The Northwest Ohio Immigration Forum
Implications for Families and the Regional Farming Industry
More that 150 people came together in September to combat harsh immigration enforcement measures. The group included a score of law enforcement, elected officials, and organizations ranging from ACLU to the Lucas County Democratic Party. A short video of interviews (on left) highlighted stories of families torn apart by was stunning not only for the emotional testimonies of the psychological impact on the children, but also the revelations of Graduate Student Luis Macias who reported from a Congressional report that almost 50,000 families had been torn apart in just the first six months of 2011.The number of separated families is stunning and the numbers only increased throughout the year.
The event garnered support for FLOC’s lawsuit against the US Border Patrol for “profiling” and educated law enforcement officials present about ICE Director John Morton”s Memo. The Memo call for prosecutorial discretion in enforcement and deportations, listing law-abiding immigrants whose only crime of having entered the country without documents or overstayed their visas as low priority.
Many students connected with ABLE (legal services) also attended the forum, looking for information on applications for Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The event highlighted the growing relevance of the Latino community and FLOC’s campaign for justice for farmworkers and the immigrant population in general. Large land owner and farmer Chester Mauch underscored the significance of the Latino workforce in agriculture and said that his “white neighbors” couldn’t possibly fill the void if immigrant/migrant workers were unavailable.
For more information about local immigration issues, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fuerza y Libertad
Fuerza y Libertad is a community organization dedicated to building real power within the Latino Community in Eastern North Carolina. Fuerza gathers at the FLOC office for monthly meetings to discuss issues impacting the community and how we can organize to fight back against issues like discrimination, workplace abuses, and policies that are harmful to our community.
In August, Fuerza y Libertad called a meeting to discuss the recent Deferred Action process for youth that arrived in this country before they were 16. We did outreach by calling through our contacts list and using a text messaging system that reaches over 1600 people in the region. The meeting room was packed, all of our chairs filled and people standing and sitting on the floor with over 70 people in attendance. All agreed that while deferred action was an important step for us, we need to be doing more as a community so that all are able to be free of exploitation and oppression.
Amparo Reyna said at the meeting," Our community has to be united, we sustain this country, we need to be out there advocating our rights, nobody else is going to do that for us. Our voice can be held high if we are united, we are coming here to struggle for ourselves and our families, and this country."
One of the main requirements for Deferreded Action is that students have gone to High School or are working on or finished their GED. Amelia Hall from Wayne Community College joined the meeting to explain the process of enrolling in their GED program or Highschool Equivalency Program through Wake Tech Community College. Later, Gabe Talton, a lawyer and supporter of FLOC and Fuerza y Libertad give a briefing of all the steps and documentation that are required to file for Deferred Action.
We ended with final remarks, and a firm committment from many of those attending to continue to be involved. Abel Aguilar, a strong member of Fuerza y Libertad, told others why he is involved. "This is important for me and for my community, I am going to work my hardest to get many of my friends and family to become part of this organization. I traveled all the way from Raleigh but I want to stay committed."
Mobile Health Clinic
For over 10 years FLOC and its partner the CMWJ have organized a Mobile Health Clinic to serve migrant farmworkers in NW Ohio who otherwise have no access to healthcare. The Clinic is made possible through a partnership with St. Charles Hospital who donates the use of the mobile unit, and a generous and energetic group of volunteer doctors and nurses who made this service a reality. The clinic visits labor camps and serves over 200 patients during 6 weeks in July and August. We offer basic care and preventive services. A network of other agencies partner with us to offer dental services, HIV testing, vision testing, food and clothing.
Thank you to the many dedicated volunteers who make this clinic possible!