On January 28th, hotpot!, along with NQAPIA (Ben de Guzman) and Unid@s (Lisbeth Melendez) presented a workshop called Queer/Trans and Immigrant Identities: Bringing Movements Together at the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change.
As one of the presenters, I was talking about my history of how I came to United States and about my experience working with immigrants while being an immigrant myself and the policies that affected me, my family and friends.
Text of my presentation
First I want to talk about E-verify and how it affects immigrant workers. E-verify is an electronic employment verification system. its verifying the status of their workers and whether they’re undocumented or not and therefore not allowed to work. Undocumented workers contributes a lot to the U.S economy and without their work we could potentially lose $2.7 billion.
Then there’s the error rates. Government figures suggest the errors in a mandatory E-Verify system will cause close to 800,000 American workers to lose their jobs incorrectly, and another 3.6 million will have to spend time correcting mistakes. That’s bad for these workers and for their employers, who will lose productive work hours and, in the case of wrongful terminations, lose trained employees.
The error rate is especially bad for employers and sectors who have higher proportions of immigrant workers, including naturalized citizens and permanent residents. Permanent residents and naturalized citizens are at least ten times more likely to be wrongly identified as “unauthorized” by E-Verify. Mandating this system will codify discrimination against these workers and their employers.
Why is it bad for us, the queer and trans community? Here’s an example: If someone’s legal name doesn’t match their working papers the E-verify will say that this person is ineligible for work. For the economy overall, mandating E-verify will drive more people to do under table jobs resulting in less federal tax revenue.
Next is the S-Com and PARS Agreement. Secure communities encourages racial profiling against anyone who’s not white especially Latinos and people who’s name and gender id doesn’t fit their formal identification such as transgender, gender queer and Gender Non Conforming folks. Until October last year there were 3,600 US citizens arrested through s com and 40% of those detained by ICE (Immigration Enforcement Agency) under DHS (Department of Homeland Security) have spouses or children who are citizens.
PARS Agreement stands for Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System agreement, a program which unlike Secure Communities, is using fingerprints to screen for undocumented immigrants. The Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System automatically releases information about those who come under the purview of police as perpetrators or witnesses to crime.
While the program nets some undocumented immigrants who are guilty of serious crimes, immigrant advocacy groups warn it also picks up people who commit minor, non-violent crimes, such as driving with a broken tail light — and even those who reported domestic violence and places them in detention centers which are prisons.
This creates a sense of fear towards the police so they rarely report any violence.
It is even harder if you’re transgender/queer immigrants because there has been cases of transgender gender queer folks being in-humanely isolated and not getting the medical attention they need in these detention centers. Some eventually die in detention facilities. They also experience violence including assault, rape and sexual abuse, separation/further isolation from families, support and network and from legal help by moving them to different cities and states hundreds of miles away.
I will close my presentation by showing you a video that will give a better sense of how the government, the lobbyist and big companies seeks profits out of immigrants.