Watch out!

May Photos for Thought- WATCH OUT!

While thousands march on May 1st in support of immigrants, anti-immigrant group, OFIR, launched its efforts to stop Oregon’s  30 year-old Sanctuary law protecting immigrant families. Watch out!

ICE ankle bracelet on one of the 16 farmworkers detained  in Woodburn on February 24th on their way to work . Read about what happened and how you can help us build our community’s capacity to respond to ICE.

Latino candidates from Woodburn and Salem with Governor Barbara Roberts @ Accion Politica PCUNista’s (APP) School Board Campaign Launch.  Learn about the candidates here.  Join us on May 16th at 6pm @ PCUN for our election watch party.



Anti-immigrant group attempting to stop Oregon Sanctuary law


On March 25th, 2017, three extreme right-wing legislators filed a potential 2018 ballot measure in an effort to repeal Oregon’s 30 year-old sanctuary law that restricts local resources from being used for federal immigration enforcement.

The effort is beind led by anti-immigrant group Oregonians for Immigration Reform who was begun collecting signatures to place an anti-sanctuary ballot initiative on the November 2018 ballot. Initiative 22, filed by Oregon State Reps. Mike Nearman, Sal Esquivel, and Greg Bareto on April 25, seeks to repeal Oregon Revised Statute 181A.850. Esquivel and Nearman filed a similar initiative last year, but withdrew it last month.

To support the signature gathering effort, OFIR activists established the Repeal Oregon Sanctuary Law Committee on April 28, according to records from the Oregon Secretary of State’s office.

OFIR has been trying to repeal Oregon Revised Statute 181A.850 for 15 years. Here is what OFIR co-founder Elizabeth Van Staaveren had to say about their efforts:

Donate to PCUN’s ICE Raid Resistance Efforts

Support PCUN’s ICE Raid Resistance Efforts:  Donate to help here

Dear ally,

We need your help to build our community’s capacity to respond to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). 

As you know, President Trump’s interior immigration executive order is slowly tearing apart families and communities across our nation. We’ve experienced this first-hand in our hometown, Woodburn Oregon.

In the early morning of February 24th, 16 farm workers were stopped by ICE on their way to work. The agents claimed they were looking for a person. When the worker answered they didn’t know that person, the agents started asking them about their immigration status. They refuse to talk. Despite their efforts to express their constitutional rights, they were still taken. Woodburn and our neighboring communities have not been the same after.

Farmworkers are thinking twice about going work. Parents are preparing their older children to parent in case they are taken. Some no longer want to seek medical assistance. Dozens of permanent residents are coming to our service center to apply for citizenship. Grades are down for students. Business is down. The fear is not about meeting basic needs. As immigrants, we know what is like to start from scratch. It’s about family and the threat of separation.

So what are we doing about it?

DSC05391 (3)Following the raid we began organizing a series of Know You’re Rights trainings, which eventually led to the creation of the Mid-Willamette Valley ICE Rapid Response Network. To date, we have trained over 300 people, 26 of which are now trainers themselves. Our allies at the Portland Immigrant Rights Coalition have set-up a 1-888 number our network can call into to report ICE activity. We are learning to use the Deportation Defense App created by Unite We Dream. And, we’ve organized legal defense trainings to dissect some of the incidents that have taken place through the personal testimony of those affected. This will allow to use real-life experiences to better prepare for future incidents.

Our goals—train over 5,000 more people, and through the collection of testimonies from those affected build a legal case against’ the President’s Interior Executive Order demonstrating ICE violations of immigrants’ constitutional rights.

Our goal is to raise $10,000 from this appeal to begin to scale up our current efforts. The path won’t be easy, but we can get there with your help. Thank you.

Ramon Ramirez-President of PCUN

APP School Board Campaign Launch with special guest Gov. Barbara Roberts: 3/31

School Board Races (1)

You were with us when we passed the Woodburn’s School Bond Measure and when we elected the first Latina immigrant to Oregon’s State Legislature.

Now we ask you to join us in our next journey—launch our campaign to elect the first Latino to the Salem-Keizer School Board and two more to the Woodburn School Board.

