Friday, August 30, 2013

NYC 'Washeros' Stand With Arizona Workers; Urge Obama to Act

By Joe Maniscalco, NY Labor Press
August 22, 2013

Queens, NY - Workers and supporters at the Jomar Car Wash in Flushing called on President Obama and the U.S. Congress to move on meaningful immigration reform following a weekend sweep in Phoenix, Arizona, in which federal agents rounded up some 300 people. (Watch Video)

“We need immigration reform passed this year,” said Antonio Alarcon, a youth organizer with Make the Road New York. “We’re tired of seeing people being deported for no reason. They’re innocent people. They’re just workers looking for a better future for their children.”

One of those workers looking for a better future is Jomar Car Wash worker Patricio Santiago. The Mexican emigre and father said that while an immigration reform package is bandied about in Congress, families like his continue to suffer daily in multiple ways.

“We saw our brothers in Arizona suffered a raid, but that’s just one of the problems to which we are exposed,” the 13-year resident said. [...]

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Latinos Slam ICE Immigration Raid on Arizona Car Wash Company, Compare It to Arpaio's

The Huffington Post
August 20, 2013

Latino groups are condemning ICE’s Saturday raid targeting an Arizona car wash chain for hiring undocumented immigrants, likening the operation to raids conducted by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

A 78-count indictment unsealed Monday morning charges 14 of the company’s managers and supervisors with knowlingly hiring undocumented workers, identity theft, immigration document fraud and false statements. ICE officials say they took aim at the Danny’s Family Car Wash management for criminal acts, rather than the company’s undocumented workers.

But many immigrant rights groups don’t think the distinction makes the federal operation much different from Arpaio’s.

“In Arizona, it’s hard to tell the difference between Arpaio and Obama,” Carlos Garcia, an organizer with the immigrant advocacy group Puente, said in a statement. [...]

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

War on the Border

By Todd Miller, New York Times
August 17, 2013

Three generations of Loews have worked the family’s 63 acres in Amado, Ariz. In the last 20 years, the Loew family harvested thousands of pounds of onions, garlic and pumpkins without incident. So Stewart Loew, 44, who was born and raised on the farm, was surprised when he went to irrigate his fields one night and found himself surrounded by federal agents.

Pointing to the fires about 200 feet away that Mr. Loew lit to keep warm while he irrigated his fields, one of the agents slogged out of the ankle deep water in the irrigation ditch and asked Mr. Loew what he was doing.

“I’m irrigating, dude,” said Mr. Loew, who was in his pajamas. “What are you doing?”

“Don’t ‘dude’ me, I’m a federal officer,” the Border Patrol agent said, and demanded Mr. Loew’s identification. [...]

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Standoff in the strawberry fields

By David Bacon, AlJazeera America
August 19, 2013

In July, Washington berry pickers went on strike. A week after their return, farm owners brought in H2A guest workers

BURLINGTON, Wash. — Over a tense two-week period in July, at the peak of the summer harvest season, almost 250 workers at the $6.1 million Sakuma Brothers strawberry and blueberry farm — one of the largest in Washington state — went on strike twice. Workers fought with the farm’s owners over wages, overtime pay, alleged racist treatment and conditions in their housing camp. They won concessions but lost on most of their monetary demands. With few resources left, they returned to the fields.

Sakuma Brothers Farms could afford to play hardball because it had an ace in the hole: It had been certified to bring 160 new workers from Mexico under the restrictive H2A guest-worker program. And the lower wages mandated for guest workers under U.S. immigration law proved to be the limit not just for the H2A workers but also for all the other pickers at the company. [...]

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Arizona mural dramatizes killings by border agents

By Joe Bernick, People's World
August 13, 2013

TUCSON, Ariz. -- "Border Patrol Impunity Must End!" and "Mother Demands Justice" were the themes of a press conference and protest at the unveiling of a large public mural in downtown Tucson commemorating the murder of a Mexican teen.

Guadalupe Guerrero, mother of Carlos LaMadrid, was informed Friday, Aug. 9, that the murderer of her son, border patrol agent Lucas Tidwell, will not face any criminal charges for the broad daylight shooting death of 19-year-old Carlos on March 21, 2011. [...]

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Grocery Boycott Resumes in Brooklyn

By David L. Wilson, Grassroots Solidarity
August 14, 2013

“Welcome back,” community organizer Lucas S├ínchez called out to some 35 demonstrators in front of a small supermarket in Brooklyn’s Kensington neighborhood the afternoon of August 10. “It’s as if we never left,” he added with a smile.

The Saturday rally, announced just two days before, marked the resumption of a consumer boycott at the Golden Farm grocery store in support of Latino produce workers currently in negotiations with the shop’s owner, Sonny Kim. Kensington residents and local labor rights activists started the boycott one year earlier, in August 2012, but suspended it last March at the urging of the workers’ union, Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW, in the hope that this would advance the contract talks. [...]

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Migrants and Migrant Rights Organizations Denounce Punitive Reform and Vow to Continue Organizing

By Laura Carlsen, Americas Program
August 12, 2013

The United States has always had mixed feelings about its immigrants.

The country and its people take pride in their history as a “nation of immigrants”, and celebrate the diversity and bold spirits of pioneers who came from other countries in search of freedom and prosperity.

But many of those immigrants, in fact, faced bitter discrimination and violence in the new land. Africans forced over as slaves, the 19-century waves of poor Irish and Italians, Japanese during World War II and Muslims after 9-11—all suffered the sting of anti-immigrant sentiment.

That ambivalence has surfaced again as Congress grapples with how to fix the “broken” immigration system. [...]

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Workers Defense Project, a Union in Spirit

By Steven Greenhouse, New York Times
August 10, 2013

LIKE most construction workers who come to see Patricia Zavala, the two dozen men who crowded into her office in Austin, Tex., one afternoon in March had a complaint.

The workers, most of them Honduran immigrants, had jobs applying stucco to the exterior of a 17-story luxury student residence. It was difficult, dangerous work, but that was to be expected. What upset them was that for the previous two weeks their crew leader had not paid them; each was owed about $1,000.

Ms. Zavala, the workplace justice coordinator at the Workers Defense Project, listened to their stories and then spent a month failing to persuade the contractors to pay the back wages. So Ms. Zavala, 27, a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the daughter of a Peruvian immigrant, turned to what she calls the nuclear option: the workers filed a lien on the building site. [...]

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Nine Things You Don’t Know About the Dream 9

By Aura Bogado Share, ColorLines
August 5, 2013

There’s been a lot of hype, hope, rumors and misinformation about the Dream 9 since they crossed the southern border two weeks ago. Here are some facts you might not know about the nine activists being held at the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona, which is privately owned and operated by the Corrections Corporation of America.

1. The Dream 9 crossed into the U.S. legally.

During a visit with the Dream 9’s Marco Saavedra on Sunday, he said he was surprised to learn that people assume that what they did is illegal. It’s not. Entering into the U.S. from another country and asking for humanitarian parole or asylum at a port of entry is perfectly sound in the eyes of the law. Saavedra said the current immigration policy automatically attaches the illusion that everything—and everyone—that exists on or near the Mexico-U.S. border is somehow illegal. [...]

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Monday, August 12, 2013

"Enemy Alien" Screening: NYC, Sunday, Aug. 18

A project of Life Or Liberty Productions,
Produced and Directed by KONRAD ADERER (2011, 82 minutes)

WHEN: Sunday August 18, 2013 1:15 pm
WHERE: Community Church NY, Gallery Room 28 East 35th St. btwn Park & Madison Aves.
ADMISSION: Free, donations appreciated

RESISTANCE CINEMA concludes its summer season with an intriguing film by a local NYC based filmmaker. Enemy Alien begins with the quest of a Japanese American filmmaker, Konrad, to document the underside of the patriotic fervor comparing the attacks of September 11, 2001 and Pearl Harbor: the post-9/11 detentions of Muslims and internment of Japanese Americans. Finding these aftermaths to be not only historically resonant but linked by immigration policy, he soon finds his own life transformed by this theme as he becomes involved in the fight to free immigration detainee Farouk Abdel-Muhti. [...]

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Viva la Huelga! The Agricultural Strike at Sakuma Brothers Farms and the Tradition of Oaxacan Resistance

By Brendan Maslauskas Dunn, MRzine
July 25, 2013

Strike Heats Up as Over 200 Immigrant Workers Are Threatened with Mass Firing

July 24, 2013

As workers walked past fields of strawberries and blueberries into a negotiation meeting this morning with Sakuma Brothers Farms, Inc. management, they were told to accept management's terms or lose their jobs. This threat comes amidst a heated strike of over 200 immigrant farm workers at the Burlington, WA farm which is just north of Seattle. It is the second strike the workers initiated in the last two weeks over a list of demands over wages, dignity, and respect.

The strike started after the firing of farm worker Federico Lopez on July 10th. Lopez and his coworkers believed he was targeted for bringing up grievances with his superiors. Some of the workers were listening to an interview of Rosalinda Guillen on a Spanish-language radio show on a local radio station. They decided that they wanted her to assist them with their struggle at Sakuma Brothers Farms. [...]

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mexican nationals, the 'Dream 9,' take a step toward asylum

By Cindy Carcamo, Los Angeles Times
August 6, 2013

PHOENIX — Young immigrants known as the “Dream 9” will get the chance to argue their case for asylum before an immigration judge, potentially setting a precedent that would inspire other Mexican nationals to make similar claims for asylum in the U.S, immigration experts said Tuesday.

The five women and four men, who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, staged an unconventional and risky protest last month at the U.S.-Mexico border to spotlight the thousands of people deported under the Obama administration.

When the so-called Dream 9 — named for the Dream Act, which would provide them a path to legalization — attempted to reenter the U.S. at the Nogales, Ariz., port of entry, they were arrested. They have been in federal custody ever since. [...]

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Monday, August 5, 2013

What Real Immigration Reform Would Look Like

By David Bacon, The Progressive
July 27, 2013

Oralia Maceda, an immigrant mother from Oaxaca, asked the obvious last weekend in Fresno. At a meeting about the Senate immigration reform bill, she wanted to know why Senators would spend almost $50 billion on more border walls, yet show no interest in why people leave home to cross them.

This blindness will get worse as immigration reform moves to the House. It condemns U.S. immigration policy to a kind of punitive venality, making rational political decisions virtually impossible. Yet alternatives are often proposed by migrant communities themselves, and reflect a better understanding of global economics and human rights.

Rufino Dominguez, who now works for the Oaxacan state government, describes what Maceda knows from experience: “NAFTA forced the price of corn so low it's not economically possible to plant a crop anymore. We come to the U.S. to work because there's no alternative.” [...]

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

United States Deported Over 13,000 Unaccompanied Mexican Minors Last Year

By Esther Yu-Hsi Lee, ThinkProgress
July 25, 2013

On Tuesday, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) released a report confirming that 13,454 unaccompanied Mexican minors under the age of 18 were deported from the U.S. in 2012, according to Animal Politico.

Last year, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 6,548 accompanied and 24,481 unaccompanied children, a total that includes Mexican minors. The rate of border-crossing minors tripled since 2008 to the point that in 2012, unaccompanied minors comprised 79 percent of all juvenile border crossers. [...]

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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Inside Boehner's Strategy to Slow Walk Immigration to the Finish Line

House leaders put off immigration votes until after August recess, seeing delay as the best way to pass reform.

By Chris Frates, National Journal
July 30, 2013

House Republicans head home for the August break having done little to pass immigration reform, falling well short of Speaker John Boehner’s goal of voting on legislation before next week’s monthlong recess begins. But far from a failure of leadership, top House Republicans are casting the inaction as a tactical play designed to boost reform’s chances.

Keeping immigration on the back-burner helps avoid a recess filled with angry town-hall meetings reminiscent of the heated August 2009 protests where the backlash against health care reform coalesced. Doing nothing also starves Democrats of a target, Republicans argue.

“August was a central part of our discussions. People don’t want to go home and get screamed at,” a House GOP leadership aide said. [...]

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Friday, August 2, 2013

DREAM 9: ‘A Girl Hanged Herself Here’

By Aura Bogado, ColorLines
August 1, 2013

When the Dream 9 entered the Eloy Detention Center last week in Florence, Arizona, they planned to start organizing. That effort has now grown into a hunger strike protesting the conditions in one of the most notorious immigrant detention centers in the country—and a deportation machine that continues to remove more than 1,000 people per day out of the United States.

Shortly after arriving at Eloy, the Dream 9 say their phone use was unfairly restricted. In protest, they began a hunger strike—but six were placed in solitary confinement for their decision to do so. Most are back in the general population, but two remain. At the time of publication, 24-year-old Lulu Martinez and 22-year-old Maria Peniche have spent 104 out of the last 108 hours in complete isolation. Mohammad Abdollahi works with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA), which organized the action that resulted in the Dream 9’s detention, and he remains in steady contact with the nine. He says that when Martinez and Peniche are brought out of their individual cells and into the yard once a day, they are shackled and interact only with guards.[...]

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