Search in blog

[e-mail us]

The Sixth
La Sexta
Las Voces de La Otra Campaña
Ke Huelga
del rompecabezas
de la otra

Audios y textos por estado
visor hibrido de noticias
La Otra en La Jornada

Immigrant Solidarity Network
School Walkouts info
Detention Watch Network
Immigrant Rights @
NO HR4437 Network
Immigrant @ indybay
Migración @ La Jornada (México)
Los Angeles
Mujerez de Maiz
East Side Cafe
South Central Farmers
Casa del pueblo
Cop Watch
La Otra Orange County
La Otra en el Otro Lado
Estación Libre
Con Safos
Informate, Organiza, y Lucha
San Diego / Tijuana / Ensenada / Cucapás
Telesecundaria Cucapá (El Mayor)
La Otra Tijuana
La Otra Ensenada
Las Otra San Diego
Organic Collective
San Francisco
Chiapas Support Committee
Radio Zapatista
Caracol de la misión
Nueva York
Movimiento por la Justicia en el Barrio Notas en detod@s-paratod@s
Encuentro Gathering
Salón Chingón
La Otra Chicago
Otros en EE.UU.
Others in the US
El Kilombo Intergalactico
(Durham, North Carolina)
(Washington DC)
Chiapas 95
Accion Zapatista
Mexico Solidarity Network
Red de Solidaridad con México
Community to Community
(Bellingham, WA)
enlace zapatista
My Word is my Weapon
La Sexta
Palabra Zapatista
Centro de documentación sobre zapatismo
La Jornada
sin fronteras
The Sixth
Encuentro (NY)
Zapatistas in Cyberspace

Enlace Zapatista

La Jornada > Cobertura de "La otra campaña"

Nodos Comunes

.. Caosmosis ..

Rage One (blog)

lunes, septiembre 04, 2006

Labor Day: 09-04-2006 Immigrant-Rights-Agenda Report


~~~ Links to Articles ~~~
Mon, Sep. 04, 2006

* Labor Day immigrant rallies draw fewer supporters
* Activists cite contributions of immigrants, urge more support
September 4, 2006
* Arizona: Latino leader came to forefront from shadows
Sept. 4, 2006 12:00 AM
* Arizona: Advocates gather at state Capitol for immigration reform
Sept. 4, 2006 10:37 AM
* Dallas: Hundreds march for immigration reform
04:56 PM CDT on Monday, September 4, 2006
Sept. 4, 2006, 3:31PM
* Houston marchers keep immigration debate alive
September 4, 2006
* Perils darken a shadow economy
Illegal immigrant workers, the health-care system and taxpayers all pay a steep price
* Chicago: Immigrant-rights supporters rally outside Hastert's home office By Sara Olkon / Tribune staff reporter
Published September 4, 2006, 4:55 PM CDT
* Portland: Protesters in Portland call for immigration reform
Monday, September 04, 2006
September 3, 2006
* L.A. March Presses for Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants
Sep 4, 2006 8:13 am US/Pacific
* Unions, Immigrant Rights Groups Rally
* Minnesota: Rallying for immigrant rights
September 4, 2006
* AP Enterprise: Immigration protests haven't led to new voter boom
September 4, 2006

Mon, Sep. 04, 2006
Labor Day immigrant rallies draw fewer supporters
MARCUS WOHLSEN / Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - Thousands of immigrant supporters marched in several cities around the country Monday calling for the right of illegal workers to live and work freely in the United States, though the events drew significantly smaller numbers than the massive demonstrations earlier this year.

Participants waved American and Mexican flags at peaceful Labor Day rallies in California, Arizona, Texas and Illinois, with crowds of a few hundred to several thousand chanting "Si se puede!" ("It can be done!") and "We are America."

Marchers voiced the same message in demonstrations that attracted hundreds of thousands this spring. Organizers and participants blamed the holiday weekend and a less coordinated mobilization campaign for what they described as a modest turnout compared to the earlier marches.

"Treat us as the labor force that moves the wealth in this country," Haydee Martinez, a San Francisco march organizer, told participants in Spanish. "We want legalization for everybody."

Immigration reform efforts have stalled in Congress, where members remain divided over whether to crack down on illegal immigrants or help them on the path to U.S. citizenship.

Organized labor and anti-Bush groups joined legal and illegal immigrants in a boisterous march of more than 2,000 in downtown San Francisco, beating drums and singing in the streets.

"We are people. We are humans. We came here to work, not to steal anything," said Carlos Rosales, 35, of San Leandro, a legal U.S. resident who arrived from Mexico City in 1990 and runs a trucking business.

In Southern California, where 400,000 marchers jammed a Los Angeles boulevard in May, about 400 people turned out Monday for a labor solidarity march organized by workers' unions in Wilmington. Demonstrators there called for amnesty for illegal aliens and a moratorium on deportations.

Cardinal Roger Mahony told parishioners at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles that he faxed letters Monday to President Bush and leaders in Congress, urging them to enact comprehensive immigration reform.

"Without our immigrant population, this state would be bankrupt," he said, drawing applause.

In suburban Chicago, immigration reform marchers ended a four-day, 50-mile walk to protest at the office of House Speaker Dennis Hastert. The Illinois Republican has suggested fences, pedestrian inhibitors and the use of the Army Corps of Engineers and Border Patrol to help close off the border with Mexico.

About 150 people walked all four days and others joined along the way, culminating in a crowd of about 3,000 people at Hastert's Batavia office, said Gabe Gonzalez, the midwest regional organizer for the Center for Community Change.

About 900 immigrant rights supporters gathered at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix by midday Monday in a peaceful demonstration of what protesters called government inaction on repairing America's failed immigration system.

The Phoenix rally also drew 100 advocates for limiting immigration. Michelle Dallacroce, founder and president of Mothers Against Illegal Aliens, said the government has sold out its people in not adequately confronting illegal immigration.

"These people are violating our laws, and they are taking away what belongs to Americans," Dallacroce said. "They come down here on our Labor Day and march on our Capitol. It makes me want to vomit."

Construction worker Jose Lopez said he came to the rally as a way to protest the unfair treatment of immigrants.

"(The counter-protesters) think what they want, but they are more illegal than we are," Lopez said. "They come from Europe. We come from the Americas."

The largest rally in Arizona drew 100,000 marchers on the streets of Phoenix in April.

About 500 people marched to Dallas City Hall asking for a plan that would legalize millions of undocumented workers and their families.

Parents pushed children in strollers and ice cream vendors chimed their cart bells as they walked under the steady Texas drizzle, jumped over puddles and chanted "USA!"

Protesters shouted "Aqui estamos y no nos vamos," meaning "We're here and we're not leaving." Many held American flags or carried signs reading "With or without papers, they pay taxes," and "Stand up for immigrant rights."

A Sunday rally brought more than 1,000 immigrants and their supporters to the streets of Portland, Ore., to protest Oregon Republican Party resolutions to deny citizenship to babies born on U.S. soil to illegal and legal immigrants who are not citizens.

Such a measure would likely require amending the U.S. Constitution.
Associated Press Writers Amanda Lee Myers in Phoenix, Anabelle Garay in Dallas, Alex Veiga in Los Angeles and Joseph B. Frazier in Portland, Ore., contributed to this story.

Activists cite contributions of immigrants, urge more support
By Marjorie Hernandez,
September 4, 2006

While other Ventura County residents spent Sunday barbecuing in their backyards or relaxing at local parks, some gathered in Oxnard for a Labor Day weekend event that recognized the contributions of immigrants to the American work force.

About 25 people attended the panel discussion at the Inlakech Cultural Center on West Fifth Street, which centered on immigrant laborers' fight for migrant rights.

The event, which was organized by the May Day Coalition, featured local and state community activists, including Nativo Lopez, president of the Mexican American Political Association; Peter Camejo, Green Party candidate for governor; Inlakech director Javier Gomez; Christian Ramirez, from the American Friends Service Committee in San Diego; Deisy Ibarra, MECHA representative; and Lauro Barajas, local representative for United Farm Workers.

Panelists spoke about the social and economic impact immigrants provide in America, while looking back at the anti-immigration laws of the past. They also urged the audience to continue their fight and support for immigrant rights.

"The goal of this event was to keep the issue of immigration rights in the forefront ... and not just yesterday's news," Gomez said. "We need to keep the community organized and let them know that there's still some changes that need to be made."

Camejo said state and federal legislators have far too often unfairly targeted immigrants who have contributed to the economy. While corporations and the wealthy continue to receive tax breaks, Camejo said, immigrant laborers are shouldering high taxes on meager pay. He said current immigration laws are comparable to the Jim Crow laws that prevented African-Americans from exercising the right to vote.

"What we are seeing is ... a racist campaign against the Latino community," Camejo said. "Our community is in no way harming America. We demand equal rights."

Lopez called for amnesty for immigrants who are already working and have established a life in America.

"They deserve amnesty ... what they don't deserve is to be contract laborers," Lopez said. "We need to continue to fight for what the people want."

Ramirez, who was born and raised near the U.S.-Mexico border, said militarization in that area has caused "a death to my community. We now have modern day Ku Klux Klan running around the border."

Ramirez said the immigration law currently in debate is a "policy of theft and militarization that undermines human rights."

A rally from the Inlakech Center to Plaza Park was planned after the panel discussion, but it was canceled at the last minute to allow audience members to ask panelists some questions.

Gomez said they anticipated more people would attend and said the turnout was probably affected by the holiday weekend.

Arizona: Latino leader came to forefront from shadows
Daniel González / The Arizona Republic
Sept. 4, 2006 12:00 AM

Roberto Reveles seemed to pop out of nowhere when he emerged as leader of the massive immigration reform demonstrations that rocked Phoenix in the spring. In a way he did.

Diminutive and soft-spoken, Reveles was a relative unknown, even within the Valley's tight-knit Latino community.

The 73-year-old former mining executive was deep into his retirement while more prominent community leaders were building one of the largest grass-roots movements in Arizona.

One of his favorite pastimes is sculpting clay busts while he is holed up in his spacious art studio at his plush home in the foothills of the Superstition Mountains, far from the Spanish-speaking barrios of Phoenix.

But Reveles is no political novice. A shrewd, Georgetown-educated strategist who once worked for legendary Arizona Congressman Mo Udall, Reveles did what some thought impossible. He united an array of unorganized Latino groups, immigrant advocates, churches and unions into a coalition that rallied thousands for street demonstrations and boycotts in the spring and grabbed the attention of leaders and lawmakers.

After lying low for months, Reveles' We Are America coalition is about to strike again. As many as 10,000 supporters will rally at the state Capitol today with the same goal: pressing Congress to pass immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million to 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country, half a million of them in Arizona. Congress has deadlocked over the issue for months.

Organizers don't expect a crowd as large as April 10, when at least 100,000 marchers, many of them undocumented immigrants, packed two miles of streets from the fairgrounds to the Capitol. That's because under Reveles' leadership, the coalition has shifted direction. Instead of marches, it is now focused on the ballot box.

Reveles has his critics, including rival immigrant advocates who call him a latecomer and say the native-born Arizonan can't understand the immigrant experience. Still, Reveles moves ahead and will be in front of today's coalition rally.

Humble Arizona roots
Reveles was born in Miami, a mining town in eastern Arizona. His parents came from Mexico as children. There is a large photo of his grandfather's visa taped on a wall in his studio, proof that his family entered the United States legally. Reveles is the second oldest of 10. His father worked in the mines. He remembers picking wild cactus pads to eat because the family was so poor.

Reveles said there was a lot of discrimination growing up in Miami. Reveles attended a segregated school. Mexican Americans also sat separately at the movies and swam on different days at the pool. The experience instilled a lifelong hatred of injustice.

"I can't forget that," he said.

A high school honors student, Reveles joined the Air Force, then graduated from Georgetown University's prestigious school of foreign service with plans of becoming a diplomat. Instead, he landed jobs on Capitol Hill working for two Arizona political icons: longtime Democratic Congressman Morris Udall, and his brother, former Congressman and Interior Secretary Stewart Udall.

In Washington, Reveles cut his political teeth during the turbulent 1960s and '70s. Fluent in English and Spanish, he also championed many Latino causes, advocating for the rights of Latino veterans and organizing grape and lettuce boycotts as part of the farm workers movement. In 1972, Reveles ran for Congress in Arizona but lost in the Democratic primary.

Reveles left Washington in 1980 when he became a California mining company executive. He retired in his home state in 1992.

Shaken out of retirement
Though he kept busy in retirement with sculpting and photographing amateur boxing matches, Reveles remained involved in Latino causes. But it wasn't until the U.S. House passed a tough immigration bill in December that Reveles threw himself into the immigration battle. The bill would have made being in the country illegally a felony. Reveles found that "outrageous" and "hateful."

"These people are coming across the border for the simple act of providing food and shelter for their families," he said.

To protest the House bill, Reveles organized a march under the banner Unidos en Arizona, a coalition of groups he co-founded.

The March 24 demonstration drew at least 20,000 people, far more than the 3,000 organizers expected. The march paralyzed the area around Camelback Road and 24th Street for much of the day, angering motorists and business people and drawing sharp criticism from the mayor.

A few days later, Reveles was elected president of We Are America, or Somos America, the coalition created to organize the April 10 march and which included long-established grass-roots organizations and upstart evangelicals from across the Valley.

But first there were shouting matches and heated arguments over routes, strategy and fund-raising. There also was disagreement over who should be in charge. The coalition needed someone who could unite the groups and keep them focused on a single goal. It also needed someone who wouldn't try to take over.

"Roberto didn't have an agenda of his own and he wasn't on an ego trip. He was in it because his heart is in it, because he believes in this movement," said Lydia Guzman, coalition secretary.

Working non-stop has taken a toll. Though he remains president, Reveles has backed away from some duties because of his health.

In the meantime, some groups that wanted to keep marching have left the coalition, said former state lawmaker Alfredo Gutierrez, a coalition member.

But Reveles learned a long time ago in Washington that street marches won't have the same impact as getting people to the ballot box. Reveles understands, Gutierrez said, that "in America, the only weapon that counts is the vote."

Criticism in leadership
Articulate and cool-headed, Reveles is not one to climb onto stages and shout slogans through megaphones. He speaks in slow, steady phrases, picking his words carefully and precisely. More political science professor than union leader, he projects an air of intellectualism and refinement that has added polish and credibility to the movement.

The direction in which he has taken the coalition, however, has ruffled some feathers. Some of the movement's pioneers felt pushed aside after the coalition elected him president. They view the Miami-born Reveles as an outsider not in touch with the immigrant's plight. Today's rally, they say, will be a test of whether the coalition is as strong as it was in the spring.

"My question is, where were these people before, when we started this movement?" said Magdalena Schwartz, an evangelical pastor from Mesa and a native of Chile.

More than a year before the marches this spring, Schwartz was working with the group Immigrants Without Borders to organize a series of boycotts, work stoppages and rallies that culminated with a 10,000-strong demonstration at the Capitol on Jan. 9.

Schwartz said she believes the earlier rallies primed the pump for the massive demonstrations in the spring.

"It's as if we prepared the table with cake and barbeque and chicken and they are the ones who got to eat," Schwartz said. She added that she respects Reveles' diplomatic skills but pointed out that he is not an immigrant.

"That is the difference between me and him," Schwartz said. "I'm an immigrant. I know what it's like to work four jobs to support my children."

Elias Bermudez, the charismatic leader of Immigrants Without Borders, said he doesn't share the same resentment. By bringing together dozens of groups under one umbrella, Reveles built a far more powerful organization, Bermudez said.

But he doubts Reveles could have turned out so many people without the grass-roots support of Immigrants Without Borders.

"There is a saying in Spanish," Bermudez said. "There are some who chase the jackrabbit and others who catch it without trying."

Arizona: Advocates gather at state Capitol for immigration reform
By Elvia Diaz / The Arizona Republic
Sept. 4, 2006 10:37 AM

Facing a less friendly political climate than in the spring, about 1,500 immigrant advocates gathered at the state Capitol to demand immigration reform and encourage Latinos to register to vote.

Most were wearing white T-shirts, symbolizing peace, and waving American flags. About 50 counter protestors confronted immigrant advocates telling them to go back to Mexico and one woman compared Mexicans to dogs.

Today's rally at the Arizona state Capitol is one of several immigrant-rights events taking place this week in cities across the country, including Los Angeles and Chicago.

The goal is to press Congress to pass immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million to 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country, half a million of them in Arizona. Congress has deadlocked over the issue for months.

Alfredo Vega, 38, from Tolleson, who is starting his own restaurant businesses, attended the rally with his wife and three children.

“I’m here to support the Hispanics, to push Congress to come back to work and pass immigration reform,’’ said Vega, a legal resident from Mexico City. “The United States needs us and we need the USA. Hispanic people are very, very hard workers. We’re not terrorists. We’re not criminals.”

Carl Johnson, 45, an engineer from Mesa and member of the Minutemen project, said he attended the rally because he opposes giving legalizations to people who are in the country illegally.

He wants those who are in the country illegally to admit they did something wrong instead of demanding that others fix the problem for them. He favors a simplified guest worker program.

Organizers of the Arizona rally said their goal is to build one of the largest grass-roots movements in the state. They aren't expecting a crowd as large as April 10, when at least 100,000 marchers, many of them undocumented immigrants, packed two miles of streets from the fairgrounds to the Capitol.

The March 24 demonstration drew at least 20,000 people, far more than the 3,000 organizers expected. The march paralyzed the area around Camelback Road and 24th Street for much of the day, angering motorists and business people and drawing sharp criticism from the mayor.

A few days later, the "We Are America" coalition organized the April 10 march and which included long-established grass-roots organizations and upstart evangelicals from across the Valley.

Since then, the coalition Somos America has shifted direction. Instead of marches, it is now focused on the ballot box, registering people to vote and encouraging them to cast a vote.

Though pressure is mounting for federal lawmakers to act on immigration, chances of passing a major bill are slim. Legislation to tighten border security and legalize millions of undocumented immigrants has been stalled for months because lawmakers can't agree on competing House and Senate bills.
Dallas: Hundreds march for immigration reform
04:56 PM CDT on Monday, September 4, 2006
From Staff and Wire Reports / MONA REEDER / DMN

About 500 braved the rain in downtown Dallas to march from Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe on Ross Avenue to a rally at City Hall. More than 700 people marched through downtown Houston to a rally in front of City Hall.

Organizers and immigrants say they plan to continue to campaign for comprehensive immigration reform. That would include an opportunity for illegal immigrants to obtain legal residency.

In Houston, three counter-demonstrators protested the rally, waving American flags and carrying signs asking for tougher measures against illegal immigrants.

Pic: Linda Barriga said she marched in the rain Monday to "make her voice heard." Hundreds of people marched and rallied in the Houston sun and Dallas rain today to push for immigration reform.

Sept. 4, 2006, 3:31PM
Houston marchers keep immigration debate alive

About 400 people marched in downtown Houston today in support of immigrant rights, part of a nationwide Labor Day effort in advance of this month's congressional debate on immigration legislation.

Marchers said they don't want top politicians to think they've forgotten the cause since the rallies last spring that drew tens of thousands of people to the streets. This time, they carried American flags and signs that said "Today we march. Tomorrow we vote."

Leaders said the demonstrators advocate permanent legal residency for immigrants who cross the border illegally, as well as a higher minimum wage and bans on racial profiling.

"The most important thing for us is that there is a mobilization toward legalization of life here in Houston and nationally," said Maria Jimenez, special projects coordinator with the Central American Resource Center. "We're here to stay. We need to resolve the problems of just immigration reform."

While today's turnout was only a fraction of earlier marches, organizers said they weren't disappointed.

"If one person shows up, it keeps the dream alive," Jimenez said.

Children ate ice cream and rainbow-colored snow cones as they walked down Miliam. The group was led by Aztec-costumed dancers who performed indigenous spiritual dances. Their drums echoed off downtown skyscrapers during the march from Market Square to City Hall.

Keeping to the Labor Day theme, U.S. Rep. Al Green, D-Houston urged participants to fight for a higher minimum wage. The current rate of $5.15 an hour puts a full-time worker with a child below the poverty level, he said.

"No one should work full-time and still stand in the welfare line," he said.

The low wages disproportionately effect the nation's 12 million illegal immigrants, Green said.

September 4, 2006
Perils darken a shadow economy
Illegal immigrant workers, the health-care system and taxpayers all pay a steep price
By Stephen Franklin and Darnell Little / Tribune staff reporters

Raul Rosas lies in pain in a dark, foul-smelling hovel that resembles a shallow cave more than a basement.

Paralyzed in a workplace accident five years ago, he survives by selling fruits and vegetables from a wheelchair on a Chicago street corner. But now he is sick with a stomach infection and can't buy medication because he has no way to get to a drugstore.

Since losing the ability to walk, Rosas' life has shrunk to the barest existence. He is a veritable ghost, and a depleted one because he is an illegal immigrant and therefore ineligible for all government assistance beyond emergency room care.

"It is very hard," he said dejectedly, turning his crumpled body away.

When an undocumented worker has an accident or gets sick, it puts pressure on the families, who must do without a paycheck, and it puts pressure on the public health system, because the workers are less likely to have insurance.

This is an issue at the heart of the debate over immigration reform: whether the economic contributions of illegal workers outweigh the costs, and whether they should remain in the U.S. at all.

What's been overlooked are the risks the workers take, the price they pay and the impact.

Because they tend to exist in the shadows, beyond the workplace protections that others take for granted, the undocumented are more likely to face hardships after their accidents. Some return home. Others remain in the United States, partly because they still can earn more income here.

Rosas, an immigrant from Mexico, was hired to remove a tree from a back yard. The tree fell and seriously injured him.

"The guy he was working for didn't even want to call the ambulance," said Ramon Canellada, a disability coordinator at Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital on Chicago's South Side, where Rosas was briefly treated.

Since then, Rosas has not received any government-supported therapy, or any medicine or a wheelchair. He bought those himself. One of his few protectors is Canellada, who has tried to keep an eye on him, even scrounging for parts for Rosas' electric wheelchair.

Fiercely independent, Rosas, 48, lives on whatever he earns from fruit-and-vegetable sales during warm-weather days. He pays $300 a month for his tiny corner of the basement, which he shares with two other Latino workers.

Before the recent uproar over illegal immigrants, Rene Lune, a worker with Access Living, a Chicago agency that helps the disabled, would refer injured Latino workers such as Rosas to public health agencies, which might overlook their immigration status and provide help.

"Now with all of the strict background checks, [agencies] won't do it," Lune said.

The worker's compensation system is supposed to help injured workers such as Rosas with recovery--and that includes illegal immigrants. Nearly every employer in Illinois is required to provide such coverage.

But because of the risky or marginal jobs held by illegal workers and the types of employers they work for, the system hasn't exactly benefited Latino workers.

Many are injured while working for small businesses that have neither health insurance nor worker's compensation coverage, said attorney Jose Rivero. Some larger companies, he added, don't think they have to provide benefits for their "clandestine" workforce.

Illinois overseers shut down
For years the state did little to make sure employers complied with the state's worker's compensation law. From 1983 to 1996, the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission kept shut its compliance unit for budgetary reasons, according to state officials. It now has four workers, none of whom speaks Spanish.

Asked how many employers comply with the law, state officials, replying by e-mail, said they didn't know but were looking for ways to find that out.

Rivero is hopeful that the commission will do a better job because of laws passed last year. Those laws beef up the penalties and give the commission more power to go after businesses that do not provide worker's compensation.

The changes came from a state commission last year that looked at Latino workers' injuries and fatalities. It was the only state-sponsored study of its kind, Illinois officials point out.

Still, even when the law is upheld, there are problems. Rather than pay hefty medical bills, firms without insurance will threaten to go out of business, which is one reason Rivero often said he seeks lower settlements for his clients.

The presence of so many Latinos in low-wage jobs also pushes him toward reduced-compensation settlements. It is hard to bargain for hefty settlements when they earn so little. A missing finger or a burn that will linger for a lifetime winds up discounted for the low-wage Latino worker.

Yolanda Sanchez, 55, understands that.
A part-time weekend cook at a small restaurant in Chicago, she suffered a bad burn from a tipped vat of hot cooking oil. She earned $80 weekly from the restaurant and had two other jobs in order to get by.

The restaurant didn't have worker's compensation insurance, so Rivero settled for $12,000; Sanchez got $8,000. She had a $14,000 unpaid bill with Stroger Hospital, but it was willing to accept $4,000, Rivero said.

"I was concerned about not getting anything," he said.

Indeed, workers' unpaid medical bills is a significant issue.

"We have had a number of clients who had really bad injuries and literally hundreds of thousands of dollars that hospitals have had to eat because there was no health insurance," lawyer David Menchetti said.

The overall bill for treating injured immigrants without insurance is not known, but the federal government acknowledged the problem's depth in 2005 when it began setting aside $250 million a year to cover emergency medical-care costs for illegal immigrants shouldered by communities across the U.S.

A share of those bills comes from workers hurt on the job, such as Oscar Gaytan, 23.

Gaytan was working at the St. Anne Area Farmer Auction near Kankakee in March 2003 when he was told to change a light bulb from a fake ceiling. He had been employed there about nine months, he said, earning $6 an hour. Tall and husky, he had come from Mexico three years earlier.

He fell about 30 feet, hitting his head on the blades of a large piece of farm equipment. He spent about 30 days in a hospital. His medical bills, according to a July 2004 ruling by an Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission arbitrator, came to $270,541. The commission also ordered the small farm-equipment auction to pay Gaytan $135,270 for his injuries and his lawyers $27,054 for their work.

Gaytan hasn't received a penny. Nor have any of those who provided medical care. Auction owner James Wituoet said only that he is appealing the case.

"I am not the same as before," Gaytan said after work recently at a farm near Kankakee. He is constantly reminded of the accident by headaches and by a scar across the back of his skull. He fears crowds and the dark, and he rarely goes out.

He remembers a doctor telling him that he needs therapy, but he has not received any since the accident because he cannot pay for it and he is ineligible for government support.

Much of the responsibility for protecting the nation's workers rests with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA officials in Washington and Chicago boast about hiring more Spanish-speaking OSHA workers, about making partners with Latino community groups and about winning over Latino workers' trust. But they also concede it is a struggle.

To begin, the agency's ranks are limited, they say. Then there is the wave of fear that swept Latino communities last year after Homeland Security officials, posing as OSHA representatives, called a "mandatory" safety workshop in North Carolina and arrested the workers who showed up. OSHA officials say that was a wrong thing to do and won't happen again.

There also is the broad reluctance of workers and others to identify dangerous workplaces.

"It is better. People know who we are," said Michael Connors, OSHA's regional head in Chicago. "But it is not like we are getting any calls or complaints from the community."

Nor, Connors said, do physicians alert his agency.

Jose Oliva of the Chicago-based Interfaith Committee on Worker Issues, an advocacy group, said it has a unique arrangement with OSHA that allows it to relay workers' anonymous complaints. It was the first of its kind in the nation, and OSHA officials hailed it as a way to reach workers.

Backdoor for whistle-blowers
But sometimes Oliva is reluctant to name companies.
"It is hard for us," he said. "You know you are putting people back into danger. [But] if the company went out of business, you would have 300 people out of jobs."

Not long ago he decided not to file a complaint with OSHA against a Bellwood company after it agreed to hire back about 25 Latinos who had been let go because they took time off to march in an immigration rally. Some workers had complained that the firm did not provide safety equipment and that fans failed to ventilate toxic fumes, Oliva said.

A month after the company rehired the workers, an explosion there killed a truck driver making a delivery and injured three factory workers and two firefighters. OSHA officials said they are investigating the incident at Universal Farm Clamp Co. Company officials declined to comment.

Ivan Caudillo's death in March last year is a reminder that OSHA can do only so much when someone dies on the job. Caudillo, a 21-year-old illegal Mexican immigrant, had been on the job four days at Euro Marble & Granite Inc. in suburban Schiller Park and had handled large chunks of material the day before when he was crushed by 3 tons of granite.

Until then, he had worked part-time as a dishwasher and bus boy while going to school. He had been sending money home to his family in Mexico. But because he planned to marry, he had sought the better-paying job so he could send more money to his fiance, according to his uncle, Alvaro Caudillo, with whom he had lived.

Ivan Caudillo and two other workers were attempting to load sheets of granite stored in a trailer, according to Schiller Park police and OSHA reports. The strap holding the marble to a lifting device apparently was loose, and Caudillo stepped into the trailer to steady it. The granite shifted and fell on him.

"The fact that he went back in to try to catch the granite would reflect that he didn't [understand] what was going on," said attorney James Geraghty, who looked into the case at the uncle's request. "It's training. The majority of these situations are training-related. It is not that they are unskilled; it is that they are untrained."

OSHA officials looked into that question and decided the company had told Caudillo about the job the day before. "Hands-on training" is enough, OSHA's Connors said.

OSHA initially fined the company $11,250 for a series of violations but reduced it to $3,800, which Connors said is not unusual. The company threatened to take the case to court, and the agency prefers to avoid such battles--one reason that such fines often are reduced.

The firm also got a break because it is a small business, Connors said. OSHA later fined the company $3,887 for other violations and reduced that to $2,720. Company lawyer Charles Harth said the violations were not related to the death, but he declined to comment further.

Of all the Illinois workplace death inspections by OSHA that were closed from 2000 to 2004, no violations were filed in 41 percent of the cases. Similarly, of the cases where violations were found, half of the inspections resulted in a fine of $3,125 or less.

Upset by his nephew's death, Alvaro Caudillo threw himself into the case, hoping to gain some money for the family through the courts.

A lawyer helped him get the company's insurer to pay for sending his nephew's body to Mexico, but that was it. Caudillo tried, but no other lawyers were interested in the worker's compensation case.

Because Ivan Caudillo was unmarried and had stopped sending money to his family, it became a complicated case, they said. But not to Caudillo, who has kept his nephew's records in order, everything filed and folded carefully.

In one plastic folder, he has the money he recently received from the company for his nephew's sole check, $214.80. He said he will send it soon to his brother.

Caudillo recently felt ill, but his doctor told him there is nothing wrong with him.

"I'm probably too worried about this," said Caudillo, a tailor who walks with a stiff gait--the result of aging, he said. "I feel the pain of his death," he said, leaning back as if there were a weight pressing down on his chest. "It is indescribable."

Chicago: Immigrant-rights supporters rally outside Hastert's home office By Sara Olkon / Tribune staff reporter
Published September 4, 2006, 4:55 PM CDT

Some 2,000 supporters of immigrant rights gathered this afternoon before the home office of U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert in Batavia, marking the end of a four-day, 50-mile walk that spanned the western suburbs of Chicago.

"Yes we can!'' the jubilant crowd cried in Spanish as they held up white wooden crosses symbolizing the thousands of Mexicans who have died trying to cross the border into the United States.

Protestors said they want Hastert, a Republican, to offer legalization for the nation's 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants and to put a moratorium on raids and deportations by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Hastert hadn't agreed to meet with the marchers when they arrived Monday afternoon, something noted by speakers during the two-hour rally.

"Denny, you here?'' asked Salome Amezcua of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. "You are more than welcome to take the mike."

Nearby, Batavia police kept a buffer zone in place for the 150 critics of the march who staged a counter-protest.

"I am an immigrant and I did it legally,'' said Evert Evertsen, 61, the coordinator of the Minutemen Midwest.

Evertsen was born in the Netherlands before his family moved to Canada when he was young. In 1984, he said he became a U.S. citizen. He now lives in Harvard.

"We don't need more lawbreakers,'' Evertsen said.

Labor Day Gets Political
Some Unions Unhappy With Focus On Immigrant Rights

MILWAUKEE - Thousands march through the streets of downtown Milwaukee to celebrate Labor Day. Some felt the holiday was over-shadowed by the debate over immigrant rights. The controversy surrounds the group Voces De La Frontera. The immigrant rights organization was invited to participate and brought thousands to Labor Fest 2006.

Some unions welcomed them with open arms, but not everyone. A couple local unions boycotted the event. They complain that labor day should be about workers and not about the hot-button issue of immigration.

Dan Ewert of AFSCME Local 2 President claims, "Our silent majority gets stomped on because you have upstaging things like this happening. This isn't what festival is meant for... (it's) for all of us workers... not just this very vocal majority today."

When asked if it saddened her that some unions stayed away, Celestine Rogers of the Teachers Union responded, "Yes. That breaks the union. One union,when we start splintering, we're heading for trouble."

Organizers of the this year's festivities insist organized labor is a democratic process. They have no problem with the debate. In fact, they tell us they are thrilled by the turn-out, given the rainy weather.

Portland: Protesters in Portland call for immigration reform
Rally - Marchers take a swipe at Ron Saxton's views as tensions grow over workers in Oregon and stalled legislation in Congress
Monday, September 04, 2006

With a jab at Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron Saxton and demands for sweeping changes to immigration laws, more than 500 immigrants and supporters marched through Portland on Sunday in one of several Labor Day weekend events planned across the country.

The march coincided with signs of growing sentiment against undocumented immigrants among some Oregonians and precedes congressional efforts to resolve differences in two starkly different immigration bills in the House and Senate.

The Oregon Republican Party approved a resolution in July to deny citizenship to babies born on U.S. soil to illegal immigrants and to legal immigrants who are not citizens, an action that probably would require amending the U.S. Constitution.

Saxton has not endorsed the resolution, but he has advocated strict controls on undocumented residents. As the demonstrators passed his campaign office Sunday, marchers stopped to chant, "Saxton, immigrant basher. We'll remember in November."

Felix Schein, Saxton's campaign manager, said later that millions of immigrants come to this country without breaking the rules.

"Let's enforce our immigration laws to ensure those who come here legally are given due process and not circumvented by those who skirt the law," Schein said.

Demonstrators carried signs and wore T-shirts calling for worker solidarity, immigration reform and erasing all borders. Some condemned the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a national group with members in Oregon who have recently begun monitoring day laborers, some of them undocumented, in Cornelius.

Jorge Torres, a member of Voz, a Portland group trying to organize day laborers, told those at the rally that those workers are the ones who "keep houses clean, gardens tended, restaurants open." He said the laborers do "the dirtiest, most dangerous, most difficult jobs," while paying taxes, renting apartments and buying at supermarkets.

"We are in solidarity with you; you are not alone," Torres said of the workers in Cornelius.

After more than an hour of speeches, music and dancing, the group set off down Columbia Street to Second Avenue to Burnside Street and back to the park. As the march got under way, a few flags -- U.S. and Mexico -- appeared. Some carried signs proclaiming, "This is our land also."

There have been similar marches in Portland and Salem this year, some drawing several thousand participants. Sunday's event was peaceful. Three people carrying a cardboard sign reading "No borders, no nation," a slogan of groups favoring a crackdown on undocumented immigrants, took part without incident.

Organizers said a key function of the rally was to collect signatures that will be sent to the Oregon congressional delegation.

Immigration reform remains stalled in Congress, primarily because of disagreement about whether to grant some form of amnesty to an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

Given the split between the Senate, which favors a provision for temporary workers and a system leading to citizenship, and the House, which wants tougher border controls first, the issue may not be resolved this year.

At the rally, a few signs urged amnesty. But speakers avoided the word, speaking instead of "unconditional legalization for all."

Tom Chamberlain, the head of the Oregon AFL-CIO, said the United States has "a dirty little secret" in that some people gain and keep power by dividing instead of uniting the nation. He said immigration policy is being driven by political and corporate interests.

"That's not the America I love," he said.

September 3, 2006
L.A. March Presses for Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants
Participants call attention to the plight of women separated from families by deportation.
By Rong-Gong Lin II and Ted Rohrlich, Times Staff Writers

More than 1,000 marchers took to the streets of downtown Los Angeles on Saturday to call for a general amnesty for illegal immigrants and highlight the troubles of women facing deportation. Organizers put the crowd at 5,000, while police estimated 1,500.

"We're telling Congress we're still here, waiting for a positive answer," said Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo, a popular Spanish-language radio deejay, who helped turn out 500,000 people for a demonstration in March against federal legislation cracking down on illegal immigration.

Saturday's demonstration focused largely on undocumented immigrant women threatened with deportation. It spotlighted the case of a cleaning woman from Mexico who has taken refuge in a Chicago storefront church to avoid being deported.

Elvira Arellano, 31, was arrested in 2002 for using a fake Social Security number to obtain a job at O'Hare International Airport and has been fighting since then for permission to stay in the country with her 7-year-old U.S.-born son.

"We're here for Elvira," said truck driver Trini Quezada, 48, who related that he has been in the country illegally for 32 years.

Arellano's situation hit close to home for many of the marchers, including Patricia Figueroa, a Coachella Valley teacher who said she has seen schoolchildren abandoned when their mothers are deported.
Some children have wound up with relatives or neighbors, and others have been placed in foster care, she said.

Sergio Hernandez, an undocumented construction worker from Mexico, and his U.S.-born teenage daughter, Daleth, said they feared this could happen to them.

"If they catch my mom and dad, we'll have to be sent to a foster home," said Daleth, 17, referring to her three siblings.

But while many of the marchers were concerned about the prospects of being separated from their families, Salvador Hernandez was dealing with the reality.

Hernandez, a U.S. citizen born in Mexico, has been separated for more than two years from his Argentine-born wife, who overstayed her visitor's visa and was sent to Argentina to apply for legal entry to the U.S.

Salvador Hernandez said she remains there with their 3-year-old daughter because her paperwork has disappeared in the U.S. government bureaucracy. He carried a sign that said, "Help Me Reunify My Family."

Sep 4, 2006 8:13 am US/Pacific
Unions, Immigrant Rights Groups Rally

(AP) WILMINGTON About 3,500 people turned out for the annual Labor Day Parade in Wilmington, with about 400 people holding a "Labor Solidarity March."

The "Labor Solidarity March," organized by Teamsters, International Longshore and Warehouse Union, other unions and the National Alliance for Immigrants' Rights called for a moratorium on deportation and amnesty for illegal aliens.

"You can't talk about immigration reform without talking about labor," said Nativo Lopez, one of the organizers. "And you can't talk about the labor movement without talking about immigration. It's one in the same."

Gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides attended a Labor Day breakfast at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, part of a daylong series of events organized by labor officials dedicated to rebuilding Los Angeles' middle class.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger visited the Muscle Beach Championship Finals in Venice, after making stops at several of his campaign offices. In his Labor Day proclamation, Schwarzenegger wrote: "Our welcoming economic climate supports our workers by nurturing existing businesses and attracting new ones to provide profitable and rewarding jobs. Bolstered by a strong infrastructure that includes an excellent educational system, California laborers have career opportunities available to elevate their standard of living."

President Bush cited the nation's job growth in his annual Labor Day message.

"Since August 2003, our economy has created more than 5.7 million jobs, and manufacturing production has risen 5.6 percent in the last year," Bush said. "Our economic expansion is lifting the lives of millions of our citizens and we will continue to work toward developing sound economic policies that keep our economy moving forward and create more jobs for American workers."

The first Labor Day was celebrated in New York City on Sept. 5, 1882. Oregon became the first state to recognize the day in 1887, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In 1894, Congress passed a bill making the first Monday in September a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and territories.

Minnesota: Rallying for immigrant rights
by Laura McCallum, Minnesota Public Radio
September 4, 2006

Hundreds of people attended a Labor Day Rally for immigrant rights in Castillo Park, St Paul (MPR Photo/Laura McCallum) For the first time in nearly two decades, there was no big Labor Day picnic in St. Paul this year. Union organizers canceled the event because of a lack of funding and volunteers. But several unions were involved in another Twin Cities rally today. Hundreds of people marched for immigrant and workers rights.

St. Paul, Minn. — The sun warmed up Castillo Park on St. Paul's west side, as immigrant rights supporters gathered for music ranging from Native American drumming to hip hop.

The event was organized by labor unions and groups calling for changes to the nation's immigration laws. The groups want legal citizenship for all undocumented workers. They also oppose President Bush's plan to send National Guard troops to patrol the U-S-Mexico border.

Labor Day march
Leaders from several unions and churches voiced their support for immigrant workers. Local president Don Sequest from the United Food and Commercial Workers says more than six-hundred of the union's members are Spanish-speaking immigrants. He says the face of the labor movement is changing.

"Our union today along with many others will work for the dignity and respect that all workers deserve, regardless of the language they speak, the color of their skin, or where they were born," he says.

The people at the rally then took to the streets, marching up Cesar Chavez street and around the West Side.

One of the event organizers is Francisco Segovia from the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Coalition. Segovia says he was an undocumented worker when he first came to the U.S. from El Salvador. He's now a U.S. citizen who manages a community center. Segovia doesn't like the idea of a guest worker program.

"If you have or provide some sort of visa to some individuals, what we are creating is a second class of workers, and we don't want that," Segovia says. "We are in a nation where it is well known for respecting people's rights, and human rights, therefore, if that's what it is, then workers have to have the same equal rights as everybody else."

Segovia says organizers held the rally on Labor Day to celebrate the contributions of undocumented workers to the nation's economy. Critics point out that undocumented workers are here illegally, and have ignored the legal pathway to citizenship that other immigrants have followed.

AP Enterprise: Immigration protests haven't led to new voter boom
The Associated Press
September 4, 2006

LOS ANGELES Immigration protests that brought hundreds of thousands of marchers into America's streets this spring promised a potent political legacy — a surge of new Hispanic voters. "Today We March, Tomorrow We Vote," they vowed.

But an Associated Press review of voter registration figures from Chicago, Denver, Houston, Atlanta and other major urban areas that saw large rallies shows no sign of a historic new voter boom that could sway elections.

Even in Los Angeles, where a 500,000-strong protest in March foreshadowed demonstrations across the United States, an increase in new registrations before the June primary was more trickle than torrent in a county of nearly 4 million voters.

Protest organizers — principally unions, Hispanic advocacy groups and the Catholic Church — acknowledge that it has been hard to translate street activism into ballot box clout, though they insist their goal of 1 million new voters by 2008 is reachable.

It's impossible to count exactly how many new registrants were inspired by the new movement because counties typically do not ask race or ethnicity. But while new registrations were higher this year than last — not surprising since Democrats and Republicans are struggling for control of Congress — the numbers are well below 2004 and do not indicate the watershed awakening that advocates had envisioned.

"I was anticipating a huge jump in registration — I didn't see it," said Jess Cervantes, a veteran California political operative whose company analyzes Hispanic voting trends. "When you have an emotional response, it takes time to evolve."

The emotional response was a reaction to federal legislation that would have overhauled current immigration policy, including the criminalization of the estimated 11 million immigrants who are here illegally. While that legislation is effectively dead this year, immigration remains a campaign issue.

And Hispanic voters remain a pivotal voting bloc, especially with their numbers projected to grow significantly in coming decades. Both political parties would like to capture the Hispanic vote in the same way Democrats have maintained overwhelming support among black voters.

Hispanics have long voted in numbers far below their share of the population, in part because many are under 18 or not U.S. citizens. A study by the Pew Hispanic Center found that while Hispanics accounted for half the nation's population growth between the 2000 and 2004 elections, they represented only one-tenth of the increase in votes cast.

A lack of political experience helps explain why the flow of new registrations has been halting. Some activists acknowledge that their groups have yet to master the nuances of voter registration drives — a typically face-to-face task more complex than mobilizing a march. Others complain that political parties with the most to gain haven't financed registration efforts.

"Until the money is spent, 'Today We March, Tomorrow We Vote' will always just be a slogan," said Nativo Lopez, president of the California-based Mexican-American Political Association. "A million new registrations would cost about $10 million (€7.8 million). Is anybody willing to pay that? I haven't seen it."

What's more, no galvanizing leader of the immigrant-rights movement has emerged and the largest pool of potential voters — young people — tend to be the hardest to reach.

"It's a hard sell," said Avelino Andazola, a field organizer with the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project who rounded up only a dozen new registrations at a spring immigration rally attended by several thousand in southern Los Angeles County.

For this story, the AP reviewed new registration numbers in metropolitan areas over several years. The areas included Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose, California; Chicago; Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; Dallas and Houston; Atlanta; Denver; and Jacksonville and St. Petersburg, Florida. The time frames included both January-through-July periods dating to 2004, as well as periods before statewide elections, when registration efforts are most intense.

The data provide a wide-angle look at new registrations, but do have limitations. Any significant shift in registrations overall would stand out, but voters are not specifically identified by race or ethnicity. As a result, an increase in new registrations in Los Angeles County in the 100 days before this June's primary compared to the months before two prior statewide elections cannot be attributed exclusively to new Hispanic voters, despite extensive registration efforts here.

Gains in new registrations were highest in 2004, when political parties spent lavishly to enroll new voters ahead of the presidential election.

New voter registrations increased in virtually every city between 2005 and 2006 — but that would be expected because of congressional primaries and elections. The 2006 numbers were below the 2004 numbers in every city, often significantly.

In Harris County, Texas, home to Houston, new registrations through July tallied 55,657 — an increase of 16 percent over 2005 but well below the 71,402 from 2004.

Out of the cities surveyed, Dallas County showed some potential in attaining significant new voter registrations. New voter registrations in Dallas County totaled 35,590 through Aug. 15 this year. With less than half of 2006 left, the figure was only 4,775 shy of the number of new voters who registered in 2004, a presidential election year. Last year, Dallas and the surrounding cities in the county had 27,321 new voters register.

In rare cases, registrations declined. New registrations in San Francisco were significantly lower in the 100 days before this year's June 6 primary than over the same period before a statewide special election in November 2005.

In Chicago and surrounding Cook County, registrations in the first seven months this year jumped about a third over 2005, but were far below the same period in 2004.

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, a leading citizenship and registration drive organizer, has 18 full-time field organizers registering Chicago area voters.

The group's director, Joshua Hoyt, predicted that the impact of such efforts would be apparent by 2008, the next presidential election.

"It's like a good old fashioned Chicago precinct operation," said Hoyt. "The only difference is that our candidate is comprehensive immigration reform."
Associated Press Writers Giovanna Dell'Orto in Atlanta, Nathaniel Hernandez in Chicago, Anabelle Garay in Dallas, Steve Paulson in Denver, Juan Lozano in Houston, Phil Davis in Tampa, Florida, and Arthur H. Rotstein in Tucson contributed to this story.

Aztlan Chicano 0101 Website & Groups

Aztlannet News Yahoo Group
Immigrant Solidarity Network
Border01 · US-Mexico Border Actions Yahoo Group
Immigrant-Rights-Agenda Yahoo Group!
Pueblo Sin Fronteras
U.N. Refugee Agency
U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services Home Page
Total Amnesty Is Humane Sanity! Build Bridges, Not Walls!
Venceremos Unidos! United We Will Win!
Peter S. Lopez ~aka Peta de Aztlan
Sacramento, California, U.S.A.
Join Up!

Join Up!

Join Up!

Key Website Link!
Join the Humane-Rights-Agenda Yahoo Group

Comment on the Humane-Rights-Agenda Blog
De Todos Para Todos Blog
Reuters - Newsmaker debate: Iraq: Is the media telling the real story?
Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?

Printer friendly
Version para Imprimir

From Spanish:

Del inglés: