In Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s world, if you are an immigrant detainee, you should be marching in chains to segregated “Tent Cities” in the Arizona desert, surrounded by electric fencing. Well, together with the House Judiciary Committee and a wide range of civil and human rights organizations, we’re shouting, “Not so fast!” Thousands of protesters will convene in Phoenix at the end of the week to rally for justice, and we are only 2,000 signatures away from 10,000 on our petition to the Department of Justice.
“The raid yesterday in Washington stands in stark contrast to the President’s vision for common sense immigration policies that target the truly bad actors, keep American families together, and put hard-working undocumented workers on a path to becoming full Americans. Immigration raids targeting non-criminal, undocumented workers will not fix our broken immigration system and they will not make our country safer. “While President Obama has articulated a commitment to moving forward on real, comprehensive immigration reform, his immigration enforcement agency is continuing the same failed strategies of the past.
Even as President Obama delivered his first up-beat address to the nation, the Seattle Times was reporting the first workplace immigration raid under the new administration. It happened in Bellingham, Washington, last night, and served as a sad wake up call to immigrant communities. While we came to expect these failed tactics from the Bush Administration, we do not expect an Administration that campaigned-and won the lion’s share of the Latino vote-on a platform of Hope and Change to continue them.
It’s been a good while now since we announced that the confirmation of Hilda Solis (D-CA) as Secretary of Labor had been postponed. We reported on how the administration had to appoint an interim secretary because the pro-worker, Latina representative’s confirmation was being blocked by partisan bickering. Well, today America’s Voice happily applauds the confirmation of Representative Hilda Solis, a strong advocate for all workers and a champion of comprehensive immigration reform, as Secretary of the U.S. Labor Department.
“America’s Voice welcomes Secretary Solis’ confirmation to lead the U.S. Department of Labor. She is a strong advocate for the rights of all workers and a strong supporter of comprehensive immigration reform. “Secretary Solis understands how our dysfunctional immigration system leads to worker exploitation. When millions of undocumented workers are without the protection of the law, it encourages unscrupulous employers to undercut the wages and working conditions of all workers.
Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the nomination of John Morton to head the Department’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. The Department also announced the appointment of Esther Olavarria as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy for the Department. Both positions will play key roles in shifting enforcement priorities towards the really bad actors and enacting the President’s vision for comprehensive immigration reform.
Misplaced priorities don’t come cheap. “The country is filling the federal courts and prisons with nonviolent offenders. It is diverting immense law-enforcement resources from pursuing serious criminals � violent thugs, financial scammers � to an immense, self-defeating campaign to hunt down … workers.” This, even as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency’s budget spiked to $218 million last year (up from $9 million in 2003).