How To Respond

The text below was actually an email sent yesterday by Beto O’Rourke, the Congressman from El Paso, Texas who nearly won a U.S. Senate seat. It is worth reading in light of the recent tear gas assault on refugees on our southern border.

We have learned by speaking with one voice change is possible. The 2018 election proved that. We can make a difference by making a gift to organizations that support immigrants. Listed below are a couple organizations you can contribute to during this holiday season.

Email text from Beto O’Rourke:

It should tell us something about her home country that a mother is willing to travel 2,000 miles with her 4-month-old son to come here. Should tell us something about our country that we only respond to this desperate need once she is at our border. So far, in this administration, that response has included taking kids from their parents, locking them up in cages, and now tear gassing them at the border.

People are leaving violent countries where they fear for their lives. Without money, they are subsisting on hope for their kids, for themselves, that they can get to safety. After being denied the ability to lawfully petition for asylum for the last 10 days, they are desperate.

We choose how to respond to this challenge.

Let’s do this the right way and follow our own laws. Allow asylum seekers to petition for asylum at our ports of entry. They must do so peacefully and follow our laws; but we must also ensure the capacity to effectively and timely process those claims (right now 5,000 waiting in Tijuana and only 40 to 100 are processed a day).

Those who have a credible fear of returning to their home country (as determined by a U.S. judge) will be able stay until their full asylum request has been determined. Those applicants ultimately granted asylum will then live in the U.S., make us a better country for being here, and those who are not granted asylum will be returned to their home country.

Longer term: work with the people of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to address underlying conditions that are causing them to flee in the first place. That means addressing effects of our failed past involvement in those countries (in their civil wars, drug trade and drug wars) and the institutional failings in those countries (rule of law).

It won’t be easy and will involve a much greater investment of time, focus and resources. Or we can continue to ignore those countries and their people until they show up at our border.

– Beto

Consider a gift to:
Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition or New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice.

Remember, today is #GivingTuesday.

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Updated Congressional Delegation List – 116th Congress

Many have made it a practice of contacting their representatives in DC, a habit started in January, 2017. To prepare for and to welcome the 116th Congress, an updated list of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania delegations is available online.

It will be important to let our elected representatives hear our voices.

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ACA Open Enrollment 11/01/18 – 12/15/18

The Open Enrollment Period under the Affordable Care Act is from November 1 to Friday, December 15. Families in need of health coverage can sign up at HealthCare.gov.

The state of New Jersey recently launched a Get Covered NJ website to help people enroll. The site includes information about plan options, financial assistance and contact information for New Jersey consumers who want help to get covered.

As part of the outreach campaign, the state is also working with five community organizations to support enrollment efforts. These organizations are providing application assistance and conducting outreach events. The organizations are:

  • Center for Family Services – 877-922-2377
  • The Family Resource Network – 800-355-0271
  • Oranges ACA Navigator Project – 973-500-6031
  • Fulfill | Monmouth & Ocean – 732-918-2600 or 732-731-1400
  • Urban League of Hudson County – 201-451-8888, ext. 217

New Jerseyans can also call 877-9-NAVIG8 (877-962-8448) to talk about health insurance options and get help enrolling.

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Living Near Poverty

Most people don’t see poverty on a regular basis. It’s often out of site and out of mind. The other day a timely report was issued about families living near poverty. The numbers are astounding.

A news story was published yesterday in the New Jersey Herald by reporter Jennifer Jean Miller. It is titled, Report: 23 percent in county struggle but not in poverty. Before reading the article think of the phrases we often use to describe unfavorable life situations, “trying to make ends meet” or “struggling to get by”. Think of those who work two or three jobs.

For additional information visit the ALICE in New Jersey page of the United Way of Northern New Jersey. ALICE = Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. You can download the full 2018 New Jersey ALICE report.

November 6 is Election Day. Make your voice heard. Be a voter.

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Voter Registration Deadlines Approaching

Elections matter. If you want to see change happen you must participate.

Below is a set of voter information links. If you live in New Jersey you can download a
voter registration application form to be then mailed to your County Commissioner of Registration or Superintendant of Elections.

You can also check an Am I Registered page to determine if you are already registered. You should perform a polling place search if a new voter or recently moved to a new voting area.

To register in New Jersey you must be:

  • A United States citizen
  • At least 17 years old and may vote when reaching the age of 18
  • A resident of the county for 30 days before the election
  • You are NOT currently serving a sentence, probation or parole because of a felony conviction

If you live in Pennsylvania you can complete an online voter registration application. You can also check your voter registration status or find your polling place.

To register to vote in Pennsylvania you must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States for at least one month before the election
  • Be a resident of Pennsylvania and the election district in which you want to register and vote for at least 30 days before the next election
  • Be at least 18 years of age on or before the day of the next election

Keep these deadlines in mind. New Jersey voters have until October 16 to register for the November election. The last day to apply for a civilian absentee ballot is October 30 and must be returned by November 5.

The last day to register for the General Election in Pennsylvania is October 9. The last day to apply for a mail-in ballot is October 30. They must be returned by November 2.

Be a voter.

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Citizenship Question Threatens 2020 Census

The Trump Administration is attempting to weaken another American tradition – the U.S. Census. A scheme has been proposed that would add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The addition of this question will undermine the integrity of the Census Bureau. The inclusion of such a controversial question would have the effect of: 1) scaring certain members of local communities from participating in the Census, 2) threatening the flow of federal dollars to states and localities, and 3) cause an inaccurate and incomplete count of all person living in the United States.

The Commerce Department is currently accepting public comment on their Census plans. However, written comments must be submitted on or before August 7, 2018. Everyone should be counted. Let your voice be heard.

Take action and tell the U.S. Department of Commerce to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census.

Individual email comments may be sent to PRAcomments@doc.gov under Subject: “Comments for USBC-2018-0005-0001”. To read the full request for comments visit regulations.gov portal.

Note: The above email form is presented under the leadership of the League of Women Voters of the US. Thank you LWV.

Comment period ends August 7.

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Philadelphia Committee Person Class of 2018

A recent article indicates 1600 new Philadelphia Democratic Committee Persons were elected in the recent May 2018 Primary Election. It means that many – myself included – are looking for information, for resources, for tools to be able to get the job done. The purpose of this article is to provide a few resources that will make it easier for new Committee People to be effective.

Last month I began compiling a list of web links that would be useful as either bookmarks or as reference information during canvassing. The list of links eventually grew to cover such areas as: voter registration, election results, party organization websites, party bylaws and community resources. These website links are now available under the title of Websites For Philadelphia Committee People.

The list of websites was started in an effort to find information on voter registration. The first two links allow you to print out a voter registration application or to register a new voter online.

The list includes the latest version of the Democratic City Committee Bylaws, often referred to as the City Committee Rules. Recently obtained from the Pennsylvania Democratic Party is a copy of “Precinct Committee Person Guide & Resources” which I like to call “Precinct Handbook 2017.2.0.” Could someone explain why this twenty-seven page handbook is not readily available on the PaDems.com website? Or why the City Committee Rules are not available online either?

Please feel free to share the “Websites For Philadelphia Committee People” with others. Email me any suggested additions you may have. I am a Committee Person in 22-03 and consider myself to be a fellow member of the Class of 2018. Know of a good place to meet?

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