Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Immigrants and Supporters Shut Down George Washington Bridge, declaring #SomosVisible

For Immediate Release

Press Contact: Mahoma López, co-director of Laundry Workers Center

Immigrants and supporters shut down the upper level of the George Washington Bridge for 45 minutes during this morning’s rush hour, declaring “Somos visible”, or “We are visible”.

Organized by Laundry Workers Center, the non-violent protest called for the ”right of every member of our communities to be visible.”

Protesters chained themselves together on inbound upper level of bridge, unfurling a banner reading "Resist, Organized, Act Up!" New Jersey police arrested 10 non-violent protesters.

“The immigrant community is tired of being in the shadows.” said Laundry Workers Center co-director Mahoma López. “For many years we are here, we contribute, we pay taxes, we build this country, but in the end, we don’t have the right to participate in the decisions at the local and national levels.”

“We demand the right to vote and take part in the decisions in our communities.”

In a written statement, Laundry Workers Center wrote “We are one with Mother Earth and with all oppressed people in the shadows. We making our struggles, our pain and our power visible.”

A rally is planned this evening at 6pm, in Union Square. More information is available here:

Follow #SomosVisible on Twitter.

Berry Pickers’ Win Could Result in Better Conditions for Many Farmworkers

Farmworkers at Washington’s Sakuma Brothers farms have voted to join what could be the first union for Driscoll's berry pickers in the nation.

By Elizabeth Grossman, Civil Eats
October 10, 2016

For over three years, the workers at Sakuma Brothers farms in Burlington, Washington have been calling for a boycott. The farm supplies strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and more to Driscoll’s, the largest berry distributor in the world, and over the years, the workers have complained of inconsistent, piecemeal wages (that dipped below minimum wage), poor housing conditions, and the absence of paid break time.

Now, the workers have reached an important milestone: In September, they voted to be represented by Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ), the first farmworker union led by workers who are indigenous to Central America. And they’ve called off the boycott for now. “This win ushers in a new era for farmworker justice internationally,” said FUJ in a statement.[...]

Read the full article:

For earlier coverage:

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Help "Resistance at Tule Lake" Reach the Finish Line!

RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE is nearing the finish line! This groundbreaking documentary, which tells the long-suppressed story of Japanese Americans who protested their incarceration, is being produced for public television and educational distribution. Now more than ever, in an election year where pro-"internment" rhetoric has once again become publicly acceptable, these marginalized experiences need to be brought into the light.

We need YOUR help to make this possible. Our goal is to raise $10,000 to help us with the costs of:

  • Archival media, including never-before-seen photographs & rare home video color footage taken within Tule Lake
  • Outreach & public engagement, including the creation of educational support materials

RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE is a crucial update to previous documentaries on the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans. Even before the completion of the film, we have received numerous requests to show the film and held a sold out preview screening at San Jose's J-Town Film Fest. We are currently submitting the project to film festivals and are planning to publicly premiere the film in February 2017, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 that authorized the forced removal of 120,000 Japanese Americans.

We hope you'll consider making a much-needed, tax-deductible gift to support RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE. All contributors will receive a Special Thanks credit on the film. Funders at the $100 level or higher will receive an early edition DVD of the documentary.

Donate Now!

Resistance at Tule Lake trailer

For further information or inquiries, contact director-producer Konrad Aderer at

Sunday, October 23, 2016

20 Years Ago Today, This Terrible Law Set the Foundation for Mass Detention and Deportation

As we fight the fatally flawed criminal justice system, we can't forget the immigrants criminalized by a law that turns 20 today: the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act.

By Alisa Wellek, Angie Junck and Paromita Shah, ColorLines
September 30, 2016

From job applications to the voting booth, we live in a society that treats criminal convictions as a stigma that never fades.

Yes, we have seen some positive shifts in attitudes around criminal justice reform: Bill and Hillary Clinton now repudiate the “tough on crime” laws they supported (and in Bill’s case, signed) in the 1990s. The Department of Justice no longer uses the “unnecessarily disparaging” terms “felon” and “convict” to describe released prisoners. President Obama has commuted more prison sentences than the previous nine presidents combined. Politicians from both parties concede that a lot of drug sentences are way too harsh.

But as we move culturally and politically to address reform solutions, we need to ensure that the fight for justice and fairness for all really means for all. That means we need to fight for a vast population that is too often left out of proposed solutions: immigrants with convictions.[...]

