Monday, December 31, 2007

INB 12/30/07: Detainee Killed in Workplace Accident

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 10, No. 32 - December 30, 2007

1. Detainee Killed in Workplace Accident
2. Raids Hit Hawai'i
3. Connecticut Nonprofit Raided
4. Vigil at NYC Detention Center
5. March, Vigil at Texas Detention Center
6. Phoenix: Pro-Immigrant Activists March
7. ICE Chief Confirmed


On Dec. 5, Cesar Gonzales-Baeza, a Mexican immigration detainee at the Mira Loma Detention Center in Lancaster, California, was electrocuted when the jackhammer he was using struck a high-voltage power line. Gonzales-Baeza was transferred to the University of Southern California Medical Center's burn unit, where he died on Dec. 7. The accident took place while Baeza and another detainee were moving fence posts as part of a voluntary program that allows detainees to earn $1 a day or extra visiting hours in exchange for performing kitchen, janitorial or other light work. [...]

Read the full article:

Immigration from Mexico projected to rise 10% as NAFTA agriculture section goes into effect:

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wall Street and Immigration: Financial Services Giants Have Profited from the Beginning

While it is popular among U.S. presidential candidates these days to blame Mexican corruption for our huge undocumented immigrant population, corruption in the United States played a far larger role in compelling millions of Mexicans to cross our southern border with or without legal authorization.

by Peter Cervantes-Gautschi, December 4, 2007
Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP)

Life began to get hard for most Americans beginning in the late 1990s due to increased family debt. During the same period, life got a lot harder for most Mexicans for the same reason. The same financial institutions created and profited from much of the family debt in both countries.

According to census reports, 70% of the government unauthorized immigrants in the United States are from Mexico. Most legally unauthorized Mexican immigrants in the United States are economic refugees from the 1995 devastation of Mexico's economy. [...]

Read the full article:

NY State Enforces Labor Laws, Defends Workers

News from New York State Department of Labor

Labor Department Announces New Proactive Approach to Enforcement

Working with Community Groups and Unions, Department Uncovers Serious Wage Violations by Several Brooklyn Retailers

BROOKLYN, NY (12/19/2007; 1326)(readMedia)-- Labor Department Commissioner M. Patricia Smith today announced a major proactive approach to enforcing the state’s labor laws in various industries, beginning in New York City. This new enforcement effort will partner with advocacy and community groups and unions to gather information necessary to conduct wage and hour investigations. This effort is part of Governor Spitzer’s emphasis on increased labor law enforcement for low wage workers.

Working on information from a nonprofit organization, Make the Road New York (MTRNY), and from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Labor Department investigators walked a mile-long strip of Knickerbocker Avenue and inspected 26 businesses, during daytimes and evenings. They found that at least 19 of the 26 business had committed labor law infractions, including wage and hour and recordkeeping violations. Seven businesses remain under review.

Read full article here:

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Myth of Immigrant Criminality

[For those interested in the "crime" question, here is a link to an extremely comprehensive report, including charts and sources.]

The Myth of Immigrant Criminality
Published on: May 23, 2007

"At the same time that immigration—especially undocumented immigration—has reached and surpassed historic highs, crime rates in the United States have declined, notably in cities with large immigrant populations (including cities with large numbers of undocumented immigrants such as Los Angeles and border cities like San Diego and El Paso, as well as New York, Chicago, and Miami). The Uniform Crime Reports released each year by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) demonstrate the decline of both violent crime and property crime at the same time that the foreign-born population has grown."

Monday, December 17, 2007

INB 12/16/07: Hartford March; NYC Workers Fired; More Raids

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 10, No. 31; December 16, 2007

1. Hartford: Marchers Protest Raids
2. NYC: Fresh Direct Workers Fired
3. Arkansas Restaurants Raided
4. NM: Frozen Foods Plant Raided

On Dec. 10, some 150 people marched to the federal building in Hartford, Connecticut, to demand an end to immigration raids. Activists were upset about the arrest of 21 Brazilian immigrants in early November in the city's Parkville neighborhood in a joint operation between local police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents [see INB 11/4/07, which reported that nine people had been arrested as of Nov. 2]. Local police said they had asked ICE to help them search for a Brazilian man being sought on attempted murder and robbery charges. They didn't find the suspect, but ICE picked up 21 other people suspected of being in the US without permission. [...]

Read the full article:

Monday, December 10, 2007

Upcoming Radio Interviews

With Jane Guskin and David Wilson,
Authors, The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers

Tuesday, Dec. 11, midnight, to Wednesday, Dec. 12, 1:30 am

Interview on "Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade"
hosted by Bill Weinberg, Ann-Marie Hendrickson

For NY area: 99.5 FM
Live streaming:
Archived at:

Email address:
Voice mail: 212-631-1115


Sunday, Dec. 23, 7:30-8:00 pm CT (8:30-9:00 pm ET)

Interview on "The Haiti Show"
hosted by Jonas Elouidor and Mario Pierre

For Houston area: KPFT, 90.1 FM
Live streaming:
Archived at:


Some Previous interviews:

Monday, Dec. 10, 5:40-6:00 pm PT

Interview on "Beneath The Surface"
hosted by Suzi Weissman
KPFK 90.7 FM, Los Angeles

Archived at:


Friday, Nov. 30, 4-5 am

Guest appearance on the "Joey Reynolds Show"
hosted by Joey Reynolds and Myra Chanin
WOR 710 AM, New York

Archived at:


Thursday, Nov. 15, 1-2 pm

Interview on "Lakou New York,"
hosted by Dahoud André and Ernest Banatte ("Mèt Bano")
Radyo Pa Nou, WRPN, 94.7 SCA, New York

Archived at:


Tuesday, Oct. 9, noon PT (3 pm ET)

On "Against the Grain"
hosted by C.S. Soong
KPFA 94.1 FM and KFCF 88.1 FM, Northern California

Archived at:


Wednesday, Sept. 5, 8 am

"America's Work Force: The American Workers' Radio Network,"
hosted by Ed "Flash" Ferenc
WKTX 830 AM and WELW 1330 AM, Northeast Ohio

Archived at:

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Support Victor Toro; Protest Raids, Detention Center

Upcoming Events:

1) SAT 12/8: Support Victor Toro, NYC Activist Fighting Deportation
sabado 8 dic: Apoyemos a Victor Toro, activista peleando su deportacion
2) MON 12/10: March to Stop the ICE Raids in Hartford, CT
3) THU 12/13: Candlelight Vigil at NYC Immigrant Holding Center
jueves 13 dic: Vigilia al frente del Centro de Detencion de NYC

1) SAT 12/8: Support Victor Toro, NYC Activist Fighting Deportation
sabado 8 dic: Apoyemos a Victor Toro, activista peleando su deportacion

La Lucha Sigue! The Struggle Continues!

[texto en espan~ol sigue al ingles]

Saturday, December 8, 2007
Fundraising party for Victor Toro, NYC Activist Fighting Deportation with live music (Los Chamanes, Rebeldiaz) and DJ Laylo International.
Suggested donation: $10
Food/drinks, dancing, music & conversation--and no speeches!

At Martin Luther King Jr Labor Center, 310 W. 43rd St in Manhattan
(between 8th & 9th Aves, A/C/E to 42nd St-Port Authority)

[Jane Guskin and David Wilson, authors of "The Politics of Immigration: Questions & Answers," published July 2007 by Monthly Review Press, will be on hand selling and signing copies of our book--and we'll donate the profits from these sales to Victor's campaign. Join us in celebrating our book release and the resistance of a comrade in struggle, Victor Toro.]

If you can't attend, please give generously to Victor's campaign: make checks payable to "Las Peñitas Inc." and mail to P.O. Box 739, Bronx, NY 10454.

Victor Toro is a citizen and national of Chile who was jailed and tortured there because of his opposition to the illegitimate Pinochet government (1973-1990). For more than 23 years, Victor and his wife Nieves Ayress (also a survivor of torture by the Pinochet regime) have been living in New York City and engaging in activism in the South Bronx, where they founded Vamos a La Peña, a nonprofit community organization that has served as a space for free expression and people's power for undocumented workers and other disenfranchised community members. On July 6, 2007, Victor Toro was arrested by US Border Patrol, an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security, while on board an Amtrak train in Rochester, New York. He was released on bond on July 9 and is now seeking political asylum with the help of his legal team. His wife Nieves is a US citizen; their daughter, Rosita Toro, is a legal permanent resident.
Victor's next hearing is set for January 18, 2008 before immigration Judge Paul Defonzo at 9:00 am at 26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY 10278.

Pickets in support of Victor Toro are held every Friday (weather permitting) from noon to 1pm at the federal building in Manhattan, northeast corner, Worth St at Lafayette St. For more information, contact
the Victor Toro Defense Committee: 718-292-6137, 212-631-7555, 646-291-2778,,,


Sabado, 8 de diciembre, 2007

Fiesta para recaudar fondos para Victor Toro, activista neoyorkino luchando contra su deportacion con musica en vivo (Los Chamanes, Rebeldiaz) y DJ Laylo Internacional
Donacion sugerida: $10 comida/bebidas, baile, musica y conversacion... y nada de discursos!

En el Martin Luther King Jr Labor Center, 310 W. 43rd St en Manhattan (entre avenidas 8 y 9, trenes A/C/E a 42 Street-Port Authority)

[Jane Guskin y David Wilson, autores de "The Politics of Immigration: Questions & Answers" (La politica de la inmigracion: preguntas y respuestas), que se publico en julio pasado en la editorial Monthly Review
Press, estaremos presentes, vendiendo y firmando copias de nuestro libro--y destinaremos todas las ganancias de estas ventas a la campan~a de Victor. Vengan a celebrar con nosotros la publicacion del libro y la resistencia de un compan~ero en la lucha: Victor Toro.]

Si no puede asistir, por favor envie su donacion a la campaña de Victor: escriba su cheque a nombre de "Las Peñitas Inc." y envielo al P.O. Box 739, Bronx, NY 10454.

Victor Toro es un chileno quien fue encarcelado y torturado en ese pais por su oposicion al gobierno ilegitimo del dictador Pinochet (1973-1990). Durante mas de 23 años, Victor y su esposa Nieves Ayress (tambien sobreviviente de torturas bajo el regimen de Pinochet) han estado viviendo en la ciudad de Nueva York e involucrados en la lucha social en el Sur del Bronx, donde fundaron Vamos a La Peña, una organizacion comunitaria sin fines de lucro que ha sirvido como espacio de libre expresion y poder
popular para los trabajadores indocumentados y otra gente marginada de esa comunidad. El pasado 6 de julio, 2007, Victor Toro fue arrestado por la Patrulla Fronteriza, agencia del Departamento de "Seguridad de Patria" de EEUU, mientras viajaba en un tren de Amtrak pasando por la ciudad de Rochester, New York. Fue liberado bajo fianza el 9 de julio y ahora busca asilo politico con ayuda de su equipo legal. Su esposa Nieves es ciudadana estadounidense; su hija, Rosita Toro, es residente permanente legal. La
proxima audiencia de Victor es programada para el 18 de enero, 2008, ante el juez de inmigracion Paul Defonzo, a las 9:00 am en 26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY 10278.

Piquetes en apoyo a Victor Toro se llevan a cabo cada viernes (cuando el clima permite) desde 12:00 mediodia hasta la 1pm afuera del edificio federal en Manhattan, esquina noreste, calle Worth con calle Lafayette.

Para mas informacion: contactese con el Comite de Defensa de Victor Toro: 718-292-6137, 212-631-7555, 646-291-2778,,,

2) MON 12/10: March to Stop the ICE Raids in Hartford, CT

Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 19:12:43 -0500
From: "McGahan, Jason C."
Subject: March on ICE Headquarters in Hartford -- Mon., Dec. 10

On International Human Rights Day, join us in calling on the federal government to
Stop the ICE Raids in Hartford!
Release the Parkville Detainees!

March on the ICE Headquarters in Hartford
Monday, December 10th, 5 p.m.

Gather at 4:30 p.m. in South Green Park (corner of Park and Main streets)
Step off at 5 p.m. and march to the ICE headquarters, 450 Main St., for a

This will be a peaceful protest of the 21 arrests made by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the Parkville neighborhood over the first week of November. ICE has terrorized Hartford by its actions and must be held accountable. Arrests of innocent working-people have nothing in common with a fair, humane immigration reform that recognizes the rights of immigrants to live and work in the U.S. Parkville: Never again!

[This call comes out of a unanimous vote of more than 50 activists from across the city and state at a public meeting last night at St. Augustine's Church which included members of the Connecticut Federation of
Educational & Professional Employees; American Friends Service Committee; Stop the Raids, Trinity College; Hartford Areas Rally Together; Hartford H.O.P.E.; Greater Hartford Interfaith Coalition for Equity and Justice; Unidad Latina en Acción of New Haven; CT People of Faith; Latinos Against
the War; Queers Without Borders; Campaign to Stop the ICE Raids in Danbury; Voluntown Peace Trust; CT Transadvocacy Coalition; Free People's Movement, as well as students and faculty from UConn, St. Joseph's College, Trinity, and CCSU.]

For more information or to get involved, contact Frank O'Gorman of CT People of Faith at 860-841-5006 or or Kate Prendergast of Stop the Raids, Trinity College, at 610-209-9264 or
A press conference announcing the protest will take place in front of ICE Headquarters, 450 Main St., on Monday, Dec. 10 at 11 a.m. Details to come.

3) THU 12/13: Candlelight Vigil at NYC Immigrant Holding Center

Date: Tue, 4 Dec 2007 18:10:19 -0500
From: rachel soltis
Subject: 12/13 - Candlelight Vigil at NYC Immigrant Holding Center

Please join us and forward this invitation to your contacts.

For fliers, or if you'd like to sign on as a supporting organization, contact Rachel at .
Thank you, and see you on the 13th!



Join us for a Candlelight Vigil at NYC Immigrant Holding Center!

Thursday, December 13, 6pm-7pm

at the ICE Varick St. Service Processing Center (201 Varick St.) in Manhattan

As we come together as families during this holy season, we remember NYC families who are being separated by current immigration policy. We hold light to these mothers, fathers, and children, and decry their suffering.

The vigil will be interfaith. Please join us!

Organized by the NYC New Sanctuary Coalition, Families for Freedom, Greater NY Labor-Religion Coalition, House of Peace, New York Immigration Coalition (list in formation).

Subway: 1 train to Houston St. Or, A/C/E/B/D/F/V train to West 4th. Walk south on 6th Avenue. Turn right on West Houston St. Walk one block to Varick St.

Contact: Rachel Soltis, 212-477-0351,


Juntese con nosotros en una Vigilia de la Luz al frente del Centro de Detencion de NYC!

Jueves, 13 de diciembre, 6pm-7pm
Donde: ICE Varick St. Service Processing Center (201 Varick St.) en Manhattan

La vigilia sera para grupos de diferente fe religiosa. Venga por favor!

Organizada por la Coalicion del Nuevo Santuario de NYC, Familias Pro Libertad, Greater NY Labor-Religion Coalition, House of Peace, New York Immigration Coalition (lista en formacion).

Subway: 1 tren a Houston St. O, A/C/E/B/D/F/V tren a West 4th. Caminar al sur por la 6ta avenida. Doblar a la derecha en la West Houston St. Caminar una cuadra hasta la Varick St.

Para mayor informacion, contacte a Rachel Soltis al 212-477-0351, .

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Trade Agreements' Dirty Secret: Displacement

"When corn farmers couldn't farm, or auto parts and maquiladora workers were laid off, where did they go? They became migrants."

Open Forum
By David Bacon, San Francisco Chronicle

November 20, 2007

In the 2006 elections, aspiring Democrats attacked the Bush administration's free trade policies, and more than 20 new members of Congress were elected, giving the Democratic Party its new majority in the House of Representatives. Yet two weeks ago Democratic Party leaders urged those same members of Congress to vote for a new free trade agreement with Peru.

Most rebelled, but enough Democrats voted for the Bush administration proposal, along with every Republican, to push it through the House. The Senate is expected to take up the agreement any day now.

Why would Democrats support the administration's trade policy, when campaigning against it helped them win in the last election? Try money.

Fourteen years ago, the promoters of the North American Free Trade Agreement promised that free trade would produce jobs. We hear the same claim today for the agreement with Peru, as well as the other agreements Bush has negotiated with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

NAFTA certainly produced some winners. Large corporations moved high paying jobs south of the U.S.-Mexico border in order to cut their labor costs and increased their profits. Mexico created a new generation of billionaires. But rising profits did not produce jobs.

By November of 2002, the U.S. Department of Labor had certified 507,000 workers for extended unemployment benefits because their employers had moved their jobs south of the border. The Department of Labor stopped counting NAFTA job losses, but the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., estimated that NAFTA had eliminated 879,000 jobs. That was five years ago.

But U.S. job loss didn't produce job increases in Mexico - it eliminated them there too. In NAFTA's first year, more than a million jobs disappeared in the economic crisis NAFTA caused.

To attract investment in Mexico, the treaty required privatization of factories, railroads and other large enterprises, leading to more layoffs of Mexican workers.

On the border, Ford, General Electric and other corporations built factories and moved production from the United States to take advantage of low wages. But more than 400,000 maquiladora workers lost their jobs in 2000-2001 when U.S. consumers cut back spending in the last recession, and companies found even lower wages in other countries, such as El Salvador or China.

Before NAFTA, U.S. auto plants in Mexico had to buy parts from Mexican factories, which employed thousands of local workers. But NAFTA let the auto giants bring in cheaper parts from their own subsidiaries, so Mexican auto parts workers lost their jobs, too.

The profits of U.S. grain companies, already subsidized under the U.S. farm bill, rose higher when NAFTA allowed them to dump cheap corn on the Mexican market, while at the same time it forced Mexico to cut its agricultural subsidies. As a result, small farmers in Oaxaca and Chiapas couldn’t sell corn anymore at a price that would pay the cost of growing it.

When corn farmers couldn't farm, or auto parts and maquiladora workers were laid off, where did they go? They became migrants.

The real, dirty secret of trade agreements is displacement. During the years NAFTA has been in effect, more than 6 million people from Mexico have come to live in the United States. They didn’t abandon their homes, families, farms and jobs willingly. They had no other option for survival.

Farmers and workers throughout Central America, who saw what NAFTA did to Mexicans, have protested, marched, and even fought in the streets of El Salvador, Guatemala, and most recently Costa Rica, to stop ratification of the Central American Free Trade Agreement. Now that rebellion is spreading to Peru.

No major union or organization of poor farmers wants the trade agreement that the Bush administration negotiated. No wonder. They don't want to say goodbye to their families, and start looking for work in Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York.

To get the Peru treaty through Congress, its supporters claim it will protect labor rights. Peruvian unions don't believe this promise any more than they believe it will bring them jobs.

Today a huge mining corporation, Grupo Mexico, has provoked a strike by demanding that miners work 12 hours a day instead of eight in Peru's largest copper mine. The Peruvian government supports the company, because it believes longer hours and lower wages will attract more foreign investment. Since NAFTA passed, the same company has forced strikes and cut thousands of jobs at its Mexican mines to cut labor costs, and the government there has also cooperated.

NAFTA's toothless labor rights protections never stopped union busting and job elimination in Mexico. They won't in Peru either.

Those freshmen members of Congress have a better grasp on global reality than their party leaders, who are enthralled by the siren song of big contributions from corporate free traders. But those newly elected Democrats will have a hard time going back to their districts and explaining to constituents why their party allowed the treaty to pass.

Party strategists think Democrats can accept big contributions to support the Bush free trade program. They calculate that unions, workers, displaced immigrants and those hurt by the treaties have nowhere else to go in 2008. They're wrong. They could stay home - the Democrats certainly won't be giving them much reason to get out and vote.

For more articles and images on immigration and trade, see

See also the photodocumentary on indigenous migration to the US, Communities Without Borders (Cornell University/ILR Press, 2006)

See also The Children of NAFTA, Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border (University of California, 2004)

David Bacon, Photographs and Stories