The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns released an 8-point immigration rights platform on January 22, 2013, the day following President Obama’s re-inauguration, as part of its Dignity and Justice for Im/migrants campaign. During both election campaigns, Obama promised to take on comprehensive immigration reform, but has yet to do so.
“This platform articulates the most urgent needs of Filipino immigrants in the U.S. and defines what must be included in Obama’s comprehensive immigration reform. Anything less is unacceptable,” said Terrence Valen, NAFCON President.
The 8-point platform includes:
- Passage of legislation and/or policy to reunite families immediately
- Provide legal status to victims of Human Trafficking and prosecute the perpetrators
- Stop deportation of and give legal and permanent status to CNMI migrant workers
- Stop deportations and scrap both E-Verify and Secure Communities
- Pass Dream Act with a community service component
- U.S. Ratification of ILO Convention concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers
- Pass Caring for the Aging, Respecting and Educating our direct care workforce (CARE ACT)
- Dignified and just pathway for undocumented immigrants
The Pulse of the People as Basis for the Migrants’ Platform
This platform is based on NAFCON’s national survey called “Pulso ng Bayan” (Pulse of the People), a campaign launched in mid-2012 to investigate the conditions of Filipinos living in the U.S. Many Filipinos shared their migration stories including struggles of adjusting to being in a new country. Others shared the long process it took to migrate, exemplifying the backlog plaguing the U.S. immigration system, and several highlighted cases of human trafficking.
A recent incident of human trafficking occurred on November 16, 2012, in which three Filipino workers died in the Black Elk Energy oil platform explosion in Louisiana. They were part of over 100 Filipino workers at Black Elk, working under slavery conditions.
The workers and the victims’ families have filed a class action lawsuit against Grand Isle Shipyard (GIS), the company which hires and supplies Filipino workers to oil companies and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. GIS is being sued for labor abuse and exploitation, unlawful deductions, isolation and violation of civil liberties, human trafficking, racism, discrimination and slavery.
“The Philippine embassy had known of the conditions the workers were experiencing since 2010, yet has failed to appropriately help them,” explained Valen.
Philippine Forum of New York, a member organization of NAFCON, has taken lead on the Justice for Grand Isle Shipyard Filipino Workers Campaign. For more information on the campaign, call 516.901.1832 or email at email@example.com.
NAFCON’s Commitment to Hold President Obama Accountable
Most significant to the issue of immigration during President Obama’s re-inauguration speech was his statement, “Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity.”
Valen responded, “‘We the People’ need to make Obama’s actions speak louder than his words. ‘We the People’ need to push the president to pass true comprehensive immigration reform that meets the needs of the millions of immigrants who deserve dignity and justice.”
As a part of its Dignity and Justice campaign, NAFCON aims to gather signatures and sponsors from prominent individuals, legislators, and organizations throughout the United States to endorse the Migrants’ Platform as integral to any viable comprehensive immigration reform bill.
By highlighting the proposed platform and taking the lead on campaigns against labor export and human trafficking, NAFCON is committed to holding President Obama accountable to protecting and defending the rights and welfare of immigrants in the U.S. To endorse or for more information on NAFCON’s platform or the alliance email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.nafconusa.org.