Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How Immigration Panic Crossed the Atlantic

This month (March 2010) an article I wrote was published about the American immigration panic of 2006 - Its about how political operatives used the French Banlieue Riots of 2005 to influence the U.S. Congress into passing brutal anti-immigration bill HB 4437.

For those of you have access to a university library, look for the journal Atlantic Studies Vol. 7, No. 1, March 2010, pages 79-97. Included is a photo of some University of Houston students.


Here is an abstract of the article:

The French Banlieue riots of 2005 and their impact on US immigration

policy: A transatlantic study

by Marie-Theresa Hernandez

This article focuses on the US immigration polemic of late 2005. It traces how the

narratives of the French banlieue riots of 2005 crossed the Atlantic and were used

by American anti-immigration conservatives to provoke the US Congress into

passing iron-fisted immigration laws. The French riots were a manifestation of the

difficult and oppressive life experienced by young people of North African

descent living in the Paris suburbs. Education there is of poor quality, job

opportunities are scarce, and although they are French citizens, they are generally

excluded from most of their country’s civil society. In October 2005, two boys died

while being chased by police. The banlieue soon went up in flames. As the youth

of the banlieue began to burn cars, American newspapers covered the story, with

many projecting that similar problems would occur in the US if immigration were

not curtailed. Right-wing groups publicized information showing that the US

could end up in flames, as had occurred in France, once the children of Mexican

immigrants became the majority in US cities, as the children of North African

immigrants had done in the suburbs of Paris. American Congressmen fought

verbal battles on the floor of the House of Representatives, with the conservatives

winning out and producing one of the most draconian immigration bills in US

history, House Bill 4437.

Photo of young men protesting the deaths of 2 boys in Clichy-sous-Bois near Paris. Photo from Le Monde, November 2, 2005.

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