Thursday, February 11 , 2016, 5:50 pm | Fair 68º

Alliance Voices Support for Immigrants’ Rights in Santa Barbara

Local advocates gather for a news conference hosted by CAUSE to share personal stories and say, 'It is time to act'

Members of the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy gather Tuesday outside Santa Barbara City Hall to voice support for immigration reform.
Members of the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy gather Tuesday outside Santa Barbara City Hall to voice support for immigration reform.  (Gabriella Slabiak / Noozhawk photo)

By Gabriella Slabiak, Noozhawk Intern | @NoozhawkNews |

A day after President Barack Obama’s inauguration speech placed a priority on reforming federal immigration policy, representatives of several local organizations gathered in downtown Santa Barbara on Tuesday to voice their support for undocumented immigrants’ rights.

Local advocates spoke and shared personal stories at a news conference hosted by the nonprofit Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) at City Hall.

“We’re here to say, ‘It is time to act,’” said Anabel Merino, community organizer for CAUSE in Santa Barbara, opening up the demonstration. “There is no way around it.”

CAUSE was started in 2001 to improve social, economic and environmental justice by being the communicator between state legislators and the people.

Some of the tasks it has taken on are pushing for wage increases, improving workers’ policies, reaching out to low-wage immigrants, holding budget forums on state finances, and cleanups due to severe weather conditions and natural disasters.

The organization also has branches in Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties.

The 30-minute presentation, held next to De la Guerra Plaza for a small audience, was divided into six principles, for which at least one advocate shared his or her personal connection to deportation or undocumented people in the United States.

The principles included uphold family unity, providing a just process to secure legal residency and ultimately citizenship, respecting human and civil rights, providing economic opportunity to the region while upholding worker rights, addressing root causes of immigration for long-term solutions and comprehensive immigration reform, and recognizing immigrants’ full humanity and contributions

Marvin Giron, a 26-year-old undocumented immigrant, moved to the United States from Mexico City 23 years ago, and is the only one left out of his family — mother, three brothers, uncles, nephews and nieces — who is not in the country legally. Unable financially to pay for an education, he took a job in the distribution industry in Los Angeles.

“Constantly seeing how I was being oppressed, seeing the opportunities I was missing,” Giron said. “I was depressed, angry.”

In 2011, he came back to Santa Barbara to attend UCSB, supported by the California Dream Act.

“I’m pretty much tired of not being able to succeed,” he said. “I’m not here to take another person’s job, but I’m here to compete for that job.”

The Rev. Arthur Stevens of Trinity Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara said he got interested and looked into what happens to the detainees.

“One person was imprisoned because he parked his car 19 inches outside of the curb instead of 18,” he said, giving an example of one of his findings.

“I’ve heard enough of stories of suffering,” said Nayra Pacheco from UCSB’s IDEAS, who’s being contacted daily by undocumented students and their relatives.

Other guest speakers were Olivia Uribe from LatiDems; Daniel Elenes, from Just Communities; Yesenia De Casaus, representing Santa Barbara Democrats; and Ken Hough, executive director of Santa Barbara County Action Network.

Noozhawk intern Gabriella Slabiak can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

» on 01.23.13 @ 03:00 AM

We did this in 1986 and we gave 4 million amnesty. The Democrats promised if we did. This only once, they would tighten the boarders. Like Obama liars you can’t reward bad behavior..

Democrats lie, Iran, taxes, the debt, illegals, anti business, big government , more and more dependent on welfare food stamps and section 8 hand drugs..

» on 01.23.13 @ 03:25 AM

As a American I find this offensive on many levels.  This is nothing more than another free entry into our country for those who have not played by the rules.  Another slimy tactic by ‘community organizers’—now where have I heard that before?

» on 01.23.13 @ 11:19 AM

I’m all for immigrant rights! It’s just those illegals I want throws out of the country, dirty cheaters!

» on 01.23.13 @ 11:27 AM

Gimme a break, these illegals think they’re owed something.

Go through legal channels, become a citizen, start paying taxes, start contributing to society - Learn English!  You’re not an American until you learn English and communicate in our language - not learning the language says ‘hey, I don’t care about your country, I’d rather be in Mexico, I’m just using your taxes, schools, food stamps, etc because I’m lazy’.

» on 01.23.13 @ 12:15 PM

America has an immigration policy?

» on 01.23.13 @ 12:18 PM

“Some of the tasks it has taken on are pushing for wage increases”

Amazing how these open-borders groups cannot make the connection between wage suppression and the mass inflow of both illegal and legal immigrants.

» on 01.23.13 @ 12:20 PM

The american victim being taken advantage, again. The unsupecting american public has great difficulty reconciling what they deemed to be their right (or entitlement) and how resources are obtained.

The war report:
Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, North Korea, Mali, Japan, China, the legal gun owner. And the Banks have stuck to you, too.

This public is still under the belief that the wars are for freedom.

» on 01.23.13 @ 01:04 PM

More people to get on Welfare, Medi-Cal, WIC, Reduced tuition for Collage and more kids in primary schools. More Tax money to support. Oh wait a minute, Most ot the illigals are already there.

