The “Border Beat” (September 15, 2008)

This week’s “Border Beat” brings us some familiar beats with some new tunes, all courtesy of life in ever-changing Latino USA.

• “Indiana legislators tackle illegal immigration again” (Indianapolis Star)
While immigration has seemingly disappeared from the national stage in this election year, it has done anything but in many local and statewide elections.  This coverage of the debate in Indiana is a reminder of how the growth of a visible Latino presence (both “legal and illegal”) presents new challenges and creates some new tensions in regions which had previously not been on the “brown radar.”  Sadly, analysis by one legislator which sees immigration as the cause of the “cost of health care, the cost of public education and the true social costs and the human rights abuses” does not suggest they are any closer to a true and meaningful solution.

• “Dallas suburb’s move on illegal immigration being fought” (Houston Chronicle)
This story of a small suburb pursuing its anti-immigration stance so vociferously is interesting if only for the fact that it is both suburban and the first do try this tactic in Texas.  Farmers Branch has been trying to institutionalize some version of this position since the marches of 2006.  I think the whole thing takes on even greater meaning when placed in the context of Texas history, a place once Mexican in every sense of the word.

• “New Immigration Ads Stir the Melting Pot” (Washington Post)
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has a decades-long record of both subtly and explicitly manipulating people’s racial fears and strategically placing them as the backdrop to arguments for immigration reform.  Whether spotlighting their concerns about population control or government spending they often manage to gain more momentum and consistency from the persistent fear of a brown nation.  Now, when some political groups manage to point this out, they get offended.  But they don’t directly dispute any of the claims.  Own your racist foundations!

• “Tensions escalate at anti-illegal immigrant rally in Shenandoah” (Reading Eagle, PA)
For all those people who continue to try and rationalize the beating death of Luis Ramirez as something other than a racist act of violence.

• “Faith Communities Launch Immigration Reform Campaign” (Christian Post)
Formal Christian organizations are mobilizing on the issue of immigration, and they are not all aligning with the radical right wing.  This is hopeful and, at it heart, theologically sensible.

Historical Photograph of the Week:
Agricultural worker in California, circa 1930s.  [Source.]

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