While it likely won’t address every need that arises from the economic downturn, [a new City program that provides $25 million in financial relief for San Antonio residents] has been touted as an example of how local government can partly fill a gap for families who don’t qualify for federal aid.
“No strings attached, no citizenship necessary, no documents, no paper necessary. Just residents in San Antonio and economic need,”
said Father Bill Kraus of Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church.
Kraus worked alongside other COPS/Metro leaders to lobby City Council to increase the fund from $15.8 million to $25 million before it gained final approval. And the organization’s leaders are still working throughout the city to identify potential solutions for immigrant families.
Angelica Reyes, a COPS/Metro leader, parent in Harlandale Independent School District, and immigrant, discovered her own challenges as her school-age children switched to at-home learning. Reyes learned that she didn’t have the basic computer skills needed to help her kids adjust to class on a computer. Reyes and other parents and decided to approach the district for help.
[Photo Credit: Scott Ball, Rivard Report]
With No Federal Aid, Immigrant Families, Students Lean on Local Support, Rivard Report [pdf]f]
Commentary: A GI Bill for San Antonio, San Antonio Express-News ]
$25 Million Housing Assistance Fund Offers Relief to San Antonians Affected by COVID-19, Texas Public Radio [pd
COPS/Metro representatives will be making the rounds with City Council staffers this week, pushing for a rent-control measure to reduce the stress weighing down working families during the COVID-19 outbreak.
With stay-at-home policies shutting down much of our business activity, the biggest victims have been hourly workers, many of whom have been employed in sectors (namely the service industry) where working from home is not an option, and where the money to meet payroll has dried up.
The problem is most acute for undocumented immigrants, whose jobs have been among the first to go, and who don’t have access to the kind of safety-net programs that are temporarily keeping others afloat.
[Specifically,] COPS/Metro is proposing an ordinance that would prohibit residential property owners from charging late fees for nonpayment of rent for the duration of the emergency disaster period declared by Gov. Greg Abbott. (The alliance’s draft ordinance would make this policy retroactive to March 13, the date that Abbott issued his initial disaster declaration.)
[Photo by Bob Owen, San Antonio Express-News]
Garcia: COPS/Metro Proposes Sweeping Late-Fees Protection for Renters, San Antonio Express-News [pdf]
Welcome, from the COPS / Metro Alliance Immigration Taskforce!
Message to the White House regarding the massive influx of refugees--minors and young families--arriving from Central America and Mexico:
Dear President Obama,
We have all been deeply moved by the images of the young mothers, children and adolescents now detained under miserable conditions at our southern borders. They are clearly refugees, fleeing the drug wars in homelands now boasting the highest murder rates in the world. We must honorably meet our international obligations to grant these people safe and humane shelter here. We Americans are all immigrants or descendants of immigrants. This is our national heritage.
We do not take lightly our government’s concerns for national security or the orderly control of immigration affairs. However, the solution does not lie in punishing the victims. Instead, we strongly urge immediate action on the following measures:
1. Temporary Protected Status, or “TPS” should be granted for persons from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and certain regions of Mexico. This will give them a year and a half of legal status. After that the dangers in their countries are reconsidered annually. Once deemed safe, the refugees return to their homes. Meanwhile, the current burden on our courts and Border Patrol facilities is greatly alleviated, and the refugees can work and properly care for themselves.
2. Religious, human rights and civic groups must be allowed access to the U.S. Border Patrol detention facilities, and to the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement shelters for unaccompanied minors. Allow us to bring the obviously needed humanitarian supplies to the overwhelmed detention centers. Likewise, as the shelters for unaccompanied minors expand greatly, and utilize hastily trained and inexperienced staff, the likelihood of physical and sexual abuse is greatly heightened. Such abuse has happened before under similar conditions. It must not happen again. We can help. Let us in.
3. Anyone under the age of eighteen who has survived the perilous trip north must have an attorney to assist with deportation proceedings. To permit the deportation of such unrepresented children is unconscionable.
We must remember too that in many ways, our own past government policies have helped create the untenable conditions now driving the refugees to our gates. We must let them in.
