Countering the Anti-Immigrant Movement: Bridging a Human Rights Wedge

Fighting the Right requires staying unified in our analysis of how the Right attempts to weaken us with wedges such as LGBT equality, taxation, and immigrant rights. The increasingly bold anti-immigrant movement threatens to divide us as progressives by hiding the overt racism that underlies its policies while manipulating real concerns that are driven by the growing gap between the rich and poor, increasing tax breaks for corporations while de-funding public services, the erosion of civil liberties, a global political economy that exploits workers worldwide, and a bureaucratic and de-humanizing immigration system.

Read updates on ROP’s Immigrant Rights work in our recent newsletter: From the Margins to the Mainstream: With the climate and debate over immigration ranging so far into the extreme with the passage of HR 4437, the destructive and unjust bracero program to many will begin to look moderate. American Dreams: This country was built on bold notions that set us on a journey to narrow the gap between our visionary rhetoric and actual practice. Inclusive democracy is setting a decision making table where all chairs have ample space to pull up.

Here’s what you can do:

Educate your community leadership on the anti-immigrant movement.

  • Develop Leadership Core
  • Host a Living Room Conversation on Immigration with members of your local human dignity group. ROP will facilitate a group discussion that explores our sometimes uncomfortable feelings about immigration and the role of race and the anti-immigrant movement’s link to white supremacist organizing in the US. We will also offer a framework for staying united in our human dignity values against the anti-immigrant wedge.
  • Hold an Immigration 101 popular education workshop in your community. Connect your family history and with the history of immigration in the US and how the current anti-immigrant movement is working to wedge the progressive movement through interactive workshops and discussions.
  • Hold a Migration and Globalization Workshop that explores the factors that spur migration around the world, the role of globalization in destroying small town communities in Oregon and beyond, and what communities are doing to fight back! Includes a really cool video.
  • Make use of the Recommended Resource List to expand your understanding of immigrant rights issues and the anti-immigrant movement. Incorporate these videos or readings into existing book groups or create a discussion group to explore these topics.

Take action to support immigration reform and other policies that affirm the human dignity of all people.

Activate Response Plan

  • Form a Local Immigrant Rights SWAT Team of 5 – 10 or more folks in your community who can respond to legislative threats and opportunities as well as local anti-immigrant activities using the special weapons and tactics of the phone, pen, and internet to write and call legislators and submit LTE.
  • Participate in Rallies and Forums to support immigrant rights in Oregon and locally – stay tuned to ROPNET for dates and details. Use you local communication systems to spread the word so that progressives stay informed on this issue.
  • Speak Up! Challenge big and small efforts to scapegoat and criminalize immigrants – just like we do when we interrupt targeting of people of color, poor people, and the LGBT community. A frame that builds from what our communities hold up (democracy, human rights, and human dignity) and links that analysis to current attacks on immigrant rights will tend to calm conversations.

Organize and support community activities that affirm immigration as an American experience. Community Dialogue:

  • Community Story Project on immigration/migration stories of city and county commissioners and other local community members. Get a group together to visit your councilors/commissioners using a set of interview questions that ask about their family migration history. Showcase these stories and photos as part of a community exhibit.
  • Invite speakers from the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, including ROP members, to talk about their experience on the Oregon bus that brought a message of fair immigration reform to DC. Show the video in your community ahead of time or as a standalone education piece.
  • Contact Local Immigrant Organizations to find out how your human dignity group can support their work. Spread the word through your group and attend community events that build bridges and solidarity between communities.

Whatever you decide to do, let ROP know how we can help! We love to share strategies and challenges and successes with you and other human dignity groups around the state. Together we can build a movement for immigrant rights and stay united in the face of the anti-immigrant movement. Take action to support immigration reform and other policies that affirm the human dignity of all people.