Yesterday, two couples shared their immigration struggles at three events across the state, all of which were planned by AIR. I attended the morning event in Detroit, and my sweet partner attended the one in Lansing. Here is media coverage for the day:
ICPJ Newsletter – June 2012
LATF Immigration Article
With a large helicopter hovering over the meat-processing factory, teams of immigration agents stormed the plant and began arresting nearly 400 undocumented workers. Children at school were separated from their parents who had been rounded up, and almost immediately court proceedings commenced despite insufficient legal representation, leading to the imprisonment and deportation of approximately 75% of those arrested. This 2008 mass arrest at Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa, was the largest immigration raid in U.S. history, though it is certainly not the only one of its kind.
This event is analyzed in the documentary abUSed: The Postville Raid, which the Latin America Task Force (LATF) showed in the final event of the Economic Root Causes movie series in April. The four-event series has encouraged participants to consider how systemic economic factors contribute to war, poverty and environmental destruction.
Important topics covered by the abUSed documentary include family separation, underage worker rights, physical abuse of immigrant workers, the travesty of the legal process following the raid, and the supportive role that faith communities and people of conscience can play.
My wife and I had the pleasure of attending the recent launch of the Welcoming Michigan campaign, which aims to improve Michigan’s immigrant-friendliness (the story, Facebook). Speakers included Rep. Clarke Hansen, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, and Steve Tobocman of Global Detroit, all of whom shared the immigration story of their ancestry as well as the many ways that immigrants make Michigan and the United States stronger. Here is media coverage: CBS, The Detroit News, The Arab American News.
When photos from the event appeared on my wall, a friend struck up a conversation. This is how it went:
Friend: Well thank you Ford Foundation. I certainly hope the money donated by the Ford Foundation was not (1) earned, (2) managed by, (3) invested in or (4) derived from evil Wall Street….maybe next this group can launch an action that investigates the Ford Foundation!!!
Jeff: Do you disagree with the campaign or do you just not like the Ford Foundation?
Yes, I spend more time watching than doing. In the past month or so, I’ve appreciated these three documentaries:
God Grew Tired of Us (2006, PG) — War & Relocation
After raising themselves in the desert along with thousands of other “lost boys,” Sudanese refugees John, Daniel and Panther have found their way to America, where they experience electricity, running water and supermarkets for the first time.
Waiting for Superman (2010, PG) — Education
Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) weaves together the stories of students, families, educators and reformers to shed light on the failing public school system and its consequences on the future of the United States.
This Is What Democracy Looks Like (2000, NR) — Globalization & Protest
[T]his powerful documentary recounts the story of more than 100 activists who gathered to promote economic justice and turned cameras on police during the 1999 World Trade Organization summit in Seattle.
>My review of Faith beyond Borders is now posted at Adventist Today. Though this statement does not appear in said review: I loved this book. Read it, yo.
Art Gish, a life-long peace activist who died this past summer, once quipped, “Anyone can be a young radical. Where are the old radicals?” Now well beyond retirement age, Don Mosley is likely the kind of old radical Gish wanted to find. As a co-founder of Habitat for Humanity (1976) and Jubilee Partners (1979), Mosley has traveled the world to serve humanity in the name of Jesus. Among other adventures, he has stared down the barrel of a gun in Egypt, protested the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in the U.S. (formerly School of the Americas), protected civilians as a co-leader of a joint Fellowship of Reconciliation/Witness for Peace delegation in Nicaragua, worked on two Israeli kibbutz, and illegally transported large shipments of medical supplies into Iraq for children affected by war and the trade embargo.
Will any of you be at one of these CCDA events–Phoenix, Denver, Santa Ana, Chicago, Memphis or Miami? If so, let us know and send a report when the dust settles.
On Tuesday January 26, Christian leaders from across the US will join the CCDA board in Phoenix, Arizona for a “Day of Witness and Action” in support of comprehensive immigration reform. The purpose of this event is to stand in solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters as well as to raise national awareness of our country’s broken immigration system. Our desire is to see Christians raise their collective voice around the injustice faced by immigrants and the need for our legislators to enact moral and just reform. Please consider standing in solidarity with CCDA and other organizations across the country. You are invited to join us in any of these cities/events:
>For Memorial Day 2008, we went shopping. We wandered up and down the dusty paths at the local flea market looking at antique bottles and bookcases, homemade knick-knacks, and Amish rugs. We neither bought nor sold.
Then we came home and finished watching a documentary about Howard Zinn, You Can’t Be Neutral on Moving Train. Interviews with Zinn are interlaced with archival footage, commentary from his colleagues, and readings from his various books by Matt Damon. While documentaries like The U.S. vs. John Lennon and Why We Fight are more engaging (entertaining? up tempo?), this one is still enlightening and well worth watching.
The dialogue and readings are full of excellent quotes, and I’ll finish this post with the one Matt reads as the film comes to and end:
“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
“And if we do act in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents. And to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
>Tonight I listened to Jim Lehrer discuss the lack of agricultural workers here in Colorado. Some farmers only planted half of their fields because they anticipated a 50% reduction in labor. Others went as far as to not plant in Colorado.
Farmers who did plant are facing labor shortages despite advertising and recruiting in local job markets. How are they filling these gaps? Inmates.
Maybe we’ll start to wake-up to the need for foreign workers. Maybe we’ll even learn to give a little more respect. And remuneration.
>Here are some interesting reactions to the collapse of immigration reform talks.
Mexicans chide U.S. over immigration (Yahoo.com & Associated Press, 29 June 07)
“Opinion makers and migrant advocates in Mexico said Friday that the collapse of U.S. immigration reform plans hurts Mexican workers, U.S. employers and anti-terrorism efforts.”