"If You Can't Catch The Fish, Drain the Sea": My Opposition to Mark Krikorian

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As I just informed readers of Citizen Orange, I published an op-ed this morning alongside Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Clara Long of the Harvard Immigration Project.  I'd also like to thank Sarah Viets of the Center for New Community for her help. 

Please take action by:

  1. Signing this petition: Stop legitimizing hate by providing a platform to Mark Krikorian
  2. Leaving a supportive comment on our op-ed in the Harvard Crimson
The comments in the op-ed are sure to get swarmed by the nativists because of how much they are referenced, so please help out.

In addition to asking for your support, I'd also like to take this opportunity to further elaborate on my opposition to Mark Krikorian speaking at Harvard.  This isn't the first time I've had a run in with Mark Krikorian.  When he came to Boston University a couple of years ago, it inspired this blog post. It's not just his extremist affilations, commentary, and actions that bother me, I think the policies he advocates for are horrific, and they've been adopted at the highest levels of government.
If you've ever followed my pro-migrant work you've heard me reference "attrition through enforcement".  Krikorian is one of the chief architects of this policy.  Now in case you have trouble cutting through the feces that cakes Krikorian's academic jargon, "attrition" is a military term.  It means to wear down your enemy to the point of collapse.  In other words, instead of deporting millions of unauthorized migrants, Krikorian believes in the humane policy of making life so miserable for migrants, that they are forced to leave on their own.  Krikorian wants to make life for migrants in the U.S. worse than the majority world conditions they are fleeing from.

During the civil war in Guatemala, the country I was born and raised in, the military had a more honest description for this sort of policy when they were massacring indigenous communities in the highlands.  They said, "Si no puedes atrapar a los pesces, hay que drenar el mar."  In English: "If you cannot catch the fish, you must drain the sea."  Needless to say this was a really effective policy for forcing indigenous migrants out of Guatemala and into southern Mexico. 

Krikorian's "expert" viewpoints would be laughable if they weren't so dangerous.  We have seen the results Krikorian's horrific policies.  We saw the results of "attrition through enforcement" during the New Bedford raid when 356 workers, mostly Guatemalan and Salvadoran, were shackled and shipped all across the country to be hidden away in the U.S.'s massive and opaque immigrant detention system.  Husbands were separated from their wives.  Parents were separated from their children, many of whom were U.S. citizens, of course.  One baby was separated from her breast feading mother, and had to be admitted to a hospital where she was treated for pneumonia.

I'm not trying suggest that Krikorian is advocating the massacre of migrants, but I am suggesting that Krikorian is in favor of draining the ocean to get to the fish.  Migrants are the fish and the ocean is our communities.  Draining the ocean means separating migrants from their families, it means depriving migrants of the ability to stand up to horrific working conditions, it means making migrants fearful of reporting crimes and abuse. 

Thieves call unauthorized migrants in this country "walking ATMS", because they have to be paid in cash and never report being mugged.  Right across the river from me, in Chelsea, Massachussets thugs have dressed as Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, gone into migrant family homes, tied people up and robbed them blind.  Even here at Harvard we are affected.  Yes, though most people don't know it there are undocumented students at Harvard, many of whom were brought to the United States before they can remember much of any place else.  I personally am in touch with over a dozen of them.  Our undocumented peers live in the same fear and oppression that I've already described to you, but one of the worst ways Mark Krikorian's nativists policies drain the ocean here at Harvard, is by depriving our undocumented peers of the opportunity to contribute to the only country they know as their home.

This, among many other reasons, is why I don't believe Mr. Krikorian should be given a platform to speak at the Latino Law and Public Policy Conference.  If you agree, please sign this petition.

(Photo courtesy of Flickr user aletermignone)

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This page contains a single entry by kyledeb published on March 5, 2010 6:23 AM.

Legitimizing Hate at Harvard was the previous entry in this blog.

National Coming Out Day for Undocumented Youth is the next entry in this blog.

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