Saturday, December 22, 2018

"Progressive Library Organizations Update, 2013-2017."-Al Kagan

Journal of Radical Librarianship,  Al Kagan,"Progressive Library Organizations Update, 2013-2017."

This article is a five-year update to the author’s book, Progressive Library Organizations: A Worldwide History, published by McFarland in 2015. It includes information on all the organizations covered in the book except the Library and Information Workers Organisation of South Africa which folded in 2000. These six organizations are from Austria, Germany, Sweden, UK, and US. The analysis is based on several new interviews in 2017, documents, publications, correspondence, and much personal experience.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Librarians & Human Rights- A Seminar and Reading List

(This course is taught at the University of South Florida, School of Information).

Each December 10 as the world celebrates Human Rights Day, the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the world community builds solidarity and a unified vision.
Human rights, the assumption that all human beings deserve certain rights and dignity by virtue of their human existence, are most eloquently defined in the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. [United Nations. (1948) Universal Declaration of Human Rights.]

The aim of the Seminar, Librarians and Human Rights, is to present a historical and cultural analysis of the role of librarians vis-à-vis human rights as defined by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The course will highlight the stated goals of the profession and the work librarians must do to achieve a more equitable society in the United States and a compassionate nation among others.

Readings and Resources:
Abdullahi, Ismail, ed. E.J. Josey: An Activist Librarian. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1992.
Abilock, D. (May/June 2006). "So Close and So Small: Six Promising Approaches to Civic Education, Equity, and Social Justice." Knowledge Quest v. 34 no. 5: p. 9-16.
ALISE Information Ethics Special Interest Group, Position Statement on Information Ethics in LIS Education
American Library Association Policy Manual: “Article 19 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights." (Section 58.4.)
American Library Association. Core Values Task Force II Report.
American Library Association. Libraries: An American Value.
Bell, C. J. (2006). "Libraries and Human Rights Education." Catholic Library World v. 77 no. 2: p. 130-138.
Berman, S. (2006). Classism in the Stacks: Libraries and Poverty2005 Jean E. Coleman Library Outreach Lecture; American Library Association.
“The Berninghausen Debate,” Library Journal (January 1, 1973): 25-41.

Birdsall, W.F. (Winter 2006-2007). "A Progressive Librarianship for the 21st Century." Progressive Librarian v. 28: p. 49-63
Britz, J. J. (May 2008) “Making the global information society good: A social justice perspective on the ethical dimensions of the global information society.” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology v.59 no. 7, p.1171-1183.
Budd, J.M. (Summer 2006). "Discourse Analysis and the Study of Communication in LIS." Library Trends v. 55: p. 65-82
Buschman, J. (2003). Dismantling the Public Sphere: Situating and Sustaining Librarianship in the Age of the New Public Philosophy. Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited.
Buschman, J., M. Rosenzweig, and E. Harger. (June 1994). "The Clear Imperative for Involvement: Librarians Must Address Social Issues." American Libraries v. 25: p. 575-576.
Chaparro-Univazo, S. (2007). Where Social Justice Meets Librarianship -Truth Commissions as Information Spaces for Work and Activism in International Librarianship. Information for Social Change v. 25, Summer.
Civallero, E. (2007). When Memory Turns into Ashes ... Memoricide During the XX Century. Information for Social Change v. 25, Summer.
Clement, E., and Cullingford, A. (2007). A Library for Peace: the Commonweal Collection. Information for Social Change v. 25, Summer.
Collins, C. (2007). Disseminating Truth to Power - Human Rights, Information and the Internet as Court of Last/Only ResortInformation for Social Change v. 25, Summer.
Forsyth, E. (2005). "Public Libraries and the Millennium Development Goals." IFLA Journal v. 31 no. 4: p. 315-23.
Global Exchange.
Hauptman, R. (2002). Ethics and Librarianship. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland.
Horton, M., and P. Freire. (1990). We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Human Rights Video Project. National Video Resources.
IFLA/UNSECO Public Library Manifesto (1994)
Ishay, M. R. (2008). The History of Human Rights From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era With a New Preface. 2nd ed. Berkeley: University of California Press. Click here for more information.

