Day laborers face hardships

Day laborers face hardships

By Philip Riley & Chris Samson
ARGUS-COURIER STAFF | Posted in the PressDemocrat.com

Published: Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 3:26 p.m.

(Editor’s note: This is one in a series of stories about Latinos in Petaluma. This article shares the personal stories of some of the day laborers.)

Day laborers face hardships

Terry Hankins/Argus-Courier Staff Day laborers Humberto Lopez, left, and his brother, Nazario Lojas, pass the time as they await an offer to work.

passing by the Shell station on the corner of Washington and Howard streets has likely seen them — men gathered, waiting for a slowing car or a honking horn, hoping for any sign of work.

These day laborers, or jornaleros, as they are called in Spanish, have been a fixture in the community for many years. Most are hired by residents for temporary work in their homes or yards, but others find sporadic work with local businesses or vineyards.

As many as 70 workers gather along the one-block stretch of Howard Street at the busiest times of the year. But last Friday, about 25 to 30 men were waiting in a light drizzle near the corners of Washington Street and Western Avenue. All cite better wages as their reason for coming to Petaluma from their home countries in Latin America, and their stories highlight the economic forces at play in a complex global economy.

For many workers, the amount they earn in a single day is equal to working as much as a week back home. They typically find work a few days each week, work eight hours per day, and earn $10 to $15 per hour, many sending most of their wages to family back home.

Noe Castillo, 25, is a native of Veracruz, Mexico and an undocumented resident. He arrived in Petaluma six years ago to earn a living and said he has taken English as a Second Language classes to help him improve his situation.

Castillo gets occasional work as a tile-setter for a local company. But there was no work last week, so he went to the street corner hoping someone would hire him. On Friday morning, he was still waiting for his first work of the week.

Day laborers face hardships

Day laborers stand under a tree at the corner of Howard and Washington streets to escape rain on Friday as they wait for work. Terry Hankins/Argus-Courier Staff

Castillo shared stories of mis from those who hired him and other workers. One employer did not alert workers before he threw lumber down to them off of a 15-foot porch, almost hitting one worker in the head. He said some of the toughest workers have been degraded to the point of tears.

“This man yells and mistreats all the workers,” said Castillo. “He calls us ‘dogs.’”

Alejandro Guzman, 55, also said his experience as a day worker has not been a good one.

“They don’t always treat you well,” he said. “Sometimes the person who hires you says (at the end of the day) that they need you to work tomorrow and they will pay you then, but they never come back.”

He and other workers suffer harassment and other indignities.

“People look at us with non-accepting eyes,” he said. “They say, ‘What are you doing here? Why are you standing on this corner?’”

He says the owner of the Shell station treats them well, but a business owner at a different location called the police because he didn’t want the laborers standing in front of his store.

Guzman, who has no other job at the moment, says he gets hired about two days a week on average. He is experienced as a carpenter, as well as in concrete, sheetrock and landscaping work.

His undocumented status makes it difficult to find regular work. He said he has worked at local companies, but when they find out he does not have a Social Security card, they lay him off.

He left Veracruz, Mexico, 10 years ago seeking work in the United States to support his family — a wife and two children now 13 and 20 years old — and has not been able to return since. He sends his family as much money as he can.

“I wish we could get labor permits so that we can go back to see our families and return,” he said. Even more, he wishes that conditions would change so that he could bring his family to the United States. But it’s “very expensive and very dangerous” to cross the border as an undocumented resident, he said.

Nazario Lojas, 38, immigrated from Peru in 1992 and became a naturalized citizen. He attended Casa Grande High School and Santa Rosa Junior College, but has to supplement his income as a part-time landscaping worker by seeking day work.

“I come here every morning, Monday through Saturday,” said Lojas, who said he is usually hired three or four days a week for concrete and masonry work.

Unlike other day workers, Lojas says he has never had a bad experience. “I’ve never had to chase anybody to pay me,” he said. “I always show them my identification and Social Security card.”

Lojas, who is unmarried, has a brother and sisters who live in the area. One of them, Humberto Lopez, was also waiting for work on Friday.

Lopez sends money he earns to his wife and 12 children in his home country of Peru. Back home, he found more stable work in construction and other labor jobs, but came to Petaluma because of the higher price he could get for his work.

Lopez has been trying to become a legal resident, but said that the cost to finalize his paperwork has halted that process. His mother is a U.S. citizen and has filed forms to help him immigrate. But hiring an immigration lawyer can cost thousands of dollars.

“Whatever little money I have, I have to send back to my family,” he said.

Earlier this year, a group of local residents announced plans to create a hiring hall to help the workers connect with employers, learn job skills and provide shelter. The hiring center would also let employers give feedback on the work they receive and would help workers report abuse.

Members of the group, called Petaluma Latinos Active in Civic Engagement, or PLACE, say that the building would help formalize an informal workforce that “is already here and not going anywhere.” All of the workers interviewed (with translation help from PLACE members) said that they would welcome a hiring hall.

“It would be a magnificent opportunity,” said Lopez. “There are many who share the same feelings and thoughts. Learning English would be helpful.”

“It would make everything better for all of us,” said Guzman about a hiring hall.

The hiring hall could also provide information and resources to workers on issues such as find finding food, housing and the language barrier, said members of PLACE.

“Some of them have to choose between paying their rent or ing food,” says Gloria McCallister, a PLACE member.

“The Mexican culture is very proud,” McCallister added. “They want to work. They don’t tend to seek out social services because they consider it begging. They just want some simple respect.”

(Contact the writers at philip.riley@arguscourier.com and chris.samson@arguscourier.com)

New Latino Group Aiming for Day Labor Center in Petaluma

New Latino Group Aiming for Day Labor Center in Petaluma

Center would offer English classes, trades works and serve as a community hub for Latino workers

By Karina Ioffee | May 23, try 2011 | Posted in Petaluma.Patch.com

New Latino Group Aiming for Day Labor Center in Petaluma

Day laborers wait at the Shell gas station at Bodega and Howard Street on a recent day. A group of activists wants to build a day labor center in Petaluma that would offer English classes, site works on various trades, showers and bathrooms and basic health services. They say the center would help protect workers from on the job injury, unscrupulous bosses who don't pay and other abuses. Credit Karina Ioffee

After hitting an impasse more than five years ago, a group of residents has revived the idea of building a day labor center in Petaluma, a place where workers could access basic health services, take English classes or learn skills that would keep them safe on the job.

The people behind the effort are members of the city’s first nonprofit organization devoted entirely to Latino issues, a group called PLACE, which stands for Petaluma Latinos Active in Civic Engagement and which began meeting late last year. The group’s mission is to promote civic and social engagement of Latinos in the community.

“What we are trying to do (with the day labor center) is create is a place where people can feel connected to one another and not feel like they are all alone,” said Gloria McCallister, a PLACE member who also works as a private Spanish tutor. “What many people don’t realize is these people don’t want to leave their countries, but they are being forced to by economic necessity.”

The exact number of day laborers in Petaluma is not known, but PLACE members say it’s clear there is a big need. Day laborers who are injured on the job or not paid have no recourse against the employer.

In addition, day laborers, or jornaleros, as they are called in Spanish, have nowhere to relieve themselves, are taunted and yelled at by passing motorists and have no protection from the elements.

“One time, some kids drove by and started shooting pellet guns at us,” said Juan Luis Angeles, 36, a day laborer originally from Hidalgo, Mexico. “Other times, people scream at us and tell us to go back home.”

But above all else, day laborers say a center would provide a se place to wait for work, without being told to move on by the police. It would also protect people from the elements, say PLACE activists.

“It’s really immoral to see those workers in cold weather, drenched by the rain or waiting in the heat and not do something about it,” said Donna Shearer, a Petaluma resident and professor at Sonoma State University’s OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute.

Even before she teamed up with the fledgling Latino nonprofit, Shearer saw the importance of building a hiring hall for day laborers. She visited centers in Graton and Healdsburg and was impressed by the programs offered, such as English classes and works that improve workers’ skills. At Graton, there is even a coffee cooperative that works with a local company to import coffee from Oaxaca, Mexico, which is served at the center.

A hot cup of coffee and a place to congregate can go a long way for building community, says Israel Escudero, a Latino activist originally from Mexico. So do classes that utilize time otherwise spent just waiting around to learn new skills.

“We will need volunteers to teach workers how to properly use tools,” Escudero said. “We have people going out on projects and hurting themselves because they don’t know how to use the equipment.”

A similar effort in 2005 to build a day labor center floundered after organizers could not build enough momentum for the project. This time, they’ve learned their lesson, said Teresa Lopez, another PLACE member and the daughter of Mexican immigrants.

Organizers have began outreach to the community and are seeking partners to collaborate on various aspects of the center. They also want to make sure day laborers are included in the ongoing discussion, so that they are not only clients of the center, but active participants in its creation.

“It’s always been a dream of ours to have a hiring hall in Petaluma,” Lopez said. Perhaps this time around, the dream is poised to one day become reality.

Do you think a day labor center is needed in Petaluma? Tell us in the comments.

Community members honor fallen laborer,

Community members honor fallen laborer, create awareness about immigration reform

By ALEJANDRO CANO
Published: Saturday, story May 21, 2011 4:49 PM CDT
(Posted in Fontana Herald News)

Community members honor fallen laborer, __fg_link_3__  create awareness about immigration reform

Marina Wood speaks out for social justice at the ceremony which honored Fernando Pedraza, a day laborer who died four years ago. (Herald News photo by Alejandro Cano)

Four years ago last May 5, a day laborer from Rancho Cucamonga lost his life when a vehicle collided with a group of pacifist demonstrators who defied members of the Minuteman Project and their anti-immigrant ideas.

That day laborer was Fernando Pedraza, a proud father and immigrant who every day gathered at the corners of Grove and Arrow in Rancho Cucamonga to look for work. The same corner where Pedraza died has become a sanctuary for immigrants who day after day defied the challenges as they tried to find work.

On the fourth anniversary of his death, family, students, activists and organizers from the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center (PEOC), National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), in addition to members of the community, gathered on the same corner to honor their fallen comrade and to create awareness about the issue of immigration reform.

“His death will not be in vain. His death represents the suffering of millions of people across the nation who are desperate for immigration reform,” said Jose Calderon, professor of sociology at Pitzer College in Claremont. “Here we are remembering Fernando, but most importantly we are here united against hate, asking public officials for a path to legalization”.

Father Patricio Guillen from Libreria del Pueblo in San Bernardino implored God for mercy and for strength to continue facing the tough road ahead. Guillen understands the road to legalization is paved with severe roadblocks, but he has faith that soon millions of undocumented immigrants will some day be legalized.

Norma Pedraza, the daughter of Fernando, thanked the community for all the support. She remembered her dad as a working man with great goals and ideas, and hoped for legalization that would end abuse and discrimination.

Marina Wood, a student at Claremont Graduate University who teaches English, computer and basic skills to day laborers at the corner, paid respect to Pedraza while urging the community to continue fighting for essential needs.

“This corner is a sanctuary, as many have said before, and in many ways it was because of Fernando Pedraza, who won a court case making it legal for the guys to stand here,” said Wood. “There is a lot I would like to see here at the corner. A bathroom. Some shade. Water. Computers, of course. But really, I want this corner to be empty one day because every person has a job, legally without hiding in the shadows, without living in fear, without being discriminated based on color, language or nationality.

“Community is hard to find and it’s hard to foster, but we really do have a community here and I will not give up. As they say, no pare, sigue, sigue.”

