Sign Up Now to Take Action on ACA Repeal!

Is health care repeal one of your top concerns? Then we hope to see you at the Capitol on March 6, along with 1000+ other health care activists and advocates!

While ACA repeal or replace or who-knows-what will happen in Congress, much of the implementation will be left to the states, especially with respect to Medicaid. That means we need to get in front of our #txlege members and tell them what Texans need!

If you want to #ProtectOurCare, join Indivisible Austin and the Cover Texas Now coalition on March 6 for the Rally to Protect Health Care + Lobby Day. In addition to the morning rally and press conference, you’ll be able to meet with lawmakers and staff in the afternoon. Austin locals may visit their own lawmakers, or they may join up with groups of concerned citizens from across the state–we’ve got people joining in from Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston, the Rio Grande Valley, and El Paso! RSVP is required to prepare materials and lobby groups.

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SB4 “Sanctuary Cities” Update

Short version:

This is an URGENT call to action. Call, email, fax, tweet at, and post on Facebook to your state senators, tell them you oppose Senate Bill 4, and urge them to vote against it. The bill aims to eliminate so-called sanctuary cities and counties, where local officials decline to participate in federal immigration enforcement efforts. Essentially, this bill turns local law enforcement into a deportation force. Want to fight Trump’s agenda of hate? In Texas, this is where the fight is.

Use this tool to find out who represents you in each district

Longer version:

On February 2, despite 16 hours of overwhelming public testimony against the bill, the Texas Senate State Affairs committee provisionally approved the bill in a 7-2 party line vote, sending it to the full Senate for a vote next week.

Of course, Trump exploited a myth of “immigrant criminals” to fire up his base, and this is key to the GOP’s narrative. More Mexicans are leaving the U.S. than coming.

Abbott is trying to sell this bill as being “in the interest of keeping Texans safe.” This is absurd.

Sanctuary cities that may choose to house refugees are not providing safe haven for Trump’s imaginary criminals. These are women and children fleeing abusive relationships who want a better life for their children. These are college students. 

Essentially, what this bill does, is turn local law enforcement into a deportation force, and it will affect folks who just want to meaningfully contribute.

From the Statesman:

“Under the bill, police chiefs and sheriffs would be prohibited from discouraging officers from inquiring about subjects’ immigration status, county jails would be forced to cooperate with federal requests to extend the detention of inmates suspected of immigration violations, victims of crimes committed by unauthorized immigrants in sanctuary jurisdictions could sue local governments, and the state would withhold grant money from local jurisdictions that don’t comply with the bill.”

Senate Bill 4 is Governor Greg Abbott’s way of trying to stir up his base, by riding the wave of anti-immigrant, racist xenophobia Donald Trump has made central to his brand of hateful, cowardly fear-mongering.  Essentially, it is an attempt to punish any city for failing to cooperate in mass deportations. The bill cuts state criminal justice grants, money that funds services for veterans, parents struggling with drug addiction and victims of family violence.

Aside from being wrong-headed and needless, the kind of aggressive deportation Abbott proposes would absolutely wreck the state economy. Agriculture, construction and biotech, all crucial to the state economy, rely on immigrant labor.

In Texas, it’s crucial that we bring the fight against hatred into our local and state government races. Together we can turn the tide.

Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick are trying to jam this measure through, so we have to act, NOW.

If you’re not sure who represents you, use this tool.

Get your state senator’s info. Call, fax, Facebook, and Tweet at them to oppose Senate Bill 4. If you call their office and they oppose Senate Bill 4, then voice your support. They need to hear from you as well.

Use social media over the weekend. These are the hashtags to target: #SB4Bad4TX, #stopSB4, #noSB4, #txlege and #NoBanNoWall.

The senators listed below are those who have publicly voiced their support for this bill.

Senate District 5, Charles Schwertner

(512) 463-0105
(512) 863-8456 

Senate District 28, Charles Perry (rep who introduced the bill)

(512) 463-0128
(806) 783-9934
 
Senate District 24, Dawn Buckingham

(512) 463-0124

Senate District 67, Jeff Leach

(512) 463-0544
(972)424-1419

Senate District 1, Bryan Hughes

(903) 753-8137

Texas Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick 
512-463-0001

Texas Committee on State Affairs
(512) 463-0380

I’m sure you’re aware of the concept of sanctuary cities, but in case you need some more background info on how this is playing out here, here you go.

