Weekly Immigration Wire: Building Up to Change


As the U.S. moves closer and closer to enacting immigration reform, the situation on the ground is evolving as well. Nothing is static for an issue that touches so many people across so many communities. This week's wire follows up on trends observed last week: holding mainstream media accountable, enforcement tactics, and immigration's positive effect on the economy. But if you'd first like to get up to speed on immigration reform fundamentals, stop over at Feministing's interview with Christine Neumann-Ortiz. (And definitely don't miss Feministing's call to action to stop the infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio.) Last week, the Wire highlighted the importance of holding mainstream media accountable—especially when it comes to giving proper context to quoted sources. This week, Texas Observer's Melissa del Bosque writes that "[t]he truth differs wildly from the perception." when it comes to the actual political situation in Mexico and the image cultivated by mainstream media. While some outlets continue to develop an image Mexico as lawless and volatile, the actual scenario is not as dramatic. Following up on enforcement tactics, Marcelo Balivé, writing for New America Media, explores the "backlash against immigrants" that "continues to rage countrywide." According to Balivé, anti-immigrant sentiment is bleeding over into American perceptions about Mexican culture, "casting a pall on all Hispanic immigrants, whether they entered the country illegally or not." On a more positive note, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) head Janet Napolitano's recent statements that ICE will henceforth target employers rather than workers is a move in the right direction, though she gives no indication of how that might manifest on a practical level. Napolitano also admits that there will be "no halt to arrests of undocumented workers." This is unfortunate. The effects of ICE raids, and the ongoing hunt for "illegals in our midst" is hurting most Latinos in the U.S., even citizens. Even the so-called "Sanctuary" cities, which refuse to enlist local law enforcement to federal duties like immigration control, are no longer offer a feeling of safety. San Francisco, much like Postville, Iowa, is now feeling the devastating effects of the ICE raids. I'm not sure how the Democratic party intends to square its support for community-shattering raids with previous promises to a large part of their constituency. In the American Prospect, Ann Friedman writes that nearly one year after the raid in Postville, "The lingering effects of the raid make depressingly clear how misleading the "immigrants take from our communities" narrative really is." Friedman asks that we consider what a community loses when we act as if a huge part of that same community is "illegal." Following up on last weeks coverage of immigration as an economic issue, Pramila Jayapal and Renee Radcliff Sinclair argue that Immigrants Keep Washington’s Economy Strong for the American Forum: The Office of Financial Management estimated that in 2007, Washington households with at least one foreign-born member contributed $1.48 billion in tax revenue, or 13 percent of the state's total tax revenue. Even low-income immigrant households earning less than $20,000 a year contributed a total of $50 million in tax revenue. And in other immigration news, Wiretap's Naima Coster writes of an ethical conflict of interest when "anti-immigrant policy and the capitalist ambitions of pharmaceutical giant Merck" are joined. Is it right to federally mandate all women immigrants to receive the Gardasil vaccine, which has claimed approximately 20 lives and produced "thousands of cases of adverse effects"? Women have good cause to be concerned with the immigration issue "because of the displacement and separation of families—and the inherent link … between women and family life," writes Elisabeth Garber-Paul for RH Reality Check. It's a point also implicit in Made in LA, an Emmy-winning documentary that follows the lives of three Latina immigrants fighting for labor protections and the right to pursue freedom, happiness and a fair living. This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration. Visit Immigration.NewsLadder.net for a complete list of articles on immigration, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy and health issues, check out Economy.NewsLadder.net and Healthcare.NewsLadder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and was created by NewsLadder.

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