Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rising Hate For Migrants Worldwide Starts With Criminalizing Them

by Pramila Jayapal, ColorLines
December 15, 2010

This Saturday marks the 10th anniversary of International Migrants Day and the 20th anniversary of the passage of the U.N. Convention to Protect Migrant Workers. This is an important moment to reflect on the fact that today nearly one billion people are on the move across the world, and they are increasingly the target of hatred and violence. That’s why I am celebrating International Migrants Day by signing the pledge to respect immigrants everywhere by dropping the i-word and demanding that the media do the same.

Politicians and media alike use the word “illegal” to describe human beings without immigration status, sometimes shortening “illegal immigrant” to “illegals.” While this may seem trivial to some, the language of criminality plays an enormous part in moving people along the continuum from language to violent behavior. Calling people “illegal,” describing them in ways that make them less them human, recasts them as members of an undeserving sub-class that are owed less respect than what would otherwise be acceptable for “regular” human beings. [...]

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New Human Rights Report Condemns Rise of Immigration Policing

For Immediate Release
December 16, 2009

Arnoldo García (510) 465-1984 ext 305
Laura Rivas (510) 465-1984 ext 304

New Human Rights Report Condemns Rise of Immigration Policing
Injustice for All Urges Obama Administration to Shift Policies, Protect Rights

Oakland, CA – The Obama Administration and Congress need to shift away from the immigration policing regime that the government has been building over the past decade, according to a new report issued within days of International Migrants Day, December 18. Injustice for All: The Rise of the Immigration Policing Regime, is published by the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) and points to the dramatic growth of a multi-faceted immigration control system that is normalizing government abuses against immigrants in the U.S.

The report is based on over 100 stories of rights abuses documented during 2009-2010 by HURRICANE: The Human Rights Immigrant Community Action Network, an initiative of NNIRR. Injustice for All raises concern that increased policing through Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) with state and local agencies, along with heightened border security, is undermining the health and safety of entire communities.

Injustice for All is the third report from HURRICANE, which maintains a national database of rights abuses against immigrants.

Ada Volkmer, coordinator of the Western North Carolina 100 Stories Project that contributed to the report, explained, “We found that when local police have immigration enforcement authority they are more prone to perpetrate abuses, including racial profiling.”

The North Carolina project was started by community groups to document abuses and organize for redress following widespread experience with law enforcement discrimination and abuse in the region. “Immigration-police collaboration makes our communities more vulnerable to abuses and exploitation because people do not trust the police and will not go to them to report crimes,” Ms. Volkmer added.

Ayesha Mahmooda, an organizer with DRUM: Desis Rising Up & Moving and contributor, stated, “In New York, South Asian workers and community members are reporting stolen wages and unsafe working conditions. They are very concerned that employers act with impunity and create a climate of fear by threatening them with deportation if they complain about working conditions.”

Laura Rivas, coordinator of the HURRICANE initiative, said, “We are calling on the Obama Administration and Congress to suspend the policing operations, the detentions and deportations. We want an aggressive investigation into the abuses; they must hear from our communities.”

In addition to calling for policy changes, Injustice for All calls on members of Congress to conduct field hearings to hear directly from community members—workers, men, women, children, youth, families, neighborhoods—who have experienced the rise in racial profiling, workplace abuse, forced family separation, and hate violence.

The text of the report is available here.

Report authors and contributors are available for interviews.

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
310 8th St. Ste. 303 Oakland, CA 94607 l tel: 510.465.1984 fax: 510.465.1885

Monday, December 20, 2010

Latino Chipotle workers speak out after mass immigration firings in Minnesota

By staff, Fightback News
December 15, 2010

Minneapolis, MN - On Dec. 14, Juan and Maria, two workers from Chipotle Mexican Restaurant who are Mexican immigrants, spoke out at a press conference after being fired as part of a statewide immigration sweep. Over 20 other fired Chipotle workers stood by them as they told what has happened over the past week and presented their demands to Chipotle Mexican Restaurant and to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Starting on Dec. 6, more than 80 workers have been fired at Chipotle Mexican restaurants around the state in coordinated immigration-related firings. [...]

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Immigration to U.S., After Dip, Is Back Up

By Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times
December 16, 2010

The flow of immigrants to the United States has resumed, after falling to the lowest level in decades during the recession, a new study finds.

