Immigrant Rights Conference Centers Racial Justice

By Seth Freed Wessler Jan 22, 2008

The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights held their national conference last weekend in Houston, TX. I was struck by the participants’ energy and the analysis that centered racial justice throughout the three-day gathering. Conference sessions drew connections between immigrant rights and prison reform, brought to light the economic justice issues at the core of immigrant rights and made calls for coalition building between constituencies of color. In a climate where immigration rights rhetoric is steeped in appeals about “good, hard working immigrants,” and “comprehensive” immigration reform, the NNIRR conference’s focus on the real experiences of immigrants and on racial justice was a needed change.