Salvador Lara’s story has been gaining attention throughout the state with several newspaper articles and hundreds of phone calls and letters on his behalf.  It has brought attention the dark side of President Obama’s immigration program “Secure Communities” and the need for the DREAM Act and humane immigration reform.

Two newspapers ran feature articles:

Times Republican: Support for Salvador: Friends back MHS grad facing deportation

Des Moines Register: Scores in Marshalltown back illegal immigrant who faces big price for a small crime

The Des Moines Register wrote a great staff editorial:

[box] People like Lara show need for reform

He came to U.S. as a child but now faces deportation

Salvador Lara was 14 when his sister brought him to Iowa from the streets of Mexico City.

He didn’t realize he was here illegally. Even children who do understand their immigration status likely don’t understand the implications for the future.

They attend school and play sports and earn money mowing lawns. They go about the business of childhood just like their peers. Then they grow up. And things get more complicated.

You need to prove your identity to move forward in life. Without proper documentation, like a Social Security card or birth certificate, you cannot get some jobs or a driver’s permit or financial aid for college. You realize you have to lie to build any kind of normal life. You tolerate being wronged by landlords or employers or neighbors because you don’t want to come to anyone’s attention.

Though you consider the United States your home, you are forced to live in the shadows as an adult. The fear of deportation always hangs over your head.

Salvador Lara, now 25, has lived in Marshalltown since coming to the U.S.. He is now in the Marshall County Jail facing deportation to Mexico.

His story, recently detailed on the front page of The Des Moines Register, is yet another example of the devastation caused by this country’s immigration laws and Congress’ refusal to enact reform.

Changing immigration law isn’t only about providing people a legal way to enter the United States and work. It’s not just about patrolling the border to catch those sneaking across. It’s about creating a path for people brought to this country illegally as children to gain legal status and remain.

Many Washington lawmakers say they sympathize with people like Lara. Unfortunately, they don’t support policies to help them. The U.S. government has, in some ways, made matters worse with initiatives like Secure Communities.

The program allows police to compare the fingerprints of people in local jails against a federal immigration database. Public support is widespread when people with extensive criminal records are nabbed.

But Lara wasn’t a felon. He didn’t have a lengthy record. Instead, he was charged with fifth-degree theft after he picked up and kept a money bag that he found in a parking lot.

He was fined $85. But he was snared by the Secure Communities program. Now he waits to join the nearly 170,000 other people in this country who have been deported since the program’s inception.

More than 150 people in Marshalltown have written letters or called immigration authorities on Lara’s behalf. His high school teachers remember him as a leader dedicated to learning English. He’s been a soccer coach and a caregiver for a dying family member and has worked in restaurants.

He said he refused to buy fake papers to help him get a job in a meatpacking plant because he didn’t want to steal anyone’s identity. “If you’re going to commit a crime to get a job, I’d rather not do it,” he said.

Being deported means he will have to leave his family and the country he knows best and go back to Mexico, where he says he doesn’t have family.

Lara is not a bad person. He is yet another example of why humane and sensible immigration reform is overdue.

– Des Moines Register Staff Editorial, March 2, 2012 [/box]

 

Pass these stories on to your friends and family! They are good examples of why we need human immigration reform, not unforgiving enforcement-only programs.

Salvador Lara came to the United States when he was 14 years old to live with his sister’s family in Marshalltown, Iowa, and has been an active member of his community ever since.

He was detained by ICE two weeks ago in Marshalltown, Iowa and is being held in Marshall County Jail. If Salvador was deported he would have no family and no community to go back to.

Last year the Obama Administration directed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to make deportations of young people who could qualify for the DREAM Act a low priority.

ICE Director John Morton needs to hear that Salvador Lara’s community and future is here in the United States and he should not be deported!

Salvador needs your help!

Join others in calling to John Morton, Director of ICE and tell him to follow Obama’s directive and not deport Salvador.

 

Iowa CCI supports the DREAM Act – a bill that would give immigrant students the opportunity to study and work in the United States. Salvador was an active leader of CCI’s Dream Team. He met with Senator Grassley and other legislators and engaged his peers to support the DREAM Act in 2010. Instead of deportation, young immigrants with full potential like Salvador should be able to further their education and use their skills to improve our communities. For more information on the DREAM Act, click here.

More about Salvador:

Salvador lives with his sister’s family in Marshalltown, Iowa and is an important part of his nieces and nephews’ lives. He went to Marshalltown High School and after graduation attended Marshalltown Community College until his family could not afford to send him to school anymore.

After leaving college Salvador continued to be an active member of the Marshalltown community. He volunteers his time to coach 6th through 8th grade soccer teams at the local school and also volunteered at the Marshalltown Public Library. He worked with Latina girls to form the first all-latina soccer team in Marshalltown by helping them raise money for uniforms and coach the team.

Your calls will make the difference!

Click here to make the call

 

Calls are faster and more effective, so please make a call. Once you’ve made the call please contact us by emailing Ruth Schultz at ruth @ iowacci.org so we can track how many calls we’ve generated.

 

If you would like to write a letter send it to:

Director John Morton

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

500 12th St., SW

Washington, D.C. 20536

 

Please spread far and wide with your friends on facebook, twitter, and through email!

You and I have a key opportunity to elevate our “People First” message in the media and with the political parties Jan. 3.

