The New York Times has posted an interactive ‘Immigration Explorer’ map depicting foreign-born populations in the United States from 1880 to 2000. It puts into perspective some of the trends in immigration I’ve read or heard about but haven’t been able to really grasp – being able to visualize these things really helps me to better understand them… anyway, click the map below to get to the real, live, interactive version:
[edit: how about a link that still works? – Armenian refugees stuck in legal limbo]
So – I’ve become more and more interested in goings-on at the U.S.-Mexico border lately… it’s something I’ve been trying to read more about. Immigration (specifically the illegal sort) seems to be a hot topic in the current political climate, so I’m sort of trying to figure out where I fit in on the whole deal…
Anyway – while I’m not really sure why I write anything here to begin with, I’m certainly not attempting to ‘educate’ others (I’m in no position to be educating anyone) – I’m simply sharing things I’m interested in…
Which brings me to more border stuff. It stands to reason that in attempting to understand current issues at the border it’s good to learn its history; I certainly haven’t read any great wealth of information on the subject but Hard Line, a book by Ken Ellingwood about, as its subtitle suggests, ‘life and death on the U.S.-Mexico border’ (and a book I have been quoting here and there) presents a brief overview of this border’s history and this section is included in the excerpt from the book available to read on the publisher’s website here.
It’s interesting to me, anyway…
‘As the U.S. enforcement crackdown took hold in 1994 and the years after, it brought long-coveted tranquility to urban areas like San Diego. But other, more rural areas on the border found themselves blindsided. The multi-part crackdown, whose California leg was called Operation Gatekeeper, created a shifting immigrant bulge, a sliding bubble such as that made by stepping on a balloon…’ (Ken Ellingwood, Hard Line)
AP reports on a more recent developing result of U.S. border enforcement measures:
‘Border Measures Pushing Migrants to Sea’
Also, from the New York Times: ‘Businesses Face Cut in Immigrant Work Force’
‘…the need for imported seasonal labor is especially acute… [but] those [business owners] who have followed the law, paid an inordinate amount of money to follow the law by paying attorneys’ fees, prevailing wage and following the rules, are those who are getting hurt…’
From The Columbus Dispatch:
The students had a role-play project: assume a Latino identity, build an imaginary life in your home country and develop a workable plan to immigrate to the United States…
Vieyra promised them that the process – even in make-believe – would frustrate them. But they would gain, she hoped, an understanding of what is one of the most important political and humanitarian issues facing the U.S. government today.
After three weeks of work, the students presented their projects yesterday and discussed their conclusions. Most said it was a grueling experience to even pretend to walk in an immigrant’s shoes.
‘I can’t begin to fathom how they can survive here,’ said Yana Lyon, 17. ‘Everywhere you turn if you try to become legal or help yourself, there’s a roadblock.’…
This is the fifth year that Vieyra has assigned this project to students in her Spanish V class… but she cautions that the point isn’t to sway the students, only to teach them a little empathy.