Anthem to Courage, Antidote to Nativism!

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Dreams Deported: Immigrant Youth and Families Resist Deportation
UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education, Los Angeles, California is the third book in a series on immigration and the immigrant youth movement

Leave it to Mexicans to find humor in the most tragic and oppressive moments. The “Pelucon Trompudo” has become the nickname for Donald Trump in the wake of his insults directed at Mexicans. Literally translated it is the long nose snout with a wig! In other words a “pig with a wig”! The pollsters and pundits say his remarks resonate with a segment of American society tired of political correctness. But it is a deep-seated fear of the Other that drives this dehumanization of fellow beings. What is an antidote for this narrowness that finds full flower in vile racism and resentment? In my years of organizing breaking down prejudice and distrust is a matter of working together and/or engaging in struggle against a common enemy. Sometimes though stories of tragedy and pathos can open hearts. The recent shooting in Charleston, SC in a black church during Bible study and the dignified and magnanimous response of the victims’ families seems to have rocked the prejudices of many white people and led to the removal of the Confederate flag. This important new book from the UCLA Labor Center is an appeal to the American public’s sense of decency, humanity and fair play.

Dreams Deported: Immigrant Youth and Families Resist Deportation is a new publication from the UCLA Center for Labor research and Education, known as the UCLA Labor Center. Edited by Kent Wong and Nancy Guaneros, Dreams Deported is the third in a series of powerful books that highlight the travails of immigrant students and their families. The cover is a striking photo of Renata Teodoro, a Brazilian immigrant tearfully reaching through the fence at the US Mexican border to embrace her deported mother. Although the personal accounts are largely of Mexican immigrant youth and families there are also tales of Peruvian, Bolivians, Indians and Armenians. One common thread is the horrible plight of families broken up and forcibly separated by immigration status. Another is the deliberate public action of courageous undocumented young people who refuse to remain in the shadows.

One chapter tells the story of Ju Hong, a Korean immigrant, who interrupted a speech by President Obama before Thanksgiving 2013, in San Francisco. He shouted:

“I need your help, Mr. President. Our families are separated on Thanksgiving. There are thousands of people, undocumented immigrants, families that are being torn apart every single day. Please use your executive order to halt the deportations for all 11.5 million undocumented immigrants right now.”

Obama in that moment continued to claim that he did not have the executive authority to stop deportations although he had instituted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and soon after would institute Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA). DAPA and an expanded DACA were both enjoined in February 2015 by South Texas Federal District Court Judge Andrew Hanen, an uber Republican.

Dreams Deported: Immigrant Youth and Families Resist Deportation will not persuade the vicious Pelucones Trumpados of this world to soften their views of immigrants, but for the vast majority of fair minded Americans this book is a testament to the human spirit and a call for radical immigration reform that preserves family unity.

No review of Dreams Deported can fail to mention the leading role of the UCLA Labor Center in fighting for justice for immigrant youth. The Center has served as a launching pad for the Dreamers movement and deserves tremendous credit for being out front on these issues.

There is also a music video by Aloe Blacc a Grammy nominated recording artist entitled “Wake Me Up”. The video features Hareth Andrade one of the immigrant youth featured in the book.

Dreams Deported: Immigrant Youth and Families Resist Deportation can be purchase here through the UCLA Labor Center

About the author

Peter Olney

Peter Olney is retired Organizing Director of the ILWU. He has been a labor organizer for 40 years in Massachusetts and California. He has worked for multiple unions before landing at the ILWU in 1997. For three years he was the Associate Director of the Institute for Labor and Employment at the University of California.

View all posts by Peter Olney →

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