On February 14, 2013, Valentine’s Day, Philadelphia City Council officially adopted Resolution #130084, a set of recommendations for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) to the 113th United States Congress. 1Love Movement, BPSOS Delaware Valley, Juntos, Fight for Philly, HIAS and other members of the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, worked closely with Councilmembers James Kenney and Maria Quinones-Sanchez, the sponsors of the Resolution, and their staff to craft a document that would represent the analysis and struggles of communities in Philadelphia.
Since the CIR debate launched in DC and Congressmembers began releasing priorities and policy prescriptions earlier this year, many local communities have felt encouraged by movement in the right direction, but also disheartened and angered by the divisive and detached language being used to address our deep and complex conditions as immigrant families in this country.
In testimony at City Council Chambers before the vote to adopt the Resolution, 1Love Organizer and Co-founder Mia-lia Kiernan stated:
“We are here in City Council today for Philadelphia to have a voice in the national move to pass CIR, but more importantly for Philadelphia to empower ourselves in a national effort that often loses the voices from the ground. Now is the time to be clear about what Comprehensive Immigration Reform means for us…Our analysis is full and politically educated and strong, and we have our direct experiences and our hearts behind us. Our federal government will have to respond to its failures in law making as more and more local governments take a stand.”
Read full 1Love testimony here.
The Resolution includes:
- WHEREAS, The City of Philadelphia believes in redemption and second chances, and supports an end to the practice of retroactive deportation, based on prior criminal convictions, of community members who have already completed their sentences and have since improved their lives
- WHEREAS, The City of Philadelphia recognizes that immigration reform must protect the right of all families to stay together, regardless of immigration status, family structure, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status, and provide sufficient family-based channels for migration in the future
- WHEREAS, Comprehensive immigration reform must provide a mechanism for young people who have grown up in this country to become citizens able to fully contribute to our shared future, and this mechanism must be equally available to those who are striving to achieve GEDs, vocational training, and alternative education in addition to completion of a high school diploma and higher education studies
- WHEREAS, The City of Philadelphia has recognized the harm caused by the costly mass incarceration of minority and immigrant communities, and believes that immigration reform must also reform federal laws and practices that have criminalized civil immigration violations; increased the use of indefinite immigration detention and contributed to the incarceration of Pennsylvania residents without due process; and expanded the definition of “Criminal Alien” to include young people
The Resolution was adopted with massive applause and cheering in Council Chambers. And through 1Love’s national network of allies and community groups, it was sent to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors who wish to adopt it as representative of their City’s stance on CIR as well.
Read and download the full Resolution here.
We encourage and stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers around the country who continue to push their local governments to adopt similar Resolutions so we can show our strength in this national fight as local communities with a voice, an analysis of our experience, and a solid grounding of what we deserve to live with dignity, respect and love as human beings.