Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Last Chance for the Next 4 Years for In-State Tuition

Over the last few weeks the NJ Regional Coalition, a group made up of hundreds of religious leaders, along with NJ Immigration Policy Network and the NJ Catholic Conference decided to make a last push at the end of the Corzine administration for a bill that would allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates and county colleges and state universities.

It was an extreme long shot, since the bill has languished in one committee after another for eight years. But as we know, with faith in God, and particularly during the season of Christmas, all things are possible.

As a result of their efforts the in-state tuition bill now has a chance at being passed after eight long years.

This bill is budget neutral (it will not affect anyone’s taxes) and it is an opportunity to respond with decency and correct an injustice aimed at students who are brought here as children.

If the bill does not pass by the end of this session Christie will not sign it and we may have to wait eight more years for another opportunity.

Please help move this bill along by calling, and emailing your state legislators.

Bill numbers: (Senate S1036/S1933 and Assembly A194/A990)

Our primary targets:

* Senator Barbara Buono: 732-205-1372- Chair Budget Committee

* Senator Paul Sarlo: 201-804-8118- Vice-Chair

* Senator Stephen Sweeney: 856-251-9801

* Senator Joseph Vitale: 732-855-7441

* Senator Anthony Bucco: 973-627-9700

* Senator Kevin O'Toole:973-237-1362

* Senator Joseph Pennacchio: 973-984-0922

Hello my name is ________ I am a member of Pax Christi NJ and I live in _________. I am contacting you to ask you to support the in-state tuition bill (S1036/S1933).

In the words of Pope Benedict “Every migrant is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance.”

Our Catholic faith instructs that one of those rights is the right to an education. Forcing students who were brought to this country as children and now call NJ home creates an impediment to higher education that is unnecessary and fundamentally unjust.

Please vote in favor of in-state tuition.

If you can, please join us in Trenton on January 4th-

Monday, January 4, 2010 9:00 AM-1:00 PM

Economic Growth, Academic Excellence, Vocational and Professional Empowerment:
"Elevate Through In-State"
Statehouse Annex in Trenton
Committee Room 3 - 1st floor
Statehouse Annex Building

If you are coming please contact Nadia at with the following information:

1. Your personal/organizational RSVP with contact information

2. Names and/or amount of people that you will be bringing

May you be enjoying the peace & blessings of Christmas.

Kathy O'Leary
Coordinator - Pax Christi NJ

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Please call Congress TODAY for Humane Immigration Reform

Today a group of over 70 individuals representing 25 groups from throughout the state led by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Immigrants Rights Program will be marching for seven miles from the federal building in Newark, NJ to the immigration detention center in Elizabeth in A Walk Toward Humane Immigration Policy.

Please help amplify their actions for humane immigration reform by adding your voice.

It may be particularly important for you to call your representative tomorrow.

If you live in one of the following four districts, your representative is considered a swing vote and his support could be pivotal in crafting immigration reform legislation next year.

District 2 – LoBiondo; District 3 – Adler; District 4 – Smith; District 7 - Lance

The future for the approximately 12 million undocumented immigrants, and the 4 million children living in mixed immigration status families could depend on your representative. Please urge him to reject xenophobia and encourage him to craft legislation that is fair, just, and compassionate.

Please call and say:

"Hello, my name is _____________ and I am a member of [Pax Christi NJ] calling about humane immigration reform. I am deeply concerned about:

* the indiscriminate detention and deportation of immigrants

* the lack of due process in the immigration court system

Please legislate for:

* a path to legal permanent residence for undocumented immigrants which respects the dignity and rights of all workers and families and re-unites immigrant families that have been separated.

Thank you for listening to my concerns. I will hold you, and all workers and families, especially immigrants in my daily prayers."

Please email me after you have made your phone call so that we can track how many calls were made.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

NJ Call-in 12/10 To Support Humane Immigration Reform

Thursday Dec 10th

International Human Rights Day

Statewide Call-in

To Support Humane Immigration Reform

On December 10th a group of individuals led by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Immigrants Rights Program will be marching for seven miles from the federal building in Newark, NJ to the immigration detention center in Elizabeth in A Walk Toward Humane Immigration Policy.