So here’s what we’re going to do:

Call their district and Austin offices and voice your opposition to Senate Bill 4. Demand that he do the same. Tell everyone in your group to do this. It’s critical that these representatives hear that their constituents do not want this bill to pass.

If it’s helpful, I’ve included a script you can use here:

“Hi, my name is _________ and I’m calling to urge _________ to go on the record and reject Senate Bill 4. This bill will only increase mistrust in law enforcement, and will do nothing to actually keep us safe. The research shows that legislation like State Bill 4 only drives undocumented crime victims and witnesses into the shadows. Governor Abbott’s introduction of this bill in the legislature at this moment is a cowardly, overt attempt at capitalizing on the wave of anti-immigrant sentiment that Donald Trump exploited during his campaign. But that doesn’t have any place in Texas. We, the voters, won’t forget ______ position on this matter, and urge him to get on the right side of history, or we will be voting him out of office when he seeks re-election in 2019.”

Hammer these representatives on their social media channels, Facebook and Twitter. Be unrelenting. Remind them that their support of this bill cuts funding for veterans, that there’s no data to support the claim that it makes us “safer” (in fact it may be the opposite), and that women, children and college students will be affected, not blood-thirsty criminals. Feel free to link to the articles in this post. Get the message out there. Many of these GOP Senators claim to be Christians. I can’t think of anything more uncharitable than using a militarized police force to deport hard-working families. Remind them of that.

In addition to calling, Facebooking, and tweeting, we are going to FAX their offices our opposition, using Faxzero.com or Freefax.com.

Whether or not you’re in Travis County, voice your support for Sheriff Sally Hernandez for standing up for what’s right. She’s on Twitter @SallyTCSheriff.

The same goes for  Judge Sarah Eckhardt. She’s taking a public stand against Greg Abbott. She’s on Twitter @JudgeEckhardt.

I’m going out on a limb here, and this may be the hardest part. Speak with 4 people you see in your daily life *in person* about this. This can be delicate, awkward, and uncomfortable.But it’s important that these issues are brought out into the open. Politely skirting the issue of institutional racism (which is what this Bill is) and hoping that people put it together on their own will only strengthens our opponents, who will capitalize on their base’s ignorance of the facts.

This can be especially hard in places like rural areas like Senate District 5, which comprises Limestone, Robertson, Milam, Grimes and Walker counties–places where access to education and healthcare is scarce, places where economic opportunities are dwindling, and because of that, Trump’s populist message hit home.

My dad is from Limestone county–the tiny, one-stoplight Groesbeck–and I’ve spent time there my whole life. As tough as it might seem to fight to change how these people vote, the reality is that they are, for the most part, hard-working, decent people, who just want what everyone wants: what they perceive as a better life.

Trump promised them the moon. He’s now showing us what the actual substance of that promise really looks like: tax cuts for millionaires, tax increase for the middle class, no healthcare, and a kleptocracy on a scale unseen in our time, where corrupt billionaires will grow incalculably richer. The perversity of all of this, of course, is that Trump’s propaganda machine exists to convince these voters to vote against their own self-interest.

Making matters worse, America’s democratic institutions are under constant attack, by a white supremacist heading up the NSC in Stephen Bannon, a conspiracy-minded National Security advisor in Mike Flynn, a racist in Stephen Miller–this is less a presidential administration and more like an autocratic, 3rd-world, white-supremacist regime.

Amazingly, their work is made easier by buildings full of Internet trolls, waves of fake Twitter accounts the GOP uses to amplify their message, fake news opportunists who learned how to generate click-ad revenue, and a few highly visible “fashionably racist” alt-right celebrities using their platforms to spread fear and encourage open bigotry. The official state news channel of the Trump administration, Fox News, is how many of the people in this district are going to be getting their info.

But the inauguration drove a crucial concept home: bots don’t fill bleachers. The Women’s March, where millions of people flooded the streets after a volunteer started a Facebook group, only made this all the more clear. We have the mandate.

So talk to people in person. See what they have to say. If you’re discussing sanctuary cities, let them know that huge amounts of research have gone into this, and that in fact sanctuary cities are safer than comparable non-sanctuary cities. This bill, frankly, is unnecessary. It’s political grandstanding. Let’s do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t pass the State Senate next week.

This is a key moment in history. People who hide from this fight will be remembered as cowards. The people who are now actively embracing Trump’s brand of racist fear-mongering will be remembered as much, much worse.

Thank you for standing up for what’s right.

M.O.