Governor Barbara Roberts will be our special guest for the event. Governor Roberts has been a longstanding ally. She began her political career as a school board member. She is also considered the madrina (Godmother) of Nuevo Amanecer, the first low-income farmworker housing tax- credit project in the nation—located in Woodburn, Oregon.

Who knew that twenty-seven years later we would have three Latinx with a farmworker background running for public office.

Appetizers and beverages will be provided. $15 entrance fee.

About Accion Politica PCUNIsta (APP): APP’s is Oregon’s progressive Latino 501 c4 non-profit organization. APP’s mission is develop real Latinx political power that helps influence and decide elections and policies, in order to create a more just society for all.

What to do if ICE questions you

Steps to take if ICE question you: 

1. If officers are at your door, keep the door closed and ask if they are Immigration agents, or from ICE. Ask the agents what they are there for. Opening the door does not give the agents permission to come inside, but it is safer to speak to ICE through the door.  If the agents don’t speak your language, ask for an interpreter.

2. If the agents want to enter, ask them if they have a warrant signed by a judge. If ICE agents do not have a warrant signed by  a Judge, you may refuse to open the door or let them in. An administrative warrant of removal from immigration authorities is not enough. If they say they have a warrant, ask them to slip the warrant under the door.

3.  Look at the top and at the signature line to see if it was issued by a court and signed by a judge. Only a court/judge warrant is enough for entry into your premises. One issued by DHS or ICE and signed by a DHS or ICE employee is not.

An example of an order by a judge

An example of an order by ICE 

Do not open your door unless ICE shows you a judicial search or arrest warrant naming a person in your residence and/or areas to be searched at your address.

In all other cases, keep the door closed. State: “I do not consent to your entry.”

4.  If agents force their way in anyway, do not attempt to resist. If you wish to exercise your rights, state: “I do not consent to your entry or to your search of these premises. I am exercising my right to remain silent. I wish to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.” 

Everyone in the residence may also exercise the right to remain silent.

5. Do not lie or show false documents. Do not sign any papers without speaking to a lawyer. If you need more information, contact your local ACLU affiliate at

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Stand with us–La lucha sigue

APP team pictured with Teresa Alonso Leon (middle), elected for Oregon’s House District 22

Like many of you, we are shocked and hurt by the result of the presidential elections. But, it the midst of all the uncertainty and all the pain this election has caused our immigrant community and many others, there is still hope. We will not give up! We will not give in to fear! We will stand with our immigrant community until we are all treated with respect and dignity. And we need you more than ever to stand with us! In the coming weeks, we’ll plan and provide more information about our next steps, please stay tuned.

Perhaps the best indicator of the hope we have comes from the election result in our backyard, House District 22, Oregon’s first minority majority district.

Despite all divisive talk about immigrants that swung the presidential election, we got the first Latina immigrant (Teresa Alonso Leon) elected to the Oregon Legislature. This didn’t happen by accident. Like in many other communities across the country we organized. We organized. We organized. And we organized some more. Together with Teresa’s campaign staff, we knocked on over 35,000 doors and provided ballot assistance to over 400. The result—Teresa won with 55% of the vote, more than incumbent Democrat had received since the 2008 Democratic wave.

And she’s not alone. Laura Isiordia, an immigrant and long-time leader in our movement, was recently appointed to the Woodburn School Board.  Melinda Veliz, a daughter of immigrants, was elected to the Woodburn City Council. And Diego Hernandez, a son of immigrants, was elected State Representative for Oregon’s House District 47.

This is the future. This is our destiny—to lead. We owe it to our brothers and sisters that came before us. To those that risked and lost their lives to be here. To those who that have fallen into the traps of our society and have landed in the wrong places. But, we also owe it to the ones that will come after us. They deserve a better a start than the one we’ve had.

So while we mourn, let’s not lose sight of our future. La lucha sigue (the struggle continues).

PCUN& Accion Politica PCUNista (APP)

P.S: Support farmworkers! Join us at our Annual Celebration next Thursday 11/17!


October Photos for Thought

Congratulations to Laura Isiordia (middle) for being appointed to the Wooburn School Board on 10/21.  Laura has a long history of serving our community. Read about her appointed here.

