Crockpot: Immigration Edition

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Last Saturday, Hispanic
Heritage Month officially began. For 25 years, the Library of Congress, the
Smithsonian, and a host of other museums and groups have celebrated Hispanic and
Latino contributions to American history and culture. But this year’s
celebrations are especially bittersweet, says Jose Miguel Leyva in the Progressive, when we consider the realities
immigrants continue to face. After years of soaring rhetoric and patient
activism, Latinos are “still being
taken for granted
by politicians of both parties.” The Obama administration
in particular, despite inclusive language and a recent much-touted executive
order, has pursued some of the most draconian immigration policies in decades,
Leyva says. Most young immigrants lacking papers will be ineligible for
“deferred action,” as well as Obamacare. “Latinos deserve substantive actions,”
says Leyva, “not the hollow promises of politicians trying to curry favor with
us at election time.”


Want to protect voting
rights? There’s
an app for that
, says Maegan E. Ortiz in Colorlines. Pennsylvania’s
voter ID law might
well be toast
, but laws in other states could still disenfranchise millions
of voters
. That’s why minority communities across the country are using
social media to register, inform, and support as many voters as possible
between now and November, says Ortiz. Campaigns like Native Vote use Facebook
and webinars to boost Native Americans’ typically low turnout, while Nuestra
Elección! aims to target eligible Spanish-speakers and
curb voter suppression.


Despite the unprecedented
in immigration from Mexico
since 2000, deportations have reached an all-time high. A new report from the
Department Homeland Security shows that last year, the government deported nearly
undocumented immigrants, says Common
. According to ICE records, that number has been growing
in recent years, up from 291,000 in 2007. 


Video: author Junot
Diaz on immigrant rights
and why Americans are still in a state of denial
about the contributions of undocumented immigrants. “We should be able to
recognize as a community the people who do the heavy lifting, and stop
afflicting them,” Diaz says. “Our contributions have to be honored.”


On May Day 2006, millions
of undocumented protesters breathed new life into an old, largely forgotten
holiday. That day, the Day Without
, the streets of dozens of U.S. cities erupted with marches
and actions as immigrants called for humane laws and treatment and raised
awareness of their importance to American society. The 2006 actions, which
marked a turning point in the immigrant rights movement, also signaled a new
chapter in labor history. Since then, May Day has begun to approach its
historical significance among American workers, from the 2008 West
Coast port shutdown
to this year’s mass
in support of Occupy and workers’ rights. Not to mention the
one million
immigrant rights activists who took to the streets on May Day

Immigrants and workers are
natural allies, say Ana Avendaño and Charlie Fanning in Dissent, and they’re now coming together in a big way.
While some of the most high profile immigration activism in recent years has
centered on the DREAM Act, many activists are now embracing a broader set of
goals, and using organized labor to make them a reality. From the CLEAN Carwash
Campaign in Los Angeles
to No
Papers No Fear
, immigration activists are increasingly seeing workplaces as
battlegrounds and unions as natural partners. What’s more, these alliances have
expanded their scope to questions of community organizing and social justice, and
in some ways resemble a burgeoning social movement, say Avendaño and Fanning. “This kind of grassroots mobilization holds much promise for those who dream
of a more democratic future,” they say.

by Ludovic
, licensed under Creative Commons.

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