Tag Archives: Immigration

Rodrigo thanks classmates for efforts to bring him home

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Community members crammed into the Berkeley City Council chambers Tuesday night to speak out about the absence of 9-year-old Rodrigo Guzman, a Jefferson Elementary School student who was sent back to Mexico with his family in January when they were denied re-entry into the United States due to expired visas. Jefferson students read statements to the council, which later unanimously approved a resolution to fight for the family’s return.

The resolution includes a commitment to send letters to President Barack Obama, Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Senator Dianne Feinstein urging them to write special legislation to grant assistance to the family. The Berkeley Unified School District unanimously passed a similar resolution March 13.

Rodrigo and his family joined the council meeting via a Skype video connection, which Mayor Tom Bates said was a first for Berkeley. (Watch the video of Rodrigo’s statement here.) … Continue reading »

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Berkeley says ‘no’ to federal immigration detainers

A battle for immigrants' rights has been intensifying throughout 2012, as deportations linked to Secure Communities have risen. Here, protestors outside an ICE processing facility in Colorado call for an end enforcement efforts. Photo: Justin Valas
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In a surprising twist, the Berkeley City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to decline requests from U.S. immigration officials to apply more stringent detention rules to arrested individuals depending on citizenship status.

Advocates in attendance said the council made a landmark policy decision believed to be the most comprehensive and definitive in the nation as far as refusing altogether to cooperate with a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program to detain and potentially deport non-citizens who are arrested.

The decision will, at least initially, have a limited impact given that the vast majority of these individuals ultimately are turned over to county agencies that do cooperate with the feds. Advocates said they believe, however, that the decision will have a ripple effect throughout the state to convince other jurisdictions to take a similar stand. … Continue reading »

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Hundreds rally in Berkeley to protest Pacific Steel layoffs

Several hundred people gathered at Old City Hall for a rally before the protest march. Photo: Lance Knobel
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On a bright, sunny day, hundreds of protesters gathered in front of Berkeley’s Old City Hall to rally against the immigration laws that prompted the firing of 200 Pacific Steel Casting workers in December last year. Many of the fired workers and their families were joined by members of the teachers’ union, the nurses’ union, clergymen and women and other sympathizers. Following the rally, protesters were to march to the Pacific Steel site in west Berkeley.

Last February, the Department of Homeland Security demanded I-9 forms for all 600 employees of the family-owned steel casting business in West Berkeley. The company and the GMP union worked together to keep workers employed while the DHS examined their residency status. In October, Pacific Steel began to lay off the 200 workers.

“I worked for Pacific Steel for seven years and I was one of the 200 fired,” said Jesus Prado at the rally this morning. “This March for Dignity is because we want to stop the way they’re stepping on us, and treating us like criminals. We came here to work.” … Continue reading »

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