Since the national spotlight is on us, we are uniquely positioned to drive home – in a big way – a vision of good government that puts communities before corporations and people before profits.

That’s why we’re asking you to print out and take the resolutions below  to your caucuses and work to get them adopted into the party platform.  Our resolutions are woven together by a common theme – that government needs to work for everyday people and the 99%, not big money corporate interests and the 1%.

Step 1: Print out the resolutions

Step 2: Find your caucus location

All caucuses begin at 7 pm on Tuesday, Jan. 3. It is recommended you get there 20-30 minutes early. You must be registered as a Democrat or a Republican to participate in the party’s caucus, but don’t worry you can register or re-register at the door. Just in case bring your photo ID and a document, like a bill, that proves where you live. If you’ll be 18 by election day (11/6/12), you can participate!

Step 3: Attend and work to get your resolution introduced

Resolutions are general presented towards the end. Be prepared to read it aloud. If passed resolutions work their way up through both party platforms. It’s a great way to show party leaders that we’re fed up with business as usual from Washington DC, Wall Street and at our Iowa Statehouse.

Step 4: Let us know how it goes!

Contact us at 515-282-0484 or shoot us a line at iowacci @ iowacci.org to let us know your resolution passed and what precinct you are in. Also, don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions. 

 

Please click “Like” or “Tweet” below to encourage your friends to take these caucus resolutions to their caucus!

 

 

We received great press coverage of our direct action to reclaim $5,500 in unpaid wages owed by the owner of Margarita’s Bar & Grill in Des Moines.

Media coverage helps makes more people aware that wage theft happens in our communities and sends a strong those employers that they will be called out and held accountable.

See the coverage from WHO TV 13, ABC News 5 and the Des Moines Register below.

 

 

 

WHO TV 13 news – Restaurant Pay Protest (video)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABC 5 TV news – Protest over $5,550 in Unpaid Wages

by Jessica Daley     A former employee of Margaritas Sports Bar and Grill claims the owner owes her thousands of dollars in unpaid wages. Friday night she brought support to try and get him to pay up.

Thirty-five people chanted inside Margaritas waiting for the owner Ivan Escalona to show up.

The group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is supporting Angelica Sandoval, a former employee who says she’s owed $5500 in unpaid wages. The CCI said this is the fourth complaint they’ve received against Margaritas for employees not being paid for their work.  READ MORE

 

Des Moines Register – Demonstrators claim bar owner not paying up

A former worker alleges she is a victim of wage theft.

Written by Grant Rodgers   Demonstrators visited a southeast Des Moines bar and grill on Friday night, asking to meet with the owner and receive unpaid wages owed to a former employee.

The group of workers and volunteers with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, as well as demonstrators from Occupy Des Moines, claim that Ivan Escalona, owner of Margarita’s Bar and Grill, 1440 Maury St., owes Angelica Sandoval, a former bartender, $5,545 in wages. READ MORE

 

Click LIKE below to share this news article with your friends.

“It’s not only unacceptable, it’s illegal.”

 

On Friday, December 2, two dozen Iowa CCI members and supporters from Occupy Des Moines paid a visit to Margarita’s on Des Moines’ Southeast side. We were there to collect $5,545 in unpaid wages owner Ivan Escalona owes former bartender and CCI member Angelica Sandoval – the equivalent of seven month’s pay.

Sometimes Angelica’s paychecks would bounce. Other times Escalona would only pay for some hours and make up excuses to put off paying her the rest. She came to Iowa CCI after she heard that by working with CCI a former co-worker got Escalona to pay her over $2,500 in stolen wages.

This is the fourth complaint we have received about Margarita’s not paying their employees for their hard work.

Members and staff have spoken with Margarita’s owner on the phone and tried to set up multiple meetings for him to make the situation right. After tonight’s action Sandoval will file a wage claim with Iowa Workforce Development.

“I’m very happy because we made our point here. Now everybody will know what kind of business he is running,” said Sandoval. The action was picked up by Des Moines TV Channels 5 and 13 and the Des Moines Register.

Iowa CCI organizing has helped54 workers win back $122,014.90 in stolen wages in the past year and a half.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Fair Day’s Pay: The Movement to End Wage Theft

 

Iowa CCI’s wage theft organizing campaign gets a brief mention on page 20 of the Discount Foundation’s new report.

To date Iowa CCI’s organizing to stop wage theft has helped members reclaim $122,000 in stolen wages for 48 workers in central Iowa.

View the report here: http://www.discountfoundation.org/sites/all/files/Wage_Theft_Report_2011_Oct.pdf

From the Discount Foundation’s website:

Over the last decade, grassroots opposition to Wage Theft has grown dramatically across the country. Wage theft, the illegal underpayment of wages primarily affects the working poor. It is widespread and occurs in various forms and industries. It is estimated that millions of low wage workers annually are not paid at legally required overtime rates, at minimum wages or for total hours worked. In response workers’ rights organizations have engaged in increasingly sophisticated and successful campaigns to strengthen enforcement and make sure that monies due employees are repaid.

 

In a new report: “A Fair Day’s Pay: The Movement to End Wage Theft”, Nik Theodore, an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, examines over a dozen examples of organizations utilizing innovative tactics to combat this illegal practice. Commissioned by the Discount Foundation, the report reviews a variety of local, state and federal strategies driven by grantee organizations to address violations of employment laws.