Migrant Emancipation: May 2008 Archives

I just saw a video on the plight of Indian guest workers working for Signal International in New Orleans.  This just goes to show that we're fighting for more than just rights here.  We're fighting for migrant freedom.



Contact the New Orleans' Workers Center for Racial Justice to find out how you can help.
Picture from the New York Times.

It may not be politically viable, I may be attacking allies in this post, but someone needs to say it.  In the wake of shocking exposes in the New York Times, The Washington Post, and 60 Minutes, (h/t to Roberto Lovato for the links) it looks like there's actually some movement from the U.S. government to enact some pro-migrant, or better said, less anti-migrant federal legislation.   Nina Bernstein and Julia Preston of the New York Times report in "Better Health Care Sought for Detained Immigrants".


One consequence of the myth of sovereignty propagated through our current international political system is the war in Iraq.  Another is our broken immigration system.  Yet another is the skyrocketing death toll in Burma, caused in part by the massive storm and entrenched poverty, but in large part by an incompetent and corrupt government that makes George Bush look like Cory Booker.

It may comfort some in the U.S. to imagine that the first two problems listed above are rooted in the misdeeds of a particular leader, or a particular political party, or even in the dysfunction of the contemporary American political system 

However, these diagnoses are mistaken.  The dysfunctional international political system permits an unconstrained superpower like the U.S. or warped polities like Burma or Zimbabwe to push far past the bounds of civilized conduct, but while culpability may lie with leaders and the voters who support them, the framework that allows such bad actions to persist is structural. 

Here are my belated scattered observations from the May Day rally at Union Square in New York City last week. 


This was the first May Day march I had participated in.  It was a lot of fun, and emotionally and (in a strictly secular way :-)   ) spiritually uplifting, but I kind of felt like I had missed the party.  I heard about crowds exponentially larger in 2006 and substantially larger last year.  But apparently, frustration in the pro-migrant community with the lack of progress toward comprehensive reform and fear instilled by widescale raids over the past year-and-a-half had combined to ratchet down participation in this year's march.  (With my own eyeballs, I estimated between 2,000 and 3,000 marchers--not something you see every day parading down Broadway, but certainly not the numbers seen in recent years.)  It's a shame, because things are about as bad now as they've ever been for migrants in the U.S.  It's a shame, because the "Operation Return to Sender" raids that have terrorized migrant communities across the country were a direct response to the restrictionist backlash resulting from the remarkable pro-migrant rallies of early 2006.  DHS Secretary Chertoff has explained that the raids are a tool to push businesses and migrant groups towards a comprehensive solution.  It's also part of the "enforcement by attrition" policy promoted by restrictionists and adopted in recent years by the Bush administration.  If Bush is a pro-migrant president, he sure has a funny way of showing it. 

The low numbers, then, are a clear indication that the restrictionists--backed squarely by the U.S. government--currently have the upper hand in the public square.  But that's not the whole story by any means . . .  

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Migrant Emancipation category from May 2008.

Migrant Emancipation: April 2008 is the previous archive.

Migrant Emancipation: June 2008 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.




XOLAGRAFIK Designs