» on 01.23.13 @ 01:53 PM

Could we stop using the term “undocumented immigrant”?  THe term is “illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant”.  Yes we need a decent immigration policy, not to be confused with an open door policy.

» on 01.23.13 @ 02:41 PM

Here’s Overtaxed foaming at the mouth again… Dont you know it was Reagan who did that you moron?... oh never mind… talking to you is like talking to a wall…

I too am all for immigrant rights.  But these people arent immigrants, they’re criminals. 

Get back in line and play by the rules and then you can fight for what-ever rights you feel you’re due… but as a criminal, a cheat and thieves (stealing someone else’s chance is theft) you deserve nothing - that’s nada for those who refuse to learn English.

» on 01.23.13 @ 02:43 PM

Let’s face it, this immigration thing is a 20th century issue that has slopped over into the 21st century. The time has come to finally resolve it in an intelligent fashion, as three-fourths of Americans favor and Obama will undoubtedly confront. An interesting new worldwide book/ebook that helps explain the role, struggles, and contributions of immigrants and minorities is “What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to understand crazy American culture, people, government, business, language and more.” It paints a revealing picture of America for those who will benefit from a better understanding. Endorsed by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it also informs those who want to learn more about the last remaining superpower and how it compares to other nations on many issues. 
  As the book points out, immigrants and minorities are a major force in America, as Romney and the GOP recently discovered. Immigrants and the children they bear account for 60 percent of our nation’s population growth and own 11 percent of US businesses and are 60 percent more likely to start a new business than native-born Americans. They represent 17 percent of all new business owners (in some states more than 30 percent). Foreign-born business owners generate nearly one-quarter of all business income in California and nearly one-fifth in the states of New York, Florida, and New Jersey.
  Legal immigrants number 850,000 each year; undocumented (illegal) immigrants are estimated to be half that number. They come to improve their lives and create a foundation of success for their children to build upon, as did the author’s grandparents when they landed at Ellis Island in 1899 after losing 2 children to disease on a cramped cattle car-like sailing from Europe to the Land of Opportunity. Many bring skills and a willingness to work hard to make their dreams a reality, something our founders did four hundred years ago. In describing America, chapter after chapter identifies “foreigners” who became successful in the US and contributed to our society. However, most struggle in their efforts and need guidance in Santa barbara or Anytown, USA. Perhaps intelligent immigration reform, White House-Congress cooperation, concerned citizens and books like this can extend a helping hand. Here’s a closing quote from the book’s Intro: “With all of our cultural differences though, you’ll be surprised to learn how much our countries—and we as human beings—have in common on this little third rock from the sun. After all, the song played at our Disneyland parks around the world is ‘It’s A Small World After All.’ Peace.”

» on 01.23.13 @ 03:32 PM

OvertaxedTaxpayer, you always sound like such a moron. I suspect that you never do any wrong, that there is always someone else in your life to blame for everything. If you are interested at all in saving what might be left of your dignity, stop talking already.

» on 01.23.13 @ 04:09 PM

Democrats cant handle the truth, these liberal policies are destroying our nation.

» on 01.23.13 @ 07:07 PM

So the US empire can strong arm nations into economic submission, or reduce to rubble sovereign nations that do not bow to its extortion practices, the repercussions that force the peoples to flee from their homeland, whether it be because the organic industry was economically destroyed or bombed to the stone age.

Its fundamental economics. If the US has control over the majority of the worlds resources, its only logical the people follow the migration of their resources which ultimately end up under the control of the US corporation.

» on 01.23.13 @ 09:11 PM

The issue is Illegal or Undocumented Immigration!  I am a LEGAL Immigrant.  Here is what my parent had to do to immigrate to the US:  We all had to pass Health Exams and thorough background reviews.  My mother was born in a town without an official birth registry.  She had to get a government official to document that the Church Birth Registry was valid for use of proof.  My parents had to have enough money to be able to survive for one year, and my father had to have employable skills.  We had a sponsor. We immigrated under a quota system.
These requirements were to determine that our family would not have health or financial issues that would put us on the government dole.  Additionally the quota system insured that a limited number of immigrants from one region would come to the US at one time in order to have them assimilate into US culture. We all became proud American Citizens as soon as our 5 years were up.  We had to take tests to prove our ability to read and write in English, understand our system of government, and take an oath of allegiance to the United States of America! We all proudly did so. Our family bought into the pride of becoming American Citizens. While we continued to speak our native tongue when in native social situations, we ALL became fluent in ENGLISH! Our parents required it. We continued our native traditions along with our new American traditions…that is what the “melting pot” of America is all about.  Tell me why we should ‘give’ our valuable citizenship rights away for free? Particularly to those unwilling to assimilate into the American culture? It takes a lot of nerve to go to someone’s home and say that since you’ve been here a long time, you are now owed the benefits of that home.  I am all for immigration, I love the American melting pot.  Just do it legally and buy into the system! All we owe you is a legal path to citizenship.

» on 01.24.13 @ 01:20 AM

I know this article was just written by an intern so maybe the issues remain unclear, but what was their point here?

If they are trying to fix federal immigration laws, then why were they protesting or whatever in front of the city government building?  Immigration law has nothing to do with city government or policies or ordinances.

Do they need the local address for the Congressional rep Lois Capps instead?

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