Friday, December 26, 2008

Carnegie Corporation's Inside Look at Immigration Reform

First in a Border Lines Series on the Movement Comprehensive Immigration Reform)

“Immigration – The Reform Movement Rebuilds” is the title of the cover story of the new Carnegie Reporter, the quarterly publication of the Carnegie Corporation. 

This article, an inside story from the New York City foundation that since 2001 awarded $35 million “in support of immigrant civic integration” is a good starting point to look at the fate and fortunes of the immigrant-rights movement in the United States. 

As the article’s title suggests, the pro-immigration reform movement was dealt a serious blow by the failure of the U.S. Senate to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill in mid-2007. 

But the 9-page article in the Carnegie Reporter is not an examination of the reasons and factors that may explain the failures of the movement and of CIR. 

Rather it’s an uncritical profile of the “immigration reform movement” that the foundation has generously funded at least since the early 1990s and that it is now currently helping to rebuild. Nevertheless, the puff piece about the foundation’s funding of immigrant-rights groups that lead the NGO effort to pass liberal immigration reform is a good starting point to examine the history and current directions of this movement. 

Interviewed for the Carnegie article were the leaders of this movement – all of whom being the principals of organizations funded by Carnegie. In some cases, the funding from the foundation to these organizations dates back a few decades. 

 Primarily these are the National Immigration Forum, Immigration Policy Center (part of the American Immigration Law Foundation), and the newly established America’s Voice. Two other lead organizations in this network are the National Council of La Raza and Center for Community Change. Geri Mannion, who leads the U.S. Democracy Program and the Special Opportunities Fund of Carnegie Corporation, set the upbeat tone of the article. 

“This is an exciting time,” said Geri Mannion, “Despite their problems, issues, conflicts and disappointment about the bill failing, these advocates have come together to rethink the next phase of immigration reform and hopefully are stronger for what they have gone through.” 

  Next in Border Lines' CIR Series: The Failure of Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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