Saturday, February 23, 2019
“I think that this program will affect the wages that we earn and also the benefits that we have and put our jobs at risk. If these changes happen our lives will be much harder. Help us fight back!” -- Jesus Zuniga, 19-year tomato worker
Right now, many growers are pushing hard to weaken H-2A regulations to benefit them even more -- with the result of harming US workers. We can't let this happen. The UFW is fighting back in the courts and in Congress. And we're on the ground talking to workers.
The growers' proposed regulation changes would weaken the laws that require US citizens and legal residents to be offered jobs first. Currently the laws require growers to pay the guest workers roughly the same as domestic workers to keep growers from hiring foreign workers at slave wages. Growers want to change this. Agribusiness lobbyists have gone as far as filing a lawsuit against the Department of Labor to roll back the clock and allow growers to pay lower wages to H-2A guest workers. We immediately filed a request to intervene in the lawsuit. Growers also asked Washington to freeze wages at their current levels and change the methods the government uses to calculate H-2A wages.
We can't let growers win this battle, exploit guest workers and depress wages for all farm workers. We're walking the halls of Congress fighting these changes and bad bills the growers have introduced. Instead, we're fighting for a real solution that would benefit both farm workers and growers like the Blue Card bill we wrote to you about earlier this month. We are looking for legal remedies to protect the hard-working people who harvest the food we buy at the supermarket. Please make your gift today and help the workers fight back.
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
|As mandatory reporters, teachers said they are obliged to speak out against detainment and family separations.|
, Photos: Kavitha Cardoza
Hundreds of educators protested the United States' treatment of immigrant children in a "teach-in" on Sunday, saying that as mandatory reporters, they are obliged to speak out against detainment and family separations.
The teach-in, held in El Paso, Texas, was organized by Mandy Manning, the 2018 National Teacher of the Year, who teaches newly arrived refugee and immigrant students in Washington state. Educators from Mexico and across the U.S.—the goal was one from every state—joined for a day of speeches, songs, and lessons on immigration. Former U.S. Secretary of Education John King and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten were also there to speak.
"I think that as an educator particularly, any time a kid comes into my classroom—any child from wherever they are, whoever they are, wherever they were born, or who their family is—I love them and welcome them and see the endless potential in them," Manning said in an interview. "I don't really see [this event] as political. I see it as demanding that we treat everyone with dignity and respect and honor them and welcome them."
Teachers are mandatory reporters, meaning they're required under U.S. law to report suspected child abuse to authorities. Manning said she can't remain silent about the fate of immigrant children who have been detained by U.S. immigration authorities. Last year, the Trump administration began enforcing a "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which led to about 3,000 children being separated from their parents or other adults who had accompanied them in crossing the border. Those children were detained in federal detention facilities.
Many believed the separation was tantamount to child abuse, since trauma can cause lasting psychological damage. Trump reversed the policy in June after public outcry, and a federal judge ordered all separated children be reunited with a parent. But a government report released in January said that the exact number of children still separated from their families is "unknown." Two migrant children have died in U.S. custody—a 7-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy, both from Guatemala.
"Teaching what I teach and knowing what I know about our immigrant community and how much they bring into our communities, both economically and socially, it was appalling to me what was happening," Manning said. "I felt really helpless because I thought, 'I have this really great platform, how do I use it appropriately to talk about what's happening, and to help people understand that this is a huge human rights violation, and it's abuse, and we need these kids to be in our classrooms.'"
Those feelings led to the teach-in. The teachers have three main demands: that immigrant children in U.S. custody remain together with their families, be held in smaller residential settings rather than institutional facilities, and be released to their sponsors within 20 days. Children should also receive six hours of classroom instruction, with the appropriate language services, each school day, they say. (That's also mandated by Department of Health and Human Services policy.)
Manning said she hopes this becomes a movement, rather than a one-day event. Teachers, she said, will not stop until all children are safe.
Ivonne Orozco, the 2018 New Mexico Teacher of the Year, who also helped organize the teach-in, said teachers prepare children to be productive citizens—and that often means speaking out about what's going on in the world.
"When a community is wondering what to do, what to think, they often turn to the first person in power and authority that they can find, and those people are often teachers," she said. "So when teachers stand up and say, 'This is what we believe in. This is what we know is right,' it matters for our communities because we are sending the message of inclusion."
The teach-in was originally slated to be held outside the Tornillo temporary detention facility, which held up to 2,800 migrant children. But the shelter closed last month, so Manning moved the teach-in to El Paso, which is separated from Mexico by a border wall. President Donald Trump recently gave a speech there to push for border wall funding.
