5/29-6/4 Art that challenges views on the immigrant experience; the movement for an Executive Order to stop deportations; Conservative bills in Congress

5 Jun

Image by Julio Salgado

Art by undocumented youth pushes back against the commercialization of the immigrant experience
In describing his recent art work, a response to American Apparel’s add that featured a California farm worker and a young, skinny female model, Julio Salgado stated: “For us, it’s not an experiment, you know? It’s not, ooh, let’s try to figure out – it’s our lives!…It’s an ad for clothing, but it’s our lives.”  His pieces, which have been widely circulated on social media sites, bring attention to the criminalization of immigrants and critique American Apparel and others who romanticize immigrants’ experiences of oppression.  One of the graphic pieces, which is a tribute to his mother, states: “You backpacked across Europe and they called you adventurous. I crossed a border to save my daughter’s life and they call me a criminal.”  Using Facebook, Tumblr and other social media he promotes his art that has strong images and messages that challenge discriminatory attitudes towards immigrants.  His work is an inspiring example of the power of art to raise awareness and challenge perspectives around immigration issues.    Art by undocumented youth pushes back against the commercialization of the immigrant experience

DREAM Activists push for Executive Order to stop deportations
DREAM activists have presented President Obama with a letter urging him to issue an Executive Order that would halt all deportations of young immigrants. The letter was signed by over 90 immigration law professors who, based on careful legal analysis, state that the president has “clear executive authority” to issues such an order. The Obama administration has resisted making a executive order, claiming that he lacks the legal authority.  DREAM Activists, who have shifted their focus on DREAM Act legislation to this executive order, have begun appearing at Obama re-election events to push their cause.  Given that Obama needs Latino voters, the DREAM movement has an opportunity to put strong political pressure on Obama.  However, Obama administration officials have also admitted that the president is unlikely to take any action on immigration before the November election to avoid backlash from Republicans.

Rivera’s bill denounces and punishes immigrant parents while claiming to help immigrant youth, Rubio’s bill bars immigrant parents from receiving child tax credits
Unfortunately, the primary legislative action in Washington is coming from Conservatives who are pushing harmful legislation.  Florida Republican, Representative David Rivera, has introduced a conservative alternative to the DREAM Act.  The Studying Towards Adjusted Residency Status Act, or STARS, is a copy of Senator Marco Rubio’s highly talked about, but yet-to-be-introduced proposal.  Rivera and Rubio claim that they are offering a compromise.  Really, both proposals are repugnant efforts to simultaneously pander to Latino and anti-immigrant voters.  Rubio said in an interview on Sunday: “All I’m trying to do is help these kids do right where their parents did wrong.”  With much less fanfare and publicity to Latino voters, Rubio and his Senate colleague, John Thune, introduced the Responsible Child Tax Credit Eligibility Act of 2012 this month that would prohibit those who file taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit (ETIC).  The bill is clearly an effort to penalize undocumented immigrants, many of whom file with the ITIN, and their children.  It’s estimated that $4.2 billion a year is refunded to families with ITIN filers and that, on average, these families have an income of $21,000.  Financial insecurity has a direct and harmful impact on health.  This bill is anything but responsible.  Instead of taking responsibility for protecting the economic security of working, but low-earning, parents and their children, Rubio and Thune are making a bold-faced attack on individuals who work hard and pay their taxes.  It’s no wonder Rubio isn’t on the media circuit promoting this bill.


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