Affirming the worth and dignity of immigrants, migrants, and refugees

Congress has a critical choice to make before the end of the year. Is this the nation we want to be?

Congress must decide by Dec. 21, 2018 how to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the rest of fiscal year 2019. Right now is a critical time for people of faith and conscience to make our voices heard and say all people deserve to be treated humanely. Every additional dollar for immigration detention and enforcement allows our nation to carry out policies that erode the rights and safety of immigrants, refugees, and migrants.

TAKE ACTION to urge your Representative to reject increased funding for unchecked immigration enforcement.

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The FIRST STEP ACT for prison reform

H.R. 5682 The FIRST STEP ACT was  passed by the House in May and is now in the Senate, with bipartisan support --  but it needs to be moved onto the floor for a vote before Congress adjourns for the holidays.


Last month members of the Senate Judiciary Committee agreed on a bipartisan compromise that represents significant steps toward ending mass incarceration by reducing long sentences for felons convicted of nonviolent crimes, making sentencing more flexible for judges, introducing more humane treatment in prison, and facilitating reintegration into society for ex-felons.  


Pregnant inmates would no longer be shackled during birth; prisoners would be housed closer to their families, judges would get more leeway to avoid mandatory minimum sentencing; some inmates incarcerated on crack cocaine charges could petition for sentence reduction; and a “third strike” would no longer mean life in prison. The FIRST STEP ACT would also initiate practices helping inmates successfully re-enter society.


TAKE ACTION to ask our Senators to rally support for the FIRST STEP ACT. It represents long overdue restoration of humane rights in the practices of our criminal justice system.

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Combating Illegal Gun Trafficking

The people of Illinois have spoken loud and clear — by a vote of 12-1, Illinois voters affirmed a resolution to curb illegal gun trafficking in Illinois by requiring universal gun dealer licensing in Illinois.

SB337, Gun Dealer Licensing — now “Combating Illegal Gun Trafficking” — PASSED BOTH HOUSES in the Spring and now sits on the Governor’s desk. Governor Rauner vetoed a past version of the bill and is likely to do it again — BUT we are close to having a veto-proof majority of legislators committed to overriding the likely veto. We need a few more Senate votes to get the job done in the current legislative year.

Check HERE to see if your senator is on board. If not, TAKE ACTION tosend them a nudge to get with the program! And if they have endorsed the bill, click HERE and change the letter to read “THANK YOU for supporting SB337, mandating gun dealer licensing in Illinois to curb illegal gun trafficking.”

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Tell the EPA to hold the line for cleaner air!

The EPA is considering a rule that will relax pollution regulations for coal power plants. You voice counts in their deliberations.

Tell the EPA not to weaken pollution regulations for coal power plants by replacing the Clean Power Plan with a rule that they claim is more affordable for the economy of coal-powered industries — but it is anything but “affordable” for those of us planning to breathe air in the foreseeable future. And it is betrayal for our children living into the generations.

Their deadline to hear from the public is THIS WEDNESDAY — so act NOW — your own words reflecting your values as a UU are what they need to hear.

Click TAKE ACTION to read the rule, then click on “Comment now."

Let’s be heard by the tens of thousands! Let’s rock complacency in the EPA!

Partnering with Faith in Place and Interfaith Power and Light.

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Protect safeguards for immigrant children

The Trump administration proposes a new regulation regarding the treatment of immigrant children in detention: the new regulation would replace the Flores Agreement -- which stipulated that children could not be detained for over 20 days -- with regulations that would detain children indefinitely, whether unaccompanied or with their family. The regulation would also shift the licensing of family detention facilities to the federal government, away from state child welfare facilities.

Protecting the growing years of children has been a hallmark of our sense of who we are as a democratic community. We must not allow our government to legislate the inhumane treatment of ANYONE, citizen or no.

This proposed regulation is subject to comment by you, the public, until November 6. Voice your strong opposition to this new attempt to undermine human rights and traumatize children and families seeking safety.

Here is the rule: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/09/07/2018-19052/apprehension-processing-care-and-custody-of-alien-minors-and-unaccompanied-alien-children

Submit a comment here: https://www.regulations.gov

In the Search box: ICEB-2018-0002

Click on COMMENT NOW: type in your statement

Click CONTINUE, follow the prompt to SUBMIT

Your vote counts! If you are a professional with expertise, your comment may be used in arguing against the rule.

Partnering with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, UUSC

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Human Rights for Undocumented Immigrants

On October 10, 2018, the Trump administration officially published, for comment the “public charge” rule that would fundamentally change our country's immigration practice. This rule defines who might be considered a "public charge," a person relying on government programs for subsistence. An immigrant who is a "public charge" has a poor chance of achieving green card status.

