Immigration and Refugee Rights


Immigration has always been part of the racial landscape of America. Only a small percentage of current residents of the landmass between Mexico and Canada are directly known descendants of those living here 500 years ago. The history of racism under the United States’ governance of this land mass is directly intertwined with immigration law and policy, economic needs at various times, and which groups have been allowed to claim the privileges of “whiteness” at various points of time, a designation often linked to when and in what numbers those groups arrived. The recent wave of immigration is receiving considerable public attention and is a source of great controversy; immigration in the early 1900's received a similar response. This is because once again dominant cultural definitions of racial/ethnic categories (sorting) are in flux, particularly for groups currently grouped as Hispanic or Latino/a. The fights over immigration reform are being contested in real time and in highly visible ways, covering issues such as: what constitutes “legal” or “illegal” immigration, which children raised in the United States can stay, and which families who paid taxes to the United States will be allowed to exercise the rights and claim the benefits of voting, higher education, health care and social security. Resources in this section document some of the equity issues facing recent (and less recent) immigrants and refugees today. This section also provides materials on immigrant-led organizing and related civic engagement and policy reform.

Key sites



Also in this section: