May 1, 2014
Immigration Reform: The Time is Now
CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins was among the more than 20 people arrested Apr. 30 at a demonstration near the U.S. Capitol to pressure the House of Representatives to take action on comprehensive immigration reform now. Demonstrators sat down in the middle of a major intersection in the pouring rain and chanted, "Boehner, Boehner, don't lock us in a chamber" and "the youth united will never be divided."
"Stop separating families" was the message of the day, and seven young people chose to be arrested, to show their concern for their own families and others who are enduring separation, and who for now have no path to legalization and citizenship. The youngest to be arrested was Yahir Servin, an 11-year-old boy from Alabama, whose father was detained and deported two years ago. "Families need to stay together, because sometimes you need the love of your father and your mother and your sister. It's too hard without that support." [Reported by USA Today.]
Indhire Carrillo, 14, from Colorado, said because her father was deported, "my mom, she has to work three jobs, and that is really hard for her. My youngest sibling just turned 11 and it's hard for him. He hasn't had his dad." [Reported by USA Today.]
Elias Gonzalez, 15, said he was protesting because his father was deported to Mexico eight years ago, forcing young Elias to step into a caretaker role with his younger siblings. "I lost my childhood. But I'm protesting not just for me but so that deportations don't continue separating other families." [Reported by Associated Press.]
Collins said, "Being here, with these courageous young people, makes all of us even more determined to move Congress forward on real immigration reform. It's long overdue."
It has been 305 days since the Senate passed a bi-partisan immigration reform measure, Fair Immigration Reform Movement said. House Republican leadership has refused to bring a comprehensive reform measure to the floor.
CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins, with immigration activists, is arrested at a Capitol Hill protest.
Many young people joined the protest on Capitol Hill, to spotlight how families are being harmed by Congress's refusal to act.
Tennessee: Put the People First
On May 1, Tennessee's "Put the People First" coalition held actions and events in Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Johnson City and Cookeville. The group includes members of United Campus Workers-CWA Local 3865, SEIU Local 205, the UAW, Workers Interfaith Network, Jobs with Justice, the NAACP, students, Citizen Action and more.
The North Carolina "Moral Mondays" have been an inspiration and the Tennessee coalition will work to put economic and social justice issues front and center in the state.
Setting Up Camp McCarthy
Immigration reform activists, including members of CWA Local 9415, held a march for immigration reform, then set up "Camp McCarthy" outside the district office of Rep. Kevin McCarthy in Bakersfield, California, to push McCarthy, a Republican House leader, to schedule a vote on immigration reform in the House.
Immigration activists in Bakerfield, Calif., tell Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R) to bring reform to the House floor for a vote.