One of the many families Accion Politica PCUNista (APP) helped to vote. If you haven’t voted yet, what are you waiting for? History can’t wait.

Less than two weeks until our Annual Celebration! Get your tickets. Only $40! Support our farmworkers!


September photos for thought

September Photos for thought-EPA, you need to ban this…

On September 21st, 2016, PCUN joined farmworker labor unions, health, Latino civil rights and environmental organizations, in filing a legal petition urging the EPA to suspend an extremely toxic pesticide that poses serious risks to farmworkers and agricultural communities. Read more here.  

Candidate for HD22 Teresa Alonso Leon at Woodburn parade. We are 31 days away from making history and electing the first Latina immigrant to Oregon’s legislature! Get involved if you haven’t!

Staff and Board of the Ford Family Foundation with Woodburn community members. The FFF visited Woodburn and our movement for a learning tour.  Thank you!


EPA, you need to ban this…

PCUN Petitions EPA to Ban Chemical That Harms Farmworkers & Children

A girl walks through a farmfield.

EPA has failed to protect children from pesticides when they drift from treated fields into nearby yards, homes, schools, parks and daycare centers. ROB MARMION / SHUTTERSTOCK

Dear supporters,

We are honored to share with you that on Wednesday, September 21st, 2016, PCUN joined farmworker labor unions, health, Latino civil rights and environmental organizations, in filing a legal petition urging the suspension of an extremely toxic pesticide that poses serious risks to farmworkers and agricultural communities.  This is a continuation of our commitment to ensure that some of the most vulnerable workers across the nation—farmworkers–achieve the protections they deserve from toxic chemicals.

As you may recall, PCUN played an integral role in moving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make historical revisions to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS).  While we worked to secure stronger occupational and environmental health protections for farmworkers, more frequent training, and personal protective equipment requirements, the science tells us that in nearly 200 different scenarios, all of these things are still unable to protect farmworkers from pesticide poisoning when they are exposed to chlorpyrifos .

Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide that originates from nerve gases the Nazis developed during World War II, it is extremely toxic, and it is one of the pesticides that causes the largest number of worker poisonings every year.  In a nutshell, we need to get rid of it!

“Farmworkers are simply seeking what others have in this country—a safe workplace. Nothing more, nothing less,” said Ramon Ramirez, President of Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN, Oregon’s farmworker union). “EPA must stop putting on the blinders when it comes to the harmful effects chlorpyrifos and take this hazardous pesticide out of all fields and other locations to ensure a safe workplace for all.”


Read more about the petition below

Advocates from across the country urge EPA to swiftly ban chlorpyrifos citing unacceptable risks to farmworkers and their families
SEPTEMBER 21, 2016
Washington, D.C. —Today, United Farm Workers, labor, and community health groups from Florida to California petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to immediately suspend hundreds of uses of chlorpyrifos, an acutely toxic pesticide that harms workers and their family members.“We are seeking an immediate and total chlorpyrifos ban because farmworkers have been overexposed even with all the protective clothing that could possibly be required,”said Erik Nicholson, UFW National Vice President. “It’s nearly impossible for them to escape chlorpyrifos exposure because the poison is in the air they breathe, in the food they eat and in the soil where their children play.”

The petition filed with the EPA seeks immediate action to stop uses of chlorpyrifos that EPA has determined to pose unacceptable risks of acute poisonings to workers. It also asks EPA to protect children from exposures that cause irreversible brain damage, including reduced IQ, attention deficit disorders, and learning disabilities.

Earthjustice and Farmworker Justice filed the petition on behalf of United Farm Workers, League of United Latin American Citizens, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, National Hispanic Medical Association, Farmworker Association of Florida, Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste, Migrant Clinicians Network, Learning Disabilities Association of America, GreenLatinos, and California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation.

“Farmworkers are simply seeking what others have in this country—a safe workplace. Nothing more, nothing less,” said Ramon Ramirez, President of Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN, Oregon’s farmworker union). “EPA must stop putting on the blinders when it comes to the harmful effects chlorpyrifos and take this hazardous pesticide out of all fields and other locations to ensure a safe workplace for all.”

