Chicana Artist Sandy Rodriguez in Conversation with Mary Jo Dudley
Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 12:00pm to 1:15pm
Chicana artist Sandy Rodriguez’s Codex Rodriguez Mondragón (2017—) records the ecological and political crises of our time by engaging contemporary realities of BIPOC and migrant peoples. Several of her maps and illustrations mark, record, & illuminate the farmworker communities of the U.S. and Mexico border regions. Sandy now comes to New York State to share and learn with Cornell Farmworker Program Director Mary Jo Dudley, who will offer: the role of building partnerships with farmworkers through collaborative research, videos on farmworker-identified critical topics, and maps of the region. They will discuss contributions and challenges among farmers in New York State.
Dial-In Information Join at the meeting time:
CROSSING BORDERS: New Book Shifts Focus From Fear to Restoring Immigrant Dignity
Wednesday, April 27, 2022, 1pm EDT REGISTER NOW
Over the last decade, record numbers of displaced people have been caught in the middle of an intensifying tug-of-war between Western liberal democracies and Eastern autocrats. With little chance of returning to their homes in Syria or Central America, these people crossed borders to seek political, religious, or economic freedom. Yet the plight of refugees was often weaponized and exploited for political gain.
Join author Ali Noorani, CEO of the National Immigration Forum, for a virtual discussion about his newest book, “Crossing Borders: The Reconciliation of a Nation of Immigrants,” with Cornell immigration law expert Stephen Yale-Loehr and Wall Street Journal reporter Michelle Hackman. Based on interviews in Honduras, Mexico, Eastern Europe, and communities across the U.S., Mr. Noorani’s book presents the complexities of migration through the stories of families fleeing violence and poverty, the government and nongovernmental organizations helping or hindering their progress, and the American communities receiving them. Going beyond highly charged partisan debates, our panel offers real insights and actionable strategies for restoring the dignity of both immigrants and the United States itself.
End immigrant detention in NY
Thursday, April 28 @ 7pm | Please register now! (Zoom)
It’s time for communities in Upstate NY to mobilize support for the Dignity Not Detention Act!
At this gathering we will hear directly from immigrant rights organizers in New York City and Tompkins County. You will learn the most up-to-date information about the campaign to get the Dignity Not Detention Act passed in the NYS legislature. You will connect with activists from across the state. We will develop strategies together to expand support for the act.
To register click here: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwoc-ihrjgpE9G7FDjt9PQ-BieuItcLEbQ9
On any given night, hundreds of New Yorkers are detained by ICE in jails and prisons across the state. They are subjected to inhumane conditions and separated from their families and communities. Several counties in New York profit from immigration detention and ICE is actively seeking to expand detention in New York.
The New York Dignity Not Detention Act (S7373 Salazar /A7099A Reyes) gets New York out of the business of immigration detention. When immigrants and communities can live in dignity and freedom, we’ll create a more welcoming state for all who call New York home.
Co-sponsored by: Transforming Justice and Organizing Abolition Work Group, Tompkins County SURJ; TC Immigrant Rights Coalition; TC Workers' Center; SURJ NYC; Abolish ICE NY-NJ; Coordinating Circle, Dryden Groton Plus - Human Dignity Coalition. Image: https://www.nysylc.org/ For info: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Several politically powerful unions announced support of “Coverage for All” legislation to insure low-income New Yorkers without visas, green cards or citizenship.
Source: City & State New York By REBECCA C. LEWIS
Continuing a trend of weighing in on budget proposals that are not strictly labor-related, several politically powerful unions have sent a letter to state leaders in support of legislation that would expand state-funded health care to undocumented New Yorkers. Legislative leaders included the proposal – called “Coverage for All” by proponents – in their nonbinding budget resolutions, but Gov. Kathy Hochul has not said whether she supports the measure.
Influential unions including the health care workers’ union 1199SEIU, building service workers’ union 32BJ, the New York State Nurses Association, public employee union District Council 37 and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union have all signed onto the letter addressed to Hochul, state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “As we saw during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, immigrants, those with and without status, died at a higher rate than other marginalized and vulnerable communities,” reads the letter shared exclusively with City & State. “Our state's recovery must include all who call New York home.”
