Hundreds of protesters gathered to send a message to the Trump administration that they disagreed with the decision to rescind DACA. They marched towards Olvera Street from Echo Park, with the day beginning in MacArthur Park.
Co-published by The American Prospect
Guatemala-born Alex Alpharaoh may soon become a man without a country — and without a family. Brought to America when he was three months old, Alpharaoh is the only member of his immediate family who is not a U.S. citizen.
Co-published by Fast Company
The last few days have been tense for Camila. Four years ago, she was approved for status in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program that has granted nearly 800,000 young people who were brought to the U.S. as children the right to live free from fear of deportation and to work here legally.
Co-published by International Business Times
The California legislature has responded to the Trump administration’s mass deportation plans with a number of bills that attempt to shield undocumented Californians from the effects of federal immigration policies.
Last month millions of undocumented immigrants were left in legal limbo when a divided U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling that had blocked President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration.
As comprehensive immigration reform stalls along party lines in Washington, D.C., state Democrats are taking action in Sacramento. Backed by an assortment of coalition partners, California’s blue lawmakers have authored 10 new immigration bills (four in the Senate and six in the Assembly) to better the lives of two million undocumented individuals — five percent of California’s population.
As a thunderstorm with hail and lightning soaked a drought-parched Sacramento, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) announced the “Immigrants Shape California” reform measures. They would increase the consumer, civil, criminal, health-care and labor rights of undocumented households.
“We are doing the work of the federal Congress,” said de León during a late-morning news conference inside the state Capitol. “This is our reaction to their lack of action.”
“With these bills,” said Atkins, “California will show the practical, humane and forward-thinking leadership that can move the needle on a national discussion.” To this end,
As this series has made clear, “The California Chasm” is a challenge that threatens to transform the state into a shadow of its former self. Once a place where people came together to realize fortunes, remake their lives and attain their piece of the American Dream, we have become a state saddled with sharp differences in social, economic and health outcomes due to race, place and class.
This is an encore posting from our State of Inequality series
The resulting division is damaging to our sense of community but it also leaves the potential of our residents untapped. With research increasingly demonstrating that more equitable strategies can produce more sustainable growth, we need to create a conversation about how California can lead the nation not in inequality but in opportunity.
We have the know-how —
Nearly a decade ago, L.A. labor leader María Elena Durazo organized the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, a national caravan that brought immigrants and their supporters around the country to Washington, D.C., to push for immigration reform. In the ensuing years, there has been much talk but no action on extending legal protections to the country’s millions of undocumented immigrants.
All that changed yesterday, when President Barack Obama announced that he would sign an executive order granting temporary protection to as many as 5 million immigrants. Advocates were elated, while critics sharpened their knives and prepared for a PR counteroffensive.
Capital & Main spoke by phone with Ms. Durazo this morning shortly after she arrived in Las Vegas to join the President as he signs the executive order into law.
Capital & Main: What do you think of President Obama’s executive order granting temporary protection to undocumented immigrants?
Activist Video Archive, that indispensable repository of Los Angeles’ progressive history, has recently released excerpts from an in-depth interview it conducted with Angela Sanbrano, a key figure in the Latino-rights movement. Sanbrano, who got her first reluctant taste of activism through the United Farm Workers union grape boycott, went on to co-found Inquilinos Unidos, was National Director of the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) and served as executive director of the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN-LA).
Sanbrano would play a critical role in organizing 2006’s massive immigrant rights march in Los Angeles that protested the criminalization of undocumented immigrants. Today she serves as the executive director of the Mexican Network of Migrant Leaders and Organizations.
María Elena Durazo announced today that she will leave the LA County Federation of Labor, which she has led for more than eight years.
“I feel that the Los Angeles labor movement is very strong, very progressive, very proactive,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “Altogether, we have accomplished a lot. And there is a passion I have always had for immigration and civil rights. So I have the opportunity to do this and completely focus on those issues.”
Durazo will take a new post as international vice-president for immigration, civil rights and diversity at UNITE HERE, whose Los Angeles-based Local 11 she led before joining the County Fed.
The clock is ticking for six refugee children from El Salvador and Guatemala who are plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit that seeks to compel the Obama administration to ensure access to legal representation for tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors facing deportation proceedings.
The plaintiffs are among the more than 50,000 Central American children who have illegally crossed the border into the Southwestern United States in recent months, fleeing threats of violence by transnational street gangs that arguably exert more effective control over the daily lives of residents in large swathes of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras than those countries’ national governments.
Over a period extending from this month to early next year, the six plaintiffs are scheduled to appear for their own deportation hearings.
After a long hiatus from the spotlight, the immigration debate has flared up once more. Following an incendiary incident in which anti-immigration protesters in Murrieta, California turned away buses of immigrants heading into a detention center, the issue is now receiving a significant amount of attention.
The protesters were responding to a recent influx of immigrants across the U.S.-Mexico border, specifically near Texas. The majority of these immigrants are powerless women and children who have been displaced due to dire circumstances in Honduras and Guatemala. Border patrols have been rounding up these refugees and transporting them to processing centers where U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials determine their legal statuses. Because most of the facilities in Texas are at maximum capacity, these immigrants are being transported to other processing centers. This most recent surge of migration has become such a major humanitarian issue that President Obama has asked for $3.7 billion dollars to help solve the problem
At first glance the Murrieta episode seemed like a major setback for immigrant-rights supporters,
The caption under this front-page photo in Friday’s Los Angeles Times read: “Gov. Jerry Brown, center, is surrounded by cheering officials, from left, state Sen. Kevin de Leon, L.A City Councilman Gil Cedillo, Senate President Pro-Tem Darrell Steinberg and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.”
Missing from that list is the smiling woman right behind Brown. That’s Angelica Salas, executive director of Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles (CHIRLA), a key leader of the immigrant rights movement in California and nationwide and a major force behind passage of the bill that Brown was signing. Salas is also missing from the news story that accompanied the photo. The article quoted politicians and law enforcement officials, but none of the activists whose years of work resulted in this new law as well as several other recent legislative victories, including a domestic workers bill of rights and an increase in the state minimum wage to $10 an hour.
As Labor Day approaches, here’s a question that many opponents of immigration reform don’t want to answer honestly: Can you be for the middle class and against comprehensive immigration reform? The answer is no — a fact that creates all kinds of problems for those lobbying to stop legislation that would create a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.
Foes of immigration reform like to position themselves as true-blue patriots acting in the best interests of the country. But it’s hard to square that image with opposition to legislation that, more than any other single act, could help rebuild the nation’s middle class.
It’s obvious to most people that immigration reform would improve economic conditions for undocumented immigrants. After all, while most immigrants come here in search of a better life, their legal status often relegates them to low-wage jobs with few if any benefits and unsafe workplace conditions.
The future of immigration reform could well to be decided in the next three weeks. And this will occur not in the halls of Congress but in Congressional Town Hall meetings across the nation. Anti-immigrant activists are hoping for a replay of the Tea Party’s successful August 2009 attacks on health care reform; by triggering loud public confrontations with Congressmembers in normally placid Town Hall meetings, conservative activists led the media to wrongly conclude that reform lacked public support. But in 2013, progressives are prepared. Immigrant rights activists believe they can use the Town Halls to expose the strength of their support and propel immigration reform to passage. Considering that both sides are prepared and the key element of surprise is lacking, whose activist strategies will prevail?
As even President Obama acknowledges, the passage of immigration reform comes down to whether Speaker John Boehner will allow a House vote. A majority of House members would support the Senate bill if given the chance,
A group of nuns began their 6,500-mile bus journey late last month in New Jersey with a view of Ellis Island. Since then, their brightly-decorated blue bus with images of hands raised — to show support for families and immigration reform — has rolled for more than 5,000 miles down Eastern Seaboard roads and into the South. This week marks the California leg of the “Nuns on the Bus” tour supported by NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice group. The nuns’ goal during this 15-state, 40-city whirlwind event which ends on June 18: “Standing with immigrants, faith-filled activists, and Catholic Sisters who serve immigrant communities.”
Last Wednesday, the nuns were scheduled to speak with community groups in Nogales, Arizona and federal lawmakers in Phoenix. After the meeting with government leaders in Phoenix, they joined immigration groups to discuss the tour, the importance of family unity and citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country,
Maria Elena Durazo serves as Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, which represents more than 600,000 union workers. She is also the Chair of the National AFL-CIO’s Immigration Committee and recently spoke to Frying Pan News about the pending immigration bill in Congress, as well as a new student film competition that her organization and UNITE HERE are sponsoring. (Part 1 of this interview appeared yesterday.)
Frying Pan News: Is there something in particular that bugs you about the immigration bill?
Maria Elena Durazo: Yes! We want to make sure that there’s an alternative to the past guest worker model. We’re hopeful that we can fix the language through what’s commonly referred to as the Labor-Chamber agreement. There are three elements to it. One, that there be an objective, data-driven analysis of the future needs of workers in this country.
Seven years ago María Elena Durazo, the head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, stood on a stage erected at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, facing a sea of demonstrators who had just paraded miles in support of immigrant rights. In the twilight of that May Day, as Durazo addressed several hundred thousand people, the march for immigration reform seemed unstoppable – an irresistible historic tide that was poised to sweep away any objections.
Then came an angry backlash that saw anti-immigrant legislation passed in Arizona and Alabama that made Proposition 187 – California’s 1994 ballot initiative curbing immigrant rights – seem tame by comparison. Frying Pan News sat down with Durazo to discuss the pending immigration bill in Congress, as well as a new student film competition that her organization is sponsoring with UNITE HERE, a union whose members are largely immigrants.
The “Gang of 8” has finally introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate, giving millions of undocumented workers hope for an immigration reform in 2013. One of these workers is Anabella Aguirre who arrived from Guatemala over 13 years ago. As a single mother of three children, her choice to migrate to the United States was a difficult one. It meant she would have to leave her children and family members behind.
Anabella remains undocumented to this day because our immigration system is broken. During all these years, Anabella has worked as a janitor in Los Angeles. She is also a committed union member of SEIU United Service Workers West. Anabella is fighting with us for immigration reform. Her main motivation is her children’s education. “I hope one day to be able to send my daughters to college here in the United States,” says Aguirre.
Let’s kick off Mother’s Day month with a huge Labor turn-up on May Day.