The number of immigrants in the United States was estimated to have risen by about half a million in the year that ended in 2009, a jump from the previous year, when immigration stopped almost completely during the recession, according the study, which was conducted by the Brookings Institution and is being released on Thursday. [...]

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

FAIR-y Tales

Like many successful illegal-immigration populists, Russell Pearce gets his "hard costs of illegal immigration," and his talking points, from the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a Washington, D.C.-based, self-described public interest nonprofit founded in 1979.

By Terry Greene Sterling, The Village Voice
December 1, 2010

On June 5, hundreds rallied at the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza in Phoenix in support of SB 1070, the harshest state immigration law in the nation, which had been signed by Governor Jan Brewer six weeks earlier.

The crowd of mostly middle-aged, working-class Anglos waved handmade signs blaring such things as:

"14 Million Jobless Americans; 13 Million Illegals, DO THE MATH, MR. PRESIDENT."


"SB 1070 is not racist" [...]

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

NYC, 12/6/10: Final Immigration Hearing for Chilean Activist Victor Toro

Rally to Support Victor Toro
Monday, December 6, 12 noon to 1 pm
At the corner of Lafayette and Worth Streets
Lower Manhattan, New York City
(behind Federal Building near Thomas Paine Park; J/Z to Chambers Street, 4/5/6 to Brooklyn Bridge, R/N to City Hall)

Hearing before Judge Sarah Burr
Monday, December 6, 1 pm
Room 1237, 26 Federal Plaza
(Broadway between Duane and Worth Streets)

On December 6 the U.S. government will continue its three-year campaign to deport a New York community and immigrant rights activist who fled Chile after being imprisoned and tortured under the Pinochet dictatorship.

A founder of Chile's MIR (Revolutionary Left Movement), Victor Toro has lived in New York City with his family since 1986. He and Nieves Ayress, his wife, have played a leading role in progressive politics in the city over the years; their accomplishments include the creation of La Peña del Bronx, a local political and cultural community center. Now 68 years old, Toro is facing the threat of deportation to Chile, which is again ruled by a rightist government. He is seeking political asylum.

Judge Sarah Burr has said that the upcoming hearing will be the last one; after this she will issue a ruling. Some 30 of Toro's supporters, many standing, filled the small courtroom for the most recent hearing, on October 15; Toro's defense committee is asking for people come out again on December 6 to show how strongly the community supports this longtime activist.

Contact information:
Call 718-292-6137, 646-431-7037, email

For more information on the case:

En español:

Other recent news & links on immigrant rights organizing:

Dream Act organizing:

Dream Act Hunger Strikes:

Organizing against “Secure Communities” (local police enforcing immigration law):!/video/video.php?v=450340645951&oid=105165912665&comments

Friday, December 3, 2010

Why Do Mexican Workers Head North?

Timothy Wise: Mexican agriculture was undermined by NAFTA and companies like Smithfield

The Real News Network
November 26, 2010

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay, coming to you from Tufts University in Boston. In the recent US midterm elections, one of the hot-button issues in many parts of the country was the issue of undocumented workers--some people call [them] illegal immigrants. What effect does it have when people, because of their status, are willing to work for sometimes even below minimum wage? But the question that rarely gets asked in this debate is: why are so many people from south of the border here? And what happened to the economies of countries like Mexico? And did in fact US policy have something to do with it? Now joining us to talk about that question is Timothy Wise. He's director of the Research and Policy Program at the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University in Boston. So why do so many people head north looking for work? [...]

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kosher business refuses to pay $260,000 in back wages to fired workers

By Izabela Rutkowski and Erin Durkin, NY Daily News
November 26, 2010

A Williamsburg kosher food company is locked in a battle with former workers who charge they were stiffed out of overtime pay - and then fired when they complained.

National Labor Relations Board investigators found that Flaum Appetizing Corp. illegally booted the workers, and ordered the company to cough up around $260,000 in back pay. But owner Moshe Grunhut has refused to comply - saying he won't pay the workers because they're undocumented immigrants.

The fired employees said they spent years working as much as 80 hours a week for minimum wage with no overtime, for bosses who often peppered them with verbal abuse. [...]

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