P.S. I’m not on Facebook, so there are many Indivisible Groups whom I can’t reach directly. Please help me get the message out to them.

Use the Indivisible guide’s map tool to find other groups and let’s put up a united front.

Additional info here:

http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2017/01/29/512002076/why-sanctuary-cities-are-safer

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/sanctuary-cities-public-safety-kate-steinle-san-francisco

http://www.citylab.com/crime/2017/01/sanctuary-cities-are-safer-and-more-productive/514508/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/01/27/trump-says-sanctuary-cities-are-hotbeds-of-crime-data-say-the-opposite/?utm_term=.244664116ffb

http://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/Gov-Abbott-cuts-criminal-justice-grants-to-10901849.php

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/we-cannot-afford-to-make-our-community-less-safe-by-driving-people-into-the-shadows/2017/02/02/f14ed2d6-e5ac-11e6-ba11-63c4b4fb5a63_story.html?utm_term=.c71df9dbbd15

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/texas-governor-pulls-millions-in-state-grant-money-from-sanctuary-county/

http://www.mystatesman.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/will-ban-sanctuary-cities-make-texas-safer/JEE1OafJRmrb3swwH8ktcI/

ACTION TODAY – Rep. Roger Williams Wants to Punish Austin for Being a So-called “Sanctuary City”

We will be meeting today at Williams’ Austin office at 1005 Congress Ave at 12pm today. Please bring signs, written statements, and/or just your contempt for a Congressman who puts partisan politics above the law and what is best for Austin. Try to get there a little early to have time for parking, traffic, etc.

sanctuary-cities.jpg

No, it’s not “just common sense” Roger. It’s federal overreach. Austin is not refusing to enforce federal laws. They are choosing to leave the immigration policing up to federal agencies whose responsibility it is! Why are you punishing your Austin constituents?

This morning (2/3) I spoke to a staffer in the DC office. He said that Williams wants local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal law. When I asked if there was ever a case where the local authorities knew someone was undocumented but refused or neglected to report it to the feds, he tried to evade the question. When I pressed him, he got flustered and finally admitted that they didn’t know if that had happened but will do some research and get back to me…

They know there is no legal justification for this

For a full explanation about our position on this please see the blog post written by an immigration attorney. An Immigration Attorney and an Activist Scholar Explain Why SB4 is a Terrible Idea and What You Can Do to Stop It.

URGENT: Call Cornyn on Betsy DeVos, well, always

**This action is targeting Sen. Cornyn’s DC office**

UPDATE 2/1/17 6:30 pm: As of now a final vote has not been scheduled, so keep the pressure on! Keep calling, faxing, and carrier-pigeoning Cornyn’s office.

GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski in back-to-back speeches on the Senate floor announced today that they would OPPOSE Betsy DeVos’s nomination to be Education secretary.

Sen. Cornyn has yet to take a strong position on Betsy DeVos, who is profoundly unqualified to be Secretary of Education. There is an opportunity to turn his vote to NO.

John Cornyn DC Office: (202) 224-2934

Fax Cornyn online with FaxZero

From our earlier NO on DeVos script:

I am calling to urge you to vote “NO” on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. DeVos has no training or experience in education and supports dangerous and unproven policies that would funnel billions of taxpayer dollars to private entrepreneurs. This is both unconstitutional and against the values of the millions of Texans who believe in the value of public education. Our children deserve better – vote “NO”.

Research Notes on Betsy DeVos

She has NO experience in Public Education.

  • Never Been a Teacher
  • Never Served in a Public School System Leadership

Organizations that DeVos has supported or led

  • Spent MILLIONS to promote policies that directed Public School Funds to either For-Profit Schools or Virtual Charter Schools that have NO accountability on how well these schools serve students or how the tax-payers dollars are spent.

An Immigration Attorney and an Activist Scholar Explain Why SB4 is a Terrible Idea and What You Can Do to Stop It.

