Dear VICPP Supporter,

I was recently asked to write a briefing on Sanctuary Cities. Here’s a little of what I shared…

Though there is no agreed on definition, in general terms “Sanctuary Cities” do not share residents’ information with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). As this is a self-designated term, “Sanctuary” has been used to describe localities that issue statements of welcome and localities that do not comply with ICE requests.

Virginia does not have any cities that do not comply with information sharing. Virginia has cities such as Richmond and Alexandria that have declared themselves to be “inclusive.” However, there are no localities in Virginia that are “sanctuaries.” Virginia cannot have Sanctuary Cities because the Commonwealth is bound by the Dillon Rule, which means that no locality can have a law that violates state law. In Virginia, everyone who is processed through the criminal justice system has his or her fingerprints sent to the Department of Homeland Security. Because of this automatic information sharing, no locality can be a “Sanctuary” based on the most common definition of a sanctuary city.

To read the rest of the document, go to:  

Yesterday, the Richmond Times-Dispatch ran an interview with my husband and me. Click here to see the article.  We are working right now to figure out what we can do during the General Assembly. There will certaining be plenty we can do to “welcome all” to Virginia, and undoubtedly bills to push back against as well. I dare to dream that one day Virginia will be a Sanctuary — a place where all people are safe and free.

With peace and justice,

Lana Heath de Martinez

Welcoming All Coordinator, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy

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Next Wednesday, Oct. 18, VICPP’s Northern Piedmont Chapter’s Public Policy Advocacy Committee will hold a follow-up to the first Forum on Healthcare that was sponsored in May. “This roundtable is designed as a follow-up to our May forum with Dr. William Hazel and the panel of experts,” said Chapter President Scott Christian. “(Chair of the Public Policy Advocacy Committee of the Northern Piedmont Chapter) Bob Gettings will present an overview of our healthcare system and how it operates, so that you can have a better grasp of the various parts and feel more confident in articulating your views. Then we will break into small groups for a roundtable discussion for sharing our views and experiences and learning from each other. Our hope is that everybody will leave the event more informed and inspired in order to advocate for healthcare reform.” The event will start at 7 p.m. at the Warrenton Community Center (430 E Shirley Ave, Warrenton, 20186). Go to to register, or call (540) 272-0483.


Registration is open for the 8th Virginia Immigrant Advocates Summit, which brings together statewide immigrant rights advocates, partners, supporters and allies to learn, discuss and strategize on issues impacting the immigrant community in the Commonwealth. The event will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Faith Lutheran Church, 3313 Arlington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201. The cost is $35 and you can register here: For more information, contact or 703-772-1555. The event is being organized by Legal Aid Justice Center’s Immigrant Advocacy Program, Mason DREAMers, Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations, DREAMer Mothers in Action (DMIA), America Civil Liberties Union – Virginia, Just Neighbors, Centreville Immigration Forum,  The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice, Virginia Latina Advocacy Network, Virginia Civic Engagement Table, The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis and the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy.


You can now buy your tickets, or reserve a sponsorship, for the Virginia Interfaith Center’s Annual Meeting and Awards Celebration. VICPP’s celebration will be held Thursday, Dec. 7, at the Robinson Theater Community Arts Center, located at 2903 Q Street in the Church Hill neighborhood of Richmond. This will again be an important year-end event for VICPP supporters, with great food, speakers and a time for honoring people and groups who have represented social justice work across the Commonwealth during 2017. The Rev. Dr. John Kinney, senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Beaver Dam and recently retired Dean of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University, will be the keynote speaker. The annual event will also be an important fundraiser for the organization, with a Silent Auction and tickets and sponsorship options available. New this year is an “after party” with music and dancing!


Speaking of online registration, you can also sign up for the Center’s “Witness at the Capitol” program! This program was started last year and will be expanded during the 2018 General Assembly session, from mid-January to mid-March. The Witness at the Capitol team is comprised of volunteers who serve as faithful citizen advocates on the VICPP priority issues during the legislative session. We would like volunteers to commit for at least a week during the session. There will be one short training call before the session for new volunteers.  At the beginning of the session, the work “week” is usually Monday through Thursday, but sometimes there are events on Friday as well. Volunteers should be active in the faith community and comfortable talking about the faith dimensions of the issues. Witnesses will:

  • Attend and report on committee and subcommittee meetings.

  • Meet with legislators and their staff.

  • Communicate the legislators’ position to VICPP members.

  • Draft background pieces and alerts for engaging the membership in the issues.

  • Testify on behalf of issues VICPP is supporting.

  • Facebook and tweet about the issues.

Retired clergy, deacons, and lay persons are sought. If you are interested but have questions, contact Kim Bobo at   


The VICPP office at 1716 East Franklin Street in Richmond is serving as a drop-off point for supplies for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico and earthquake and hurricane victims in Mexico. Items will be picked up on Oct. 16. The list of items being accepted includes bottled water, personal hygiene items, first aid kits, generators, batteries, cell phone chargers, diapers, canned food, canned milk, blankets, pillows, towels, mosquito repellant, garbage bags, medicine, Band-Aids, flashlights, can openers, gas lamps, cleaning supplies, duct tape and non-perishable food.


New Life Metropolitan Community Church, 1000 Sunset Drive in Norfolk, will offer an Educational Forum on Thursday, Oct. 19, from 7-8:30 p.m. to discuss changes in public education and public health.The session will be repeated on Thursday, Oct. 26, from 7-8:30 p.m. at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 4200 Shore Dr., Virginia Beach.


Join the Richmond area interfaith community on Saturday, Oct. 21, for a community dialogue on race, faith, and the environment. “Faith, Politics and Environmental Racism: Solutions for the 21st Century” will start at 10 a.m. with a panel discussion at Coburn Hall on the campus of Virginia Union University, 1500 N. Lombardy St., Richmond. Register at the link above. Participants are also invited to join the university’s regular Chapel service at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. You are asked to park in the Hovey Field parking lot, which is located across Lombardy Street. (campus map)


To mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, Williamsburg United Methodist Church will welcome the Rev. Al Staggs on Sunday, Oct. 22. Staggs presents one-person performances and lectures for churches, colleges, seminaries and conferences throughout the world. In Williamsburg he will present a 5-minute vignette of Martin Luther in our two morning worship services at 8:15 and 11 a.m. From 9:30-10:30 a.m. he will give a one-person performance of A View from the Underside: The Legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Then at 6 p.m. he will give a one-person performance of Martin Luther: Evolution of Faith. Williamsburg UMC is located at 500 Jamestown Rd. (across from the College of William & Mary).


Come share what worries you most about healthcare for you, for your family, and for the Richmond community as Right Care RVA presents “Healthcare Costs Are Too D*** High! A Community Cafe for Right Care.” On Wednesday, Oct. 18, starting at 6:30 p.m., participants will talk about healthcare cost concerns, share personal stories about the impact of high costs and hopefully craft some community-created ideas for making change. If you’re a doctor, a nurse, a medical student, a pharmacist, a physical therapist or a researcher, come and share your insider perspective! The event will be held at the Henrico County Public Library at  Libbie Mill, 2100 Libbie Lake East St., Richmond, 23230. You can register ath this Eventbrite link:


Trinity United Methodist Church in Henrico County is offering the Dillard Forum, a ministry designed to examine how faith communities speak to the 21st Century, on Oct. 22-23. This year’s speaker will be Dr. Sujin Pak Boyer, who will deliver three lectures and an informal luncheon presentation on the topic, “Reading Scripture with the Protestant Reformers.” Her lectures will be presented Sunday, Oct. 22, at 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. and Monday, Oct. 23, at noon and 7 p.m. The church is located at 903 Forest Ave., Richmond, 23229. For more information, visit or call (804) 288-6056.


VICPP stands with recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA-holders are teenagers and young adults who have grown up and been educated in the U.S. They are teachers, lawyers, dentists, entrepreneurs and serve in our nation’s military. About 12,000 are Virginians: neighbors, friends, family members, parents and children. The Justice Department announcement introduces these vital students, workers and parents to an uncertain future with a great deal of anxiety. The announcement also creates an opportunity for the U.S. Congress to pass a real legislative solution within the next six months. We stand in support of the Dream Act while advocating for relief for currently excluded undocumented people.This six-month deadline leaves no time to delay. Click here to sign a petition calling on Congress to pass the DREAM act and broader immigration reform to end the 1996 bars to U.S. citizenship keeping 11 million people in the shadows.


You can still make your thoughts known on the Aug. 11-12 tragedy in Charlottesville, especially in calling on the General Assembly to take action to welcome all to Virginia. Please CLICK HERE and sign our petition to urging Virginia’s leaders to track hate crimes, publicly welcome all and for a task force to address the crisis of racism and exclusion in Virginia. And invite your congregants, neighbors, friends and family to learn more about people who are different from them and choose #LoveOverFear, embracing the commands of our sacred texts. Please share this petition with friends and colleagues in Virginia, and support our initiatives to make Virginia a more welcoming place by clicking HERE or HERE.


We have confirmed St. Paul’s Episcopal Church as the host site for the next Day for All People advocacy day, which has been scheduled for Jan. 23, 2018,.at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, the State Capitol and the Powhatan Building. Please mark your calendars. This will be a great day for people around the Commonwealth to gather at the legislature for advocacy.


The VICPP office in Shockoe Bottom is an official Community Pickup Center for the Welcoming All signs you’ve been seeing in yards and in front of houses of worship and businesses.

The “Welcome Your Neighbors” sign (pictured at left) grew out of an idea at Immanuel Mennonite Church, in Harrisonburg,and have a welcoming message in Spanish, English and Arabic. They cost only $5 ($18.99 on Amazon!) but you have to pick them up in person at 1716 E. Franklin St., Richmond, 23223.

Proceeds go to First Mennonite Church in Richmond. We have only a few more remaining.



Trump Hints At Executive Order On Healthcare With ‘Power Of The Pen’ Tweet


“President Trump wrote online Tuesday morning that he plans to take unilateral steps to reform the nation’s healthcare system, hinting at signing an executive order without clarifying what that order might be. ‘Since Congress can’t get its act together on HealthCare, I will be using the power of the pen to give great HealthCare to many people – FAST,’ Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday. The president did not immediately indicate what specific changes he plans to order to the nation’s healthcare system, although he has suggested in recent weeks that an executive order allowing Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines would be forthcoming. Clarity on a timeline for those changes, beyond that they will happen ‘fast,’ was also not immediately offered by the president. But the order is largely expected to target an expansion of association health plans — or insurance sponsored by trade associations, community groups and other organizations. Those plans can be sold across state lines and would be exempt from Obamacare’s essential benefit requirements.”

How Trump Is Planning To Gut Obamacare By Executive Order


“With a repeal bill off the table, the Trump administration has drafted an executive order that could blow a huge hole in the Affordable Care Act, according to a source with direct knowledge of the plan. The order would, in effect, exempt many association health plans, groups of small businesses that pool together to buy health insurance, from core Obamacare requirements like the coverage of certain essential health benefits. It would potentially allow individuals to join these plans too, which would put individual insurance marketplaces in serious peril by drawing younger and healthier people away from them.”

Trump Says He Called Schumer To Broker Deal With Democrats For ‘A Great Healthcare Bill’

The Washington Post

“Frustrated by Republican inaction on health care, President Trump tweeted Saturday that he had reached out to the Senate Democratic leader in hopes of brokering a deal for a ‘great HealthCare Bill.’ Trump said that he had called Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer to ask whether Democrats would work with him on health care — and Trump indicated that he had not been entirely rebuffed. In a Saturday morning tweet, Trump wrote, ‘I called Chuck Schumer yesterday to see if the Dems want to do a great HealthCare Bill. Obamacare is badly broken, big premiums. Who knows!’ Schumer said he was willing to work with Trump to ‘improve the existing healthcare system’ but not to ‘repeal and replace’ the Affordable Care Act.”

Republican Senator Suggests Compromise On Healthcare


“Republican Sen. Ron Johnson said Sunday he believed Congress could reach an agreement on healthcare that includes continuing the funding of a key set of Obamacare subsidies to keep down insurance premiums. The conservative Wisconsin senator said in an interview on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ that he understands some of his Republican colleagues are against funding the cost-sharing reduction — or CSR — payments. But he said the government should keep making the payments to prevent the cost of insurance skyrocketing. President Trump has not committed to paying insurers the cost-sharing subsidies, which reduce deductibles and co-pays for low-income Obamacare enrollees. This has prompted many insurers to raise their premiums for 2018 to make up for the anticipated loss of the subsidies. The 2018 rates have already been finalized.”

Steep Premiums Challenge People Who Buy Health Insurance Without Subsidies


“Paul Melquist of St. Paul, Minn., has a message for the people who wrote the Affordable Care Act: ‘Quit wrecking my healthcare.’ Teri Goodrich of Raleigh, N.C., agrees. ‘We’re getting slammed. We didn’t budget for this,’ she says. Millions of people have gained health insurance because of the federal health law. Millions more have seen their existing coverage improved. But one slice of the population, which includes Melquist and Goodrich, is unquestionably worse off. They are healthy people who buy their own coverage but earn too much to qualify for help paying their premiums. And the premium hikes that are being announced as enrollment looms for next year — in some states, increases topping 50 percent — will make their situations more miserable.”

Health-Care Standoff In Washington Raises Stakes Of State-Level Fights

The Wall Street Journal

“The collapse of the Republican effort to overhaul the health-care system and the resulting standoff in Washington has pushed the fight to the states, where a brewing conflict over Medicaid is shaping up as the next battleground. The Trump administration is expected to rule soon on Kentucky’s push to impose work requirements and other rules on Medicaid enrollees, as other states line up to follow suit. Democrats say that would weaken the program. This issue could be the next step in transforming a large swatch of the American health-care system, as Congress remains deadlocked between Democrats who back the Affordable Care Act, some of whom say it could be improved, and Republicans who want to uproot it but lack the votes to do so.”

As ACA Enrollment Nears, Administration Keeps Cutting Federal Support Of The Law

The Washington Post

“For months, officials in Republican-controlled Iowa had sought federal permission to revitalize their ailing health-insurance marketplace. Then President Trump read about the request in a newspaper story and called the federal director weighing the application. Supporters of the Affordable Care Act see the president’s opposition even to changes sought by conservative states as part of a broader campaign by his administration to undermine the 2010 healthcare law. In addition to trying to cut funding for the ACA, the Trump administration also is hampering state efforts to control premiums.”

Many States Blame Trump, GOP For ObamaCare Premium Increases

The Hill

“Twenty states attribute ObamaCare premium increases next year to uncertainty caused by the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress, according to a new report. The report from pro-ObamaCare group Protect Our Care analyzed the 28 states where final, state-approved rates are public and found that 20 specifically cited uncertainty at the federal level for at least part of the reason for increases. Insurers have pleaded with the Trump administration for more certainty over whether ObamaCare’s insurer subsidies will be paid but have yet to get it. The Trump administration has made the payments on a month-to-month basis, but insurers have asked for a long-term commitment. Because that commitment didn’t come, many insurers across the U.S. have hiked premiums to account for the uncertainty.”

House GOP Delays Vote On Children’s Health Care Funding To Negotiate With Dems

The Hill

“Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health have agreed to return to negotiations with Democrats on a bill to continue funding for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden said he would delay floor consideration of the bill passed by the committee last week ‘in hopes of reaching a bipartisan agreement on offsets.’ The bill last week passed with no support from Democrats, who complained that the bill took money from Medicare and the Affordable Care Act to offset the costs of the program.”

‘Alzheimer’s Tsunami’ Plus Medicaid Cuts Leaves Dementia Patients With Vanishing Options

The Huffington Post

“Several times a week, Lou Stepanek drives to the Hiawatha Care Center in Iowa to spend time with someone who hasn’t seemed to recognize him for more than a decade: his wife. ‘We knew it was a fatal disease,’ Lou, 88, a stoic retired police captain, said of his wife’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. ‘But what does that mean?’ The Cedar Rapids man has nearly depleted the couple’s life savings as Marie struggles with Alzheimer’s. The aging population is fueling what some health experts call an ‘Alzheimer’s tsunami’ for which Iowa, and the rest of the nation, is ill-prepared. Unless a cure is found, an estimated 7.1 million Americans age 65 and older could have Alzheimer’s by 2025, almost a 35 percent increase, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.”


Myth vs. Fact: Debunking the Gun Lobby’s Favorite Talking Points

The Center for American Progress

“The gun lobby, led by the National Rifle Association (NRA), pursues a number of different policies in state legislatures across the country and in Congress, including eliminating permit requirements for concealed carry; expanding locations where guns may be carried; weakening regulation of the gun industry; and overriding duly enacted state laws that limit gun carrying. While each of these policies have different elements, all are united by a core set of dangerous and misleading arguments perpetuated by the NRA that more guns in more hands will lead to increased personal and community safety.”

Gov. McAuliffe says he’ll seek new gun restrictions in Virginia after Las Vegas massacre

The Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Friday that he will seek new gun-control legislation in Virginia in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, including bans on bump stock devices, high-capacity magazines and ‘military-style assault rifles.’ McAuliffe, who will leave office early next year under Virginia’s term limit, has already pushed unsuccessfully for universal background checks and restoring the state’s scrapped one-handgun-a-month law, but the Republican-controlled General Assembly has routinely blocked new gun restrictions. The legislation McAuliffe called for would also face steep odds, but the announcement might put Republican lawmakers on the defensive with all 100 seats in the House of Delegates up for grabs in next month’s election.”


Richmond-area Latinos say Gillespie’s ‘sanctuary cities’ ads give hurtful message

The Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Alfredo Martinez was working on a construction project when he heard a radio ad about ‘illegal immigrants’ and the gang MS-13 committing rape. ‘OK, this is nothing new. I’ve heard this before,’ he thought. He said something to his colleagues, who changed the station and told him not to worry. But the ad hurt. ‘They say ‘illegal immigrants,’’ he said. ‘To me, that’s like ripping me apart as a human being.’ Richmond-area Latinos with ties to the immigrant community like Martinez, who is from Mexico, said TV and radio ads from GOP gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie are inaccurate and depict their communities in negative ways. They said they welcome candidates who want to work with the Latino community to combat the violent gangs, but said the advertisements don’t give that message. Martinez’s wife is Lana Heath de Martinez, the Welcoming-All coordinator at the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. The center encourages acceptance of immigrants and religious and cultural minorities, pushes back against white supremacy, and lobbies the Virginia General Assembly. No Virginia city has declared itself a ‘sanctuary city.’ And there’s no agreed-upon definition of what the phrase means, she said.”

Trump’s immigration demands threaten DACA deal


“President Trump’s long list of immigration demands has landed with a thud among lawmakers hopeful for a deal to protect hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. The list of demands released late Sunday includes funding for a southern border wall and a crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities — items that are cheered by the president’s most loyal supporters, but are non-starters among Democrats and could divide Republicans, who will have to come together on any deal.”

When Loving Thy Neighbor Means Saving Them from Deportation


“For the white people who make up 80 percent of the population of the small New Hampshire city of Manchester, life since Donald Trump took office has gone on mostly as normal. Despite the constant rumble of weird news from CNN, white residents get out of bed, put their kids on the bus to school, and drive to work, just like always. For people in the city’s Latino communities—particularly those without documents and their families—this has been a season of dry-mouthed terror. Trump began his campaign referring to Mexican immigrants as drug dealers and rapists; since, his inauguration rumors of ICE raids have run through neighborhoods. Some people skip work and keep their kids home from school for days at a time, worried that they might be snatched up on the streets. ICE’s official orders are to bring in everyone they can, no matter how harmless.”

Richard Spencer vows to keep coming back to Charlottesville. Can the city legally stop him?

The Washington Post

“Charlottesville 3.0,” as white nationalist Richard Spencer called the march he led Saturday,was different from its prequels. Not in props or message. Spencer’s allies carried tiki torches, as they did two months earlier in the same city, for Charlottesville 2.0.  They chanted “You will not replace us!” again — and again meant that no one will replace the white race in the United States. But unlike the massive, melee-filled marches of August, no one died Saturday night. There was little spectacle at all. Instead, a neat formation of men in uniform khakis walked quietly to a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, which the city covered in a tarp after a counter-protester was killed at the previous rally. Spencer made a speech, they live-streamed themselves, and they left the city about 30 minutes after they arrived. Unlike the last time, Charlottesville 3.0 had been organized in private. It came with no warning and ended with a promise: “We will be back,” the men beneath the statue chanted. “We will be back, we will be back.”

California becomes ‘sanctuary state’ in rebuke of Trump immigration policy

The Los Angeles Times

“Under threat of possible retaliation by the Trump administration, Gov. Jerry Brown signed landmark “sanctuary state” legislationThursday, vastly limiting who state and local law enforcement agencies can hold, question and transfer at the request of federal immigration authorities. Senate Bill 54, which takes effect in January, has been blasted as “unconscionable” by U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, becoming the focus of a national debate over how far states and cities can go to prevent their officers from enforcing federal immigration laws. Supporters have hailed it as part of a broader effort by majority Democrats in the California Legislature to shield more than 2.3 million immigrants living illegally in the state.”


EPA Chief Announces Reversal Of Obama-Era Curbs On Coal Plants


“The Trump administration will scuttle an Obama-era clean power plan aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, made the announcement in Hazard, Ky., on Monday, saying the rule hurt coal-fired plants. ‘The EPA and no federal agency should ever use its authority to say to you we are going to declare war on any sector of our economy,’ Pruitt said. ‘That rule really was about picking winners and losers,’ the EPA administrator said, adding that the rule change would be signed on Tuesday. The announcement had been anticipated. It would eliminate the Clean Power Plan that was put on hold by the U.S. Supreme Court and therefore never implemented.” 


CFPB finalizes rule to stop payday debt traps

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has finalized a rule that is aimed at stopping payday debt traps by requiring lenders to determine upfront whether people can afford to repay their loans. These strong, common-sense protections cover loans that require consumers to repay all or most of the debt at once, including payday loans, auto title loans, deposit advance products, and longer-term loans with balloon payments. The Bureau found that many people who take out these loans end up repeatedly paying expensive charges to roll over or refinance the same debt.”