Thursday, February 02, 2006

Immigrant Communities and Youth Resist Scapegoating

1. Excellent analysis of the ongoing attacks on immigrant communities in the US and our people's resistance to oppression by Lee Siu Hin of the National Immigrant Solidarity Network -
The Upcoming Battle for Immigrant Rights: A War on the Home Front That will Affect Millions of People
2. Immigrant Youth build Bay Area campaign

Released 02 February 2006
By Lee Siu Hin - National Immigrant Solidarity Network
The Upcoming Battle for Immigrant Rights
A War on the Home Front That Will Affect Millions of People

For the Full Article

For the past two years, the United States has been quietly pursuing its largest anti-immigrant campaign in 50 years. With the U.S. losing the war in Iraq, President Bush, right wing Republicans and even many Democrats are once again using immigrants as scapegoats (along with promising more money for domestic programs, tax cuts for the rich, faith-based initiatives to attack abortion rights and the rights of LGBT people) in order to secure conservative/right-wing votes for the November 2006 midterm elections.
Attacking recent immigrants is historically nothing new.
Since the Chinese Exclusion Act of the1890's, different immigrant groups have been targeted when they begin arriving in this country: Irish, Jews, eastern Europeans, Japanese, Filipinos have all been the target of attack at various points in U.S. history.
This time the forces of racism are once again spinning rhetoric to blame immigrants (especially the Latino immigrants) for causing all the world's problems--arguing that they could be potential terrorists who wish to harm our country and 'welfare queens' who plan to steal money from our social programs--a potent scare tactic which exploits the fear and anger of the poor and working-class communities, who are the victims of corporate downsizing and the government's budget cuts because of the war in Iraq.
Not surprisingly, the right-wing anti-immigrant forces have been using the Minutemen campaign to exaggerate the so-called "crisis" of undocumented immigrants after September 11.
What happened in 2005 was a chain of events, each one carefully crafted to build to a climax of mindless xenophobia. From the first appearance of the Minutemen in the beginning of the year to the passing of the Sensenbrenner-King Bill right before the year's end, this was a well coordinated plan serving the agenda of the right-wing, racist anti-immigrant forces, and most immigrant, community and social justice activists were caught-off guard.

The Minutemen...
The Passage of the Sensenbrenner-King Bill...

What Should Activists Do Next?
Our struggle will be long and hard, but that doesn't mean we should give up hope. While the House vision of the Sensenbrenner-King Bill has passed, we still can mount a strong opposition against the upcoming Senate version, which will be introduced and debated sometime in February, 2006.
Unity is very important! This is NOT only about immigrant rights--it is also about human rights for everyone. An injury to one is an injury to all!
Why? So far the right-wing anti-immigrant forces have successfully created a "common sense" message of links:
September 11= counterterrorism = anti-immigrants =
invade/occupy Iraq/Afghanistan = tax cut = faith-based initiatives.
They are also calculating that the left will not unify strongly enough to build a broad-based coalition to support each other's struggles.We should prove them wrong! Now that we have finished the holiday season, we should gear up our fighting spirit and channel it into building multi-ethnic community actions against the final passage of the Senate bill early this year. Immigrant groups around the country are beginning to build local coalitions to organize campaigns against the bill, against the passage of another proposed anti-immigrant bill--the CLEAR Act, and against the renewal of the PATRIOT Act.
In addition, we should not underestimate the powerful forces behind the current anti-immigrant movement, and the "divide and conquer" tactics they are using. Minutemen understand they cannot build their movement in the major U.S. cities, so they tactically choose several suburban/rural right-wing, conservative anti-immigrant communities in which to build their base (i.e. Orange County, CA). These are regions where the anti-war/anti-globalization movements generally don't organize, and it is in places like these that the Minutemen enter candidates in elections hoping to win a seat in the local government.
Therefore, activists and organizers have a particular responsibility to point out the links between Katrina's impact, immigrant rights, civil liberties, labor rights and the U.S. war in Iraq.

Understanding the connections between our individual conditions of life and the lives of people everywhere in the world allows us to come together and organize across all borders.

We need to make the connections between: wars in Africa, south America, Asia, Iraq, Palestine and Korea, and sweatshops in Asia as well as in Los Angeles and in New York; international arms sales and the WTO, FTAA, NAFTA & CAFTA with AIDS, hunger, our reproductive rights, child labor and child soldiers; multinational corporations and economic exploitation with racism, homophobia and poverty at home--then we can win the struggle.

Lee Siu Hin is a community organizer with the National Immigrant Solidarity Network (NISN) and ActionLA Coalition Please visit NISN's Minutemen Watch for more of the latest news on counter-Minutemen campaigns.

For the full article

More on resistance to the attacks on immigrant communities
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Justice for Immigrant Youth: Speak Out!
Be a part of the movement to educate & advocate forchange
About 500,000 young people live in the U.S. withoutlegal immigration status. The only home for most of these youth is here in the U.S., but everyday they face the risk of being sent back to their “home”country. And without legal papers, they have many less opportunities for jobs and an education in the US.
Justice is not given, it’s demanded!
Immigrant youth deserve a chance. That’s why somemembers of Congress have drafted a law to help young immigrants get legal status. This bill is called “TheDREAM Act,” and it has the chance this year to become law. We need to mobilize so that the public and government hear us loud and clear: We all deserve to make our hopes into reality, pass the DREAM Act!
We are forming a Bay Area campaign to educate andadvocate around the DREAM Act, as well as other issues impacting immigrants and immigrant youth. We are looking for leaders who can help drive this campaign.There will be a leadership group to meet in earlyMarch, to form a strategy for community education,advocating to our members of Congress, and getting theattention of the newspaper, TV, and radiomedia.
Interested? Please contact Anita Sinha at the International Institute of the East Bay
(510) 451-2846, ext. 309 orby email at You can also drop by our downtown Oakland office, at449 15th Street, 2nd Floor (right off the 12th St/CityCenter BART line).

1 comment:

Tami said...

This DREAM act is long overdue. On June 30th 2004 my co-worker Delfin Cuevas was deported along with his wife and children. The Cuevases came here in the mid 80's with children ranging in age from about 1 to 5 years old. Thye overstayed their visas. The children grew up speaking English and the only country the knew was the US. The Cuevases tried to become legal residents in the mid-90's, then President Clinton changed the law (Boooo) and in the end, their application was denied and they were deported. One daughter graduated CSU East Bay, the other was studying nursing, their son was also in college. Delfin worked for the State of Ca. and his wife was employed in private industry. They were models of the American dream, their only crime was overstaying their visas to give their children a better life. From what I understand, they're adjusting to life in the Phillipines but it has not been easy. Their deportion was one of the saddest, most unfair events I have ever witnessed. Please don't let this happen to more families. We have to pass the DREAM Act.