Department of Justice Should Intervene in not just Investigate Maricopa County

Salvador Reza of the Puente Movement responded to today’s Department of Justice settlement for access to records in Sheriff Arpaio’s office with the following statement.
“Nearly three years after the beginning of their investigation, the Department of Justice should be intervening in Maricopa county not just investigating. The people of Maricopa have been living with a likely criminal at the head of our law enforcement for years and it’s time for relief. The County Sheriff’s Office should be placed under receivership without delay. Anything less than immediate intervention in our human rights crisis makes President Obama and former Governor Napolitano accomplices in the reign of terror- and likely criminal behavior- of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.”

The Department of Homeland Security which empowers Sheriff Arpaio through its ICE Access programs has recently come under fire for the expansion of Arpaio-style policies throughout the country through the “Se Communities” program. The agency has been accused of emulating the lack of transparency and discriminatory practices under investigation in the office of Sheriff Arpaio. As a result, the DHS’ spread of Arpaio-style policies is also coming under investigation by the OIG and is facing a growing call for an end to ICE Access programs that entangle local police in immigration laws.

Working for a better life. Day Worker Center benefits laborer and homeowner alike.

by Nick Veronin | Posted in: Mountain View Voice

With a 1, 500 square-foot backyard, including a small orchard of apricot, mind nectarine and apple trees, a large vegetable patch, a greenhouse, and a wide variety of flowers, Harold Black has his work cut out for him.

Back when he was younger, Black relished taking it on — the pruning and harvesting, the weeding and raking. But now, while the 77-year-old widower remains committed to his thriving plot of land across the street from Los Altos High School, it is a little more difficult to manage.

“As you get old, your back is the first thing to go,” he explains, with a nudge and a grin one Saturday afternoon. Black is walking around his property, pointing out various plants and trees, and occasionally giving direction to Juan Antonio, a laborer he picked up that morning from the Day Worker Center of Mountain View.

Antonio and workers like him have made it possible for Black to continue to maintain his land, and for that Black is grateful. He has been coming to the Day Worker Center to hire help for about 15 years — as long as the organization has been around — and has always been satisfied, he says.

In fact, Black prefers hiring labor from the center over other “mow, blow and go” landscaping services, because, as he puts it, “that’s all they do — mow, blow and go.”

With the Day Worker Center, Black says he has much more control over the length of time a worker devotes to the job and what kind of work they do. Black typically hires one laborer to work in his yard for a full eight-hour day, paying about $100 for his services, which may include tilling soil, trimming hedges, pruning trees or mowing the lawn, among other tasks.

Black likes that level of control, as his yard is not only his hobby but his passion. Born into a North Carolina family with a rich history of farming, Black has been working the soil since he was 5 years old. “Everybody has their agenda,” he explains. “Mine is farming.”

This afternoon, Black has Antonio working in his front yard, trimming hedges. Though the two don’t exchange many words, on account of the English-Spanish language barrier, they seem to communicate just fine. Black points and gestures with his hands to indicate where he would like the bushes cut and Antonio swipes the electric shears back and forth, up and down, while his employer minds the long orange extension cord, making sure it doesn’t get caught on branches as Antonio moves around.

Antonio, who came to the United States from Cuernavaca, the largest city in the Mexican state of Morelos, says that he has been living in Mountain View for about four years. Shortly after moving here, some friends told him about the Day Worker Center and he immediately went down and signed up. He is happy that he did, he says. The center helps him find, on average, two days of work each week.

The center, located at 113 Escuela Ave., accepts anyone looking to find work, and asks for only basic information upon registration. Members of the center get access to free English classes, meals prepared by Day Worker Center members, computer literacy instruction and help searching for work on the Web and applying for citizenship if necessary. Maria Marroquin, executive director Day Worker Center, says her organization never asks would-be members about their citizenship status.

Needless to say, the Day Worker Center has not been received with open arms by all Mountain View residents. Many object to the center’s don’t-ask, don’t tell policy on citizenship status.

Black, however, doesn’t see things that way.

“You’re giving a person with three or four kids a job and he’s working his fingers to the bone,” Black says in response. As for hiring a non-citizen, that’s something that he isn’t even sure he has ever done. Just like the Day Worker Center, Black never asks the people he hires whether they are in the United States legally.

When pressed on the issue and asked if he could be taking jobs away from American citizens, Black is incredulous.

“Quit joking me, man,” he snaps. “Where are you going to find someone to do these jobs?”

The way Black sees it, there is plenty of hard, back-breaking work that needs to be done in this country, and he doesn’t see many other groups of people, other than migrant workers, who willingly offering themselves up to do those jobs.

For Antonio’s part, he is certainly willing to take whatever work comes his way. He, his wife and their three children cram into one bedroom of a two-bedroom Mountain View apartment that they share with two others.

He says living in those conditions is worthwhile, considering the alternative back in Cuernavaca. He and his wife together make about $500 during a good week, but that is still more than they might expect to make in a month where they came from. “It is a very difficult situation in Mexico,” he says in Spanish.

And then there is the matter of the schools.

Antonio says that in Mexico he wouldn’t be able to provide his children with the kind of life he wants for them. “In Mexico, I don’t believe this would be possible,” he says, nodding at the newly installed, gleaming solar panel canopies in the Los Altos High School parking lot. “In Mexico, you need much more for this kind of life.”

New Letters Indicate Napolitano’s “Confusion,” a Cover-Up

“The only things ICE is apparently willing to credit to me… are those which they wish to use to imply I was a rogue… I have been made a scapegoat for reasons of political expediency.” – Fired Contractor, Dan Cadman
Detailed letters released today from a former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contractor to Representative Zoe Lofgren give rise to grave questions of Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) transparency and integrity in the administration of the controversial ICE Se Communities (S-Comm) program.
Following the release of internal emails as a result of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Cardozo Law School Immigration Justice Clinic, the federal government has been under pressure to answer questions about the program’s use and scope. The new letters further reveal DHS’ attempts to cover up mismanagement and lies, including questioning the redactions of documents about the opting-out issue that a federal judge ordered federal agencies to release in January.
Attached to Rep. Lofgren’s letter to the DHS Office of Inspector General urging an immediate investigation into S-Comm are two letters from a former ICE contractor, Dan Cadman, who claims responsibility for a majority of S-Comm activations. He wrote, “I believe key elements in the ICE correspondence [to you] are inaccurate and misleading… ICE painted itself into a corner and needed someone to blame.” He enclosed a letter he wrote to ICE Se Communities Acting Assistant Director, Marc Rapp, following his “abrupt” termination: “I will admit to being puzzled as to which documents the FOIA office elected to provide versus those they withheld.” He notes in some instances the FOIA office redacted his name while in others they did not and credits the misrepresentation of the program as the key factor to New York State’s former Governor Patterson’s agreement to participate, observing, “this would be downright amusing, if the subject matter were not so serious.”
Bridget Kessler, attorney at Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, observed, “ICE cannot choose to release documents and redact names selectively, particularly not to hide government misconduct or dishonesty. FOIA gives the public a right to access information about what their government officials are doing and does not allow for agencies to withhold documents simply because they might be embarrassing.”
“The worst part of ICE’s lack of transparency and accountability in the development and deployment of S-Comm is that every day S-Comm tears families apart and spreads fear in immigrant communities across the nation. ICE’s conduct belies a fundamental lack of respect for democracy and the people that are impacted by its harsh policies,” said Sunita Patel, attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights
Sarahí Uribe of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network said, “Se Communities has become an ever larger symbol of President Obama’s broken promises on immigration. We second the call by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. We need a moratorium on this program immediately. Each day ICE exposes itself as a rogue agency that needs to be reigned in. Those responsible for this attempt at a cover-up have no place in the offices of a democracy.”
New York FOIA documents are, for the first time, posted here:
http://uncoverthetruth.org/foia-documents-new-york

Correspondence between Lofgren, Morton, Inspector General, and Cadman (Cadman letters at end of Document): http://ndlon.org/pdf/2011-05cadman.pdf

