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Rallying for Immigrant Rights

Rallying for Immigrant Rights: The Fight for Inclusion in 21st Century America

Kim Voss
Irene Bloemraad
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    Rallying for Immigrant Rights
    Book Description:

    From Alaska to Florida, millions of immigrants and their supporters took to the streets across the United States to rally for immigrant rights in the spring of 2006. The scope and size of their protests, rallies, and boycotts made these the most significant events of political activism in the United States since the 1960s. This accessibly written volume offers the first comprehensive analysis of this historic moment. Perfect for students and general readers, its essays, written by a multidisciplinary group of scholars and grassroots organizers, trace the evolution and legacy of the 2006 protest movement in engaging, theoretically informed discussions. The contributors cover topics including unions, churches, the media, immigrant organizations, and immigrant politics. Today, one in eight U.S. residents was born outside the country, but for many, lack of citizenship makes political voice through the ballot box impossible. This book helps us better understand how immigrants are making their voices heard in other ways.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94891-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)

    • 1 The Protests of 2006: What Were They, How Do We Understand Them, Where Do We Go?
      (pp. 3-43)
      Irene Bloemraad, Kim Voss and Taeku Lee

      In a short span of twelve weeks between mid-February and early May 2006, an estimated 3.7 to 5 million people took to the streets in over 160 cities across the United States to rally for immigrant rights.¹ Marches and demonstrations were organized from Anchorage, Alaska, to Miami, Florida, and forty-two states in between. Th e marches brought together groups large and small, from the 24 people counted at a protest in Anchorage to as many as 700,000 people in the streets of Chicago and Los Angeles. Often wearing white T-shirts, waving American flags and, at times, flags from their homelands,...

    • 2 Groundswell Meets Groundwork: Building on the Mobilizations to Empower Immigrant Communities
      (pp. 44-60)
      Ted Wang and Robert C. Winn

      In the spring of 2006, millions of immigrants and their allies participated in hundreds of marches across the United States. The dramatic series of rallies brought a new dimension to the debate over reforming U.S. immigration policies, marking the entrance into the public eye of a large and vocal immigrant community claiming a right to be heard in the national dialogue over its fate. Despite some differences in strategy and approach, the mobilizations were held together by a sense of common purpose and were remarkable for their unity and dignity.

      The themes and messages that spread through word of mouth,...


    • 3 Mobilization en Español: Spanish-Language Radio and the Activation of Political Identities
      (pp. 63-81)
      Ricardo Ramírez

      Th ere is widespread agreement that Spanish–language radio played a key role in the massive turnout for the protests of spring 2006. As one producer of a popu lar Spanish radio show,Piolín por la mañana,noted at the time, “It’s incredible, the people’s response. Everywhere we go, they are talking about it, even at Disneyland. . . . We have been getting e-mails, telephone calls, faxes— everything” (Uranga 2006). Newspapers of the day also highlighted the phenomenon. On March 28, a headline on the front page of theLos Angeles Timesproclaimed, “The Immigration Debate; How DJs Put...

    • 4 Building the Labor-Clergy-Immigrant Alliance
      (pp. 82-100)
      Randy Shaw

      In the spring of 2006, millions of Latinos and their supporters marched through America’s streets to demand legalization for the nation’s undocumented immigrants. Protests occurred in over two hundred cities, with turnouts of nearly 1 million in Los Angeles, 500,000 in Chicago, and 3,000 in the rural town of Garden City, Kansas, where 10 percent of the city’s entire population took to the streets.

      Th e marchers’ most spirited chant in cities large and small across the United States was the same: “!Sí, se puede!” (Yes, we can!). Cesar Chavez adopted these words as the United Farm Workers’ rallying cry...

  8. 5 From Prayer to Protest: The Immigrant Rights Movement and the Catholic Church
    (pp. 101-122)
    Luisa Heredia

    Undocumented immigration has been at the heart of contemporary legislative debates on immigration policy in the United States. In 2006, immigrants of all legal statuses were at the center of the mass mobilizations that responded to and affected these debates. In cities across the country, undocumented and documented immigrants, and their supporters, took to the streets to protest enforcement-only legislation, H.R. 4437 being the first of such bills,¹ and demanding immigration reform that included the legalization of undocumented immigrants residing in the United States. In the halls of Congress after the mass mobilizations, immigration debates immediately shifted and soon hinged...


    • 10 L.A.’s Past, America’s Future? The 2006 Immigrant Rights Protests and Their Antecedents
      (pp. 201-214)
      Ruth Milkman

      The nation’s streets have been relatively quiet since the massive immigrant rights marches of spring 2006, but the aftereffects of that unexpected burst of protest activity are evident on multiple fronts. On the one hand, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) dramatically stepped up its workplace raids and deportations of undocumented immigrants soon after the marches, while intensifying its efforts to police the U.S.-Mexico border. As if orchestrated to maximize media exposure, ICE’s displays of force, along with other efforts to intimidate and expel foreign-born residents in some localities, seemed calculated both to strike fear into the hearts of unauthorized...

    • 11 Drawing New Lines in the Sand: Evaluating the Failure of Immigration Reforms from 2006 to the Beginning of the Obama Administration
      (pp. 215-232)
      Louis DeSipio

      When millions of immigrants, their U.S. citizen family members, and their supporters protested in the late winter and early spring of 2006, a new voice was raised in the national immigration debate and a new pro-immigrant organization al coalition coalesced. Many who marched expected—and many who watched the marches feared—that Congress would heed the demands of this new coalition and pass comprehensive immigration reform that would include among its provisions one of the central demands of the marchers: a path to permanent residence for the approximately twelve million unauthorized immigrants in the United States.¹ Indeed, among the most...

    • 12 The Efficacy and Alienation of Juan Q. Public: The Immigration Marches and Latino Orientations toward American Political Institutions
      (pp. 233-249)
      Francisco I. Pedraza, Gary M. Segura and Shaun Bowler

      Between March 10 and May 1, millions took part in the single largest coordinated protest action in American history, involving hundreds of cities on multiple occasions, affecting countless schools and businesses, and shuttering dozens of workplaces. The received understanding of minority participation in general, and immigrant participation in particular, would lead us to expect political passivity and nonparticipation. This would suggest that the marches were a surprising “one-off ” experience with no broader lessons. But in examining attitudes toward the marches, we can gain some insight into how Latinos see the U.S. political system more generally. That is, attitudes toward...

    • 13 Out of the Shadows, into the Light: Questions Raised by the Spring of 2006
      (pp. 250-258)
      Roberto Suro

      “White T-shirts.”

      “Children everywhere.”

      Scrawled in a notebook I carried to the immigrant march on the National Mall in Washington DC on April 10, 2006, those notes remain lasting impressions of that extraordinary spring. They are clues for deciphering what happened then and for understanding what those events tell us about a nation that is coming to terms with a new wave of immigration.

      Th e immigrant rights marches of 2006 were an unprecedented public mobilization in their size and character, but their lasting impact is not to be found through the measures usually applied to social movements: policies changed,...

    (pp. 259-292)
    (pp. 293-298)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 299-319)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 320-320)