Hipólita Acuña Valenzuela
Hipólita Acuña Valenzuela is a former Mexican migrant. She and her husband crossed the border illegally three times with their young children. Later she became an employee of Borderlinks, Mexico and was able to obtain a visa. She was one of Ellin Jimmerson’s principle guides in Sonora, Mexico.
Pete Barber is the owner of Bay Breeze Enterprises and Executive Director of the Alabama Seafood Commission. Located in Bayou La Batre, Alabama on the Gulf Coast, Barber has experience with the U. S. Department of Labor’s guest worker program.
Mary Bauer is an attorney who directed the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Immigrant Justice Project from 2004 to 2009. In 2009, she was named the SPLC’s legal director. Bauer has directed groundbreaking lawsuits aimed at enforcing the rights of immigrants, foreign guest workers, and migrant farm workers.
Before joining the SPLC, Bauer was the legal director of the Virginia Justice Center for Farm and Immigrant Workers, the legal director of the Virginia ACLU, and an attorney for a legal services program. She is the author of two SPLC reports that have gained national attention—Close to Slavery: Guestworker Programs in the United States and Under Siege: Life for Low-Income Latinos in the South.
Bauer has testified before the U. S. Congress on issues involving the exploitation of migrant workers.
Scott Beason (R) served two consecutive terms in the Alabama House of Representatives before being elected a Senator from the 17th District. The 17th District includes Jefferson County where Birmingham is located. Beason is a member of the Jefferson County Republican Executive Committee and the Alabama Republican Executive Committee.
Beason, who is from Gardendale, Alabama, is one of the most conservative members of the Alabama Legislature. He is a leading opponent of illegal immigration and of the outsourcing of U. S. jobs.
Beason was Vice-Chairman of the Alabama Legislature’s Joint Interim Patriotic Immigration Commission which was established to “conduct a fact finding study on immigration issues and to issue a commission report outlining suggestions and proposals to address the issues of illegal and legal immigration in Alabama.”
Jimmy Baker owns Baker Hosiery in Fort Payne, Alabama, USA. He is an opponent of free trade agreements, in particular the Central American Free Trade Agreement which adversely affected the textile industry in Fort Payne.
Stewart Burkhalter is President of the Alabama American Federation of Labor-Congress on Industrial Organization (AFL-CIO) in Montgomery, Alabama.
Boyd F. Campbell
Boyd F. Campbell is an attorney in Montgomery, Alabama whose practice primarily is devoted to private international law and foreign investment, international labor and employment law, immigration and nationality law, commercial transactions and formation of business organizations, federal administrative procedures, and civil law notarial functions.
Campbell is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). He served as chair of the International Law Section of the Alabama State Bar from 2000 to 2002 and is a founding member of that section. He has served as co-chair of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Immigration Law Committee’s Section on Labor and Employment Law. He was a member of the ABA’s Coordinating Committee on Immigration Law from 1994 to 1998.
Campbell provides legal services and personal and corporate legal representation to US citizens, foreign nationals, and multinational corporations in the US and abroad. He established the Alabama Center for Foreign Investment, LLC, Alabama’s federally designated, statewide Regional Center, and was appointed its General Counsel in 2006.
In 2008, Campbell was a member of the Alabama Legislature’s Joint Interim Patriotic Immigration Commission.
Omar Candelaria is Public Relations Officer with the United States Border Patrol, Nogales, Arizona sector.
According to Candelaria, the primary mission of the US Border Patrol is anti-terrorism.
Manuel Celaya Burruel
Manuel Celaya Burruel is Director of Human Rights at the Center for Attention to Migrants and Their Needs in Altar, Sonora, Mexico.
Brett Dungan is the manager of Master Marine, a shipbuilding business in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, USA. He testified before the Alabama Legislature about his desire for more guest worker visas.
“Suave Eros” migrated from northern Mexico, crossing through Arizona’s Sonora Desert.
John Fife is Pastor Emeritus of Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona. He served there for 35 years.
According to Fife, in the early 1980s, the United States government, under President Ronald Reagan, offered political, economic, and military support to government-sponsored death squads in El Salvador and Guatemala. Entire villages were massacred. Refugees poured out. The international community pressured the United States to recognize the victims as refugees and offer them temporary asylum until conditions changed in their countries and they could return.
