Immigration Reform

At a time when immigration is high on the national agenda, PICO federations are actively involved in developing civic leadership within immigrant communities and addressing a range of local and national issues that affect the lives of immigrant families. There are many stories throughout the network of successful immigration reform campaigns and efforts to build strong bridges between immigrant and non-immigrant communities.

Response to the raids

United Interfaith Action in New Bedford, Massachusetts; Congregations Building Community in Greeley, Colorado; and Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization, People Acting in Community Together, Peninsula Interfaith Action, and Oakland Community Organizations, all in the Bay Area, circulated a letter to clergy nationwide, calling for a halt to the immigration raids and demanding an investigation of the behavior of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.). Clergy from these cities where controversial mass immigration raids have taken place traveled to Washington, DC in the spring of 2007 to deliver the statement, signed by more than 350 clergy from 38 states, to the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, and key Congressional leaders. Religious congregations in communities targeted by I.C.E. operations launched a "Stop the Raids" campaign to raise national awareness about the impact on families.

Civic Leadership

Northern Valley Sponsoring Committee (NVSC), a PICO affiliate based in Sacramento, CA, has guided nearly 1,500 eligible immigrants through the grueling process of becoming U.S. citizens while training them to become leaders in their community. These new citizen leaders are putting their skills to work improving the drinking water in Colusa County, one of the poorest counties in California.

Policy Change

Orange County Congregation Community Organization (OCCCO) in southern California helped stop a proposal by the Santa Ana Police Department which would have given local police the ability to enforce federal immigration law. OCCCO leaders arranged a large community meeting with the Police Chief, where community members shared the public safety problems the city would face if immigrants were afraid to interact with the police. The Police Chief dropped the proposal after the meeting with OCCCO.

People and Congregations Together (PACT) in Stockton, California helped change language in the U.S. Patriot Act that had prevented members of the Hmong community from becoming citizens, applying for permanent resident status, and even attaining driver's licenses. President Bush signed the legislation, which included automatic relief for the Hmong and other groups that do not pose a threat to the United States, days after a massive rally of more than 1,800 Hmong members in Stockton.