How immigrant rights movements have evolved over the last ten years

Nearly a decade ago, thousands of protestors marched in the streets in various American cities to champion for the immigrant rights. Although activists have been working towards comprehensive immigration reforms, the protests witnessed in the recent years have been precipitated by a series of events that have been happening in America.

One of the events that sparked protests was the introduction of what was commonly known as HR 4437. The HR4437 policy would have made it a crime for any agency, charity or even churches to assist undocumented immigrants in seeking asylum in the country.

The policy also made it a crime for any employer to hire undocumented workers, and stiff penalties were set for anyone going against this law.

It also allocated resources for the building of the U.S.-Mexico border. Although the HR 4437 failed in Senate, it paved the way for anti-immigrant legislation, which makes it a crime to be undocumented.

Another element that sparked protests in the country was the inability of the DREAM Act to pass. The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which was introduced in 2001, would have allowed undocumented youth in the country conditional residency status.

Lacey and Lacey would then be required to meet a series of set criteria that includes graduating from a college or serving in the military where they would be granted permanent residency. The Act has been re-introduced in a series of immigration-related bills, and it has failed to pass multiple times.

The growing anti-immigrant sentiment also fueled some of the recent protests. While the feeling was evident across the country, it was most prominent at Border States where there are significant numbers of Latino immigrants.

The demonstrations took many forms that include strong opposition to reforms to vigilante groups that patrolled the U.S.-Mexico border to apprehend immigrants. The public’s perception of immigrants had significantly changed with some people feeling that immigrants threatened traditional values.

In their response, the groups championing for immigrant rights organized a series of protests in the spring of 2006.

At this time, media accounts covered the protests thoroughly and revealed even the minor details such as turnout and even the protestors themselves. Ten years ago, most of the protests emphasized effecting some change at the federal level. Read more: Jim Larkin | Angel.co and Village Voice Media | Wikipedia

Most of the times, the protestors succeeded in making their demands known to the public and getting some attention from the policymakers and the media. Nowadays, most of the protests are aimed at effecting changes from the State level.

Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund

Lacy & Larkin is one of the foundations that is championing for the immigrant rights at the State level.

The foundation is currently supporting migrant rights organizations throughout the state of Arizona. Michael and Jim Larkin were arrested in their homes in 2008 after covering a sensitive report that touched on a county Sheriff, Joe Arpaio.

The two journalists filed a suit against the County, and they were awarded $3.75 million by the court when they won the case. The duo dedicated the money arising from the court case to support groups defending human, civil and immigrant rights in Arizona.

Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey:

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/new-times-founders-helping-fund-latino-program-at-asu-journalism-school-6661821
http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/relevant-links/

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