Weekly Diaspora: Moving Immigration Reform Forward

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A crowd of thousands gathered on Capitol Hill Tuesday to lobby for and support immigration reform, as Debayani Kar writes for RaceWire. Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus "presented his key principles for comprehensive immigration reform" at the rally. They include: [A] pathway to legalization for undocumented workers, more effective border enforcement, humane treatment of immigrant detainees, labor protections, improved worker verification system, protections for family unification, improved employment-based visa system, farm worker protections, strengthening of the DREAM Act, and promoting immigrant integration. Kar writes that Gutierrez's "ten key principles for inclusion" would be "an important step in the right direction," though his outline seems "intentionally vague." The rally and Gutierrez' planned bill are important milestones as we work towards comprehensive reform. They are also necessary. Also on Tuesday, Nevada citizens held a vigil to "stress importance of the [immigration] issue," as Chris Thomas reports for Public News Service. Immigration reform is of critical importance in a state like Nevada, "Where immigrants make up nearly 20% of the population and 14% of the voters." The vigils were focused on "stopping immigration raids," which cause great stress to families and often result in detainment of innocent people. The immigrant community has been historically scapegoated in times of worry or hardship. Today is no different. As Wiretap Mag reports, the Senate Finance Committee passed a health care bill on Tuesday that "explicitly excludes" undocumented immigrant communities. The bill denies the most vulnerable among us "The ability to participate in the insurance exchange that will let consumers shop for coverage," as M. Junaid Levesque-Alam writes. In other words, it wasn't enough that taxpayer funds, which working undocumented pay into via payroll and sales taxes, will not be alloted toward the undocumented. The bill disallows these people from buying into any health care plan, even with money they've earned. It seems an unnecessary and even cruel step to take. One has to wonder what drives people to be so destructive and amoral. José Morales at Sojourners thinks it is fear. "Immigration is not a threat to national security; it is a threat to national identity," Morales writes. He connects the thought deftly to those who "use 'diversity' and 'multicultural' language" but ultimately avoid "the real task at hand: de-white-supremification" of how we view immigrants and immigration. "Just as post-bellum white southerners feared a black cultural revolution and thus acted in horrific, dehumanizing ways to squelch any inkling of Afro-cultural insurgency," he writes, "the cultural majority today fears specifically a Latino-cultural revolution which will rob them of their power to set the 'norm.'" Pundit Lou Dobbs fits tidily into this group. His employer, CNN, has been given notice by Latinos nationwide. CNN is revving up to broadcast an annual special called Latino in America with Soledad O'Brien but there's one problem: Latinos in America are not feeling very warm about CNN thanks to their support of Dobbs, as Roberto Lovato writes for AlterNet. Lovato spent two weeks "talking to Latino communities about Lou Dobbs and CNN," and what he heard was "an unexpected unity" and an "intense concern" over CNN's hypocrisy. With the stakes as high as they are for Latinos these days, dealing with a rising number of hate crimes against our communities, those who Lovato spoke to overwhelmingly do not support the idea that "A few hours of serious reporting on Latinos by sunny Soledad O'Brien can make up for thousands of hours of anti-Latino extremism from the dark Lou Dobbs." The Colorado Independent reports on the efforts to oust Dobbs by "National advocacy group Presente and an increasing number of regional groups, including the Colorado Latino Forum." They feature video (below) that award-winning filmmaker and 26 year-old Mexican immigrant Arturo Perez crafted for the campaign. Presente asks CNN to choose between "Lou Dobbs, or Latinos in America?" Another item that specifically focuses on immigrants is the approaching 2010 Census. Marcelo Ballve reports on the efforts of Senator David Vitter (R-LA), who is "is demanding the 2010 Census ask about immigration status in order to 'prevent states from counting' those who entered the country illegally." Undoubtedly, those new to our voting rolls and Census counts will become an accepted part of our country before long. Efforts to deny health, opportunity and equality to humans as deserving of these things as you and I, will seem gross and repugnant. Until then, those of us who harbor such a vision must continue feeding progress and building momentum. 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, The Pulse and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

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