"I see the closing of Tornillo as the beginning because it shows that our government has the ability and the capacity to close these facilities," Manning said, adding that there are still several more detention facilities holding children. "There's a lot of work to do, and Tornillo just proves that it can be done."
Manning has been outspoken in her support for immigrant rights. When she met Trump at the White House last May, Manning gave him a stack of letters from her immigrant students. (She also wore buttons supporting women's rights, LGBTQ rights, and other political causes in a silent rebuke.)
In some of the letters, students shared their path to the United States with the president. Others were more "pointed" with advice, Manning said: One young woman from an African country wrote that other students were using Trump's inflammatory rhetoric against immigrants in the hallways. "She said that there are very real consequences for the president's language, because he's representative for other people and a model," Manning said.
Orozco, the 2018 New Mexico Teacher of the Year, immigrated from Mexico as a child and then received protection from deportation through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
"If it wasn't for these policies of giving Dreamers an opportunity to work, I would have never been teacher of the year," Orozco said. "When we have these policies of incarcerating children, we are taking away that potential. We're taking away that future that they can have."
Madeline Will is a reporter for Education Week who covers the teaching profession. She also writes for the Teacher Beat blog.
Monday, February 18, 2019
The President came to El Paso last week. He promised a wall and repeated his lies about the dangers that immigrants pose. With El Paso as the backdrop, he claimed that this city of immigrants was dangerous before a border fence was built here in 2008.
Beyond refuting his comments about border communities like ours (El Paso was one of the safest communities in the United States before the fence was built here), about walls saving lives (in fact, walls push desperate families to cross in ever more hostile terrain, ensuring greater suffering and death), and about immigrants (who commit crimes at a lower rate than those Americans born here), it’s worth thinking about how we got to this place. How it came to be that 11 million undocumented immigrants call America home, how we came to militarize our border, how we arrived at such a disconnect between our ideals, our values, the reality of our lives — and the policies and political rhetoric that govern immigration and border security.
El Paso Times, 2003
I’ve come to the conclusion that the challenges we face are largely of our own design — a function of the unintended consequences of immigration policy and the rhetoric we’ve used to describe immigrants and the border. At almost every step of modern immigration policy and immigration politics, we have exacerbated underlying problems and made things worse. Sometimes with the best of intentions, sometimes with the most cynical exploitation of nativism and fear. Much of the history of immigration policy (and the source for the graphs that I’m using) is powerfully summarized in a report entitled “Unintended Consequences of U.S. Immigration Policy: Explaining the Post-1965 Surge from Latin America” by Douglas S Massey and Karen A. Pren.
Sunday, February 17, 2019
Catholic bishops near the U.S.-Mexico border, joined by other U.S. prelates, voiced opposition just after President Donald Trump's Feb. 15 declaration of a national emergency so he can order construction of a barrier along parts of the border between the two countries.
"In our view, a border wall is first and foremost a symbol of division and animosity between two friendly countries. Furthermore, the wall would be an ineffective use of resources at a time of financial austerity; it would also would destroy parts of the environment, disrupt the livelihoods of ranchers and farmers, weaken cooperation and commerce between border communities, and, at least in one instance, undermine the right to the freedom of worship," said the statement released just after Trump, in a news conference, said he was going to sign a national emergency declaration to stave off a flow of drugs, human trafficking, gang members and illegal immigration coming across the southern border.
Saturday, February 16, 2019
How the Spending Bill Can Hurt Immigrant Detainees: Increasing ICE’s funding threatens more immigrant families, though the legislation also requires the agency to report more regularly to Congress.
Yesterday, the Trump administration declared a national emergency.
This manufactured emergency demonstrates that the Trump administration is willing to do whatever it takes to separate families and destroy communities by continuing to push forward a border wall.
Join our immigrant-led movement now.
Border communities have been leading the fight to keep families together and resist against the border wall, even before Trump took office. But this fight doesn't end with a physical border wall. Billions of dollars were allocated in the recent spending bill to fund border patrol, ICE, and enforcement all across the country. It's not just our border communities that feel this, its something that affects our whole country.
Just last week, my friend and fellow Cosecha Texas organizer Juan Ortiz was one of many activists in El Paso who went to Trump's rally to call attention to the #ElPaso9 who are being detained, put in solitary confinement, and force-fed. Yet, they were met with violence not only from security, but from Trump's followers. We know how much deeper the fight against the true emergency happening in our anti-immigrant country goes.
Friday, February 15, 2019
Thursday, February 14, 2019
I often get to work with a few people like Maco, Rea and Tony that have risked their lives for me and for children, more than once. Once Tony, from Milo, unarmed, stood as my protector amid a tear-gassed crowd and yanked me to safety.
Maco, has risked his life for me as well, and today just offered to do it again. “I can find a moto (motorcycle taxi) to hire to pick you up from the airport, if you can get in.”
If I can find another flight back to Haiti this week, I know he’ll find a way to get to me though all the roads with fire or rock blockades even with the airport and US Embassy closed. Back in 2010, after the earthquake, someone found a way to get us into Haiti, with 900 lbs. of medicine, though the airport was closed. The small jet landed landing briefly on the grass just off the broken runway.
Last Thursday, I barely got out of Haiti just a day before the official demonstrations started. I had run out of cash and had to get back to my students anyway. Now, I feel an urgent need to return. Maybe I can help a bit. Any bit would help. Maco is holed up in his house today with six others, 2-3 days of water and maybe a week’s worth of beans and rice. Then, he said, if the president doesn’t do something tonight, things may get worse. What else can poor people do when they are desperate to feed their children? He doesn’t blame the protestors, and may even join them. Saturday, he and his wife had to abandon their rented car because of fires blocking the streets. It took them two hours dodging rocks and running on side streets to get home safely. Rebecca was traumatized.
The children at MABE, the orphanage we all have supported for years just called Maco and asked what to do for the children there who are suffering from tear-gas. Toothpaste, many of you have donated, helps the children breathe through the gas when they put it under their noses. Thanks to your continued support, the children have some food supplies this week, but I am not sure how long it can hold out. The director has access near MABE to buy food, but is nearly out of US dollars. Haitian goudes are increasingly worth less and less. Today, they are worth half as much as two years ago, and inflation is soaring this week, especially with the unrest and government breakdown. Western Union (where we sent some funds) was firebombed. Money Gram (we also tried) have lines that are around the block and the goudes it greedily dispenses are nearly worthless.
People are dying.
Most hospitals are closed. Gas stations were out of gas last week when I was there, and the ongoing fuel crisis has led to staggering inflation. Rice which used to cost $25 US was last week $60, if you can find it. Schools and all essential services are closed. Maco reports at least ten women trying to deliver their babies have died without care. Those hospitals still with patients are running out of oxygen and medicine. A 14 year-old boy was shot on the street last week and a UN armored vehicle rammed into a tap-tap (mini transport) and killed four people Sunday during the protest. The UN reports the “tank” lost use of its brakes.
Even as I was packing to leave Haiti last week, I photographed smoke rising from downtown a day before the protest began. Next morning, before dawn, the dark deserted streets began to light up at the intersections with burning tires. Rather than get out and move the rock barricades, our drivers ran through them.
Now, I hear the airport may be closed again. My husband, Paul, and I have plans to fly to Haiti March 7th to pick up our two beautiful new sons we have just finished adopting. I may not be able to get to Haiti until then, but when I do, I know I can trust you to send a bit to help us buy medicine and carry in US dollars to buy food and clean water for the children. This will be my and Children’s Hope’s 35th service trip to Haiti.
Thank you for being a part of Children’s Hope these last 15 years. You can follow Haiti news on “Democracy Now,” and I will send a report when I return next month.
Thank you again for your support.
Peace, all ways and always, Leisa
How to help: checks can be made out to Children’s Hope and sent to this address:
3025A Cambridge Road
Cameron Park, CA 95682
If you email me and tell me your check is in the mail, I will draw money out of my credit line to carry into Haiti. Please share this letter with friends and family, and anyone who may help.
Prof. Leisa Faulkner, Folsom Lake College
Executive Director, Children's Hope
3025 Cambridge Road #A
Cameron Park, CA 95682 USA
Executive Director, Children's Hope
3025 Cambridge Road #A
Cameron Park, CA 95682 USA
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
AOC, Pressley Protest For TPS Protections
Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley join protest for permanent TPS protections. ThinkProgress:“Hundreds of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and their allies braved cold, rainy weather to gather in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, to demand that the Trump administration take action on a path to citizenship for members of their community. Chanting “The people united will never be defeated” and “We are immigrants, not criminals,” demonstrators filled Lafayette Park, steps from the White House. Some spoke of their contributions to the country. ‘We don’t ask anything from anybody,’ Jose Palma, a 21-year resident of the United States and TPS holder from El Salvador, told the crowd in Spanish. ‘We are not criminals […]. I work in industrial construction. My hands build tall, important buildings. We just want permanent residency.’ Joining the demonstrators were two progressive members of the congressional freshman class, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA). Both women represent diverse communities and have constituents that could lose the lives they’ve built for themselves over the last few decades if they lose their TPS protections and are forced to leave the country. ‘I will continue to fight so that the people who built this country will stay in this country,’ Ocasio-Cortez told the crowd, wearing a TPS Alliance beanie. ‘From Nepal to Honduras, the United States has made a promise that this country will be a safe haven.'”
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Sunday, February 10, 2019
David Brooks. La Jornada
Nueva York. Líderes y activistas de la diáspora mexicana en Estados Unidos se reunieron por primera vez desde la llegada de Andrés Manuel López Obrador a la Presidencia con representantes del nuevo gobierno, legisladores y el liderazgo de Morena para abordar la participación de los inmigrantes aquí en la llamada “Cuarta Transformación”.
Durante un foro comunitario de dos días, La voz de los migrantes en la 4Ta Transformación, en esta ciudad, Roberto Valdovinos, el director del Instituto de Mexicanos en el Exterior (IME), la diputada federal Tatiana Clouthier, de Morena, y Yeidckol Polevnsky, presidenta de ese partido, junto al legislador del Partido del Trabajo Gustavo Fernandez Noroña, se comprometieron ante representantes de comités de Morena en varias entidades de Estados Unidos, junto con académicos, estudiantes, líderes comunitarios y otros simpatizantes, que los migrantes mexicanos radicados aquí formaran parte integral del cambio que se impulsa en México y en la realidad binacional bajo el nuevo gobierno de López Obrador.
Saturday, February 09, 2019
Friday, February 08, 2019
Thursday, February 07, 2019
The Reality Check: WITH LOPEZ OBRADOR IN, THOUSANDS OF WORKERS WALK O...: WITH LOPEZ OBRADOR IN, THOUSANDS OF WORKERS WALK OUT By David Bacon The American Prospect, February 6, 2019 https://prospect.org/article/...
Tuesday, February 05, 2019
Mr. Trump. There is no wall in El Paso. Its a fence !
People are fleeing once again. They are fleeing hunger, and violence and official corruption. It is important to separate Immigration and Refugees. They have different laws applying to them.
These migrants from are making their way north to the U.S. border to seek asylum, in search of freedom from the poverty and violence that has been perpetuated by U.S. imperialism and neoliberal capitalism.
Those eligible for refugee status should be admitted as required by the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Migrants and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1946) which the U.S. government helped to draft. 860,000 on back list.
Trump claims there is crisis of criminal gangs at the border. Somewhat. But, not near what he claims.
The drug traffic at the border is not caused by migration. The drugs are brought in by gangs with trucks and tunnels. A wall will not stop the traffic. It does need to be stopped.
The issue is the Wall. There is not a dispute about the need for more border enforcement and protection. The conflict is will a wall make the difference. Contrary to what he said, there is no wall in El Paso. It is a fence.
A Wall will not stop drug trafficking. It will not even slow it down. The well-funded and increasingly sophisticated cartels are not going to be stopped by a wall. The overwhelming majority of illicit traffic flows through —not in the vast stretches of land in between where any wall would be built.
Refugees are not the source of drugs. There is a failure of drug enforcement.
Monday, February 04, 2019
The ACLU on Friday said HHS' latest filing in a case on child separations proves that the Trump administration doesn't know how many families it split up at the border. In the court filing in Mrs. L v. ICE, Jonathan White, a commander for the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, concurred with an OIG report stating that the total number of children separated at the border was "unknown."
"The Trump administration's response is a shocking concession that it can't easily find thousands of children it ripped from parents, and doesn't even think it's worth the time to locate each of them," ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said in a statement. "The administration also doesn't dispute that separations are ongoing in significant numbers."
White, for his part, said HHS never sought to tally the total number of children separated from their parents at the border — only those in the "class" identified in the Mrs. L case. "It is critical to understand that HHS knew the identity, location, and clinical condition of all re-categorized children at all times during their stay in [Office of Refugee Resettlement] shelters," White wrote. "HHS did not 'lose' any of them. OIG found no evidence to the contrary."
Pentagon Deploying 3,750 Troops To Southern Border. NPR: “Another 3,750 troops will be sent to the southern border to help install wire barriers and to monitor crossings, officials said. The new deployment will bring the total number of active-duty troops there to around 6,000. In a tweet on Sunday, President Trump said that “STRONG border security” is necessary in the face of “Caravans marching through Mexico and toward our Country.” The announcement of new troops on Sunday comes just days before Trump is expected to discuss border security measures during Tuesday’s State of the Union Address. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Thursday that the troops would be deployed to the border over the next month, NPR’s Tom Bowman reported. They’ll join the 2,300 active-duty troops already there, bringing the total to about the same number as were deployed in the fall. Another 2,100 National Guard troops are also stationed there. “At the Pentagon, people I talk with say, listen: this is a waste of money,” Bowman said. Stringing razor wire is a job better suited to the National Guard, they tell Bowman; “you don’t use active-duty troops for this.” Military troops deployed at the border “are not allowed to apprehend migrants the way border agents do,” NBC News reported.”
Sunday, February 03, 2019
Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador has expedited the application process for humanitarian visas, raised the minimum wage, and pledged to expand public works projects in part to help migrants whose journey came to a halt in Mexico. But many Central Americans escaping violence and poverty are still trying to find a path to the United States—the country largely responsible for destabilzing their societies.
“The economic and trade policies that the United States has supported in Mexico and Central America have resulted in the displacement of millions of workers and economic stagnation,” wrote Alexander Main five years ago in Dissent. “The militarized drug war that the United States has promoted and funded in Mexico and Central America has further unleashed repressive, abusive security forces and undermined the civilian institutions that might hold them accountable.” A half-decade on, beneath the multiplying self-inflicted crises of the Trump era, this longstanding U.S. agenda remains largely unchanged.
Perhaps we could have a wall to keep the U.S. out of Central America and Venezuela.
Joint statement by Democratic Socialists of America Immigrants’ Rights WG and International Socialist Organization Immigrants’ Rights WG on recent human rights interference by the governments of the United States and Mexico
February 4, 2019
The undersigned organizations condemn in the strongest terms possible actions taken to disrupt legal counsel to members of the Central American Exodus. Specifically, attorneys of the bi-national nonprofit organization Al Otro Lado have been barred from travel into Mexico or forcibly removed from Mexico after the placement of alerts on their passports — this after United States authorities began actively referring asylum seekers sent back to Mexico to visit Al Otro Lado’s offices in Tijuana. These actions are mind-blowingly contradictory. DSA members from several chapters across the country have supported Al Otro Lado in a range of capacities, and we can directly attest to the importance of its mission and the organization’s vital role in migration justice.
While neither the origin or rationale of the alerts has been determined, what is abundantly clear is a pattern of obstructive behavior designed to withhold the good faith consideration of asylum that is covenanted to individuals internationally by multilateral accords. Less than a week before Al Otro Lado attorneys found their travel impeded, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began implementing the "Migrant Protection Program,” returning asylum seekers back to Tijuana to pursue the major portion of their asylum proceedings from Mexico. Near simultaneously, the transitional shelter in Tijuana preventing the worst humanitarian outcomes was abruptly shut down, its residents turned out on the street.
Saturday, February 02, 2019
It's Not Just About the Wall!
While Donald Trump continues to make his demand to build "the wall", members of Congress are conferring on a possible "deal" on the budget before Feb. 15 -- the deadline set for the suspension of the government shutdown. Some Democrats in the conference process are floating funding "incentives" in appropriations for the Dept. of Homeland Security based on a "smart wall" -- with use of more technology (and the glee of the tech industry) -- along with increases in the border enforcement budget for everything except wall construction.
We cannot agree to these dangerous enforcement proposals, and as we have also repeatedly stated, "It's not just about the wall"!
Trump's call to "build the wall" has always been a rallying cry to his supporters to oppose immigration -- ALL immigration. Increases in enforcement personnel, surveillance technology and other infrastructure fuel the consolidation of deterrent immigration policies and will contribute to greater harm of migrants and the environment. This is not acceptable.
We join the #DefundHate Coalition in calling for:
Cuts, not increases funding for violent, abusive, and wasteful immigration enforcement; funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) should be decreased and there should not be ANY funding for barrier construction.
The prohibition of the Trump Administration from raiding other accounts to increase availability of funds for a wall, immigration detention and other anti-immigrant provisions. This is also an issue of accountability for federal spending.
A commitment from Trump not to invoke a national border emergency or undermine Congress' role on budget matters by seizing funds from other accounts to build the wall or other physical structures.
Trump continues to say that the Congressional negotiations are "a waste of time", hinting that he "could" declare a national emergency during his State of the Union address on Feb. 5.
Continue to voice our opposition to the wall AND increased border enforcement! Click here for contact information to send a message to your representatives in Congress.
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights