Friday, November 18, 2011

Bio-Regionalism and Immigration

As someone who has been engaged in public education and water planning there is a vital need for local Greens to propose bodies and committees that integrate immigrants into decision-making process to address their needs and concerns. I know California is lagging in providing real support systems for Spanish speaking students and this is wrapped around the issues of teacher training AND budget cuts. Further, the rapid rate of increasing student populations with specific needs and the impacts of growth on water quality and supply are responsibilities that can most effectively be addressed by those directly impacted. We begin to break down the kinds of antagonisms that have been allowed to fester for so long when we work together in our communities. People who are labeled as "anti-immigrant" are often responding to the failures of current systems to address the profound demographic changes and often are unable themselves to impact on local policies.

It is fine to support immigrants. But as things stand now too many in California are denied adequate education, often end up in jail and prison (or held in virtual bondage)and they cannot get the support they need for their communities' water systems, such as in the Central Valley cities. We are disregarding that "sanctuary" as it is currently implemented remains rested in proclamations. We need to define that "sanctuary" in reality means safety, security and opportunity for a new and brighter future. The public is aware and frustrated at the failures of public schools and water systems. Getting people to interact begins to break down the walls and establishes a common and shared vision for their communities that is not exclusive to any given group of people.

In NM the Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA) had a Stakeholder Advisory Committee until it was dissolved administratively. When it was functioning it enabled users and stakeholders to engage directly with the ABCWUA and provide input and present concerns of different groups as to what things they were dealing with regarding the resource. From there, it is up to a Green Party to provide the electoral and political leadership that begins to break down the walls as they exist today. The dismantling of the Advisory Committee demonstrates how those determined to preserve the status quo have no desire to open our governing entities. It also demonstrates the real role of a Green Party in building change. We need to promote candidates who present new opportunities and the campaigns should not just focus on the debates as they are constructed today by the duopoly parties. We can make real proposals in the structure of the governing entities of our communities that begin to break down the animosities as they may exist. Our neighbors are not our enemies; they are the source of new solutions and alternatives that will improve sustainability and improve the quality of life for all.


Alex Walker said...

So, you are saying issues of that immigration, ecology, and education should be linked?

Wow! That's a tall order, but an intriguing idea. The problem is that immigrants, especially Mexicans, are routinely scapegoated for all three (along with crime, taxes, etc.).

That is one reason why I love the Occupy movement. For once progressives are not obsessed with "identity politics." Maybe we can use this historic moment to get folks to think another way.

Wes said...

Here is another way to think about the ecology / immigration link. If the sea level rises 3 meters, as it most assuredly will, then tens of millions of Vietnamese and Bangladeshi will be forced from their homes. How many does America plan to admit as immigrants … sorry, refugees?