Resources on Immigration Justice in the United States

Hello friends,

Continuing issues with my health have made my usual reflective writing challenging in this season, however I hope to return to blogging (albeit intermittently, as always) in the near future. For now, I would like to share with you this project that I have been working on over the past few months. It has been tempting for me to feel powerless to change the injustices I’ve witnessed over the past fews years, especially since becoming disabled, but I am trying to find ways to use the energy that I do have and the skills I gained in the process of earning my degree in history to do my party to educate myself and others on issues that are close to my heart. This resource guide on immigration justice is one attempt to do this in a way that I hope is useful to anyone seeking to understand both current politics around immigration and the history behind them.

As the current administration continues to implement practices to limit immigration and asylum seeking, particularly from the Northern Triangle of Central America, it is important that those of us concerned about human rights, safety, and freedom work to educate ourselves and those around us thoroughly on the legal, social, political, and historical forces impacting current events and policies. The purpose of this document is to provide introductory (and a few more advanced) resources on the immigration and asylum processes, immigration history, recent news, and issues of injustice arising in the US immigration system. I have done my best to select sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate, but I also believe it is important to critically read multiple sources as we strive to fully understand the facts and their context. Below I have copied the table of contents from this document to give you an idea of the topics it seeks to address. For the full document click here.

Table of Contents:

  • What is Asylum?
  • Why are People Leaving the Northern Triangle?
  • How Long Does it Take to Immigrate Legally?
  • What Rights do Immigrants Have in The U.S.?
  • Current/Recent Events and Policy News

Subcategory: Family Separation and Treatment of Detained Minors

Subcategory: Migrant Caravan from Honduras

  • History of U.S. Immigration
  • History of U.S. Intervention in Latin America
  • Immigrants’ Personal Stories
  • How to Get Involved
  • Immigration Justice Organizations to Follow

Subcategory: Organizations Local to the Bay Area

  • IMMIGRATION ON THE BALLOT: CA MIDTERM ELECTION

Full google document is again available here.

 

 

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The Importance of Stories and the Dangers of Forgetting

I have been thinking about stories a lot lately. (By a lot I mean even more than usual because I have had stories on the brain for as long as I can remember.) Specifically, I have been thinking about the importance of stories, and just as significant, our tendency to forget them. An 18-year-old boy named Michael Brown was killed by a cop in Missouri a couple of weeks ago. People peacefully protesting his murder are being shot with rubber bullets and tear gassed in the streets by a militarized police force. A few nights ago the police raided a church that was supposed to be a safe haven. They’ve arrested reporters and photographers who were trying to honestly cover the story. 

Suffice to say, I know many people who are shocked by these events. “How is this happening in America?” “I can’t believe this!” “What decade is it!?” I am less shocked than I’d like to be because Michael Brown was black. This is part of a bigger story– a story dating back hundreds of years, a story in which the color of your skin grants you less dignity and humanity than other people. I will never understand the full extent of how horrible this kind of oppression is. My skin color renders me privileged enough that if a cop killed one of my brothers (which would likely not happen to begin with) he would lose his job and probably go to jail. He would be deemed psychologically unstable, but there still wouldn’t be a fund to support him. But knowing that other sisters have very legitimate reasons to fear that their brothers will be killed by people meant to serve and protect– and that if they do lose a brother, there will likely be no justice– breaks my heart.

I am not shocked. But I am pained and disturbed and I don’t know what to do. I want to listen to the stories of people who protest, who do not accept injustice and face the abuse of power head-on. I want to make sure that these stories are heard and connected. I want us to see how all of our stories are woven together, how far they go back, how there’s no such thing as an isolated incident. I want justice and I want us to remember. It’s so dangerous to forget. 

In that spirit I urge you all (especially my fellow privileged folks) to seek out the truth not only in present events but in our history. Shock doesn’t help us move forward the way understanding does. Because I have very little intellectual authority on this matter I will stop talking now because it’s not my voice that needs to be heard, but please follow some of these links and hear the stories of others. Please do not allow history to be forgotten, because that is when we give it the power to repeat. 

Some stories that have been on my mind as I have followed Michael Brown’s death and the protests in Ferguson: 

Black Codes: 1860s 

Lynching in the 20th Century

(More on the culture of lynching)

Emmett Till: 1955

On Race and the Legal System (Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow) 

Trayvon Martin: 2012 

Mike Brown and Ferguson Timeline: 2014

John Oliver’s report (in case you need a little humor and sass)

(Author’s note: I am not here to argue about particulars or discuss politics. I am reflecting upon these events honestly and earnestly in the context of history and the power of story. I know that I do not know everything about these events, but I do know that I do not believe that anyone deserves to be killed in the street and I do know that this event is symptomatic of something much bigger.)