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Weekend Immigration Roundup: National RI4A Summit and Why Race Still Matters

by Jacquelyn Mahendra on 06/08/2009 at 10:31am

Lots of coverage (both positive and questioning) of the Reform Immigration For America Summit last week, including Maegan (La Mamita Mala) of Vivir Latino (here, here, here, and here), Kyle Debausset of Citizen Orange (here, here, here, and here), Rachel Labruyere of Standing FIRM, and Dave Neiwert of Crooks and Liars. Watch the video mashup:

While many bloggers focused coverage on issues that they believe did not receive enough attention at the summit (like the country’s immigrant detention crisis) one common thread between all of it was a feeling of great momentum and renewed energy to get reform done, and get it done soon. Neiwert writes:

I’ve spent the past three days participating in the Reform Immigration for America summit in Washington, D.C. I’ve experienced more than my share of disappointments over the past few years in watching advocates come up short in the fight to bring sanity to the nation’s misbegotten immigration laws.

Many of those wounds have been somewhat self-inflicted, largely because of the disparate nature of the many different organizations and interests who have made up the coalition of interests seeking comprehensive immigration reform.

And what was so encouraging about this summit is that it was clear that they are all coming together with a remarkable focus and ferocity. They will need it for the fight ahead.

Indeed. For most participants, the summit was a battle cry for the fight ahead and a testament to the real organizing that is being done to pass reform from coast to coast.

Also this weekend, Ruben Navarrette, a conservative voice for immigration reform, offered a concise counterpoint to those who would dismiss race as an important factor in the nation’s over-heated immigration debate. To those who deny that race is front and center, he says:

Rubbish. If that were true, the debate wouldn’t lapse so quickly into talk of limiting legal immigration as well. It wouldn’t be the case that some of the most vocal organizations on the restrictionists’ side — the Center for Immigration Studies, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, NumbersUSA, etc. — have an agenda that includes limiting all immigration. There wouldn’t be such ugliness, as when conservative commentator Patrick Buchanan wrote in a recent book that the United States was better off when most of its immigrants came from Europe as opposed to Asia, Africa and Latin America. Also, Americans wouldn’t have such a long and unpleasant history of being unwelcoming to immigrants if race and ethnicity didn’t figure in.

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