immigrant rights

More than 100,000 people took to the streets on June 30, in about 750 cities and towns in every state across the country, to protest the separation of immigrant children from their parents seeking asylum and denounce President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy that made this cruel practice possible, writes Barry Sheppard from San Francisco.

Washington has a long history of using deportations to strike fear among undocumented workers. In recent years, deportations have multiplied — previous president Barack Obama became known as “Deporter in Chief”.

But President Donald Trump has greatly stepped up the drive, mainly against Latinos without papers. He has unleashed Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) to carry out indiscriminate raids where Latinos congregate, deporting the undocumented. These include those without criminal records or who are guilty of only minor offensives, often separating families.

After a journey of more than a month, more than 150 members of Viacrucis Migrante — known as the Central American Migrant Caravan — arrived at the United States border on April 29. They were met with a hostile response.

Migrants and refugees staying in a refuge in Mexico City have been subjected to verbal and physical attacks recently.

In his now infamous statement on immigration last month, Trump expressed his views clearly: He doesn’t want immigrants from “shithole” countries in Africa, Haiti and El Salvador — Black and Latina — to be let into the US.

On the other hand, he wants to encourage immigrants from predominantly white nations like Norway.

At the press conference to announce his run for president last year, Donald Trump referred to Mexican immigrants as “drug dealers, criminals, rapists” who must be stopped by “building a wall”.

Since taking office, Trump has continued to reiterate that message through policy initiatives designed to further degrade the quality of life for undocumented workers and their families. The overtly racist targeting of migrant and immigrant people by Trump has excited the far-right, and emboldened their efforts to organise, mobilise on a national scale, and terrorise working class communities of colour. 

But Trump and a re-energised far right did not appear in a vacuum.

Despite the clear signals that President Donald Trump would drop the axe on a program that protects unauthorised immigrant young adults from deportation, the announcement by Attorney-General Jeff Sessions provoked an immediate and passionate backlash from the 800,000 young immigrants who benefited from the program, as well as their supporters.

At the closing of the World Peoples' Conference on June 21 in Tiquipaya, Bolivia, social movements called for a “world without walls,” while Bolivian President Evo Morales urged social movements to adopt the progressive proposals of the gathering's final declaration, which dubbed the migration crisis as just one symptom of neoliberal globalisation. 

Mexico’s Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) has announced it will begin selling organic coffee from Chiapas to help migrants persecuted by US President Donald Trump.

Working alongside allied international distributors, the EZLN will use coffee sale funds to provide financial assistance to US deportees in Mexico. They will also use funds to support pro-immigrant resistance groups around the world protesting anti-immigrant governments.

Bolivia’s government and social movements have announced they will host a global people’s summit on migrants and refugee rights. The "People’s Conference for a World without Walls and Universal Citizenship", set for June 20 and 21, is expected to draw together immigration experts and pro-migrant and refugee rights organisations and activists from around the world.

Samba Co-written & directed by Olivier Nakache & Eric Toledano In cinemas now Nobody could say that French film makers Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano — and their actor of choice, Omar Sy — shy away from heavy subjects. In their 2012 international hit The Intouchables, they dived straight into questions of disability, racism and class. Now in Samba they have tackled the question of illegal migrants struggling to survive without papers in contemporary France.
United States President Barack Obama pledged on June 30 that in the face of Republican intransigence on immigration, he would take executive action to ease the plight of undocumented immigrants facing deportation. On September 6, the White House announced that it would delay any action until after the November midterm election. Cristina Jimenez, managing director for United We Dream, an advocacy coalition for immigrants largely made up of young Latinos, said: “The President’s latest broken promise is a slap in the face of the Latino and immigrant communities.”
A “people's assembly for refugees” met in front of Parliament House on September 28 to call on the government to introduce humane policies and stop using refugees as political footballs. More than 160 people from Victoria, the ACT and NSW were joined by Greens parliamentarians Sarah Hanson-Young and Adam Bandt, and independent MP Andrew Wilkie. The rally was called by the Refugee Advocacy Network, a Melbourne-based coalition of refugee activist, advocacy and support groups. It was endorsed by 48 groups from across Australia.
A Short Border Handbook By Gazmend Kapllani Portobello Books 2009 159 pages Review by Alex Miller This book, which the author describes as “part autobiography, part fiction”, is hard to assess. Each chapter is divided into two parts. The first part tells the story of a man (presumably Kapllani himself) who crosses into Greece from Albania when the border between those two countries opened in 1991. The second part consists of “philosophical” ruminations on issues raised by the story of the first part.
A new Sydney group, Fairness and Justice for Overseas Students, held protests on May 1 and June 12 against changes to the skilled migration program. The changes will affect thousands of Asian vocational students studying in Australia. Immigration minister Chris Evans announced the changes on February 8. Among the changes was a new list of skills and occupations that would qualify overseas workers for the program.
The hip-hop community in Arizona came together in a “Not In My Backyard” approach to protest the state’s new immigration law by remaking Public Enemy’s song, “By the Time I Get to Arizona.” A music video is soon to follow. Hip-hop artists Queen YoNasDa, DJ John Blaze, Tajji Sharp, Yung Face, Mr Miranda, Ocean, Da'aron Anthony, AtlLas, Chino D, Nyhtee, Pennywise, Rich Rico, and Da Beast express multicultural perspectives on a law they collectively consider to be racial profiling.

Pages

Subscribe to immigrant rights