Just wrote this short piece with some help from the ‘rades. Check out the full post here.
The Dream 9 Victory & New Developments in the Immigrant Rights Movement
On July 22nd, the “Dream 9” – nine undocumented activists who were raised in the U.S. since childhood but were recently deported or self-deported to Mexico – attempted to re-enter the country at Nogales, AZ, in protest of U.S. immigration policies. They were arrested and put in federal custody for violation of U.S. immigration law.
While in custody, organizers with the National Youth Immigration Alliance (NIYA) carried out a national campaign to publicize the detention of the Dream 9 organizers and to build support for their immediate release into the U.S. They organized pickets, vigils, phone blasts and sit-ins to push members of Congress into pressuring the Obama administration to approve their release. Meanwhile, the nine activists organized inside the Eloy Detention Center where they were held, at times in solitary confinement, drawing public attention to the conditions inside the detention center and organizing a hunger strike 70 other detainees.
The campaign worked. Two weeks ago, the Dream 9 were released and allowed to return to their home communities in the U.S. Immigration asylum officers found that all nine had credible fear of persecution in their birth country and could therefore not be immediately removed. Their cases now go to an immigration judge who will decide whether to grant asylum, a process that could take years in court.
This direct action by the Dream 9 marks a qualitative turn in the immigrant rights movement and has sparked debate over immigration reform, strategy and tactics in the movement. What follows are several brief points about what is important about the Dream 9.
First, the Dream 9 action is stirring the debate about and moving beyond the strategy of trying to push the Democrats to the left in order to win justice for immigrants. While the national campaign that NIYA was pushing centered on contacting congress to get support, the action itself of openly crossing the border and of organizing inside Eloy went far beyond that strategy. This action is a new form of confrontation. As such, it cannot be considered outside of its development out of 10-plus years of struggle that has advanced from petitions and letter-writing, to confrontations with politicians, to sit-ins and occupations, to coming out “undocumented and unafraid,” to infiltrating detention centers and now to direct and open defiance of U.S. immigration policy at the border.
Check out the full post here.