Immigrant Rights Protesters in Denver Last Week

The Denver Post’s Kim Mitchell did a brief but interesting story on a march by 800 people at the Democratic National Convention last week, one that got very little other media attention. These marchers were raising very important questions about the U.S. treatment of immigrants and the failure of the Obama campaign to raise the issue from an aggressively humanitarian and human rights perspective. Mitchell reports that their press statement said (h/t: Commondreams)

“This is Germany in the 1930s all over again! . . . The past seven years of the Bush regime have seen a dramatic escalation of attacks on immigrants on many fronts.”

Yet the marchers were also critical of the Barack Obama campaign:

“Obama has made no call to reverse this whole ugly program,” the statement says. “Stop the attacks on Immigrants! Stop the ICE raids! Stop the Criminal Bush Program!”

Interviews with protesters were revealing:

“We want to build bridges and not walls between our countries,” march organizer Rudy Gonzales said. “We want pathways to citizenship. We want to decriminalize immigration.” . . . Felipe Perez . . . said he is a first-generation citizen who lays tile for work, and that several members of his family were deported, including his aunt who was pregnant…. “We didn’t know what happened to her. Something has to be done to open our borders. I still have family members who come here to make a better life,” he said.

People came from around the country to protest U.S. immigration policies:

The Rev. Ron Stief, of Washington, D.C., helped organize . . . . “There is no issue more important than how we care for immigrants,” he said. “The way that families cannot be united is a problem as well as the way people have been criminalized and end up in jail.”

Even our more liberal political candidates do not seem to be able to do an honest assessment of immigration, for fear of losing voters. The humanitarian crisis here is huge and well-documented, yet nativism seems to still be lurking over every US politician’s shoulder. Does one still have to be nativistic to win state-wide or national political office these days, as has been the case for more than a century in this country?