Pray, Fast, and Advocate for Immigration Reform for 40 days from September 9 to October 18
The Mission Presbytery Immigration Task Force have signed on to this campaign of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition that we hope will transform our own hearts and the heart of our country for immigration reform. We are at a pivotal moment in the movement for immigration reform in our nation. As people of faith, we believe that we must engage our communities in prayerful action in solidarity with those whose lives are directly impacted by our unjust immigration policies, and whose lives can be made better by reform at the national level.
STEP 1: COMMIT Go to http://fastaction.us and click on “commit” to sign up as an individual. Then tell your local church contact or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get local updates. All who commit locally will receive an invitation to a “check in” short conference call on September 19 at 12 noon for us to report to each other how the process is going for each of us and to encourage one another.
STEP 2: DECIDE ON A FAST Fasting, when coupled with prayer, turns our attention away from our own needs and toward God as it calls us into deeper solidarity with our suffering brothers and sisters. Will you fast for a day a week, or one meal a week? Or simplify enough to remind you of the needs of others?
STEP 3: ENGAGE IN DAILY PRAYER Using resources from the website or your own ideas, set a time to pray each day for the immigrants among us and for the creativity, commitment and compassion needed to reform our broken system. Each week will have a different intention for prayer: Week 1: Promote Family Unity and End Deportations Week 2: Provide a Pathway to Citizenship for All Week 3: Care for Refugees and Asylees Week 4: Ensure Workers’ Rights Week 5: Address the Root Causes of Migration Week 6: Humanize and De-Militarize our Borders
STEP 4: ADVOCATE Emails from “fastaction” will give us guidance as to how to make our voices heard, or find your own way. Small and large actions are needed to let our legislators know we care about immigrants who are in our communities.
STEP 5: COMMUNICATE Use social media, word of mouth and the written word to tell friends and neighbors stories of immigrants and why you care about reforming the system.
The U. S. House of Representatives has taken up immigration reform, now that the Senate has passed a comprehensive bill. Some Representatives are considering separate bills. None of these address the “pathway to citizenship.” And, some representatives want no bill at all. House representatives will be home for recess, beginning August 6. At our Interfaith Immigration Assembly on June 2, we said we wanted a bill that would address:
- Family unity
- A pathway to citizenship
- Workers’ rights
- Due process and reform of detention policies
- Integration of immigrants into our society
- Humane enforcement
Let your Representative know. To contact:
Washington DC San Antonio
District 20: Joaquin Castro 202-225-3236 210-348-8216
District 21: Lamar Smith 202-225-4236 210-821-5024
District 23: Pete Gallego 202-225-4511 210-927-4592
District 28: Henry Cuellar 202-225-1640 210-271-2851
District 35: Lloyd Doggett 202-225-4865 210-704-1080
District lines have changed. If you are not sure who your representative is, go to http://www.house.gov/representatives/find For more information about immigration and to volunteer, fill out the form below or contact June Kachtik at 210-342-0135
Estimado Miembro del Congreso: Estoy enviando esta carta porque soy uno de los muchos Americanos que cree que la inmigración es buena para nuestro país. Por favor apoye una reforma inmigratoria de sentido común para el bien de nuestro país, de nuestra economía y de nuestros trabajadores, y que a la vez:
- Mantenga la unión familiar
- Origine un proceso para inmigrantes indocumentados obtengan un estatus legal y la ciudadanía
- Proteja los trabajadores y provea entrada legal para futuros inmigrantes
- Facilite la integriación del inmigrante a la sociedad
- Restablezca el proceso legal de protección y reforme las políticas de detención
- Alinee el cumplimiento de las leyes de inmigración con valores humanitarios
- Respete los derechos humanos de todos
Dear Member of Congress, I am sending this letter because I am among a majority of Americans who believe immigration is good for our country. Please support commonsense immigration reform for the good of our country, our economy & our workers that will:
- Uphold family unity
- Create a process for undocumented immigrants to earn their legal status & eventual citizenship
- Protect workers & provide efficient channels of entry for new migrant workers
- Facilitate immigrant integration
- Restore due process protections & reform detention policies
- Align the enforcement of immigration laws with humanitarian values
- Respect everyone’s human rights
Contact COPS / Metro Alliance to learn more about the initiatives launched by member institutions around immigration, healthcare, education and living wages.
If you are registered to vote in Bexar County, find out your Precinct, which will tell you which jurisdictions you are in, and which elected officials represent you.