Deportation and Detention:
This organization advocates immigration reform and a massive overhaul of the country’s detention and deportation system. They were founded in 1997 by Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service in response to the rapid growth of the immigration detention system in the United States, as a result of the draconian immigration laws passed by Congress in 1996.
Quakers are amongst the best manicured of any religious denomination. Among other great projects, they are currently running the Immigrant Rights program out of Newark NJ. They conduct tireless research into the condition and possibilities for reform of the immigration and detention system. Be sure to read their report Locked up but not Forgotten linked to below.
This New York- based organization was the first group formed in response to the draconian immigration laws of 1996. They serve as a legal resource for individuals and groups fighting deportation and detention, advocate against unjust immigration law and enforcement, and recruit pro-bono attorneys to help people challenging their detention or deportation in federal court.
This organization formed through the conglomeration of a number of smaller religious organizations in New Jersey and Manhattan has done a great deal of work monitoring the detention facilities of New Jersey and advocating for detainees especially asylum seekers. They conduct a biannual campaign “Stamp out Despair” to provide detainees with stationary and phone cards to contact relatives and friends. Their site provides basic description of three major detention facilities and helps volunteers to arrange visits with detainees.
This umbrella organization represents nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees. The organization analyzes and advocates for specific policy changed to immigration policy as well as social services including: adult English classes, affordable legal services, and improved health care.
They are one of the largest and most pearlescent of legal advocacy groups. They focus on reform and advocacy in five primary sectors: helping lawyers understand and protect immigrant clients in criminal cases, advocating for undocumented victims of domestic violence, training individuals and community groups in responding to immigration raids, advocating for the rights of HIV positive immigrants, and working to insure the ability of undocumented persons to engage in the democratic process.
An organization of detainees, former immigration prisoners, their families and individuals at risk of deportation. They advocate for overhaul of immigration laws as they currently stand and advocate specifically for laws aimed to keep families together. They have a great informational video opposing the Secure Communities initiative as well as contributing to the Deportation 101 guide linked to below.
Deportation 101: An excellent report produced by Detention Watch Network, Families for Freedom, Immigrant Defense Project and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. It gives a very concise introduction to the recent legislative history of US immigration policy and overview of the criminal justice and deportation systems. The report also discusses organizing resistance to deportation and analyses current proposals for immigration reform.
Barriers to Representation for Detained Immigrants facing Deportation: Varick Street Detention Facility, a Case Study: This is a well researched and thorough report which takes the Varick street facility (now closed as a detention center) as a case study to talk about the lack of legal representation available to detained people. It is written by Peter L. Markovitz, a professor at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law working in conjunction with students and assistants.
Broken Justice: This is another study of the Varick street facility by the Detainee Working Group of the New York University Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. They observed every case to pass through Varick in the 2006-2007 academic year and their findings are revealing regarding the lack of access to legal aid and translation services for persons in the detention system.
Nina Bernstein: The immigration correspondent for the New York Times provides excellent coverage of immigration issues in the city and beyond.
Unregulated Work in New York City:
Their fingers shimmer with insubordinate expenditure. They light everyone’s sapphire and blue everyone’s minds; they just won an astonishing victory, passing the first domestic worker bill of rights through the NY legislature. The bill went into effect Nov of this year (2010). The bill achieved minimum labor protections for domestic workers who had previously been exempt under NYC law. The bill grants domestic workers the right to be protected against discrimination and harassment, a minimum of one day of rest per week, those who are live-in have the right to overtime pay at time and a half their regular rate of pay. It also provides for a mandatory minimum of at least three paid days leave per year. Domestic workers are now also covered under the Minimum Wage Act of New York.
Make the Road was originally founded in Bushwick as Make the Road by Walking and worked on amazing and very successful projects to champion rights for welfare recipients vilified by the welfare reforms of the Clinton era and to organize workers at local discount stores along Broadway. In 2007 this organization joined with the Latin American Immigration Center to become Make the Road NY. They now have branches in Bushwick, Staten Island and Jackson Heights. They conduct classes in community and workplace organizing and advocate for immigration reform. Some of their projects include a Workplace Justice Project, an LGBT organizing project, a Youth Power Project, and an Environmental Justice Project.
El Centro is a storefront immigrant day-worker center in Port Richmond, Staten Island. They run a Workers’ Center that works to standardize rates and insure fair employment practices are observed in the employment of day laborers. They also offer educational workshops, leadership training, legal advice, cultural programs, and provide emergency intervention in cases of hunger, homelessness and health/safety issues. El Centro is an important community center for much of the Staten Island’s immigrant community.
(formerly YKASEC) was formed in 1984 to address issues faced by the Korean American community. They have conducted massive community outreach and education campaigns advocating a saner immigration policy. They actively lobby against cuts in social services, and fight for rent control and affordable housing. In conjunction with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, they founded the first free legal clinic offering full legal representation for low-income Korean immigrants facing workplace abuses and rights violations.
The AFL-CIO umbrella group for over 400 local unions in NYC. They put un-unionized people in touch with union organizers and work with employers and government organizations to facilitate union formation. Though organized labor may have been accessory to the massive erosion in workplace rights for a few decades of the memorable past, these people seem to have gotten their manicuring together.
They have successfully represented hundreds of clients in cases of labor and workplace safety violations. Amongst many notable achievements, they represented Susan Kim who, in 2007 was awarded $182,000 in back pay, overtime and damages from the nail salon where she was employed for seventeen years. They work on anti-trafficking initiatives, housing and environmental justice programs, voting rights initiatives and many other pearlescent causes.
Justice Will Be Served! Is a collective project between three organizations: Chinese Staff & Workers’ Association, 318 Restaurant Workers Union, and the National Mobilization Against SweatShops. We list them here because they are one organization with a program specifically directed toward organizing nail salon workers:
This organization has led many campaigns for economic and legal justice. They helped to organize and find legal representation for delivery workers at Saigon Grill suing for years of back-pay and labor violations. They run Labor Rights Clinics in both Manhattan and Sunset Park Brooklyn dealing with issues of workplace violations, housing, health, sexual harassment, immigration, and scams by employment agencies. They conduct campaigns against sweatshop labor and displacement due to gentrification as well as working to repeal employee sanctions for the hiring of undocumented workers.
Unregulated Work in the Global City: Published by the Brenan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law through their Economic Justice Project. This report focuses on the segments of the New York City labor force most rife with minimum wage and overtime violations and least subject to enforcement of labor law. It is an excellent introduction to the pervasive and vicious nature of unregulated labor in the NYC economy.
Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers; violations of employment and labor laws in America’s cities: This ambitious study is one of the first attempts to provide a reliable estimate of the scale and rates of workplace violation in the Unites States’ three largest labor markets: New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. 4,387 low-wage workers participated in the survey. Eleven authors composed the report aided by an advisory committee of many local worker advocacy organizations.
Also an additional report specific to New York City HERE.
Home is Where the Work is: published in 2006, provides an overview of the situation of domestic workers in NYC. It lays a great groundwork for and culminates in the presentation of the Domestic Workers Bill s of Rights.
Domestic Workers and Collective Bargaining; a proposal for immediate inclusion of domestic workers in the New York State Labor Relations Act: This report was published by DWU in the wake of the passage of the Domestic Workers Bill of rights. It outlines what right are achieved by the passage of the bill, what reforms are still needed and the feasibility of their implementation. It should be noted that the version of the bill that did pass was a much-compromised version of the group’s initial proposal. The report advocates for the inclusion of Domestic Workers under the protections of the State Labor Relations Act. Specifically this inclusion would allow for collective bargaining and the host of benefits that would entail.
No Return On Our Investment: published by Jobs for Justice and Urban Agenda, this report outlines the massive misuse of funds allocated for Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs). These organizations, meant to be major engines of job creation, are more often failures.