Horrors on the Southern Border

Immigration Asylum in Mexico - source BDNEWS.com

Until recently, our government allowed people from other countries to wait in the U.S. while their requests for asylum were being processed and decided. Now we make them wait on the other side of our border. Thousands of people are indefinitely stranded in places like Matamoros, Mexico, where I just returned from.

Neither our government nor the Mexican government is doing much of anything for these people. They live in small camping tents. They rely upon volunteers to bring them food. Clean water and toilets are scarce, and medical care is minimal. There is no work and no school. Our government’s policy is to let these people languish and suffer, in hopes that they will go away and that others will learn of their misery and decide not to try to come to the U.S.

Deliberately depriving people of food, sanitation, and other essentials of a decent life was the policy the Nazis followed in the 1930s and 40s in the ghettos and concentration camps. Over time during the Nazi era, what started as makeshift detention became large-scale incarceration. Dehumanization was institutionalized.

Today, child asylum seekers are no longer being detained in the U.S. in large tents the way they were at Tornillo, Texas, and Homestead, Florida. Our government has been building a series of permanent camps where children will be held. I visited an old WalMart in Brownsville, Texas where up to 1,500 immigrant children are being imprisoned. I also stopped by a warehouse in Raymondville, Texas, that is being refitted to hold 500 kids. A friend just stood outside a new prison that is under construction in El Paso, Texas, that will hold more than 500 kids. Other facilities are in the pipeline.

It took a while for the Nazis to develop their system of concentration camps. Dachau, established in 1933, became the model for later camps. What I saw in Mexico and Texas reminded me of something terrible. Our incarceration of immigrants is progressing along a terrifying trajectory. We are normalizing child abuse. We are perfecting systems that traumatize people. We are teaching the people who work at these prisons that it is OK to go along with and make money from deliberate cruelty.

I am disturbed by what I saw. But it is good that I saw it.

We have much to do.

Lee Goodman
Peaceful Communities, Inc.

“We’ve Gotta Start Canvassing.”

I’m Aftyn, an organizer for Indivisible, and I want to talk to you about what happened in the South this week, and how. I organize in two of the reddest states in the country: Kentucky and Tennessee.

Election night 2018 was rough. As we watched the Blue Wave sweep across the country, it became clear that it had missed us: we elected the same (and more) Trump-loving Republicans up and down the ballot.

It would have been easy for Indivisibles to give up, throw up their hands and say “we’ll never win.” But that’s not what happened. Instead, groups across the South mobilized and built out a MASSIVE year-round voter contact program statewide for 2019. 

I’m not just talking about in the cities: one of our group leaders in Appalachia was out knocking doors three days a week, every week, dogged in her attempt to identify every undecided voter in her county. In Boyle County, Kentucky (where Trump won with 62.1% of the vote), Indivisible Danville wrote postcards, registered voters, and canvassed for months prior to the election: Bevin only won by 4 votes.

All of that work was a testament to the fierce tenacity of group leaders who showed up day in and day out, no matter the literal weather or the political climate. 

And in the end? Well, the results were mixed. We won the top of the ticket, and that’s incredible. Kicking Bevin out of the Governor’s mansion is huge. These results are proof that when on-the-ground grassroots effort meets an unpopular and unprincipled incumbent (sounds like another Kentucky official we know), well, anything can happen. Down ballot though, we didn’t win a single race. After all the work, we still came up short.

But there’s another way we won: Off-year elections like this are used as a testing ground for messaging and tactics ahead of presidential years. Like 2018, Republicans again prioritized a pro-Trump, anti-immigrant, and anti-choice message. The result we earned at the top of the ballot in Kentucky and throughout Virginia show us that theirs is a losing approach.

On Tuesday night, I was at the big election watch party with two Indivisible group leaders. Late in the night, after we were sure we’d won in the Governor’s race and lost the others, one of them turned to me with a wicked little gleam in her eye. “Well,” she said. “We’ve gotta start canvassing.” 

Yep.

One of the questions I get asked most often as an organizer in Kentucky is how on earth are we going to defeat Mitch McConnell. And honestly, the answer is the same as it would be to defeat any regressive incumbent.

We’ve gotta start canvassing. We’ve gotta start calling, and texting, and talking to voters, everywhere.

If we’re going to ditch Mitch McConnell — or win ANY race — it’s going to take everyone and their second cousin. We’ve all gotta start canvassing. 

A few years can’t undo centuries of racism, classism and sexism. It will take more years of dedicated, hyperlocal efforts to make progress, which is why we need to start now. We need people on the ground knocking doors year-round. We need to mobilize the cities and make incremental (or major!) gains in the suburbs and rural areas. We need to pick a nominee who can inspire voters. We need donors who can fund phonebanking and canvassing tools. And we need to start organizing now.

The up-ballot wins in Kentucky this week should be an inspiration. And the down-ballot losses should be a call to arms. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get back to work.

In solidarity,

Aftyn

Indivisible Senior Regional Organizer, Kentucky and Tennessee

PS — I also want to give a major shout out to the groups and sister organizations in Virginia and in other states across the country where we had major wins last week! You’ll be hearing more from our teams in other states soon, but I couldn’t let this email go by without giving them huge claps. 😀

Indivisible Action supports progressive organizing and advocacy year round, country-wide. To learn more about our work or join the movement, go to indivisible.org, or to support us with a donation, click here.

Help more new voters before the 2020 primaries.

Spread the Vote and its Project ID initiative help citizens obtain the IDs they need in order to vote. They exceeded their original 2019 goal of 300 IDs early on. Now, thanks to Americans of Conscious Checklist subscribers who have already donated an amazing $15,000+ this year (you rock!), we’re getting closer to our amended goal of helping 600 new voters (every $40 donated provides an ID for one new voter).

Donate: To Spread the Vote here.

 

Advocate for Automatic Voter Registration & $upport Those Who Do

If you live in AK, CA, CO, CT, DC, GA, IL, ME, MD, MA, MI, NV, NJ, NM, OR, RI, UT, VT, WA, or WV: Your state (or district, in the case of Washington, DC) has already adopted some form of AVR.

Donate to the Brennan Center here to fund their advocacy for automatic Voter Registration and other voting rights issues.

Read more about their efforts here.

“The Brennan Center for Justice is a nonpartisan law and policy institute. We strive to uphold the values of democracy. We stand for equal justice and the rule of law. We work to craft and advance reforms that will make American democracy work, for all.”

Sign the petition! The 116th United States Congress & other US Elected Officials/Candidates: US Officials: Defend American Sovereignty & Fight Foreign Election Influence

Friend,

I signed a petition on Action Network telling The 116th United States Congress & other US Elected Officials/Candidates to US Officials: Defend American Sovereignty & Fight Foreign Election Influence.

Background
DemCast USA and grassroots partners have created the Pledge to Defend American Sovereignty because we want our politicians to overtly state that they will refuse and rebuke foreign support/interference in US elections, including monetary or in-kind support, campaign coordination, and digital/social media interference.
Apparently, given current circumstances, we have to ask for this…though we shouldn’t have to. We need to know who will sign this pledge. And – almost more importantly – who won’t.

Why Should You Sign This Petition?
We need to draw a line in the sand, and let our politicians know that we need them to pick a side on foreign interference in our elections. All signatures gathered, along with all verbatim comments, will be shared with appropriate Congressional delegations (based on signers’ zip codes) by November 30th, 2019. With a groundswell of energy, we can pressure our officials to sign this pledge. Those politicians who do agree to take the pledge will be listed on DemCastUSA.com, where we can track who has proactively agreed to the simple but incredibly important terms of the Pledge.
We hope that all politicians – on both sides of the aisle – agree to defend our sovereignty. Pledge language below.

Can you join me and take action? Click here: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/pledge-to-defend?source=email&

Thanks!

 

Campaign Contacts

Vote Buttons

Campaign Contacts

Thanks to the North Shore Dems for sharing this contact list for presidential campaigns. Get in touch if you want to get involved.

Warren Campaign

  • Join Win with Warren North Suburbs on Facebook, and/or contact the co-leads, Caryn Fliegler (Caryn.fliegler@gmail.com) and Catherine Caporusso (catherineacaporusso@gmail.com). This group does not criticize other candidates, but is focused on Elizabeth.
  • 11/13, 7 pm: Why Warren? In Conversation with Daniel Biss.
  • The local Warren team will begin meeting biweekly at the Northbrook Public Library on Sundays, 1:15-3:15 pm, starting on 10/20. Catherine and Caryn will get you all set up with anything you need.

Biden Campaign

Harris Campaign

Support Proposed Rules for New Firearm Dealer License Certification Act

Firearm Dealer License Certification Act

Send a letter to the Illinois State Police stating that you support their proposed rules to implement the new Firearm Dealer License Certification Act (430 ILCS 68).

Background: Last January the Governor signed the Firearm Dealer License Certification Act into law. The Illinois State Police has drafted rules (scroll down this page for long summary) to guide implementation of the law, but the NRA has filed a lawsuit against the rules.

Your letter can simply state that you support the proposed rules, or you can add your own comments about why it’s important to you that retail gun dealers implement safer business practices.

(SAMPLE LETTER – Microsoft Word)

This needs to be done before the end of the public comment period on October 7.

Mail your letter to:

Matthew R. Rentschler
Chief Legal Counsel
Illinois State Police
801 S. 7th Street, Suite 1000-S
Springfield, IL  62703

Or email it to ISP.Rulemaking@illinois.gov

Summary of Proposed Rules

The Department of State Police proposed a new Part which will impact any small business engaging in the sale of firearms:

The DEPARTMENT OF STATE POLICE proposed a new Part titled Firearm Dealer License Certification Act (20 IAC 1232; 43 Ill Reg 9084) implementing Public Act 100-1178, which requires all Illinois holders of a Federal Firearms License (FFL) to additionally receive certification from the State to sell, lease or otherwise transfer firearms. The new Part sets forth the conditions and process for obtaining State certification of an FFL as follows.

Applications
Every FFL licensee shall file with DSP a copy of its FFL, along with a sworn affidavit indicating that the license is currently valid and belongs to the licensee. This State certification must be renewed every 3 years when the FFL is renewed. DSP may, in lieu of requiring an affidavit, verify the validity of an FFL via any authentication system or website approved by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Applicants for certification must also submit an affidavit listing the name and Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID) number of each owner, employee, or other agent who sells or transfers firearms for the licensee and attesting that each of these persons is at least 21 years old, holds a currently valid FOID card and (if a certification is being renewed) has completed the training required by the Firearm Dealer License Certification Act.

Fees
For FFL licensees without a retail location, the application fee is $300 for initial certification and $100 for a renewal certification. For licensees with retail locations, the application fee is $1,500 for initial certification and $500 for renewal.    Total fees for certification of multiple licenses (e.g., retail stores at different locations) to a single applicant cannot exceed $40,000. Initial certification fees for new applicants shall be prorated based on the number of months remaining on the applicant’s current FFL. An overpayment will be credited toward the cost of the licensee’s next renewal or may be refunded to the licensee upon written request.

Inspections
All certified licensees (CLs) must allow inspection of their place of business by DSP and other law enforcement agencies during all hours of operation when firearms are sold, leased or transferred. All records, documents and firearms shall be made accessible upon request of DSP or the LE agency. No more than one unannounced inspection may be conducted per year without good cause. A CL that is not open to the public, does not keep regular business hours or operates by appointment only shall advise DSP in writing of its hours of operation.

Security
No later than 1/2/20, CLs that maintain an inventory of firearms for sale or transfer must be connected to an alarm system or service that notifies local law enforcement of any unauthorized intrusion. This system must include features such as duress/holdup silent alarms and backup electrical power. By 1/2/21, all CLs operating retail locations must have a 24/7 closed circuit video surveillance system in place. The system must monitor all entrances and exits, parking areas, alleys adjacent to the building, and any inside areas (including areas not open to customers) where firearms are stored, displayed, handled, sold or transferred. Cameras must operate in a manner that permits facial recognition of anyone entering or leaving the retail location and that records license plates of vehicles in the parking area. Video recording systems shall be digital, include date and time stamps, and be able to alert the CL of any failure in the system. Security videos must be kept for at least 90 days (longer if needed to investigate a loss/theft of inventory or other incident) and must be backed up offsite via a server or cloud storage.

Records
CLs operating retail locations on or after 1/2/20 must use electronic based recordkeeping for all acquisition and disposition records currently required by federal law. Retail sales and purchases must be recorded within 24 hours after the transaction. Shipments from manufacturers or wholesalers must be recorded within 24 hours after unpacking or 5 business days after shipping, whichever is earlier. Inventory, acquisition and disposition records must be made available to DSP or local law enforcement upon request.

Storage
CLs with retail locations must develop and submit to DSP (using a form and method provided on the Department’s website) their written and detailed plans for safe storage of firearms and ammunition during retail hours, after closing, and in the event of a disaster. Storage procedures must include: keeping all inventoried firearms in a safe, vault, secured room or locked display and in a location accessible only to specifically authorized personnel; insuring that all keys, lock combinations, passwords or other security measures are accessible only to specifically authorized personnel; keeping ammunition stored separately from the firearms inventory and out of the reach of customers; and taking a complete firearms inventory, conducted by at least two persons, at least once per quarter. Any loss, theft or diversion of inventoried firearms from a retail location must be reported to ATF and local law enforcement within 48 hours and a copy of the notification must also be submitted to DSP.

Signage
Each location where a CL conducts business must post two signs (templates are provided in the rule and at DSP’s website). One sign must notify patrons that the premises are under video surveillance and that their images may be recorded. The other sign must advise patrons that the following actions are unlawful: storing or leaving unsecured firearms where children can access them, selling or transferring firearms to someone else without receiving approval from DSP, and failing to report the loss or theft of a firearm to local law enforcement within 72 hours.

Training
Every CL and employees who sell or transfer firearms must complete DSP-approved training prior to certification and annually thereafter. Newly hired employees must complete this training before selling or transferring any firearms or ammunition. The CL must submit an affidavit to DSP verifying that the licensee and any applicable employees have completed this training.

Penalties and Appeals
Disciplinary actions for violations of the Act or this Part may include a reprimand, refusal to renew or restore a certification, or suspension or revocation of license certification. A fine may also be imposed based on the seriousness and frequency of the violation. Fines range from a maximum of $200 for a first-time petty violation up to $10,000 per offense for repeated major violations. Procedures by which DSP will notify CLs of violations and for CLs to request hearings or appeals are included in the Part.

Bottom Line:  The proposed regulation implements the Firearm Dealers License Certification Act [430 ILCS 68] by establishing an application process for individuals and entities subject to regulation under the Act, describing enforcement mechanisms by law-enforcement agencies, and identifying licensee obligations relating to security and storage plans, record-keeping requirements and training mandates.  Additionally, the proposed regulations set forth eth fee schedule for license applicants and disciplinary fines and sanctions for violations of the Act.  Finally, the proposed regulations create administrative processes for investigating alleged violations of the Act and establish an appeal process for licensees and applicants to formally challenge determinations of the Department.

This rule is open for public comment until 10/7/19.  Questions/requests for copies/ comments through 10/7/19 may be directed to Mr. Matthew R. Rentschler, Chief Legal Counsel, Illinois State Police, 801 South 7th Street, Suite 1000-S, Springfield, IL 62703, or call (217) 782-7658. You may also click here to submit comments to the Department of Commerce Office of Regulatory Flexibility.

“Fix the FOID” – Petition the Illinois Senate to Pass SB 1966

Fix the FOID

Put your name on Illinois Senator Julie Morrison’s petition to tell the Illinois Senate to “Fix the FOID” by passing her bill, SB 1966.

Background: The Fix the FOID Act is a comprehensive package aimed at addressing problems with Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) cards. It would:

  • Reduce the valid term of a FOID card from 10 years to 5 years
  • Require that all FOID card applications include a set of fingerprints
  • Raise the application fee from $10 to $20
  • Require that firearm transactions take place at a federally licensed dealer
  • Call for creation of a task force of state and local enforcement to ensure that individuals whose FOID cards have lapsed or been revoked have surrendered their cards and transferred their firearms

If these measures had been in place a year ago, they could have prevented two highly publicized shootings in Illinois. These are not onerous requirements and are necessary to make our communities safer.

Get “Dark Money” Out of Political Campaigns.

Dark Money

Here are specific and efficient steps you can take to get dark money out of political campaigns. Includes script and contact information. 30 minute task.

Corporations rule every aspect of our lives thanks to Supreme Court decisions that grant constitutional rights (“personhood”) to corporations. But there’s still hope! Join @MoveToAmend and let’s overrule this atrocity!

Call: Your one House rep and two senators (look up).

Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m part of a bipartisan majority of Americans who believe corporations should not have the same constitutional rights as people. The We the People Amendment would end this unjust practice, and eliminate contributions of unlimited amounts of “dark money” to political campaigns.

For House reps: I would like [NAME] to cosponsor H.J. Res. 48. Thank you. (Note: Brad Schneider is not currently a sponsor)

For senators: I urge [NAME] to introduce the Senate equivalent of H.J. Res 48. Thank you.

4 To-Dos for Week of August 26 (2019)

border wall

Your 4 weekly to-dos (Indivisible.com)

  1. Get ready for the September funding fight by texting Defund Hate to 977-79. We’ll send you the latest updates on our plan for the Week of Action, and we’ll let you know when events are registered near you.
  2. Call your member of Congress right and demand that they cut funding for ICE and CBP in this September’s funding bill. We’ll give you a script and connect you directly with your representative’s office.
  3. Get up-to-speed using our Defund Hate website , where you can find our event planning toolkit, social media content, downloadable rally signs, and more! We’ve also got a leave-behind you can print and use to guide your conversations with your Members of Congress and their staff.
  4. Register for the September monthly activist call. Join us for our next activist call on Thursday, September 5 at 8pm Eastern Time / 5pm Pacific Time, to get the latest updates on Defund Hate, the 2020 race and more!