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February 2006 U.S. Immigrant
National Immigrant Solidarity Network
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To Defeat Anti-Immigrant Sensenbrenner-King bill!
In This Issue:
1. Defeat Sensenbrenner-King Bill! (Pg 1)
2. Minutemen Watch (Pg 2)
3. Immigration News (Pg 5)
4. Feb-March Major Immigrant Events (Pg 6)
5. Katrina Resources (Pg 6)
6. Hate e-mails against NISN (Pg 7)
Although the U.S. House had passed the anti-immigrant H.R. 4437 -- the
"Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control
Act of 2005" by House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner,
Jr. (R-Wis.) and House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter T. King
(R-N.Y.) last December. It doesn't mean we lost our battle. While the
House vision of the Bill has passed, we still can mount a strong opposition
against the upcoming Senate version, which will be introduced and debated
sometime in February, 2006.
Now that we have finished the holiday season, we should gear up our fighting
spirit to build multi-ethnic community actions against the final passage
of the Senate bill early this year!
Suggest Community Actions
Call your U.S. Senate members, ask them not to support the bill.
Community dialogue/town hall meeting to educate the people the
facts behind the bill, and to build a community alliance to oppose it.
Grassroots campaign to push city resolution to against the bill
(For example, Los Angeles has done a great job pushing the city resolution.
Petition to the Los Angeles City Council
WHEREAS, on December 16, 2005 the House of Representatives passed Bill
H.R. 4437 introduced by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) which would allow
felony prosecution of anyone who resides in the United States without
authorization, or anyone who assists them, including, their spouses, relatives,
friends, churches, schools, hospitals, employers and community based organizations;
WHEREAS, in the last few weeks, anti-immigrant sentiments have resulted
in actions that generate fear and insecurity in our communities, such
as, the ordinance passed by the City of Costa Mesa, which authorizes the
police to act as Federal Agents for the purpose of implementing immigration
laws. This situation creates unsafe conditions for all Angelinos.
THEREFORE, the undersigned, request the Los Angeles City Council to:
1. Declare its opposition to H.R. 4437 and to request California Senators,
Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to oppose H.R. 4437 and to work for
comprehensive immigration reform that would lead to permanent residence
and citizenship; and
2. Reaffirm its support for Special Order 40, which prohibits questioning,
detaining or interrogating persons solely because of suspected undocumented
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Suite 104 Los Angeles, California 90048
First National Study of Day Laborers Exposes Abuse, Injuries
Center for the Study of Urban Poverty
January 23, 2006
They attend church, raise children and participate in community activities
and institutions. Yet, when America's day laborers go to work, they have
experiences that would shock any other upstanding community member: police
harassment, violence at the hands of employers, withheld wages and conditions
so dangerous that is not unusual for them to be sidelined for more than
a month with work-related injuries or to work for weeks on end in pain.
This is the vivid portrait painted by the first nationwide study of America's
117,600 day laborers. Orchestrated by social scientists from UCLA, the
University of Illinois at Chicago and New York's New School University,
"On the Corner: Day Labor in the United States" presents findings
from a survey of 264 hiring sites in 143 municipalities in 20 U.S. states
and the District of Columbia.
"The goal was to document a population that, though quite visible
on the corners of U.S. cities, is poorly understood by the public and
by policy makers," said Nik Theodore, an assistant professor in the
Urban Planning and Policy Program at the University of Illinois, Chicago,
and one of the study's three lead authors. "We hope to inform policy
debates so that decision-makers can devise thoughtful and effective strategies
for resolving many of the problems that day laborers face."
Three years in the making, the report includes the first-ever national
count of U.S. day laborers, little-known characteristics of these workers'
backgrounds and troubling aspects of their working conditions across five
U.S. regions: the West, Midwest, Southwest, South and East.
"Day labor has been thrust into the public consciousness, but we're
concerned that the debate has gone on without an understanding of what
gives rise to the phenomenon or what the many downsides are to work in
this field," said Abel Valenzuela, a UCLA social scientist and study
Among the findings:
- Once contained to ports-of-entry cities along the East and West coasts,
day labor is now a nationwide phenomenon, spilling into small and rural
towns throughout America, including the South and Midwest.
- Day labor may be widespread, but the total count of these workers
is actually onetenth to one-20th the size bandied about by anti-immigration
- Wage theft is the most common abuse suffered by day laborers, with
nearly half of all workers having been denied payment in the two months
prior to the survey.
- Just over three-quarters of day laborers are undocumented immigrants,
meaning that the share of American citizens working in day labor is
much higher than commonly supposed and that day laborers account for
only a small fraction of the estimated 7- to 11-million undocumented
immigrants in America today.
Valenzuela, Theodore and New School economist Edwin Meléndez directed
teams of surveyors during July and August 2004 as they interviewed 2,660
randomly selected day laborers at 264 hiring sites across the nation.
Interviewers asked about the workers' educational backgrounds, family
lives, occupational histories and experiences as day laborers, including
injuries sustained on the job and the nature and frequency of abuse at
the hands of employers, merchants, police and security guards.
Using statistical methods pioneered by researchers of another shifting
and hard-to-quantify American population -- the homeless -- Theodore,
Valenzuela and Meléndez were able to create a statistically valid
snapshot of day labor in America today, a portrait previously considered
too difficult to capture.
Many day laborers turned out to be family men. A significant number are
married (36 percent) or living with a partner (7 percent), and almost
two-thirds have children. Furthermore, many are engaged in community activities.
More than half regularly attend church, one-fifth are involved in sports
clubs and more than one-quarter participated in community worker centers.
Many (40 percent) have been in the United States for more than six years.
"These guys proved to be much more active and ensconced members
of their communities than commonly supposed," said Valenzuela, a
UCLA associate professor of urban planning and Chicana/o studies and director
of UCLA's Center for the Study of Urban Poverty.
The researchers say that the prevalence of abuse proved to be the most
defining characteristic of the market. In the two months leading up to
the survey, 44 percent of day laborers were denied food, water and breaks;
32 percent worked more hours than initially agreed to with the employer;
28 percent were insulted or threatened by the employer; and 27 percent
were abandoned at the worksite by an employer.
"Coming into the study, we knew that the low-wage market is rife
with violations of basic labor standards, but we still found the statistics
shocking and disturbing," said Theodore, who also is the director
of UIC's Center for Urban Economic Development.
Day laborers suffered violence at the hands of employers, fellow day
laborers and bands of youths who see easy marks in the workers who are
paid in cash for a day's work.
"I don't know of any other occupation so susceptible to so many
abuses," Valenzuela said.
Injuries were also common. In the year leading up to the study, 20 percent
of day laborers were injured on the job, and of those two-thirds missed
work as a result. In fact, accidents sidelined injured workers for an
average of 33 days and caused them to work in pain for an average of 20
days.More than half did not receive the medical care they needed for the
injury, either because the worker could not afford health care or the
employer refused to cover the worker under the company's workers' compensation
The Midwest displayed the highest rates of abuse in almost every category.
Also with the highest overall injury rate, the region's laborers were
the most likely to face physical risk. A whopping 92 percent said they
considered their work to be dangerous.
"The dangers and injuries in the Midwest may have to do with the
fact that roofing jobs are undertaken at significantly higher rates than
in the other regions," Theodore said.
Anti-immigration forces have portrayed illegal immigration as the driving
force behind day labor. But the researchers found a market fueled by a
growing zeal for home improvement and by employers under pressure to cut
wages and benefits. The report characterizes the market as "employer-driven"
with more than two-thirds of day laborers hired repeatedly by the same
employers, including contractors in the building and landscaping trades.
The researchers call for greater worker protections, better monitoring
of safety conditions and increased access to legal services to adjudicate
workers' rights violations.
"Many day laborers believe that avenues for enforcement of labor
and employment laws are effectively closed to them," Valenzuela said.
"This belief is reinforced by the general climate of hostility that
exists toward day laborers in many parts of the country."
The researchers also advocate support for strategies that can help day
laborers make the transition from the informal economy into better jobs
and what the report calls realistic immigration reform, including the
normalizing of the immigration status of undocumented workers.
"Employers are often able to deter workers from contesting labor
violations by threatening to turn them over to federal immigration authorities,"
Theodore said. "Even when employers do not make these threats overtly,
day laborers, mindful of their undocumented status, are reluctant to seek
recourse through government channels. We want to change that."
A complete copy of "On the Corner: Day Labor in the United States"
can be found in the Publications section of this website.
Download the Full Report: On
The Corner: Day Labor in the United States
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