Paula Overby for US House



Less war. More social investment


WAR: The most environmentally destructive force on the planet.


Changing the Dialogue of American Politics


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    The Migrant Worker’s Plight in the COVID-19 Pandemic

      It can be uplifting to think that we’re all in this COVID-19 crisis together. Unfortunately, the reality is actually not even close. In fact, some people are struggling more than others during this pandemic, such as migrant workers. Far from their home countries, these essential members of society are often finding themselves in limbo as they have been summarily skipped over in terms of aid. It’s a less than ideal situation to be in, so if you’re finding yourself on this rickety boat, it’s important to remain hopeful and to get to know the options available to you.   The Real Struggles The COVID-19 pandemic has given light to a good number of flaws in the system. Among the problems the pandemic has exposed is just how grossly unsupported and under-represented migrant workers are. Indeed, it’s undeniable that few are having it worse than immigrants in this pandemic, and it’s this plight that’s best left unignored. It’s a fact that many frontline healthcare workers are migrant workers. Despite this, there’s an absence of solutions for immigrant healthcare in this pandemic, exposing the lack of coverage from testing to treatment for countless migrants. Equally problematic is the widespread xenophobia and racial profiling throughout the country, particularly for Asian minorities. All these issues (and more) are proof that there’s an immigration crisis in the United States in the time of COVID-19.   The Services You Can Turn To As you navigate through life in a pandemic with the myriad uncertainties of being a migrant worker in a foreign and unsupportive land, it’s important not to give in to fear. Instead, look to those who are able to help strengthen your position and guide you through the oppressive red tape. There are many benefits to hiring an immigration lawyer, and this expertise is doubly more important now than ever in the many ambiguities raised by the pandemic. For non-English speakers, tapping translation services — including freelancers through job boards — will also help you understand your rights and situation better, as well as effectively communicate your predicament.   The Help You Can Get While it does seem like migrant workers are unlikely to receive help from the federal government, know that the alternatives are growing in number. From the private sector to non-profit organizations, from state to local governments — more and more are starting to recognize the plight of migrants and marshaling the much-needed help. Certain states provide legal support for migrants, regardless of status, so make sure to check in on your localities. Some minority groups are offering essential assistance to their members, running the gamut from legal services to meal deliveries. There are also free clinics all over the country offering services like testing and treatment for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 cases, regardless of immigration status.   Indeed, despite the direness of the situation, take heart in knowing that there are pockets of hope available out there. However, you need to do your due diligence and make good use of the resources that you’re bound to find, as well.   submitted by Diane Harrison, Image Credit:
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    A New Look at Community Safety

    Time to take a broad view of what community safety can look like.   Stop the enforcement of unjust laws: Decriminalize all drugs, starting with marijuana. Adopt a harm reduction approach and treat it as a healthcare issue. Look at Sussmanto, the model of Portugal, where decriminalizing of drugs led to positive trends in such statistics as HIV infection, people seeking treatment, and teen drug abuse.  (Vastag 2009) Decriminalize sex work, following the lead of organizations such as the Sex Worker Outreach  Project ( Adopt policies that will actually ensure worker protections. (Sussman 2020) Free everyone currently incarcerated on drug charges and sex work charges, as a first step towards closing prisons. End pre-trial detention.   Create safe Schools.   Reduce classroom size   Stop the use of carceral solutions such as suspensions and detention.   Reallocate excessive police funding to adequate school funding.   Invest in support staff and conflict mitigation strategies.   Create stable housing.   Implement housing first strategies.   As an interim measure demanded by the pandemic, fund rent and mortgages for those who were unable to pay to prevent a huge wave of evictions at the end of the state of emergency. Redefine the Police role in mitigating social distress. Allocate response and intervention for sexual assault and domestic violence to agencies trained and qualified to handle these volatile situations. There are several excellent organizations in the twin cities: the Domestic Abuse Project, Sexual Violence Center, Corner Stone, and Tubman Chrysalis Center.   Appropriately fund these organizations   It is significant to note that police themselves are involved in very high rates of domestic violence (Friedersdorf 2014)   Mental health services   Review options for expand mental health services and direct community engagement. (Hill 2029).  Consider the response capacity of a Emergency Medical Team.     In considering alternatives to excessive investments in policing, we should consider the reality of their effectiveness in actually preventing crimes that we might believe make them essential. I will note recovery of stolen property, as one example, is extremely limited. Generally, the police report functions as documentation to an insurance claim; something that perhaps could easily be handled by some other agency.   Due process that protects innocent citizens has disintegrated into a system of "justice" where the worst possible outcome has reached a level of social anxiety where we now fear the possibility of someone escaping "deserved" punishment. That put’s everyone at risk of false accusations and tattle tale enforcement which has no basis in fact. Consider the case of Amy Cooper in Central Park (Vera 2020). We need to rethink justice in terms of harm reduction and restoration offered by models of transformative justice.   Special thanks to Ruby Levine for her contribution to this outline:     Vera Amir, 2020 “White woman who called police on a black man bird-watching in Central Park has been fired”, May 26, 2020, Retrieved June 14, 2020,   Hill, Alexis, 2019, “Re-imagining Policing and Mental Health”, January 24, 2019, Retrieved June 14, 2020,   Friedersdorf, Conor, 2014, “Research suggests that family violence is two to four times higher in the law-enforcement community than in the general population. So where's the public outrage?”,September 19, 2014, Retrieved June 14, 2020,   Sussman, Anna Louie, 2Sussman020, “Don't have to fight for pennies': New Zealand safety net helps sex workers in lockdown”, The Guardian, April 27, 2020, Retrieved June 14, 2020,   Vastag , Brian. 2009 “5 Years After: Portugal's Drug Decriminalization Policy Shows Positive Results Street drug–related deaths from overdoses drop and the rate of HIV cases crashes” Scientific American, April 7, 2009, Retrieved June 14, 2020,
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