I have maintained a personal blog for six years now. I want to be more purposeful in terms of elevating authentic voices, and directly impacted persons in their struggles for justice. I’ll try to feature a Community Voices blog every Friday to highlight and showcase writing of interest to me, and possibly my readers. Please feel free to send me articles, blogs and news I should highlight and elevate.
Lets start off with the hot topic. Luis Serrano, a member of the Immigrant Youth Coalition (IYC) from Los Angeles, penned an article earlier this week where he reveals some immigration reform lies:
Lie #1: “We can pass just and humane immigration reform.” Key words: just and humane. It’s important to know that historically when immigration bills enter the Senate, then the House, they don’t get better, they gain bad amendments like a hippie volkswagen bus gets stickers. The context is that the bills we’ve seen enter the legislative arena, already come heavily compromised. You can see the result with the SAFE act (Strengthened and Fortified Enforcement Act) which would make post Immigration Reform undocumented presence in the U.S. a crime punishable with jail time and long term detention imprisonment. Also, amendments on border militarization would devastate border communities, as Christian Ramirez, director of San Diego’s Southern Border Communities Coalition told The New York Times, “This amendment makes border communities a sacrificial lamb, in exchange for the road to citizenship.” There’s nothing humane or just about this.
Both Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL) and Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), who have been part of pushing immigration reform legislation in the House in previous years, have announced that comprehensive immigration reform is dead for the year as the House will embark on piecemeal reform. For a real unbiased assessment of the situation, I would advise people to read Tania Unzueta’s article from last year on How I stopped believing in CIR and learned to love ‘piecemeal’ legislation. Jaisal Noor over at TruthOut did an interview with David Bacon on how Immigration reform requires dismantling NAFTA and protecting migrant’s rights.
There is a new multi-million dollar push by beltway organizations and New York foundations to target 9 Congressional Republicans in an effort to pass S. 744 or H.R. 15 – the immigration reform proposals, making it crystal clear that the push for immigration reform this year was always a cynical electoral ploy to win seats for Democrats, and not do anything for immigrant communities.
While people wait for reforms, Customs and Border Protections (CBP) continues to maintain that they will shoot to kill anyone who throws stones at them. Since 2010, the CBP has killed at least 8 people who threw rocks at them, including a young 14-year-old Mexican boy.
Revered MIT linguist, Noam Chomsky, chimes in on how the U.S.-Mexico border is cruel by design:
Border crossings themselves are the acts of desperate people. You have to go miles through the desert with no water. It’s long treks in the heat during the day and freezing cold at night—and there are armed militias roaming around trying to hunt people down. I know personally a Guatemalan-Mayan woman who crossed the border half a dozen times while pregnant. Finally, she made it on the seventh try. I think she was seven or eight months pregnant and was rescued by solidarity workers who brought her to Boston. There are plenty of other cases like that—terrible cases. Families that are torn apart. Basically, these people don’t want to be here. They want to be back home, but conditions there have been made so awful that they can’t survive. They are torn from their families, they can’t see their children; they can’t see their grandparents. They live and die apart. It’s a terrible situation
Jesús Iñiguez responds to Gaby Pacheco’s controversial post on The Huffington Post, In God We Trust Immigration Reform, in which she claimed to have apologized for breaking the law while lobbying in Congress:
Perhaps she didn’t realize it at the moment, but with two words, Gaby effectively rendered the whole “Undocumented, Unafraid, and Unapologetic” movement as primitive, savage and backward, full of people incapable of understanding their place in this bureaucratic system that she believes is too big to fail, reformed or not. I mean, why on earth would you be apologetic for having a political mis-identity pressed onto you by something entirely external from you? We didn’t choose to be undocumented. There are too many complex factors to consider when talking about this whole immigration debacle, and chalking it up to the will of God is just a new way of accepting the whole notion of modernized Manifest Destiny as the architect of this situation of ours. All the God talk effectively muzzles us from addressing the large scale pillaging that’s been happening all around us for centuries by other God-fearing and adhering folks.
After winning the fight for driver’s licenses in California and Washington D.C., local organizations are energized to carry on the fight at those levels. The New York State Youth Leadership Council (NYSYLC) will be renewing its push for the New York DREAM Act soon, as more organizations and organizers turn to state and local battles with nothing happening on the federal level. The New Orleans Congress of Day Laborers are organizing a campaign to stop ICE raids in their community, and stop the deportations of their loved ones. To that end, they have asked organizations to sign on to stop the deportation of New Orleans parents and laborers who are caught up in ICE raids.
So how we do move forward on the national level? Legalization For All has been blogging for a while now about pushing for an expansion to the DACA program:
There is a growing demand in the Chicano, Mexicano, Central American and Latino communities for the president to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to all undocumented. Why is the government deporting people who might be eligible to legalize under a future immigration reform bill? Ultimately, what is needed is legalization for all undocumented. But with no legalization law on the horizon, partial steps such as Deferred Action would help the undocumented. They would be able to work legally and would not be subject to ICE raids. Deferred Action also doesn’t have all of the bad elements of the Senate CIR bill, which would further militarize the border, increase workplace repression, reduce family reunification and end the diversity visa program that brings in about half the immigrants from Africa.
That sounds like a plan.
What I’m reading this week: The Dreamers: How the Undocumented Youth Movement Transformed the Immigrant Rights Debate by Walter Nicholls and Reform Without Justice by Alonso Gonzales. I’ll review them both soon.