By Mark Kinzler kinzlerimmigration.com and Shaun Glaze, M.S

girl-flag-croppedImage courtesy Flickr user jvoves https://www.flickr.com/photos/jvoves/138556236

Why SB4 must be opposed and how to do it effectively (SHORT VERSION)

  1. SB4 damages the ability for local law enforcement to properly carry out their duties of protecting and serving their communities because it forces officers of these agencies to become de facto immigration enforcement officers. Particularly in areas with large Latino communities, this law would degrade the level of trust between the community and the law enforcement agency (LEA), a trust which is crucial to the local agency’s ability to properly investigate local crimes.
  2. Requiring local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration laws as a part of their regular job duties will overburden agencies that are already strained economically and by their current workloads. In order to effectively and legally comply, local law enforcement officers will need extensive training in federal law as it relates to lawful immigration status and will be required to perform extra immigration-related investigations with each arrest made.
  3. SB4 is attempting to order state LEAs to mandatorily comply with a Federal law that is currently voluntary, which is absurd on a practical level and also constitutionally dubious.  
  4. It is important to remember that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers can still access any jail at any time to investigate the immigration status of a detained person. The result of SB4 would be to shift the burden of this investigation away from ICE and place it onto local law enforcement officers. This essentially requires state law enforcement agencies to expend their own resources to carry out federal enforcement job duties that are already in place.

I want to go to SB-4 hearing but am not sure how to do that.

  1. Write down your talking points (testimony). It doesn’t have to be perfect. Print 20 copies of this with your name on it, to submit to the record. Otherwise, just bring the 1 copy for yourself. Remember, personal stories are remembered better than stats. It’s fine to include both.
  1. Learn about hearing process. What- SB4 (committee hearing). Where- Senate Chamber, When- 8:30AM. Who- Committee on State Affairs (if your rep is on this committee your voice is extra-important). Expected attendees – 200
  1. Show up early to hearing to have plenty of time to park, find room, meet neighbors, and have better chance to hear/speak (if you’re speaking).
  1. Listen to the bill be read by committee. Then invited testimony (if any). Finally, public testimony (where the audience can take turns speaking for no more than 2 minutes).  This closely mirrors district office visits in the Indivisible Group Toolkit. Typically, you can take pictures/video. Document the process. Submit your written testimony if you don’t speak (again, you need 20 copies with your name on it to do this).
  1. Leave room and document the process. Make a debrief video to talk about what experience was like. Share it widely and/or send to local indivisible groups. #SB4Bad4TX is the hashtag for the hearing.
  1. Celebrate and signal boost. Thank speakers for their public testimony- especially those marginalized by these policies. “Like”/”Share” content online, chat about experience with friends, family, coworkers, write emails to organizations involved, send thank you notes, tweet at press, whatever you’d like to do that helps you feel good about participating in the political process.

Why SB4 must be opposed and how to do it effectively (LONG VERSION)

Texas Senate Bill No. 4, or “a bill relating to the enforcement by certain governmental entities of state and federal laws governing immigration and to the duties of law enforcement agencies concerning certain arrested persons” was introduced by Texas state senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) and seeks to require law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in Texas to assist and participate in the investigation and determination of the legal status of immigrants who come into their custody. Generally, the job of arresting, detaining, and deporting immigrants is carried out by a branch of the Department of Homeland Security called U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (commonly referred to as “ICE”). SB4, was born from the current storm of anti-immigrant sentiment, with great support from Governor Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who are commonly known to make factually questionable and often clearly disingenuous statements about immigration problems in Texas. SB4 is misguided for several reasons:

  1. Public Safety – Cooperation agreements between ICE and law enforcement agencies have existed for many years. Nevertheless, the agreements are not mandatory, and different law enforcement agencies have been able to choose their level of involvement with ICE officials. Many LEAs throughout the U.S. have chosen to have minimal cooperation with ICE. Though there are several reasons often cited by the LEAs for the choice to provide minimal cooperation, one very common reason is the fact that the LEA’s cooperation with ICE actually damages the ability of the LEA to properly investigate and prosecute crime. In areas with high populations of immigrants, trust between the immigrant community and the LEA is crucial to the ability of the LEA’s fundamental task of protecting and serving the community as a whole. If the immigrant community is aware that the LEA readily cooperates with ICE, or is legally required to assist ICE in its efforts to apprehend deportable persons (a la SB4), members of that community will be fearful of cooperating with the LEA. When members of the community fear having contact with the police, the policy impedes the LEA’s ability to solve local crimes because the effectiveness of that job relies on information from witnesses and statements from victims and other members of the community.
  2. Resources and training of the law enforcement agencies – Local police agencies have an extremely difficult job as it is, and they are often underfunded. Many LEAs do not support cooperation with ICE because it adds another level of investigatory requirement to their already strained workloads and budgets. In order for local officers to properly and lawfully act in a role as an immigration enforcer, the officers would need extensive training in federal and immigration law and would have to increase work hours to comply with the new requirements.
  3. Federal preemption – Under a constitutional principle called federal preemption, state and local authorities are generally not allowed to enforce federal law, particularly when an enforcement procedure is already in place. This is a long-standing principle that has been addressed by several federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. The policy is also reasonable on a practical level because federal authorities are usually in the best position to enforce federal law. Specialization and extensive training is often required to carry out this enforcement due to the complicated nature of the laws being enforced. Also, federal preemption precludes states from enacting their own laws related to federal matters so that overlapping jurisdictions do not end up with conflicting laws on the same matter. Generally, if that happens, the federal law will supersede the state law and the state law will be invalid.

