Tech workers, warehouse employees and baristas have notched many victories in recent months at major U.S. companies long deemed long shots for unions, including Apple, Amazon and Starbucks. To me, these recent union wins recall another pivotal period in the U.S. labor movement several decades ago. But that one was led by migrants from Central America. I’ve been researching human rights and immigration from Central America since the 1980s. In today’s polarized debates over immigration, the substantial contributions that Central American immigrants have made to U.S. society over the past 30 years rarely come up.
Empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of other beings, is present in some form in most living things on Earth. Scientists theorize that empathy developed as an evolutionary strategy to build stronger bonds among animals that depend on cooperation for survival. In one particular kind of animal, humans, empathy is clear evidence that the claim spread by the ruling class, that each of us is fundamentally cruel, self-interested, and greedy is nothing more than an attempt to naturalize the individualism and antisocial behavior that best serves their exploitative interests. In its purest form empathy is a net positive for us on a planet where for the last several hundred years the genocidal system of capitalism-imperialism has normalized massive daily violence happening against a backdrop of apathy and ignorance.
A New York City law granting more than 800,000 lawful permanent residents the right to vote in local elections took effect Sunday after the recently elected mayor, Democrat Eric Adams, declined to veto it. The New York City Council had voted 33-14—with two abstentions—for the measure to allow noncitizens who have resided in the city for at least 30 days to vote for mayor, council members, and other municipal offices beginning next year. "The New York City Council is making history," declared Ydanis Rodríguez, the former council member who sponsored the bill, last month. "New York City must be seen as a shining example for other progressive cities to follow." Rodríguez—an immigrant and naturalized citizen from the Dominican Republic who is now the city's Department of Transportation commissioner—added Sunday that "we build a stronger democracy when we include the voices of immigrants."
Undocumented immigrants, immigrants and allies of the community passed through Bloomington Thursday on day six of their seven-day, 300-mile “Walk for Licenses” through Indiana, according to a press release from Cosecha Indiana. The goal of the walk, which started Saturday in Gary, Indiana and East Chicago, is to bring attention to the need for drivers licenses for undocumented Indiana residents, according to the release. The walk will end in Indianapolis on Saturday. Cosecha Indiana, which organized the walk, is a part of a national movement, working towards permanent protection, dignity and respect for all immigrant workers, according to their Facebook page The group started in Switchyard Park before marching to Sample Gates and then to the Islamic Center of Bloomington.
An Estimated 85,000 Palestinians Live In Greater Chicago — 60% Of The Area’s Arab Population. The Connection Some Of Them Feel To Their Homeland Was On Full Display During Street Protests In The Loop In Late May.
Priti Patel’s refugee camp experiment is finally crumbling. In March, Penally Camp in Pembrokeshire — where hundreds of asylum seekers have been held in squalid conditions since September 2020 — was closed down. The barracks, complete with razor wire-topped fences and human-shaped shooting targets, has been returned to the Ministry of Defence, and will hopefully never be used to accommodate people flee-ing wars again. The closure follows months of pressure on the Home Office by human rights groups, local campaigners, MPs, doctors, and lawyers, who ran a high-profile campaign decrying the barracks’ prison-like conditions. Less well-known, however, is the role played by asylum seekers themselves in resisting their inhumane treatment every step of the way.
Like many immigrant workers, Pascual Tapia, a late-night janitor at a Target store in Minneapolis, was a victim of wage theft. He often worked 56 hours a week, but he was hardly ever paid time and a half for overtime. And like many immigrant workers in the Twin Cities, he turned to a highly regarded worker center for help: CTUL, the Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (the Center of United Workers in Struggle). Tapia was delighted when CTUL won over $1,000 in back pay for him as part of the more than $1 million in settlements it won from cleaning contractors for Target and other big-box stores. But Tapia, CTUL, and many other Twin Cities janitors agreed that winning back pay wasn’t enough: The janitors wanted to end systemic wage theft, and beyond that, they wanted to somehow become union members.
The Biden-Harris administration is opening multiple detention camps to warehouse migrant kids. Thousands of unaccompanied children will go to military barracks at Fort Bliss, as the president seemed proud to announce to the press. The McAllen border patrol outpost where the Trump administration infamously separated families is currently closed—but not forever. For renovations. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has custody of 11,800 minors, at more than 100 sites nationwide. HHS receives children from the Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a component of the Department of Homeland Security. The HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement quarantines unaccompanied minors, and then holds these kids until they turn 18 or are deported, unless relatives or other sponsors can be found to house them for the duration of their immigration court cases.
What if it could get done now? What if all (or many) of the largest problems within the United States could be solved now? What if the most exploited, the most troubled, the most chopped-up-masticated-and-drooled-out-by-the-American-machine populations could be helped right now? No Congress. No 10 years of “building up power” just to achieve a post-abuse pat on the head. None of that. Just fixing the problems now. Right now. Well, it actually is possible. I think we can all agree that Congress is basically a pit filled with hungry crocodiles in the later stages of lead poisoning, each with a different degree of dementia. (And I know that’s being generous in terms of their mental acuity.).
The United States has revoked visas for more than 1,000 Chinese nationals under a May 29 presidential proclamation to suspend entry from China of students and researchers deemed security risks, according to the US Department of State. The acting head of the US Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, said earlier that Washington was blocking visas "for certain Chinese graduate students and researchers with ties to China's military fusion strategy, to prevent them from stealing and otherwise appropriating sensitive research."
New documents shed light on what activists are calling “a dark pattern of abuse” at a privately-run, for-profit prison in Virginia used by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Obtained by the civil rights group the Advancement Project under the Freedom of Information Act, the documents describe a long pattern of abuse, neglect and mismanagement of detainees at Immigration Centers of America (ICA) Farmville — a facility where almost everyone has coronavirus. In 2015, for instance, one detainee was pepper sprayed in the face while in full restraints.
Guards in an immigrant detention center in El Paso sexually assaulted and harassed inmates in a “pattern and practice” of abuse, according to a complaint filed by a Texas advocacy group urging the local district attorney and federal prosecutors to conduct a criminal investigation. The allegations, detailed in a filing first obtained by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune, maintain that guards systematically assaulted at least three people in a facility overseen by Immigration and Customs Enforcement — often in areas of the detention center not visible to security cameras.
The government ramped up its efforts to stop humanitarian workers on the U.S.-Mexico border and raided the ‘No More Deaths’ aid station, Byrd Camp, arresting over 30 people. The Friday, July 31 raid featured the U.S. Border Patrol, an armored vehicle, two helicopters, three ATVs, a couple dozen vehicles and BORTAC, a type of tactical unit that was recently deployed in Portland against protesters for Black lives. Volunteers from No More Deaths/No Más Muertas, a humanitarian organization seeking to end death and suffering on the US-Mexico borderlands, have continually faced charges, surveillance, and threats by the government. Along with helping to aid migrants and refugees with water, shelter, healthcare, and food, No More Deaths also releases investigative reports detailing abuses by the Border Patrol, which has retaliated with raids and other repressive actions. In January of 2018, Dr. Scott Warren was arrested by Border Patrol just hours after the group released a 23-page report spotlighting the government’s interference with their humanitarian aid efforts in the southern desert of Arizona.
In a recent report, the Ohio Immigrant Alliance stated that the Morrow County Correctional Facility in Mt. Gilead is the first county jail in the state to be 100 percent COVID-positive. The jail, holding local prisoners as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees, is also the first 100 percent COVID-positive ICE detention center in the U.S. The Alliance accuses jail authorities of failing to follow their own protocols as well as ICE standards. According to the Alliance report, “None of the inmates and detainees at Morrow County have been seen by a doctor in the facility, despite their COVID diagnoses. Nursing staff are not present at the jail overnight or on the weekends, and even when they are there, they often decline to provide health care, including Tylenol. Jail staff have repeatedly refused to call an ambulance for detainees in serious distress.
As the country continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Black immigrants -- immigrants who identify as Black regardless of country or region of birth -- are playing an important role on the front lines in healthcare, food supply, education, and biomedical industries. Black immigrants make up a significant portion of healthcare workers. In 2018, there were more than 560,000 Black immigrant workers in the healthcare sector. These workers made up 3.4 percent of all healthcare workers, a share almost three times their share of the U.S. population. In the food industry at large, there are over 223,000 Black immigrant workers. There are over 200,000 Black immigrant workers in the education industry. Black immigrant workers are also well represented across all biomedical industries, making up larger shares of the workforce in this sector than their overall share of the U.S. population.