Jensen, R. (2004/2005). "The Myth of the Neutral Professional." Progressive Librarian v. 24: p. 28-34.
Jimerson, R. C. (Fall/Winter 2007) "Archives for All: Professional Responsibility and Social Justice." The American Archivist v. 70 no. 2: p. 252-81.
Kagan, Al.(2018) "Progressive Library Organizations Update, 2013-2017." Journal of RadicalLibrarianship. 
Kagan, A. (2008). "An Alternative View on IFLA, Human Rights, and the Social Responsibility of International Librarianship."  IFLA Journal v. 34 no. 3: p. 230-237. The publication of the first book on the development of IFLA´s human rights involvement provides an opportunity to stimulate discussion about that history, with particular reference to the Free Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE) core activity. Several case studies (South Africa, Turkey, Israel/Palestine, and Cuba) are evaluated, the work of the IFLA Social Responsibilities Discussion Group is noted, and suggestions are made for the more democratic and effective functioning of FAIFE. Keywords: IFLA; FAIFE; human rights; social responsibility; freedom of expression.

Kelmor, Kimberli M. 2016. "Legal Formulations of a Human Right to Information." Journal of Information Ethics 25, no. 1: 101-113.
There is a growing body of law across the globe that seeks to define a right to information. Any study of such laws quickly reveals a great diversity of definitions for both the type of information covered and the nature of the right. Access to various particular types of information is routinely granted in piecemeal fashion through all levels of government including national sub-constitutional laws, national constitutions, and regional and international treaties. In the hierarchy of individual rights, constitutionally granted rights are commonly perceived as the strongest and are most likely to be accepted as inviolable. Thus, the increasing number of constitutional provisions granting a right to information, while still technically granting the right as a matter of law, does at least suggest that such constitutional rights have a source and justification that goes beyond mere law. In the end, a mature statement of the right to information is more than a list of its current enumerations. Both effective advocacy and sound legal interpretation will benefit from starting with the full statement of the right to information -- the human right -- to the information that is needed to live self-actualized.

Kirkpatrick, A. (2007). Truth and Youth: the First Victims of War - Military Mis-information and the Responsibility of LibrariesInformation for Social Change v. 25, Summer.

