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Hello out there!

Greetings from Santa Fe and Albuquerque and El Paso, where our team is working from home and doing our best to support one another and the families and people we work with. We hope you are all finding as much peace as possible in the chaos. This newsletter is here to help you understand what is going on our world of immigration policies, detention, and the border as the COVID-19 outbreak unfolds. As you will see we are urging people and decision makers in the public to understand that public health and national unity must come before our fear based immigration policies. This is a time for unity and cooperation! We hope you find this information useful and find a way to contribute to that effort from home. There is so much strength inside of us all. At Santa Fe Dreamers we know this because we work with immigrants and refugees. We see regular people every day doing extraordinary things against the backdrop of unimaginable crisis. Look around your community and we know you too will see all that strength too. Stay safe, friends. Let us know how we can support you!

- The team at Santa Fe Dreamers Project.  
  • First things first, know that if someone you know needs advice of an immigration lawyer, our doors might be closed but our phones are on and they just have to call 505-490-2789 and leave a message or email and we will get back to them. You can also email us if you are not from New Mexico and we will help connect you with resources in your area. We are keeping our own social media as updated as possible about how we plan to continue to help folks during this crisis.
  • Next learn. As usual, activism starts with education. Things are quite dynamic but today, March 18, here is the best news we can recommend about this unfolding crisis and how it affects our world:
  • Please read the collective statement we made to ICE with our local partners for cooperation and compassion during this public health crisis. Know that ICE has barely responded to this careful, strategic, and professional request. 
  • There is a fast growing (viral, if you will) movement for ICE to release every single detainee from immigration detention. First know that this is a responsible and rational demand and not a radical one. Detention, jail, prison, really any forced confinement, creates extraordinarily dangerous conditions for a pandemic and pose an enormous risk for overall containment. Second, ICE has the authority to release anyone or everyone. The authority to release people for urgent humanitarian reasons or for significant public benefit is imbedded in the Immigration and Nationality Act. Finally, alternatives to detention exist including bonds and GPS monitoring. To add your name to the movement to #FreeTheMall, consider signing RAICES' petition. 
  • Please check out this incredible toolkit from the Detention Watch Network, about how to pressure our country at every level to respect the lives of immigrants and refugees and release them from detention during this national crisis. You can be a leader here in your social and professional networks and Detention Watch Network lays out exactly how. Check it out. Let ideas come to you. Let us know what you are doing so we can support!
  • Check out this social media toolkit from our pals at Innovation Law Lab to help you create conversation about this issue on your social media. 
  • One of the things that can help people get safe right now is being able to pay bonds. Bonds to be released from detention can range anywhere from 1,500 to sometimes as high as $60,000! Community Bond Funds make that possible for people who simply cannot pay for their own release. Here are two we love:
    • SFDP's bond fund for transgender women. Our clients are not in Cibola anymore but we are supporting trans women detained all over the US. We are currently out of funds after paying something like 28 bonds. 
    • The Fronteriza Fianza Fund, run by our friends in El Paso. They just paid two bonds for our clients each 10K. Two vulnerable women free from detention. 
  • Make sure COVID-19 relief efforts include the immigrant community. We are seeing enormous community efforts to make sure families are fed, housed, tested, and have access to economic aid. We need to be the best advocates as these resources are being developed to make sure that they are in all the languages of people in our community, that protocol is in place where they do not need "papers" to get aid, and that undocumented people are explicitely invited to take part and ensured of their safety. It is our jobs to gently and kindly remind folks running these relief efforts if they are not getting this piece right. 
  • Finally, because we all need a little poetry and a lot of reflection, this is a poem to share by Dori Midnight that we read at our staff meeting the other day:


-Dori Midnight

We are humans relearning to wash our hands. 
Washing our hands is an act of love
Washing our hands is an act of care
Washing our hands is an act that puts the hypervigilant body at ease 
Washing our hands helps us return to ourselves by washing away what does not serve.

Wash your hands 
like you are washing the only teacup left that your great grandmother carried across the ocean, like you are washing the hair of a beloved who is dying, like you are washing the feet of Grace Lee Boggs, Beyonce, Jesus, your auntie, Audre Lorde, Mary Oliver- you get the picture. 
Like this water is poured from a jug your best friend just carried for three miles from the spring they had to climb a mountain to reach.
Like water is a precious resource 
made from time and miracle

Wash your hands and cough into your elbow, they say.
Rest more, stay home, drink water, have some soup, they say.
To which I would add: burn some plants your ancestors burned when there was fear in the air,
Boil some aromatic leaves in a pot on your stove until your windows steam up.
Open your windows 
Eat a piece of garlic every day. Tie a clove around your neck. 

My friends, it is always true, these things.
It has already been time.
It is always true that we should move with care and intention, asking
Do you want to bump elbows instead? with everyone we meet.
It is always true that people are living with one lung, with immune systems that don’t work so well, or perhaps work too hard, fighting against themselves. It is already true that people are hoarding the things that the most vulnerable need. 
It is already time that we might want to fly on airplanes less and not go to work when we are sick.
It is already time that we might want to know who in our neighborhood has cancer, who has a new baby, who is old, with children in another state, who has extra water, who has a root cellar, who is a nurse, who has a garden full of elecampane and nettles. 
It is already time that temporarily non-disabled people think about people living with chronic illness and disabled folks, that young people think about old people.
It is already time to stop using synthetic fragrances to not smell like bodies, to pretend like we’re all not dying. It is already time to remember that those scents make so many of us sick. 
It is already time to not take it personally when someone doesn’t want to hug you.
It is already time to slow down and feel how scared we are. 

We are already afraid, we are already living in the time of fires.

When fear arises, 
and it will,
let it wash over your whole body instead of staying curled up tight in your shoulders.
If your heart tightens,
and expand.
science says: compassion strengthens the immune system
We already know that, but capitalism gives us amnesia
and tricks us into thinking it’s the thing that protect us
but it’s the way we hold the thing.
The way we do the thing.

Those of us who have forgotten amuletic traditions, 
we turn to hoarding hand sanitizer and masks. 
we find someone to blame. 
we think that will help. 
want to blame something? 
Blame capitalism. Blame patriarchy. Blame white supremacy. 

It is already time to remember to hang garlic on our doors
to dip our handkerchiefs in thyme tea
to rub salt on our feet
to pray the rosary, kiss the mezuzah, cleanse with an egg.
In the middle of the night,
when you wake up with terror in your belly, 
it is time to think about stardust and geological time
redwoods and dance parties and mushrooms remediating toxic soil.
it is time
to care for one another
to pray over water
to wash away fear

every time we wash our hands

Copyright © 2020 Santa Fe Dreamers Project, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 8009
Santa Fe, NM 87504

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