Follow this link for Progressive Forum guest, Elizabeth Stephens’ article on Common Dreams.

A year and a half ago, Border Ambassador Jay Johnson-Castro walked from Laredo to Brownsville to protest the Secure Fence Act of 2006.  Even though his walk was undertaken alone, his action was covered by international, national, and Texas print, radio and television media, including the BBC. 

Since that time, the plans for the fence have moved forward despite concerns about the Rio Grande’s natural habitat and the rights of landowners to retain property held in families for generations, some predating the United States.  Attempts to negotiate for better solutions have been in vain, which leaves local residents little option but to participate in direct action and challenge the law.  Courageous landowners refusing to grant access to their property for the wall are personally bearing the hopes of our entire community determined not to let the fence segregate its residents and harm its environment.  These heroic landowners are now facing litigation for their non-capitulation; they face a personal risk that we as a community must bear collectively

Following the motto “You got to move,” this spring, from Saturday, March eighth to Sunday, March sixteenth, Valley residents including educators, students, religious and civic leaders will participate in a nonviolent walk of 115 miles from Roma to Brownsville to gather national solidarity for those owners.  Concerned people are invited to join Johnson-Castro and the Border Ambassadors in the No Border Wall Walk and may sign up to participate here.

March 8Roma to Rio Grande City
March 9Rio Grande City to La Grulla
March 10La Grulla to La Joya
March 11La Joya to Mission
March 12Mission to Las Milpas
March 13Las Milpas to Progreso
March 14Progreso to Los Indios
March 15Los Indios to Ranchito
March 16Ranchito to Brownsville

For further information, contact John Moore at 956-203-1499.

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John asked me to post this, so I will:

Well, to say the least, I don’t agree with much.  🙂  I’m just too much of a pragmatist.  I would say my biggest problem with the posting is that the downsides are never presented in any of the posts.  It’s as if we could have free migration without consequences.  I know Matt and Kiel are both liberals, and yet they pretend as though the state functions by itself.  It’s as if this whole discussion is missing reality.  So it’s very difficult for me, or anyone else, to listen to this talk of “justice” and “rightness” from all of these individuals who aren’t at the same time asking for an objectivist, minimalist state.  You can’t have both.

I know you understand what I’m talking about, but I’m not sure anyone else on the boards does.  I know, I know, I sound like I’m trying to break down your wall. 🙂


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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.

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Midterm Election Results and Possible Effects

After checking the election results, and counting House votes on HR4437 (the very anti-immigration bill), I don’t think this election will get us any closer to where we’d like to be.

To catch you up, in case you are unaware, the most recent Congress passed two very different immigration bills that could not be reconciled. The Senate passed a bill (S. 2611) that would provide a guest worker program–something I’m absolutely opposed to–a path to citizenship for many immigrants here illegally, and most importantly, a five-fold increase in the number of visas offered each year. (Even with the guest worker provision, I think S. 2611 would be a huge step in the right direction.) The House, on the other hand, passed a bill, 4437, that would criminalize illegal immigration and further militarized the border.

The press has been reporting that with the Democrats in control of both chambers of Congress, and a sympathetic President Bush, the Senate plan for immigration reform might ironically pass. I had some initial, gut-reaction reservations because many of the new Democratic representatives were being described as conservative. Then I did the roll-call vote count. My gut-reaction is now full-on cynacism. I don’t believe the House will adopt the Senate bill, and here’s why.

There were changes in 47 House seats, with a possibility of 9 more that are currently undecided, (though 6 of these are leaning toward the incumbent). Of these 47 changes, 34 voted in favor of HR 4437, 10 voted against it, and 3 did not vote. But several of the changes were due to term limits or for some other reason did not change parties. Of these changes, only 22 were Republican controlled seats that voted for the bill that changed to Democratic. HR 4437 initially passed by a count of 239 to 182, so even if all of these Democrats are alligned against the dehumanizing bill, that still leaves a majority of the House that would seem to favor it. If this bill were to come up in the 110th Congress, I think it would still pass, though by a slimmer margin (217 to 204).

Of course, the issue is much more complex than this, but I use it to illustrate that the Democratic victory doesn’t necessarily mean that we are closer to increased immigration levels or citizenship. Nor do we seem to be any further from the idea of a border fence and criminalizing undocumented immigration.

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