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Latin America

Weekly Diaspora: What Homeland Security Looks Like After Bin Laden's Death

by: The Media Consortium

Thu May 05, 2011 at 18:38:06 PM EST

by Catherine A. Traywick, Media Consortium blogger

Nearly a decade ago, America's War on Terror began as a manhunt for Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But over the next nine years, that anti-terrorism effort evolved into a multi-faceted crusade: birthing a new national security agency, blossoming into two bloody wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, institutionalizing the racial profiling and surveillance of Muslim Americans and even redefining unauthorized Latin American immigration as-of all things-a national security issue. Now, in the wake of Osama Bin Laden's death, which elements of that crusade will persist or expand and which-if any-will dissolve?

 
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Weekly Diaspora: No Sleep 'Till March on Washington

by: The Media Consortium

Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 12:08:07 PM EST

By Erin Rosa, Media Consortium blogger

This Sunday, tens of thousands of people plan to march on the National Mall in Washington, DC in an effort to persuade Congress and the Obama administration to tackle immigration reform in 2010. More than 700 buses are bringing an estimated 100,000 supporters to the nation's capital for the March for America. Participants are hoping to show strength in numbers on the ground, and flex muscle on Capitol Hill as well.

Advocacy groups are organizing countless phone banks and Congressional office visits to encourage lawmakers to support a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants who live and work in the United States.

On top of that, immigrant rights supporters are eager to note that President Barack Obama promised to overhaul the immigration system during his campaign, and said that immigration reform would be a "top priority in my first year as President of the United States of America." But now that year has passed, and with Congress still deadlocked on health care and economic issues, reform supporters just can't wait any longer.

 

While an immigration reform bill has been proposed in the House of Representatives, the same can't be said for the Senate. If the Senate fails to propose a reform bill this Spring, it won't be on the agenda for 2010 either. With elections at the end of the year, there's an aura of uncertainty over how possible it will be to pass reform after that, since the resulting congress could be more conservative.

Keeping a promise

For Obama and the Democratic lawmakers, keeping the promise of immigration reform could be essential to their political future. As Feministing  noted this week, "the March is meant to send a message to Congress: immigration reform cannot wait. It's also a message to President Obama to keep good on his word and push immigration reform."

Obama's promise to reform the immigration system helped earn him 67 percent of the Latino vote in 2008, exit polls show. Latinos-who make up approximately 15 percent of the U.S. population and are the fastest growing minority in the nation-also delivered Democratic victories in states like Colorado, Florida, and Ohio during that same year.

But with 81 percent of undocumented immigrants in the United States originating from Latin America, a failure to take action on immigration reform could prove disastrous for Democrats and the White House. Numerous polls show that Latino voters want immigration reform, in part because nearly 9 million people in the country live in "mixed-homes," where some family members are documented and others are not, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

In a story about the upcoming march, TPMDC reports that "organizers of the rally have a simple retort for Democrats: pass reform now, or lose Latino support in November." The news site quotes march organizer Gabe Gonzalez, who expresses frustration with the slow movement on immigration reform. "I cannot tell you how angry and outraged people are," she says. "I have conversations with my progressive friends and they're always surprised at how visceral it is."

About-face

On the other side of the political spectrum, conservative politicians who do not have a reputation for embracing immigration reform are trying to change course. The population of Latino voters will only continue to grow as children of undocumented immigrants reach voting age. Both Republicans and Democrats are fighting to secure that demographic as a reliable voting bloc.

 

In 2003, 63 percent of the 4.3 million children born to undocumented parents in the U.S. were citizens. By 2008, there were 5.5 million children in the same situation and 73 percent of them were born in the country. This new generation signifies what could be a significant political shift as Latinos continue to gain prominence and influence in the U.S.

There is a rift on the right when it comes to immigration, as AlterNet explains. "One segment of the Republican Party completely understands that critical political fact. They understand that to compete successfully in the future -- on a national scale -- they must be able to contest for a sizeable segment of the Hispanic vote. ... But there is another group of Republicans who want to use immigration as wedge issue to win short-term political advantage among anxious voters who think of Latinos as threats to their culture, their tax dollars, and their jobs."

Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks notes that both sides of the immigration argument are very passionate. "You got a lot of people in the country saying 'Aw, we need a border fence, and the damn immigrants are taking our jobs, etc.,'" he says. "On the other side you have people who are in favor of immigration, making it into some sort of sane system."

Although reform supporters are hopeful that a bill will be proposed in the Senate this Spring, whether it will have a wide bipartisan backing remains to be seen. But with changing demographics and an organized movement for reform, passing immigration reform would empower a reliable--and organized--voting block that is growing more significant by each election. In the end, it could change the political climate of the United States for generations to come.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration by members  of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Diaspora for a complete list of articles on immigration issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, and health care issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Pulse . This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

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Virus Brings Swine-Hearted Lobby Into Foreground

by: nezua

Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 14:20:14 PM EST

By The Sanctuary Founding Editors:

The moment that the news of the "Swine Flu" or "North American Influenza" hit the wires, it was easy to predict what the anti-immigrant faction would have to say about it. People like Michael Savage, Neil Boortz, Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck, Pat Buchanan, and groups like CIS, FAIR, and NumbersUSA are so locked into their views that their voices are unnecessary in a dialogue that actually preferences truth-which by nature requires flexibility and bravery. The stances of those who most vocally oppose immigration today are so predictable that one could paint a face on a septic-tainted soccer ball and paste up word balloons and rest well, knowing that The Nativist Lobby point of view on any immigration-related topic will end in "deport them all" and "seal the borders" if not "round them up" and other tired ideas. And nobody reading now needs a reminder of how throughout time, both Latin America as well as all immigrants have been slurred and painted with the brush of disease by those resistant to changing demographics.

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The Politics of the DREAM Act: Laying the Groundwork For Migration Reform

by: kyledeb

Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 12:29:15 PM EST

Originally posted on Citizen Orange.

It is official.  According to the St. Petersburg Times, the DREAM Act will be reintroduced this week by Sen. Richard Durbin and Sen. Richard Lugar:

The movement's moment could arrive as early as Tuesday when Durbin reintroduces the bill with co-sponsor Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.
Saundra Amrhein - St. Petersburg Times (21 March 2009)
Dreamactivist.org is also beginning to sound the war drums through their change.org blog.  Thousands have already been invited to call-in in support of the DREAM Act through facebook.  The DREAM Act will be the first major migration policy battle of the 111th Congress and the Obama administration. 

As such, I thought it would be good to step back and reflect a little bit on the politics of the DREAM Act.  I've already written a post advancing a comprehensive argument for passing the DREAM Act during these trying economic times.  It was published on Alternet this morning.  Today, I thought I'd reflect a little bit on the political climate the DREAM Act faces. 
There's More... :: (0 Comments, 2075 words in story)
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