of their same strategy to single people out because of who they are and what they look like."

"Unfortunately, we learned the hard way just how organized and loud they can be. They beat us by a 32-point margin in 2014."

"After that loss four years ago, we were in pain, but we were resilient. We came out of that campaign stronger, more organized and more motivated than before. We promised to never let something like that happen again."

"Causa worked night and day to grow our grassroots movement through the One Oregon coalition. We knew we might have to face a similar battle again, and when we did, we were going to be ready."

"So, this time around, when immigrant rights were attacked at the ballot again, we were prepared. We were battle tested. We ran a phenomenal campaign. And we won!"

"We turned a 32-point margin of loss four years ago into a 25-point margin of victory in 2018. It shows how much of a difference we’ve made."

"We showed that when we’re under attack, we only grow stronger, we unite, and we win"

"But we still have a long way to go, there is still so much more to do to make Oregon the best, most inclusive state it can be."

"We are going to keep fighting for our rights, because immigrant families still don’t have the dignity and respect they deserve. This won’t be the last time we see an attempt to strip away our rights at the ballot.  And meanwhile, Trump is still pushing policies that break apart families and leave children detained."

"We’ll have some announcements soon about what’s next for Causa and our coalition."

"But today we celebrate. We’ve made tremendous progress, and we are only going to keep growing our movement."
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Cristina Marquez, the No on 105 Campaign Manager made the follow remarks. 

"When the anti-immigrant group qualified a measure for the ballot, the first thing I thought about was my family. Their lives were on the line with Measure 105. So were the lives of my friends, my colleagues and my immigrant community."

"Measure 105 was a statement by this hate group that people like me aren’t welcome here. That I wasn’t an Oregonian. And I know I wasn’t the only one who felt that way."

"Then I thought about how much work we had ahead of us. I remembered how difficult it was to change hearts and minds around Measure 88 and how devastating that loss was."

"I had to do something. We had to do something."

"Leading this campaign was tough — I’d never run a campaign at this scale before, and I carried the weight knowing that so many people I love and care about would have been harmed if Measure 105 passed. It was a lot of responsibility, and failure wasn’t an option."

"We were up against an anti-immigrant hate group. Then ICE stepped in last minute to drum up anti-immigrant sentiments. President Trump whipped up anti-immigrant fear, peddling conspiracy theories and fake policies."

"It was hard. We cried, we laughed, we got drenched in wind storms. We had difficult conversations with our neighbors."

"So this is what we did to win:

  • We helped build one of largest and most inclusive campaign teams in Oregon history, led by people of color, women, LGBTQ folks, and immigrants and children of immigrants. 
  • We grew our coalition to over 500 endorsers with everyone from law enforcement, labor, small and large businesses, advocacy organizations, and frontline communities.
  • We raised money from more than 1,500 individual donors across the state.
  • We filled more than 5,000 volunteer shifts 
  • We knocked on nearly half a million doors through a unified strategy. 
  • We organized volunteers everywhere from Hermiston to Bend to Eugene, Astoria, Ontario -- places all across the state."

"And most importantly, in this campaign we shared our stories of struggle and resilience and through them changed hearts and minds - showing the nation that in Oregon we believe in fairness and we welcome immigrants."

"What I’m most proud about is how my family and my community came forward. My mom appeared in an ad. Even my 6-year-old sister went canvassing. This victory was a community effort. We worked night and day to change the hearts and minds of Oregonians and today we succeeded!"

"We have a long way to go until immigrants have the opportunities and resources needed to thrive, but we are one big step closer, and today it makes me proud to call Oregon my home."

"Please commit to staying with us to continue this work. President Trump isn’t backing down, and we can’t either. The work we’re doing now is essential. You saw how your work made a difference. We could not have done it without you. Thank you for bringing us to victory!"

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Protect Immigrant Families, Submit Comments Today!

For the next 60 days, the public is invited to weigh in on a new Trump Administration proposal to limit pathways to immigration for individuals who access certain anti-poverty programs. Causa urges the public to oppose the proposed rule by submitting comments via protectingimmigrantfamilies.org by the December 10 deadline.

The expansion to the so-called public charge rule would require the government to deny green cards
to many lawfully present immigrants if they access benefits to cover their family’s basic needs, including SNAP benefits, Medicaid, and Section 8 housing assistance.

