CHICANO 10B Chapter 6: Illegal People- David Bacon-Chapter 6

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Chapter 6: Black Plus Immigrants Plus Unions Equals Power
There was a division in African Americans and Immigrants because of this fear that a
gaining jobs or political clout comes at the expense of the other
o In Mississippi, African American political leaders & Immigrant organizers
believe: blacks + immigrants + unions = power
Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance (MIRA)
o When created, it reached African American workers’ center on catfish farms &
immigrant union organizers in chicken plants to guest workers & contract laborers
on the Gulf Coast
Jim Evans (AFL-CIO’s state organizer & leader of Black Caucus in state legislature):
believes that organizing immigrants is a direct continuation of campaigns such as
Mississippi’s Freedom Summer & Poor People’s March on Washington
“Social justice and political practicality converge in the state’s changing demographics”
(168)
o Mississippi in early 1900s began to lose its black population
o Before KKK terror beginning in the end of the 1800s, African Americas were a
majority of the state’s demographics
o Black exodus out of the South was one of the largest internal migrations in the
nation’s history
Out-migration peaked in the 1960s: 66,614 African Americans left between 1964-1970
Then it reversed from 1995-2000: African Americans made up over 36% of Mississippi’s
residents
South is now the entry point of all new immigrants to the US
UNITE HERE - Hotel union
Employee Free Choice Act: wrote card-check process into law
o In 2007, the National Labor Relations Board made this voluntary process more
difficult
“In 2007 the Republican machine introduced twenty-one anti- immigrant bills into the
state legislature, including ones to impose state penalties for hiring undocumented
workers and English-only requirements on state license and benefit applicants, to prohibit
undocumented students at state universities, and to require local police to check
immigration status.” (175)
o MIRA defeated all of these, the Black Caucus stood behind them every time.
“But demographics makes it a viable race. We live in a conservative state where people
don’t accept new ideas easily, so the challenge for progressives is that we have to
campaign and educate people at the same time. If we want people to move out of their
comfort zone, we need a powerful message.” (177)
“Finding common ground between immigrants, African Americans, and labor is MIRA’s
long-term strategy.” (177)
African Americans and immigrants had to agree that they both had situations in where
African Americans came in chains for slavery and immigrants came because they
couldn’t live like human beings
CBC sponsored HR 4197 (didn’t pass): authorize funds for housing and section 8
vouchers, for more health care, and extended unemployment and assistance for needy
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