Please help amplify their actions for humane immigration reform by adding your voice.

Call your congressman Thursday December 10 and ask him to support immigration policy which:

§ Respects the dignity and rights of all workers

§ Ends the indiscriminate detention and wholesale deportation of immigrants

§ Restores due process to the immigration court system

§ Creates a path to legal permanent residence for undocumented immigrants

§ Keeps families together and re-unites families that have been separated

Talking points:

§ Immigrant rights are human rights

§ All workers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of their immigration status

§ The existing immigration system has resulted in a growing number of persons in this country living in the shadows as they toil in jobs and are exploited by employers, landlords and others who prey on their vulnerability.

§ Our current immigration system contributes to the exploitation, and even deaths of migrants who otherwise contribute their work and talents to our nation

Please email after you have called with the name of your congressman and any feedback.

Contact your friends to ask them to call too.

For more information on immigration reform

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Interfaith Immigration Coalition

The Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform

Interfaith Worker Justice

Don’t know how to contact your congressman?

Go to and type in your zip-code

Congressional Districts for House of Representatives New Jersey

District 1

Andrews, Robert E. (D)

DC Phone: (202) 225-6501

District 2

LoBiondo, Frank A. (R)

DC Phone: (202) 225-6501

District 3

John Adler (D)

DC Phone: (202) 225-4765

District 4

Smith, Christopher H. (R)

DC Phone: (202) 225-3765

District 5

Garrett, Scott (R)

DC Phone: (202) 225-4465

District 6

Pallone, Frank (D)

DC Phone: (202) 225-4671

District 7

Lance Leonard (R)

DC Phone: (202) 225-5361

District 8

Pascrell, Bill

DC Phone: (202) 225-5751

District 9

Rothman, Steven R. (D)

DC Phone: (202) 225-5061

District 10

Payne, Donald M. (D)

DC Phone: (202) 225-3436

District 11

Frelinghuysen, Rodney P. (R)

DC Phone: (202) 225-5034

District 12

Holt, Rush D. (D)

DC Phone: (202) 225-5801

District 13

Albio Sires (D)

DC Phone: (202)225-7919

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Our Children Deserve a World without War and a Society without Fear

I woke up today, as I most often do, thinking of my son. Today, however, I was thinking of the world that my generation would be leaving him.

I grew up in fear of a nuclear war. In the mid 70’s my grammar school was still holding duck and cover drills. I remember being led by our teachers into the hallway of our school and being told that this was a safe place in the event of a nuclear bomb blast because of the concrete walls. As a 1st grader, I knew this was not true. Along with preparedness for a nuclear war, we were taught to loathe communism and abhor the Russians and the Chinese.

When the Berlin Wall came down my anxiety lifted. To me, the destruction of the iconic symbol of the cold war meant an end to the state of perpetual war which had led our country to Korea, Vietnam, and covertly to participate in the dirty wars in Latin America. Our decades-long enemies were now our allies and it seemed as if anything were possible. The anxiety and fear of the future that I had carried since grammar school fell away like the stone of the wall. My trepidation returned, however, as our country replaced the cold war with the war on terror.

Currently our country is fighting two declared wars. Our troops are stationed in at least 150 countries and we are still training the soldiers of repressive Latin American governments at the School of the Americas at Fort Benning in Georgia. The U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile still stands at over 2500 warheads and a total of seven countries are known to have their own nuclear weapons. On top of it all, today President Obama is expected to announce that he will be sending as many as 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan. This morning I sobbed at the thought of my son growing up with the fear and anxiety that the state of perpetual war brings. Who will he be taught to hate? What will he be taught to fear? How will I raise him to be loving, compassionate and hopeful in spite of it all? The promise of a new path which was born of the dismantling of the Berlin Wall seems to have been forgotten.

I will pray for my son and all the world’s children. I will pray especially hard for myself and all parents that we have the courage to look for that new path which leads to peace and global solidarity. In the words of Sr. Mary Lou Kownacki “May my imagination overcome death and despair with new possibility. And may I risk reputation, comfort and security to bring this hope to the children.” My son and all of our children deserve to grow up in a world without war and a society without fear.

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