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Resisting La Migra: Defending immigrants spawns the Oregon farmworker movement Part I: A meeting that changes the course of (my) history. Even today, after countless times, driving through Mt. Angel, Oregon is a surreal experience. Mt. Angels a rural town of a couple thousand residents in the Northern Willamette Valley, thirty-five miles southwest of Portland. All the towns store fronts sport Bavarian-style facades. The towns signature event, an annual, four-day Octoberfest celebration in mid-September, brings out the areas predominantly German growers and attracts thousands of others. Locals and tourists from Salem and Portland descend on the huge biergarten and the stands selling bratwurst and sauerkraut. Hundreds don lederhosen and feathered hats. I was barely twenty-three years old the first time I drove into Mt. Angel, right in the midst of Octoberfest, 1976. As a Jew and the son of a World War Two infantry private who, three decades earlier, had helped liberate concentration camps as an eighteen-year-old draftee, I grew up with my fathers express ban on German-manufactured goods in our household and his prohibition on watching TV programs like Hogans Heroes, a 1960s comedy about allied POWs in a camp run by bumbling Nazis. As a teenager, I had helped organize activities observing the annual Shoah Holocaust commemoration at my reform synagogue and had seen Night and Fog, a graphic French documentary on the Holocaust, at least ten times. Just passing through a celebration of things-German gave me the creeps. On a damp Saturday morning in mid-September 1976, I drove slowly down Mt. Angels Main Street, past the Octoberfest crowds beginning to gather. I proceeded on a few blocks to the campus of Colegio Csar Chvez, where I was to meet Cipriano Ferrel, a student there. Rocky Barilla, a legal services lawyer in nearby Salem, had arranged the meeting. Rocky served as the adjunct faculty supervisor for Ciprianos internship at Marion-Polk Legal Services, under the auspices of the Colegios College Without Walls program. I met Rocky in March 1976 when he came to Spokane, Washington for a legal training. He had found his way to the house which I shared with three co-workers at Spokane Legal Services. I got in touch with Rocky right after I moved to Vancouver, Washington to work as a VISTA volunteer paralegal in the Clark County Public Defender office. Theres someone I really want you to meet, he said. If you can come to Mt. Angel, Ill set it up. Pulling into the Colegios parking lot, I spotted Rockys mid-60s Mercedes. His girlfriend stepped out and reported that Rocky had fallen ill and

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asked her to take his place. She recognized Cipriano standing just outside the main building and introduced us. Cipriano had a round face, high cheek bones, gold wire-rim glasses, a wispy goatee and waist length black hair. He stood a few inches shorter than I and had a stockier build. As I approached, he extended his hand but his body leaned slightly back, firmly maintaining his center of gravity. I would soon come to see that as a metaphor for his personality. At Rockys request, Cipriano had agreed to show me around. The Chicanos took over this campus about three years ago and named it for Csar, he began as we embarked on a ten-minute tour of the campus five buildings. Before that, when it was Mt. Angel College, the students were mostly hippies. The College couldnt make it financially, so they recruited whoever they could. Thats how the hippies and the Chicanos arrived. The gabachos around here were so freaked out about the drugged out hippies that they were relieved at first when the Chicanos started arriving. During a summer in Spain, I had learned enough Spanish to get around, but that didnt include slang, like gabacho, coined by Mexicans raised in the U.S. The context made its meaning pretty clear. Like bolillo, I thought to myself: white bread, Spaniards slang for white people. Cipriano gestured to a huge cedar tree a few yards from the main road. They say that the fire department had to come out one night and rescue some hippies who had dropped acid and climbed the tree, naked. He went on to relate the Colegios protracted struggle against the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agencys efforts to foreclose on the Colegios huge debt, inherited from Mt. Angel College, and to evict the Colegio from the Mt. Angel campus. About his own path to Mt. Angel, Cipriano volunteered only the basics. I arrived here in Fall 1975 from Eugene, he remarked before changing the subject. I later learned that he had come to Oregon from his home in Delano, California. He intended to enroll at the University of Oregon but was quickly drawn to the Colegio. His parents worked in the table grape harvest, as did he and some of his ten siblings. While still in high school, Cipriano formed a chapter of the Brown Berets, a militant organization of Chicano youth. He joined the Farmworker Movement, eventually becoming personal assistant and sometime bodyguard for UFW co-founder Csar Chvez. The conversation turned to conditions in the Mexican community. La Migras terrorizing people, Cip told me. I did know that La Migra was slang for the Immigration and Naturalization Service or INS. Practically every week, raids happen in the fields, at labor camps, at apartments, laundromats, anywhere they think they can grab people. They sometimes set up check points on highways

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to catch workers going to work, he explained. Weve got to do something, he continued, and a few of us here and in Salem are talking about exactly that. Id never seen an INS raid, but I had observed a deportation hearing in Spokane, part of my paralegal duties at Legal Services. Mention of checkpoints summoned a memory from 1969, the summer I turned sixteen, traveling up the coastal highway toward Haifa, Israel. Looking out the bus window, I noticed the six-inch steel-spike strips positioned to narrow traffic to one lane. The bus, along with every vehicle in front and behind, stopped at that spot on the citys outskirts. An Israeli soldierno older than twentycarrying an Uzi sub-machine gun boarded the bus. He barked a command in Hebrew to the Arab man seated across the aisle from me: Show me your papers. The man fumbled for a few seconds but produced nothing. The soldier pulled him upright and pushed him toward the front where another soldier escorted him off the bus. As the soldier with the Uzi turned to continue his inspection, he greeted me and smiled. I had left my passport in my room at the nearby agricultural school but I didnt need it. My white skin and American appearance were the only credentials the soldier required of me. Seven years later, the outrage I felt at that moment still sent a chill through me. Ciprianos description of La Migra got me thinking about my mothers parents who had arrived at Ellis Island from Russia in 1923, fleeing the chaos and anti-Semitic persecution of the civil war. My grandmother and her infant son my Uncle Alwere deported and spent months in Amsterdam awaiting a second attempt to immigrate. In the months following that Octoberfest day in Mt. Angel, Cipriano and I and others did do something: we founded a new organization, the Willamette Valley Immigration Project (WVIP), to defend immigrants by educating and supporting them to assert their legal rights. Almost exactly one year after the day we met, Cipriano and I found ourselves in a cramped INS hearing room at the downtown Portland Federal Courthouse. This is a deportation hearing in the case of Alfonso GarciaDominguez, announced Immigration Judge Newton T. Jones. Looking at me, Jones continued: Present in addition to Respondent is The Projects first legal fight was on. Our defense of Alfonso would establish a fundamental protection for immigrants that is still in effect today nationwide.

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Part II: Law enforcement as resistance Getting ready for a fight we set out to pick WVIP opened the door to its two-room office in Portlands downtown Dekum Building on May 2, 1977. Our inaugural press release declared our mission: to conduct community education on immigration law and policy and provide legal representation on immigration matters, particularly deportation. Quoted in The Oregonian article headlined Undocumented aliens learn legal rights from volunteers, WVIP co-founder and volunteer staff attorney Ann Witte was considerably more pointed: We want to let undocumented workers know that they do not have to incriminate themselves if they are approached by immigration officers. They do not have to answer questionswe will provide legal services to them. Our unannounced goal was to dramatically slow the deportation machines wheels and raises its costs, resulting in fewer arrests. Our legal strategy to achieve that goal depended on workers exercising their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and refusing to sign waivers authorizing their voluntary return to Mexico. The INS depended on these waivers to expeditiously remove several thousand immigrants arrested in Oregon each year. Our worldview connected undocumented workers presence in Oregon and INSs repressive practices to one hundred years of U.S. economic, immigration and foreign policy. As we saw it, U.S.-based companies exploited other countries economically, lowering living standards for workers there and caused them to emigrate. U.S. domestic industries like agriculture capitalized on their lack of immigration status as a key lever of control. Our work, we modestly promised ourselves, would open thousands of eyes and minds to these injustices as we struck a blow against empireor at least our obscure corner of it. In the Projects early days, we organized public forums and trainings in Portland and at the Colegio which attracted a few dozen people, mostly political and community sympathizers. Our presentations described the correlation between labor needs in the U.S. and the economic conditions in Mexico. We keyed on the Bracero program, begun during the Second World War, which brought Mexican workers by the thousands to pick Oregon crops. Some entered the U.S. with temporary work visas but many without, especially after the Bracero program expired in 1964. From day one, the Project stepped into the debateraging as hot as ever todayabout the question do undocumented workers take away jobs from U.S. or legal workers? Our position wasand isfor most part, no. Time and

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again, the INS would target raids in order to free up jobs for legal residents and U.S.-citizen workers, but they rarely showed up to fill those jobs. One common refrain from anti-immigrant pundits in 1977 posited that undocumented immigrants are eating our lunch. We countered that, as the backbone of the agriculture and service industries, theyre making our lunch. However compelling, our macro analysis and political rhetoric had precious little impact on the realities of frequent raids and arrests. Therefore, we focused our trainings on legal defense theories and tactics, on lining up the capacity for quick and effective legal response, and on developing strategies for disseminating clear and reliable information to workers and families. Quick response to arrests, we concluded, necessitated an office minutes away from INS headquarters. The Dekum Building on Third Street in downtown Portland placed us within eight blocks. Starting in October 1976, progressive lawyers, law students, legal workers and community activists gathered into working groups in Eugene, Salem and Portland. A common connection for most was membership in the National Lawyers Guild. Founded in 1937 as the first multi-racial legal organization, the Guild had 8,000 members and had long served as the legal arm of practically every progressive movement and struggle. I had joined while still in Spokane and made contact with the small but active Portland chapter. Within three weeks of meeting Cipriano, I had recruited about twenty Guild members to the first Portland gathering on organizing raid response. It was an encouraging sign of interest, stoked by reports of major INS actions in Salem and Woodburn that month. The first statewide meeting in January, hosted at Marion-Polk Legal Services by Cipriano, Rocky and fellow staff attorney Steve Goldberg produced agreement to incorporate two non-profits, open a Portland office in the spring and a temporary summer office at Colegio staffed by three NLG Summer Project interns. Incorporation papers filed March 21, 1977 established Willamette Valley Immigration Project which we regarded as a more activist organization. Ten days later, we incorporated the Willamette Valley Law Project as the research and education arm, our entity qualified to be a 501(c)(3) and receive foundation grants. We set to work on raising money. We submitted applications for the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) funds. In the early days of the Carter Administration, Congress had enacted CETA and local jurisdictions expected funding to become available imminently for distribution to non-profit organizations.

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Developing a legal strategy Though many among WVIPs co-founders came from the legal world, few knew much, if any thing, about immigration law, much less the realities of immigration law practice. Our preparations to open for business, therefore, took on a study group quality. As a part-time law school instructor on immigration law, Rocky got us started, but our learning process was co-operative and teacher-less. Wed assign ourselves sections of law and legal treatises and then each present summaries, complete with commentary about what we thought the law should mean. Since we intended to do battle on INSs bureaucratic turf, it would have made practical sense to seek out the small set of experienced immigration defense lawyers in Portland for advice. We did eventually cross their paths but didnt seek their guidance. They operated in the world of the high-priced hired gun which we regarded as part of the problem. Our reflex toward self-reliance would re-surface many times in the years ahead. For the most part, it served us well, reinforcing our resilience and resourcefulness. But we also over-indulged at times and ranged into a stubborn do-it-yourself orthodoxy and the all-too predictable outcome commonly called learning the hard way. Our study and analysis persuaded us that an undocumented immigrant invoking the constitutional right against self-incrimination could expose the INSs legal Achilles heel, even though deportation, the Supreme Court had long held, was a civil matter, not a criminal one. In its infantile wisdom, the Court found that expulsion from the country, however drastic its effect, does not constitute a punishment. Defining immigration proceedings as outside the realm of criminal law meant that the accused had no Sixth Amendment right to a lawyer at government expense, if the accused could not afford representation. Respondents (not defendants) in deportation hearings have a right to legal counsel at their own expense. The Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful searches and seizures likewise did not apply to deportation proceedings. The INS could acquire evidence, including a confession, without a search warrant or probable cause and use it to support a deportation order. The right to due process of law is guaranteed to all by the Fifth Amendment governs criminal and civil proceedings. It places on the INS the burden to prove that the Respondent is not a U.S. citizen. Since few undocumented workers carry around proof of their citizenship (e.g., a birth certificate, foreign passport, or consular-issued identification), the only evidence INS can readily procure is the immigrants own statement or admissions regard citizenship and

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place of birth. In this light, what workers sayor dont sayto INS agents, voluntarily or under interrogation, becomes crucial. An immigrant who enters the U.S. without presenting him/herself at an INS border crossing facility can be charged with a federal crime. Therefore, such an immigrant apprehended inside the U.S. has a Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer a question about his or her citizenship and manner of entry. If the INS uses coercion and/or misleading tactics to obtain an immigrants statement, we could move to exclude it as evidence at a deportation hearing. Without that evidence, INS would have no admissible proofand the immigrant Respondent would walk free. Or so we theorized. This strategy required three ingredients to succeed: (1) immigrants who understood these rights and resolved to exercise them; (2) legal representation that was affordable and accessible to immigrants; and (3) an administrative or judicial court that accepted and validated our theory. The Project staff and volunteers would provide the second and we set out in search of the first. We assumed that sooner or later, the INS would encounter workers who, with our support, would refuse to incriminate themselves, stand firm and contact us. A Project legal defense team would spring into action. The resulting test case would produce the third ingredient. Crafting and distributing Know Your Rights cards To educate and enlist workers, we quickly decided to create a tri-fold, wallet-sized, bilingual card providing straightforward practical advice and the Projects contact information. We boiled down our message to these essentials:
Even if you dont have papers: 1. You dont have to answer any questions asked by Immigration. Talk to a lawyer first. 2. Dont let officials into your house without a warrant. 3. Dont sign anything, especially a document for voluntary departure. Dont give in to threats or promises. Talk to a lawyer about: A locally-held hearing before deportation. Release from jail with or without bail. Help getting your papers. For FREE legal help, call Willamette Valley Immigration Project

In the right hand corner, the card featured WVIPs logo: a women, holding a child in her left arm and raising her right arm in a fist. She faced a man with his left fist raised, grasping strands of barbed wire. Above the family floated the words Ya

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Basta and below them Con La Migra (enough alreadywith La Migra). This, we felt, sufficiently communicated our political sentiments. During the 1977 summer harvest season, WVIP staff, summer interns and volunteers distributed the entire first printing of 5,000 cards at about a hundred labor camps in the six Western Oregon counties with high farmworker concentrations. In a typical visit, many workers initially reacted apprehensively, even startled by strangers mention of La Migra. By the time wed leave a camp a few minutes later, workers seemed more at ease and at least guardedly reassured that our visit did not foreshadow a raid. A few relaxed enough to volunteer stories of their encounters with INS agents. Some took our offer at face value and promised that they would call us if arrested. We felt hopeful but wondered nonetheless how real our promise of help would actually seem when a worker faced an armed and hostile agent. Documenting INS practices and their toll Before we got the chance to visit camps in the Columbia Gorge orchards around Hood River and The Dalles, sixty miles east of Portland, the INS conducted a major sweep. It started June 22, 1977 just as the cherry harvest got underway. A team of eleven INS agents arrested and deported forty-six workers and sent shock waves of fear which caused hundreds more workers to flee the area. Project volunteer David Bolaos and I traveled to The Dalles a few days later to document the raids. We interviewed a few witnesses, including a worker in a ten-cabin labor campthe only worker left there. They sped in, jumped out of their patrol cars and walked directly into every cabin, demanding papers from anyone they found inside, the worker recalled. A few workers returning to the camp from the orchard saw the migra and ran, he continued. The agents nabbed and handcuffed a couple of them and brought them over to where they had gathered the others arrested in the cabins. A few minutes later, they were all on the bus headed out. I dont think they even let any get their belongings. He paused and looked at the apparently empty cabins. Some of the guys who got away may still be around, but theyre scared to return. In the months and years ahead, wed hear countless reports like that one. In time, the workers descriptions of INS tactics would come to sound routine. But it was the workers intense look, usually accompanied by an involuntary verbal tremble, channeling rekindled anger or fear, that connected us in a personal way to every first-hand account.

