From Sensenbrenner to Trump: History and Lessons of the Immigrant Rights Movement

Socialism 2017

August 15, 2017

In March, 2006, and again on May 1 of that year, millions of people across the U.S. demonstrated to protest the Sensenbrenner Bill criminalizing undocumented immigrants. While the bill was defeated, subsequent legislation focused on very limited and drawn-out procedures for some immigrants to become legalized, while anti-immigrant “enforcement” measures were stepped up. Hoping things would be different under the Obama administration, mainstream immigrant rights organizations counseled a wait-and-see attitude while border militarization, workplace raids, detentions, and deportations increased. Obama deported 2.5 million from 2009-2015, more than any previous president. Now Trump has unleashed his “shock and awe” policy against immigrants. How can the movement regroup and rebuild the fightback in this new era of fear and uncertainty?

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