rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Weekly Immigration Wire: Binghamton shootings impact all sides of debate

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

by Nezua, TMC MediaWire Blogger

Last Friday, 13 people were killed at the American Civic Association in Binghamton, New York. The event shocked the nation and was "the worst mass shooting in the United States since the 2007 massacre at the Virginia Tech college," as New America Media reports. Because the violence erupted at an immigrant service center, the immigrant community has been especially affected, and immigration opponents are predictably using the tragedy to justify, or at least voice, their vitriol toward the undocumented population.

The impact of the Binghamton shootings on the U.S. immigrant community, already aggravated by ICE raids that funnel them into an abusive system, evokes multiple concerns. One is of further violence. But a grim possibility has also emerged: Immigrant activists who want to become integrated members of U.S. society might stop patronizing the places that can help them do just that, as Public News Service reports. Facilities like the American Civic Association provide many services for the immigrant community, one of which is improving their English. It's hard enough for those with a limited grasp on a new language to navigate life in a new country. If immigrants fear the places that help them learn, it only makes their lives harder.

When issues like immigration become politicized, nothing is off-limits. Even the national census is "morphing from sociological project into a political one," according to RaceWire's Michelle Chen. Conservatives fear losing votes and political power to regions where "illegals" are counted as a part of the census (As if they didn't lose the Latino vote all on their own in 2008). Civil rights and immigrant advocates fear a worse miscount this year of the Latino population than 2000's 3 per cent under count.

Erin Rosa reports on possible census-count solutions for the Colorado Independent. Rosa writes of “Ya es hora! Hagase contar!" (It’s time! Make yourself count!), an "unprecedented media campaign" that encourages Latinos to participate in the census.

The Colorado Independent has a few interesting articles on immigration this week. In Bush Admin’s Environment Waivers Remain Intact at Border, a contrast is drawn between President Obama's recent speech in Germany about walls "between races and tribes" being "the walls we must tear down" with the controversial construction of a border wall in southern stated. Construction proceeds, despite President Obama's professed philosophy. And in Senate kills immigrant in-state tuition bill, Wendy Norris writes about Colorado's legislative "companion to the federal DREAM Act" that would have provided college tuition equity to undocumented Colorado high school graduates was lost on a 18-16 vote." One Democrat explained her vote against the bill as a practical one: Because children of immigrants are at risk for deportation, the bill is "at odds" with federal law.

This type of legislative deadlock doesn't escape Ezra Klein of the American Prospect, who comments on Senator John Mccain's "testy" rejoinder to a number of Hispanic business leaders who questioned when reform would come. "Where the reformers will turn," Klein asks. In 1986, a particular alignment of politicians enabled the last major reforms in immigration law to pass—a configuration of forces not currently in place.

So, who will reform immigration? It's an important question. The terrain is dangerous because there is no clear consensus or policy to rely on. In the legal gaps that this absence creates, questionable legislative bridges spring up, like agreement 287(g), which enlists local law in enforcing federal immigration violations. The most famous symbol of 287(g) is, of course, Sheriff Arpaio, who has left an entire community "terrified and afraid to call the police."

“We’re dealing with a climate of hate, people don’t understand they’re being moved by people who hate,” says Phoenix attorney Danny Ortega. “Then you’ve got the Joe Arpaio’s of the world making it politically popular to hate.”

The power that can be leveraged by law and political agenda is vast and must be closely monitored. Immigrants, especially women of these communities, have long been a target of such iniquities. National Radio Project reports on yet another instance in a long line of oppressive reproductive health policies that target women of color and the immigrant community.

Going back to RaceWire, Michelle Chen follows up on President Obama's Aunt Zeituni's fight for citizenship, and how anti-immigrant groups have fixed upon her case as a high-profile example of how immigrants "game the system." The article outlines precisely how ludicrous this stance is.

Finally, make sure to check out In These Times' thoughtful review of the new "immigration/baseball drama" Sugar, by Brooklyn-based filmmakers Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden. Reviewer Brandon Harris writes that "Sugar's experiences reveal the labors of all immigrants who struggle to adjust to the harsh realities of American life on the margins."

That phrase could apply to many today. And to many who paved the way for us today. It is a story we must not forget.

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.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.