Recently in DREAM Act Category
NOTE: What follows is the limited perspective of one person, a pro-migrant chapringo ally, on the immediate story of what led to President Obama's promise to stop the deportations of 1 million people, last week. Most of the people who could tell this story better than me are already working furiously on next steps. I've written this out because it's a story that needs to be told to better determine next steps, but if I'm missing anything or telling it wrong, please help me tell it right in the comments or through your own posts, which I will happily link to. What follows is a draft that I will continue to modify in an effort to make it better.
"We can exist now in the eyes of the country."
Julio Salgado - Los Angeles Times(16 June 2012)
Wow. I don't think it's possible to overstate the significance of the "Remarks by the President on Immigration," delivered last week. President Obama just promised to "lift the shadow of deportation" for what some estimates suggest is anywhere between 800,000 and 1.4 million young people and also allow them to "apply for work authorization." The internet exploded with the news.
The mainstream media conversation quickly devolved into vapid statements about political process and discussion of the even more inane actions of an incompetent reporter. Beneath that empty noise, a much more interesting conversation is taking place. A movement, led by undocumented immigrants, found a way to bend the will of the most powerful person on Earth and is now furiously debating where to go from here: celebration? implementation? escalation? My co-blogger David Bennion has already doused some of the euphoria with some hard legal analysis of how this is going to play out.
Nowhere, though, have I seen even a basic recounting of what brought us here. From everything I've read, it's as if the President just woke up by himself one day, last week, and all of the sudden decided to "do the right thing, period." Everyone who has followed this closely knows that's not how it happened, but not everyone in the country, much less the world has been following this closely. So, before I even get into the next steps I think it's extremely important that we all try to tell the story of how we got here. What follows is my feeble attempt.
The Fox And The Wolf: The Story So Far
The story of how a subset of unauthorized migrants who used to be fearful and invisible grew to be undocumented, unfraid, and most importantly well-organized enough to move the most powerful person on the planet, last week, is an epic story that continues on. I'm not sure if even the greatest artists, musicians, writers, and filmmakers, could do the story justice working at the peak of their powers. I'm not going to even attempt to recount that entire story, myself, but I will try and tell the most recent iteration of it.
Pablo Paredes wrote me with some very thoughtful objections to some of what I wrote and has asked me to take the post down, for now, until I rework it. I'd like to honor that request. Apologies to those who have already read it and want the original text. If you ask for it in the comments I'll try to find a way to make that available once some things are made clear. In the meantime I'll leave up the text for what I meant by DREAM Statute.
It's this sort of local organizing that easily makes California one of the most pro-migrant states in the Union, in addition to being the most populous one. This also brings to mind some of the great organizing going on in San Francisco with 67 Sueños, which I hope to write more about soon, primero Dios.
Separately these sorts of efforts might seem insignificant in the face of the massive deportation machine that the Obama administration has set up, but all together they are what make the migrant rights movement one of the most vibrant and active social movements in the U.S. today. There's something amazing about being able to go almost anywhere in the U.S. and find people in solidarity with the work I'm doing.
ACTION UPDATE: I just set up twitter petition asking Josh Marshall to Drop The I-Word.
Talking Points Memo (TPM) certainly isn't the same liberal blog that it used to be, but that isn't any excuse for TPM to publish trash like Benjy Sarlin's article on Texas Gov. Rick Perry's immigration stances. It's clear Sarlin knows very little about immigration policy or the politics of it as he runs from complex issue to complex issue without providing any real analysis or in some cases, just plain bad or wrong analysis. For instance, see Sarlin's writing on in-state tuition in Texas:
Once relatively uncontroversial positions by Perry have since become anathema: a bill offering in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants, which passed with near-unanimous margins in Texas, now faces major protests in Maryland.First the substance. Who are the "many" that credit Texas with inspiring the federal DREAM Act? Texas was the first state to pass in-state tuition in 2001, the same year that the federal DREAM Act was first introduced by none other than U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on Aug. 1, 2001. I can't find the exact date when in-state tuition passed in Texas, but even with the most lenient time line 8 months is a short time to inspire a federal DREAM Act.
"There's no justification for it," Mark Krikorian, executive director of the hawkish Center for Immigration Studies, told TPM when asked about the Texas law. "It sends one more signal that being an illegal alien really isn't that bad and that illegal immigrants can be integrated into the institutions of our society."
Many credit the Texas bill with inspiring the federal DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for similar children. Republican lawmakers have blocked the legislation in the Senate amid fierce opposition from conservative activists. Perry has come out against the national DREAM Act, but continues to defend his support for in-state tuition.
"To punish these young Texans for their parents' actions is not what America has always been about," he told the New Hampshire Union Leader last month.Benjy Sarlin - Talking Points Memo (9 August 2011)
ACTION: Please sign the above change.org petition, now.
Maria Sacchetti's article in the Boston Sunday Globe has me shaking with rage. She's been able to do as a reporter what we've been unable to do as advocates, which is to publicly bring to light specific cases of people in our communities who have been ensnared by ICE's [In]Secure Communities Program (S-Comm).
What has me shaking with rage an unable to even focus on the rest on the article is the fact that the irresponsibility of Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis and the Boston Police Department has allowed Immigration and Customs Enforcement to ensare a DREAMer, Lizandra DeMoura, in their deportation machinery. If Maria Sacchetti hadn't brought this case to light, DeMoura might have been deported without any of us knowing about it.
I don't know what else the Boston Police Department needs to know about S-Comm. They need to stand against the program, now. They've already irrevocably broken the trust of migrant communities throughout Boston by enrolling in this program in 2006 and not making that public until 2010. The more time that Boston delays standing against this program, the more time we have to organize against it, and the more difficult it will be for migrant communities to regain their trust with the police. It's time for Boston to stand against the program, now. I just started up a change.org petition targeted at some of the right people. Please sign it, now.
[This post was originally written for Crooks and Liars]
I'm almost in denial about having to ask people to do this: sign this petition at change.org to help stop the deportation of Prerna Lal. It's difficult to think of a more stupid move for the Obama administration to make than to initiate removal proceedings against Prerna. Prerna is arguably the most visible undocumented person, or Dreamer (after the DREAM Act), in the U.S.
As her website will tell you, she helped found dreamactivist.org, one of the most powerful online hubs for migrant youth, she's a blogger at change.org, and she's a board member of Immigration Equality. She also earned her Master's degree in International Relations and is currently studying to get her law degree at George Washington University.
The Obama administration is telling us that they're focusing their resources on the worst of the worst while folks on the ground know that they're going after people like Prerna all the time. If you don't want to read on, please sign this petition to stop Prerna's deportation.
"It's much more like Egypt then MoveOn", is the comparison Roberto Lovato used to describe how migrant youth use social media as we prepared for our panel in the National Conference for Media Reform here in Boston. It's an apt comparison, I believe. Unauthorized migrant youth, or Dreamers (after the DREAM Act), have had to use social media differently then most in the U.S.