Knuth, R. (2006). Burning Books and Leveling Libraries: Extremist Violence and Cultural Destruction. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood.
Kranich, N. (2001). Libraries and DemocracyThe Cornerstones of Liberty. Chicago: American Library Association.
Krashen, S. and Shin, F. (2004). "Summer Reading and the Potential Contribution of the Public Library in Improving Reading for Children in Poverty." Public Library Quarterly v. 23: p. 99-109.
Lewis, A. (2008). Questioning Library Neutrality: Essays from Progressive Librarian. Duluth: Library Juice Press.
Librarians for Human Rights. (2008, blog). Click here for more information.
Lowe, M. (2007). Civil Resistance and People Power: a Web Based BibliographyInformation for Social Change v. 25, Summer.
Maddison, Z. V. (2007). Information’s Role in Emerging Democratic Societies: the Case of IndonesiaInformation for Social Change v. 25, Summer.
Mahoney, J. (2007). The Challenge of Human Rights: Their Origin, Development, and Significance. Malden, MA; Oxford : Blackwell Publishing.
Maret, S. L. (Winter 2005-2006). "Formats are a Tool for the Quest for Truth: HURIDOCS Human Rights Materials for Library and Human Rights Workers."Progressive Librarian v. 26.
Masters, S. (2007). Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML)Information for Social Change v. 25, Summer.
May, L. (2005) Crimes Against Humanity: A Normative Account. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
McCook, K.,
(2007). " Librarians as Advocates for the Human Rights of Immigrants. Progressive Librarian v. 29, Summer: p. 51-4
& Phenix, K. J. (2007). (forthcoming). "PublicLibraries and Human Rights." Public Library Quarterly v. 25(1/2).
(2005). "Social Justice as a Context for a Career in Librarianship." In Perspectives, Insights and Priorities: 17 Leaders Speak Freely of Librarianship. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.
(2004). "Public Libraries and People in Jail." Reference and User Services Quarterly v. 43: p. 26-30.
(2004). "The Librarian and Human Rights: Protecting Discourse against Repression." Catholic Library World v. 74: p. 23-28.
(2004). "Sustaining the Public Sphere in Libraries." Human Rights Project.
(2003). "Suppressing the Commons: Misconstrued Patriotism vs. a Psychology of Lliberation." Reference and User Services Quarterly v. 42: p. 14-17.
& Barber, P. (2002). "Public Policy as a Factor Influencing Adult Lifelong Learning, Adult Literacy and Public Libraries." Reference and User Services Quarterly v. 41: p. 66-75.
(2002). "Rocks in the Whirlpool: Equity of Access and the American Library Association.” Commissioned for the American Library Association, “Key Action Area: Equity of Access” Web site. 
Ongley, D., & Roy, A. (2002). "Cultural Rresponsiveness, Tolerance and the Alaska Library Community." Pacific Northwest Library Quarterly v. 66: p. 16-19.
& Meyer, R. (2001). "Public libraries and comprehensive community initiatives." Public Libraries v. 40: p. 282-288.
Librarian at the Kitchen Table. Includes mailing list and 2-3 messages a week. Launched 7/8/01. Subscribers as of 1/01/05 : 780. continued at the blog :
& Brand, K. (2001). "Community Iindicators, Genuine Progress, and the Golden Billion." Reference and User Services Quarterly v. 40: p. 337-340.
(2001). "Social Justice, Personalism, and the Practice of Llibrarianship." Catholic Library World v. 72: p. 80-84.
(2001). "Poverty, Democracy and Public Libraries.” In N. Kranich (Ed.), Libraries & Democracy: The Cornerstones of Liberty. Chicago: American Library Association Editions, 28-46.
(2000). "Library Services and Diversity." Library Trends. (As editor, introduction, etc.)
(2000). "Ending the Isolation of Poor People." American Libraries v. 31: p. 45.
(1998). "Rural Poverty Programs: Library Services to Farmworkers." In K. M. Venturella (Ed.), Poor People and Library Services. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland Publishers, 154-164. 
Mehra, Bharat, and Srinivasan, Ramesh. (2007). "The library-community convergence framework for community action: Libraries as catalysts of social change," Libri: International Journal of Libraries and Information Services v. 55, September: p. 170-188.
Miller, R. & Bardales, A. (2006). "BetterTogether: The Joint Conference."Library Journal v. 131: 18.
Joint Conference of Librarians of Color as reported in Library Journal: "At a panel, Kathleen de la Peña McCook (Univ. of South Florida, Tampa) reflected on a dearth in cross-organization work. Within ALA, the creation of the various groups-feminist, gay and lesbian, ethnic, and the Social Responsibilities Round Table-"may have divided us up too much," she said. Then she argued that librarianship is human rights work and suggested displays on subjects such as secret detention and rendition, enforced disappearances, the meaning of habeas corpus, and more. She and others encouraged the librarians present to, in McCook's words, "commit to more active involvement in social issues."'
Montgomery, B. P. (1996). "Archiving Human Rights: A Paradigm for Collection Development," Journal of Academic Librarianship v. 22: p. 87-96.
OHCHR. (1996-2007). The International Bill of Human Rights. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human RightsClick here for more information.
Phenix, K. J. (2007). "Dignity and Justice for All of Us: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948-2008."  Progressive Librarian v. 30, Winter: p. 1-2.
Phenix, K. J., & McCook, K. (2006). A Commitment to Human Rights - Let’s Honor the Qualities Required of a Librarian Dedicated to Human RightsInformation for Social Change v. 25, Summer.
Phenix, K. J., & McCook, K. (2005). Human Rights and Librarians. Reference and User Services Quarterly v. 45 no. 1: p. 23-26.
Samek, T.(2007) Librarianship and Human Rights: A Twenty-First Century Guide. (Chandos, 2007).
Samek, T. (2006). "Freedom to Read Week: The Strength of Librarianship in a Fragile World." Feliciter v. 52 no. 1: p. 18-19.
Samek, T. (2005). "Ethical Reflection on 21st Century Information Work: An Address to Teachers and Librarians." Progressive Librarian v. 25: p. 43-61.
Samek, T. (2001). Intellectual Freedom and Social Responsibility in American Librarianship, 1967 -1974. Chicago: American Library Association.
Samek, T. (1996). The Library Bill of Rights in the 1960s: One Profession, One Ethic. Library Trends v. 45: p. 50-60.
Samek, T. (2001). "Library Ethics, Rights, and Values: Provocative Commentary on the Utility of Library Rhetoric." [Canadian Library Association's Code of Ethics and the ALA Library Bill of Rights]. PNLA Quarterly, v. 65 no. 3: 15-17.
"Tracked in America"
University of Washington. Human Rights Film Directory.  
United Nations. (1948). Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

Professional Organizations Committed to Diversity and Outreach:
American Library Association. Office for Diversity.
American Library Association. Office for Literacy and Outreach Services.
American Library Association. Social Responsibilities Round Table.
Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) of the American Library Association.
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table (GBLTRT) of the American Library Association.
The Hunger, Homelessness & Poverty Task Force (HHPTF), a group within the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT), was formed in 1996 to help promote and implement Policy 61 (Library Services for Poor People) and to raise awareness of issues related to poverty.
The “Library Services to the Homeless” page provides recommended resources relating to the following four categories:
*Economic, Legal, and Human Rights Issues
*Local Statistics
*Selected Readings for Librarians
*Social Exclusions and Libraries
In addition, the page links to an archive dating back to March 2005 and offers a list of entries by topic.
REFORMA: National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking:
Other Sources:
Union Librarian (blog):

