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Asunto:[GAP] 2005: The Year Hatred Went Mainstream Along U.S-Mexico
Fecha:Jueves, 2 de Febrero, 2006  19:57:43 (-0600)
Autor:Ricardo Ocampo <redanahuak>

From: dorindamoreno <dorindamoreno@...> 
Date: Thu, 02 Feb 2006 17:00:47 -0800 
To: Spanish USA <spanishusa@...> 
Subject: [spanishusa] : 2005: The Year Hatred Went Mainstream Along 
2005: The Year Hatred Went Mainstream Along U.S-Mexico 
Border Q&A, Cliff Parker and Carolyn Goossen, New America Media, Jan 12, 
2006 Editor's Note: Christian Ramirez is the director of the American 
Friends Service Commitee in San Diego, a human rights organization offering 
job placement, legal advice and housing leads to undocumented people 
crossing into the United States. 
We arrived at the AFSC on the morning of Dec. 31, 2005. 
"Reporters from Univision are coming to interview me," Ramirez told us, 
lifting from the fax a U.S. Border Patrol press release that described the 
shooting of a migrant by one of their agents the night before. "This 
happened a few miles from here." 
Ramirez, born and raised in San Diego, also works with immigration policy 
makers in Washingtonn, D.C., to push a more open border immigration package. 
But things have changed since 9/11, particularly since the Office of 
Homeland Security has incorporated the 2,000 mile border into their sphere 
of control. Ramirez says "we can no longer rely exclusively on policy makers 
to change laws. So we have changed gears, focusing most of our energy on 
working directly with the people who live in border communities with the 
intention of making these people the advocates of policy change, rather than 
being victims of immigration policies." 
Describe growing up three miles north of the U.S./Mexico Border. 
I grew up knowing that the border was a place where I could take a nap. It 
wasn't until I traveled to other places that things started to click. As a 
kid you ask yourself, why can't my grandma come visit me, and why do I have 
to wait in line to go visit her? 
What does the border mean to you? 
I cannot imagine myself not living in a border community, where you can be 
in a new place within seconds or hours depending on the border wait. It's a 
place of great artistic expression, especially in Tijuana. It is a place of 
violence and a place of inspiration. 
You have to live here to see the many stories that go through this border. 
People wishing to go north because it's their only hope, and people going 
south because it's the only form of entertainment. A border is place where 
all these different ways of thinking meet for an instant. You have a bunch 
of Navy guys going south to get drunk, and bunch of migrants coming north 
with all they have, just to find a little bit of hope. Where else in the 
world can you see something like that? 
What are the differences you've felt along the border before and after the 
creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)? 
Throughout the history of the border, we've dealt with the Dept. of Treasury 
(DOT) or customs, and the Dept. of Justice (DOJ), the INS and the U.S. 
Border Patrol. 
With the DOT, there was always a very cold relationship, but with the DOJ, 
particularly the INS, there was an openness, a willingness to sit down and 
dialogue about important tactics. 
When 9/11 happened, and we began to hear the discourse about the border as a 
national security concern, there were long waits at the border, there was a 
stronger presence of border patrols in border communities and advocates 
started being detained and beat up. 
The DHS has refused to speak to border communities and border residents. 
This is a different border, a police state, with border patrol enjoying more 
impunity than ever before. 
How have you responded? 
After the DHS came into existence, we knew we needed to invest time in 
building leadership in the border areas. We felt the only way to change 
policy in Washington was to create a strong base of people who were impacted 
on a daily basis by immigration policies and that they would themselves 
would become advocates in the long run. 
How would you characterize the past year in terms of the immigration debate? 
In 2004, the mainstream media began covering border issues, and the language 
turned to "broken border" "alien invasion." We began to see a very violent 
discourse, a justified use of violence. 
2005 was the high mark for this. Suddenly, in 2005, the vigilante groups, 
paramilitary formations that have always existed here, became mainstream. 
The groups that were once on the fringes of our society became folk heroes 
for mainstream America. 
This has been a year of mainstream hate and mainstream violence at the U.S. 
Mexico border. 
The border patrol now operates with full power, above the constitution, and 
with no judicial review. Not since the McCarthy era have we seen something 
like this. If it continues, it will not stop here. The Mexico-U.S. border 
will not simply be an imaginary line -- it will expand to the rest of the 
What needs to happen in the debate on immigration? 
We have heard the voices from the Minutemen, from policy makers, from 
presidents, but the one voice that has not spoken, and will speak, is the 
border communities. 
What issues do the immigrant voices bring to the debate? 
We are tired of counting the dead. We want a new reality. We want family 
unification, to be treated with the same rights and dignities as products. 
We want to have the right to drive a vehicle, so we can drive from home to 
our place of employment. We want the possibility for our children to go on 
to higher education if they have the ability to do it. This is what border 
communities are calling for. 
What happens if the Sensenbrenner bill becomes law? 
It means that anyone without documents in this country would turn into a 
federal criminal. And it means that anyone who aids and abets undocumented 
people would also be criminal -- like a church that provides shelter, 
clinics for women fleeing domestic violence and organizations like us. If it 
passes, we will be forced to go underground. 
What is the main cause of death on the border? 
The main reason is the climatic conditions. Most people die because they are 
cooked to death in the desert, or they freeze to death in the mountains. And 
it happens, because the U.S. government under Clinton pushed the migrant 
flows away from the urban areas and into the most remote and inhospitable 
terrains along the U.S.-Mexico border. This, they said, would deter the 
migrants. But they failed in their analysis. 
Two million people were undocumented in 1986, and currently, the official 
number is 11 million. This policy has only been successful in pushing people 
to the deserts and mountains where they are going to die. 
Many Americans don't know this. If they knew that innocent people were being 
killed, there would be a different reaction to border policies. The 
Minuteman project would not be a welcome group. 
And how does the year 2005 end? 
Today, a young man was shot by border patrol trying to cross the border. It 
is a common occurrence here. This is how the year will end on the border. 
Just the way it began -- with shooting, with violence, with bloodshed. 
El castellano y la biculturalidad en los Estados Unidos. 
Somos miembros de la Red Iberoamericana de Luz 
Otros recursos de Nueva Información: 
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