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Our investigation of the raid in The Dalles took a unique course. David and I stumbled on a local supermarket manager who reported that he had ordered the INS off his property. He confronted them as they accosted brown-skinned customers in the parking lot and demanded papers. They even pissed off the DA, he remarked. Noting our surprise, he added: Thats Bernie Smith, Wasco County District Attorney. Hes a grower, too, you know. Actually, we didnt know. We proceeded straight down the street to the county courthouse to learn more. Smith welcomed us into his office and launched excitedly into his rendering of events without even asking us who we represented or why we inquired. I told those agents to halt the warrantless searches or face arrest for criminal trespass, he boomed. They responded by implicitly threatening me with jail for interference with federal authorities, his voice still rising. They told me they had every right to enter orchards and referred me to Sid Lezak, the U.S. Attorney. I called Lezak and he denied giving any advice to the agents. He called back an hour later to inform me that the agents had only a limited legal right to search private property without warrants. As Smith caught his breath, David and I flashed each other a look of shared amazement. An anti-INS prosecutor telling us the what-all?! Smith leaned forward in his chair and fired off the capper: If these guys operate like they own the orchards, they better be prepared to use those guns theyre carrying. As far as Im concerned, theyre completely unprofessional and use Gestapo tactics. The cursory news reports on the raids in The Dalles mentioned nothing about this incredible and apparently open schism within the usually closed ranks of law enforcement brethren. This story had to be told, I decided. After returning to Portland, I contacted an editor at The Oregonian, Oregons primary daily paper. Did he say that on the record? the editor asked. I cant run that unless he makes it clear that he did. With nothing to lose, I called Smith and explained my purpose. Again, to my astonishment, he not only repeated his statement, but encouraged me to quote him. And he added a new twist: Im recommending to the county sheriff and the judges [the title used by county commissioners in Eastern Oregon] that any continuation of the informal agreement we have with the INS covering federal use of our jail facilities be predicated on an end to warrantless searchesand we should at least triple the charges for services to non-Wasco County authorities. I repeated his words back to him. Thats right, he declared. You know, they only pay us ten dollars per person per day for federal prisoners we hold in our jail. Yet another thing I didnt know. He concluded by musing that perhaps the

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County should cancel the jail cooperation agreement altogether if the INS couldnt respect private property rights. I called the editor at The Oregonian, read out the quotes, and offered to write the story as a stringer. Ask INS for their comment and well go with it, he replied. Needless to say, the INS denied everything. Were some of the besttrained law enforcement personnel in this country, boasted INS agent Ed Fisher, citing the ability of agents to speak Spanish. I also dug deeper into the raids aftermath. I included this summary in the text I submitted for publication:
In response to the desperate post-raid calls for as many as 2,000 farm workers, a busload of Southeast Asian refugees arrived, and welfare and food stamp recipients were brought out from Portland. But the growers expressed dissatisfaction with most of the new arrivals. As one expressed it: White people just dont pick well. Im not going to send $100 worth of equipment out with someone wholl only pick $5 worth of cherries. According to [INS District Director Lyle] Dahlin, The Dalles raid had been planned for two or three weeksbecause of reports of trouble in the area caused by aliens without jobs, complaints by students unable to secure harvest work, and the pattern of where, when and in what concentrations aliens are usually found. Shortly before the raids, growers had been reporting a shortage of farm labor. Fisher said the INS was not out to hurt anyone economically. The growers are the victims of a bad situation; the illegals have come every year and been hired. Therere no skilled Americans left to do the job. But the growers see a different problem: We raise a crop that is dependent on experienced, skilled pickers, remarked one grower. Then the INS comes and runs off more than they round up. Even legal workers are afraid of them and would just as soon work in California.

On July 13, 1977, The Oregonian printed a 750-word article entitled Raiding INS agents rile officials with my name in the by-line. Apparently unable to overcome their squeamishness, they took out Smiths reference to the Gestapo and they placed the article on the op-ed page, even though it read entirely like a news story. Raiding INS agents would stand as my one and only foray into paid journalism. The Oregonian paid me five cents a word.

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Part III: Putting our resistance strategy to the test The raid that set up a legal show-down Little did we know that barely a month after The Dalles raid, wed move much closer to live action occurring less than ten miles from the WVIP offices. On August 16, 1977, INS agents arrested ten Mexican farmworkers including 18-year-old Alfonso Garca-Dominguez, his cousin, Toribio, and his uncle Pedro. The three harvested vegetables for fresh market on Joe Cereghinos truck farm in Gresham, just east of Portland. Alfonso and Toribio had come to the U.S. two years earlier from lvaro Obregon, Michoacan, a town near Morelia, Michoacans capital. In his forties, Pedro had come to the U.S. many times, first as a bracero or temporary agricultural worker in the 1950s. Agents took them in handcuffs to a small enclave of cabins nearby to collect their few possessions. Once there, agents confiscated a lettuce knife and a pair of scissors from Alfonso and threw them into the bushes. Cereghino arrived at the cabins, and Alfonso approached him to show him a phone number that Alfonso had written on his arm. Contact Ann and see if she can help, Alfonso told Cereghino. Cereghino knew that Ann was an attorney, but didnt know her last name or phone number. Before he could note the number, INS agent Travis Martin grabbed Alfonsos arm and rubbed off the ink. We would later learn that Martins conduct on August 16th qualified as restrained when measured on the scale of his brutality. He and fellow agent Tom Casey had earned, and even relished, a reputation as tough. Martin took the workers to INS headquarters for processing. Over the next twenty hours, Alfonso made six separate requests to contact his attorney, Ann. Agents ignored or refused the requests. At 11:00 AM the next morning, Alfonso, Toribio and Pedro abandoned hope and signed INS forms waiving their rights to deportation hearings, admitting their foreign citizenship, and requesting voluntary departure. INS agents then allowed Alfonso to call Ann. The Ann Alfonso contacted was Ann Witte. I had first met her in October 1976, shortly after I arrived at the Public Defender office in Vancouver, across the Columbia River from Portland. Ann had previously worked there and then set up her all-purpose private practice representing low-income and working people. Even before meeting her, I had learned of one of her claims to fame in Clark County. In 1974, she became the first female attorney to wear a pants suit or pants of any kindto court. The presiding judge rebuked and banished her

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from the courtroom. She wouldnt relent. He ultimately did. Relentless described Ann well. With her high energy personality, rebel spirit, and actionhero drive, she established an instant rapport with her clients. Ann got to know Alfonso and Pedro through her boyfriend, Jesus Gonzlez. At some point in their acquaintance, she surely told them if you ever get arrested by La Migra, dont sign anything and call me. She probably repeated those instructions whenever the conversation drifted into stories of run-ins with the INS. After receiving Alfonsos call that Wednesday morning, Ann went straight to the U.S. Marshalls detention facility one floor above the INSs offices. She sought agent Caseys permission to visit the detainees. He told me, grinning from ear to ear, that they had signed voluntary departure forms and waived their rights. He said he didnt have to let me see them, but he supposed I might help them with paychecks or something so hed let me go in and say good-bye, Ann wrote a few days later. Her statement continued:
After ten minutes or so, I went back out and told Casey theyd repudiated and demanded a hearing. He puffed up and grew red and stomped downed to the detention facility, checking his gun at the locker by the door. He said they would have to tell him themselves. He wouldnt take my word for it or let me put words in their mouth, because I must have filled them full of bull. When we got into the glass-walled room, he ranted for a minute or two, but sort of ran down because his Spanish didnt cover what he wanted to say. I left when he was shaking his fist at me and then came back after calling the Marshall and the U.S. Attorney. I interrupted [Casey]. He let me, to my surprise. I spoke to my clients, explained that they had the rights I had told them about earlier, and that if they wanted me to work for them, to try to get bail for them and tell them judge their side of the story, they should just turn their heads over to Mr. Casey and say Si. So they did. Then the other agent, with the wavy silver hair, took me aside and said he thought I should know that I was really misadvising these guys, not doing them a favor, because this was their only chance for voluntary departure and that was a lot better than deportation. I said if that was the policy, it was illegal in my view and that I knew they didnt think much of my knowledge, but I had read a lot and studied several years and there was a lot of law outside of the Immigration & Nationality Act that applied here. They might expect to learn from me, too. He nodded, sadly.

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INS agents generated the paperwork for deportation proceedings and set bond at $2,000 each. That meant posting the full amount, in cash, not ten percent as routinely allowed in Oregon state courts. Since departure no longer appeared imminent, the INS transferred Alfonso, Toribio and Pedro to a county jail thirty miles away. This gave agents an opportunity to continue to browbeat them. Your lawyer doesnt know the law and cant help you Youre crazy if you think el patrn [employer] will post your bail You dont have any rights to anything, Alfonso later recalled. The agents repeatedly dubbed them los tres locos.. These tactics partially succeeded. Toribio withdrew his request for a hearing and accepted immediate departure under safeguardsin custody until reaching the Mexican border. The three crazies were down to two. On August 19th, Joe Cereghino put up $4,000 in bond money guaranteeing the court appearances of Alfonso and Pedro. The INS released them and set their deportation hearings for September 14th. That summer, we had handed Know Your Rights cards to thousands of workers. The one worker who actually acted on the cards advice, it turned out, didnt have the card, but he did trust the person who told him to reject voluntary departure. Even before we got to the deportation hearing, the case of Alfonso GarcaDominguez had illustrated two critical lessons. First, to foment resistance, establishing relationships with workers would count for more than disseminating information to them. Workers assumedor would discoverthat saying no to INS agents risked serious consequences. Second, we needed to adjust our tactics so that we and the detained worker did not depend on the INS respecting a detainees right to call legal counsel. Chances are, INS detained few, if any, workers that summer who actually had one of our rights cards and asked to contact us. But if INS illegally held workers incommunicado, how would we ever know? Whos picking up our gauntletthe one INS just cast back at our feet? All of a suddenand frankly, sooner than we imaginedwe had our big chance to test a central legal tenet of our resistance strategy: the admissibility of a coerced confession as evidence to support a deportation order. How ready were we? Perhaps a more precise question was: who would be sitting next to Alfonso in the counsel chair at his deportation hearing in three weeks? Admittedly, it seemed a strange question, given the legal talent we had mobilized. By midAugust, however, the student summer interns were gone and the CETA grants, and the staff whose salaries CETA would fund, had yet to materialize. Ann had

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returned to private practice and was tied up with other cases. We could have called in Ann, or maybe one of our supporters, like Rocky, or some other legal aid lawyer, but ultimately, we didnt have to. I took that seat next to Alfonso. Having me assume that role might seem plausible enough, except that I wasnt then and am still not an attorney or even a law student (at least in any formal sense). I didnt look much like a convincing imposter either as I walked into the hearing room in my second-hand sports coat and tie which accessorized my collar-length black beard. When Immigration Judge Newton Jones began the hearing with his rote opening recitals and got to sentence which starts Present in addition to Respondent is, he looked up and paused, realizing that he didnt know my name. I stated it for the record and handed him a legal appearance form which listed my status as accredited representative. As near as we could tell, I was the first person ever to do that in Oregon. Jones barely glanced at the form. His force of habit propelled him right past that moment and its historic significance. All right, he continued, not missing a beat in his cadence. here is the appearance of the attorney for the Respondent. Even before we opened WVIPs offices, we had discovered a provision in the immigration regulations which allows non-profit organizations to seek recognition. Recognized organizations could nominate individuals for a threeyear, renewable term of accreditation. An accredited representative is authorized to practice at the administrative level before the INS, the immigration court and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) with powers on a par with attorneys. Given that we foresaw a prolonged campaign of legal battles, this opportunity to bring non-attorneys into the corps of front-line legal fighters seemed almost too good to be true. To receive accreditation, nominees must have good moral character and possess the requisite experience in and knowledge of immigration law and procedure. Though good moral character is defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act, there was no elaboration available in 1977and still virtually none todayilluminating what exactly constitutes requisite experience and knowledge or how a nominee could demonstrate it. The Portland District resisted WVIPs request for recognition but the BIA overruled their contrived objections on July 1, 1977. The Project immediately nominated me for accreditation. INS District Director, Lyle Dahlin, recommended neither approval nor denial, claiming that he had insufficient information. The BIA remanded the matter, instructing him, in effect, to get more.

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Dahlin elected to call me in for a personal interview, a sort of quiz. He greeted me stiffly. His pale and fleshy face with its clipped mustache reminded me of the ruthless Chilean dictator, Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Struck, as I was, by that image, his soft-spoken manner surprised me. Like most of the INSs three dozen district directors around the country, he was a career INSer who had risen through the ranks. Dahlins interview with me lasted no more than twenty minutes. After glancing at my two-page resume, he asked a half dozen questions, each about basic immigration law and procedureand none probing my moral character. Though I answered one question incorrectly, he recommended approval. The BIA granted accreditation on September 7th, exactly one week before Alfonsos hearing. Ironically, the answer I got wrong pertained to suspension of deportation, a type of case that would later become one of my specialties. The day before Alfonsos hearing, a minor panic seized me. What would I be bringing to immigration court besides my case file and my just-hatched career as an accredited representative? True, Id been around the law off and on for as long as I could remember. My home-schooling, conducted by my tax-lawyer father, conditioned me to parrot meaningless legalese as a first-grader. After eighth grade, I filed tax manual updates and ran errands at my fathers downtown Chicago law office. As a teenager, I trained and volunteered as a draft counselor. I incited heated debates at the dinner table about the Vietnam War and about my expected future as a lawyer. To alleviate my anxiety on the eve of the hearing, I re-read the handful of loose-leaf notebook pages on deportation defense in Immigration Law and Defense, the National Lawyers Guild practice manual circulated for the first time only weeks before. I shot over to the Multnomah County Courthouse law library and looked up and read (in some cases, re-read) every legal precedent cited on those pages, a skill Id mastered during my year writing appellate briefs at the Public Defender. The judicial support for our strategy seemed sketchy at best. Wishful thinking, I muttered to myself, cringing. At that moment, I didnt draw much self-assurance from my self-guided study of immigration policy history and administrative procedures. I scolded myself for failing to learn more about the seven hundred possible grounds for deportation. The notion that WVIP stood, as did only a relative few, at the edge of this legal frontier afforded little consolation. Those few, it seemed, might not know very much more than we did.

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The hearing that made history and the ruling that extended historic rights The next morning, as planned, a dozen WVIP supporters assembled outside the Federal Courthouse in Portland and proceeded together to the INS offices on the third floor. Their excitement and anticipation thinned my fog of self-doubt. The look on Alfonsos face cleared and concentrated my mind. Gone was the elation and hint of cockiness I remembered seeing shortly after the INS released him from detention. In its place, apprehension, even dread, shown through an unconvincing veneer of nonchalance. Entering the building, riding the elevator and stepping into the narrow hallway lined with office doors, I kept an eye on Alfonso. A door twenty feet ahead flung open and an armed detention officer wearing the trademark pine-green Migra uniform strode out, thankfully headed away from us. Alfonso momentarily froze, probably imagining the ruffians who had arrested him grabbing him again right then and there. After all, he was coming to court to tell the judge how those agents had mistreated him, and that might get them in trouble. One at a time, agent Casey and agent Martin would take a seat a few feet away from Alfonso and have to testify. We all assumed theyd brusquely deny everything and direct menacing looks at me and at Alfonso. I had spent time with Alfonso doing my best to prepare him for exactly that: a close-quarters, in-person confrontation on enemy ground. I described, or better said, I guestimated the hearing process. I repeatedly assured him that, no matter what, he would walk out of the hearing room with us. If the judge ruled against us, we would appeal and his release on bond would continue unchanged. He wouldnt return to detention or be led away to the bus with bars on the windows headed for Tijuana. I reminded him that we wouldnt be alone. We role-played his testimony. Of course, none of that could eliminate the fear. As Alfonsos case was called, we all entered the small office used to conduct hearings. Nothing about it resembled a court room. There was no elevated dais, no bailiff, no gated area in front with tables for the respective parties and counsel, and no gallery. None of that would have fit. Our delegation filed in, occupying all eight of the upholstered chairs which ringed the room, including two right behind the judges chair. For lack of seating, two or three supporters remained standing in the corners. Alfonso and I took the two seats at the far end of a cherry wood table set perpendicular to an ordinary office desk. The INSs Acting Trial Attorney (actually another agent), sat to our right. Judge Jones entered the room through a side door and immediately tensed up. Before taking his seat behind the desk he ordered all observers to leave the room. I started to argue but he would have none of it.

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Why do we need all these people here?, Jones complained. Its a public hearing, your honor, I began, but he cut me off. No, its not public, he insisted. Great, I thought to myself. were starting off with a controversy I didnt think to research. I thumbed hurriedly through my copy of the Code of Federal Regulations Title 8, hoping to find some legal authority on the issue. Well, if its not public then my client waives any right to privacy and requests that these observers be allowed to stay, I ad-libbed. Jones didnt muster an instant come back, but his face turned red. Apparently, he didnt know the law either. Or perhaps I had guessed right. Well Im not having anyone standing. This rooms just too small, he declared. We relented on that point, and those standing left the room. Since the judge hadnt yet taken his seat and started the tape recorder, we werent even on the record yet. As Jones nervously fumbled with the cassette recorder, I surveyed the room. My gaze fixed on Cipriano, seated behind the judge and close enough to tap him on the shoulder. Cips dont-mess-with-me body-language and his dark sunglasses sent a vibe even I could feel. This could really get wild, I said under my breath. Five minutes into the hearing, Jones actions again caught me off guard. He refused to accept into the record my legal memo supporting my written motion to dismiss the proceedings. You can brief your portions of authorities of law if you wish to appeal, Jones intoned, implying that argument of legal precedents had no place in his courtroom. I managed to state verbally the essence of my arguments for the record. The hearing settled into a more normal progression. We denied deportability, a sort of not guilty plea. The government offered into evidence Alfonsos confession of his citizenship and illegal status. I called Alfonso as a witness and walked him through the story of his arrest and detention: the arrival of his employer at the cabins, the phone number rub-out, the denial of Alfonsos six requests to call his attorney, Ann, the los tres locos ridicule, the disparagement of Ann, and the various iterations of we [the INS] know the law and you have no rights. I moved to call a collaborating witness and Jones again cut me off: Well until such time as the Government contests that, Im going to accept the fact. It took me a few moments to comprehend that Jones was saying that he would take Alfonsos testimony at face value. It had never dreamed that the INS would

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concede Alfonsos story, and in full. Martin didnt testify and neither did Casey. We had an unassailable record of facts to support our legal case! Waiting in the hall was our trump witness, Joe Cereghino. He agreed to testify despite possible that the INS would retaliate by repeatedly raiding his workforce and housing. The INS agents saw him there and thought better of testifying. They faced the unenviable choice of admitting their misconduct or perjuring themselves by denying it. Judge Jones closed the hearing and then dictated his decision. He recorded it on the cassette recorder as we all sat and watched. It seemed to take forever because he repeatedly backed up the tape, replayed sections he had just dictated and re-recorded those portions he found unsatisfactory. In his decision, he mischaracterized our objections to admitting Alfonsos confession into evidence as premised on the Fourth Amendment search and seizure protections. We knew that the Fourth Amendment didnt apply and we never asserted that it did. Jones never mentioned our Fifth Amendment due process argument at all. If he had only read my memo.., I mused, but I quickly reminded myself that Jones had been a career INS guy before becoming an immigration judge. If Jones granted my motion, he would, in effect, be finding the INS agents guilty of coercion. If he ruled for us, Alfonso would be acquitted and get away with being in the country illegally. Jones, I figured, simply couldnt bring himself to rule for us. He preferred to risk being reversed on appeal. Twenty-eight months later, the BIA did reverse Judge Jones. The Judge, the Board ruled, improperly admitted Alfonsos admission because it was obtained in violation of the Fifth Amendment. Without that admission, there was no evidence left to sustain the INSs burden of proof. The BIA terminated the proceedings, the equivalent of dismissing the charges and acquitting Alfonso. The Board went a step further, though. It published its January 1980 ruling as Matter of Garcia, making it a legal precedent binding on all immigration judges and INS officers. The ruling remains in force today: if coercion or interference with the right to an attorney can be shown in the case against an immigrant charged with illegal entry, the resulting evidence can be suppressed. Matter of Garcia was the first and the last WVIP case that directly changed national immigration law. Well never know why the BIA took this unusual step. The Board could have quietly reversed Judge Jones without publishing the opinion. Id like to think that my exhaustive and persuasive fifty-page legal appellate brief simply dazzled the Board. I found crafting, researching and drafting the briefs seven principle

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arguments a fulfilling challenge, even a joy. Of course, it also helped having such a clear and unchallenged statement of facts in the hearing record on which to build the legal arguments. While the case pended on appeal, Alfonso had remained free and immune from re-arrest. Once the BIA ruled, the INS refunded the bail money, plus interest, to Cereghino. Wed run into Alfonso from time to time after that. Though his de-facto immunity had expired, he still projected a certain vibe of invincibility. Though we later lost track of Alfonso, but could only assume that he if the INS ever re-arrested him, he calls us so we could try and outfox them again. What did they really think of us? By January, 1980, when the BIA issued their opinion in Matter of Garca, we had fought many more battles with the INS, some over the very same issues. The hearing of Alfonso Garca-Dominguez put us on the INS map. Mostly they deeply resented and distrusted us. They would reflexively cover up papers on their desks when we came into their offices, suspecting that we were snooping for any leads we could spot regarding their plans for the next raid. Wed become fixtures in the District Directors waiting room, demanding his intervention in the latest abuse of discretion by deportation officers and agents. In late December 1978, after a number of hearings before Judge Jones, we sent a letter to the chief immigration judge in Washington D.C. complaining of repeated irregularities which undermined fair hearing practice. INS Trial Attorney, Kendall Warren (a real attorney, not an agent playing the part) fired off a five-page letter in rebuttal. He characterized our complaint as one more attempt to harry and distract INS officials. He described us as: a small herd of assorted observers, representatives, and miscellaneous hangers-on and offered this assessment: the crux of their problems: lack of experience, deficient professional manners and instincts, and an unremitting hostility toward the Service and its activities. Warren concluded that WVIPs problems were of their own making manifesting the sentiments expressed in Spanish on the bumper sticker which I saw on Mr. Kleinmans car: Ya Basta con la Migra which, roughly translated, means we have had enough of the Immigration Service. The chief immigration judge never responded to our complaints. Though Warren got the analysis wrong, our messagewhat he called our sentimentshad gotten through loud and clear. The hostilities would escalate, but wed eventually also win some grudging respect for hard and effective work even if it might fall short of professional.

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Part IV: Digging in for a Very Long Fight The small herd of WVIP staff Though intended as denigrating, Kendall Warrens description did somewhat aptly cast the WVIPers as assorted and miscellaneous. We took these pejoratively used terms to connote what we today might call diversity: composed of elements of different kinds. By November 1977, thirteen individuals had come forward to serve either on the inaugural WVIP staff or the second-wave that succeed them. Five anglos and eight Latinos, we hailed from nine states and three countries, with only one native Oregonian among us. Age-wise, though, our assortment lacked anyone over 33 years and was heavy on the twenty-somethings. Since we initially conceived WVIP as a summer project, the wholesale staff turnover in late August 1977 did not occur unexpectedly. The three law students, Peter Fels, Mano Hernndez and Arturo Torres, who staffed WVIPs summer office at the Colegio, returned to law school as planned. Peter and Mano had led the Project organizing committee in Eugene at the University of Oregon Law School. Portland-based intern Kathy Haley returned to law school in New England. That left me, Ann and Jesus Lpez, a former farmworker living in Hillsboro, a farmworker community west of Portland in Washington County. Jesus had family ties and South Texas home-town connections to prominent labor contractors based in Gervais, near Woodburn in Marion County. Jesus knew the labor camps well both in Washington county and Marion county. As a child in the 1950s, he lived in camps around Woodburn. Jesus had come through the sometimes rough-and-tumble scene of Chicano-mexicano tensions and bore visible scars to prove it. Remarkably though, Jesus seemed to harbor no resentment and related equally well with his fellow U.S.-born Mexicans and with immigrants from Mexico. Thanks to Jesus enthusiasm, his spirit of community service, and his street knowledge, we reached hundreds of workers the Project like would not have encountered without him. In mid-August, Oregon Legal Services offered Jesus a staff paralegaloutreach worker position in Washington County. WVIPs prospects for CETAfunded positions remained uncertain, so Jesus took the job. He remained a key WVIP collaborator thereafter in the early years. In 1978, wed enlist his mother, Nieves, co-founder and staff member of Salud de La Familia farmworker medical clinic in Woodburn, as an active community supporter.

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For the last two weeks in August, I served as WVIPs sole staff person. Id volunteered full-time since early June when I left the Clark County Public Defender. I supported myself financially with the $1,100 severance pay accumulated during my two years as a VISTA (a domestic version of the Peace Corps). VISTA had placed me at Spokane Legal Services and then at Clark County Public Defender. On September 1st, an unknownbut probably not largenumber of days before I would have resolved to face the question how much longer?, I opened the letter which notified us that the Project was awarded three CETA positionsstarting that very day. I took one of the positions and, about a week later, hired Jeanne Gross for a second one. Jeanne had volunteered some and brought great administrative and writing skills and the fluent Spanish which shed learned living in Mexico for a year. She arrived just in time to manage the bureaucratic responsibilities for another four CETA positions commencing October 1st. A year later, she enrolled in law school in Portland; today she practices criminal defense and immigration law in Albuquerque, New Mexico. One by one, we added five more full-time staff in about six weeks, recruiting pretty much by word of mouth. Cipriano recruited Juan Mendoza, a Colegio student active in the campaign to resist HUDs evict campaign against the college. Juan came to Oregon from Milpitas, California, near San Jose. Juans initial role concentrated on community outreach and he later assisted U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents with the application process to legally immigrate immediate family members. Juan stayed with the Project until 1988, when he left to found a cooperative of reforestation workers. Next, we hired Phil Hornik, a New York native who had just passed the Washington State bar exam after graduating from University of Puget Sound Law School in Tacoma, Washington. Phil had joined the NLG law student chapter at UPS. Like the rest of us, he had no prior experience with immigration law, but promptly caught up and passed us in the quick studies club. Phil handled individual cases, drafted legislation and sued the INS and local law enforcement challenging their arrest and detention policies. Phil later when into private practice in Portland specializing in immigration which he continues today. Vicenta Montoya, Miguel Luengo and Ramn Ramrez rounded out the hiring parade in the fall of 1977. Vicenta had taken a break from law school in Nevada and come to Vancouver, Washington where her fiance was stationed in the military. She took the lead role in WVIPs legal research, training and development of practice manuals for lawyers and community organizations. After a year working with the Project, she returned to law school and became an wellknown immigration lawyer practicing in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Miguel and his family entered the U.S. in 1974 as political refugees; he was sixteen at the time. He and his father had been active in the Chilean Socialist Party. The Pinochet government had imprisoned and tortured his father. At WVIP, Miguel also worked on outreach. He also revised and polished our materials in Spanish, given that he had more formal education in Spanish than the other six of us combined. Ramn arrived from Seattle, but he had lived and studied in Oregon off and on for two years, enrolled in the Colegios College Without Walls program. At WVIP, Ramn worked on community outreach and individual immigration cases. He had grown up in East Los Angeles, where the Chicano Moratorium Against the Vietnam War and the United Farm Workers boycott politicized Ramn as a young teenager. He came to Olympia, Washington to attend St. Martins University, but transferred to the University of Washington, where he was a leader of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztln (MEChA, the Chicano student organization), and then to the Colegio. Ramn and I have worked together since we both took part in a press conference supporting Colegio on Halloween, 1977. After meeting Cipriano, I had written an article on the Colegios struggle for the Scribe, Portlands alternative weekly newspaper and I had stayed active in the Colegios defense. At the press conference, held at Aguila, Inc., a social service agency in Portland where Cipriano worked, I represented WVIP. Though two days shy of his 23rd birthday, Ramn spoke with the force and directness of a seasoned activist. He also stood out because towered over me and the other speakers. His three-inch-high fro extended his 6 2 frame, earning him the nickname La Palma (the palm tree), I later learned. I remember you, Ramn said, turning to me cheerfully after the press event. From the look on my face, he gathered that I didnt recall meeting him before, so he helpfully refreshed my memory. I came to your house in Portland last July from Washington with the delegation from the Yakima Valley Immigration Project for that meeting, you know, the one you forgot was happening. His face registered as I recollected one of WVIPs more ignominious moments. He continued without a hint of anger or judgment: When you answered the door, you looked like you just got up. Ramn looked away to more fully visualize that Sunday morning Yeah, Theo was really pissed off and tore into you. He said you all were a bunch of flakes. Ramn shot a self-conscious glance in my direction and hastily wrapped up the story. We came back later and you folks got it together; it was a good meeting. I defensively added a little commentary of my own: After that meeting, one of us nicknamed Theo flaming

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asshole. He let out a loud laugh That fits, he nodded, a smile lingering as his laugh tapered off. Over the years, Id see that look again many times, a blend of surprise, recognition and appreciation. Id come to associate it with Ramns flair and zest as a chef, encountering and celebrating sharp but spot-on spicing. Cipriano had played a pivotal role in coalescing the forces that formed WVIP. Once underway, though, Ciprianos presence remained peripheral. Only those unemployed for at least six weeks qualified for the CETA-funded positions. That requirement ruled out Cipriano; he worked full-time at Aguila. He did make it his business to recruit others for WVIP staff positions, in particular, Juan and Ramn. Cipriano would join the WVIP staff full-time for the summer of 1978, but not step in permanently until Fall 1979, two years after the Projects founding. WVIPs political and ideological roots Cipriano and Ramn were local leaders in Oregons small chapter of CASA based at the Colegio. Better known by its acronym than by its full name-Centro de Accin Social Autnomo (Center for Autonomous Social Action), CASA was founded in 1968 by Bert Corona and other left-wing activists and labor organizers in Southern Californias Mexican community. Cipriano and Ramn, brought CASAs political orientation into the Project. By the late 70s, CASA had major chapters in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Antonio, El Paso, Chicago and Seattle. CASAs chapters and committees sought to establish or combine workplace and union organizing, community organizing to oppose repressive immigration legislation, and working class consciousnessraising and international solidarity. CASA enlisted or helped create ally organizations to defend workers against deportation and to file lawsuits challenging INS abuses. In CASAs view, undocumented workers vulnerability exposed them to the greatest exploitation in the workplace. Employers used fear of the INS to manipulate undocumented workers to accept lower wages and sub-standard conditions, to break strikes, or to shun unions. CASAs response called for enlisting all Mexicans and alliesU.S. born, lawful immigrant and undocumentedin the defense of undocumented workers, labors weakest link. WVIP started in the role of ally organization but would gradually broaden its mission to encompass all of CASAs core purposes. We organized community forums on immigrants rights in sync with national CASA campaigns. We distributed CASAs monthly bilingual newspaper, Sin Fronteras (Without Borders) containing news of worker, immigrant and civil rights struggles, features on Third World liberation movements, and editorials with political commentary.

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And though WVIP did not take up workplace organizing until 1980, we early on adopted CASA primary slogan: Con o Sin Documentos: Creamos la Riqueza y Tenemos Derechos (With or Without Documents: We Create the Wealth and We Have Rights). Making a federaland a statecase out of it After the Garca hearing excitement dissipated and the staffing-up process wound down, we searched for something resembling a routine. Led by Vicenta, the entire staff contributed to researching and writing training materials which we published in late 1978 as the Non-Citizens Assistance Manual. Like the Project itself, the Manual tried to simultaneously serve too many audiences. The opening chapter re-printed the National Lawyers Guilds sevenpage summary and political critique of two centuries of U.S. immigration policy. A two-page narrative, entitled Who Can Help You With Your Immigration Papers?, which spoke plainly to immigrants, followed a detailed outline called Criminal Acts Which May Cause Deportation, loaded with the legal jargon and statutory citations which criminal defense attorneys needed in order to adequately represent immigrant clients. The Manual was a logical and valiant response to the immense unmet needs we encountered at every turn. The Manual took what we were learning on the fly and synthesized it into some useful nuggets. The Projects community outreach and training targeted lawyers, legal workers, and the staffs of the handful of community agencies most trusted in immigrant circles. Given the overall scarcity of immigration expertise, even such modest activities generated a steady flow of inquiries. Though we honed our material to be concise and precise, the Manuals content, we found, seemed to raise as many questions as it answered. We kept up with the flow of outreach, training and follow-up support, except when someonea worker, family member or employercalled in to report an INS raid or an arrest. At least a few times each week, those calls would also come in after office hours, ringing at my home via call forwardingthe closest thing we had to cell phones. We usually had only a few hours to react. First, wed call the INS to confirm whether theyd arrested the individual(s). Despite our strained relations, the INS by and large answered our queries. We rarely caught them misleading or lying to us. If a detainee was still being held in Oregon, wed contact family members or the employer to line up bail money, then race to the INS office to file a notice of appearance, and hope that the detainee would hold firm and ignore INS threats and misinformation.

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We lost many more of those races than we won. And in most cases, there was no race to run. The INS had already deported the person by the time we made contact. In every case, family members appreciated our prompt efforts and any information we provided. Dispelling doubt only partially relieved the emotional sting of delivering bad news. We frequently received calls reporting suspected INS activity. INS raid had become the first thing most immigrants imagined if a family member didnt show up as expected or if they spotted an official looking vehicleespecially a light green oneor a plain-looking van with tinted windows. Most sightings proved erroneous but their frequency reflected level of the anxiety pervading the community. Once in awhile, wed get a call that set off a chain of events which would occupy us for days. On April 4, 1978 at 10:30 AM, Juan Bocanegra called from the Portland INS office and informed us that agents planned to transport him to the huge INS detention facility in El Centro, California, a few miles from the Mexican border. The deportation hearing hed requested would happen there, they told him. If they move me, my operation could rupture, Juan said, his voice wracked with anguish. On March 14th, while held in the county jail on an INS warrant, Juan had been stabbed by another inmate. He had undergone emergency abdominal surgery and spent a week in the hospital. After talking with Juan, I called INS Director Dahlin. He already knew that we represented Juan. Our notice of appearance was in their file and I had called the INS deportation officer a week earlier to re-confirm that. Mr. Bocanegra requests that his hearing be held in Portland, I informed Dahlin, and summarized the legal basis and medical necessity. Dahlin called back thirty minutes later. Youre request for a local hearing is frivolous, he said. Youve got to reconsider, I urged. Youre client departs at 12:30, he droned and hung up. I called the U.S. Attorney in Portland, Sid Lezak. We intend to file suit in Federal District Court right away to prevent Mr. Bocanegras removal, I told him. I hadnt expected Lezak himself to take my call. His answer surprised me even more: Im phoning Mr. Dahlin to ask him to refrain from transporting Mr. Bocanegra until the issue can be heard, he promised. At noon, when I arrived at the INS offices, I was told that Juan was already gone. Im waiting here until Mr. Dahlin agrees to see me, I told his secretary. An hour later, she ushered me in. I demand that you return my client to Oregon

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immediately, I declared, trying to sound more stern than angry. Your client is gone, Dahlin replied with annoyance. Back at the office, Phil, Vicenta and Jeanne had started to draft the half dozen pleadings needed for the lawsuit. As I exited the Dekum Building elevator and proceeded down the fourth floor hallway, the staccato of three electric typewriters grew steadily louder. I took a turn typing and composed an affidavit detailing my conversations with the INS officials and with medical personnel treating Juan. While Juans medical condition raised concerns, our primary contention was that spiriting him off to the El Centro corralnthe big pen as immigrants called itviolated his right to counsel. Few, if any, attorneys were available in El Centro to serve the thousands of detainees there. A hearing in Portland would afford Juan his only chance to be represented. Twenty four hours after the INS rushed Juan Bocanegra out of Oregon, Phil called the U.S. Attorneys office one last time. They say that Dahlin refuses to budge, Phil relayed to us. He gathered up the lawsuit paperwork and set off to file it. At a hastily-arranged hearing on April 7th, District Court Judge Otto Skopil Jr. granted our request for a temporary restraining order directing Dahlin to immediately return Juan to Portland. Skopils order excused Dahlins intransigence by stating that Dahlin was unaware of the plaintiffs precarious health status. That fictitious fig leaf couldnt disguise the INSs naked defeat. Juan Mendoza and I exited the federal courtroom together. We noticed Ramn towering over five-foot-three-inch tall Phil, both walking ahead of us with a spring in their step. Dont mess with Yogi and Boo-Boo, Juan wisecracked, conjuring the Jellystone Park bears of 1960s TV cartoon show fame . Though it took me only a few minutes to recover from laughing, my images of Ramn and Phil were forever altered. Its a good thing that winning isnt the only fun we ever have, I said to myself. The ruling in Bocanegra v. Dahlin figured in a much bigger case four months later in Los Angeles. INS agents raided the Sbicca shoe factory at the height of a union organizing drive there and whisked seventy workers to Tijuana. Lawyers allied with CASA cited our case and convinced a federal judge to order the INS to bring the workers back to Los Angeles because the INS refused their requests for deportation hearings.

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Part V: Basing operations on the communitys turf The move to Woodburn During WVIPs first twelve months, it became ever clearer that our anticipated battles with the INS would be few and far between. We could continue to get the word out to undocumented immigrants about their rights. We could not expect that theyd exercise those rights on the strength of indirect or superficial connections with us. We could bestand arguably onlyestablish those bonds by basing our operations in the immigrant community. In our first year, we had provenat least to ourselvesthat the INS could be resisted. Wed also gained valuable experience in resistance tactics. WVIPs Portland office remained a viable, even critical venue for continuing to learn, to train, and to launch a quick response to INS activity. We concluded, though, that to foster and instigate any semblance of sustained resistance, we needed to be nearer to the heart of the Mexican community. That meant setting up shop in Woodburn. In 1978, Woodburn was the closest thing to an epicenter for Mexican people in the Willamette Valley and environs. Tens of thousands of Mexican, mostly farmworkers, lived or worked within a twenty-five mile radius of Woodburn. The number of Mexicans living in Salem, the state capital fifteen miles south of Woodburn, certainly exceeded the 3,000 who lived in Woodburn. Given that Woodburns population was one-tenth of Salems, it was the concentration of Mexican people that made Woodburn unique. In the late l950s, farmworker families began settling in town, leaving the isolated labor camps on nearby farms. By the time WVIP moved in, the Mexican community consisted of three main groups: Texas natives who arrived as migrant farmworkers mostly in the 1950s, immigrants from central Mexico who settled in Woodburn during the late 1960s and 1970s, and immigrants from Mexico migrating seasonally to Woodburn from their home base in California. By the late 70s, immigrants from Mexico dominated the agricultural workforce and Mexicans born in Texasthe tejanoshad mostly moved out of farm labor and into manufacturing jobs, small businesses, social service positions, or farm labor contracting. In 1978, Woodburns 10,000 inhabitants also included significant numbers of Russian immigrants, orthodox Old Believers who had arrived from Brazil and Argentina in the late l960s. Their ancestors had first fled the 1917 revolution in Russian, heading to China. In 1949, they immigrated to South America to escape

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the Chinese Revolution. Around Woodburn, some Russians quickly became small farmers or labor contractors who employed Mexican immigrants. Predictably, tensions developed between Russians and Mexicans, driven by workers perceptionsat least partly well-foundedthat Russian growers tended to demand more and pay less than other growers. Woodburn also included a neighborhood built in the 1960s called Senior Estates, situated on the towns westside near the I-5 interstate freeway. Senior Estates had attracted a couple thousand retired white folks to the bungalows which encircle a members-only golf course. Neighborhood leaders managed to enforce a no-one-under-55 residency rule. Golf carts puttered down the quiet streets to and from the nearby Estates shopping center. Mexicans received a chilly reception in the Estates, even when working there as landscapers or cruising the garage sales, widely regarded as the best in town. The City fathers embraced Woodburns burgeoning diversity by adopting City of Unity as the town motto. The City Seal featured a golf-club-toting retiree, a flowing-bearded Russian, and a sombrero-wearing Mexican and his donkey. We seldom saw donkeys in Woodburn, but we did encounter enough asses to merit such official recognition. Woodburns original, ten-square-block business district hugs the Union Pacific tracks, the main West Coast railroad artery. Front Street abuts the tracks and has a dozen two-story, red-brick buildings, most dating from the early 1900s. In the early 1970s, white business owners and their clientele gradually abandoned the original town center for bigger and nicer buildings on Highway 99E, on Woodburns east side. By the late 70s, most businesses in downtown catered to the Mexican community, some operated by tejanos. These business owners had limited capital to upgrade downtown buildings or they rented from absentee landlords, giving the district a run-down feel. On weekends in the spring and summer, especially Sundays, downtown Woodburn bustled with activity. Whole families came north from Eugene and south from Longview, Washingtoneach eighty miles awayand from points in between to buy fresh sweet bread, tortillas, the latest nortea musical releases, plus imported boots, clothing, and foods. The Pix movie theatre showed classic Mexican movies to packed houses. The parking lot near the Pix became the de facto town square where people hung out, much as they had in their home towns in Mexico. On weekdays, the lot filled with patients of the adjacent medical clinic, Salud de la Familia, which primarily served farmworkers on a sliding fee-scale basis.

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On May 12, 1978, we opened a one-room store-front office across from that parking lot. It will be open for at least the summer, the Woodburn Independent reporter wrote, quoting me. If we find the funds, we will keep it going, I predicted. We hoped to contribute to and unite with Woodburns identity as the Mexican communitys cultural and services hub in the Willamette Valley. The Border Patrol pays a visit We hadnt finished introducing ourselves in the community when, on October 15th, la migra swept into the fields around Woodburn. Immigration arrests 100 at Woodburn, screamed the Oregon Statesman headline. It wasnt news to us; our phone was already ringing off the hook. For nearly a week, five agents sped down gravel roads, ran after workers harvesting cauliflower, searched labor camps, and snagged workers entering a prominent vegetable processing plant. Four of the agents came to Oregon from the Border Patrol post at Blaine, Washington. They apparently didnt have enough to keep them busy there at the Canadian border. The arrests sent shock waves through the Mexican community and rattled the areas tight-knit circle of growers. As the cauliflower began to rot, growers demanded that Oregon Governor Bob Straub intervene. The day after the Governor did so, INS Director Dahlin announced that he had suspended the raids. The agents were entitled to a day off, he told the Statesman. Asked why the INS initiated the operation, he cited fifty complaints from people in the Woodburn area. By the third day, we had alerted our media contacts and we began patrolling the streets, following up on phone tips from the community. If we managed to actually catch the INS in the act, we could offer assistance to anyone detained. Our presence might discourage the kind of blatant misconduct which Alfonso Garca had suffered or permit us to document it and then bring legal action to challenge it. Early that afternoon, I got a call from a worker at the Woodburn Day Care Center. Theyre parked in our lot, she blurted. The panic in her voice obviated any need to ask who. Im on my way, I replied, trying to sound calmer than she was. Before leaving the office, I called the Statesman and a couple of Portland TV stations. Our crews in the area, one assignment editor told me. Well radio them. As I drove into the Centers lot, I spotted the Border Patrol cruiser parked there. Just inside the main door, I found the Center director standing in front of

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two agents on either side of a young woman holding a baby. He just came in here and wanted to get the baby, the director said later. They came in through the side doorI didnt see them until they were in the hallway. They mentioned something about there being an alleged illegal alien and I told them to kindly go around and enter through the front entrance, she continued. Irritated about the delay, one agent then threatened to arrest her for harboring. Legally, we do not release a child to anyone, she recalled telling him. The agents had come to get eighteen-month-old Luz Elena Magallanes, a U.S. citizen. They had Luz Elenas mother, Celia, in custody. They had also arrested Luz Elenas father, Rodolfo. Celia refused to sign a voluntary departure form unless they took her to pick up Luz Elena. I didnt know Celia but I hurriedly told her that she had a right to a hearing and didnt have to accept immediate deportation. My child is sick, she responded and burst into tears. The director turned to the agents and, in an increasingly angry tone, described the hospital treatment Luz Elena had recently received for abnormal growths. One of the agents stormed out. Hes probably going to call for back-up, I told myself. Just as the agent reached his cruiser, a television van pulled in next to it. A cameraman jumped out, camera already in hand. He and the reporter walked swiftly into the Center. Were asking that this woman be released on her own recognizance because she has a sick child, I declared as the filming rolled. Reporter and camera whirled around to the agent for a response. The look of panic had shifted to him; he froze. Within minutes, back-up rolled in. But it was ours, not theirs: another television crew. They began filming the agent talking on the radio with his superiors. A few minutes later he hung up handset and came back into the Center, the second film crew in tow. Were going to bring her husband here and release them both into your custody, the agent announced, scowling at me. You better bring them to the INS office tomorrow at 1 PM. Both agents left the Center and sat, stewing, in their patrol for half an hour until another cruiser arrived with Rodolfo in the back seat. The tearful family reunion released all the pent up tension and fear. The cameramen couldnt get enough of it. Our first in-person encounter with INS was seen by thousands on the sixoclock news. The Statesman ran a color photo of a relieved mother and child on the front page. Though wed prevailed in a highly visible clash, the streets would remain deserted for days as immigrant families hid, hoping not to hear a knock at the

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door. For them, that meant no work, no school, no medical appointments, and no food shopping. They waited for some all clear sign with no idea of when it would come or who would send it. The INS deported 156 immigrants that week. We had rescued two, at least for the time being. Though media accounts of the showdown at the Woodburn Child Care Center portrayed INS as spiteful and outmaneuvered, we hardly felt like winners. Driving a wedge between local law enforcement and the INS As we drove around Woodburn attempting to pick up the INSs trail, we stumbled upon a practice that would shape our anti-migra strategy: local police cooperating on raids. Our legal research had previously turned up U.S. Attorney General memos clearly delineating that immigration enforcement was strictly a federal matter. Local officers had no authority to initiate action but they could act under the express direction of INS agents, such as standing guard over those whom INS had arrested. At the scene of a raid, local police could maintain order and secure premises. We had followed developments in a lawsuit that WVIP co-founder Rocky Barilla had brought against the INS, the Polk County Sheriff and the Police Chief of Independence, a small town south of Salem and home to hundreds of farmworker families. In May, 1978, Rocky won a federal district order, issued in Portland, which barred the town police officers and county deputies from stopping, questioning, or detaining individuals in order to determine their immigration status. Since Independence is only thirty miles from Woodburn and given that the court order attracted press attention, we assumed that Woodburn Police Chief Lyle Henderson took notice and had instructed officers to act accordingly. Therefore, it surprised us to come upon Woodburn Police openly and proactively assisting INS agents. We heard they were on Corby Street at Maxs apartments Ramn recounted later. We all knew that decrepit tri-plex well because Ramn, Cipriano and I shared a house just four doors away. The Woodburn cops were pointing out to the migra which units to target. When I challenged them, the migra asked me for my papers. I just stood there and gave them a look like Go ahead and bust me, but otherwise Im not moving as long as youre here. The raiding party decided to withdraw rather than have us watch them as they continued to yell for the presumed occupants to open the door. We considered it another save, though we couldnt say how many people actually escaped arrest that morning.

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A few days after the raids subsided, we made an appointment with Chief Henderson to present our complaint about his officers actions. What little we knew about Henderson suggested that he fit the stereotype of the small rural town police chief. Though not a grower himself, he had a small horse ranch outside of town. The receptionist led Cipriano, Ramon and me into Hendersons office. He didnt get up but motioned for us to sit. We took the hint and Cipriano got right to the matter at hand. Your officers are enforcing immigration laws. Thats illegal and we want it to stop. If it doesnt, well bring legal action, Cip told him in a firm but matter-of-fact tone. Henderson swung his cowboy-boot-wearing feet off his desk, stood up and said: Thanks for coming in. Now Ive got to go feed my horses. He walked out, leaving us sitting there. As far as we could tell, Woodburn Police collusion with the INS ceased that day, but Police-community relations would remain mired in mutual distrust and suspicion for at least another decade. Another important facet of local law enforcement cooperation with the INS involved immigrants detained in local jails on state or municipal criminal charges. Organizing and conducting raids taxed INS manpower and strained their logistics budgets. The Portland INS office had less than a dozen agents. A major raid might take weeks to arrange and still not guarantee results. Leads might have gone stale, workers might evade apprehension, and complicationslike WVIP observersmight crop up. By enlisting county and city jailers, however, the INS could dramatically improve their effort-to-results ratio. Normally, those arrested for traffic or minor criminal charges were quickly released on bond or personal recognizance. In the case of Spanish-speaking detainees, local jailersencouraged by the INS frequently asked: tienes papeles? (do you have papers?). If detainees said no, refused to answer, or responded unconvincingly, the jailers would hold them until an INS agent arrived. INS detention officers developed a circuit, stopping at local jails about weekly to interview and remove detainees they deemed deportable. Hundreds of immigrants fell into this trap every year in Oregon. Local jailers, our research determined, had no more right to inquire about immigration status than local police should on the streets. Whats more, if the INS asked jailers to detain suspectedor admittedundocumented immigrants, that hold automatically should expire in twenty-four hours. If INS agents didnt arrive at the jailhouse door by then, jailers had to remove the hold. That would clear the way for the detainee to post bail on the local charges.

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In July, 1978, WVIP brought a federal lawsuit against the eastern Oregon county of Umatilla. Jailers there150 miles east of Portlandhad held Trinidad De La Cerda for three days on an INS telephonic hold. In October 17, 1979, the federal district court in Portland ordered the INS to send written notification to all county sheriffs and to the district attorneys in Oregons thirty-six counties about the 24-hour rule. The notification obliterated the no one told us defense. Violations could therefore be costly. Umatilla County paid De La Cerda a $1,000 settlement for forty-eight hours of illegal detention. Our broader struggle to minimize local enforcement of the federal immigration laws went on to engage the Oregon Attorney General, who issued an opinion reinforcing our position. In 1987, the Oregon Legislature wrote the local enforcement prohibition into state law. The lead legislative proponent was State Representative Rocky Barilla, elected in 1986. Eventually, the advent of community policing would broadly institutionalize policies of non-cooperation with the INS. Community policing prized trust between law enforcement officers and the community they policed. Encouraging all victims of or witnesses to crime to come forward meant eliminating barriers such as fear of deportation. Community policing would come to Woodburn and to Marion County, but it had not yet emerged on July 30, 1983. At 5:30 AM that day, a squad of Marion County sheriffs deputies stormed a small labor camp one mile north of Woodburn. Armed with shotguns, the deputies roused the camp residents and led them away at gunpoint. A Marion County judge had ordered them detained for medical quarantine. Two among the sixteen who were arrested had contracted typhoid fever but allegedly had not sufficiently followed through on the required treatment. County health officials locked all sixteen workers in an isolation wing of the state hospital in Salem. Suspecting that the workers were undocumented, health officials contacted the INS. The officials apparently fretted about paying four weeks lodging and hoped the feds would pick up the tab. INS agents interviewed the workers and issued formal detainers, instructing county officials to notify the INS when the quarantine was lifted. On August 20th, the county quietly released the workers without notifying the INS. WVIP and Salud de la Familia clinic leaders had interceded and persuaded county commissioners that if the quarantined workers were deported, other undocumented immigrants would likely forego treatment in the future rather than risk a similar fate. The commissioners decision enraged the INS who had

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earlier announced their deportation plans. Those plans, the Salem Statesman Journal newspaper editorialized on August 16th, stir legitimate fears that if another outbreak of serious illness occurs, it may not be reported. The health issue, unlike housing or work issues, affects us all, even the most uncaring members of the community. The word unlike dismayed us and much work lay ahead if we hoped to eliminate it. Still, we had managed to force the county to take some responsibility for their traumatic, punitive, miserly, and dangerous actions. And we assumed that the INS stiffed them on the detention bill. Serving the needs which the community brings to us As the October, 1978 INS raids around Woodburn receded, immigrant families started coming out of the woodwork to seek the Projects help. We regarded this as an important shift. Over the Projects first eighteen months, Project staff initiated contact with thousands to offer legal advice and support, but only a few dozen immigrants had come forward on their own. We attributed this change to several factors. First, as we had seen when handing out know your rights cards in labor camps, undocumented immigrants understandably regarded with skepticism anyone unknown, especially pertaining to immigration status. The combination of fresh, stepped up Immigration Service pressure in close proximity pushed immigrants past their fear. Second, we became increasingly aware that others before us had promised help or raised hopes for change, but not delivered it. Usually, they worked for anti-poverty agencies, sometimes more crudely known as poverty pimps. Starting in the mid-1960s, President Lyndon Johnsons War on Poverty dispatched massive funding to new federal agencies and to non-profit organizations established to serve poor people and eliminate poverty. Non-profits suddenly ballooned with big grants to carry out programs, many with sketchy strategies and flawed oversight. They staffed up on the fly, mostly attracting inexperienced idealists and some outright opportunists and rip-offs. In the Willamette Valley, anti-poverty organizationsnotably the Valley Migrant Leaguefanned out in the farmworker community to assess needs and recruit clients. Anti-poverty programs focused on housing, education and job training; some programs functioned reasonably well; others flopped. Eager to serve everyone, the idealists raised expectations that the organizations couldnt meet. Motivated only to fulfill outreach and enrollment quotas, the opportunists made promises knowing or callously ignoring that they couldnt be kept.

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Anti-poverty agencies accumulated an ample portion of unsatisfied participants and disgruntled prospective clients awaiting help that never materialized. Though immigration services figured only marginally in antipoverty programs, the community undercurrent of disillusionment with promisemakers initially put us in an unfavorable light. People in difficult straights cherish what little hope they could sustain and they resented community organizers who squandered it. Ramn, Cipriano and Juan Mendoza knew the anti-poverty organizations and their reputationswell. Though we therefore understood the communitys ambivalent reaction to our outreach, we found it galling to have so little (compared to those organizations) and still have to work our way out of a credibility deficit of their making. Five months of hard and consistent work in Woodburn was paying off as word spread about our assertive and modestly successful confrontations with the Immigration Service at the Woodburn Child Care Center and on the streets. We had the first unambiguous indication that barrio presence mattered: immigrant families walking through our office store. A few sought information on a family member believed deported in the October raids. Even when the news was bad, the momentary shock gave way to a confident prediction: hell be back in a few days. In those days, crossing the border was dangerous and smugglers charged a couple hundred dollars, but most Mexican immigrants seemed to take deportation in stride because they took reentry for granted. INS agents and detainees would needle each other with comments like see you back in Oregon next week as the INS bus unloaded at the Mexican border. Today, increased border security have astronomically increased the dangers and costs (smugglers now charge thousands) . No ones joking any more. Some who came by the office wanted to know exactly how to be prepared if the INS came to their homes or workplaces. We had our advice down to five points: start saving for your INS bail, make sure a trusted (preferably documented) person has access to that money, keep our phone number on your person, call or get word to us if youre arrested, and dont sign anything. Even though we always added a sixth pointwe cant guarantee that this will work families walked out the door more hopeful because wed given them a concrete plan and our commitment to back it up. The one question we heard every day was: can I fix my papers? A look or tone suggested that many who asked already intuited that the answer was no. Wed routinely respond with two stock questions: Do you have any immediate

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family member who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident? Have you been in the U.S. at least seven years? When neither elicited a yes, wed briefly enumerate the narrow categories for legal immigration, offer our five point plan, and invite people to help us organize for more responsive immigration laws. Once in awhile, the answer to the first of our two screening questions was yes. Wed encounter with a family who had or could file what we called a visa case. If they could get through the rather convoluted paperwork, a family memberspouse, child, or parentcould become a lawful permanent resident. When we launched WVIP, we pledged ourselves to Migra resistance, first and foremost. The unpredictable, high-stakes, and fast-moving work of deportation defense required that we not become mired in visa casework. Wed managed to stick to that regime. Rather than refusing to handle visa cases, we planned to train community people to act as lay counselors under our supervision. The October, 1978 raids challenged the sufficiency of that response. More specifically, Juan Gonzlez did. He brought a fistful of INS paperwork into the WVIP office [two weeks] after the Border Patrol agents had returned to Blaine. As Gonzlez looked on, Juan Mendoza sifted through the forms. You have a Fifth Preference case, because your sister is a U.S. citizen Mendoza told him. Gonzlez cut right to the chase: Can I get a permit for me and my family? Yes, Mendoza replied. Can you help me? Gonzlez pressed. We dont handle visa cases, but we can give you advice or refer you to a lawyer, and were planning on training community people to assist people with cases like yours, Mendoza answered, trying to sound as helpful as possible. I dont have money for a lawyer. I cant read or write in English, so I dont know what Id do with advice, Gonzlez countered. Mendoza and Gonzlez stood in silence, both eyeing the paperwork that wasnt going to complete itself. How do you help people? Gonzlez asked, genuinely puzzled. We try to get people out of jail if La Migra arrests them and we represent them at their deportation hearings, Mendoza explained. So do I have to wait until they arrest one of us and then youll help me? Gonzlez asked, his expression and tone simultaneously registering the irony. It could have been that no one ever put the question quite that plainly or had raised it in the sobering period that follows the adrenillin rush of raid response. It could have been the backdrop beyond Juan Gonzlezs left shoulder, the street level view through our store-fronts twelve-foot-wide picture window

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looking out on that parking lot, the center of the Willamette Valleys Mexican communitys universe. The syntax, circumstance, and setting combined to spotlight a path that suddenly seemed as absurdly obvious as Juans Gonzlezs question. It set in motion a profound change in our thinking, in our strategy and in our daily work. We set a new course, one which required different answers, including the one we gave to Juan a few weeks later. The answer was: No, you dont have to wait until INS arrests you. Building a community base one visa case at a time We had handled a few immigrant visa cases before Juan Gonzlezs, so we had some idea what it might mean to take on a sizeable caseload in addition to our deportation defense work. Visa cases rapidly came to dominate the Projects service work. By the end of 1979, we had accumulated one hundred cases in progress. The percentage of deportation defense cases rarely exceeded twenty. Helping immigrants obtain legal status became our movements longest standing program. We would assist roughly 6,000 families over the next thirty years. The average case took nine months to a year, including several stages of form filing each followed by months of waiting. Every case involved a minimum of fifteen forms, documents, translations. The paperwork trail started at the INS and ended up at the U.S. Consulate in Mexico. The INS generally allowed the applicant to remain in the U.S. until the applicants appointment for final processing at the Consulate. If, at that appointment, the consular official found something askew, the applicant could not return to the U.S. until the glitch was resolved. Mistakes proved costly and seriously disrupted lives. Before we fully enmeshed ourselves in the realm of immigration red tape, we had launched our experiment to train community volunteers to be visa counselors. We envisioned creating a weekly visa clinic where families could bring their paperwork or just their questions. The volunteers, under our supervision, would give advice, fill out forms, and prepare English translations of required documents, such as Mexican birth certificates. Though we were aware of no organization applying the clinic strategy to immigration processing, we knew that community organizations had employed that strategy for similar purposes. The United Farm Workers service centers organized clinics on income tax return preparation. Both Cipriano and I had trained as miliary draft counselors in high school and volunteered at draft counseling clinics.

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We recruited a small group of individuals we believed to be wellintentioned and reasonably capable. In the initial training sessions, the group struggled to master the visa process minutia. Our vision of counselors requiring minimal supervision began to cloud. Our enthusiasm for the clinic approach evaporated altogether when one trainee, Mara Ochoa, took what we had taught her and became a free-lance immigration consultant. We already knew of at least three such rogues in the Portland area, but none based in Woodburn or Salem. Like themand many hundreds more in the Southwestshe called herself a notaria or notary, as in Notary Public. She paid the negligible state fee and received the certificate entitling her to witnesses signatures and documents. A notario publico in Mxico is a lawyer who holds a quasi-judicial position. Mara and her fellow posers took full advantage of the assumptions which Latin American immigrants bought to the term notaria when they encountered it in the U.S. In 1987, we persuaded legislators to amend Oregon law and prohibit a Notary Public from using the term notario publico. Over time, Ochoa defrauded hundreds by charging outrageous sums for incompetent or nonexistent legal work. Among this turn of events many horribles, it reflected poorly on our training and screening and we shuddered at the thought of turning out more Mara Ochoas. We folded the clinic. Though we often found visa paperwork tedious, we relished the joy, relief, and appreciation that every family expressed when they attained permanent legal status. We never advertised our visa services. Word of mouth through family, home-town, and workplace connections brought us a steadyand occasionally overflowingstream of work. And of community supporters. We often didnt really get to know the families on a personal level. In a few cases, we felt grateful not to be drawn into the familys painfully evident internal dysfunction. We did grow close to some of the families we served and they figured among our most stalwart defenders. Like Juan Gonzlez. Juan lived with his wife and four teenage sons in a small dilapidated farm house next to three deteriorating mobil homes on the outskirts of Woodburn. It was just the kind of hamlet that the INS looked to raid. Juans wirey frame, ruddy skin, and ever-present non-filter cigarette contributed to his hard-living appearance. His excitable demeanor and survivor mentality spurred him to challenge our deportation defense only policy. His sharp wit and good-natured banter, lighting a twinkle in his eye and triggering a mischievous smile, leavened a personality that might otherwise seem pushy or obnoxious.

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For Juans wife, Mara, no office visit was complete without her insistence that we stop by their home soon. When we did, there was no leaving without another plate of foodto go. At some point she realized that none of our respective mothers lived in Oregon. From then on, she made a point of calling if it seemed like we hadnt visited in a while. Juan had grown up on an ejidocommunal farm landin western state of Jalisco. He had spent his entire adult life working in the fields, mostly on the U.S. West Coast. You name it; hed planted or harvested it. He deputized himself to scout and report sightings or rumors of INS activity. The instant he heard that his youngest son, Javier, had died in a car accident, Juan came to straight to our office. He utterly broke down as he told us, trusting that wed help him find the will to go on. Bonds this strong endured well beyond the gut-wrenching day when we had run out of tactics to stave off a clients deportation. For the Projects visa clients, the elation of holding a freshly minted lawful permanent resident green card might fade, but the memory of our instrumental role did not. I found special meaning in those relationships. I had moved to Woodburn from Portland when we opened the WVIP office there. Immigrant families readily accepted me and included me in their social circles and events. They made a place for me, often an honored one. Without intending it, I had stepped into roles that I had seen my father occupy via his law practice: making a confusing and intimidating system intelligible, moving those he counseled to face difficult realities and decisions, and being there for peopleand taking effective action when it really mattered. As I had observed growing up, certain duties and expectations accompanied those roles. For my father, they included phone calls at home on evenings and weekends from clients. My co-workers and I received many such calls. We also found that a stop at the market rarely took less than forty-five minutes. An increasing number of immigrants felt entitled to buttonhole us in the produce aisle for an impromptu consultation. Sell the boat Unlike firefighters, who hear an alarm bell they know signals an emergency, we never knew which phone call would spark a deportation defense mobilization. On May 16, 1979, four days after our first anniversary in Woodburn, the alert was delivered in person. That morning, the INS raided a house located less than 200 yards from our office.

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Right from the start, the INS arrests of Raul Ramrez Sr. and his wife Petra struck us as strange. We knew that Raul and Petra were U.S. citizens born in Texas. Why would a large INS squad descend on their home? We promptly learned that the INS had arrested another seventeen people there, all allegedly undocumented immigrants living in the Ramrezs basement. The INS charged Raul and Petra with the federal crime of harboring those seventeen immigrants. Within hours, the Ramrezes posted two hundred dollars bail and returned to Woodburn. The seventeen workers, however, remained in federal custody, lodged in the Polk County jail thirty miles from Woodburn, as material witnesses. Despite dogged advocacy by WVIP and the Federal Public Defender in Portland, the workers spent fifteen days behind bars. At that point, eleven were deported, their testimony against the Ramrezes no longer useful, and we eventually won the release of the other six. Raul and Petra later plead guilty to a misdemeanor count, paid a small fine and were place on unsupervised probation. Salems daily paper, the Statesman-Journal, slammed the INSs insensitivity to human values. They pointed out that overloading the Polk County jailso some of prisoners must sleep on mattresses on the flooris just the latest example. They characterized the workers detention as the height of bureaucratic nonsense. In the Mexican community, the case set up a classic which side are you on dynamic. Raul was a small scale labor contractor, employing the workers he housed in his basement. The Ramrezes elicited considerably sympathy and support from their fellow tejanos, who viewed Raul and Petra as the victims of persecution for providing the workers a service. To some immigrant mexicanos, including some of seventeen in jail, the ten dollars per week which each worker paid to the Ramrezes to live in two basement rooms and share one bathroom, seemed unremarkable. It was business as usual. Other immigrants resented what they saw as exploitation. For Cipriano, Ramon and I, the calculation seem pretty simple and damning. The workers at the Ramrez house paid a total of $170 per week. We paid $175 rent for a small threebedroom houseper month. Controversy in the community took an interesting turn when the Ramrezes sought help from Father Arnold Beezer, parish priest at the St. Lukes Catholic Church in Woodburn. Raul, Petra, and most of their workers attended mass at St.Lukes.

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Raul asked Father Beezer to donate use of the parish hall for a dance to raise money for the Ramrezes legal defense. I told them to sell the boat, Father Beezer recalled, referring to the late-model outboard parked in the Ramrezes driveway. Father Beezers bluntness and his message both surprised us. He had always seemed mild-mannered and conflict-averse. The St. Lukes dance idea never went anywhere. Neither did the boat. We surmised that Raul and Petra decided to cover their legal bills out of those tendollar-a-week payments.

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Part VI: Organizing for Fair Immigration Reform No matter how much migra resistance consumed us, we recognized from the start that it represented, at best, a stop-gap response to undocumented status. Our deportation defense work forestalled departure for a few. Once underway, our visa work guided a few hundred people to legal status. That left thousands in Oregon and millions nationwide in an indefinite limbo. Only a drastic and progressive change in U.S. immigration laws would replace vulnerability and fear with security via a path to permanent legal status. Border enforcement, legalization, guest worker visas, national identification card, due process rights for immigrants and refugees: these big ticket items, and their packaging into comprehensive immigration reform, rose to prominence in the late 1970s. Thirty years later they are, once again, at the heart of a raging debate. The ebb and flow of immigration and of immigration debate is certainly nothing new in United States history. Our cursory study suggested that some combination of political, economic and demographic factors converged about every three decades to produce a legislative overhaul. Laws passed by Congress in 1921 and 1953 restricted immigration and punished immigrants. These laws reflected the prevailing political climates of their times: fear of socialist and anarchist agitation and fear of communist influence, respectively. The national debate we entered When WVIP came on the scene, the immigration caudron seemed headed toward another of its thirty-year boil-overs. All around us, we saw fuel for the fire. INS patrols and and apprehensions rose dramatically in the 1970s. In 1968, the INS arrested 150,000 immigrants, including 30,000 at the borders or ports of entry. By 1978, arrests had exploded to nearly one million. In Oregon, six hundred deportations in 1975 shot up to 1,600 in just the first half of 1976. In Texas and California, the most popular destinations for immigrants who arrived in increasing numbers from Mexico, state legislatures passed harsh antiimmigrant laws. California enacted a version of employer sanctions, fining employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers. In 1976, Texas ordered school districts to check students legal status and charge tuition to families of undocumented children. Federal courts in both states threw out the laws on the same theory that limited local police enforcement: the U.S. Constitution declared immigration a federal matter, thus preempting states from acting. In 1982, the

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U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Texas law, affirming the right of all children to public education. Today, many question whether todays Court, dominated by Republican appointees, will uphold that principle and issue similar rulings. Localities and states are, once again, passing anti-immigrant ordinances and laws. Federal court challenges to those laws are surely wending their way to the Supreme Court. In 2007, vigilantes calling themselves Minutemen conducted armed patrols at the U.S.-Mexican border, mostly in Arizona. In 1977, it was the Klu Klux Klan who stood guard near San Diego, making citizens arrests of suspected undocumented immigrantsactions public blessed of the San Diego police. Border Patrol officers gave the KKK Grand Dragon David Duke an official tour of the border. At that time, the KKK was still the premiere racist organization in America. For more than a century, the group had pressed the cause of white supremacy by terrorizing and murdering African-Americans, Jews and their allies. The roll-out of major legislative initiatives rounds out the historical parallels between 1977 and 2007. President Carter unveiled his Immigration Plan in August, 1977, eight months after taking office. The Plans centerpiece provision offered immigrants permanent legal status to undocumented immigrants if they could prove seven years residence in the U.S. For most of those in the country less than seven years, the Plan created a five-year temporary status, but left decision on their ultimate fate to a later date. Carter also proposed to double the number of Border Patrol agents, to create a national identity card, impose employer sanctions, and to add billion of dollars to loan and aid programs for countries sending immigrants to the U.S. (hoping to reduce that flow). The Plan drew immediate and vociferous criticism from conservatives and from radicals, including us. Moderates, liberals and business interests gave the Plan, at best, a tepid response. Though the Democrats controlled the Congress, the Carter Plan stalled almost immediately upon arrival. We dismissed out of hand President Carters call for more immigration enforcement. Militarizing the border would only cause more suffering and do nothing to address the economic desperation that drove immigrant workers to enter the country unlawfully, often at great personal risk. We predicted that implementation of a national ID card would prompt law enforcement officers would single out brown-skinned people, regardless of citizenship, for scrutiny. Employers would cite fear of sanctions to justify discrimination against Latinos in hiring or to camouflage the firing of pro-union workers. Both measures would aggravate entrenched tendencies to discriminate based on perceived foreign appearance.

