Video Showings-Dec. 1st and 5th

November 22, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Announcements 

Tuesday, December 1st at 6:30 pm, Sequim Library, 630 N Sequim Ave. 

Saturday, December 5th at 2:00 pm, Port Angeles Library, 2210 S Peabody St.

  “Farmingville” documentary showing in Sequim and Port Angeles

 The Stop the Checkpoints Committee will hold two showings of “Farmingville”, a documentary which puts a human face on the current debate around “guest worker” and other proposed immigration reforms. Filmmakers Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini spent a year in the small Long Island town making this 2003 Sundance award winning film.  

 Farmingville (80 min. English/Spanish w/English subtitles) portrays the chilling hate-based attempted murders of two Mexican day laborers in the small town of Farmingville, Long Island, which catapult the population and the immigration issue into the national headlines, unmasking a frontline of the new border wars – suburbia. 

 This bilingual, verité documentary allows many players in the story – long term residents, day laborers, elected officials, and advocates on all sides of the issue – to speak for themselves, offering a rare and intimate glimpse behind the headlines.  The Stop The Checkpoints committee is working to start a productive local conversation about immigration policies and civil liberties, particularly as they play out on the Olympic Peninsula.

Showings, which are free and open to all, will be held at 6:30 pm Tuesday, December 1 at the Sequim Library and at 2:00 pm Saturday, December 5 at the Port Angeles Library. For information about the event contact Lois Danks, Stop the Checkpoints Coordinator at 452-7534.  For more information about the film visit the website www.farmingvillethemovie.com.

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AFL-CIO Report: Immigration enforcement harms workers

November 4, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Uncategorized 

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2009
Report: Immigration enforcement harms workers

A comprehensive report issued today by the AFL-CIO, American Rights at Work and the National Employment Law Project finds that the federal government’s immigration enforcement in recent years — including a heavy reliance on raids and often inadequately trained enforcement agents — has severely undermined efforts to protect workers’ rights, to the detriment of immigrant and native-born workers alike.

Drawing on several case studies from across the country, the report offers an unprecedented analysis of how the division between labor and immigration enforcement has eroded, and a blueprint for how the new administration and federal agencies can restore the balance. The authors, joined by a group of affected immigrant workers, presented their findings and recommendations today at a conference at AFL-CIO headquarters.

“The balance between worksite immigration enforcement and labor standards enforcement must be recalibrated,” argued co-author Rebecca Smith of the National Employment Law Project. “ICE’s failure to uphold the firewall between enforcement of immigration laws and enforcement of labor laws has undercut both policies. Employers have been encouraged to violate wage and hour laws, OSHA requirements, and labor laws that protect collective bargaining rights. All workers, both immigrant and native born, are suffering from depressed core labor standards as a result.”

ICED Out: How Immigration Enforcement Has Interfered with Workers’ Rights builds on a growing body of research that points to a decline in workplace protections — and details how the dramatic increase in immigration enforcement agents, arrests and prosecutions of immigrants in the U.S. has repeatedly taken precedence over labor law enforcement.

Drawing on case studies from across the country — including California, Texas, Tennessee, Kansas, Iowa, Rhode Island, Florida and Oregon — the report examines a series of alarming incidents between 2005 and 2008 in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, has:

(1) taken enforcement action at the behest of employers, their surrogates, and other police agencies;

(2) conducted immigration-focused surveillance in the midst of labor disputes;

(3) conducted enforcement action with full knowledge of an ongoing labor dispute;

(4) engaged in subterfuge to carry out enforcement actions; and

(5) directly interfered with the administration of justice by arresting workers on the courthouse steps.

In 2008, the report notes, ICE made 6,287 (5,184 administrative; 1,103 criminal) arrests for immigration offenses at workplaces, and only a small fraction of its arrests (2.1 percent) were of employers or employers’ agents. In August 2009, ICE reported having enrolled 63 agencies and trained 840 officers in a program to assist in identifying undocumented immigrants. However, the GAO recently criticized ICE for inadequate oversight and training under the program, and it has frequently been cited as contributing to racial profiling.

“Focusing on raids and other types of immigration enforcement without regard to enforcement of labor and employment laws does not address what is really sustaining illegal immigration-the virtually unfettered ability of employers to exploit immigrant workers economically,” said Ana Avendaño of the AFL-CIO, a co-author of the report.

At today’s conference Josue Diaz, an immigrant worker who was recruited from a day laborer corner in New Orleans to work on reconstruction efforts in Texas after Hurricanes Ike, shared his personal story. “We were forced to live in tents in an isolated labor camp at an abandoned oil refinery. We were made to work in toxic conditions without safety equipment. We were subjected racist and dehumanizing treatment… When we protested the discrimination and illegal treatment, our employer… called local police and ICE. We were arrested immediately. Instead of enforcing our labor rights against the company, the police and ICE tried to turn us into criminals.”

Download a full copy of the report, and the authors’ specific recommendations for the Obama administration and several federal agencies on how to restore the proper balance between immigration and labor law enforcement.

Copyright © 2009 – Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO

New Report Documents Trail of Human Rights Violations Against Immigrants

November 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News, Uncategorized 

Oakland, CA , October 6, 2009: A new report reveals that immigration policing is causing a disturbing pattern of abuses and human rights violations that threaten the livelihood and safety of entire families, workers and communities. Guilty by Immigration Status: A report on U.S. violations of the rights of immigrant families, workers and communities in 2008 calls for restoring due process and suspending detentions and deportations, and urges a thorough investigation into immigration enforcement practices.

The report was produced by HURRICANE, the Human Rights Immigrant Community Action Network, an initiative of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR).

Guilty by Immigration Status details how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has built up over the last eight years an “immigration control regime,” whose goal is to deport everyone who can be deported. According to the report, DHS is almost exclusively promoting the criminalization of immigration status to detain and deport persons, often for minor offenses.

Catherine Tactaquin, NNIRR director, spoke to the urgent need to address the numerous problems revealed in the report: “Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Luis Gutierrez have each said they will soon announce their proposals for key immigration reforms. But unless the components of this regime are halted and dismantled, the long-held promise of immigration reform — the lifting of millions of immigrant workers and their families out of a life of fear and exploitation — will be severely undermined.”

Record Number Jailed Solely for Immigration Status

Guilty by Immigration Status describes how DHS, along with other police, public officials and agencies, routinely trumped the civil rights and constitutional protections of a person in order to question, detain and/or jail them solely based on their actual or perceived immigration status. The report also shows that such DHS detentions are taking place in record numbers, along with the relentless militarizing and policing of the immigrant and border communities.

Laura Rivas, coordinator of the HURRICANE initiative, said, “ICE police is unaccountable for the brutal treatment they exact on people for alleged immigration offenses. We have the case of Mr. Rebhy Abdel-Malak, an Egyptian; ICE agents beat him in an Atlanta cell and forced him to sign away his rights in order to deport him. ICE agents forced a pen into his hands and made him sign a document as they sat on him!

“In Sacramento, California, ICE stormed into the home of the Sarabia family, arresting a mother and, without a warrant, her son. ICE deported them literally overnight and dumped them in the streets of Tijuana like so much refuse, without letting the family know of there whereabouts.” She added, “Hundreds of persons are dying on the border, where the border control strategy deliberately funnels migrants into the desert and puts border communities under siege. It’s a deadly crossing for migrants because of the extreme weather and being hunted by vigilantes.”

Guilty by Immigration Status is the second annual report of HURRICANE. The findings are drawn from 141 stories of human rights abuse reported and documented by HURRICANE members and partners, including 25 interviews offering first-hand testimony from immigrant workers, families and community members directly affected by immigration enforcement policies and practices in 2008. The HURRICANE report also tracked 118 incidents of ICE immigration enforcement operations or high profile raids through extensive documentation from newspaper articles, scholarly journals, advocate reports, and interviews with affected persons, along with reporting by community groups and other institutions. [See links below to read the report and the chronologies of human rights abuses and ICE raids.]

According to Ms. Rivas, “The Sarabia and Abdel-Malak families are not isolated cases. We believe the Department of Homeland Security must be held accountable and the abuses investigated. DHS is putting the rights and lives of immigrant and refugee members of our communities at risk.

“The first step to ending this crisis is restoring due process rights and other constitutional protections. President Obama must suspend all detentions and deportations so that those who have violated rights and committed abuses are held accountable. Fair and humane immigration reforms can be achieved, but only by revitalizing our country’s commitment to justice and equality for all persons, regardless of their immigration or citizenship status.”

Read Guilty by Immigration Status at www.nnirr.org/hurricane/GuiltybyImmigrationStatus2008.pdf

Read the 2008 100 Stories Chronology of Abuses at www.nnirr.org/hurricane/100StoriesChronology.pdf

Read the 2008 chronology of ICE enforcement operations, or raids, at www.nnirr.org/hurricane/RaidsChronology.pdf

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