Woodfin hotel workers fired in time for Christmas. Photo from EBASE
Today, December 18, was designated International Migrants Day by the United Nations in 2000. The UN General Assembly approved the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families on December 18, 1990 -- "shamefully" as AFL-CIO President John Sweeney remarked, most world governments, including the U.S., have yet to ratify this agreement to protect the rights of the estimated 195 million people around the world who have left their homelands in search of better lives.
Sweeney points out that "immigration reform" might well fail to protect migrants working in the United States.
Locally, immigrant workers need all the help they can get. Just 10 days before Christmas, the Woodfin Suites hotel in Emeryville, California terminated 21 immigrant workers who have been involved in a campaign to enforce the city's living wage law. Nationally, immigration officials picked up several thousand workers at Swift meat packing plants in raids marked by arbitrary brutality and racism.
It is great to see that Jayashri Srikantiah, the attorney who carried our "no fly list" lawsuit against the government is now the director of Stanford University Law School's Immigrant Rights Clinic. There students learn public interest law by doing actual asylum, domestic violence and deportation cases on behalf of immigrants, according to a recent New American Media report. Students filed a friend of the court brief that helped extend to thousands of immigrants a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that a past drug conviction was not automatic grounds for deportation.
This sounds like the same claims of secrecy and security we challenged in the no fly list lawsuit. It's great to read that Jayashri is extending the scale of legal efforts to curb arbitrary extensions of government power justified by scaremongering.