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Southern Poverty Law Center, National Day Laborer Organizing Network Sue After Alabama Police Chief Refuses to Release Public Documents that May Reveal Racial Profiling of Latino Day Laborers

FAIRFIELD, Ala. – The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) filed suit today against an Alabama police chief after he refused to release public documents that could reveal the targeting and racial profiling of Latino day laborers in his city.

The lawsuit against Fairfield Police Chief Leon Davis Jr. was filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court after he refused to release public documents that could confirm that Latino day laborers and construction workers have been wrongfully targeted under a municipal ordinance that requires certain individuals to obtain permits to work within the city.

“By law, the public has a right to view these records,” said Michelle Lapointe, SPLC staff attorney. “We are merely asking that the police chief abide by state law and provide transparency about how his department enforces the ordinance. We want to ensure that this ordinance is being enforced without racial profiling or unconstitutionally targeting low-wage workers.”

The groups sent the first of several official requests for documents under the Alabama open records law in April, but Davis refused to comply. Today’s lawsuit asks the court to force the police chief to hand over documents related to policies and procedures for enforcing Fairfield Ordinance No. 897, including arrest reports, complaint forms and other public records.

In 2012, federal courts struck down as unconstitutional a provision of Alabama’s anti-immigrant law that sought to criminalize the solicitation of work by day laborers. The U.S. Constitution guarantees day laborers the right to look for work. Laws that are enforced to restrict their rights are likely invalid, especially if enforcement targets a particular racial or ethnic group.

“Working is not a crime – not under federal law, not under Alabama law and certainly not according to the principles of dignity and common sense,” said Jessica Vosburgh, NDLON staff attorney and coordinator of NDLON’s Alabama Worker Center, whose members first raised concerns about the ordinance. “We are seeking these records to shed light on whether Fairfield is respecting the rights of the hardworking Alabama residents who contribute to its economy.”

A copy of the lawsuit can be viewed here: http://sp.lc/1q03uCm.