Q: Help, Thursday SB-4 is my first Senate hearing. What do I do?

A: Excellent that you’ll show up! Just do a little prep work (alone or with a partner), and you’ll be fine.

1. Prepare by learning about the hearing process

  1. The location for SB-4 is the Senate Chamber (hard to find- come early) at 8:30AM
  2. You can find history of the bill
  3. Read analyses, especially analyses offered by immigration lawyers, migrants, and those directly affected by the law.
  4. Learn how to leverage your voice. Not all voices carry equal weight, though even a whisper can join the chorus. The voices of constituents of the committee ((Senate Committee on State Affairs (C570) matter A LOT MORE. If your rep is any of the following, make your voice heard. If they aren’t your rep (and you have 3 minutes of time), find out which Indivisible group has these reps, and offer that indivisible group (or any group resisting SB4) your support. Let them know how important their collective voices are here. Ask how you can help them get their voices heard. *Their* reps can kill this bill before it has a chance to move to the full Senate.

Chair:Sen. Joan Huffman Vice Chair: Sen. Bryan Hughes Members: Sen. Brian Birdwell Sen. Brandon Creighton Sen. Craig Estes Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. Sen. Jane Nelson Sen. Charles Schwertner Sen. Judith Zaffirini 

If your rep authored the bill, let them know what you think

Perry (sponsor) AND co-authors- Bettencourt | Birdwell | Campbell | Estes | Hancock | Hughes | Kolkhorst | Schwertner

If your rep is not on the committee. Please consider bringing prepared written remarks to submit to written testimony. 20 copies, your name on each copy.

2. Show up a little early. You might get lost, especially trying to find the Senate Chamber. Also, there might be 200 people there. Carpool, if possible.

3. The hearing starts. Usually, there will be a presentation of the bill, followed by invited testimony, then public testimony. Everyone gets 2 minutes. You may be rushed, but you have the right to 2 minutes of time. If there is a chance you may not speak, please consider bringing prepared written remarks to submit to written testimony. 20 copies, your name on each copy.

4. Be polite and steadfast in your testimony. See point 4 in the group toolkit for more information on what you can do to prepare. It is okay to get emotional as you speak from the heart. Many politicians like to hear personal stories.

5. Document the experience and share it with others. Take pictures. Take videos. Do a debrief with friends or alone to share what it was like. Your clip may encourage someone else to start showing up at hearings, too. You can use #SB4Bad4TX

6. Celebrate your participation in the political process, and stay tuned with groups to learn what is happening next. You can also share documents, pictures, videos with groups so they can signal boost. If you find out information about the bill but can’t act on it, share it with an affected indivisible group and they can use it for organizing.

Jeff Sessions Update

Many of you may be aware that Jeff Sessions—Donald Trump’s pick for Attorney General– displays a willful blindness’ on voting rights , civil rights, conflict of interest laws, and on the fact that a foreign adversary interfered in our democratic elections to get a billionaire con man elected. He should absolutely not have been nominated for Attorney General, and the fact that he may be confirmed by the Senate poses a serious threat to the future of our democracy. With Trump’s pernicious, debunked, racist claim of “massive voter fraud”. Sessions will be directed to suppress votes on a massive scale. It’s that bad.

Most of you are also probably aware that President Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Q. Yates Monday night for defying the President’s un-Constitutional and ludicrous executive order, entitled “PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES”. The order bans 12% of the world’s Muslims from entering the country, so while many refer to it as “a travel ban”  or an “immigration ban”, I refer to it as a “Muslim ban”, because that’s what it is.

The order was authored by Steve Bannon with no oversight or input from the counterintelligence community, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, or any other regulatory body. Bannon is a white supremacist who has usurped his way to a massively influential role on the National Security Council and provides the philosophical underpinning for this regime. The aim of this executive order is to incite further Islamophobia and discrimination. It’s being sold to the Republican base, unconvincingly, under the guise of “strengthening national security”. This is a farcical lie.