The new rule will widen the criteria applied when determining a person a public charge to include enrollment in Medicaid healthcare, receiving SNAP food assistance, and participating in a housing voucher program. Participating in these programs would disqualify a family from being considered for immigration.

The proposed rule would punish immigrants going through official immigration processes for receiving benefits for which they are legally eligible.

Here is the proposed rule:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/10/10/2018-21106/inadmissibility-on-public-charge-grounds

When the government publishes a proposed regulation, the public gets 60 days to comment. That period formally started on Wednesday, October 10 and ends on Monday, December 10, 2018. The government is obligated to review those comments before finalizing the rule, though it’s not necessarily obligated to make any changes.

Submit a comment OPPOSING this change. The language you use might include values such as: that families shouldn’t have to choose between basic human rights and staying together, that human compassion requires that all our people be able to thrive and we all benefit when all members of our communities have enough to eat, access to health care, and safe housing.

Here is how to submit a comment:

Go to https://www.regulations.gov

Put the Docket number in the SEARCH box: USCIS-2010-0012

Click on COMMENT NOW

Type in your comment

Click CONTINUE

Follow the prompt to SUBMIT

Your voice counts! Your comment will be read and your opposition vote will be counted. THANK YOU!

Partnering with American Friends Service Committee

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Vote your UU Values

Now that you have pledged with your UU community to vote your UU values (you did, didn’t you? LINK), find out which candidates on your ballot are pledged to realize your UU values in their work. The Illinois League of Women Voters has put together a guide to the candidates HERE to help you put together your own ballot choices. The LWV has surveyed candidate stands on a myriad of issues, but makes no endorsements. That’s your job.

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Protest EPA Roll-back of Emission Control of Coal-powered Plants

Under direction from the current Administration, the EPA is now proposing the Repeal of Carbon Dioxide Emission Guidelines for Existing Standing Sources, or the new “Affordable Clean Energy Rule,” rolling back pollution regulations on coal powered plants by replacing the hard-won Clean Power Plan of 2015.

The EPA held a public hearing Monday in Chicago, attended by hundreds of people in protest and involving our partners at Faith in Place and the Illinois Climate Table. YOU CAN HAVE YOUR SAY NOW!

Your voice is critical as one by one we strengthen the resistance. You can submit an official comment to the EPA HERE. You needn’t be fancy — they are counting the number of protesting citizens and this is your time to be counted: “Say NO to the Affordable Clean Energy Rule that undermines our strongest effort yet to protect the health of our communities.”

As people of faith leading the environmental movement toward justice, we must speak out for the right of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities.

Your comment will be emailed to the EPA Docket and will be published in the EPA’s website as part of the public comment process.

TAKE ACTION and let your voice be counted!

In partnership with Faith in Place, the Illinois Climate Table and Interfaith Power and Light.

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Not one penny more for family separation, “zero tolerance” prosecutions, detention and deportation.

After thousands of people rose up this summer against separating families and criminalizing immigrants, the White House and ICE are now trying to pump even more money into detaining, deporting, and prosecuting our friends and loved ones.

As Congress debates plans to fund the government for Fiscal Year 2019, the Trump administration is asking for billions of dollars in new funding for ICE, Border Patrol, and the Department of Justice—the same agencies that carried out the family separation policy. Any new money for the agencies that detain, deport, and prosecute immigrants will mean more parents being taken from their children and more people torn from our communities.

Love Resists, a joint campaign of the UUA and UUSC, and Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice (UUSJ) are joining the Interfaith Week of Action for Immigrant Rights, led by the Interfaith Immigration Coalition (IIC). We have a simple message for Congress:

Not one penny more for family separation, “zero tolerance” prosecutions, detention and deportation.

TAKE ACTION to urge your congresspeople to reject budget proposals that increase subsidies for these violations of fundamental human rights.

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Urge our young people to vote -- EACH ONE REACH ONE!

Our most valuable resource this election season is our young people. Many of our 18+ folks could vote for the first time this November and we need their participation to shake things up in Springfield and in Congress.

Reach out to the young people in your life — if each UU reaches out to one or two young people, we can bring UU values to bear even more strongly in our choice of new legislators -- and support for allied legislators -- in November.

It's never been so easy: register online HERE.

And while you're at it, nudge your young people to connect with YAYA (Youth And Young Adults)/UUANI by emailing coordinator Elise Miedlar HERE.

Stay woke, people!

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