The Trump administration this coming week will formalize a proposal that could make it one of just four countries in the world that charge asylum-seekers for entry.
As the New York Times reported late Friday, the administration plans to publish in the Federal Register a proposal to require a $50 application fee for asylum-seekers as well as a $490 charge for work permits.
“It’s an unprecedented weaponization of government fees,” Doug Rand of the immigrant assistance company Boundless Immigration told the Times.Continue reading →
Demonstrators take part in a rally in support of “Dreamers” on March 4, 2018. (Photo: Victoria Pickering/flickr/cc)
Human rights groups on Sunday said that President Donald Trump affirmed his “anti-immigrant agenda” when he tweeted that there would be no legislative deal to help a group of immigrants known as Dreamers, said that a border wall is urgently needed, and implied that Mexico and Democrats are allowing “caravans” of undocumented people to arrive in the United States.
Trump sent out the series of tweets roughly an hour and a half after tweeting “Happy Easter.” In one, he also calls on Senate Republicans to take the “nuclear option,” in other words, change Senate rules to allow legislation to move forward with a simple majority rather than 60 votes, thus avoiding Democratic opposition. Continue reading →
The modern rendition of the American Dream can be traced back to 1774, when Virginia’s governor, John Murray, the fourth earl of Dunmore, wrote that even if Americans “attained Paradise, they would move on if they heard of a better place farther west.”
The actual term “American Dream” was popularized in 1931 by the businessman and historian James Truslow Adams. For him, its realization depended on not just being able to better oneself but also, through movement and human interaction, seeing your neighbors bettered as well.
The first peoples to come to the Americas also came in search of a better life. That happened 14,000 years ago in the last Ice Age when nomadic pioneers, ancestors to modern Native Americans and First Nations, arrived from the Asian continent and roamed freely throughout what now comprises Canada, the United States and Mexico. Chasing mammoth, ancient bison and the elephant-like Gomphothere, they moved constantly to secure the health of their communities.
When the northern migrants arrived to this hot stretch of land around the then-nonexistent U.S.-Mexico frontier, Hohokam religious and political life was controlled by a handful of elites. Social mechanisms restricting the accumulation of power by individuals had slowly broken down.
For decades after their arrival, migrants and locals interacted. From that exchange, a Hohokam cultural revolution grew. Together, the two communities created a commoners’ religious social movement that archaeologists call Salado, which featured a feasting practice that invited all village members to participate.
As ever more communities adopted this equitable tradition, political power – which at the time was embedded in religious power – became more equally spread through society. Elites lost their control and, eventually, abandoned their temples.
America’s egalitarian mound-builders
The Hohokam tale unearths another vaunted American ideal that originates in indigenous history: equality. Long before it was codified in the Declaration of Independence,, equality was enacted through the building of large mounds.
But great power isn’t always top-down. Poverty Point, in the lower Mississippi River Valley of what’s now Louisiana, is a good example. This massive site, which consists of five mounds, six concentric semi-elliptical ridges and a central plaza, was built some 4,000 years ago by hunter-fisher-gatherers with little entrenched hierarchy.
Originally, archaeologists believed that such societies without the inequality and authoritarianism that defined the ancient Egyptian, Roman, and Aztec empires could not have constructed something so significant – and, if so, only over decades or centuries.
But excavations in the last 20 years have revealed that large sections of Poverty Point were actually constructed in only a few months. These Native Americans organized in groups to undertake massive projects as a communal cooperative, leaving a built legacy of equality across America’s landscape.
The Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois, offer a more modern example of such consensus-based decision-making practices.
These peoples – who’ve lived on both sides of the St. Lawrence river in modern-day Ontario and the U.S. Great Lakes states for hundreds, if not thousands, of years – built their society on collective labor arrangements.
They ostracized people who exhibited “selfish” behavior, and women and men often worked together in large groups. Everyone lived together in communal longhouses. Power was also shifted constantly to prevent hierarchy from forming, and decisions were made by coalitions of kin groups and communities. Many of these participatory political practices continue to this day.
The Haudenosaunee sided with the British during the 1776 American Revolution and were largely driven off their land after the war. Like many native populations, the Haudenosaunee Dream turned into a nightmare of invasion, plague and genocide as European migrants pursued their American Dream that excluded others.
But the ideals of freedom and equality – and the right that Americans can move across this vast continent to seek it out – survive through the millennia. Societies based on those values have prospered here.
“This is the time to confront white supremacy in our government and throughout our history,” the organizers of the march wrote. (Photo: Baynard Woods/Twitter)
The 118-mile March to Confront White Supremacy arrived in Washington, D.C. Wednesday after ten days of walking from Charlottesville, Virginia, the site of white supremacist violence that left one woman dead and many more injured. The march was organized to both denounce systemic racism and demand justice.
“We are marching from Charlottesville to Washington, D.C. to demonstrate our commitment to confronting white supremacy wherever it is found. It’s clear that we can no longer wait for Donald Trump or any elected official to face reality and lead,” the organizers wrote on their website ahead of the march. “This is the time for us to stand up for justice and equality. This is the time to confront white supremacy in our government and throughout our history.” Continue reading →
Following reports that President Donald Trump would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as early as Friday, immigrant rights activists and supporters of the program reacted with immediate outrage and promises to oppose the president if he makes such a move.
The end of #DACA would rip apart families, instill fear in communities, make our nation less safe, and hurt our economy.
“I strongly feel that I belong here,” says 22-year-old Daniela Vargas. (Image: United We Dream)
Lawyers for a 22-year-old “Dreamer” named Daniela Vargas, whose parents brought her to the United States from Argentina when she was just seven years old, say she faces deportation without a hearing after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained her Wednesday morning.
Her arrest came just after she addressed an immigrant rights news conference in Jackson, Mississippi—and on the heels of remarks by President Donald Trump that supposedly indicated a softened stance on people like Vargas, undocumented immigrants who entered the country illegally as children. Continue reading →