Read the full article:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

PRESS RELEASE: New Report Shows that Despite Advances, Black Immigrants Still Suffer Racial Disparities

September 29, 2016
Contact: Carl Lipscombe, Black Alliance for Just Immigration
Tel: 347-410-5312


Two-Part Report Reveals New Information about Growing Segment of Black Community

New York, NY (September 29, 2016) — Today the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), along with New York University Law School’s Immigrant Rights Clinic released a trailblazing two-part report on the experience of Black immigrants in the U.S. The State of Black Immigrants. sheds light on the unique issues facing the over 3.7 million immigrants in the U.S. from Africa, the Caribbean, Afro-Latino countries, and elsewhere, due in large part to their race.

“As this report shows, Black immigrants encounter major social and economic challenges in the U.S. because of systemic racism,” says Opal Tometi, BAJI’s Executive Director and a co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter.

Notable findings in the report include:

  • The number of undocumented Black immigrants in the U.S. increased by nearly 50% from 389,000 in 2000 to 602,000 in 2013
  • Despite high educational attainment, nearly 1 in 5 Black immigrants live below the poverty line.
  • Black immigrants have the highest unemployment rates amongst all immigrant groups.
  • More than one out of every five non-citizens facing deportation on criminal grounds before the Executive Office of Immigration Review is Black.
  • Black immigrants are more likely to be detained and deported for criminal convictions than other immigrant groups.
  • Black immigrants in removal proceedings for a criminal conviction often have lived in the U.S. for a long time and established strong community ties; many are apprehended and placed in deportation proceedings long after the triggering criminal conviction occurred.

Part I of the report provides recently updated demographic data on immigration status, country of origin, geographic location within the U.S., educational attainment, household income, labor force participation, and eligibility for forms of immigration relief for Black immigrants. Part II focuses on the impact of mass criminalization on Black immigrants providing newly released data on detention and deportation rates for Black immigrants.

The report’s release coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, one of two laws passed in 1996 that expanded the grounds for deportation to include over 20 criminal and noncriminal offenses. According to the report, these laws have overwhelmingly impacted Black immigrants, who tend to live in communities that are subject to over policing and controversial practices such as “stop-and-frisk” and “broken windows policing.”

Some of BAJI’s policy recommendations include: removing convictions as a grounds for deportation and/or exclusion from the U.S., including aggravated felonies and drug offenses; expanding executive action programs that provide relief for Black immigrants; restoring judicial discretion and due process for all individuals who come into contact with the criminal justice and immigration systems; and eliminating the criminal bars to programs such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

According to Carl Lipscombe, BAJI’s Policy Manager and a co-author of the report, “Unfortunately, research on Black immigrants is scant because the government does not maintain data on immigrants based on race. But this report shows that racial injustices are pervasive within the immigration system. We urge the government to improve race-based tracking and expand the overall body of research available on Black immigrants.”

The Black Alliance for Just Immigration is a racial justice and migrants’ rights organization that organizes, advocates, and raises public awareness around issues impacting African Americans and Black immigrants. Learn more about us at


Download the report:

Friday, October 21, 2016

What Does Immigration Actually Cost Us?

The report suggests that immigration is not a clear-cut issue in which one side is right and the other wrong, but that there are both costs and benefits.

By Thomas B. Edsall, New York Times
September 29, 2016

Last week, as soon as the National Academy of Sciences issued “The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration,” its 509-page report, interest groups on the left and right immediately claimed vindication.

“National Academy of Sciences Study Confirms Immigrants Benefit America,” America’s Voice, a liberal advocacy group, declared from the pro-immigration side. Frank Sharry, the group’s executive director, issued a statement assessing the study:

On the fringes of the immigration debate, you have Donald Trump and his small band of nativists peddling fears and falsehoods. For those of us who inhabit a fact-driven reality, you have a growing body of credible research demonstrating the benefits of immigrants and the burdens of following Trump’s radical proposals.

Conservatives calling for more restrictions on immigration read the same report but had a very different interpretation. “National Academy of Sciences Study of Immigration: Workers and Taxpayers Lose, Businesses Benefit,” the Center for Immigration Studies wrote.[...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Activists on Both Sides of US-Mexico Border Converge Against US State Violence

By Steve Pavey, Truthout
October 8, 2016

After holding an annual vigil for 25 years at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia, the human rights group SOA Watch is moving its convergence to the US-Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona, and Sonora, Mexico. Activists throughout the US and Mexico have gathered on both sides of the US-Mexico border for an October 7-10 Border Convergence to highlight and protest US state policies linked to the root causes of migration, as well as to multiple levels of violence against migrants and more broadly, against Black and Latinx people.

People from Latin America continue to be forced to flee from US-trained repressive security forces, only to be confronted with a militarized border, racist immigration laws and the xenophobic rhetoric we see escalating during this election cycle. Black and Brown bodies in the US continue to be targeted, criminalized and systematically imprisoned and killed in the same way. We can no longer separate these issues and this weekend we have gathered to say "enough!"[...]

Read the full article: