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Author Archive | David L. Wilson

What Wisconsin Means for Immigrant Rights

A few weeks can do a lot to sweep away old assumptions.  Last year U.S. leftists were wondering why the worst economic crisis in 70 years hadn’t inspired a stronger response from its victims; now Arabs have toppled neoliberal regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, and U.S. workers have fought cutbacks and union-busting in Wisconsin with […]

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John Ross and Los de Abajo

Most of the tributes to John Ross have stressed the colorful side of the New York-born journalist, activist, and poet, who died in Michoacán, Mexico, on January 17. “Colorful” is an understatement.  Tall, gaunt, with his black beret and white goatee, a Palestinian keffiyeh around his neck, John was an unmistakable figure at demonstrations.  His […]

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Are Immigrants “Good for the Economy”?

U.S. progressives have expressed a great deal of concern about the effects of anti-immigrant hysteria in the general population, from criminal attacks on immigrants to vicious legislation like Arizona’s SB 1070.  But instead of just condemning the hysteria, maybe we need to ask ourselves what we’ve been doing to counter it. Not very much, according […]

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Labor Talks Sense About Immigration.  What Comes Next?

Something unusual happened on June 18: an important figure on the U.S. political scene spoke sensibly and realistically about immigration. The occasion was a speech at the City Club of Cleveland, and the speaker was AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka.  The news wasn’t that labor was backing a rational, equitable reform of U.S. immigration laws; the […]

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Immigration Update: The Fall of the Great Wall of Boeing

On March 16, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that she was cutting millions of dollars from SBInet, a high-tech “virtual fence” that Boeing Co. has been developing for use along the U.S. border with Mexico.  Her announcement came just two days before the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) was scheduled to issue a […]

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“Rebuilding Haiti” — the Sweatshop Hoax

Within days of a January 12 earthquake that devastated much of southern Haiti, the New York Times was using the disaster to promote a United Nations plan for drastically expanding the country’s garment assembly industry, which employs low-paid workers to stitch apparel for duty-free export, mainly to the U.S. market.  This, according to several opinion […]

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Helping Haiti: Our Dollars Aren’t Enough

On January 14, two days after the Port-au-Prince earthquake, I finally got a chance to look over my email, courtesy of a small Haitian NGO in a quiet, relatively undamaged neighborhood in the south of the city.  After reading and answering personal messages, I noticed that a lot of my mail consisted of appeals for […]

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Day 3 in Port-au-Prince: “A Difficult Situation”

[The author was in Port-au-Prince with a delegation when the January 12 earthquake struck the city.  Because of limited electricity and internet access, he was unable to send this report out until after he got back to New York the morning of January 18.] PORT-AU-PRINCE, Jan. 16 — Wednesday night, January 13, the second night […]

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Day 2 in Port-au-Prince: “Young Men with Crowbars”

[The author was in Port-au-Prince with a delegation when the January 12 earthquake struck the city.  Because of limited electricity and internet connection, he was unable to send this report out until he got back to New York the morning of January 18.  For an earlier report, see “Singing and Praying at Night in Port-au-Prince.”] […]

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Singing and Praying at Night in Port-au-Prince

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Jan. 13 — Several hundred people had gathered to sing, clap, and pray in an intersection here by 9 o’clock last night, a little more than four hours after an earthquake had devastated much of the Haitian capital.  Another group was singing a block away, on the other side of the Hotel Oloffson, where […]

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David L. Wilson Reports from Port-au-Prince

Tuesday, January 12, 2010, at 8:41pm I’m writing from the southern part of Port-au-Prince; I have been in Haiti since last Thursday on a delegation in support of Mouvman Peyizan Papay (MPP), the Papay Peasant Movement. The earthquake hit less than 12 hours ago, and damage here is extensive.  The Olaffson Hotel, where I was […]

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The Trail of Dreams

A New Deal for Immigrants in 2010?

Congress is almost certain to consider some sort of reform to the immigration system in 2010; when it does, we can expect a repeat of the “tea bag” resistance we saw at last summer’s town halls on healthcare reform.  The healthcare precedent “bodes badly” for immigration, Marc R. Rosenblum, a senior policy analyst at the […]

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Mexican Layoffs, U.S. Immigration: The Missing Link

On the night of October 10, Mexican police and soldiers occupied installations of Luz y Fuerza del Centro (LFC), the publicly owned electric company that provided power to Mexico City and the surrounding states.  A few minutes later, center-right Mexican president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa decreed the company’s liquidation, merging it with the national power company, […]

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The Truth about Amnesty for Immigrants

“Amnesty” has become one of the dirtiest words in U.S. politics.  Immigration opponents use it to attack any plan — however restrictive and punitive — to regularize the status of the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.  Immigration advocates avoid the word, substituting euphemisms like “a path to citizenship.” Amnesty’s big problem […]

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It’s Not about Zelaya

Manuel “Mel” Zelaya is a rancher and business owner who wears large cowboy hats and, in November 2005, was elected president of Honduras, an impoverished Central American country with a population of 7.5 million.  On June 28 of this year the Honduran military, backed by the country’s elite, removed Zelaya from power.  He instantly became […]

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Illegal People

The Immigration System: Maybe Not So Broken

David Bacon, Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants, Beacon Press, 2008.  Hardcover, 261 pages, $26.95. With the Obama administration reportedly set to push for immigration reform this year, the debate on immigration seems likely to start up again.  If it’s anything like the debate we got from the mainstream media in previous […]

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Why They Hate Immigrant Workers, and Why We Love Them

On Tuesday, December 9, the anti-immigrant lobbyists at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) held a press conference in downtown Washington, DC to promote their “Immigration Reform Agenda for the 111th Congress.” The press conference followed the new line that groups like FAIR have adopted since the financial crisis broke out last September.  Undocumented […]

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The Financial Crisis Hits the Immigration Debate

Part of the right wing routinely blames undocumented immigrants for just about everything.  On September 24, nine days after the financial meltdown started in earnest, the National Review Web site carried an article by columnist and blogger Michelle Malkin blaming “illegals” for the crisis and the subsequent bailout of the banks.  “The Mother of All […]

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