A Petition for a Moratorium on S-Comm Launched Today at: http://bit.ly/scommice

NDLON v. ICE litigates President Obama’s flagship “Se Communities” biometrics program, currently operating in over 1,200 jurisdictions in 42 states as of May 2011. Rights groups say the program makes state and local policing central to the enforcement of federal immigration law. The program automatically runs fingerprints through immigration databases for all people arrested and targets them for detention and deportation even if their criminal charges are minor, eventually dismissed or the result of an unlawful arrest. The documents released as a result of the litigation have shown widespread internal agency confusion about the program’s voluntary nature as well as the government’s heavy-handed implementation strategy. Mayer Brown serves as co-counsel in the case.

For more information on NDLON v. ICE or to view documents produced by the government, visit the Center for Constitutional Right’s legal case page or www.uncoverthetruth.org.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit www.ccrjustice.org

The mission of the National Day Laborer Organization Network is to improve the lives of day laborers in the U.S. by unifying and strengthening its member organizations to be more strategic and effective in their efforts to develop leadership, mobilize day laborers in order to protect and expand their civil, labor and human rights. Visit www.ndlon.org

The Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law was founded in 2008 to provide quality pro bono legal representation to indigent immigrants facing deportation. Under the supervision of experienced practitioners, law students in the Clinic represent individuals facing deportation and community-based organizations in public advocacy, media and litigation projects. Visit www.cardozo.yu.edu/immigrationjustice

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Georgia Governor Deal Signs Arizona Copycat into Law, Groups Announce Human Rights Summer.

Atlanta, GA. – In response to the Governor’s announcement that he will sign HB 87 at noon eastern time today, Georgians are amassing at the capitol during the day and preparing for a general assembly this evening at Trinity United Methodist Church at 6:30pm.
Communities will hold a Women’s March in Defense of the Immigrant Family on May 22 and are declaring July 1st, the date when segments of hb 87 are to be activated, as a day of Non-Compliance as part of a broader campaign of community education and organizing they’re calling the “Georgia Human Rights Summer.”
Below are comments in reaction to the signing:
Pablo Alvarado, Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network
“Governor Deal’s signing of HB 87 flies in the face of those concerned with either Georgia’s economy or its residents’ civil rights. Those who have passed this law with the hope of intimidating or displacing our community have accomplished the opposite. As a result, people are standing up in the long tradition of organizing for justice. We know and will show that Georgia is better than HB 87.
We will accompany the humble communities targeted by this bill in defending their rights and making real a vision of the beloved community. Arizona has become the capitol of prejudice and we will do everything we can to keep Georgia from heading in the same direction. Our way forward as a country must be through policies that bring us together instead of divide us. We are certain that Georgia will see that as well.”
Georgina Perez, student member of Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance
“We have a right to remain in this state where we have lived, worked, and studied, for some of us, nearly all of our lives. We will not obey a law that is unjust, that is meant to drive out our families and criminalize our community. Just as African Americans resisted unjust Jim Crow and segregation laws in the 1960’s, so will we resist until justice prevails and HB 87, and all anti-immigrant laws, are repealed.”
Xochitl Bervera, Somos Georgia/We are Georgia.
“We are calling on all businesses, conventions, and conferences to cancel your trips to the State of Georgia and pledge to not spend one dollar here until this law is repealed.”
Adelina Nicholls, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights
“This action is not only an insult to the Latino community and other immigrants, but is also an exercise in cheap political pandering that will cost our state dearly. This is not the end, only the beginning of a new stage. This law can and must be fought; and it can and will be defeated.”
Interviews Available Upon Request
Interested Participants in Georgia Human Rights can Sign up at http://bit.ly/georgia2011…

Employee of Year humbled by honor, attention

Employee of Year humbled by honor, attention

By DAN EAKIN, deakin@acnpapers.com | Posted in Courier-Gazette.com | Published: Wednesday, try May 11, clinic 2011 11:52 AM CDT

Employee of Year humbled by honor, attention

Submitted Photo – Adrian Magallanes, left, 2011 City of Plano Employee of the Year, is introduced by Plano City Manager Bruce Glasscock.

