NDLON in the News

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Labor Department Launches ‘We Can Help’ Campaign for Workers

by KYW’s Brad Segall

The U.S. Labor Department has kicked off a nationwide campaign designed to let workers know they have a place to go if they feel they are being treated unfairly at work.

The “We Can Help” campaign is a national effort to inform this country’s most vulnerable and low-wage workers about their rights under federal law. Labor Department officials came to Norristown, for Pa. where there is a strong Latino workforce — a segment of the population that’s taken advantage of.

Labor Department investigator Natalie Martinez says many times the workers aren’t paid minimum wage or overtime:

“We have people who work a hundred hours in a week and are paid straight time for those hours. Employers have a lot of tricks to try to hide that employees actually worked overtime.”

Regardless of immigration status, she says anyone who works in this country is covered by wage and hour laws. She says they also keep an eye on health and safety standards.

For more information, visit: www.dol.gov/wecanhelp

Source: KYW News Radio 1600


Arizona Set to Pass Anti-Immigrant Legislation

by CARA on 4.6.2010

In Arizona, seek the legislature looks set to pass a truly terrifying anti-immigration bill that would, among other thing, ask allow police to arrest undocumented immigrants on the charge of trespassing simply for being in the state:

The Arizona Legislature gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a proposal that would allow the police to arrest illegal immigrants on trespassing charges simply for being in the state.

The provision, which opponents and proponents call a first in the nation, is part of a wide-ranging bill whose sponsors say they hope will make life tougher for illegal immigrants.

The House bill must be reconciled with a version passed by the Senate, something that may be done within the next week or two. Both include measures to outlaw the hiring of day laborers off the street; prohibit anyone from knowingly transporting an illegal immigrant, even a relative, anywhere in the state; and compel local police to check the status of people they reasonably suspect are in the country illegally.

Immigrant advocates call the bill some of the harshest legislation they have seen in a state where battles over immigration are particularly sharp edged.

Allow me to repeat that, because it’s important. The bill would, among other things, force police to check the status of people they “reasonably suspect” are undocumented.

Tell me, who exactly do you think the people police might “reasonably suspect” of being undocumented might be? Because as a white woman, I don’t think that in the event of this bill passing, I’d exactly have to fear being stopped. What this bill would essentially do is not only legalize but require racial profiling and harassment against Latin@s.

Truthdig has more on the bill. It originally passed the Senate back in February — Google searches indicate the issue was being discussed for a couple months prior to now, though it only recently hit my radar — and the most recent news seems to be that an amended version has passed committee in the House. Though the amended version changes the language about “trespassing,” some immigrants rights advocates worry that the new language is even worse. Not only does the rewording potentially criminalize legal residents who fail to carry their documentation, it also “eliminates the requirement that an individual must be in the midst of committing another crime in order to also be charged with transporting, concealing or harboring an illegal immigrant” and contains no exception for humanitarian efforts.

I’m unsure what kind of effect voter action may have at this stage in the game. The ACLU has called the bill unconstitutional, and the best bet may be a legal challenge. Nevertheless, if my searching has failed and you have action alerts or information about organizations that are combating the bill, please leave the information in the comments and I’ll update the post.

Source: Feministe


Activists on DHS’s 287g Program: “End It, Don’t Mend It”

Source: Uprising Radio, Host: Sonali Kolhatkar (KPFK 90.7 FM)

Listen to this segment | the entire program

Activists on DHS’s 287g Program: “End It, Don’t Mend It” On Friday, the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security released an extensive internal report on its 287 (g) immigration agreements. The agreement facilitates the deportation of undocumented immigrants who have committed serious crimes and grants federal immigration authority to state and local police enforcement officials. It gained national notoriety and spurred much controversy in Arizona when Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio began utilizing it to conduct immigration sweeps and roundups. Friday’s comprehensive review of all the 287 (g) agreements DHS has in place found that the federal-local partnerships lacked oversight and were inconsistent in their applications from agency to agency. In contrast with the policy’s officially stated aims, local police were found to have used their authorities in targeting undocumented immigrants arrested only for minor offenses. Inadequate safeguards on civil rights were also highlighted. Despite the internal report’s findings, Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE has said that it has been aware of such problems and has already taken measures to address them. Immigrant rights activists, on the other hand, have responded to the report by calling on the Obama administration to end, not mend the agreements.

GUEST: Chris Newman, Legal Director of National Day Laborer Organizing Network

Size: 2.73 Mb


Anti-illegal immigration group wants census used to find illegal immigrants

Originally published April 07, 2010

By Abby Sewell
Medill News Service

WASHINGTON — An anti-illegal immigration group has launched a push for U.S. census data to be used to enforce immigration law.

The North Carolina-based group Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee called Monday for its supporters to flood congressional offices nationwide with calls to introduce legislation that would allow 2010 census data to be used to identify and deport illegal immigrants.

Immigration advocates and experts said the proposal would be unworkable and would run counter to the purpose of the census.

ALIPAC President William Gheen called his proposal a response to widespread efforts by the census to reach out to immigrant populations through measures such as Spanish-language ads.

“We can’t allow illegal aliens to steal taxpayer allocations and taxpayer representation by being counted on the census, ” he said.

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, a Republican who represents Frederick County, was among the congressional incumbents endorsed by ALIPAC in 2010. Bartlett’s spokeswoman, Lisa Wright, said to her knowledge no one had contacted the congressman’s office about the group’s proposal.

Census population figures are used, in part, to determine federal funding and congressional representation for each state.

Lisa Navarrete, vice president of the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy organization, called ALIPAC an extremist group and equated taking their immigration policy proposals seriously with taking on affirmative action from a white supremacist group.

Gheen “is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist,” she said. “On the contrary, what the problem has been for years with the census is a significant undercount of Latinos.”

Census Bureau spokeswoman Samantha O’Neil had no specific comment on the ALIPAC proposal but said that the bureau is tasked with counting every resident, regardless of citizenship status. Federal law prohibits the Census Bureau from sharing personal information collected in the census with any other agency.

“We take our orders from the Constitution, and we’ve been doing it the same way since 1790,” O’Neil said.

The 2010 census did not include any questions about immigration status. ALIPAC is proposing that identifying information provided on census forms should be run against federal databases to flag potential illegal immigrants.

Audrey Singer, a senior fellow in the metropolitan policy program of the Brookings Institution, said it would be impossible to verify immigration status based on the information provided on the 2010 census.

“There’s no magical database out there that could accurately and reliably inform us about a person’s legal standing in the country,” she said. ” … On the accuracy of doing that, it would be a surefire failure, not to mention all of the legal and ethical consequences.”

Source: FrederickNewsPost.com


Jupiter’s El Sol Center launches ‘Hire A Worker’ campaign


— Homeowners, businesses and others needing help with work are invited to “spring forward and hire a worker” from Jupiter’s El Sol Neighborhood Resource Center to help with all those spring cleaning jobs that seem to pile up.

The hire a worker campaign is an effort to boost hing that has been impacted by the sluggish economy. The program began Saturday, March 27 when 62 workers were hired through the Center’s day labor service, a record number this year. The Center is at 106 Military Trail, at the Southwest corner of Indiantown Road and Military Trail.

The day labor service matches experienced workers with employers to fill a variety of jobs such as landscaping, construction, painting, moving, general maintenance, house cleaning, carpentry, pressure cleaning and others. More than 1,880 Jupiter workers are registered at El Sol along with more than 3,400 employers.

The workers are all Jupiter residents and it takes only minutes to be matched with reliable English or Spanish-speaking persons to handle most jobs, Hours are 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to noon Sunday. For information call (561) 745-9860. There are no fees for the job referral service. Employers pay the workers directly.

“Our workers are men and women of all ages and many skills,” said Center Director Jocelyn Sabbagh. “They are reliable, hard-working people with experience in just about every kind of work a homeowner or business needs,” she said. “They are also our neighbors who have devoted many hours of community service to improve Jupiter’s neighborhoods.”

El Sol was established by the Town of Jupiter in collaboration with concerned citizens and several non-profit organizations. it was created to eliminate health, safety and quality of life problems associated with daily gatherings of large numbers of day laborers who formerly solicited jobs along several city streets.

Many worker have learned construction skills through hands on training while volunteering on a Habitat for Humanity home construction project in Jupiter. El Sol also offers job training, English language classes, instruction in computer skills, and seminars on financial literacy and compliance with Jupiter’s codes and ordinances.

El Sol President Jill Hanson said the organization is proud of the strong support El Sol enjoys in the community and of the many hours El Sol workers have devoted to public service projects to help beautify neighborhoods.

“We hope more people will avail themselves of El Sol’s free job referral service,” she said. “We think they will be pleased with the job that the workers do.”

This story is contributed by a member of the Treasure Coast community and is neither endorsed nor affiliated with TCPalm.com

Source: TCPalm


Arizona: A State With Hate

John Carlos Frey, Director

Posted: April 6, 2010 06:41 PM

Arizona state legislators are once again positioning themselves to be the most hate-based state in the union. Arizona State Senator Russell K. Pearce (R) is a perfect example of hate mongering and overt racism. I realize that terms like “hate monger” and “racist” are strong accusations but I can find no better terms to describe the current attempt to curb illegal immigration in the state of Arizona.

From Senator Pearce’s own website:

“Republicans and Democrats in DC are terrified to oppose illegal immigration out of fear that they will be labeled racist. This assertion is ridiculous. There is nothing racist about upholding the law.”

Senator Pearce’s proposed legislation (SB1070) has nothing to do with upholding the law and everything to do with racial discrimination. According to Jennifer Allen, executive director of Arizona based Border Action Network who is working to defeat the bill, local law enforcement must make the eradication of undocumented immigrants a priority over other public safety responsibilities. Without any form of training, local law enforcement will be given authority to arrest someone if they have probable cause to believe they are undocumented. Who do you think they will suspect? This construct sets up a blatant system for racial profiling. The nearly 2 million Latinos in the state of Arizona will become prime suspects solely based on ethnicity. The bill’s discriminatory tactics include attacks on day laborers and individuals that hire them as well as anyone who may transport, know, harbor, shield or protect undocumented immigrants. The bill represents nothing short of a witch-hunt with impunity. It sets up a system of law enforcement abuse that will drive immigrants, legal or not, deeper into the shadows of society.

When I was a child, I was out for a walk with my mother in a rural part of south San Diego County. We lived within walking distance of the U.S. Mexico border. This particular morning, like many others, I ran ahead to investigate the seasonal creek several hundred yards away. When I came back to meet up with my mother she was nowhere in sight. I looked everywhere and quickly ran home to tell my father. My family spent 24 hours searching for her — calling everyone we knew including law enforcement. The next morning we received a telephone call from Tijuana, MX. My mother had been picked up by U.S. Border Patrol and deported. When I ran ahead of her, a Border Patrol agent suspected my mother was in the U.S. illegally. She tried to convince the officer that she was “legal” but he didn’t believe her. My mother had deep brown skin and spoke poor English but had lived in the U.S. as a legal resident for 25 years. She had raised four children but was deported because of her ethnicity. It was a horrible case of racial profiling that scarred my mother and family for life.

State Senator Russell Pearce has been pushing racially motivated, anti-immigrant legislation in Arizona for years. He is endorsed by and has direct associations with known white supremacists Buffalo Rick Galeener and J.T. Ready amongst others. Rick Galeener was cited for publicly urinating in front of a Latino mother and her child.

Arizona: A State With Hate J.T. Ready has publicly campaigned for Senator Pearce and has close ties to Neo-Nazi organizations. J.T. Ready has publicly stated, “I firmly believe in having a minefield across the border, this is 100% effective.” Senator Pearce did not return calls to comment on these associations nor has he denounced them publicly. Both Galeener and Ready have been monitored by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League and are classified as nativists, extremists and white supremacists but Senator Pearce remains silent.

Jennifer Allen of Border Action Network has collected and sent over 20,000 postcards to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer opposing the legislation, yet the governor continues to support the bill. The bill is opposed by the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police and dozens of Latino organizations and civil rights groups, yet the bill continues to make progress in the legislature. Scholars, lawyers, and fellow legislators believe Pearce’s push to rid the state of undocumented immigrants violates basic civil rights and constitutional law, yet the bill has strong Republican support. Hate crimes against Latinos are up 40 percent, yet John McCain and his primary challenger JD Hayworth claim they are tough on undocumented immigrants and neither of them have the courage to denounce the racially motivated legislation.

If Arizona lawmakers were interested in resolving the complex dilemma of immigration they would address poverty, trade imbalances, work visas, corporate greed and family reunification. Instead, leaders of the great state of Arizona have grabbed their pitch forks and nooses and are continuing to scapegoat the voiceless and vulnerable for cheap political victories. Hate begets hate and hate solves nothing.

Source: Huffington Post