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Weekly Immigration Wire: Crisis and the Potential for Change

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Note: This is a weekly feature by Nezua, TMC MediaWire Blogger

WireThis week’s Wire focuses on the opportunities for change that crisis can introduce. From the H1N1 “Swine” flu’s declining fervor to 2009’s May Day marches for worker rights and immigrant solidarity; from the tragic killing of Luis Ramirez to legislative movement on immigration, these are tumultuous times. But it is precisely such conflict and challenge that provides the best opportunities to make lasting change.

Last week, we highlighted how anti-immigration voices were exploiting the nation’s fear of the H1N1 flu to their own advantage. While still no joke (except in biting satire), the flu is an overhyped event used by Republicans to push an anti-immigration agenda, according to the Colorado Independent’s Daphne Eviater. While not all immigration comes from Mexico, the country and its people are often used as convenient scapegoats.

Mexico is suffering most from both the virus and an intensifying conservative backlash, as New America Media (NAM) revealed in several articles this week. As if the confluence of these forces weren’t enough, an April 27th earthquake struck Mexico, adding to the atmosphere “in an almost surrealistic fashion,” writes NAM’s Kent Paterson. At least truths are beginning to surface as to the flu’s origin:

News reports link the possible start of the health crisis to a huge, runaway U.S. pig farm located in the Veracruz-Puebla borderlands. The farm in question is owned in part by U.S.-based Smithfield Foods, the largest hog and pork producer in the world and a company with a record for environmental violations on this side of the border.

Will the government or agricultural industry look into the complaints against Smithfield farms’ with the fervor of anti-immigrant pundits? Unfortunate events like the H1N1 flu can be opportunities to make positive changes to the systems involved. The agricultural sector and its crowded animal farms are clearly in need of reform.