When Adrian Magallanes was named 2011 City of Plano Employee of the Year last month, he thought it was very nice.

But he had no idea of the attention he was about to receive. First, he and 11 other nominees were honored at a private reception in April. Then special recognition was given to him at a Rotary Club meeting last week. Then lastly, he was introduced at a regular meeting of the Plano City Council Monday night.

“It has really been humbling,” he said in a phone interview Wednesday morning. “It inspires me to do more, and I think it also inspires others.”

Magallanes joined the Plano City Planning Department in June 2007. As the supervisor for the city’s Day Labor Center, he helped coordinate recent improvements to the center while continuing to supervise regular operations.

“Throughout the construction process, Adrian communicated with laborers who were temporarily displaced due to construction on the facility during the hottest months of the summer,” said Christine Day, his supervisor. “He posted plans on-site so the laborers could see the changes that were taking place. He brought coolers and water, and modified processes whenever possible to ensure the laborers stayed safe in the heat.”

Plano City Manager Bruce Glasscock also had high praise for Magallanes.

“In a relatively short time, Adrian has made a huge difference for the laborers and customers we serve through our Day Labor Center,” Glasscock said.

Magallanes said one of his proudest moments was at the Rotary Club meeting.

“I’m really glad my wife Marivel was there,” he laughed. “She would never have believed all of the good things they said about me.”

Other nominees for 2011 City of Plano Employee of the Year were Kristy Andrews, Technology Services; Robert Barnett, Building Services; Deb Bliss, Sustainability/Environmental Services; Floydett Carter, Police; Gloria Carter, Property Standards; Rick Figueros, Technology Services; Eva Horvath, Engineering; Pearl Milton, Customer and Utility Field Services; Susan Parker, Harrington Library; Cliff Roddam, Police; and Mike Shamel, Libraries.

President Obama’s Commitment to Immigration Reform will be Measured by his Actions

(Los Angeles) Following President’s speech on immigration, Pablo Alvarado, director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network made the following statement:
“Immigration reform has been on the national agenda for ten years, and we are mindful the politics have never been more poisonous. However, we hope the President will use his political capital and his persuasive powers to help steer the debate back to a more productive course. After all, the loud voices who favor punishing this generation’s Americans-in-Waiting are the very same people who suspected the President himself was an undocumented immigrant. It’s time to move beyond the Arizonification of American politics. The nation’s first African American president has a unique opportunity to take racism out of the political discourse on immigration.
Like Congressman Luis Gutierrez though, we all want to feel the same sense of hope and optimism we felt in 2008. However, words alone will no longer be enough. The President must earn Latinos’ support through actions that move the country toward a policy granting us political equality, through the regularization of our immigrant families’ status. The goal contained in Arizona’s SB1070, the criminalization of immigrants, is mutually exclusive with the goal of legalization. While Republicans have coelesced on a nativist position that will be shamed by history, it is not sufficient for the President to simply blame Congress for inaction. The President must lead by example, and we will measure his commitment to immigration reform by taking stock of his actions.If the President seriously wants to move the debate forward, he can start by answering the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s call to freeze the misguided Se Communities as a first step.*”

Pablo Alvarado is available for media inquiries.

NDLON staff is also available for interviews on Se Communities FOIA litigation, Arizona work, and to provide reporters access to day laborers so their voices can be included.
* In a letter sent Thursday, May 5th, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus called on the President to place a moratorium on SCOMM saying, “[it] will contribute to the criminalization of immigrant families by casting them under a cloud of suspicion and by further conflating civil immigration violations with criminal conduct.”

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network represents 43 member organizations and more than 120,000 corner day laborers throughout the country. The mission of the National Day Laborer Organization Network is to improve the lives of day laborers in the U.S. by unifying and strengthening its member organizations to be more strategic and effective in their efforts to develop leadership, mobilize day laborers in order to protect and expand their civil, labor and human rights. Visit www.ndlon.org
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