I have enjoyed reading the other posts, but as time limits my post will be short … I have a few thoughts to add, or reiterate as the case may be.
At first look it seems like we are comparing two injustices, one based on race and the other based on nationality. But I want to be sure it is acknowledged that the immigration debate is deeply rooted in racial prejudice. Washington loves to frame the issue as a clear citizen vs. non-citizen issue, but when “illegal immigration” is mentioned, the racial other, the Mexican, is pictured. The border wall makes this all the more apparent. Just as southern state laws sought to keep African Americans as an economic underclass with no political power, immigration laws today seek to keep Mexicans as an economic underclass with no political power. Immigration laws may look like they are meant to keep Mexicans out, but they don’t really—-rather they keep Mexicans illegal, cheap, and quiet. It’s no secret that much of the economy is highly dependent on cheap labor, and I’ve done enough restaurant worker organizing to be confident in saying many employers will knowingly accept a fake SS card as readily as they will accept a 19 year old’s fake i.d. when selling alcohol. Immigration laws are unjust and deceptive. They do not serve the purpose that many Americans are convinced they are meant to do.

So although the problem of non-citizenship is sticky, I think a large part of the problem that must be overcome is the racial and economic side. As long as Mexicans and Mexican Americans are seen as a racial other, people will continue to support racist legislation such as the border wall. As long as Mexican workers provide labor for less than minimum wage, immigration laws will continue to restrict legal immigration to those who can afford it.

Illegal immigrant workers are increasingly vocal but their limitations are obvious (losing their job, deportation). The status quo would have them “adjust themselves to oppression” as Dr. King might say, by doing their job and receiving their pay quietly and without complaint. But their potential is overwhelming, their numbers more than enough to make major change. Just as Dr. King brought dignity and confidence to a group of people who were intimidated and “adjusted” to their position, the same can be done with illegal immigrants in the U.S.

I can’t wrap up my comments neatly and conclusively with a positive plan for action. The words aren’t coming. Maybe next week.

website metrics


I found a fairly recent article protesting the Border Wall. I very much enjoyed the article, which includes information about a quickly upcoming direct action campaign. I quote part of the article here.

Johnson-Castro: The Death of the Border
By Jay Johnson-Castro

The No Border Walls group held the prototype for Hands Across El Rio on the Roma-Miguel Aleman bridge on July 14. (Photo: Martin Hagne)

August 7, 2007. If the Washington elitists have their way, the Texas-Mexico border as we know it today will die. It is terminal. It is suffering from an invasive and malignant disease. Tyranny.

The proposed border wall is a wall against all the citizens of the Americas to the south of us and to us who live here inside the checkpoints. The border wall would even cut us off from the international boundary, our beloved Rio Grande. No fishing, boating, swimming. No picnics in the park on its banks.

Elected officials from our entire border region have spoken out in solidarity against the border wall. But have not been heard by the Washington elitists. Elected officials outside of our border region look at our region with contempt. They would build walls and separate us from our neighbors and destroy our environment while doing so. They are militarizing this special region with thousands of troops and plan on subjecting the inhabitants to unreasonable search and seizure. They would arrest and imprison any person who looks like a “refugee” that has no proof of citizenship. This is not Palestine. This is not Baghdad. This is the United States. This is Texas. This is the land of the free…and should not be the land of tyranny.

Full Article Here.

website metrics

Back on November 11th, I predicted on my blog that “I don’t think this election will get us any closer to where we’d like to be.” Recent failures in the Senate shows that I understated reality, we are actually further from where we want to be than before.

This only goes to show that our current approach to immigration reform is not working. May Day rallies are great for flexing our muscles, but they are doing nothing for changing hearts and minds. I am further convinced that we need to learn from history and adopt the methods of SCLC, SNCC, and NAACP.

website metrics

bill-richardson-2.jpgIn an earlier post, I linked to this speech by Governor Richardson, delivered at Georgetown University.

A Manhattan law firm, Teplen and Associates, summarized the speech this way.

In his statement Governor Richardson outlined four steps which must be taken in order to solve this problem in a realistic fashion: 1) secure the border, 2) increase legal immigration, 3) prevent employers from hiring employees without proper work authorization, and 4) provide a path to legalization.

I responded, but Teplen and Associates does not seem to be taking comments on its blog any longer, so I will post my response here.


In order to be successful, step 2 must precede step 1.

The only way to completely secure the border is to allow people seeking employment to immigrate. People would much rather cross the border at a checkpoint than brave the Rio Bravo (Rio Grande) or the hot Sonoran desert, but as long as immigrants believe these natural barriers are more navigable than our immigration laws, we will continue to have no idea who enters this country.

And in order to be moral, step 4 must precede step 3.

As long as the federal government prevents those who wish to change their legal status from doing so, the government is in essence mandating that employers discriminate based on a classification virtually indistinguishable from race.

This is a revisited speech, but I post it again because so much of the prevailing thinking in Congress is exactly backwards.

website metrics


Last year, on May 1, 2006, roughly two million people marched in the streets in several U.S. cities. It was the largest protest in United States history. Tomorrow, May 1, 2007 will see similar marches in over 75 cities. Be a part of it by following these links to find where to meet and when.


General information can be found here.

Find information about local demonstrations near you.

Those of us in the Rio Grande Valley will be meeting to march in McAllen at 6pm. Meet at the McAllen Municipal Park at the corner of Bicentennial and Pecan. Wear a white t-shirt and bring a bottle of water.

website metrics


Actor and former Senator Fred Thompson is running for President.

In this recent

radio commentary, he used the epithet “illegals” and invoked the idea of national sovereignty

to support his extreme views about immigration. He calls our immigration current system “open borders.”


website metrics

Governor Richardson delivered this speech at Georgetown University.


Like every other politician speaking on this issue, he shows us he can see both sides of this issue. But unfortunately, when you read between the lines, it becomes clear that Governor Richardson comes from no better a perspective despite being a border-state Governor.

This flawed perspective has two main flaws. First, it relies on a quota system. Second, it lets the U.S. economy set the quota based on the needs of U.S. citizens. This is very much an “America for American’s” approach.

website metrics

I’ll be updating this often, but here are some podcast discussions I have found from three major presidential candidates on the issue of immigration.

Democrat Barack Obama



Republican John McCain. The part about immigration is from 17:50 to 27:30.



Democrat John Edwards. The part about immigration is from 12:35 to 19:25



website metrics

« Previous Page