Jose Ucelo Gonzalez has much to celebrate these days, but that wasn't always the case for the day laborer. A year ago on March 9, 2012, he was picked up in West Anaheim by "Nick," a contractor who real name was Michael Tebb. After ten hours of toiling on a job in Garden Grove, Ucelo was falsely accused of robbery. Despite his own complaint of not being paid for his work, the immigrant man, not Tebb, was detained by police and transferred to Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) officials.
After filing a lawsuit, Ucelo has a working settlement in process. More immediately, ICE granted him prosecutorial discretion, and thus no longer faces imminent deportation. In response to all these developments, a community of supporters will hold a victory party for Ucelo on Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Anacrime!
Ucelo's deportation case is closed, and his lawsuit against defendants Tebb, M.T. Asphalt, Adam Hud and Robert Casillas reached a conditional settlement late last year.
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"Tebb agreed to pay Mr. Ucelo $10,000, but he did not make the full payment within the agreed-upon time," says Jessica Karp, staff attorney with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). "So far, Tebb has paid Mr. Ucelo only $6,000." Seems like this particular contractor just can't grasp the concept of fair pay, whether on a job site or in court!
As a result, an April 15 hearing has been scheduled in Orange County Superior Court. If the settlement has not paid in full by then, the court may impose a judgment against Tebb, Ucelo's lawyer adds.
Before that last legal aspect plays itself out, let's party. As part of the program for Saturday, the OC May Day Coalition and NDLON will make presentations on the Trust Act and immigration issues. The short film El Patrón es el ladrón (The Boss is the Thief) is set to be screened for the first time as well. Musical entertainment includes a performance by SanTana's very own Son del Centro. The event is free and food will be served. See you there!
Victory Party for Jose Ucelo takes place at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Anaheim, 511 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim. Sat., 4-7 p.m.