Tuesday, 23 October 2012 15:22
This piece was originally published in Colorlines in September 2012.
Like many others, I've worked for years to get Americans to think expansively and compassionately about immigration. In a decade dominated by the push for what's been dubbed "comprehensive immigration reform," I've argued that immigrants drive economic growth, pay taxes, add value to the culture, and don't take jobs from native-born people. Although I wasn't thrilled with the enforcement elements of the policy—that fence, beefing up the Border Patrol, growing detention and deportation—it seemed amazing that Congress was even considering changing the status of as many as 12 million undocumented people. Most of the immigrant rights movement focused on winning that policy, and for a time, it really seemed possible.
Wednesday, 19 September 2012 00:37
Days before a bus filled with undocumented people and their allies was to take off from Phoenix, Arizona, one rider was interviewed by the New York Times. The reporter asked, “Last month when I interviewed you, you wouldn’t tell me your full name. Now you will. What changed?” The rider responded, “I am no longer afraid.”
48 hours later Letty Ramirez, Miguel Guerra, Natally Cruz, and Isela Meraz, stepped off the curb outside of Sheriff Arpaio’s racial profiling trial and into the street with a banner that said, “No Papers No Fear.” They announced themselves as undocumented and unafraid of the Sheriff finally on trial. The thing that had kept them at times house-bound, and most afraid was the thought of ending up inside Arpaio’s jail. Now, the four were entering willingly as part of an act of civil disobedience and the start of what would be a six week odyssey, the No Papers No Fear Ride for Justice that will soon come to an end at the Democratic National Convention In Charlotte after Labor Day weekend.
Published in B Loewe
Monday, 09 July 2012 19:56
Gina Perez is a member of Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance. She has been a leading member of the growing movement in Georgia, being among the first students in the state to ‘come out of the shadows’ in civil disobediance. In response to the education ban, GUYA has organized the Freedom University, where students are taking classes despite being barred from public universities.
In this piece for Organizing Upgrade Marisa Franco interviews Gina Perez.
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 18:45
To be part of the immigrant rights movement is to really understand loss and losing in the deepest sense. Attending some sort of funeral, having friends and family that are in this country one day and permanently exiled the next, watching parents break down in tears in the last five minutes of a detention center visit and asking yourself, "is that really legal" multiple times after documenting an ICE raid are all collateral consequences of a broken system and the fight against it. I even get tired of repeating the same, still relevant points, about an emerging apartheid state in articles I write every couple of years, because things always seem to get predictably worse.
Published in Subhash Kateel
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 20:25
The migrant rights movement in this country is about to enter a new phase and every person, no matter their position, will have to decide how they will relate to it.
While many are waiting to see the decision of the Supreme Court related to the Department of Justice’s SB1070 case, a human rights crisis of epic proportions is already roiling in Arizona.
The status quo we face now and the results of even the best possible decision from the Supreme Court still represent a steady march toward anti-immigrant attrition that the state has constructed over years. First we faced efforts to restrict our ability to function in society: drivers’ license bans, denial of social services, and English only rules. Then they built ways to humiliate and dehumanize us through Sheriff Arpaio’s outdoor jails and Florence’s expanding penal colonies.
Tuesday, 20 December 2011 14:31
Marisa Franco interviewed Mohammed Abdohalli and Gopal Dayaneni about direct action and the Occupy Movement in November 2011.
The #Occupy movement has tapped into a collective frustration spanning across the globe. The rallying cry of 99% and the tactic of occupying public spaces has changed the conversation from one that continues to benefit the 1% to one that questions the political and economic system we live in and ventures to directly practice alternatives. It’s also a moment that has brought the power of direct action and civil disobedience to the public’s eye.