Reading Guide

In preparation for the conference, here are some readings. The material will supplement the discussion led by our speakers.

Saturday, April 23

— Dan Kowalski is the editor of Bender’s Immigration Bulletin, a newsletter that keeps attorneys informed about the latest developments. He’s been invaluable to IJJ, helping us sort through the confusing swampland of immigration law. One of his suggested readings is a short primer on how immigration law has changed since 1996 to make it easier for immigrants to be deported. Deportation law changes

— Ginnie Graham is a Tulsa World reporter who participated in the Heartland program two years ago. Since then, she has written a broad range of immigration stories, some based on TRAC data mining and FOIA requests, and some based on traditional news feature reporting. One of her more recent stories features an immigrant who was rounded up for deportation despite years of community service with the church he once burgled. “Broken Arrow immigrant’s case calls federal laws into question.” 

Sunday, April 22

— Josh Hoyt, head of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, will talk about political mobilization. His organization created a “Candidates School” for immigrants, grooming them for political activism, a program featured in the Chicago Tribune in July 2011. “Helping Immigrants Get Elected.”

— Tania Unzueta is a nationally known immigrant youth activist. A profile of her ran in the Chicago Tribune in March 2010. “Undocumented and unafraid: Despite the risks, a young illegal immigrant will publicly declare her status at downtown rally.”

Monday, April 23

We’ll have several people talking about immigration enforcement: Aarti Kohli of UC-Berkeley, the author of a study on Secure Communities; Sgt. Shannon Clark of the Tulsa Sheriff’s Office; and Elizabeth McCormick, who leads the Immigration Rights Project at the University of Tulsa’s law school.

Immigration enforcement programs such as Secure Communities are controversial, even within the Department of Homeland Security, as the New York Times  reported this April. “Mixed reviews on program for immigrants with criminal records.”

— Doug Stump, a leader in the American Immigration Lawyers Association, will talk about state immigration laws and the congressional outlook. A database produced by Mother Jones magazine shows that 164 laws restricting immigration have passed in the states since 2010.

— Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, will talk about voting trends among Latinos. One big question to ask: How significant are Latino voters if the population is soaring, but voter registration is plummeting? A Dallas Morning News report in March 2012 says the number of Latinos registered to vote has dropped by 700,000 since the 2008 election. “Latino population is up, but voter registration isn’t.”

— Jerry Kammer of the Center for Immigration Studies will talk about nuance and different views on immigration. He recommends this New York Times story about the little-discussed biases shared by many progressives on issues such as immigration. “Social Scientist Sees Bias Within.”

— Dinner speaker Jose Antonio Vargas revealed his undocumented status in a story he wrote for the New York Times magazine in June 2011. “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant.”  Now, he’s reporting on immigration as well as advocating for reform, as this column he wrote for the Guardian shows.

Tuesday, April 24

We’ll be visiting with students, teachers and administrators at Santa Fe South charter school, where most of the students are Hispanic and many are  undocumented. Former Heartland Fellow Ginnie Graham described the school and its strategy for dealing with immigrants in a story for the Tulsa World. “Learning in hiding the norm for many immigrant children.”

In November 2011, an undocumented teenager in Texas committed suicide. A New York Times story asks whether immigration activists rightly or wrongly featured his suicide to promote their message.

Here’s a short primer on the evolution of the DREAM movement. The Dream Movement


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