Immigrant Rights Center Established in Ithaca

In June 2003, shortly after the Living Wage Coalition opened our Workers’ Rights Center, a Latino worker came to our office and told us how the rights and dignity of immigrant workers like him were being violated at a local pizzeria. That was our first experience of the difficulties immigrant workers and families face in Tompkins County. Since then we have received and dealt with 20 other complaints of worker and housing violations from immigrant workers.

The large number of complaints from immigrant workers, and our realization that this might only be the tip of the iceberg, led us to form the Immigrant Rights Center, which we are pleased to announce publicly today.

We are especially pleased to be joined here today by representatives from the Latino Civic Association of Tompkins County and the Ithaca Asian American Association who are partnering with us in this project. Also here today are representatives of various human service agencies who
regularly deal with immigrant and refugee workers and are daily reminded of the difficulties their clients experience in our County. We expect to be working closely with these agencies as well.

Our Immigrant Rights Center will:
* Conduct outreach to immigrant and refugee communities about the rights of immigrants and our services – already we have developed a flyer and translated it into four languages
* Develop a resource center with worker rights materials available in multiple languages
* Develop a corps of volunteer interpreters who will assist us in communicating with workers whose primary language is not English
* Provide information, referral and advocacy services for immigrant workers who feel they are not being treated fairly in the workplace or in other areas.
* Vigorously assist immigrant workers whose rights are violated.

We encourage any member of the immigrant community to contact us at 269-0409 or if they want more information about their rights or feel their rights are be-ing violated.