Category Archives: News & Events

Immigration Debate Brings Strange Bedfellows—And New Hope—to Washington

Submitted by By  on July 31, 2013. On Time

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“It’s nice to be back here amongst old friends and enemies,” Senator John McCain said Tuesday morning as he opened a discussion on immigration at the Washington headquarters of the union powerhouse American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). His comment earned a trickle of awkward laughter from the audience, which included congressional staff members, some undocumented Hispanic youth known as “Dreamers” and a slew of reporters eager to watch the Republican make a begrudging alliance with organized labor.

Widespread confusion over how the House of Representatives will handle pending immigration reform legislation has launched an all-lobbyists-on-deck scramble for influence on the Hill. Delegates from Silicon Valley to the cantaloupe fields of Texas are descending on Washington to weigh in, and McCain is putting aside his history with the AFL-CIO to join the fray. He discussed the importance of creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants with labor-friendly congressman Xavier Becerra on Tuesday.

“Treat your opponents, those who disagree with you, treat them with respect,” said McCain, who was criticized by the AFL-CIO as an opponent of worker’s rights during the 2008 election and 2007’s immigration reform debate. The federation of unions spends big bucks promoting Democratic candidates. After endorsing Barack Obama for President in June 2008, they used roughly $53 million of their $200 million campaign budget to run “grass roots mobilization” plugging McCain’s competitor. The group even launched a website, www.mccainrevealed.org (now deleted), which attacked the Senator’s voting record and his ties to George W. Bush.

The AFL-CIO also worked against McCain’s efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform in 2007. Although Democrats controlled the House when their bill hit the floor, McCain and Senate ally Ted Kennedy were unable to satisfy the labor lobby’s demands, which were supported by then-Senator Obama. The primary concern for labor groups was guest worker programs: initiatives that allow foreigners to reside and work in the United States during labor shortages. Such programs would have won the support of big business and the GOP, but the AFL-CIO worried that immigrants brought into the country under such initiatives would be paid less than the median wage in their respective industries. Ultimately, intra-party disagreement caused the 2007 bill to fail.

But 2013 is different, say labor groups and their congressional allies. In March, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka struck a deal with Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer and Thomas J. Donohue, head of the business lobby Chamber of Commerce. The alliance helped secure support for bipartisan legislation later passed by the Senate. Via conference call, Schumer announced a compromise on divisive guest worker programs. He assured organizers that under the new bill, guest workers would be paid the highest prevailing industry wage as determined by the Labor Department. “This issue has always been the deal breaker on immigration, but not this time.”

Former McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who touted the economic benefits of immigration during a panel at the AFL-CIO on Tuesday, started his discussion by reflecting on fickle Washington allegiances. “I don’t think I’ve ever been more flattered than by the kind of words of Congressman Becerra and my former boss John McCain about my work. But I will tell you that when I was head of the CBO neither of them had a word to say about it. So, time heals all wounds and let us hope that we can get over the wounds of the past efforts on this topic and we can get something done this year.”

Whether or not Tuesday’s discussion helped push immigration reform toward passage in the Republican House—it likely didn’t—the gathering demonstrated that the issue has created powerful, if unconventional, coalitions in Washington. After his Democratic counterpart shared a moving story about his former job as a construction worker, McCain joked, “Congressmen Becerra went from an honest line of work into politics.”

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MAG-Net May 2013 Digital Dialogue: “The Immigrant Rights Movement: Advancing Media and Cultural Strategies”

Submitted by bettyyu on Tue, 2013-06-11 15:09 on mag-net.org

May 1st marks May Day, also known as International Workers Day. On May 1st, 1886, nearly a half a million immigrants went on a general strike to fight for a 8-hour workday. Over a hundred years later, starting in 2006, again millions of immigrant workers and supporters participated in May Day protests against H.R. 4437, a draconian anti-immigrant bill. Even today, the majority of May Day protests are led by immigrants.

Currently, the immigrant rights movement is continuing its fight for comprehensive immigration reform–working to create a pathway to citizenship for many of the 11 million undocumented individuals in this country. At the same time, the corporate media depicts undocumented immigrants as job stealers, lazy welfare cheats, and possible “terrorist” all at the same time. This false narrative not only hurts immigrant communities, it also impacts our ability to move any transformative policy. How can the media justice and immigrant rights movements work together more effectively to uplift the stories of those families most directly impacted by bad legislation, border security and deportations? How are the online and office privacy and rights of immigrants being violated by the U.S. Government?

This Digital Dialogue will bring together organizers, media justice activists, journalists, cultural workers and policy experts who are working to advance a immigrant rights agenda that upholds the dignity, labor and human rights of immigrant communities. On the call we will hear about the various storytelling, media making and cultural strategies to advance this fight.

