El Comité Responds to the United States Supreme Court Ruling on Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant SB 1070 Legislation

MEDIA ADVISORY

For Immediate Release: Thursday June 28, 2012

Contact: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social, 206.324.6044/253.347.4229.  info@elcomitewa.org

El Comité Responds to the United States Supreme Court Ruling on Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant SB 1070 Legislation

 

SEATTLE – El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria y Justicia Social views the United States Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s SB 1070 as a failure on part of our judicial branch to protect the basic rights of immigrants and people of color from harassment and racial profiling. On the morning of Monday, June 25th 2012, the Supreme Court passed down its ruling on the aforementioned, contentious bill. In a 5-3 decision the court ruled that three of the key provisions were unconstitutional, save for the provision that allows for police in Arizona to stop and ask documentation from people presumed to be in the United States without proper documentation.

In April of 2010, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070, sparking contentious debate as to whether states can enforce federal immigration law. The act of signing SB 1070 was perhaps one of the biggest threats to civil liberties in communities of color, setting a dangerous precedent that will reverberate nation-wide. Central to the debate is the provision that allows law enforcement to stop and detain people suspected of being undocumented. Although other provisions were struck down, the fact of the matter remains that in Arizona, police are still able to exercise discriminatory policing based on a person’s appearance.

In Maricopa County, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, was found to utilize excessive and discriminatory force against the Latino community, as reported by a United States Department of Justice investigation. As a whole, the social climate in the state that introduced SB 1070 is one that enables discrimination and hostility toward immigrants and people of color in general.

El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social reiterates the earlier point that in spite of the striking down of three provisions of SB 1070, perhaps the most controversial of these provisions, was left intact by the Supreme Court decision. Of concern with the decision, is the fact that various copycat laws have been passed since the introduction of SB 1070 in Arizona. As we have done over the course of the last twelve years, we will continue to work to ensure that all are given the opportunity to have a dignified existence, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, nationality or documented status.

EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE!

For more information, contact the following: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social, 206.324.6044/253.347.4229.  info@elcomitewa.org

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PRESS RELEASE: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social addresses rumors about action on May 1st.

MEDIA ADVISORY

For Immediate Release: Sunday April 29, 2012

Contact: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social, 206.650.2106info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #SeattleMayDayMarch2012

El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social addresses rumors about action on May 1st.

The May Day March and its participants wish to clarify any misinformation being circulated by fringe groups and officials within the Seattle Police Department.

 

SEATTLE – El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social wishes to reiterate and reaffirm that we in no way encourage the dissemination of any information that encourages our participants to engage in reckless, poorly thought out activities that place our participants and their families in any danger.  Contrary to reports that have been disseminated in the media, the vast majority of participants in May 1st activities do not have the intent of placing participants in danger. Our annual march is set with the intent of engaging the general population in bridging the barriers that divide our worker and social justice communities. True to the spirit of May Day, this march will make every effort to ensure that all are able to participate and connect with one another to progress a vision of community that seeks social justice for all, regardless of immigrant status, race, gender, nationality, ability, and sexual orientation.

On Tuesday, there will be two events; an Occupy Seattle sponsored program at Westlake during the day, and our annual march from St. Mary’s Church, in the evening. We are working with members of Occupy Seattle to make each of our events both safe and effective. Over the course of the last 12 years, we have encountered many challenges with threats of violence from right-wing extremists and white supremacists that have arisen from the work we do. Each and every year we and our allies have worked diligently to overcome such difficulties, to ensure that those who are on the economic and social margins have a space to voice their grievances in the midst of repeated attacks on our labor and immigrant communities. It is in unity that we find power, and it is in peaceful demonstration that we show our greatest strength. This march has, and always will be an event for the people. We will not take any threats of violence lightly and we will ensure that this event, like others past, is also a peaceful procession.