Yates was a holdover from the Obama administration, and while Trump’s ban is morally outrageous and unconstitutional, it’s unsurprising that Trump made this move and installed an acting AG who would sign off on the order.

In this context, it is even more important that all efforts possible be made for the Senate to either a) stop the nomination of Jeff Sessions, or b) call for a delay and that a new confirmation hearing be held in light of this executive order.

The Muslim ban violates the Constitution, and it will be the attorney general’s job to tell the President when he is breaking the law. This is already happening of course, as President Trump is clearly in violation of the Emoluments clause of the Constitution and is using the office of the Presidency for personal enrichment and accepting bribes on a massive scale. It’s the kind of overt corruption we’d expect from a third-world strongman, not the President of the United States, but here we are.

The Attorney General is the highest sitting judge who can sign FISA warrants, which would mean that if Sessions is confirmed the investigation into Russian interference in our election will most likely just go away.

Making matters worse is the fact that  both Ted Cruz and John Cornyn sold their souls for a seat at Trump’s table. We don’t need to rehash that here. These Senators and (their Republican counterparts in the House of Representatives) are happy to parrot their approval for this administration’s policies, no matter how racist, needless and un-American that policy may be. Needless to say, these are not friends of the cause.

I’m going to argue that even though that may be true, we need to DOUBLE DOWN here in Texas. Here’s what I propose:

1. Text your ZIP code to 520-200-2223 and you’ll get a text back with their district and DC office numbers, so you can keep them on speed dial.

2. Focus your energy on calling Senate staffers and voicing your opposition for now, at least until we know what’s happening with the Sessions confirmation vote. Call your senators’ offices and demand that they oppose Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. If it’s busy or they duck calls, keep trying.

3. Remind the Senate staffers millions of American voters will NEVER forget that they took this position, and that history will not judge them kindly.

4. Talk to 4 people a day about what’s happening to our democratic norms. Let those folks know that this is not Republican vs Democrat–this is a fight for the soul of our country.

5. Contact your Representatives. Remind the staffers that the huge majority of American voters did not vote for Donald Trump, and that even more voters than that have now been electrified by the sheer injustice of Donald Trump’s executive orders. Senate and congressional staffers get paid pretty well. If they and their bosses want to keep their jobs and their perks, the only possible remedy for us is to publicly denounce Jeff Sessions as a pick for Attorney General.

6. Show your support for Congressman Lloyd Doggett. He’s in Washington now, participating in active protests and . Let him know we’ve got his back. He needs to hear that we support obstruction and filibuster. Conciliation is over. The goal is to throw sand in the gears of everything at every turn.
7. Reach out to Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s staff. He has intimated that he may challenge Ted Cruz for his seat in 2018. If that’s the case, remain open to ideas for how best to to remove Cruz from office.

8. Use Open Secrets. It’s time for these guys to know that we know how much money they’re getting, and from whom.

These are the Representatives in the house who (thanks to gerrymandering) represent Austin.

10th District: Michael McCaul
https://mccaul.house.gov/contact

17th District: Bill Flores
http://flores.house.gov/contact/

21st District: Lamar Smith
https://lamarsmith.house.gov/contact/offices/austin-district-office

25th District: Roger Williams
https://williams.house.gov/

35th District: Lloyd Doggett
https://doggett.house.gov/contact

Finally, here’s a tool that 538 is using to track how Representatives and Congress members are falling in line with Trump:
https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/congress-trump-score/

Actions for January 30 – February 5, 2017

Events unfold quickly. This post will be updated throughout the week.

Monday, Jan. 30

All day: Call your SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES and ask if they support Trump’s Executive Order to Limit Refugees Into the U.S. aka the Muslim Ban.

Updates:

Also call SENATORS and demand they cancel vote on Jeff Sessions because of his reported involvement with the Executive Order.

ACLU statement on Muslim Ban:

“‘Extreme vetting’ is just a euphemism for discrimination against Muslims. Identifying specific countries with Muslim majorities and carving out exceptions for minority religions flies in the face of the constitutional principle that bans the government from either favoring or discriminating against particular religions. Any effort to discriminate against Muslims and favor other religions runs afoul of the First Amendment.”

