TNR Brief: Undocumented Arrests, Denver School Board Candidate, Farm Worker Poisoning

Interlaken, Switzerland (photo: The Nation Report)

An attorney for two construction workers who were arrested at Travis Air Force Base after being unable to produce documentation of a social security number says that neither has a criminal record.  Travis Air Force Base is located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The two workers are now facing deportation after security officials at the base called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after the two were detained at the base’s security check point.  Hugo Mejia and Rodrigo Nuñez say they were not aware that the hospital where they were hired to install sheet rock was on a military base.

Representative Jared Huffman and local organizations have since expressed public support for the two.  Alisa Whitfield, an immigration attorney, has submitted a request for the two to receive an interview with an asylum officer regarding their fear of returning to Mexico.

Questions have since arisen about whether officials at US military bases are required to report undocumented workers who visit bases.

Mejia is being held at Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center in Elk Grove.



Green Party Endorses Julie Bañuelos for Denver Public Schools

The Green Party of Colorado has ratified Denver Green Party’s endorsement of Julie Bañuelos for School Board Director (at-large).

Bañuelos is a recent former certified public school teacher and union leader, both as a site representative and as a member for the Denver Classroom Teacher’s Association board of directors.  She has taught for more than 15 years in predominantly low-income schools. She is also a certified Montessori teacher, and holds a degree in Economics and Latin American Studies from Grinnell College in Iowa.

The Greens have criticized what they say as DPS’  “model of privatization and school closures of the most vulnerable communities in the city [which] has become emulated by other neoliberal policymakers around the country.  Denver has been the test tube for the worst of the market-based, Friedmanite philosophies regarding our public commons.  Because the New Orleans school district has become entirely charter school-run, paying attention to this race, an outcome that Naomi Klein has termed “disaster capitalism,” is an imperative that Greens and allies should not ignore.”

Bañuelos has expressed support of the collective bargaining rights of workers,  opposition to school privatization, and is calling for a moratorium on new charters. She is also calling for the removal of police officers from schools and replacing them with fully-funded restorative justice programs.

Bañuelos and her nephew Iker. (photo: The Green Party)



United Farm Workers are reporting a May 5 incident of pesticide poisoning after several workers became seriously ill after working on a cabbage farm near Bakersfield, California.

Some workers fainted and others vomited.  Contaminated clothing later sickened family members of those who were exposed.  Emergency Response arrived to complete a decontamination, but because of a delay, didn’t reach most workers who had left at the end of their shifts.

Chlorpyrifos is suspected as being the chemical responsible for the contamination.  The chemical is known to attack the nervous system and slows brain development and lower IQs in children.  The chemical was being sprayed in a nearby farm.

In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took steps to ban the chemical which is produced by Dow Chemical who donated $1 million to President Trump’s inaugural committee.

On March 29, EPA head Scott Pruitt moved to stop the regulation that aims to ban chlorpyrifos.  Further threatening workers, Pruitt postponed the implementation of the Workers Protection Act and the Certified Pesticide Applicator’s rule thereby voiding much of years of advocacy work performed by the UFW and according to the group will threaten the nation’s food supply.

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