When I was in the eighth grade, my Dad packed us up and we moved from our safe little home in the sticks of northeastern Montana to the far end of nowhere Alaska. Bethel, Alaska, located approximately 400 miles due east of Anchorage, Alaska, lies atop the frozen tundra dotted with above-ground sewage lines.
In that isolated village, I had my first experience with being a very unpopular minority. My locker was broken into every day, my homework ripped up, and constant threats of fights were left on little notes inside my books, among other things.
My siblings and I cried ourselves to sleep every night. It was there, in that little town in the middle of nowhere, that I vowed to myself I would never take part in making another person feel less than about themselves if only because of the color of their skin or because they were from “the wrong side of the tracks” or from the wrong side of the border. I came away from that experience a stronger person, knowing that I would fight for the equality of all beings for the rest of my life in whatever shape, way or form it took.
The past several years I have been involved on several projects regarding illegal immigration in the U.S., most specifically related to immigrants from Mexico. I have performed extensive research, interviews and written several papers. A commonality I have seen throughout this time is that people both pro- and anti- immigrant rights have very strong opinions but many operate under false assumptions provided to them by biased media.
My intent with this blog is to serve several purposes: to educate, to illuminate and to inspire. I will educate by posting links to immigration news articles. I will illuminate by bringing to the forefront lesser known facts about immigration through other blogs and news organizations. And, I hope to inspire people to get involved in immigrant rights in order to help enact positive change in their communities.
This first blog is a catch-all of articles and blogs that will provide you with a cross-section of what is happening today with immigration in the United States. Happy reading!
Obama’s Reelection Campaign
In 2008, President Obama enjoyed extensive support from the Latin American community.
This was due in large part to what was seen as a progressive take on immigration solutions. Obama was viewed as someone who was going to enact positive changes in the immigration system and push through the DREAM Act.
However, what the Latin American community knows (and what many others do not know) is that, at the rate he is going, Obama is set to deport more illegal immigrants in one term than Bush 43 did throughout two terms in office. Needless to say, many Latinos feel betrayed.
Alabama Anti-Immigration Law
The most recent and largest felt occurrence that has caused ripples through families, communities, and local economies in Alabama is the passage of the new anti-immigration law.
The two most controversial aspects of the law are 1) that police officers can check the immigration status of any person they pull over if they suspect the driver is an illegal immigrant (can we say racial profiling here?) and 2) that schools will be required to ask for proof of citizenship from all students (ostensibly for census gathering, but that has not reassured parents whom are pulling their children out of school and fleeing the state.) Appeals are being filed by both the federal government and civil rights groups.
These laws are finally bringing to the forefront the long held debate over the reason why we need illegal (mainly Mexican) workers. That being that that they do the jobs that Americans won’t do. Alabama is now going to be the Petri dish under the microscope of the nation waiting to see if the axiom will hold true or if Alabama’s legal unemployed will stoop to minimum wage, hard labor to feed their families.
Instate Tuition for the Undocumented Immigrant
The Dream Act, highly controversial since it was first proposed in 2001, has yet to pass Congress. Every year it is put back to the vote and it continues to fail.
The DREAM Act would provide children who were brought here by their parents with the opportunity to attend college, as well as with a path to citizenship.
Many of these youth have been here before they could walk. Their first language is English and America is the only home they know. Most of them have never visited Mexico nor do they have any family living there. To deny them the opportunity at a higher education is a travesty and short-sighted on the part of the American people.
Governor Brown of California passed a DREAM Act on Saturday, October 8th,which will provide undocumented youth with the same opportunities noted in the federally proposed DREAM Act.
Other Lesser Known Aspects of the Immigration Puzzle.
- Newer generations are staying put. As opportunities for higher education continue to rise in Mexico, youth are not feeling the same pressure to migrate to the U.S.
- Immigration rates have flattened out over the last 10 years.
- The most recent illegal immigrants are returnees, immigrants who have been deported under President Obama’s term and stay in Tijuana, Mexico until they can make their way back across the border and to their families.
Opposing Viewpoint Blogs
Knowing what your opponent is saying will provide you with better information and the challenge to go out and find the counter argument to their points.Below are two websites that represent the opposing sides of the immigration debate.
Immigration Impact is an organization dedicated to finding workable solutions and effective policy reform for illegal immigration. Their goals include education, fairness and justice for immigrants.
The Center for Immigration Studies espouses “a “low-immigration, pro-immigrant” vision of an America that admits fewer immigrants but affords a warmer welcome for those who are admitted.” Many of their blogs have a decidedly anti-immigrant tone to them.
Other Great Blogs
CAUSA is the Pacific Northwest’s largest immigrant rights coalition. They organize, educate, and mobilize the immigrant community, empowering the Latino community to step out and be a voice for their rights. Their blogs primarily address issues impacting immigrants in Oregon and the rest of the Pacific Northwest.
Standing Firm is the blog feed on the front page of the website for The Fair Immigration Reform Movement, an immigrant rights coalition. Their blogs focus on nation-wide immigration hot topics such as the Alabama anti-immigration laws and the high rate of deportations held by the Obama Administration.
Please keep checking this page. Along with writing more blogs, I will also be updating articles and adding other writers’ blogs as I find them.
But, for now, I’ll leave you with this: the best way to find out more about what is going on with immigration issues is to get involved. How do you do that? Below you will find a list of helpful links for Eugene organizations, for Oregon organizations and for national organizations. Be a volunteer. Make a difference. Get involved.