The United States government refused to recognize them as refugees. Instead, when U. S. agents picked a refugee up on the border or in communities around the country, they put the refugees in detention centers then returned them to the death squads in handcuffs.
According to Fife, the “deportation to death had to be resisted.” In 1981, Southside Presbyterian was the first church in the country to offer sanctuary to Central American refugees. It launched what became known as the Sanctuary Movement which eventually provided safe haven to thousands of refugees in over 500 churches and synagogues around the country. This “new underground railroad” moved people at highest risk to Canada which respected refugee rights.
In response, the US government infiltrated the churches and synagogues, according to Fife, with agents pretending to be volunteers.
In 1986, the government brought alien-smuggling charges against Fife and others including two Catholic priests, five men and women religious, and the Director of the Tucson Ecumenical Council. During the trial, the judge prohibited the defendants from speaking about five subjects: international refugee law, United States refugee law, conditions in El Salvador, conditions in Guatemala, and religious faith.
Fife was convicted and served five years probation.
According to Fife, the US government is continuing its violation of human rights on the border. It has instituted a border enforcement policy involving militarization and death as a deterrent to illegal crossing. Fife calls the strategy of deterrence a “gross violation of human rights.”
To resist this strategy of deterrence, Fife co-founded No More Deaths whose volunteers try to save the lives of migrants in Arizona’s Sonora Desert. In 2002, he co-founded Samaritan Patrol whose volunteers take food, water, and first aid supplies to migrants in the desert.
Fife continues to call attention to US policy and high-level officials who, he believes, continue to illegally and unconstitutionally violate human rights and international law with its border and other policies.
Based on an interview with Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!, April 23, 2007.
In Birmingham, Alabama, Jerry Foster represents the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Workers Union. The RWDSU is a semi-autonomous division of the United Food and Commercial Workers labor union and is associated with the Change to Win Federation. Foster encourages migrant workers to join the union.
Garry Frost is President of the AFL-CIO’s [American Federation of Labor-Congress on Industrial Organization] Northeast Alabama Labor Council in Gadsden, Alabama, USA. He also is President of the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union, Local 498.
Raquel Rubio Goldsmith
Raquel Rubio Goldsmith, Ph. D., is Co-ordinator of the Binational Migration Institute of Mexican American studies as well as a lecturer in the Department of Mexican American and Raza Studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, USA.
A Chicana native of Douglas, Arizona, Rubio-Goldsmith completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in Law and Philosophy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has taught at Pima Community College since 1969 and, since 1983, at the University of Arizona where her focus has been the history of Mexicanas and Chicanas.
Rubio-Goldsmith has taught courses on Mexican and Latin American history and has developed curricula on Afro-American, Yaqui, and Tohono O’odham histories. Her research interests include Mexican women on the U. S. / Mexico border and women who fled the Mexican Revolution to southeastern Arizona. She is an activist committed to immigration rights, women’s rights, and civil rights in general. She is active with Pueblo Por La Paz in Tucson and with the National Commission for Democracy in Mexico.
“Julio Gómez” is a migrant from Mexico City. He crossed illegally six or seven times between 1992 and 2006.
“María Gómez Rodríguez”
“María Gómez Rodríguez” is the daughter of peasant farmers in southern Mexico. She migrated alone when she was 23 through Arizona’s Sonora Desert. She met her husband, “Juan Rodriguez,” at a church in Alabama.
“Miguel Ángel González”
“Miguel Ángel González” is a Mexican architect who crossed illegally through Arizona in 1998.
Marie Gray is Alabama State Director of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps.
Robert Calvin “Bob” Harrison
Bob Harrison is a member of the Madison County [Alabama] Commission. Harrison opposed Canadian-owned manufacturer CINRAM’s policy of using guest workers at its Huntsville, Alabama, USA plant.
“Pedro Hernández” is an indigenous migrant from Oaxaca, Mexico. His first language is Chinanteco, a Native American language.
José Juan Martínez
José Juan Martínez is an official with Mexico’s Federally-run Grupos Beta in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.
Grupos Beta’s workers function as federal police, medics, and social workers. They try to deter migrants planning to cross and rescue those who have attempted to cross and have become injured or lost. They also arrest the “coyotes” (human smugglers) who guide them into the United States in violation of the laws of both countries.
“Alejandra León” is a migrant from Guatemala. She crossed with her two young children , “Sam” and “Elizabeth,” through Arizona’s Sonora Desert.
“Elizabeth León” is a Guatemalan migrant who crossed illegally through Arizona’s Sonora Desert. She crossed when she was four years old with her brother, “Sam León” and her mother, “Alejandra León.”
“Sam León” is a Guatemalan migrant who crossed illegally through Arizona’s Sonora Desert. He crossed when he five years old with his sister, “Elizabeth León” and his mother, “Alejandra León.”
Heath Locklear owned Locklear Hosiery in Fort Payne, Alabama, USA. After the implementation of the Central American Free Trade Agreement, he was forced to sell his factory.
Rose Marie Martell
Sister Rose Marie Martell is an immigration specialist for Catholic Social Services in Montgomery, Alabama, USA. She is a member of the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity, a congregation of Roman Catholic sisters founded in Holy Trinity, Alabama in 1918. The congregation usually serves in economically depressed areas.
“Guadalupe Martínez” is Guatemalan mechanic who crossed illegally into the U. S. through Arizona’s Sonora Desert.
Sean O’Donnell is an organizer with the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, Local 78, in Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
“Margarita Padilla” is a migrant from Michoacan, Mexico. She has been in the U. S. since 1993.
Robin Redondo is a volunteer with Samaritans, an interfaith group which looks for injured or abandoned migrants in the Sonora Desert. They carry food, water, and first aid supplies to them. Samaritans is based in Tucson, Arizona, USA.
Jay Reed is President of the Alabama chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. Based in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, he also has served as staff liaison to the Association’s legislative committee, as treasurer of their Merit Political Action Committee, and as publisher of Alabama Construction News. During 2007-2008, Reed was chair of the Alabama Legislature’s Joint Interim Patriotic Immigration Commission.
“Juan Rodríguez” is the son of small business people in Vera Cruz, Mexico. He crossed illegally through Arizona’s Sonora Desert for the first time when he was 15 years old. He met his wife, “María Gómez Rodríguez” at a church in Alabama. They now have two children who are U. S. citizens.
“Diego Sánchez” migrated illegally from Mexico crossing through the Rio Grande.
Pedro Rivas migrated illegally from El Salvador. In 2000, following an earthquake in El Salvador, he and other Salvadorans were given a temporary protected status, giving them a legal status in the U. S.
He was with Hispanic Ministries of Dothan, Alabama, USA when we interviewed him.
Mexican migrant Roberto Segura crossed illegally through Arizona’s Sonora Desert with his mother and younger brother when he was nine years old. He was twelve years old when we interviewed him.
Martin Sheen, Narrator
Martin Sheen is a stage, film, and television actor and a political activist. Born to an Irish immigrant mother and a Spanish immigrant father in Dayton, Ohio, his birth name is Ramón Gerard Antonio Estevez. He re-named himself Martin Sheen after Roman Catholic Bishop Fulton J. Sheen when he became an actor.
In 1965 Sheen received a Tony Award nomination for his role in The Subject Was Roses. He appeared in such television shows as Route 66, The Outer Limits, and My Three Sons before making his film debut in The Incident in 1967. In the 1970s Sheen had roles in Catch-22, adapted from Joseph Heller’s novel, Badlands (1973) co-starring Sissy Spacek and inspired by the story of serial killer Charles Starkweather, and Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979). He gave memorable performances in Gandhi (1982), Wall Street (1987), The American President (1995), and Catch Me if You Can (2002).
Sheen’s most recent movie is “The Way,” (2010), directed by his son Emilio Estevez.
Martin Sheen’s television credits include The Execution of Private Slovik (1974) for which he received an Emmy Award nomination, The West Wing (1999-2006) in which he played President Josiah Bartlett and for which he won a Best Actor Golden Globe Award (2001), and an appearance on his son Charlie Sheen’s comedy Two and a Half Men.
Sheen is a pro-life, anti-nuclear weapons, pro-workers’ rights activist. He is particularly committed to closing the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, otherwise known as the School of the Americas, located on the Ft. Benning, Georgia military base. He believes that the Institute is closely associated with Latin American military dictatorships and political torture. He has been arrested numerous times for non-violent civil disobedience.
Martin Sheen has an honorary doctor of letters degree from Marquette University (2003). In 2007 he realized his lifelong dream of studying at the National University of Ireland in Galway. Notre Dame University awarded him the Laetare Medal, given to prominent Roman Catholics, in 2008.
Frederick M. Shepherd
Fred Shepherd is Chair and Professor of the Department of Political Science at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. His book, Christianity and Human Rights: Christians and the Struggle for Global Justice, published by Lexington Press, came out in 2009. He has contributed to numerous books and journals on Latin America, religion, and politics. Shepherd’s current work focuses on genocide and human rights.
Shepherd has been affiliated with the Lilly Foundation, the Holocaust Education Fund, and the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U. S. Holocaust Memorial and Museum. He has been an invited presenter at the International Association for Genocide Scholars. He was Co-Director of the 2004 Lilly Fellows National Research Conference on Christianity and Human Rights, is the political analyst for CBS’s affiliate station in Birmingham, and serves as Amnesty International’s Legislative Coordinator for the state of Alabama. He is currently at work on studies of comparative genocide with a special focus on Guatemala.
Shepherd’s upper-level teaching includes Politics in Developing Nations, U. S. Foreign Relations, and Latin American Politics, Genocide, and Human Rights.
Klari B. Tedrow
Klari B. Tedrow is the owner of the firm, Klari B. Tedrow LLC and is co-founder of Tedrow and Myers Immigration Law Group, dedicated to the practice of immigration and nationality law. She represents a wide variety of domestic and multinational corporations, non-profits, educational institutions, entrepreneurs, professionals, individuals and families in all aspects of business and family-based immigration, including temporary and long-term visas, employment authorization, permanent resident status (green cards) and naturalization. She provides her clients with effective corporate and transnational HR strategies to maximize business and immigration benefits. Tedrow regularly represents clients before the Citizenship and Immigration Service, US Embassies and Consulates around the world, the US Department of State, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, and State Departments of Public Health. She possesses an abundance of experience representing foreign physicians and foreign healthcare workers.
An adjunct professor at The Cumberland School of Law, Samford University since 1999, and a frequent speaker on current immigration issues, Tedrow carefully monitors developments in immigration law and policy and provides her clients with strategic advice concerning both short and long-term immigration alternatives.
Tedrow currently serves as the First Vice-Chair of the Atlanta Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association covering Alabama and Georgia, and has served on various committees including advocacy for immigration law reform and specific immigrant and immigration law issues before being elected to the executive board in 2009.
Tedrow is the author of numerous speeches and articles on immigration issues. Her awards include Best of the Bar by her peers and one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2001.
Tedrow brings a singular and personal interest in immigration to her practice. She is a naturalized citizen who came to the United States from Budapest, Hungary as a refugee. Her parents had escaped the violent Hungarian Revolution of 1956 by swimming a large waterway into Austria with their two small children–Klari and her sister.
Marcela Vásquez-León was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. She has a Ph. D. in Anthropology and an M. S. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Arizona. She has a joint appointment at the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology and at the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Vásquez-León’s research interests include environmental anthropology, political ecology, fisheries management and maritime anthropology, rural development and agricultural cooperatives, environmental justice, and human dimensions of global environmental change. Her research focuses on the interrelationships between human agency and large-scale structures, with an emphasis on how contradictory processes occurring at a global scale (e.g. neoliberalism and environmentalism) affect state policy, scientific management of natural resources, notions of “sustainable development,” and environmental conservation.
Vásquez-León has on-going projects in the areas of Gulf of California Fisheries, Farming in the Sonora Desert, and Grassroots Collective Organization in rural South America which is funded by the United States Agency of International Development (USAID).
Among her publications are Free Markets and Fair Trade: Collective Livelihood Struggles, The Cooperative Model: Two Case Studies from Paraguay and Walking the Tight Rope: Latin American Agricultural Cooperatives and Small Farmer Participation in Global Markets.
Terry Waters is the owner / operator of Waters Nursery in Robertsdale, Alabama, USA. He employs undocumented migrants and testified before the Alabama Legislature about his desire for more guest worker visas.
Chuck Williams is a manufacturing engineer in Huntsville, Alabama, USA. He spent time in Mexican maquiladoras [foreign owned assembly plants] while working for a Huntsville-based business.
Michael S. Wilson
Michael S. “Mike” Wilson is a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation located in northern Mexico and Arizona. He is retired from the United States Army. He was a member of the Army’s Special Operations and was a military advisor in El Salvador in the late 1980s.
Wilson has defied tribal leadership’s ban on placing gallon jugs of water on reservation lands for use by for illegal migrants traveling through them.