By Matt Hanson
Abstract: International refugees and dissidents share a common fate in relation to the United States, particularly with respect to their precarious recognition by the officialdoms of U.S. Immigration at the border. The history of border imperialism in the 20th century is important to understand as a prelude to the current strife facing American border security today. As the nation grapples with the humanitarian politics necessary to processing tens of thousands of child migrants from Central America, the policy debate is rooted in a cultural history. In response, the ultra-conservative “invasion” rhetoric is revealing. It is important to examine the defining features of a nation-state with respect to the transnational characteristics of social exchange. Economic inequality, and partisan politics set American society apart from within, and without. The cultural history of international dissidents censured by U.S. Immigration is significant, opening a context for understanding the narrative of child migrants through news analysis, and literary research. With respect to Indigenous Peoples, and decolonization, the historic crises of U.S. Immigration are held under special scrutiny. The fundamental humanitarian assumptions of border protection, and the mythos of America as an immigrant nation of multicultural syncretism are herein questioned, and critiqued.
In North America, and elsewhere around the world, for example in Mediterranean countries such as Greece and Italy, there is a growing antipathy for migrants. The United States and Canada are not alone in the increasing volume of political distaste for migrants. In the United States in particular, there is an inherent contradiction within this debate, and this crisis of asylum, as concerns the identification of migrants as invaders.
With unabated trends favoring economic globalization, such as the overshadowing precedence of international free trade agreements, wealthy nations have a greater responsibility to receive economic migrants, and equally, forced migrants fleeing life-threatening persecution. To deny this responsibility is to reject the foundations of humanity, and to delegitimize the standard of national boundaries as security zones. Instead, national boundaries fulfill their original purpose, militarized demarcations, where the history of an invasion has simply taken another form.
In other words, the misperception of migrants as invaders exposes the fundamental myth of the modern nation state as a cultural, social, political, or economic distinction. As is most apparent outside of North America and Europe, however within as well, cultural, social, political and economic phenomena observably transcend state boundaries, merging in varying forms transnationally. Similarly, all people, as such, are a part of the transnational social capital that exists in every nation individually, and collectively throughout the globe. The inequalities of the global marketplace are manifest in the story of the modern immigrant.
Immigrant is a very different term than migrant. With its special legal, political, social and cultural ramifications, immigration is a process whereby a foreigner resides permanently in a country other than that of their origin. Immigration also connotes official identification, as recognized by the country wherein one is immigrating. Whereas migration is a primordial concept, immigration entails the officialdoms of international law, and domestic policy.
Anti-immigration is the result of geopolitical insecurity, while deeply rooted in forms of racism steeped in multigenerational, and colonialist inequality. The prevailing myth of nationalism, as a harbinger of progressive social values conceived during the European Enlightenment, purveys concepts as elusive as freedom. In modern Greece, and in the European Parliament today there are openly anti-Semitic officials who hold seats of government, and who won those seats based on an anti-immigrant platform (Cossé, 2014).[i] Unfortunately, in this extreme case, anti-immigrant policies are aligned within an unfounded, racist political paradigm. In the United States, the racism inherent in anti-immigration rhetoric is no less apparent.
Currently, tens of thousands of unaccompanied child migrants are arriving to the United States. They are largely detained, registered as criminals within the overburdened border protection zone along the U.S.-Mexico border, and deported. The trials wherein these children are sentenced to be deported are often pitiful displays of justice, held in a language that the child largely does not understand, and through mostly unintelligible proceedings. While the children are evidently running to border guards after surviving the harsh, overland trip from Central America, they are pegged as invaders. Politicians, such as Texas Governor, and hopeful presidential candidate Rick Perry said, of the child migrants, “I will not stand idly by while our citizens are under assault” (Prupis, 2014).[ii] Curiously, Perry was indicted for abuse of power on August 15th, and now faces potential jail time following charges related to blocking funding for a government anti-corruption agency (Achisa, 2014).[iii]
Meanwhile, more moderate politicians, only Democrats at present, are expressing compassion by standing together on the House floor (Lee, 2014).[iv] Not surprisingly, however, their sentiments also source religious conviction. For example, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick emotionally referred to his Christian faith at the Sheltering of Unaccompanied Children Press Conference, held on July 18th, while standing at his gubernatorial podium with two clergymen. “My faith teaches that if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him but rather love him as yourself,” said Patrick (Brownell, 2014).[v]
Despite acting on good faith, such a strong political and religious backing merely perpetuates the historic relationship between marginalized, stateless and illegal migrants. Internally displaced Native American communities have forcibly migrated, not only geographically, but also between federal regulation and socioeconomic ostracism. Similarly, Latin American migrant children are the subjects of political, and religious leadership, while politicians and religionists have been among the most exploitative, and misguided with regard to saving vulnerable peoples. Outside of the political arena, religious people nationwide are standing as a purported moral compass for the nation’s overt politicization of the basic humanitarian crisis of child migrants (Paulson, 2014).[vi]
The combination of religious zeal, and overt militarization clearly resembles the colonial legacy of an invasion history that is much better documented, that of the European in the lands of Indigenous Peoples, now commonly referred to as the United States, Mexico, Central America and beyond. From 1914 to 1917, the U.S. historically invaded Mexico on two accounts. At the time, Woodrow Wilson expressly backed the first invasion due to domestic pressures from business, politics and the press (Veterans Museum & Memorial Center, 2003-2007).[vii] Now, representatives of the rightwing press advocate for a new invasion into Mexico, in response to the purported aggressions of the Mexican Army, as well as other armed forces along the border, which have allegedly resulted in the shooting of a Tucson man, multiple violent confrontations with U.S. Border Patrol personnel, and the occupation of a small Texas town (Agni, 2014).[viii]
Power politics, as well as propaganda-style journalism, as with belligerent profiteering, merely exposes the ugly continuance of colonialist exploitation at the expense of migrants. Across the globe, migrants are exploited, often to advance racism, militarism, or politics in the name of extremist nationalism. Migrants are exploited because they are often the most vulnerable to the economic abuses that dominant societies depend on to expand. The migrant is not an invader, and has never been. The migrant simply embodies the human will to live. The institutions of immigration, namely border control, and the geographical, political, social, and economic demarcations that are founded on the ongoing histories of conflict, are the bastions of imperialism.
The Origin Story of Migrant Rights
During the Paleolithic age, and into the dawn of the Neolithic age, everyone was a migrant. People moved because resources moved. The seasonal cycles foretold the movement of the animals, and plants that people depended on to live. Since the humble beginnings of humanity, movement, or migration, was necessary for the continuity of life. Presently, tens of millions of people around the world remain steadfast in this migratory way of life, exemplifying time-honored traditions of renewal and survival.
