Sunday, June 30, 2013

Senate Immigration Bill Dashes Hopes for Fair, Just Reform

'Border surge' approval further threatens border communities, migrant safety and well-being

Press Release, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
June 28, 2013

(Oakland, CA) With the Senate’s passage of S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, the Board of Directors and members of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights voiced their disappointment and concern with the dramatic escalation of border enforcement negotiated to secure support from conservative Republican senators hostile to the legalization of undocumented immigrants.

Executive Director, Catherine Tactaquin, commented, “The Senate passed a historic immigration reform bill yesterday. We had hoped the bill would have been historic for upholding the human rights of immigrants, for providing fair and equitable access to visas, protecting their rights as workers, fueling resources to process the long backlog of pending family visa applicants, and ending flawed and punitive immigration enforcement policies at the border and in the interior. “ She continued, “Unfortunately, S. 744 was not that bill. This is not the kind of legislation and deal-making that we can support nor encourage.”[...]

Read the full press release:

Saturday, June 29, 2013

With DOMA Dead, LGBT-Inclusive Immigration Reform Becomes Moot Point

Sen. Patrick Leahy announced that he will not seek a vote on his immigration amendment that would have allowed married gay and lesbian Americans to sponsor their foreign-born spouse for citizenship.

By Sunnivie Brydum, The Advocate
June 28, 2013

When the Supreme Court struck down a key portion of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act Wednesday, it cleared the way for married same-sex couples to access a litany of federal benefits, including tax breaks and military spousal benefits.

But many gay and lesbian couples with a partner who was born outside the U.S. were most excited to discover that the death of DOMA means they can finally sponsor their foreign-born spouse for citizenship.[...]

Read the full article:

Friday, June 28, 2013

US employers will control immigration: Getting in and getting on

The proposed immigration reforms in the US seem mostly intended to supply cheap and docile guest workers for short-term use by employers, rather than full US citizens.

By Benoît Bréville, Le Monde Diplomatique
July 2013

The US right has harboured two opposing views on immigration for decades. Either foreign workers are a threat, taking American jobs, living on social welfare and challenging public security; or they are virtuous, hard workers who will do jobs Americans now don’t want, determined entrepreneurs who arrive penniless in the US and start up their own businesses. Are they a burden on the nation or an asset to the economy? The conservatives want to protect “American values”, while the neoliberals advocate more open borders to stimulate growth.

Mitt Romney, the Republican Party’s presidential candidate in 2012, urged illegal immigrants to “self-deport” back home — if not, the authorities would do it for them. This did not endear him to the millions of Latinos in the US waiting for a relative to be made legal: he won only 27% of their votes, compared with Barack Obama’s 71% (1).

“It’s really hard to get people to listen to you on economic growth, on tax rates, on healthcare, if they think you want to deport their grandmother,” said Florida senator and Tea Party star Marco Rubio just after the election.[...]

Read the full article:

Video: "Obama, Tear Down This Wall"

Images of border militarization over Obama's recent speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Produced by Laura Carlsen and Murphy Woodhouse of the Americas Program. Original photography by Murphy Woodhouse, Paul Ingram and Sean Arce. Sketch of Operation Streamline by Lawrence Gipe.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sweatshops Don't Just Happen - They're a Policy

We see the result of these policies in the more than two million Mexicans who now work in maquiladoras assembling goods for the US market, the more than three million Bangladeshis who sew apparel for European and US retailers, and the millions more across the globe who either work in sweatshops or cross borders "illegally" to find jobs in the richer nations.

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
June 25, 2013

On May 5, The New York Times dedicated its "Sunday Dialogue" feature to letters about the factory collapse in Bangladesh that had killed more than 1,100 garment workers a week and a half earlier. The "dialogue" started with a letter from University of Michigan business school professor Jerry Davis, who apportioned blame for the disaster to "the owners of the building and the factories it contained, to the government of Bangladesh, to the retailers who sold the clothing," and to us. Through "[o]ur willingness to buy garments sewn under dangerous conditions," he wrote, we "create the demand that underwrites these tragedies."

There's a striking omission in Prof. Davis' list - the people whose policies make the sweatshop economy possible.[...]

Read the full article:

The Fast Against the Firings

By David Bacon, In These Times
June 19, 2013

OAKLAND, CALIF.--Even though the full Senate is debating the immigration reform bill S. 744, labor and community activists in northern California charge that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency of the federal Department of Homeland Security continues to require local employers to fire hundreds of workers, saying they have no immigration papers. In protest, dozens of Bay Area immigrant workers and their supporters went without food last week in a 72-hour hunger strike to draw attention to hundreds of these firings.

The Obama administration, which strongly supports S. 744, calls the proposal “commonsense immigration reform.” The fasters charged, however, there is no common sense in firing workers while Congress debates the bill.

The bill’s supporters tout the provisional legal status it would give some undocumented workers, like those currently being fired. But workers who are now losing their jobs in these workplace enforcement actions will not be rehired even if thebill passes, critics charge. Further, the job losses will push fired workers into poverty, below the income requirement that the bill imposes to qualify for legalization.[...]

Read the full article:

Monday, June 24, 2013

Recruitment Abuses Emerge in Immigration Reform Debate

By Michelle Chen, In These Times
June 12, 2013

Archiel Buagas thought she was doing everything right. The young Filipina nurse secured a special work visa to come to the United States and arranged a job at a New York nursing home with the help of a recruiting agency. Things started to feel wrong when they refused to give her a copy of her contract. She and the other nurses in her group soon found themselves working frantically to care for 30 to 60 patients per shift, without regular breaks, and she was soon driven to exhaustion by the indecent pay and relentless stress.

“I was so scared of going to work that before my shift," she later testified to labor advocates. "I would be crying, I’d be [vomiting] because of anxiety and nervousness. I would have diarrhea.... [T]he only thing that made me sleep was the fact that I’m so tired .... I wanted to go home.”

Buagas learned the hard way that her path to American prosperity would be fraught with betrayal. It wasn’t because she didn’t have the right papers, it was because her papers offered her no protection against an industry that preys on the hopes of migrants seeking a better life abroad.[...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Danilo, “Vermont Human Rights Hero” and Immigrant Rights Organizer Facing Deportation on July 5th

June 15, 2013

Please sign the petition here:

Daniel Alejandro Lopez Santiago, (A089-088-623) known as ‘Danilo’ by his friends, is a farm worker and leader with the Vermont community group, Migrant Justice. In 2011, just three weeks after leading the first ever migrant farm worker press conference and rally at the Vermont state house, Danilo was placed in deportation proceedings.

Danilo was a passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over for speeding, and the police officer questioned him about his immigration status, and proceeded to call Border Patrol and place him in removal proceedings.

He was released after community organizing, and continued to stay involved. Just one month after his detention, Danilo led a successful meeting with Governor Peter Shumlin to create a new state policy that prohibits the use of state resources for immigration enforcement. The VT Human Rights Commission investigated the police stop, and found that Danilo was unlawfully discriminated against in violation of Vermont’s Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act.

For this, and his continued activism, Danilo was recognized as the “Vermont Human Rights Hero” of 2011 by the Vermont Workers’ Center at a conference of hundreds of community leaders at the University of Vermont.

Throughout his organizing he has continued to fight his deportation case in court, and has continued to fight for immigrant and farm workers rights, including leading the successful campaign for equal access to Vermont Driver’s Licenses.

However, he has lost his immigration case in court, and his request for prosecutorial discretion has been denied. Danilo was told he must leave the country by July 5, 2013. Please help us tell immigration that Danilo should be able to remain in the country, and continue to be a civil rights leader in Vermont.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Latino voters oppose excessive enforcement and punitive measures in immigration reform

By Matt Barreto, Latino Decisions
June 11, 2013

A new poll from and Latino Decisions finds that Latino voters firmly oppose excessive enforcement, border security, and punitive measures as part of comprehensive immigration reform. The survey of 500 Latino registered voters asked opinions on a wide range of specific policy measures that have been debated in Congress and finds overall that 81% of Latino voters reject the notion of “border-security-first” approach. [Webinar slide deck here] Instead, Latinos prefer to see a path to citizenship unfold simultaneously with any border security measures. Further, Latinos are firmly opposed to increased Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) crackdowns against immigrants. When asked if ICE should be asked to increase the number of immigrants detained 73% of Latino voters said no. When asked if ICE should be asked to increase the frequency of workplace raids 66% of Latino voters said no. Full topline results are posted here.[...]

Read the full article:

Friday, June 21, 2013

Dirty Dishes: The Laundry Workers Center Aims to Make Another Workplace Cleaner

By Sarah Jaffe, In These Times
June 7, 2013

A handful of workers outside an apartment building in the Murray Hill neighborhood of midtown Manhattan passed out flyers under the watchful eyes of the door guard. The flyers were addressed to residents of the building, informing them that their neighbors, the owners of upscale deli chain and catering company Dishes, “are profiting from years of unpaid wages and numerous workplace violations.”

Two of the men handing out flyers on this particular evening, June 4, had been fired from Dishes' 45th Street location—one after complaining that his wages were being slashed in retaliation for a wage-and-hour lawsuit he had filed, and the other after lobbying for the first worker’s reinstatement.

Until recently, both were happy employees who had been with the company for more than a decade. They took pride in their cooking skills and had—or thought they had—a good relationship with their boss, the restaurant's owner, Moshe Mallul, who lives at the Murray Hill apartment complex.[...]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Arizona Border Deaths Detailed

By Frontera NorteSur
June 7, 2013

As the hottest time of year descends on the borderland, a new report sheds fresh light on the mass deaths of migrants crossing the deadly Sonora-Arizona desert. Co-authored by the University of Arizona’s Binational Migration Institute and the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner (PCOME), the study examines the deaths of 2,238 migrants in the Tucson area between 1990 and 2012.

The researchers document the dramatic rise in border crossing deaths beginning in 1990, when the bodies of 8 undocumented migrants were recovered, and culminating in 2012, when 171 migrant deaths were recorded. With 225 migrant deaths registered in the zone examined, 2010 was rated the deadliest year. [...]

Read the full article:

Read the report;

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Price of Immigration Reform is Steep

By David Bacon, Rosalinda Guillen and Mark Day, New America Media
June 6, 2013

As the Senate prepares to vote on comprehensive immigration reform, it's important to remember that workers and immigrants have never made significant progress in gaining civil and human rights in the United States without a fight. The same is true today.

No political party or Gang of Eight can bestow upon undocumented immigrants rights that can only be won through an organized social movement. President Barack Obama would not have issued an executive order to defer the deportations of undocumented students had not these courageous youths fought those deportations, staged protests, and proposed their own immigration reform - the Dream

The Senate's proposed bill, however, does not reflect the reality in which most immigrants live, starting with the reasons why people come to the United States to begin with. This bill will not stop the flow of undocumented immigrants, its stated purpose, because it does not address the root causes of migration.[...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Immigrants Explain Why the Senate Reform Bill Is Inadequate

Immigrants Use May Day for Legalization Push

By Juan Matossian, Asian Journal, El Diario La Prensa
April 30, 2013

Translated by Emily Leavitt from Spanish
Go to original story

On May 1, International Workers’ Day, thousands of immigrant workers will not only reclaim their rights, they will also raise their voices in unison to demand fair immigration reform.

A large part of the protests and events that the New York immigrant community usually organizes will center around the recent immigration reform bill presented just a few weeks ago, and the effects it will have on workers.

Some of the participating groups will use May 1 to express their disagreement with the bill – already known officially as S. 744 – because they consider it clearly inadequate. [...]

Read the full article:

Youth organizer Denise Romero explains why she wouldn't accept legalization through the Senate bill:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hunger Strike to Protest Immigration-Related Firings

A Bay Area Network Opposing the Firing of Immigrant Workers


PRESS RELEASE - for release Monday, June 10
Press Contact: Laura Rivas - 510-282-2500, Mike Henneberry - 510-719-7691, Sara Steffens - 510-332-9483

From noon on Tuesday, June 11 to noon on Friday, June 14, Bay Area immigrant workers and their supporters will be engaging in a FAST AGAINST THE FIRINGS to draw attention to the unjust firing of hundreds of immigrants.

Even though the full Senate has begun deliberations on the Immigration Reform Bill S. 744, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency of the federal Department of Homeland Security is requiring local employers to fire hundreds of workers, saying they have no immigration papers. The administration calls its reform proposal "commonsense immigration reform," but the fasters say there is no common sense in firing workers while Congress debates it.[...]

Read the full press release:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

"Enemy Alien" Showing in DC, 6/14/13

"Enemy Alien" Showing in DC, 6/14/13

The Jerusalem Fund/Palestine Center will present Enemy Alien as part of its Summer Film Series

Friday, June 14, 2013
The Jerusalem Fund
2425 Virginia Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20037

Director Konrad Aderer will be present for discussion after the screening.

Event listing & reservations

Enemy Alien is now available on Amazon as a DVD! Please SUPPORT the film by posting a 5-star review once you’ve seen it. (

The film will also be available for digital download online soon, and a shorter classroom version of Enemy Alien is in the works for release this year.

Production continues for the next Life or Liberty project, Resistance at Tule Lake, telling the explosive hidden history of Tule Lake Segregation Center. At this American concentration camp, Japanese Americans who protested their incarceration were branded by the U.S. government as “disloyal,” violent disturbances led to martial law being imposed on the camp, and thousands renounced their U.S. citizenship.

The 9-minute trailer of the film was shown at the San Francisco and New York City annual Day of Remembrance events in February and March. Watch the trailer

Your support is greatly appreciated! Please connect and keep up through the website, Facebook page ( and Twitter (@enemyalien).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dignity Campaign Response to Senate Bill S 744

By the Dignity Campaign
June 1, 2013

As organizations participating in the Dignity Campaign for Immigration Reform Based on Human and Labor Rights, we are very concerned about the harsh impact the Senate’s immigration reform bill will have on immigrants. Rather than ‘bring immigrants out of the shadows’ this bill will hold millions in an underclass, vulnerable to exploitation and relegated to the ranks of the working poor, with no access to basic services. Millions will have no hope of receiving permanent legal status, let alone citizenship.

We believe this bill will affect our communities for decades to come, in the same way we continue to feel the negative effects of the Immigration Reform and Control Act, passed in 1986. It is important to look at what our world will be like if the Senate’s version of immigration reform passes, to expose the negative impacts the bill will have, and especially prepare to defend our communities.

We want legal immigration status for people living in the U.S. who don’t have it, and believe this desire unites millions in this country. Diverse groups with many different experiences are all fighting today for the civil, labor and human rights of immigrants, and of all working people. This fight didn’t start with this bill – it’s been going on for generations. It won’t end with it either.

This bill, however, does not reflect the aspirations of a majority of the US population to provide permanent resident status to the undocumented. It is instead the product of corporate America, which wants to hold down the cost of labor, especially in high tech, the hotel and restaurant industry, construction, and the food growing and processing industry. Massive enforcement creates money-making opportunities through continued detention and constructing more border walls, which we all already know will not stop the flow of migration.[...]

Read the full statement:

Friday, June 7, 2013

Radical Alternatives to Immigration Reform @ Left Forum 2013

Saturday, June 8th, Noon
Room W510
Pace University

Tens of thousands are detained and deported in the United States, the European Union and elsewhere but human migration will not stop. The number of migrants worldwide has increased from an estimated 36 million in 1991 to over 200 million today, including 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Migration is wired into the structures of capitalism and is transforming nation-state demographics and politics. However, the proposals coming from the mainstream parties and organizations purposely fail to address fundamental issues such as climate change, border walls, global recession and economic underdevelopment. This forum will put forward radical proposals and movement-strategies to challenge the shortcomings of 'immigration reform'.

Chair: Sarah Flores

Sonia Guinansaca, Education Not Deportation Campaign and New York State Youth Leadership Council
Immanuel Ness, author, Guest Workers and US Corporate Despotism
Jane Guskin, author, The Politics of Immigration
Anthony Donaldson, Families for Freedom
Denise Guadalupe Romero, Migrant Power Alliance & The Black Alliance for Just Immigration [BAJI]
Shaun Harkin, Chicago May Day 2013 Organizing Committee; Coalition for Migrant Justice; contributor

Sponsored by the International Socialist Review

* * *

Right before the immigration panel, filmmaker Konrad Aderer ("Enemy Alien") will be on a panel about resistance to global capitalism

Rebel from Below: Global Capitalism and Local Resistance in Comparative Perspective
Session 1 W608 Sat 10:00am - 11:50am

Lu Zhang -- Temple University
Kimberly Lok -- Temple University, Food Chain Workers Alliance
Jennifer Candipan -- USC
Konrad Aderer -- Life or Liberty (
Esther Hio-Tong Castillo -- Temple University
René Ropac -- Temple University

Saturday, June 1, 2013

AFL-CIO: American high-tech workers not in shortage

Companies want a massive expansion of visa holders so they can pay them less.

By Richard Trumka, USA Today
May 28, 2013

Policy proposals from multinational corporations often come with slick, poll-tested rhetoric. It is always worth digging deeper.

And the more you dig into the idea that we need to hugely expand the number of employer-based temporary worker visas for tech companies, the more you uncover the truth: This is about powerful companies pursuing lower wages. [...]

Read the full article:

Current and proposed high-skilled guestworker policies discourage STEM students and grads from entering IT

By Hal Salzman, Daniel Kuehn, and B. Lindsay Lowell, Economic Policy Institute
May 30, 2013

In 2011, the number of high-skilled (i.e., possessing at least a college degree) guestworkers was estimated to be equal to between one-third to one-half of new job openings filled by all college graduates in the information technology (IT) sector. However, a new analysis finds that in 2011, the number of college-educated guestworkers under the age of 30 in IT was equal to two-thirds of all the 166,000 new college-educated IT job holders under the age of 30. At a time when Congress is proposing to dramatically increase the number of skilled guestworkers available to IT and other industries, it is important to consider the adverse impact of increasing the guestworker flow on U.S. college graduates just entering the workforce and on those in school making plans for their future.

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the country’s largest skilled guestworker program (H-1B) is primarily used to fill “entry-level” positions. Thus, recent graduates in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields seeking an initial foothold in the IT job market are competing directly with young college-educated guestworkers for these entry-level positions. [...]

Read the full article: