As we close a particularly intense month of public and political debate tied to immigration - the protests in Arizona over SB 1070, the controversy over a planned Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero, the talk of "anchor babies" as some GOP leaders push to end birthright citizenship - a couple of stories from the border this week have provided sobering context to the vociferous immigration debate.
On Tuesday in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas, not far from Brownsville, Texas, Mexican marines discovered a mass grave containing the bodies of 72 migrants, men and women from Central and South America. According to the sole survivor, a 18-year-old man from Ecuador who escaped with gunshot woulds and alerted authorities, the 58 men and 14 women hailing from Ecuador, Brazil, Honduras and El Salvador were on their way to the United States after having illegally traversed Mexico.
Earlier this week, in a post about the so-called Ground Zero mosque, I highlighted a great post from KPCC contributor Marc Haefele on the history of the Ground Zero site in Lower Manhattan, lately tied to a vociferous controversy over the planned construction of an Islamic cultural center a couple of blocks from the location of the former World Trade Center. In the post, he described the area's history a century ago as Manhattan's old Arab District, referred to then as "Little Syria."
Mother Jones has now peeled away another layer of the historical onion, pointing out that before Little Syria existed, Lower Manhattan was the place where African slaves were buried. From the story:
Five myths about mosques in America (The Washington Post)
Mexico Killings Show Migrants' Plight - WSJ.com (Wall Street Journal)
Sections of SB 1070 barred by the judge from being enforced include: (AZ starnet.com)
Tension over Obama policies within Immigration and Customs Enforcement (The Washington Post)
Detectives still searching for clues in triple slaying in West Hollywood, victims may be Russian immigrants (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
U.S. moving to ease deportation policy (Miami Herald)
A documentary about the Bracero labor program, which brought millions of Mexican farm workers to the United States as temporary laborers between the early 1940s and early 1960s, has won the audience choice award for best documentary at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, where several films this year addressed the topic of immigration.
The winning documentary, "Harvest of Loneliness," features interviews with former Braceros and their families, chronicling the hardship and exploitation endured and examining what might be expected from a new temporary worker program, if one is implemented. The film was directed by Gilbert G. Gonzales and Vivian Price, professors at UC Irvine and CSU Dominguez Hills, respectively. The Venezuelan soccer drama "Hermano" (Brother), won the audience choice award for best feature.