Grueling shifts and poor working conditions only get worse with holiday travel
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Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Good morning! It’s just 3 days until Christmas — for those counting.

What you need to know: Ahead of the holiday travel season, immigrant airport workers are in crisis

Also: Dozens of migrants arrived in New York on Monday in dire need of help and had to be taken to emergency rooms — And more.

Immigrant airport workers are facing grueling shifts and poor working conditions share

As we kick off the holiday season this weekend, many people will be traveling, as usual. Will you be traveling? Some of us here at Documented will, while some of us will be bracing the colder days in New York. 

If taking a flight, the airport of course will be the launch pad to your destination. So, as you walk — from the check-in desks to the cafes and through the gates, and into the aircraft itself — notice how easy it is to get around. The floors, clean and white? Your checked-in bag making it to the departure gate by itself?

Many of those who make these things happen are the key people in our latest labor story: immigrant airport workers.

Despite all their hard work: last week, some airport workers told Documented’s Labor Reporter, Amir Khafagy, that they are experiencing grueling work conditions and low pay. About 100 workers employed by Swissport USA — a Swiss-owned contractor that handles hospital, cleaning, and cargo handling services — protested at Marina Air Terminal at LaGuardia Airport in Queens.

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Poor and unsafe work conditions: The workers told our reporter that the company routinely steals their wages, cuts their hours, and fails to provide them with sick days or paid time off. All of these things happen while most of them make only $19 an hour and lack benefits like health insurance.

The poor and unsafe work conditions have led newer employees to quit, forcing others to take on more tasks. Take for instance Dave Budra, a worker from Guyana: In addition to his regular responsibilities as a baggage handler, he is now expected to clean the inside of the aircraft cabin too. He said he and several of his colleagues are pressured to come into work sick or they are denied paid sick days as a result of the staffing shortages. 

“We get blamed for delays, but we’re only given a few minutes to clean and don’t have enough people to do the work,” said Omar Rodriquez, another worker. “No one wants to stay because the pay and benefits are not enough for what we do.”

This is not the first time the airport workers have fought back against management. 

Read Amir’s full report about the grueling conditions and low pay.



New York

New York City officials brace for the potential end of Title 42: 
National Guard members and volunteers are taking the lead in the government response, providing new arrivals with necessities before they are sent in MTA buses to the city’s intake canters. — THE CITY share

Feds to send NYC substantial share of $800 million in aid to assist migrants: 
The aid, overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is expected to be sourced from an annual funding bill that Congress must pass this week. — NY Daily News share

Four buses of migrants from Texas border arrive in NY
Dozens of people who arrived Monday were in dire need of help and had to be taken to emergency rooms. — The New York Times share

Young Venezuelan man died by suicide last week following the similar death of a young woman in September:
Sources say the 26-year-old man died in a Queens shelter last week. He was here with a child and the child's mother. — NBC New York share

Rep. George Santos’ resumé questioned
The GOP congressmember-elect says he’s the “embodiment of the American dream.” But appears to have misrepresented his background, including a criminal case in Brazil. — New York Times share

Around the U.S.

Labor shortages persist in the U.S., owing to shortage of non-college educated immigrants:  
Restaurants and hotels are still having a hard time finding workers. Jobs in low-paying, physically-demanding industries remain unfilled. — Quartz share

Denial, detention and deportation threats — the imbalanced scales of immigration justice in the Gulf South: 
Cameroonian asylum seekers fleeing conflict back home say they were met with abuse, lengthy detention stays, and threat of deportation in Louisiana and Mississippi. — WWNO - New Orleans Public Radio share

Indian tech workers in Silicon Valley protest immigration discrimination: 
The workers protested in front of Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s home, demanding she fulfill a promise to bring a bill, HR 3648, to the House floor for a vote.  — CBS News share

Washington D.C.

DHS accidentally informed Cuba that deportees had sought protections in the U.S.: 
The accidental disclosure is an example of any asylum seeker’s “nightmare scenario.” Now, DHS plans to not immediately deport them. — Los Angeles Times share

Biden admin. asked Supreme Court to deny Republican-led bid to delay end of Title 42: 
The administration says although ending the policy may lead to a temporary increase in migrant arrivals, the policy implemented at the start of the pandemic is now “obsolete.” — Read the filing  share

Supreme Court Chief Justice temporarily pauses end of Title 42:  
On Monday, Chief Justice John Roberts granted a request by Republican-controlled states to pause a ruling that ordered the end of the Title 42 expulsion policy. — CBS News share

Biden admin.'s new public charge rule goes into effect Friday: 
Starting Dec. 23rd 2022, all green card applicants applying from within the U.S. will need to submit a new version of Form I-485 (Application for Adjustment of Status). — Boundless  share



Advocates fear disarray in ICE check-in line could lead to missed immigration court dates: 
For many who come to 26 Federal Plaza, the difference between the ICE check-in line and the line for immigration court dates may not be clear. Read the latest from Documented’s Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio share

Contractors of expensive NY condos stole hundreds of immigrant workers' wages. Then, they declared bankruptcy.
Immigrant laborers who did the actual work of constructing these buildings say they endured weeks without payment and still haven’t gotten all they’re due. share

After construction worker falls to his death, advocates pressure Hochul: 
A state law that would introduce hefty penalties for worker deaths has been pending for months. Read the full report from Documented’s Amir Khafagy.  share


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Documented is the only newsroom that creates journalism with and for New York's immigrant communities. We publish all this information for free. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.





Watch: A short clip of Venezuelan migrants at the border celebrating in support of Argentina as they watched the World Cup final

What was your favorite piece from Documented in 2022? On Friday — in the final Early Arrival of the year — our staff will share what they thought their best Documented piece of 2022 was.

Reply to this email to tell us your favorite and we’ll include it in the newsletter.

Support New York's go-to source for immigration news 

Today's newsletter was edited by Kathryn Krawczyk.

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