Compassionate in Latin America? Compassionate in New Bedford?

These crimes are often not properly investigated and there
is a general sentiment of government condoned impunity. According to a
Washington Post article, “Labor Rights in Guatemala Aided Little by Trade Deal, the root of the problem is that
employers can manipulate labor inspectors to rule in their favor thus
nullifying the purpose of having inspectors. As conditions worsen in Central America, more will look to the North as a place
to better their lives and the lives of their children.

Recent U.S. census data has shown that the growing numbers of immigrants are mostly women
traveling alone or with children. A few are rejoining partners in the U.S., but many
are setting up their own households. Many tell stories of leaving children
behind with relatives while they work to send money to support their families back home. These women
immigrants often face harsher discrimination not only because of their
immigration status, but also because they are women. In the workplace, they are
often sexually exploited and many, such as those from Bianco’s factory, are routinely
forced to work overtime. But in the growing immigration debate, these women are
often invisible as the predominant image is that of a male Latino.

STITCH, a network of women in the US and Central America, is fighting for economic
and social justice as well as a voice for these women. In an upcoming project, STITCH
is documenting the stories of Central American women in the US and their
experiences in the workplace. STITCH is also conducting a series of nationwide
discussion with Latina women to listen to their
struggles and learn, from them, how to build support for these women in the U.S. labor

Back in New Bedford,
social services and families are trying to cope with the loss of many parents.
The irony is that the raid occurred a few days before President Bush began his
tour of Latin America where he calls the US a “compassionate” country and
promised Guatemalan President Oscar Berger and the other Latin American leaders
a comprehensive immigration reform. But there was little compassion for the
lives that were ripped apart in New Bedford.