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November 6, 2018 | News, Theatre, Race and Equity,

Immigration Reform and the 2018 Midterms

We’ve all experienced it for months at this point; the current election cycle is a ceaseless storm of sound bites and inconsistent information. Like a radio scanner bouncing between channels, it’s become increasingly difficult to know exactly what will be on the ballot, from a local to a state level, and what, precisely, is at stake. Through all of the political maneuvering, the issue that continues to resurface and make headlines is immigration. Whether the current administration is shouting about the issue in earnest or as a publicity stunt, the fact remains that the issue toys with the lives of millions, creating confusion for those who are still looking for asylum or citizenship and emboldening hateful voices who believe that the issue comes down to a matter of race.

WET: A DACAmented Journey opens this Thursday in Boston as writer and performer Alex Alpharaoh turns his own into a testament and direct address to how broken and incomprehensible our immigration system is. While his story is one of millions, it is a glimpse into a world that many of us interpret through loose conjectures and political cartoons. WET: A DACAmented Journey is a call to action, to help foster and build a system that fosters empathy and humanity rather one that threatens caravans with military action. The first call to action is today: Election Day.

The midterm elections are happening right now and your vote is imperative for a variety of reasons. However, your representatives and their position on immigration could affect millions in the coming years, as the DREAM Act remains untouched and those with DACA status are stuck in legislative purgatory. We’ve collected a list of ballot measures included in the midterms, as well as current immigration policies that your newly elected representatives will be able to vote on.



Oregon Measure 105, Repeal Sanctuary State Law Initiative (2018)

Measure 105 would repeal the state law, Oregon Revised Statute 181A.820, which forbids state agencies, including law enforcement, from using state resources or personnel to detect or apprehend persons whose only violation of the law is that of federal immigration law.  It would allow any law enforcement agency to use agency funds, equipment, and personnel to detect and apprehend people whose only violation of the law is a violation of federal immigration law

  • A YES vote supports this ballot initiative to repeal Oregon’s sanctuary state law which limits the cooperation of local law enforcement with federal immigration enforcement.
  • A NO vote opposes this ballot initiative, thereby keeping the state’s sanctuary law which limits the cooperation of local law enforcement with federal immigration enforcement.

This ballot measure is endorsed by Oregon Republicans and was introduced to the ballot by three Republican members of the Oregon House of Representatives— Sal Esquivel (R-6), Mike Nearman (R-23), and Greg Barreto (R-58)— filed the proposal with the secretary of state’s office on April 25, 2017. Esquivel said, “It’s time that Oregon complies with federal law like it should have in the first place. If you want to become an American become an American. If you want to come here for economic advantages and do it illegally then I don’t think you should belong here.”

For more information:,_Repeal_Sanctuary_State_Law_Initiative_(2018)


3036: Keep Families Together Act

On June 7, 2018, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Keep Families Together Act (S. 3036) to limit the separation of families at or near ports of entry. This is the Senate companion bill to H.R. 6135.

H.R. 6594: REUNITE Act

Reunite Every Unaccompanied Newborn Infant Toddler and Other Children Expeditiously (REUNITE) Act would reunite families separated at or near ports of entry and was introduced by Representatives Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) on July 26th, 2018

H.R. 6794: Immigration Innovation (“I-Squared”) Act of 2018

Among other things, the bill proposes to create a lottery prioritization system for H-1B cap-subject petitions, authorize employment for H-4 spouses of H-1B visa holders, increase H-1B worker mobility, and allow U.S. university-educated professionals to apply directly for conditional green cards. It was introduced by Representatives Mike Coffman (R-CO) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) on 09/13/18

House Bill: FAIR Proceedings Act

The Funding Attorneys for Indigent Removal (FAIR) Proceedings Act, which would guarantee legal counsel during removal proceedings for vulnerable immigrants, including children and individuals with disabilities and was introduced by by Representatives McEachin (D-VA) and Lofgren (D-CA) on July 25th, 2018.

WET: A DACAmented Journey is an opportunity to start the necessary conversations to foster the empathy we strive towards and bears witness the humanity hidden behind the headlines. Join us for this remarkable and astounding story at the Jackie Liebergott Black Box in the Emerson Paramount Center from NOV 8-25.

The election is tomorrow and your vote contributes to the larger decision being made at local, state, and federal levels. We encourage everyone who is able to vote on today and to stay informed, whether the issue is immigration, economics, or climate change. Those of us as ArtsEmerson want to ensure that your voice is part these conversations and your vote is one way to make sure it is heard.

Curious where your polling location is?

Need to know what is on your ballot?

What You Need to Bring and the Rules By State on Voting

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