CCI Organizer Bridget Fagan and members Jeannette Bauer, John Blasingame, and Phyllis Burget traveled to Washington, D.C. for a Center for Community Change forum on expanding Social Security.

While in D.C., they took time to visit Fast for Families to show support for fair, humane immigration reform and a path to citizenship by visiting Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship.

As part of the Fast for Families campaign, leaders and immigrant members of the community fast every day and night, abstaining from all food—except water—to move the hearts and minds of members of Congress to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

Here’s what CCI organizer Bridget had to say about the experience:

I wanted to tell you all about our experience tonight. We joined in solidarity with the fasters fighting for immigration reform, and visited their tent on the capitol grounds where fasters, activists, and supporters gathered.

The tent is pretty large and in charge, heated and decorated from head to toe with pictures, posters, quilts, and more – all remnants that depict families’ fight for fair, humane immigration reform.

Every night there is a ritual at 6pm – guests come, all the fasters come out and sit in the front row of rows of seats, and they have a service where they pray, invite guests to speak, and sing. Each person who is leaving the fast says a few words, and then each new person joining the fast comes forward and receives a cross.

There were anywhere from 70-100 people joining the fasters tonight. It was amazing and powerful.

It is very apparent they have strong support. Labor allies were there, National People’s Action was there, faith leaders were there – and more. Peter and Paul (from Peter, Paul and Mary) were even there.

You can tell the fasters are tired and weak. Rudy Lopez, a longtime CCI friend is still fasting. He was  clearly was touched by the support and love the fasters received tonight.

This is truly something I’m going to take with me for a long time – and I believe our members will too. It’s energy for the fair immigration fight ahead of us.

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As the federal government shutdown continues, everyday Iowans already affected by wage theft now bear the added burden of not having access to help on their wage claims handled by Iowa Workforce Development.

This month, CCI members with pending wage claims for thousands of dollars from unscrupulous employers, were left high and dry as IWD employees working on their cases were furloughed until further notice.

“I have been waiting for so long to recover my wages. This affects me, my family and hundreds of other workers,” said Heron Ortiz, a CCI member from Des Moines who is owed over $1,500 in unpaid wages. “The system already takes a very long time, and now my case is paralyzed,” he said. “It’s not fair to have to wait for Congress all the way there in Washington DC, so that I can recover the wages I already earned here in Iowa.”

Iowa Workforce Development handles cases of wage theft and misclassification (also known as payroll fraud) which cost an estimated $600 million annually to working Iowans, and $60 million in state revenues, according to a report by the Iowa Policy Project released in 2012.

Iowans across the state rely on this state agency to address many workforce related issues, including unpaid wages, occupational health and safety standards, labor certifications and career services. IWD only employs one full-time and one part-time wage claim investigators for the entire state of Iowa.

CCI members are also having trouble reporting wage and hour violations to the regional office of the Department of Labor. The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is in charge of enforcing basic labor laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act, minimum wage laws and the Family Medical Leave Act.

“The people that caused this shutdown need to fix it. We need to recover our hard-earned money to put food on the table,” Ortiz said. CCI members in Central Iowa call on Congressman Tom Latham, who voted for the government shutdown, to consider the pressing needs of constituents and work to end the shutdown.

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On Saturday, September 21st, 20 everyday Iowans delivered a message to the Humboldt Police Department: our community won’t stand for racial profiling.

The 20 people present delivered a letter at the Humboldt Police Station requesting a meeting with the Humboldt Chief of Police (who is also the Sheriff). The action was in response to a number of complaints from Humboldt community members stating that a cop has been racially profiling members of the Latino community.

According to the complaints, the cop had been pulling Latinos over (despite no traffic violation) just to ask for their licenses. The cop has pulled people over on bikes, in cars, and sometimes just drives around the predominantly Latino neighborhood in Humboldt – causing many to feel threatened and intimidated in their own homes.

Following the action, the Chief of Police/ Sheriff reached out to schedule a meeting regarding the issue.

On Wednesday, October 9th, CCI and community members hosted a packed meeting with the Chief of Police/ Sheriff, the City Adminstrator, and other officials. Over 40 community members showed up to share their experiences being profiled by the officer.

Community members demanded that the Sheriff work with the community to end the officer’s racial profiling.

Though the sheriff didn’t view the stops as racially motivated, he agreed to work with the community to solve the problem. The sheriff went on to say, “I don’t have anything against the Latino community. I know you all come here to work hard – and we appreciate it.”

Stay tuned for further updates.

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Just two days ago, House Democrats introduced House Resolution 15, a bipartisan bill on comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) similar to the Senate version of CIR – but without extreme border militarization.

At the heart of H.R. 15 is a pathway to citizenship for 11 million hopeful Americans.

So far, there are 120 co-sponsors of the new House immigration bill – but none of them are from Iowa!

Everyday Iowans like you, in communities across our state, have worked tirelessly to push for fair immigration reform with a path to citizenship for all 11 million aspiring citizens.

CCI members will join national mobilizations across the country that start tomorrow, so we can’t give up now. With a bill in the House, we just won’t stop at this crucial moment.

Will you take 30 seconds, and call an Iowa Representative to ask that they co-sponsor House Resolution 15, the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill?

*   Representative Braley: (202)225-2911
*   Representative Loebsack: (202) 225-6576
*   Representative Latham: (202)225-5476

Tell them that “Iowans demand immigration reform with a path to citizenship for all 11 million aspiring citizens, and sponsoring this bill is a reflection of Iowa values.”

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On October 2nd, House Democrats introduced a bipartisan bill on comprehensive immigration reform similar to the Senate bipartisan bill that passed in June, but without the extreme border surge provisions and militarization that had been included in the final version.

“This entire year, hardworking families and communities in Iowa and across the United States have stepped out of the shadows and done incredible work pushing for a path to citizenship,” said Constantino Morales, a CCI member from Des Moines. “It is now time for Speaker Boehner and the House Republican leaders to do their part and bring this vote to the floor.”

The bill introduced today has border security provisions that were already approved in the House Homeland Security Committee on a bipartisan basis.  It constitutes a serious proposal that, if given a vote, could pass the House of Representatives with more than 218 votes and fix our broken immigration system.

“This fight for reform is personal. It’s about Iowa’s families and communities,” said Morales. “Iowans want fair immigration reform that keeps families together, protects workers’ rights and provides a path to citizenship for all 11 million hopeful Americans.”

As part of a powerful national month of action in August, CCI members ramped up the pressure on Iowa’s Congressional delegation, especially on Representative Tom Latham. During the recess, over 100 CCI members engaged Latham by sharing their stories at face-to-face meetings, town halls, office visits, phone calls and postcards.

“Congress will not shut down our determination to fix the country’s broken immigration system and get a pathway to citizenship for 11 million hopeful Americans. Our hard work this whole year and during the August recess has gotten us to a critial point,” said Morales.  “We will keep fighting until the path to citizenship is a reality.”

Since the beginning of this year, Iowa CCI members have held dozens of meetings across Iowa, engaged hundreds of immigrants, weighed in with Iowa’s Congressional delegation in Washington D.C., joined with ally groups for demonstrations and marches and have been at the forefront of pushing for fair immigration reform that puts families and communities first.

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On Saturday, September 21st, 20 everyday Iowans delivered a message to the Humboldt Police Department: our community won’t stand for racial profiling.

The 20 people present delivered a letter at the Humboldt Police Station requesting a meeting with the Humboldt Chief of Police (who is also the Sheriff).

The action was in response to a number of complaints from Humboldt community members stating that a cop has been racially profiling members of the Latino community.

According to the complaints, the cop has been pulling Latinos over (despite no traffic violation) just to ask for their licenses. The cop has pulled people over on bikes, in cars, and sometimes just drives around the predominantly Latino neighborhood in Humboldt – causing many to feel threatened and intimidated in their own homes.

Following the action, the Chief of Police/ Sheriff has reached out to schedule a meeting regarding the issue.

Stay tuned for developments.

Join the Fight!

  • Join as an Iowa CCI member today or chip in $10 to support our organizing on this issue.
  • Sign up for our E-Mail Action list to get the latest updates
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter