Labor and Immigration
It’s been almost two weeks since the raid where Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, partnered with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, to arrest almost 30 undocumented workers for fraud charges, a practice some individuals must resort to if they want to work in this country.
The following week, I went out with some volunteers to pass out Know Your Rights (KYR) information to people in Durham. And this weekend, some of us began to pull together an employer KYR guide based on a few already available models (AFL-CIO, National Employment Law Guide, ILRC). At the minimum, I hope these efforts are reaching folks who do not have this information for various reasons and on the other hand, I hope this is just one tool to prepare communities in the event of more ICE arrests. Unfortunately, this employer—and I expect employee—training does not widely occur in our state. And I often circle back to an incident that happened in Durham a few years ago where custodial workers subcontracted to work for Durham Public Schools lost their jobs after Integrity Facilities Management filed for bankruptcy. Clearly they failed to live up to their name. And afterward, some of those people were re-hired by a new company, a company that then participated in e-verify (described below), which means that the undocumented workers who fought for back wages were not re-hired, requiring them to find new jobs elsewhere.
I also find myself looking into another way undocumented immigrants may be experiencing the labor market, as individuals with criminal charges and how that relates to broader research/advocacy for all employment outcomes for those with “the mark of a criminal record.” In my weekly check-in with my research assistants, we mainly reviewed a conversation we had with a former probation officer—now professor—who described how individuals who are undocumented and are also under adult corrections supervision may be further exploited by their employers. This is something I’ll be diving into more while hoping to make connections between working conditions for these individuals and other groups typically falling outside of certain worker protections like farmworkers and domestic workers. For the latter, I have to shout out my friends at the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) who hosted a wonderful film screening of Roma in Durham last Friday night and highlighted their We Dream in Black campaign.
Below, you can read my notes on House Bill 135 titled the Government Immigration Compliance Act, which was also introduced in the General Assembly by Representative George Cleveland of Onslow County. One of the proposed provisions provides further guidance on E-Verify specifics for school systems, although that bit is still unclear to me. In previous legislative sessions, there was a push to further implement E-Verify reporting for smaller companies. Currently, employers with more than 25 employees are required to enroll. E-Verifyemployers verify the identity and employment eligibility of newly hired employees by electronically matching information provided by employees on the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, against records available to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Communities across the state continue to push their local elected to consider resolutions (symbolic) and policies that will force a larger conversation preparations if ICE comes to town. Last Monday, the Mecklenburg County Commissioners passed a resolution in support of the actions taken by Sheriff McFadden to end collaboration with ICE. Tuesday evening, at the Wake County School Board meeting, community members encouraged the school system to “do more to reassure families of undocumented students who are worried about increased ICE arrests of illegal immigrants.” This week, I also had the opportunity to be on The State of Things to discuss the recent ICE arrests and to provide context for these retaliatory acts. The majority of the show was a dialogue between Bryan Cox, the Southern Communications Director and Ilana Dubester, Executive Director for El Viniculo Hispano.
Questions for this week:
- Will Bear Creek Arsenal, the gun arsenal manufacturing company that was raided two weeks ago, face any consequences?
- What stance will local Sheriffs take when it comes to HSI, U.S. Marshals, and other interagency operations?
- Why has the Governor still made no remarks?
- How do we support folks who are scared to go to work because of suspected ICE presence and will lose wages for that day?
Relevant Highlights for this week
Song: Serenata a un indocumentado by Los Jornaleros del Norte
Article(s)/Book(s): Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky with Connie Burk
Meeting(s): Thankful for Tamika Lewis moving us forward with the North Carolina Statewide Police Accountability (NCSPAN) that will be held March 22-24
Summary of HB135 (I am not a lawyer, but this is based on previous versions of this bill and what I also find the most intriguing)
- Targeting identity documents like the Faith Action Identification
- Providing incentives (should say sanctions)
- The Responsibility of the Attorney General’s office
- Anyone can submit a form, can be anonymous
- Reporting by the AG’s office within 45 days, the locality must turn around within 10 days
- If they are found to be noncompliance, then they can have funding taken away. Up to 2 years (1 in general and then failing to change, additional 1 year). Beverages, gas, other local tax revenue streams.
- AG must maintain a database
- Private enforcement (or you filing an individual complaint as a private citizen) can cost localities $10,000
- School units (seems less unclear)
- E-verify specific
- Adoption of sanctuary prohibited
- Waived its immunity from civil liability in tort (agree to be sued) and an undocumented immigrant commits a crime. https://canons.sog.unc.edu/pleading-waiver-of-governmental-immunity-whats-enough/
- Adoption of limited communications in constituent institutions (mostly UNC system schools?)
- Prohibits limiting law enforcement actions
- Direct them not to gather
- Prohibit communication
- 287(g) at statewide level