Library Worker’s Arrest in N.C. Raises Privacy Concerns
No. 7.30. 2008. 129
Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
“To go after productive citizens who have been our neighbors and friends for years? It’s insane,” said Marilyn Tyler, a retired librarian from Burlington who knew the arrested woman. “We can’t just stand by and let this happen.”
Alamance County has been identifying and deporting illegal immigrants from its jails for more than a year, but now a library worker’s arrest has some worried that county officials may be using another tool — public health department medical records….
Marxavi Angel Martinez’ arrest in mid-July raised concerns that the county may be examining confidential medical information. Sheriff Terry Johnson turned her in. Johnson has become well known for his efforts to deport illegal immigrants, but he has promised not to pursue people unless they land in his jail for other crimes.Johnson’s spokesman, Randy Jones, said Johnson received a tip that Martinez had lied about her citizenship when applying to work for the library. Johnson told reporters that Martinez got prenatal care at the department. He also said the tip about her immigration status came from a county employee and was related to the health department investigation.
Resolution in Support of Immigrant Rights
WHEREAS, America’s immigrants are a strong and valuable part of the social fabric of this nation; and
WHEREAS, The ALA Library Bill of Rights states that the person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views; and
WHEREAS, The library community opposes all attempts at the local, state and federal level to restrict access to information by immigrants; and
WHEREAS, Restriction of access is a direct violation of the ALA Library Bill of Rights and Policy #60, Diversity, which states that “The American Library Association (ALA) promotes equal access to information for all persons and recognizes the ongoing need to increase awareness of and responsiveness to the diversity of the communities we serve”; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That ALA strongly supports the protection of each person’s civil liberties, regardless of that individual’s nationality, residency, or status; and, be it further
RESOLVED, That ALA opposes any legislation that infringes on the rights of anyone in the USA or its territories, citizens or otherwise, to use library resources, programs, and services on national, state, and local levels.”
Adopted by the American Library Association Council
Wednesday, January 22, 2007
for link to Librarian article click here.
“Librarians as Advocates for the Human Rights of Immigrants,” Progressive Librarian (summer 2007): 51
REFORMA position on the Marxavi Angel Martinez case
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 5:13am
August 11, 2008
To Whom It May Concern:
REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking, expresses its deep concern and distress over the recent arrest in North Carolina of Marxavi Angel Martinez, a Latina staff member of Graham Public Library in Alamance County, North Carolina.
Created in 1971 REFORMA has as one of its goals the recruitment of bilingual, bicultural librarians to serve the growing Latino population of the United States. We also encourage, support, and defend all Latino library workers of all ranks in the profession.
Our association has a long and strong record in supporting fair immigration policies and human rights. Please visit our web page http://www.reforma.org/ to view the resolutions, actions and tool kits that our members have developed to combat the current xenophobia and racism in our midst.
It is thus with an immense sense of indignation that we condemn the arrest of Ms. Martinez. The manner in which she was arrested is deplorable; the place where this arrest took place is unthinkable: The Graham Public Library where she worked! The library—a traditionally safe space for the public—was transformed, in this instance, to a dangerous place where anyone can be arrested for their immigrant status. As a library organization, REFORMA has worked so long and so hard –fought tooth and nail -to make libraries accessible to all members of the community, to have a diverse collection that reflects the population of the community, and to make the libraries the cultural and educational oasis that welcomes people of all races, shapes and colors.
And now this!
REFORMA cannot remain silent. Ms. Martinez arrest affects us all: native born citizens, new and old immigrants and, of course, Native Americans-the truly indigenous people of this country. Ms. Martinez treatment by the law enforcement officials of Alamance County, North Carolina is a library, immigration and human rights case—all wrapped in one. Additionally, the immigration issue touches on the history and legacy of colonialism, genocide, and injustice whose perverse effects still can be seen and felt by the communities served by REFORMA. As a library organization, REFORMA also advocates the confidentiality of personal information of library employers and patrons.
Likewise in the sister health professions, patient privacy should not be violated. Using confidential medical records to determine immigration status is unacceptable.
The REFORMA Executive Committee, the Board, and the membership of our organization will engage in and encourage positive actions to address this divisive issue in our country. To address the financial situation that her incarceration has placed on Ms. Martinez and her family, REFORMA has created a PayPal link on our website (http://www.reforma.org/) to help the Angel Martinez family. REFORMISTAS will also write letters to appropriate authorities, call members of Congress, and disseminate this information far and wide in every conceivable medium: TV, radio, the Internet, and local and national newspapers. We should not let another Martinez-like incident surface again. It should not happen in a library and it should not happen to a library employee. Most of all, it should not happen in our time.
Our hearts go out to Ms. Martinez and her family.
Luis Chaparro, President 2008-09
“Bibliotecarios al Servicio del Pueblo”