Right now, the state offers health care to low-income New Yorkers who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford private plans on the insurance marketplace. But the Essential Plan does not cover undocumented people, who also can’t qualify for Medicaid due to its federal funding, leaving a pool of uninsured New Yorkers estimated to number around 46,000. The legislation proposed in the two chambers’ one-house budget resolutions would remove the visa or green card requirement for noncitizens currently in place to access the state-funded health care.
Although the letter was sent to all three state leaders, Hochul is the main target. “With the Legislature making it clear that Coverage for All is a priority, we urge Governor Hochul to show that these pandemic heroes are truly appreciated by providing them the opportunity to stay healthy, strong and safe,” Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said in a statement. In a statement sent to City & State earlier this month, Hochul spokesperson Avi Small said the governor is “committed to supporting New York’s immigrant communities and will review the legislation if it passes both houses.” In response to the new union support for inclusion in the budget, Small said Hochul looks forward to “continuing to work with the legislature to finalize a budget that serves all New Yorkers"
Although labor unions always lobby strongly during budget negotiations, they have been notably vocal this year on issues that don’t directly pertain to specific member interests. In February, many of the same unions announced their support for the Clean Slate Act, which would seal New Yorkers’ felony records after a certain amount of time without additional convictions. Earlier this month, a similar group backed legislation referred to as “good cause eviction” that would give renters additional protections by placing limits on when a landlord can evict a tenant.
Although union support does not guarantee “Coverage for All” or any other proposal will make it into the budget – “good cause,” for example, will almost certainly not make it in – their backing brings with it resources that small grassroots organizations don’t have at their disposal. The welcome boost will at the very least make sure that the issues are on the radar of state leaders as lobbying continues in Albany.
Source: CNN, By Priscilla Alvarez
Posted by the Tompkins County Workers' Center
CNN)The Biden administration will soon release a federal regulation that overhauls the US asylum system to settle claims at a faster pace and help alleviate the immigration court backlog.
The new rule gives asylum officers more authority by allowing them to hear and decide asylum claims — cases that are usually assigned to immigration judges — when migrants present at the US southern border. The regulation applies to migrants who are subject to expedited removal. Unaccompanied children are exempt.
Administration officials have been alluding to the change in processing asylum claims for months. It comes as the administration is under mounting pressure from Democratic lawmakers and immigrant advocates to overhaul the US immigration system and amid concerns about a potential migrant surge.
By shifting the adjudication of claims from immigration judges to asylum officers, officials hope cases will be completed in months, not years. There are 1.7 million cases pending in immigration court, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which tracks immigration court data.
“It will help reduce the burden on our immigration courts, protect the rights of those fleeing persecution and violence, and enable immigration judges to issue removal orders when appropriate,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland in a statement.
Border authorities have been leaning on a public health authority, known as Title 42, to turn back migrants arrested at the US-Mexico border, barring some exceptions.
Those who aren’t subject to the authority and are seeking asylum are then screened by asylum officers. If they pass the credible fear screening, their cases progress through the immigration court system.
The new regulation could alleviate the backlog by allowing asylum officers to adjudicate claims, instead of immigration judges who are facing thousands of cases already. US Citizenship and Immigration Services — an agency under the Department of Homeland Security — oversees asylum processing.
“It is an effort to deliver greater efficiency to the asylum process, while not compromising the due process that claimants have before them,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told reporters last week, adding that implementation will be phased in, given resource constraints.
The USCIS portion of the process, which includes the credible fear determination and a decision on the asylum claim, is still expected to take up to 90 days. The asylum seeker may be in detention or released depending on individual circumstances, officials told reporters Wednesday.
If a case is denied, the individual may request review by an immigration judge under a streamlined process. The immigration judge is expected to issue a decision roughly 90 days after the proceedings begin, though continuances may also be requested, the officials added.
The administration submitted the proposed version of the regulation last August and received more than 5,000 public comments. The final rule, which officials previewed Wednesday, will publish in the Federal Register in the “coming days” and likely take effect in the summer.
The administration is still assessing who the rule will apply to and where it will be implemented, officials said, emphasizing that the rollout will start small. One of the challenges officials are likely to face is lack of sufficient resources given strained capacity at USCIS.
Officials told reporters they’re bolstering staff to implement the rule when it takes effect but declined to say how many additional resources will be required.
“Based on case volumes and capacity for both the existing workload and the new work resulting from this rule, USCIS has increased and plans to further increase the staffing and infrastructure to handle the full volume of work contemplated under the rule,” the USCIS official said.
USCIS had previously estimated that it needed to hire around 800 new employees and spend about $180 million to implement the process for roughly 75,000 cases annually, according to text of the proposed regulation.
Thursday’s announcement is the latest in a series of efforts to get through immigration cases. Last year, the Biden administration introduced plans to speed up court cases for recently arrived migrant families who are seeking asylum in select cities. President Joe Biden cited that effort in his State of the Union address earlier this month.
“We’re putting in place dedicated immigration judges in a significant large number so families fleeing persecution and violence can have their cases heard faster and those who don’t legitimately hear can be sent back,” Biden said.
Two Workers Tragically Killed at the Dairy Farm They Worked on Outside of Brockport
Source: The Daily News by SCOTT DESMIT
Posted by Midstate Council for Occupational Safety and Health
Fundraisers have been established for two men who were stabbed to death at the dairy farm where they worked in Alexander. Ivan Morales, 30, and Marcelino Gomez Hernandez, no age available, were found dead in a bunkhouse at Blumer Dairy Farm on Route 98 Friday night.
Family and friends of the two men have set up GoFundMe accounts and will be collecting money at a Latin music night at the Brockport Elks Lodge on Saturday. Morales is from Comalapa, Chiapas, Mexico and collections are being taken to send his body home for burial.
The stabbing happened late Friday night.
Prince N.K. Wilson, 23, of Albion and Raul S. Cruz, 18, of Warsaw and formerly of Albion were arrested and charged with second-degree murder. Genesee County sheriff’s investigators have released few details in the case and have not released the names of the victims. District Attorney Kevin Finnell said the case is a difficult one, with multiple police agencies involved.
To make a donation to the victims, go to gofundme and search “Help Marcelino RIP” and “Help Ivan’s Family in Mexico.”
Ivan's Family's GoFundMe: bit.ly/3tI735G
Marcelino's Family's GoFundMe: https://bit.ly/3uPK8Vt
GoFundMe to support Somkiat Wandee
The most tangible way we can show our support for immigrant rights here in Ithaca is supporting the individuals who are targeted. Will you contribute today to help our friend in need?
Our friend Somkiat Wandee was arrested by I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on Jan. 9th in Ithaca, NY, on the charge of overstaying his visa. He was released on bond ($7,500) on Feb. 6 from the Batavia Federal Detention Center.
Upon his release, Somkiat stated, “I was so lost when I got into the detention center; I didn’t know what to do. Now I am rejoiced to be released, with the support I have received. I’m grateful for the support of TCIRC (Tompkins Co. Immigrant Rights Coalition). I feel warm now to know that there is a group of people caring for immigrants like me. Thank you.”
Now he needs our support for legal fees for the asylum application process, which runs around $6000.
It would be safer for Somkiat to remain in the United States than to return to his home country. He has been in Ithaca for eight years, and built a life here with friends. He also hopes that with your support and the lawyer’s help, he can be receive a temporary working permit so he can subsist during the time of his legal process.
Please donate however much you can, big or small; anything helps!
Somkiat (Art) Wandee, the head chef of the popular Ithaca restaurant Taste of Thai, was released on bond ($7,500) today from the Batavia Federal Detention Center, where he has been held since his January 9, 2018 arrest by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on the charge of overstaying his visa.
Upon his release, Art stated, “I was so lost when I got into the detention center; I didn’t know what to do. Now I am rejoiced to be released, with the support I have received. I’m grateful for the support of TCIRC. I feel warm now to know that there is a group of people caring for immigrants like me. Thank you.”
The active community member and respected chef was one of three people in Ithaca to be arrested by ICE last month. An eyewitness to Art’s arrest stated that he was arrested at the restaurant where he has worked for many years by undercover agents posing as Ithaca police.
Wandee’s coworkers and friends attended his bond hearing to support the Ithaca man, describing him as an integral part of the restaurant, and as a generous friend and community member.
