U.S. Immigration Reform: October 2007 Archives

The picture on the left is from the website of the Student Immigrant Movement (SIM), an migrant youth organization here in Massachusetts.  SIM is a big part of why Massachusetts is relatively pro-migrant compared to everywhere else in the U.S.  It is students like these that I keep in mind as I write this post.  Their undying hope is inspiring.  Just read the words of  Patricia De Oliveira:

As a student, I am not going to let these Senators decide my future. They will NOT take my future from me. We are going to fight until we have the right to an education. We are in this until we win. That’s the bottom line.

Still, the way their hopes were crushed yesterday, for at least a year, should force all migrant advocates ask some really hard questions.  This entry comes from someone that was on the front lines of recent DREAM activism.   I did everything in my power to move the DREAM Act forward.
I'm in the middle of writing a long post on the failure of the DREAM Act, but while I was writing it I spent a lot of time and effort transcribing the words of Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) who was the chief proponent of the bill.  Instead of bogging down what is already going to be a long post I thought I would post his words separately.

I was invited onto a conference call with him yesterday and have transcribed that, and I've also transcribed the entire speech he made on the floor of the Senate today in support of the DREAM Act and embedded the youtube videos of it, from the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigraiton Reform.

His words are definitely worth reading.  Below is what he said during the conference call.

DREAM Act Fails 52 - 44

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The final count was 52 in favor and 44 against where 60 votes were needed.  I'll write more later.

UPDATE: The Associated Press just reported on the failed cloture vote

Duke on the DREAM Act

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There's a discussion going on in my previous post that just doesn't deserve to be buried in the comments section.  Here Duke from Migra Matters is responding to one of the best articulations of the problems with the DREAM Act, written by XP at Para Justicia Y Libertad.  I think it exemplifies why we need pro-migrant spaces online.  We need places that are not infected with anti-migrant hate.  It allows us to be honest and truthful with advocates and migrants about the benefits and pitfalls of the choices before them.  This is what Duke had to say:
When anti-migrant advocates speak up, they get called racists.  When pro-migrant advocates speak up, they get deported.  Is there even a contest?

Tam Tran bravely testified before Rep. Zoe Lofgren's panel (D-CA) and was covered on the front page of USA Today.  Three days later, her family was detained by Immigration and Custom's Enforcement (ICE).  Duke has already written a better post about Tam Tran then I will ever be able to write, so I'm going to write about this from the unique perspective that I bring.

First, ICE is the most frightening enforcement agency within the U.S.'s borders.  ICE is accountable to no one and it has far too much power.  Second, Tam Tran is a stateless individual like so many others on the earth, today.  She can't go back to her country because she doesn't have a country to go back to.  What is her place in the world? Is she worth nothing like so many others that weren't born within the borders of a prosperous country?  Third, Congress need to pass the DREAM act.  There are problems with it, sure, but I can't look in the faces of the many young migrants that have their hopes tied up in the DREAM act and tell them I don't support it.  Migrants need a victory, and we'll fix the problems with the DREAM Act later.

It is with that in mind that I've taken a series of the best nine videos on the DREAM Act and dedicated them to nine senators that hold the fate of the legislation in their hands.  Below is the video that I got from the Illinois Coalition on Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), which I've dedicated to Senator Mel Martinez. 
I've often wondered where the indignant self-righteousness of anti-migrant advocates comes from.  It is impossible to live in the United States without deriving some benefit from the work of migrants.  There has been no effective effort to catalog and boycott businesses that employ migrants.  Even if someone tried to avoid the benefits of migrant labor, it would be near impossible to live a happy and healthy life in the U.S.

But instead of trying to get through to anti-migrant advocates, I thought I'd bring attention to the leaders that represent them.  Again, there's no real effective list of biggest migrant employers.  Yet there are some prominent pro-migrant businesses, businesses anti-migrant advocates have highlighted themselves, that are contributing substantial amounts of money to anti-migrant politicians.  I'll explain further in the post, but in the meantime check out this youtube video I made drawing attention to the political contributions of the Bank of America Corporation State and Federal Political Action Committee:

"Tear Down This Wall"

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If you seek peace,
if you seek prosperity...
if you seek liberalization:
Come here to this gate! ...
Open this gate!...
Tear down this wall!
    -Ronald Reagan

Tuesday's a pretty busy day for me, so I won't be able to write too much, today.  Still, I wanted to draw people's attention to the winners of the Reform Institute's "Design Your Portion of the Border Fence Campaign".  Except for maybe the person who won the "Passion Prize" and a paid internship at the Reform Institute, all of the winners put forth what I interpret to be pro-migrant messages.  I have to say I was especially please with the first place winner, who played on concepts very familiar to the pro-migrant community.


(Picture from the White House website)


(Picture from the Washington Post)

Every time I think of the infamous raid in New Bedford, Massachusetts, I can't help but think of these two photos and the impact they had on me when I first laid them side-by-side.