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VACIR is a multi-racial and multi-ethnic coalition of organizations that exists to win dignity, power and quality of life for all immigrant and refugee communities.

Author Archives: Monica Sarmiento

Mumps Outbreak reported at Farmville ICE facility

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 11, 2019

Contact: Waameeka AheVonderae, press@vacir.org, (804) 362-8110

 

Mumps Outbreak reported at Farmville ICE facility

 

Elected Officials Must Do More to Protect Families and Children

in Unsanitary Detention Centers

 

Richmond, VA – Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect but conservative politicians are allowing harmful detention centers to unfairly harm immigrant families. Overcrowded and cramped living conditions may have aided in the spread of mumps throughout a Farmville Detention facility. Unsafe living conditions are unfair and harmful. VACIR, a collaborative of 34 organizations calls on elected officials to provide humane treatment of all residents, regardless of immigration status.

There have been 16 confirmed or suspected mumps cases at a Farmville Detention Center.  The Farmville Detention Center is a privately-run immigration detention facility and is considered to be the largest immigration detention center on the mid-Atlantic coast. According to an ICE spokesperson, any detainee who has been exposed to mumps has been separated from the general population of the facility, and will continue to be separated for 25 days.

“Back in 2008-2009, when Virginia residents organized against the then-proposed construction of the Farmville detention center, immigrants and allies pointed out the way private detention centers exacerbated the already poor health conditions inside US immigrant detention facilities. This outbreak is deeply concerning and I hope for the best and speediest recovery for those locked up.,” said Luis Oyolo, Community Organizer at Justice 4 All.

 

“Healthcare should be human right, and much of what undocumented immigrants endore is inhumane. With the poor living conditions that many detainees suffer it is not surprising that a mumps outbreak has happened. We will continue to fight for immigrant rights, and pray that this outbreak does not lead to another immigrant losing their life due to poor oversight while in ICE custody.” said Monica Sarmiento, Executive Director at the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights.

 

Trump Appoints Anti-Immigrant Crusader Ken Cuccinelli as Head of Citizenship and Immigration Services

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 10, 2019

Contact: Waameeka AheVonderae, press@vacir.org, (804) 362-8110

 

Trump Appoints Anti-Immigrant Crusader

Ken Cuccinelli as Head of Citizenship and Immigration Services

 

Trump’s Pick for Immigration Policy Role Draws Criticism from Local Organizers

 

Richmond, VA  A month after President Trump declared his intention to take immigration policy in a “tougher direction”, Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia’s former attorney general, has been given to a top Department of Homeland Security post. Cuccinelli served as a senator in Virginia, where he sponsored bills to compel employees to speak English in the workplace and attempted to repeal birthright citizenship.

 

Cuccinelli has over the years become one of the most staunch opponents of immigration reform efforts. His policy and legislative positions have been wrongheaded and his personal comments about immigrants divisive and intolerant. On a D.C. radio program he compared immigrants to rats saying, “It is worse than our immigration policy. You can’t break up rat families…and you can’t even kill ‘em.”

 

VACIR, a collaborative of 34 organizations, condemns the appointment of Cuccinelli as Head of Citizenship and Immigration services due to his history of using hateful rhetoric against immigrant families and continued push for anti-immigrant policies.

 

“Ken Cuccinelli has a long record of pushing for and supporting anti-immigrant policies in Virginia,” said Edgar Aranda, Executive Director of the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO). “We pushed back and stopped several anti-immigrant bills introduced by him as a Virginia State Senator including one that would have allowed businesses to sue others who hired undocumented immigrant workers and another that would have designated the inability to speak English in the workplace as a reason to disqualify workers for unemployment benefits.  As our state Attorney General, he had Virginia join eight other states in opposing the Obama administration’s lawsuit challenging Arizona’s “paper’s please” law SB 1070. Mr. Cuccinelli will bring this anti-immigrant stance to his new role to the detriment of immigrant communities across the country”.

 

Dream and Promise Act Passes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, June 5, 2019

Contact: Waameeka AheVonderae, press@vacir.org, (804) 362-8110

 

Dream and Promise Act Passes

Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights Praises the Passage of the Dream and Promise Act

 

Richmond, Virginia —  The Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (HR 6) was passed in the United States House of Representatives following Congress’ return from recess. The Dream and Promise Act of 2019 would provide permanent relief for upwards of 2.5 million aspiring Americans, many of whom have deep ties to our communities, decades of residency, and cannot obtain immigration status under existing law. 23,500 people in Virginia are TPS holders from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti. Without those TPS holders, 1.3 billion would be lost from state GDP annually.  

 

“The passage of the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 in the U.S. House of Representatives is a strong first step towards ensuring that men, women, and children fleeing violence can live safe and peaceful lives,says Monica Sarmiento, Executive Director for the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights. “It is now up to the Senate and the White House to pass and sign this bill into law.

 

VACIR a collaborative of 34 organizations, is calling on lawmakers to do what is right for the immigrant community and pass this bill to provide a pathway to the American Dream to many deserving immigrants.

 

Governor Northam Must Resign for the Good Of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, February 1, 2019

Contact: Monica Sarmiento, press@vacir.org, (804) 482-0722

The Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights supports the leadership of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus in calling on Governor Ralph Northam to resign. Virginia’s ugly and painful history of bigotry and racism and the continued structural barriers facing communities of color must be rooted out everywhere they are found. In order for this work of truth, transformation, and healing to move forward, Governor Northam must resign. We look forward to working with future Governor Justin Fairfax and Virginia’s legislative leadership on building a commonwealth with opportunity, justice, and dignity for all.

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Trump Regulation Would Rig the US Immigration System for the Wealthy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 10, 2018

Media Contact: monica@virginiaimmigrantrights.org

The Trump Administration has proposed regulation that would dramatically broaden the “public charge” test that has been a part of federal immigration law for decades. These proposed changes would drastically reduce access to green cards and various types of visas for immigrants. These proposed changes put money ahead of family and threatens to worsen hunger, poverty, and unmet health and housing needs.

“Changes to the public charge test will also negatively affect family unity. Exclusionary provisions, such as favoring wealthier immigrants, individuals who are able-bodied and of employable age, are a regulatory backdoor approach to separate families. This is a particular concern for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities because 31% of the 1.1 million getting green cards each year are from Asia and Pacific Island nations. Forty percent of family-based immigrants are from Asia & Pacific Island nations,” says Sookyung Oh, D.C. Director of NAKASEC and Federal Committee Chair of the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights (VACIR)

“This rule change will impact the health and well-being of millions of legal immigrants and their families including US citizen children,” said Edgar Aranda-Yanoc, Executive Director of the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO).  “If this rule is adopted, we would force immigrant parents into a situation of choosing between feeding and providing health care for their families or preserving the ability to change to a more permanent status at some point in the future.”

“It is the neediest in our community who will be affected. Immigrants will not apply for public benefits like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Medicaid. These programs provide basic necessities for families. Without these programs, immigrant’s families will go hungry, go without basic medical care, and endure hardships that unnecessary. This is a reckless decision on behalf of the Trump Administration.” Says Monica Sarmiento, Executive Director for the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights.

The rule is open to public comment from October 10, 2018, to December 10, 2018. VACIR encourages all of the member organizations and Virginia residents to submit a comment in opposition to this proposal. We will update this page with additional information to help you write and submit a comment.

 

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Our Members

UFCW Local 400
VACOLAO
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health