Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Call to Action: International Migrants Day [December 18, 2008]


International Migrants Day

December 18, 2008

Following a historic Presidential election, the National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights (NNIRR) invites you to close the year by organizing and supporting events to commemorate December 18th – International Migrants Day, and by reaffirming our commitment to the rights of all immigrants by joining us to call for an end to immigration raids, detentions, and deportations. [Photo above by Arnoldo García Oct. 2008: Night time march in Manila for migrant rights organized as part of the People's Global Action for Migration, Development & Human Rights.]
About December 18, International Migrants Day

On December 18, 1990, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families was approved by the United Nations General Assembly, after almost a decade of governmental negotiations and pressure from migrant rights advocates around the world. Following lobbying efforts by advocates and migrant groups, in December 2000 the United Nations proclaimed December 18 as International Migrants Day.

Since 2001, in solidarity with other migrant rights organizations around the world, NNIRR has commemorated this day with members and allies. Each year we assist growing numbers of local events and initiatives with widely-endorsed call-to-actions, educational and organizing materials, and commemorative posters and t-shirts. (For more details, visit; for international events, visit and

International Migrants Day 2008

2008 has been a challenging year in the struggle for immigrant rights, with immigration raids, detentions and deportations taking place during the course of the build up to the recent election.

During the last eight years of the Bush Administration we have witnessed and experienced the assault on the human rights of immigrants: families, workers and entire communities subjected to intense policing, hundreds of thousands detained, and due process rights blatantly violated and ignored.

Using new forms of illegal racial, ethnic/nationality and religious profiling, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) heightened policing of immigrant workers, violating their labor rights, implemented special policies, including secret programs targeting Arabs, Muslims, South Asians and Sikhs, and illegally rounded up and deported hundreds of thousands.

In recognition of the challenges ahead of us, NNIRR calls on organizations and individuals around the country to commemorate this year’s International Migrants Day with a local event or action highlighting the following demands:

  • The immediate cessation of all immigration policing and raids;
  • A moratorium on all immigration detentions and deportations, while hearings -- that must include the testimony of those affected -- are held to determine the changes needed to restore due process rights and humanitarian policies and to hold DHS accountable.

By ending raids and placing detentions and deportations on hold, President-elect Obama and the new Congress can create a respite to consider humanitarian policy alternatives that reinstate due process and the rule of law to immigration services and enforcement.

We encourage these activities and messages as a launch pad to press the new Administration and Congress to implement humanitarian policies and practices -- to decriminalize immigration status and protect the rights of all workers. We must continue to demand a fair and just immigration policy that is “de-linked” from national security, and which includes the demilitarization of our borders.

Especially on International Migrants Day, when we recognize and honor migrants throughout the world, we need to raise awareness about the need for policies that ameliorate involuntary displacement and forced migration, including fair trade and sustainable community development, and fulfilling the need and access to healthcare, education, housing, and safe, healthy environments.

* * * * * *

To spotlight these urgent petitions, NNIRR encourages you and your community to organize a local event on or around December 18, 2008. Your event can take place at any number of places, and in various forms -- an afternoon action at a Federal Building, an evening gathering at a place of worship, even a potluck dinner at a local community center.

We encourage you to publicize your activity in the media to call attention to the significance of the day as well as to highlight our collective efforts to end immigration raids. We also encourage groups to coordinate their efforts with others locally, and to reach out to allies through this event.

NNIRR will collect information on all these activities to publicize them nationally and internationally, to raise the collective power of grassroots community action. We will also circulate a national press release on December 16, 2008, highlighting your events, and post this information on our website.

If you plan to organize an activity for International Migrants Day, please complete this online form ( or the attached response form and email to, or fax to 510-465-1885. For more information, contact:

Colin Rajah, NNIRR: 510-465-1984 x306 *


International Migrants Day Actions 2008
Registration Form

Yes! Please register our activity as part of the International Migrants Day Actions 2008.

Name of Organization:

Contact Person:

Contact Phone:

Contact Email:

Date & Time of Event/Action:

Brief Description of Event/Action:

Please email or fax (by December 14th, 2008) to:

Colin Rajah;; Fax: 510-465-1885

International Migrant Rights & Global Justice Program Director

National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights (NNIRR)

310 8th Street, Suite 303

Oakland, CA 94607 U.S.A.

tel: +01-510-465-1984 [ext. 306] fax: +01-510-465-1885



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