Posts tagged with 'Latin America'
by Catherine A. Traywick, Media Consortium blogger
Nearly a decade ago, America’s War on Terror began as a manhunt for Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But over the next nine years, that anti-terrorism effort evolved into a multi-faceted crusade: birthing a new national security agency, blossoming into two bloody wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, institutionalizing the racial profiling and surveillance of Muslim Americans and even redefining unauthorized Latin American immigration as—of all things—a national security issue. Now, in the wake of Osama Bin Laden’s death, which elements of that crusade will persist or expand and which—if any—will dissolve?
Muslim Americans celebrate bin Laden’s death…
Following the announcement of bin Laden’s death last Sunday, Americans feverishly rejoiced at the news that a mission actually was accomplished in the War on Terror. Profoundly, the celebrants included scores of individuals who had unwittingly become targets of that crusade—Pakistani immigrants and American Muslims.
Mohsin Zaheer of Feet in Two Worlds reports that Islamic groups in the United States wasted no time applauding President Barack Obama for Bin Laden’s death, taking the opportunity to distance themselves and Islam from the legacy of the slain terrorist. And while many Americans forget that the 9/11 terror attacks killed nationals from 70 different countries, Zaheer notes that the many immigrants who lost loved ones that day took some comfort in knowing that justice has been done.
But Muslims in the U.S. also had another cause for celebration. Bin Laden’s death coincided with the termination of a grossly discriminatory federal program that has targeted, tracked and deported thousands of immigrants from predominately Muslim countries since 2002. ColorLines.com’s Channing Kennedy describes the program (called NSEERS or the National Security Entry/Exit Registration System) as “one of the most explicitly racist, underreported initiatives in post-9/11 America” which “functioned like Arizona’s SB 1070, with working-class Muslims as the target.” The Department of Homeland Security has been vague about its reasons for ending the program, but the decision amounts to a victory for immigrant rights groups that have been protesting the effort since its launch nine years ago.
…but still face an uncertain fate
That said, the fate of Muslims in America is far from rosy. As Seth Freed Wessler notes at ColorLines.com, the Department of Homeland Security continues to target, detain and deport Muslims “in equally insidious, but less formal ways” than the NSEERS program.
Pointing to investigations by “Democracy Now!” and the Washington Monthly, Wessler explains that the Department of Justice “has repeatedly used secret informant-instigators to manufacture terrorist plots” and advocated religious intolerance, racial profiling and harassment in its search for homegrown terrorists. Through these means, the quest for security has degenerated into the systemic persecution of American Muslims and countless other immigrants deemed threats to national security becaue their race, religion or nationality. And that didn’t die with bin Laden.
As recently as last March, in fact, Republican Rep. Peter T. King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, held a hearing on the radicalization of Muslim Americans—during which numerous witnesses repeatedly reiterated the dire threat posed by radical Muslims in the U.S. At the time, Behrouz Saba of New America Media noted that the hearing lacked any discussion of U.S. military presence in the Middle East and its impact on radicalization. Rather than critically examine the many ways in which U.S. foreign policy and military conflict breeds the monster it aims to destroy, the hearing instead served to demonize a growing, well-educated and largely law-abiding population of the United States.
The Latin American link
But the War on Terror has deeply impacted other marginalized communities as well. Even the circumstances of bin Laden’s death bears an alleged connection to the frought issue of Latin American immigration to the U.S.—an issue that has, itself, undergone massive scrutiny and regulation following 9/11.
ThinkProgress reports that one of the Navy Seals involved in Bin Laden’s extermination is, purportedly, the son of Mexican migrants. While the veracity of that claim has been contested by some, Colorlines.com’s Jamilah King argues that the rumor nevertheless “raises serious questions around the military’s recruitment of Latino youth, the staggering numbers of Latino war causalities, and the Obama administration’s often contradictory messages on immigration reform.” She continues:
Casualties among Latino soldiers in Iraq rank highest compared to other groups of soldiers of color. Yet while the military actively courts Latino youth and immigrants with one hand, it’s aggressively deporting them and their families with the other.
It’s worth noting that, within the government, the most vocal proponents of the DREAM Act supported the legislation because they expected it to dramatically increase Latino enrollment in the military. While the DREAM Act ultimately died in the Senate, proponents of its military provision are perpetuating a troubling and persistent dichotomy that is only reinforced in the wake of bin Laden’s demise: immigrants are welcome on our battlefields, but not in our neighborhoods.
It’s comforting, albeit naïve, to believe that Osama bin Laden’s death will cap a decade of military conflict and draw a torturously long anti-terrorism crusade to a close. More likely, our multiple wars will persist longer than they should, and our domestic security apparatus will continue targeting the most vulnerable members of our society under the misguided notion that such enforcement strengthens rather than divides us.
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Diaspora for a complete list of articles on immigration issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, and health care issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Pulse. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.
By Erin Rosa, Media Consortium blogger
This Sunday, tens of thousands of people plan to march on the National Mall in Washington, DC in an effort to persuade Congress and the Obama administration to tackle immigration reform in 2010. More than 700 buses are bringing an estimated 100,000 supporters to the nation’s capital for the March for America. Participants are hoping to show strength in numbers on the ground, and flex muscle on Capitol Hill as well.
Advocacy groups are organizing countless phone banks and Congressional office visits to encourage lawmakers to support a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants who live and work in the United States.
On top of that, immigrant rights supporters are eager to note that President Barack Obama promised to overhaul the immigration system during his campaign, and said that immigration reform would be a “top priority in my first year as President of the United States of America.” But now that year has passed, and with Congress still deadlocked on health care and economic issues, reform supporters just can’t wait any longer. (more…)
Media Consortium Mediawire Blogger
We are living in unsure times, filled with drastic transitions that shift our perspectives from day to day. In one sense, immigration is about groups of people shifting in size and moving from place to place. It is also about the formation of new groups, how we live through the transitions, and who we are on the other side. For this week’s Immigration Wire, I’d like to look at how different social groups are dealing with issues related to immigration—and all of its accompanying cultural shifts.
There is much talk, still, of Jose O. Sucuzhañay, the Ecuadorean immigrant who was killed by a homophobe in Brooklyn. ColorLine’s RaceWire blog reminds us that Sucuzhañay is the fourth (reported North Eastern) Latino hate crime victim since July, and Jonathan Adams reports on how Jose’s family is coping in Vigil in Brooklyn for Jose Sucuzhañay:
The victim’s family is reaching out to the public to bring the hateful attackers to justice. Diego Sucuzhañay says, “It shows how far we must still come to address the devastating problem of hate crimes in our communities. Only by exposing these crimes and working together will we be able to make a difference.”
Hundreds of Brooklynites marched to support the Sucuzhañay family, and to “condemn the recent anti-immigrant and homophobic hate crimes.” Over 16 organizations were represented at the march, as reported by New America Media in New Yorkers March Against Hate Crimes.
In The Good, the Bad, and the Promotor, New America Media examines one solution for migra-related tensions: Lucha Libre!
Mexicans love a good fight, or at least seeing one.
And when it reflects a social reality, like pitting them against the U.S. Border Patrol, the seats are going to be sold out.
Gabriel Ramirez, owner and founder of the independent wrestling promotion Pro Wrestling Revolution has taken advantage of this, presenting as his most popular attraction a wrestling match between Mexican legends of lucha libre and American wrestlers who are dressed as Border Patrol agents.
On the topic of entertainment and the Latino community, Nothing Like the Holidays, a major studio release focused on a Puerto Rican family, is out just in time for Navidad (Christmas). RaceWire features the trailer in Dreaming of a Latino Holiday?
Film production houses aren’t the only ones profiting from our changing national demographics. In an upsetting find, Products Marketed to Latinos Can Be More Expensive, New America Media reveals that some retail outlets are taking advantage of their customers.
Also a sign of changing times and relationships, Latin American leaders held a summit in Brazil to “discuss a post-U.S. hegemonic world.” They met to discuss the global economic crisis and Latin America’s growing independence from “the empire” of the United States. Among them were Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner, Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, and Bolivia’s Evo Morales. From Truthdig’s Latin Leaders Rebuke U.S.:
The talks, which centered on the “demise” of the capitalist model, also snubbed former colonizing nations Portugal and Spain in a further demonstration of the increasing political autonomy of the region.
And in health-related news, Asian American Donor Program (AADP) Executive director Carol Gillespie put out a call for multi-ethnic and mixed-race heritage people to “step forward and volunteer to become [bone marrow] donors” in New America Media’s Asian American Bone Marrow Donor Program Expands to Include Latinos. The article touches on the difficulty in getting much of the Latino community to register and participate and directly addresses the community’s fears of giving out their personal information.
This week’s collection of stories can be broken down in a few ways. Over here, you have people working together to overcome changes that scare just about everyone. And over there, people are taking advantage of the fear that often accompanies these changes. In this season of giving and love and familia, may you and yours be surrounded by those who fight with and for you.
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration. Visit Immigration.NewsLadder.net for a complete list of articles on immigration, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy and health issues, check out Economy.NewsLadder.net and Healthcare.NewsLadder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and was created by NewsLadder.