From the series Oaxacan Exodous
Nearly 500,000 indigenous Mexican immigrants, mostly Mixtecos, Zapotecos and Triquis, from the state of Oaxaca, are now estimated to be living in the United States. They are among the most isolated immigrants ever to arrive in America. Some speak only their indigenous language, and some come from villages without cars, electricity, or indoor plumbing.
In California’s Central Valley, where over half of these new migrants have settled, they are quickly becoming a new rural underclass. Living on the fringes of the Valley’s farm labor economy, and isolated by their culture and language, they suffer some of the worst abuses and exploitation in the country.
NPR just did an unapologetically graphic piece on the conditions children endure when they flee fucking crime and murder and come to America, only to be crammed into concrete rooms and kicked and yelled at by INS agents. I wanted to throw this in the face of those protesters and be like STILL WANT TO TELL THESE KIDS TO FUCK OFF? but I realized they'd probably double down and say yes. Fuck those people.
What you got to understand is that appealing to the basic humanity of racists like these anti-immigration protesters is like appealing to the basic oxygen content of the goddamn moon.
In the epigraph to Drown, Junot Diaz uses a quote from a Cuban poet, Gustavo Pérez Firmat—“The fact that I am writing to you in English already falsifies what I wanted to tell you.” This is the dilemma of the immigrant writer. If I’d lived in Haiti my whole life, I’d be writing these things in Creole. But these stories I am writing now are coming through me as a person who, though I travel to Haiti often, has lived in the U.S. for more than three decades now.
Often when you’re an immigrant writing in English, people think it’s primarily a commercial choice. But for many of us, it’s a choice that rises out of the circumstances of our lives. These are the tools I have at my disposal, based on my experiences. It’s a constant debate, not just in my community but in other communities as well. Where do you belong? You’re kind of one of us, but you now write in a different language. You’re told you don’t belong to American literature or you’re told you don’t belong to Haitian literature. Maybe there’s a place on the hyphen, as Julia Alvarez so brilliantly wrote in one of her essays. That middle generation, the people whose parents brought them to other countries as small children, or even people who were born to immigrant parents, maybe they can have their own literature too.
Challenge the Narrative
The real “immigration crisis” began in 1492. We’re still Indigenous, and they’re still settler-colonialists.
La Gran Marcha: 8 years Later
8 years ago, more than half a million protesters marched in downtown Los Angeles in opposition of H.R. 4437: The Border Protection, Anti-terrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, also known as the “Sensenbrenner Bill.”
March 25, 2006 was a special day. The largest march in U.S. history! But much has changed since then, and we can learn a lot from the many marches our community saw between 2005-2007. Lesson number one: Keep it grassroots.
Although many of these megamarchas were used as publicity stunts by Spanish-language radio DJs like El Pistolero in Chicago and El Piolín in Los Angeles, for the most part they were organized from the bottom up. The most recent marches have lacked that same spirit of genuine indignation toward the government, with many being outright corporate bought and sold.
Another matter is that under Obama, the activist community has been much more complacent than with Bush Jr. With Obama’s deportation record, we should be packing the streets again, but instead it seems many of us are busy taking selfies on Instagram.
For there to be a Comprehensive Immigration Reform that doesn’t sell out our community, we need to organize again at the community level, then take it to the streets as we did on March 25, 2006. However, this time let’s wear red and black! (Wearing white as a symbol of peace and non-violence was an apologetic gesture that was never understood by the general population.)Image credit: Bob Chamberlin, AP
Oh man, I remember when a fuck-ton of people at my high school walked out before 3rd period to join this march… and then we went into lockdown.
Full families challenge US-Mexico border with mass reentry
March 11, 2014
Any day now, President Obama, whom immigrant groups call the “deporter in chief,” will make history by surpassing the two million mark — separating two million families through deportation during the course of his administration’s five-year reign.
In response, migrant families are making history of their own.
On March 10, 250 migrants, who have lived in the United States most of their lives, attempted to reenter the country after being deported. Many entire families are returning, while others are coming to rejoin family members still living in the United States. The group is chanting “undocumented and unafraid” as they cross through the U.S. portal that separates Tijuana from San Diego. This action, part of the #not1more campaign, marks the third mass border crossing organized by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance. The action comes as immigrant justice groups are increasingly moving beyond advocating for legislative reform and are instead turning to direct action to protest the record deportations. The group says that these actions are calling attention to the immigration crisis and the way millions of families are separated by an arbitrary boarder.
Last year, 150,000 U.S.- born children were separated from at least one parent. The majority were under the age of 10. One of these stories is that of Manuel, who spent 10 years living in Ohio with his U.S.-born children and wife. According to the National Immigrant Youth Alliance’s Facebook page, “Manuel was placed in deportation proceedings after he hired an immigration attorney who he later found out was a fraud.”
All 250 families participating in yesterday’s action have lived in the United States for a large portion of their lives, creating homes and community in this country.
Obama: The Drones and Deportations President
Stating the Obvious: First black president of the U.S. has been a disaster for many people of color
On Friday, reports emerged that Barack Obama was open to a Republican no-path-to-citizenship immigration plan. Another betrayal of his promise of comprehensive immigration reform.
In light of this report and other recent remarks on immigration, we said Obama has been acting like a Republican in blackface. Several were offended, some even called us racist.
What they may not know is that “blackface” in this context is not used literally or as a slur, as in Obama has a black face. It is, however, meant to be a political statement, a rebuke of many of the policies of the first black president of the United States, especially those related to immigration reform. We recognize that it could be misinterpreted and seen as offensive, but we felt it was necessary to express our deep disappointment with Obama and his administration.
The reality is that we’re offended that the United States’ first black president has turned to the Republican practice of scapegoating Mexicans, and has in fact, deported 2 million, more than any other president in U.S. history, separating thousands of families in the process.
“Republican in blackface” is also a reference to a comment made by Dr. Cornel West during the 2012 election. “I’m glad there was not a right-wing takeover, but we end up with a Republican, a Rockefeller Republican in blackface, with Barack Obama, so that our struggle with regard to poverty intensifies,” West told Amy Goodman of Democracy Now back in a November 9, 2012, interview. We agree!
Internationally, Obama’s record hasn’t been much better. War hawks at the Pentagon seem to be calling the shots, or at least dictating the United States’ foreign policy.
“Across Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, the Obama administration has launched more than 390 drone strikes in the five years since the first attack…eight times as many as were launched in the entire Bush presidency. These strikes have killed more than 2,400 people, at least 273 of them reportedly civilians,” reports the The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
At the end of the day, Obama’s record speaks for itself. He’s chosen the cynical path of scapegoating and war to appease a far rightwing who has never supported him in the first place. This is a problem Obama has created for himself. After all, he was elected with a mandate to end wars. Instead, he has been in many regards worse on matter this matter than his predecessor, George W. Bush.
Obama has not only been a huge disappointment, he’s been somehow able to escape much of the criticism he deserves for his policies. As we’ve stated in the past, imagine if Romney had won the election and was setting records for deportations and drone strikes? There would surely be uproar in the streets. Ignoring the fact that the first African American president of the U.S. has been unfriendly and even disastrous for the Mexican community is not something we’re willing to do. We ask people of good conscience to stand with us, including our black brothers and sisters. It’s time that we hold Obama accountable on these and other issues.
Made rebloggable by request.
Here are the links used in the image, in order, if you wanna check my sources: