For the last few years, La Santa Cecilia, a Mexican-American band, based in Los Angeles, California, has not only made excellent music, but has also championed the plight on undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Their 2013 song “Hielo” told the stories of intertwined lives in the immigrant community. The video for Hielo included many undocumented immigrant activists including Erika Andiola and her nearly-deported mother. When La Santa Cecilia won a Grammy, they dedicated it to undocumented workers in the U.S.
The Benach Collopy crew just returned from the annual conference of the American Immigration Lawyers Association in Boston, Massachusetts. The annual meeting is the largest gathering of immigration lawyers and provides an opportunity for lawyers to learn from each other and improve their services to their clients. This year, Benach Collopy attorneys Dree Collopy and Benach, served on the conference faculty. On Friday, Dree spoke on a panel that encouraged lawyers to think about issues in removal proceedings that go beyond the availability of relief entitled “Challenges and Strategies Beyond Relief.”
Coca-Cola had a beautiful advertisement during the Super Bowl. The ad featured America the Beautiful sung in a variety of languages by Americans of all different ethnicities. It is easy to be jaded and cynical in that this was an attempt to sell one of the more unhealthy products we have created. However, in the current political climate and the debates raging on immigration, identity, diversity and multiculturalism, the Coke ad showed that one of the most successful companies on the planet has cast its lot with a multicultural and inclusive America.
Yesterday, the Associated Press announced that it would stop using the phrase “illegal immigrant” to describe an individual present in the US illegally, or who entered the country without proper authorization. This is a great victory for the long history of organizing against the word “illegal” beginning with the transnational No Human Being Is Illegal campaign and more recently, the Drop the I-word campaign, in addition to the many undocumented immigrants across the country who have insisted on defining ourselves beyond the pejorative brush of “illegal” or “illegal immigrant.”