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Shocking Headline!
Last Dec. 11, 271 workers at the Salt Lake City airport were detained following a 7-week investigation by federal authorities to find workers suspected of applying for employment with false ID. The result has been legal persecution and family impoverishment of Latinos that continues today.

200 were fired immediately. U.S. marshalls arrested 69 others, of whom 63 are undocumented Latinos, some of whom had used falsified Social Security cards (normally a misdemeanor) in applying for airport work. Officials confirmed that none of the Latino workers had a criminal record. The only workers who did were six Anglos with criminal records, which they had concealed when applying.

Some workers had access to cargo and runways; most worked in food service, car rental agencies and airport shops as well as cleaning bathrooms and other manual labor. During their incarceration, children were left parentless as spouses struggled to earn some income. Many workers were denied back wages owed to them. Three women were released for reasons of hardship as mothers.

Latino community members and even the Mayor of Salt Lake City protested the massive detentions and how they were handled. A judge released the workers on their own recognizance but the INS then jailed them on a $5000-cash only bond. They were denied permission to work in order to raise the bond. Later the bond was reduced to $3000 cash or property (in some cases of extreme hardship, $1500).

At this time most of the 63 are out of jail but unable to work.. Most of the others have been released on bond temporarily, pending INS hearings. Many face felony charges for what has always been a misdemeanor. In any case, the workers and their families are the victims of post-Sept. 11 racial and anti-immigrant profiling plus security measures for the Olympics that have been announced as the most intense ever.

The workers and their families face great hardship and could become homeless. Latino community organizers plan to hold a rally on Jan. 26 at the capitol and may also march on the first day of the Olympics with the homeless, who are planning to demonstrate that day.

Please help these Latino workers with legal and living expenses. Send a contribution to: Centro de la Familia de Utah 320 West 200 South, Suite 300-B Salt Lake City, UTAH 84101

For more information: (801)521-4473, Rebecca Chavez

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