“…without the full picture and supporting documentation, it would seem… employers who are bearing the brunt of these audits are [those] … involved in collective bargaining agreements with labor unions. That is bad for business, workers and the American people.” — Conchita Lozano-Batista, attorney, Weinberg, Roger and Rosenfeld
Meanwhile Jesús Navarro’s former co-workers maintain their fight. Since the start of the “silent raid” policy put in place by the Obama administration in 2009, ICE has reportedly carried out over 3,000 workplace raids, compared to about 500 in 2008. Civil rights activists note that companies employing unionized workers are most affected.
In September An I-9 Audit Freedom of Information Act filed by a law firm Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld in response to announcements by ICE last February and June to audit 2,000 employers. The request was on behalf of two local unions and one international union including the one that represents workers at Pacific Steel: the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers International Union Local 164 B; along with the ACLU-Northern California and the Service Employees International Union United Service Workers West, and the SF Bay Guardian newspaper
The request stated in part: “… it appears that many of the targets of these workplace enforcement investigations by DHS are not the unscrupulous or bad apple employers. To the contrary, worksites that have been targeted include employers that are trying to do the right thing such as abiding by industry standards and complying with state and federal employment laws. In many cases, targeted employers have been parties to existing collective bargaining agreements with labor unions where workers are paid a living wage and have further protected workplace rights. These audits have a detrimental impact to local businesses, the economy, and workers in the U.S.”
ACLU attorney Julia Harumi Mass said in a statement, “The public has a right to know about these ‘silent raids’ on American workplaces. Is the federal government trying to detect bad actors who hire undocumented workers to avoid labor law obligations, or are there other triggers that explain why several unionized workplaces have been audited recently?”
Conchita Lozano-Batista, an attorney with Weinberg, Roger and Rosenfeld stated “From janitorial firms, to Pacific Steel, to Chipotle, there is a lot that we just don’t know about federal immigration audits in the workplace.” She added: “…without the full picture and supporting documentation, it would seem that the employers who are bearing the brunt of these audits are employers who are involved in collective bargaining agreements with labor unions. That is bad for business, workers and the American people.”
Says Pacheco, “We are marching today for our dignity. For the hurt and sadness and the consequences of this audit. We are here to stop the injustice of this law. They talk about undocumented workers taking jobs but I’d like to know what would happen if for one day, all the undocumented laborers would stop working.”