CultureStrike coordinator Favianna Rodriguezrecently took her skills into the classroom at Stanford University, where she ran a printmaking workshop to help artists document the stories of undocumented immigrant communities. The print above sums up the devastating, and often hidden consequences of mass deportation policies.
As reported by Colorlines.com and Human Rights Watch, it’s estimated that tens of thousands of families and loved ones have been torn apart by deportation, and the shattering of immigrant families has brought thousands of children into some form of state care. Not only do these deportations amount to a brutal punishment for innocent children, many of whom are U.S. citizens–this crisis poses an enormous strain on the social service system and needlessly breaks up households. These measures, ironically pushed by supposed “small government” conservatives, use the federal bureaucracy to split communities that would otherwise have been nurturing and raising the next generation of Americans.
There may soon be more reasons for immigrants to fear stepping outside their homes. The LA Times reports that the federal government plans to step up its deportation operations for “criminal” immigrants–a category that is frequently misused, according to advocates:
“We are talking about a labeling game ICE has been playing,” said Gregory Chen, director of advocacy for the American Immigration Lawyers Assn. “ICE’s definition of who counts as a criminal includes people who have driven without a license or driven without insurance. Those certainly are not dangerous people.”
In other words, the Obama administration’s election-year position on immigrants is to intensify the government’s assault on the undocumented. The label “criminal” is liberally used to mask the fact that many of those swept up in the anti-immigrant dragnet are ordinary workers, parents, children, and neighbors. The injustice is hiding in plain sight–though activists are trying to shed light on immigrant struggles step by step, print by print.