6-7 p.m.: Refugees Welcome: Interfaith Community Vigil
First English Lutheran Church
3001 Whitis Ave, Austin, Texas 78705

8 p.m.: Emergency Call to Stand Against Trump’s Muslim and Refugee Bans

Indivisible (the national team) is co-hosting a big planning call with Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), and National Immigration Law Center (NILC-IJF)

RSVP HERE

Tuesday, Jan. 31

9 a.m. Texas Muslim Capitol Day
Read more about this call to action. 

All Day: Call SENATORS to vote NO on Betsy DeVos.

8 p.m. Weekly Indivisible ATX conference call

Dial-in Number: 1-(712) 770-8067
Conference Code: 409542

Tuesday is insane. See our calendar for more. 

Wednesday, Feb. 1

Call SENATORS to vote NO on Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Read this for updated information. 

We also have extended Jeff Sessions scripts.

If you are reading this from out-of-state, call your DEMOCRATIC SENATOR and bolster their courage to vote NO on Trump’s Supreme Court pick. Republicans held up Merrick Garland’s confirmation for a year.

2 p.m. TX-10 visit to Rep. McCaul’s office

Thursday, Feb. 2

8:15  – 9:30 a.m. Hearing on SB4 scheduled in Texas Senate Chamber. If you can’t be there, call Lt. Dan Patrick and voice your opposition to SB4, the anti-sanctuary city bill. More details are on the Commonsense Immigration Website.

While you’re at, call Gov. Greg Abott and tell him you support Sally Hernandez, the Travis County Sheriff who refuses to be bullied by his executive overreach on sanctuary cities.

Friday, Feb. 3

All day: Call SENATORS to vote NO on Betsy DeVos. Keep the pressure on Cornyn, especially.

All Day: Call Gov. Abbott at (512) 463-1782 and tell him that his ban on “Sanctuary Cities” and his withholding of funds to Travis County violates his own belief in local control of government. Much more information is here…

12 p.m. Visit to Roger Williams.

Saturday, Feb. 4

11 a.m. TX-25 is holding a meetup at Black Star Coop
7020 Easy Wind Dr, Austin, TX 78752

Tuesday is Texas Muslim Capitol Day

***Please see this post to for details on how to be a peaceful supporter for this event on Tuesday***

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Y’all, I missed a lot of the news yesterday and this morning I was struggling to believe what I was reading.

I don’t know why I was surprised. When an autocrat tells you something, believe him.

Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization. This will happen often: humans seem to have evolved to practice denial when confronted publicly with the unacceptable. – Masha Gessen, Autocracy: Rules for Survival

About 10 days ago Texas state Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R- New Braunfels) sent a letter to Muslim organizations across Texas demanding they fill out a poll about their beliefs. He followed it up with a forum on Thursday at the State Capitol called “Defending Against Radical Islamic Terrorism in Texas,” which featured controversial speakers, some of whom claim that Texas Muslims want to overthrow our government and institute sharia law, and that they have, “a different methodology for the destruction of Western civilization…”

All of this was leading up to Texas Muslim Capitol Day on Tuesday, January 31. It’s a citizen lobby and advocacy day that happens every legislative session, and many religious groups have similar lobby days throughout the session. In recent years the event has drawn nasty and angry protests and reactions from lawmakers.

In 2015, then-Representative Molly White (R- Belton), who was not re-elected, demanded that any Muslims who came to her office recite an oath of loyalty before her staff would speak to them. She also, weirdly, left an Israeli flag on her desk. Participants in the lobby day, including school kids,  were verbally harassed and spat at.

This year’s lobby day is happening in what is probably the most hostile climate for Texas Muslims since 2001. A couple weeks ago the Islamic Center of Lake Travis’ under-construction mosque burned. Last night the Victoria Islamic Center’s mosque burned.

On Tuesday at 9 a.m. there is an opportunity to show up and stand with Texas Muslims who are engaging in participatory democracy. “Peaceful protectors” will gather to create a buffer zone between the event’s participants during their morning program on the Capitol steps, and the counter protesters. Texas Muslim Capitol Day organizers hope to get at least 200 people as Peace Observers. Representatives organized by Rep. Celia Israel and other faith leaders are expected to join in the protective action.

This is a chance to stand, indivisible, with Texans whose rights are under attack.

CALL TO ACTION: Peaceful Protectors at Texas Muslim Capitol Day

On Tuesday January 31 at 9 a.m. there is an opportunity to show up and stand with Texas Muslims who are engaging in participatory democracy. This call to action is unique–this is not an “Indivisible” action or protest or rally. It’s a call to stand with marginalized members of our community as they engage in our democratic process.

