Reid will be reintroducing the Senate compromise immigration bill this morning. In light of this restart, I wanted to share an editorial from Paul Starr that I found useful:
Why Immigration Reform Matters
There will never be an easy time to tackle this issue, but if there is a deal to be had on immigration in this Congress, liberals and progressives should be part of it.
Paul Starr | June 18, 2007
When immigration legislation stalled and possibly died on the Senate floor on June 7, some progressives were just as pleased as Lou Dobbs. But passing even an imperfect compromise of the kind the Senate had been debating would be far better than doing nothing.
Among all the conflicting concerns about the issue, there is one that ought to drive change: The presence of 12 million people without legal or political rights in our society is fundamentally inconsistent with the principles on which a liberal democracy rests.
While a small number of illegal residents or temporary workers may raise ethical questions, a large population with no rights or security undermines the rule of law, the rights of citizens, and the working of democracy. The law cannot offer equal protection to all when there are millions of people for whom it offers no protection whatsoever. Continue Reading…
Did you see the quarter page ad in your national paper a few weeks ago?
An African- American male facing you from the lower right hand corner of your paper with the suggestion that immigrants are a threat to African Americans and that legalization was a slap in the face to African-Americans. The ad was sponsored by “Coalition for the Future American Worker”. What was this ad really saying, and who is the CFAW?
I recently read Bill Fletcher’s response to the ad and I wanted to share it with you, let us know your thoughts…..
May 23, 2007
Anti-Immigrant in Black Face?
By Bill Fletcher, Jr. – BC Editorial Board
The picture in the ad immediately caught my attention. The photo was of a very dignified older African American man looking into the camera, very determined and equally pensive. Underneath his photo was a caption giving his name “T. Willard Fair” and the fact that he was the veteran of 40 years of struggle in the Civil Rights Movement.
This was certainly enough to pique my interest.
Beneath the caption was a statement declaring that the alleged threat to African Americans comes from documented and undocumented immigrants. He went on to suggest that any notion of legalizing undocumented workers was a slap in the face of African Americans. The ad is associated with a group called the “Coalition for the Future American Worker.”
Fair’s attack is not surprising, although the virulence and historical nature of it is very unsettling, particularly because it is bound to strike a chord among many African Americans. Continue Reading…
Last week I had the opporunity to attend the opening of the Liberty Hill Foundation’s exhibit, Strangers No More, a collection of photos from the 2006 marches in LA. Among the panelists were Son Ah Yun, Co-Director of FIRM, Angelica Salas, Executive Director of CHIRLA and Alexia Salvatierra, one fo the leaders of the New Sanctuary Movement.
All the panelists shared great insights into the stakes of the fight for immigration rights, but it was Alexia Salvatierra’s words that struck a particular chord for me. She put forth an important idea: awakening the moral imagination of America.
From the churches that offered refuge to immigrants at the turn of the century, to organizing efforts for rights and fair work conditions for immigrant worker in the early 1900′s to the first sanctuary movement of the 1980′s and today’s new sancutary movement, churches have played an influential role in awakaening the moral imagination of America.
Rights are not universal truths set down in stone from the dawn of time. They are values that we agree to and share communally. It takes time and work to establish new rights. The first step towards establishing rights is always IMAGINING the very existence of those rights. The critical turning point in a fight for rights comes when the larger public grows that imagination into reality by codifying those rights in governing laws.
Before change can happen, someone has to plant that seed of imagination – the new sanctuary movement is continuing to plant those seeds, and I am interested in learning more about others who are planting that seed. Do you have any stories to share?
Alexia’s words helped me remember that we may or may not get the immigration reform bill that millions of Americans and immigrants desperately need this year, but all of our fighting and lobbying and actions will not be wasted because we will have furthered the imagination of the Americans. We will have laid an even stronger foundation from which we can continue to grow the belief in immigrant rights.
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