Featured Speakers:
Laura Muraida, Southwest Workers Union
Aura Bogado, The Nation & Colorlines
Chris Calabrese, American Civil Liberties Union
B. Loewe, National Day Laborers Organizing Network
Celso Mireles, United We Dream

Moderated by: Pedro Joel Espinosa, IDEPSCA & Betty Yu, Center for Media Justice

70,000 people urge New York Times to stop using the dehumanizing and inaccurate term, “illegal”, from news coverage

On Tuesday, April 23, 2013 The Applied Research Center (APC) and The Drop the I-Word Campaign joined with activists, including Fernando Chavez, attorney and eldest son of Cesar Chavez, and Jose Antonio Vargas, award-winning journalist and founder of Define American, to deliver petitions signed by 70,000 people to the New York Times urging them to stop using the term, “illegal” from their news stories when referring to individuals.   Mr. Chavez, Jose Antonio Vargas, the ARC and a coalition of supporters and activists delivered the petitions to Jill Abramson’s office, the executive editor of the NY Times.  The petition was started by Helen Chavez, Fernando Chavez’ mother and widow of Cesar Chavez.

The petitions were delivered only a few weeks after the Associated Press announced their decision to drop the dehumanizing and inaccurate term from describing individuals and would instead only use the word “to refer to an action.”

We feel the term is provocative, dehumanizing, and racially charged.  It is also imprecise and inaccurate.  The term does not take into account the variety of reasons a person is undocumented; many came here legally and have overstayed visas, were brought here as children, or overstayed fleeing persecution.  It creates the stereotyping of a group of individuals, mostly people of color, and centers the immigration debate around border control, when borders are not the issue.  In an interview with Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, Rinku Sen, the ARC’s Executive Director and President, said it best.  It is an “imprecise term that is applied in a blanket way,” and we feel it needs to change.

A few hours after the petitions were delivered, Philip B. Corbett, the associate managing editor for standards, who oversees The Times’ style manual, made an announcement that the Times updated its policies.  Unfortunately, it would continue to use the word “illegal” to describe “someone who enters, lives in or works in the United States without proper legal authorization.” It encourages reporters and editors to “consider alternatives when appropriate to explain the specific circumstances of the person in question, or to focus on actions.”

The AP announcement earlier this month was a victory, and we can only hope that more major news sources, like the New York Times and the LA Times “get with the times” and drop the i-word.

For more information, please visit colorlines.com/droptheiword

Uprooted: Turning the Tide from Hate to Human Rights

In our effort to support migrant justice organizers, last weekend, the Uprooted team attended the second annual Turning the Tide Summit in Arlington, VA where hundreds converged and forged new alliances to turn the tide against criminalization. Attending trainings and workshops with some of the country’s most influential and dedicated organizers has reinvigorated our project and has demonstrated the need for media made by and for social movements!

This video by the National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON), skillfully captures the inspiring organizers fighting against the Right Wing’s strategy of Attrition through Enforcement.

In his letter to attendees, Pablo Alvarado, Director of NDLON explains the importance of grassroots organizing for migrant justice as follows, “By organizing block by block, the affected people become subjects of change…Building to the Turn the Tide means organizing barrio defense committees wherever conditions exist, challenging all forms of police and ICE collaboration and asserting our right to remain in a country that enjoys the fruits of our labor and the wealth of our culture, but does not accept our humanity….It means creating spaces for us to tell our own stories and tirelessly working for legalization from the bottom up.”

Uprooted turns the tide by creating a space for migrants and their allies to document and distribute their narratives. We want to support and amplify your work– connect with us, together, we can build a more just and humane immigration system!

What does building to Turning the Tide mean to you and your community?

A Nation of Poorly Educated Students?

In a post on peopleofcolororganize.com, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz deconstructs the myth of the United States as a “nation of immigrants.” For Dunbar-Ortiz, that myth sanitizes the fact that the United States as we know them began as a colonial enterprise. The first European men and women to settle this land were not “immigrants,” as there was no already-established nation to emigrate to, save for the nations of Native Americans already present. Those arrivals should, instead, be remembered as settlers that dehumanized and displaced millions of indigenous Americans while taking their land through a strategically administered combination of force and diplomacy. Continue reading

NEW WORLD BORDER Exhibit in Arizona, New Jersey, and Missouri!

Uprooted is looking for submissions of all kinds of work.  From videos and audio to photos and paintings, Uprooted aims to bring together artists and media makers producing unique content about migration.  Check out this traveling art show to see the powerful pieces of some truly amazing artists doing exactly that!

In this show artists from NEW WORLD BORDER use art to express their opinions on the border wall constructed between the US and Mexico.

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MAKE A MOVEMENT SUNDAY: MAY DAY IMMIGRANT MOBILE DEMONSTRATION

Looking for a new way to celebrate May Day. Uprooted recommends checking out the Immigrant Movement International:

Where: Immigrant Movement International
When: Sun, May 1, 2pm – 5pm

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