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Sisters Join SIAN;
Call for Solidarity
With Local Immigrants

Springfield Immigrant Advocacy Network (SIAN) Calls City to Stand Together and Strengthen Immigrant Support

As members of the Springfield Immigrant Advocacy Network (SIAN), the Springfield Dominican Sisters join the call to all community organizers, faith, civic organizations, and advocates and partners in the city to stand with local immigrants and refugees as Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) begins raids across the country.

“As SIAN, we stand together with our immigrants and refugees through Springfield and Illinois against fear, hate, and the separation of families. Our history shows that our nation, state and community were all built and strengthened by immigrants from other states and nations. Springfield is where neighbors care deeply about each other and, documented or not, we know our immigrants are a source of strength, innovation, entrepreneurship, diversity, and social and economic contributions,” said SIAN co-chair, Verónica Espina, an associate of the Springfield Dominicans.

“Along with SIAN, we will continue to advocate for more humane and just immigrant policies, which includes the release of children from detention camps, the reunification of children and their families, and a comprehensive immigration reform that focuses on policies grounded in dignity and respect,” said Sister Marcellline Koch, OP, the promoter of justice for the Dominican Sisters.

“We are thankful to Governor Pritzker’s leadership and commitment to protect undocumented immigrants in Illinois; we applaud our Governor’s desire to stand in sharp contrast with the administration’s call for raids as Pritzker signed into law three bills that protect our immigrant and refugee communities, just last month,” Espina said. “SIAN also stands in gratitude to Springfield Mayor Langfelder’s leadership, who last Friday announced he instructed the Springfield Police Department (SPD) to not to cooperate with ICE enforcement efforts.” Langfelder stated that “rounding up people in the country illegally is a job for the feds, not local police.”

In his July 11th, 2019 press release, Pritzker stated that “the job of our law enforcement here in Illinois is to protect and serve our communities; we protect no one by having local police departments act as an extension of ICE.”  Just last month, Pritzker signed three bills into law, aimed to protect undocumented immigrants in Illinois. House Bill 2040, which bans the development of private, for-profit detention centers in the state, and prohibits local governments from contracting or having any financial transactions with such a facility, except for providing food, medical care or other ancillary services. Pritzker also signed House Bill 1637, which prohibits state and local law enforcement agencies from performing immigration enforcement functions on behalf of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. And he signed House Bill 2691, giving students who are undocumented immigrants but who meet all other academic and financial qualifications access to state-funded student financial aid, including the state’s Monetary Award Program, or MAP grants.

“Pritzker’s and Langfelder’s announcements are a source of hope, relief and strength to many families in Illinois. Their leadership and messages are aligned with the notion that Illinois is one of the most welcoming states in the Union and that, since the passage of the 2017 Trust Act, Illinois has become, technically, a sanctuary state. This is really important to the 1.8 million immigrants that call Illinois home, to their families, friends and advocates,” Espina said.

The Washington Post reported the administration had directed ICE to begin mass roundups, starting as soon as this Sunday, of migrant families facing deportation orders. The raids reportedly target as many as 10 major U.S. cities, including Chicago. ICE officials announced that the agency would raid cities including Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, and San Francisco.

The Chicago based Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) stressed the importance of remaining “vigilant as the community is prepared to respond should there be an increase in ICE activity in Illinois.”  As a reminder, ICIRR encourages community organizers, partners, advocates, families and friends to do the following:

What you can do

  • Check out, download and share ICIRR's “Know Your Rights” toolkit.
  • Inform about possible raids: “If you or someone you know experiences an ICE raid, please call 1-855-HELP-MY-FAMILY or 1-855-435-7693 immediately and report it.
  • Check out Organized Communities Against Deportations IS IT A RAID? infographic for more information on how to identify and report immigration activity.
  • Contact or become part of a rapid response teams throughout the state, which are ready to protect our communities. If you are already part of a local rapid response team, or would like support in developing one, please contact Evelyn Venegas at evenegas@icirr.org.

If you are experiencing ICE enforcement activity:

  1. If an ICE agent knocks on your door, DO NOT OPEN IT! Law enforcement agents must have a warrant signed by a judge to require you to open your door.
  2. Record, document and share any ICE activity in your community. Take pictures, use video, get as much information as you can and send it to fsn@icirr.org. For information on how to safely record ICE activity CLICK HERE.
  3. Contact your elected officials and community leaders. Giving local officials and community leaders a “heads up” and getting statements in opposition to these raids is critical.

Find your elected officials

3 thoughts on “Sisters Join SIAN;<br> Call for Solidarity<br>With Local Immigrants”

  1. Thank you to those of you taking such a public stance. I want to focus my energies on helping here while seeking to understand the related issues to immigrant and seeking asylum at our southern border. I’d love to see a FAQ sheet that allows the reader to understand your positions, especially for those of us trying to remain in contact with more conservative friends and family members who don’t get where we’re coming from. To speak within the divide is what we need to bring people of good will to a more common response. Thank you again for your work and for your witness.

    1. Sister Beth Murphy, OP

      Thank you for your question, Dan. Our stand on immigration issues is rooted solidly in Church teaching and is advocated for strongly by the US Catholic Bishops. We recommend the Justice for Immigrants website as a wonderful resource for questions about any immigration topic.

  2. Ramona Veliz Von Berg

    I am so grateful for the Dominican Sisters for being such a strong witness and truly living the gospel to love thy neighbor. It is heartbreaking to hear about the inhumane treatment of so many people, most of whom are just hungry, terrified to stay in their home counties, and long so deeply for better lives, especially for their children. My grandmother came over illegally from Mexico. She lived in poverty here but poverty in Mexico would have been much worse. My mother was born in Chicago and I am second generation. It wasn’t easy but I worked hard in school and earned an MSW from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My mother was so proud! If there is anything I can do, please let me know. May God bless you and keep you. I will pray El Santo Rosario for you. Peace be with you now and always.

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