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The Reel Work May Day Labor Film Festival takes place in California’s central coast communities in and around Santa Cruz each year during the week of May First.
Reel Work presents cultural events, bringing together award-winning documentary film producers, workers, activists, students, and the public with the goal of increasing community awareness of the central role of work in our lives, to discuss economic and global justice issues, and to bring alive the history and culture of the labor movement in the US and abroad. We highlight how workers and community members band together in united effort for mutual benefit to achieve justice and dignity in the streets, fields, and workshops.
Cinematic representations of labor each year include local and international works, world premieres as well as classics. We inspire festival participants to join in the struggle for worker rights locally, nationally and globally to achieve social justice and international solidarity.
Reel Work was founded in 2002. Credit goes to Myrna Cherin and Ginny Hirsch, long-time union activists and members of the Retirees Chapter of SEIU Local 415 in Santa Cruz. To make a little money for their retirees group, they had the idea of showing some movies honoring union organizing, which they mentioned to the then-President of the SEIU Local, who had also been looking for a way for union members to learn their own history. It was obvious to everyone involved in the project that most opportune date for such a festival would be May Day, celebrated worldwide as International Workers Day.
Nearly half of the record-setting 1 million new U.S. citizens sworn in last year were Latino immigrants — a 95 percent increase among that ethnic group from the previous year, according to an analysis by an Hispanic advocacy organization.
Department of Homeland Security data shows the number of immigrants naturalized in the U.S. grew from about 660,000 in 2007 to more than 1 million in 2008 — an increase of roughly 58 percent. The Houston metropolitan area saw more than 28,000 naturalizations last year, an increase of roughly 54 percent from 2007.
Nationally, Latino naturalizations jumped 95 percent from about 237,000 in 2007 to 461,000 in 2008, according to the analysis released Tuesday by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. NALEO used data from the DHS’ Office of Immigration Statistics, counting immigrants who hailed from predominantly Spanish-speaking countries as Latinos.
Sociologists cited a number of factors for the naturalization increase, including the desire to vote in the historic 2008 presidential election and a rush to beat a naturalization fee increase in summer 2007. The increase in naturalization applications also coincided with a high-profile outreach campaign with the slogan, “It is time — Citizenship!” which was supported by organizations including NALEO, unions and many in the Spanish-language media.
Nestor Rodriguez, a sociology professor at the University of Texas, said the growth in naturalization applicants was expected based on the level of legal immigration to the U.S. in the 1990s. More than 9.7 million people were admitted as legal permanent residents during that decade, he said, roughly 80 percent of them from Latin America and Asia. Although it takes only five years for a green-card holder to be eligible for citizenship, many historically have waited to take the oath.
Rodriguez added that some new citizens may have been spurred to action by the fee increase that took effect in July 2007 and raised the cost of a citizenship application from $330 to $595.
Tom Janoski, an associate professor of sociology from the University of Kentucky who has researched international naturalization trends, said some new citizens may have been driven to apply because of a fear of deportation in many immigrant communities.
“One factor that causes people to naturalize is that they’re scared,” Janoski said.
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Author: Susan Carroll
Source: Houston Chronicle
TUCSON – Illegal immigrant deaths are continuing to rise along the U.S.-Mexico border despite a nearly 25 percent drop in Border Patrol arrests in the past six months that suggests far fewer people are entering the country unlawfully.
The number of migrant deaths along the roughly 2,000-mile border increased by nearly 7 percent between Oct. 1 and March 31, the first six months of the 2009 federal fiscal year. The biggest increase occurred in the patrol’s Tucson sector, the nation’s busiest corridor for illegal immigrants coming through Mexico.
In all, the remains of 128 people were found, compared to 120 in the same six-month period the year before, according to just-released Border Patrol statistics.
Yet apprehensions of people crossing illegally from Mexico into Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California dropped to less than 265,000 – a decrease of more than 24 percent from the comparable period a year ago and 37 percent from the first six months of the federal fiscal year that began on Oct. 1, 2006. The number of arrests is generally considered an indication of how many people are illegally crossing the border into the U.S. The more apprehensions, the more people are thought to be coming.
Migrants rights groups say there’s a direct correlation between the number of deaths and increased enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“What we’ve seen is that the death rate has gone up even though the number of people crossing has gone down, the direct result of more agents, more fencing and more equipment,” said the Rev. Robin Hoover, founder of the Tucson-based group Humane Borders, which provides water stations for migrants crossing the southern Arizona desert. “The migrants are walking in more treacherous terrain for longer periods of time, and you should expect more deaths.”
Tucson sector Border Patrol spokesman Omar Candelaria said it was hard to say why deaths increased in his area, especially because they’re not being found in summer, when most deaths occur.
Hoover said he’s measured where the bodies are being found, and the average death locations are farther and farther away from roads than in previous years.
“So they’re going around the fences, the technology and where the agents are,” he said. “And the farther you walk from a safe place, the more likely a broken ankle becomes a death sentence.”
Source: Associated Press
Trading their warmest words in a half-century, the United States and Cuba built momentum toward renewed ties, with President Barack Obama declaring he “seeks a new beginning” — including direct talks — with the island’s communist regime.
The flurry of back-and-forth gestures began earlier this week when Obama dropped restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba, challenging his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, to reciprocate. Obama noted those moves and renewed his promise for his administration to engage with the Cuban government “on a wide range of issues,” including human rights, free speech, democratic reform, drugs, immigration and the economy.
In a diplomatic exchange of the kind that normally takes months or years, Castro had responded within hours to Obama’s policy changes this week. He extended Cuba’s most open offer for talks since the Eisenhower administration, saying he’s ready to discuss “human rights, freedom of the press, political prisoners — everything.” Cuban officials have historically bristled at discussing human rights or political prisoners, of whom they hold about 200.
The United States replied Friday, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton offering: “We welcome his comments, the overture they represent, and we are taking a very serious look at how we intend to respond.”
As leaders of the Americas gathered for a summit in the Caribbean only Cuba was not represented. The head of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza said he would ask the 34 member nations to invite Cuba back after 47 years.
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Source: Associated Press
Ever wonder where traffickers advertise their victims? Turns out it’s in one of the nation’s most prestigious newspapers – The Washington Post. Advertisements for massage parlors that are often fronts for brothels selling trafficked women are run in The Post every day, despite the fact that the publication has reported on human trafficking in massage parlors. You can tell The Washington Post to stop making money off exploitation!
During my tenure at Polaris Project, a non-governmental organization combating modern-day slavery, we’ve worked with dozens of women who’ve been victims of human trafficking within brothels disguised as massage parlors. Almost all of the women from commercially-fronted brothels we’ve worked with in the DC area have been victimized in locations that have been advertised in The Washington Post’s Sports section.
These women are often offered legitimate jobs, but then forced into prostitution. Many are unable to leave the brothel. Several are threatened with gang violence and others are threatened with harm to family members if they tried to leave. Some women are in debt bondage, and most have experienced some type of sexual violence or coercion from customers frequenting the brothels. All of them want to escape.
I picked up yesterday’s paper and saw that while there were only six advertisements for commercial sex-oriented parlors and spas in the Sports section, The Washington Post was still accepting such ads. I attribute the decrease in overall ads (which was up to 35 at one of its high points in 2002) mostly to the work of the DC Task Force on Human Trafficking and the general state of the economy.
In 2006, even the Ombudsman of The Washington Post, Deborah Howell, agreed that the paper should join the Los Angeles Times and its peers- The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, and the Boston Globe- by not facilitating the sexual exploitation of women through these advertisements.
Author: Katherine Chon