Happy holidays to all!

The NEXT MEETING of the Task Force will be JANUARY 13, 2020 at 7:00pm (Note change in start time).

Matters of Interest

New Jersey has passed legislation to allow residents of NJ to obtain DRIVERS LICENSES  regardless of immigration status.  SEE:  https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/nj-passes-bill-letting-those-without-documents-get-licenses/2242871/

As you may be aware, Department of Homeland Security refused to give flu shots to those detained by ICE.  The NY Times has published an interesting article at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/11/us/migrants-flu-vaccines-border-patrol.html

You may wish to contact the Department of HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES To register your opinion:  The Hon Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services. 200 Independence Ave, S.W., Washington, DC 20201.  His email is Secretary@HHS.gov; phone number,  202-690-7000.

On December 5, 2019, Representatives Donna Shalala (D-FL) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) introduced the House companion version of the Resolving Extended Limbo for Immigrant Employees and Families (RELIEF) Act, which includes several innovative reforms, including exempting spouses and minor children of primary applicants from the immigrant visa quotas, temporarily increasing the number of green cards over the next five years to eliminate the backlog, protecting minor children from aging out, and eliminating the per-country caps for employment-based immigrants. You may wish to contact our Senators to register your position on the RELIEF Act.  You can go to the Task Force Web site to find theist of appropriate Members of Congress.  SEE:  Resolving Extended Limbo for Immigrant Employees and Families (RELIEF) Act

NEW DATE:  SAFE COMMUNITIES BILL:  A hearing on the Bill has been re-scheduled to JANUARY 24, 2020 at 11:00am in the State House.  Contact MIRA for more information: agrunder@miracoalition.org

ANOTHER MYTH BUSTED:   On Dec 6th, TRAC reported that ICE has detained fewer individuals who have committed and been convicted of serious crimes, (such as assault, burglary, and drug trafficking,) while those who have been convicted of misdemeanors has steadily increased.  (ICE defines the lower level to include unlawful entry, dui,  other traffic related violations, public order crimes and disorderly conduct.). Further,  public perception blames immigrants for gang violence, terrorism and election fraud. A review of over 500,000 ICE records establish .0004% involved election fraud (2); .0123% involved in terrorism (68); and .0149% involved gang activity (82).    For the full report see:  ICE Detains Fewer Immigrants with Serious Criminal Convictions Under Trump Administration

ICYMI:  The POST CARD initiative has moved indoors for the Winter months.  WHERE:  First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, Parlor Room (downstairs, past the double doors, the first room on the left), 23 Dedham Avenue, Needham, MA  02494. Plenty of parking spaces are available, behind the church, in the Great Plain Ave. CVS parking lot.]   WHEN:   Wednesday, from 5:30 – 6:00 PM. [From Wednesdays until April, 29, 2020  except Dec. 25, 2019 and Jan. 1, 2020), we will gather indoors for postcard writing to federal, state and local government officials and legislators.]. Contact georgina@somaptandrehab.com if you have any questions.

MENTORING OPPORTUNITIES:  The International Institute of New England in Lowell is looking for volunteers to mentor refugee youth ages 15-22.  Our Task Force has had a long relationship with IINE.  Training and ongoing support will be provided.  To learn more, contact IINE.Org/Mentor

SAVE THE DATE:  The Task Force will be co-sponsoring a program with  the Social Action Committee of Temple Beth Shalom, presented by Unitarian Universalist Mass Action, a part of the Safe Communities Coalition and Agencia Alpha , on JANUARY 9th,7:30-9:00PM at Temple Beth Shalom, 670 Highland Ave, Needham.  The speakers will present an overview of current legislation and share stories about the impact of federal immigration policy in their lives.  A Q&A session will follow the speakers. For more information, contact Randi Lite (randilite@gmail.com) or go to https://www.immigrationneedham.org/event/immigration-justice-community-forum/

Gerry Rovner