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  Public Employee Press

PEP Feb 2004
Table of Contents
  La Voz

Public Employee Press

Immigrant rights workshops Feb.21

DC 37 members are invited to a day of workshops and discussion of immigration rights issues on Saturday, Feb. 21. “Immigrant Communities in Action: A Day of Dialogue,” is an effort to build on the success of the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride and the huge rally held last October in Flushing Meadows Park.

Topics will include legalization, access to public services for immigrants and non-English speakers, workplace protections for all workers regardless of immigration status, health care for low-wage workers, building power in immigrant communities, and the Patriot Act.

The New York Civic Participation Project, a coalition of labor and community groups that includes DC 37, is coordinating “Day of Dialogue.” It will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at SEIU Local 32BJ, 101 Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Ave.), one block north of Canal Street in Manhattan. After the workshops, participants will have an opportunity to socialize and dance. If you would like to attend, please call 212-388-3208 (English) or 212-388-3209 (Spanish).

Follow-up to Freedom Ride, Oct. 4 rally
The event will bring together unions, community organizations, religious groups, activists and members of new immigrant communities to consider neighborhood and citywide campaigns for immigrant and worker rights.

The day will provide an opportunity for immigrant workers and others to speak out on issues that affect them in their neighborhoods, the city and nationally. The aim is to develop strategies for dealing with the problems and build a broad collective voice for immigrant rights.

On Oct. 4, over 100,000 immigrants and our labor, community, religious allies rallied as part of the national mobilization for the Immigrant Worker Freedom Ride.

The rally had broad demands: a path to legalization for the over 10 million undocumented people, family reunification, equal rights for all workers regardless of immigration status, and civil liberties for all immigrants.

The Freedom Ride mobilization in New York City also pressed with some success for a local immigrant rights agenda. On Sept. 17, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg issued Executive Order 41 that bars municipal workers — especially the police — from asking individuals to disclose their immigration status and other personal information. And on Dec. 15, the City Council passed Intro. 38, the “Equal Access for Human Services Act,” that requires the city to provide interpretation and translation services to non-English speakers applying for public assistance. These victories were achieved through coalition efforts by unions, advocates, community and religious organizations.

President Bush responded to the pressure for immigration reform Jan. 6 with a policy pronouncement that put the issue back on the national agenda but failed to offer many immigrants a way to earn citizenship.

Bush plan: false promise
The Bush plan would give some legal status to undocumented immigrants, but it “deepens the potential for abuse and exploitation of these workers, while it undermines wages and labor protections for all workers,” said AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney.

“The president’s program would create a generation of second-class citizens, baited to work for America with the false promise of ever being able to enjoy the benefits of citizenship,” said Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas), chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.


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