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Employer sanctions also would undermine our legal strategy for resisting deportation. Workers arrested by the INS who rejected immediate departure, withstood INS pressure, and posted bond, would be barred from resuming employment during the drawn-out process of contesting their deportability. Without employer sanctions, an employer did not risk a fine for allowing a worker to return to work while free on bond. Rather than fining employers for hiring undocumented workers, we advocated aggressive and coordinated enforcement of labor laws. This strategy contemplated INS cooperation in place of repression. When labor enforcement agencies encountered employers violating wage and safety laws, affected workers who were undocumented would be offered temporary legal status. Workers could thereby assist the investigations, press claims for wages or damages, and help neutralize any competitive advantage which employers had derived by hiring undocumented workers. California labor agencies persuaded the INS to join a trial run targetting in the garment industry in Los Angeles, a sector notorious for slavelike working conditions and a chronic target of INS raids. The results were promising but federal authorities allowed the experiment to wither. In 1977, we united with the national call that undocumented workers should receive legal status simply because they contributed to the U.S. economy. This stance remains a righteous one but it was never particularly realistic or politically viable. More recently, in the anti-immigrant climate that intensified after September 11, 2001, the national immigrants rights movementus included increasingly shifted to calls for earned legalization. To become legalized, undocumented immigrants would have to pay a stiff fine plus application fees, continue to work or study, learn English, pay back taxes, and pass security and medical screenings. Thirty years ago, we were not nearly that pragmatic. We rejected the Carter Plans avenues to legal status as woefully limited and uncertain. Though we couldnt join them in Los Angeles on December 31, 1977, we raised a glass to the National Coalition for Fair Immigration Laws and Practices and their New Years eve party slogan: Make 1978 the Year for Unconditional Amnesty. The debate within the debate On October 28, 1977, WVIP sent a half dozen delegates to a major national Chicano-mexicano convening on immigration in San Antonio, Texas. Two thousand activists congregated, mostly to hear speeches by national Chicano leaders and to debate resolutions delineating a common analysis and position what we called our lineon immigration policy and politics.

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Contrary to my expectations, the conference offered only a few workshops analyzing the Carter Plan. This contrasted with my only other comparable experience attending the National Lawyers Guild convention two months earlier in Seattle. The Guilds meetings delved deeply into the practicalities of legal and political strategies. As near as I could tell, scant effort was devoted in San Antonio to concretely planning a national campaign to defeat the Plan. Sessions consisted of plenaries or factions caucusing. The Friday night opening session at the El Tropicano Hotel ballroom featured sixteen speakers and ran past midnight, followed by a reception until 2:00 AM (or so). After three days of jockeyingpublic and private, the conference issued a communiqu declaring total opposition to the Carter Plan, demanding dissolution of the INS, advocating a bill of rights for undocumented workers, and calling for self-defense tactics against the Klan. The conference afforded me my first glimpse of national radical politics in the Chicano-mexicano community. The climactic plenary on Sunday featured speeches by top leaders, each representing one of the four national organizations with sizeable contingents there. The speakers outdid each other with forceful rhetoric but all of them skimped on the specifics about what was to be done. The speeches throughout the conference captured the moments spirit of worldwide ideological struggle: communism versus socialism versus capitalism; national liberation versus colonialism; womens liberation versus male chauvinism. Another unexpected dimension was that blistering attacks were not limited to the migra, the racist vigilantes and the greedy capitalists. Speakers pointedly denounced each others organizations and their alleged unprincipled tactics employed to manipulate the conference. The accusations sounded vague, at least to a peripheral novice like me. Attending the conference did help me to identify the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) as the group referenced in CASAs re-cap, published in Sin Fronteras. Their editorial lamented [CASAs] manipulation and division by a pseudo leftist party, formed by opportunist and leftist elements produced by the North American middle sectors. The speechesand perhaps the entire conferencegenerated more heat than light. On the final day, high-running emotions propelled Raza Unida Party leader Jos Angel Gutierrez to leap on stage, jump over the speakers table, grab the mic, and fire off a rebuttal to criticism of his Party. Shouts of Abajo! largely drowned out his harangue. This response seemed to combine a literal meaning get off the stagewith the customary political one. For us at least, the energizing atmosphere of a critical mass of activists engaged in urgent struggle bested the intermittent sniping. In under three months,

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the Chicano/mexicano Left had assembled an impressive show of force against the Carter Plan and La Migra. Though the internal divisions stymied attempts to form a national coordinating committee incorporating all factions, the conference highlighted the need and quantified opportunities to work nationally. Before we arrived in San Antonio, we had seen ourselves as far from the action centered in the Southwest and DC. The conference put Oregon on the immigrants rights map and moved us to visualize a role at the national level. In subsequent convenings and campaigns, we would have a seat at the table. I left San Antonio feeling much more viscerally that I was part of a broader movement. For some among us, the social behavior customary at conventions actually transcended the political squabbling. At the height of the final plenary, I noticed a member of CASAs Seattle delegation walking smartly by, headed for the elevators to the hotel rooms. In each hand, he carried a tall mixed drink. I found out later he had a meeting with a compaera he had just met. She had arrived with the Socialist Workers Party delegation. The meeting was, no doubt, an opportunity to pursuethe debate. Immigration reform returns bigger and badder After announcing its immigration plan, the Carter Administration never seriously re-engaged the issue. Instead, Carter became bogged down grappling with economic stagnation and escalating inflation. Those, plus the Iran hostage crisis, which errupted in late 1979, monopolized the rest of his presidency. On immigration, Carter resorted to the well-worn gambit for covering a political retreat: he appointed a study commission. The Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy, composed of sixteen commissioners including four cabinet secretaries and eight members of Congress, undertook an unusually robust process which lasted two years. The Commission conducted twelve regional hearings at which seven hundred witnesses testified. On March 1, 1981, the Commission published a 450-page final report putting forward sixty-seven recommendations. Their core elements differed little from the Carter Immigration Plan. I delivered the Projects public comment on the report: All this time and money has been spent and they havent come up with anything different. They need to begin to address the economic disparity between the U.S. and [immigrants] countries. They should address why people want to come here. By the time the Commissions report landed on the Presidents desk, Jimmy Carter no longer sat there. Ronald Reagan had taken the oath of office six weeks

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earlier. Reagan announced his own plan on July 30th. Like Carter, he proposed employer sanctions, stepped up border enforcement, and temporary legal status for undocumented immigrants. New components, drawn from Commission recommendations, included an experimental program bringing in 50,000 guest workers annually and a modest increase in family immigration visas. On February 22, 1982, Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY) and Rep. Romano Mazzoli (D-KY) introduced their version of immigration law overhaul. Their positions as immigration sub-committee chairmen lent instant traction to the Simpson-Mazzoli bill. In just under a year, three major initiatives had materialized, two with bi-partisan backing. For the first time, the champions of immigration reform had gained significant momentum. The Carter Plans quick demise short-circuited our intention to organize a community campaign to oppose it. The Reagan Plan and Simpson-Mazzoli posed a much more serious threat. Simpson-Mazzoli capitalized on organized labors backing for employer sanctions (their solution to unfair labor competition) and the agribusiness lobbys embrace of a guest worker program. The latter especially alarmed us because it signaled a revival of the Bracero program. Between 1942 and 1964, the U.S. imported more than four million Mexicans as temporary workers, mostly in agriculture and railroad jobs. Their collective nickname, braceros, meaning those who work with their arms, branded them as somehow comparable with beasts of burden. Not surprisingly, the treatment they received often comported with that image. The Bracero program became synonymous with long, hard hours, low wages, total employer control, and barracks-style housing segregated from society. A braceros visa authorized him to work only for a specific employer. Changing employers without permission or going on strike subjected the worker to deportation. The program directed employers to withhold a portion of wages and send it to the worker after he had returned to Mexico. Tens of millions of dollars never made it into workers hands. Growers occasionally and effectively deployed braceros to break strikes mounted by other farmworkers. In May 1951, the nascent National Farm Labor Union organized a strike in the Imperial Valley melon harvest, near CaliforniaMexican border. Protected by the El Centro police, 4,000 braceros already in the vicinity flooded into the melon fields. Though the Bracero program expressly forbade strikebreaking, the Department of Labor dragged its feet on the Unions complaint. The stike collapsed; eventually, so did the Union.

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The Bracero program had begun as a short-term measure to remedy labor shortages during World War Two, but it became a mainstay for agribusiness. The program peaked in 1959 at about 450,000 workers nearly four times the highest annual total during the War. Pressure from organized labor and leaders like Csar Chvez finally shamed the Congress into terminating it, eighteen years after the program was originally scheduled to end. Talk of reinstating a massive importation of temporary laborersre-cast as guests to connote friendlier treatment and more dignified standinghit a raw nerve for Lee G. Williams. On April 30, 1980, Williams, a retired U.S. Labor Department official who directed the Bracero program from 1959 until 1964, told the Dallas Morning News that the program was nothing short of legalized slavery. He elaborated: The braceros were hauled around like cattle in Mexico and treated like prisoners in the U.S. As for the Bracero programs beneficiaries, he sounded equally blunt: It was purely a money-grabbing scheme by the corporate farms. We would repeated Williams damning remarks every chance we got. The immigration (and guest worker) debates never-ending nature ensured that we would have ample opportunity. Organizing total opposition Like Carter, Reagan announced an immigration initiative within months of taking office. Reagan inherited an immigration caldron bubbling more vigorously, thanks to the federal governments high-profile failure to anticipate and manage the Mariel boatlift which had suddenly brought 125,000 Cubans to U.S. shores in May, 1980. During Carters presidency, the INS had logged another four years futilely attempting to staunch Mexican immigration. Reagans long-time cronies in California agribusiness implored and expected him to deliver a dependable and compliant labor supply. In this context, we took the Reagan Plans unveiling on July 30th as our cue to organize a broad, active and open-ended opposition campaign. Four days later, we sent Cipriano to offer our leadership at the inaugural convening in Washington D.C. of the National Immigration and Refugee Network. Ciprianos report confirmed our assessment that the Reagan Plan constituted a potent threat. Straightaway, we prepared to establish a broad coalition to, as we put it, stop the Reagan Plan. More realistically, we sought to slow its progress by raising public awareness, especially among key ally groups who could mobilize pressure on Oregons two U.S. Senators and five congressional representatives.

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The coalition could also become an important vehicle to catalyze public actions against stepped-up INS activity in Oregon. On November 7, 1981, two weeks after the Reagan Plan was introduced in Congress, we assembled fifty activists at the American Friends Service Committee meeting house in Southeast Portland and founded the Oregon Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (OCIRR). Three days later, at a Portland press conference to introduce the Coalition, we came out swinging. We declare total opposition, Ramn announced, quoting the Coalitions unanimous verdict on the Reagan Plan. Its a Plan that creates racial hysteria, it pits the Mexican worker against U.S. worker, and it violates the rights of people in this country, Ramn proclaimed. The guest worker program would create a reserve army of labor to break strikes, he added before reprising Williams legalized slavery accusations. The Oregon Coalition pulled together Latino social service organizations, Oregon Legal Services staff, the National Lawyers Guild, the ACLU, Latin America solidarity groups, community action agencies, progressive labor activists (usually rank and file rather than elected union leaders), Black United Front leaders, progressive religious congregations and organizations, and political groups like the Rainbow Coalition. It would remain active for five years but never expand much beyond a choir of the converted. In that sense, alliance might better describe OCIRR than coalition. With a few exceptions, most OCIRR members, both individuals and organizations, already shared our analysis and took an active interest in immigration issues. OCIRRs core functions, therefore, were to organize the supporters we had, to motivate them to get more active, equip them with information, arguments, and a common message, and coordinate efforts to reach prospective supporters. Logically, OCIRRs three working committees were publicity, fundraising and speakers bureau. Though lead time was limited, we prepared OCIRRs initiation in a fairly methodical fashion. Ramn and Cipriano prepared a two-page overview including topics ranging from an organizational chart to the color scheme for information packets as a means to quickly divide founding meeting attendees into small groups while assuring a diversity of work backgrounds in each group. We studied the CASA Political Commissions seven-page political theory document entitled Our work in the Coalition for Fair Immigration Laws and Practices, which began with a primer on The Art of Uniting Forces. Though we considered ourselves less doctrinaire or dogmatic than some many had encountered in the national movement, it didnt hurt to remind ourselves that, we win people over through our clarity, our honesty, our humility and our hard work.

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We resolved to recruit others to take up key OCIRR leadership roles, but we expected them consult with usand, if necessary, defer to the Projecton major decisions about strategy. For example, we assumed that the Project would would follow our lead on supporting or opposing specific legislative proposals. We put forward Ramn as OCIRR Secretary, implicitly understanding that hed staff OCIRR. Other WVIP staff would lend a hand as needed, while volunteer leaders would do what they could. Former WVIP staff attorney Phil Hornik faithfully edited Desalambrar (roughly translated, take down the wire), the OCIRR newsletter. Organizations like the Eugene chapter of Clergy and Laity Concerned devoted major staff time to OCIRR campaigns. Right from the start, OCIRRs founding Chairperson, Sherry Sylvester, also stood out. Sherry had grown up in Oilton, Oklahoma, a hamlet thirty miles west of Tulsa nestled on a big bend in the Cimarron River. Shortly after arriving in Oregon, I had met Sherry at The Scribe, Portlands alternative weekly, where she was managing editor. She acted on her notion that we get better acquainted by inviting me to the Mountain Moving Caf, a lesbian hang-out decidedly chilly toward the presence of men. She was both unapologetically Okie (she pronounced her home town Alton) and feminist. She took pride in her distant relative, Dinah Sylvester, a fiesty character in the Plymouth, Massachusetts witchcraft trials of the 1660s. The determination she brought to Coalition leadership also welled up from deep in her working class upbringing. Like us, Sherry had jumped on the funding streetcar named CETA. She snagged grants four times the amount WVIP received and, virtually over night, built Women in Transition, a one-stop empowerment and social service center for women on the move. After leaving Oregon in the late 1980s, she earned a Masters of Political Management in New York, became a columnist in New Jersey, and handled communications for high profile political candidates. The courteous way that Sherry took no guff and kept the Coalition on course complemented Ramns more freewheeling style as Coalition Secretary. When Ramns public pronouncements verged on the over-theoretical, Sherry would chime in with plain statements like its about cheap labor or people are starving in Mexico because half the food growing on their land feeds us each winter. On March 7, 1982, two weeks after Simpson and Mazzoli upped the legislative ante, OCIRR organized a major conference in Portland to jump-start the opposition campaign. We invited Amit Pandya, staff counsel for the National Center for Immigrant Rightsand our D.C. eyes and earsto keynote. We bonded with Amit over his ability to bridge the realms of insider policy

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machinations and grassroots resistance. His knack for visualizing each from the perspective of the other sharpened our practice, especially thinking steps ahead of our adversaries. His address to the conference re-affirmed our contention that Simpson-Mazzoli signaled an historic urgency: American immigration law gets revised every generation and when it gets changed, it stays with you for a generation. The conference succeeded in galvanizing the one hundred-plus participants to action in the subsequent months. We could only imagine how more fired up people would have been had they heard the stirring performance of Latin American movement music which Seattle-based Grupo Armar had come to Oregon to present. Somehow, the group lost its way between Woodburn and Portland. We had apparently failed to connect with them about the conference location street address. Since cell phones would not be available for another decade, Grupo Armar could not contact us and simply returned to Seattle without playing a note. Legislation that passed by refusing to die Though he hailed from Wyoming, far from any international border, and had no other obvious reason to promote immigration reform, Sen. Simpson used his cattle-prod style of advocacy to drive his immigration bill forward. On August 17, 1982, the Senate voted eighty to nineteen to approve it. Mazzoli, however, was no Alan Simpson; the bill died in House of Representatives. In the next Congress, a resurrected bill squeaked through the House, 216 to 211, on June 20, 1984. The process bogged down again over differences with the Senate version. Mazzoli retired from Congress that fall. When the new Congress convened in January, 1985, a much more powerful lead proponent for immigration reform had surfaced in the House: Rep. Peter Rodino (D-NJ). Rodino, one of the heroes of Nixon impeachment process in 1973, used his House Judiciary Committee chairmanship to move immigration legislation. In the fall of 1986, the bill, now called Simpson-Rodino, seemed once again poised for failure. Over five years, the legislation had passed the Senate three times, the House once, been pronounced dead many times, undergone name changes and countless hearings, and alerted by dozens of amendments. Even as late as October 9, 1986, differences in the House and Senate passed versions threatened to shipwreck it again. A final compromise moved the residency cut-off date to qualify for amnesty from January 1, 1980 to January 1, 1982, but deleted protections for Central American refugees. To appease growers, the compromise required INS to

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seek a search warrant before entering open fields. To satisfy organized labor, the compromise eliminated a sunset (automatic expiration at a future date) on employer sanctions. When Simpson-Rodino passed both houses on October17, 1986, its basic architecture mirrored the 1977 Carter Plan. What had the Oregon Coalition achieved in the course of this fight? OCIRR had built a statewide immigrants rights network and interacted personally with thousands of Oregonians, mostly through presentations to small groups. Coalition-organized street protests, letter writing and phone calling to congresssional offices, and mainstream media coverage had established OCIRR as a player in Oregons debate on immigration and a respected, if junior, partner in national immigrants rights work. Coalition leaders, Ramn in particular, gained valuable experience in the high-powered and fast-changing world of Capitol Hill. When conversations around the Project touched on national affairs, Cipriano usually turned to Ramn and asked whats the feeling on the Hill? Ramn learned not to take that bait. OCIRR earned the trust and support of Oregons most senior representative in the U.S. House, Democrat Les AuCoin. During what proved to be the decisive House debate, AuCoin staff called Ramn repeatedly for guidance on votes. At our request, AuCoin voted for amendments that, in our view, improved the bill or ameliorated some of its potential harms, and he voted no on final passage. Our most influential allies operating on Capitol Hill, chiefly UFW Vice President Dolores Huerta and Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), worked right down to the last minute and managed to improve Simpon-Rodinos legalization provisions. They won inclusion of the Special Agricultural Workers (SAW) program along side the amnesty program. Nationally, a million farmworkers would eventually gain permanent legal status through SAW, in addition to the 2.7 million immigrants who legalized through amnesty.

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Part VII. Raising political consciousness in the Mexican community Immigration defense and community service became our calling cards but they did not encompass our aspirations about the scope of political struggle. We explored themes and mediums to impact how the folks in our midst viewed the community, society and the world. While still at the Colegio, Ramn, Cipriano and Juan had organized small community forums on struggles near and far, including the Puerto Rican independence movement, the overthrow of Chilean President Salvador Allende, and the United Farm Workers boycotts. Most events attracted only a modest crowd. WVIP-organized community forums also drew small audiences. Clearly, we needed to try something different: cultural appeal to spice up the otherwise dry delivery of our messages calling the community to greater awareness. An easy act to follow Through CASA, Ramn had developed contacts with street theatre troupes in California and Mxico. Both Ramn and Cipriano had seen troupe performances attract and compellingly connect with audiences on political topics. More than a dozen such groups had sprung up in California alone, following the example of Teatro Campesino which Luis Valdez had founded in 1966. Luis pulled together farmworkers like himself in Delano to develop skits which creatively and entertainingly raised worker morale and relieved tension and fear as the table grape strikes intensified. Actors with no formal training, but with a flair for mimicry and comedic timing, performed on picket lines and at UFW meetings. Teatro Campesino players improvised scenes which delighted and embolden workers by satirizing the growers, supervisors and henchmen. Costumes and props were spare, sometimes just a sign hung around an actors neck to identify his or her character. Political theatre spread rapidly but it hadnt taken hold in Oregon. In May 1978, I had helped WVIP co-founder Jesus Lpez incorporate a non-profit named Teatro de la Comunidad. They based themselves in Washington County, forty miles from Woodburn. None among us in Woodburn possessed the talent to creatively contribute, much less sustain a troupe. The group didnt make it much beyond the paperwork, brainstorm and experimentation stages. The stillbirth of Teatro de la Comunidad only strengthened our desire to put theatres organizing power to work in Oregon. The only viable option, it seemed, was to bring groups from California. Their presence might even surface

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aspiring actors in our community who could breath lasting life into a fledgling initiative like Teatro de la Comunidad. In August 1978, we arranged for Teatro Primavera to come from Los Angeles and perform at the annual Fiestas Mexicanas in Woodburn. The Fiestas began in 1964 as a vehicle for area growers to show their appreciation for harvest workers. It grew to include the staples of small-town fairs: a funky parade through town, a queen and court of princesses, food booths, bands, a Saturdy-night dance and a Sunday Catholic mass. The Fiestas eventually added a low-rider car competition and a soccer tournament. By 1978, the Fiestas lasted an entire weekend and attracted thousands to Woodburns largest public park. The growers had long since fallen away. A local group, the Latin American Club, had assumed responsibility. The Fiestas was its sole project. Each year as the Fiestas approached, the Clubs leadership would meet at the pink wood-frame house they had purchased with past Fiestas net proceeds. In June 1978, Juan Mendoza and I attended a Club meeting to broach the idea of inviting Teatro Primavera to that years Fiestas. Before getting down to business, the Clubs half dozen regulars, mostly elderly tejanos, stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Juan and I stood but remained silent. Turned to face the flag in the corner, Club members didnt notice our act of conscientious objection. Our divergent approaches to patriotism narrowly avoided torpedoing collaboration. When the meeting arrived at new business, Juan presented our pitch. For one thousand dollars, we could bring Primaveras six-member troupe. Club members receptivity surprised us. Though a pretty staid bunch, even they recognized that the Fiestas line up had become stale. They baulked momentarily at the price, but we rallied them by volunteering to arrange housing and by pointing out that $1,000 was less than half of Primaveras normal rate for out-ofstate performances. The Club unanimously approved the plan, content that they were getting a good deal. To supplement Primaveras revenue, we organized two benefit performances, one in Portland intended to attract Project supporters, and the other in Hillsboro, home base for Teatro de la Comunidad founders. The ridiculously low admission price of $2.50 helped generate a good turn out, maintaining the Projects visibility outside of Woodburn. Primavera rolled into Woodburn a dozen strong, twice the number we had expected. The chance to check out the Willamette Valley enticed several

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understudies and family members to jump on the Oregon bandwagon. Even the resulting logistical scrambling couldnt drampen our enthusiasm to show California-centric activists our movement outpost. I had no idea there were so many mexicanos this far north, exclaimed Primavera director Rubn Castro as he surveyed the fifteen hundred who filled the park bleachers. Woodburn reminds me of California towns twenty years ago. Wed hear those reactions again countless times over the years from our out-of-state visitors. Primavera performed La Mmica del Oprimido (The Mime of the Oppressed). The play silently portrayed workers in a factory struggling with speed-ups, low wages, and company-store style exploitation. Relying only on physicality and musical accompaniment, the depiction of workers actions and emotions as they prepared to confront the factory owner commanded the audiences undivided attention. As the troupe acknowledged the crowds standing ovation, I noticed Club leaders smiling broadly. At the Fiestas dance later than night, Rubn and company added a spontaneous bonus, sitting in with the band and putting on a dance exhibition of sorts. The Primaverans left Oregon delighted to have come and the Club was pleased enough to throw in two hundred dollars extra to feed the Primavera entourage. Building on that success, we again approached the Club in 1980 to bring Teatro De La Gente from San Jos, California. Remembering Primeraveras success, they readily agreed to similar terms. Club members asked little about De La Gente or their intended performance. Had they inquired, we would have explained that De La Gente was founded in 1970, inspired by Teatro Campesina, and had become active leaders in TENAZ, the association of fifty Chicanomexicano theatre groups nationally. We might have deflected questions about the play theyd present. De La Gente called it Soldado Razo (Buck Private), a play written years earlier to stimulate opposition to the Vietnam War. De La Gente had revived it as a response to President Carters July 2, 1980 order re-instating mandatory draft registration. Registration had lapsed in 1973 as U.S. involvement in Vietnam wound down. By 1980, left-wing guerrilla insurgencies in El Salvador and Nicaragua had stirred sufficient anxiety among U.S. military planners to convince Carter to set war preparations in motion. Soldado Razo told the story of Johnny, an ordinary barrio youth who volunteers for military service, ignoring the misgivings expressed by his mother and friends. The plays most riveting scene comes at the end. The character of La Muerte dressed in a calavera (skeleton) costume, claims Johnny and turns to the

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audience, slowly panning the crowd, his outstretched arm chillingly pointing to young men in the crowd. The impact was discernable not only in the faces of mothers and young men, but by their eagerness to take the buttons we handed out as they left. Chale Con El Draft, the buttons read, reviving the Vietnam Era Hell No to the Draft slogan. This time, the Latin American Club leaders came away anything but content. The Fiestas is a family-oriented event, the Club president told us sourly as he informed us that street theatres run at the Fiestas Mexicanas had come to an end. The art uniting forces begets the blend syndrome In the Chicano and farmworker movements of the 1960s and 1970s, eyecatching posters held a stature akin to street theatre. Poster production emulated street theatres artistic, agitational, and, in many cases, amateurish quality. Our dabbling in poster printing unquestionably qualified as one those cases. We developed our affinity for posters principally at the Colegios graphic studio and at Rescate Press in Seattle. Rescate was housed at Centro de La Raza and operated by members of CASA. They turned out both silk screen and offset works. Ramn had volunteered at Rescate and picked up basic printing skills. Carlos Manriques, a bona fide silkscreener, ran the Colegios art studio and taught Ramn and Juan. Carlos gave us open access to the Colegio studio and we spent long hoursup to sixteen at a stretchburning images on a screen using chemical emulsion and then printing and drying posters. With our level of skill, producing 200 two-color posters took the better part of a week. Since none of us could draw, we borrowed graphic images. We re-produced them using the Colegios line camera and darkroom to shoot and develop large size negatives, another laborious process. Our first product was WVIPs informational poster printed on 17 x 22 stiff, cream-colored paper. At the top, one-inch black letters screamed CON O SIN DOCUMENTOS: UD. TIENE DERECHOS (With or without documents, You have rights). Below it in red was an eleven-inch tall rendering of the Ya Basta Con La Migra graphic which we had adopted as WVIPs coat-of-arms. We put up the posters at businesses, agencies and labor camps. Each poster had quantities of WVIPs know-your-rights cards stapled at the lower corners. The power of youthful determination drove us onward. Our next piece possibly our bestpromoted a benefit we organized in August 1978, the Raza

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Unity Dance. We employed the blend technique, spreading several wide bands of color on the screen, each separated by a thin bead of white paint, creating a shading or rainbow effect when squeegeed across the screen. In the first printing run, we created a background of bright red fading into yellow and then into orange. The second run overlayed the lettering plus the stunning logo of the main musical act, a local Tex-Mex band called Machete. We credited the poster with a major share of the gigs smashing success. The Raza Unity Dance poster encouraged us to get more serious. In April 1980, WVIP moved into more permanent quarters, a small house on Young Street, two blocks east of the downtown core. We named the houses back room Taller Grfico de la Raza (Mexican graphic studio), part of a grander vision we called Centro de Comunicaciones Ricardo Flores Magn. Magn was a radical propagandist during the Mexican revolution, persecuted in both Mexico and the U.S. The U.S. charged him with sedition and imprisoned him in the Leavenworth, Kansas pennitentiary, where he was assassinated. In a grant application seeking $434 for set up materials, we described the Taller as the only Mexican media arts center in Oregon, offering technical skills and producing quality materials. We put a brave face on our expertise: experience has shown us to be a good teacher. We estimated our art squad at fourteen, all under thirty-five years old. We envisioned artistic activity occupying every inch of the back rooms175 square feet. With the grant, we purchased screen materials (and made our own screens), paint, a second-hand light table, four hundred clothes pins, and wire. We drilled holes through each of the pins and strung them on two parallel runs of wire stretching wall to wall. Presto!: we had a drying apparatus which could handle two hundred posters. Neither the Centro de Comunicaciones nor the Taller Grfico ever flourished. In fact, they barely crawled along for a couple of years before folding. In that time, we produced three or four more posters, all featuring the blended background. We did extract an important strategic lesson from our silkscreening experience. The blend syndrome became our shorthand for applying the same old tired approach because its all you know how to do. That we discovered, was one art we could visualize. Old-fashioned leafletting We couldnt act, couldnt draw or paint, our silkscreening was marginal,

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but we could write a good informational leaflet. Our leaflets were well thoughtout; they set out clear context, analysis and ideas. If they had weaknesses, they were wordiness and unimaginative lay-out. A representative specimen was the Open Letter to the Mexican Community which we produced and circulated on March 30, 1981. As the title suggested, its content approximated an editorial. We fit five hundred words on a legal sized page, with an English version one side, and Spanish on the other. This format became standard, not unlike the blend. The Open Letter responded to alarm and upset sparked by anonymous racist flyers found on car windshields in downtown Woodburn. The flyers declared open hunting season on Mexicans. Our Letter denounced the cowardly act and pointed out other kinds of attacks fed by the same mentality, including INS raids and documented cases of anglo vigilantes and employers assaulting Mexican workers in the Willamette Valley. The Letters main thrust, though, re-directed discussion of bias to issues of institutional racism, including employment discrimination, police harassment and inadequate education. It is not enough to denounce a racist leaflet, the Letter concluded. Fighting racism is the responsibility of all peoples. Our labor has helped to build Woodburn. We demand and deserve respect for our human and civil rights, our culture and ourselves. We recruited six other groups to join as Letter signers, another regular feature of WVIP leaflets. Open Letter signers included the Chi-Lites and New Breed, two local clubs of low-riders, our way of encouraging them to see themselves as having a political voice. The Open Letters message caught the attention and won the endorsement of the Governors Commission on Hispanic Affairs and other mainstream Latino groups. Their interest, in turn, generated media coverage. A Salem StatesmanJournal article quoted the Open Letters concluding sentences and put on the record the Woodburn School District superintendents responses to our assertions about the causes of the high Latino drop-out rate Though we had no newspaper, we got our editorial points across. We and our co-signers circulated the Open Letter at schools, agencies and workplaces. And we placed it on those windshields in downtown. Studying to raising our own consciousness In June 1980, we undertook a self-directed study process designed to

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sharpen our critical thinking and set a baseline of shared knowledge. We conducted ten sessions that summer on labor topics that would become central to our work: farm labor conditions, the reforestation and agribusiness industries, labor contractors, and the UFW struggle in California. Only a handful of us participated, but the study cycle assembled or created documents that wed re-use and build on as we integrated others into active roles. You have to know what the hell youre talking about, Cip declared as he opened the first session. Were dealing with the Man and we have to know his shit as well as he does. That sparks our creativity. The process, we promised ourselves, would build our self-confidence and our trust in each other by pointing up, admitting and addressing what we didnt know. We carried out our study process under the flag of the Frente Trabajador Autnomo (Autonomous Worker Front), an entity we conceived to be a party overarching our organizations. Like the Taller Grfico and the Centro de Comunicaciones Ricardo Flores Magn, the Frente shrank from its modest beginnings to become an unexplained line at the bottom of Project stationery and the name on an eight-foot wooden plank hanging above the little houses front porch. Our organizational staying powerand brand recognitionresided in the Projects service programs, and our campaigns to organize workers, community members and outside supporters. Still, we had worked diligently to craft the name Frente Trabajador Autnomo. In retrospect, the Frentes underwhelming presence and failure to launch suggest that anonimo anonymouswas more fitting than autnomo. Gathering each year at the intersection of history, culture and ideology In 1980, WVIP began what would become an annual tradition that lasted a dozens years: organizing a community celebration of Cinco de Mayo and International Workers Day. Like many of our programs, the annual events origins were an amalgam of intention and circumstance. Having the moved to Young Street location in April, our planned open house in early May coincided with May 1st and May 5th. For some time, we had mulled over ideas for organizing a recurring community event with mass appeal and an explicitly political orientation. The confluence of international, national and local significance swept us into action. With our customary optimism, we billed the event as the First Annual Celebration, we assumed that wed schedule it for the first Sunday in May, regardless of date.

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In the 1970s, community celebrations of Cinco de Mayo had gained currency among Mexicans in the diaspora. Commemorating the Battle of Puebla in 1862, where Mexican forces improbably triumphed over the invading French Army, Cinco de Mayo was a well-established holiday in Mexico but an obscure one as contrasted with Mexican Independence Day, September 16th. In the U.S., beer companies, led by Anheuser-Busch, have commercialized and sterilized Cinco de Mayo. It eventually overshadowed Mexican Independence Day. Cinco de Mayo is now generally perceived as the Mexican equivalent of the Irishs St. Patricks Day. In our celebrations, though, we rejected this trend and played up Cinco de Mayos anti-imperialist and national pride qualities. Left-wing political organizations had long commemorated International Workers Day (IWD). Tens of millions took to the streets annually in Europe, China, and Latin America (including Mxico) to demonstrate working class solidarity, but in the U.S., anti-communism had vaporized mass observances during the 1950s. Ironically, International Workers Day commemorates the 1886 Haymarket Massacre which occured a rally supporting striking workersin Chicago, Illinois. An annual Celebration of IWD and Cinco de Mayo created the opportunity to re-tell those basic stories of resistance and to re-cast them in contemporary terms. Many who attended had no idea that anglo workers in the U.S. had a rich tradition of class struggle, much less that IWD had originated in the U.S. We transposed the underdog Mexican Army, overcoming the seemingly omnipotent French, to be immigrants taking on La Migra or farmworkers standing up to the growers. In its first years, the Celebration also evolved into a showcase for cultural groups, especially folkoric dance troupes, and local pop-music bands. That worked for us because it attracted and entertained a good-sized crowd and it ensured wed have a good amplification system. The Celebrations other standard features included food, childrens activities, a keynote speaker, and a WVIP political message. True to our do-it-on-the-cheap tendencies, we hustled food donations from local stores and depended entirely on volunteers to produce the celebration. Cash outlays usually amounted to a few hundred dollars which we managed to defray by passing the hat and collecting contributions from those in the food line. The first three Celebrations all suffered the effects of spontaneity and disorganization, exacerbated by the location: the less than ample grounds around that small house. The outdoor musical entertainment at the inaugural Celebration in 1980 ended abruptly and pre-maturely when the police threatened to confiscate the sound equipment. We had failed to secure a sound permit because none of us

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knew we needed one or thought to inquire. The following year, a downpour typical for early May in the Willamette Valleyscattered the crowd. Not even half could fit inside the house. Threatening weather the next year finally convinced us to seek a more suitable venue. In 1983, we moved the Celebration to the gym at St. Lukes Catholic School ten blocks away. The logistics improved greatly. Weve now established this Celebration as a community event, we noted in our internal evaluation. Now we need to work more on the political content. We chose Cipriano to deliver the Projects address that year at the Fourth Annual Celebration. That role had rotated among Cipriano, Juan and Ramn, the Projects three Latino staff. About two weeks out, Cipriano announced at a staff meeting that I should take his place on the program. His proposal was met with an awkward silence. It was as if three cartoon-like bubbles floated above our heads, each reading: how will people feel about a white person speaking for a Mexican organization? Cipriano answered the question before Ramn, Juan or I verbalized it. Larrys earned the opportunity and its time we showed that to the community. Though we didnt disagree with his premise, we all felt uneasy about his conclusion. But Ciprianos viewsand especially his infrequent pronouncementscarried decisive weight. Cipriano had decided that the time had come to cross a line we had tacitly drawn. Next, were going to hear from a compaero who has worked side-byside with us for six years, Cip announced to the crowd. At these annual celebrations, youve seen him around, darting here and there to help keep it all together. A few people in this gym are able to be here because of Larrys role defending immigrants who face deportation. Today he takes on a new role: speaking to you on behalf of our organization. Over the those six years, I had spoken for the Project many times at forums or to the media about immigration issues and events. I had always done so extemporaneously or working from an outline. As I walked on stage, I clutched a few half-sized sheets. On them, I had neatly typed the text which I had drafted and fine-tuned. In it, I acknowledged the privilege and the limitations of my role as an outsider. I described the challenges posed by a federal government ratcheting up the INS repression, which we saw and felt all around us, and proposing more. I pledged my commitment to continue resisting it. Well need more allies, but its also going to require another level of unity, one we need.to build among Mexican people from both sides of the border. Though my message re-stated the Projects familiar line, the novelty of me as its exponent claimed the crowds attention. The speech seemed generally well-

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received, but a few of our more narrow nationalist Chicano friends pulled aside Ramn or Juan to grumble about the selection of messenger. No one complained to Cipriano. Dolores Huerta keynoted the Celebration in 1984. She delivered a fiery denunciation of the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill as it approached an historic congressional vote. Her presence helped attract over 500 people, then our largest crowd ever, including prominent Latino leaders who came from Portland, Salem, and Eugene to hear and see her. For the first time, we garnered press attention beyond the Woodburn Independent. We extended Celebrations political content into the childrens program. At the Sixth Annual Celebration in 1985, children jockeyed for a turn bashing a piata which distinctly resembled Uncle Sam, complete with top-hat. Around the neck of the candy-filled effigy, Cipriano had hung a sign that read Reagan. An attention-getting photo on Statesman-Journals front page depicted a blindfolded boy in full swing, his stick inches away from hitting the sign. Im getting some heated phone calls, Father Peter Davis, the St. Lukes parish priest, understatedly reported when he called us the next day. The following year, scheduling difficulties prevented St. Lukes from hosting our Celebration. We moved it to the cafeteria of a local elementary school. Not one elected official ever appeared on the program or attended the Celebration. One likely explanation is that we never invited any. In those days, local politicians either figured only peripherally in our work or had an adversarial relationship with us. We assumed that the Celebrations radical symbolism and rhetoric would discomfort them. Occasionally, the programs pieces meshed powerfully and broke through the blur of routine. In 1986, we brought immigration lawyer and singer-guitaristcomposer Enrique Ramrez from San Francisco to perform and keynote. He melded his songs and their political lyrics, his lawyering war-stories, engaging showmanship, and community activist wisdom into a memorable show. The crowd could more fully appreciate Enriques presentation because we had lured all the children outside to break the piata. Even after thirteen consecutive years organizing the Celebration, we had developed no meaningful way to measure its impact. We continued it out of habit. It had a life of its own, and an increasing staid one. Like its beginning in 1980, the Annual Celebrations demise did not result from a painstaking deliberation. We transformed the intended Fourteenth Annual Celebration on May 2, 1993 into an impromtu memorial for Csar Chvez who had died nine days earlier. The follow year, we organized a huge ceremony on April 28th, dedicating another facilities

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milestone: the refurbished headquarters building next door toand six times the size ofthe little house (whose inauguration had kicked off the Celebration tradition). By 1995, another, more structured annual event competed with the Celebrations place on the calendar. We had founded PCUN, Oregons farmworker union in 1985, and ten years later, we moved PCUNs membership convention from the fall to late April. Though we retired the tradition of celebrating Cinco de Mayo and International Workers Day in Woodburn, we preserved at least parts of the Celebrations legacy. We gathered workers and we incorporated cultural performances into those gatherings. We re-cycled the Celebrations themes and slogans. We triedand sometimes managedto remember the event-production lessons which the Celebration taught us. We carried forward the resistance spirit of the Battle of Puebla and the Haymarket Massacre.

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Part VIII: Raids escalate and we struggle to keep pace On August 13, 1981, exactly two weeks after President Ronald Reagan unveiled his immigration reform plan, the INS conducted the largest single-day raid in Oregon history. A team of fourteen INS and Border Patrol agents arrested ninety-two workers at the Castle & Cooke mushroom plant in Salem. The raid ominously signaled a new INS enforcement strategy: using raids to coerce employers to stop hiring undocumented workers. Though the Reagan Administration proposed employer sanctions as part of its plan, INS officials opted to implement a form of de facto sanctions without awaiting congressional approval. At the mushroom plant on August 13th , the INS arrested a quarter of the workforce. Knowing that even a days lost work wreaks havoc on the mushroom cultivation cycle and forty thousand pound daily harvest, the INS made Castle & Cooke management an offer they could hardly refuse. If Castle & Cooke agreed to screen all future job seekers with the INS, the INS promised to refrain from conducting raids at the plant. Castle & Cooke capitulated and some other employers would follow their example. Though employer sanctions fines for knowingly hiring undocumented workers would not become law until November 1986 and would not take effect in agriculture until 1989, a regime of sanctions became a reality on the ground in selected locations eight years earlier. The mushroom plant raid represented a tactical escalation as well as a strategic one. A phalanx of officials and vehicles descended on the plant, armed with a search warrant which they worked three weeks to get. This struck us as a marked contrast with what we had previously perceived as a largely impromptu approach to arresting undocumented immigrants. Though the INS in Oregon conducted some kind of enforcement activity every week, the INS presence in Salem tended to revolve around a routine stop at the county jail to remove undocumented immigrants otherwise eligible for release from local custody. If they didnt fill the van, INS agents might hit one of Salems run-down apartment complexes, or cruise through Woodburns downtown, looking to arrive full at the Portland INS office. These incursions, plus the occasional small scale sweep, reinforced the notion that no one was immune. La Migra might even arrest grandma and the granddaughter she babysat, as they did one August morning in Woodburn. We helped people cope with a persistent sense of low-level dread and we became practiced in pulse-quickening incident response.

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In our few close encounters with INS agents on the streets (at the Woodburn Childrens Center or the Corby Street apartments), we had caught them off guard and they had elected to retreat. We regarded the Castle & Cooke plant raid as an INS statement, something like: we can show up in force, take control, and make a lasting impact. In the community, fear intensified, but so did anger. The day that the heat came on full blast When I jumped out of my car at the mushroom plants main gate at 11:30 AM on that Thursday morning, the temperature was already in the low nineties. A worker had called us thirty minutes earlier, as soon as the INS had barreled in. I counted four vans and seven patrol cars, some sporting the Border Patrol insignia. The sheer number of vehicles suggested that this was no ordinary raid. For the next four hours, we camped outside the plant, consoling the anguished family members who gathered and recording information wed need to seek release of workers. Standing in the mid-day sun, peering through the sevenfoot high chain link fence, we watched impotently as agents chased workers in and out of the long, narrow mushroom sheds on the thirty acre site. County sheriffs blocked the plant exit. Company officials, armed-folded, stood at the entrance to the administrative offices. Some workers intially ran. Others hid in the mushroom bed bunks filed with ammonia-treated compost. The only undocumented workers employed at the plant who escaped arrest were those who had the day off or had called in sick. The mushroom plants year-round, immigrant-dominated workforce and fenced perimeter made it an inviting target. Were at their mercy, Personnel Director Hector Hinojosa lamented to us after the raid. They raided us five years ago and we knew theyd be eventually be back. At about three oclock, the agents apparently satisfied themselves that they had detained every one whom they suspected of being deportable. By that time, the temperature had hit one hundred degrees and workers had spent up to two hours sitting in the vans and patrol units. A prison bus arrived to transport the workers that agents couldnt cram into the vans and sedans. As the bus rolled back out through the plant gate, relatives and detainess desperately yelled messages to each other. From inside the bus, Armando _____ recognized me and pressed his tattered green card against the bus window mesh. Tell them its not a fake, he pleaded, his face panic-stricken. Fortunately, the INS caravan was not headed directly to Mxico or the Portland airport. We followed the procession to the town of Silverton, fifteen

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miles northeast of Salem. The INS had arranged to use the National Guard Armory building there on Main Street as a temporary holding facility. We watched workers file into the Armory basement for processing. We later learned that INS agents lined them along a wall and brought them one-by-one to be interviewed at long folding tables. Workers cash was confiscated to pay for their transportation to Mexico. Most would depart with nothing but the clothes they wore. Family members had also followed the flotilla from Salem. Across the street from the Armory, their numbers grew steadily as word of the raid spread. The arrival of each distraught relative set off a new round of weeping in the crowd. The INS stop over in Silverton bought us time to seek release of at least some of the workers. Juan, Ramn and I continued our curb-side counseling and interviewing. Theres nothing we can do for him, right? Juan asked me on several occasions, before delivering a final verdict to a workers relative or friend. From the facts theyd given him, Juan had concluded that the worker had no path to legal status or couldnt come up with bail for release pending a deportation hearing. Amid the all the stresses, the added toll of repeatedly and definitively saying no seemed more than he could bear. I, too, would mentally search for that illusory something which would made a difference. Est cabrn, I muttered to him and to myself. Its a bitch. Many workers either had no family in the area or had relatives who were all undocumented. Other workers, some with U.S. citizen children, preferred to play it safe and deny to INS that they had those ties, fearing that the INS might arrest and remove them, too. How can they deport my husband?, screamed a white woman in English as she walked up to Ramn. Around us were a half dozen Mexican women born in the U.S., each with a husband behind those Armory walls. In our conversations with these women, they sounded hurt, scared, victimized, incensed, but not rippedoff. The white womans cry conveyed her anger and torment, but also, it seemed to me, an unmistakable sense of entitlement. She assumed that her privilege as white people automatically extended to her relatives of another race. Before the day was over, more than one white woman would cross the street and get right in the face of the INS guards or local police assigned to monitor the crowd and the passing traffic. On this occasion, at least, none of the Chicanas did. By late afternoon, we had ascertained and documented that sixteen detainees did have legal status or were spouses of U.S. citizens. We contacted the

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INS guards posted at the Armory door and presented our annotated list. Over the next few hours, those sixteen came out that door, one or two at a time. Each time, a joyous reunion ensued. Other families swarmed those newly liberated, beseeching them for news of their loved ones. One of the first to be released was Armando. They checked the number of my mica. I told them it was good, he reported excitedly. After sunset, the heat eased. On the sidewalk, weariness and resignation replaced shock and distress. Some family members had left to Salem and returned with gym bags with spare clothes. After delivering them, they re-joined those maintaining a vigil-like presence. INS had declined our requests for immediate release of three other detainees. Their family members assured me that they could come up with bond money and they authorized me to intercede with the INS to halt removal of those detainees. I prepared an legal appearance form and a handwritten statement on behalf of each, requesting a deportation hearing and revoking any request for voluntary departure they may have signed. About thirty minutes after receiving the paperwork, INS agents granted my request for access to personally interview my clients. As I descended the wide staircase into the stuffy, sweltering basement, an agent met me at the landing a few steps above the foot of the stairs. I gave him my clients names. Stay here and Ill bring them over, he responded. As I waited, I surveyed the scene. The subdued atmosphere contrasted sharply with the tense scenes Id witnessed earlier. Workers slumped against the walls. Some lay prone on the floor, sleeping. Others talked quietly. An occasional laugh broke the pall of silence. A few agents tipped back their folding chairs and rested their cowboyboots on the tables. I wasnt alone on the stairway landing. The agents had allowed a few visitors to chat with detainees and hand over personal belongings. An agent walked my clients up to the landing and I introduced myself. I explained that they would be detained in a local jail for a day or two while I sought to reduce the amount of bail required for their release. (Within twenty-four hours, I had convinced an immigration judge to lower bail from $3,000 each to $1,500, $500 and zero.) Before I had finished my interviewing, an agent announced that visitors needed to leave. A group of people started up the stairs. As they neared the top, I heard another agent yell stop him, hes one of ours! The agent leaning on the railing nearby jumped up and blocked the stairway as other agents rushed up stairs to grab the detainee who had tried to sneak out. After a brief commotion, the

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agents sorted through the group and confirmed that no other detainees had infiltrated. The agents glared at the visitors as they departed.. As he strode back down the stairs, agent Larry Highsmith spotted me talking to my client and headed straight for us. He stopped abruptly about twelve inches away. You need to leave, now!, he barked, his face still red with embarassment. Im not done talking to my client, I answered, trying to sound matter-of-fact. Ill leave shortly and besides, you know who I am, I added. By August, 1981, I had crossed pathsand swordswith all of the agents assigned to Portland. He took another step towards me, grabbed the waist-line of my pants and started to lift me off the ground. Youre leaving or Im taking you out, he hissed. He stood four inches taller and was slightly thinner than me. My teeth clenched, my eyes squinted and my body stiffened. I pulled my elbows back and balled my fingers into fists. I looked him in the eye, drew a breath. You better take your hands off of me, I said, each word enunciated to accentuate my growing fury. Let go of me or Ill fuck you up. It seemed to register that I might really do it, reckless as that would have been. Before he could visualize the political hay that the INS could make from a headline like Advocate Assaults Federal Officer or the medal he might receive for provoking an act that would have cost me my accreditation, he released me and stepped back a couple of paces. Everythings going to be fine, I said to my client, trying my best to sound reassuring. She looked startled but quickly said goodbye. I left without making eye contact with Highsmith. In fact, that moment on the landing proved to be the last time I ever did. Over the next five years or so, Id pass him in the narrow hall at the INSs offices. I always made a point of looking right at him. He never looked at me. If a case I handled involved him, hed turn to a third party (another agent or receptionist) and say tell Mr. Kleinman sometimes prompting quizzical looks from them. At two in the morning on August 14th, two buses rolled out of the Armory parking lot. The next stop for the seventy-threes workers on board was Tijuana. Family members stood up on the parkway grass to offer one more frantic wave. Ill be back next week, yelled one worker through the bus window. By then, the A&W fast food stand next door had long since closed, actually earlier than scheduled. Between the INS, who bought hamburgers for the agents and for the detainees, and the families with cranky children, the A&W had exhausted their provisions. A hand-lettered sign on the glass door read Ran out of food.

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The August 13th raid still resonated with mushroom workers twenty years later. In March, 2001, they sought PCUNs help and finally stood up to abusive conditions and practices at the plant. One day on the picket line there, a tall bearded man rushed up to me and grabbed me in a bear hug. Remember me? Im Armando, he shouted. You saved me that day. He didnt have to explain which day.