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This nation, we often forget when it comes to people of color, is a nation of immigrants. None of us is native to this land – except Native Americans (from whom all the land was stolen or cheated away). It remains symptomatic of our obsession with skin color and cultural “otherhood” that we forget that our parents or grandparents or great-grandparents arrived here after uprooting themselves from places where they were either not welcome or no longer viable citizens – because of their religion, their crimes, their finances, their lack of opportunity, their victimhood – seeking a new start, some way to survive, feed their families, recreate community.
This is a nation of laws, yet also a nation of laws that make no sense and enforcement mechanisms that ignore justice and stretch the rules to de-nude our commercial and industrial entities of their capacity to continue operating. There’s a serious duplicity operating here – hypocrisy of policy and politics so clearly based in our obsession with color and culture that it defeats its own purpose for being because our longstanding racism and white supremacy.
Like the INS before it, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency often operates on a plane above the law or as a government unto itself. In whose best interests are the raids and jailings and deportations carried out by the federal government? What are we doing to the families of undocumented worker who keep this country’s economy afloat with their hard work and subpar wages? What about their children? What about their education? Their health care? What about the taxes they pay, the mortgages they’ve been allowed to take out on modest living quarters?
TruthToTell’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI query two of the state’s most active advocates in this field. Some might even say strange bedfellows who are nevertheless members of a broad coalition of interested legal agencies, nonprofits, unions and business groups who support major immigration reform.
JOHN KELLER – Executive Director, Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota
BILL BLAZAR – Senior Vice President, Public Affairs and Business Development, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.
LAURA DANIELSON – Attorney/Chair, Immigration Law Department, Fredrikson & Byron, PA; Law Instructor, University of MN Law School; Co-Author, Green Card Stories