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for immediate release // excuse cross-posting Contact: B. Loewe, NDLON, 773.791.4668,  \n Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo.   ICE Out of LA Coalition Takes Major Step Forward with New City Policy Rejecting ICE Holds, Sets Stage for County to Follow Suit New policy part of national trend ending Arizona-style enforcement, instead creating bright line between local law enforcement and federal deportation efforts   Los Angeles, July 7, 2014 - In response to the new Los Angeles Police Department Policy announced today at City Hall, representatives of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network issued the following statements:   "Chief Beck's clear directive to reject ICE's overreaching detainer requests moves Los Angeles another step away from the Arizona policies that threaten LA families and public safety. The coalition will be watching very closely to make sure ICE does not try to circumvent the policy announced today in any way." stated NDLON organizer Claudia Bautista    NDLON Staff Attorney Jessica Karp, who is currently litigating a detainer suit against Los Angeles County, added, "ICE's quota programs have no place in California and Chief Beck and the Mayor should be applauded for differentiating Los Angeles and crafting city policies that honor the city's immigrant roots instead of ICE’s unjust efforts.    The people of Los Angeles can feel safer as local officials are taking steps to repair the damage done to community-police relations by the federal Secure Communities program."   Tomorrow, Tuesday the 8th, the ICE Out of LA Coalition will hold a press conference at 9:00am at the Board of Supervisors to press the County to follow the City’s example and expand its efforts to ensure public safety and protect its residents by ending ongoing collaboration with ICE in its jails.   ###
For immediate releaseContact: B. Loewe, 773.791.4668, \n Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo. Reaction: Free From Legislative Strategy, President Obama Can Do the Right Thing on ImmigrationHe Must Maximize Existing Authority to End Injustice of the Status Quo   Washington, DC - June 30, 2014.In reaction to the President's comments this afternoon, Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network issued the following statement: This is a pivotal moment in the movement for migrant rights. What comes next will be defining moment for the President and for the country. In de-linking his immigration policy from his legislative reform strategy, the President is now free to do the right thing, and he can fulfill the promise of being a transformative president. The President's enforcement-first strategy and his misguided deportation policy were premised on the possibility of legislative reform, but it is now very clear Congress itself is broken. We fully expect the President to maximize use of existing authority to ameliorate the injustice of the status quo, and we pledge to work with the administration to fend off the attacks from nativists that will surely come, if and when, he does the right thing. Until then, we will continue our efforts to escalate opposition to unnecessary and unjust deportations. NDLON and the #Not1More Campaign are planning a day of action in Washington to ensure the President uses his authority to expand deferred action, halt deportations, and reverse criminalization on August 2nd. In February of 2014, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network filed an official rulemaking petition with the Department of Homeland Security outlining the President's executive authority to act on immigration and requesting the department cease its deportations and expand deferred action to the fullest extent possible under the law. The rulemaking petition can be read here. ###
for immediate release // excuse cross-posting Contact: B. Loewe, NDLON, 773.791.4668, \n Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo.   NDLON Calls for Boycott of Upcoming House Hearings, Demands Immediate Executive Action In Response to Rep. Gutierrez Speech, NDLON Presses for Action This morning, Congressman Luis Gutierrez  said that "nothing is moving" in the House and called upon the President to stop deportations.  In response to this significant floor speech, Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, issued the following statement: "The President's immigration policy must evolve substantially and without delay in the face of repugnant Congressional inaction.   After over a decade of empty rhetoric from Congress members of all sides about how immigration laws are 'broken,'  Congressman Gutierrez's speech today reflects a new consensus:   It is Congress that is broken,  and the President must now maximize use of his existing legal authority to protect immigrants and the national interest.    People across the political spectrum are sick and tired of partisan games in Washington DC, where everything seems to have become one big 'state of play.'  If high paid  lobbyists want to make money spinning false hope about prospects in this do-nothing Congress, they are certainly free to do that.   But  we will no longer pay attention to a Congress that is more interested in demagoguery than the suffering of children.  At this point, energy will be properly directed at the President to do the right thing. Whereas House Republican bad faith has been well-established for years, we are now arriving at a moment of truth that will measure President Obama's legacy.  Will the President fulfill expectations and take action to stop very clear injustice, or will he be content to use the crisis as fodder for an issue in the next electoral campaign?"   ###
for immediate release // excuse cross-posting Contact: B. Loewe, NDLON, 773.791.4668   California Day Laborers Applaud Introduction of SR51 to Celebrate Diversity and Recognize Harm of Anti-Immigrant Initiatives   In response to the introduction of SR51 to commemorate June 23rd, the day that Prop 187 qualified for the ballot, as a day to celebrate the state’s diversity, representatives of California’s day laborer community issued the following:   "Throughout the history of our country there are proud advances as well as mistakes and moments of injustice that we’ve had to overcome in order to improve the lives of everyone and build a more just society. Prop 187 will be remembered as one of those errors in our past that failed to recognize and threatened the strength and the beauty of our diversity." Maria Marroquin, Executive Director of the Day Worker Center of Mountain View.   "It is a sign that the intolerance and cruel politics of Prop 187 voted for in 1994 are now seen by everyone as an embarrassment and stain on this state's record.  SR51 will be a step forward by celebrating our diversity and recognizing the harm done by anti-immigrant bills that have no place in California." - Suzanne Foster, Executive Director of the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center   "The people of California are leading the nation in recognizing the contributions immigrant families make to the state's economy, culture and spirit," said Martha Arevalo, CARECEN’s executive director.  "We hope this effort sends a message to the rest of the country that this nation was built by immigrants, should value diversity and stands strong against measures of exclusion."   “In California, we are moving toward a greater unity that recognizes the humanity and equality of all the residents who make it great regardless of their country of origin or their current immigration status. To work with dignity, live without fear, and receive respect are unalienable rights. NDLON is committed to working with immigrant communities, legislators, and our allies to continue to turn the page and usher in a new era of inclusion and equality in California." – Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.   ###  
For immediate release // excuse cross-posting Contact: B. Loewe, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, \n Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo. , 773-791-4668   Coalition Files New Suit to Halt Arpaio’s Workplace RaidsCalls State Laws on Which Raids Are Based Unconstitutional   What: Press conference to announce suit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery  When: 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, June 18, 2014 Where: Outside MCSO Headquarters, 550 W. Jackson St., Phoenix, AZ (Livestream will be available to watch here) Plaintiffs and their attorneys will be available for interviews at the press conference PHOENIX – Several Maricopa County residents, joined by immigrant rights and civil rights groups, will today announce the filing of a new class-action lawsuit, Puente Arizona v. Arpaio, which challenges the County’s enforcement of two state laws that turn immigrants into felons simply for working to provide for their families. The suit comes almost five years to the day from when young Katherine Figueroa brought national attention to Arpaio’s raids through a YouTube plea to President Obama after she witnessed both her parents being arrested at a raid on live television. That day marked the beginning of a long and courageous fight by Katherine to reunite her family. Arizona legislators amended the state’s identity theft laws in 2007 and 2008 at the urging of then-Representative Russell Pearce (whose anti-immigrant agenda prompted his recall in 2011). Since then, MCSO has conducted over 80 raids and arrested over 790 workers. “Our boss always told us that he would call the Sheriff if any of us complained about the extra hours that he forced us to work without pay. Fear of a raid kept us silent but then it happened anyways,” said Sara Cervantes Arreola, a plaintiff in the case and Glendale mother who was arrested during a raid on Lam’s Supermarket last year. “I’m part of the suit because working to provide for my family is not a crime and I want my record cleared.”  “Arpaio tries to say he stands for law and order but he violates the law more often than he enforces it,” said Carlos Garcia of Puente, an organizational plaintiff in the case. “After so many years of suffering, the community Arpaio has built his career on attacking is now the one taking the Sheriff to court.” “Arizona overstepped its authority when it recast its identity theft laws to target undocumented workers,” said Leah Gasser-Ordaz, a student with…
  Contact: B. Loewe, NDLON, 773.791.4668, bloewe {at} ndlon.org   Delay of Deportation Review Sparks New Inquiry into Obama Administration Deportation Policy: FOIA demands transparency to restore widening trust gap:Is Deportation Quota Behind Agency's Shift Toward More Drastic Approach?   Today, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law held a national press briefing announcing an inquiry into the administration’s deportation policy which has come under fire in recent months.  "We have been left to speculate about the Obama Administration's motivations for delaying review of its deportation policy that, by its own admission, is inhumane. Today we will help the President advance the review and live up to his promise of having a transparent administration by calling for disclosure of documents owed to the public related to the existence of an apparent deportation quota," said Chris Newman, Legal Director for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. Specifically, presenters explained why the Freedom of Information Act requires the Obama Administration to make available to the public all files related to the existence and role of a deportation quota at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and “any and all records used to prepare DHS/ICE or White House staff for press briefings on the Administration’s deportation policy” among other documents requested. Legal experts, advocates, and those impacted by current policy will discuss the White House delay of its own review of admittedly inhumane deportation practices, the sea change of more than 110 local jurisdictions who are moving to fill the vacuum by limiting ICE’s overreaching, burdensome, and unconstitutional hold requests, as well as the increase they’ve witnessed in aggressive and retaliatory tactics by the administration’s enforcement agency. The groups’ whose previous FOIA’s exposed the overreaching nature of the Secure Communities program and prompted an Inspector General investigation, say that the Administration has a crisis of confidence with immigrant communities who, unlike the nativist GOP’s straw man talking points of distrust used to obstruct reform, have concerns based in a reality of harsh enforcement. Angela Chan, Policy Director for Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus added, "Across the country we've been putting the brakes on the President's out-of-control deportation programs and having great effect in protecting immigrant families. But ICE is adapting its tactics to pursue its self-imposed quota. Rather than playing cat and mouse, the administration should end programs like Secure Communities…
