Helping New Orleans’ Workers Recover Stolen Wages

TakePart’s profile of the workers who came to help rebuild New Orleans 10 years ago and who remain, despite wage theft and discrimination. Their story is very much the heart of the Workplace Justice Project and the Wage Claim Clinic and is still an essential element of the landscape for low-wage workers in New Orleans.

Hector Carnero Mendoza in May 2015, inside a house he was helping to renovate. He says a previous employer owes him $2,000. (Photo Ben Depp)

DACA & DAPA: Avoiding Scams

President Obama has announced a series of executive actions on immigration. USCIS is NOT yet accepting applications or requests for these initiatives. Visit for information on when to submit a request.


Avoid Scams: Beware of anyone who offers to help you submit an application or request at this time based on the President’s announcement—it may be an immigration scam. More information about the Executive Actions on Immigration.

Acciones Ejecutivas sobre Inmigración: No solicite todavía. El Presidente Obama anunció una serie de acciones ejecutivas sobre inmigración. USCIS aún no está aceptando solicitudes o peticiones para estas iniciativas.

Evite estafas: Tenga cuidado con personas que le ofrezcan ayuda para obtener beneficios relacionados con el anuncio del presidente; podría ser una estafa de inmigración. Mas información sobre acciones ejecutivas sobre inmigración.

Visite para información sobre cuándo presentar una petición.






Using Jailed Migrants as a Pool of Cheap Labor

“As the federal government cracks down on immigrants in the country illegally and forbids businesses to hire them, it is relying on tens of thousands of those immigrants each year to provide essential labor — usually for $1 a day or less — at the detention centers where they are held when caught by the authorities.

“The federal authorities say the program is voluntary, legal and a cost-saver for taxpayers. But immigrant advocates question whether it is truly voluntary or lawful, and argue that the government and the private prison companies that run many of the detention centers are bending the rules to convert a captive population into a self-contained labor force.”

Read more from the NY Times here

WTUL New Orleans 91.5FM Highlights Immigrants in New Orleans

New Orleans 91.5 FM

The Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University provides engaging opportunities for learning about Latin America through the New Orleans community with the semesterly Enlaces Américas Audio Podcast Series. The final series of the spring semester will be aired THIS Friday, May 9th between 8:00 am – 8:30 am on WTUL 91.5 FM or if you are at your computer, you can listen online: This batch of podcasts focuses on New Orleans immigrants highlighting issues of access to healthcare, education, and small business ownership in New Orleans. Check it out Friday morning or later by clicking on the “MEDIA” tab on the Stone Center website where all podcasts are archived:

How often are unauthorized immigrant workers trafficked and abused?

A recent study finds that more than 30% of undocumented migrant laborers are victims of labor trafficking and 55% are victims of other labor abuses.

“One shouldn’t be surprised by the findings from the study. While we are all striving for a better life, we as a society should become more conscientious about improving the working conditions of those whom we have come to depend on for our living standard,” commented the study authors.

The researchers also found that illegal status is likely the most significant factor contributing to vulnerability to trafficking violations and abuse.

“Labor trafficking and other forms of gross exploitation are happening in the U.S. and always to those who have the least,” the researchers concluded. “The challenge is to figure out what to do about them.”

Read more about this study here

Cesar Chavez resolution waylaid

“What could have been a simple move in the Senate to honor the late labor activist Cesar Chavez got tangled up in a partisan dispute — over immigration. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) tried Monday evening to get unanimous consent for a resolution honoring the co-founder of what is now the United Farm Workers labor union. But Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) promptly blocked the request.

Conservatives have noted that Chavez favored a tougher stance on immigration. | AP Photo

Conservatives have noted that Chavez favored a tougher stance on immigration. | AP Photo

“The influential farmworkers union [UFW] says it has been a consistent proponent of immigration reform — for instance, Huerta helped write the amnesty provisions of the 1986 immigration law under President Ronald Reagan that helped legalize 1 million farmworkers.

“Monday would have been Chavez’s 87th birthday, and President Barack Obama has designated the day as “Cesar Chavez Day” to be honored with service, community and education programs. Chavez died in 1993 at age 66.”

Read more here.

Immigration Raids Causing Fear Among Many in N.O. Area

The New Orleans Advocate recently reported on immigration raids in the metro area that are sparking both fear and protest. “People in southern Louisiana should especially understand the need for immigration reform, said [Susan] Weishar [migration specialist of the Jesuit Social Research Institute], noting that a 2006 study found that more than half of the workforce rebuilding the region after Hurricane Katrina was Latino and that half of those workers were undocumented.”

“Erika Zucker, a policy advocate at Loyola’s Workplace Justice Project, which helps low-wage workers collect their wages, said the raids make undocumented workers less likely to assert their right to be paid for work they’ve done.” Find the full story here.