Post submitted by Geri Rochino, HRC San Diego Steering Committee Co-Chair
Over the past couple of weeks, the HRC San Diego Steering Committee worked to advance two priorities important to the LGBT and immigrant communities: the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), and the security of undocumented youth.
The HRC San Diego Steering Committee made hundreds of phone calls into Congressman David Valadao's district and encouraged his constituents to voice their support for equality and for the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Rep. Valadao is one of several California Republicans who will be critical votes to protect LGBT people from workplace discrimination across the United States. Volunteers and steering committee members staffed the phones and spoke with dozens of constituents about this important issue. According to Luke Browning, who volunteered for the event, “I wanted to help support the passage of ENDA, and I am so happy that HRC San Diego has found a way for me to try to make a difference with voters who live in districts in California that can have a major impact on the vote.” HRC San Diego will be holding more phone banks throughout the year.
HRC San Diego also participated in two Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) clinics organized by the San Diego Dream Team. According to Diana Valdivia, the Field organizer with the San Diego Dream Team/Own the Dream, "We are putting on these workshops to assist undocumented youth who have received DACA services in the past, as well as providing assistance for first-time applicants. There are still many youth who have not yet applied for DACA."
On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced a federal program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Under this program certain undocumented youth who meet specific requirements can receive temporary relief from deportation. These individuals who have deferred action can also apply for employment authorization.
At the clinics, with the help of volunteers and volunteer lawyers, we were able to assist DACA recipients with their renewal forms to prevent expiration of their deferred action status. During the clinic, the attendees received assistance with filling out their forms, and the volunteer attorneys performed a final review to ensure that everything was correct. Geri Rochino, the co-chair of the HRC San Diego Steering Committee, stated, “It was a great event, and I was very impressed with the San Diego Dream Team’s efforts and passion for organizing and advocating for social justice for the immigrant community. Moreover, the lawyers who volunteered their services were amazing, and I was inspired by their dedication to help those in need.” HRC San Diego plans to continue to work with the San Diego Dream Team on future immigration and DACA clinics.