Navjot Kaur, who works at Taste of Thai, has known Wandee since she was 19, when Kaur was a student at TC3 and later at Cornell University. Kaur describes Wandee as "incredibly hardworking, reliable, and humble... he is the person that everyone relies upon...[he] would treat the kitchen staff and servers like family. Even though he was the chef who cooked the food, he asked the kitchen staff to go together to receive the praise...We miss him and we hope to see him again soon."
Thanomsinn Lislevatn, a chef at Taste of Thai for twelve years, recalls getting to know Wandee over meals at home. Lislevatn and Wandee also cooked free meals for the Buddhist Temple in Binghamton, where Wandee often volunteered. "He is very respectful to elderly people like myself," says Lislevatn. "He takes care of chores around my house, planting the garden, watering plants, fixing the garden hose...he has a big heart...he is like family.”
Kade Williams-Verona, another co-worker, added, “Art's court date in Batavia was a triumphant day to witness, not only on a personal level, but on a community level. It was encouraging to see his reaction to our show of support.”
Tristan Kiel Ross, born and raised in Ithaca, praised the work ethic of immigrants he has known: "Workers such as Art (Somkiat Wandee) and the restaurants they operate help to keep money in the community. I speak as a local who has happily worked alongside him and many other hardworking and good-hearted immigrants and felt the real positive impacts of their presence.”
Patricia Rodriguez, associate professor of politics at Ithaca College and a member of the TCIRC steering committee, commented on the support that Somkiat has received from those who know him well: "It has been powerful to see Somkiat’s friends and co-workers rally behind him, and be at the hearing. The Tompkins County Immigrant Rights Coalition is working to support Somkiat and other members of the community who have been detained by ICE. As we learn more about his case, we realize that the arrest follows a pattern nationally where immigration officials allegedly disguise themselves as local law enforcement and uproot hardworking immigrants’ lives in unimaginable ways. This is not acceptable, and the criminalization of people of color should be questioned and resisted at every step of the way."
Shortly after Wandee's hearing on Tuesday, a rally was held at the Bernie Milton Pavilion on the Commons to protest ICE's presence in the city, and to show solidarity for immigrant and racialized communities who are particularly vulnerable under immigration and customs enforcement.
The Tompkins Country Immigrant Rights Coalition is a group of people from diverse backgrounds and multiple affiliations who work together on behalf of immigrant rights and comprehensive immigration reform.
Contact: Tompkins County Immigrant Rights Coalition (TCIRC)
Beth Harris: email@example.com
Patricia Rodriguez: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Beth Harris and Patricia Rodriguez from the steering committee of the Tompkins County Immigrant Rights Coalition (TCIRC) talk about a range of immigration related issues. A "Rapid Response Training" will take place on January 28th from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Unitarian Church on Buffalo Street. In Tompkins County people can call the following hotline number in case of emergency (for example if an ICE raid is in progress): 607-358-5119. It is the hotline number for the Rapid Response Network. In Ithaca, during January 2018 three people have been arrested at work by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Nationally, president Trump has rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which is scheduled to be discontinued in early March, meaning young people who are currently documented with temporary authorization to stay and work in the U.S. will because of government action become undocumented. Similarly, tens of thousands of people who had Temporary Protected Status (TPS) have been targeted to lose their status. The federal government officially claims to be detaining and deporting "criminals" but does not report what the nature of the crime was. Often it is merely unauthorized presence, which in the past was treated as an administrative infraction. Unlawful entry falls under civil law, not criminal law, which is also the reason why undocumented immigrants are not able to get free court appointed lawyers. Another problem has been that people, who had received work authorization under the Obama administration because their case has not yet been decided and it may be years before it proceeds through the courts, are now finding it difficult to renew their work permits. Backlogs mean that renewals now take six months, which makes it difficult for people to continue working or to get a new job. Beth Harris talks about her visit to Austin, Texas and northern Mexico, where she met with activists from "Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera" (ATCF) and the "Comite Fronterizo de Obreras." They try to address labor violations, including violence at the workplace, in the maquiladoras in northern Mexico. Beth also recently attended a state-wide meeting with the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC). The coalition is working on three main issues: 1) the Green Light New York Campaign to make it possible for undocumented New Yorkers to get drivers licenses; 2) getting funds for people's legal defense; 3) expand literacy programs such as English as a Second Language (ESL)."