Define American is a non-profit media and culture organization that uses the power of story to transcend politics and shift the conversation about immigrants, identity, and citizenship in a changing America.
Started 9 petitions
Tell the Washington Post to stop citing hate groups
It would be unthinkable for journalists to cite the KKK as a legitimate source in articles about race. It would be unimaginable to cite Nazi leaders in articles about issues impacting the Jewish community. It should be no different for anti-immigrant hate groups, whose founder is a white nationalist – yet the Washington Post has cited anti-immigrant hate groups 50 times in the first six months of 2018 alone. Sign our petition to demand that the Washington Post stop legitimizing hate groups by citing them in their reporting. Hate groups are on the rise and our country is in the throes of an increasingly emboldened anti-immigrant government. The media, in offering these groups a platform to use their language and perpetuate false narratives of fear and xenophobia, is legitimizing the insidious reasoning used to separate families, spread fear within immigrant communities, and racially profile American citizens. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and Numbers USA are all known anti-immigrant hate groups. Ethical and fair journalists should not reference these organizations or allow them to publish opinion pieces in their publications. We are asking journalists to stop quoting known hate groups; hate is not a balanced opinion. Tell the Washington Post to stop citing anti-immigrant hate groups.
Between May 7th and June 20th the Trump Administration separated nearly 3,000 children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, when they instituted a new “zero tolerance” policy. These kids, many of them toddlers who cannot speak for themselves, are concentrated in camps far from their parents, with no plan to reunite them. The government even had the gall to demand that parents agree to “self-deport” in order to get their kids back. On June 26th, a San Diego judge ordered the administration to #ReuniteEveryChild under the age of 5 by July 10th, and the remaining by July 26th. However, as of July 9th, the administration says they can only reunite 54 of the roughly 102 children under the age of 5, that’s less than 2% of the total separated. The administration requested an extension to these dates and on July 9th, a federal judge granted that extension. Our federal government is inflicting harm and trauma upon these children through this mistreatment. Their policies include not allowing staff to touch or hug the imprisoned children to comfort them. Meanwhile, parents who are desperately trying to call their own children can only call a single government hotline – a phone number which has been proven to be mostly ineffective. At Define American, we are asking everyone, especially journalists, demand a plan from the administration to immediately #ReuniteEveryChild with their parents on U.S. soil. Will you sign on and demand that the Trump Administration immediately #ReuniteEveryChild?
Stop Immigrant Communities from Being Erased - No Citizenship Question
The Trump administration recently announced a change to the upcoming 2020 Census. Everyone will be asked about citizenship status, which has caused panic in immigrant communities. Millions of undocumented people could opt-out of completing the Census for fear of being targeted by the Trump administration. The Census is about identifying who we are as a country. But up to six million U.S. citizen children may not be counted because they live with an undocumented family member. Using fear tactics against undocumented Americans would literally erase them from our nation’s history. This change impacts all Americans. The 2010 Census was used to determine distribution for about a third of federal assistance and 75% of federal grants. If you live in a community with a significant immigrant population, your town could be dramatically under-funded by this political move. Immigrants are the backbone of American communities. We cannot allow the U.S. Department of Commerce to put vulnerable communities at risk. The Trump administration can try to erase our national identity, but as Americans we must all stand up and be counted. Sign now to stop this change to the Census.
Netflix: Renew "One Day at a Time"
At a time when half of all Latino immigrants on television are portrayed as criminals, we desperately need art to help foster more inclusive, empathetic storytelling. Our entertainment shapes our view of the world. It must be reflective of the totality of our country. By telling underrepresented stories, we forge a greater cultural understanding, which benefits society as a whole. At Define American, we believe in the power of culture change as a means to fight anti-immigrant hatred and foster a more empathetic America. We emphatically believe that representation matters. Netflix’s-original comedy-drama, "One Day at a Time," is the type of programing that helps foster conversation and helps forge a more perfect union in a country bitterly divided. Whether it is a daughter grappling with coming out to her father or a son struggling with his Latino identity in Trump’s America, “One Day at A Time” explores identity in an organic and heartfelt way. We strongly urge Netflix to renew “One Day At A Time.”
USCIS: Keep “A Nation of Immigrants” in Your Mission Statement
In a letter to employees on February 22nd, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Lee Francis Cissna announced the agency would be changing their mission statement and removing the words “a nation of immigrants.” It now reads: "U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the nation’s lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity and promise by efficiently and fairly adjudicating requests for immigration benefits while protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and honoring our values." This stands as a significant deviation from the agency’s previous mission statement which includes "USCIS secures America's promise as a nation of immigrants." Omitting this phrase from the USCIS mission statement undermines and rejects one of the bedrock principles the United States was founded on. It not only goes against our values as a nation, but demonstrates the current administration’s contempt for immigrants and refugees and a repudiation of our history. As the son of a Peruvian immigrant mother, USCIS Director Lee Francis Cissna should understand the importance of the words “a nation of immigrants.” We cannot separate immigrants from Americans, as the two are inherently linked. The mission statement will not change the fact that the United States was built on the backs of immigrants, those who came seeking a better life and those who were forcefully brought here. However, we will not allow the Trump Administration to continue to divide Americans from immigrants and frame it as a security issue when it’s a human rights issue. For our Define American Chapter President, the removal of these words from the USCIS mission statement feels like a rejection of his family who emigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic. Add your name to those who want to keep our most fundamental principle intact while honoring our diverse history by demanding that USCIS reinstate the phrase “a nation of immigrants” in its mission statement. Signed,Define American at Rutgers University-Camden
Protect Undocumented Students at Abilene Christian University
Dear President Phil Schubert: We, the students of Abilene Christian University, believe that our campus should serve as a safe community for all students regardless of immigration status. We particularly ask that you and the University publicly express its commitment to the protection of all its students, especially those who are recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA has been terminated, making students once again vulnerable including risk of deportation, losing their jobs, scholarships, and driver’s licenses. An attack on their safety is an attack on the entire ACU community. The time to act to protect our students is right now. Students at this university who have DACA, and those who are undocumented without DACA, should not have to fear losing their education and feel unsafe on our campus. Let’s show them — and all students — that we are the kind of community that has their back and they will always be welcome here. Jesus said, in Matthew 25:34-40, that, “…the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’” We call on you to declare that Abilene Christian University will always be open to undocumented students with or without DACA. To ensure the safety of our fellow students of all immigration statuses, we request the following steps be taken and a public statement be issued: 1. Make the university a sanctuary campus that protects the undocumented from deportation or detention, including refusing ICE (U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) access to the campus and student records. 2. Continue to allow qualifying undocumented students to pay their current tuition rate. 3. Take these measures during the current semester (in other words, immediately) so that DACA students can be assured of institutional support. Signed, the Students of Abilene Christian University
Protect undocumented students at SIUC
Dear SIUC Administration, We, the students, staff, faculty, and community of Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), believe that our campus should serve as a safe community for all students regardless of immigration status. We particularly ask the University publicly express and demonstrate a commitment to the protection of all our students, especially those who are recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA is being terminated, making students once again vulnerable, including risk of deportation, losing their jobs, scholarships, and driver’s licenses. We currently have several students with DACA attending our Carbondale campus, and that number may be higher when all SIU campuses are included. An attack on their safety is an attack on the entire SIU community and the values of openness and inclusivity that have made our university, our community, and our nation great. The time to act to protect our students’ education and future is right now. Students at this university who have DACA should not have to fear losing their education and feeling unsafe on our campus. Let’s show them – and all students – that we are the kind of community that has their back and they will always be welcome here. We call on you to declare that SIUC will always be open to students who are DACA recipients regardless of the program’s termination. To ensure the safety of our fellow students of all immigration statuses, we request the following steps be taken and a public statement be issued: 1. Make the university a safe campus that protects the undocumented form deportation or detention by refusing to assist in the enforcement of immigration laws except as required by law (according to the TRUST Act). 2. Protect student record information, in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), by the following means: a. Refuse to turn over student information to immigration enforcement authorities except pursuant to a court order. b. Refrain from gathering information about students’ citizenship or immigration status in the course of providing educational or other services in connection with public safety activities, except as required in connection with tuition or financial aid eligibility. 3. Refuse immigration enforcement officials access to campus except to the extent required by a warrant or court order; ensure that students, advisors, and allies are prepared in the case of an ICE/CBP presence on SIUC’s campus by issuing a timely warning; and create an emergency plan in case of an ICE/CBP presence on campus. 4. Partner with local community organizations to help provide Immigration 101 trainings for faculty and staff so that they have a better understanding of our students’ urgent challenge and are better suited to help our immigrant students. 5. Expand CAPS and Saluki Cares resources to make DACA-specific counseling publicly available and to make Saluki Cares funding available to DACA/Undocumented students. 6. Provide a designated advisor to attend to the specific needs of DACA/Undocumented students, including emotional, legal, and financial aid concerns. 7. Allow DACA students to pay their current tuition rate and remain eligible for the same scholarships available to them prior to the termination of DACA. 8. Create a scholarship specifically for undocumented students on campus. 9. Issue a University statement urging Illinois and U.S. Congress to pass legislation protecting and supporting our DACA/Undocumented students and neighbors. 10. Take all these measures during the current academic year (in other words, immediately) so that DACA students can be assured of institutional support. Yours truly, Define American at SIUC, Hispanic Student Council, Latino Cultural Association, and SIU Undergraduate Student Government, SIU’s DACA/Undocumented students and allies Action Alliance Southern Illinois, Carbondale Racial Justice Coalition, Race Unity of Carbondale, Southern Illinois Immigrant Rights Project, and Jackson County’s DACA/Undocumented community members and allies
Tell First Lady Melania Trump: Stand With Immigrant Families - Like Yours!!!
Melania Trump used visa opposed by her husband to get her parents' citizenship President Donald Trump's in-laws are officially United States citizens. Melania Trump sponsored her parents for their green cards, a status that allowed them to live and work in the US indefinitely and allowed them to become citizens. This type of family visa is exactly one of the categories that Trump and his allies have tried to repeal, saying they are harmful to the US. The President has harshly criticized family-based migration and regularly refers to it as "chain migration.” Melania Can Speak Out For Immigrant Families Like Hers Family reunification visas are vital to our legal system, if it is good enough for the First Lady, why is it bad for everyone else? We want Melania to stand beside her immigrant family and tell her immigration story, shedding light on the many reasons families migrate and the importance of keeping families together in communities, not prisons. Melania has the power to personally speak out asking the president to reunite separated families and stop putting families in detention. Will you sign your name asking our First Lady to personally speak out on behalf of immigrant families?
Call on CNN to keep its word and drop “illegal immigrant”
Less than 48 hours after promising to reissue its editorial guidelines prohibiting the use of the terms “illegal immigrant” and “illegal alien,” CNN debate moderator Jake Tapper used the term in reference to undocumented immigrants in the September 16th Republican debate. In addition, the network has refused to confirm its promise to drop the inaccurate language. According to the Huffington Post, CNN has used the term “illegal immigrant” or “illegal alien” a total of 1,634 times, out of 1,995 times in the past year. CNN pledged to finally drop this language if our original petition was taken down - with the network’s refusal to publicly affirm this promise and its use on the network’s high-profile debate tonight, we are re-opening our campaign. We call on CNN to publicly confirm that it will no longer use the terms “illegal immigrant” or “illegal alien” in reference to undocumented immigrants. The content of our speech leads to actions - the rising racist and xenophobic debate around immigrants has been followed by attacks on immigrants in recent weeks, and the term “illegal” is also factually flawed. Being in the U.S. without proper documents is a civil offense, not a criminal one. Many other leading media outlets, including the Associated Press and ABC, have already adjusted their editorial guidelines to prohibit the use of “illegal” when referring to undocumented immigrants. As an influential media outlet, we call on CNN to do the same. Tell CNN: Keeping your word matters as much as #WordsMatter.