Friday, March 20, 2009

Class Four - Immigration Issues

In Bread and Roses, Maya enters the United States illegally. At the end of the film, she's sent back to Mexico. While the primary focus of the movie is on unionization to get fair wages and healthcare for the workers, her experience highlights the plight of illegal immigrants.

There are numerous organizations on both sides of the issue of illegal immigration. It's a topic that often provokes heated debate. The Politics of Immigration provides a list of resources here which includes books, films and links to many groups such as Border Action Network, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and Families for Freedom.
I found some interesting teaching materials at Rethinking Schools. They offer a unit of materials based on the book The Line Between Us: Teaching about the Border and Mexican Immigration which includes activities such as this one.

Southern Poverty Law Center has a partial list of the major anti-immigration groups here. There's an interesting article at about how some of the groups have sought to appeal to environmentalists and form an alliance. Writer Ben Adler notes:

Readers of the Nation and other left-leaning magazines may have noticed a new addition to the usual advertisements — full-page advocacy ads by an ad hoc coalition of anti-immigration organizations.

The ads place the blame for traffic and sprawl, frequent villains for urban-oriented members of the left, on population growth, another such villain. The kicker? That population growth is blamed on immigration.
The Sierra Club, a group originally founded to protect and preserve wilderness lands, was targeted by anti-immigration groups seeking to take over the Board of Directors. The unsuccessful attempt of a few years ago is described in this Christian Science Monitor article.

Were you surprised by any of the information you read in these links? Were any of the concerns of one side or the other more compelling to you?

Do you know anyone who is an immigrant, legal or otherwise? How many generations of your family have been born in America? Are you like me, a descendant of varied ancestors' different immigration dates? How does your own experience shape your perspective on the issue of immigration?

Did Pilar Padilla's portrayal of Maya's story change your attitude about immigration? If not, why not?
If yes, in what way?

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