So far EPA has failed to protect farmworkers and their families from chlorpyrifos, a neurotoxic pesticide that is one of the top culprits in pesticide poisonings every year and has been linked to brain damage in children. People are exposed to this insidious health hazard when they eat food, drink contaminated water, work in fields, play in parks or go to school playgrounds where chlorpyrifos drifts.

Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide that originates from nerve gases the Nazis developed during World War II. Chlorpyrifos is acutely toxic and causes systemic illnesses to workers by inhibiting the body’s ability to produce cholinesterase, an enzyme necessary for the proper transmission of nerve impulses.

In 2000, EPA found that homeowner uses of chlorpyrifos harm children who play on pesticide-treated carpets or hug their pets after a flea bomb, but it left farmworker children and their communities unprotected.

According to the EPA, 10,000–20,000 physician-diagnosed pesticide poisonings occur each year among the approximately 2 million U.S. agricultural workers. However, many more pesticide poisonings go unreported.

“The incidence of pesticide poisonings is a heartbreaking statistic because the true, total number of workers injured is not known,” said Hector E. Sanchez, Executive Director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA). “Many pesticide poisonings go unreported due to a number of factors, including workers fearing job loss, lack of medical care and language barriers.”

In December 2014, EPA found that workers face unacceptable risks of acute poisonings from hundreds of activities involving chlorpyrifos. In 2015, EPA entered into negotiations with the pesticide industry to stop these uses or reduce exposures, but the negotiations broke down. EPA told a court that regulatory action would be necessary, but more than a year has passed and EPA has failed to initiate regulatory action.

“Over a decade ago, EPA stopped household uses of this dangerous chemical due to harm to children but failed to take action to protect farm workers,” said Brent Wilkes, Executive Director of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). “EPA needs to end this shameful double standard and protect vulnerable workers and their families in rural areas.”

“The EPA showed leadership in eliminating this neurotoxic threat from household uses but not from agriculture,” said Dr. Elena Rios, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA). “Why hasn’t this been done to protect farmworkers? Our community deserves equity.”

“EPA has already acknowledged that chlorpyrifos is related to developmental impairments like reduced IQ and attention deficit disorder,” said Maureen Swanson, Director of the Healthy Children Project at the Learning Disabilities Association of American (LDA). “It is time for EPA to finally ban this neurotoxic pesticide that puts thousands of workers and their children at risk of serious illness every year.”

“EPA’s and other scientists’ independent findings show that chlorpyrifos causes brain damage to children and poisons workers and those living in agricultural communities. It is unconscionable for the most vulnerable communities to have their health and lives threatened by this dangerous chemical,” said Jeannie Economos, Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator at the Farmworker Association of Florida. “A total ban of chlorpyrifos is the only acceptable option for farmworkers and their families.”

“Farmworkers and their children deserve a chance to work and live free of the toxic grip of chlorpyrifos,” said Amy Liebman, Director of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Migrant Clinicians Network (MCN). “EPA should move swiftly to ban chlorpyrifos and protect the next generation.”

“Farmworkers have been historically excluded from a range of federal protections. Today’s agricultural workforce is predominantly Latino, immigrant, and indigenous, including nearly 500,000 children,” said Mark Magaña, President and CEO of GreenLatinos.  “Ensuring that our nation’s most vulnerable communities secure parity in protections from toxic exposure, and chemicals like chlorpyrifos, is paramount for GreenLatinos, and a continuation of our commitment to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS).”

“Farmworkers, who are predominantly poor and the majority are people of color, bear the brunt of poisonings from chlorpyrifos,” said Virginia Ruiz, Director of Occupational and Environmental Health at Farmworker Justice. “EPA must swiftly move forward on the path to environmental justice and ban all uses of chlorpyrifos.”

“The evidence has long been in,” said Patti Goldman, a managing attorney for Earthjustice, a national nonprofit environmental law firm. “This pesticide causes needless harm to workers and damage to their children’s brains. It’s time to put an end to this travesty.”

Read the petition.

(Leer en español.)