March 2011 Archives

The Americans for Legal Immigration PAC is at it again.  It's flaming the fires of a faux controversy this time involving North Carolina Rep. Deborah Ross (D-38)

From an ALIPAC email (I won't link to ALIPAC):
It looks like pro-migrant folks are doing some amazing organizing down in Georgia.  The local NBC affiliate, 11 Alive, says upwards of 3,000 people attended a rally in opposition to a nativist legislative clone of Arizona's Senate Bill 1070.  For those of you pro-migrant folks reading in Georgia, call up your local legislators and tell them you oppose House Bill 87 and Senate Bill 40

What caught my attention on this Saturday morning, though, is a speech Rep. John Lewis (D-GA-5) gave at the rally:

(Sombrero Tip to Freedom From Fear)

My favorite part of the speech is the following:

DREAMActivist Pennsylvania held a rally on Saturday in Philadelphia at which six undocumented Pennsylvanians came out of the shadows, disclosing their immigration status publicly to the supporters and reporters in attendance. The Dreamers spoke, some through tears, of the anger and frustration they feel about their situation: of not being able to drive, travel, or vote. Of living in fear of deportation and permanent separation from their loved ones.

But each speaker also sounded a note of hope, and some were openly defiant. The theme of the rally was "undocumented, unafraid, and unapologetic." That defiance was expressed through action when the speakers led supporters from the rally site in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia to the ICE Investigations Office located a few blocks away. An ICE suburban was parked in front, a visible symbol of the detention and deportation regime that targets Dreamers and their families. Several anxious uniformed officers guarded the building, which was closed for the weekend, as though the marchers were going to storm and ransack it. ICE is not used to being challenged by its prey.

In front of the ICE office, Dreamers and allies deposited diplomas into a coffin marked "Broken Dreams" to symbolize the death of their dreams under the current oppressive immigration legal system. They chanted and yelled and sang. The mood was one of exuberance. The speakers who had shed tears earlier were smiling now. ICE was present, but did nothing. The nativists who clog comments sections of articles about immigration were entirely absent. The politicians who claim to support immigrant communities were nowhere to be seen.

Though the DREAM Act was voted down last year, Dreamers haven't gone anywhere, they are here and stronger than ever. Local Spanish-language media was at Saturday's rally in force; the journalists at Univision and Al Dia have grasped the civil rights messaging at the heart of the DREAM Act movement and are broadcasting it to their audiences. Leaders who ignore or diminish Dreamers do so at their political peril.

[Video: Raul Romero/seesawfilms]

If there's ever been a time that I've felt better about speaking with folks privately before needlessly putting them on blast, this is it.  I just got off the phone with Nicole at PostBourgie who was originally cited by both Adam Serwer at The American Prospect and Ezra Klein at the Washington Post in their defenses of using the word "illegal." I was told by Nicole that she no longer uses the word illegal in her writing.  This right after Serwer confirmed with me over the phone that he no longer uses the i-word.  Two major victories in a row!  I'll update this post with a statement from her if she has time to write something today.

Sign a twitter petition thanking Nicole for dropping the I-word.

As has become a near daily addiction for me, I was getting my daily political news from Memeorandum, yesterday, when I noticed, to my horror, that the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) website had made the headlines.  Even worse was that Tim Murphy of Mother Jones, and Adam Serwer of The American Prospect, both of which are supposed to be "progressive" magazines, had helped to get it there by linking to it. 

For those who are not familiar with the venerable work of pro-migrant organizations like the Center for New Community or the Southern Poverty Law Center, CIS is a spin-off of the hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform, and was founded by the white supremacist John Tanton. 

If these connections aren't reason enough to make the organization illegitimate, any studious observer of CIS can ascertain through their actions, the horrific policies they advocate for, and their shoddy scholarship, that the sole purpose of the organization is to provide a facade of statistics to legitimize the ethnic cleansing of the U.S. through deportation, detention, and spreading fear and misery in migrant communities.

I don't like to publicly attack anyone that has even the most remote chance of identifying with my interests and the interests of migrants.  On the substance of these posts, at least, Serwer and Murphy are right on.  Still, driving traffic to and legitimizing a hateful organization like the Center for Immigration Studies was enough to bring back waves of feelings regarding progressives betraying migrants.  As such, I started reaching out to different progressive bloggers whom I believe have recently enabled nativism in the last few months in order to give them the benefit of the doubt.  I like to reach out to people privately before I write about them publicly.

Fighting deportation to an almost certain death: the Bulatov Family.

What happens when a country with significant oil supplies is considered to be an ally of the United States but is, according to Wikileaks, riddled with corruption and mafia-style autocratic rule?  Lately we've been hearing a lot about what has been going in the Middle East due to media coverage of the recent pro-democracy populist movements in Tunisia, Egypt, and now in Lybia to break free from despotic rule.  Yet, we have not heard very much about what is going in Central Asia, where it appears that authoritarianism is alive and well, post-Soviet era.  In Kazakhstan, it is currently a crime to insult its President and it seems that even our own U.S. government has been trying to call for a more open government in that country but doing so very carefully so as to not "offend" Kazakhstan's President too much


When the Soviet Union fell, the western world rejoiced at the prospect of freedom and democracy coming to the former Soviet Republics; but what progress has been made towards this end?  In the case of Kazakhstan, its oil and gas supplies have been opened to capitalist markets, and that is almost certainly viewed by Wall Street as "progress".  Yet, the country's record on civil rights has lagged behind, having a direct impact on the livelihood of its citizens to the point that some of them have been seeing themselves as having no other choice but to flee to the United States in fear of their very lives.  So what has really changed since the fall of the Soviet Union?  Who are the rulers of Kazakhstan and what are their relationships to U.S.-based business interests?      

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