Human Rights Organizations
American Civil Liberties Union 
This organization works to preserve and protect the civil rights delineated in the US Constitution.
Good Search
Good Search is a search engine which donates 50-percent of its revenue to the charities and schools designated by its users.
Human and Constitutional Rights
Their website is administered by the Columbia University Law School Library. It provides a comprehensive array of links to human rights organizations all over the world.
The Human Rights Institute
Human Rights Watch 
An independent organization dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world.
New Tactics in Human Rights
from their page: "The New Tactics in Human Rights Project, led by a diverse group of international organizations, advisors and practitioners, promotes tactical innovation and strategic thinking within the international human rights community."
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNESCO promotes international cooperation in education, science, culture and communication. The organization is committed to educating about human rights.
United Nations Office of the High Commisssioner for Human Rights
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) represents the world's commitment to universal ideals of human dignity. The organization has a unique mandate from the international community to promote and protect all human rights.
US Human Rights Network
This Network provides ways for organizations and individuals working for human rights and social justice to connect with others working on those issues in the US and in other countries. A central premise of the organization is that the US does not provide many of its own residents with the rights it purports to demand of other countries.
Women's Human Rights-net
An organization dedicated to providing information and analysis on women's human rights around the world.

Foundational Sources: Human Rights

Key Documents, in Chronological Order
Vedas (ca. 2000-1000 B.C.E.)
Mahony, William K. (1998). The Artful Universe: An Introduction to the Vedic Religious Imagination. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
Holdrege, Barbara A. (1995). Veda and Torah: Transcending the Textuality of Scripture. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
Analects of Confucius (ca. 479 B.C.E.-221 B.C.E.)
Confucius. (2005). The Analects of Confucius. Stilwell, KS:
The Eight Beatitudes (Appx. AD 30)
from the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus Christ
The Qur’an (ca. 632)
Haleem, M.A.S. Abdel. (2004). The Qur’an: A New Translation by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem. New York: Oxford University Press.
Magna Carta (1215)
Drew, Katherine Fischer. (2004). Magna Carta. Westport, CN: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.
Milton’s Areopagitica (1644)
Milton, John. (2004). Areopagitica. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, LLC.
Locke’s Letter Concerning Tolerance and Second Treatise of Civil Government (1690)
Locke, John. (2004). A Letter Concerning Toleration. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, Inc.
Locke, John. (2003). The Second Treatise on Civil Government. Wheeling, IL: Harlan Davidson Incorporated.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Social Contract (1761)
Rousseau, Jean Jacques, et. al. (2006). The Social Contract. New York: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated.
Thomas Paine’s The Rights of Man (1791-92)
Paine, Thomas. (2006). The Rights of Man. Teddington, UK: Echo Library.
The Declaration of Independence (1776)
Library of Congress. (2006). Declaration of Independence: Primary Documents of American History (Virtual Programs & Services, Library of Congress).
Abigail Adams, “Remember the Ladies” (1789)
Massachusetts Historical Society. (2006). The Massachusetts Historical Society | The Adams Family Papers.
France: Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789)
Yale Law School. (2005). The Avalon Project: Declaration of the Rights of Man – 1789.
U.S. Bill of Rights (1789)
Library of Congress.
Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792)
Wollstonecraft, Mary. (2001). A Vindication of the Rights of Women. Madison, WI: Turtleback Books.
Kant’s Perpetual Peace (1797)
Kant, Immanuel. (1996). Perpetual Peace: A Philosophic Essay. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, Ltd.
Robert Owen’s New View of Society (1817)
Owen, Robert. (1991). A New View of Society. Oxford, England: Woodstock Books.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “Declaration of Sentiments at Seneca Falls”(1848)
Women's Rights National Historic Park Website.
Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau (1849)
Thoreau, Henry David. (2002). Civil Disobedience. New York: Book Surge, LLC.
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)
Mill, John Stuart. (2004). On Liberty. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, LLC.
Declaration of the Rights of Toiling and Exploited Peoples (1918)
Bryant, Louise. (1918). “Chapter IX: The Constituent Assembly – Declaration of the Rights of the Toiling and Exploited People.” Six Months in Red Russia. New York: George H. Doran Company.
International Labour Organization Constitution (1919)
International Labour Organization. (2006). About the ILO: Who we are: ILO Constitution.
International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women and Children (1921)
International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women and Children. The American Journal of International Law, 18(3), Supplement: Official Documents, 130-137. (1924). [Available through JSTOR]
Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1924) League of Nations
University of Minnesota. Human Rights Library. (n.d.). Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1924, adopted Sept. 26, 1924, League of Nations O.J. Spec. Supp. 21 at 43 (1924).
Convention to Suppress the Slave Trade and Slavery (1926)
Yale Law School. (1998). The Avalon Project: Convention to Suppress the Slave Trade and Slavery September 25, 1926.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “Four Freedoms" (1941)
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. (n.d.). Annual Message to Congress, January 6, 1941, The “Four Freedoms” Speech.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
Adopted and proclaimed by the United Nations on December 10, 1948.
"Are There 'Human Rights' in Buddhism?" (1995)
Keown, D. Journal of Buddhist Ethics v. 2.
"Mahayana Buddhism and Human Rights: Focusing on Methods of Interpretation"
Shiotsu, T.

ALA Policy 61 (Library Services for the Poor)
The American Library Association promotes equal access to information for all persons, and recognizes the urgent need to respond to the increasing number of poor children, adults, and families in America. These people are affected by a combination of limitations, including illiteracy, illness, social isolation, homelessness, hunger, and discrimination, which hamper the effectiveness of traditional library services. Therefore it is crucial that libraries recognize their role in enabling poor people to participate fully in a democratic society, by utilizing a wide variety of available resources and strategies. Concrete programs of training and development are needed to sensitize and prepare library staff to identify poor people's needs and deliver relevant services. And within the American Library Association the coordinating mechanisms of programs and activities dealing with poor people in various divisions, offices, and units should be strengthened, and support for low-income liaison activities should be enhanced.
61.1 Policy Objectives
The American Library Association shall implement these objectives by:
  1. Promoting the removal of all barriers to library and information services, particularly fees and overdue charges.
  2. Promoting the publication, production, purchase, and ready accessibility of print and nonprint materials that honestly address the issues of poverty and homelessness, that deal with poor people in a respectful way, and that are of practical use to low-income patrons.
  3. Promoting full, stable, and ongoing funding for existing legislative programs in support of low-income services and for pro-active library programs that reach beyond traditional service-sites to poor children, adults, and families.
  4. Promoting training opportunities for librarians, in order to teach effective techniques for generating public funding to upgrade library services to poor people.
  5. Promoting the incorporation of low-income programs and services into regular library budgets in all types of libraries, rather than the tendency to support these projects solely with "soft money" like private or federal grants.
  6. Promoting equity in funding adequate library services for poor people in terms of materials, facilities, and equipment.
  7. Promoting supplemental support for library resources for and about low-income populations by urging local, state, and federal governments, and the private sector, to provide adequate funding.
  8. Promoting increased public awareness--through programs, displays, bibliographies, and publicity--of the importance of poverty-related library resources and services in all segments of society.
  9. Promoting the determination of output measures through the encouragement of community needs assessments, giving special emphasis to assessing the needs of low-income people and involving both anti-poverty advocates and poor people themselves in such assessments.
  10. Promoting direct representation of poor people and anti-poverty advocates through appointment to local boards and creation of local advisory committees on service to low-income people, such appointments to include library-paid transportation and stipends.
  11. Promoting training to sensitize library staff to issues affecting poor people and to attitudinal and other barriers that hinder poor people's use of libraries.
  12. Promoting networking and cooperation between libraries and other agencies, organizations, and advocacy groups in order to develop programs and services that effectively reach poor people.
  13. Promoting the implementation of an expanded federal low-income housing program, national health insurance, full-employment policy, living minimum wage and welfare payments, affordable day care, and programs likely to reduce, if not eliminate, poverty itself.
  14. Promoting among library staff the collection of food and clothing donations, volunteering personal time to anti-poverty activities and contributing money to direct-aid organizations.
  15. Promoting related efforts concerning minorities and women, since these groups are disproportionately represented among poor people.
ALA Task Force Member Survey on Policy 61 The Hunger, Homelessness & Poverty Task Force, in partnership with the OLOS Subcommittee on Library Services to Poor and Homeless People, reported the findings from the ALA Task Force Member Survey on Policy 61 at the June 2008 ALA Conference. Click here for more information.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

70th Anniversary Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.
The Universal Declaration – the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages - is as relevant today as it was on the day that it was proclaimed.

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