“This rule change will push Oregonian families out of safety net programs designed to provide a lifeline during critical times. We join thousands of organizations from across the country taking a stand against this threat to the well-being of immigrants and their families.” said Erin Pettigrew of Innovation Law Lab. Pettigrew helps lead Protect Oregon’s Immigrant Families, a cross-sector coalition, including Causa, opposing the proposed change.

Many categories of immigrants are exempt from public charge consideration. However, due to new, aggressive minimum income requirements, the regulation will effectively prohibit lawful immigration avenues to people with low-wage jobs. Many families, who are otherwise eligible, will avoid seeking life-saving assistance, as changes to public benefits regulations have previously resulted in a chilling effect, resulting in dramatic declines in enrollment by immigrant families in programs that protect health.

Olivia Quiroz, Executive Director of Oregon Latino Health Coalition, describes how this chilling effect has begun to impact the families served by her organization in the Portland Metro area: “The fear of public charge is real to many families around the area. Recently we received a call from a Latinx family in Clackamas county. A mother who currently got her baby enrolled into a new Oregon Health Plan program fears public charge will impact her children’s healthcare coverage.”

Historians have also warned that public charge regulations have been abused in the past to deny otherwise-eligible applicants access to lawful immigration avenues, based on race or religion. Because it would almost exclusively affect family-based immigrants, the Trump proposal will disproportionately affect families of color.

“The Administration claims that the goal of this proposal is to promote self-sufficiency; but we know that their true intent is to sow fear in our community, causing vulnerable families to question whether it is safe to feed or house their families, whether or not the rule would affect them,” said Andrea Williams, Executive Director of Causa Oregon, adding:  “time and again the Administration has converted its xenophobic rhetoric into policy by targeting immigrants of color, and this proposal is no different. We want families to know they are not alone. Everyone’s voice matters and we are fighting back.”

Causa urges the public to submit comments before December 10 via protectingimmigrantfamilies.org

Monday, September 24, 2018

Public Charge Proposal would Harm Immigrant Families

This week, the Trump administration released a new proposal that would radically expand the definition of “Public Charge,” creating new immigration penalties for low income families who access safety net programs.

Public Charge is a term the government uses now in immigration applications to describe a person who relies on cash assistance or long term institutionalization to survive. Being considered a Public Charge can result in the denial of a green card application. The new proposal would expand the application of Public Charge to impact millions more families than it does today, prioritizing wealth while punishing lower-income families who have waited for years to realize their dreams of obtaining permanent residency.

Read the statement from Causa’s Executive Director, Andrea Williams:

“In Oregon we know that healthy families create strong communities. These proposed changes would harm immigrants living in Oregon by forcing them to choose between qualifying for a green card, and providing basic services like food, nutrition, and housing to their families. The impact could be enormous; twelve percent of Oregon’s population are US born children with at least one immigrant parent. To protect the health and well-being of all of our families, we strongly condemn the Trump administration’s harmful new proposal. 

The Administration claims that the goal of this proposal is to promote self sufficiency - but we know that their true intent is to sow fear in our community, causing vulnerable families to question whether it is safe to feed or house their families, whether or not the rule would affect them. Time and again the Administration has converted its xenophobic rhetoric into policy by targeting immigrants from racial minorities, and this proposal is no different. 

Causa is joining with hundreds of organizations in Oregon and throughout the country to stop this attack on Oregon families, and we’ll need your help. Soon, the public will have the chance to make comments on this harmful proposal. Join Causa and pledge to speak out against the Public Charge rule change and speak up for Oregon families.

We want our families to know that you are not alone. Your voice matters, and there is still time to fight back.” 

Public Charge and how it affects each family is a complicated issue and it is important to get the facts before making changes in your household. Find our Quick Facts below and visit Oregon Immigration Resource to find more resources for families and providers.

Quick facts About Public Charge:

  • Public Charge does not apply to everybody. Learn how the rule applies to you.
  • Don’t give up services your family needs due to fear. Get the facts before making decisions.
  • Help is available: Contact an immigration attorney with questions about immigration options and public benefits. (Find one at oregonimmigrationresource.org/resources). Contact Oregon’s Public Benefits Hotline with questions about benefits and enrollment: (800) 520-5292.
  • The proposed rule would not apply retroactively, meaning that when and if it becomes actual policy, families will have ample time to make the best decision for themselves and their loved ones. 


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