BACKGROUND:

Texas Muslim Capitol Day is a biennial citizen lobby day taking place at the Capitol. This year’s lobby day is happening in what is probably the most hostile climate for Texas Muslims since 2001.

“Peaceful protectors” will gather to create a buffer zone between the event’s participants and the expected counter protesters during their morning program on the Capitol steps. Representatives organized by Rep. Celia Israel and other faith leaders are expected to join in the protective action.

This is a chance to stand, indivisible, with Texans whose rights are under attack.

From the organizers:

Code Of Conduct –

#1 DO NOT ENGAGE PROTESTERS – This is literally and figuratively the #1 rule. We are not there to engage, debate, one-up etc. We are there to form a human chain and act as a barrier. Any communication that might possibly need to happen between Peace Observers and Protesters will be handled by designated liasons.

#2 Remember that you are indirectly representative of the event and the community taking part – We are standing in solidarity with a marginalized community and thus we are not acting as individuals and we must consider the way our behavior could reflect on the people with whom we want to show solidarity.

#3 DO NOT ENGAGE PROTESTERS

#4 Keeping #2 in mind, even amongst each other, please keep language, gestures, etc G-rated.

#5 DO NOT ENGAGE PROTESTERS

#6 Keeping #2 in mind, please wear clothing with only G-rated messages (or no messages, obviously.)

#7 DO NOT ENGAGE PROTESTERS

#8 Do not bring signs, banners, flags, etc. – This is NOT a counter protest.

#9 DO NOT ENGAGE PROTESTERS

FAQ:

Q: What time do we meet up?

A: 9 a.m. in front of the Capitol (south steps). The morning program will end before lunch.

Q: Is there anything else I can do?

A: Nope! Just invite people to help and show up. Keep it simple.

Texas Muslim Capitol Day on Facebook

CALLS TO ACTION for Friday, Jan. 27!

CALLS TO ACTION!!! – JAN. 27th, 2017 – TEMPLE PROTEST and PHONE CALLS TO CORNYN AND YOUR HOUSE MEMBER!

REMINDER! Many Indivisible folks will be heading to Temple this afternoon to join the Bell County Democrats in a protest outside the Convention Center where Sen. Cornyn is the key speaker.

There aren’t many opportunities for action against our senators directly, so come if you can make it! With Trump’s latest talk about walls and tariffs getting pushback from Texas Republicans, this is a perfect time to encourage them to defy the White House! Check out the the event page (where you can probably find a carpool if you need it!):

https://www.facebook.com/events/1141159165982939/

IF YOU CAN’T MAKE IT TO TEMPLE, you can still CALL Cornyn’s office and your rep’s office!

Trump has really put Texas Republicans in a tough spot. Economists expect any tariff on Mexico to negatively impact the Texas economy. Many of them are already considering opposing him on this. This is just the kind of issue that can drive a wedge between Trump and Congressional Republicans, so we’ve got to let our reps know that we want them to defy him!

CALL SEN. CORNYN and YOUR REP and ask them to oppose any Trump plan for financing the wall that negatively impacts the Texas economy!

SAMPLE SCRIPT:

“Hello, my name is ______________ and I am a constituent of [Sen. Cornyn or YOUR REP]. I’m calling to ask him to OPPOSE the 20% tariff on Mexican imports and any other plan that asks Texans to unfairly bear the burden of paying for Trump’s wall. Texas officials and businesses AGREE that this plan would threaten Texas jobs, weaken the Texas economy and drive up the cost of living for Texas families. I’m counting on my representatives to put the interests of their constituents first. Thank you.”

CONTACT INFO:

Sen. John Cornyn
Central Texas office: (512) 469-6034
Washington, DC office: (202) 224-2934

Congressional District 10
Congressman Michael McCaul
Austin office: 512-473-2357

Congressional District 17
Congressman Bill Flores
Austin office: (512) 373-3378

Congressional District 21
Congressman Lamar Smith
Austin office: (512) 912-7508

Congressional District 25
Congressman Roger Williams
Austin office: (512) 473-8910

Congressional District 31
Congressman John Carter
Austin office: (512) 246-1600

Congressional District 35
Congressman Lloyd Doggett
Austin office: (512) 916-5921

for more info:

http://www.chron.com/…/Trump-proposal-for-20-percent-tax-on…

http://www.khou.com/…/trumps-import-tax-on-mexico…/393802314

http://www.dallasnews.com/…/trumps-20-percent-tax-mexican-i…