How Many More Will Be Deported Between Now and August?   and Other Questions for Sec. Jeh Johnson During His Testimony at the House Judiciary   Since Jeh Johnson was tapped to replace former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano as DHS Secretary, questions have been raised about how the former Pentagon official would approach immigration, an area in which he had little previous experience.  The White House raised expectations for Johnson with the announcement of a deportation policy review in response to the continuous pressure on the President to reverse his record and expand affirmative relief and in admission that current practice is admittedly “inhumane.”
  National contact: B Loewe, NDLON, 773-791-4668 Somerville Mayor to Sign Order Limiting ICE Holds, First in Massachusetts to Join National Trend Against Federal S-Comm Program S-Comm is a “wall between police and community” says Police Chief “All eyes on Massachusetts” as immigrant communities look to other localities to follow suit May 22, 2014, Boston, Massachusetts——Wednesday, the Mayor of Somerville, Massachusetts, Joseph Curtatone, announced he will sign an executive order limiting local application of ICE holds, one component of the controversial Secure Communities program (S-Comm), at a signing ceremony on Thursday at 5:30pm Eastern. The announcement comes one week after President Obama and DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced they would take a "fresh look” at the deportation dragnet program—widely criticized for contributing to rampant racial profiling and an unprecedented level of deportations.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE // excuse cross-postingMay 16, 2014Contact: Salvador Sarmiento, \n Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo. , (202) 746-2099 150+ Civil and Immigrants Rights Organizations Call onDHS Sec. Johnson to End Use of ICE Holds As the President moves to “reboot” Secure Communities,advocates demand complete end to key component of the program May 16, 2014, Washington, DC — A day after President Obama and DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced they would take a “fresh look” at the Secure Communities deportation program—widely criticized for contributing to rampant racial profiling and an unprecedented level of deportations—over 150 organizations delivered a letter to the Secretary demanding an end to ICE holds, a key component of the program. Over 150 immigrant, labor, faith, and civil rights organizations, including the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), endorsed the letter, which asks Secretary Johnson to use his “existing legal authority to end ICE’s use of holds to enlist local police as so-called ‘force-multipliers’ that amplify the enforcement of unjust immigration laws.” ICE holds are requests from ICE to local law enforcement agencies to detain individuals suspected of civil immigration violations; as part of the Secure Communities program (S-Comm), they have led to the deportation of hundreds of thousands of individuals since President Obama took office. The letter comes just weeks after the Acting Inspector General of DHS was suspended for corruption, including altering a report that was supposed to address criticism of S-Comm. Congresswoman Roybal-Allard has called for a new investigation, noting that DHS has consistently failed to ensure appropriate “accountability of the flawed Secure Communities program.” To date, over 60 jurisdictions across the country have passed policies limiting or ending submission to ICE holds. The national trend comes as a response to S-Comm’s indiscriminate separation of families and chilling effect on immigrant communities’ willingness to reach out to police for assistance. Most recently, dozens of counties across three states—Oregon, Washington, and Colorado—have announced that they will no longer respond to ICE holds following a federal district court decision that held that detaining an individual on the basis of an ICE hold violates the Fourth Amendment. On April 17, 19 activists were arrested in a civil disobedience at the Suffolk Detention Center in Boston, MA calling for an end to S-Comm and condemning the President’s record 2 million deportations since taking office. “Among the irreparable problems with S-Comm is the fact that it has been unsuccessfully rebooted so many times that it…
On 2 Year Anniversary of SComm in MA, Groups Rally forEnd to Deportation Program & Passage of State Trust Act State bill pending in Senate Ways & Means Committeewould limit local application of ICE immigrant holds May 15, 2014, Boston, Massachusetts — On the two year anniversary of the statewide implementation of President Obama’s Secure Communities deportation program (“SComm”) in Massachusetts, immigrant and civil rights groups rallied at the steps of the MA Statehouse calling for an end to the program and for elected officials to limit participation by passing local and state “trust” policies. Speakers included state Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton), sponsor of the MA Trust Act (S.1135); Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone and Interim Police Chief Charles Femino, early supporters of the bill; faith, labor, and Latino leaders; and individuals fighting deportations of loved ones, many with signs reading “Restore Trust, End SComm,” and “2 years, 2 many.” “As today marks the 2-year anniversary since Secure Communities was activated in Massachusetts, it is encouraging to see a local police chief, advocates, lawmakers, faith members, and labor groups express their support for the MA Trust Act,” said Sen. Eldridge. “This bill would keep families together and work to repair the rift between immigrant communities and local law enforcement to keep our communities safe.” In May 2012, the federal government forced MA to participate in SComm, a federal deportation dragnet program, over the objections of Gov. Patrick, law enforcement, legislators, and community members. For two years, the program has been widely criticized for needlessly separating hundreds of MA families and widely discouraging individuals from reaching out to local police for assistance. The MA Trust Act, now in the Senate Ways and Means Committee chaired by Sen. Stephen Brewer, would create standards for local police’s collaboration with federal immigration enforcement. Today, over 60 jurisdictions including CA and CT have passed a version of the Trust Act to limit local application of ICE holds, a tool of the federal deportation dragnet. Adding to this momentum, a federal court decided last month that the local application of an ICE hold constituted a violation of the 4th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In MA, the pressure to end the use of ICE holds is also rising. Last month, 19 activists were arrested in a civil disobedience at the Suffolk Detention Center calling for an end to SComm and condemning the President’s record 2 million deportations…
NDLON Reacts to President’s Comments on Immigration Reform to Law Enforcement Today, President Obama met with representatives from several major national law enforcement agencies, commenting on the possibility of Congressional action on immigration reform and blaming House Republicans for lack of action. His full remarks are available below. In response, NDLON Executive Director Pablo Alvarado issued the following statement: “The President's remarks on immigration today are more of an indictment of his own policies than of Congress's failure to allow a vote. President Obama's policies, not Republicans in Congress, have led to the Arizonification of the country. It borders on becoming a political crime for President Obama to decry the very status quo he created. While there is unity among immigrant rights advocates on the need for Speaker Boehner to allow a vote, there is equal consensus that the President should end his failed experiment to use police and sheriffs as so-called ‘force multipliers’ for immigration enforcement. That policy has been a catastrophe. Particularly if statutory immigration reform were to be signed into law this year, there would be heightened need for President Obama to end Secure Communities and programs like it in order to ensure immigrants have safe passage on the metaphorical road to citizenship contemplated in the Senate proposal. In related news, Santa Cruz, California is the latest local jurisdiction to rebel against President Obama's signature deportation program."
Civil Rights Organizations Warn California Counties: New Federal Court Decision Finds Immigration Detainers Unconstitutional; Local Law Enforcement Liable for DetentionLetter Urges Counties to Join 30 Counties in Oregon, 3 in Washington, and 3 in Colorado in Ending Compliance with Detainers in Wake of Decision Contact: B. Loewe, NDLON, 773.791.4668, \n Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo. LOS ANGELES, MAY 2, 2014--Today civil rights organizations, including the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and the ACLU of California, sent letters to every County in California urging them to end compliance with immigration detainer requests in the wake of a recent federal court decision holding that the requests are unconstitutional and local law enforcement may be held liable for money damages for complying with them.
  As Pressure For Action Intensifies, Scope & Timing of Expected Relief Are New Subject of Debate  This morning, the Migration Policy Institute issued a new report, The Deportation Dilemma, that helps shed light on unprecedented deportations and criminal prosecution of immigrants.   In recent weeks, as the President hit the inauspicious milestone of 2 million deportations, there has been considerable confusion about the characteristic of deportations.  Former acting ICE director John Sandweg's comments that "run of the mill immigrants" aren't getting deported has been belied by hunger strikers on the White House lawn and called into question given explosive allegations that he doctored an Inspector General report to cover up misrepresentations about deportation policy made to Congress.  The MPI report attempts to shed light on this debate through detailed data analysis, and its findings open the opportunity for executive action to strengthen discretion and reduce the harm of outdated existing laws. In reaction to the MPI report published today, Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of NDLON issued the following statement: The report confirms what we already know:  the president has not yet exercised the full extent of his existing legal authority to protect immigrants from grave injustice caused by outdated laws and policies.  It is increasingly clear the President's immigration policy will evolve soon, and the only questions that remain now are about the timing and scope of expected action.  And while there is an effort underway to manage policy expectations, the report makes clear that the limiting factor preventing President Obama from providing relief is 100% political.  But the political obstacles are being removed.  We are grateful to MPI for its effort to cut through ICE's spin and opaque reporting in order to accurately describe the status quo.   But that description has been fully known for years despite ICE's distortions.   ICE is a rogue agency, it has expanded its definition of the word "priority" in order to give itself high marks, and it has pursued deportation policy that is criminalizing migrants.  What is required now is not just a vast reduction of deportations and the wholesale termination of failed programs like Secure Communities -  what Is required now is a massive expansion of the work authorization and interim status that was provided to DACA recipients.    Presidential action can and will provide relief for millions of immigrant families, it will benefit the economy, and it will hopefully help compel lawmakers in Congress to finally get…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 17, 2014

Contact: B Loewe 773-791-4668

 

Philly's Historic Executive Order Draws 

Praise from National Advocates

 

In response to Philadelphia Mayor Nutter's announcement of an Executive Order to effectively end the city's submission to ICE hold requests, leading national civil rights and labor organizations gave the following statements. 

 

Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director, National Day Laborer Organizing Network: 

 

"Philadelphia's new policy makes the city safer, it protects civil rights, it constitutes an exemplary policy of inclusion, and it sends a clear message that the city values the contributions of its immigrant population.   Whereas shameful federal deportation dragnet programs like SCOMM  have created a culture of suspicion that has divided communities and led to Arizonification,  Philadelphia's new policy represents the turning tide.  We expect more cities will follow Philly's lead in weeks and months ahead, and we congratulate and thank everyone involved in this historic policy."

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