Tuesday, August 11, 2009

MAPA Issues Call for Immediate Action From Immigrant Workers


Tuesday, August 11, 2009
For Immediate Release
Contact: Nativo V. Lopez
NativoLopez@mapa-ca.org or 714-423-4800

MAPA Logo 1

The Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) has issued a "Call for Immediate Action from Immigrant Workers" in response to the Obama administration's inaction on immigration reform. Below is a statement by MAPA National President, Nativo V. Lopez. He will have media availality today at Overhill Farms plant from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and will be with approximately 100 workers. (Location - 2727 E. Vernon Avenue, Vernon, CA)

"President Barack Obama made clear today that there would be no immigration reform until 2010 in a press conference comment during his visit to Mexico to meet with the presidents of Mexico and Canada. There was no forewarning to the public or to immigrants’ rights advocates prior to his comment. Yet, neither did President Obama make any reference to the continued broad and harsh enforcement of immigration laws in the workplace, which is resulting in the discharge of thousands, and potentially will lead to the termination of hundreds of thousands of workers.

"Worker Councils from a growing number of companies that have been targeted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), under the direction of Secretary Janet Napolitano, directed by the policy of President Barack Obama, are forming and fighting back under extremely adverse conditions the enforcement of employer sanctions sweeping the country. These companies bear the names of Overhill Farms, American Apparel, Farmer Johns, Micro Solutions, and many others. In fact, some 650 have been profiled by this administration. The initial mass terminations have only just begun.

"We are organizing ourselves to openly oppose these policies and practices, which are devastating our families during the worst economic times since the 1930s. We call on workers, employers, unions, churches, immigrants’ rights coalitions and advocacy organizations, human rights groups, and worker centers to unite and respect our broad call to mobilize urgently and demand an immediate moratorium of the aggressive unprecedented enforcement of employer sanctions with the I-9 audits of profiled companies that hire immigrants, the expanded use of eVerify, the federal system of employment verification, and the expansion of police-ICE collaboration through the 287g program. Enforcement heavy and legalization light is now the order of the day for President Obama.

"We call on all unions of the labor movement, that has a responsibility to defend us, to clearly articulate their open opposition to employer sanctions and the I-9 audits, defend their members and all workers targeted for termination due to no-match discrepancies with the Social Security Administration, and openly oppose contract-worker programs as modern indentured servitude no matter by what name they are titled.

"We call on the churches of all denominations, which have a responsibility to safe-guard our spiritual well-being, to express vocal opposition to the policies and practices that are tearing up our families and destroying the prospect of us remaining in the U.S. You have a duty to hold the line against any assault on the integrity and unity of the family.

"We call on the immigrants’ rights coalitions and national networks of different names, that represent that they work on behalf of immigrants and advocate in favor of fair and humane immigration reform, to not fear mass mobilizations of workers and immigrants openly demanding an end to the Obama enforcement strategy, but instead to join us. We want you to demand a full and generous legalization of undocumented immigrants without accepting a horrific deal of “smart enforcement” as a trade-off.

"We call on the state and federal legislators to have courage and fight for humane immigration reform and to not be sold on the idea that by demonstrating more enforcement they will be able to win over more moderate and even Republican politicians in favor of legalization. How much more does President Obama want to push us down in order to demonstrate his “tough on immigrants” fa├žade to the American people? We can only stand for so much.

"We call on all honest employers that depend on immigrant labor to join the broad movement to oppose employer sanctions and all its discriminatory implications as government heavy invasive intrusions and interruptions of the work-place. You have a moral duty to pay an honorable wage for a good day’s work.

"We are taking the brunt of the attacks and suffering the immediate consequences of this misguided policy, therefore, our call is urgent to take to the streets on September 5th, the Labor Day weekend, and October 12th, not to ask but demand that President Obama stop the attacks on immigrants and that he fulfill his promise of immigration reform, that which we heard during the presidential campaign, but has recently been forgotten.

"We are convening all organizations, unions, churches, and all those who support fair and humane immigration reform to march in the streets and let our voices be heard as one – all at the same level and force – that WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH MR. PRESIDENT. We declare that just as you politicians we also are human beings and we also need to eat and live with dignity. We are honorable workers and we deserve respect. The same as is demanded of us to pay taxes, we demand to be blanketed by the very programs that exist thanks to our contributions, especially during these distressful times.

"We represent a blessing for America and the solution to the economic crisis. We demand a fair and humane immigration reform for all NOW. We demand that Obama LEGALIZE AMERICA NOW!

"All out on Labor Day September 5th and October 12th!!!

"Worker’s Council of Overhill Farms
Worker’s Council of American Apparel
Worker’s Council of Farmer Johns
Worker’s Council of Micro Solutions
Hermandad General de Trabajadores Union International
Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana
Mexican American Political Association
Chicago Community and Workers Rights
CONLAMIC (The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders)
People's Assembly for Popular Education & Liberation (PAPEL)
Chicano-Latino Artists for Social Equality (CLASE)
Congreso Internacional de Mujeres Activistas de las Americas (CIMA)

"Sign on to this call"

Nativo V. Lopez
National President


The Mexican American Political Association, an advocacy organization, was founded in Fresno, California in 1963 and has chapters throughout California. It is dedicated to the constitutional and democratic principles of political freedom and representation for the Mexican, Mexican-American and Latino people in the United States. For more information, visit the MAPA website at http://www.mapa.org/.

Nativo V. Lopez is the National President of the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) and Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana (HML), which requires of him full-time advocacy for the civil, human, labor, and immigrant rights of Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and Latinos throughout the United States. He has dedicated his life to these causes since his years as a high school student where he founded the first student movement organization, United Mexican American Students (UMAS). He was born in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles in 1951 to Mexican American parents, and is of both eighth-generation native U.S. born and immigrant stock. Nativo met the legendary immigrant organizer, leader, and advocate, Humberto “Bert” Corona, in 1971 and worked with him in various capacities for thirty years with the organizations Center for Autonomous Social Action (CASA), Hermandad Mexicana, and MAPA. He was a lead organizer in the 2006 pro-immigrant marches and was part of the creation of the National Alliance for Immigrant’s Rights (NAIR) and the Southern California Immigration Coalition (SCIC). For more information, go to http://nativolopez.blogspot.com/.