In closing, we ask any individual or entity to immediately cease any attempt to subvert and dismantle the work that we have undertaken for over 12 years. We welcome any and all who wish to work with us and offer support in solidarity. Likewise, we echo the long shore worker’s point which they emphasized in their struggle in Longview, that we as workers and community members are the only ones who can directly address the matters that afflict our communities. We respect the work that many other social justice organizations undertake. As such, we expect this same mutual respect in regard to our own internal workings and democratic structure. There is no need for petty tactics, misinformation, and infiltration of our events for the self-interest of narcissist, self-anointed “activists” who use intimidation and political terrorism to satiate their own egotistical needs. Let us all join as one to ensure we all coexist in a dignified way as workers, community members, students, as human beings.

EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE!

For more information, contact the following: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social, 206.650.2106.  info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #SeattleMayDayMarch2012

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El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social clarifies misinformation about events in Seattle for May 1st, 2012.

MEDIA ADVISORY

For Immediate Release: Sunday January 29, 2012

Contact: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social, 206.650.2106 or 206.850.0497, info@elcomitewa.org.

El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social clarifies misinformation about events in Seattle for May 1st, 2012.

Despite claims to the contrary, neither we nor any major  labor international have called for a general srtike on May 1st.

 

SEATTLE – El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social would like to clarify openly that contrary to the writings of fringe groups within Occupy Seattle, neither we, nor any any of the national leadership organizing May 1st actions throughout the U.S. has called for a general strike on May 1st 2012. There may be some groups calling for a general strike but they and their agents do not represent El Comité or are authorized to make any statements on our behalf and or misrepresent us in any capacity. We ask these participants to cease and desist immediately and respect our democratic organizational structure. As a community organization, we elect our board every year, including the spokespersons. Any claim that we support or call for actions, that are not made from our spokespersons, are completely false.

To be clear, we acknowledge the fact that these subgroups and fringe entities are not representative of Occupy Seattle as a whole and we do not intend to conflate their activities with Occupy Seattle’s work in vocalizing the excesses and abusive nature of our deregulated financial system that has led to mass unemployment, home foreclosures, economic speculation, attacks on workers’ right to organize, and left many of us mired in the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. As an organization that prides itself on being overtly pro-worker, especially with regard to many of our immigrant brothers and sisters who are socially and economically marginalized, we laud Occupy Seattle’s great work in helping bring these concerns into mainstream parlance.

We look forward to future collaboration with OS and welcome the energy they bring into this dialogue. However, given recent altercations between the OS fringe and long shore workers with regard to the December 12, 2011 “West Coast Port Shutdown,” we feel it necessary to, as the workers along the coast has already done, make it abundantly clear that no one speaks on our behalf but ourselves. And that we insist that any attempt to utilize our name without consent is in direct violation of our principles.

For more on the port action see the following links:

http://www.ilwu.org/?p=3296

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2016994886_occupyport12m.html

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2017000774_apwaoccupyportswashington5thldwritethru.html

As a community-based organization, we take our work very seriously as we directly experience the result of our organizational efforts. The program for the annual May 1st march, in existence since 2000, is the result of various open forums and immigrant worker assemblies organized by El Comité, which take place in Seattle, Tacoma, South MLK County, and other areas throughout the Puget Sound region. The theme of our March and organizational priorities for the entire year are decided in these community forums. In effect, it is our community that dictates what approach to take and what sequence of actions serve best as a whole. As of yet, there have not been any public meetings convened, and as such, we cannot claim to support, much less call for a general strike.


In closing, we wish to reiterate our point that we ask any individual or entity to immediately cease using our name and attempt to subvert and dismantle the work that we have undertaken for over 12 years. We welcome any and all who wish to work with us and offer support in solidarity. Likewise, we echo the long shore worker’s point that we as immigrant workers and community members are the only ones who can directly address the matters that afflict our communities. We respect the work that many other social justice organizations undertake. As such, we expect this same mutual respect in regard to our own internal workings and democratic structure. There is no need for petty tactics, misinformation, and infiltration of our communications infrastructure. Let us all join as one to ensure we all coexist in a dignified way as workers, community members, students, as human beings.

EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE!

For more information, contact the following: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social, 206.650.2106 or 206.850.0497, info@elcomitewa.org.

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Día Nacional de Acción contra la Industria Carcelaria Privada (Cárceles de “La Migra”).

Día Nacional de Acción contra la Industria Carcelaria Privada (Cárceles de “La Migra”).

El Grupo GEO y CCA son las dos más grandes corporaciones lucrativas que se benefician del encarcelamiento nuestra gente. Ellos son el poder y el cerebro detrás de las leyes anti-inmigrantes que están deteniendo a personas inofensivas en estados como Arizona, Georgia y Alabama.

Wells Fargo es accionista mayoritario en el Grupo GEO. Wells Fargo debería invertir en negocios que crean empleos, no en las empresas que toman dinero de nuestros impuestos para poner a gente vulnerable en las celdas de los centros de detención (cárceles).

El 24 de Enero, únase a las personas en diferentes ciudades de los EE.UU. Para decirle a Wells Fargo que saque las acciones de Geo Grup y CCA e inviertan en la humanidad.

Únete a nosotros Para una Manifestación.

Martes, 24 de enero de 4:00 a 6:00 PM

5245 Pacific Ave. Tacoma, WA 98408

Para más información: (253) 606 0350-Pepe

National Day of Action Against the Private Prison Industry.

The GEO Group and CCA the two largest are for-profit prison corporations profiting from imprisoning our communities. They are the power and brains behind the anti-immigrant laws that are incarcerating harmless people in states like Arizona, Georgia and Alabama. Wells Fargo is a major shareholder in The GEO Group.

Wells Fargo should invest in businesses that create jobs, not in businesses that take our tax dollars to put harmless people in cages.

On Jan 24th, join people in cities across the U.S. in telling Wells Fargo to dump the GEO Group and CCA prison stock and invest in humanity

Join Us For a Rally.

Tuesday, Jan 24th at 4:00 to 6:00 PM

5245 Pacific Ave Tacoma, WA 98408

For more info please contact: (253) 592 3139-Alma

SI SE PUDO! Presencia Latina en la Capital del Estado y Nuestro Poder Político

Art by Jake Prendez

Presencia Latina en la Capital Del Estado y Nuestro Poder Político

Por Maru Villalpando (publicado en http://maruvillalpando.wordpress.com)

7 de Marzo 2011El viernes 4 de marzo se dio lugar uno de los eventos que marcarán el futuro político de nuestra comunidad en la capital de nuestro estado, Olympia. Ese día la presencia Latina no sólo fue enorme en números, pero también en calidad. Desde que la sesión legislativa comenzó en enero de este año se definió como una batalla contra la comunidad inmigrante debido al número de propuestas presentadas que afectarían a nuestras comunidades sí éstas se convirtieran en ley; la comunidad respondió al llamado y comenzó su participación cívica inmediatamente.

Desde Buena, Topenish, Yakima, Tri-Cities, Mount Vernon, Bellingham, Shelton, Forks, Kent, Seattle, Tacoma, Auburn, Lynnwood, Wanatchee y muchas ciudades más la gente participó ya sea asistiendo a las audiencias públicas, recabando firmas, mandando correo electrónicos, llamando por teléfono, escribiendo cartas a mano o reuniéndose con sus legisladores para demostrar su oposición a las propuestas de eliminar o restringir las licencias de conducir para gente sin seguro social, la de consolidar en una todas las comisiones étnicas, la propuesta de eliminar servicios de intérpretes médicos, la de criminalizar a los jóvenes latinos por tener apariencia de pandilleros, la de que las agencias Worksource usaran la base de datos nacional E-verify para revisar el estatus migratorio de sus clientes, la de eliminar los programas de servicios médicos para los niños Apple Health for Kinds y Basic Health, entre otras.

En un sólo día la oficina de la Senadora Lisa Brown, líder de la mayoría del Senado, recibió más de 400 llamadas. En un período de menos de 24 horas las comunidades del Valle de Yakima y  Mount Vernon recabaron más de 300 firmas, y en total a través del estado se han entregado a los legisladores más de 10,000 firmas en contra de las propuestas de eliminar o restringir las licencias. Y como broche de oro el 4 de marzo los Latinos, cálculos van de 800 a más de 1000, no sólo se sentaron a escuchar a sus legisladores, también se lanzaron a reuniones con ellos, expresaron sus opiniones y llenaron la galería de la cámara de Representantes donde los Representantes Luis Moscoso y  Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney organizaron que todos los Representantes estatales dieran una bienvenida y reconocimiento a todos los presentes. Mientras esperaban cantaron en español, hicieron el aplauso del campesino, y gritaron en unísono ¡SI SE PUEDE!

Por supuesto siempre hay un pelo en la sopa, el discurso de la Gobernadora estuvo lleno de palabras bonitas pero no tenía contenido sobre las propuestas, y cuando fue entrevistada –y de muy buenas fuentes sabemos que su oficina le dio la vuelta a esta entrevista por mucho tiempo- después de su discurso, la reportera Martha Sanchez de Latino Norhtwest hizo la pregunta que todos se hacían, ¿por qué ha aceptado públicamente la Gobernadora firmar una ley que elimine las licencias? Su respuesta fue la misma que hemos escuchado desde diciembre pasado, no hay razón clara, solo piensa firmarla porque ella cree que hay un problema de fraudes de licencias, a pesar de que el Departamento de Licencias en noviembre hizo cambios drásticos al proceso de expedir licencias y hoy en día no sólo esta lista es más extensa, también hay un equipo que verifica cada documento presentado y después de ocho semanas se decide si se expide la licencia o no.

¿Será que ella ya no puede re-elegirse para gobernadora y siente que ya no tiene que quedar bien con nosotros los Latinos? Y el segundo pelo en la sopa fue la reunión del Representante Armstrong con gente de su distrito, del área de Wanatchee, en un salón donde nuestra gente también tuvo la oportunidad de hablar informalmente con Representantes que aceptaron la invitación previa.  La reunión con Armstrong había sido organizada con anticipación, así que no fue que él aceptara la invitación general que se envió a todos los legisladores a esta reunión informal, y por supuesto Armstrong siendo el auspiciador de la propuesta HB1577 que pretende que todos demuestren su ciudadanía para obtener una licencia de manejo y aquellos que no puedan se les daría una licencia que no sería válida como identificación, mostró su verdadero sentimiento por la comunidad Latina que él representa al entrar en un caluroso debate con la gente de su distrito quienes expresaban su oposición ante dicha propuesta. Cuando él empezó a perder el control una de la organizadoras del evento tuvo que intervenir y pedirle que reconociera que todos tenemos derecho a estar en desacuerdo y lo que ocurría en ese momento era muestra de cómo funciona nuestra democracia. La respuesta de Armstrong fue muestra de cómo él subestima a nuestra gente, a la gente de su distrito, su desconecte con la realidad Latina y su prepotencia, él respondió “tienes que educar a esta gente”.

¿Será que algunos Legisladores aun no creen que sí participamos cívicamente, que sí votamos y podemos influenciar los resultados electorales y políticos?, si es así viven en un mundo sin ventanas a la realidad porque el 4 de marzo fue la muestra tangible de que sí tenemos poder político, y apenas estamos empezando. Los años de esfuerzo de crear conciencia y educación cívica y política están dando resultado. Las colaboraciones entre activistas, medios de comunicación, organizaciones, agencias y líderes comunitarios y algunos políticos han funcionado, pero lo principal es que la gente del pueblo ha tomado la batuta y todos los demás son solo la herramienta para que el cambio comience.

Espero que la gente de comunidades no inmigrantes y de otras etnias noten que el haber permitido que se nos ataque por décadas a nosotros los inmigrantes, el haber permitido que se nos culpe de todos los males, que nos agarren de chivo expiatorio, el aceptar con su silencio las deportaciones masivas, a las redadas como la de Ellensburg este año, al avance en muchos estados de propuestas anti-inmigrantes y copias de la ley racista SB1070 de Arizona han llevado a que los ataques se eleven ahora al resto de la clase trabajadora. Wisconsin como ejemplo, donde el Gobernador Republicano, uno de varios a través del país, que pretenden desaparecer los sindicatos de empleados públicos usando como excusa la deuda estatal. Este es un ataque a toda la gente, sin importar su color, estatus migratorio o denominación religiosa. La única cosa que tenemos todos en común es que somos gente de clase trabajadora. Si nosotros los inmigrantes permitimos que este ataque avance, si nos quedamos callados como otros los han hecho con nosotros ¿cuál será el siguiente grupo que tendrá que salir a defenderse? Seamos la muestra de solidaridad y poder político. Apoyemos a todos los que están en lucha por mantener sus derechos más básicos de unión, representación y negociación por mejores condiciones de trabajo y vida.

Estoy orgullosa de haber tenido la oportunidad de estar a lado de la gente de Yakima, de Mt Vernon, de todas las ciudades,  aquellos que se lanzan a lo desconocido y luchan sin pedir nada. Mujeres, jóvenes, hombres de todas edades quienes tenemos algo en común: somos Latinos que estamos en solidaridad con todas las comunidades y estamos dispuestos a dar todo para mantener y aumentar nuestros derechos que nos hemos ganado a pulso con nuestro trabajo, de manera pacífica y honrada, por eso somos Latinos, por eso estamos aquí. Somos presencia y poder. ¡Adelante y hasta la victoria Latinas y Latinos!

Maru Villalpando es una asesora independiente para grupos comunitarios y organizaciones sin fines de lucro que pelean por los derechos de los inmigrantes y por justicia racial.

Asamblea Anual de los Trabajadores 2011/Annual Worker’s Assembly 2011

Immigrants and Allies Rally and March on February 25th, 2011

MEDIA ADVISORY

For Immediate Release: Saturday February 26, 2011

Contact: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition, 206.324.6044.

Immigrants and their Allies Rally at Westlake and March to the Downtown Seattle ICE Offices to Protest ICE Raids and Proposed Anti-Immigrant Legislation on Friday, February 25, 2011.

SEATTLE – El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition held a March and rally in Downtown Seattle, beginning at around 4 p.m. that drew an estimated 80 participants. Many braved 30 degree weather to protest the recent escalation of attacks against the immigrant communities in Washington, on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and anti-immigrant legislation proposed in Olympia.

The program began with a brief Rally at Westlake where participants slowly gathered and came in closer to the stage area. Speakers included spokespersons for local organizations such as The New Sanctuary Movement, Witness for Peace, and faith based organizations. Colette Cosner, Regional Coordinator for Witness for Peace read a brief excerpt from Washington State Senator, Adam Kline’s (D-Seattle) statement on contentious bill SB 5407, which would restrict undocumented residents from obtaining a drivers’ license.

“I oppose SB 5407 very strongly. Personally, I prefer a policy that recognizes reality; the immigrants have come here to work, and their labor is welcome because even in this deep recession there are jobs that native-born Americans don’t seek. These people keep our economy going.”

Sen. Kline’s statement illustrated the theme of the demonstration as participants then marched west-bound on Pine Street and south on 2nd Ave on way to the 1000 Building which houses offices for the both the Washington State Department of Licensing as well as an Immigration Court and offices for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency. A brief rally continued at the March’s destination.

According to Sandy Restrepo, Co-Chair for the May 1st Action Coalition, “these policies at the state and national levels are an all out assault on our youth. They bear the brunt of not being able to attain drivers’ licenses if they are undocumented and of having their parents taken away and having their families separated because some members of the family are documented and others may not be.”

Antonio Flores, Spokesperson for El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social, further noted, “our children are those who suffer most from these inhumane laws. They are at danger of losing their caretakers in their parents and have to cope with the psychological trauma of having agents come in and disappear family members at will.” He further stated, “I am indigenous. My family is indigenous. We are not strangers to these lands and we all have the human right to migrate to be able to provide for our families. My childrens’ suffering and all our childrens’ suffering is on you (ICE Officials)! Shame on you!”

As the demonstration wrapped up, speakers related these issues to others around the country, namely around resistance to budget cuts and to the labor issues transpiring in Wisconsin and other states in the Midwest. They ended the program with the chant, “we’ll be back, we’ll be back,” indicating that their concern is yet to be resolved.

As done the previous eleven years, organizers will continue to fight to secure the basic rights of all, regardless of place of origin.

For more information, contact the following: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition, 206.324.6044.

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