Sunday, May 1, 2016

When we mourn the passing of Prince but not 500 migrants, we have to ask: have we lost all sense of perspective?

Could not one of those dead children among the five hundred souls on the sinking Mediterranean boat become a ‘superstar’?

By Robert Fisk, The Independent
April 24, 2016

Has something gone adrift within the moral compass of our ‘news’ reporting? In the past week, 64 Afghans have been killed in the largest bomb to have exploded in Kabul in 15 years. At least 340 were wounded. The Taliban set off their explosives at the very wall of the ‘elite’ security force – watch out for that word ‘elite’ – which was supposed to protect the capital. Whole families were annihilated. No autopsies for them. Local television showed an entire family – a mother and father and three children blown to pieces in a millisecond – while the city’s ambulance service reported that its entire fleet (a miserable 15 vehicles) were mobilised for the rescue effort. One ambulance was so packed with wounded that the back doors came off their hinges.

Now Afghanistan is the country to which we and our EU partners are happily returning refugees on the grounds that Kabul and its surrounding provinces are “safe”. It is, of course, a lie – as flagrant and potentially as bloody as the infamous weapons of mass destruction we claimed were in Iraq in 2003. By then, we had already promised the Afghans – in 2001 – that we wouldn’t let them down. We wouldn’t forget them as we did after the Soviet war. A Blair promise, of course, and thus worthless.[...]

Read the full article:

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Workers at Bronx Restaurant Join Grassroots Movement for Respect, Dignity

For Immediate Release
April 23, 2016

Spanish and English:
Rosanna Rodriguez, co-director, Laundry Workers Center,, 347-652-5724

Photos and video:

Bronx, NY--Today, workers at New Capitol Restaurant in the Bronx went public with their campaign to end wage theft, verbal and physical abuse, and dangerous conditions in their workplace.

Surrounded by a crowd of 100 community supporters, New Capitol worker Teofilo Ríos delivered a letter to restaurant management demanding an end to unfair and unsafe conditions.

"We are tired of these abuses and the exploitation of immigrants,” said Ríos. “I’ve been waiting for this for years.”

Before today, workers at New Capitol trained in private for six months with Laundry Workers Center, a grassroots worker group with an impressive track record of victories, most recently at B&H Photo. New Capitol workers say they were inspired by LWC’s win last fall at Liberato Restaurant, also located off Jerome Ave.

Oscar Ramires, another New Capitol employee, used to work at Liberato.

“During the Liberato campaign, I learned that we cannot be afraid. When bosses break the law we must organize,” he said.

Many of the workers demanding change at New Capitol were hired as dishwashers, but also clean the restaurant, prep the food, and do deliveries. They put in as many as 56 hours a day and are not paid minimum wage. They also face dangerous safety conditions, including broken, slippery floors, and unprotected stairs.

Workers vowed to fight to the end for dignity and respect. With their supporters from all over New York, they chanted, “Aquí estamos, y no nos vamos,” and “Vamos a ganar,” meaning in English “We’re here and we’re not going away,” and “we will win.”


Friday, April 29, 2016

The surprising reason Donald Trump’s wall would be a waste of money

Undocumented Mexican migration essentially ended in 2008

By Douglas S. Massey, MarketWatch
April 21, 2016

Throughout the Republican primary debates, all candidates have vociferously called for more border enforcement. Donald Trump famously proposes the construction of a 2,000-mile border wall and to make Mexicans pay for it.

This inflamed rhetoric is odd given the fact that undocumented Mexican migration, on a net basis, ended in 2008 and has been zero or negative for the past eight years. Although other Latin Americans continued to arrive at the border in small numbers, the volume isn't enough to yield a positive inflow of people.

Undocumented migration from Mexico actually began to decline in 1999, not because of border enforcement, but because of that country’s demographic transition. From a fertility rate of around seven children per woman in the 1960s, Mexican fertility fell rapidly in subsequent years and today stands at 2.25 children per woman.[...]

Read the full article:

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Clintons Have Failed Latinos on Immigration Reform

The Clintons have championed "get tough" policies that have bolstered those who have a financial incentive to maintain the status quo.

By Adriana Maestas, TeleSUR
April 18, 2016

It has been 10 years since the immigration marches of 2006 began when activists marched against a proposed federal crackdown on immigration. In spring 2006, a bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives that would make it a felony to be in the United States without documentation; ultimately this bill did not become a law. Instead of advancing a progressive and humane agenda on immigration, both Hillary and Bill Clinton have failed the Latino community on immigration reform.

Weeks before voters in California passed Proposition 187 in 1994, which called for preventing undocumented immigrants from receiving any public benefit, the Clinton administration announced Operation Gatekeeper, which was designed to curtail illegal immigration at the southern border.[...]

Read the full article:

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Kimberly finally released! And #StopTheRaids work continues!

Karen Lucas,
April 15, 2016

Dear friends,

After more than 10 weeks of detention, an immigration judge finally granted Kimberly her freedom. Kimberly has been separated from her Atlanta family and friends since January 27, when ICE arrested her in a raid on her way to school. Despite multiple appeals for Prosecutorial Discretion – and more than *25,000 signatures* on the petition for her release – ICE never did the right thing. Even after the immigration judge granted her stay of deportation, even after the immigration judge reopened her case because she never had a chance to present her asylum claim, and even after the judge gave Kimberly a $1,500 bond—the lowest amount that can be set—ICE refused release, saying they wanted to appeal the order!

Now, finally, Kimberly is free to pursue her asylum claim. Thank you to all of the thousands of people who have shown their support for Kimberly and called on President Obama to #StopTheRaids. Your voices hold this administration – and future administrations – accountable. And you helped Kimberly to keep going. You gave her and her family hope.

There is still so much more work to be done. The Administration continues to use these aggressive enforcement tactics that spread fear throughout communities and target those fleeing horrific violence in their home countries. Its treatment of Kimberly is just one glaring example.

*Keep up the fight to #StopTheRaids.* And know that your support matters. Assist advocacy by sharing stories of new raids in your community using AILA’sonline monitoring tool. To take further action, reach out to your members of Congress and to the White House through AILA’s Take Action to #StopTheRaids link.



Read about Kimberly Pineda Chavez's detention:

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mexican Artist 'Erases' the US Border Wall

By TeleSUR
April 10, 2016

Artists set out to "erase" the border fence dividing the U.S. and Mexico by painting it a sky blue.
Artist Ana Teresa Fernandez and members of the cultural organization Border/Arte painted a segment of the border fence separating Mexico and the United States Saturday, in an attempt to make it disappear.

The artists and community workers worked on sections of the fence along the border in Baja California, Sonora and Ciudad Juarez, painting it a sky blue in a project called “Borrando la Frontera,” Spanish for Erasing the Border.[...]

Read the full article:

Monday, April 25, 2016

Berry Farmworkers Toil 12 Hours A Day For $6. Now They’re Demanding A Raise.

By Esther Yu-Hsi Lee, ThinkProgress
April 1, 2016

Some of the farmworkers who make it possible for U.S. consumers to have berries for breakfast are paid about $6 a day. Those farmworkers include children toiling for 12 hours a day at 85 percent the amount of money that adults get paid. Many farmworkers do not get lunch and rest breaks and are subjected to terrible housing conditions.

Hoping to rectify these issues, farmworkers in the United States and in Mexico have been on a three-year-long fight to get Driscolls — the world’s largest berry distributor — to recognize their unions so that they could have better working and living conditions. And now they’ve taken their complaints on the road in a month-long protest tour along the west coast.

Ramon Torres, a 31-year-old Mexican immigrant, is one of the people leading the fight to unionize. As the president of the independent farmworker union Families United for Justice (FUJ), he has been picking berries since he was 18 years old. His most recent employer was the Washington state-based Sakuma Bros.[...]

Read the full article: