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Monday, Nov 30, 2009, 7:18 am

Weekly Diaspora: Autumn Holiday Edition

By Nezua

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Ed. Note: This week's Diaspora is short because of the holidays. We'll be back to full-length next week.

Last Tuesday, Amy Traub dismantled a few harmful myths about immigrants for The Nation. Traub takes on the old 'immigrants steal our jobs' myth, saying it "holds no water." Immigrants of both documented and undocumented status help the economy, and their energy and efforts create jobs that would not exist without their participation. Traub makes a crucial connection clear: Immigrants are a boon to the economy, and "U.S. natives gain $37 billion a year from immigrants' participation" in the U.S. workforce.

In AlterNet, Timothy Noah outlines the cost of denying immigrants health insurance, dubbing the overall effect a "Nativist Tax." If we begin restricting the access immigrants have to health care, why not bar them from other parts of society? Why not bar them from the hospital altogether? Why not prevent them from buying milk at the corner store? It's the beginning of what could be a bad chain reaction.

Katherine Vargas describes her own naturalization ceremony for the Progressive. It's a good read. Vargas writes that citizenship is not, to her, only about apple pie and baseball, or even the paper we call a passport. To Vargas, citizenship is the ability and right to participate in the political process and take part in the history of the country.

New America Media covered the "Phone Call Heard Around the Country," a nationwide teleconference on the approaching year and immigration reform. "Tens of thousands" of callers were connected, and on the call—which turned telephones on speakerphone into "de-facto radios" around which so many gathered—legislators urged listeners to "call their members of Congress and ask for action on immigration reform."<

Finally, for some light fare, Wiretap Mag features a "humorous—albeit problematic—parody" of the immigration issue.

I understand why Wiretap deems it problematic. The cartoon tries to create a perfect parallel between the conquest and decimation of the North American indigenous population in the 1600s by Europeans with today's economically displaced immigrants (who are, themselves, often indigenous, or descended from the indigenous). In this way, it uses the words of the cartoon "Indians" to argue against their own kind. The cartoon is probably quite useful, however, in opening dialogue with younger people on the topic.

The Weekly Diaspora wishes you and yours a satisfying holiday season, whether you are fasting or feasting. May you be safe and with loved ones.

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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