Today, people also migrate because they depend on life-renewing resources, as they have always done, since time immemorial. Presently, socioeconomic motivations are among the most prevalent causes for migration. Sociopolitical marginalization, and forced migration, due to conflict, is another prehistoric, and modern, impetus to migrate, or move. Nonetheless, social, economic, and political factors, especially as expressed in armed conflict, are often predicated on resource issues. Resource sharing, as the exploitation and trade of resources, also incites migration. When the spread of resources extends beyond ecological boundaries, especially by the will of a foreigner, into national, and global spheres of influence, so the peoples originally dependent on those resources will move, most desirably towards the destination of the resources they once justly claimed. For this reason, families emigrate, and immigrate together to the Global North.
Fundamentally, the reason for human migration has not changed. The availability of resources is a prime mover, literally. The changes are due to the barriers that restrict movement. As one can make the case that forced migration is due to political, social or economic instability, so one can argue that forced migration is caused and defined by the modern barriers to human movement. The inheritors of the spoils won through the colonial divisions of land, initially spurred by invasion and resource exploitation, now exploit one of the most basic human means to survival: movement. As migration is part of prehistoric, and modern human identity, so freedom of movement is a human right.
Human rights are about recognizing individuals, and peoples as a whole. The holism of peoples’ struggles for rights, and to establish and maintain them, respects the greater context of an individual or people. Such contexts include the geographical, ecological, economic, and technological circumstances of an individual, or a people, as with the subtler cultural, gendered, political, and social contexts. As such, migration, from time immemorial, has been about maintaining human holism, as in the original human right, prior to the necessity to institute one. Holism is a quality that affirms life beyond mere survival, but lived with respect to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual fulfillment. Realizing the seasonal round, and following it through to its life-renewing power was initially the predominant impetus to migrate. Whether consciously, or unconsciously, migration remains as a right to human holism. Family reunification, economic sustainability, and unopposed survival all affirm the right to human holism, often as fulfilled by means of migration into the 21st century.
A Brief History of Assimilation in America
Among the inheritors of the social capital of Western Europe, where national identity was first developed, it has ever been very easy for citizens to exploit, and silence, the stateless, illegal and unrepresented. In the United States, for example, national officialdom silences the minority, such as the over 600 Native American nations, many of them unrecognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and some of them completely annihilated over years of bloody invasions, racist legislation and modern assimilation. In America, national identity is an entitlement rarely appreciated with respect to the stateless, unrepresented minorities around the world, such as the Uighur, Darfurian, or Palestinian, to name only a few of the untold many.
The anxiety of American identity, and truly of modern national identity everywhere, is that its origins, and perpetuation derive from the presence of stateless people, occupied territories, and illegal migrants. For this reason, Americans, while bearing the title of the most militarily powerful, and economically potent nation, are threatened by desperate, unaccompanied children. As is clear, the some 70,000 migrant children who would seek to join the approximately 11 million illegal residents of the United States by the end of this year are not cause of alarm because of the inherent threat of the child, but because of the questionable state of border security (Harrop, 2014).[ix] Modern nationalism may never get over this ineluctable geopolitical neurosis.
Both presidents of the 21st century, Bush, and Obama have considered the special cases of Central American, and illegal immigrant minors, respectively. As August 2014 begins, the U.S. Congress will look to the implementation of Senate Bill S2648, the Emergency Supplemental Funding Bill, which was introduced into the Senate on July 23, 2014. The bill complements the Trafficking Victims Protection and Reauthorization Act of 2008, that George W. Bush signed, as it seeks to offer $291 million in funding for the care of children who are now detained. While the bill will also address the reasons why unaccompanied children decide to risk their lives and immigrate illegally to the United States, many more millions of dollars, including $586 million for “detention, prosecution and removal of undocumented families” are to be issued for enforcement procedures (Morris, 2014).[x]
At first, Obama moved to deny the right of child migrants to go before an immigration judge prior to their deportation, and has sought to expedite deportations. Hunger, poverty, and violence are chief among those on the list of concerns for agencies who will receive the politicized humanitarian-inspired government funding. “It is imperative that we break up the cartels and other transnational criminal organizations which see children as a commodity for profit – much like a load of cocaine,” reads Senator Mikulski’s (D-Md.) summary of the bill, which notes an additional $112 million to be issued to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to crack down on child trafficking.
Unfortunately, the Republican-controlled House is not a friend to migrants, who instead of seeing the greater picture of humanitarian leadership, resort to perceiving child migrants as lawbreakers, and invaders. For example, in response to Obama’s plea for $3.7 billion in emergency funding, “the proposal was quickly met with broad skepticism among Republican lawmakers, who were doubtful that the package would be approved quickly — if at all” (Nakamura and Lowery, 2014).[xi] Republicans and Democrats continue to stalemate over the immediacy with which migrants can be legally deported, one of the final legacies of the Bush administration (Parker and Peters, 2014).[xii]
The Republican front on the issue is joined by the fundamentally racist dogma of The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. With such asinine “shoot-to-kill” policies in store for unaccompanied children, Ku Klux Klan leaders from North Carolina represent the frontlines of the extreme right (Savan, 2014).[xiii] While the Republican, and other extremist anti-immigrant platforms see illegal migrants as primarily motivated by the U.S. job market, the truth stems from a more comprehensive view of the local reality of migrants in their countries of origin. Why would people migrate internationally, across swathes of terrain, towards an unknown future, risking their lives in the process, and facing one of the most formidable border security states on Earth?
Central America, as a region, has been devastated by over a century of belligerent U.S. support of autocratic military governments. In fact, in 1903, the U.S. military self-interestedly, and profitably cleared the way for American fruit companies in Honduras, a truth that Marine Major General Smedley D. Butler came out with after his retirement. It is the case, at present, that Latin Americans experience more death and violence due to crime, than Africans experience in the recurrent civil wars of their continent. For example, Honduras, the origin of most child migrants arriving in the U.S., was identified in 2013 as the most violent country in the world by the United Nations.
Gang violence is deeply entrenched in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. In Central America, gangs are part of popular culture, where, for example, 60,000 members of the El Salvadoran 18th Street Gang spread their violent pathos through a “with us or without us” terror. Fatal torture is common in the northern triangle of Central America, including El Salvador, where, this year, an average of eight people have been murdered every day. In El Salvador, 8-year-old children are recruited into gangs, who also deny youth from attending school in the neighborhoods under their control. Naturally, the ages of children who are fleeing their bloody homelands are younger and younger every year, many even under 5 years of age.
