Friday, December 22, 2006

Good news on the eve of Christmas

Woodfin Suites workers, Lori Hurlebaus photo

Several reports this morning of good news for immigrants and supporters of justice:
  • Near home, hotel employees at the Woodfin Suites who were threatened with termination for trying to get their employer to comply with the Emeryville living wage ordinance won a reprieve yesterday. Their supporters at EBASE write:

    An Alameda County Superior Court Judge granted the workers' request for a temporary restraining order to prevent the Woodfin from going through their with plans to fire suspended workers on December 29. The injunction requires that the hotel either bring the workers back to work, or continue their paid administrative leave. The injunction is effective until January 23rd, 2007.

    The hotel claimed it was simply complying with federal law in making multiple requests for workers to provide identity documents. More on past iterations of this struggle here. and here.
  • Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, incoming Democratic Governor Deval Patrick says he is going to cancel an agreement that his predecessor Republican Mitt Romney made with the Feds to use state troopers for immigration enforcement. Romney wanted a gesture to ride fear of immigrants toward a presidential bid. Patrick's spokesperson said:

    "He believes troopers' time would be better spent working with local law enforcement officials on issues like firearm trafficking, drug use, and gang violence."

    That's not just spin. Local cops with any professionalism seldom want to get involved in immigration crackdowns; jumping in with the Feds leads to fearful communities that won't talk with the police. It also creates too many opportunities for some individual officers to practice bigotry and extortion from vulnerable residents.
  • Across the political spectrum, lawmakers are figuring out that "war on terror" regulations are breaking the asylum process for otherwise eligible applicants. Somehow the definition of "past support for terrorism" has come to mean excluding persons who paid ransoms to rescue kidnapped relatives or did the bidding of gunmen threatening their lives. The United States has an obligation under international conventions to provide a fair process for determining whether asylum seekers really face danger; post 9/11 paranoia is making a mockery of this requirement.
Let's wish indeed for a peaceful Christmas for the planet's migrants, estimated at 191 million people worldwide.

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