Saturday, November 10, 2018

Is the Citizenship Question Legal on the 2020 Census?

 According to the Census Bureau's own research, including a citizenship question in the decennial survey leads to lower response rates among households that contain noncitizens. Such households may fear that the federal government would use the census data to conduct immigration enforcement.

Brookings Podcast Network--

Senior Fellow Alan Berube discusses the question of whether or not it is constitutional to add a citizenship question to the U.S. census, a case that now sits with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Berube explains the contents of the case and the importance of having an accurate census.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Protecting Immigrant Families REFORMA Call To Action.

The Department of Homeland Security opens Immigration Policy Changes for Public Comment

Policy changes to the current immigration system are being considered. The proposed changes will have a great impact on communities across the United States.
Understanding the proposed changes, their impact in our communities, and the resources available that can be shared is essential to providing useful services to immigrant populations. Barriers are increasing for immigrant families who may want to obtain their Green Cards, or who are eligible to naturalize.
The proposed changes outlined below ask for public comment. Please consider adding your voice and comments in support of immigrant families. Public participation is vital to our civic process.

Proposed Policy Changes

There are three proposed changes to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policies posted to the Federal Register. If the policies are amended, immigrant families will be significantly affected.
If library patrons have questions, there are toolkits and articles where they may learn additional information (See Resources  at REFORMA site.)
Remember, refer patrons to immigration service providers in your community, Department of Justice (DOJ)-accredited representatives or immigration attorneys. The immigration landscape is fast-moving and complex, and it’s more important than ever to make sure people are getting accurate information.
Public comments about the proposed changes may be posted on All comments will be read by the Federal government and taken into consideration.
Please see the link at REFORMA for the site and comment guidelines. There are also links to examples of text to use for comments in support of immigrant families and additional resources. Comments should be personalized.
There is a lot of misinformation and assumption regarding the proposed changes. It’s important to remember:
1. These changes have not been implemented, and
2. Immigrants should not respond by dropping out of public benefit programs.
Additionally, effective immediately, candidates who will take the "written" Naturalization test will now be required to use a tablet and stylus. Consider incorporating tablet workshops for patrons so they may become comfortable using the technology for the exam. USCIS-sponsored Citizenship classes will be required to include this digital literacy component.

Find Help

Proposed Change 1: Flores Settlement Agreement

On September 7th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) opened up the public comment period for its proposal to rescind the Flores Agreement Settlement (FSA). Public comments are open for 60 days, meaning November 6th, 2018 is the last day for comment.
FSA has been in use for decades and protects the basic rights of children in the custody of the federal government, including people seeking asylum. The FSA sets basic standards of care and prevents the United States from detaining children indefinitely in prison-like conditions.
Make a comment to the Federal Register/ via using the following link: Comment Here to Preserve Flores and Support Unaccompanied Children

Proposed Change 2: Changes to Fee-Waiver, I-912

The proposed changes were posted to the Federal Register and are available for comment until November 27, 2018. The Fee-Waiver, often known as I-912, is important because it is used by many people who are ready to naturalize but simply do not have the financial means to pay the $725 fee. Often, multiple family members naturalize at the same time—making it cost prohibitive for even a family of four. Currently, if you are receiving food stamps, that would qualify you and your family for a fee waiver. With the proposed changes, that same person would now need to show that their income “is at or below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG)” in order to be eligible. The receipt of benefits as proof of “poverty” would be no longer accepted. This will make naturalization unreachable for many people who will then be faced with impossible choices, like choosing between their public benefits or applying for Citizenship.

Proposed Change 3: Public Charge

On September 22, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security posted the text of its proposed rule which re-defines public charge. On October 10, the proposed changes were posted to the Federal Register and are available for comment until December 10, 2018.
Under the current policy, the only benefi­ts which are taken into consideration in determining who is likely to become a “public charge” are:
  • Cash assistance, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and comparable state or local programs.
  • Government-funded long-term institutional care.
The proposed rule for public charge drastically expands the definition of what it means to be a public charge, which could prevent many immigrants from maintaining or obtaining legal immigration status—and because they are more fearful, many immigrants who receive public benefits may opt out of needed programs, even ones that aren't even in consideration to be added to a public charge list.
SNAP (food stamps) and Section 8 housing vouchers, among others, are proposed to be added to the list of benefits that would be considered public charge.
The agency’s proposed rule would significantly alter the way USCIS officers screen applicants for adjustment of status or for non-immigrants applying for an extension or change of status. (Adjustment of status refers to the process of obtaining a Green Card. A change of status refers to the process of changing from one type of visa to another--like a visitor visa to a student visa).
Make a comment about Public Charge on the Federal Register/ via Protecting Immigrant Families using the following link: Protecting Immigrant Families: Writing Points and Comment Here for Federal Register

Top Talking Points for Public Charge (NILC)

Please note the following list is for informational purposes. There is a printable copy below from NILC, the National Immigration Law Center.

  • The policy on public charge decisions made within the U.S. has not yet changed.

  • The proposed rule is still a draft. Once it is posted, the federal agency must accept and respond to comments on it. It will not be implemented until after it becomes final, which will take additional time.

  • Not all immigrants are subject to the public charge test.

  • The public charge test looks at all the person’s circumstances, weighing positive factors against any negative ones.

  • If the proposed rule becomes final, noncash benefits (other than long-term care) used before that time will not be considered. Using benefits now can help you or your family members become healthier, stronger, and more employable in the future.

  • Federal and state laws protect the privacy of people who apply for or receive health care coverage, nutrition, economic support, or other public benefits.

  • Get help deciding what’s best for your family and, if you can, consult with an immigration attorney or a DOJ–accredited representative about your own situation.

GO TO REFORMA for Resources

Prepared by Madeleine Ildefonso, member of REFORMA's Legislative Committee.
October 25, 2018

Sunday, September 16, 2018

On September 21st, CELEBRATE Libraries for Peace (L4P) Day

On September 21st, CELEBRATE Libraries for Peace (L4P) Day in observation of International Day of Peace with the world community.

Librarians, libraries and friends are INVITED to:
  1. ADD your celebration to the L4P map.  Tour the map to find celebrations worldwide.
  2. Use SOCIAL MEDIA to share your event with the hashtags #librariesforpeace #peaceday
The International Day of Peace is observed around the world each year on September 21st. The United Nations General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The theme for the International Day of Peace in 2018 is “The Right to Peace – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70”.  The theme celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Libraries for Peace (L4P) web portal was created to advance the mission of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs to strengthen international ties among libraries and librarians worldwide for the promotion of international education, understanding, and peace. Libraries as information, education and cultural centers, AND community anchors have a role in advancing peace internationally.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Understanding the Social Wellbeing Impacts of the Nation’s Libraries and Museums

Building on a growing body of work conducted by IMLS and others over the past several years, the Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced the commencement of a new study, Understanding the Social Wellbeing Impacts of the Nation’s Libraries and Museums.
Community Catalyst Logo
The goal of the year-long project is to gain a better understanding on a national level of the conditions under which museums and libraries contribute to quality of life and wellbeing in the communities they serve. The new study will focus on these institutions’ essential roles within a community to help them demonstrate the success and impact of their programs and services.
Building upon IMLS’s 2016 study Strengthening Networks, Sparking Change: Museums and Libraries as Community Catalysts, this new research is grounded in the social wellbeing framework that looks beyond economic outputs to assess the relative wellness of individuals, communities, and nations. It recognizes that while people value their material standard of living, other factors also matter, including cultural engagement, economic and ethnic diversity, political voice, and social connections.
The study aligns with the IMLS Strategic Plan, Transforming Communities, by strengthening the capacity of museums and libraries to improve the wellbeing of their communities. The research will quantify 10 dimensions of social wellbeing at the county level across the nation that represent material standard of living, economic and ethnic diversity, health, school effectiveness, housing quality, political connection, the presence of cultural institutions and nonprofit organizations in the community, the environment, and personal safety. The study will identify counties where the presence of museums and libraries is most strongly associated with different factors of social wellbeing.
"Approaching this study using the social wellbeing framework acknowledges the many ways that libraries and museums positively impact people and communities beyond a baseline assessment of economic impact.” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “This study seeks to not only demonstrate that community wellbeing is enhanced by the presence of libraries and museums, but also how these anchor institutions truly move the needle.”
The research encompasses literature review of other studies’ findings, data analysis from publicly available sources, and comparative case studies, and the results will be compiled into three issue briefs and a synthesis report for dissemination...This new study, Understanding the Social Wellbeing Impacts of the Nation’s Libraries and Museums, was initiated under the umbrella of IMLS’s flagship Community Catalyst Initiative. The program, which has the long-term goal of developing new approaches, tools, and training for museums and libraries to help them become more sustained and adaptive partners within their communities, works to elevate the essential, impactful “anchor” and “catalyst” roles that these institutions play.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Poverty Safari by Darren McGarvey & Public Libraries

Poverty Safari by Darren McGarvey (rapper Loki), Luath Press  has won the 2018 Orwell Prize. 

McGarvey has profound observations on the role of the library in the community. He notes that the community centre is being imposed on the library to streamline the service in order to justify keeping the library open. This practice undermines the integrity of both the library and the community centre. It undermines the principle that communities should be entitled to these vital amenities independent of one another. (p. 153).

His aim in the book was to explain the emotional pain of poverty and the stress induced by the multiple addictions allied to it. “The experiential reality of poverty is underemphasised and misunderstood,” he says, “and what we have currently is a society with rules and laws, social cues and incentives, that work for emotionally regulated people. But if you grew up in adversity, your whole sense of emotion and risk perception is completely different. The welfare system is based on an assumption that the threat of social humiliation is going to incentivise people, but that’s a complete misunderstanding of what the stress of poverty does to people. They just recoil; they’re frightened of everything, even if that fear sometimes expresses itself as aggression.”

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

"The Chain Litany" printed by Martha Riley, Urbana,IL. 1982- ERA

40 copies of "The Chain Litany" were printed by Martha Riley at the University of Illinois, Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the Katharine Sharp Press in 1982. Read on the Day of Rebellion before the Rotunda in Springfield on June 3, 1982.