Over the next decade, the United States of America will continue to grapple with immigration-related issues. The United States Supreme Court will likely decide a number of immigration-related cases with a direct tie to constitutional issues. If current trends continue, IREHR does not think it inconceivable that the court will hear arguments on birthright citizenship and the Fourteenth Amendment. Voting rights cases are likely to proliferate, and many of the civil rights that were so recently won will continue to be tested.
In the meantime, our state legislatures and congress will decide whether or not to continue to tear apart families with undocumented parents and citizen children. They will decide whether or not these children will have access to the same educational opportunities as their neighbors, whether or not they will receive appropriate health care, and whether or not they will view law enforcement officers as keepers of the public peace or as imminent dangers to their family’s well-being. And all Americans will have to decide whether or not they will challenge a mean, sometimes brutal, anti-democratic nativist social movement by their fellow Americans.
The newly configured anti-immigrant movement described in this report has developed a new activist constituency, the Tea Parties, even while it has lost some of its established funding sources and membership. Human rights and immigrant advocates now face a civic opposition which has a larger constituency, and an opposition which is harder to delineate and thus more difficult to oppose.
This anti-immigrant movement matters to each and every American, whether your forebears trekked over the Siberian-Alaskan land bridge 20,000 years ago, whether they came here three hundred years ago in chains, whether they were annexed by war and Manifest Destiny, or they came here one hundred years ago or more in search of religious freedom and economic opportunity, or just last year. The strength of the anti-immigrant movement, its size, shape and constituent elements should be of concern to all. The fate of the United States of America and its unique promise is at stake.