Voz Workers’ Rights Education Project

is a worker-led organization that empowers immigrants and day laborers to gain control over their working conditions through leadership development, organizing, and community education.

We operate the Martin Luther King, Jr. Worker Center, which connects hundreds of workers a month with local employers and jobs.

Come join Voz and over 30 community organizations for a May Day March and Rally to recognize International Workers Day!

When: May 1, 2014: Gather at 2PM, Rally at 3PM, and March at 4PM

Where: SW Park Blocks at SW Salmon and SW Park

Watch the Promo Video here:

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NEWS AND EVENTS

Voz and the ACT Network Victorious with New ICE Holds Ruling

On April 16, 2014, Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton joined other sheriffs from Clackamas and Washington countries by announcing that they would no longer comply with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s requests to keep undocumented immigrants in jail for deportation.  This came after a U.S. Districts Court judge ruled that Clackamas County had violated a woman’s Fourth Amendment rights by keeping her jail longer than her two day sentence.  As a result of the decision of Sheriff Staton, other counties in Oregon have followed.

Immigration detainer or ICE holds are a routine request from federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement that the Oregon sheriffs detain a person beyond the time the person would otherwise be released. As a result of these holds, hundreds of families were torn apart, immigrants were afraid to report crime minimizing community safety, and tax payers were subjugated to paying $168 per night for each inmate in jail. According to the Oregonian, from January 1, 2011 to August 31, 2012, ICE’s policies resulted in 1,465 holds in Multnomah County, all of which was due to sheriffs like Staton believing that ICE holds were mandatory when in fact they are not.

All of this changed on April 11, 2014, when Magistrate Judge Janice Stewart, U.S. Districts Court for the District of Oregon ruled that Clackamas County was liable for violating Maria Miranda-Olivares Constitutional rights. Ms. Miranda-Olivares filed her lawsuit in March 2012 after being unlawfully held in jail for two weeks. David Henretty, a former Voz Executive Board member and the attorney representing Maria stated that, “This case makes clear that if a county decides to hold a person beyond lawful custody on the charges, that extended incarceration must satisfy the requirements of the Fourth Amendment. The presence of a request from ICE to prolong the incarceration does not overcome this fundamental right.” Ms. Miranda-Olivares now awaits a trial to determine the amount of her damages.

Despite the influential court case, much of why Sheriff Staton changed his policy on ICE holds was thanks to Voz and their partner, Activists Coming Together for Justice and Dignity (the ACT Network) who have been working diligently over the past two years to put a stop to the unlawful holdings. Voz and the ACT Network have pressured Sheriff Staton to change his policies through the use of rallies, letter writing, and community forums that showcased the stories of brave undocumented community members impacted by ICE holds.

This ruling was the tipping point  after years of pressure and awareness by the ACT Network. As a result sheriffs across Oregon stepped up to put a stop to ICE holds stating they would no longer comply with ICE requests. Immediately following Sheriff Staton’s decision 50 immigration holds were lifted for jail inmates in the Portland area and is expected to affect hundreds of Multnomah County inmates within the next year. Given Sheriff Staton’s new policies, families will no longer have to fear being torn apart, communities will be safer, and tax payer’s money can go to more productive community activities.

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Save the Center Campaign

The lease on the city-owned property where the MLK Jr. Worker Center sits is expiring. We are asking Mayor Charlie Hales to transfer the ownership of the property to Voz so that the Center has a permanent home.

Ways to Get Involved in the Campaign

What you can do to get involved in finding a permanent solution for the MLK Jr. Worker Center:

  1. Send in a Letter of Support for the MLK Jr. Worker Center to the Mayor’s Office
  2. Sign our online petition to Save the Center: https://pvoz.ourpowerbase.net/civicrm/petition/sign?sid=1&reset=1

For more information, contact:

Romeo Sosa–  romeo@portlandvoz.org or 503-233-6787

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Video: Portland’s National Fast to say “Not One More Deportation!”

We made this video during the National Fast NOT ONE MORE DEPORTATION in May 2013, in order to call local, national, and international attention to the unjust immigration laws. Thousands of people are detained and deported daily without any sort of criminal record. Their only crime is to look for a better future for themselves and their family in this country. These political prisoners are currently detained in private prisons. People in the video: Abdias has a pending deportation case and has waited more than 6 years. They have prohibited her from working until they clarify her situation. Rosa’s partner was deported later in 2013.

Este video lo hicimos durante la cadena nacional de ayuno NI UNA DEPORTACION MAS en Mayo de 2013, para llamar la atención local, nacional e internacional con las leyes injustas de inmigración. Están deteniendo y deportando a miles de personas diariamente sin tener un record criminal. Su único delito es buscar un futuro mejor para él o ella y a su familia en este país. Estos prisioneros políticos que están detenidos en este momento en las cárceles privadas. En el video habla Abdias, quien está pendiente de su deportación y ha esperado mas de 6 años, le han prohibido trabajar hasta que se aclare su situación. También habla Rosy, cuya pareja fue deportado después.