Archive for March, 2011

Marching for One More Penny: The Coalition of Immokalee Workers Pickets Publix Supermarkets in Tampa Bay

March 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Nolan Kline
University of South Florida

Not My Usual Walk to the Grocery Store

It’s 11:00am on Saturday and I walk out of my second floor apartment after finishing my coffee.  In the distance I hear car horns honking, cheers, and an indiscernible chant.  I immediately recognize the energized din as part of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) second day of protesting, four blocks away at my neighborhood grocery store, Publix.  The CIW is a community-based activist organization that started in Immokalee, Florida, one of the state’s key agricultural towns. Founded in 1993, the CIW advocates for the rights of agricultural workers across the country.  Through its successful Fair Food Campaign, the CIW has negotiated with retailers like Whole Foods and fast food chains such as Subway, Burger King, and Taco Bell to pay growers one penny more for produce, allowing growers to increase compensation for farmworkers.

As I walk towards my neighborhood Publix I begin to identify words in the chant, having heard them from the protests that started the day before:

“Up, up with the fair food nation!  Down, down with the exploitation!”

I arrive at the Publix I frequent two to three times a week and am stunned by how unfamiliar it looks; the ordinarily desolate sidewalk surrounding the store teems with protestors wearing bright green shirts, carrying signs with slogans about farmworker hardship or calling for corporate responsibility. “Publix profits from Poverty,” reads one sign; “Consumers Crave a Living Wage,” reads another.

There are far more protestors at this Publix than the one I had visited the day before, and I join the protest line as one of the organizers yells a new chant for us to follow:

“No more slaves! Pay a living wage!” Read more…

News Round-Up Special Edition: Disaster in Japan

March 18, 2011 Leave a comment

One week after the start of the disaster in Japan, earthquake-induced power outages, food shortages, and the fear of radiation has prompted migration out of some regions and in some cases out of the country altogether. One news analyst even asks: Is the nuclear refugee the next type of environmental migrant?

The devastating impact of the earthquake and tsunami upon Japan’s largely invisible population of unauthorized immigrants remain to be seen. The January 1995 Kobe earthquake that killed 5,300 people and left 300,000 homeless prompted many unauthorized migrants to seek exit visas to leave Japan at their own expense. As this historical example shows, unauthorized migrants are not entitled to housing or other assistance that is made available to quake victims. Yesterday, the Migration Policy Institute posted a snapshot of the most recently available statistics on foreign nationals in the country, along with a link to their 2006 report on Japanese immigration policy. According to the information, 91,000 people overstayed their visas, plus another 13,000 to 22,000 estimated to have entered the country without authorization. Together, unauthorized migrants represent about 5 percent of the foreign nationals in Japan.

Some reports  over the past days indicate that relatives of migrant workers from the Philippines have been unable locate them on official lists of the missing. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) lists over 4,300 Filipinos in Japan. The DFA’s Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs has  set up a crisis management center for those concerned about the welfare of their family members.

Access Denied welcomes any reports on the situation of unauthorized migrants in Japan following the disasters. You can send us information at or simply post replies here.

News Round Up In-Brief

March 17, 2011 Leave a comment

News from the US:

  • As many state legislatures consider laws to expand the role of local police departments in immigration control, police chiefs across the country say they are reluctant to take on these tasks and want clear lines drawn between local crime-fighting and federal immigration enforcement, according to a new report by the Police Executive Research Forum.

Read more…

News Round Up In-Brief

March 2, 2011 Leave a comment

International News: