US-Mexican Border


IMMIGRATION
No More Deaths "We are a diverse coalition of individuals, faith communities, human rights advocates, and grassroots organizers who have joined together to work for justice along the U.S.- Mexico border. We have mobilized in response to the escalating numbers of migrant deaths in the deserts of the American Southwest. Since 1998, over 2000 men, women, and children have lost their lives attempting to cross the border


"Consider two points often made in debates about refugees and immigrants. Writers and politicians, in this country and in Western Europe, have long complained that immigrants and refugees do not conform to the rules and norms of liberal democracy. Arabs and Africans, we are often informed, do not accept the rights of women; Muslims are more loyal to their religion than to the state (something said of Europe's Jews not so long ago); immigrants carry, along with their luggage and food, the conflicts and violence of their countries of origin to their new homes. Since 9/11 writers and politicians have grown increasingly apprehensive about the security threat posed by Muslims and Arabs. Worried about insufficient assimilation and potential terrorism, many commentators now believe that Western countries need to reconsider their open immigration policies...

"What is it about immigrants and refugees that frees us from the stricture against guilt by association and the duty to treat individuals as individuals?" (Corey Robin. "Strangers in the Land." The Nation, April 10, 2006: 28-33).


"...a widening recognition across ideological lines that the border and immigration policy of the past decade has utterly failed. Even with billions in additional Homeland Security funding, the fielding of hundreds of additional agents and the deployment of choppers, unmanned drones and other high-tech hardware, the chaotic situation on the Southern border remains unchanged. Apprehensions of illegal crossers continue to run at about a million a year, while an equal number or more make it across and an average of about 350 perish in the attempt. Meanwhile, as many as 11 million undocumented workers and their families continue to live in the shadows, even though they are productive and responsible members of society...

"This year has seen pleas from labor-short growers in the Southwest to crab processors in Maryland, for a loosening of immigration restrictions (in November the Arizona vegetable growers asked the Border Patrol to back off detention of undocumented workers). "We want two things," says Gay, "a system by which we can hire workers for jobs that Americans don't want and a mechanism by which the 9-10-12 million undocumented can get some form of legalization."...

"That amnesty, until recently the private reserve of the progressive left, has now been adopted by corporate America provides insight into how labor and business have converged on this issue...

"For immigration advocates to get an acceptable win, they'll need what Austin-based immigration attorney and editor of Bender's Immigration Bulletin Dan Kowalski calls a perfect storm: a convergence of "presidential leadership willing to stand up to the restrictionist right, Congressional compromise temonstrating a preference for action over posturing and an educated public willing to accept a more rational immigration system as the price for abolishing what is, in effect, a national plantation system with 10 million humans acting as our less-than-equal servants"...

"...the Minuteman Project was an unmitigated flop. Though its organizers predicted that "potentialy thousands" would attend its kickoff rallies, I counted no more than 135 participants in Tombstone--a lesser number than the journalists on hand" (Marc Cooper. "High noon on the border." The Nation, June 6, 2005: 20-24).


"There are currently thought to be 11 million undocumented migrants living in the US. Most of them are filling an economic need, performing the jobs US citizens don't want to do. In souther California that means washing your car, cutting your grass, cooking your food, washing your dishes and caring for your children.

"Every day an average of 4,000 people attempt illegally to cross the 1,950-mile border from Mexico into the US. Every day 3,000 are turned back. Every day one dies. With the average daily wage in Mexico at $4, it is little surprise that workers will risk arrest, deportation, dehydration and even death when the pickings on the other side of the fence are so rich" (Dan Glaister. "Trying to stem Mexican wave." Guardian Weekly, April 22, 2005: 7).


Colby Glass, MLIS