How Unions Protect the Undocumented

Brooke Anderson/Creative CommonsUnite

Members of UNITE HERE Local 2 march in San Franciso

David Bacon

Labor historian Fred Glass, looking at the impact of immigration on California’s labor movement, notes that many immigrants have arrived in the state with a long history of labor and left-wing activism. Unions have then called on that history and consciousness to aid in organizing drives among janitors, farm workers, hotel housekeepers, and others. “Because the labor movement has understood this fact and designed its efforts around it,” he argues, “California’s unionization rate remains at 16 percent while the national average is 11 percent.” The state has 2.55 million union members, far more than any other.

To union leaders, that’s also one explanation—in addition to the state designating itself as a sanctuary—for the announcement by the Trump administration that it is targeting California for intensive workplace immigration enforcement. “It’s obvious retaliation for California standing up for immigrants,” charges Wei-Ling Huber, president of UNITE HERE Local 2850, the hotel union in the East and North San Francisco Bay Area. “Its purpose is to create a climate of fear among immigrant workers in general, and to attack the unions that have defended them.”

Last fall the state legislature passed a series of bills intended to protect immigrants, especially immigrant workers. One bars police from asking about immigration status and from participating in immigration enforcement actions with federal agents. A second requires warrants before employers can give agents access to workplaces and records of workers’ immigration status.

Read more:  http://prospect.org/article/how-unions-help-immigrants-resist-deportations

Harold Meyerson- The American Prospect.

As the Senate begins its deliberations on DACA, the ICE Deport Anyone Campaign rolls on. On the Prospect home page today, we’ve posted an article by David Bacon on the efforts of California unions to defend immigrants—and not just their own members—from expulsion, and co-published a piece with Capital & Main on the 5,000 DACA recipients in California who are teachers.

In its zeal to meet deportation quotas, ICE has shown complete indifference to such trivialities as whether their detainees have committed serious crimes or are esteemed members of their communities. As a piece in Monday’s Washington Post documented, ICE arrested 37,734 “non-criminals” in 2017, breaking up families and communities in the process. Continue reading

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Immigration: Response to a Truth Challenged President

Trump  Response to a Truth Challenged President

In the State of the Union, President Trump claims to offer a “down the middle compromise” on immigration.   It is not.  Instead  Trump  continues his attack on immigrants in the United States with his administration’s latest immigration plan. Rather than dealing humanely with the current crisis of immigration, the Trump Administration proposes to waste some 25 Billion dollars of taxpayer money to further militarize border communities by building walls and deploying more federal agents to immigrant communities across the nation. The changes in immigration law proposed by the Trump administration will not benefit our people. They will only devastate communities while pleasing a few white nationalists.

Read the Immigrants’ Rights Committees response to the President on immigration.

 

https://medium.com/@DSA_Immigration/2018-sotu-response-325b6b959093

 

Duane Campbell,  Immigrants’ Rights Committee

Sacramento

dsa.immigraton@gmail.com

Is Traditional Union Organizing a Lost Cause?

The Most Successful Union Organizer in America Thinks Traditional Organizing Is a Lost Cause

On the latest episode of “The Bottom Line” podcast, David Rolf of the SEIU explains why worker advocates need to move to a different model.

https://capitalandmain.com/the-most-successful-union-organizer-in-america-thinks-traditional-organizing-is-a-lost-cause

UFW- Please Support DACA & TPS

Join today’s national call in day to support the Dream Act,operation

Today, December 19th, is a national day of phone action to support the Dream Act and we are asking you to help flood your representative’s phone lines to demand that Congress pass a Clean Dream Act  and protect the 800,000 young lives that were left in limbo when President Trump rescind DACA. This is the only home most of these young people have ever known.
More than 11,000 young people have already lost their DACA protections and 122 young people lose their DACA status every day! We need to get Congress to pass a Dream Act before they go home in December!
The farm worker movement has stood by Dreamers time and time again in the fight for a clean Dream Act. UFW President Arturo Rodriguez got arrested supporting Dreamers in a massive demonstration earlier this month. In addition to countless delegations led by our farm worker movement, we have taken the lead in the San Joaquin Valley showing up at the doors of Congressman David Valadao’s offices in Hanford CA, Bakersfield CA  and Washington D.C. only to find his doors closed. Most recently, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the farm worker movement organized to dedicate national masses for Dreamers on the day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
We will continue to be persistent and do all we can to ensure Congress acts and passes a clean Dream Act before the year ends. 
Here’s how to join in the national day of action phone campaign:
1. Dial 1-888-778-6856 and wait for the “Welcome” message.
2. Get connected to the switchboard.
3. Enter your zip code.
4. Wait for your call to be connected to your Representative or Senator and demand a #DreamActNow!
Below please find a sample script you can use to make your call:
Hi, my name is ____________ and I live in ___________ (city in district). I’m calling to urge you Congressperson/Senator ____________ to pass a clean Dream Act before you go home for the holidays. Every day that Congress fails to act, 122 Dreamers lose their DACA status and become deportable. Not taking action on the Dream Act is a vote to deport Dreamers. Please pass a clean Dream Act this December. Thank you for your time.

If you are on Twitter, join us in participating in a Twitterstorm today at 3PM EST/ 12 PM PST. Let’s join together and raise our voices in support for a #DreamActNow!
To make it easy, here is a sample tweet to send or you can just click below at 3 pm EST/12 pm pst: 

Continue reading

#SaveTPS: A Working-Class Struggle

by Jessica F. Chilin-Hernández

dmv-sanctuary-movement-protest

Rally to Defend Dream Act and TPS on December 6, 2017 in Washington, D.C.. Image from DMV Sanctuary Network

By the time the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was announced in 2014, I had already benefited from another immigration relief program: Temporary Protected Status (TPS). In January and February 2001, my birth country of El Salvador experienced two earthquakes – a month apart from each other – that utterly devastated every aspect of life in Salvadoran Society. In order to help El Salvador reconstruct and get back on its feet, the United States extended TPS status to undocumented Salvadorans immigrants already in the U.S. I was one of them. Created by Congress in the Immigration Act of 1990, TPS was meant for people from countries going through environmental disaster and other extraordinary and temporary conditions or confronting armed conflict. Currently, the program is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

In the past two months, TPS has come under attack from the Trump Administration. In November 2017, DHS terminated the program for Haiti, and four months later it extended that terrible decision to TPS-protected immigrants from Nicaragua and Honduras. Starting January 2019, an estimated 50,000 Haitians, 57,000 Hondurans, and 2,550 Nicaraguans with TPS status will become undocumented. They will be expected to leave the U.S. Furthermore, TPS was allowed to expire for three black-majority countries: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone earlier this year. None of them were granted a renewal period as the DHS had done in previous years.

From a working-class perspective, terminating TPS would be catastrophic for workers and families. The Center for Migration Studies (CMS) has estimated that 81 to 88 percent of TPS-protected immigrants just from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti participate in the labor market – well above the rate for the total US population at 63 percent. Indeed, many TPS workers have been in the US for so long that they’re now homeowners and entrepreneurs, and so they are very invested in their local economies. For example, Salvadorans with TPS must have continuously resided in the U.S. since the designation date of March 9, 2001 – that’s more than a decade of working legally and paying taxes in the U.S. Furthermore, the Center for American Progress (CAP) calculates that the loss of TPS workers would cost employers $967 million in turnover and reduce America’s GDP by $164 billion over a decade. Of course, working people represent more than just economic contributions, but you’d think that reports like these would influence rational policymakers. But this administration operates with little regard to facts, policy briefs by experts, or peer-reviewed research. Instead, it responds to the worst instincts in our politics, even excusing and allying with white supremacy. This is not rational. It is shamelessly racist.

TPS is a racial and environmental justice issue. The program’s primary beneficiaries are Black, LatinX, Asian, and Middle Eastern. We come from Haiti, Syria, Nepal, Honduras, Yemen, Sierra Leone, El Salvador, Somalia, Guinea, South Sudan, Nicaragua, Liberia, and Sudan. All of these nations have historically been at the mercy of imperialist policies – by the U.S. and other countries — that pillage natural resources and do little to promote the well-being of residents, most of whom are people of color. For these countries, TPS was granted on account of either civil strife (usually the reason for Middle Eastern and African countries) and natural disasters (usually the reason for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean) thereby helping these countries rebuild what US Imperialism has destroyed. Thus, TPS is a form of humanitarian relief for civil war refugees and natural disaster victims that is also a form of reparations to formerly colonized working people of the world.

Similar to DACA, TPS beneficiaries like me receive provisional protection against deportation and permission to work in the United States for a limited period of time –no less than 6 months and no more than 18. In order to be eligible, immigrants from TPS-designated countries must be physically present in the U.S. on the date on which the program is designated for their nationality and must continue to reside in the U.S. In addition, the program does not grant permanent legal status in the United States, nor are TPS beneficiaries eligible to apply for permanent residence or for U.S. citizenship. In other words, working-class immigrants can be workers, but not residents let alone citizens.

My TPS work permit has provided me with many opportunities to pursue the American Dream by making it possible for me to join the workforce. It also allowed for me to file taxes – something that I’ve been doing since I was 17 years old. Since attaining full-time employment, I have been saving to purchase a home in Virginia for my mother. This is my greatest dream – the chance to honor my mother’s sacrifice by providing her with a home that she can call her own. Throughout my time living in the United States, I had never thought I’d be faced with the possibility of giving up this dream. Yet all of this changed on November 9, 2016. The morning after, I felt a fear unlike any I had felt before. The right side of my chest hurt, my stomach felt strange. I was hungry, but couldn’t bring myself to eat. I could just think of one thing: if Donald Trump’s DHS Secretary does not approve our renewals, then we’d potentially be forced to return El Salvador. As of today, I have 81 days left on my TPS work permit if the designation isn’t renewed by DHS.

Since the beginning of December, a number of actions have taken place in Capitol Hill to urge members of Congress to save TPS and pass a Clean Dream Act. The deadline for Congress to act is December 22 – the date Congress adjourns for the holidays. The urgency has escalated even more after Congress failed to include protections for immigrant youth in their spending bill fix. If Congress doesn’t act soon, then a number of Dreamers and TPS beneficiaries await deportation and an inhumane removal experience from US society.

As we have seen in recent years, more and more of our working-class brothers and sisters from the global south have had to flee civil war, genocide, economic exploitation, and the environmental effects of climate change – and that will almost certainly continue. Efforts have already begun to eliminate other venues for legal immigration, and the gradual termination of TPS is unlikely to be the end of the assault on immigrants under this Administration. If naturalized and documented allies do not step up to demand a comprehensive immigration reform that makes it easier for all workers, political asylees, climate change refugees, and persecuted people to pursue new beginnings in the United States, then we will forsake our responsibility to whose labor provided the capital to build the economies of developed nations.

Jessica F. Chilin-Hernández serves as Assistant Director of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University. She is originally from San Salvador, El Salvador.

This article is reposted with permission from Working Class Perspectives. https://workingclassstudies.wordpress.com/author/workingclassstudies/

End of the Legal Line for Gerawan Farms – Capital & Main

Source: End of the Legal Line for Gerawan Farms – Capital & Main  

by David Bacon

For Thanksgiving- Thank a Farm Worker

This Thanksgiving thank a farm worker

Happy Thanksgiving. We want to extend our warm thanks to you for being our loyal supporter and helping farm workers. As our families prepare to gather around the Thanksgiving table, we want to ask everyone to take a second to thank the men and women who labor to put the food on our Thanksgiving tables, and whose labor feeds us all year long. These hard working people labor day after day behind the scenes in heat, cold and rain to harvest the food that ends up in supermarkets and eventually on your table.

Join us in recognizing them and letting them know we appreciate everything they do, by signing the online Thanksgiving card our organizers will share with our members at their various farms and dairies. Please take an extra 30 seconds and add your own personal message.

UFW members are marking this Thanksgiving holiday season with a campaign they launched at their latest gathering of worker leadership. Members from Coachella, Ventura County, San Joaquin Valley, Monterey County, Sonoma County, and Oregon and Washington states have taken their message about the benefits of having a union contract out to their communities and social media. “From Our Hands to Your Tables” highlights their stories and the work they do every day.

To follow this campaign go to: https://www.facebook.com/unitedfarmworkers/ and https://twitter.com/UFWupdates or look for our #ThankAFarmWorker and #WeFeedYou hashtags on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.