In This Issue
Follow Us At:

Like us on Facebook


MLA Grantors Include:

Happy Holidays from Migrant Legal Aid

PAAM Training Dec 4, 2017, Frankenmuth, MI

Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker and MLA Director Teresa Hendricks were invited to present at the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan (PAAM) training. Delegates learned about the Kent County pilot project which seeks to ensure that victims of crime have equal rights to crime victim services, and that they receive their initial (and subsequent) communications in their primary language. Prosecuting attorneys' Victim Advocates learned that by changing their systems and forms, they can improve victim participation  in pre-court preparations, with timely submitted restitution requests, and the chance to give input on sentencing.  Whereas the Michigan Court Rule (MCR 1.111) stops short of requiring language access outside of a court hearing, Kent County's new program flags the victims' language at the law enforcement level, and again at the warrant charging stage. So, victims can understand the letters coming to them, and timely respond to them.  Becker and Hendricks addressed the increase in diversity among crime victims, and the need for counties to keep pace with  changing demographics.
Driven to Death: Transportation Peril of Migrants
Federal investigators are pointing the finger at federal government agencies fo r their failure to enforce agricultural transportation safety laws, leading to the deaths of almost 40 farm  workers since 2015.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report, released last week, looked a t fatal crashes of vehicles transporting migrant farm workers. The study prompted the NTSB to castigate the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Department of Labor, the two agencies tasked with overseeing safety of the workers.          Read more 
"Please God, don't let me be stopped"... in Kent County, Grand Rapids, or Fruitport or Allegan.
New York Times.  CHAMBLEE, Ga. - Not many notice when the SUVs arrive.  Around 5 a.m.,  whe n the immigration agents pull into the parking lot of the Chamblee Heights apartments, 16 miles from downtown Atlanta, only one person is on the lookout.  Cristina Monteros catches sight of the cars with the telltale tinted windows from her small apartment near the front, where she runs a day care, and calls her downstairs neighbor: ICE is here. The neighbor dials another, who passes it on. It takes less than 15 minutes for everyone in the complex to hear about "la migra," whereupon they shut their doors and hold their breath. Some show up late to work, and others skip it altogether. The school bus might leave some children behind.   Read more
The Last Crop Documentary Shows Plight of Farmers and Their Workers with Disappearing Farmland 
Grand Rapids, MI, November 29, 2017, Kent County Commissioner Stan Ponstein sponsored the Michigan Debut of the Documentary.  Set in the Central Valley, California, THE LAST CROP draws upon the emotions and deep values of farmers Annie and Jeff.  The documentary was well attended at the WealthyTheatre in Grand Rapids.  Audience members heard from agribusiness leaders and farmworker advocates about the loss of farmland and the national and local consequences. See THE LAST CROP trailer.  To join in the work of the Farmland Preservation Committee, contact Teresa Hendricks (616) 454-5055 or email
Ten Million Dollar Victory for Farmworkers! 
California's highest court upheld a state law that allows a mediator to impose a labor contract between farmers and a union. The ruling came in a dispute between Gerawan Farming Inc. and the United Farm Workers of America. Above, plums at a Gerawan facility. (Tomas Ovalle / For The Times)   Read more
Governor Snyder Pens OpEd in support of Dreamers
MLA is dedicated to defending and preserving farmworker housing, health, income, and dignity.  
Teresa Hendricks
Migrant Legal Aid
Want to help?   Volunteer with us