California freeway sign near the Mexican border.
(EDIT : Sorry about the faulty link previously published in this post. Here is the working link: http://www.borderaction.org/web/index.php)
The leftist group I have chosen is 'Border Action Network', part of the coalition of the 'Open Borders Lobby', protesting a need for immigration reform in the United States and less control by the U.S. government in insisting the removal off 'illegal aliens'.
As we saw learnt in studying potential Republican 2010 candidates, immigration control is important to typical Republican, far right agendas. Limiting and resisting a continued influx of Mexicans and South Americans particularly is of major concern to the Right. Whilst Democrats realise this need to control immigration, the consensus is that it should not just be regulated but also managed effectively and respectfully; foreign relations being important.
Although the Border Action Network is not essentially a nationwide group, it is located dominantly in Southern Arizona, where illegal immigration is at its peak and where America fights constant pressure from desperate immigrants attempting to enter the country every day. Particularly appealing for improved human rights, Ban's website notes of the 'Twelve Political Principles' integral to their campaign:
|1. Permanent Residency |
2. Civil & Constitutional Rights
3. Workers Rights
4. Human Mobility
5. Family Unification
|7. Health Care|
8. Healthy Communities
9. Dignified Housing
10. Civic Participation
11. Culture & Language
12. Dignity, Respect & Equality
BAN notes that these principles are applicable to human rights in America as a whole, but with closer attention it is clear that immigration is the overall theme. Reform and progressive initiatives are mentioned; features of democracy and liberalism. 'Permanent Residency' being the first principle, highlights a need for an end to the instability of immigrant 'drifters' within American society and that recognisable status should be allocated to them. Indeed, the fact that this group has surfaced in Arizona suggests that citizens within the state feel a responsibility to act on immigration issues because it the effects of bad policy is evident within every day life.
The Discover The Networks website that I came across describes BAN as follows,
BAN calls for unchecked, unregulated migration into and out of the United States. This objective is founded on the premise that North, Central, and South America were wrongfully conquered by European invaders, and that consequently the United States is, at its root, an illegitimate entity with no right to delineate borders or to impose migration restrictions on anyone.
This concept, of open borders and rights for people who are currently referred to as 'illegal citizens' would allow the increased mobility of South Americans into the United States. The manifestation of racism, ethnocentrism and xenophobia linked to immigration from these areas is evident today within the U.S., yet BAN explains that this is the case because of political stigma generated from anti-immigration Republican rhetoric. To some, the United State's treatment of immigrants may indeed seem hypocritical and reflective of a past where Native Americans faced also faced separation from their land, but Americans believe they have a culture to protect.
In the constitution itself, direct reference to the legislating of immigration is absent and only in Amendment 14, Section 1 to the Constitution is any hint of it apparent:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.
A Conservative, individualist interpretation of this extract would suggest that because immigration is not mentioned it is therefore not permitted and that to become a U.S citizen one must have been born in the U.S. Another more Liberal interpretation would suggest that the mention of 'naturalization' insists that immigration is accepted. This can be supported by reminding oneself of the meaning of 'naturalised':
'to introduce or adopt (foreign practices, words, etc.) into a country or into general use'
Traditions of Immigration in American society and politics is dominated by the great movement of people from Europe to the U.S. in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The concerns that 9/11 raised about foreign agencies within the U.S. has caused an association of Immigration south of the border with terrorism and fear. BAN ultimately serves to protect the Civil Liberties that immigrants entering the U.S. rightfully acquire.
Also, I found this article about the funding of Left Wing groups (although bias) it is interesting. It could be said that funding by such groups as the Tides or Ford Foundations promote the First Amendment to the Constitution in facilitating groups to ultimately '... petition the Government for a redress of grievances.' These foundations are also tax exempt which made me question why so? Because government wishes to encourage grass roots, radical or community action?