In the United States, legal immigration is based on three essential programs; family sponsorship, refugee status, and work visas. Only 5,000 low-skilled workers are welcomed annually, and the conditions of asylum have been more narrowly defined over the years. Race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion make up the strict eligibility for asylum, or refugee status that would grant legal entry, and residence in the United States. In turn, one of the most prevalent causes for migration among children in Central America is reunification with their parents, many who have illegally immigrated themselves. Coyotes, or people who traffic migrants for a cost, often about $7,500, have made a relatively lucrative career out of the endeavor in the past four decades. Evidently, the tens of thousands of child migrants accosted at the border would have gone nowhere fast without them.
Deportations are not nearly the answer, and instead, fly in the face of resolving this historic transnational crisis. In a brilliantly comprehensive exposé of the issue, written by Óscar Martínez, appearing in the August 18-25, 2014 edition of The Nation, he writes, “One thing is certain: the Obama administration’s record number of deportations has only given coyotes like José new customers” (Martínez, 2014).[xiv] The reason why deportations are so hot on the to-do-list of the U.S. government is that they align with history. Since, the 1950s, notably during the Red Scare, there has ever been a deeply seated tradition in America to block, censure, and dismiss the cultural worldviews, political perspectives, and economic livelihoods deemed foreign, as with the outlying people who represent them. As the militarist invasion in the “New World” transformed into settler assimilation, founded on religiously motivated colonial principles of socioeconomic exclusivity, immigration policy has ever followed in suit.
War, and the cost of military conflict, has always been a looming shadow in the narrative of migrants, whether fleeing the post-civil war destitution of Central America, or the rise of Nazism in Europe. Tragically, an oft-referenced connection to the current child migrant crisis in the U.S. is that of SS St. Louis. In 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt received direct appeals to allow SS St. Louis to dock at a Florida harbor, as it carried 900 Jewish refugees. Instead, the liner was forced to turn back to Europe, where 254 were killed (Lanchin, 2014).[xv] In 1987, as the American military began to outlandishly impose its military might in the Middle East, eventually sparking a global “war on terror”, America’s most famous playwright wrote of the repercussions of Roosevelt’s death into the latter half of the 20th century. In his autobiography, Timebends, Arthur Miller voiced his enduring dissidence over the incipient climate of anti-immigrant legislation, which began during the era of McCarthyism.
I suppose that it was civility imposed by the war itself, for with victory and Roosevelt’s passing, with the United States the most powerful nation on earth and the only solvent one, the restraining hand was struck away and a new age of unbridled and even joyous accusation opened, the age of the political investigating committees of Congress, of McCarthyism, of openly antileft legislation like the McCarran-Walter Act, which set up a political means test for any foreigner wishing to so much as visit the country (Miller, 1987, p. 209). [xvi]
Prior to the amendment of the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952 in 1999, even distinguished Canadians such as the internationally renowned book author Farley Mowat, and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau were denied entry into the United States. Also known as the Immigration and Nationality Act, the McCarran-Walter Act was spearheaded by Nevada’s Senator Pat McCarran who co-sponsored the bill with the chairman of HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee). Since then, countless others joined the ranks of those denied entry into the United States, depriving Americans of the goodwill and patronage of immensely significant luminaries from every sphere of cultural, political, economic, and social activity from around the world. In 2005, the debate remained pertinent, despite the amendment, as the prolific author and board member of the PEN America Center, Larry McMurty testified on behalf of a national debate on immigrant rights with respect to international cultural exchange.
One of the most glaring examples of our failure to consistently and fully protect First Amendment rights is the 1952 McCarran-Walter Act whose ideological-exclusion provisions – still in effect for those who seek to reside here permanently – are an affront to all who cherish the constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression and association. To a writer whose living depends upon the uninhibited interchange of ideas and experiences, these provisions are appalling.
In April 1984, in an effort to bring attention to the growing threat to our First Amendment freedoms posed by the ideological exclusion provisions of the McCarran-Walter Act, PEN American Center, together with the Fund for Free Expression, sponsored a public reading in New York City. American authors read from the work of their foreign counterparts whose entry into the United States had been made difficult and humiliating – or impossible – under these provisions…
For 30 years, writers of this caliber have been denied normal visas to visit or become permanent residents in the United States because their political beliefs or associations are not in accordance with the politics and ideology of the administration in Washington.
The English sociologist Torn Bottomore wrote to Sophie Silberberg of the Fund for Free Expression in February 1980, about his second attempt to attain a visa: ‘…in 1977, having received several interesting invitations, and being under the impression that the immigration laws had been amended, I again applied for a visa. To my surprise, the same issues were raised as in 1951, and I was asked to provide an account of my political affiliations and to apply for a waiver. I consider all this an indignity, and of course, I withdrew my application again.’
In 1986, when American PEN was to host an International PEN Congress, there was a serious question as to whether such a meeting could in fact take place in this country. PEN members from everywhere in the world had been welcomed for congresses in far less free countries, such as Yugoslavia. But the 212(a) (28) provision of the McCarran-Walter Act could have effectively prevented such a gathering in the United States.
We believe that the ideological-exclusion principles of the McCarran-Walter Act serve no useful purpose and cause inexcusable damage to individual rights and to the ability of the United States to champion the cause of individual liberties around the world (McMurty, 2005).[xvii]
On that April night in 1984, American authors read from the works of Farley Mowat, the Canadian literary hero, whose books shed profound light on environmental stewardship, on Indigenous peoples, and on the spirit of humanity. Before the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and Administrative Justice of the House Judiciary Committee, Larry McMurty testified with fascinating references to the wonderful abundance of intellectual inspiration that arrived to the U.S. prior to the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952. He also spoke of the overall impact of such legislation on all of society, that Americans are worse off, even more so than the honorable individuals who must remain outside of its intolerant borders.
The McCarran-Walter Act made it impossible not only for Americans to experience cultural revitalization in an exciting global era of international exchange, but also for them to consider hosting foreign intellectuals. Even when invited as world-renowned professionals, with a mind to contribute to American culture and society, intellectuals, artists, and writers have faced, and continue to confront insuperable obstacles institutionalized by the imperfect legal system, and power politics of the U.S. government. Curiously, one malicious example of cultural suppression is in the instance of the Nobel prize-winning author from Colombia, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, when he was denied entry into the U.S. on political grounds. In the entire life of Marquez, the U.S. would remain the only democratic capital in the world to deny him as such.
Arthur Miller, the first American president of PEN International, fulfilled his promise as an intellectual leader by successfully inviting writers behind the Iron Curtain into the pale of protection under the umbrella of PEN. For this, and for his nonconformist playwriting, he paid with his civilian freedoms, such as when the U.S. government denied him a passport, simply to see the 1954 London opening of his play The Crucible, which was based on the hysteria of the HUAC. When Senator Pat McCarran co-sponsored the McCarran-Walter Act with the chairman of HUAC their aim was to keep “subversives” out of the country.
The average, concerned citizen with access to email is similar in a way to their peers who lived in the 1930s and 1940s, when Russia was still an important ally in the struggle to win the world against German fascism. Practically at the drop of a hat, those who sympathized with Russia were ostracized. As many youth signed, and formed countless petitions in the 1930s, when social consciousness and progressive activism were commonly shared values, so petitions, protests and declarations are concurred through current trends of online “clicktivism”. Nowadays, the NSA, like the bygone HUAC, is infamously known to survey such meta-data with an indiscriminate watch. Indeed, there are very clear and direct connections that can be made to the techniques of McCarthyism, as to the ambiguities of subversion, with the exposure of the contemporary surveillance culture in America.
Watch lists may not have been part of Americans’ daily vocabulary prior to Sept. 11, 2001, but they have actually existed for years — including most notably during the “Red Scare” of the 1950s. The main difference between watch lists of yesteryear and the current Terrorist Watchlist is that before 9/11, law enforcement agencies had their own watch lists and didn’t necessarily share who they were monitoring with other agencies (Rucke, 2014).[xviii]
More, as heavy-handed techniques of surveillance spotlight religious, and political minorities, such as socially active Muslim-American citizens, they become entrapped, and find themselves on terrorist watch lists. Of all of the prosecuted terrorism charges in the U.S., Human Rights Watch recently confirmed through their reportage that almost half of them were the result of government intervention. As noted in their 214 page report, “Illusions of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions”, prepared together with the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, “According to multiple studies, nearly 50 percent of the more than 500 federal counterterrorism convictions resulted from informant-based cases; almost 30 percent of those cases were sting operations in which the informant played an active role in the underlying plot” (Human Rights Watch, 2014).[xix]
Strikingly, the struggle to maintain the rights of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is continually obstructed by the very foundations of justice that created them. Equally as free speech is a concern, so the freedom of the press is another First Amendment right at the center of concern. Essentially, the narratives of child migrants run parallel to the greater story of local exposure to the expansive significance of free and diverse interaction with the rest of the world, as within varying sectors of society domestically. One of the most tried and true public methods for this intercourse is in the common good of independent journalism. Following the debate on immigration, a complimentary report issued by Human Rights Watch, titled “With Liberty To Monitor All: How Large-Scale US Surveillance is Harming Journalism, Law, and American Democracy” interviewed 50 journalists who cover intelligence, national security, and law enforcement from such reputable publications as the Associated Press, NPR, and the New York Times, among many others (Human Rights Watch, 2014).[xx]
‘What makes government better is our work exposing information,’ argued Dana Priest, a Pulitzer Prize-winning national security reporter at the Washington Post. ‘It’s not just that it’s harder for me to do my job, though it is. It also makes the country less safe. Institutions work less well, and it increases the risk of corruption. Secrecy works against all of us’ (Human Rights Watch, 2014).[xxi]
In 120 pages, the report, “With Liberty To Monitor All” presented as strong a case as any from an impressive number of utterly reputable voices representing the strongholds of American media. The freedom of the press, as with the related struggle to uphold the freedom of speech, is intimately linked to the present state of national security, and to the means, and style, by which the present crisis of child migrants is confronted, and resolved, as pertains to the humanitarian context. In the example of child migrants, however, national security is marginally relevant. Throughout America’s lifespan as a modern nation state, there may never be an enduring appeasement of the invasion mentality, as presently spouted against child migrants from the cruel, and unfounded politically motivated rhetoric from the extreme right. In which case, a self-reflexive consideration of immigration policy is required in order to move forward with empathy for the immediacy of the international crisis at hand.
A Portrait of the Artist as an Immigrant
The artist portrayed began her life in Vietnam (her name will remain unpublicized with respect to the sensitivity of her precarious status as a foreigner). Her mother, impoverished, and widowed, survived the streets of Saigon before emigrating. One day, a shell from an American bomb crashed through the roof of her brother’s attic, where she stayed as a recent migrant from Cambodia. Only once again in her life in Southeast Asia would she endure such an abrupt upheaval, the day her husband died unexpectedly, when she was thrown out of the home of her married family. As the uneducated, fifteenth daughter of a Cambodian migrant family, her life in a Vietnamese-Chinese family was fortunate. The intensity of this uprooting with her daughters aged eight and nine would not resurface in her life again until the day she left her country. Her eldest daughter grew to become a nurse, and later led her abroad. Before leaving, she found an orphaned child in the restroom floor of her hospital. At five years of age, that child accompanied her new family to North America. Now, she tells her story, from New York City, where she is forced to “visit” her husband, for six months at a time. What follows is a verbatim interview with the artist:
My very last memories of Vietnam were of my excitement to board the jumbo jet with my mom and my sister. We were sent off by all of our friends and relatives. I remember the night before the flight, a grand feast at a large restaurant with all of our friends and family. I remember saying goodbye to my blind cat, and her kitten. The next thing I knew I was on board the flight to Calgary, Alberta. We were sponsored by my eldest sister, who had come over to Calgary a few years before, and was a boat person. She came over in 1980, and we immigrated in 1983.
I am the youngest, and so being the youngest, naturally my mother wanted the best for me, despite her being a widow, single parent, and struggling completely to make ends meet. [In Vietnam] her and my sister sewed ball caps for American sports companies, for instance, Reebok, Adidas. She had to basically beg this neighbor who was connected to the factory, a recruiter. My mother, and my sister had to beg the recruiter to give them work. So, the recruiter said, “I could give you work, but you’re going to make a lot less than everyone else. Since you’re working from home, and you’re still raising your youngest child.” I would have been one, going on two then. My mom would be on an old-fashioned pedal-style sewing machine, sewing hundreds of ball caps, and sports accessories, hundreds of pieces in an hour with my second eldest sister, and earning under fifty cents, or under a dollar a week.
They could only afford a handful of rice, a handful of salt, a handful of meat, and maybe produce. So she raised me on sweetened condensed milk with boiled water as my milk formula, and basically rotted my teeth, and I was malnourished. She recalls me playing with the neighbors and often found me fainted at the doorstep as I was knocking on the door to be let in. I fainted in the humidity of the season. I was a very weak child, but I was very outspoken and very well liked in the neighborhood. That’s obviously a lot of struggle and strife for my mom. She was never able to live a life for herself. She always lived for her children, and that’s what I am always reminded of, and that’s what I always carry heavily in my heart. I owe it to my mom to make a better life for myself.
My eldest sister, her husband and five year old boy immigrated to Canada in 1980, on a boat. So they are considered, “the boat people”. The story of “the boat people” was that they encountered great danger, great risk, and literally a life-or-death journey on the big open sea heading towards Canada, the U.S., and Australia. They chose to come to Calgary, AB, Canada to start a new life. They settled. She had her second boy and decided right away that she wanted to sponsor the rest of us over. Then, having their own hardships adjusting as new immigrants and working hard, and saving up a lot of money, managed to barely get enough money together to sponsor us. In 1983 she succeeded for all of us to come over at the same time, a tremendous feat of discipline and sacrifice on their part.
We joined my sister’s family in her small house in suburbia Calgary, in the northeast, which was and still is congested with immigrants from Vietnam mainly, and other people as well. That’s the immigrant neighborhood. In this small house I remember explicitly one Halloween, my first Halloween. The snow was literally up to my knees, as a young five-year-old child with my nephew trick-or-treating. When we got home after a long night out I was in pain, because I never felt winter’s blow before. I remember my limbs being numb, and as they warmed began to feel sharp, stabbing pain, and I cried so much.
I remember having to go to school the next day, and I was not used to waking up so early in the morning to go to school. My mother, because I was the youngest, spoiled me rotten, put on my winter clothes for me, and walked me to school because I would miss the ride with my nephews in their family car so, as punishment I’d have to walk to school. I remember one cold morning my mother sent me out and I just stepped out of the door and I started crying inconsolably, because I was so afraid, and I instantly wanted to be next to my mother’s bosom. So, she unwillingly put on her limited winter clothes and we walked together to school. She remembered how difficult that was for her coping with winter.
In the living space at home there were seven of us in this house, sleeping on bedding on the floor. When you’re in tight quarters, and limited space, and limited money, and limited food and other resources, a family quickly becomes jealous, possessive, confrontational, so there’s a lot of emotional tension. We were an extra burden on my eldest sister’s family, who are essentially just starting to become Canadian. At some point we were asked to move out prematurely. The sponsorship policy in Canada is that you provide for your family that you sponsor for up to ten years, at the time. We were there no more than a year.
My mother had to make the difficult decision to force my second eldest sister to stop night school learning English as a second language, ESL, she was taking night courses for ESL. So, she was robbed of the opportunity to carry on learning English. She was excelling. She couldn’t continue because she needed to find work to support us. My mother also went out. The two of them worked as janitors. My sister worked in Chinese restaurants, in food preparation in the kitchen, dishwashing. Eventually she got a position in the hotel with my mom. They each had four part-time jobs, and we found our first apartment on the tenth floor apartment building in Chinatown, when I was in grade one.
In 1984, we got Canadian citizenship. I was excelling in English, Chinese, French, all the academics, and I was also enrolled in an after school music program, as well as a wilderness survival class. I was loving my life. Then, one year, just in grade eight, the Alberta conservative government, under the leadership of Ralph Klein, removed all funding for hospitals, and arts programs, physical education, and all other funds for extra-curricular school activities. I no longer had an opportunity to grow artistically. I went through a period, after junior high, into high school, retreating to a privacy of my own room, and acquiring my own musical instruments and art supplies, to essentially self-teach.
I knew early on that I wanted to be in the arts, and that I wanted to perform and entertain the masses, and that I was being encouraged greatly by my peers and everyone in my school and my communities, except for my family. My family outright discouraged me in pursuing any creative endeavor, and so I continued to excel in academics. Upon dropping out of university after the second year, I was enrolled in fashion design and starting to bring my music into public spaces, performing for art galleries and street performing. Busking proved to be immediately lucrative, and a very sustainable way of life as a young emerging artist. Busking also allowed me to make incredibly large amounts of connections with the theatre, with corporate booking agents, festival concerts, and I gained all this success without marketing or touring, simply word of mouth, and through the sales of my many solo albums gained me vast success in a very short time.
My family I though would be my only adversary of my arts but as soon as I travelled and had my first passport, I travelled into the States through Seattle, was when I confronted my biggest nemesis in my artistic path, and that would be U.S. Customs and Immigration officers. Where, upon being asked what my profession was, when I respond by saying, “Independent, self-employed, full-time artist,” I would immediately be frowned on, and suspected, and accused of wanting to work illegally in the States, even though it was very clear in my itinerary that I plan on my lawful right to visit as a Canadian citizen for six months at a time.
They would bring me to a room where I would be interrogated, heavily, for up to two hours and forty-five minutes, causing me to miss my flights, and all sorts of other traumatizing acts, emotionally breaking me down, psychologically, emotionally and physically weakening me because it would happen every time I travel, well 9.5 times out of ten. My being a visible minority, my being self-employed, and my wanting to visit for the entire six months, I would feel singled out, and feel as though I was a third-class citizen. I felt that I was just as worse as a prisoner with no rights. So that really made me question my validity as a creative thinker, as an artist, as a community leader, it made me reconsider what I wanted to continue doing with my life.
Now, I find myself in a very loving and mutual married life, accompanying my husband in the United States, our chosen city of New York, where he can excel creatively and professionally. I really want to accompany and be with him to support him. We spent two years prior working very hard together for his permanent residence sponsorship [in Canada], and now that we’re able to travel into the States, I again was taken aside by U.S. Customs and Immigration, where this is the first time they limited my visit to two months, because they suspected I would illegally work. They, “suspected I had other intentions to visit,” when clearly my status is married, and visiting my in-laws wasn’t good enough to let me though, and hence was the last straw, which broke a piece of my soul, because I am a law-abiding Canadian citizen who single-handedly sponsored my American husband, and this is how I’m treated by U.S. Immigration.
I vowed at our wedding day that I would do anything it takes, and make any kind of sacrifice needed to be with my husband to see all of our creative endeavors through to completion, but I feel conflicted inside because as an artist and as a self-made successful artist I am compelled to be independent in every aspect of my life, especially immigrating to the country of our choice. I feel that I should be the one in the driver’s seat, to be fully responsible where I choose to live and thrive next, and that no body of authority should be able to limit my human right to my migrate. That’s a travesty to humanity. So now, I’m limited six months’ travel, and I don’t intend to work illegally in the United States, but it is detrimental to my creative soul that I can’t support myself because the law says I’m not allowed to on my own, that I have to go through all this bureaucracy, and red tape, and being approved, when clearly my Canadian citizenship isn’t enough. It’s despicable.
Truly, her story cannot be compared to the fate of child migrants from Central America today, who endure the life-threatening saga of coyotes (traffickers), the desert, and ICE. Though, there are similarities, as a child migrant from a country formerly occupied, and invaded by the United States. As an accompanied child migrant among a working class family, she gained her Canadian citizenship. Despite this triumph, her adult life is again marred by recurrent themes of nationalist oppression. As a professional musician, simply traveling to the United States for the purposes of family unification raises another example of a deeply ingrained oppressive infrastructure within U.S. Immigration.
As family reunification is one of the primary reasons for immigration, especially in reference to the current crisis of child migrants to the U.S., many migrants bear the brunt of an inhospitable host country as foreign nationals without rights while attending their family in the U.S (Meng and Worden, 2014).[xxii] Clearly, the issue is not solely based on legality, nor on economics, but on the momentum of a draconian sociocultural history. Among today’s global citizenry, the immigration, and mere visit, of artists and intellectuals to the United States presupposes one of the greatest modern ambiguities: the relationship between commerce and art. At times, the artist, compelled to survive, as to grow, meets this blaring, timeless contradiction head-on.
Another artist further exemplifies this struggle, even more starkly. Her name is Margaret Randall, a U.S. citizen who was deported from her country of birth because she published dissident writings. “I think they were trying to punish me for having had the audacity to live in places such as Cuba and Nicaragua, or having visited North Vietnam during the war. They didn’t like it that I had disseminated information hard to come by in the corporate press,” said Randall, in a 2013 interview with the CounterPunch (Valentine, 2013).[xxiii] In 1984, the U.S. government ordered her deportation, based on the publication of her oral history books of interviews with Southeast Asian, and Central American women.
As she recounts, she was deported “…under the 1952 McCarran-Walter Immigration and Nationality Act. It declared some of my writing to be ‘beyond the good order and happiness of the United States’ (the actual language of the Act).” The fact that she, in most instances, merely conveyed indigenous women’s perspectives in their voices exposes the double-edged sword of U.S. Immigration policy on her deportation. Evidently, U.S. Immigration, as an institution, is both inherently opposed to its public intellectuals, and to global minorities, whose very identity has been twisted in American political rhetoric as dissident.
Decolonization begins with a realization, whether personal or public, through art, writing, music, activism, or simply the incipient thought. There are certain inalienable rights and freedoms required for human beings to live, grow, and contribute meaningfully to their communities, and livelihoods. Decolonization is a process by which those rights and freedoms are reclaimed, and reasserted through independent action. As child migrants struggle to survive amid the strife of transnational oppression, the decolonization of immigration occurs when the rights and freedoms of migrants, as equal human beings, transcend nationalism.
As millions upon millions of migrants have entered the lands now known as the United States since the American Revolution, so settler society has manipulated, exploited, and promoted these successive waves of migrants to its benefit. The U.S., as it exists today as an unsurpassed global power, need not import migrants in the same way as it once did, due to the ability to manipulate trade abroad. However, in that political and economic intervention, whether surreptitiously as in Venezuela, or overtly as in Iraq, people are forced to migrate to find work, or in more precarious instances, asylum.
Working within the capitalistic economy, as globalized primarily by U.S. economic and political interests, is predicated on social stability, especially labor purposed for the international economy (to which most economic activity today is purposed). When, for example, a previously stable condition is shattered, people are employed to pick up the pieces. In the meantime, knowledge is lost, media propagandized, and the workers, and the intergenerational working class as a whole, remains ignorant as to the designs of the people who own, and operate the stability, as the recurrent destabilizations of the economic infrastructure. In that cycle of order and chaos jobs are created to renew the self-serving economic modus operandi of the wealthy few who remain in control through socioeconomic subjugation, then politicized job creation, national security, and immigration enforcement, among other political and economic motives based on extremist nationalism. Yet, there are none so valued in this hierarchy as those who create chaos. For this reason, militarization, and enforcement is inveterately prioritized over humanitarianism in U.S. domestic, and foreign policy.
This desire for godlike powers of creation is precisely why free-market ideologues are so drawn to crises and disasters. Non-apocalyptic reality is simply not hospitable to their ambitions… Believers in the shock doctrine are convinced that only a great rupture – a flood, a war, a terrorist attack – can generate the kind of vast, clean canvases they crave. It is in these malleable moments, when we are psychologically unmoored and physically uprooted, that these artists of the real plunge in their hands and begin their work of remaking the world (Klein, 2007).[xxiv]
Not only by deportation, but also through the strategic acceptance of migrants, U.S. Immigration policy has enacted its greatest sting operation of all time. Entrapped to adhere to the American Dream, people increasingly urbanize within the Global South, as internationally to the North, and in the process shed millennia of traditional life ways in order to assimilate to Western value systems, economically, socially, and culturally. This sociocultural entrapment of migrants adds, even more so, to the multigenerational assimilation, and to the advancing of the settler-colonialist way of life.
For example, populations in post-imperialist states are targeted, such as across the continents of Africa, the Americas, Asia, or Oceania. Most independent nation states in the Global South have inherited foreign curricula, as a legacy of colonial occupation, and so wrongly educate their people as to American history, as with their Indigenous, pre-colonial past. In their incidental ignorance, such people will emigrate, and not to return their experience, education or wealth within the local context of their origins, but share the American immigrant’s popular delusions of freedom, independence, and capital.
As concerns the repercussions of the immigration debate within the United States, the mounting costs of ineffectually confronting the root of the issue merely provides an oppressive political platform to the settler-colonialist perspective. The immigration debate is one of the most common means for the colonial-settler identity to exert its subjugation, and displacement of Indigenous peoples. When the settler “protects” its people from migrants, this amounts to an overt imperialistic assertion, which further reinforces the colonialist as the primary settler, and rightful owner of the land.
Decolonization consists of working with migrant communities, and vulnerable populations in their countries of origin. Communities in the Global South who are especially subject to the sting entrapment of U.S. immigration, such as forced migrants, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, and others, can easily become absorbed by assimilation into American “settlerism”. However, humanitarian responses to migrants, and child migrants in particular, are not merely a question of safe haven, as religionists would intend to propagate. Decolonizing humanitarian response to forced migrants extends to the country of origin, where preventive means are addressed practically, and respectfully. While offering safe haven is essential, it is not humanitarian to offer continuous marginalization, and in return for mere survival at worst, and assimilation at best. Child migrants will continue to appear desperate and needful at the U.S. border as long as the epochal conundrum of American involvement in Latin America is unchanged, and Indigenous Peoples’ perspectives are eclipsed by settler assimilation.
Non-sectarian change makers, however, are in stride. Anti-immigrant groups and mainstream political leaders have shown themselves to be largely untrustworthy, including the general response from the Democratic Party. Most notably, Hillary Clinton has agreed with the Republican deportation stance. The Emergency Supplemental Funds Bill delegates $300 million to the State Department as assistance to Central American countries in the repatriation of their citizens, and to launch advertising campaigns to prevent endangering more children who would face unaccompanied migration. Yet, as is historically, and presently apparent, human migration is inevitable. Especially in this context of transnational reform, social change must be reciprocal.
After meeting with leaders from the pro-immigrant movement on June 30th, Obama promised to supersede the Congressional stalemate on the issue, declaring a move to immunize millions more immigrants from deportation by Labor Day (William Greider, 2014).[xxv] Veteran activists, and reformists at the White House expect such changes as deportation immunity for parents with children already exempted from deportation under the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), as well as making the categories of immigrants afforded the immunity more open for long-term residents. Activists in support of immigrants nationwide await the implementation of these humanitarian, executive actions, while not without certain trepidation.
The Southwest is rife with anti-immigrant migrant blockades, while hundreds involved in counteractions have sprung up in support of child migrants, such as in McAllen and Dallas in Texas, and Ramona and San Diego in California (Chacón, Elder, Galindo, Ovalle and Wear, 2014).[xxvi] Pro-immigrant activists have supported the important work of civil servants, such as Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who proposed housing for 2,000 unaccompanied Central American child refugees, despite the hostile reaction of anti-immigrant demonstrators. Following Judge Jenkins’ action, immigrant rights organizations from North Texas rallied in support. In Fort Worth, for example, fifty pro-immigrant activists claimed a demonstration site prior to the arrival of anti-immigrant demonstrators.
The issue of child migrants who must return to Central America is a subtle, and controversial topic. The heavy-handed, politicization of U.S. law enforcement, however, has, as of yet, ineffectively ameliorated the historic situation, as caused primarily by economic hegemony, and regional instability. Deportation simply perpetuates regional strife, while unsavory domestic immigration policy exacerbates social progress. In response, there are change makers who are responding comprehensively, and wisely with regard to this complex issue. For example, the movement of pro bono law firms, corporations, nongovernmental organizations, universities and volunteers serving unaccompanied refugee and immigrant children is consolidated into the national organization known as Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), based in Washington D.C.
In concert with The Global Fund for Children (GFC), the Guatemalan Child Return and Reintegration Project, a pilot project of KIND, represents a foundational effort on behalf of likeminded organizations. On returning to their countries of origin, unaccompanied child migrants require humanitarian assistance reintegrating into their society. The illegalized trip north to the U.S. border from Central America is often traumatic, and all the more so is the experience of being deported, only to return to potentially life-threatening circumstances. Homelessness, physical abuse, neglect, run-ins with drug traffickers, death threats, and sexual abuse are among the myriad challenges that child migrants face on their way to the U.S (Lucia Bissell, 2008-2014).[xxvii] With the right assistance following a deportation order, these children can attain immigration relief, and have a chance to live.
The hieleras, or “ice boxes” where migrants are quickly processed on their illegal arrival across the border are infamous among those who have endured confinement. For 48 hours, detainees are held. Child migrants are typically sent to an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shelter, if they are not deported, or almost immediately returned to Mexico if Mexican, or released to their families. The ORR shelters are operated as part of the Department of Health and Human Services, though hot food, showers, soup, and clean clothes are nonexistent at ORR shelters.
During the month of June, when the migrant crisis escalated to its peak, children were kept in extremely cold, overcrowded “ice boxes” for up to twenty days. As the officials set a 48-hour target for processing, they first divide Mexicans from non-Mexicans, then social workers begin to contact their families for reunification, discerning between those with special needs and criminal charges. Evidently, many unaccompanied child refugees from Mexico are not recognized, or processed as such, and are observably equally as liable to life-threatening deportation as their Central American counterparts (Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hidalgo County). [xxviii]
When children are unable to stay, and must adhere to U.S. Immigration law, such initiatives as the Guatemalan Child Return and Reintegration Project are crucial. Through organized activism, KIND has helped over 100 children return to Guatemala to reunify with their family, and gain educational opportunities. After partnering with Global Giving, a charity fundraising network, KIND’s Guatemalan Child Return and Reintegration Project now supports technical training, school fees, transportation from the airport to the child’s rural home, personalized reunification plans, case management counseling, and youth empowerment retreats (Picciotto, 2008-2014).[xxix]
For many unaccompanied child migrants, however, return is simply not a viable, or safe option. “I am afraid to go back to Guatemala because I am afraid that there is no one to protect me,” said Dulce Medina, a 15-year old Guatemalan refugee among the tens of thousands who fled 1,500 miles to the U.S. border (Lee, 2014). [xxx] The reason why an ad hoc press conference organized by the House Progressive Caucus was filled with fervent listeners is because an opportunity to hear testimony from unaccompanied child migrants is rare amid the political and media cacophony (Student Nation, 2014).[xxxi] At the conference, Medina sat with two peers from Honduras and El Salvador. Together, they reminded Congressional members, and the public, of the unforgiving reality that they were fortunate enough to have escaped.
Ten miles from the border of Mexico, in McAllen, Texas, outside of the U.S. Homeland Security and Border Patrol Center, the Human Rights Coalition of South Texas organized a pro-immigrant assembly, which took place in late July. The Indigenous group, Grupo de Danza Tradicional Azteca Xinachtli, traveled six hours from Del Rio to perform their blessing for the migrants who lost their lives, and for the greater struggle of the living. The “Humanity is Borderless” campaign, an affiliation of the Human Rights Coalition of South Texas, is now coordinating ongoing actions nationwide to transcend sectarian religious and political motivations, and advance a collective humanitarian response (Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hidalgo County).[xxxii]
Overwhelmingly, genuine humanitarianism is scarce among the institutionalized foundations of settler imperialism. National border agencies, as they espouse security, are historically, and currently purposed to dehumanize and disorder vast numbers of people through forcible belligerence, domestically and internationally. As a growing support base welcomes innocent and terrified migrant children with open arms, the overregulated march of border imperialism remains as the mechanical arm of modern America, to be remembered as the weathered, and unmoving ruins of every archaic empire.
Matt Hanson is an independent scholar, freelance writer, and journalist living in Brooklyn, New York. Currently with Elevar Media, he also contracts with various media organizations internationally, including, most recently, Business World Australia and The Brooklyn Paper. As a regular correspondent with national news publications, such as Nation of Change, he has focused seven years of global advocacy work on minority immigrants. A former resident of Egypt, Mexico, Peru, and Canada, he has worked as a professional writer for nearly a decade. Researching for his first book, he is a docent at the Kehila Kedosha Janina synagogue museum.
[i] Eva Cossé. (June 3, 2014). Greece: The Story Behind Golden Dawn’s Success. Human Rights Watch. Retreived from http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/06/03/greece-story-behind-golden-dawn-s-suc…
[ii] Nadia Prupis. (July 23, 2014). Rick Perry To Send 1,000 Troops To Border To Fight Migrant Children And Families. MintPress News. Retrieved from http://www.mintpressnews.com/rick-perry-send-1000-troops-border-fight-mi…
[iii] James Achisa. (August 16, 2014). Texas Governor Rick Perry Indicted for Abuse of Power. Counter Current News. Retrieved from http://countercurrentnews.com/2014/08/texas-governor-rick-perry-indicted…
[iv] Esther Yu-His Lee. (August 3, 2014). Dozens of Democrats Line Up on House Floor to Stand Up for Children at the Border. Nation of Change. Retrieved from http://www.nationofchange.org/dozens-democrats-line-house-floor-stand-ch…
[v] Brett Brownell. (July 21, 2014). Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s Emotional Speech on Child Migrants. Mother Jones. Retrieved from http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/deval-patrick-child-immigration-…
[vi] Michael Paulson. (July 23, 2014). U.S. Religious Leaders Embrace Cause of Immigrant Children. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/24/us/us-religious-leaders-embrace-cause-…
[ix] Froma Harrop. (July 31, 2014). What Scares Americans About the Child Migrants. Nation of Change. Retrieved from http://www.nationofchange.org/what-scares-americans-about-child-migrants…
[x] Vince Morris. (July 23, 2014). Chairwoman Mikulski Releases Summary of Emergency Supplemental Funding Bill. United States Senate Committee on Appropriations. Retrieved from http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news/chairwoman-mikulski-releases-s…
[xi] David Nakamura and Wesley Lowery. (July 8, 2014). White House requests $3.7 billion in emergency funds for border crisis. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/white-house-to-seek-38-billion-fo…
[xii] Ashley Parker and Jeremy W. Peters. (July 22, 2014). Plan for Young Migrants at Impasse in Congress. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/23/us/plan-for-young-migrants-at-impasse-…
[xiii] Leslie Savan. (July 30, 2014). The KKK Wants a ‘Shoot to Kill’ Policy to Include Migrant Children. The Nation. Retreived from http://www.thenation.com/blog/180840/kkk-wants-shoot-kill-policy-aimed-i…
[xiv] Óscar Martínez. (July 30, 2014). Why the Children Fleeing Central America Will Not Stop Coming. The Nation. Retrieved from http://www.thenation.com/article/180837/why-children-fleeing-central-ame…
[xvi] Arthur Miller. (1987). Timebends. New York, NY: Perennial Library. p. 209.
[xvii] Larry McMurty. (January 3, 2005). Larry McMurty testimony. PEN America. Retrieved from http://www.pen.org/nonfiction-essay/larry-mcmurtry-testimony
[xviii] Katie Rucke. (July 23, 2014). ‘Startling’ Number of Americans Are On Terrorist Watchlist. MintPress News. Retrieved from http://www.mintpressnews.com/startling-number-of-americans-are-on-terror…
[xix] Human Rights Watch. (2014). Illusions of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions. Retrieved from http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/usterrorism0714_ForUpload…
[xx] Human Rights Watch. (July 28, 2014). US: Surveillance Harming Journalism, Law, Democracy. Retrieved from http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/07/28/us-surveillance-harming-journalism-la…
[xxi] Human Rights Watch. (2014). With Liberty To Monitor All: How Large-Scale US Surveillance is Harming Journalism, Law and American Democracy. p. 45. Retrieved from http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/usnsa0714_ForUPload_0.pdf
[xxii] Grace Meng and Minky Worden. (2014). Torn Apart – Families and US Immigration Reform. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved from http://features.hrw.org/features/Torn_Apart_US_immigration_reform_2014/i…
[xxiii] Douglas Valentine. (September 6, 2013). Poetry and Revolution: An Interview with Margaret Randall. CounterPunch. Retrieved from http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/09/06/poetry-and-revolution/
[xxv] William Greider. (August 6, 2014). Could Obama Solve the Immigrant Crisis Through Executive Action?. The Nation. Retrieved from http://www.thenation.com/blog/180899/could-obama-solve-immigration-crisi…
[xxvi] Justin Akers Chacón, Bo Elder, Erika Galindo, Mario Ovalle and Avery Wear. (August 6, 2014). “The Refugees are Welcome Here”. Nation of Change. Retrieved from http://bullhorn.nationofchange.org/the_refugees
[xxvii] Lucia Bissell. (2008-2014). An eye-opening experience. Guatemalan Child Return and Reintegration Project (GCRRP) Blog. Retrieved from http://www.supportkind.org/en/kind-in-action/guatemala-return-and-reinte…
[xxix] Adrienne Picciotto. (2008-2014). Help Children in Guatemala! Guatemalan Child Return and Reintegration Project (GCRRP) Blog. Retrieved from http://www.supportkind.org/en/kind-in-action/guatemala-return-and-reinte…
[xxx] Esther Yu-Hsi Lee. (July 30, 2014). These Three Central American Kids Who Fled Violence Are Asking Congress To Help Others Like Them. Think Progress. Retrieved from http://thinkprogress.org/immigration/2014/07/30/3465488/these-three-cent…
[xxxi] Student Nation. (August 18, 2014). Where Is the Voice of Migrant Children in the Immigrant Crisis? The Nation. Retrieved from http://www.thenation.com/blog/180928/where-voice-migrant-children-immigr…
[xxxii] Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hidalgo County. (July 23, 2014). Dispatch from the Border: What you Need to Read Now. StandingontheSideofLove.org. Retrieved from http://standingonthesideoflove.org/blog/dispatch-from-the-border-what-yo…