“…it reminds everyone that the immigration debate is not about politics or statistics but about human beings, it is a way to remember to put people first,” said Reverend Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz.

Iowa CCI members joined a coalition of other folks at Congressman Latham’s office in Des Moines to fight for immigration reform every Tuesday, for 30 weeks in a row. Around the noon hour, you might have seen the dedicated group along Grand Ave. with signs like “Honk for immigration reform!” or “No human being is illegal.”

 

This past Tuesday, their 30th week of holding these vigils, they lined the street, holding those signs firmly, with unmatchable determination.

Click here for more photos!

They then filled Congressman Latham’s office to hold a vigil.

“The vigils are important for several reasons.  First of all, so that immigrants know that there are people who are on their side, standing with them, and caring for them.  It doesn’t matter if in any given week immigration is an important topic or not on the federal or state level – we do the vigils because for many people, immigration is their daily life…

… it is a way of reminding our elected officials that there are people who care about immigration,” said Reverend Alejandro. Congressman Latham’s staff remained in their personal offices and did not address the concerns presented.

30 weeks dedicated to remembering that the war on immigration’s toll is lives, families, and hope.

Maria Romero, CCI member, routinely attended the vigils. “This is important because families need to stay together. People left violent countries seeking a better life,” said Maria.

Congressman Latham is stepping down at the end of this year, but can still help move immigration reform forward – after all, he had a weekly lesson in how to do so.

Immigration policy is ultimately decided by those in politics. This policy drastically affects human lives. This is a human issue, far more than a political one. Human lives have much more value than political conflict – for political change, that must be realized.

Thank you to our members and those who stood in solidarity for immigration reform!

Agree? Tweet this story! Don’t forget to add: #nomasdeportaciones

CCI members and staff went to a Des Moines Target  to stand in solidarity with our friends at Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Luchas –
Center for Workers United in the Struggle (CTUL).
CTUL is an organizational ally located in Minneapolis.

CTUL has been organizing cleaning workers for some time now and they have a campaign targeted at Target.

Target in the Twin Cities, Des Moines, and other locations subcontract their cleaning services. Workers are paid poverty wages. Target has the power, as one of the largest companies in our country, to hold their subcontracted companies to a higher standard – they can demand they pay a living wage.

The Minnesota Department of Health recently published a report that links poverty wages to health disparities. The report shows that workers earning poverty wages are more susceptible to diseases such as diabetes and are more prone to stress and other ailments when compared to higher wage earners. These workers live on average 8 years less.

We delivered this letter to a Des Moines Target and requested information on who they contract with to clean their stores.

#EndPovertyWages

Fellow CCI member, activist, and friend, Constantino Morales, is still in deportation proceedings.

We need you to call U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials TODAY and ask them to stop Constantino’s deportation. Call Scott Baniecke, ICE Field Director at (952) 853-5900 and press option 9.

Thanks to you, ICE has received over 100 calls and Constantino is so grateful. Unfortunately, ICE denied our first request. But, we have sent a second request to ICE that has support from Polk Country Sheriff Bill McCarthy and Representative Bruce Hunter. Your continued action is crucial.

Here’s a little background on Constantino: Due to personal and safety circumstances in his hometown of Huehuetán, Mexico, Constantino applied for political asylum here in the U.S., but after a long process, his request was recently denied. He may be detained and deported at any time, which would put his life risk in Mexico.

Constantino is an active leader in his community. He fought alongside us in our campaign for immigration reform, and has inspired many to take action on issues affecting immigrants in Iowa.

ICE has the discretion to stop Constantino’s deportation. Will you call ICE TODAY and ask them to stop Constantino’s deportation?

Step 1: Dial Scott Baniecke, ICE Field Director at (952) 853-5900, and press option 9.

Step 2: Ask ICE to stop Constantino’s deportation:

“Hi, I am calling to ask ICE to exercise prosecutorial discretion in the case of Constantino Morales (A# 200 588 443). Constantino is a hardworking community leader who has stood up for workers’ and immigrants’ rights in Iowa, and he faces threat of violence if he is deported to Mexico. He deserves an opportunity to remain unharmed, and he is a low-priority case that should not be removed from the United States. Please stop Constantino’s deportation!

*Please note that some of the phone calls have been answered by those who attempt to shame Constantino’s name and direct you to another ICE office. If this happens, please do not be discouraged – express your support and ask Field Officer Director Baniecke to stop Constantino’s deportation. You are calling the correct field office.

Step 3: Reply to this email to let us know how your call went.

As lawmakers in Washington DC fail to fix our broken immigration system, good hard-working citizens like Constantino continue to suffer at their expense. In times like these, we must come together and stand up for justice.

Feel free to contact us with any questions.

 

Join the Fight!

On Wednesday, February 27th, CCI organizers hosted a Future of Work meeting; members were there to learn more about our worker justice campaign, vision what the future of work could look like for their communities, and learn how they can get involved to help make that a reality.

Workers discussed current working conditions in jobs that members of their communities often take (such as construction and restaurant work), and contrasted current conditions with what they believe can be accomplished — a vision of work that’s fair, just, and equitable.

Here’s how members described the current working conditions in their communities:

  • being paid in cash
  • receiving bounced checks
  • wage theft
  • being paid minimum wage or below minimum wage
  • long hours with little pay
  • abusive subcontracting, not knowing who my boss is
  • slavery/ slavery like conditions

Members went on to discuss ideal working conditions, and how they could work towards them:

  • employee benefits
  • a living wage
  • no discrimination
  • knowing who my boss is
  • overtime pay if applicable

Before the meeting adjourned, members took blank petition sheets to recruit members of their community to the Future of Work Campaign.

 

Join the Fight!

On February 27th, Reu, Juan, and Baldemar, construction workers in the Des Moines area, met their wage thief head on – a man named Nick from a construction company in Des Moines.

The workers were owed wages for a construction project they did at one of Nick’s projects.

Nick hired a contractor named Eugene Ullman who came up to Iowa from Mississippi for this job. Eugene then hired Reu, Juan and Baldemar in Iowa. A few weeks into the project Eugene left to Mississippi and said he’d be back…

The workers continued working on Nick’s house under the belief that Eugene would return. But after a week of working for no pay, the workers tried to contact Eugene — and he was completely missing in action.

During that week of work, the workers were being supervised by Nick. Because members were not able to contact Eugene, they went up the “supply chain” and held Nick accountable for the wage theft. The workers asked him for a meeting.

Nick agreed to meet with the workers.

Out of the meeting, the workers realized that Nick was misclassifying them; Nick argued that they were subcontractors and that he had nothing to do with it. However, the workers laid out a good argument making Nick accountable for the stolen wages.

After a lot of back and forth and disagreement from both sides, Nick agreed to pay the workers and wrote a check for them right there. They were each owed different amounts but in total they won back $1,806.50.

Join the Fight!

Iowa CCI’s worker rights program hosts worker clinics the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month.

Come to our worker clinics if you are experiencing:

  • wage theft,
  • discrimination at your workplace,
  • health and/or safety violations at work, or
  • other issues related to your rights in the workplace.

If you are experiencing any of the above, come to CCI’s worker clinics and learn what you can do to reclaim your rights. The worker clinics are held the SECOND and FOURTH Monday of every month starting at 5 p.m. at the Iowa CCI office – 2001 Forest Ave, Des Moines, IA.

Our upcoming worker clinics:

  • Wednesday, January 29th at 5:00 p.m.
  • Monday, February 10th at 5:00 p.m.
  • Monday, February 24th at 5:00 p.m.

 

Join the Fight!